Tag Archives: retro

If I was a cool kid…

13 Aug

In my youth my bedroom walls were plastered in posters of the Backstreet Boys painstakingly extracted from Smash Hits magazine.

I was not a cool kid.

If I was, I might have had these…

avett brothers poster status serigraph

band of horses poster status serigraph

flaming lips band poster status serigraph

avett brothers band poster status serigraph

Cincy_Phish poster status serigraph{Justin Helton / Status Serigraph}

They’re all designed by Justin Helton, a graphic designer based in Knoxville, Tennessee who blends illustration and typography to create these hand printed poster designs. You can see lots more (and buy one) at Status Serigraph.

Oh, and please feel free to share any embarassing teenage fanclub stories below… we’re all friends here ;-)

Join The Room Debate!

9 Aug

Friday again… how time flies when you’re having fun / working your arse off!

Today’s pick for our Room Debate has quite an unusual style so I’m intrigued to know what you make of it. I suppose it’s two rooms really, so there’s double the choice of elements to love or loathe!

If it’s your first time joining in, simply take a good look at the photo below then head to the comments with your answers to these two questions:

One thing I like most about this room is…

One thing I like least about this room is…

open plan living room and dining room Lizzie Orme for Style at Home{Lizzie Orme for Style at Home}

Have fun debating guys and I wish you all the loveliest of weekends. See you in the comments!

Join The Room Debate!

1 Mar

Morning everyone – hope you’ve had a good week? Welcome to The Room Debate! Today’s living room has a colourful midcentury feel – it’s a look that’s been popular for a while now so I’d love to hear what you feel about it.

As ever, it’s easy to join in. Simply have a close look at the photo then leave a comment with your response to these two questions…

One thing I like most about this room is…

One thing I like least about this room is…

midcentury vintage living room{via House to Home}

Whether you’re a new reader or a regular, everyone’s opinions are welcome, so I’m looking forward to hearing what you think.

Happy St David’s Day!

The art (and politics) of laundry

9 Jan

I’ve used Flickr a lot less since Pinterest came along, but it’s worth remembering that in addition to photos, Flickr is home to some incredible archives. I recently came across the Boston Public Library photostream which contains scans of the most amazing historical artwork, ephemera, advertising posters and photography.

You can spend hours getting lost in the collection but I picked out this little selection of nineteenth century laundry adverts. Feminists are advised to look away now!

vintage advertising poster laundry

vintage laundry advert

nineteenth century advertising poster

nineteenth century advertising

{all Boston Public Library}

Dare I ask who does the laundry in your house?!

Upcycling: the good, the bad and The Apprentice

12 Apr

So, did you see it? I honestly didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Or where to look – at the TV screen or my Twitter timeline, which was buzzing with talk of nothing else!

One of the things that got me growling at the telly was the indiscriminate use of terms like ‘shabby chic’, ‘vintage’, ‘retro’ and ‘upcycling’. I honestly felt that kind of cringing you get when your grandad says the word ‘sex’. By the time it got to the boardroom and Lord Sugar was saying “upcycling” (in a tone that suggested invisible airfinger speech marks) every 30 seconds I was actually wincing and had my hands ready to cover my ears.

But from an academic perspective the thing that got me thinking most was those on Twitter who were getting angry and upset that The Apprentice candidates were making a mockery of people who sell and upcycle vintage furniture for a living. To me, they’re getting the wrong end of the stick. Those candidates went into the task thinking as I suspect many people do… “this is easy, anyone can do it.” However, what they managed to prove is that no, you can’t. Sure, anyone can stencil a Union Jack onto something (anything) or write Shabby Chic on a luggage tag and hope for the best, but to make something that’s genuinely desirable and covetable you need creativity, skill and a sense for good design.

So, for today I thought I’d post some examples of upcycled pieces that I find inspiring and innovative. Saying that, I think we definitely need a new word to describe this… every time I type upcycled I can feel my fingers tensing up!

I really like this lampshade made from vintage rulers from Roost Living. I think it works because it takes items that are already nicely designed but not overly useful (at least, not once you’ve left school) and turns them into something that’s still nicely designed but useful in a different way. No extra faff or bling – just simple and charming.

{via Apartment Therapy}

You might already be sick of the whole wooden pallet thing, but I think this pallet plate rack is still really clever. It’s a completely new use of a genuinely redundant object and fits into the room in a way that doesn’t shout about its old purpose or feel particularly contrived.

{Annaleena’s Hem}

Am I on shaky ground with this one? I’m going to argue for it because I think it’s clever, it costs almost nothing and it does something practical. No, I don’t think you should pay a single penny for someone to make it for you but I think it’s a great idea.

{Shannon Fricke via Decor8}

A good quality, functional but probably not too attractive wardrobe updated with good quality, attractive but not very functional wallpaper offcuts. Symbiotic upcycling at its best!

Of course, I’m not saying there aren’t some shocking examples out there – I was tickled that one tweeter suggested last night’s episode of The Apprentice should’ve been sponsored by Regretsy – but of course, I wouldn’t be bitchy enough to point out any bad examples.

Hang on, what’s that?

Oh. It appears that I am.

And I’ve made a special Pinterest board of the best (worst) I could find. Sorry… couldn’t help it.

Please do comment with other pieces (good and bad) and tell me what you think of the whole upcycling thing!

La Braderie: the day I died and went to vintage heaven

6 Sep

My friend and I had a fantastic weekend hunting for treasure at La Braderie in Lille – Europe’s biggest flea market! There was so much to see, so much to buy and we came away with some great goodies. Photos of what I bought will have to wait until this weekend (it’s too dark for photos when I get home from work now, sob). In the meantime here’s a selection of photographic loveliness to set the scene.

I love how the seemingly random assortment of junk creates the most intriguing combinations!


These gorgeous enamel jars were very tempting. I think I like the mottled blue and white ones best.

I was so charmed by this toy big wheel that I hadn’t noticed the advertising sign in the background until I edited my pictures!

I did manage to tear my eyes away from the brocante once or twice to admire Lille’s beautiful architecture, like this disused pharmaceutical college. We also spent quite some time spotting apartments we’d like to buy / rent. I thought that the one above this antique shop would suit me just fine.

There’s only one thing I find more pleasing than a row of Tolix chairs. And that’s a row of Tolix chairs with a heap of retro typography in front of it.

I went a bit gooey over this shapely 1930s blush pink tea set. Impossible to carry back safely on the Eurostar unfortunately. I hope another nice vintage lover got to take it home for their table.

Lots of the stalls belong to locals who set up a table of household cast-offs outside their garage, some are entrepreneurial kids looking to make a few euros selling home-baked cakes and old toys, others are dealers selling a specialist selection of items. But what brings someone to become a specialist in rickety prams or freaky bits of dolls I can’t imagine!

{all Decorator’s Notebook}

If you could have picked one thing in these photos, what would you have chosen?

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