We have the big magazine reveal of the mountain fixer on the books (shoot in June for a September issue), so it’s time to amp up this house with special pieces. Which brings me to something I’ve been meaning to tell you (it’s the key to life/design, actually): the only way to get an interesting home these days is to make it personal to you, the people who actually fill it full of life (and things). Also this: you can decorate your home with 80% relatively basic and simple pieces, even from a big-box store and you really only need a few special pieces to make it interesting.
This mountain house is a challenge because I don’t want a lot of “stuff,” but I want it to be unique and historically, I’ve done this through accessories like art, lighting, textiles, knick-knacks. I’m going for a “quiet weird” which is harder to achieve through furniture that I actually want to sit on. Typically “weird” means sculptural, whimsical, odd and I want the majority of the house to have a very high comfy quotient.
Here’s what I’m after: vintage, sculptural, kid-friendly, comfortable, beautiful, unique, Scandinavian, a little weird factor (but not loud), oh and affordable. That request is up there with a “fast, cheap and good” which I realize is an impossible feat. So since we are having so much LESS in this house, I’m going to have to drop the “affordable” and potentially splurge on a couple of investment pieces (although I’m very much on the hunt at flea markets for steals). Amazing vintage pieces don’t just fall off the truck in front of your house, sadly.
As a reminder, the sofas and rugs are relatively simple and neutral. We have this sectional and this sofa, and the bed in our master is a very simple gray upholstered platform with this amazing white cloud of a rug. So the opportunities to amp it up exist in the chairs, nightstands and some lighting (and art, but we are trying to make a lot of art up there as a family).
Here are some chairs I’m thinking about. Most of them are designs or designers that I’ve loved FOR YEARS. It might be time to come home to me.
Disregard the fabrics, obviously. The above are really comfortable and can go in the living room OR master bedroom next to the fireplace. They would almost all be recovered and I’m debating between doing something safe (linen or leather) OR going with a vintage plaid that I’ve been hoarding. The trick to this is making sure that the chair is streamlined enough to handle a plaid (aka if it’s a club chair, it could look really ’80s but a Scandi wingback could totally handle it—#3 for instance is so charming in that vintage fabric, although it needs to be changed but you get the vibe).
I think #9 could be awesome in a weird vintage plaid and while I’ll never afford an original Papa Bear chair (#5) I will love them forever (they are typically $10 – 15K).
Up next are ones that are more sculptural, less comfortable but I LOVE THEM.
I’m obsessed with 2, 3, 4, and 6 and I’m on the hunt for versions of these that are more affordable or need some work. #4 and #6 look actually super comfortable and YET sculptural so I feel like they are worth more of an investment. I suppose my rationale is that a chair that you actually want to sit in, which you extract joy from physically, has more value than a looking-at-chair (like #2 or #3 of which I LOVE). By the way, #3 is another great example of a vintage Scandi piece in a weird plaid. I have a place for that piece (the entry) that doesn’t require too much comfort so if anyone knows where I can get one of those for less than $4k, PLEASE let me know. I want it so badly, but can’t spend that on an entry bench, obviously. #2 is a dream. Just a dream but so expensive and not something you actually want to sit on but boy would it make the shot.
And now when it comes to lighting I want really awesome lamps, with the key being in our color palette, but weird and cool. Here is what I’m thinking:
I’ve loved a popsicle lamp since I was 22. I love them. Full stop. And wicker. I LOVE WICKER. They are both weird and cool and odd. I love them all. Some of these are VERY expensive (like #2 from 1stdibs…I believe it’s well over $1,000 but eBay has tons of them for like $50-$60 (just search “popsicle lamp” and you’ll find a handful right now…but don’t buy them all before I get around to it, pretty please).
I want and need a statement lamp. One with weird proportions and finishes. I’m tempted by all of these. I’ve really been into the pleated shade thing like #2 and while #3 isn’t actually wood (I think it’s a walnut veneer), the shape is just so, so interesting and like something you wouldn’t easily come across at a typical retailer. Obviously, same for #1 and #4 (I’m not even sure what’s happening there with #4, but it’s natural and organic feeling and I can just see it styled really simply in a vignette on top of a credenza or something and it would just be a WOW shot, for sure).
More pleated shades (see, told you). I’m also on the hunt for a long-arm sconce or pull out sconce for an area upstairs and I like that none of these are glitzy or metallic. It’s not easy to find hard-wired lighting that isn’t brass or nickel these days, honestly, so vintage pieces are the best bet for anything made of mostly wood). Plus, three of these are plug-ins, so I wouldn’t have to worry about junction boxes if I wanted to add one to a place not hard wired-ready (because I’m DONE spending money on “construction” here).
We recently got a credenza for the family room and it’s crying for a big double-headed sconce. Brian and I both very much love #1#1. It’s so modern and special and editorial and pretty MASSIVE. It would look just so cool as “the piece” over it. The smaller wood one is very cool maybe for another spot in the house (maybe upstairs in one of the kids’ areas we’re tinkering around with).
And finally, to supplement all those chairs, sofas and beds, we need some side tables and nightstands:
I’m REALLY into #1 and #3 (I love Paul McCobb pieces dearly), and, spoiler alert, I bought #2 already. It’s a pretty mango wood and the shape will look so great next to one of the more streamlined sofas, I think. We were considering #4 for the master bedroom because I like the chunky shape on them, but not sure they’re the right color wood. We’ll see…Also, what’s not to love about #5 with that WICKER basket and those tiny casters. I have a thing for sewing tables.
So there you go. These are some of the main pieces I’m thinking about to bring in some personality, some interest/vintage, some ME into the mountain house. Like I said, I really don’t want to get super weird up here for the sake of being weird, but I do want to introduce moments that make you (me) stop and smile. And because in general, I’m buying less up here, I know that I’ll likely spend/invest more into pieces I know I will LOVE because there is more room in the budget that way.
Let me know what you think, what else in the mountain house you’re interested in hearing about right now, and if there are any sites/dealers/brands in line with some of the things I’ve shown you today that I should check out with the design team here… HAPPY MOUNTAIN MONDAY, FRIENDS. 🙂