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Archive for the ‘Glass’ Category

glass match strikes

Since I have been dwelling on the beauty of small things lately – like flowers – it is no surprise that candles are in the mix too. Our garden here has no real outdoor lighting and the house has some glaringly bright overhead spots that I hate to use, so candles have proliferated everywhere, almost on their own accord. With candles comes the need for matches and that has brought up a long-term fascination with antique glass and silver match strikes.

The person who brought decorative match strikes to the design world’s attention is British designer and writer Rita Konig, who has a few favorites, along with a spectacular pink ashtray, that you see in the different incarnations of her apartments over and over again. There is no real date order to these photos, although the first one is from her London apartment in the mid 2000s. That’s the first time I remember noticing the two small match strikes, both antique, one green glass with a silver rim and the other one cranberry.

Rita Konig old London bedroom via fallon elizabeth tumblr

Over the years, I tracked for them every time a photo of her place was featured as she moved first to one New York apartment, then another, and then onwards back to London.

Rita Konig Domino 2 Fancy Fetes December:January 2009 match strikers

Konig herself has written about and featured her strikes in the various publications she writes for including here in The Wall Street Journal and here in The New York Times.

Rita Konig match strikers

Over time a new art glass strike by Lucy Cope got added to the mix with her two small strikes, her pink ashtray and her coral patterned transferware plate. I think one of my favorite things about Konig’s style is that she is truly cumulative, and having committed to something, seems committed for life.

Rita Konig Coffee table

Match strikes like these are quintessentially English, although you can find some made elsewhere. The silver ring is hallmarked as per standard British regulation, most often between the final few years of the 19th century (fairly safe strike anywhere matches were invented in 1898) and the 1920s. They seem to have fallen out of favor with the advent of new match technology. I’m not quite sure how easy it is to find ‘strike anywhere’ matches these days, but it is not deterring me.

Rita Konig match strikers NYTimes

I’ve been hunting on eBay and Etsy but buying one long distance just doesn’t seem fun. If you are planning to search around after reading this, keep in mind that the American term seems to be ‘striker’ with the terminal ‘r’ versus the British ‘strike’. I hinted to sweet hubby for my birthday, but he missed the signals completely. I was absolutely sure the gods of glass coincidence would make one available to me at my recent forays to the shrine sales in Japan – because there is nowhere more likely that Tokyo flea markets for finding a random British antique – but I was sent a jam pot and some Turkish tea glasses instead.

I’ve spied some more recently in the Houston home of Catherine Brooks Giuffre on Domino. She has some great art and an interesting mix of pieces too. When I did a little back research, I stumbled across her previous living room and like Konig, it was quite interesting to see how and what she had repurposed.

Catherine Brooks Giuffre match strikes Domino

Catherine Brooks Giuffre match strikes LR

When I woke up yesterday to a House Beautiful post on what to put on your coffee table that included match strikes, I knew it was time for this post. I don’t think I need a whole collection, but one little one, in emerald green or even bright cranberry would do me just fine.

HBX-COFFEE-TABLE-DECOR- match strikes

And by the way, did you know hobby of collecting match-related items, such as matchcovers and matchbox labels, is known as phillumeny? I wonder if that label includes match strikes? Regardless, I’ll have to mention that to my daughter.

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My long weekend in Tokyo was simply sublime. Days of friends and food and lots of shopping were just the restorative I needed. The weather didn’t cooperate, but it didn’t really matter. Kawagoe was a bit thin on the ground because of the threat of rain and unfortunately the next two days delivered the promised precipitation, although it didn’t keep us from the markets. It did however keep me from taking lots of photos, so most of the finds recorded are from the first day out. I also broke my own rule of “buy it when you see it” a few times, mulling over the weight and difficulty of transport, which meant I lost out on a few things, although as usual, there is a funny story attached to one of them.

photo

There were some things that didn’t get away – like these swirling blue and white dishes – and others that did – like these kutani lidded teacups – so beautifully painted they looked like brocade.

kutani lidded teacups

This very fine takamakura, complete with original buckwheat filled pillow went home with a friend.

takamakura

A search for a tansu was successful, yielding this lacquer beauty for a fraction of its retail price. Tansu at shrine sales are often in poor condition which is why they are a bargain, but this dealer had lovingly restored this piece.

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Brought home and placed in the entry it will be a workhorse, holding gloves and scarves and general entry clutter.

lacquer tansu

Speaking of tansu in poor condition, I also popped in to the The National Art Center to view the Joint Graduation Exhibition of Art Universities. Not sure what the meaning of this installation of destroyed tansu by Shunsuke Nouchi is meant to represent, but I couldn’t resist including it. Student exhibits in Japan, as elsewhere, can be really fun, ranging from discoveries of major talent to down right awful. I can’t help but feel bad for these chests!

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Another friend and client scored really big, bringing home all kinds of treasures. The giant wooden gears – very Vincente Wolf - will be hung as a focal point on a bare wall. We got very lucky, finding three with just the right amount of variety in size, shape, color and detail. A vintage onbuhimo, better known as a baby carrier, has lovely indigo cloth woven into its straps. And a large lacquer carrying chest, billed as Edo period by its dealer, but not, is extremely decorative with its etched brass hardware.

photo

As for my haul, I had to keep reminding myself that I had to carry anything and everything I bought home. So I left behind an entire basket of small fishing floats and even some charming porcelain. I had to have the gray and white bowls – which were likely the more expected blue originally but now faded – because I knew they would look great with the dining table and they are that perfect not too big, not too small size. I picked up a few wooden pieces, a tray and some itomaki, including this unusual long one. A small hibachi with the great geometric asa-no-ha or hemp pattern was also a keeper. But as always, my eye and my wallet are equally lured by non-Japanese discoveries and I fell in love with these bright Turkish glasses and a cut glass jam pot. I’ve been having a bit of a glass fetish lately – wait, aren’t I always having some kind of glass fetish?

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The promised funny story is about the glasses, made for serving arabic tea, but I can imagine them holding dessert or even wine. I saw five of them, 3 pink and 2 purple, on a table at one of my favorite dealers at Kawagoe and passed them only because I decided there weren’t really enough to be useful and their fragility made them hard to transport. My mind kept returning to them over and over (those silver mounts!) as I wandered so I went back only to discover they were gone – massive bummer!

arabic turkish tea glasses

Imagine my surprise when later that evening I walked into the kitchen of the dear friend I was staying with for the week. Long my partner in crime and shrine sales, SHE had bought the glasses and they were now sitting on her kitchen counter. It was one of those moments of fierce purchase jealousy, but the truth was if I couldn’t have them, better she did than some stranger. Or at least that’s what I kept telling myself while contemplating going to the mat for them.

Turkish glasses

The surprise continued when we saw the same dealer the next day and once again he had 5 of the glasses out on his table. It was a confusing moment of déjà vu, but we at least had the good sense to ask if he had more and it ended up he had an entire box! So all’s well that ends well and one day we have to have a massive party together and use them all!

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doha living room

Now for a totally personal decorating post, but after my furniture setbacks from last week I am hoping you will indulge me. Somehow, finishing the house has become much more than just getting it organized and usable – it’s become symbolic or representative of my success in settling in to our new life. There are days when the frustrations of getting things accomplished here make me feel like I am failing. While I know it’s all fluff, not rocket science and not world hunger solving, I can’t seem to help it. You can see we have made progress, but without getting too analytical, I don’t think that is really what this is all about. Nonetheless, for now, I can’t seem to think about anything else.

In addition to the French chairs and desk that I am now missing, my living room, shown above, still needs a coffee table. I’m trying to balance desire with practicality, and as ever, some kind of availability. At times like this, with a lack of antique stores and thrift shops, I find myself scrolling 1stdibs, the place where dreams are made. There is a whole host of utterly lovely vintage lucite and brass coffee tables to be found there and that is what I would really like to add here. Visually I don’t want to clutter up the space and I assume at some point I’ll be making my way to Istanbul or Morocco or somewhere else nearby and getting a fabulous carpet that I won’t want to cover up. I’d like something airy and light and at great contrast to Yamamoto’s trunk which is being used as the other coffee table in the large square space. At the same time, I’d love some brass to link the two pieces together as the trunk has beautiful brass fittings. Corners, as on the piece below in Ellen Rakieten’s Chicago apartment, would be particularly referential. And I’m loving the way the transparent table looks with a Chesterfield sofa.

ED0310 Nate Berkus and Anne Coyle, top TV producer Ellen Rakieten

Jonathan Adler’s Jacques Table is readily available on his website and oh-so tantalizingly says “Yes, We Ship to Qatar” in big letters on the bottom. Unfortunately, the table is one of those items that is exempt from international shipping. It is too small anyway, whispers the sour grapes voice in my head.

Jacques Cocktail Table Jonathan Adler

Even better than just brass corners or edges is a table that has a shelf. I love having space to put books and other items without cluttering the top. This one, in a room designed by Lindsay Coral Harper looks like it may even be a closed vitrine. I could definitely have some fun with that.

Lindsey Coral Harper - House Beautiful brass and glass

I think it was this 2010 photo of Elizabeth Bauer‘s NYC studio in Lonny that really propelled this table onto everyone’s want list.  Hers has a bit of faux bamboo detailing around the edge and a low shelf that makes for lots of magazine storage.

Lonny Mag lucite and brass coffee table

There are some seriously to-die-for vintage examples of this style to be had all over 1stdibs, from this Romeo Rega beauty…

Italian Vintage Table by Romeo Rega | 1stdibs.com

…to this one by Pierre Vandel. Serious love.

Pierre Vandel Lucite Coffee Table 1stdibs

I haven’t really found a budget option in this style, but the Winston Gold Leafed Coffee Table from Worlds Away might do for those of you in the USA.

Worlds Away Winston Gold Leafed Coffee Table

An X frame is another shape I love, seen in Vogue in the home of model Miranda Kerr.

Madeline Weinrib White & Black Mandala Tibetan Carpet in home of model Miranda Kerr, photographed by Jason Schmidt for Vogue glass and brass coffee table

Some pretty ones on 1stdibs…

French Lucite & Gilt Brass Coffee Table 1st dibs

…including my favorite Karl Springer shape. I’ve been sighing over different versions of this table for years and years and it occurs to me that Mr. Springer could really use a post of his own.

Karl Springer lucite and brass coffee table 1st dibs

In the spirit of the Springer table is the new Helix Table from Design Within Reach, designed by Chris Hardy. The addition of wood to the legs gives the table a bit more heft, but I don’t mind.  I tried to convince DWR to sell me the table without the glass top this summer, before leaving for Doha, as the legs come disassembled. I thought maybe I could squeeze it in my carry-on.  Who knows? I may be forced to that plan this summer.

Helix Coffee Table DWR

A possibly easier option to come up with is a full-on lucite table with little to no detail to detract. I don’t want this simple waterfall one and I haven’t seen it here anyway, but ironically, CB2 will ship their version to me here. The table is inexpensive ($300) but the shipping is another 150% of the purchase price.

CB2 Peekaboo Clear acrylic lucite coffee table

I would definitely consider a big simple square like this one in Claiborne Swanson Frank‘s apartment and if I was back in Hong Kong I know I could get that made easily.

Claiborne Swanson Frank's apartment lucite coffee table.

I like this one that shows its joints and we could use brass screws – see I can squeeze in a bit of brass – to connect the parts.

lucite table french settee pop art

Again there are beautiful examples on 1stdibs, most of which are also quite expensive. I don’t mind the prices on the signed pieces made with metal in the photos earlier, but find it harder to justify prices when it is only lucite.

1970s Modernist Lucite and Glass Cocktail table 1st dibs

Especially since Wisteria makes this version, on sale for $719 right now. It too comes disassembled, so I wonder about packing up the pieces and having a new glass top cut here.

Wisteria lucite and glass square coffee table

This is one of those posts that has no clear (ha ha) answers at the end, but I’d love to hear what you think and which ones you like. Any suggestions on sources that might be available to me or even making my own would be appreciated! I think I must be at the six month mark – isn’t that always a dip time in expat adjustment?

Links to all the photos and 1stdibs items can be found on my related Pinterest board, along with many other goodies.

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