William Morris once said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
And 19th-century architect Louis Sullivan proclaimed that “form ever follows function,” an idea that vastly influenced the modernist movement in design.
One can find much to uphold both maxims in the work of Stella Bleu Designs, where the creations of Mississippi-born designer Katie Katzenmeyer are both functional and aesthetically pleasing, elegant and sturdy. In a word, useful.
On view at her website (along with her Etsy shop, here) are shelves and garment racks made from industrial steel pipe, reclaimed wood, and other salvage materials gleaned from local, family-owned salvage yards and demolition sites. Everything is made from scratch in house.
Stella Bleu items are designed by Katie and hand-crafted by her husband, Andy. Each piece of pipe is cut, threaded, and welded by hand per customer order.
Of note are the mobile garment racks made of aged reclaimed barn wood, raw steel, and vintage heavy duty casters, all of which combines into a solid, practical work of art of which William Morris would approve.
And while whimsy figures throughout Katie’s work, I’m particularly fond of the “This Way That Way” pipe lighting fixture inspired by classic retro motel signs and the coat rack crafted of reclaimed maple gym flooring: every sneaker streak speaks of young athletes of days gone past. Fun stuff.
Which is your favorite?