Designer Desire: Tom Dixon

Mosaic of Tom Dixon designs | H is for Home

We normally feature ‘vintage’ designers in this series. However, that doesn’t mean that we don’t also appreciate contemporary design. One of our favourite designers currently producing is Tom Dixon.

He has worked with and for big names such as Habitat and Cappellini. But it is his own name designs for which he is now best known. I love, love, love all his metallic designs; from his lighting to desk accessories and coffee sets.

He has, in recent years, branched out into architecture including the re-design of Sea Containers House on the Southbank and one of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants.

His current designs are widely available from shops such as Heal’s, John Lewis, Selfridges and Amara. However, his out of production ‘vintage’ pieces often come up for sale on 1st Dibs and Etsy.

Have a watch of this short interview with Tom Dixon for Design Milk.

Image credits:

1st Dibs | Amara | Etsy

Designer Desire: Arne Jacobsen

Mosaic of Arne Jacobsen designs | H is for Home

Arne Jacobsen was one of the designers that featured in our 100 Chairs book review this week. He’s best known for his iconic chairs – the Swan, the Egg, the Ant, the Giraffe, the Tongue – but during his 40-year career, he also designed lighting, stainless steel tableware, cutlery, textiles and buildings.

Probably his most famous building is the SAS Royal Hotel (now known as the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel) which opened in 1960 in his home city of Copenhagen. He designed the building and almost all its fixtures & fittings, from the furniture down to the ashtrays.

Many of his works are still in production; you can purchase genuine vintage or brand new pieces from eBay, Heal’s, Trouva and the Conran Shop.

Arne Jacobsen portraitcredit

Image credits:

1st Dibs | Etsy

Stag Furniture

Pair of vintage Stag Furniture chest of drawers | H is for Home

We’ve just picked up a lovely pair of matching vintage wooden chests of drawers.

Pair of vintage Stag Furniture chest of drawers | H is for Home

They were designed by husband & wife partnership, John & Sylvia Reid, for Stag Furniture in the 1950s.

Pair of vintage Stag Furniture chest of drawers stacked one on top of the other | H is for Home

They have a strong mid century modern look with pared back, simple, clean lines.

Detail from vintage Stag Furniture chest of drawers showing a leg | H is for Home

They appear to be made from a combination of light oak and teak – with two large drawers and a slightly smaller top drawer standing on short, tapered legs.

Open drawer on vintage Stag Furniture chest of drawers showing the logo | H is for Home

We really like the subtle handles with their geometric influence. Having lived with the drawers for a couple of days, we noticed how nicely the light and shadow catches them. They’d look great with a background of a bold, mid century wallpaper picking up their geometric form – Minimodern’s Backgammon springs to mind.

Triangle highlights and shadows on a vintage Stag Furniture chest of drawers | H is for Home

They’re quite a useful, compact size; measuring 75cm wide, 70cm tall and 43cm deep.

Vintage Stag chest of drawers with drawers open | H is for Home

We’re going to keep them together as a pair – they’ve made it this long as a couple – we’d hate to split them up now. They’ll go into our antiques centre space – or perhaps our eBay shop, We’ll hang fire for a day or so in case any of our readers want first dibs. Drop us a line if they’re just the thing for you.

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Get their look: Comfy corner

Comfy cornercredit

This comfy corner looks a wonderful place to recline and read a book, listen to music, chat on the phone or have an afternoon snooze; the huge sofa & cushions enveloping you. There’s natural light from the big window by day with both mood & directional light for the evening. It looks like the scheme has come together quite organically. It doesn’t seem overly planned and there’s a great skill in achieving that. It just works well – the perfect space to relax & unwind.

  1. Vintage bevelled Art Deco mirror
  2. Vintage octagonal Art Deco mirror
  3. Red deer head mount faux taxidermy
  4. HEKTAR floor lamp
  5. Penny Grand sofa
  6. Play desk lamp
  7. KILO multi-coloured metal nest of 3 side tables

Get their look: Comfy corner | H is for Home

Price Points: Grey sofa beds

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Three grey sofa beds

We have a spare bedroom which we’ve kitted out as our craft room. It occasionally acts as a guest bedroom when friends & family come to stay. Along with a work desk and chair, it currently has a wrought iron single bed. Much as we love the bed, it’s not really all that practical. It’s an antique so it’s a fair bit shorter than contemporary beds… and contemporary humans!

Actually, there’s no real need for a permanent bed in there. We could do with the more flexible option of a sofa bed that can sleep two people. On a more day-to-day basis, it would provide a comfy spot on which to lay, read or work – and free up precious floor space. The spare bed option could be retained without it taking up almost a quarter of the room. These grey 3-seater sofa beds have varying price tags, but all have pared back styling with simple, clean lines. We’d be more than happy with any of them.

  1. 3 seater Clic Clac sofa bed: £254.99, Wayfair
  2. FRIHETEN three-seat sofa-bed: £375.00, IKEA
  3. Jefferson sofa bed: £1,299.00, MADE.com

How to bring a vintage industrial feel into your home

'How to bring a vintage industrial feel into your home' blog post banner

Vintage industrial officecredit

Vintage industrial style draws its influence from a variety of sources – factories, mills, schools, science labs, garages, hospitals and theatres. It shouldn’t be thought of as just suitable for loft apartments or factory conversions – the look can be brought into all kinds of domestic, retail and restaurant spaces. It’s been a very strong interior style over recent years and we think it’s definitely here to stay. Items incorporated into a scheme can be original vintage or modern with an industrial twist. Individual pieces also sit very well in an eclectic mix of old and new which has a timeless quality in terms of interior style.

If you like the idea of bringing a vintage industrial feel into your home, here are a few of the ways you can make it happen.

Retro tripod lamp from Furniture Village in our sitting room

Lighting

Factory pendant light-shades are very much in vogue. Some people like theirs in the classic old industrial green enamel, a bit worn with a few chips. Others like the style and shape, but prefer them shiny and clean in bold, fresh colours. It’s a perfect example of how the look can be achieved through original vintage pieces or modern interpretations.

This tripod light from Furniture Village is a another great example. Taking its design from old theatre or TV studio lighting, it’s a striking sculptural piece. It has lots of presence in a room even when switched off… and looks very dramatic when lit at night.

Detail of lit retro tripod lamp from Furniture Village in our sitting room

Vintage workbench & lathe lights have a strong industrial look. They have flexible arms and tilting heads which make them very practical – perfect for bedside, reading area or office. Brands such as Mek-Elek and Newton are the most sought after.

We also like hanging task lights which have a metal cage protecting the bulb within. These often originate from old car factories or garages. They look fabulous suspended from the ceiling on a long cable.

Even bare bulbs can look amazing – modern bulbs with the old style filaments are now widely available; as is the woven fabric flex in various colours which completes the vintage industrial look.

Collection of vintage industrial seatingcredit

Seating

Most spaces need seating so there’s lots of opportunity to bring in a bit of industrial chic here. Machinists chairs, lab stools and tractor seats have the classic look that’s sought after… and again, there are both vintage and contemporary on the market.

Chair frames in distressed metal and layers of worn paint have real character. Rows of cinema seats, refectory and canteen benches can also give the desired look.

Vintage industrial wall-mounted shelvingcredit

Shelving

If you’re good at DIY, you can up-cycle inexpensive wooden pallets to build shelves. Pinterest is awash with brilliant ideas for both inside and out. You could also employ pre-used wooden scaffolding boards and poles to make all manner of furniture and fittings. Old workshop and hospital trolleys with tiered shelving can also be utilised – as can stacks of old fruit or bottle crates.

Vintage industrial metal bank of drawerscredit

Storage

Again, there’s a great deal of scope here. Filing cabinets immediately spring to mind. Old examples with worn, patinated finish in wood or metal are sought after… and if a piece looks a bit too tatty, but you like the style then it’s perhaps the ideal piece for restoration. Wood can be stripped and re-stained, metal can be shot-blasted and then polished – or resprayed in a colour of choice.

Many workshops have huge banks of small drawers to accommodate tools, screws, nuts & bolts. These can be put to a myriad of uses – from ingredients in the kitchen to stationary in the home office.

Pigeon holes from factories, schools and sorting offices can be used in a similar way – ideal for displaying items too with their open fronts.

School & gym lockers were built to withstand daily use and abuse by pupils. They’re sturdy and robust and are perfect for use in kitchens and bathrooms to store items such as brooms, mops, vacuum cleaners, ironing boards and other items that are best hidden away.

Vintage bus blinds framed and mounted on a wall above a wood burning stove in a kitchen-dinercredit

Work surfaces

Work benches, sorting stations, trestles and sewing machine tables are all ideal to consider as re-purposed work surfaces.

They can function as dining tables, coffee tables, work desks and media consoles – in fact any surface you can think of. They tend to have a rough hewn or used appearance, giving bundles of character and charm.

Wheels and castors can add further flexibility with the ease of movement and re-positioning options.

Vintage industrial work surface with storage belowcredit

Finishing touches

Vintage industrial accessories complete look. The following items all work very well to bring a scheme together.

Factory & station clocks; enamel advertising signs; vintage school charts and maps; wire racks/baskets; tailors’ mannequins; old bobbins & reels; bus blinds; ladders & steps; letter stencils… whatever you think works!

Consider distinctive, quirky details too – add vintage castors to table legs, use science lab glass as vases, hang clip boards for shopping lists. Be creative – you’ll have hours of fun sourcing items putting your own unique look together!

So where can you pick up vintage industrial pieces? There’s lots of it out there if you search. Scour car boot sales, architectural salvage yards, internet stores and of course, eBay. Be patient if you’re looking for a key statement piece – it will turn up eventually! Having said that, if you find something that’s ‘almost right’, it’s probably best to snap it up –  then if absolute perfection turns up, you can sell the first piece and replace with the new. A really good thing about antique & vintage pieces is that they hold their value very well – sometimes even increasing in price.

We live in an area where historically there were many industries present including textile mills, dye works, iron and brick works, mines and quarries. Many of these businesses haven’t survived but the buildings that once housed them have; local auctions regularly sell their now defunct contents. Pieces should be readily available in most areas however, as dealers will travel the country looking for pieces that fit in with sought after styles.

Further vintage industrial inspiration can be found in the books below…

Vintage Industrial: Living With Design Icons book Industrial Chic: Cult Furniture, Design and Lighting boock Reclaiming Style - Using salvaged materials to create an elegant home book Industrial Chic: 50 Icons of Furniture and Lighting Design book

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