Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bodacious bosign

Free Dictionary says "probably from dialectal 'boldacious', blend of bold and audacious".  Just in case you ever wondered.  That's the first term in this post title; I'll get to the second in just a minute. 

I'm on a roll with little design projects that resolve minor long-standing functional issues in our home.  This sometimes happens around Christmas:  I'm shopping much more than usual, and instead of finding gifts, I'm finding solutions.  The other day it was a pendant light for the dining area.  Today it's a coat rack.

Coat rack?!  What could possibly be exciting about that?!

Let me explain. 

Due to the vagaries of neo-eclectic architecture in general and our highly unusual Austinite house design in particular, our front hall coat closet ended up being twenty-six feet away from the front door.  The damned thing might as well be in New Jersey for all the good it does us there.  We use it for our own longer-term coat and shoe storage, but if a guest arrives, one would like to be able to greet them at the front door and gracefully dispatch their coat without disappearing into the bowels of the house for a bizarrely long period of time.  "Excuse me for about five minutes while I go hang your coat, for the front coat closet is actually closer to the back door than the front door, and so it takes me a while to trek there and back."  Awkward. 

So I've always wanted a short-term hanging solution closer to the front door, but we have no space whatsoever for any kind of conventional rack, or even for conventional hooks.
That's all there is - just 37 inches of blank wall, and no width to the hall.  The door is set right in the corner and there are rooms on either side of the hall.  Rooms without closets. 
The other concern is that I've always wanted something artistic and unobtrusive in this space.  It's a mahogany door with leaded glass panels - I can't put ordinary utilitarian hooks there that make it look like you're walking into a YMCA locker room or something.  Whatever goes there has to fit the overall artistic style of the house. 

So after three years of passively keeping my eyes open for the right solution to come along, I found it the other day at one of my absolute favorite Houston retail venues:  The Container Store (Galleria location).
Container Store has a page for these, but doesn't provide much info about their brand or genesis.  The manufacturer name is Bosign, apparently a Swedish company, and they make this unusual cast iron hanging apparatus. 
The back of the box says it can be mounted vertically or horizontally, but...
...I think if you were careful, you could probably mount them on an angle as well, as long as you got the hanging screws to nest tightly in the slots.
Here was our big essential benefit in choosing this product for this space:
Because the front door opens right up against the wall, whichever product we chose had to not stick out any farther than the door stop.  Otherwise, when the door was opened all the way, the hooks would have punched a hole in the glass and/or the mahogany.  This spacing requirement eliminated many conventional coat-sized hooks from consideration.
Probably in some previous post, I mentioned that no product ever comes into our house without first being built as a cardboard, paper, or styrofoam mock-up.  Nothing.  We've learned the hard way that, in making unusual home furnishing and decor choices, we have to check out the fullest possible representation first, to ensure that it looks right and functions correctly.  A few years ago, we bought an unusual Italian sleeper sofa by a manufacturer called Natuzzi.  Before committing to that purchase, we built the thing to actual scale out of cardboard wardrobe boxes, both to check that it would fit down the hallway and into the spare bedroom where we wanted it, and also to check how it would look in the bedroom, given that sofas usually don't get put into bedrooms.  Yes - I did build a seven-foot piece of furniture out of cardboard first, before we bought it.  That told me everything I needed to know. 

Same with the Eurofase Lucida pendant light - I built a mock-up out of cardboard before ordering it, to ensure it was the proper scale for our dining table. 

So these hooks were no different.  We traced them and cut them out of construction paper to first try different combinations and orientations in the available wall space.  Here are a few of our design permutations - most of them turned out to be obvious aesthetic failures, but that's the kind of thing you need to discover before you start buying products or drilling holes in the wall:
Every horizontal lay-out was an obvious fail - it made no referential sense.
Stylized tree branch groupings didn't seem to work either.  Too disjointed. 
Straight central trunk with branches coming off?  Still too disjointed.
Way too affected.
OK, now we're converging toward some kind of coherency, but this is still too disjointed.
Something about this looks medieval to me, and I was looking for contemporary.
A bit better, but still missing an element of cohesion.
This is the one - all lined up on the bottom, as if they were three individual stylized trees instead of one tree with branches.  It looks cleaner this way.  Sometimes the simplest solution is the best solution. 
Reality check.
Installed.  The three being installed uniformly straight across echo the three vertical inset diamond-shaped glass pieces in the door.  They look like they go together.
They weren't advertised as devices from which light jackets could be hung, but they work.  They are cast iron, so the durability is there. 
Closer view.  The patterned glass sections in the door actually look leafy, so having branchy next to leafy makes sense in a somewhat abstracted way. 

When not holding a visitor's windbreaker, they are there on the wall as contemporary 3-D art.  Functional art cross-lit by the light coming in the door panes, so a nice dimensional impact is produced. 
And so ends another years-long suburban quest for a functional decor item that I could have lived the rest of my life without and been none the worse for wear, but having found it, I like it, and it will certainly get put to good use. 

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