Welcome to the The Affordable James Bond Apartment Part II! In Part I, we looked at the philosophy behind the design of Bond’s SPECTRE living space and explored alternatives for some of the key pieces (as well as a few odds and ends from the Connery era and the novels). In this post we’ll be filling in some of the gaps in the furniture we need and adding the extra details that help provide the all-important “character” that makes a room part of a home.
Okay, this is the big one. Both in terms of size and price. The couch Bond lounged on in SPECTRE was not small. It dominated the spartan room and pretty much swallowed Craig whole when he crashed out to reflect on his past. It’s also a slightly odd design: half chesterfield without the tufting, half tuxedo with traditional English scroll arms. The fabric choice also helps create a presence. I can’t be 100% sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was some kind of crushed velvet in a deep port/wine tone. Put all this together and you get a piece of furniture for which there is no easy match. So we’ll need to look at options that sacrifice one or two style details, but still capture the spirit of the original.
The scroll arms are slightly more dramatic than the sofa in the film. But otherwise, this one is coming pretty close. Made in Britain, and it comes with a 10 year frame and 3 year manufacturing guarantee. Adobe sofas offers a variety of options for the couch size, the fabric used and the style of the legs and studs. I’ve gone with a three seater here, which measures 7.5 feet long by 3 feet deep. A little more expensive than we’d like? Yes. But as with the leather chair, this could be considered an investment piece.
Velvet Scroll-Arm Tufted Sofa in Red: $579.99
A much more traditional chesterfield style, with the numerous tufts. And that red may be a few shades brighter than ideal. But measuring 88″ long by 33″ wide and weighing in at 130 pounds, there’s no denying it’s an impact piece.
Novogratz Vintage Tufted Sofa Sleeper in Burgundy Velour: $289.00 plus $57.00 shipping
Coming to you from … Walmart? Okay …. This is the practical (and budget conscious) Bond fan’s option. It captures the color and feel of the SPECTRE sofa. And with a couple of quick moves, it converts into a spare bed in case space is limited where you live and you have guests coming. All in all, not a bad choice for under three hundred dollars.
And if you’re really on a budget? Consider a short term fix for an existing sofa. You can use a slipcover, like this $48 burgundy micro-suede option from Amazon, to help you get the look.
Hey! You know what’s difficult to find? An affordable coffee table made from a simple slab of wood on four legs.
Seriously, I searched a lot of furniture websites and not much comes close. And, ironically, the more simple designs seem to be considerably more expensive. Of course it doesn’t help that Bond’s table was the size of a door. So our best choice remains AJB007 forum member and IA contributer armenianmovieman‘s find ….
Emerald Home Chandler Cocktail Table: on sale for $148.03
At 48″ long, it ain’t exactly door sized. But then again, most of us have living spaces that are a little more crowded than Bond’s. So four feet is a more realistic dimension for a coffee table.
If you’re at all handy with tools, you may want to consider building your own version. The simple design and rustic style of the screen used table should make this a relatively easy DIY project. Just a thought ….
Connery started the whole “Oriental rug in Bond’s apartment” back in Dr. No.
That one looks a touch more purposefully placed than Craig’s. But you get the idea: an Oriental or Persian rug can really work in a Bond-inspired living space. Why? Well, this is just my personal (read: non-expert) opinion. As we mentioned in our first article in this series, Bond’s furniture tends to be solid colors and heavier materials, with very little matching. So there are two advantages with using a more delicately patterned rug like the ones at Bazaar Velvet. First, the multiple colors in the pattern help tie together the other pieces to create a sense of unity in the space. Second, it creates a point of visual interest. Block after block of solid color can get boring. So having something that stands out without overwhelming the room adds some welcome contrast.
A genuine, high quality Persian rug can easily set you back thousands of dollars. So let’s not pretend that’s what we’re looking at here. But even on a budget, there are definitely some good finds to be had.
Keep your apartment and Persian rug in top condition with quality cleaning products like those offered by Bissell – https://www.bissell.com/vacuums/stick-and-cordless-vacuums.
Persian Rugs Tobias Red Area Rug: $96.41
Measures 5 feet by 7 feet and it’s made in Turkey for a bit of authenticity. But the material is polypropylene and it’s machine woven. As we should expect at this price point. The good news is you’ll be less worried about people walking, spilling and generally living on it since it’s relatively easy to clean. You can check out more options at Wayfair if this particular pattern isn’t to your liking.
The Floor Lamp
The lamp Bond uses in SPECTRE follows the same style cues as most of his other furniture: a simple, but oversized, design. It’s literally just a thick wooden pole anchored to a heavy, square wooden base, topped with a large, barrel shade made from an off-white material. The most accurate option I found was the Couture Lamps Brentwood. But at $665.00, I’m not quite sure it meets our “affordable alternatives” criteria. So on to the other choices ….
Nordic Wooden Floor Lamp: £180.42
At just over 5 feet, this option isn’t as tall as Bond’s lamp. But it does do a good job of matching the overall design and materials.
Stein World Dornan Floor Lamp: on sale for $163.99
The most obvious differences are the more stylized column and the drum shade. But this alternative has the height and the heft needed to make an impression.
Think of the Adesso as a lighter weight version of Bond’s lamp. You may want to consider changing the drum style shade for a more screen accurate barrel. But that shouldn’t be an expensive modification.
Metal accents at the joints aside, this alternative should do the job for under $100. The only annoying thing is that floor switch. I can never get them to lay flat and you typically have to leave some cable exposed to use it.
For the Kitchen
Let’s travel back to Live and Let Die for some inspiration for our Bond style kitchen.
Well, he makes no secret of his love for copper cookware (copper rooster wall hangings? Really?). A serious set of copper pots and pans can set you back around a thousands bucks or more (like this $1300 Mauviel 10 piece set). And there are other pros and cons. Copper is probably the best metal for conducting heat, which gives you precise control over cooking temperatures. However, it’s also highly reactive, especially with more acidic foods like tomatoes. And it needs to be constantly polished if you want it to keep it’s shine. High maintenance, to be sure. But if you’re willing to put in the effort (and cash), it will look awesome in any kitchen for years.
ExcelSteel employs the usual strategy for getting around the reactivity issue. The copper outer layer is bonded to a stainless steel inner layer, giving you the benefits of both metals. This is a solid starter set at a reasonable price. It currently has 4 stars out of 5 on Amazon. Most of the complaints seem to be related to food sticking to the stainless steel. However, if you’ve done any cooking with this type of pan, you know that’s not unusual. In fact, those brown bits are technically called the “sucs” or “fond” and you can use them to make amazing simple sauces and clean your pan at the same time!
If our view into Bond’s apartment taught us anything, it’s that he likes books. According to this article on The James Bond International Fan Club website, many of the books used on set were provided by Foster Books in Chiswick. Stephen Foster, the store owner, provided some information on the literary works he provided. Uniforms and History of Scottish Regiments (£26.50), Aston Martin: Model by Model (£25.00/$39.95), The Wristwatch Handbook ($85.00/£50.00) or The Watch Book ($72.25/£50.00), and The Journal of a Tour of the Hebrides (£11.00/$11.95) would all be up Bond’s alley. Then there’s works by Eric Ambler, Philip Marlowe, Raymond Chandler and John Arlott. And of course the more technical manuals on golf and gambling.
JEF World of Golf Automatic Putting Cup: on sale for $16.95
A modern version of Sylvia Trench’s favorite time-killer. Maybe it’s just me. But when I need to do some brainstorming/planning/reflection, I find practicing my putt for ten or fifteen minutes is a really effective way to get me calm and focused. Give it a try.
You can find Part I of this series here. Do you have any ideas for what you would have in your affordable James Bond apartment? Share away in the comments! And remember to check out Iconic Alternatives on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram if you’d like to see more Bond!
Featured image sourced from James Bond Locations.