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George Nelson Bubble Lamps

Posted by on Aug 15, 2013 | 0 comments

George Nelson Bubble Lamps

George Nelson bubble or onion skin lamp shades are a mid-century modern classic, and they aren’t as expensive as you would expect if you buy them and have them sent.  In the past I found old copies on Trade Me and in antique shops for not too much money but I notice now that all things retro are popular, they have gone up – cheap imitations in not very good condition going for around $100!  Why not save that $100 and put it towards a beautiful new George Nelson pendant lampshade?

George Nelson lamp shades

New Zealand retailer Homage stock them and they cost from $700 – which is a lot higher than the $269 (about $NZ336) they cost here in the US.  And there are several companies that will send internationally: ylighting.com will, although you’ll need to order over $500, so go crazy and get a few, get a huge one or pal up with a friend!

Saucer Pendant from US$269

I think the saucer is still my favourite.  I saw it in a few open homes during our search for a home, and they really stood out.

The triple fixture US$195 (lamps extra)


Or how about making a real statement in your stairwell or (double-height) entry way!  How cool would this be?  You can contact ylighting for a quote for shipping.




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House Project : Getting Vintage Kitchen Cabinets Clean

Posted by on Aug 1, 2013 | 0 comments

House Project : Getting Vintage Kitchen Cabinets Clean

I spent the weekend running around trying to outfit our new house with stuff.  I thought the hard work was over once we bought the house – we had sold our houses in New Zealand, sold off our lives, moved, fought to buy a house in the crazy market in Seattle – surely from now on was all the easy stuff!

Walking into a big empty house with little stuff to our names, was daunting.  It has been fun going crazy at garage sales trying to fit out a kitchen and garage with all the gadgets and utensils you’d rather not buy full price.  I got a huge box of kitchen equipment for $8!  A steal when you think the brand-new looking colander would have cost more than that full price.  We also have IKEA here, which makes a huge difference (come on IKEA come to Auckland!  There is all that land on the South Western motorway that would be perfect for you! ).  Every time I walk into the house I have to take some deep breaths as there is some work to do.

The orignal mid-century kitchen – beautiful but grimy!

One of the biggest jobs is the kitchen.  It is a fabulous mid-century kitchen, with a stainless splashback, ply cabinetry, and wood and formica countertops (in amazing condition – like they didn’t cook).  But the cabinets are old and they are dirty!  Ick.  Years of grime still there for me to work out how to get rid of.  I can see why people rip out old kitchens as this is going to be a time-consuming job.

Normally I would use sugar soap (in the US, it is called  Trisodium Phosphate (TSP)) and a microfibre cloth to get painted surfaces clean (killer on your skin, so make sure you wear gloves) – I had great success with this combination when getting my old house ready for sale.  Walls and doors I was sure needed a repaint came up sparkling.  I also used a magic eraser to get the stubborn marks off.

This is ply though, so it might need gentle treatment.  There are quite a lot of vinegar/baking soda/dishwashing liquid recipes I am going to try.  Easy ingredients you always have on hand sound like a cheap method!  Then there is Murphy’s Oil Soap – which you can get in NZ through Fishpond here (expensive!), or try importing it yourself through Amazon here.

Finally I found recommendations for Simple Green to get the leftover grime off with a toothbrush.  So I will also give that a go.  I will be donning my rubber gloves this weekend, so expect a full report back on what works and what doesn’t.


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Retro Furniture: Cabinet with Hairpin Legs

Posted by on Jul 25, 2013 | 0 comments

Retro Furniture: Cabinet with Hairpin Legs

I love browsing through Etsy and Felt, and today I feel lucky as I uncovered this not-too-expensive gem. I wrote about tables with hairpin legs last week, and now here’s a cute cabinet with hairpin legs for sale on Felt.

Measuring just under a metre wide, and 67cm high it would be great for a smaller room, or a nook that needs filling.  It is made from oak and has a waxed finish, and has the nice smaller price of $139.

Small retro sideboard with hairpin legs $139

You can read more about it here.

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Gifts For Retro Lovers: Tea Towels Under $20

Posted by on Jul 23, 2013 | 0 comments

Gifts For Retro Lovers: Tea Towels Under $20

I love these tea towels from IkoIko, and they would make great gifts for people who love retro and vintage.  They are a bit more classy than the usual souvenir tea towel (although I love them too!).  You can get them in landscape designs: Mt Egmont and Mitre Peak – as well as bird designs: fantails, tuis, and huia.

These are just $19.90 and IkoIko do mail order as well as have them in their Auckland and Wellington shops.

Mt Egmont Souvenir Tea Towel: $19.90


Fantail Souviner Tea Towel: $19.90

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Retro Real Estate: Groovy 1960s Original

Posted by on Jul 22, 2013 | 0 comments

Retro Real Estate: Groovy 1960s Original

It doesn’t look like this cool retro architecturally designed house has been touched in 50 years.  Set on about an acre in the Whanganui suburb of St Johns Hill, it was designed and built by architect Don Wilson in 1960 for his family to live in, and it has stayed in the family as this is the first time it has been on the market.  It must be notable as it is listed here on the architecture archive website (PDF).

Check out the original lino, the built-in cupboards and the decorative details on both the outside and inside of the house.  Very 60s!  It has 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and covers 260m2.

The Don Wilson house in Whanganui

The dining room with plywood detail

Love that lino!

It’s rateable value is $375,000 and it is for sale by tender, see more about it here.






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Table Project: Basic to Mid-Century Modern

Posted by on Jul 18, 2013 | 0 comments

Table Project: Basic to Mid-Century Modern

I’ve been looking for a cool table, and although I love Danish-designed 50s tables, having  a veneer table isn’t always the best idea with a 2 year old around.  I’d prefer to have something sturdier.  A farmer’s table isn’t really going to cut it in a mid-century house.  I found this site IKEA Hackers, and although this project uses an IKEA table, you could use any solid wood table top.  In fact I’d rather use something I might pick up at a garage sale.  The legs were removed and replaced with metal hairpin legs.  Our dining room isn’t very big so I imagine that having the see-through legs, will add to a sense of space.

Hairpin legs on a normal table top.

You can see a full description of her project here – seems simple enough, even for me!  But I think the American will probably want to take over this one, being an engineer and all.


You can get the hairpin legs (and they do ship internationally) here.  I did a quick search on google for the legs in NZ but couldn’t see anything – does anyone know if you can get them?  Of course you could always combine the legs of a mid-century table with a sturdier table top as another project!


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