IN DA HOUSE: CHRISTINE DOOBININFebruary 28, 2013
Welcome the second edition of In Da House, a UO mini series based around the humble home and the contents within. In celebrating the launch of our new furniture range, we thought it only right to investigate the pads of our Urban crew, treasure hunting for stories behind their ornaments and decor.
A few days ago the lovely Kate Blower welcomed us to her home, guiding us around an abundance of art and jewellery. Today we take a leap across the pond to our friends in the U.S, visiting the outskirts of Philadelphia where a family home filled with vintage delights sits waiting to be explored.
This characteristic abode belongs to UO lady Christine Doobinin, appropriately titled Head of Decorative Home for U.S Urban outfitters. Scroll down to hear tales of delightful trinkets and furniture…
I’ve been collecting since my friends and I got our driver’s licenses. Back then Monday night was for “Picking” (garbage night) and Saturday mornings were for “Sailing” (garage sales). The problem is, once you start collecting something, you’re obligated. People give it to you, or you just start looking for it. Like lady paintings — I bought my first one in Brooklyn 20 years ago, and now whenever I see a good one, I have to buy it.
The gnomes are getting out of hand. We used to have them only in the garden outside, but now they’re multiplying like rabbits. I just brought one back with me from Copenhagen. I had to build a shelf above the kitchen window to display them all.
We probably moved eight times in five years at one point. We’ve lived in a 70s townhouse, a Victorian duplex, a carriage house from the 1800’s, a log cabin, and an historic hotel. This is the first house that we have ever owned, and we’ve been here for three years, and it’s kind of crazy to think ‘I can do whatever I want.’ The one condition our cats have had with anywhere we’ve lived — it has to have a fireplace.
I like to mix prints, patterns, texture, styles. I’ve really been in love with anything that has bright stripes lately. But I don’t over-think it. Basically, if it interests me chances are it’s going to end up somewhere in our house and possibly all in the same room. I just buy what I love and somehow it all sits together happily.
This tree trunk table came from a lodge in the Poconos. The top has a carved out spot for stashing treasures and it reminds me of the hollow tree Boo Radley uses to stash the kids’ gifts in To Kill a Mockingbird. I bought the glass house sculpture from one of Urban Outfitters’ display artists, David Mitchell.
So I got these teak bookshelves on eBay from a guy in Ohio. I made my husband drive to pick them up behind a Holiday Inn. It was admittedly a little sketchy. I thought either I’m never going to see my husband again, or I’m going to have one really cool looking bookshelf. Even when I lived in a small studio apartment I’ve always had a large bookcase, I used it as room divider.
My father always took slides when we were growing up, mostly Kodachrome. I used to run the family slide shows, so I inherited the entire collection of slides from our family and I’m the youngest of six girls, which means there are a lot of them. My dad was actually published in this book, which was a project that included a Kodachrome from someone in every state. That’s my family in Long Island circa 1963.
This is our sun porch, we hang out here a lot in the summertime, especially at night. Usually we’re playing cards or board games and listening to this radio, which used to sit on our kitchen counter when I was a kid. It still sounds great. Growing up we rented the same vintage cottage for two weeks every summer in Vermont and this room reminds me of that place, which was pretty magical.
This was taken of me on my 18th birthday, along with one of my best friends, Johnny, who had just bought me a vintage copy of The Subterraneans by Jack Kerouac, and is reading it to me. My bedroom back then was entirely white, because I was going to art school and had definite aspirations of living in a huge loft and painting all day.
This is my 8 year-old daughter’s Pez collection, which she is very proud of, and Niall from One Direction guarding it. Now she’s usually the one who wants to wake up early on a Saturday and hit the garage sales. I have an app on my iPhone that links to Craigslist and she likes mapping everything out.
My daughter’s bathroom. She loves all things cats. Cats over the shower, cats above you, cats on the wallpaper, cats everywhere. Her room has a great collection of paint by numbers, some of them seem to have migrated into this bathroom.
I got the fake fireplace on Craigslist for $40, and the insert is from Duraflame and I got it for $90. It’s a space heater and heats up the whole bedroom and it comes with a remote control! It’s kind of ridiculous. I found the roses painting at Les Puces de Saint-Ouen Market in Paris and hauled it back with me on the plane. I couldn’t leave without it.
This little vintage wire bookcase wound up being inspiration for an Urban product. The pink 50′s phone works — a friend got it for me on Canal Street in NYC for $5. The jewelry box belonged to my awesome Grandma Estelle and used to sit on her dresser. She didn’t want to give it to me because it was little beat up even back then, but I’m so glad she did. It reminds me of her and I use it to display my collection of vintage pins, mostly Bakelite and Lucite.
This was my husband George’s writing desk when he was a little boy. I refinished it and turned it into a vanity. I found the mirror on Craigslist and screwed it into the back. I found the antlers in Chicago at this amazingly cool antique store called Woolly Mammoth. I’d never seen a pair with a heart-shaped back before and it displays necklaces quite nicely.
This wooden lady head is one of my very favorite things. I found her at Brimfield. Somehow I wandered onto this field that wasn’t open yet and everything was fresh, and the minute I walked onto the field, I saw her and I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ I love her bouffant. She just looks like a juvenile delinquent from the 60′s. I love the spirit of outsider art, and thrift store paintings. I tend to buy misfit things, and I usually never pay more than $50 for them.
I had to have knotty pine in the house. We looked everywhere, and we finally found a mill in South Jersey that had the same profile of vintage knotty pine from the 60′s and they’d never stopped making it. This is one of my favorite vignettes, a nice little rest from the clutter. I’m constantly curating and editing the stuff in our house. I sometimes get bored with a piece, but then I start to pull it together in a different way with something from across the house, and suddenly it looks totally new.
The dining room furniture is vintage Heywood Wakefield. It’s made from bleached solid birch, and then stained so it has this amazing butterscotch glow. I knew that I wanted an antler chandelier hanging over it, so I spent weeks online looking for one. We never had a dining room before and I wasn’t sure we’d really use it. But we actually hang out in here all the time. The next thing that we’re saving up for is a jukebox, and it has to be this exact one, so now I am obsessively searching for that.
The first place my husband and I lived together was a rented 1930’s log cabin on Long Island that was built as a summer home. It was kind of crazy and I really wanted to buy it, but I was only 23 and owned a store at the time and so we didn’t have any money. And we always say we wish we had bought it, and so the running joke with my husband, and even now my daughter, is that I’m trying to turn our house into a log cabin. And that’s probably why I bought a red house and painted the door green.
Thank you Christina! Loving this homely home? Let us know in the comments below…