Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pottery Barn Inspiration

When the Pottery Barn catalog comes in the mail, I dutifully flip through the pages to see if there is anything I "need." Sometimes I do find something for our home, and I will admit to owning Pottery Barn furniture (the Sumatra bedroom set and the Bedford work table in my studio, specifically). But more often, it is simply the room arrangement that I admire. Moreover, I usually find myself wanting items in the photographs that Pottery Barn does not sell, but that they have used to give their rooms character.
In the image above, I love the wooden beams around the windows and the wall color. But most of all I love what is on the coffee table - a [jade?] plant and wooden pins. Pottery Barn doesn't sell the pins, but a quick search on Etsy turns up quite a few options.
I'm thrilled to be able to show another item from everyeskimo, my internet crush. Perfect vintage juggling pins.
VintageEmbellishment has these great pins complete with red bowling ball.
Sweetshorn's wooden bowling pins are shorter and chubbier, and include a bit of color.
In the image above, of course I love the dog figure, and I also admire the use of the railroad spikes on the coffee table. Etsy sellers offer plenty of railroad spikes that can be used as paper weights, objets d'art, or any other use you can think up.
Vintagesupplyco has these six charming railroad spikes.
MyraMelinda salvaged these old railroad spikes from an old railway in Alabama.
The photo of an entryway with one of Pottery Barn's benches and a row of doorknob hooks gives a really charming idea for displaying other bits of character in your home. Of course, they do not sell vintage pant hangers or dog prints, but this is easily rectified. Wooden pant hangers are easy to find on Etsy, and there is no shortage of dog-related prints. Of course, you can display any piece of art that suits your home, but I am partial to canine images.
I about fell over when I saw this cool item photo from ladiesandgentlemen - what a great way to show how to use their vintage pant hangers en masse.
If you prefer a different wood finish, check out karapegg's pant hangers.
If you require a pant hanger and a hanger that can accommodate shoulders, defdif has your vintage wooden hanger.
If you need to refresh your supply of dog themed prints, may I suggest peylu's print.
Or a photo print from JackieBass.
In this photo of bedroom furniture and linens, my eye is drawn to the rustic wooden stool, which is sadly not for sale through Pottery Barn. Happily, you can find similar pieces to scratch this particular itch.
This bench by polkadotHOME has a tin "roof" and has great color.
More subtle but with just as much personality is this primitive wooden stool from vintagecottagegarden.
And this primitive mission-style children's stool by marygracethomas is just way too cool with its straight and tall back.
One of my favorite recurring images in the Pottery Barn catalog is their use of architectural salvage to bring a little personality to the rooms they photograph. Above is a piece of wooden salvage, and below is a desk with what appears to be a metal finial underneath a glass cloche.
Hey, we can replicate this!
I'm in love with the curves and lean of this piece from vintageinteriors.
This charming mis-matched pair comprised of a newel post knob and finial are from calloohcallay.
gypsymarket has two matching wooden finials.
InfinityCrafts has this cute glass cloche, and how fun is the plate with blue flowers?
I had to include this vintage cork glass jug dome - complete with a handle - from storybookcharm.
I have mentioned before my love for vintage maps, and the Pottery Barn wall above shows how great vintage maps can look in a room. There are plenty of sellers on Etsy who have vintage maps. I like to find maps of geographical areas that have special meaning for my family.
Hellobrowneyes has this 1939 map of Michigan, the state from which my family hails.
Perhaps Holcroft's 1938 map of Spokane, Washington, is from whence your family comes?
Or maybe you prefer to recall days spent in France as a youth, though I doubt many remember 1883 France as depicted in LeTrip's map.
The small potted tree in the catalog photo for these drapes has a great idea for display that doesn't even require purchasing an accent piece. If you're like me, you have every cork you've ever popped out of a bottle. Mine are safer in a drawer where my dogs can't steal them, but how great would it be to put them all in a pot as decorative "mulch" for an indoor plant?
Pottery Barn is selling these black and white prints of vintage typewriters. If you want a taste of the prints, but don't want to commit to the Barn's pricetag, I suggest Etsy as an alternative source.
Theartofvenus has this lovely vintage typewriter woodblock.
This typewriter left in the rain and memorialized by OnPaper makes me want to push Return.
This typewriter illustration from kelleystreetvintage is wonderful in its dark composition and detail.
Finally, the September 2009 catalog has baskets featured on the cover. I love baskets for their organizational and decorative uses, but I rarely purchase them. I am lucky enough to have a very talented basket weaver for a mother, but for those less fortunate, I might suggest investing in handmade baskets. The design possibilities are infinite, and the organizational potential is just as great. And if you purchase from an artisan, you'll have a practical piece of art in your home, and a feeling you don't typically gain from mass-produced baskets.
This basket tote by basketsbyrose has lovely blue dyed reed and matching shaker tape handles.
I'm a sucker for the cat's paw basket design with "feet" that point on the bottom, and this one from ChimeraWeave is simple and cute.
Not least among my basket picks are my mom's garlic baskets. I'm lucky to have one for onions, one for garlic, and another smaller one for extra garlic. (I like garlic.) There aren't any in her shop currently, but I understand she may be restocking them soon.

I have come to realize that Pottery Barn's genius is in providing a neutral backdrop with their products that serves as the canvas for your home. Their pieces do have charm, but the soul has to come from us. It's not the lovely wood grain on the table that makes a home, it's the food we serve on the table, and the items we choose to serve that food in. It's not a certain poster print that everyone else has - or maybe it is, if that's what means something to us. What makes a home is the crayon drawings on the refrigerator and the dog bowls on the floor. And to the extent that we can make good design choices with those personal touches, all the better. Maybe you frame the child's drawing and feed the dog from hand thrown pottery. This parallels another concept I often struggle with: how to give new homes more personality. Our home isn't very new, but it certainly isn't very old and doesn't include many of the architectural details of an older home. I should count myself lucky, though, in that I can add many of those details over time, choose which elements of character I want, and add them onto a solid foundation and neutral background. A final note - I had heard from one of my featured Etsy sellers that the shelter industry and fashion industry were trending toward vintage. I think the September 2009 catalog from Pottery Barn bears this out, and I am grateful to be on the cutting edge of a trend. Though I plan to continue to use vintage accents and personal items to spruce up my home long after it goes out of style.


Callooh Callay said...

What a great posting! I just got a whole bunch of old pants hangers--love that idea. And thanks for featuring my finials!

pey said...

All great finds, thanks for including Bandit in the mix.
Enjoyed your post very much, looking forward to more!

Sue Furrow said...

Wow, you really did some homework!! This post ought to inspire a lot of sprucing up. Thanks for all that work.

Frenchee le Trip said...

Fantastic post! Loved all your ideas and found some wonderful fellow sellers on Etsy. Thank you for having my map of France be part of it. I'm honored, I am. Looking forward to following your blog.


everyeskimo said...

another inspired post!
a. i love the sumatra bed, and would be sleeping on it in a heartbeat, but it would take up the whole bedroom!
b. thank you again for including me & my funny juggling pins.
c. i also love the pottery barn catalog, and just the same, find myself looking for all the hidden treasures the stylists use to make it feel cozy. my latest find: a series of random clocks set to different times for different family members. at least one of the clocks is for sure ikea. but the idea was genius.
d. i love your blog... so glad to have "met" you.

loneweever said...

So you finish grad school, but can't stop researching, thinking, observing, writing ... lucky us!

Your selections are great as always. I love the variety! The way you feature others' inspiration is ... well, inspiring.

ann at greenoak said...

thanks for noticing my finials on etsy....gypsy market......if you ever get to indiana...i have piles here!!!
using old is much more fun than buying new..imho...ann

Jeanette Janson said...

Wow, very cool blog!! Thank you for including my railroad spikes.
xo Jeanette

Anonymous said...

hi, i need a favor.i would like to build the sumatra bed from pottery barn as a gift for my son and his new bride-he picked the specific bed he would prefer ash wood and the fact that i will build it.i am confident in being able to copy it from the picture,except for a few dimensions.the diameter of the side rails,width of the caps on the headboard,size of the corner posts.would you consider giving me those dimensions? thank you