I love when staple items are given new life. My mom has very nice taste, but for some reason throughout my whole childhood, we had these TV trays with duck photographs on them. I assume they were a gift from my grandpa and she was too polite to say she didn't care for them. My brother and I occasionally used them to play restaurant, but the only time I've really seen TV trays put to real use is in the film adaptation of Roald Dohl's Matilda. I vowed I would never own a set of objects so conducive to sedentary life, and then last week I saw these incredibly beautiful two-toned lacquered trays designed by Jeffrey Bilhuber for The Lacquer Company and I can't seem to get them out of my mind. I love the idea that someone would resurrect this sort of uncouth thing and make it luxurious. My guess is that Bilhuber didn't design these with intent that its users would sit in front of the TV with a Hungry-Man as Danny Devito's Harry Wormwood character had, but that the set could act as side tables, game tables, a place to put your laptop, or maybe even a place for an impromptu bar for a house party.
The lacquered pieces made me think of this cool wallpaper called Sgraffito by Katie Ridder. Ridder had the idea to recall the cartoon masonry artisans of Eastern European countries drew into stucco walls to simulate the stone block construction of wealthier western nations. She designed it for a stairwell in her own home. The large geometric pattern makes it architectural and serious, while the scribbly lines and dots lend a light and playful attitude. At the root, Ridder and Bilhuber seem to have had the same goal — to pull something rather mundane and forgotten into the here and now. So often this is the genesis of good design.
I think Bilhuber's trays in the Cabernet Red / Tobacco Leaf colorway would look great in a room with Ridder's Sgraffito wallpaper in Orangerie, and not only because the colors would play well together, but because of the similarly carefree, creative perspective they offer.