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While I was in Sarasota, Fla., for a short vacation/mini family reunion last weekend, much of my time was spent in family activities (and listening to my 4-year-old niece sing Katy Perry’s “Roar”), but I did have a few woodworking sightings in my travels.

daybedMy mother and I took advantage of Monday free admission to the Ringling Museum of Art and walked the grounds of Ca’ D’ Zan (pictured above). While the museum’s painting and sculpture collections are quite good, the decorative arts aren’t terribly well represented. But a few pieces caught my eye, including this heavily carved 16th-century Florentine daybed – a piece that would, of course, been owned by only the wealthiest of families. The information card said it was likely made as a wedding gift. (Note: Click on the images to make them larger.)

chairThere is also a carved chair on exhibit from about the same period. While I find it interesting to look at, I’m pretty sure it would be hell to sit on for any length of time (a theory I was, of course, unable to test). The museum also has a couple of nice carved chests and an English refectory table that I’d like to show you, but the pictures somehow got wiped from my phone.

benchoverallAfter the museum, we went to a couple of architectural salvage stores (which are among my favorite places to while away a few hours) where I spied a well-used workbench with a curious fixture atop it; I assume it’s a planing stop of some kind, though I’ve never before seen a toothed version like this one affixed to a bench.

My mother, who visited the store once before I got there, had e-mailed me about the vises sitting atop it, thinking I might be interested. I, of course, immediately moved the metal-working vises out of the way to get a better look at what they were sitting on. (I have plenty of vices already, but vises aren’t among them.)Plning-stop

I also fell in love with some bar stools that had vintage bases, and seats made to look that way. I can’t put my finger on why I like these so much; I tend to gravitate toward Shaker and Arts & Crafts rather than industrial. But I’d love to have two of these to use alongside the kitchen island/bar I’m planning for my kitchen … right after I finish the kitchen cabinets, install them then install a new floor. (If you’ve been reading my personal blog, you know I was planning on refinishing the wood floors; I’ve been meaning to post about why that’s not going to happen…)

stoolPerhaps I’m hoping the industrial look will convince the typical young homebuyer in my neighborhood that my house is cool when it goes back on the market this spring…but the stools would come with me when I move, so I think I’m just looking for excuses. My mother will be in Florida for another few weeks, so I’ve a little time to make up my mind – but I’m not sure I want to spend $275 per. Talk me out of it? (But they are cool, right?)

— Megan Fitzpatrick

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Showing 6 comments
  • Shawn Nichols

    I’d say buy ’em. They would certainly appeal to the stereotypical Northside-Hipster home buyer.

    And there’s got to be a way to get them into the magazine. Maybe they’ll serve as inspiration for a salvaged/blacksmith collaboration piece. I’d love to read something like that.


  • wtpacker

    Try out the stool barefooted. The foot rest looks pretty narrow.

  • Bernard Naish

    I love the bench…nice big apron.

    It would look good in your kitchen?

  • BLZeebub

    I’d go for the chairs. The sting of missing out would last a lot longer than the price you’ll pay to have them in your life. Go for it, Red!

  • pmac

    If you like them, negotiate on the price. Bummer about the kitchen floor.

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