Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hardoy Butterfly Chair Covers

We inherited two original, steel-frame Hardoy Butterfly chairs from my great aunt and uncle. Unfortunately, they came without covers, so all we have are the frames. I began my search for new covers the other day. You wouldn't think it would be so damn hard to find a simple (decent) cover for a Hardoy Butterfly chair.

I like the design of this chair, as they look pretty cool just as frames, sculptural and what not. So when you take the cover inside to prevent damage during inclement weather, what's left isn't an eyesore but still interesting.

The chair's design came from architects in Le Corbusier's office in 1938 (Antonio Bonet, Jorge Ferrari-Hardoy and Juan Kurchan). Now that they are sold by Target and Pottery Barn, they are a little less cool, but those models are generally foldable, so it's easy to tell an original from the new, flimsier knock-offs.

I'd love to have the original style, saddle-leather covers, but it would seem that route is cost prohibitive at around $1,500 for the only leather cover I could find. And those look pretty bad; nothing like the original.

So I’ll continue my search for good covers for Hardoy chairs.  If you’ve got a source, please post in the comments!

LA: John Lautner House Tours

Would that I were wealthy and lived in LA. It seems that along with the Lautner exhibit at the Hammer Museum (Between Heaven and Earth: The Architecture of John Lautner -through October 12), the Hammer Museum is also conducting house tours of Lautner properties.

If you are able, I highly recommend you take advantage of this opportunity! If not, at least go see the exhibit at The Hammer Museum.

Tour I: Sunday, July 27, 2008
Tickets: $145 each

The Harpel Residence (1956)
The Tyler Residence (1953)
The Schwimmer Residence (1982)

Tour II: Sunday, September 14, 2008
Tickets: $145 each

The Jacobsen Residence (1947)
The Harvey Residence (1950)
The Reiner/Burchill Residence - also known as Silvertop (1963)

Tour III: Sunday, August 24, 2008
Tickets: $55 each

Sheats/Goldstein Residence (1963)

Tour IV: Sunday, October 12, 2008
Tickets: $55 each

Sheats/Goldstein Residence (1963)

Ticket prices are listed above and include admission to the exhibition, shuttle service, free parking (Tours I & II), discounted parking (Tours III & IV), and for Tour I and Tour II ticket buyers only--an active level friendship to the MAK Center at the Schindler House.

To purchase tickets for Tours I and II, you must be a member of the Hammer Museum at the Contributor level or above. Up to four (4) tickets can be purchased per membership. For more information on Hammer membership, click here. To purchase tickets for Tours III and IV, no membership is required.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hans Olsen table

Craigslist RULES! I'd say the vast majority of the furniture we own that falls into the "super-cool" category (Saarinen coffee table, Danish bar with Eric Buck stools... and now the Hans Olsen table and chairs!) has come from Craigslist.

Our latest purchase is this fantastic dining table by Hans Olsen. The chairs are three legged and fit neatly underneath the table... the chair backs becoming one with the bottom border of the table.

For an added level of fun kitsch, the table came with a vinyl/board cover in its original box that even included a receipt from 1963!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Shedding a little light on the George Nelson Bubble Lamp

One of the things that we are so excited about concerning our 1955 home, is that nothing has been changed since it was built. Nothing that is, except for the lights in the great room.

This guy isn't exactly 1955:

Now this guy, however...

That's what I'm talking about!

While we are making a concerted effort to start seeking out "lesser knowns" for our decor, the Nelson Bubble lamp is one staple that just seems too perfect to ignore. It will go so nicely above the Hans Olsen round table in the dining nook. I was thinking I'd make a light, or perhaps assemble something from various mid-century vintage parts... but that saucer just keeps calling (not to mention we just buy it and hang it up, and that's much more likely to happen quickly).

Now the only problem is deciding if we should get the 25" or the 36" (the 48" just seems a little ridiculous for our space). The Olsen table is 42" in diameter. I held up a 25" box and it seemed plenty big, but I think the tapered edges of the saucer might make the 25" lamp appear much smaller. I'm just a little worried to get the bigger one and have it look top heavy... though I do think the cylinder that will be formed by the light and the table below could be pleasing.

Yes, $300 (for the 25" --$365 for the 36") does seem a little steep for a ceiling light, but I think it's a cost we'll be able to deal with. If we buy from DWR, we get taxed because they have stores in Colorado. If we purchase from the manufacturer (Modernica in Chicago) however, there is no tax and free shipping.

It is no help though to see that the original 25" saucer shaped Bubble Lamp (H-763) retailed for $35 when it was first made available in 1947. What's the math? Is that appropriate inflation? What do you know... using this handy little inflation calculator, I found that $35 in 1947 would be $321.68 in 2007 (the latest year the calculator would calculate). So $300 from Modernica is actually $21.68 cheaper than what it cost when it first came out. Sweet! We're getting a bargain!

Something I was surprised to find out was that Howard Miller made accessories available for the lamps, including a satin-chrome or brass-finished steel tripod base, swing arms and adjustable pulleys. After finding this out, I may dismantle one of the eleven vintage lamps hanging in the workshop and add the spring loaded pulley to our Bubble Lamp.

There's some more interesting information available at this link: