Category Archives: Furniture

Tansu…Japanese for awesome?!

I had never heard the name “Tansu” until this morning when meeting with my client (also my mother in law…ha ha). We are trying to find an interesting chest for her entry and I suggested what I called “one of those stacked drawer/latter chests” and she said “you mean a Tansu Chest?” As a designer I should of course know everything about design right?! We’ll that would be great but with so many beautiful pieces of furniture, artwork and other design terms this one seemed to slip past me.

What exactly is a “Tansu” you might ask…in case my discription didn’t help, a “tansu is the term given to the antique cabinetry of Japan made principally between 1860 and 1910, the bulk of the Meiji period. Developed from the Japanese need for storage that would not clutter their small living spaces, most tansu are portable chests made to be kept in storage lofts or kuras (fireproof storehouses). A dramatic combination of utility and beauty, each piece carries a unique history. Its careful construction conveys the region of origin, intended use, its owner’s status, wealth, and often profession. From samurai sword chests to merchants’ sea chests, from inventory chests to kimono chests, from mizuya (kitchen tansu) to cha-do (tea tansu), tansu dominated Japanese furniture design until western influences swept Japan at the beginning of the 20th Century.” (

Currently these helpful beauties are mass produced as well as still imported from it’s original place of origin, Japan. Pricing ranges any where from $300.00 to $3,000.00 depending on if it is “real” or not. If you are lucky you might be able to find an authentic one and not break the bank but in the mean time check out your local swap meets and antique stores. If desperate, cheap versions can be found online. There are even variations of them that are very trendy as they have a more contemporary look. Either way which ever you chose they are very charming and handy pieces of furniture and I’m glad I now know it’s name. 🙂

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Reproduction beauty…

This chair which from MK Home Furnishings is a reproduction of a French Regency period piece is sooo beyond drool worthy. I am hoping one day that a client will want this in their home. If not I will have to find a place in my own home to use it.

Dome Chair

Dome Chair From MK Home

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Design Trends for 2011

With our economy in the dumps what we are all wanting is to remember happier times. With that what you will most likely see as a leading design trend for 2011 are throw backs. Look for newer versions of 1940’s design, Tudor to Elizabethan and some Tribal & Native American influences. Also animal and whimsical prints will be hanging around but beware of going overboard.

There will be a lot more mixing of old with new as people try to bring life back to their older. Also a lot more focus and use out of “grandma’s antique chair”, thus reminding us of the past and of happy family moments.

Watch out for colors that will aim to inspire and will be bolder and brighter while still using those subtle hues and classic neutrals.


Christine Craig

Owner & Principal Designer of Designology Santa Barbara


Look for a lot of softer pastels as people seek to bring a sense of calm to their homes and offices. Bold colors such a jewel tones will still be featured but will be shown in a more subtle display than before.


A bit of whimsy, traditional, modern and good old basics look well placed together if done  correctly.


This weathered barn siding has been reused to become a rustic hardwood flooring. The flooring is made up primarily of white oak but with some red oak pieces mixed in and being outside and exposed to the elements has aided in creating a grayed patina look that translates beautifully into hardwood flooring. This is a perfect way to reuse something that would normally be thrown away and to bring a sense of warmth to your surroundings.


Not many people have the money to spend on furnishings like they use to. Instead make something old new again. If you already have some old furniture you can reupholster you are already ahead of the game if not hit those yard sales and thrift stores for hidden gems. Jazz up an antique chair by adding a bold and fun print. A little sanding and refinishing never hurts either.


Bringing the past into the future is not a new concept but this oldie but goody is definitely making it’s way back into our homes and hearts.


A sense of calm mixed with drama creates a fun flair that does not go overboard and looks clean and fresh.


Definitely more dramatic and it shouldn’t be used everywhere unless you love chaos. Use items seen in this room sparingly. Remember you can always add, it’s much more difficult to take away.


Warm, elegant and comfortable. There is something so comforting about being surrounded by well tailored and aged elements. Mix dark with light and keep those family memories alive by surrounding your living room, study or game room with nostalgia games and well read books. Also don’t forget good lighting is key!

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Red, White & Blue Interiors

Patriotism in the air today! “American” colors (i.e. red, white & blue) have always provided a fun way of adding some kick to any decorating scheme. The colors when paired together are cool, crisp and summery.  In honor of the 4th of July, here are some inspiring American themed interiors. Enjoy!!

Via: Coastal Living Magazine

Red,White and Blue boy Kids Room Design-Latest Trends and Best Color Combination






Happy 4th of July everyone!!!!

When Furniture & Art Collide…

I have been wanting to comb the web for a while now to try to find unique and innovative furniture designs from all around the world. I spent the day looking for elements that would intrigue and inspire me and this is but a small sampling of what I have found. Five items to feast your eyes upon in no particular order.


1. Armchair Design SK (France)

Fauteuil design SK

DESIGNER: Nicholas Marzouanlian

This incredible french made chair is created by hand and each piece is numbered, dated and signed. It’s design is simplistic in nature but is full of imagination and ingenuity. The thing I found most impressive is that it is assembled without adhesives of any kind, nails, or screws. It is 100% made of wood, so it can be used inside and outside. As such it is described as being able to “follow the life of its owner”.

This is so reminiscent of my 3-D art class I took many years ago in which we made furniture out of cardboard and glue. If only I had this to inspire me then.


2. Quadra (Singapore)



This beautiful bookcase/room divider/art installation can really be whatever you want it to be. The optical illusion of it is so methodically planned and such a joy to look at. This piece won Hon Fay, (an architecture and furniture designer in Singapore) the grand prize in the ASID Asia Furniture Design Award in 2008.


3. Kenchikukagu (Japan)


This is far and away the most innovative & practical furniture I have seen to date. Leave it to the Japanese to create something beautiful, modern, compact and USEFUL. There are 3 items that they created; a mobile kitchen, mobile office and mobile bed. Everything was created with the intent that when it is not in use it can be folded up and stored away…AMAZING!!!


4. Flower Bloom (Turkey)

DESIGNER: Fatih Can Sarioz

The Flower Bloom is a conceptual design that is nothing short of fantastic. It’s furniture meets eye candy. This is another space saving innovation that would serve as a functioning piece of furniture when it’s “petals” are folded down and a conversation/art piece when folded up. I can’t wait to see this actually created and sold.


5. Celeste (Belgium)

DESIGNER: Kris Van den Berghe of Creme Fresh Design

This sky bed is a concept that leaves me speechless. I have seen many amazing bedrooms over the years but none yet that have that created a room over the bed itself. The design of it is so simplistic and clean that you can only imagine how peacefully you would sleep within it. It not only can be used with your existing bed but it also provides a room divider. What more can you ask for?!


— So there you have it folks. 5 INCREDIBLE furniture designs & concepts from around the globe. Hope you enjoyed it!

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