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Can you hear me now?

by habituallychic

08 . 10 . 09

New York may be a technologically advanced city but in some areas like cell phone reception, it’s very antiquated. Thus the reason that my Blackberry barely works in my apartment. It’s a running joke among all my friends that in order to actually be able to hear them, I have to go into my “office” which is really the bathroom. I can go outside to make calls but that doesn’t really work in the winter so I may have to break down and get a land line. Of course, not just any phone will do so if I do bite the bullet, I think I will get a vintage model. Not sure about a rotary dial like the one Elizabeth “Lizzie” Bailey used in her Hampton Designer Showhouse room but the color blue sure looks pretty.

Since orange is my favorite color, it will probably end up being orange like Nathan Turner‘s phone. A good place to find vintage phones is Oldphones.com.

Interior designer Lindsey Coral Harper used a red phone as an accent in her bathroom. Too bad it’s not plugged in. How decadent would it be to talk on an old phone while taking a bubble bath?!

Of course, Yves Saint Laurent had not only a chic telephone but also a very chic telephone table. Too bad Mrs. John L. Strong went out of business. Their tablets were perfect for next to the phone.

If you have a retro home in Palm Springs like David Jimenez, then you need a groovy retro phone to go with it!

I just wouldn’t go so far as to dye your poodle to match your vintage phone like Joan Collins in this photo by Slim Aarons! I don’t even know how she could even find the phone in all that pink! Can you hear me now???

Comments Closed

  1. GEORGE Interior Design August 10, 2009 | 11:03 pm

    Yes, somehow a blackberry just wouldn’t look as chic. Makes you wish there was still an operator waiting to connect your call!

  2. pve design August 10, 2009 | 11:05 pm

    We have a classic black rotary phone – the weight of the phone alone is quite a workout compared to the feather weight phones of today.

  3. Mademoiselle Frou-Frou August 10, 2009 | 11:21 pm

    I love the vintage styles…but they can be difficult when you’re on the phone a long time and need to use your hands!

  4. Sharyn August 11, 2009 | 12:46 am

    Any idea where that amazing snakeskin table was purchased??

  5. Habitually Chic August 11, 2009 | 1:10 am

    George Interior Design – I’m lucky if the Blackberry works. I could do without the operator listening in on my calls which is what they used to do but it would be nice to actually speak to a person when placing a call.

    PVE – I worry about rotary phone in an emergency and waiting for the dial to swing back. I’ll going to go with a push button model.

    Mademoiselle Frou Frou – I understand your point but I always find that cordless phones tend to die and they also don’t work in an emergency. Maybe I’ll have to get a land line with an extra long cord.

    Sharyn – not sure exactly where hers came from but you can find similar tables at William Wayne, Nina Griscom which is going out of business and Lorely Furniture, http://www.lorelyfurniture.com/.

  6. DONNA OWNER OF "ON A WHIM" August 11, 2009 | 1:59 am

    Great pictures, I love the vintage phones, I have one in my master bedroom, it is an old french style and it is great. As for the poodle,love the pink but not on the poodle, but it is a good color pink…Thanks for sharing another good post.

  7. Ms. B August 11, 2009 | 2:15 am

    Oh how I love the last photo!!!!


  8. Shelby Lynn August 11, 2009 | 3:10 am

    We keep a rotary dial phone in our house. Love vintage phones.

  9. Rebecca June August 11, 2009 | 3:12 am

    Chic as always. I want an old phone, but it will be tough for me to decide on a color! Aqua is making its way to the top of my list though…


    Rebecca June

  10. Blushing hostess August 11, 2009 | 8:02 am

    Interesting that they are still included in so many rooms though, huh? We had not had a land line in three homes, for a;arm company purposes this time we had to have one and we never use it though i am tempemted to upgrade to one of these pretties if it has to be here…

  11. Sharnel August 11, 2009 | 8:21 am

    Love this post. So you wouldn’t die your pouch to match hey? Nope, I wouldn’t either.

  12. Off the List August 11, 2009 | 9:40 am

    Wow! I’d never seen a pink rotary phone before; I’ll not be showing that to Mrs Off the List! I love my bright red phone – it really makes me think about whether I want to get involved in the conversation as it takes a minute to dial the number.

  13. Off the List August 11, 2009 | 9:46 am

    Sharyn – try Karl Springer for snakeskin furniture on either Artnet or 1st Dibs

  14. Empire Design August 11, 2009 | 11:42 am

    Yes! I can hear you! What a lovely post …I am now obsessing about the possibility of acquiring a powder blue telephone! Positively Chic!

    kind regards
    Becca Madden

    p.s. I hope you you don’t mind but today I referred to your Hal Williamson post which I just loved, I hope that I have not been too presumptuous 🙂

  15. princedeligne August 11, 2009 | 1:14 pm

    The vintage telephones are too fabulous. I’ve been dying for one. Anyone can get a i phone or a blackberry, but it just not original and rarely does it match your made to order upholstery!

  16. Linda/"Mom" August 11, 2009 | 1:25 pm

    * “Just for fun”, I put a “new, old-looking” red phone in the guest room’s sitting/TV room… Since the majority of our friends are retired military officers, thought they’d smile at having “THE RED PHONE” once again, like Commanders used to have… seems to “work” & brings out a smile…

    Great, fun post today~ many thanks!
    Linda in AZ *

  17. the NEO-traditionalist August 11, 2009 | 2:21 pm

    Love this post. The orange phone is my favorite as well. Embrace the old-school landline. I can’t imagine not having service—go for it!

  18. mary August 11, 2009 | 2:27 pm

    Definitely the aqua model and the Billy Haines (style?) chairs. Good luck–maybe a miracle will happen and the cell will start working? Have a great week. Nina Griscom is going out of business?? Sad.

  19. Kelly Galvin Robson August 11, 2009 | 3:09 pm

    Terrific post, Heather! What a great collection of images. Really great.

  20. Elizabeth August 11, 2009 | 4:05 pm

    Although it certainly was not chic, all of these phones remind me of the old Nickelodeon show – Clarissa Explains it All!The online shop Three Potato Four has some good ones as well

  21. Brillante Home Decor August 11, 2009 | 5:36 pm

    Some warning.
    I still have a rotary phone in Italy, all round and vintage (off white)but…it does not allow anything else than conversation! Unfortunately to be able to call offices etc.(with lenghty choices of buttons to press…) or retrieve messages…or any other feature, an old phone (sometimes even a non rotary one)will not work.
    Enjoyed the post and let us know your choice!

  22. MaryBeth August 11, 2009 | 6:33 pm

    Since I never had one as a teen, for Christmas I wanted and received a yellow princess phone. It is very hard to dial and since it isn’t wireless I have it next to my bed and hardly ever use it but I love it. MB

  23. ulla August 11, 2009 | 8:21 pm

    I have the same problem in my apartment! my bathroom is also my office now, I was thinking of keeping a little pad and pencil there… too funny.

  24. dana Cordova August 11, 2009 | 8:27 pm

    adorable and chic, way to bring it back!

  25. 17thandriggs August 11, 2009 | 8:37 pm

    Love the unique blue… seems I’m falling in love with blue again lately and loving the new darker, dustier shades that seem to becoming popular.

  26. down pillow August 11, 2009 | 8:41 pm

    I hate the idea that the things I owned (not so long ago) are called RETRO! lol But the designs are pretty fantastic!

  27. jeanine August 11, 2009 | 9:29 pm

    I bought a silver fake rotary dial phone about 10 years ago and LOVE it.

    I like having a land line phone since I’m not good at neither hearing my cell phone ring nor charging it.

    If I had to do it over, I’d probably go for orange. 🙂

  28. Rhonda August 12, 2009 | 1:50 am

    love the first photo!
    how cool!

  29. Laura August 12, 2009 | 3:05 am

    This is my first time commenting on your blog, I love it! I simply adore the Robin’s Egg blue vintage phone that you have featured here, and the little sitting area is so charming. I can just picture a fashionable young lady gabbing for hours in this little corner.

    Whim Tart

  30. The Redhead Riter August 12, 2009 | 3:50 am

    I love the first chair.

    The pink poodle cracked me up.

  31. The Antiques Diva™ August 12, 2009 | 6:08 am

    What a fun post on a topic I would have never thought of posting on!!! You’ve inspired me to take a look at my phone… somehow the Blackberry plus the land line both are too sleek for my Rococo apartment! What’s a girl to do?

  32. Emily August 12, 2009 | 12:54 pm

    I love this post and have always said that if we get a landline, I want an old phone. Thanks for sharing! Your blog is great.

  33. Laura August 12, 2009 | 2:38 pm

    When I was a little girl, I really wanted a pink poodle, so that picture just cracked me up. Thanks for making my morning!

  34. maison21 August 13, 2009 | 2:38 am

    ok, now i get the calling from my other office reference! but you also know, whenever we talk now, i’m going to picture you calling from the bathroom!

    don’t worry, in my picture you’ll be speaking on a orange rotary, placed on a white marble saarinen table next to a tub of bubbles, in which you are chastely immersed- like doris day movie- with full make up, and an orange terry cloth towel worn as a turban- or would you prefer a fresh from mr. kenneth bouffant? a chilled martini or glass of champagne will be optional to my mental image, depending on the time of day. 😉

  35. Parkside45 August 14, 2009 | 7:51 pm

    I have a yellow version of the blue rotary dial phone, circa 1984, and I use it in my bedroom. I love it and the “real” ring it has is great.

    I laugh because my 12 and 14 year old nieces can’t believe how big the phones used to be and I have to hide it from my 25 year old nephew who wants it for his apartment.

  36. ArchitectDesign™ August 17, 2009 | 3:17 am

    when i was contemplating keeping the iphone (which got ZERO reception anywhere in my apt) i tried to think of it as a blessing in disguise as I could get a cool vintage phone! however – my good sense won out and i returned the phone -no land line for me! My apt is too small I suppose anyway 🙁

  37. Her name was Lola August 19, 2009 | 5:55 pm

    These are all supremely chic options, but I love Lindsey Coral Harper’s snakeskin/red decor best.

    Did you end up investing in a land line, miss thing?


  38. susan said so August 20, 2009 | 11:15 pm

    Love your blog, love this post, and love the photo of JC! I linked to you here:


    I hope you’ll stop by for a visit!



  39. brian. January 16, 2010 | 6:08 pm

    When the picture was taken, Joan used to even drive a pink Thunderbird. The poodle was given to her by her soon to be 2nd husband, Anthony Newley.