June 2, 2012
Remember Shabby Chic? I came across this image a few days ago and wondered what ever became of Rachel Ashwell and the look she made famous. Creating a brand synonymous with her aesthetic and lifestyle, designer Rachel Ashwell founded Shabby Chic in 1989 on the philosophy of beauty, comfort, and function. Her first store, located in Santa Monica, CA, sold Rachel’s washable furniture slip covers and fabulous flea market finds.Comfort, the beauty of imperfections, the allure of time-worn objects, and the appeal of simple practical living: these are the cornerstones of the Shabby Chic brand. And I gotta say I’m good with that. I love the idea of casual, easy and relaxed. Maybe you’re too young to really recall the heyday of Shabby Chic, in the late 80′s I’m sure many a fine antique lost its value to a can of white paint. Today real vintage pieces with honest patina and the charm of showing age are finding their way back into american homes.Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture flagship stores are located in Santa Monica, California, SoHo, New York and London’s Notting Hill neighborhood, with ever-expanding lines of bedding, furniture, accessories and vintage items…. So I guess Shabby Chic is alive and well. There is a Simply Shabby Chic line of bedding and home accessories, created in 2004 through an exclusive partnership with Target stores, continues to bring the brand’s blend of English elegance and California casual to Target customers nationwide.What I’d like to close with is that while the Shabby Chic look isn’t for everyone, I believe Rachel Ashwell had a major influence in the mainstream embracing “not so perfect” vintage items into their homes, and maybe crystal chandeliers and cabbage roses aren’t for everyone, we all have some version of this in our homes. Todays version of Shabby Chic is a bit more modern – neutrals and stripes, no flowers – and a bit more organic -tree stumps as coffee tables, etc – but it’s very much in style.
June 1, 2012
Happy June 1st everyone. “Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit” is one variant of a common British superstition which states that a person should say or repeat the word “rabbit” or “rabbits”, or say the phrase “white rabbits”, or some combination of these elements, out loud upon waking on the first day of the month, because doing so will ensure good luck for the duration of that month.
Ligne Roset’s Pan Pan Decorative Rabbit and Pan Pan Table are a little something out of the ordinary, a rabbit integrated right into the table top and his larger buddy, a free-standing decorative object. Both pieces were designed by Barbara Kuehne-Thompson, whose background is similarly intriguing. She left the United States for Vietnam at the age of 24. While there, she met Swiss entrepreneur and founder of Wetter Indochine, Michel Kuehne. Together they have managed to combine the skills of Vietnamese artisans with creative design to “…transform the pure forms of nature, bringing them into the home in a subtle, elegant way…” Linea
|The Rabbit Lamp ($516.00) was designed by Front Design for Moooi in the Netherlands. Moooi’s Rabbit table lamp is part of the “Animals Series” by Front Design for Moooi in the Netherlands. The “Animal Series” include the Rabbit Lamp, the Horse Lamp and a Pig Tray Table. Who wouldn’t want a rabbit or a horse to lighten up your living room and a pig to serve your guests? The Moooi Rabbit Lamp is a very attractive whimsical modern table lamp. Everyone loves this unusual lamp which is highly decorative in form. The adorable Rabbit Lamp will add a unique flare to any room in your house.Moooi designs and produces their modern lighting and contemporary accessories in the Netherlands. No wonder Moooi’s collection is so attractive: the Dutch word for “beautiful” is “mooi”. A combination of elegance, grace and timeless good looks typifies the Moooi collection. Legendary Dutch designers of note include Edward van Vliet, Bertjan Pot, Jurgen Bey, Job Smeets, Maarten Baas and Marcel Wanders. Museum curators clearly have taken notice as well. Several pieces of the Moooi collection have already been snapped up for museum collections including the MoMA New York.|
And this little cutie for you child’s room or just a bit of whimsy… available from or whiterabbitengland.com. I think it’s only $95.00 or was it pounds?!
Design is about getting color and scale right. There is a dance between light and dark, flat and reflective, textured and smooth… depending on the music ( forgive the bad analogy) a project can become a dark sexy room, a light filled bright room or one of 100′s if not 1000′s of other “looks” or moods. I really react positively to a light palette, with an accent layer in like in the photo above. The banding on the mirror and the box on the table are enough to break up the tonal aesthetic of this bedroom.
Truth is, the reason I picked this image to blog about is design is also about the details. I love the way this writing-table has been layered. Friends come over to my house and compliment me on my home, and it is pretty pulled together I’ll admit… but what is truly different about my house vs theirs is I’ve arranged my stacks of magazines and added a hand blown glass paperweight, or I’ve taken the time to refresh my throw pillows when I’m done using the sofa – bottom line, I’m an arranger. It makes a difference. Most people are afraid to try so they never attempt to fill a bookcase or layer a coffee table. Unless you buying hundreds of dollars worth of accessories to attempt the job with, what have you got to lose?
Start with what you have. Group like items. Think in odd numbers like 1′s, 3′s and 5′s. Books make a good “lifts” for smaller objects, try laying some on their side and keep others standing up. Try layering object in front of your books if your shelves have the depth to allow for it. Plate stands are good for showing off pretty dinnerware but they are also good for displaying small paintings and photographs. Your local craft store or design store should have a good selection of easels for just this purpose.
Go ahead and give it a try. Empty a bookcase or clear off a coffee table and start from scratch. First pick up the things you don’t want to put back, then group like items. Then search the house for other items that might have the same mood or feeling – if you have antique bookends throughout the house consider displaying them as a collection for instance. Now, I’m not saying that everything wants to be the same color and texture and sheen, on the contrary… a few shiny frames tucked in with old books will really wake up your vignette. If your working with multiple shelves, try making every other shelf feel like the same format. Because book shelves can easily go to a busy place, the order of shelves feeling similarly formatted adds order. Good luck!
May 30, 2012
I’m loving the new Baum Mirror from Bungalow 5. Anything rustic modern usually catches my eye but finally someone has made a decorotive mirror that is a useable size (29″ x 31″) in a finish I love (antique silver leaf). A pair over nightstands would be very pretty, it’s perfect in a small powder room and it’s a good size for over most fireplaces, although you might need a do-dad or two on the mantle.
This mirror from Carvers Guild is big in size and style. This is the largest rendition of the three sizes of Gothic Twig designed by Carol Canner at 26″ x 49″. The Gothic Twig has appeared in innumerable magazine editorials and is an award winner from the American Society of Furniture Designers. Shown in Silver Leaf with plain mirror it is also available in Antique Gold Leaf, Pewter or a Hand painted finish.
…and this from Archi-Arts. Their Oval Branch Mirror has a metal frame with a bronze finish (other finishes might be available) and a clear, non-antiqued mirror. the simplicity and clear mirror make this a good choice for a bathroom and of course it’s useable size at 29″ Height x 24″ Wide x 1″ Depth. I would love to see this mirror done in a driftwood finish, think it would really look great.
May 28, 2012
“The idea behind Lance was the merging of two cultures,” said Stefano Bruni, an Italian native who started the furniture and accessories company with his American fiancée, Anne Arnold, earlier this year. “Americans have powerful symbols that Italians love, like a flannel shirt, a Hudson Bay blanket, a pair of jeans. These are age-old American traditions that inspired our line.”
The line of woven leather pillows, benches, rugs and tote bags, which fans of Bottega Veneta will undoubtedly covet, was introduced in August at the New York International Gift Fair. One looks like woven denim, another has the colorful stripes of a Hudson Bay blanket, yet another is a plaid one might see on a flannel shirt. The complete line is on the company’s Web site, lancewovens.com. A selection of solid woven calfskin 21-inch-square pillows $595 each and woven calfskin plaids $725 each. are at Kristin Paton Home – a friends chic new home store in the heart of Cambridge – hoping to bring them to the Tri-Town area for my customers, we will see. In the meantime, if you’re not in New England Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf’s also carry the line.
May 25, 2012
I’m willing to bet well over 50% of every sofa sold in the USA is a neutral tan-beige-ish color. It’s typically one of the more expensive pieces of furniture to acquire and one of the largest ( unless of course you play the piano ) and most people want it to last a long time… And they do, if you buy a well made sofa to start and cover it in a fabric that will A. hold up and B. not look dated years from now. Because the sofa is so big “playing it safe” means keeping it neutral and less obvious in a room, “make it disappear” or at least, make it less obvious than say something half its size. All of these theories have merit. You can change the look of a room with art, throw pillows and accessories, on a whim. Re-covering or slip-covering a sofa is a more expensive and timely endeavor.It’s actually funny to me as a designer that most people was to make a statement with their furnishings, especially if they have a professional guiding them away for any wrong decisions. I am all for making a statement, and if bold and playful is your thing I’d happily find a pattern or bold color or woven texture for your upholstery, but neutral can be a “look” not just a default. Because there are fewer distractions in a room full of “quiet” furniture, scale, form, quality and floor plan become even more important, neutral isn’t always easy to pull off. I think the room above works largely because the ceiling and floors a deep warm brown, creating contrast and interest, the floor plan is good and the lines of the soft-goods are pretty and the additional furnishings suit the look and maintain a calm tonal look. Here’s a neutral sofa that’s holding its own in a more bold setting. The tufting of course adds am element, an additional detail giving the already stylish sofa a boost. Throw pillows in bold colors and patterns wake up the sofa and give balance to the Danish armchair covered in a strong geometric. So this proves that a neutral sofa can go bold, you just have to layer in some changeable accessories to make it work for your look. My last word(s) on neutral sofas (and chairs)… Neutral doesn’t have to mean boring! I’m not advocating for one fabric stretched from one side of your living room to the other. Neutral can be any color from white to cream to beige to tan to camel to taupe to grey to mushroom. Mix it up and give your upholstery some interest by varying the shades, add texture and even pattern – like neutral stripe, and play with combinations of colors greys and creams for instance. Want a red sofa? Go for it! …just be sure it’s something you can live with for a very long time, or set aside a bit of cash to help pay for the recovering when it you get sick of it.
May 24, 2012
Not quite white but close enough, this is a really beautiful space. love the giant stone tiled floor what a statement maker and a perfect foil for the small tiles on the back wall and the board ceiling… texture everywhere but nothing fights. I’m a fan of the low window sills at the sink and covet the Chicago style goose neck faucet. The inset doors on the cabinetry are also a high-end choice but make the cabinets so elegant and streamlined. Maybe the table is a bit small? Love the charm and warmth of the wood, a great choice for middle of this space, use what you have it creates a less planed look, but make sure what you use in a kitchen is user-friendly. lastly, the sink and countertops… not sure what type of stone, but LOVE the sink made from the countertop material. Perfect.
totally different vibe from the last one but there is so many good things about this kitchen. Starting with the wall of slab material. So, so pretty. Clean, simple, dramatic, modern, expensive… yes it’s all of those things but in a simple kitchen like this with sleek shiny cabinets and minimal hardware the dominance of the movement in the stone is perfect. And would you look at the detail in the pattern of the tiled floor? Love that they didn’t just do a 12 x12 or for that matter a 12 x24 or any other popular choice for tile floors these days. The varrying sizes and interesting pattern give interest without overwhelming the small space.
Not sure how useable the stool are without an overhang… but love this kitchen and the coffee station built-in to the wall of open shelves. The idea of wallpaper on the back wall is a nice touch, it adds a bit of color without making the room too busy. This kitchen also sports inset cabinet doors and what looks to be Carrara marble.
Last but not least, the humble kitchen. Tiny in size and traditional in materials this little kitchen was designed to pack it all in and still give as much counter top as possible. That’s probably why they went with a glass top range, it allows for prep space when not in use. not a lot of storage here but upper cabinets would have really closed the space in… I think they made all the right choices here except I’m not sure if I’m loving the pillowed subway tile. With the board walls and the bead-board cabinet doors there are a lot of lines in this tiny space. I might have liked the soapstone? counter top material as the backsplash and added a lower shelf (not as deep as the top shelf) so the slab didn’t have to be as tall and there would be another place for utensils, spices or dinnerware.
May 23, 2012
I admit it, I’m a snob. I prefer high quality, flawlessly designed furniture (and clothes). I am of the school that “you get what you pay for” and my favorite line is: BUY THE BEST, CRY ONCE. But, for the record IKEA really impressed me on a recent visit. It’s down right CHEAP, it’s really well designed and they have their look “down pat”. I could have spent $1000.00 – and in the world of home furnishings that’s not a lot – and left with a car load, ok maybe two car loads full of groovy stuff.
I would have spent the majority of my money on rugs, lighting and small rigid frame chairs. I’m leery of IKEA’s upholstery, convinced it will not be comfortable. And, I don’t like many of their case pieces – I don’t want to have to build it, and I’m sure it will fall apart in a year – But… the before mentioned rugs, lights and occasional chairs (and maybe even some window treatment options) looked like they would hold up, add a modern twist to any space and leave you with enough in your wallet to buy a quality sofa.
May 21, 2012
I think I promised a post for Manhattan. Well yesterday was absolutely beautiful in the city so my husband and I took a ride down the west side of the island along the Hudson River, past the Chelsea Pier, the Frying Pan down the Hudson river greenway, past the pier 62 sake park and all the way to Battery Park and back. Along the way we stopped by an installation of 3 modular homes put on by Country Living and sponsored by Benjamin Moore – among others.
Country Living is currently presenting their 2012 House of the Year building project, Room to Spare, on display at New York City’s World Financial Center from May 17-23. Built by Affinity Building Systems, this year’s project is a first for the magazine; rather than one house, they are featuring three micro-cottages, all styled by Country Living editors in conjunction with guest designers and experts — including Thomas Paul, Marcus Samuelsson and Ruard Veltman. The cottages are nicely appointed and details were all done quite nicely.
Room to Spare taps into a growing trend: highly versatile micro-cottages. Separate from a main residence, these little buildings enable homeowners to add square footage without the inconvenience of major construction. And, they can be customized to suit any need, including the options Country Living chose to high-light: outdoor kitchen/dining room; guest room; and entrepreneur’s studio/home office.
If you’re in or around Manhattan in the next few days, check it out!
May 20, 2012
You all know that I’m happy to use color in my designs, but I do prefer to apply color sparingly. These pictures of someone else’s work resonate with me because of the massive amounts of white that give the colors room and a place for the eye to rest. Love, Love, Love these happy bright rooms. I’d be proud to say I had designed them, and I’d happily visit them on a vacation or summer home… but I would need less “cheer” for my full-time residence.
May 16, 2012
It’s been decided. I have committed to a body color and a shutter color. I thought because I design for a living that choosing a paint color for my own house would be easy… it wasn’t. It wasn’t really hard either, but because I care so much the decision took several trips to the paint store and many test patches. So what colors did I pick? The house will look a lot like the one in the image below. Maybe my body color: Dove Wing by Ben Moore is a bit less yellow, and I’m using the same color on the trim only in semi-gloss… so no lighter trim for me. The Shutters: Briarwood by Ben Moore will read slightly darker than this houses, but over all a similar vibe. I picked all my colors and then found this image, it would have been too easy to start with a photo.
We are all primed and the painter has given me a very large test patch of the Dove Wing, I love it. That’s good because I already invested in a 5 gallon bucket of Aura (that’s the fancy eco-friendly version of Ben Moores paint line) paint. BTW, New York State of Mind is the front door color. the dark corner poking up on the top of the paint chips is the porch floor color, forget the name of it, and HC-173 is Revere Pewter… I was going to do the window sashes that color but I think I’m going to keep it simple and nix that color.
Here she is all primed up… The planters are full now, by the time the paint job is finished the pots will be filling in nicely and I promise one final up-date. Can’t get over how different the house looks not green and without shutters… I miss the shutters, not the green.
May 14, 2012
I started to look for and collect images of white bathrooms with natural roman shades and before I knew it I hit the white bathroom jackpot on a fellow bloggers site trishatroutz.blogspot.com. Trisha had done a blog on architect John B. Murray – his work is flawless – and there they were, not one, not two but three beautiful white bathrooms, none had natural roman shades but all are charming, perfectly appointed and not over done. Here they are…
Traditional yes, nothing too “out of the box” but so comfortably livable and simply sweet. I love them. The beautiful mosaic floor, the subway tiles, the built-in medicine cabinets, the old-fashioned light fixtures, the bead-board, and all the other charming details speak to me. WANT!
More of the same, mosaic floors, footed vanities, white on white and they are warmed with natural roman shades made from bamboo, woven grasses and wood. For me, a natural roman shade is a great choice for a bathroom, it reads clean and fresh, it warms up the room and stays crisp looking over time. With or without a natural roman shade, a white bathroom with never look dated, keep your details classic and it won’t go out of style either.
May 13, 2012
May 12, 2012
May 8, 2012
May 7, 2012
I love neutrals,they don’t have a shelf life… (pun intended – around my family maybe too much this weekend, they love a pun) Neutrals never date, , they are rich and beautiful in their own natural and subtle way, they allow textues to stand out and important things like art, views and people to stand out… not to mention forms and shapes of furnishings. The idea of hanging nesting baskets on a wall to create storage is so simple but it works so well and looks so good, I had to post this shot. But, of course I have to take it a bit further and add a few beautifully done interiors to really push the look of natural and neutrals tones. Just look at howe interesting a tonal room can be…
Ignore the green in that last one – even though it’s really pretty. Loving the way they hung the art lower than the desk! Grass cloth always chic! Below: Headboard, coverlet and night stand become contrast pieces in a taupe against the creamy whites in the bedroom below.
Back dating this post for yesterday, sorry I missed a day but was traveling back from California!
May 6, 2012
I don’t remember where I got this image, it could be a promo shot from Hickory Chair, it might have been in Elle Decor, or House Beautiful (their images usually have a watermark) but no matter… it’s the masculine yet pretty stylings of this room, the layers and playful details that make me love it. This room goes a bit 5th avenue for me, old school with a twist. Urban sophisticated. My style icon Thomas O’Brien is responsible for much of this furniture.
The exceptional lattice work on the back of the side chair is O’Brien’s refining and reworking of a simpler antique Georgian chair that he had seen at auction. An elegantly extended high back and more complex carving give the chair a scale that works for today, both as an occasional and a dining room option. In all, this is a caliber of chair that is increasingly hard to find from new furniture makers, which demands absolute finesse in fabrication. The Side Chair is designed two ways, to be used independently, or mixed together. A carved wood version with the lattice work back can be grouped ensuite with the arm chair for a more traditional dining room presentation. A second variation offers a fully upholstered seat and back, with the same distinctive, graceful shaping of the chair top. Standard nailheads front and rear help to outline the unique silhouette of the seat back. Also available is the Sebastian Arm Chair and Sebastian Upholstered Back Side Chair. Shown in optional Oxford finish. Also in the shot – one of many pieces this season to feature paw or claw feet – the diminutive side table with a big personality is named after Thomas O’Brien’s dog Jones. It is a close translation of an antique occasional table found in upstate New York, with a charming, unusual, triple paw configuration of each foot. The paws are on such a bold scale that the design seems more gutsy and whimsical than nostalgic. Elaborate acanthus leaf details join each leg to the tabletop, and the carving overall is very true and fine. Shown in standard Dark Walnut finish, but this piece looks amazing – and a tad less serious – painted in the image above.
I could be wrong but I’m almost sure the armchair in the photo is the Paolo. This continental-style design is based on French and Italian forms of the late 1930’s, with echoes of clubby origins on a luxury liner or Pullman car. For those who like a more angular style, flared arm panels reach beyond the high back, while distinctive block feet give the chair a dressy carriage. The Paolo Ottoman (2203-29) serves well in pairs and shows the same clean piping detail as the chair, a Thomas O’Brien trademark.
This low, three-drawer chest couples a spare 1950′s design with Neoclassic Brass Hepplewhite knobs. The evenly proportioned drawers, with blind parting rails, create a level, measured face, while the thin case, inset apron panel, and subtly flared legs impart a late mid-century sophistication. Standard in Antique Ivory with Neoclassic Brass knobs as shown above. Available in dozens of optional finishes and in Customer’s Own Hardware. To visualize optional finishes and hardware visit “Customize Your Furniture” on the Hickory Chair website.
May 3, 2012
It seems as thought everytime I find something on the internet that I love, it’s in/from/available from a Canadian resource. Snob is a high-end Toronto boutique specializing in “furniture as art, art as furniture.” It turns out most of the furnishings in Denise Zidel’s beautiful Carlaw Street showroom hails from Africa, as does the owner herself. SNOB is dedicated to African craftsmanship, which, apparently, does not come cheap. you know what I’m gonna say next… I Love This! Exotic Modern.
If your lucky enough to find yourself anywhere near Carlaw Ave. (yes, in Canada) Pop in and tell Denise I sent you.
388 Carlaw Avenue #202F
Toronto, Ontario M4M 2T4
May 2, 2012
Undyed linen, rustic woods, sisal rugs… Yes please! I love the easiness of this room and the balance of light, medium and dark is perfect if you ask me. I’m not a fan of any of the light fixtures but that’s an easy change… what I love of course is the tonal palette of the space.
I must be getting old, don’t remember if I’ve posted this image before, sorry if it’s a duplicate but it reinforces my point – You don’t have to use color or pattern to create a beautiful space. Sometimes the natural beauty of a textile, or texture in some wood or the slub of a weave can be the detail.
Simple right? Who knew some rope in a jar could be so pretty, set the right mood and cost pennies? Well we all do now. I love this look. Celebrate simple yet beautiful items by putting them on display.