Seeking Vertical Wall Sconces

I have a weird thing where I don’t like lamps. Which is a problem if you don’t want to live in the dark! We have two interesting lamps in our living room and it was actually my husband’s idea to turn them into lamps. I wasn’t sure about the idea at first but I love them now — they’re unique and perfect for our global style. They’re made from carved wooden rice god and rice goddess we found in Chiang Mai, Thailand years ago:

Rice Goddess Lamp

These lamps are among the few sources of light in this 14′ x 24′ living room. The gold reading lamp above has been moved elsewhere in the house. So with only two light bulbs in this room now, the constant dimness is driving me crazy. It also makes the room feel smaller because the corners are dark and drab shadowy gray. We have 8′ ceilings which are low for a chandelier and I don’t like recessed ceiling lights.

So what’s left? Walls! I’m seeking four wall sconces to flank the two bigger windows at opposite ends of this room:

Living Room Wall Sconces

Where to add wall sconces

It’s so dark in this room at night, pictures turn out grainy and yellow!

Because of the vertical-ness of the drapes, I feel like it would look weird to have a round or square shaped sconce, which might look like small blobs squatting on the walls. So I looked for sconces with long vertical elements to them.

Here’s the unrealistic choice because at $599 and needing four sconces plus cost of an electrician, this one from Shades of Light isn’t going to happen:

Shades of Light Quatrefoil Sconce

But if you like this look, you could mount a sconce on a wood panel that you make. You can buy carved wood panels. Or you can stencil raised patterns onto wood with embossing medium, then paint the panels. I am thinking about doing that!

I found these Alsace and Lorraine Architectural Railing Sconces at Restoration Hardware which brings the cost down to just above $300 each (sometimes they’re on sale), then inexpensive wood panels could be installed behind the sconces:

Alsace and Lorraine Architectural Railing Sconces at RH

But like most things at RH, the Lorraine sconce looks over-sized and  too big a scale for the space I have available.

From Circa Lighting, there is this Cawdor Stanchion Wall Sconce:

Circa Lighting Wall Sconce

The Strie Wall Sconce from Circa Lighting is a simpler shape and would bring a vertical element without drawing too much attention to itself:

Strie Wall Sconce at Circa Lighting

Another option from Circa Lighting is this Dauphine Sconce (obviously you see by now I’m looking for burnished gold or raw iron color):

Dauphine Wall Sconce at Circa Lighting

This Serpentine Wall Sconce from Shades of Light is another vertical option and at $90 each, it’s a steal:

Shades of Light Serpentine Wall Sconce

But with four sconces in the room, I’d rather have less curlicue-ness. Maybe something more like this Bryant Sconce from Circa Lighting:

Bryant Sconce from Circa Lighting

A similar sconce is the Vivianne from triple7recycled on Etsy, a great price at $85:

Vivianne Sconce from triple7recycled Etsy shop

A few tips if you’re also seeking wall sconces

You may not need the sconces to be extremely bright, especially if they will be hanging too far from where you sit to serve as task lighting. In our case, the sconces will brighten the corners to lighten the room overall, and make it feel bigger. And maybe I will squint less often.

If you have a certain style in mind, check out different stores for different prices until you find something that fits your budget. As you saw above, you will often find the same/similar look at very different prices. Also keep an eye on the lampshade material. Belgian linen or silk will cost more than paper. Look for what fits your budget.

I usually do mock-ups to scale in Photoshop for purchases like this. Because sometimes when placed in a room, things don’t look as good as they did in your mind. Sometimes they’re too big, or too small, or just not right. It’s better to find that out in Photoshop than after ordering and shipping the products. Maybe the sconce I think I like the least actually looks the best. You never know. Off to Photoshop I go …





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Super Fun Jumpin’ Jack Pillows

Whenever we leave winter behind, I want fun, light-hearted things around. Spring is light, like a spring in your step. And that’s how these fun pillows from One Kings Lane feel. Maybe it’s the frivolous fringe and twirly tassels. And the high contrast of black and white (which is a current trend!) plus a punch of orange and pinks.

One Kings Lane Pillows

Don’t they feel like they’re doing jumping jacks? They’re light and bright, even with black in them. And go ahead, mix Greek key patterns with tribal. Using similar colors is what lets you get away with crazier pattern mixes. As you see here, the Greek key in hot pink picks up on the color in the other pillows. They all have tassels too, which makes the pillows feel like they’ll all get along together.

Switching up pillows is an easy way to change a whole room’s look for the new season.

Source: Pillow 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

 





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Secret Ingredient for a Well-Traveled Room

These rooms all have a common element, but one that’s a bit uncommon. Can you guess what it is?

Moroccan Inlaid Table

Inlaid Side Tables via House Beautiful Tables from E Kenoz

Inlaid Accent Table

Moroccan Inlaid Side Tables

Interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard (my favorite designer who I met last year!) often uses this design element in rooms:

Childrens Room Designed by Martyn Lawrence Bullard

Inlaid Table Martyn Lawrence Bullard Designed Room

Cher Indian Fantasy Home

By now you’ve probably figured it out.

All these rooms have little inlaid tables, like accent tables or side tables, that you can get from Morocco, Turkey, Syria, Egypt or India. You can get them new, vintage or antique. They’re often meticulously made with mother of pearl or bone.

These tables are a sure bet to add that well-traveled look, like “yeah we’ve been somewhere, and we’ve seen some things.” Because you don’t get exposed to the idea and find a table at a regular ol’ Midwestern mall, that’s for sure. I grew up with the JC Penney and Sears catalogs (yeah that just really dated me) and I can tell you, nothing like this was in those catalogs!

So where do you find these tables? I’ll share a few ideas with you at high, medium and low price points. And you can also DIY the inlaid table look.

From Ballard Designs, the Marrakech Side Table regular $399, on sale for $299:

Ballard Designs Marrakech Side Table

Marrakech Side Table from Ballard Designs Bone Inlay

eKenoz has a range of prices for inlaid tables, from $275 t0 quite a few around $499-550 with the priciest at $1,100 right now. Here’s a sample of their big range of styles:

eKenoz Moroccan Syrian Turkish Inlaid Tables

Wisteria carries some styles, like this graphic art deco-ish version with bone inlay:

Wisteria Bone Hexa Side Table

You can sometimes find pricier high-quality versions at One Kings Lane and 1stdibs.

There are some gorgeous tables at Akbik, and their prices reflect their handmade nature. When I’m shopping for furniture, I often look at versions that are above my price range to see what makes good quality and design, then once seeing that, try to find the best possible that I can afford. Here are breathtaking tables at Akbik:

Mother of Pearl Inlaid Tables from Akbik

So if you like the “global well-traveled” style, I hope this unveiled a secret that would instantly make your room look a touch exotic.





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Mud Cloth + Mid Century

Can mud cloth from Mali and “MCM” — also known as Mid Century style — go together? Can they live happily together in one piece? Well, let’s see. Here’s what mud cloth looks like, if you’re not sure what I’m talking about:

Mudcloth at Museum of Natural History

That’s a mudcloth I “designed” with a fun interactive feature on the Museum of Natural History’s website, where you can make your own mudcloth – check it out. As you go through it, it tells you how mud cloth is made and the meaning behind the designs.

Mud cloth is also called Bògòlanfini. It’s made with strips of cotton cloth sewed together, and then painted with patterns that have significant cultural meanings that tell a story. It’s painted with fermented mud gathered from riverbeds, thus the name mud cloth. It can take weeks of work to make one mud cloth.

I own a few pieces of mud cloth. One found this summer at Chicago’s Randolph Street Market (there’s always some there from a vendor who sells wares from Africa) and a large piece I found at the famous Mustapha Blaoui store in Marrakech last month. At that TripAdvisor link about the store, you’ll see a review by Starr Covey Perry who was with our group and I snapped photos of her buying her rug! It is indeed a beautiful rug. Now I’m kicking myself for not buying a rug. But I did get mud cloth which was one thing I wanted to find and I knew Mustapha Blaoui had it:

Mud Cloth Patterns

This might be CRAZY, but I want to replace the black vinyl on this Mid Century style chair with mud cloth:

Mid Century Chair Makeover

I can’t help but think of Mid Century as a hipster style thing. But I got this chair 20 years ago when I was hipster age and went through a Mid Century stage! Unfortunately I did not treat this chair well. The white plastic was scratched and to cover that, I spray painted it with that faux stone-look paint. Like THAT’S an improvement? I thought it looked cool at the time, 20 years ago. Maybe in 20 more years I’ll look back at this mud cloth phase and wonder, what was I thinking putting mud cloth on that chair? But I’m gonna do it. So that’s a DIY post coming soon.

So has anyone else mixed mud cloth and Mid Century? (Is it too geeky to say MC²?)

Yes! Some people have …

Here’s mud cloth on a stool with Mid Century style. It’s now sold, but it was from Etsy shop ChezBoheme:

Mudcloth and MCM at Etsy Shop ChezBoheme

Apartment Therapy reported on a collaboration between Philadelphia design company HYM Salvage and Urban Outfitters that resulted in this version of “mud + mod”:

HYM Salvage and Urban Outfitters Mud Cloth and Mid Century Modern Chair

And they made this stool/ottoman:

HYM-Salvage-and-Urban-Outfitters-Mud-Cloth-and-Mid-Century-Modern-Ottoman

And this chair, with sleek metal detail that contrasts with the handmade cloth:

Urban Outfitters Mudcloth and Mod Chair

A piece of mudcloth is simply draped over a bench, to add pattern and color at Design Manifest. I like how they mixed the geometric mud cloth with the pillow pattern:

Mud Cloth and Bench at Design Manifest

Here’s a pair of 1950’s brass stools upholstered vintage mud cloth. Now sold but was at 1stdibs. I think it works because the lines in the mud cloth are similar to the Sputnik-y stool legs:

50s Brass and Vintage Mud Cloth

Via Rent Patina, how about these two examples of chairs upholstered with mud cloth – one is a wingback, the other like Danish Modern or Mid Century:

Mud Cloth on Chairs via Rent Patina

Here’s a different view:

Mud Cloth Chair via Rent Patina

This is a 1970s chair with a sexy sculptural shape, paired with mud cloth. Chair now sold, but was at 1stdibs:

Mud Cloth Chair Sold at 1stDibs

Here’s a mud cloth pillow on a Nelson bench, a classic Mid Century piece, snapped by Instagrammer xnasozi (you can also buy mud cloth pillows from her shop):

Mud-Cloth-on-Mid-Century-Nelson-Bench-via-Instagrammer-xnasozi.jpg

So it seems that yes, “mud” and “mod” can be paired together!

Watch for a DIY coming here soon where I reupholster the black vinyl on my Mid Century chair with white plastic curves reminiscent of Eero Saarinen style. The chair is a relic I still own from the days in my 20s when I worshipped Mid Century. I’m not into Mid Century now but this chair is so cute and comfortable, I could never let it go. So we’ll see if I can weave together favorite styles from the past and present!

 





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