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After a stellar ten-year run,  Susan Bednar Long and Christina Sullivan Roughan,  the New York City-based power duo behind the much touted Tocar Interior Design firm, have embarked on separate paths.

As a team, the designers were known for deftly blending modern and traditional elements in every project. Their style focus is tailored, crisp and sophisticated and they never missed the mark. Here is just a sample of some of the deliciously livable spaces that the girls created together. We wish them all the best in their new ventures and look forward to seeing what comes next.

East 73rd Street Townhouse

East 73rd Street Townhouse

London Townhouse

5th Avenue Pied-a-Terre

Greenwich Village Loft

Tribeca Loft


As I mentioned in my last post, New England Home has launched a Connecticut edition and I couldn’t be more excited. In the premiere issue, I did an artist profile on Cornelia Kubler Kavanagh, a sculptor who translates the beauty and brutality of nature into sensuous form. Read about her amazing work (as seen below) and see the gorgeous interior designs in the magazine which is on sale at many of the major book and grocery stores in Fairfield County. For those of you who can’t get hold of the actual magazine, click here for Cornelia’s story.

I’m excited to report that New England Home magazine has launched a Connecticut edition and I’m so pleased to have been asked to contribute a piece for the premiere issue.

The magazine, which offers a sophisticated look at area designers, architects, products and artists,  is now expanding its focus to the exceptional design world to be found in Fairfield County.

In this era of rough seas for the publishing biz it does my heart good to see such a lovely and esteemed magazine float confidently through the flotsam.

Kudos!

WOW! I just received a Kreativ Blogger Award from Monika at Splendid Willow – A splendid blog indeed.  Splendid Willow is a trove of delicious images with a focus on the best of Swedish design- with its serene, time kissed, breathable spaces- and when we are lucky, pictures of her beautiful family too. Monika was just named as a well-deserving recipient of the award and was gracious enough to pay it forward to seven of her favorite blogs, including EMD Design Journal!  It is suggested that the honorees share seven things about ourselves but I’ll use that platform to show you a few of the amazing blogs that I think are worthy of their own awards…

Thanks again for your warm and enthusiastic support Monika. And thanks to every EMD Design Journal reader for stopping by!!

My Kreativ Blogger Award picks

slightly me's weblog

all the mountains

the paris apartment

just three things

Litchfield.com

Swoond

Living Lab

Last month Architectural Digest had a story about a NYC duplex renovated by fave design firm Shelton Mindel & Associates.  Lee Mindel and Peter Shelton worked with their senior interior designer Grace Sierra on this beautifully restrained project. They only had three months to turn this time-worn limestone duplex across from Central Park into a chic and modern family home.  Despite the limitations and challenges, the result is stunning! Ooh La La!

Photography by Michael Moran

Photography by Michael Moran

Photography by Michael Moran

Photography by Michael Moran

sad. just sad.

Alexander McQueen - 16 March 1969 – 11 February 2010

Life in Focus

I met husband and wife photographers Wendy Carlson and John  Kane when we did a magazine shoot together a while back.  I love the way Wendy captures a broad range of subjects with unpretentious elegance and, like the Momix and Pilobolus dancers that he works with, John’s photography elicits lyric and rhythm in human form.

I look forward to working with them again soon!

Photo courtesy of Wendy Carlson Photography

Photo courtesy of Wendy Carlson Photography

Photo Courtesy of Wendy Carlson Photography

Photo courtesy of Wendy Carlson Photography

Photo courtesy of Wendy Carlson Photography

Photo courtesy of Silver Sun Studio

Photo courtesy of Silver Sun Studio

Photo courtesy of Silver Sun Studio

Click here to order it on Amazon!

It’s here! It’s here! It’s heeere!!.

Popular radio host, Binnie Klein, has just released her new book: Blows to the Head: How Boxing Changed my Mind and I can’t wait to read it!

Judging by the blurbs on the publisher’s website, this id-romp of a memoir is destined to be read and reread by anyone who has ever grappled with the intricacies of  self concept, and anyone who appreciates how the mysterious hiccups of everyday life can dictate our paths.

Nice Blurb: “Until now, I have avoided anything to do with boxing on the grounds that it was brutal and uncivilized. Reading Binnie Klein’s elegantly literary, funny, philosophical, moving, and endlessly intriguing Blows to the Head has changed my mind! It’s a wonderful discovery.” — Katharine Weber, author of True Confections and Triangle

Nice Plug: In a story that will captivate and inspire women and men, athletes and nonathletes, Klein shows us that if we turn over the “weird stones” on our path, the ones we usually ignore, we may find ourselves on an unexpected journey that will summon vitality back into our lives.

Why not?: When Binnie Klein took up boxing in her mid-fifties, the reaction from friends and acquaintances was always the same: “You?” Why, after all, would a middle-aged Jewish psychotherapist with no previous history of athletics take up boxing?


Welcome to 2010 everyone!

I’m pleased to kick off a new season by posting some images from virtuoso designer Amie Weitzman.  The former Design Director for Joseph Abboud Inc. and designer for the Ralph Lauren Home Collection, Weitzman’s alchemy of earthy textures and crisp editing give all of her spaces a livable agelessness.  To punctuate that mix, she brings the same creative vision that she was known for as a fabric designer to her custom furnishings and textiles.  I am excited to be doing a story on her amazing Connecticut lake house for the March issue of Litchfield Magazine (see story here) and hope to publish a piece on another beautiful home she did in Westchester before long.

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Christmas in Connecticut

Photo via Flickr

Sure, it’s a cliche, but there really is nothing more nostalgic than the image of a child at Christmas time. No matter how different our individual experiences have been, most of us share some universal flashback of the awe and anticipation that colorful lights, cheesy carols and once-a-year confections bring- reminding us of a long lost vibrancy and openness which often evaporates as we grow older.

I recently saw an 8mm movie of me as a baby-  bubble-butted from droopy diaper, bonnet upon peach fuzz head, dirty hands, drooly face, boundless energy – toddling among what must have seemed like a carnival of wonders, but was really just the tragic refuse on a trailor-trashy lawn.  It reminds me this Christmas that gifts can come in any form you care to receive them, if you can manage to tap into the expansiveness of a child’s imagination. (I find vintage Christmas cartoons and champagne helps to reproduce the effect – –  the cartoons are optional.)

The photo above comes courtesy of a Flickr stream called; When the Journey Collapses, where they offer a number of their own personal holiday pix which are strangely familiar because they are just so darn every family USA. It really could be my bubble butt, and peach fuzz head! Thanks WtJC..

…and a joyful, cozy and occasionally childish Christmas to all!

Last night the 2009 Interior Design Best of Year awards were held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in NYC. One of my favorite firms among the merit award winners was Interior Design Hall of Famers, Shelton, Mindel & Associates. Their materials-driven approach combines luscious wood tones, metals and stone surfaces with crisp, clean and modern design to create that elusive comfy-yet-utterly cool balance that classic modernism is built on.  I particularly like these residential spaces:

Photo courtesy of Shelton, Mindel & Associates

Photo courtesy of Shelton, Mindel & Associates

Photo courtesy of Shelton, Mindel & Associates

Photo courtesy of Shelton, Mindel & Associates

Photo courtesy of Shelton, Mindel & Associates

Wishing you all…

sm_GGroc-WDWent to the opening reception for Ella Vickers‘ flagship shop on the avenue in Greenwich last evening. Ella is a charming and talented sailor and entrepreneur who began designing bags out of the retired sailcloth of the yacht Columbia, the first 12-meter vessel to win the Americas cup, after sailing on her as first mate. The well-edited designs, superb construction and utter usability of the bags made them an immediate success with boating aficionados in the loop. Now Ella Vickers Sailcloth Collection (EVSC) is busting out into the broader market. The season may be over here in New England, but you don’t need to be a boater to fall in love with this eco-friendly bags.

Along-side Ella’s bags and accessories in this high-rent neighborhood, is the sublime portraiture of photographer Koren Reyes.  Check out the pets and maternity pictures on her beautiful website; Korenreyes.com. She somehow manages to turn what could be unbearable cuteness into true art.

lg_STRHB-BlkStarRopeHandBagBlack

Recycled Sailcloth Hand Bag with Rope/Sailing Line Handles & Black Star

lg_SFRNSanFranciscobackside

San Francisco Backside Shoulder Bag

lg_showercurtainredwhite

Sailcloth shower curtain

lg_GRMTGarmentBag

Sailcloth Garment Bag

lg_RTLSRLaserRopeTote

Sailcloth Tote with Rope/Sailing Line and Laser Sail Insignia


Wrap it up. I’ll take it.

I make it a policy not to just troll other blogs and regurgitate what others have done. But I will break my own rule when someone has posted something that I have to kick myself for not finding on my own. Today’s post comes courtesy of Object Lesson, a cool blog and one of the many fans of artLAB, an Etsy shop which grabbed my attention and sent me on an knee-jerk shopping binge. Thanks Object Lesson! (well, my closet thanks you but my budget thinks you’re the devil.)
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Oversized Wool Wrap No.4 Charcoal Gray

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Alternate view

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Muted Blanc oversized ruffle cowl No.1

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Good Morning Jacket

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Ruffle Noir Tee

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Purple Rain Flannel Ruffle Scarf

Ephemera

MH1209-Cover-320x400

The shelter magazine industry continues its grisly decline…

Today, industry insider Stacy Kunstel, reports in her excellent tweets at StacyStyle that Metropolitan Home is going belly up by the end of the year.  I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel a bit queasy.

Marcel Wanders in Philly

tables-crochet-pg3-imgThe Philadelphia Museum of Art will be hosting, Marcel Wanders: Daydreams; a dreamlike, multimedia installation personally created by the Dutch designer to represent pivotal points in his career. Per the museum’s website, the exhibit, which runs from November 22, 2009 to June 13, 2010,  will feature “new films detailing Wanders’s design process and philosophy in projects ranging from manufactured products, hotel interiors, and design art… The soundscape that accompanies the films provides Wanders’s personal views on design.”

I have  too many Wanders favorites to be able to showcase them all here, so I’ll just post a few today…

skygarden-marcel-wanders

Skygarden for Flos

Stair case at Mondrian Hotel in Miami

Stairway at Mondrian South beach

Stone Crystal Stool

Kartell Stone Stool

Design_Wanders_CrochetChair_72dpi_15cm

Smart Deco Crochet Chair

Throw for Mooi

July Throw for Mooi

I came across the hyper clever work of Kevin Van Aelst,  an artist who lives and works in New Haven, CT during the recent Open Studios group show.

Splash, 2009, carpet, monofilament

Splash, 2009, carpet, monofilament

The elasticity of his technicolor brain conceives these color photographs which he says, “consist of common artifacts and scenes from everyday life, which have been rearranged, assembled, and constructed into various forms, patterns, and illustrations… creating order where we expect to find randomness.” Photos of his can be seen  illustrating “The Medium” in the New York Times Magazine. (www.kevinvanaelst.com)

Driving at Night, 2009, digital c-print, 24 x 36

Driving at Night, 2009, digital c-print, 24 x 36

The Heart, 2009, digital c-print, 40 x 30"

The Heart, 2009, digital c-print, 40 x 30"

Hawaii, 2007, digital C-print, 12 x 18

Hawaii, 2007, digital C-print, 12 x 18

Phases of the Moon, 2006, series of 28 digital c-prints, each 11 x 11

Phases of the Moon, 2006, series of 28 digital c-prints, each 11 x 11

Left Pinky Finger,†2007, digital C-print, 43 x 34.5

Left Pinky Finger,†2007, digital C-print, 43 x 34.5

Right Index Finger,†2007, digital C-print, 43 x 34.5

Right Index Finger,†2007, digital C-print, 43 x 34.5

Gonna need more shoes…

spring_2010_sept_10-17

Short and billowy bubble-icious skirts, harem pants (again), frenetic prints and classic black and white; Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is over. With designs that range from romantic (Venexiana and Georges Chakra) to architectonic, (Trias and Alexandre Herchcovitch) the spring 2010 shows give us plenty of mood and color options to work into our own wardrobes.  Like you, I’m always looking to translate a few elements from the runway into my personal style. Here’s a roundup of some of the looks that grabbed my attention this season:

Alexandre Herchcovitch

Alexandre Herchcovitch

Alexandre Herchcovitch

Alexandre Herchcovitch

Cesar Galindo

Cesar Galindo

Dennis Basso

Dennis Basso

Georges Chakra

Georges Chakra

Maria Pinto

Maria Pinto

Michael Angel

Michael Angel

Narciso Rodriguez

Narciso Rodriguez

What memory sounds like

Wild for White

AlbatrossAnother Saturday morning shopping excursion on 1st Dibs. Today, the guest shopper is New York City designer, Alex Papachristidis. I picked out a collection of items that I would love to work with when putting together a fresh, sophisticated, modern living room. What pieces would you choose from this selection, how would you put them together and what would you add to bring balance to the space?

site_photo_16September again. How the hell did that happen? Still, there are some redeeming things about early autumn; cushy new sweaters, the purest deep blue afternoon skies and comfortable sleeping nights. I came across these fire features from Colombo Construction Corp a couple of months ago when I couldn’t even think about hovering over a crackling fire unless it was to toast marshmallows- now that I look at these pictures again, I kinda can’t wait for the first fireplace-worthy evening…

Elena Colombo is a classically trained sculptor and architectural designer whose works have been featured in everything from the New York Times to Country Home magazine.  Her firm, Colombo Construction Corp, is a conceptual design and fabrication firm that creates large scale exterior works.

Fire Bowls from CCC

Fire Bowls

In-ground Corten Steel Fire Arc with Acid Etched Tree

In-ground Corten Steel Fire Arc with Acid Etched Tree

Spring Burn Firebowl

Spring Burn Firebowl

Charles Doig Memorial

Charles Doig Memorial

Corten Steel Nest

Corten Steel Nest

The latest issue of Litchfield Magazine just came out, with my feature story on The Sumacs, an elegant shingle style house in Washington, CT.  (To see the entire story, click here.)

0745-02

Photos by Michael Moran

With the help of Reese Owens of Halper Owens Architects, homeowners, Gene and Barbara Kohn applied their vision and skills as architect and designer to bring this house back from the brink of blah. They were wonderful hosts and I enjoyed working on this piece. Here are some excerpts:

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Built in 1894 for the illustrator and naturalist William Hamilton Gibson, The Sumacs is one of several significant “cottages” designed by renowned architect Ehrick Kensett Rossiter. Not withstanding some misguided attempts at modernization, this one hundred year-old structure was in good shape and retained most of its character-defining features. Fireplaces with glazed earthen-ware tiles, forty-eight different types of windows and elaborate turnings along the stairway are just a taste of Rossiter’s range of expression.


0745-040745-05

A meticulous renovation was undertaken with the goal of restoring many of the original elements of Rossiter’s design while bringing the 6,600 square-foot house up to date.  Formica counters in the butler’s pantry, an echo of so many remodels that sacrifice the architect’s art in the name of practicality, had to be replaced; other mid-century built-ins needed to be removed. The bathrooms and kitchen were sorely inadequate so the kitchen was gutted and doubled in size by removing a mud room and two pantries.


0745-090745-12

Several small rooms were reconfigured in keeping with Shingle Style architecture which prizes continuous volumes of space. Some of the original sleeping porches that had been closed in to create bathrooms (since there was only one installed when the house was built) were reworked. But they did keep a charmingly vintage though somewhat dubious elevator that was added not long after the house was built.

0745-180745-21A


ws_08 (2)

My friend Rose is one of the goddesses that makes the Barneys NY warehouse sales happen. As most of you fashionistas and web surfing, nose-smudge-on-window-pane shoppers know, the NYC warehouse sale started on August 20th. I always say I’m going to go but it never seems to fall into place. HEY ROSIE, if you’re listening – here’s my shopping list for all that spare time you’ll have… I want at least one of each – and you should probably know, I have a budget of $23 American dollars.

 Giuseppe Zanotti Crystal Cluster T-Strap Sandals

Giuseppe Zanotti Crystal Cluster T-Strap Sandals

Christian Louboutin Papilipi

Christian Louboutin Papilipi

Givenchy Medium Croc nightingale

Givenchy Medium Croc nightingale

Bottega Veneta Handbag

Bottega Veneta Handbag

Bottega Veneta Tote

Bottega Veneta Tote

Pink: as in Flamingos

Just got back from a few days at the beach. Summer finally obliges with sun, sand and warm ocean breezes. All the things we await all winter (and much of summer this year) were in place; abandoned frisbees, too soon deflated blow-up rafts, that one summer gin and tonic, sandy kids on the rampage, mysterious items bobbing in the outgoing tide-  and, for me, an unabashed celebration of PINK.

Pink: as in Beach Roses

Pink: as in Beach Roses

Pink: as in Bicycle

Pink: as in Bicycle

Pink: as in Cupcakes

Cake & Co

Pink: as in Boa

Pink: as in Boa

Pink: as in Beach Chair

Pknk: as in Chair

Pink: as in Umbrella

Pink: as in umbrella

Pink: as in Flamingos

Pink: as in Flamingos

Bauhaus at Ninety

Today, Interior Design Magazine’s Designwire Daily has a piece on two exhibitions which celebrate the 90th anniversary of a profoundly influential (and one of my favorite) design movements; the German Bauhaus school. “Bauhaus. A Conceptual Model”, is currently running at Berlin’s Martin-Gropius-Baumuseum through October 4th, and the Museum of Modern Art will be hosting, “Bauhaus 1919-1933: Workshops for Modernity”, from November 8 to January 18th. (See the entire story here.)


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Bauhaus (“House of Building” or “Building School”) was founded by Walter Gropius in 1919 and ran until 1933.  Its attempt at a “new way of living” combined crafts and the fine arts, with the idea of creating a total work in which all arts could be united;  a modern approach which reflected the social changes of the time.

Klaus Labuttis of the Dezignare Interior Design Collective (www.dezignare.com) writes: “The ‘New Man’ became the ideal, a concept that also expressed itself in living. The Bauhaus Design showed a simplicity with emphasis on straight edges and smooth, slim forms. The rooms were sparsely furnished, superfluous features were taboo. Shining steel was discovered as a material for furniture. The aim was to take advantage of the possibilities of mass production to achieve a style of design that was both functional and aesthetic. Objects were to be designed to have simplicity, multiplicity, economical use of space, material, time and money which looks as modern as anything in production today.”

◊ Bauhaus Style ◊

Furnishings:

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Adjustable MR Chaise Lounge for Knoll.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Adjustable MR Chaise Lounge for Knoll at 1st Dibs

Christian Dell (by Kaiser) Desk Lamp Circa 1930 at 1st Dibs

Christian Dell (by Kaiser) Desk Lamp Circa 1930 at 1st Dibs

1924 Marianne Brandt Silver and Ebony Tea Pot at Tecnolumen

1924 Marianne Brandt Silver and Ebony Tea Pot at Tecnolumen

1924 Wilhelm Wagenfeld Nickel plated Tea Cannister

1924 Wilhelm Wagenfeld Nickel plated Tea Cannister at Tecnolumen

Architecture:

1938 Walter Gropius house, Lincoln, Massachusetts

1938 Walter Gropius house, Lincoln, Massachusetts

Barcelona Mies van der Rohe Pavillon

Barcelona Mies van der Rohe Pavillon

Art:

Komposition 8; 1923 by Vasily Kandinsky at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

Komposition 8; 1923 by Vasily Kandinsky at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

Bauhaus Stairway by Oskar Schlemmer;1932 at The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Bauhaus Stairway by Oskar Schlemmer;1932 at The Museum of Modern Art, New York


Beach Blanket Binge

Orb Ice Tray

I was surfing on the A + R website for stylish and useful things to keep on hand for days at the beach (Yes, I know it’s August – but I’m in denial) and, as usual, I got distracted by all the other stylish and useful things that I have little use for- –

This cute innovative Orb ice tray not only chills, but can be used to serve and store things. It makes 21 ice cubes, and stores more in its removable inner bucket. And It’s airtight so you won’t get freezer funk in your cocktails.

DOUBLE WALLED OIL/VINEGAR CARAFES BY ICHENDORF

ICHENDORF OIL/VINEGAR CARAFE

These hand blown, double-walled carafes offer a striking way to store everyday cooking oil, etc. But alas, not at the beach. Unless — maybe sun tan oil? hmmm. No! hmmmm.

KOR'S HYDRATION VESSEL

Perfectly portable and visually quenching, these streamlined bottles are totally free of  BPA. The cap swivels open with a touch of a button and the wide mouth is large enough for ice cubes.  And one percent of sales benefit safe water programs worldwide. A votre sante!

DIRECT DESIGNS' STAINLESS STEEL NOTEBOOK GRILL

DIRECT DESIGNS' STAINLESS STEEL NOTEBOOK GRILL

Grill Skewers

GRILL SKEWERS BY EVA SOLO

But I did manage to find some things to prolong summer, or at least make the last few barbecues a bit more fun: This super-slim, portable grill has a large enough cooking surface for about six burgers- or better yet, 6 kebabs.

The square cross-sectional design of these skewers holds food in place so it won’t flop around when you move them, and the flat ends make them easy to hold.

All the Buzzzz

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After reading novelist, journalist and all around new favorite weekend neighbor, Lauren Lipton’s (www.laurenlipton.com) engaging Mating Rituals of the North American WASP, (flush the flaccid “chick-lit” crap- this is romance for cynical, smart girls with a wry sense of humor and a few Las Vegas-scale misdemeanors under their Miu Miu belts) I started to notice all of the types of wasps that one comes across during the summer in Connecticut-

I can't help it, maybe it's the WASP in me but I just think this is pretty

OK - this is a bit of a stretch - maybe it's the WASP in me but I just think this is pretty

But not to worry:

Menu organic wasp trap

Menu organic wasp trap at Grounded

This month, Architectural Digest has a story about La Concha, a once-abandoned 1958 Puerto Rican landmark which just barely escaped demolition. Thankfully, a groundswell of nostalgia in the community lead Renaissance Hotels to give the crumbling hotel a second chance.

Marvel & Marchand Architects/Interior Design by Jorge Rosselló Interior Designers and Space Planners  Text by Michael Frank/Photography by Dan Forerr

Marvel & Marchand Architects/Interior Design by Jorge Rosselló Interior Designers and Space Planners/Photography by Dan Forerr

Excerpt from the story by Michael Frank:

La Concha was “Originally designed by Osvaldo Toro and Miguel Ferrer, with an eccentric but utterly lovable seashell-shaped restaurant by Mario Salvatori.  … The hotel featured vaulted ceilings that capped poolside cabanas, a sea of white marble in its interiors and Salvatori’s whimsical mollusk of a restaurant floating in a reflecting pool that seemed to merge into the infinity of the ocean beyond…”

Architectural Renovation by The Office of Marvel & Marchand Architects/Interior Design by Jorge Rosselló Interior Designers and Space Planners/ Photography by Dan Forerr

Rosselló designed handblown Murano glass lamps for the restaurant

Only the bones of the building were left when architect José R. Marchand and designer Jorge Rosselló began the work of resuscitating the hotel; but they were able to work from the original drawings to revive the architecture while updating it in a way that faithfully reflects its former quirky grace.

The presidential suite

The presidential suite

The penthouse terrace

The penthouse terrace

Guest room

Guest room

Dream On

I love the way interior designer, Ghislaine Viñas, does bedrooms-  even if I am a little lactose intolerant.

Photography: Eric Laignel, Hallie Burton
Photography: Eric Laignel, Hallie Burton

Another temptation to spend the day in bed…

Photography: Elizabeth Felicella
Photography: Elizabeth Felicella

I’m a sucker for over-the-top sconces…

Photography: Eric Laignel
Photography: Eric Laignel

She gets a a gold star for her dining rooms too…

Photography: Elizabeth Felicella
Photography: Elizabeth Felicella
Photography: Eric Laignel
Photography: Eric Laignel

rea-adsz-indus-lace425x286The stretch wall treatments from Couture Interiors Corp. (www.coutureinteriorscorp.com) aren’t so much decorative as they are environmental. Why fuss about the perfect piece of art to put over your sofa or a less than ideal view when you can envelop yourself in extreme decor.

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The graphic combination of black and white is an undeniable classic and a perennial favorite with designers of all stripes. The positive/negative, day/night, cold/hot pairing has been a design statement since long before black and white glazed brick patterns showed up on the architecture of Babylon. But it’s the way it has of yielding to endless reinterpretation that makes it eternally appealing and eternally modern.

Hedonism Collection by Sicis; Glass tile mosaic

Hedonism Collection by Sicis; Glass tile mosaic

A few new takes on an old standby: The new Hedonism collection from Sicis is made with glass tiles, assembled into a mosaic representation of the human form. The Crepax Kadhorna cabinet by Giuseppe Canevese (at Moss) uses the artwork of graphic artist Guido Crepax, who was hugely influential in the development of European comic art in the second half of the 20th century.

Crepax Kadhorna cabinet

Crepax Kadhorna cabinet

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Shadowy deckchair by Tord Boontje; in steel and woven plastic

The Shadowy deckchair by Tord Boontje (at Moroso) has a shape that evokes the beach furniture found in Northern Europe in the twenties. Woven by African craftsmen using plastic threads,  Shadowy’s cheeky design sports a backrest that turns into a parasol.

Ginetta Suspension Light

Ginetta Suspension Light at YLighting

Acrylic cloud ceiling light by Adam Jackson Pollock at YLighting

Acrylic cloud light at Fire Farm

The botanical forms explored by award-winning metalsmith, Heather Bayless, has garnered her First Prize for three of her tableware designs at “Beyond Silver,”  the The Massimo Martini Design Awards.

Onion Sauce Jar with Attached Spoon in Sterling Silver, Fine Silver/Copper Mokume Gane

Onion Sauce Jar in Sterling Silver, Fine Silver/Copper Mokume Gane

Using a range of metalworking methods which include Mokume-gane, (“wood-grain metal”) a 17th-century Japanese process formerly used only for sword fittings, Heather re-imagines seeds, bulbs and spores into contemporary functional pieces. What an amazing creative lens she has!

Bulbs spice shakers

Bulbs spice shakers in Sterling Silver, Copper, Wood

Twins spice shakers in Sterling Silver

Twins spice shakers in Sterling Silver

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Ring in silver and coral

Ring in silver and coral by Aline Kokinopoulos

The Marseille atelier of jeweler/sculptor Aline Kokinopoulos recreates themes from architecture and nature with silver and semi-precious stones. In her hands, sea urchins and lotus pods become wearable art. I’m guessing Mother Nature approves.

Lotus heart Ring in silver by

Lotus heart Ring in silver by Aline Kokinopoulos

Decor, Dee-lish!

Sublime design can stir the senses—

Photographer: Colleen Duffley, Designer: Jill VanTosh Featured in: Southern Exposure Metropolitan Home, Mar 2008

Featured in: Metropolitan Home Southern Exposure , Mar 2008; Photographer: Colleen Duffley, Designer: Jill VanTosh

When a designer has created a truly beautiful dining environment, the aroma of great cooking wafting in and maybe just the right music selection (for me, a custom Pandora Radio station seeded with  a well chilled blend including; Zero 7, Air, and Thievery Corporation)  completes the sensorial feast.  Here are a few delectable rooms where I would love to hang out with friends and sip some nice wine while awaiting the perfect, just-culinary-enough-to-be-mouth-watering-but-not-overly-chichi mac and cheese that (in a just world) someone else would be preparing. Cracking!

Photographer: Mark Seelen, Featured in: Great Ideas: Dining Rooms ELLE DECOR, April 2009

Photographer: Mark Seelen, Featured in: Great Ideas: Dining Rooms ELLE DECOR, April 2009

Photographer: Mark Lohman Designer: Miguel Vidaurre Featured in: The Just Right House: Masterly Makeover November 2007

Photographer: Mark Lohman, Designer: Miguel Vidaurre Featured in: The Just Right House: Masterly Makeover November 2007

Photographer: Grey Crawford Designer: Lary Laslo Featured in: A Colorado Home with Elevated Style Metropolitan Home, March 2009

Photographer: Grey Crawford, Designer: Lary Laslo Featured in: A Colorado Home with Elevated Style Metropolitan Home, March 2009

Brooklyn Never Sleeps

Letteratta Wall Panel for Umbra by William Harvey Designs

Letteratta Wall Panel for Umbra by William Harvey Designs (http://www.williamharveydesign.com)

Brooklyn has become so synonomous with all things creative in the past few years that it seems every time I come across some new compelling music or innovative design product,  it is highly likely to have originated there.  From musicians like the transcendentally eruptive percussion duo, Loop 2,4,3 (www.loop243.com) – a live show not to be missed –  to William Harvey;  the prolific creative genius/sculptor/housewares designer/musician known for his extra-terrestrial spin on the classic and arcane.  (See him in the book; Brooklyn Modern by Diana Lind)

The recent BKLYNDESIGNS (www.brooklyndesigns.net) exhibit in May showcased some of the many creations that are frothing out of that borough. Here are a few of my favorites…

Kabloom custom handscreened wallcovering by Flavor Paper

Kabloom custom handscreened wallcovering by Flavor Paper

Hand-dyed, etched, and painted oversize Elephant Ear pillow by Aviva Stanoff

Hand-dyed, etched, and painted Elephant Ear silk pillow by Aviva Stanoff

Custom made lasercut paper lamps by Levent & Romme

Custom lasercut paper lamps by Levent & Romme

Breathing Room

country5These indoor and outdoor rooms by Southport, Connecticut Architects, Austin Patterson Disston, just breathe with sunlight and fresh air. About this time of year, I get a ferocious craving for anyplace ELSEWHERE. A fantasy of a summer escape to someplace where I can breathe, eat and bask – usually, near some sparkling and serene body of water. This year, with a travel budget that is pretty much nonexsistent, I, like many others have to find that escape someplace closer to home. Any of these spaces would make for a perfect place to hang out with of few of my closest friends, eat too much guacamole and drink something-tinis… (Photos courtesy of Austin Patterson Disston Architects)

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Modern Dress Codes

Mer, Evacuation DressesCurator, Barbara Bloemink, corralled 36 multi-media artists for the “Dress Codes- Clothing as Metaphor” exhibit at the Katonah (NY) Museum of Art (www.katonahmuseum.org) to explore a range of cultural issues; reflecting the complexity of contemporary life while showcasing some pretty clever conceptual constructions. (Click on the images for details and attributions.)

Shiny things

When I need to pull a room back from the brink of upholstery-mad softness, I like to introduce the glint of glass or masculinity of metal. An (addictive) hour of surfing 1st Dibs usually produces some interesting options like this pair of polished steel puzzle tables and a 1970’s cast aluminum four-panel screen By Arthur Court. And can you imagine a vast loft or restaurant wall with a whole series of these polished aluminum ball sconces that architect Max Abramovitz designed for the old Philharmonic Hall?

Steel Puzzle Tables circa 1971

Circa 1971 Steel Puzzle Tables at Vermillion

1970's Cast Aluminum four Panel Screen By Arthur Court

1970's Cast Aluminum Four-Panel Screen at AK Eleven 14

Avery Fisher Hall Sconces

Avery Fisher Hall Sconces at Mondo Cane, Inc.

I could do a blog entirely about all of the truly great artisans that abound in my home state of Connecticut. It brings me pleasure to have the chance to profile some who represent the type of innovative designers across a range of media that live and work here.  GG2G (www.gg2g.com) is a designing duo out of Milford that brings a re-use & recycle philosophy to their line of accessories which are made from recycled  billboard vinyl and vintage or designer fabrics. These “ReVinylized bags”  are chic, colorful, versatile and eco-conscious.  Gotta love it!

KT Pouch
Julia Beach/Market Tote
KT Pouch and Julia Beach/Market Tote

Cool Tide

Photo by Peter Peirce

Photos by Peter Peirce

This beach house on Long Island is by Demetriades + Walker-  the same team behind the “Achieving Sleek Coziness” house in the 7/15 post.  I scouted this story for Dwell but they didn’t pick it up for some reason – but it’s dead sexy! And the materials are exotic but durable, sustainable and yummy. The coolest thing in this ever so cool uber-cabana is the large circle recessed into the living room ceiling that has four translucent Plexiglass wedges that serve as a giant light fixture and provides ambient light.

photo by Peter Peirce

Photo by Peter Peirce

Blue plates special

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Like a kid in a candy shop when I surf the website for the Paul Kohn Design store (http://paulkohndesign.com/index8.php) which just opened last year in Tribeca.  I can’t decide which of these Lovegrove & Repucci Delft sets I like better – I should be neighborly and choose NYC, but I’m pretty fond of the streets of London too.