Thursday, July 31, 2008

My New Kitchen

I wanted to share with you the plan for my new kitchen. It's one thing to hunt steampunk stuff and post it to the blog or introduce a lamp next to your bed, but I'm finding it much more challenging to design actual rooms in a way that all the pieces will work together and come in within a budget.

Like most people, I can't afford custom cabinets, so I went with the most-quality-for-your-money Ikea kitchen cabinets. "Ikea?!" I hear you saying, "How can that be steampunk?" Well, it's a challenge, but if you think Ikea is nothing but Scandinavian Modern, you may want to take a look at the Liljestad cabinets. An added plus for steampunks -- Ikea kitchens can be varying levels of DIY. We'll probably assemble all the cabinets ourselves and use a contractor to actually hang them, but if you have more time than money, doing the entire install yourself is entirely feasible.

Ok, enough of the Ikea commercial, on to my kitchen. If you want to see the specific layout of my kitchen you can see it here and here. I chose Liljestad because it has the nice dark wood I like. With lots of glass front doors, I'm hoping it will have the feel of a turn of the century Parisian Bistro.

I'm steampunking it up with a handful of elements. The light over the penisula will be Architects and Hero's Akordian Two Light.

And the backsplash will be antiqued metal -- most likely copper. Here are two of the contenders:

Korel Design Tile (porcelain, with a copper, bronze, and platinum glaze) This may end up on the floor instead.

The hardware for the cabinets will likely be brass or copper bin style pulls. (Could I combine copper and brass elements? Would this get too "busy"?)

The problem I'm running into is countertop material. The sort of look I'm going for means the traditional countops would be sheet metal -- zinc or copper for instance -- but that's an expensive and impractical plan. The other traditional counter surface is white carrera marble. Now, I would love carrera marble, but it's fragile and prone to staining. So where does that leave me? Stuck. Do I use a fake carrera marble like Okite's carrara bianca? Do I find a marble that's mostly white (most of them have a lot of yellows and gold in them, which might work nicely with the brass?) Choose a manufactured stone in something that resembles travertine? Any one have other ideas?

So this is more of a "brain dump" sort of post, but I would love your ideas and opinions. Anything strike you as a particularly good or bad idea? Anything else I should have though of?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

On Fantasy Libraries and Herringbone Floors

I'll be done with the library theme pretty soon, but I just ran across this "fantasy" library on Journal 703. It's lovely. He has the most romantic flooring discussion:

The floor I'd choose would be a floor I fell in love with as a fifteen year old boy in one of my friend's house. His parents had a beautiful federal style two story Colonial Revival home. Later, they added a traditional den/library to the back of the house. I've never forgotten the floor. It was brick; very smooth brick from an old street that was dug up and replaced in town. These bricks were reddish brown and very smooth. It had a sealed appearance that was very smooth. I later found out how they managed it. The brick was set, and sealed and coated with gloss polyurethane. On top of that were many coats of oxblood wax.

I'm a big fan of herringbone floors -- it's a unique way to use a standard rectangular shape, which means you can create a particularly unique floor pattern using off the shelf components. I'm building an addition to my house, and for the new upstairs bathroom, I'm going to use standard stock American Olean 3"x6" Subway tile ($.22/piece) laid in a herringbone pattern with a dark grout. I'm hoping it ends up looking like this:

image from Greenwood Marble and Tile.

Tile or brick not appealling? Wood floors are the most traditional herringbone flooring.

The herringbone floor pattern dates back to Roman times, which is long enough ago that I think it qualifies as "timeless."

Monday, July 28, 2008

Steampunk: The Worlds First Exhibition

Art Donovan's curating what's turning into an amazing Steampunk Exhibition at the Hamptons Antique Galleries in Bridgehampton, New York. He's got work by my favorites -- Jake von Slatt, Datamancer, Eric Freitas -- plus regulars on Brass Goggles (Crab Fu!), plus more artists I've never heard of.

The opening reception is August 16th from 5-9PM, if you're anywhere near the area.

The full release:

The Worlds' First Exhibition of "Steampunk Art + Design"
at the Hamptons Antique Galleries,
2546 Montauk Highway, Bridgehampton, New York.

August 16 through August 24, 2008.
Opening Party on August 16, 2008 from 5 to 9 pm.

RSVP by email: ltdonovan at
About the Exhibition
Currently raging on the internet, "Steampunk" is quickly becoming one of the most unique & powerful new styles-
now influencing the disciplines of Art, Design, Architecture, Fashion & Technology. Steampunk has recently been featured
in the Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, the Discovery Channel, NPR Radio, CNN and 'NBC Tech News'.
The elite group of International Artists featured in this first public collaboration are the original "Steampunk" innovators
whom are currently capturing the attention of influential private patrons & collectors of the arts.
This exhibition, curated by Art Donovan, is a comprehensive review of their work from The Netherlands, France, Japan and the U.S.
This promises to be the first definitive, visual statement of this new genre.
The works to be displayed are a combination of both exhibition pieces and works for sale for the first and ONLY time,
with many pieces created exclusively for this showing. The Exhibition Catalog features a 'Forward' by the
renowned local Architect, Author & Editor, Anne Surchin, A.I.A.
We truly look forward to see you at the event opening on August 16.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lizabeta’s Condensed Recommendations for Hunting Steampunk Treasures on Ebay

Lizabeta has some excellent suggestions for searching out steampunk goodness on eBay. Some highlights (although you really must go read the whole thing):

Old Looking - This is great for two reasons. One is, a lot of folks just don’t know what they have. They can’t find a better way to describe it. Two, if it is old looking, but they don’t know how old, you could be getting a really great deal because they haven’t listed it directed at the market that is looking for it.

There is just nothing like taking advantage of someone who couldn’t figure out what they had, was too lazy to figure it out, or just has too many items to sell to take the time to look. Put the words “I don’t know” in quotations marks.

These are two fun ideas that would never have occurred to me. Wasn't Lizabeta gracious for sharing her clever ideas?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


This is more of a resource list than a post, but the next time you're shopping for bookshelves, you may want to consider these.
The Faulkner Library Cabinet from Crate and Barrel.

Stiles Brothers Library Components by Bauer International.

Sundance Catalog's Draper Cabinet.

For a tougher look, the Emile shelf, also from Sundance.

The Library Cabinet from Z Gallerie.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Shane's Steampunk Apartment

Shane Kruse sent me these pictures of the office and living room in his recently decorated apartment.

I love the framed hanging computer monitor -- I had to look twice to realize that's what it was. The monitor was simple enough, a 19 inch flat panel monitor stripped the plastic framing off and repositioned the power and menu buttons so they are accessible right under the bottom of the frame. I picked up the frame for about $15 at Joann's and got busy with the glue gun.

The lamp is a simple selenite crystal which by itself conducts light very well. I found a rustic style candle lamp at local store cut out the bottom and put in a light with a toggle switch (oh I also put an old AOL CD under it to help reflect more light). Total cost: $35

Mmm. Brass nails!

Most of the stuff I get come from the local transfer site where all sorts of good junk can be found (like the desk actually!). This all go to show that you don't have to weld, refurnish, or put hundreds of hours into steampunk projects, nor must you significantly lighten your pocketbook.

Simple, inexpensive projects, pulled together into a coherent whole. Nicely done! Shane's got a number of other projects planned, so hopefully we'll be hearing from him again.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Can you curl electricity?

A piece of roccoco cast iron? Curls cut from a dark haired Rapunzel? Medusa's snakes? No, it's an outlet multiplier.

You can unfurl the locks to extend the power to where ever you want.

Made by Artecnica, it doesn't seem to be on sale anywhere yet -- but wait 6 months and I think it would be available at a number of places online.

Thanks to Tangelia for pointing this out on DesignSponge.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Paperback Chair

The shape and content is not exactly steampunk, but this was too cool and too related to my string of library posts not to share. Can you imagine doing this to a set of pulp science fiction and fantasy books. (Frankly -- no -- I value reading them too much to ruin them!)

Rhode Island artist David Karoff welded the chair and attached the paperbacks: they have holes drilled though their insides and are slipped onto a hidden rebar frame. All of the materials are recycled - even the books, which are cast-offs from the Rochambeau Library Book Sales.

From Rag & Bone, via Too Fond of Books. Thanks Ben!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pottery Barn does Steampunk

The Edison Chandelier.

OK, so they don't actually call it steampunk, rather "industrial design" but still....

I like the Medusa-esque style. $399.

Reminds me of this post from a year ago.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Vincent Leman Bookshelves

In my quest to satisfy my current library fascination, I discovered furniture maker Vincent Leman. He considers "traditional furniture" his medium -- no, he doesn't actually deconstruct real furniture to make these twisted pieces, but rather reinterprets it.

The first two are part of his custom, one of a kind art line, but lucky for us he also has a more accessible line called "Dust" (I'm wondering if he's a fan of Philip Pullman). The dust line doesn't have the rich wood finishes, but the pieces extend their whimsy through color as well as shape.

There's more than bookshelves. See the whole line at Dust Furniture, The Artful Home, and American Artisan.

Monday, July 14, 2008

That "in the library" smell

A bit silly, but if your new house and new books just don't smell right, you can fake it with this home spray called "In the Library" by CB I Hate Perfume. Since I've not actually smelled it, we'll have to depend on the maker's description:

This scent is for those who can’t walk past a second-hand bookstore without coming away with at least one additional volume…It’s not so much the exact recreation of the musty, antique smell of the pages of old book as much as it is the entire book…a hint of worn leather bindings, a whisper of the frayed cloth and the wisp of wood polish from the shelves it sits on and even a bit of sweetness we can’t place.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Custom Library with Balcony

This one's from Business Week -- wouldn't it be wonderful to have a balcony around your library?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Books into Bookshelves

Artist Jim Rosenau uses books as lumber to make, well, bookshelves.

Many are built for pure aesthetic appeal, but some of the best combine books on a theme -- here, a bookshelf for "makers".

Second Editions Bookshelves by Jim Rosenau.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Brown and Gold Library

A wonderfully masculine library with leather chairs with brass nailhead trim, a butler's tray on a stand, a small folding Moroccan side table, and lots of books in dark wood bookcases.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Book Autopsies

Is it obscene to cut up a book to turn it into a work of art? What if the art reflected and expanded on the meaning of the book?

Just a small sample of Brian Dettmer's Book Autopsies.

More examples at the galleries that represent him: Packer Schopf Gallery, MiTO, and Toomey Tourell.

More coverage at Centripetal Notion. Found via Coilhouse.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Help Maeve Design Her Steampunk Apartment

Maeve needs our help!

I'm renting a basement apartment, which used to be the maid's quarters, in a gigantic old Victorian. I have a good idea what I want to do with the bedroom and living rooms (the two rooms with the tiled floors), but I'm a little at a loss what to do with the rather boring kitchen to make it more interesting, steampunk etc. I can't figure out what to do that will go with the black and orange tile. I'm thinking of switching out the cabinet hardware, and maybe taking down some of the doors for open storage, but I'm not sure. Painting is also a very limited option (everything has to get approved by the landlady first) so anything too crazy can't be permanent. I'm thinking of doing some vinyl wall decals in the living room and bedroom, in addition to some giant bookcases, but all the wall decals I've found have been rather flowery or cartoonish.

Since I'll be moving across country with no furniture to move into this apartment, I'll be starting with a completely fresh slate, and any suggestions you or your readers might have for any of the rooms pictured, I'd greatly appreciate it. My boyfriend introduced me to your blog a couple of months ago and I'm absolutely in love. (editor's note: Thank you!)

Any suggestions for temporary, steampunk changes to this apartment? It's got a great setting, and good "bones." The shutters are nice, and I love the checkerboard tile and would embrace it! I have a number of ideas, but wanted to let the Steampunk Home Readers weigh in with their ideas first. I'll pull the best suggestions from the comments and do a follow up post, and then we'll make sure Maeve sends us her "after" pictures.

Red Velvet Library

I have a weakness for red velvet, and for libraries. This ad from Western Interiors March 2008 -- for Sotheby's real estate -- twinged my heart strings. Wall to ceiling books, red velvet curtains, oriental carpets, and heavy wood furniture: lovely, timeless, elegant, dramatic and comfortable.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Eric Freitas' New Blog

If you enjoyed my earlier post on Eric Freitas' clocks, I wanted to point out that he has a new blog where he talks about how he creates the clocks and includes us in the process of building his 6th mechanical clock. If you're of the decidedly amateur maker category I find myself in, you'll enjoy looking over a master's shoulder as he works.


Thanks to Alrededor del Mundo for sending me to Eric's new website.


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