Friday Favorites 3/4/2011

March 4, 2011

Kyle Hoepner, Editor-in-Chief
During my stint in Los Angeles this past week for the Design Bloggers Conference, I was very happy to carve out time to visit the Watts Towers. Possibly the largest folk art installation in the world created by a single individual, the towers soar more than 90 feet above their surroundings in the city’s southern reaches. Italian immigrant Simon Rodia erected these fantastic forms over the course of more than thirty years out of bought or scavenged steel and concrete encrusted with shells, broken bottle glass, random pottery and porcelain shards, and a fair number of miscellaneous tiles, um, borrowed from his place of employment. I have read about the towers many times, and seen plenty of pictures, but still wasn’t prepared for the strangeness and beauty of them, limned against the brilliant blue of a late-February California sky.

Karin Lidbeck Brent, Contributing Editor
Architect Jill Neubauer of Falmouth, Massachusetts, came up with this fanciful idea using beautiful birch when designing a large desk and shelves for her library. I love Jill’s philosophy: “if it’s not fun, forget it.â€

From Country Living magazine; photo by Lucas Allen

Paula M. Bodah, Senior Editor
I’m in a swoon over the fabrics from Full Swing Textiles. My pulse quickens every time I look at these gorgeous fabrics based on vintage designs. Full Swing started back in the 1980s as a boutique in Newport, Rhode Island, that sold true vintage textiles, mostly from the 1940s and ’50s. When the demand for vintage fabrics outstripped the supply, the company moved into designing and manufacturing new fabrics that look and feel just like the old. They key to their authentic appearance is barkcloth–a cotton with an open crepe weave that makes the fabric both sturdy and luxurious. It’s what the midcentury fabrics were made of, and Full Swing found one of the few mills left in the country that can still produce the stuff. Full Swing’s original owner eventually sold the business to her assistant, Suzanne Boucher, who now runs the Web-based company with her husband, Fred, out of Duxbury, Massachusetts.

The next friend of mine to have a baby or grandchild is getting a kid-sized quilt that uses this adorable fabric called Yippee EI-O.

All fabric photos courtesy of Full Swing Textiles

Look how fabulous this chair and ottoman look in their tropical Bacall fabric in a delicious banana color.

If I’d seen this–Haley’s Comet in minty green–before I redid my half bath recently, I’d have used it for my curtains. I sense a re-do in my future.

If you’re not brave enough to outfit a whole piece of furniture in a vivid tropical floral like Sarasota, a toss pillow or two might be just right. Full Swing offers lots of pillows in different fabrics and shapes.

Don’t you think Moonlight in the Pines would make a great set of napkins to go with my mother’s 1958 china?

A vintage chair like this 1950s boomerang needs a vintage fabric like this Midcentury Modern, shown here in gray.