BY DAVID WALLACE // PHOTOS BY CHELSEA PURGAHN // July/August 2017
Possibly since the beginning of time, mankind has enhanced its living spaces with animal-inspired decor.
As a child, I remember Fred and Wilma Flintstone. I can still hear the animated show’s catchy theme song: “Flintstones, meet the Flintstones, they’re the modern Stone Age family. From the town of Bedrock, they’re a page right out of history.”
The Flintstone home was complete with virtually every modern Stone Age convenience. The highly designed decor was envied for its art and architectural elements.
Wilma knew how to balance texture-adding elements of rocks, plants with the furs, hides and skins of animals. These elements continue to enhance our living and working spaces.
Any interior style, from traditional to modern, can benefit from a touch of Stone Age chic.
In this issue, I am repurposing a metal end table. Its inexpensive glass top shattered. The table is about 16 inches tall, which is the average height of a chair seat.
Because of its height, I decided to turn the table into a bench seat and, just like Wilma Flintstone, cover it with an animal print.
I cut a piece of ¾-inch thick wood to replace the sheet of glass and to serve as a strong seat. I made sure the table was strong enough to support the weight of an average person. The width and length measured 24 inches by 16 inches, about the average dimensions of a bed pillow.
Instead of cutting a piece of foam for the bench seat’s cushion, I used a bed pillow. In selecting an animal print to cover the pillow, I was inspired by a used fur coat that years ago my wife, Ann, purchased. It is white and has long fur.
One day she put it on to wear to church and asked me, “How do I look?” With her long white hair and the large white fur on the coat, I replied that she looked like the abominable snowman. This certainly was not the right answer!
This was one of those times, when a lie would have served me better. She stormed back to the bedroom and put on a new coat. The white coat hung in the closet without seeing daylight again for nearly a decade.
She wouldn’t let me use her fur coat to cover the bench, so I used another animal print. Fabulous fake furs and animal prints are available at fabric stores. Patterns mimic the look of tigers, zebras, wolves, leopards and giraffes. Some come as printed fabrics; others are synthetic furs.
I bought more fabric than I needed for less than $10.
I wrapped the pillow with the fabric and stapled the fabric to the underside of wood.
DON’T OVER DO IT
Don’t overdo using animal prints and skins as a decorative item. A little goes a long way. Too many different prints or too much of the same print in one room may leave you feeling like too much like the Flinstones.
Stick to using a print to upholster only a single chair, bench or ottoman. Use a print to cover a pillow or two or as a decorative element on a small wall, door or table top. You can use an animal print in any room, just use it sparingly.
The use of animal prints or skins gives any space an exotic look.
Take a walk on the wild side, when you do, you’ll have a yabba dabba doo time.