Every week on Lori Langille’s blog, Automatism, she features a post called “Buffet,” It is literally a feast of links to fantastic articles on a variety of subjects. Each careful, thoughtful compilation of articles is so well done, if I can’t get to them right away I save the Buffet posts to come to read later. I’m so excited to share Lori’s equally thoughtful Sentimental Salvage today.
When Erin was kind enough to invite me to contribute a post to her lovely Sentimental Salvage series, I was enthusiastic about the idea but unsure about what to write about. And then I turned around and there it was, sitting in a glass vase on a little Danish teak table in my living room — my small mixed collection of vintage potato mashers and a solitary skittle.
The skittle is from an antique shop on Portobello Road, discovered while on a trip to London several years ago. Each time I look at it I recall the proprietor of the shop, who was a sweet and shy man — he had a sign above his tiny counter that read, “All prices are final as the owner is not emotionally equipped to haggle.”
The potato mashers are mid to late 19th and early 20th century pieces, purchased from etsy. What attracted me to them was much the same as what attracted me to the skittle — the subtle beauty of these utilitarian objects, with their warm wood tones made richer by the patina of time. I like to think of how these mashers have been used by women for generations to prepare meals for their loved ones, their edges gradually becoming rounded through daily use.
Looking at vintage household items like these, I find myself appreciating the skill of the long forgotten craftspeople who made these simple objects by hand, and how they took pride in their work, often bringing a refined sense of design to the humblest kitchen tool. And so I display them as art objects in my living room, where they now rest, admired for their quiet beauty.
Images via Automatism
The muse: Wild Bill Hickock
The background: gunfighter, scout and lawman of the 1860’s American Wild West
The inspiration: BC and I are currently working our way through the Deadwood series. Early in Season 1, Wild Bill suffers his inevitable fate (it’s in the history books) and BC was so devastated I worried he wouldn’t finish the series. And so, for my Valentine, I offer this little homage to his favorite gunslinger. Note that we see the back of the chair. Wild Bill was shot from behind while playing a hand of poker in a bar in Deadwood.
The feeling: raw, western, simple
The elements: wood, metal, signage
Railroad sign via Kocian DePasqua, Chicken sign via Vs. Out of… , Windsor Chair via Daily Memorandum, Table via Galerie Half, Dollar and Cents via Scott Estepp Gallery, Poker Chips via It’s Still Life, Pointing Finger via Urban Country, Arrow via Urban Country, Trunk Stool via VintMod, Navaho Rug via Ebay, Items shown to scale
More things repurposed from the kitchen here and here.
Glitter Shakers via Fiskarettes, Sewing kit by Saganaga, Shoe Storage via Martha Stewart, Planter and Mirror by Sweet Paul, Model of San Francisco by Zhan Wang and Skull artwork by Sudobh Gupta via Oddee, Knife art by Farhad Moshiri via Inhabitat
A few weeks ago I was walking to Atlantic Avenue from Brooklyn Heights and I came upon a shop with a giant taxidermy peacock in the window. “Must go in…”
Inside, I could barely contain my delight in this wonderland of taxidermy, architectural elements, deep chesterfields, aged to perfection textiles… They call it Holler and Squall and if you are in the New York vicinity… you must go there.
The store owner, Zak (whom I met when I visited and was so gracious) grew up working construction. Perhaps that explains the incredible plays with scale, shapes and architectural pieces. Gillette is a third generation antiques dealer – quite a pedigree! This couple has not only incredible taste and a good eye, but also an amazing talent for putting together absolutely breathtaking vignettes. And for the record, if you put a cute baby on a settee in a shop window, I will likely attempt to purchase both.
The best way to end the week is a trip to the country. Gleason is back with another home tour of a beautiful homestead in rural Virginia. Hope you enjoy and have a great weekend!
Duff Ramsey, Stephen Ramsey’s great nephew, moved to Buckingham County, VA from Manhattan in 2009. Ready to put down some roots and eager for a project, he fell for Prudence House, a charming home that was originally used as a law office back in 1850. After an addition in the 1930’s, the home had not received any further updates until Duff eyed the potential this historic gem offered.
The front door—decorated with a simple, sturdy brass knocker, picked up in a Santa Monica antique shop—beckons me to knock thrice, eager to see what treasures await inside. As I enter the hallway, I’m immediately captivated by walls covered in plaster lathe waiting to be plastered, a collection of colorful antique doors stacked along one wall and the most hilarious vintage neon “Triple Treat” sign left over from a Time Square adult club that had closed down. Duff wisely snagged the sign when he was hired to renovate the club into a new business.
The tour officially begins with a greeting from Delilah, the sweetest Neapolitan Mastiff. With a bone waiting in my purse for her, I quickly make a new friend. Duff hands me a glass of homemade dandelion wine and we gather around the table in the drawing room, munching on fresh fruit, settling into the groove of the afternoon. Taking in the space, I begin to relax and immerse myself in the history surrounding me. There’s an antique bed waiting for a nap (a fabulous find); a cobalt blue wood burning stove that provides heat for the whole house; a pile of old wood scraps that will be dispersed for different projects; an old sailing photo; a gorgeous, circa 1810 china cabinet, updated with columns that were added around 1890-1910, that serves as both a storage and a display piece; and an oversized quarter that was used to advertise for 25 cent peepshows, also snagged from the Time Square adult club.
Enticed to peek into the kitchen I am immediately drawn to the whimsy it exhibits. My eyes dart all around capturing as many details as possible, initially landing on an old copper ladle hanging from the ceiling, filled with homegrown peppers and local garlic; then taking in anchors suspended from an old jewelry maker’s bench, supporting cookware; a horseshoe for good luck; an old mask peeking down from the rafters; and a bowl full of corn picked from the backyard. The most intriguing repurposed item is a safe from the 1750’s and was likely used for a jeweler, banker, or goldsmith and now provides extra counter space and storage.
Across the hall, the master bedroom has the coziest feeling. With exposed beams and an inviting hearth, the furniture arrangement makes me crave a good mystery book, an old quilt, and a cup of hot tea. The room is furnished with the sweetest daybed (formally a child’s bed), antique dresser, and wing chair (that Delilah has claimed as her bed) and is simply accessorized with a sailboat pencil drawing, old top hat, work boots, an old wooden candlestick, and a dream catcher.
With admiration for the slate-shingled shower Duff designed and installed, a long, hot shower is what comes to mind.
Heading up the steep stairs to explore, I’m curious about the collection I come across in the guestroom. An old toy plane, a bird skeleton that was found on the property, a whale box, and an old photo all gather together on the mantle. The most enthralling lamp I have ever seen—a handmade family heirloom made out of a variety of old bullets in varying sizes and styles—sits independently on the middle of the floor waiting to be placed in the appropriate spot. With the range of unique items grouped in this guestroom, I can’t help but want to touch everything.
Out back, the patio and garden are playfully quaint. Keystones are used as the patio steps and a large collection of antique bricks from the 1700’s await to find their place amidst the patio floor. Homegrown vegetables and herbs fill the air with a rustic fragrance and miscellaneous items are repurposed as garden décor.
With my eye being drawn across the yard to the vintage 1968 hardtop Bowie Ford in 70’s green, I can’t help but think how stylish I would feel while cruising through the town. Duff, with ongoing projects in every corner, has taken the time to restore the 1968 engine, replacing the transmission suspension and the brakes and keeping the Bowie driving along smoothly. Next time I’m expecting a ride.
Just beyond the patio is one of two cabins original to the property that had been standing until strong winds blew it down. With the logs already conveniently numbered, three weeks is Duff’s estimated timeline to add pine floors and complete the restoration. It could become the perfect space for an artist studio, potting shed, or more appropriately, Delilah’s haven.
Saving the most magical part for last, Duff introduces me to Mir. Looming in the background, her presence doesn’t go unnoticed. Mir is a breathtaking English Channel Cutter from the 1890’s and is named for Duff’s Grandmother, Miriam. Finally getting the boatlift completed, Duff has hoisted her up and is concentrating on refinishing the deck. Mir is serenely waiting to return to the sea for her next adventure, having previously explored the Northeast coast.
Wrapping up the tour, we refill our wine and head next door to the neighbors’ house for a bonfire and cookout. As darkness sets in, I snap a few more pictures. I then hit the road for the hour drive back to my hometown with tunes cranked loudly and farmland rolling by, daydreaming about the history lesson I just received, the wonderful collection of antiques I experienced, and the simpler means of living a country life.
Duff & Delilah, a great duo, the perfect hosts. Thanks for the hospitality. I can’t wait to see the completed project.
I’m going to spend a lot of time in the kitchen this weekend. So it’s fitting to take some inspiration from these repurposed lights made from things commonly found in the kitchen.
Spoon Chandeliers via Renest and Rue Magazine, Rolling Pin Sconces via EE Jewelry, Plastic Spoon Chandelier via KitchAnn Style, Tin Pendant Light via Mint Design Blog, Funnel Pendant Light via Sweet Paul, Salt Shaker Lights via Surthrival , Decanter Light via BootsnGus, Grater Pendant Light via LampGoods, Grater Candle Lantern via Style Me Pretty, Colander Pendant Light via Boelie Design, Tin Pendant Light via Flea Market RX.
How often do you hear about someone actually living in paradise? I met Joana in September at Blogshop and have since enjoyed following along her everyday beach adventures. Joana hosted me on her blog My Sea Story a few month ago and I thought it was high time to welcome her here. Joana’s Sentimental Salvage story is inspired by one of my favorite holiday repurposing ideas.
It’s been a year since I moved from portugal to turks and caicos, I remember doing lots of planning to bring with me every little thing that I would need and wouldn’t be so easy to find on island. I knew there was no Ikea, no Crate and Barrel, not even Craiglist or Ebay…
But I brought only what I really needed, and after finding a home and settling down I began to feel the urge to fill the empty walls of our Caribbean home – so this is where I am at the moment, in the process of this challenging project.
A few weeks ago I found this map print through Black Eiffel and knew I had to have it, it is so simple and would give a happy touch to my home. I used an old frame that was still inside a box and it fit perfectly – now it reminds me of all the places I still want to travel to!
If you like it too, you can also download another version of this print for free on Angela Hardison’s blog.
Images via My Sea Story