BHG Style Spotters

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Upholstery

eddie ross- modern mix - parsons arm chairs @psstudio www.pencilshavingsstudio.com

I’m pretty sure I have BHG’s east coast editor Eddie Ross to thank for my current obsession with the upholstered parsons arm chair. It’s that gorgeous cover image on his book Modern Mix that has stuck with me for the past few months, and sent me down the rabbit hole on more than one occasion in search of one for my very own. I’ve been pinning images like crazy and I love how they can work in practically any style of interior thanks to their low profile and unassuming minimalistic design. I’m particularly a fan of them in velvet, like Eddie’s above, and all the better if you can get them in a pair. It just doesn’t get any more fabulous than that.

A little research led me to Milo Baughman and his modern reinterpretation of a classic Parsons design. The traditional Parsons dining chair and table, incidentally, can be traced back to the early 20th century and according to school lore, was designed at Parsons School of Design in Paris. The original missive, per the New York Times, was to “design a table so basic that it would retain its integrity whether sheathed in gold leaf, mica, parchment, split straw or painted burlap, or even left robustly unvarnished.”

Similarly the Parsons arm chairs feature the same lines of the tables and dining chairs, which most of us are more familiar with. But the living room version is probably better described as an arm chair or club chair and is fully upholstered from top to bottom, including the arms and legs. As best as I can find out, these were made popular in the 1970s thanks to Baughman’s design collaborative with Thayer Coggin, who still manufactures oodles of midcentury modern fabulousness.

So what to do if you stumble on these? Do you go with a solid or a pattern? They definitely pop in a wide variety of hues, like this raspberry version.

first dibs - raspberry parsons chairs - @psstudio www.pencilshavingsstudio.com

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Orange velvet parsons arm chairs www.pencilshavingsstudio

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Gorgeous in cobalt blue linen.

cobalt linen parsons chairs pencil shavings studio www.pencilshavingsstudio.com

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But designers also love them in leopard, too. The pattern’s scale isn’t so overwhelming that it would be difficult to render also on the arms and legs.

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leopard parsons arm chairs - @psstudio - www.pencilshavingsstudio.com

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from the right bank leopard arm chair

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But I’m also pretty partial to this painterly fabric version – total showstopper.

patterned parsons arm chair

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And of course, a Missoni-wrapped pair is pretty darn fabulous too.

viaMissoni Parsons arm chairs www.pencilshavingsstudio.com

I ended up snapping up this pair on eBay a few weeks ago for an absolute steal and they’re currently at the upholsterer’s getting a whole new look in canary yellow velvet. I can’t wait to see the transformation!

vintage parsons style armchairs pencil shavings studio before

Where to find them: eBay, Chairish, First Dibs, Etsy, Craigslist, Scout Design Studio (AMAZING Instagram, btw, and an absolute must-visit in the Dallas area). Search terms to use if you want to track some down: Milo Baughman club chair, Milo Baughman arm chair, parsons arm chair, in any of these combinations. Remember – on Craigslist, many people don’t know what terms to use, so go a little more broad.

Happy hunting! And do let me know if you snap up a pair!


buffalo check wallpaper

Once fall rolls around and turns into winter, I find myself gravitating aesthetically towards buffalo check anything (check out that wallpaper above!). More than ever, you can find buffalo check on practically everything from fashion (like these adorable J.Crew vests) to tree skirts and stockings. Simply put, buffalo check brings in some holiday cheer and a healthy punch of graphic pattern along with a classic American design sensibility.

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Buffalo check is cousins with the more spring-y gingham. (Often gingham appears in a smaller scale while buffalo check is big and bold.) Most often buffalo check will be found in red/black and navy/white, although it can come in many colorways in a more contemporary riff. If you’re a history buff, I really enjoyed reading this little spotlight on buffalo check at Tidbits & Twine. Apparently buffalo check dates back to the 17th century and was made popular by Queen Charlotte and was even used in decor at Colonial Williamsburg! Woolrich, who designed the blankets in my lake house guest bedroom above, has a buffalo check shirt in its archives from the mid 1800s.

Buffalo check can feel modern and fresh despite its traditional roots. I love it paired with the white shiplap walls and simple farmhouse table.

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But it’s also fun when created in an unexpected colorway (pink!).

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Play around with scale if you love patterns. You can easily mix and match buffalo check in the same colorway for a new result. I love the emerald green with this – it feels old school and campy for a boy’s bedroom.

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Another fun play on patterns with the bold stripe red chair.

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Red buffalo check curtains bring some Christmas cheer to this pretty country kitchen along with the twin wreaths in the windows.

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Ticking stripe is also a favorite with buffalo check in a more casual country setting.

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But if your aesthetic leans more polished and contemporary, look for textiles that have been slightly reinterpreted, like this watercolor-inspired buffalo check fabric. The legs on the ottomans are more streamlined to continue the sleeker and sophisticated look of the room.

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Finally, for the ultimate in casual luxury, this marble buffalo check floor on the diagonal provides a major graphic accent to an otherwise simple space. Wouldn’t this be amazing in a lake house? It’s like a checkerboard floor totally reimagined. I can’t get enough of this one!

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Hip hip hooray for buffalo check!


A few weeks ago my husband Simon and I took a little weekend getaway to Dallas. We were perusing all the lovely things at Crate & Barrel when my eye fell on the most gorgeous canary yellow sofa. My mind started spinning in all the ways I would decorate with a fantastic yellow couch.  ”What are you doing?” Simon asked, wondering why I just continued to sit there.  “Just leave me for awhile. I’m in love,” I told him.  He laughed – he knows how I get on a design kick and can’t leave it alone. So I’m going to live vicariously today and talk about all the yellow sofas that I could love. And why you should love them too.

I absolutely adore the idea of unexpected colors on furniture. My assistant Nancy has the most fantastic vintage wingback chair upholstered in yellow velvet, and I’m halfway tempted to break into her house in the middle of the night to steal it. She is forbidden to get rid of it without discussing it with me. And every time I see that chair, it immediately reminds me of blog friend Will at Bright Bazaar, whose lovely yellow sofa graces the color of his new book.

source: Bright Bazaar

Yellow is a statement-making color but can work in almost any room – just plan on it being the focal point. And color is one of those things that can be used no matter what style of furniture you prefer. Want it modern? Traditional? Contemporary? Mid-century? The sky’s the limit – and sometimes an unexpected color on a traditional piece can create a completely new and modern spin on a room.

source: A Beautiful Mess

Whether you accent it with neutrals, primaries, or even fellow warm colors like orange or pink, yellow can run the gamut from soothing to exhilarating. Here are my top yellow sofa picks!


 

Hi there!  My name is Jennifer Bridgman and I write the blog The Chronicles of Home.  I’m hopelessly hooked on home projects and write about decorating, building furniture (and other things!), trash-to-treasure furniture redos, and recipes – I love to cook (and eat) when I’m not wielding power tools and fabric swatches.  I’m so thrilled to be guest posting on BHG Style Spotters today and telling you a little more about my sofa reupholstery project that’s featured on the “I Did It!” page of BHG’s October issue.

 

The first question a lot of people ask me when it comes out that I reupholstered my sofa is…”Why??“  And while I think “I reupholstered my sofa” makes me sound very intrepid and fearless – picture me standing on top of my sofa, flexing my muscles with a pair of scissors in one hand and a staple gun in the other, letting out a roaaaaaarrrrr! – the truth is that I had very little to lose by taking on this project.

 

 

My husband and I bought the sofa seven years ago and the center cushion had a tear in the leather that stretched across the entire width. The seat cushions were sewn to the frame, so flipping the cushion over wasn’t an option.

We went out to look at replacement sofas one weekend but were planning to move within a year or two and ultimately thought we should wait to buy a new sofa until we moved to be sure we got something that fit the space well. This pretty much left me with two cost-effective options: live with the torn sofa for another year or two or try to reupholster it myself. The sofa was already pretty badly damaged so if I got it apart and the redoing didn’t go so well, I wouldn’t have ruined a perfectly good sofa. I’d just have ruined an already kind of ruined one!

 

I’d done enough reupholstery projects where I’d stripped furniture to the frame to feel reasonably sure I wouldn’t come across any big surprises. But, don’t get me wrong, this was the biggest project I’d ever undertaken and in the end had to just hold my breath and leap! The good news is, I didn’t have any surprises. It was, however, a very time consuming project. My husband took our two young daughters to his parents’ house the weekend I started the reupholstery and I worked about 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. When he got home that night with our girls, I had stripped the whole sofa and had the frame, including the arms with nailheads, finished.

 

This left the three seat cushions and three back cushions to be done, and I spent every spare minute I had that week chained to my sewing machine. Not literally…but sometimes it felt like it!  I had never sewn welting before (that raised cord along the edge of the cushions) and there was a LOT of it for this much sofa. The first seat cushion took me five hours to finish, and that was not including sewing the welting.  I was such a beginner, though, and the next two went faster for sure. I had moments that week while working on the sewing of the cushions when I just wanted to stop but I was too far in to turn back and when I zipped the last cover onto the sofa that Friday and we headed into the weekend with a “new” sofa I was about as proud as I’ve ever been of a project.  Sinking onto the velvety cushions made every moment spent worth it.

When I was choosing the fabric for the upholstery, I knew I wanted something very different than the original dark leather.  Our pillows were constantly falling on the floor because the leather was so slippery, it was sticky in summer and cold in winter, and I had had enough dark.  When I tried to think of the “opposite” of dark slippery leather, I kept coming back to the idea of plush, soft, velvet.

 

I wanted a light color but was worried I’d regret the choice with my two well-intentioned but often messy munchkins using the sofa every day.  I ordered a bunch of fabric samples and thought I would go with one of Sunbrella’s indoor/outdoor velvets, but I wound up falling in love with another ivory velvet that had a slightly ashy undertone.  It wasn’t Teflon-treated like the Sunbrella velvets, but it had a water-repellent finish that I hoped would be enough to ward off little stains.

 

It’s been about six months since I finished the sofa and so far, so good.  Well…except for the time my two year old got into my husband’s oil paints in the basement and rubbed her green paint-covered hands on one of the cushions before I realized what had happened…the day before the BHG crew was coming to take photos.  I think I very nearly fainted.  I made these cushions reversible though, so I just flipped it over and everything looked good as new!

 

 

It cost me just under $250 in supplies to complete the reupholstery, not including my labor, of course, and I had the tools I needed for the work already. I don’t know of a single place where I could have bought a new sofa with spotless upholstery for $250, so from a cost perspective, this project was definitely worth it!  I also have no regrets whatsoever about the time I spent working on it. I might have been singing a different tune had you asked me that question midweek after hours sewing, though!  But, really, for me, this project was worth every second spent.

 

If you’d like to read more about my process with some tips, sources, and tutorials, I shared some of that info HERE.  I also made the X-benches you see in some of the photos, and share a tutorial for making them HERE.

 

I hope you enjoyed this peek inside the process behind the “I Did It!” page.  Stop by The Chronicles of Home sometime and say hello!  You can also sign up there to follow along with me as I take on new projects.  I’ll be sharing some never-before-seen (oooh, the drama!) behind-the-scenes photos and info on the BHG photo shoot next week when the issue hits newsstands.


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