The Victorian Trading Co

There’s a website I recently discovered that is sure to be of interest for Steampunks looking to outfit their abodes with a Victorian flair.  The Victorian Trading Company has all manner of goods inspired by Victoiriana.

The Victorian Trading Co was started in 1987 by Melissa and Randy Rolston in Dallas, Texas and now operates as a small company based out of Lenexa, Kansas outside of Kansas City.

From antique reproductions and fashion to outdoor living and accessories, The Victorian Trading Company is a great resource for finding items to match your Steampunk decor.  They even have free e-cards for you Steampunks wanting to send a message to your equally steamy friends. You can check them out here.

Gear Clocks

If there’s one thing that’s true about Steampunks, it’s true that we, as a subculture, love to stick gears on just about anything. It makes absolutely no difference whether said gears serve any sort of purpose; the more gears, the better.

An easy transition from gears is to the item in which we usually find them: clocks. Many an antique clock has been destroyed for its innards to be repurposed into fancy Steampunk gear. The Steampunk fascination with gears and other whirligigs found within an antique clocks is one of the main reasons why Clockpunk is often viewed as a subset of Steampunk.

And when the two are recombined, it makes for some excellent Steampunk decorating opportunities. The mainstream is catching on to our obsession for clocks and gears. When I was looking around for a new housewarming piece for my home in Seattle, I found this gear clock:

And this one:

And this one:

Wow. I honestly don’t know what to think of this. That’s a lot of different results for essentially the same thing. On the plus side, buying these would cover a lot of blank wall space with some Steampunk goodness that is pretty much on the mark with respect to the Steampunk aesthetic.

Kitchen Sync

Thankfully, the Steampunk aesthetic is not one of those looks you can find when you open up a home decorating magazine where everything is already prescribed. Steampunk home design and decor, like all aspects of Steampunk, is about incorporating one’s personal Steampunk aesthetic into the unifying look and personal preference for the aesthetic balance of Steam and Punk.

There are many bits and pieces that have been created to assist with the achievement of a particular look. If you aren’t an interior designer, but looking to do some remodeling, though, it can be somewhat difficult finding a place to start.

Fortunately, there is Kitchen Sync to the rescue. This blog by Kelly Morisseau, a CMKBD (Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer), and a CID (Certified Interior Designer) features some of the best in kitchen and bathroom designs. There’s lots of good stuff here on its own, but what makes Kitchen Sync special is that every Sunday she does a series called Steampunk Sundays.

Check out her latest post on various plumbing pieces to get an idea for what to expect from her posts.

So, if you’re thinking about redoing a room or an entire house into your version of the Steampunk aesthetic, do drop by the Kitchen Sync on Sundays for some great inspiration. Who knows, you might even find that perfect piece to complete the look you’ve been trying to achieve.

 

Marinemine- The Mine Furniture

I’m always hunting for interesting pieces for those Steampunks out there who love the culture so much that they want to furnish their homes entirely with the Steampunk aesthetic. Finding the perfect blend of Victoriana and post-apocalyptic industrial beauty is something of a challenge. Thankfully, our look doesn’t come prepackaged from Rooms to Go, so its up to individual Steampunk artists to create furniture and decor that would suit the Steampunk home.

Mati Karmin is one of Estonia’s best sculptors and is crafting positively incredible pieces that are sure to please any Steampunk created from the hollowed out containers of old Soviet deep-see mines between the 1940’s and 50s. So, while the time period of the material places this is the Dieselpunk area, the look of these creations could easily fit into a Steampunk setting.

That’s a fireplace that’s sure to bring a touch of the apocalypse a la Victoriana to any living room.

And here’s an aquarium and a patio swing. It’s truly incredible what Mr. Karmin has been able to do with the remains of weapons of war. He’s recycled them into something peaceful and beautiful, and totally fitting for a Steampunk home!

To see more of Mr. Karmin’s incredible work, please visit his website and take a look at the full line of mine furniture.

Mini Steampunk Lamps

The Instructables community has done it again! In a seemingly endless stream of Steampunk inspired projects, we have a new lesson on creating Mini Steampunk Lamps. This is an excellent project if you are wishing to add a bit more of a Steampunk flair into your home, but don’t have a budget for a full make over.

I’m not a fan of the excessive advertising that has found its way into Instructables (seriously, though, those put ups from the bottom of the screen that I get on occasion are hella annoying) but fortunately all of the information you will need to make your new lamp is there for the taking.

To get this project rolling, you will need:

  • Various small copper pieces
  • small LED
  • small coated wire
  • A small lamp shade
  • hot glue
  • tissue paper

For the full instructions for creating your lamp, please click here. Don’t forget that with a little creativity and modifications, you can make larger scale lamps as well.

The Corset Chair

Today, I have a very special piece of furniture for all of you who are looking to remodel your sitting room with a Steampunk flair. Gaze upon the beauty of the Corset Chair by Sarah Louise Dix.

Squee!

This chair has so much personality, and it looks very comfy too! I would love, love, love to own this chair, never mind my tendency for a nomadic lifestyle! It’s so unique and perfectly Steampunk. Unfortunately, its quite pricey, but someone is going to be very lucky indeed to have such a unique and feminine piece in their sitting room. If you are interested, you can click on the photo to view the chair’s Etsy listing.

You can also learn more about the artist, Sarah Louise Dix by visiting her website. She has a number of pieces of furniture that are built to look like different pieces of clothing. The Corset Chair is, I think, the best example of her work, and certainly the most likely to appeal to our Steampunk sensibilities.

Steampunk Gear Table

At present, I am not to the point in my life where I am buying furniture of any sort. I’m far too nomadic to be interested in laying down 700 dollars for a table. For those of you who are, however, I’d like to bring your attention to a spectacular little gem I discovered today while I was browsing Etsy for new components to my Steampunk wardrobe:

Ooh, ahh… This table is perfectly Steampunk. The gears are made from 15 layers of birch hardwood laminated together and the large gear is 30 layers which means this table should last. What really excites me about this table is that the gears actually spin via the handle on the left. How cool is that?

The table’s overall measurements are approx. 26 inches wide, 40 inches long, and 30 inches high. Shipping and pick-up options are  available to the very lucky Steampunk who elects to purchase this beauty. Consider me incredibly envious.

Tomorrow, I promise I’ll get back to posting material from A-Kon. I just wanted to let you know about this table before someone else snatches it away!

Victorian Organ Command Desk and Steampunk Home Tour

Jake Von Slatt seems to discover the coolest items in the world of Steampunk. Like this Victorian Organ Command Desk created by the people who run ModVic Home Restoration, Bruce and Melanie Rosenbaum:

That’s a salvaged antique organ that has been turned into a computer desk. Amazing work from the Rosenbaums. This piece announces their offshoot company, Steampuffin, described by the Rosenbaums as “a website being developed that will offer unique ‘Steampunk’-inspired architectural salvage and antique items, project ideas and modified Steampunk Victorian modern appliances and inventions to high-end Steampunk enthusiasts, home restorers and designers.”

If that doesn’t get you excited, I simply don’t know what will.

But if you are like me and are thrilled to pieces at the sight of this Command Desk and remember my old post about the Rosenbaum’s Steampunk inspired home, you will be thrilled to know that they are opening it up for a pubic viewing on Sunday, May 2 from 1 to 4 PM. The house is in Sharon, MA, so if you live on the east coast (or your life will be incomplete without viewing this home) I sincerely recommend paying the paltry 20 dollars to see this house in person.

Advance order tickets can be purchased at the Museum, 16 High St. Sharon, MA 02067.  Checks should be made payable to the “Sharon Historical Society.” On the day of the tour, tickets will be available at all five of the homes, and at the Museum. You can call the Society at 781-784-9966 or Gary Sullivan at 617-974-1141 for more information.

A Steampunk Home

Designing an entire home around the Steampunk aesthetic can be both an artistic and financial challenge. Making today’s modern conveniences fit into a Neo-Victorian/Steampunk style is certainly a challenge. Jake von Slatt’s recent visit to an entirely Steampunk home is inspirational for any person considering redecorating their home or restoring an old home to its past beauty.

The following is just a few of the many photos of the house taken by von Slatt. You can see the entire compilation on von Slatt’s website.

*sigh* I wish I could tell you that these were all pictures of the inside of my house, but unfortunately, they are not. This house is expertly restored to reflect the Steampunk influence. I love it!

It is also worth mentioning that Bruce and Melanie Rosenbaum, the people who own this house, run a home restoration business that focuses specifically on the Steampunk aesthetic!  ModVic was started in June of 2007 and they are very clearly amazing at their work. Just take a look at some of the restoration work they have done if you still harbor reason to doubt me.

Home Decor 101

Decorating a Steampunk House can certainly be a challenge. There’s a lot of cheap and poorly made materials which, if just thrown willy-nilly into a house can give the impression that Steampunk is a gaudy aesthetic, and we all know that simply isn’t true.

Steampunk isn’t about just going to Wal-mart and buying anything with brass or leather on it. As I stated in a previous post, I’m a big advocate for supporting artisans practicing their craft, and using their personal talents to equip a wardrobe and a home will be good both for presentation and the conscience. The numerous do-it-yourself tutorials are posted here in the hope that you will find use out of everyday items to reinvent your world into a Steampunk haven.

A few tips for Steampunk decorating:

  • Be conscious of the materials you are using, the more natural, the better. Think wood, brass, copper, leather and bronze. Try to purchase unique pieces rather than something mass produced. Places like Etsy, thrift stores, estate sales, and antique shops will help tremendously.
  • Consider revamping your wall decorations. Many family photos can be changed to black and white, or sepia tones with the click of a button in a good photo editing program to give them an older appearance. If you have the budget for it, there are many artists online that will paint portraits from your pictures. Here’s an example called Paint Your Life. Fair warning, though… I’ve had no personal experience with these guys, so don’t blame me if the picture turns out terrible. I do like that you only pay 20% up front and that you have the chance to review the artwork before it comes to your door, which hopefully avoids the previously stated problem.
  • Bug collections, skeletons from specimens, fossils, and astronomy charts are good ideas for a Steampunk presentation that focuses on the scientific aspects of Steampunk. Globes, old maps, and photos of exotic locations (in period, of course!) would be a great foundation for an exploration theme. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ideas and themes. How about a time travel theme? Or a Gothic Steampunk slant? Or a submarine theme inspired by Captain Nemo and the Nautilus? The nice thing about Steampunk is that the conventions are flexible and reward creativity.
  • Get exposed. Steampunk loves to explore how things work, so this is an excellent opportunity to expose the inter-workings of a gadget. Brass pipes under sinks and the gearwork on clocks are fashionable when a subculture is obsessed with how things work.

These a just a few tips to start those brains working. If you are seriously thinking about redecorating a room, or an entire house, I would highly recommend reading The Steampunk Home, a blog that focuses on Steampunk decorating. You’ll find all sorts of unique items there. Plus, all of the posts are nicely cataloged so that you can look through past posts if you need something specific. There’s so much good stuff here, you’d be positively mad to redecorate without consulting it!