Soft Stuff, Part 2 – Plus, some Josef Frank & Franz Josef stuff…

This story is supposed to be about upholstered cubes. That may not interest some of you. So, I have thrown in a tangent about two Austrians with Josef in their names. These two are not the Josefs I am referring to, but the photo is a hint of what is to come…


First up, though – the cubes. I’ve already shown the new look. What you haven’t heard is the low down on why the cubes needed a redo and how they arrived at their new, colorful look.


We have four cubes total. We utilize them for extra seating as needed so, I didn’t want to get rid of them. Two were solid red. Two were tan. All four were kind of boring.

Two of the cubes ended up near the front door because Tad thought they would work well for people needing to sit while putting on (or taking off) shoes. He was right. It was a good idea.


The big blocks of color, while bold and a nice jolt of energy, didn’t feel quite right with the stuff we had going on. The solid block of non related red (or boring tan) seemed out of place. It seemed that the cubes needed to be softened up a bit.

Initially, I thought about just getting them all reupholstered in spring green – because I like green – and green goes with everything, in my opinion.

Then, I realized that an all green cube could be as boring as the all tan version.

View from my desk

That is when the idea of doing a pattern on the top came to fruition.

We all know by now that a bunch of pattern isn’t my thing. However, I do have a thing for a black background with bright colored simple graphics. This was a trend some years back – like 10ish years ago, maybe. Given it was in vogue a decade ago, it isn’t all that easy to find right now. I didn’t let that stop me. I did a pretty extensive search looking for that perfect fabric.

Eventually, I stumbled upon a fabric design from the 1920s-1940s that I became obsessed with…fullsizeoutput_132cI wanted this fabric for the top of our cubes. It was perfect! The black background – check. The simple, yet interesting, graphic pattern – check. The bright colors – check. It has little butterflies in it – bonus check! Finally, it has a whimsical, Dr. Suess-ey feel – double check!

Here is a different design, but still with a black background that I considered. Very garden like which is totally my thing…fullsizeoutput_132bThese are Josef Frank fabrics. He was an Austrian born architect/designer from Sweden.


Not to be confused with Franz Josef, the Austrian emperor, who has a glacier named after him, in New Zealand…

fullsizeoutput_1333We were there…


Initially, we were all very nervous.


That is me, Kellee, there at the back of the pack.


A young Alex.



That is ice (and Tad)! Totally cool.


Words cannot begin to describe the beauty.


Does he look Austrian?


Guiding our way…




Anyway, back to the fabric thing.

Sadly, the Josef Frank fabric is very, very pricey – and the patterns are relatively large scale so would not translate well to a small 18″ X 18″ cube top. Though, check out some of these other patterns and colors. Oh my gosh…fullsizeoutput_132e fullsizeoutput_1330 fullsizeoutput_132dLovely.

And, now, finally back to the actual topic of this story. I was persistent in my search for black backgrounds and the right kind of simple, bright, graphic pattern – that was reasonably priced. I held out for the right thing. Eventually, my perseverance paid off. I loved this pattern for our cubes as soon as I saw it. It met all my requirements including all the right colors. It isn’t quite on the same level of perfect as the Josef Frank fabric designs, but pretty darn close.


An added bonus of this fabric is that the colors are woven in, creating a really cool texture…


Conveniently, I found some solids that coordinated perfectly with the top inspiration fabric that are also woven with a softer and almost worn or washed color.

In red,


and blue


and green


and, finally, a natural linen.


You might be wondering why I didn’t just pick a single color in the solid options and do all the cubes in that color. Well, that was my initial intent. Then, I thought “Why not four different colored cubes?” But, I didn’t love the idea of all blue cube. I have talked about it before. A lot of blue isn’t my thing. So, that is when the multi colored thing came about.


I like it! The upholstery people had to call me twice to make sure that is what I wanted. Yep. It is exactly what I wanted.


I will not give up on having a Josef Frank pattern in my life. I am just postponing the dream for now.


In the meantime, I will sign off with some Franz Josef pattern in the form of glacial ice,


glacial remains,


and a glacial cairn.


My New Desk Top…

I have a new desk top.


As I say this, it feels a little weird and sad because I loved, loved, loved my old desk top.


With that out of the way, I am really excited about and happy with my new desk top. As you may recall, I had an old cabinet rebuilt into a new storage cabinet for my workspace.


I opted to keep the top of the old cabinet intact rather than use it as the top for the new cabinet.


I knew I wanted to use it for something, I just wasn’t sure what.  So, I have been thinking about for a few months.  Suddenly, one day I decided it would be best used as my desktop.  Actually, it wasn’t just that the decision was suddenly made. It was that the decision to make 2016 my year of just getting stuff done. We have a lot of projects that are just hanging out there – needing to be completed. I am going to get this stuff done this year!

I eventually realized that the zebra wood top of the old desktop didn’t completely coordinate well with the new storage cabinet – even though I really wanted it to work – because as we already know – I loved, loved, loved the zebra wood. I still love the zebra wood, but not for my desk anymore – because of the new storage cabinet.


So – to convert the old cabinet top to my new desktop, all I had to do was have a piece of furniture grade maple plywood cut to fill the bottom void, stain it,



apply a finish,



and screw it to the base.




It looks great – even though the photos are not that great. The top has a glass cover to protect it – so, it is a bit difficult to get a photo without a bunch of reflections.  You will just have to trust me that it is does, in fact, look great…



It works great.


It was meant to be.

The Best Laundry Room Ever…

We have a new laundry folding/storage cabinet and it makes our laundry room the best ever!


As you may recall, a few months ago we decided to join the 21st century in terms of washing clothes.  We got a new washer and dryer


because our 20 year old dryer, sadly, broke down.


The new, front loading, stacking set was a great decision for us. The clothes are actually cleaner (the research said this would be true – I didn’t believe it). Things dry really, really fast (again, the research said this would be true – I didn’t believe it). These things are really pretty (I knew this to be true from the beginning – no research needed). The variety of settings has been a plus (I thought simple was better – I was wrong – I love all the different options). I love the stainless steel tubs (because I love stainless steel). Finally, Tad has become the laundress at our house because the washer and dryer are so great (which makes me totally happy)!

Because Tad is so excited about laundry these days, he was on board with a new folding/storage cabinet for our small laundry room. In fact, Tad took on the role of lead designer of this new piece of furniture. He measured multiple times, he got my input on storage suggestions, he contacted the woodworker, he met with the woodworker, he revised the drawings, he changed the drawer dimensions a few times, he measured again, he ordered hardware, he followed up on the progress, he stopped by the closed woodworking shop and peered in the window a few times when we were out walking the neighborhood, he was here when it was finally delivered.

Being that it was a custom built piece of furniture, it took a while – maybe, 3 months. I think it was supposed to only take 8 weeks. Tad had hoped that it would get here in time for Christmas. The wait was worth it though. It is really lovely.

Here we are before the cabinet…


Here we are after…


Again, before…


Again, after…


Being that the laundry room is directly adjacent to the bathroom, the laundry cabinet was designed to match the bathroom vanity – in materials and style.


The walls in the laundry are not square so there was an uneven, sizable gap between the top edge and the side wall.  We had hoped for a built in look. The gap did not fit with the built in look we were going for. So, the woodworker was back within a day or two to cover the gap and create that built in look we wanted. A few trim pieces, some silicone,


and a day later we had the built in look.




The storage that this laundry furniture provides is significant.


Here is the shelving before moving stuff to the new laundry cabinet.


Here is the shelving unit after moving stuff to the laundry cabinet – leaving a couple of empty bins and a bunch of open space.


Now, for the finale! According to Tad, the best part of the cabinet is the top, pull out, folding shelf…


So, in summary, we are very happy with our new laundry cabinet :)