HOUSE: New Mexico #2 + Scavenging

New doors for the Umanoff bar cart.

Arthur Umanoff bar cart -

Quite a few years ago (nine, to be exact), I spotted this bar cart behind a row of discarded shutters and windows, stashed under a plastic roof in the lot behind Stan’z, a most fabulous junk shop in Kingston. Stan doesn’t play around when he knows what something is worth, but because the designer of the cart—Arthur Umanoff—doesn’t have the name recognition of his more-famous contemporaries like Paul McCobb or the Eameses, every now and then you’ll come across one of his pieces for next to nothing. (Or you’ll find them misattributed to McCobb and marked up to double their value.) I paid thirty bucks for the cart, which still makes me feel smug every time I see one on 1st Dibs for almost 100x that price.

It was missing its doors, which isn’t a huge deal—better that than water damage. I made some quick “temporary” doors for it out of scrap dry-erase board, and just kind of forgot about it for eight or so years. I ditched the doors when I moved to New Mexico, though, vowing to properly replace them once I’d resettled.

Months passed, seasons changed…and I did nothing more the cover the opening with a tea towel, which is just lame. It’s not like I was going to have to use special tools or even do complex measuring—this was a simple project that I was putting off for no good reason.

The New Anna, though…the New Anna gets shit done. And by the “New Anna” I mean the Anna who had a crazy burst of energy a couple of weeks ago and did a few things that took an hour or two. Hopefully she hasn’t already become the “Old Anna.”

Arthur Umanoff bar cart (doors + paint) -

I picked up a craft-sized sheet of 1/8″ maple plywood, cut it down into two panels, and drilled four holes for the pulls.

When I went to Lowe’s to pick up paint, I got confused about which paint chips were which (this will happen when you carry around 75 wrinkled paint chips in your bag) and asked for a quart of Springtime Peach…which is a Benjamin Moore color, not Valspar. Oops. Mr. Lowe’s Paint Guy was cool, though—he looked up the color specs and then did a very, very close match for me. I’ve always been a little leery of getting paint color-matched because it never comes out the same the second time, but since this was just meant for one project and I only needed a quart, I didn’t sweat it.

On the other door, I used Valspar Du Jour, a warm white that I plan to use on all of the woodwork in this house. I got both cans in a semigloss finish.

About an hour later, I was done painting and the doors were drying. Boom. Time for pulls!

Arthur Umanoff bar cart (leather pulls) -

Instead of buying a whole roll of flat leather cord to make the door pulls, I just used a pair of leather shoelaces I ordered from Amazon. Perfect! The total amount of waste was only about 2″, which I can use to make some ankle bracelets for Fritz. They’ll go nicely with his leg fringe.

Arthur Umanoff bar cart -

When I was figuring out what to take with me to New Mexico, I almost wound up selling the bar cart. Evan didn’t have any place to put it in the apartment, and as much as I love it, I wasn’t sure I’d have room for it either…but I couldn’t get myself to let it go. I’m so glad now! It’s perfect on my new screened-in front porch. Right now it’s just being used to hold potting soil, small gardening tools and some dog stuff, but when it gets colder out it’ll be just right for stashing scarves and gloves.

(Also seen here: The Persian kilim I found on eBay for three bucks in 2009. It goes with everything.)

Why did I wait so long to do this??

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  • Reply Katrina July 22, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    It looks so good! I love those super productive bursts of energy! Well done new Anna!

  • Reply Flavia July 22, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    This corner is fantastic!

  • Reply Anne July 22, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    Nice job! Will you find wheels for it eventually? Or just leave it as is?

    • Anna @ D16 July 22, 2016 at 6:24 pm

      I doubt it—I’ve never felt compelled to roll it around.

  • Reply Annie July 22, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    Where’s the basket from? I’m trying hard to buy one of these and can’t find the source.

  • Reply Megan July 22, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    Love it! And love your ‘New Mexico’ design sensibility – the New York Anna is still there but I can see the influence of the warmth coming through too.

  • Reply Jemma July 23, 2016 at 12:55 am

    The prettiest soil and gardening tools storage there ever was!

  • Reply Lorelei July 23, 2016 at 2:32 am

    The cart looks great! But I’ll admit I was distracted when I realized – SHE GOT A FLADIS!!

    I came across the black/natural version near the Ikea checkout a while back; staff were using it to hold customer’s discarded items. They wouldn’t let me buy it because it was the evening before it was officially released and not in the system. My proclamation that it was the best basket in the world, and that my life couldn’t go on without it, didn’t sway them. Since that one initial basket, none of the Toronto Ikeas have received further Fladises (Fladi??). We need you to be Ikea Ambassador to Canada…throw some weight around for us! (Yes, I have an unhealthy affection for a basket)

  • Reply Marije July 23, 2016 at 4:25 am

    I love this bar cart and I love everything yo’ve shown us of your new place. The light, the atmosphere is just stunning.

  • Reply Elise Xavier July 23, 2016 at 7:33 am

    I die. This entire room is utter perfection. And those new doors – wow. Legit adore this space.

  • Reply Kim July 23, 2016 at 9:33 am

    I like the new Anna 🙂

  • Reply Fiona July 23, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    I’ve been to Stanz! It’s a hunt, but I’ve found good things there.

  • Reply Simone July 25, 2016 at 11:39 am

    Hi Anna; a while ago I saw this house: to me it seemed really like something for you, but then you started painting all your tan walls white… so I let it slide. I’m sending you this now because these pictures remind me of that house. Good luck with your new house.

  • Reply christa July 25, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    Now all that porch needs is a GRONADAL Rocking Chair or 2! I love your new house!

  • Reply Amanda July 27, 2016 at 11:47 am

    I have an Arthur Umanoff coffee table I picked up at our local Savers for $9.99 recently, and had to giggle when I saw a few people on eBay trying to sell the exact same table in the $700 range. I hadn’t really heard of him until my purchase, so it’s interesting to find out your cart is also his work! It looks fabulous!

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