Prague

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Recently I went on a little trip to Prague. Well actually it wasn’t that recently but I’ve finally got around to getting the photos off of my phone and onto my laptop. So here are some of the photographs that I took whilst away and a few recommendations of food, architecture and of course beer.

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 Getting the most obvious of Prague landmarks out the way first with a classic night time photograph of Charles Bridge. We found a nice little view point with a bar and blankets, set up camp just before sunset and then waited till I could get a typical shot. It was worth it!

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After waiting for the Charles Bridge photograph we were pretty hungry right next door was a very fancy restaurant we decided to go all out on the first meal with a tasting menu and matched wine. The restaurant was called Restaurant Mlýnec and the food was delicious with a little bit of dry ice theatre. If you can deffo worth a visit.

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An art deco cafe – worth a visit for the interiors but not the food.

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Frank Gehry’s dancing house, also known as Fred & Ginger, is not one of his most well known works – you’ve probably heard of the Guggenheim?But the building is interesting in shape and how it is a contrast with its surrounding more traditional designs. Go see and go in.

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Churches in Prague are sooo pretty. We went to a couple I don’t have a recommendation for the churches just wonder around and you’ll find some. Also if you look really closely at that last image the face is Michael Caine so that’s something.

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This is an interesting art piece that a lot of people just walk past not seeing. This is called Man Hanging Out… if you google the sculpture you can see it in detail. The guy is actually Sigmund Freud and the sculpture, by David Cerny, is depicted in this way to signify his fear of death. The sculpture apparently gives people a fright and calls into the emergency services aren’t rare!

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Obviously there is a lot of ‘To dos’ I’ve missed out of this blog post. But I would deffo recommend a visit to Prague to see all the wonders for yourself. I’ve finished the post with two view point photographs- because the best part of seeing a city is seeing all it’s beauty from afar. The second and last image is my favourite after walking up Petrin Hill there was a break in the trees and this was the view. So Gorgeous.

So go to Prague!

Beth Victoria

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What I’ve been up to…

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I’ve been quiet because I’ve been busy!

Nearly a year ago I started a new role within a very successful and well known interior design company. Designing hotels all day is a lot of fun but it doesn’t leave much time for much else! Now I’m settled in I promise to get back into regular blog posts… I’d like to think they’ll get better with the experience I’ve gotten from the day job…

Heres some images of what I have been up to!

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Learning the process of getting a set of concept images translated to fabrics and materials is something that I’ve really enjoyed so far. It takes time to find the right items but when you do you see a concept come together. The above images shows the process of this selection process to create boards.

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The above two boards are examples of the concept boards finished.

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Depending on the desired client to the hotel and our clients taste adding a playful element like some ping pong paddles brings a fun and personal touch to the boards.

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One thing I’ve learnt is to throw as much at the boards as you can in the beginning and then filter the items down. This board, however, needed a lot of finishes to be seen on it so the editing down wasn’t needed. I like the addition of the door handle – adding finished pieces always helps clients visualise your ideas. Also, I improvised here a little bit with the white napkin folded in the corner. It is meant to represent a little bit of a ceiling sculpture we had designed… it works!

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Another key thing that I’ve learnt is to utilise all the different materials available. Bringing in colour from tiles, metals, glass and other items makes a board stand out.

I’ll get on with writing more blog posts and keep posting updates on what I’m doing and learning at work!

Thanks for reading

Beth Victoria

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5 Etsy Finds

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Another look at some of our favourite items that Etsy has to offer.

Floating Dressing Table

£230 From Urbansize

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This shop holds a range of sleek minimal designs like this dressing table. I love the simple lines and clean finish along with the functional jewellery rail for keeping necklaces untangled and ready to wear.


Scaffold Board Desk with Hairpin Legs

£160 from Tcindustrialvintage 

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The re-use of these scaffolding boards as a desk is a common design that I love. The boards paired with the hairpin legs make for a simple yet statement vintage industrial piece.


Mid Century Modern Plant Stand

£31.33+ From HookAndStemCo

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Inspired by the 50’s this stand is the perfect way to introduce plants and pots into the home. The pots aren’t included but there are four different types of wood and four sizes to choose from. Not only do these look amazing but also this Canadian company plant one tree for each purchase. There’s no excuse not to buy one or two!


Eiffel Style Dining Chairs

£117.99 for a set of four. From MOF Home

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These padded dining chairs are interesting and perfectly retro. The eiffel tower legs are gorgeous and the lines are matched with the detail in the seat padding. These chairs come in four colours the black and white seen above and a bright yellow and green. You can buy them as individual pieces for just £33.99 and in sets of 2s or 4s. I think I need them.


Tiny Succulents

On sale! From Sedumstore

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Sedumstore is a cute little shop that sell a range of different little plants (that would look great in our tiled coffee table.) There is a wait to get these as they have to be grown but they are discounted and available to pre-order now. A few people have asked where to get plants to go in the middle of BethVictoria.com’s coffee table and so just wanted to throw this in the post to show another option than the local garden centre.

Check out the coffee table here.

Bethvictoria.com

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A simple blue design

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Today I’m heading off to Portsmouth and so I’ve based this mood board on a light and airy blue seaside-y feel. I started with the fabric from harlequin and the light, wooden furniture. This fabric is great for being able to tie in a range of different shades of blue within the accessories and lighting. Using the neutral furniture also means that the room is easily changed – simply just swap out the accessories with different colours.

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Hopefully the weather in Portsmouth is as light and airy as this design…

Bethvictoria.com

The products:

Paint: Little Greene Gauze (106) | Fabric: Harlequin Estrato Denim/Nude/Sky | Bed: Ercol Shalstone | Bedside table: Ercol Shalstone | Ceiling Light: George Nelson Criss Cross Bubble Light | Lamps: Pooky Bluebell Table Lamp & Elsa Table Lamp | Sofa: Ercol Salento, Vernaldo Driftwood | Accent Chair: Made.com, Lars | Cushions: Made.com, Harbor Cushion, Blue Coral & Paloma Velvet Cushion | Bedding: White Company, Charlcombe, Silver Grey | Throw: John Lewis Moet Knitted, Spruce | Side Table: Swoon editions Reid White Tripod | Coffee Table: Made.com, Range Round Table | Vase: Dartington Crystal Little Gems Urn Posy | Terrarium: John Lewis No.023 | Artwork: Stuart Roy, Blue Horizon.

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We made a table!

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Instead of throwing away the above troughs that I made for my MA degree show I decided to, with the help of my Granddad and his workshop, turn them into coffee tables!

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Having come up with a design the first thing to do was create a higher base for the tiles so that the edge wasn’t too deep. Easily done with Granddad’s tools!

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Then we attached the hairpin legs that I bought from Wicked Hairpins. I went for the three rod leg because I thought that the wooden trough with the tiles would be heavy and so the extra support was a safe bet.

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The next step was to layout and stick down the tiles to either side of the coffee table. It took ages to find these tiles. I wanted a specific colour and style of pattern similar to that seen on the buildings in Portugal. These ones are from Milagros a Mexican shop that sells a range of handmade tiles and other goods.

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The first idea for the table was that it would be the tiles and then a strip of grout… not the best idea as it seems. Having grouted the table (above image) we left it dry and it cracked – so back to the drawing board.

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After another indecisive gap I decided on these little mosaic tiles from a local bathroom store. This worked so much better than the grout. So then the table was pretty much done just needed to paint it. In the design the centre section is to be filled with succulents. It has been left empty for now in case it needs to be transported anywhere.

And here’s the final piece!

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It had its ups and down but I got there in the end. I also have the materials to make another one which will hopefully wont take as long to make as this one did! Huge thanks to Granddad and his patience with my unexpectedly difficult design.

It is also now available to buy on Etsy!

Bethvictoria.com

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Raphael The Drawings at The Ashmolean

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Before reading this post it is a good idea to read Michelangelo vs Sebastiano so that some of the references back make more sense!

“Raphael’s hand generated lines that gave shape to his pursuit of eloquent forms” From the Ashmolean’s supporting text

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Raphael self portrait, 1501

In a similar manner to the way that a young Sebastiano would approach his works a young Raphael, as seen in the self-portrait above, works in a rough, almost carefree manner. But his work is far from carefree as he works on the proportions and final image on the canvas rather than in a series of working sketches before hand, to get the precise composition, level of detail and anatomy accuracy that the subject deserves – all whilst in his teens.

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Head of an Apostle, circa 1503

His work seems to quickly develop from the early ‘have a go’ style of his self-portrait, through large collections of sketches and workings of smaller sections of a picture. The sketch of the Head of an Apostle above shows Raphael’s ability to bring a sense of movement to a simple black chalk sketch. The lines are swift, the hatch shading and flowing curls of the hair evoke the feeling of movement and enhance the gesture of the turning face.

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Madonna Studies, 1511/13

Through all of the sketches that Raphael did he grew as an artist and fed his grand appetite for learning. The sheets of sketches shown within this exhibition, as with the one above where the central sketch is surrounded by smaller studies of figures and buildings, have pen studies juxtaposed with soft pencil studies – a burst of workings from the mind to paper. Giving a sense of a need to get things down onto paper.

 “With his voracious appetite for new stimuli, Raphael studied the battle scenes designed by Leonardo and Michelangelo and the antique sources that inspired them.” From the Ashmolean’s supporting text

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Raphael’s studies after Michelangelo’s David, 1507/8

It has been noted that Michelangelo was throughout his career jealous and threatened by young Raphael. So, Raphael’s work that took Michelangelo’s and developed it further, adapting it for his own purpose surely added salt to the wound!

Raphael took Michelangelo’s David and scaled him down changing our perspective of him and developing him from a statue to a sketch that conveys movement and depth. Raphael did not just take the ideas from Michelangelo, he fused visual memories of the sculptures, classical reliefs and print sources always seeking to create a greater expressive energy. He confronted these influences with his pen using drawing to understand them and adapt them, putting his mark on great imagery and making it his own. 

Here is what we found most interesting… 

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The Heads and Hands of Two Apostles, 1519–1520

Raphael’s ability to draw heads stood out in this exhibition. From larger refined sketches like the above to little sketches in the corner of a sheet full of other sketches they all had the same ability to show the subject’s emotion. From the warn lines of the elder gentleman to the smooth skin of the younger, Raphael captured a point in time in the subject’s life on their skin and their feelings in their emotion.

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Study for the Massacre of the Innocents, 1509–1510

In the same sense as when a character within a film or TV program breaks the fourth wall* and you get a slight feeling of confusion and in some cases unease, when you notice the lady running straight for the viewer in Raphael’s Massacre of the Innocents the work seems somehow more realistic and unsettling. This woman and child running forward are seen all throughout the development and in the final presentation of this piece. It gives the sense that the mother is running to you for safety and the fact is that you as a viewer cannot do anything about it – it puts you in the scene and that’s what makes it unsettling, but brilliant.

*The fourth wall is a theatre term for the invisible line or imagined wall that separates the stage and actors from the audience. The audience can see through this wall and the actors cannot. In cinema this is ‘broken’ when the actor would talk directly through the camera and screen to the audience.

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Drapery Study for a Sibyl, 1511-12 and Study of a Horseman for the “Repulse of Attila”, 1513/14

As well as Raphael’s studies of various faces, his workings of drapery stood out within the sketches. He created movement in the material using dark and light shading to produce the various folds, and to show the body of the figures underneath the material. Here Raphael’s variety and delicacy in pose and character within these unfinished sketches of Sibyl respond to Michelangelo’s more weighty and masculine female imagery. He also used white chalk to add extra depth to the figures and material highlighting where the light would hit the body and accentuating the muscles and folds.

The exhibition succeeded in showing how studies in simple medial fuelled the development of a young artist to an established one. Our only criticism is the limited space for circulation in the first two rooms.

By far, our favourite part of the exhibition was to watch on video (at the end of the second room) the processes that Raphael would have used to make his studies. Seeing how he used a stylus to create inductive traces before working over with pen. To understand how sketches were made in the 1500s and understand what it would have taken to create the images changed the way that you viewed the sketches. The last room of sketches seemed even more interesting as you began to see the pre-workings and imagine the process of their creation. The video that showed his process would change the whole exhibition if it were viewed earlier.

Thank you for reading!

Bethvictoria.com

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Our wallpaper in a new nursery

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We’ve just recieved these images from a recent customer of our wallpaper in a newly decorated nursery within their home.

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Always nice to see where the wallpaper ends up and the different types of rooms that the versatile design and colours go into.

Bethvictoria.com

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5 London Exhibitions to see

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If you’re stuck on what to do on a warm/wet summers day exhibitions can be the best place to cool down/dry off. We’ve put together a short list of a range of current and near future exhibitions that are definitely worth a visit.

Giacometti at Tate Modern

Until 10 September 2017

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First on the list is a current exhibition at Tate Modern. The gallery is in the perfect position on the riverside between rooftop and outside bars so there’s not really any excuse not to visit. But incase you need more convincing the exhibition on at the moment brings the work of the sculptor, painter and draughtsman Giacometti. The exhibition brings together over 250 pieces, including his iconic bronze sculptures.

Read more here

Rachel Whiteread at Tate Modern

12 September 2017 – 21 January 2018

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Rachel Whiteread House 1993 Photo: Sue Omerod © Rachel Whiteread

This is one to look out for towards the end of summer, but it should be worth the wait. Whiteread was the first woman to win the Turner prize in 1993 and has continued to make interesting pieces since. She is a hands on artist using a variety of industrial materials, such as plaster, concrete and metal. She works with objects and surfaces to create sculptures that mimic our surroundings and objects we see everyday. We looked closely at Whiteread’s ‘Water Tower 1998’ within our Masters study. She has a very interesting and experimental approach to exploring and working on her sculptures which make the process not only the final piece worth a look.

Read more here

Grayson Perry: The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever! at The Serpentine Gallery

Until 10 Sep 2017

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Grayson Perry has risen in fame due to his televised art work, his presence within the experimental art world and his commentary on society and culture. This exhibition at the Serpentine gallery brings together pieces of his work that explore themes that are relevant to all of us. Worth a visit if his documentaries have captured your attention.

Read more here

Plywood: Material of the Modern World at V&A

Until Sunday, 12 November 2017

Moulded plywood chair, designed by Grete Jalk, 1963. Photograph Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Moulded plywood chair, designed by Grete Jalk, 1963. Photograph Victoria and Albert Museum, London

An exhibition showcasing some of the varying uses that plywood has had in the design world. From chairs to planes and trains, the exhibition shows what the flexibility of the material that is now just an everyday material. From the website: “Featuring groundbreaking pieces by Alvar Aalto, Marcel Breuer and Charles and Ray Eames, alongside an incredible range of objects from planes to skateboards, this exhibition tells the story of how this often-overlooked material made the modern world.”

Read more here

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion at V&A

Until Sunday, 18 February 2018

X-ray photograph of silk taffeta evening dress by Cristóbal Balenciaga, 1955, Paris, France. X-ray by Nick Veasey, 2016. © Nick Veasey
X-ray photograph of silk taffeta evening dress by Cristóbal Balenciaga, 1955, Paris, France. X-ray by Nick Veasey, 2016. © Nick Veasey

Moving from art to furniture design we come to a fashion exhibition. This exhibition holds over a 100 pieces from the designer Cristóbal Balenciaga and his team of apprentices. It looks into how the influential designs have shaped modern fashion which in turn has its influence on all other aspects of design.

 Read more here

Bethvictoria.com

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20th Century Furniture Sale

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Last Sunday we visited a furniture sale in Kingsclere and here’s some of the beautiful pieces we saw, tried not to buy and bought. There were two shops that had products that stood out to us. Some of their items we’ve photographed to show you below.

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The first pieces that we loved came from a shop called Redruth Vintage based in Pool, Cornwall. Some of their beautiful classic Ercol chairs caught our eye. The one on the left is the Ercol 427. The frame is original, the webbing has been replaced and the cushions re-upholstered. The people that have restored this chair are doing the same with other Ercol pieces in a specially selected range of colours. The colours are bold but not too bright, bringing the earthy tones that were seen in the original pieces. The chair on the right is an original Ercol butterfly chair. The stylish shape paired with the intricate grain of the wood makes for a simple and stylish dining chair. The shop has five of these chairs, they are on a hunt for the sixth to make a complete set but if you’ve got the cash I’d buy these asap.

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This charming and functional bureaux desk is the perfect compact combination piece of furniture. With its tidy nature it can be used in any room without being an eye sore. A great piece for someone who only occasionally needs the use of a desk.

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Here is another combination piece of furniture from Redruth Vintage. The top drawer on this chest opens up to show a mirror and pulls out so it can be sat at open or closed. This means this can be used as a simple chest of drawers, pulled out to be a desk or opened up to be a vanity dressing table. A great piece for a not so big room, where space needs to be saved, and combining three is the perfect answer.

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This sofa has again been re-upholsetered with new fabric matching the style of the original but giving it a fresh look and feel. The end of this sofa can be folded up part way to create a head rest or all the way up to create a side. It is also very comfortable which does help a lot with a sofa.

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The next lot of items we looked at were all industrial in style from a shop called Vintage Unit. The shop contained mostly storage options with the occasional stool, chair and accessory. The open shelving unit in the right side picture was pretty cool a great industrial piece which could be used in any room.

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The store also had lots of metal enclosed filing cabinets and lockers. The mixture of shine and wear on the pieces give them an character and edge. These need to be used within a specific style of room they are not as versatile as the open shelving above. A handy piece that this store also had was a sturdy wooden bench with metal baskets underneath. A great solution for shoe storage in a hallway.

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A very interesting piece from this shop was a set of three fold up chairs. A set that would be hard to place in a residential setting but could work very well within a commercial or F&B setting. The detailing on the chair mixed with the worn look of the arms and seat make for a stunning piece that wears its history well.

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In a separate room from the main sale of finished pieces was a ‘project room’. This had within it lots of pieces of furniture, mainly sets of chairs and dining table and chairs, that need a little love to restore them or re-vamp them to the beautiful pieces of furniture that they should be. We caved and bought the above coffee table for a very good price. It’s a big piece, 150 x 50 cm, with only a few little scratches and traces of wear. So far we’ve just been trying to find out a little more about it and then we’ll be getting to work on it. What we’ve found is that it is a 60s/70s table, the design of it is similar to that of floating table (where the legs make it seem as though there is a gap between leg and top) and it is in a surfboard shape. Hopefully the work we do to it will make sure it can go to a good new home, watch this space for an update of its new look, we’ll let you know how it turns out!

Not sure when the next sale will be but here is the link to the website for this one. It is definitely worth a visit if it is near you.

Bethvictoria.com

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Etsy Favourites: Furniture

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We’ve chosen some of our current favourite pieces of furniture available on Etsy. A mix of reclaimed and handmade industrial pieces and some classic Ercol furniture – just the designs we currently love.

Reclaimed wood dining table and bench

From 7MAGOK

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These tables and benches are made with wood that has been salvaged from construction sites. Giving each piece a unique trace of its history on their surfaces creating a distinctive and industrial look. The makers offer these tables and benches in various finishes putting the extra individual touch to the pieces. The hairpin legs are a stylish current trend that compliment the wooden tops finishing off the items perfectly.

Box dark wood coffee table

From BlueIslandHome

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Some more of those beautiful hairpin legs with this coffee table! This sturdy looking coffee table with the extra storage from the ‘box’ shelf is the perfect piece for any living room. Here’s what the company says: “A vintage retro wooden Box Coffee Table in a dark wood finish with mid-century style metal hairpin legs in a choice of black or white powder coating or a bare steel ‘look’ (clear coated to protect from rust).”

Scottish Elm and Steel Distressed Bench

From escafell

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The impressive grain from the Scottish Elm, paired with the slick clear coated sturdy legs, makes for a useful and trendy bench. Benches are often forgotten when you’re thinking about furniture for a home, but they work so well in any room; the perfect seating in a dining, hallway or living room. So, check this out!

Wire shoe rack bench

From InekoHome

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This bench shows exactly how a bench would work in a hallway, as said with the Elm bench above, with the added bones of sections for your shoes. We love the mix of the industrial scaffold pole legs and cage shelves with the soft light food top. From the description it sounds as if the makers are willing to make this bench into something to perfectly fit any house and customers need.

Ercol 203/3 Windsor sofa/daybed

From WorkShopVintageStore

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This sofa had to be involved in this post, it is not handmade in the same sense as the other items so far in this post, but, it has the character and charm that comes with being a piece by Ercol. If you don’t know about Ercol and their process of making then you must check out some of their archive videos of the making of their furniture. This is just the perfect little Ercol piece.

Ercol Rocking Chair

From Swedishdalahorse

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Another simple Ercol piece. Not much to say about this stylish little rocking chair. I just want it. This seller also has a two seater windsor sofa which is just as beautiful.

Minimal industrial console table

From RefillDecor

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Console tables combine function and style in an area of the house that tends to be the dumping zone. This slender, minimalist industrial table is the perfect statement piece for any size entranceway from small to large.

Resin river coffee table

From FrancesBradleyDesign

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This English Elm table top features a resin river running through it adding the perfect splash of colour. The table is supported by a walnut frame and legs contrasting the light wood top and colour river. This statement from the description makes the tables stand out even more: “All our Elm is sourced within 30 miles of my workshop and can be traced to the individual tree, sustainably harvested as a by product of local tree surgeons and rescued rather than be used for firewood. Each piece has been handpicked for interesting features and is planed, sanded and hand rubbed with a protective varnish.”

Simple Metal Wired Shelves

From AllThingsChloeJane

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Stepping away from the wooden joys that we’ve seen so far we come to these wire shelves. They are simple, industrial and useful. They would look great in any room of the house as a versatile piece of furniture. Bonus: they’re not too expensive.

Hand Made Leather Butterfly Chair

From RealLeathers

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The final piece of furniture we’ve chosen is this foldable metal and leather chair. This is a rustic design that is effortlessly brought into any room with the use of pillows and throws. The perfect solution to the need of extra seating without losing style within a room.

Hope you like these pieces as much as we do!

Bethvictoria.com

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