Joanna Madden

All Tied Up…Power Cord Bundling

OK, I actually wanted to call this post “I’m A Genius” but out of love my best friend wouldn’t let me. Do you know when you are so excited about the smallest accomplishment that you want to crow about it ridiculously? Home almost two weeks, I still feel sluggish and am beating myself up for not getting more done at the house. The truth is that the more you near completion, the harder it is to find and finish those details, as in, “will I ever have night tables in my bedroom?” because they need to be such a specific height and size and work with everything else in the room.

So my moment of joy comes from a good idea mixed with some luck. I am slowly organizing and styling the Sonoma bookcase in the TV room that I wrote about previously here. One conundrum concerned the cable box, DVD player, modem and the millions, yes millions, of cords that connect them all (which are even worse than they look here). As you can see in the photo below, even stacked one on the other, the components look skimpy and the cords are an eyesore. I had thought of hiding the players in a basket, but the remotes don’t work.

Yesterday I made the rounds at all my Point Pleasant antique shops and found this vintage delivery box, much like the one I featured here last year, but larger, at what I believe was the Summerhouse booth of Joanna Madden, who I wrote about here last summer. I forgot to take a photo of her display at Canvas House Antiques, but it was just what you might expect – peely paint furniture and glass bottles, lots of charm and patina. An idea of how to use the box was forming in my mind, but I wasn’t sure if it could be done. I stopped off at the local hardware store for some twist ties – no black, only green gardening ones which will have to do right now – and set to work.

Voila! How fabulous is this? The box was just the right size to sit the cable box on top of the open side. This gives the electronic components enough vertical lift that they fill the shelf space nicely (and keeps the “Fancy Print Butter” label right side up). Better yet, all the power cords have been bundled inside the box at the back. The ones stretching down from the TV have been tied to the iron X bar that supports the shelves – I’ll need to improve on those but I was in a hurry.  I plan on disguising the modem on the shelf below with a storage basket on one side and some large books on the other, or perhaps I will stumble across some other fun and funky object.

I promise the whole bookcase soon. I just have to get to the Ladies Auxiliary Book Sale next week to beef up on my reading material!

Related Posts:
A Television Solution From My Notting Hill and Ballard Designs
Living Large in Small Spaces…FDR, Home Relief and Cream Cheese Boxes at the Tenement Museum of New York

Finding the Thread…Between Boston Ferns and Japanese Spools

Can one plant make a room? I think so…

No Victorian house is compete with out a Nephrolepis exalta, better known as the Boston fern. One of the most popular houseplants of that era, they seem to be making a comeback these days and perhaps never lost their popularity as a hanging basket on covered porches. Adding one to my home has been a priority from the very beginning, but what I needed was some kind of plant stand to give it a visual lift.

Now I have shown photos of vintage itomaki (Japanese thread spools) on this blog before.

And if you find it hard to imagine how one was used, here is an actual example of a thread spool on its winder.

But it wasn’t until I stumbled across this big six spoke spool just before leaving Tokyo for the summer that I had the epiphany of using it for my still to be purchased Boston fern. I also bought a smaller one to use as a counterpoint accent, perhaps without any plant on it all, like in the very top photo.

Both had interesting burned in markings that I haven’t had time to investigate. Unfortunately, they don’t show with a plant on top.

For me, I think my fern obsession started with this photo of Chessy Rayner‘s Southampton beach house. Living for over 20 years in my tear sheets, for me it has always represented the perfect summer house. The casual choice and arrangement of furniture and objects is everything a beach house should be. Over the years, I can remember so many bad “Before & After” spreads, particularly in Architectural Digest, where they would take a simple beach house and throw away all the wicker and bring in contemporary furniture.

But it was the image of a single Boston fern that I carried most strongly in my memory  – not the furniture – and so I am actually surprised to see that there are a few other plants, such as the pair of Hibiscus standards in the room.

A more recent photo with a similar plant vibe, Joanna Madden’s Point Pleasant beach house would fall flat without its single Boston fern adding a bit of color to her carefully curated all white room. Only about 20 minutes south of here, her home shop Summerhouse nestles in among all the Point Pleasant antique stores I keep writing about.

So I have added my fern and now I needed an entry bench. Remember this Alexandra Angle bench from here? It has been my main inspiration. And an orchid, not a fern, adds the needed touch of green.

I am trying to content myself with an inexpensive version of the above – a Dorchester Bench from Ballard Designs. I haven’t yet made a cushion for it in my lovely Kemerton Check from Cowtan & Tout, but you can get the general idea. I am loving the vertical accent the coat rack adds to the room, but it is the Boston fern that makes the vignette.

But at the same time, I think I might want a fully upholstered settee in that wonderful fabric. Obviously this entry hall is much more spacious, but I wonder if comfy seating might make more sense.


And notice the single green boxwood in the planter. Not a Boston fern, but kinda the same idea..

Image Credits: 1-5 & 9. me, 6.Elle Decor September 1990, photo credit: Karen Radkai, 7.Country Living February 2011 photo credit: Bjorn Wallander, 8. House Beautiful February 2011 photo credit: Victoria Pearson, 10. I know this is House Beautiful, but I just can’t remember the credit. Please let me know if you know it.

Tokyo Jinja

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