I could totally make that…

16 02 2009

Last weekend, Mark and I went to a few of our favorite stores in Seattle, Tottini and Velocity Art and Design.

At Tottini, We found Micah a cool pair of black leather boots for next fall. Recently both Asher and Micah have been playing Rock Band with some of the men from our community group. They are obsessed. Little Micah, who is just starting to talk, growls rock band in his deepest voice and prowls around the house with his drumsticks. So the leather boots are perfect for our wee rock star.

boots

Velocity Art and Design is generally great for inspiration but out of our price range. We have been looking for a modern rocking chair for the nursery and pillows for the master bedroom. We have also been looking for a couch or daybed for the den. While trying to keep track of the kids and their sweatshirts, hats and gloves, we sat down on the Modernica Case Study Day Bed.

daybed

Wow, this would be perfect for the den. Except it costs $1600. Lately Mark and I have done most of our shopping for the house on Craigslist or at Ikea. For $1600 at Ikea, we could furnish a whole house. We took a closer look at the daybed. It is simple. Timeless. We could totally make that, if we could find the right parts.

daybed-inside1

If you look closely, it is basically a wooden platform with springs, hairpin legs, and a wood back supported by four metal pieces. Tonight, however, while I was looking on Apartment Therapy, I found a link to a company that makes hairpin legs and headboard supports that would be perfect for this project.

For about $200, we could buy the legs and steel supports for the back of the daybed. For another $50 or so, we could pick up a slab of wood at ikea. For another maybe $200 or $300, we could buy a foam mattress and pillows and slipcover them in a suitable fabric. The total cost of the project? Less than $500 – hundreds less than the cost of the new Ikea couch we’ve been thinking about.

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4 responses

17 02 2009
Melissa

Thank you for your mention of our shop tottini! I love the Modernica daybed as well. I like your idea of making it yourself.

Take care,
Melissa Maffei
Co-founder tottini

17 02 2009
gdesign

Most accessible items, though they ‘look’ well designed, are not well-crafted and are meant to be somewhat disposable with a shelf life of 3-5 years. Places like Ikea and West Elm cater to this mentality (personally I find myself shopping there less and less). It is just no longer worth it to have to replace a $200 dollar bookshelf after 3 years, that just fuels our consumeristic and disposable society. Are there really so few well-designed, well-made options that we have been reduced to shopping for items we only care to have for a couple years? Furniture now seems just as bad as the automobile industry or cell phone industry- it all seems to be made to break in a few years. What happened to seeing a 20 year old VW on the road? What happened to buying well made furnishings that will last a lifetime, let alone a season. Are we going to pass on furniture to our children? We have become ever-so more set on introspectively questioning ourselves when purchasing high ticket items. Is this a disposable item, or is this a quality heirloom piece?

Now, I must say, from two people who have diligently been set on making and fabricating things for many, many years: There is only ONE piece of furniture left in our house that we have made ourselves. Not that we haven’t had the equipment, resources or know-how. Over and over, we continue to find that “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; In practice, there is.” All the things we have made- the tables, benches, lamps, beds, cribs, murphy beds, chairs- all of them have either never been actualized quite how they were originally envisioned. Why? because each of these has essentially been a prototype, close, but not quite there. Not quite like the real thing, a tried and true, honed and nicely crafted object. Even when trying to knock-off a knock-off, we ultimately (between the cost of materials and un-accounted for amount of time we spent making it) didn’t save nearly anything by making it ourselves. Anymore when I look at something and think, I could make that, I take an extra, deeper look into how exactly it is crafted, who it is crafted by, and what exactly is wrapped up in the true cost of that object.

Having worked closely with the crew down at Modernica when I was employed at a High-End modern furniture gallery in College, I have to say they are a truly amazing company. They employ local craftsmen and employees, who receive fair wages, money spent there stays within the community and that dollar goes a lot farther (rather than spending half as much at Home Depot for materials). The materials themselves are wonderful quality, connections and details tested, thought-out and proven. Customer service is great. To make something myself even three-quarters as well done as what they produce would not even come close to being worth our time (time that would take away from our family or Matt’s Billable hours). In light of all that, the cost savings really doesn’t equate. We’ve found over and over it just hasn’t been worth it to go through all that trouble. I would rather spend my money and make it count. That and I find myself far out of the mindset of consuming and more in the realm of collecting. I would rather wait and get the right thing than waste resources on something substandard. Maybe that is why we have lived for nearly 4 years with only a loveseat, waiting and saving for the day when I can find a deal on a Corbusier L3 sofa to match.

If you are patient, I have seen these Case Study daybeds come up on Craigslist for $800-$1000 and Modernica usually has an annual sale.

17 02 2009
gloryrevealed

You bring up some good points.

In this stage of life, with little kids running around our house, using our couch like a jungle gym, our coffee table as a workbench and our dining table as a drum set, furniture that is designed to last a few years isn’t such a bad idea.

With a limited budget, sometimes we need something that works even if it’s not perfect. So yes, we’ll buy ikea bookcases for storage in the kids playroom. I’d rather spend $100 than $700 on something that the kids will most likely destroy. Of course I’d prefer to find the same ikea bookcases for $50 on craigslist instead of $100 at the store.

And on the flip side, there is a satisfaction in making things myself. The daybed would be a project for Mark and honeslty he doesn’t have time to hang up pictures or curtains, let alone build furniture! But like you, I’ve made bedding, clothes, pillows, art, curtains. While I don’t always love the results, I love the process and in the end feel like it’s definitely worthwhile to make some things by hand.

29 07 2010
mama

hey,
i somehow stumbled across your blog looking for a triple mountain buggy. anyway, saw this post and thought of this at IKEA:
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/70122215

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