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.