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Posts Tagged ‘furniture’

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IMG_3158On Bergen Street between Smith and Court Streets, hidden up a few stairs and behind a nondescript door, lies one of my favorite Brooklyn antique shops, Fork + Pencil. It is not the flagship location – which is right around the corner on Court Street – instead it is the newer warehouse store, focusing on furniture and artwork. And theoretically, it is not actually an antiques shop, but officially a consignment shop. The mix is eclectic, but there is always something interesting to be found. What makes the place special is the owner Alex and its mission – all profits after expenses go to charity. While this is good unto itself, I think it creates a unique shopping experience and better quality merchandise gets consigned there – people like to see their goods doing good.

The main floor is always a mix of large items with accessory displays covering every horizontal surface, artwork and mirrors on all the walls and chandeliers hanging everywhere. Eras and styles are all jumbled together in a highly enjoyable smorgasbord.

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Intriguing arched shelving unit mounted on a console table.

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Mid-century mixes with colonial.

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Such a variety of lamps, like the pottery one above and this book stack one below…

stack of books lamp

…and this nicely miss-matched pair of cobalt bottles can be found everywhere.

cobalt blue glass bottle lamps

One of F + P’s specialties is porcelain and pottery. Lots of Staffordshire, Asian ceramics, like the big Imari bowl here, lustreware, Sevres and other French porcelain, and the list goes on.

fork and pencil imari

A favorite find is this giant polychrome transferware bowl. Birds and blossoms in the same place!

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Their other great strength is art – etchings, engravings and all kinds of small works on paper, priced so well as to be worth more even than just their frames.

fork and pencil rose

Loved these antique carriage prints. Very Georgette Heyer!

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The basement is more of an adventure than the upstairs and usually looks something like this, but there are always treasures to be unearthed with a little effort.

fork and pencil basement

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A case in point – it doesn’t get better than this – a George Smith standard armchair found nestled in a back corner…

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…and now nestling right here. Fresh from a Southampton estate, that chair lists for somewhere in the $6000 range new and even on sale rings up around $4000. Planning to re-cover it, but for now it looks great.

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The artwork finds have been outstanding, including this Brooklyn view with its charming French mat and the small Chinese gouache below.

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And an art triple play over just 2 visits yielded these…

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…and this…

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…and these…

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…which mixed with this new offering from Dash & Albert, the Garden Path runner, and some beautiful antique lace curtains, has created an instantly decorated laundry room for about $500.

Garden Path Dash Albert hooked rug

There is a nice article about Alex and the founding of the stores in the South Brooklyn Post. And the original store around the corner is well worth checking out – many of the valuable “smalls” end up there.

Fork + Pencil
Warehouse: 18 Bergen Street
Main Store: 221a Court Street
Brooklyn New York 11201
718 488 8855  |  info@forkandpencil.com
Tuesday – Sunday 11 – 7

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Ticking stripes have been on my mind for a while – actually for at least 15 years if not more – but it was only with the unearthing of this great back issue of Elle Decor that I could finally complete a post on it. It contains photos of Marjorie Wollan’s apartment that had lived in my mind as one of the first great “undecorated” spaces I had seen at the time. I am happy to report that the entire apartment lives up to my memories, but more than anything else, it was always this ticking stripe Chesterfield sofa on the cover that blew me away.

Humble ticking, traditionally used to cover mattresses, is tightly woven to keep feathers and straw inside where it belongs. As a result, it is also great for upholstery projects. My favorite use is on formal furniture like that Chesterfield, and more particularly on those pieces with a wood or gilt frame, such as Louis XV and XVI or Sheraton style pieces. The ticking makes “important” furniture look more casual and approachable and thus more modern. Designer Jan Roden does it here with another of my influential old tear sheets, using ticking on the French chairs, lending a relaxed feel to the room. You can see another favorite of mine – a Bennison roses print – on the chair in the corner.

Imagine this ornate piece without the casual stripes…

One of ticking’s biggest successes was in this hugely popular photo of the Odette Sofette from Mitchell Gold that Good Bones, Great Pieces author Suzanne McGrath used in her daughter Lauren’s first apartment. I think every blogger out there has it saved in their files. I think I was extra partial to it because I already have two Odette chairs in my living room!

I have an entire Pinterest board devoted to moody blue libraries, but I think this one designed by Nate Berkus is by far my favorite! The gallery wall yes, and also the white frame sofa upholstered in blue and white ticking!

And to quote House Beautiful directly: “Natural linen on the tufted sofa and ticking stripe on the settee keep the living room of this New York apartment from being ‘too stuffy or precious,’ says designer Ashley Whittaker.” You can just see the ticking stripe peeking out on the framed sofa on the right. This is one of those spaces you just know would be comfy to live in.

Another incredibly relaxed space from the late Chessy Rayner’s Southampton home has a stripe covered settee among an eclectic variety of furnishings. More photos from this lovely home can be found here.

Ticking is also great at balancing ethereal whites and florals in the bedroom. Here it anchors a Louis XVI style settee in this dreamy bedroom.

And it looks fabulous scalloped with the stripes playing off the curved edge – either directionally with the stripes or against them. In this Jane Moore designed space the scallops on the coverlet run in the same direction as the stripes – which by the way, play off a Bennison floral once again. I know I have another great image of a scallop edged coverlet that runs in the other direction, but no matter how much I have looked for it I can’t find it. Bummer!

In this bedroom by Lars Bolander the narrow ticking stripes trace the curves well – like giant scallops!

The closest piece to Marjorie Wollan’s sofa that I ever came across is this Ralph Lauren Mayfair tufted chair. But I think it would be relatively easy to find a vintage tufted piece and have it recovered in ticking.

See! Ticking really does take the stuffiness out!

I loved this regency chaise with its tiny ticking stripe – another one of those things I wanted to buy but had no room for!

Camille over at The Vintique Object just had great posts on the Odette Sofette and on ticking too – take a look!

Related Posts:
A Windsor Smith Revival…Camel-Back and Sheraton Style Sofas

Image credits: 1. Elle Decor Feb/Mar 1996, 2. House Beautiful December 2003, 3. House & Home October 2007, photo credit: Virginia Mcdonald, 4. Traditional Home, photo credit: Max Kim-Bee, 5. Elle Decor March 2010, photo credit: William Waldron, 6. House Beautiful February 2010, photo credit: Francesco Lagnese, 7. via One Kings Lane, photo credit: Thibault Jeanson, 8-9. via Cote de Texas, 10. Country Living, October 2012, 11. Elle Decor March 2008, photo credit: Kang Kim, 12. via Chiarabelle’s  Flickr account, 13. credit unknown.

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I think it has been more than a year ago at least that I promised to do a full shopping guide to the vintage and antique stores in the Meguro neighborhood of Tokyo. Commonly referred to as Interior-dori, it stretches along both sides of Meguro-dori (dori meaning street), south-west of the Meguro train station from just past Yamate-dori, all the way down to the central post office. After my last post mentioning the lack of furniture available here, I got a few kind complaints as to the truth of that statement and thought it time to fully investigate and report on this unusual cluster of stores. These adhere to that “car dealership synchronicity” adage I have talked about elsewhere (here and here, for example) and numerous people, mostly couples, were browsing on the public holiday earlier this week. With a complete lack of parking and the train station a bit of a walk, the density of shops is needed to bring the public.

My tour starts at the intersection of Meguro-dori and Yamate-dori and heads along the south side of the street walking. I stop in at most of the shops on both sides, although there are a few I missed, so the list is not exhaustive.  There are also stores tucked away in the back streets near by, such as the lovely Found, but those are not on this tour. Many of the merchants are listed on the MISC (Meguro Interior Shops Community) webpage and the shopping map to the area that can be picked up at participating stores. Both for those really looking to furnish a home to those just looking for small gifts and Japanese styling, it is a fun outing.

While most of the stores are channeling that mid-century vibe or at the very least European shabby-chic, one of the first stores on the south side of the street is Chapter, featuring Japanese antiques.

One of their specialties is repurposing, so antique ranma (transom panels) are turned into consoles, dining tables and wall dividers. There is quite a collection of them at the back of the shop. They have great vintage milk glass fixtures too.

I thought this was ingenious – tucking a hard to use small tansu into a larger modern piece of furniture.

Brunch + SC was one of the first of five or six different Brunch outlets (Brunch Branch, Brunch Works, Brunch Time, etc.) all selling their modern versions of furniture inspired by the mid-century. You can see on their logo map below that they stretch all along the street and line both sides.

Each shop has their own particular pieces, but this photo gives a general sense of the style.  There was a western couple shopping here and the sizes of the furniture seemed normal and comfortable. Much of it is teak and order made. Really great chairs (think Wegner Wishbone) at these shops – and they are currently having a chair fest through September.

Brunch Branch nearby had charming garden items.

I had to go into chambre de nimes just based on that stacked luggage in the window.

Everything inside the shop seemed to be imported from France and the place had a real les puces vibe. This was the first of many places that also stocked vintage church pew chairs with a pocket in the back for prayer books. They are super popular here in Japan and I’ve seen them often elsewhere, particularly at the Penny Wise.

And the first, but not the last of the day, of the sewing machine base consoles. New Jersey to Japan – they are everywhere.

The next shop AMS seemed to be different owners on different floors, but the ground floor was full of vintage chandeliers and country-style antiques, including windsor, ladder back and the ubiquitous church chairs.

Next was Junks featuring all kinds of great vintage goods, mostly from the USA, including some favorites of mine such as wooden delivery boxes, printers drawers, old globes, authentic mid-century furniture…

…and this fabulous bottle drying rack for 39,800 yen ($509), which might seem expensive but…

…a similar one was for sale on OKL for the same price on the very same day.

And Becky at Buckets of Burlap just recently put her vintage zinc bottle dryer up for sale for $500.

Gallery S featured a combination of vintage and new furniture, but seemed to specialize in hats. Yes, hats. Love the wooden and painted iron desk and chairs on the right out front.

Tucked away upstairs across the small side street is Point No. 39 which looked promising just from the sign alone! And the word repair was quite intriguing as that is hard to find in Tokyo.

It did not disappoint, being stuffed full of great lighting, furniture and decorative pieces.

I loved the giant sunburst mirror. And by the way, it is also a bicycle store. Go figure!

File Home and Interior was full of gorgeous housewares and also boasted one of the prettiest kitchens I have ever seen in Japan.

Turns out there are a few more File shops across the street including one that actually designs and installs kitchens.

After File, things petered out and before reaching the big Meguro post office I decided it was time to cross to the north side of the street. Anchoring the end on the other side of the street is the giant four floor Geographica. The second floor is home to a charming Italian restaurant Il Levante where I stopped for lunch. There are not many choices for food along the main drag, so I recommend it for a rest or meal.

Geographica was stocked with English antiques – they even carry Sanderson’s line of William Morris Fabrics – and at times felt a bit like a gentlemen’s club. Lots of dark wood, bentwood chairs and framed engravings. One really useful thing they stocked was a full line of knobs and pulls and other hardware. And I love these brass train racks – how great would one of these be in a bathroom? They also have a Yokohama factory shop where they do their restorations.

Pour Annick had more of the golden wood mid-century inspired furniture as well as some fun quirky items.

What about one of these bright stools for the teen bedroom project I am working on?

Since the previous shop that involved climbing stairs was such a success, I made sure to go up to Blackboard.

I was rewarded with industrial chic and some real mid-century pieces.

The curated display of found objects was inspiring too. I forgot to check if they are actually for sale. Blackboard also had some great English language design books.

Roughly across the street from Junks on this side is their sister shop Moody’s full of more vintage furniture and lighting. Many of the pieces had big signs advertising their origins, whether it be Heywood-Wakefied or Eames. It felt like there might be a great find lurking in here.

Meister is one of the leading stores on the street carrying modern versions of those same mid-century design icons, including Nakashima style wood slab tables.

This Eames molded plastic rocker is available for order in a full range of colors and was about $650.

A new Eames rocker in the US is $549 at Herman Miller or Design Within Reach.

I didn’t go into Stanley, but just the idea that there might be somewhere to have custom upholstery, rehupolstery and slip covers made here in Tokyo was revolutionary. If anyone goes in to inquire about a project, I’d love to hear about it.

The De Mode shop felt the most American of all the shops, channeling the rough luxe thing. Check out those industrial light fixtures! They have Tolix style chair too. If you click into their website, they seem to have a number of other fabulous locations, including a warehouse. Definitely something to explore next!

I found it oddly reassuring to see that I can buy glass Ball jars here although I forgot to check the prices.

Lewis specializes in Danish modern.

And at the very end of the tour, almost back to Yamate-dori are three outlets of a recycle shop called Sone Chika. Japanese recycle shops are akin to thrift stores in America and are hit and miss like you would expect. There are definitely finds to be made, although no luck for me that day.

Most of the stores are open from 11am until about 8pm and Wednesday seems to be the closure day for the area. You might want to call ahead if you are interested in a particular spot. Be sure to click the Shop Talk tab in the category list on the right side of the blog for more store reviews and neighborhood strolls.

Related Posts:
On Dumbwaiters and Butler’s Trolleys…Non-Japanese Antiques in Tokyo at The Penny Wise and Found
Shop Talk…Discovering Antique Treasures in Nishi-Ogikubo

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