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The screen that opened doors

In October Huisraad Modern bought a rare Eileen Gray black lacquered brick screen at the decade's most publicised mid century modern furniture auction in South Africa. It was the auctioning off of the well known Prop House collection owned by Capetonians Will Hinton and Tess Wolpe.   The Huisraad Modern Eileen Gray brick screen For a moment we fantasised that we miraculously came into possession of an unaccounted for original, Japanese lacquer, Eileen Gray brick screen that she hand made in the 1920’s in Paris. The process to find out more about this screen gave us a glimpse into the life of one of furniture designs’ most enigmatic historic personalities.    Eileen Gray Was it not for an Eileen Gray...

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The Search for the Roots of a Humble Little Side Table

Scouring the South African second hand scene in all its guises for valuable vintage furniture turned out to be a way more exciting and engaging project than I though it would be. And I already had high hopes when we started out. The stories attached to furniture are fascinating. The stories of the South African companies who made the furniture, what inspired them, and who they copied. The stories of specific pieces and the families that they belonged to for decades. The stories of how furniture traveled from one family to another. And of course the stories of the real heirloom pieces that were passed down through generations. Real antiques never really appealed to us. It is the vintage stuff,...

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A new life for a tired old haberdashery counter

If it was not for an over priced haberdashery counter with potential but an owner unwilling to negotiate in the CBD of Vereeniging, we would probably not have spotted this one in the store next door. It was not on offer and still being used as a counter and camouflaged by merchandise stacked around it. We found a couple of great vintage pieces in this shop, belonging to the amiable and handsome Mohammed Sahib: Two mid century book cases, an old sewing cabinet, a modernist chrome and glass coffee table and a somewhat eccentric red steel garden chair.  We were ready to pay for these when we saw the unit. “Whoa, look at this!” Ali said. And Mohammed promptly invited...

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How the art deco armchair skeletons were brought back to life

  Last year, Huisraad posted a picture of a dilapidated, rusted, dust-covered and what seemed to be a rotten Art Deco couch and asked followers: What do you think, shall we do it? Razor sharp, rusty springs stuck out of the disintegrated hessian seat covers. The side panels and seats were completely missing. Any sane person would recoil at the image. But of course, Huisraad and their followers did not. Comments streamed in, from suggestions for which fabric to use to those who were already excited for the ‘after’ pics. But first, they had to get their hands on the couches. Magriet and her mother took a break from December holidaying and drove to Port Elizabeth with an empty trailer...

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