Cool & Classic — this arrangement came together after a couple years of collecting and hinged on finding the right apartment/space to really let these pieces shine! Here’s the back story:
Yes, that’s right, I found these as a pair when I was coming back from my chiropractor’s appointment — and there they were — sitting out on the curb along with other junk, waiting for the next morning’s trash man. Well, I don’t think the trash collectors noticed their absence, but I was delighted to lift the monster pair — each weighing more than 10 pounds — into my car.
The shades were a little more difficult to track down, as I was searching for a shape that would have the traditional lines keeping with the lamp, yet have an interesting, modern twist. The key was to find something that wouldn’t look outdated, like it belonged in your grandmother’s mothball scented parlor. After traipsing in and out of several stores — disappointed — I finally found the perfect match: a square, canvas, black-and-white toile printed lamp shade.
The pedestal table was a perfect find at a neighborhood estate sale that I just happened by — and fortunately I did! I had been keeping an eye out for an end table to match the lines and height of my red wool settee. Complete with beaded detail and brass foot plats, the pedestal table also has a handy drawer ideal for stowing a box of match sticks to illuminate nearby candles when the mood strikes. What is beautiful about this combination is the plausibility that such a table, lamp and settee could have been used in a home at the same time — just like today, how often does the average household replace their couch? About every 10 years …
Now, the settee — this was a miracle! A couple years ago, I set out to hit up all the local thrift shops in hope of finding a “chaise lounge style” piece of furniture — and perhaps, in a bold color — for my then over-sized dining room with box window. Well, in I walked and the angels sang — for lo and behold, right before my very eyes was a bing cherry red settee from about the 1930s (although it seems likely it might have been reupholstered in the 1950s).
With no stains or pulls, the piece was in practically mint condition — yet, given it’s age, it needed a little repair to boost up the seat area, so my Dad and I took a series of 1×4″s to act as an extra measure of slated support. In the process, we admired the burlap strappings holding in the batting of the back-cushion and found a little, tiny plastic baby doll. Now the settee is a picturesque place to sit and enjoy a book by the warmth of the fireplace. (the only thing missing is a set of foot stools — of which I am currently on the hunt …)
So what does Cool & Classic cost? $140, estimated total
$0 pair of Alabaster lamp bases (curb rescue in Bergen Co., NJ)
$10 red settee (thrift store, Salisbury, Md.)
$15 accent pillows (clearance at Walmart)
$20 pair of electrical-lamp kits (full price @ Lowe’s or Home Depot)
$45 pedestal table (estate sale)
$50 pair of toile lamp shades (full price @ Lowe’s or Home Depot)
What’s the take-away lesson?
Always be on the look-out and have an idea of what you are looking for, which will help you from being overwhelmed by the choices you’ll come across (or time-consuming returns!).
Building a room — especially piece mail — can be like putting a jigsaw puzzle together, but if you can refine your ability to visualize the shape and feel of the missing components then you will soon become an artful master of “thrifty, chic, vintage” home decor!