Thrift: Børge Mogensen bench

August 24th, 2009

mogensen bench-1

I am proud to announce we have an addition to the furniture clan here at Kitka, let me introduce you to our new (old) Børge Mogensen bench.

A while back Juli did some photography work for one of our favourite stores to loiter at in the city Machine Age Modern. Juli had some store credit left over from the shoot, and I was looking for something to spend it on. We were chatting with Jake and Carol about design and somehow we mentioned how Børge Mogensen was one of our all time favourite designers, and the owner Jake said that he had something in the back that may be of some interest to us. For the amount of store credit ($250) plus an additional $100 the bench was ours (basically what Jake paid for it).

mogensen bench-2

It was a bit rough around the edges and pretty worn in, but the design was unmistakably Mogensen.

mogensen bench-8

The Sofa was a contract piece for “Eaton’s”  and was used at Mount Sinai hospital (there was a Mount Sinai sticker and serial # but it was too hard to photograph). It was really neat to find out that something so familiar to the city like Eaton’s and Mount Sinai had Danish designs in their offices. I wonder if they commissioned Mogensen to produce these and there aren’t that many of them around, or if they were readily available for the public consumer…

mogensen bench-3

The tired leather needs a lot of reinforcing to get back to it’s former glory. After the hours I spent refinishing that Danish Safari chair, I don’t know why I’m already jumping on another project.

mogensen bench-4

The high density foam fillings they used on these old chair pads last forever, it’s always a big bonus to have the original cushions.

mogensen bench-5

The solid oak slats on the back of the bench have a beautifully subtle curve to them, providing interest against the strong lined shape.

mogensen bench-7


I can’t wait to get to work on it! Hopefully I’ll have some updated pictures for you guys soon!

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Craigslist Find! PH 5 light

August 18th, 2009


By now you are all familiar with our obsession with Poul Henningsen lights. We picked up a pair of PH 4 lights while in Copenhagen (THE mecca for all your PH light needs). We would have loved to have grabbed one of the larger PH 5 lights on offer for about $200 each but we still had three countries to visit so it just wasn’t possible. Ebay usually has them but the going price often falls between $400-600.


A flash of purple.

Last week John came across one on Craigslist and although we really don’t have the money for it right now (the reno budget has long gone), we jumped on it with little hesitation. It’s our favourite and we’ve been wanting one for above our kitchen Saarinen table. At $350, it’s far from a bargain, but it is a fair price. We didn’t have to pay shipping, instead opting for the longish drive to Whitby. The seller told us the previous home owners were Danish and although she’s been living there for a number of years now, she held on to the PH light because she liked it. In the end, however, it was simply too modern for the rest of her decor. Score for Juli and John.


From above–the lightbulb fixture easily twists onto the body,
sliding effortlessly into the thrree round metal bits.


The blue underside.


A view of the underside.

According to the Louis Poulsen website, “In PH 5 the legs are purple and 2 smaller coloured shades enhance the part of the spectrum of light least sensitive to the eye – Red-painted inside of the cone creates a warm tone of light.”

There’s a reason why these lights were/are standard fare in Danish homes. Thoughtfully crafted, they are unimposing yet visually appealing, giving off a soft, diffused and gorgeous light. Kitka votes them best kitchen table light ever.

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Sasha Hayman Tapestry

August 12th, 2009


We spent all of Monday and Tuesday getting the cottage primed and painted and my hands are still covered in white paint. While we waited for the paint to dry (around 5pm, no less), we had our first swim of the season, after which we set about the task of putting the living room back together.

The big plus of getting all the walls painted was putting up this vintage tapestry we bought from the Queen West Antique Center. Also included in this picture is a pair of old snowshoes that belonged to Juli’s dad.


Juli’s dad would go hunting for rabbits with his wooden snow shoes and trusty dog “Sport”. We found them when we were cleaning out the loft space, among a few other treasures…


The tapestry works perfectly in our cottage. It reminds me of the reflection of the sun in the water during a sunset, which is perhaps why there is that wonderful red line diving the two spheres. The colours work within our scheme, the blue being almost identical to our two blue FDB Møbler chairs that sit at the heads of the dining table and the off white/red can be found throughout the rest of the living area.


The tapestry is probably from the 70s based on the style and condition. It was really cool to find out the artist is from London Ontario, I wonder if she’s still producing her work…sadly there is not much info on the internet.

I’d love to find out some more information if anyone out there knows of her.

Filed under: Cottage Reno,Thrifting | 5 comments

Mystery Package Reveal #1

August 6th, 2009

As you may recall, we spent most of June thrifting our way across Scandinavia and with each new country, we added another bag (or two) to our entourage. By the time we were on our way to Finland, we looked extremely ridiculous.


The above makeshift suitcase did not help.

But it was what was in this heavy garbage bag suitcase that made the whole endeavor worth it (I presume, as I was not the one who had to endure lugging it around).


What’s this? Could it be an illusive Berber Rug??? Like most fans of mid-century modern, we have the Berber bug. Sadly, Berbers are hard to come by, especially at affordable prices. We found some beauties up at Elte awhile back, but of course despite their massive 50% off store-wide sale, the Berbers were business as usual. Alas at $5000, we shuffled off empty handed.

In Stockholm, serendipity made us stumble upon a beautiful vintage and antique rug shop that is kept by an interesting and knowledgeable gentleman. He noticed we were keen to learn about textiles and showed us binders full of Scandinavian rugs and Berbers (our two principal interests). By the end of it all, we just couldn’t leave without buying not one, but two rugs.

John and I firmly believe that a rug is a vital component that anchors a room. If there is anything you should spend extra money on, as an investment, is an amazing rug that you love. Rugs are like art (often they are art). They create visual impact, they can tell a story, they provide texture and you can change them up and move them about.

Buying a rug should be a special experience (nerd alert). It’s always so tempting to buy some cheap mass produced rug (I’ve had fits in IKEA, but John is so steadfast, which in the long run I appreciate) but they lack pizazz and specialness—you know everyone has it. Vintage on the other hand has that one in a million feeling, something that’s been loved and handled by others, that holds onto a journey, that incorporates the thrill of the hunt. Our Berber rug is 40 years old. It may have served as flooring in a Berber’s tent. It was hand made, the pattern formed at the whim of its maker. How special is that?

Our rug is a little worse for wear because we didn’t want to spend TOO much money—it cost about $1200, a far cry from the $5000 versions on offer in Toronto.


Grover insisted on being in a detail shot (though hilariously he ended up being the detail in focus). Actually, he’s just testing out the rug because I temporarily moved his ugly-mashed up-hairy PetSmart bed.


Berbers and similar graphic carpets really do go amazingly with mid-century modern furniture. Here it is with the chrome and pony hide Le Corbusier chair (ok technically earlier than mid-century but you know what I mean).


One edge has this random bit of blue thread and long fringe, while the other edge has a short, thin fringe.


The diamond shapes mimic the Eiffel base of the coffee table.

The Berber sadly still doesn’t have a place to be in our home. We usually have a gorgeous red and black Afghan that anchors our living room, and it will continue to do so for now because it looks amazing with the sofa. Plus, our cats like to barf all over the place, especially on carpets, and with the longer pile of the Berber and delicate nature of it’s condition, we can’t risk it. It may make it’s way up to the cottage for the time being (a no cat zone), to join our mystery bag reveal #2 rug—which is quite frankly, even better than the Berber…coming soon.

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Cottage dining set reveal!

July 23rd, 2009


Well we’ve decided to give up the goods. The cottage is still such a mess, but we wanted to have a little area that looked a bit finished. We are really excited to wrap this reno up so it’s images like this that get us through the long tedious process.

The two chairs on the end are dark blue and are by designer Jorgen Baekmark for FDB Møbler, while the 6 black chairs are also for FDB Møbler by Folke Palsson.


The table is the “Two Tops Table” by Marcel Wanders for Moooi in a matt black finish. It was one of those crazy deals that happens once in a lifetime. Apparently a movie company decided to rent this table for a film and during transportation they dropped it or damaged it and the leg broke off. The movie company was responsible for the table and had to come up with some quick cash to pay for it. They asked if the Queen West Antique Center could sell it for them at a crazy low price to help out with the bill. We were just at the right place at the right time and got the table at a steal for $700. You would have to add another 0 on the end of that number to buy it new.

The disappointing thing about the table is the quality… The top is made from MDF and it just doesn’t feel like a high quality table, it feels more like a $700 table. That said, we do love the size. We were picturing a large harvest table to sit all our friends and family, and at 8 1/2 feet we could easily fit 10 people around this thing. Even better than that are the tapered legs, which are very shaker influenced and work so well with the Møbler chairs.  I couldn’t imagine a better looking table for the cottage.

Is it wrong that our cottage is starting to look better than our home?


Cottage teaser # 1 is finished, but we still have a lot more to reveal!

Dan & Val’s Weekend finds!

July 14th, 2009

Today we got a nice email from our friends Dan and Val. It looks like they had a pretty terrific weekend, taking home two amazing design pieces for only 3 bucks! They didn’t say that we could post this, but we wanted to share these great objects and photos.


Here’s a really cool Teak Digsmed bowl.


We love the viking insignia.


Here’s a Copco fondue pot by iconic designer Michael Lax, in a beautiful olive green colour!

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