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The Hunter With His Kill

Monday, April 18, 2016 by Chris

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Milo Baughman sofa on roof of car

Todd and I did not go to Cleveland last week in search of more Milo Baughman. But that’s how things played out thanks to my man’s keen eye.

We were thrifting in the well-regarded but slightly junky Flower Child (11508 Clifton Blvd.) when we came upon the scene below. Todd immediately recognized the arms and profile of the chrome frame as one of Baughman’s designs, more typically seen in his lounge chairs.

Milo Baughman sofa buried in a thrift shop

I would have walked on by but Todd was overcome with excitement. We cleared off the stained and sagging cushions and sure enough, it was Milo alright.

milo baughman sofa in a Cleveland thrift store

The tag said only “Chrome sofa, as found $325.” Now it was my turn to step up since Todd’s a bit shy about haggling. I asked for the seller’s best price and she immediately dropped to $250 USD, a price she’d settled on with a previous potential buyer. Sold! In like-new condition these sofas sell in the $5,000-$10,000 range.

Now our challenge was how to get it back to Toronto. Todd’s beamer comes equipped with roof rails but no rack. Ever the handyman, he was able to fashion a solution at Home Depot with a 2×4 cut to size, four U bolts, some cinch straps and a bit of duct tape. Oh my man, I love him so.

baughman sofa strapped to car roof

The border guard barely blinked; he immediately recognized that the piece had been thrifted and since the cost was well within our allowable import limit, he waved us through with no additional duty.

It will be a little while before we can afford to revive Todd’s Baughman but our inspiration is below, plucked from 1stdibs.com. We may not go green, we may not go leather, but you can bet this beauty is gonna shine like a diamond by the time we’re finished with it. Stay tuned.

milo baughman flat bar leather chrome sofa

Stay tuned also for more on Cleveland, a first rate getaway just 5+ hours from Toronto with an amazing art gallery, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and some superbly curated and surprisingly affordable vintage furniture shops. In the end, Baughman wasn’t the only name designer we brought home (wink). More to come . . .

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It’s a Long Way to Milo Baughman

Saturday, April 2, 2016 by Chris

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chrome, cane and leather Milo Baughman dining chairs

I’ve been decorating again. My boyfriend, Todd, has moved into a nice big loft space and he’s starting over with next to nothing, which means we’ve been shopping. And shopping. And shopping.

Last weekend we drove to Detroit to score these fabulous Milo Baughman dining chairs. The U.S. border guard was incredulous: “You don’t have chairs in Toronto?” he asked.

chrome, cane and leather Milo Baughman dining chairsWell, no, not like these. Baughman is a staple on 1stdibs.com and Design Within Reach but his pieces rarely make it to Canada and even more rarely make it to Craigslist, which is where Todd found the chairs while combing through the Detroit listings. We both love a road trip and even though the chairs were not cheap at $1,560 USD, they’re still a great investment.

Todd appreciates mid-century design but he has something else in mind for his new space. His inspirational touchstone for the project is Tom Ford spiced with some ’70s/’80s glam. We’re definitely not there yet but the Baughman chairs are right on the money. Todd thinks the captain’s chairs look a little fetishy; I love the gleam of the chrome and the transparency of the cane, such an unusual combination.

We had to pay duty on the chairs — $267 CAD — which sucks, but what are you going to do? We were delirious about our score and couldn’t wait to get them home. What do you think? Worth the drive?

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A Window for Manuary

Sunday, January 10, 2016 by Chris

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diorWindow

This week’s window at consignment shop, Of Things Past (1096 Yonge Street), is a real surprise because it screams man and that’s not something I see a lot. All those dark masculine furnishings and accessories, and of course the transit-size Dior poster with its chunky chrome frame ($870). The poster is by artist Rene Gruau, the son of an Italian count, who built a fine career doing editorial and commercial illustrations for Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar, as well as for Dior, Balenciaga, Schiaparelli, Lanvin and Givenchy, among others. There’s a companion poster, also Dior Eau Sauvage, inside the shop.

As a much younger man I coveted Le Corbusier’s LC4 Chaise Longue, especially in pony; this one is priced at $2875 (don’t know if it’s genuine Cassina). And I adore the ceramic cheeta sculpture ($620, sold), so beautifully staged on the red and brass drum table ($2050). The handsome chromed steel lamp with rectangular black shade (far left) is priced at $480. Kudos to merchandiser Eric Galbraith on consistently great work.

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Hipster Holiday in Brooklyn

Tuesday, September 15, 2015 by Chris

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Brooklyn Bridge

I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t been to New York City since the mid-1990s. I caught up with the place over Labour Day weekend when my man and I headed to his “spiritual home,” Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

us

In case you’re not up on such things, Brooklyn is widely regarded as the hipster capital of the world. Think Toronto’s Queen Street West to the power of five.

dealer

What’s a hipster? This huckster at the Williamsburg Flea checks most of the boxes (beard/haircut/glasses) although his lack of tattoos is deeply suspicious. Hipsters wear their tats in the MOST conspicuous places, not the least.

fleaview

The Williamsburg Flea has the requisite hipster amenities: live DJ, amazing food and booze and a super-cool crowd. The great view across the East River to Manhattan and the Empire State Building is a bonus. We spent a superb, sunny Sunday morning at the flea admiring pieces like the gargantuan 1970s sectional, below (asking price, $1,100 USD).

1970s blue velveteen sofa at Williamsburg Flea

When I spotted the large ceramic lamp, below, I knew it was coming home with me even before I dickered the seller down to $25. The shade was a leftover gathering dust in my storage locker.

Vintage ceramic lamp from Williamsburg Flea

We wandered into furniture shops selling new and vintage wares but like everything else in New York, the prices were mostly out of reach. Quality and provenance cost money no matter where you are and Williamsburg is no exception.

Allswell in Brooklyn

Fortunately, it’s free to meander and Brooklyn has enough great street art, open bars and charming cafés to keep it interesting. The streets really come alive in the evening as the hordes head out for dinner. As my mate observed, nearly everyone looks like a local but you’re constantly hearing foreign languages – unlike Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny, in Brooklyn, the tourists blend.

#fightforstreetart

On Saturday we headed into Manhattan for an early stroll on the fabulous High Line, a formerly abandoned railway trestle that’s been converted into a 2.3 km park. The walk wends its way through the Meatpacking District and Chelsea from Gansevoort Street all the way up to West 34th Street.

Modern architecture along New York's High Line

The High Line attracts 5 million visitors per year and it gets mighty crowded which is why we decided on a morning visit. The views from the walkway are incredible and the path is lined with spectacular modern architecture, much of it residential. What impressed me so much about the High Line was the hardscape which has been beautifully designed.

High Line hardscape

After an hour-plus strolling we made our way back to the southern end where architect Renzo Piano’s new Whitney Museum of American Art, below, beckoned us on a tour of American modern art since 1900.

Whitney Museum

The current exhibition, America is Hard to See, is on until September 27. It’s an excellent survey of U.S. modern art featuring more than 600 works culled from the museum’s permanent collection. The show gave my man and I lots to talk about but we were just as blown away by the building’s expansive terraces with their spellbinding city and river views.

View of NYC from the Whitney Museum

At the Whitney, even the elevators are canvases: the Museum commissioned artist Richard Artschwager to decorate four lifts with a work he called Six in Four. It was Artschwager’s last major project before his death in 2013.

Whitney Museum elevator by artist Richard Artschwager

Between the High Line and the Whitney we squeezed in an outrageous brunch at the glorious Santina, a sunny, Amalfi-coast-inspired resto that drew us inside with its sublime Murano light fixtures fashioned after flowers.

Murano flower light fixtures at Santina

The room is anchored by a large Julian Schnabel plate painting depicting an island in the Mediterranean. I was just as smitten by the bathroom with its Dorothy Draper-style cabinet and effusive Majolica tiles. Never mind that brunch for two without drinks set us back nearly $100 CAD. I was in too good a mood after the High Line to worry about pinching pennies.

Interior shots of Santina restuarant, NYC

Otherwise our weekend was spent walking, shopping, and eating and drinking. Eating and drinking well for not that much money, brunch aside. Yes, the exchange rate is killing and it hurts most on accommodation where you really feel it.

There’s something almost otherworldly about New York City, that magical combination of modern architecture and 19th century authenticity. You never, ever doubt that you’re in one of the world’s great cities, possibly the greatest. I guarantee it won’t be 20 years before I get back there. In fact, there’s a Picasso sculpture exhibit that just opened at the MOMA that’s already on my radar. Stay tuned.

Empire State Building from the High Line

Photos by iPhone 6 (except Whitney Museum exterior courtesy Whitney Museum)

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Palm Springs Comes to Muskoka

Monday, June 29, 2015 by Chris

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chromeJazz

Oakville, ON-based interior decorators Margo Haines and Jill Finney have teamed up to take on the vintage furniture and accessories market and they’re kick-starting their empire with a pop up shop in Muskoka beginning Canada Day (Wednesday) and continuing through the weekend.

palmStyle

Haines grew up vacationing in Palm Springs and her design practice is heavily influenced by desert modernism. She takes cues from the 1970’s and from designers like Jonathan Adler, Tory Burch and Kelly Wearstler. Finney is the “uber efficient, fast-talking sales person. Together we make a great team,” says Finney, below right.

roadtrip

“In January we decided to give ourselves a deadline and we chose July in Muskoka. Some of the shops there are beautiful but it’s all blue and white and grey, and it’s what everyone else has. The whole Margo mentality is not taking an interior too seriously, you have to add those character pieces that give a space energy and style, that make it a happy space.”

“Now that all the pieces are coming back from the upholsterer and the painter and the custom lamp shades, it’s blowing our minds. We’re confident it’s going to be spectacular visually, now we just need to connect with the right clientele.”

polkadots

The ladies aren’t interested in doing a full-time retail store so they’ll be organizing pop-up shops in well-heeled locations like Muskoka, Collingwood and this fall they’re planning one for Oakville/Burlington.

icebuckets

“We’re bringing a lot of Muskoka-appropriate furnishings for this week’s sale,” says Finney. “This will be more cottagey, bamboo and wicker in crazy colours with Sunbrella fabrics, perfect for the sunroom.”

bambooWickerIf you’re in Ontario cottage country this week/end look for the Margo Inc. tent at the SWS Marina in Port Carling (112 Juddhaven Road). Happy Canada Day!

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