Tuesday, July 15, 2014

White Chenille Bedspreads - Vintage Summer Bedding

As much as I love brightly colored chenille bedspreads and the crazy peacock spreads (like the ones in my post on caring for chenille bedspreads), I think all-white examples are my favorites.  Popular in the 1940s and '50s, these fuzzy bedspreads still look good today.
I'm pretty particular about the spreads I favor--some patterns are too fussy or twee for my taste.  I tend to gravitate to large-scale patterns, or geometrics, or those inspired by the ultimate sources for most chenilles--early American quilt patterns.  
With white spreads, you can get a lot of pattern and texture but still keep a crisp feel overall.  Someday when I have that beach house...chenilles in every room!

Switching out bedding is a great way to 'summerize' a room.  Chenille bedspreads vary in weight--more tufting makes a spread warmer, less tufting leaves more of the cotton sheeting exposed and creates a lighter weight spread.  You'll sometimes see some of these spreads called 'summer weight'.  Chenilles really do provide the perfect amount of warmth needed in the wee hours of summer nights.

I often have some chenilles for sale in my Etsy shop--you can check them out here.  And I am always looking to buy good examples!
© All text and images are copyright of Jeni Sandberg

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Vintage Hawaii Map Tablecoth and Scarf - 1950s Hawaiiana

1950s cotton scarf with map of Hawaii
In keeping with my obsessions about maps and Hawaii, I recently came across a couple 1950s pieces that have maps of Hawaii printed on textiles, which for me is kind of like hitting the trifecta.
1950s cotton tablecloth with Dole map of Hawaii
First up is a printed cotton tablecloth that depicts the Dole map of the Hawaiian Islands.  The Dole Food Company was a leading producer of pineapple in Hawaii and in 1937 commissioned a map of the islands from Parker Edwards.  
Similar to Ruth Taylor White's pictorial maps from earlier in the decade (read more about those in my post here), Edwards used small drawings to indicate major points of interest on each island.
You can just see the same boat with fishermen off the west coast of Oahu on both the Edwards map and the tablecloth.

Edwards' map is framed by bands of indigenous flowers and fish, which is turned into a decorative border on the tablecloth.


This type of printed tablecloth was popular throughout the 1930s, '40s and '50s.  Judging from the two-color printing this one is probably from the 1950s (the 'Remember Pearl Harbor' clearly indicates that it is at least post-1941).  There was a 1950 version of the Dole map done by Joseph Feher, but this piece seems to adhere to the earlier version.
Another similar printed map can be found on this scarf, which could be tied over the shoulders. 

Each corner has a decorative scene that would show well when folded on the diagonal.
Like the tablecloth, this scarf is printed in two colors on cotton, albeit a lighter weight fabric. This type of souvenir scarf was very collectible in the 1950s. 

I'm always looking for more fun Hawaiiana from the first half of the 20th century--be in touch if you have any items you think might be of interest!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Georgia O'Keeffe and Hana, Maui - Koki Beach

O'Keeffe in Hana, 1939.  Source: Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

I recently spent some time in Hana, Maui, and learned that American artist Georgia O'Keeffe visited the area in the 1930s.  Although she is closely identified with the desert of New Mexico, O'Keeffe painted several canvases of the striking tropical scenery of Hawaii. 

“Black Lava Bridge, Hana Coast No. 1,” 1939, by Georgia O'Keeffe. Source: NYT

O'Keeffe was commissioned by the Hawaiian Pineapple Company (later Dole) to create images to be used in their advertisements.  In early 1939, she traveled by steamer to Honolulu and spent two months in the islands.  In Hana, she stayed with the Jennings family, who owned the local sugar plantation, and their young daughter, Patricia, showed O'Keeffe the sights.   Patricia Jennings later wrote a book describing her adventures with the artist (you can find it here).
Lava bridge from Koki beach.
One of the sites they visited was the lava arch visible from Koki beach.  Judging from the photograph, O'Keeffe and Jennings were on the bluff a bit closer than Koki beach, but there is currently no public access there (I hear Oprah Winfrey owns that land?). 
Ka Iwi O Pele to the right--you can just see tiny people at the base of the hill.  The lava arch is out in the distance.
Koki is a noted spot in Hawaiian mythology.  Pele, the goddess of fire, was killed by her sister and Pele's bones are said to form the red cinder hill at the north end of the beach (called Ka Iwi O Pele).  Her spirit then fled to the Big Island and took up residence in the Kilauea volcano.

O'Keeffe visited other sites in Hana that I recognized--part of the Jennings' home has been incorporated into the Travaasa Hana Hotel and she went to see a movie in the building that now houses the Hasegawa General Store.

Also on O'Keeffe's tour of Hana was Wai'anapanapa, with its black sand beach and jagged black cliffs. 
Black sand beach at Wai'anapanapa State Park
Cliffs and blowhole at Wai'anapanapa State Park
After she returned from the islands, O'Keeffe exhibited at least 20 paintings with Hawaiian subjects.  Hana yielded the starkest of the images, but others included lush tropical flowers, the I'ao Valley and coiled fishing lines.  It took some time, but O'Keeffe finished her works for the firm that sent her to Hawaii and her painting of a spiky pineapple plant, among others, was used in an advertisement. 
Dole ad, 1939, with O'Keeffe pineapple painting.
Several of O'Keeffe's Hawaiian paintings are in the collection of the Honolulu Museum of Art and will travel to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum for an exhibition titled Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams: The Hawai'i Pictures, which runs through September 14, 2014.  For more info click here.

For more info, see this article in the New York Times.

Unless noted, all photo are ©Jeni Sandberg.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Historic Churches of Maui, Hawai'i

Huialoha Congregational Church, near Kaupo, first built c. 1859
Once in a while, I have to brush off that fancy degree I got in architectural history and pay a little attention to some buildings instead of the stuff that goes in them.  On a recent trip to Maui I was fascinated by many of the churches and other religious buildings found there.  
Ke'anae Congregational Church, begun c. 1860
In the 19th century Hawai'i was a magnet for American missionaries set on converting the natives to Christianity.  From the 1820s, members of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions sent numerous ministers and their wives to the islands to spread the good word and build houses of worship.  The missionaries were not architects and the results were pretty much boxes with steeples, built from local materials. 
Wānanalua Congregational Church, Hana, 19th century
Often their efforts look like they could be lifted from a small town in New England, which was probably exactly what they wanted. 
Ka'ahumanu Church, Wailuku, 1876
Ka'ahumanu Church clock tower
So many churches (and buildings in general) suffer from the harsh effects of the elements in Hawai'i.  The salty air and humidity corrode everything, plants and insects eat away at building materials and seek to return them to the jungle.  As a result, it is not unusual for a church to have been rebuilt, in part or in whole, over the years, much as many Japanese pagodas have been reconstructed.  The Huialoha church has had substantial repairs and you can see the corrosion and peeling paint on the tower at Ka'ahumanu (which is on the National Register of Historic Places, so it is definitely looked after).  
Holy Ghost Catholic Church, Kula, 1894
How cute is this little church?  Built in 1894, the Holy Ghost Church is upcountry in Kula (what up, Oprah?) and very unusual for its octagonal plan--rare to find this shape in any building let alone a Catholic church, which generally favored cruciform plans to facilitate the liturgy.  And the interior is charmingly pink!
Interior of Holy Ghost
Christianity definitely took hold in the islands and my impression is that many here are very religious (indeed, it feels a lot like the South in some ways--very strong Christian community, and if you weren't born here, you aren't from here!).  Lots of smaller denominations, revivals in tents and many religious shows on tv. 
Apostolic Faith Church, Lahaina, circa 1960 (?)
The big neon sign on the top of this building announces the main concern of the faithful at this local church in Lahaina.  The Apostolic Faith Church was founded in 1923 by missionaries and now has its headquarters in Honolulu and branches on neighbor islands. 
Prayer requests in Hana
When driving through Hana one evening, there were some lovely people waving at passing motorists and taking drive-by prayer requests.  A pick up (the local car of choice) would slow down and the driver would say something like, 'Pray for my mother-in-law, she has diabetes and she's not doing so well.'  The people holding signs would promise to pray for her, exchange 'God bless you's and shakas (local hand signal) and off the car would drive.  I'm not religious at all, but it seemed so nice and friendly, such a sweet way for ohana (family, community) to stay connected in the very small town of Hana.  

I am forced to leave aside any mention of native Hawaiian religious architecture, mainly because I’m an idiot and left going to see the huge, 14th-century Pi’ilanihale heiau until my last day on Maui, then made the mistake of going after the botanical garden closed at 2pm.  And temples and shrines of all sorts.  Next time...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas - 1965 Aluminum Christmas Tree

Merry Christmas!   Hope you enjoy the holidays as much as this fine couple did in 1965.   The aluminum tree is perfect--their popularity was at its peak that very year.  You can read more about aluminum Christmas trees in my blog post for Etsy here.



Dansk Teak Condiment Box - Acorn Jar by Jens Quistgaard, early 1960s

I recently found a Dansk condiment box, popularly called an 'acorn jar' because of its shape.  It's a sweet little thing, and pretty hard to find in comparison to many Quistgaard designs.  Unlike most Dansk pieces, which are staved, this one is small enough to be turned from a single piece of teak for both the lid and container. 

This piece is listed as model 807 in a Dansk catalogue from the early 1960s and sold for $10.95. 

I'm not exactly sure what condiment would have been used in this little box--sugar, maybe?  Weird to call sugar a 'condiment'.  If you have thoughts on the matter, let me know! 

If you'd like to see the Dansk pieces I have for sale in my Etsy shop, click here.   I'm always looking to buy collections or single pieces of early Dansk! 


Friday, May 31, 2013

Kitchen Archaeology - Wallpaper and Paint in a 1920s (and 1950s) Kitchen

1920s wallpaper fragment in my kitchen
I recently had a small fire in my kitchen (before you ask--yes, I'm ok; I am the bozo who started the fire by pushing a cardboard box from the counter onto the stove top, which pushed the knob and turned on the burner beneath the box).  It was a small fire, but the damage has caused quite the project in my house.  I'm suffering through what I am sure are all of the typical miseries of a kitchen renovation.  I'll spare you the painful details. 
Yes, that is some of my personal collection of Dansk back in the butler's pantry--no casualties reported.
The fire was on my stove and burned the microwave above and a tiny bit of the cabinetry above.  Somehow this has necessitated ripping out an entire bank of very solid 1950s cabinets.  This seemed frivolous to me, but I am learning that questioning one's contractor about such matters is not advisable.  So yesterday, some nice Mennonites (the local cabinetry gurus) came and ripped them all out so that they could be copied.  And look what was behind them.
Am I the only one who gets excited about things like this?  I find it fascinating to see old and original decorative schemes in situ. A quick bit of history:

1920s kitchen from an Armstrong linoleum ad--breakfast nook, butler's pantry, free standing stove.  Would that my kitchen were this big! Find the image here.
My house was built in 1928.  The kitchen is by no means large, but has a breakfast nook (very popular in the '20s) and a butler's pantry (with more storage than I will ever need).  Kitchens in the '20s typically had freestanding furniture and appliances and often some pretty bold colors and patterns throughout. 

1950 kitchen by Curtis Woodwork--find it here.
Judging by the cabinetry and general layout, the kitchen was likely remodeled in the 1950s.  Upper cabinets, everything built into nice tight lines, bulkhead above the cabinets, scalloped valance above the sink and rounded shelves to the sides--I've got all of that. 
So when I see the wall behind the cabinets, I'm guessing that the adorable wallpaper is pre-1950s (when the cabinets went up) and possibly original to 1928, as I don't see evidence of paint or anything else behind it.  The red on the right side is a bit of a mystery--it apparently pre-dates the 1950s cabinets (it goes up to the ceiling behind the bulkhead), but is only on the right.  Maybe it was a wallpaper and red paint combo? The cabinets were built in place, and unlike today's cabinets, were right against the wall so they did not need a back piece.  Those big white areas are the backs I saw when I opened the cabinets. 

Since new cabinets are going in, I've specified that thin backs should be added instead of trying to scrape down the walls.  I like the idea of leaving these remnants intact. 

This project has given me a new appreciation for Retro Renovation, a great blog about mid-century homes.  I followed it casually in the past but it has become my bible as I consider floors and hinges and pulls and curtains...