Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Nurture Your Home - Inspiration From Up Above

Photo by Laura Resen. 

Recently, I stumbled upon some photographs of designer Thomas O'Brien's home and my attention was immediately drawn to a large star map displayed in his living room. O'Brien, known as one of the great American decorators and designers working today, has a classic design with a twist style that is uniquely his and that I have admired for years. What I discovered was that his Rand McNally vintage star map (found in Millerton, New York for $75) has made the rounds through various rooms in his house.

Photo by Laura Resen. 

Photo by Thomas O'Brien. 

Here it is tacked to the wall in his first apartment in New York City. 

Photo by Thomas O'Brien. 

And in the master bedroom of his current residence. 

Photo by Thomas O'Brien. 

He also found a series of astronomical drawings and hung them trailing through the kitchen and up the stairs. 

Photo by Thomas O'Brien. 

Photo by Thomas O'Brien. 

Photo by Thomas O'Brien. 

Vintage maps (and reproductions of them) have been all the rage the last several years, but I had never thought of looking for constellation and star maps to use on our walls. I love the lightness of them and they remind me of camping trips where my dad and I would look at our little star dial, hold it up to the sky, and try and find Cassiopeia, Hercules, or the Little Dipper. After a little research, I found that although large scale options like O'Brien's were just about impossible to find, smaller size versions are in abundance and incredibly affordable.  I've included some of my favorites below and I just bid on one from the 1850's that shows the sky during my daughter's March birthday. Fingers crossed!!



This is an original print circa 1854 from Smith's Illustrated Astronomy book, and shows the visible heavens from July to October. It is about 9 x 10 and is only $18 on ebay.


This is a antique lithograph printed in Germany around 1900 of the phases of the moon. It is 7.75x11 and is $50 at Antique Print Store on etsy.



This vintage constellation map was taken from a 1935 atlas, is approx. 11x14, and is only $14.


This is an original color lithograph of a star map circa 1910 published by the London Geographical Institute. It is 6.5x8 including the boarders and is $20 from Antique Print Store on etsy.



Antique March Star Month map from New York circa 1892.  It measures 6.5x8 and is $32.50 from Antique Print Store on etsy. 


This is a 1898 atlas Star Map engraving of No.5, North Polar and is double-sided. It is 11x14.5 and is $22 at Old Maps and Prints on etsy. 

8 comments:

tina said...

I have an absolute passion for all maps related images. However, except for the moon cycles I have never thought of constellation and star maps as displays.

I don't know much of Thomas O'Brien's work so will check it out. Thanks for that.

I love that you've gone and bid on one showing the sky during your daughter's March birthday. My fingers are crossed:)

California Chic said...

@tina - Aren't maps the best? I've tried to find some original vintage maps, but they are usually pretty pricey. Do you have any favorite sources? I have found some nice reproductions, but the real thing is so much better. Check out O'Briens site for some of his work. He's also got a line here in the states at Target and a design book I really like.

beachcitylifestyle said...

such a great idea to frame these. i love old maps but never really thought about constellation maps. but now I will! Teri

Theresa / inspirationCOOPERATIVE said...

Really great idea. I think what I like most are the ones with the black background with white copy. I'm really loving any prints with that color format right now. So glad you brought these to our attention. As always, good hunting.

California Chic said...

@Teri & @Theresa - I think If I'm not careful I'll just end up with tons of vintage prints and then need a small fortune to frame them:)

tina said...

Yes, reproductions don't do it for me. I did find a french girl here in London who has loads of really interesting maps of countries. Quite pricey but also huge.

I am in love with all kinds of maps. Have you ever come across Paula Sher's maps? I'm totally obsessed with them. She hand paints them: http://www.paulaschermaps.com/

You can buy the book here:http://www.amazon.com/Paula-Scher-MAPS/dp/1616890339/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329507673&sr=8-1

OliveMillerton said...

I have been a fan of O'Brien's vintage modern look for years -- and searched for one of those star maps in vain for just as long. WIRED chose a star map with a similar look for its holiday gift guide in December. The publisher is a little outfit in Brooklyn called the Municipal Prints Company. They're a little pricey at $175, but I can't find anything else I like as much. The navy color is destined for my son's room after we're done with our reno.

California Chic said...

@Olive - Thanks so much for introducing me to Municipal Prints - their star charts are gorgeous. Good luck with your son's room - sounds like it is going to be lovely! Thank you for stopping by:)

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