Beautiful Toys by Charles & Ray Eames

Serious Fun

Taking inspiration from the humble cardboard box, Ray and Charles Eames created toys and furniture to spark the imaginations of kids and grown-ups alike.

Ray and Charles Eames took child’s play seriously. They invented playthings, furniture, and films to spark, but never limit, the young imagination. Given their own ideas of fun, these toys tended to emphasize composition, structure, and building, giving children the tools of their own adult trades in miniature (and giving some adults the chance to make like children again). Many of their designs embrace what kids and parents have long known: that the box an item comes in, especially if it’s a very large item, can be more exciting than the contents.

So it comes as no surprise that the Eameses improved the box itself, as a portfolio of photographs unearthed from the Herman Miller Archives reminds us. The humble cardboard box offers children their first chance to make space for themselves, whether that’s a racecar, a robot, or a house, sprouting from the shipping container the Eames Office designed in 1951 for the Eames Storage Units (ESUs).

Printed in a colorful red and black design, and featuring the distinctive Herman Miller ‘M,’ the heavy cardboard carton, reinforced with wood splines, had only to be re-nailed to the bottom wood skid, after the furniture had been removed, to be made into a playhouse youngsters would love, reads text from a draft press release. A separate leaflet offers instructions on “How to Make a Playhouse,” but it should have been self-explanatory: dotted lines suggest locations for an entrance and a view out, as well as jaunty awnings.

In one fell swoop, the Eameses managed to combine adult and child fun, eliminate waste, and add excitement to the mundane process of delivery. The up arrows, as well as the deep V of the logo “M,” designed by Irving Harper for the company, suggest the possibility of upward expansion into a miniature townhouse or skyscraper, should a child or parent need more furniture.

The ESUs themselves were also a kind of demountable toy for grownups. Made of perforated steel extrusions with diagonal bracing, they could be configured as low credenzas or high bookshelves. Buyers could customize the interior arrangement, selecting plywood drawers or doors, and perforated metal or enameled Masonite filler panels. Owners could also take them apart and rearrange or add on, treating the furniture as a series of modular boxes‑ furniture as toy.

As adults designing playthings intended for children, the Eameses found more inspiration in boxes. The Toy, manufactured by Tigrett Enterprises in 1951, offered children the chance to make their own prefabricated structure, one more colorful and flexible than Carton City. The Eameses had first been in touch with Tigrett about manufacturing large, bright, paper-and-cardboard animal masks based on those they used for skits and photo shoots in the late 1940s. The Memphis-based company was run by the highly entrepreneurial John Burton Tigrett, who made his fortune selling the Glub-Glub duck and may have been looking for more patentable products. The masks never made it out of the prototype stage, but the simpler and more geometric Toy did.

The Toy combined thin wooden dowels, pipe cleaners, and a set of square and triangular stiffened-paper panels in green, yellow, blue, red, magenta, and black. Children could run the dowels through sleeves on the edges of the panels to strengthen them, and then attach these struts at the corners. Initially sold in a big, flat box via the Sears catalog, the Eameses soon redesigned this packaging as well, creating a far more elegant 30-inch hexagonal tube, into which all parts could be rolled and stored.

The first version of the Toy made spaces big enough for children to inhabit, like the cartons. The Little Toy, released in 1952, was scaled more like an architectural model, allowing children to radically reinterpret the dollhouse. (The office later prototyped a modern model house for Revell, but it never went into production.) The Little Toy boxes, which feature a grid of colorful rectangles and words, resemble the panelized arrangement of the Eames House façade and the ESUs, and all of these products, at their various scales, were being developed at the Eames Office within the same few years.

Charles Eames once said of the work done out of the Eames Office, “We work because it’s a chain reaction, each subject leads to the next.” The connection to the ESU cartons and The Toy is immediately apparent in the longest-lived of the modular, paper-based playthings to come out of the Eames Office, the House of Cards.

In the voiceover for “Toccata for Toy Trains,” Charles Eames says, “In a good old toy there is apt to be nothing self-conscious about the use of materials. What is wood is wood; what is tin is tin; and what is cast is beautifully cast.” He could have added, in reference to the couple’s own toys, what is cardboard is cardboard, and then talked about the qualities that make it an ideal building material: its strength, its low cost, its ability to withstand a judicious number of cuts and slots.

Why Magazine by Alexandra Lange

Beautiful Plywood Custom Made Beds

Custom made beds aren’t for everyone. But if you’re a handy DIY’er or happen to know a good carpenter, they can be a great option for a kids room.  Custom made beds allow you to make the most of the space you have, allows for extra storage, are ideal in shared rooms and they can be space saving in small or awkwardly shaped rooms. The benefits are endless and while they require more effort than a shop bought bed, they are totally worth it in the end.

If you’re in a home that you plan to stay in for a long time, a custom made bed is worth considering. And using plywood will not only keep costs down but this natural wood looks beautiful too. You can choose to paint the wood if you prefer a bit of color, like in the room pictured above or you can go natural. Either way, you will end up with a piece of furniture that is perfect for your room and your space.

This is an easy to recreate idea for a shared room or even for one child. The beds take up as little space as possible and there is accessible storage under the bed. Living the minimal look which is both practical and stylish. And the best part is that when your kids outgrow the room or want separate rooms, this bed goes back to being a beautiful storage cabinet.

Bunk beds are always a fun idea. It’s a simple design that doesn’t take much space and we love how light it looks. Bunk beds can sometimes look bulky and heavy but here the use of plywood and having just a mattress on the floor as the second bed, makes this one blend in beautifully.

Bunk beds don’t always have to be for two. A single high bed is great for making the most of floor space like in the room above. Besides the bed, there’s so much more to love about this room. Plywood is used to create a cozy reading nook and divider – the other side is the sibling’s room. One room has been cleverly been divided so each child gets their own space.

Making single plywood beds is yet another idea and it’s especially appealing as they are much easier to make than bunk beds. The design you go for can be anything but here are two beds that are so simple in design, yet so beautiful. One is a plywood box with wheels, making it very practical as a spare bed that can easily be moved around from room to room. And the other is a box with a platform to place a mattress on. If you wanted, you could easily turn the box part into storage for toys or books.

Beautiful Cafe Interior

Hometown hero Renee Erickson continues to expand her popular Capitol Hill doughnut and coffee shop, General Porpoise, recently in Amazon in South Lake Union, and now in Pioneer Square.

General Porpoise, known for its luscious sugar-coated doughnuts oozing with fillings like lemon curd, strawberry rhubarb jam, and vanilla custard, recently opened at 401 1st Ave. S in the Merrill Building, at the corner of 1st Ave. S and S Jackson St. With 30 seats, the shop will serve the pastries fans have come to know and love. The new shop’s next-door neighbor is Flora and Henri, the home of bespoke products for children, women, and home, whose bright, airy, whimsical aesthetic perfectly suits Erickson’s Sea Creatures group and the duo’s design firm, Price Erickson. The cafe is gorgeous with soaring, large-timber ceilings, white brick walls against bright magenta accents, a meeting room, and a marching troop of papered-elephant lanterns by local artist Jeffry Mitchell, as well as massive windows to let in light and show off the interior. When in Seattle, pay a visit.

Beautiful Interiors

Kiev-based Interior Architect Evgeniy Bulatnikov designs beautiful monochromatic spaces, this one titled Warm Sand. A joint project with Interior Architect Emil Dervish, they have received many accolades for their work since including features in AD Magazine. Evgeniy’s latest project Warm Sand is located in Saint Petersburg and features soft, chalky hues and an understated aesthetic. Clean lines are paired with textured walls and natural timber to create a rustic feel, while soft linen furnishings bring a softness to the overall look. The result is stunningly beautiful yet inviting.

Beautiful Rooms For Kids

6F016A03-0525-4791-BCC4-20E52BA8C80CLoving this beautiful blush trend for a kids room. Blush has a softness, a warmth and calmness all in one which is so perfect for a kids room. Blush mixes well with lots of colors, but works best with monochromes, greys and greens. Alternatively, the wall to wall blush color is perfect for a bedroom.

Here are some more blush rooms that showcases beautiful blush:

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If not an all blush room, white and blush make a great combination too. But it doesn’t have to be blush walls with white decorations. Instead, use a white backdrop with lots and lots of blush decor from rugs to baskets to bedding and more. And the white background makes these blush colored decorations pop even more.

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Add some fun and make it a whimsical blush room. The color blush lends itself to so many moods and styles of room. Here blush is complemented with touches of green which is another colour combo that works so well. Loving the moody, magical feel that all the blush decorations help create.

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Blush and grey feels like it’s a match made in heaven! It doesn’t matter what shade of grey you use, from lightest to darkest, it just works so well with blush. Both colors are calming and warm so, together they create a wonderful, inviting space for kids.

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An all blush room can look super stunning by mixing different shades of blush from the palest to much darker tones. The combination of the soft blush bedding against the dark wall – just beautiful.