Wednesday, April 3, 2013

it's spring and everything is coming up (saarinen) tulips!

Every single time I purchase furniture on eBay, I have regrets. Usually it is the crazy shipping costs. Or the fact I have over paid substantially for the item.

Saarinen Tulip Stool
Yay! A late night package delivery.
Not this time.
I kind of have a thing for the Saarinen Tulip shape. I grew up with a Saarinen Tulip table and chairs thanks to my mother's good modern sensibilities

You can't really make this out but I am leaning on a Saarinen Tulip Table (trust me) and displaying a California Mission.

Saarinen Tulip Stool
Mission San Francisco 

Um yes, that is a Nelson Saucer Pendant Lamp above me. And my hair is parted STRAIGHT down the middle. Fourth grade so this puts this photo square in the middle of  1972 (you do the math).

Saarinen Tulip Stool


<START RANT> Unless you grew up in California or (alternatively) have elementary school children in California, you CANNOT possibly understand the ungodly torture of the fourth grade California mission assignment. Most missions are constructed by parents. In the great tradition of parental run mission building projects, my dad (mostly) made the above sugar cube structure, and my husband pieced together my son's Santa Barbara paper cut out mission. What purpose does this school created crisis of panic, some yelling, and frustration serve? I have no idea. <END RANT>


Saarinen Tulip Stool


I have long admired the elegant tulip bases on the Saarinen chairs and tables. I haven't really been able to work them in until I spotted a post from Dana@Mid2Mod -- a friend of hers was downsizing and selling some of the contents of their home. And there I saw it. A tulip stool. 

Saarinen Tulip Stool

Dana kindly responded to a few emails explaining to me the going rate for these tiny treasures, and that her SIL would keep his eyes open. 

Meanwhile I scavenged eBay for tulip stools. These little beauties aren't cheap ($350 and way up for the real deal). Plus obscene amounts for shipping.  And many knock offs abound. Condition can be iffy. The tulip bases are metal and rust issues abound.

Dana mentioned that that the stools are still be manufactured by Knoll. Design Within Reach opened a showroom up near us and I happened by one day. $855. Gulp. Not doing it. Plus the standard covering is vinyl. Any of the other Knoll fabrics could increase the price by $100 to $200. Ugh.

Saarinen Tulip Stool
Design Within Reach Tulip Stool


Back to trolling eBay. Finally, I found it. And the price made sense as the seller was not trying to make obscene amounts of money. Their shipping was also only $25 USPS - completely reasonable. Additionally you can see how well wrapped the stool was.

I had the perfect spot for it all picked out -- the show piece of the three newly remodeled bathrooms (the one with the tub of course). 

BATHROOM BEFORE

Saarinen Tulip Stool


BATHROOM AFTER

Saarinen Tulip Stool
See, much better.
Awesome! Right?

And this little stool is in as perfect condition as possible after some forty or fifty years. 

Saarinen Tulip Stool

My research had paid off in that I at least knew now how to identify a real vintage Saarinen stool. For some reason the "BR 51" imprint in the base is critical. 

Saarinen Tulip Stool


And below you can see the missing the furniture tag label but the spot for it is visible. And the Knoll label is still on!


Saarinen Tulip Stool

We have some minor chips on one edge and a little scratch on top. I don't mind. Patina.

Saarinen Tulip Stool

Plus the aqua is a great accent color in the largely neutral bathroom. The fabric on top is original. The seat still swivels quite easily too. The only negative is the foam has gone pretty hard. But I don't care.

Saarinen Tulip Stool


For once, I took my time, researched and waited.

Saarinen Tulip Stool
Um, no hiding Annie.

And it paid off. Thanks Antiqwitty. Nice transaction.

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13 comments:

  1. Love that cat! Love that stool. Patience and diligence pays off again. Great work! :)

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  2. So perfect in you bathroom and so beautiful! love the punch of color. {insert slight jealousy for your fabulous find!} ;)

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  3. I agree with you - the aqua is a great pop of colour in your lovely bathroom. What a fantastic find! I didn't know a tulip stool existed! Good thing I have people like you and Dana to keep me in the know.
    I've never been good at being patiently waiting for the right piece at the right price either. I normally lose interest and move onto something else. But as the old saying goes, "Good things come to those who wait"....and patiently scour ebay...

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    1. I love the tulip stool. I am now patiently trolling for a second.

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  4. Looks like kitty likes it too. Good job in finding it.

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  5. I have an Eames Management chair that has almost the same coarse deep green fabric as that stool, and I'm looking for a Saarinen stool! Nevertheless, good find, enjoy!

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    Replies
    1. I have seen the same one since... at the Downtown Modernism Show in LA (from Modernica)... back in April. http://www.midcenturymodernremodel.com/2014/04/modernica-and-la-downtown-modernism.html

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