Oct 31, 2011

Happy Halloween


Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Trick-or-Treat, guys and ghouls!

Oct 28, 2011

Couch Surfing

A fun little shot from photographer Tim MacPherson.

Hope you have a wonderful, festive Halloween weekend planned.   Whether you're Trick-or-Treating with your little ones or partying it up at an all-night costume bash, please be safe and be smart.

And may I suggest the following entertaining/intriguing/exceptional bits of Internet goodness for post-Halloween-party couch surfing...

Five Half-Assed Halloween Costumes to Thrill and Impress Your Friends.

House Hunting? You'll know you've found yours when these symptoms set in. 

Yum and wholesome: Butternut Squash 25 ways.

When David Calvo juggles *and solves* a Rubik's Cube, your brain flinches. 

Still need some fall-ish decor for your front porch?  Go on a pinecone hunt and make this.

The Paint Doctor is In.  Her book should be a keeper. 

Organize your cards, envelopes and stationery like Benita in nifty upright containers.

Sugared and Spiced Pecans make a great housewarming/hostess gift during the autumnal months.

Want to live in the pages of Elle Decor?  You can if you want to buy any of these homes


Oct 27, 2011

TONIGHT: Design Night on Carnegie Hill

If you're in the NYC area tonight, make your way uptown to the Design Night on Carnegie Hill, hosted by a grouping of upper Madison Avenue antique & d├ęcor shops. 

Dealers will be keeping their doors open late for a community night of shopping, socializing and admiring their truly spectacular home d├ęcor and fine antiques.  I'll be at Flessas Design most of the night, so please come stop by to browse, shop, have a glass of wine and mingle.  Also participating are Good Design, Buck House, Gerald Bland, Carnegie Hill Antiques and Linda Horn.  See you there!


Oct 26, 2011

Mwa-Ha-Ha-Ha House

the crazy house
That pretty flowering vine doesn't make this house any less scary looking.
 I haven't done a 'wacky home' post in a while, but when I saw this Vietnamese house I knew it would be perfect for Halloween week!  This is the Hang Nga Guesthouse in Dalat, Vietnam.  It's commonly called The Crazy House because, well, look at it. 

the crazy house

The base of the guesthouse was built to resemble a giant tree, but I think it looks more like a scary horror multi-faced ghoul tree than a friendly treehouse. Unexpected twists and turns rule the home's layout, with tiny rooms in some areas and huge rooms in others where organically-shaped windows, and stone-carved animals statues litter the house.

Don't know about you, but I'm getting a strong inside-of-a-human-lung vibe in from the interior.  Yikes.

the crazy house

Built in 1990 by Dang Viet Nga, the daughter of a former President of Vietnam, The Crazy House attracted much public attention upon its completion. She willingly opened the house to the public for tours of the randomly-scaled rooms, weird statues and odd staircases.  I'd bet it would be an awesome place to film one of those absurd ghost chasing shows.  Zoikes!


Enjoy the rest of this SPOOKY week! 

Oct 21, 2011

The Only Question

The only question is... Where would you put it?

In the bedroom?
As a showstopper in the entry?
In the living room?
Across from your home office desk?

The possibilities are endless.  I love this chair.  LOVE this chair.  It's a campaign-style armchair designed by Otto Parzinger for Maison Jansen. Brushed steel frame with black leather seat, back, and armrests.  Finished with solid bronze paw feet and bronze finials on arm and back rests. 

This thing is SO haute.  If you're in the NYC area, see at Flessas Design on Madison Ave in the 90s.  It is divine in person.  Trust.

Oct 20, 2011

Faux For It

It seems that everyone is blogging about Autumn in the past week, but I'm not complaining.  It's my favorite season, and the imagery conjured up by the yummy keywords of Autumn put me in a happy place.  Lauren of Pure Style Home blogged about sprucing up your home for fall here, and her post included adding some fur to your decor.  Which got me thinking...

Source: cspost.com via Whitney on Pinterest

Fur is a touchy subject for people.  According to Humane Society International, over 8 million wild animals are trapped yearly for fur, while more than 30 million are raised in fur farms.  I don't want to be a bummer about this, but these are facts.  I could get all existential and political about this, but my intentions are good, and since this post is about warming up your home with touches of [faux] fur as seasonal decor, I'll get back on track. 

The bottom line is that faux fur is a divine alternative to real fur, and I'd suggest using faux fur in any of these lovely scenarios above to stay cozy and chic without any little chinchilla ghosts cramping your conscience. 

Have a cozy day my friends.

Oct 19, 2011

Play Me, I’m Yours

From the Incubate Festival:

Play Me I'm Yours (film by Sophie Tooten) from Incubate Festival on Vimeo.

"‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ is an intervention in public space that aims to make urban dwellers regard and experience their environment in new and exciting ways. The passer-by is no longer the observer; he or she participates in the program by taking a seat and pressing a key. The project stimulates the public to participate and cooperate, and to appropriate its environment. It’s about creativity and fun, and about breaking the common restrictions of public space.

During the Incubate 2011 festival, more than 101 pianos are scattered around Tilburg and surrounding villages, placed in the public space. It is the first time that ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ takes place in the Benelux region.
Each participating city has a website where the public can upload movies, photos and stories from the interaction with the pianos. These sites serve as testimonials of the various versions of the project and connect the participating communities.

Worldwide, more than 1 million people in over twenty cities participated in ‘Play Me, I'm Yours’; Tilburg and its region are now added to this list. After Incubate, the pianos will be donated to local schools and charity groups."  streetpianos.com/​tilburg2011/​

Have a wonderful day filled with surprises, charm and the arts.

Oct 18, 2011

Set of Art Sales

Our friends over at One Kings Lane are emptying out their curated collections of art for the sake of beautifying our walls.  Lucky us!
The sales are separated into great categories: Collector's Pieces, Modern Masters, Emerging Artists, as well as collections by the photographer Massimo Vitali and black-and-white prints from the William Stafford Gallery.  Check out the sales and see if you can acquire something new for your collection. 
Not a member of One Kings Lane?  Click here for your personal invitation from me. xo.

Alexander Calder, Bubbles

Judith Gigliotti, Trees at Dusk, Sienna

Mia Henry, Revival, Canvas

Michael Weeks, Pony Painter

Massimo Vitali, Rosignano Diptych

Roberta Pinna, Diver III

Sassoon Kosian, Mesmerize Orange

Pablo Picasso, War and Peace

Bernard Buffet, Papillon Rouge et Jaune

Chagall, Rachel Hides
At these prices, it would be silly to pass up the opportunity to add some interesting and stimulating pieces to your collection.  If you don't have a 'collection,' this is the perfect opportunity to start one.  It's amazing what some lovingly-chosen art pieces can do for personalizing your home.  Happy shopping!


Oct 14, 2011

Moves Like Jagger

"Jagger 1968" Diamond Dust Screen Print by Russell Young
Edition of 7. This hand-pulled acrylic paint and enamel screen print with diamond dust on linen.

ACTUAL diamond dust is covering the print image.  Amazing.  The work is signed on verso.  This large piece (5 feet by 4 feet) currently hangs in the Decoratum gallery in London.  There you can purchase the piece for its asking price of $32,500.   Hit me up if you're interested and we can arrange acquisition.  It would be such a fabulous conversation piece, no?


Oct 13, 2011

Organize Me

After tackling this overflowing Home Office re-organization project earlier this year, I realized that organization is an imperative element to design.  What's the use of a highly designed home if it's not an efficient space for living life?

In all my projects, I strive to create elegant spaces for my clients that are comfortable and efficient.  But how can one create efficiency when clutter seems to take over?

Clutter is normal.  Life happens.  If you saw my kitchen table at any given moment, you'd see that I fall victim to the clutter beast, just like everyone else.  But, the challenge (i.e. the secret) is to create an infrastructure to move the clutter through your home and into designated paths.  Circulation is key, here.  Clutter can't come into the home and stop moving.  Whether you file it, shred it, or recycle it, the point is that your paperwork clutter has a final destination in your home. 

This particular room was a huge stress for my very dear client, who shares this office with her young daughter.  They each have a desk, and matching chairs on wheels for zooming over to each others' workstations to help on homework or view a fun youtube together.  But, the clutter took over in this room, engulfing the pathway between their desks.  Piles of unsorted mail, dated catalogs, old post-it notes and rejected school supplies piled up on every surface, including the floor. 

BEFORE: Piled up paperwork on desks and the floors made this space difficult to navigate

AFTER: Cleared surfaces show a lovely, spacious room, perfectly suited for bill paying, homework and reading.

I had been working with this client for months by the time she was ready to tackle this space together.  It seemed insurmountable, but we pumped ourselves up and started with a simple plan:
  • Start with 1 pile, and go through every document in the pile.   
  • Each piece of the pile goes into one of 3 bins:  FILE, SHRED or DONATE.
    • Yep, donate.  There were a number of unused or duplicate school supplies and office supplies in this office that we decided to donate to a needy cause in her neighborhood.  You'd be surprised how many unneccessary/surplus binders you find in your piles once you start piecing out each item.
  • Finish the pile.  Smile.  Have a sip of tea.
  • Repeat the process on a new pile. 
It sounds like I'm being sarcastic, but I'm not.  The only way we could stay optimistic about this massive clear-out was to pretend that it wasn't all that massive at all. 

BEFORE:  It was overwhelming at first, but we took it pile-by-pile to get through it.

AFTER:  The pile-by-pile method broke up the colossal pressure of the project. 

The office serves the entire household, and as such there are many different pieces of equipment needed in the room.  Try as I might to clear out the whole place, it's a working office with many demands, so the big laser printer needed to stay, as did an inkjet priner and a separate high-performance fax machine (the latter of the 2 live in that fantastic bookstand at the window that faces their pretty street). 

BEFORE:  Without a system in place, this bookcase was under-utilized

The tall bookcase had been a dumping ground for packaged paper products, phone directories and reference books.  I decided to completely empty the entire case before refilling it with sorted goods.  Doing so gave us a chance to wipe down all the shelves and grab those teeny dust bunies that gather in the back corners.  It also gave us a blank canvas to which I assigned 'jobs' to each shelf.  For example, I assigned the middle shelf to house the spiral-bound directories because they are used most often, because the middle shelf was the most comfortable reaching distance for my client in her seated rolling chair.  Each shelf was given a purpose, a job.  And seeing each surface as a dedicated space for only a pre-assigned category can mentally steer you a way from dumping random clutter onto the surface in the future. 

AFTER:  Previously, this bookshelf was under-utilized until we assigned each shelf a 'job.'

We purchased clear side-loading plastic trays for all the various printer papers and stationery goods.  I used my trusty label maker to affix to each tray.  Clear labeling of assigned duties for your organization accessories helps keep the infrastructure in place down the road.  Also, I think the space looks cleaner when the packaging on the reams of paper were removed.  They're rather unsightly with sagging sides & torn edges.

BEFORE: Looking out to the hallway through a series of messy obstacles

AFTER: Clear, clean and cool.
I was the motivator and foreman on this project but, in the end, this was her life and her office so she did much of the hard work.  Were it a kitchen organization or a mudroom, I could have handled the project alone.  But with something like a home office, the homeowner has to lead the way.  She wanted to keep old financial documents and homework that her kids had done years prior, things that I might have considered shredding.  She needed to sort through the paperwork that backs up her life, not me. 

I am incredibly proud of her enthusiasm and dedication to the challenge.  She and I worked two 14-hour days, back to back, but we "moved mountains," as she said.  I've visited her home since we did this job, and I'm delighted to report it's just as tidy & neat as the night we finished.  The system really changed her method of dealing with paper clutter.  I felt that I gave her the room back. 

To me, interior design isn't just about making pretty rooms.  It's about creating functional spaces.  Function can only come from efficiency, and efficiency is mastered with good infrastructure.  Organizing is just as valuable as designing, and I'm proud of my results in both sectors.


Oct 12, 2011

Paint Your Photos

I am thinking about trying a Paintapic in a new client's Living Room for much-needed wall art.  Paintapic is a service that will take your digital photo and turn it into a paint-by-numbers canvas, for you to paint and complete.  A very fun concept, I think.  I found them through a New York Times article, and have been mentally tinkering with a few projects for myself but never bit the bullet.  My downtown client, though, might be just the person to test the waters with this DIY art.

All you need is a digital photo, forty dollars, and some time on your patient hands to create a very personal masterpiece.  Bravo.


Oct 11, 2011

Yes, Sir.

Did you hear that Garden & Gun has an online shop?!?!

I've long loved Garden & Gun, a lifestyle magazine grounded in the heart of Southern living.  It's not just about hunting and weedwhacking, despite the title.  The all about the magic of the new South - sporting culture, food, music, art, architecture, literature, music, people, and ideas.  My husband and I fight over first dibs at the issue when it arrives in our mailbox.  It's a lovely magazine, beautifully edited and in such a rich matte paperstock that your hands love to hold.

Soon after G&G sucessfully opened up their online retail space, they teamed up with a few designers to create an honorable little inventory of exclusive items inspired by the magazine.  Check out G&G Exclusives here

What a great site to shop for gifts for the Southerners (or the wannabe Southerners!) in your life!
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