If Christmas gifts consisted only of stockings and the goodies therein, I'd be one very happy gal. While I absolutely adore the tradition of gift-giving, I find gathering the little things most exciting. Below is my list of favorite stocking stuffer gifts, and they're arranged into the following categories:
Here's a great tutorial on making your own modern house numbers, inspired by the clean lines of mid-century design.
The architect Richard Neutra is one of modernism's iconic artists. He's best known for his integration of both his residential and commercial buildings into their landscape, and for his care in matching his work with the lifestyles of his clients, rather than imposing his own...
A vintage mid-century chair is always a great find. Unfortunately, the affordable ones are usually in bad condition, and they get passed up by many buyers because it's intimidating to figure out where or how to fix them. Last winter I bought a mid-century chair at an estate sale for $15, with broken webbing, and worn-out cushions. But the structure of the chair was in excellent condition. If you find one like this, don't pass it up! The webbing much easier to repair than you might suspect. Here's how to do it ...
This chair was a little scary to sit in when I first bought it. I think the previous owner went out to the garage and used the thinnest scrap wood he or she had.
Underneath all the scrap wood was one of the old straps. It was stretched out and in really bad shape but it gave me a reference point for my replacement.
A teak mid century chair is usually structurally pretty simple. But there are lots of different ways it can be webbed. Most of these chairs are webbed with Pirelli Rubber Webbing. I'll how show you how I re-webbed my chair, and also some other examples of how it's done.
Here are the materials you need to repair your broken webbing:
- 2 inch Rubber Pirelli webbing. I got my webbing here. You can find it in pre-cut lengths on Amazon and even on Etsy.
- Webbing Clips for rubber webbing (two for each strap)
- Tape measure
- Carpenter's Square (or anything that will help you cut the straps at a 90 degree angle)
- Pencil or pen
- Bench vise
- A really good pair of scissors or a sharp box-cutting knife.
- An extra set of hands. This project is really hard to do alone.
Investigate how the chair was meant to be webbed.
To do this, remove the cushions so you can see the complete structure of the chair. My chair was made with one long groove on the back and front. This is where the webbing clips will be inserted. So that means my chair was made to have its webbing straps go from front to back only. The number of straps is determined by the length of the slot on your chair and how much space you prefer between each slot.
Your chair might be a little different. Here are other common versions of mid-century chair webbing patterns:
Wider chairs or mid century sofas often have long grooves on all four sides. If your chair looks like this, then it's meant to have woven webbing straps. The number of straps and clips are determined by length of the slots on each side and your preference of spacing.
Your chair might have a specific number of smaller slots/grooves. If the slots are not open all the way through to the bottom, you need clips on the ends of your straps. I have also seen versions of these chairs that have slots/grooves on all four sides (not pictured). If this is your chair, you will have a determined number of straps of each side and they will be woven.
There are some chairs that have individual slots that go all the way through the chair like the chair pictured above. In other words the slots are openings, not grooves.
In this case you would not need webbing clips, you'd simply insert the strap through the chair and staple the webbing on the underside of the chair.
One common mid century upholstery technique is the use of Fagas Straps. These use a much smaller groove (1/16 inch), and the straps are much thicker, with a clip that is angled 45 degrees. They actually only make the Fagas straps in Sweden these days. You have to send in your measurements and they will send you the strap and clip already attached. An American company called the Evans Company has created a 45 degree angle clip that you can use with the Pirelli rubber webbing. My tutorial will be with the regular clips but if you have these type of straps you can follow the tutorial but order these 45 degree angle clips instead.
Measure the distance between your slots.
The length of the groove on my chair is 15 inches. The rubber webbing is 2 inches wide. I decided to use six 2" straps with less than an inch between each strap. Since I don't have grooves on all four sides I won't be weaving the webbing. If I did need to weave it, I would have allowed for at least 1.5 inches of space between each strap.
On my chair the distance between the front slot and the back slot is 17 3/4 inches. You want your straps to be cut to this exact length, or a little less. The rubber webbing is meant to stretch and be tight. For ordering purposes I rounded up to 18 inches per strap. I also wanted to buy enough to have some extra for mistakes.
I wanted to order 7 straps at 18 inches long, therefore, I needed a total of 10.5 feet of of rubber Pirelli webbing. I spent around $30 on the straps.
Most online upholstery stores will let you buy the exact length you need. Amazon, unfortunately only sells pre-cut amounts and you will more than likely have to spend more to get the amount you need.
Determine the style of clips you need.
My chair required regular clips. If you need 45-degree-angle clips, you can order them here and attach them to the same rubber webbing I used for my chair.
How do you know which clips?
- Look at your old webbing.
- Look at your groove. All the grooves are angled a little bit but if your slot opening is 1/16 or less and then you need the 45 degree clips.
I needed 12 regular webbing clips, two for each strap. I bought two packs of ten clips for $2.70 per pack, a total of $5.40.
Measure and cut your straps.
I recommend cutting your straps to the exact (or little less) distance between your grooves. You will have to stretch the webbing to insert the clips into the grooves, and that's a good thing! You want your finished straps to be tight.
Since there would be no weaving on my chair, for extra seating support, I decided to cut my straps 1/4 inch shorter than the distance between the grooves. This stretches the webbing and makes for a more taut surface to rest the cushion.
Use the tape measure to mark your where you need to make your cut line.
Use your carpenter's square to make a straight line. Measure one more time, checking to make sure your cut line is the correct distance.
Use your scissors or box cutter to cut along the line.
Use a vice to attach the clip to the webbing.
This is where you need two sets of hands. Place the clip onto the end of your strap. It doesn't really matter what side of the strap is up. I chose to make the smoother side of the strap the side that faces up. Place the clip on the end of the strap with the "lip" of the clip facing up. Place the clip into the vice and have someone hold it while you turn the lever to close the vice.
Once the vice closes on the clamp, hold the strap up and tighten.
Clamp the clip until the spikes are almost pushing through the webbing. Note: the spikes on the clips won't push through the webbing. They are not sharp enough, but you will see them bulge through a little. If they do this, then you're good to go.
Repeat step 5 and attach a clip on the opposite side of the strap.
Make sure you clips are installed on the strap in the same way. One side of the strap will have both "lips" facing up like in the picture above.
Attach your strap to the chair.
You'll need to find a helper to stretch the webbing with you. One person holds the chair down, while the other stretches.
Repeat Steps 4-7 until all the straps are installed.
For extra support I chose to install 6 straps with small spacing in between. My chair really only needs five but I like the way it feels when I sit with six straps. I also feel like six straps will allow for a little more durability.
This project is super easy and takes about an hour. All that's left is to reupholster the ugly cushions.
Until I get around to upholstering the cushions my trick is using a fabric scrap and a large throw pillow.
There's nothing like an iconic mid-century classic to set your home apart. Your home can be as contemporary as can be, but add even one Saarinen or Eames piece to your space, and you've connected with a movement. You've invested in a piece that, fifty or sixty years later, looks as elegant, playful, and amazing as it did when it was first unveiled.
'Cept, here's the deal: these guys can be expensive. While you're paying for comfort and style, you're also paying for the time of some of the most talented artists of the 20th century, quality materials, and, true, some copyright.
So, get creative, and make your own mid-century classic!
This week, we're diving down deep into mid-century modern love on Curbly and we're re-sharing our "Make It! Mid-Century Modern" eBook. It's full of mid-century inspired masterpieces you can make at home.
The book features twelve MCM-inspired how-to projects will show you how to make a Calderiffic Mobile, Eames-embroidered napkins, a fantastic Girard-ish ottoman and more!.
Each article includes background on the designer who...
This little vintage ottoman had great bones and a charming profile, but its beige-y blahness just wasn't cutting it. That's nothing a fab shower curtain couldn't fix, though! Yes, I said "shower curtain". Read on!
This week we're taking a moment to catch our breath after a big, beautiful finish to 2011. We've jumped back in time and found some treasures from the Curbly archive that are too good to be forgotten. Today, take a look at how you can turn those empty bottles of bubbly into decorative sandblasted glasses or candle holders.
It's not surprising that I spend quite a bit of time at the craft store. As a full-time craft, design, and art blogger, I've grown quite familiar with my looped route of hardware store/craft store/art supply shop/other craft store/supermarket...in that order.
So, it's always a pleasant surprise when I find some new material or media I've never seen before, and to think of all kinds of cool stuff to do with it. This holiday season, it...
I don't know about you, but whenever I go thrifting, I keep my eyes open for a Cathrineholm enamelware ANYTHING. I love it, but sadly have never scored such a find. That's why I had a "DUH" moment when I saw this DIY project with the coveted Lotus likeness.
I feel sorta bad for the nutcracker as an object... I mean, people like to eat nuts during other, non-holiday times of the year, right? But then, some German Romantic fantasy writer decided it made a pretty good gift from a crazy, creepy uncle, and then good old Pyotr Ilyich thought that adventure made a mostly awesome subject for a ballet, and now, any glimpse of those wide-jawed wooden soldiers simply screams, "It's Christmas! It's Christmas!"
Or, perhaps, I feel bad for most actual nutcrackers...cause they're, well, kinda tacky. I mean, I know there are really quality, beautiful, carved wooden ones, especially the handcrafted ones from the German forrest tradition. But the ones sold nowadays in discount stores are low-quality, poorly sanded and hastily glued pieces of mass-produced junk.
Which means they're perfect, inexpensive opportunity for a modern, minimalist makeover. Like this:
So, how awesome is the really cool piece above? I wish I could take credit, but I can't - it was invented by my friend Jimmy. He's a prop master working on Hollywood films and TV shows and crafty by nature. When I saw this really cool piece in his home I had to know all about it! It looks like a mod piece of art that could be sold in a museum gift shop. It can be constructed with items found at the local home improvement store, and Jimmy was kind enough to share the full how-to with Curbly. So, read on!
Hi, I'm Holly.First, let me say that I am super excited to be here on Curbly today for my very first guest blog post ever! Fingers crossed it all goes well....
So, I am a little obsessed (ok more like, a lot) with vintage sunbursts, starbursts, whatever you like to call them, wall art. I own some brass urchins that hang on my home office wall as well as a funky vintage starburst hanging planter that hangs on my bedroom wall. Oh, and a West Elm mirrored starburst hangs above my stove. I even collect a certain brand of vintage mid-century dinnerware in a pattern called Franciscan Starburst:
In 1968, after he conceived the Ball Chair, Eero Aarnio, a pioneer in using plastics in industrial design, created the Bubble Chair as a reduction of its predicessor. He wanted the chair to be light-filled, and since, as Aarnio maintained, "There is no nice way to make a clear pedestal," it had to hang from the ceiling. Iconic in shape, the space-age design is as fresh today as it was 45 years ago. Original Eero Aarnio Bubble Chairs are still to be had. To find a retailer near you, visit Eero Aarnio. (An original clocks in at around $4,700 whereas a knock off will set you back around $900.)
Okay, that was the 'good for you' educational part of this post. Now, let's get to the dessert, shall we? The photo pictured above looks to be straight out of 1968, white boots and all. Less downtown girl, the suburban-like interior (pictured below) from Twenty First Century Retro is warm and
Emil Stejnar's "Sputnik" pendant chandelier is a modern design icon, but they're no longer made, and vintage versions can go for thousands of dollars.
So designer and blogger Jenny Komenda whipped up her own version in a weekend, and the results are amazing.
As AMC's Mad Men emerged as one of television's most beloved and well-recieved dramas, its stylish, 1960s aesthetic crept into our lives in other ways: women's dresses moved towards the high-waisted, eyeglasses became fuller and more austere, and many developed a new interest in the classic cocktails and high-balls from the two-martini lunch era.
And of course, the wonderful set dressing and styling has had quite the impact onto trends in home decor.
It's Modernism month on Curbly, and we're exploring what it means to talk about modern design for the home. This week, we're offering a really cool booklet of twenty-four iconic modern design silhouettes, along with the vector files we used to make them! We chose all our favorite designs by Eames, Nelson, Saarinen, and the best of the mid-century designers. Read on to see how to download the files.
Two birds, one stone? Puh-lease! You can't throw a rock at Mid-Century Modern without hitting at least three Eames pieces. Maybe more if you're really good. While their furniture designs are beyond iconic, Ray Eames' textile designs are relatively less-so. Relatively being the operative word. While throwing down on a bold Eames Dot fabric for a home decor project is probably not in the budget at $135/yard, that doesn't mean those...
Let's face it, we don't all want a huge, pink plastic Dreamhouse gracing our playrooms. While some people thrive on the modern dollhouse hobby, for playtime, modern dollhouses are hard to find and expensive to boot, a combination I'd never let my kids near. Erin at Sutton Grace solved this dilema by making her kids their own mod doll house, and you can too.