Every so often, a piece of furniture comes along that can only be described as a work of art, or jewelry for the home. These beautiful nesting tables are a prime example of this breed of goods – and vastly prettier in person than the images show. The gleam of the highly polished metal base contrasts with the sparkle of the hammered finish of the tabletops in these distinctly contemporary pieces, while the detailing of the bases recalls more traditional design – crenellated castles, anyone?
The weight lets you know you are truly dealing with a quality piece, as does the sheer perfection of the finish and attention to detail. The finishes are like silk.
This is a magnificent melding of form and function in a pair of petite tables that will be at home almost anywhere.
Made of bronze, these nesting tables are available in a variety of polished and patina finishes (11 in all), including the three shown here.
Size: 11.5″ square x 20″ high
Please contact me for pricing if interested in adding these jewels to your own home.
(Please note: This video may not run smoothly for some reason; you may have to restart it several times where it leaves off in order to view the whole thing, but make sure you watch it all, including the testing processes.)
Glass tables can be wonderful additions to many rooms in the house, and are particularly popular as coffee tables, end tables, and dining tables. They are stylish, help small rooms look larger, and can help reflect light that will help brighten any space.
But they do have one major downside, that people should be aware of, and that is that they can also provide a significant hazard for everyone in the house, but particularly for children and the elderly. Sharp edges can cause cuts and bruises when people bump into them, and particularly for the elderly, whose vision is not what it was when they are younger, they can just be more difficult to see, and thus harder to avoid bumping into. As we age, our skin gets thinner, so elderly skin is more likely to tear easily on a squared edge, too, than on one that is more rounded. Much is already made of these particular issues in aging-in-place and universal design circles.
However – and even more importantly – glass tables of all sizes and designs can also shatter, especially if someone falls on them, and severe injuries and even death may result, as the above video shows.
Even young, able-bodied adults are not immune from this risk, as both this video describes and the one blow shows graphically.
Although this second video starts out humorously, and looking like a commercial or a joke, the injuries the woman shown has likely sustained could well threaten her life, as well as disfigure her forever. The chances that the glass may penetrate her abdomen or chest, or sever a carotid artery or femoral artery (among other possibilities) are high, any of which injuries could cause her to bleed to death in a matter of minutes. She may well have also sustained a severe neck and/or back injury from this fall, fractures, and could need reconstructive plastic surgery to repair her face. This sort of trip and fall is not at all an unlikely occurrence in many homes, either, particularly as anyone who has ever had children or pets will attest.
Children are also particularly susceptible to such injuries, when they run around and jump on the furniture. Consumer Reports and the Providence Journal reported on one such tragic case of an 11 year old dying from a severe puncture wound to her leg that caused her to bleed to death.
According to Consumer Reports, “Each year an estimated 20,000 people, most of them children, are treated in emergency rooms for injuries sustained from glass furniture. In an average year, three children die”.
Pets can also cause the same kind of damage to glass furniture, and sustain the same kinds of injuries, especially if they are large and/or rowdy.
So, does this mean you should get rid of all glass tables, or never use them?
No, it just means you have to do a little homework when first buying them, and be sure that the glass is tempered/safety glass, not the more typical annealed glass used in most furniture.
Tempered glass (also known as safety glass), which is what your car windows, shower doors, and storm doors are made of, shatters into many small pebble-like pieces when it breaks, none of which are likely to cause life-threatening injuries, most of which have very few sharp edges. Annealed glass, however (which is what most home windows are made of, and almost all glass furniture parts), breaks into slabs and slices of glass of varying sizes, some quite large, with edges that are as sharp as knives, and which will quickly and easily penetrate all soft tissue, and even bone, if the force applied is sufficient. The first video above shows the difference graphically in a testing situation.
Because there are no safety standards or codes that apply to the type of glass used in tables yet (although they are now under development), it’s up to you the consumer (or your designer) to ensure that safety glass is used or specified, in order to ensure maximum safety, especially in areas of the home that have a lot of traffic, although it’s best to ensure the use of safety glass wherever glass is used in furniture in the home.
Some tables are made entirely of glass, and it may not be possible to get them in tempered glass, or they may be made in a way that makes replacing the glass portions impractical or impossible, so you will then have to decide what’s most important to you, taking into consideration where the piece will live, who will use it, the amount of traffic that will pass near it, etc.
Some manufacturers already use tempered glass as a matter of course, but far from all, so you will have to ask before you buy. If it’s just a glass top or insert, and you cannot custom order the piece with tempered glass (or you already have the piece), you can always have a replacement made of tempered glass yourself by a local glass shop. You could also have a replacement top fabricated from another material, including wood or stone, if that works with the piece and your space, and the look appeals to you, but then you will lose the visual appeal and other qualities of the glass, if that’s what you really want.
It’s also a good idea to ensure that everyone in your home and to whom you entrust the care of your children 0r elderly relatives, including babysitters and other caretakers, is trained in basic first aid, just on general principles. I don’t know enough about the case in Rhode Island, but depending upon the location of the puncture wound that bled uncontrollably as reported, it’s very possible that prompt first aid including direct pressure on the wound, arterial pressure, or even a tourniquet if necessary and possible based on the location of the wound, may have saved her life.
So, don’t let this post scare you out of using glass tables, because they are wonderful in the right settings, and totally appropriate. Just take reasonable precautions to ensure safety when selecting them – and enjoy your furniture for years to come.
Furniture Today reports about a London man who has suffered severe skin rashes and burns shown to result from the anti-mold chemical dimethyl fumarate, or DMF in his Chinese-made sofa, and was awarded a four-figure settlement for his claim.
According to further stories in the London Times, DMF is a common ingredient added to sofas and chairs by Chinese manufacturers Linkwise and Eurosofa, particularly leather ones, to help protect them from humid conditions. Several other manufacturers are also being investigated.
DMF is packaged in little packets like the silica dessicants you are already familiar with that are often packaged with delicate goods, but these are inserted inside the seat cushions and between the leather and the cushion, so you won’t see any sign of them.
Unfortunately, DMF can evaporate when exposed to warm conditions, and soak through clothing to reach the skin resulting in some potentially very serious reactions. Because gases are a very rare cause of skin rashes, it took a while to figure out what was going on, but a study in Sweden has conclusively proven the connection. Similar problems have also surfaced in France, Finland, Poland, and Sweden. Apparently there have been thousands of similar injuries.
There have also been reports of similar reactions caused by some shoes as well.
As a result of these problems, the European Commission has now banned DMF and demanded a recall of all products containing DMF by May 1, 2009 and notification of affected consumers. Unfortunately, not all retailers have complied, so there may still be thousands of these sofas and chairs out there, so please beware if you are purchasing inexpensive furniture, as much of it is made in China and may well contain this chemical.
If you have purchased new upholstered furniture in the past couple of years and have been experiencing any kind of problems with skin or respiratory irritation since then, this may well be the cause of it.
I haven’t been able to find any evidence that DMF been banned in the US, and it’s a good bet it’s present in furnishings sold here as well. For starters, I’ve located suppliers of it in the US, and I’ve also found websites showing a furniture company by the same name in North Carolina and shipping information to a warehouse in Canada from Link Wise in China. Because I also know that there’s a ton of Chinese-made furniture in our country, it would be a reasonable conclusion that this same contamination may well be found throughout the United States and Canada.
Please note that this is a chemical added by the furniture manufacturers, and is not used in the leather tanning process itself, so it should not be an issue for the vast majority of leather products, particularly high quality goods.
So how do you protect yourself?
First of all, don’t panic, even if you’ve recently bought leather furniture. Call the store and ask where it was manufactured, especially if you’re experiencing any new and/or persistent respiratory or skin symptoms you haven’t found any other cause for.
If you’re just now looking to buy, start by asking questions in the stores or of the designer who is showing you the products about where the furniture was manufactured, and about any chemicals used in the process. You may not be able to get an answer, but it’s worth trying – and if you can’t get an answer, do consider passing on that item, because the odds are high that it will indeed be from China, especially if you’re buying from a lower end store. Likewise, if you think the furniture seems particularly well-priced or inexpensive, keep a very high index of suspicion, unless the store or your designer can assure you that it was manufactured elsewhere.
If you’re working with a designer, he or she should be willing to ask the showroom for you and get back to you if she doesn’t already know the answer.
And always buy quality goods – the very best you can possibly afford, even if you have to purchase it one item at a time over a period of time in order to be able to afford better quality. You really do get what you pay for with furniture, in so many ways. In the end, high quality furnishings will last and look beautiful for decades, while cheaper stuff will fall apart and look shabby quickly and have to be replaced much more frequently, often at greater overall cost in the long run. In later blog posts, I’ll cover how to tell good furniture from the rest, both upholstered and casegoods.
Also, given all of the reports of various other contaminated products coming out of China these days, including drywall used in many new homes, I hate to say it, but it might be a good idea to be extremely cautious indeed about learning the origins of anything you purchase, and to possibly just say no to Chinese products altogether. Yes, you can get a lot for your money with cheap, mass-produced Chinese furniture, which accounts for a huge percentage of the mass market furniture sold in the US, but between these kinds of health risks and the negative impact on our own economy, and given that there’s a lot of top quality product out there coming from the US itself and other countries that do not have these problems (and is much, much greener/more sustainable in many ways), are the risks really worth it?
Furniture tipping over can create a significant hazard in the home, particularly to young children, although the frail elderly and the disabled may also be disproportionately negatively impacted as well. Top quality furniture has always resisted tipping over as a result of use far more effectively than cheaper goods, because best manufacturing practices and materials create structure that builds this in to a large extent.
However, particularly since most people purchase mass market goods, much of which does not come anywhere near meeting these kinds of inherent quality standards, it’s important to read the press release below, and to be alert to the hazard, as well as to ways you can mitigate it.
In earthquake-prone areas such as California, it is particularly important to bolt taller pieces of furniture to the wall in order to prevent tip-over in an earthquake (although that still won’t help with the problem of poorly constructed drawers falling out). In an earthquake, all bets are off as to what will or will not tip over due to construction quality, and you’ve got to assume that everything will fall over. Securing tall pieces to the wall is just plain a good idea everywhere else, too, for the reasons outlined below, just on general principles, and is the reason this new voluntary standard has been developed.
In future posts, I’ll address the question of what to look for in furniture construction of various types of furniture in order to ensure you get the best possible quality, which contributes to safety, comfort, usability, durability, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness, as well as pure pleasure and enjoyment.
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(05/18/2009) AHFA Will Use Consumer Website to Help Educate Parents About Furniture Tip-Over Hazards
By: Jackie Hirschhaut, 336/881-1016
HIGH POINT, N.C. – ASTM International has released a revised furniture tip-over standard requiring manufacturers to include a “tip restraint” with each chest, door chest and dresser taller than 30 inches.
“Tip restraints attach the piece of furniture to an interior wall, framing or other support to help prevent the piece from tipping over,” explains American Home Furnishings Alliance Vice President Bill Perdue, who served as co-chair of the furniture safety subcommittee that worked on the revised standard. “Furnishings that comply with the new standard also will carry a new warning label that cautions parents not to open more than one drawer at a time, not to place televisions or other heavy objects on the top of the product, and not to allow children to climb on drawers.” (more…)
What do you all think of vendors who want you to pay for their product catalogues and specification binders?
I can see charging the general public, who will likely only order one or two pieces in their entire lifetimes, but it’s foolish, in my opinion, to charge interior designers, since we are likely to use your line over and over again. I simply won’t pay for catalogues, no matter how much I like the line. There are zillions of excellent products out there; I can easily find something else.
Product catalogues are part of a company’s marketing materials, and thus, the production of them and costs of sending them out should be part of their marketing budget, one of the many costs of doing business that every company has that can’t be billed to anyone. The product lines with which I work are high end, so the manufacturers ought to be able to cover those expenses for product binders. It’s certainly fair game to ask for a resale number first, if they want, but for heaven’s sake, we designers need the product information handy if they want us to specify their goods, especially if they are not represented anywhere locally. They make money from us – if they give us the means to do buy from them and make it easy. I will never understand why some of these companies make it so hard for us to sell their stuff.
Needless to say, I’m not going to name company names here – but I’m looking for lines to replace these with who want my business enough to actually make it easy for me to give it to them.
Concerned about your right to practice interior design anywhere in the country? Think you’re alone?
No, there’s a very strong grassroots opposition movement well underway spearheaded by the Institute for Justice and the Interior Design Protection Council (IDPC), and a wide range of individual grassroots organizations in affected states – and we’re having huge success blocking anticompetive laws, and in some cases, having existing ones overturned.
All this takes money, though. ASID reportedly has spent nearly $6,000,000 to the date of this post on their campaign to disenfranchise the majority of designers and has an army of paid lobbyists. We’re winning, as my previous post indicated, and expanding like crazy as money comes in to pay the support staff, despite being all volunteers, and operating on donations.
Join IJ and IDPC today to help fight anti-competitive legislation nationwide, and preserve interior designers’ right to make a living at our chosen profession. Please also see the No Design Legislation blog for a list of links to individual known state grassroots opposition organizations.
Do you have an old beat-up piece of furniture or other family heirloom that you’re debating what to do with? Should you just get rid of it and replace it with something new? Is it worth restoring or refinishing, or would it be more economical to just start over?
The answer is – it depends.
What does the item mean to you? How does it fit in with the other things you have or want to obtain? What memories do you have that are attached to that item?
The value of family pieces go well beyond the monetary, so before you make any knee-jerk decisions to get rid of something or to relegate it to the attic just because a designer or anyone else tells you it’s not worth restoring, or doesn’t fit with everything else you have or are about to buy, think about the article below. This is a sentiment I’ve always held, and why I love working with people’s family pieces, antiques, etc. Well-loved furniture and other items have a life to them that no new things ever can. They embody the history of a lot of people, carry many stories within, and when it’s your family’s history they carry, it’s all the more special.
And kick that designer out who summarily announced that it’s got to go, if it’s got meaning to you, and look for another who will understand your attachment to the piece and find a way to fit it in to your new home design in a place of honor.
After 40 plus years as a furniture restorer, it still warms my heart when a client brings in an old item for review, wondering if it might be possible to do something with it. There was a time long ago when if the item presented was not really worth the time, I would recommend against the restoration. As I have grown a little older I have begun to realize, there is a kind of value that defies appraisal.
The furnishings and other artifacts we have, and pass along to our kids and grandkids are more about preserving a family tradition and carrying on a pride in our family and loved ones than just a place to sit.
As I slow down and really listen to what my clients are saying, it starts to become more and more clear, It isn’t really about the chair or end table or whatever on the surface it seems to be. The little thing they brought along for me to see. The thing they are trying to grab onto is really more a legacy than any thing else. It’s a way to preserve what seems good about the past, and to bring that forth in their home today.
Maybe that thing lives inside the chair, where as a kid they remember Grandpa sitting on the front porch, smoking his pipe and telling stories of how it was when his daddy raised him. It’s a reminder of stories from a time before people had electricity in the house, and chilly visits to the outhouse on a cold November night.
For example, not long ago, a client of ours named Barbara stopped by to drop off a family piece. My associate commented about a rocking chair, it was laying just inside the door of our shop in pieces where barb left it just a moment before, I think something like “why in the world, would anybody spend money on that?” At face value, it’s a valid question. The chair wasn’t that good. The cost of restoration probably was every bit or more what it would cost to replace the rocker, but there was more to it than that, he had totally, missed the point as so many do. The rocker belonged to Barbara’s Mother whom had used it to rock barb and her little brother when she herself, was a young mother, it was a gift to her from her mom and in turn Barbs Mom had given to her just before passing away. I’m pretty sure that Barb had a lot of other chairs, and I’m sure she could have gone out and bought one just as nice for the money she was spending for the restoration, but knowing what we now know, that’s not the point is it?
As time goes on, my hair gets thinner, and my belly gets thicker, and I see more and more, the importance of leaving a legacy, as individuals, families and even as a country. And the stuff we have in and around our homes, while it is so true that we can’t take it with us, what we leave behind helps us to tell a story. The story of what we hold dear, the values we ascribe to and the example we set for future generations to model.
Christmas dinner on Grandma’s dining set will always taste better, and a book enjoyed in front of a fireplace is more intriguing if you are seated in mom’s rocking chair.
So, when taking inventory and planning what to do with potential heirlooms when they come your way think twice. Remember, it’s not only about cost benefit analysis and replacement cost.
When you decide to keep that rocker, or table or dining set, keep this in mind, these things are heavy laden vehicles, vehicles that transport fond memories, important values and sometimes several lifetimes worth of identity. I believe, that if you plan your interior design projects with these thoughts in mind, you will develop a real beautiful and warm home, a back drop for all the things you hold dear, and an opportunity to teach the next generation what is good and true and praiseworthy in life.
John VerHines is a seasoned restorer and president of Gramco. With 40+ years experience in the craft of furniture restoration.To learn more visit http://www.GramcoFurnitureRestoration.com
Copyright 2006Gramco Furniture