A dispatch from my much-frequented Etsy Favorites folder
By Rebekah Hall Scott
The "favorites" folder of my Etsy account is a safe place. It's a virtual magpie's nest, which has the digital benefit of being able to hold as many items as my heart desires. I've curated a lot of things that I like to look at, and it helps me keep track of how my interests have evolved over time. I treat this folder not so much as a shopping list but rather as a gauge of what I'm ~thinking~ about, design-wise, and to provide me with a touchstone for other shopping I'm doing offline.
Today, I'm sharing some favorites from my Etsy saves. I've organized the items by category of design interest that I've been exploring recently, starting with:
Scandinavian design: Lighting
Just looking at these lamps puts me in a better mood. All are vintage, and I love how playful the proportions, colors and shapes are.
The two red pendant lamps — one with a floral design, one in a crisp plaid — are painfully beautiful in their respective round-ness and square-ness. The fabric on each is stretched perfectly taught, and the glow, the GLOW, that each of these would cast in a cozy corner! Such a glow would make any occupant appear freshly blushed, which I think makes everyone look and feel sexier. The power of a pendant!
The egg lamp delights me. It's kind of serious, and kind of silly, which is perfect. I can see this lamp perched within or atop a bookshelf, as she deserves a place of reverence in the home, or as the centerpiece of a slightly witchy vignette on a table top... it's giving cottage core crystal ball!
The green sconce is delicious, with its vibrant punch of color and the satisfying texture of its gold arm. Since she stands alone and is not part of a set — which we respect, sister! — I feel like she would be a great addition to the wall behind a reading nook, hung over a piece of art to act as an extra beautiful picture light, or as the last light left on in the kitchen when the cooking is over and the cocktails have started.
The pine table lamp, with the unique shape of its shade and hanging floral lace border, is perfectly soft and rustic. It's begging to be added as necessary contrast to a room with more masculine colors and edges, or as the sweet cherry on top of a stack of books in a home office.
Last, but by no means least, this pair of hexagonal wooden "window" hanging lamps, with beautifully carved panes. It's difficult to find a pair of vintage lamps, let alone a set priced under $50, but here they are. My first inclination would be to suspend these above a pair of bedside tables, but they would be just as welcome flanking a large window, maybe above a set of two corresponding prints.
Scandinavian design: Textiles
This little sampler platter captures the joy that a special textile can bring. Since we rent our home and don't have plans to paint the walls (which are Butter Yellow!), I find that textiles are a great way to introduce color — even large swaths of it — to your space without the commitment of paint or wallpaper, though I will be making both of those commitments in multiple ways when we eventually own a home. My favorite shop, and the source for most of these pieces, is the great Etsy shop vintageTEXTILESdecor.
I really can't stop thinking about these 1950s Viola Gråsten curtains that give the effect of stained glass window panes. The seller knows what they have in these (they're priced at $244) and though I'm certainly not in a place to drop that much on curtains, I'm hoping one lucky Butter Yellow reader is. These panels are not very wide, so I think they'd look incredible over a single window or even just hung on the wall as a powerful pair of tapestries.
Speaking of tapestries, how sweet is the little green Flemish wool square with the couple reading the newspaper? I love the details depicted here: the patch of grass around their feet, the wood grain of the bench, and what looks like a green ribbon in the woman's hair. Would be a thoughtful gift for newlyweds or long-time weds.
I recently bought a similar striped Scandinavian table runner in browns, pinks and creams (but like... not in a Limited Too™ way) and I love the palette of red, salmon, green and blue in this example.
The colors of this Flemish tulip tapestry are just so good: vibrant pinks, oranges, purples and greens against mossy browns. I see this being a statement piece that immediately greets you in your entry way or hanging as the focal point of a gallery wall above your couch.
Another exciting textile for the table, this 1970s woven tablecloth is a visual feast. A striped border and gingham center? Orange, hot purple, yellow, green? It's so crisp I want to scream.
Rounding out the textiles is this traditional Scandinavian food, wine and fruit tapestry. Again, I love the colors and the border and the wonderful details of the fruit. It's only 12" x 11" and would look perfect above the sink in your kitchen or hung low above a sideboard or buffet in a dining room.
Lately I've been loving the idea of hanging a series of three pieces of art — also known as a triptych — to fill up an empty wall in our home that I've had trouble arranging. The wall is very wide but not very tall, so I like the idea of hanging three corresponding pieces across the horizontal space to highlight that distance while eating up some dead space. In this spirit, below are two sets that caught my eye.
I am really considering this (already framed!) set of three French charcoal prints from the 1870s. My home has a lot of color (as you can probably imagine!) so this more subdued palette would be a welcome and surprising contrast. I love the texture of these charcoal drawings, and that they're pastoral but a bit brooding.
This delightful triptych of framed prints by artist Sandra Samaha Toppan, a native of the New Hampshire countryside, depicting "Gwyn Hurd's House," "Geary Hurd's Barn," and "My Pasture." I recommend going to the Etsy listing and looking at the detail shots of each print, because the colors are both muddy and vibrant — a wonderful combination. Each piece of the set is large — 32.5" high x 22.5" wide — and the trio is listed for nearly $1,500 (though as I write this, it is on sale for half off!). But if I had over a grand to spare, I think this would be dreamy in a child's bedroom or hung above a taller piece of furniture, like a dresser or armoire.
Recently I devoured two books by the late Suzanne Rheinstein, an incredible American interior designer. Her interiors were crisp and rich, and full of beautiful details. In one of these books, Rheinstein mentioned her love for reverse glass paintings, or verre églomisé if you're fancy. This is the process of painting the back of a piece of glass and then viewing the painted picture through the other side of the painted glass. I've kept an eye out for reverse glass paintings since learning about them, including one below in this round up of special mirrors:
This antique "Trumeau" mirror from the 1920s features a reverse glass painting at the top. (Trumeau, I recently learned, refers to "a section of wall or a pillar between two openings, especially a pillar dividing a large doorway in a church.") I love the contrast of the black and gold frame with the blue background of the painting, and that you can really feel the hand of the artist in the brushstrokes.
Next is the first of two Peruvian mirrors that I keep returning to. The border of sweet, intricate flowers against an almost Kelly green background, surrounding a dentil molding painted in gold leaf, make for a punchy combination. Its long and skinny shape would make it a surprising addition to a gallery wall, and it would also look chic as a pseudo-transom hung above a door in a home with high ceilings.
This shimmering Peruvian mirror, like the one above, is handmade by an artisan in Peru who learned the trade from his father. Their PERUVIANMIRRORS Etsy shop is a treasure trove of stunning mirrors and hand-carved wood altar pieces. This golden girl has such a rich tone and would be a glamorous vehicle for that last look before leaving the house.
If you've made it this far, I'm humbled by your perseverance through the inside of my brain. I would love to see the pieces that live in your saved folders, whether on Etsy or Facebook Marketplace or any virtual shopping cart. Dreaming and scheming is one of the most fun parts of decorating, and I think it's a great way to explore and develop taste. Happy digital window shopping!