Platner Style

You know that cute side table you find at Target...the one that you can't decide if you like or if it's maybe kind of crappy?  You see them on Pinterest and think maybe?  I'm a sucker for these things.  I bought one last year because it was on clearance, and I liked the base.  It reminded me of something, and I had an idea to make it a little more special.  First, a little background on a guy named Platner.

Image Source: Knoll

Image Source: Knoll

Warren Platner was a architect and furniture designer, probably best known for his welded steel wire tables  and chairs that resembled sheafs of wheat.  You've no doubt seen them as you peer into the windows of a DWR.  He worked for Eero Saarinen in the early 1960's before opening his own firm,  where he designed the interiors of several famous buildings, including The Windows of The World restaurant in the World Trade Center.  Here is his design for the American Restaurant in Kansas City.

Image Source: Dwell Magazine

Image Source: Dwell Magazine

It was super groovy. I love those shutters.  He so obviously inspired whatever it is that is going on in design today.  So Warren Platner is a designer to know, and his work is still produced by Knoll and sold at fancy places like DWR. I love the scale of his side tables,  the base feels light and architectural, with a top perfect for a cocktail and a book. 

When I saw this table in the clearance section at Target I thought it was so Platner, and I had the idea to salvage the base and replace the top with something more substantial and organic than shiny black plexiglass.  After a few months of searching I found a vintage walnut Danish Modern tray in the right size from Co-Mod and got started.

First I removed the plexiglass top, which had a particle board backing fastened to the base with short screws.  My handy Aunt was out visiting and helped me delve into using a jigsaw (super easy, get one) to cut a particle board base 1/4" thick, formerly the back of an IKEA dresser.  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

After tracing the circle we cut the base using a jigsaw, sanding the edges to get a perfect fit.

Next, we drilled holes for the screws, and attached the particle board to the base.

We applied a generous coat of wood glue to the top of the particle board and centered the tray on top.  Using a cast iron skilled and a full paint can, we made our own weight and allowed the tray to adhere for 24 hours before removing. 

Pretty groovy, right? I really like the way it turned out... Materials cost added up to about $50, about an eighth of the price of a Knoll produced table, and while it's not a Platner, it has that same light and architectural feeling in a room, perfect for a cocktail and a book.

Art Collecting

I want a home that feels simple and clean, but full of life and character, layered with books, textiles, and art...lots of art.  It's this last bit is hardest to obtain, because amassing a collection of original pieces costs money, money perhaps better spent on fixing up a bathroom or hocked away for retirement.  But art will enrich my soul in a way they never could.  Earlier this week, my mother-in-law popped by to drop off my birthday present- a painting of a rodeo cowboy from her collection of California art, one of my favorites, a total surprise.  She knew I loved it and thought I should have it.  A few months ago my friend Pete gave me a favorite original oil pastel sketch from his collection that I was helping him to photograph.  And a few years ago, my mom gave me a beautiful illustration done by her late brother, an amazing artist who died before his time.  Art is sentimental and important, and worth ten thousand kitchen sinks when it speaks to you and makes you happy.   My favorite local artist, Clare Elsaesser is stocking her Etsy shop with more of her originals, and I am so in love with the one pictured above.  I would love to hold on to it for someone to have one day...

Now that I am helping clients to find special pieces for their homes I'm on the hunt for original art.  Here are some of the places I look...

1. Coffee Shops and Restaurants.  It's a mutually beneficial thing, a space needs art and an artist needs an audience.  I love the crazy deconstructed art that hangs at Central Market here in Petaluma.  If you like something, find out who made it, keep a list of artists.  If you find something you love for sale, think about it.  Art is forever.

2. Flea Markets, Antique Fairs, Thrift Stores, and Consignment Shops.  You can find absolute treasure for pennies or you can spend lots of pennies for something that will appreciate over time.  It's all for the taking.  I like pieces that have something weird and special, a pop of orangey-red in a sea of gray.  I don't care if someones grandmother painted it in an art class.

3. Small galleries, First Fridays, Market Events, and Art Trails.  These are places that you can make a day out of visiting, you can meet the artists who made the work, it's local, and that makes it personal. 

4. Online.  This is tough for me because I like to see things in person, but there are some great resources for original art.  My new favorite is Serena and Lily's online art shop, full of originals and limited edition prints and photography from emerging and established artists.

Abstracted Figure, oil on canvas, by Anna Pool 25x31 $1295

Abstracted Figure, oil on canvas, by Anna Pool 25x31 $1295

5. Research and seek out.  I'll sometimes look up the artists on these sites, Serena and Lily, One Kings Lane etc. and discover more of their work elsewhere. If I see something I like in an online art shop with prints like Minted, I'll try to see what else they have to offer.  I have a list of artists who's work I've seen on blogs, or magazines.  If it catches my eye, I try to keep it close, if not for me...for you.

 

 

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