Tag Archives: reclaimed furniture

House Tour: Soviet chic in a Moscow

7 Nov

I always enjoy featuring international house tours on Decorator’s Notebook, especially those in more unusual locations. Over the years I’ve shared beautiful homes in Croatia, Canada, Switzerland, Finland and Australia to name but a few. I’d never come across anything in Russia though that inspired me… until today that is!

Industrial style kitchen in Russian apartment

reclaimed kitchen sink

Unlike in Europe and Scandinavia where the whole midcentury thing has skyrocketed, Soviet era design reminds many Russians of austerity, poverty and a lack of autonomy and they’d rather forget. It’s pretty uncommon for anyone to decorate their homes with vintage accessories or furniture out of choice rather than necessity.

soviet era furniture reclaimed in apartment

white vintage kitchen with reclaimed cupboards

The owners of this small apartment in Moscow are unusual in their tastes and have gathered a collection of 1950s Danish design and discarded Soviet pieces to create a utilitarian look I absolutely love. They picked up those gorgeous kitchen cabinets and aluminium stools for next to nothing from a Moscow hospital that was throwing them out! The industrial trend clearly hasn’t caught on in Russian either.

Russian apartment with Soviet antiques

bricks as wall art in Moscow home

It’s not just the stuff in this apartment that makes it stylish however – the owners have made some great design decisions too. As a fan of exposed brick walls I love the idea of fixing old reclaimed bricks face-up on the wall to create a similar but less commital effect.

midcentury style workspace in Moscow

Soviet era design in Russian apartment

{via Architectural Digest}

In fact, the vintage wonderment of this apartment almost makes me want to pack my suitcase and head over to Moscow right away. Although on second thoughts, I might just wait until winter’s passed!

For more fascinating international houses and apartments to explore, check out the House Tours archive.

Trainspotters London pop-up shop

9 May

Regular here will know I’m a big fan of industrial interiors, so when Trainspotters opened a pop-up shop in Spitalfields, just around the corner from where I work, I couldn’t resist a look around.

Trainspotters specialises in lighting and furniture reclaimed from disused factories in the UK and former Eastern Bloc countries. They’re usually tucked away in a Gloucestershire warehouse and sell mainly to commercial clients (the likes of Urban Outfitters, Anya Hindmarch and Soho House Berlin have all been fitted out with Trainspotters products) so the pop-up shop is a rare chance for members of the public to check out the range for themselves.

I was amazed to see how large and dramatic some of the lights were in the flesh, and intrigued to hear about the stories behind them from founder Jesse Carrington. I was particularly taken with the white, black and grey Dunlop lights (faithful reproductions of originals salvaged from the Dunlop Factory in Birmingham) and the prismatic glass pendants salvaged from the recently demolished Concorde hangar at Heathrow.

{all Decorator’s Notebook}

The Trainspotters pop-up shop is located at 25 Hanbury Street (E1 6QR) and open 11am-7pm until Sunday 13th May. It’s well worth visiting if you can, but if you can’t make it you can find everything on the website too.

Explore a stripped-back vintage home

27 Feb

I usually avoid posting house tours from the mighty Design*Sponge because I assume lots of you will have already seen them. However I loved this house so much I’m making an exception. It belongs to Philadelphia duo Tara Mangini and Percy Bright who run the Jersey Ice Cream Co (an online shop selling vintage furniture, not dairy treats).

I think what grabs me about this home is that despite being bang slap in the centre of Philadelphia, it has quite a European feel. Obviously this is a sweeping generalisation, but I often feel that the American approach to interior design can feel a bit too contrived for my British tastes. I love how this couple have revealed the fabric of the building in their renovation and decorated with reclaimed and vintage furniture in a way that feels honest and authentic.

The inspiration for the elegant grey room above was a photo of a panelled Parisian apartment. The couple set about recreating the look using reclaimed mouldings from an abandoned local school. The wooden floors are also salvaged from an old gymnasium.

My love of vintage maps as wall art shows no sign of abating.

It’s not often that a house with a damp problem is a good thing, but it did lead Tara and Percy to pull lots of the plaster from their walls exposing the lovely brick in several of the rooms. I’m very envious of all the light streaming into the first bedroom – note the shabby door headboard too.

One day, I will have an office / studio like this! I like the clothes peg and string memo board too. Another nice use of pegs below…

{all Tara Mangini via Design*Sponge & Jersey Ice Cream Co}

I don’t think I’ve seen blackboard paint used in a bathroom before. I think the way they’ve chalked up a simple all-over pattern to create a quirky kind of wallpaper is a great idea and a splash of yellow on grey never goes amiss.

If you’re loving this home too, you’ll find lots of similar vintage bits and pieces in the couple’s Etsy shop.

Explore a quirky Brighton home

4 Jan

After all the embellishment and lavish decorations of Christmas have been packed away, I find myself drawn to simpler styles as the New Year begins. I spotted this quirky Brighton home before Christmas but wanted to save it, as it’s a perfect example of the relaxed, reclaimed look I’m coveting at the moment and I didn’t want it getting lost amongst all the glitter and glitz.

I really like the idea of using a wooden trouser hanger to clip up a scrap of wallpaper. I’m all for adding pattern without commitment! They’re good for hanging artwork too.

Apparently the owner of the house found the flower painting on the fireplace leaning against the side of a skip… why does this NEVER happen to me??? If you’ve ever managed to pick up something amazing on the side of the road I’d love to know what you found. What am I doing wrong?

I have a small woven rug with a pattern similar to the one on this sofa that I bought in Bolivia years ago. It’s somewhere in a cupboard or drawer somewhere at my Mum’s house and I meant to dig it out while I was there over Christmas. Unfortunately I was too busy guzzling mince pies and sloe gin and completely forgot.

Note the desk made from an old scaffolding plank and hooks made from vintage drawer handles screwed onto a bit of wood.

More junk shop handles in the kitchen, mixed and matched on the plain shaker-style units. I like the vintage posters pasted into the glass door panels for privacy too… a nice old-fashioned alternative to window film.

{all Holly Jolliffe via The Guardian}

My Granny’s collected vintage jelly moulds for years (though I suppose lots of them weren’t actually vintage at the time she bought them). She’s planning to move into a smaller house this year and I’m hoping to take a few off her hands, dutiful Granddaughter that I am! Perhaps one or two of them might find themselves upcycled into something like this light. Did you spot the apple crate bedside table too? Simple and perfect.

Don’t forget to comment with your best skip finds!

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