Everyone has been loving bar carts for the last few years, so much so that it almost feels redundant to write about them. Posts at all the big blogs from Apartment Therapy to Design Sponge have featured them, there are pages and pages of them on Pinterest, and even The New York Times had jumped into the fray with an article about Eddie Ross and his flea market cart find. I had highlighted some bar carts made from English butler trolleys before, but I had been stashing away photos of the classic glass and brass kind, with an eye towards having one perhaps?
They look great with a lamp too, either in conjunction with a bar…
…or in this case as a side table. Small children in this house meant that the beautifully styled alcohol bottles needed to be moved to the adjacent secretary.
While always liking them, I had never needed one personally. In October, I chanced across a special one at my favorite place, the Kawagoe shrine sale. It might seem unusual in that it was clearly not a Japanese item or of local origin, but actually there are many great international pieces to be found, including a Lalique lamp that I missed purchasing by moments recently too. My husband gave the drinks cart the thumbs down and for some unknown reason, I actually listened to him!?! But I continued to moon over it a bit, trying to console myself that I didn’t need it. That changed after I made an amazing find of two 1970s Chizuko Yoshida butterfly prints. I hung them stacked vertically on the wall, just next to a slipper chair in my living room. All of a sudden I desperately needed something to tie the arrangement together and it occurred to me that the bar cart was just the thing. The only problem was I had left it at the market, breaking the golden rule of antiquing, and was sure it would not be there the next time I returned.
So here’s where the story kicks in. The following month I went back, but I didn’t see it at the dealer’s stall. I was so bummed. On a lark I approached anyway to ask him about it and at first he had no idea what I was talking about (you try translating “bar cart” into Japanese). When he realized what I was looking for, he had good news for me – he had not sold it – but he had not brought it to the market because it was too fine. He offered to bring it in December, but I would be away for the holidays. We exchanged email addresses and phone numbers with a promise to sort it out and off I went.
In the weeks that passed I wanted it more and more, although by that point I had only a dim recollection of what it looked like. Finally January arrived and back to the shrine I went. The dealer was busy as I arrived and I didn’t see it out at his stall so I proceeded to shop the market, only to be pulled up short by him hyperventilating into my telephone a little while later. It seemed he had another avid buyer and wanted to be sure I was taking it. I scurried on back, took one look at its elegant lines and was sold. It screamed French moderne to me, with its black glass shelves, gilded curved edge frame and old-fashioned wheels. I have since tried to research it, with no real luck, although I came up with a few 1940s pieces – fully attributed or signed – that have a similar feel, including these from Jean Royere and Jacques Adnet.
In general, only the French pieces seem to have black glass, but last night I noticed this vintage Italian cart in a One Kings Lane Tastemaker sale. Note the price tag! And those signed French pieces above sold for thousands at auction!
The dealer bought if from a Japanese family that had spent serious time abroad in Europe, particularly France, so I think I am on the right track. I need to crawl all over it and look for a mark or label, but in the meantime, I have quick styled it to show you in situ. Just loving this little baby!
Image credits: 1.Deborah Needleman in Lonny Fall 2009, photo credit: Patrick Cline, 2. Jennifer Boles in Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles March 2011, photo credit: David Christensen, 3. Jen Altman via Design Sponge, 4. Domino via Apartment Therapy, 5. Sills Huniford in Elle Decor November 2007, photo credit: Pieter Estersohn, 6. Ashlina Kaposta‘s in Adore Home Oct/Nov 2011, 7. R. Michaelson, 8. Lisa Jardine, 9. via Architonic, photo credit: Brain Franczyk, 10. via Orange on 1stdibs, 11. screenshot via One Kings Lane, 12. me.