October 5th, 2011
SEXY!! METALLIC!! Organic?? OH YES!! THREE WAYS TO REFRESH YOUR HOME NOW
Fall has arrived, officially and in reality.
Living in the northeast, we have the gift of an every-changing landscape, and a lifestyle that changes with it. So- as fond as we might be of summertime living, we also relish the thought of change, something new and different.
As the days get shorter, and we get re-acquainted with the inside of our home, we may find ourselves yearing for some cozy-ing up factors, but coming up empty -handed.
Gleaned from a trade show earlier this year, here are three distinct trends that work seamlessly together, and how you can make them your own, refreshing your home without breaking the bank.
SEXY!! Rich, smoky colors; strong, curvy shapes; textures and embellished surfaces that are umm…inviting to the touch.
SEEN THERE: Shown here in a serpentine chest of drawers in a brushed gold finish, with enameled purple metal soutache trim, applied throughout (my lousy picture, beyond stunning in person, about $28K). Or crisp white twill covering this big, round, very cozy, intimate Lounge Au Deux.
FOR YOU: New microfiber duvet over existing bed covering, a luxurious shag area rug-or brand-new bath towels in an absolutely improbable cream.
What about a bowl like this on your dining table filled with figs…or pomegranates?
Toss out those fake smelling, fire-hazard plug in air fresheners; scented soaps, or essential oil reed diffusers are safer, longer lasting and more authentic: Scents like amber and sandalwood make sense (pun intended), but-like ice cream, V-A-N-I-L-L-A is the way you want to go.
METALLIC! Nothing hard, shiny or glossy or glitzy; rather glimmer and shimmer, iridescent, and subtle sheen…remember those rocks that mesmerized you as a child? Think nuanced, feel engaged…and very special.
SEEN THERE: Bronzed leather, free-standing screen of gold ‘stones’, and oil paintings with very strong lines and thick applications of pigment.
FOR YOU: Rustoleum makes a line of paints that creates a hammered metal look in one can, with one procedure. I used copper for my unfinished wood desktop, and silver(spray can) to clean and update the frame of an old medicine chest.
Pier One has some crazy-beautiful accent pillows in lush colors and nice beadwork.
Metallic threads in a table runner, in the glaze of a ceramic lamp, or the he ‘jewels’ in this fruit (holiday ornaments, bought last January, maybe $1.00 each)
ORGANIC! Yes, REALLY! Natural elements with strength and character. From the genuine world around us, they are perfect in their imperfection, and we connect with these materials in a basic and visceral way.
SEEN THERE: Polished stone tables, a handblown glass ‘garden’, recycled aluminum as tree branches, and paper re-worked and glazed to add big art to empty spaces.
FOR YOU: A shallow bowl, some pebbles and $10.00 worth of bulbs (paperwhites or amaryllis) and you’ve got yourself a living, growing centerpiece that will take you thru to the holidays.
Take a wood tray with multi-color peppercorns, even small dried beans like lentils, barley, even coffee beans–with votive candles set into them.
Use a tall vessel-hammered metal, or ceramic with iridescent glaze, fill it with sticks, add a can uplight on floor behind vessel to emphasize the sculptural nature of, well, nature.
Happy Fall, Everyone!
January 19th, 2011
Not quite 3 weeks into it, I continue to feel very good about this New Year.
Last weekend, on behalf of a client, I went to one of those ‘Starving Artists’ trunk shows…you know the ones, they set up in a local hotel.
They advertise like crazy a few days before, and they sell wall art for not a lot of money, like $5o.oo for a 2′ x 3′ painting.
Had never been to one before, but this client swore by them, and being we had a deadline to meet, so what the heck.
Walking towards the room, a steady stream of people holding wrapped canvases passed me…good sign, I thought. But when I got there, I was stunned.
There must have been 500 people in this huge room, most holding several canvases quite possessively already, and all were intent on the mission on hand.
Husbands were off to the side, dutifully guarding numerous canvases, while wives were making a second trip around the room; babies were being carried while canvases were in the strollers.
I couldn’t get near the table with 12″ x 12″ canvases for $8.00, it was like a hot craps game was going on behind the throng. Are you seeing how many canvases these people are holding??
And they weren’t just holding them, they were buying them, along with pre-made frames, also value priced.
So why, might you ask, does a feeding frenzy on inexpensive art make me feel so darn good?
I always believe that art can make you happy, but this was more. These were people who were excited about their homes and their space again. They were looking to be happy, and to have things they like around them.
These people are engaged and moving forward; their mood was palpable- upbeat and invigorating, this is a good thing for us all.
The subject matter was 99% landscapes, and a few funky geometrics, I never did find anything suitable for my client. But I did find this little guy…is it my imagination, or is he winking??
November 19th, 2010
Earlier this week I was in NYC at the Design and Decoration (D&D) building to straighten out a wallpaper dyelot and labeling “situation” (yes, that will definitely be food for another post).
Took the elevator up, but leaving I took the stairs…what a surprise it was to open that door and see this clever way of dressing up the regulation, ordinary poured concrete safety stairs.
Painted like a bordered installed carpet, it was a great way for the project to come in on budget, but it was lovely and well, whimsical.
Good design can make you smile, and details make all the difference. For a few hours of labor and a couple of rolls of painters’ tape, a utilitarian non-space was transformed into a delightful focal point. Well done, D&D!
October 16th, 2010
These last two changes are unexpectedly satisfying-partially because they are so basic, and so simple.
4. Into the kitchen! Regular readers know I consider everyday cooking to be a real intrusion on the rest of my day, and faux-’easy’ recipes from hmm….rhymes with Meal Dimple…are insulting and annoying, so don’t get your apron stings all knotted up…
It’s known science that many spices promote good health-cinnamon helps lower high blood pressure, ginger aids digestion, hot spices fill you up with flavor (not calories), to name a few.
But they just LOOK so darn good, and with the weather changing and the holidays nipping at our heels, nothing exudes hominess, invites creativity and builds confidence in the kitchen and like an organized spice rack or shelf that you can just reach over to and sprinkle from.
Experts say dried spices lose their effectiveness after 6 months…I think that’s a pretty narrow window (probably researched by the sales arm of the National Spice Council), but it is a fact, their potency does diminish with thyme…ummm, I mean time :>
ANYWAY-toss out any container that is dusty on top, has no discernible scent, or you can’t remember using. Think about the upcoming cooking/eating season, look at some of your favorite cookbooks/recipes and make your list:
Ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice for baking; paprika, cumin, chili powder and curries for soups, stews and chili; dill, oregano, thyme and sage for meat, poultry, sauces and dips. Then go NOT to the supermarket (who knows how long those little jars and tins have been sitting there) but instead www.atlanticspice.com.
This gem of a business is hidden just off Route 6 (bayside) on the North Truro-Provincetown (MA) line. Wholesale, but open to the public, ships anywhere, and spices are just the beginning.
Inventory does not stay long, they do business by the barrel, and sell bottles of spices for about $2.25 each (maybe HALF of what they sell for in the supermarket) and in things you may use in bulk-their minced onion and mixed provance herbs are my favorite-maybe $6.00 a pound? Browse their online catalog, and this season, you will ROCK in the kitchen.
5. Let me tell you about the magical restorative powers of new linens…After the age of 25, the most affordable luxuries are a good night sleep, and a refreshing morning shower.
Because things like sheets, pillows and towels degrade very very gradually, we don’t really notice it…but take a look now. If your linen closet is looking like a patchwork quilt, you are due for an upgrade.
Best news, you can do it very well, and stick to a budget….. I mean, have you been to a Kohl’s lately??
Recently I bought a set of 400 count (the number of threads per square inch) pima cotton(longer threads = smoother, more lustrous product) king size sheets for a client. This season’s merchandise, in a classic color; inc. flat, fitted, and 2 king pillowcases-$120.00 regularly, on sale for $49.00, LESS 15% with my coupon $42.50 when all was said and done.
Pillows can be gotten for $10.00 or less, and if you hit it right, you can get a new set of very nice towels-4 bath, 4 hand, 4 wash for maybe $75.00-I got this same client got new Tommy Hillfiger towels for $6.00 each at Home Goods.
EXTRA FEEL-GOOD POINTS: Most animal shelters are very welcoming of your unwanted linens.
We all have busy days/weeks/etc…having a great front door/neat closets/healthy plants/fresh herbs and spices or even crisp, smooth matching sheets and soft, fluffy bath towels isn’t really going to change that, but you will feel a heck of a lot better about it all, and at the end of the day, in’t that what we really want?
March 20th, 2010
Art in general makes me feel like a more complete person. It’s not a scholarly viewpoint, but an emotional one. I’m sure others have a much more eloquent way to express it, but to see and feel a little bit of another’s’ heart and soul expressed visually- makes me happy.
Have attended local craft and trade shows for years, and been uplifted both personally and professionally by what I’d see, and the good karma I’d feel from being in the midst of happy and creative people.
On Thursday I attended the trade-only first day of the Architectural Digest show down at the Piers. Each year there’s a different feeling, and this one, while delightful as always, had a very genuine, attainable while still semi-out-of-the-box feel to the artwork.
Organic and crafted were 2 words that kept coming to me. Solid, and most with natural materials, the presence of both artist and their talents were apparent. Two of the artists I connected with were happily both reasonably local, and very approachable.
Amy Eisenfeld Gesner is based in West Hartford (but has exhibited right here in the County Center in White Plains) creates dimensional wall art using tightly-rolled paper, with her pieces ranging from $300.00 to $6000.00.
My amateur photos do not do her pieces justice; in particular, I was absolutely mesmerized by this piece on the right.
Jamie Harris has his studio in downtown Brooklyn, and creates in glass. Modern, but not hard or edgy; his designs are colorful, flexible, and full of energy. In particular I liked his free-form glass bubble installations-a lot of movement to them, they can be designed and placed to compliment whatever space you have.
I’d use them to soften an overly-contemporary space, or create more of a flow in those long, deadly hallways you find in commercial spaces. These pieces are priced individually, $400.00 for a single/solid element, to $1400.00 for the carved/multi-color ones.
Spring brings an explosion of local Art events, and I will make continued mention of them as the season progresses. Amy and Jamie (sorry, really didn’t see that coming!) are two of many who have much to share. Art is subjective and intensely personal, but in the months to come, give yourself a treat: go to some shows, and see what can make you happy.