Today’s must-reads from around the Internet.
Here’s a horrifying statistic: the average American will spend a full 87,600 hours of their life sitting behind a desk.
That’s. Ten. Whole. Years.
And if that’s not a good enough reason for you to be taking your office accoutrements up a notch, we don’t know what is. So get ready for the long haul and give your desk the design it deserves with this handsome compilation of necessary upgrades. Now if only you could get a skylight installed…
Every Wednesday from here on out, we’re giving you a piece of our minds. Actually, more like five pieces. It’s a chance to get a deeper look into what makes the minds behind Kempt tick—you know, beyond the usual Internet handsomeness we’re serving up daily. So, welcome to our most personal weekly feature: The Kempt Five.
When it comes to furnishings, we’re partial to things that can take a little wear—and the more gracefully, the better.
Things like overstuffed leather chairs constructed from saddles, coffee tables made of salvaged gym mats, perhaps a dozen vintage tennis racquets for good measure.
Luckily, Timothy Oulton—Britain’s renaissance man of furniture making—has just unveiled his latest line inspired by classic sporting events around the UK. It’s full of the sort of ruggedly refined appointments that might have befit Ernest Hemingway had he been raised with a royal title in the rolling hills of Scotland. (And picked up a mean habit for polo and cricket.)
In the eyes of Americana-fied menswear, the Brothers Corsillo can do no wrong. (We’re speaking of the fellows behind the celebrated clothing/general store, Hickoree’s Hard Goods and the selvage tie revolution known as the Hill-Side).
Continuing their pitch-perfect run, they’ve unveiled a multifaceted collaborative effort of epic proportions, the Hill-Side & Co. They’ve teamed up with nearly every buzzworthy brand to create one-off pieces that range from floral-patterned shirts to this set of blanket-upholstered chairs you see here. It’s easy to get excited about all of the clothes—there’s plenty of handsomeness to go around—but the chairs really struck us as the standout collaboration (with the fine folks at Sit & Read). Nowadays it seems every menswear brand is printing an “x” on every label they sew into a shirt or pair of pants they chose the fabric for—so it’s nice to see folks think beyond the clothes.
Gentlemen, this is the chair from which you should be reading Kempt.
As connoisseurs of history, we sometimes find styles, habits and turns of phrase from the past that we wouldn’t mind bringing back to the present, Doc Brown-style. This time around, we’re dusting off the rocking chair.
Chairs just aren’t fun anymore.
Sure, if you want to sit in front of a computer all day, modern furniture design has your back completely—but if you’re going to spend the next two hours leisurely sipping a mint julep (possibly on a veranda), it can be hard to find an appropriately relaxing place to sit. Which is why we’d like to dust off the easygoing fixture known as the rocking chair.
Lean back; we’ll take it from here…
From time to time, a gentleman will get creases in his tie. (Intercontinental voyages are often involved.) And since ironing is usually a last resort for such things, you may want to turn to the bizarrely shaped, obscurely useful device known as the tie press.
Granted, most of the appeal is the chance to add another handsome antique to your collection. (It would look great between your Truman-era shoe tree and hand-cranked coffee grinder.) But once you’ve laid eyes on one of these, we have a hard time imagining an iron measuring up. File it under “refined affectations.”
We like furniture best at its most functional, so the prospect of a sized-to-order bookshelf strikes us as a very good idea. The only catch? You’ll basically be buying a pile of plywood and clamps.
Indie Furniture’s new bookshelf takes the modular philosophy to its natural extreme. If you need to 4’ x 7’ space, they’ll tell you exactly how many cubbyholes to build, and exactly how many planks and connectors you’ll need to build them. Of course, there’s quite a markup for all that lumber, but unless you’ve got a carpenter handy, it should be the next best thing.
Dressers haven’t changed much in the past few decades, which may explain why most prefer antiques to newer designs…but there’s something to be said for the occasional new idea. Even if we have to ship it in from Britain.
This floating cabinet lets each drawer hover a few inches in the air, giving them a sense of weightlessness. Of course, it means each one needs its own slideable lid, but it’s a small price to pay for progress.
And it should fit perfectly into that empty circle near the closet…
Our favorite TV show has been off the airwaves for a while, but that hasn’t stopped the furniture designers of the world from keeping the look alive.
It’s known as “mid-century modern” to stuffier design folks, but apparently cb2 is a bit more straightforward, dubbing it “The Draper Sofa.” It’s a little too vibrant to find a place at Sterling Cooper and ad men tend to prefer couches with arms on them, but the makers aren’t all wrong. Aside from the occasional orange stripe, it’s a pretty traditional couch.
Now all you need is a credenza or two.
As brands go, Obama’s doing pretty well, so it’s no surprise companies are jumping at the chance to associate with him. And if he’s the first slim suit president, there’s also the risk of becoming the first IKEA president. He’d better tread carefully…
In an attempt to sway the new President, the Swedish design magnate has set up a faux-oval office in D.C.’s Union Station to show what a Swede-furnished executive branch would look like. The web component is a virtual Oval Office dollhouse, but we have to say, without rounded couches, the options are pretty limited.
In this case, we’re hoping Obama goes with something a bit more… convervative.
At some point in the past 50 years, people stopped using breakfast trolleys, and we doubt anyone is capable of bringing them back—outside of a few ambitious hoteliers.
This item from Espasso makes as good a case for a revival as we could have. Too bad it’s from 1950.
We love the futuristic look as much as the next guy—probably a good deal more, actually—but we have to draw the line. And we draw it at a substance called acrylic, also known as plexiglass.
This table from Spectrum West is probably astonishingly easy to clean, but at some point you’re going to want to own something that doesn’t smell like Windex. It’s great if you’re making a movie about a dystopic future, but anyone who has it in their living room is probably way too intense to interact with.
Also, it costs $3000.
If you’re still flirting with tobacco, a pipe can add a Hefner-esque touch to your homecoming routine. And while you probably weren’t hurting for a place to stash them, it’s always nice to have a bit of niche furniture.
This pipe cabinet from Palo Samko has two distinct advantages over setting aside a spot in your desk. First, the whole thing looks like a barely-finished log, meaning it’ll add a touch of mountain-man style to even the most urbane space. And second, those circular drawers won’t get old any time soon.
Well played, Palo. Well played.
The Bond movies have been overstuffed with product placement from the very beginning, even when they were shilling for products that didn’t exist like the ejecto-seat or the razor hat. It makes sense, since the Bond market tends to be interested in fast cars, sharp suits, shiny phones and the like. But we didn’t expect them to expand into the world of matching drapes.
Apparently we were mistaken. The interior design gurus at Wallpaper have an extended Q&A with Quantum of Solace’s set decorator detailing Bond’s Bolivian bed in *Quantum of Solace*. It’s a custom job from B&B Italia, made larger so it would be easier to shoot.
We always heard he favored bespoke.
Industrial squalor has been gaining a lot of credence as a look lately, so we thought we’d dig up some matching furniture.
As usual, the master strokes are in the materials. While the outer shell is stained steel, the drawers are fashioned from more brittle tin, giving the piece a subtle bit of contrast.
If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you can pick it up at Cleveland Art, but otherwise you may have to resort to shipping.
Don’t worry. It’s not fragile. Just make sure you’ve had your tetanus shots.
For all the thought we give to our clothes, it’s worth thinking a little bit about where to put them. A closet’s fine enough, but it boils down to just a hole in the wall. We recommend something a little more monolithic.
This tiger maple armoire should be suitably impressive. Coming from the Brooklyn artisans at City Joinery, it’s what any good wardrobe should be: beautiful, austere, and very very large.
After all, you’re going to want some room.
Our inexplicable love of credenzas is well documented, but apparently we’re not the only ones.
Red Hook modernists Standard41 whipped up six different models—including this one, aptly named “Big Boy”—to assuage their own 60s nostalgia. One of the other types includes a wine rack, but we’re happy just to have a few drawers, some sliding panels, and an alternative to buying something that was actually made in 1961.
Ladies and gentleman, your arduous credenza search is over.
Believe it or not, there’s still a lot of early 60s staples that have yet to make the retro jump. Our pick for the next candidate is the credenza, a staple of old school interior décor that’s completely dropped off the map in recent decades, but the *Mad Men* set dressers clearly haven’t forgotten. By our lights, it’s due for a revival, but only time will tell.
If you happen to be in the Second City, you can pick up this Herman Miller version (circa 1955) for around five grand at Chicago’s Wright Design Auction on October 7th, along with a few Eames chairs and an embarrassment of interior design riches.
But if you want to stick with your coffee table, we understand.
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