Counter Intuitive

When a client asked for my help in selecting a new tile for their kitchen back splash we had a few criteria to work with:  The existing Uba Tuba granite; her husband's desire to have a "subway" type layout; and her desire to go with something not so predictable.  We were delighted to land on a stone and metal linear mosaic from Mosaic Tile in Lorton, Va.  The "circle" element was just the right added feature to keep this strong graphic layout from going too static.  The final challenge was to convince her husband to agree to a vertical installation as opposed to the intuitive horizontal layout.  With the kitchen counter extending a stretch of 9 over feet, the vertical positioning of the tile leads the eye up placing more emphasis on this fabulous modern tile work.  Both were over the top pleased with the updated look.

Vintage Olive Buckets at VanEch Studio

One of Thomas Jefferson's favorite food items. He referred to the olive as "the richest gift of heaven," and "the most interesting plant in existence." If you are looking for an accessory for the home that tells a story of Tuscany, a French Provence, or a Greek mountainside villa, get your hands on a vintage olive bucket. These galvanized metal buckets are full of function as well as decorative aesthetics. You can use them for storage, to display flowers, and also as a light fixture or accent lighting feature. We have vintage olive buckets for sale in our shop.

Vintage & Market Finds - Wooden Dough Bowls

Containers of all sorts fascinate and inspire me so when I recently came onto a lot of old wooden dough bowls in an assortment of sizes I scooped them up.   In the first half of the 20th century, Magyar bakers at farmhouses in Hungary and other Eastern European countries used these hand-carved, antique wooden bowls to make bread each morning.  Each bowl is an antique and bears individual marks of use and history.  So no two are alike and they come in all sizes and wood finishes.

 The enormous vessels shown above, some measuring 60" long, make fabulous outdoor centerpieces and that's what I had in mind before writing the check for my purchases.

 Find plantings and clippings from your garden or grocer.   I've used boxwood and fresh flowers, moss and antlers to create these natural outdoor arrangements.  Gourds and cabbage would be a lovely combination for a fall look.  The sky is the limit but keeping it simple and balanced can have the most aesthetic impact.

 Contact VanEch Studio for a custom centerpiece for your next garden party..

Slip into Summer with Slip Cover Couture

In the days before home air conditioning was available, it was common to put slipcovers on upholstered furniture in the hot months of the year to protect the upholstery fabric from sweat.  In some cities in the northeast, slipcover tailors were sometimes given the nickname "summertime millionaires" as their busy season was in the spring and summer.  In the 1960s, technology and production techniques made it possible to manufacture furniture that could be sold at prices at or below the price of a custom-made slipcover, and the practice of custom slip covering for a time declined.  In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in custom slip covering driven by the interior design industry and the popularity of the very casual shabby chic design style. 

Creating a beautiful slipcover for your furniture is akin to having a well tailored dress or suit.  Covered buttons, pleats, ruffles, epaulets and embroidery are some of the couture details I like to bring out on a slipcover the that can dress up or down your furniture. 

VanEch Studio now offers custom monogramming on slipcovers as well as pillows and table linens.

Crisp fabrics such as linens and cotton chitz hold up well in slipcover construction.  Light weight wools and wovens work well too.   In selecting a fabric consider the texture and color of the fabric on the upholstered piece to ensure that it won't show thru to the slipcover. 

The labor to make a custom slipcover is much the same as upholstery.  The cost savings may be in the fabric choice.

Repurposing Old Luggage

I recently handed down a vintage suitcase to my niece that my great aunt carried with her from Greece to Ellis Island.  I love the stories these old cases tell.  I recently picked up 3 that had the old destination stickers from depot stations.  These are not exactly pieces of luggage we want to check thru the airports today however due to their sturdy almost wood like construction, they make for wonderful functional accents in the home.  This chunky stack of three makes for a great end table, sturdy enough to hold a lamp, and let's not forget their storage features.  Check out these other ideas for inspiration.

A tower of vintage cases makes for an eye catching foyer arrangement

 Cutting off the back end allows for easy hanging with a couple of angle irons

Visit VanEch Studio in Occoquan for a selection of vintage luggage
for your decorating projects

VanEch Studio Resources - Tony Silva

I first met Tony when I worked as a junior designer at Honeycutt Interiors in Falls Church.  I would wander back into the workroom where he oversaw 4 other workers and watch the skilled labor.

Twenty five years later, Tony upholsterers furniture for the white house and embassies, and many of DC's interior designers. I estimate Tony has reupholstered over 300 pieces of furniture for my clients over the past 25 years, and many of them he has done 2 and 3 times over.  He is a master at what he does, a good friend and I am grateful to have him on my team.

The Art of Re-Purposing

When I was growing up, it wasn't at all unusual for me to snatch up from the ground a brightly colored glass shard, an old bead or rusted bolt.   These were abandoned objects and in them I saw all sorts of re-purposed possibilities. Today, when time permits, I seek out the studio space in my basement and pour over my plastic bins and the layering of found objects begins as one item leads to the placement of the other.

 An old plinth block was the canvas for "A Wish and a Prayer"
The heart is an old tart tin mounted to a 19th century photo case

This was a vintage biscuit tin can embellished with this wonderful
 old prairie photograph, drawer pull and celluloid farm toy from the 30s.

 The bezel for this necklace is an old faucet valve

 An artist brought these to me in my store, she created these cuff
bracelets from old license plates, just fabulous!

 Vintage clip earrings repurposed into a bracelet. 
Popular sellers in my shop.

 An old Victorian change purse

 Tin types, haunting and beautiful

"A Lock on My Heart"

"Eat Cake"

All images the property of VanEch Studio.

Happy New Year Friends

Thank you again for making the holiday season a great one and supporting VanEch Studio through 2013. We appreciate your patronage more than you can know.

We are busy making plans for the coming year with new merchandise, improved services and DIY workshops and I want to take this opportunity to introduce the part time staff who joins me in making VanEch Studio’s services, merchandise and products exceptional.

Ellen Mosher who has been with me since 2005 and carries the weight when it comes to getting the consigned furniture pieces refinished. She has a degree in Fine Art and her sense of aesthetics is invaluable.

Hope Gardepe came on board in September, and with a degree in accounting she does the Quick Book entries, helps with store sales and is an astute student of furniture painting.

And just recently Elizabeth Whalton joined us. While Elizabeth has been out of the interior design arena for several years, she does have an interior design degree from Marymount University and I look forward to having her assist with design projects as well as work with customers in the store.

Please stop by and say hello. Our winter store hours are:
Monday – closed
Tuesday-Thursday 11 am-5 pm
Friday-Saturday 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday – 12:00 – 5 pm.

Best wishes to you for an awesome 2014.


What's Trending Now? The U-Socket

Apple devices reign in most households, so the new U-Socket wall plug has two built-in USB ports to power devices including iPhones, gaming devices, digital cameras, Kindles and iPads. The U-Socket also has a smart sensor that allows it to shut off when the device is fully charged — an environmentally friendly feature that prevents “vampire drain".

Contrary to outward appearances, the complete unit is actually quite a bit bigger than a standard power outlet, and it requires at least a 16-cubic-inch electrical box to accommodate it.   You can have things plugged into the two power outlets while your USB devices are charging.