1970's Sweet-Orr jeans from an estate sale in Connecticut a few years ago. Lovingly and Bohemianly embroidered with flowers, a rainbow, "Catherine" (Cat) and the Yes and Chicago logos, all boro-ed on for jean-life-extension. A near perfect object, with personalization, signs of use, and the golden hat trick of hippie handicraft, typography, and utility.
$2, from the moving sale of a young British doctor and his wife.
Tanner Krolle has a long history of making luxury leather suitcases and gladstone bags for the well-heeled English, especially those who drove Aston Martins (always optional was a custom-fit set of Tanner Krolle luggage). This particular suitcase was made in London for Harrods, and has that nice country-look of leather and canvas with big brass fittings, a plaid interior and long leather belting if you choose to strap it to your car boot.
The young doctor said it was a wedding present, and he used it on their around-the-world honeymoon, and it was a good one, but now it just takes up too much space.
Speaking of nice carpets and monogrammed floors, here's the great custom designed, monogrammed wall-to-wall of the Coral Grill in Islamorada Florida. Linda and I bought some flippers and napkin rings at their yard sale this past March. Unfortunately the carpet wasn't for sale, but I think it's definitely an idea worth investigating.
One of my favorite objects, from an estate sale, deep in the abandoned basement workshop. To me, everything about this is perfect. The design, the scale/math, the craftsmanship, the mistakes, the patina, and the magic marker "unfinished drill index box". It opens perfectly in half on hinges that stay open at any degree. There's a chunk of pine which looks as if it was poured into the box it's so seamless. The patina and little dings and abrasions make you wonder how many years this was going to be left unfinished-- or did whoever made it realize that it actually was finished, since really in the time it took to write "unfinished drill index box" they could have just drilled the holes.
Taking some inspiration from it, I think it would make a really great chair (/loveseat/sofa), the basis of which is the closed box. Enlarged, it would have the feeling of a brutalist Tony Smith sculpture, and opened, like a Tony Smith sculpture opened up by Josef Albers into a canopy chair. Not to be presumptuous, but I think if Donald Judd had been in this basement he would have had the same idea.
conceivable in-situ view:
This would have been the perfect jumping-off point for this project, and conceivably what it could look like at the landing. Unfortunately it was too unaerodynamic too put on top of the car for the drive back from Florida a couple of months ago. The price was right though (free).
The fantastic light-filled studios of Alexander Calder and Henry Moore, from the excellent yard sale book "Architectural Digest Celebrity Homes II" (1981). Notice Calder's beautiful hooked rugs, designed by him and hooked by his wife Louisa. The Moore studio is the less impressive, but the wavy corrugated pvc roof is a great idea, and makes me wonder why more roofs aren't made like this, although the one over our deck will be within a month!
Another take on a personalized something-that-gets-stepped-on is this great idea from Kirk Douglas' backyard: the caption reads, "Stepping-stones inscribed by prominent guests over the years lead from the terrace, across the back lawn, to the screening room."
Unrelated, other than it was at the same yard sale, is this old leather belt themed pipe-smoking-at-the-desk set made by Gucci. Originally I saw just the ashtray, but then Linda said there was a humidor, and then the blotter and stand appeared from deep in the garage.