Archive for July, 2009

A Win-Win Bill for All.

This is great news for designers, retailers and homeowners! Read about the The HIRE Act:

http://www.hometextilestoday.com/article/CA6674010.html?nid=2063&rid=8040532

Dog Days in Mid-City DC.

Its hot doggedy dog outside in the District. Beat the heat and soak up the sales at the 2009  Dog Days in MID City event at most retailers, galleries and venues around the area of 14th Street and U Street in Washington, DC. Download a map of the program here. See you there!

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First on 1st.

Blogger Hoogrrl shares with us a local Washington, DC art and music event this Saturday, August 1st in the Bloomingdale neighborhood. Check it out! Pssst… I hear there will be Sno cones and drinks for the finishers of the mapped out adventure.

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Hearts A-Glow.

I snapped this the other night with an open lens on my Nikon D60 – some creative-camera work. =)

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Louis Lights Up the French.

Ah, I want to be in Paris. Sitting on the bridge overlooking the river Seine. And basking in the night light of the sparkling Eiffel Tower. But I can’t. For now, my wallet requires me to look at pretty French possessions… online. So here goes one of my new yearns. And the name is Louis di Calla. Paying homage to such greats as Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann, Alberto Giacometti, and Jean Michel Frank, the decorative light fixtures take on a French Art Deco persona with classic proportions.

The Sirens is a hand-finished bronze double sconce in your choice of finish (nickel shown here) with optional shade. A classic choice.

The Sirens Wall Sconce

The Sirens Wall Sconce

Candleholders cast in solid bronze with inlaid bodies of bone covered in your choice of color stingray skin (aka shagreen). Frosted blown glass shades tope it all off. Exquisite.

French Stingray Single Light

French Stingray Single Light

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The Double Cylindar is jaw-dropping. Solid bronze back plate is hand-finished and comes in three finishes. The shade is carved from natural alabaster. Mi amour.

The Double Cylinder

The Double Cylinder

My favorite is the French Stingray in a double light. Its shape is so intriguing and fluid. In a hallway, it would be art, in a library it would be another texture. So grand and elegant at the same time.

The French Stingray Double LIght

The French Stingray Double LIght

And not to forget the Shanghai Lamp with its hand-carved white or off-white alabaster base and graceful silhouette. Giacometti would be proud.

The Shanghai Table Lamp

The Shanghai Table Lamp

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Rental Do’s & Do Not’s.

As adopted from Style at Home in an article called Top Rental Design Do’s & Dont’s:

Home is sweet regardless whether you rent or own. “You need to love where you live,” says Lisa Worth, a designer at the Drapery Room in Aurora, Ont. But there are smart ways to express your design savvy in a rental abode knowing that down the road, what you can’t take with you is an expense you can’t recoup. Here’s what the experts advise.

Don’t hold off buying nice furniture
“Don’t fill the space with substandard furniture because you plan to own someday,” says Lara Neal of Lara Neal Design in Toronto. Go ahead now and spend money on good quality furniture, pieces you really like. “Otherwise when you do buy, you may find yourself having to furnish a whole home because the pieces you bought in your 20s and 30s are falling apart. And that’s stressful.”

Do make nice with your landlord
Lara and her husband were renters for many years. Because she maintained a good relationship with her landlord, she was able to provide input on design choices when upgrades were made in the bathroom. “You may be able to suggest a new faucet or sink or backsplash tile at a decent price that looks much better. Don’t forget, your landlord wants the place to be rentable, too.”

Don’t wallpaper
“You really don’t want to invest in wallpaper, even if your landlord okays it,” says William MacDonald, designer at William MacDonald Interior Design in Toronto. Wallpaper can be pricey, and you’ll likely face the hassle of taking it down before you leave. If you’re looking to make a statement, try removable wall decals or wall tattoos, which are available at most home decor stores in a variety of patterns and colours.

Do paint
A $30 gallon of paint creates a powerful mood in a space, says Lara, adding that it’s also an affordable way to inject your own personality into an apartment. Note: Be prepared to prime your walls before you move out, and get permission before painting anything.

Don’t invest serious money in structural features
Pouring money into permanent structural elements, including crown moulding, hardwood floors, counters, etc, in an apartment simply isn’t wise, contend our experts. One exception: the joy of gleaming cherry kitchen cabinets, for example, may be worth the price if you are planning on living in the rental unit for many, many years to come.

Do try less expensive flooring options
Just can’t stand the dated, filthy-looking hall linoleum? There are a number of affordable flooring options perfect for renters (get written permission from your landlord before embarking on any renovations). Carpet tiles provide a simple, comfy underfoot splash of personality. Water impervious woven vinyl floor covering called Bolon, cut to size, is great for bathrooms and kitchens. And so are peel-and-stick tiles, available at most major home improvement stores. Last but hardly least, rugs can cover up an ugly floor and help ground a room. “Most rugs will transfer smoothly to any future living space, too,” adds Lisa.  

Don’t invest in built-ins
Every renter is desperate for storage. But built-ins are too costly, and impossible to take with you. “You always have to think about what can go in a truck,” says Lisa. Consider open shelving units, freestanding wardrobes or a piece of antique furniture that offers storage. And while you’re at it, try to kill another bird (like an ugly structural feature such as kitchen cabinets, for example) with one stone: “Buy a basic pantry unit that you can paint to complement (or perhaps draw attention away from) your existing cabinets. Something idiosyncratic can become a focal point,” says Shelley Kirsch of Shelley Kirsch Design in Toronto.

Do swap out lighting and hardware
Two smart rental design investments are lighting fixtures and cabinet hardware. Most apartments usually come with generic lights round ceiling fixtures with a screw cap), says Lisa. Swapping them out for a new or reclaimed antique fixture will change the whole look of a room. “Put them on a dimmer while you’re at it,” she adds. Dimmers are great for changing the atmosphere of a room, plus you’ll save on your hydro bill. Just hold on to the old fixtures and replace them when you go. The same goes for the old hardware (but if you can’t source new ones that match the existing drill holes, don’t bother, says Lisa). 

Don’t sacrifice your personal design style

Express your adventurous design personality in accessories. Panel curtains are perfect because they move easily into your next place, says Lisa. (“You want to avoid window treatments that are measured to fit.”) And you just can’t beat the presence of artwork, which is an investment you can take with you.

Written by Leslie Young.

Snap up a Kayak with Jack.

For you local Washingtonians or summer visitors, don’t forget about Jack’s Boathouse on the banks of the Potomac River. I’ve been on the water a few times this summer and have offered a hello to those colorful couples and singletons rowing their way up past the beautiful Georgetown vista on their kayaks and canoes.

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So grab your honey and make a date on the water. HOurly rentals are just $10. Take a two hour excursion around Roosevelt Island or towards Fletcher’s Cove for just $25! Got your own floating device? $10 bucks get you in the water.

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Jacks. Its all about the love.

In with the New AND the Old.

I’m a huge fan of “if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it”. That rings true for interior decorating. If you like it, then live with it. If its a thorn in your side, then it’s time to transplant it somewhere else. Well, Oprah Winfrey’s readers are learning how to mix the old with the new. Oprah.com shares this with us from her website article The Secret to Mixing Old and New in Your Home

Mix objects and furniture from different eras to create a look that is unique and modern. Get the inspiration you need to do it right! Michael says he found inspiration in the traditional interiors of the late great Sister Parish (Jackie O’s decorator) and “the way her partner, Albert Hadley, would disrupt them with a touch of modernism.” But Tracey gives convention an even more adventurous spin. “It’s really a send-up of an Upper East Side salon,” she says.
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Color unifies objects of different eras. The coral elements that bounce around the room pull together this gilded 18th-century Spanish bench, the ’50s Italian wing chair covered in scrolling Fortuny fabric, and the contemporary window shades in a bold awning stripe.

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Don’t aim for all-out perfection. Objects with patina give spaces an aged, lived-in quality that new items—and even mint-condition antiques—don’t establish. That’s why Michael sought out these “gently tattered” 19th-century Persian rugs. “They prevent the room from feeling overly decorated,” he says. Abstract art tempers traditional furniture. On their own, the leather Chesterfield sofa and black lacquer Louis XVI desk might skew a little staid. Tracey evened out the uptown-downtown tally by hanging silkscreens from postmodernist Yves Klein on the shelves and Phillip Smith’s 1992 painting Before Paris on the windowed wall.

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No matter the aesthetic, intimacy matters. Oversize—or, in this case, grandly proportioned—rooms tend to swallow up furniture. But by delineating two seating areas on either side of this writing table, Tracey imbues each with a salon-like scale. Shine updates a straight-laced paint palette. Tracey turned up the volume of pale blue walls and white woodwork when she bypassed prim eggshell finishes—and even high gloss—and opted instead for a rich, oil-based formulation that emulates the sheen of lacquer.

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Choose one object that links old and new styles. This marble lamp captures the dynamic tension of the entire room—it reads almost Philippe Starck (it’s actually Tony Duquette, c. 1945), but the obelisk base references pure neoclassicism. The strong vertical element also brings variety to a long, horizontal layout.

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Throw the whole thing a curveball. Madcap is the only way to describe these electric-green Wormley for Dunbar sofas. The upholstery color, which doesn’t get repeated elsewhere, magically undercuts the formal furniture arrangement. Balance is good; matching, not so much. Although they convey an underlying (and reassuring) symmetry, the room’s built-in bookshelves steer clear of predictability. This set eats up an entire wall with black cubbies. The other frames a white mantel. The sharp contrast makes each one equal parts refined and kicky.

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Photographs by Annie Schlechter.

Recycling the Odds & Ends.

For a while there we were all concerned about recycling the old furniture, the old rubber tires, taking from fast-growing bamboo and melting down metals and glass for new table tops. But what about those things we never imagined we could incorporate into new design? We chuck these odds and ends away, toss them in the trash without second thought. Someone is way ahead the unexpected… Point Click Home shows us that when common objects become an inspiration, there is always the next modern muse.

Bench from Bike Parts | By Nic Rodex

Bench from Bike Parts | By Nic Rodex

Pendant made with toothpicks | by Diasuke Hiraiwa

Pendant made with toothpicks | by Diasuke Hiraiwa

Plastic Hanger Chandelier | by Etsy

Plastic Hanger Chandelier | by Etsy

Desk made of scraps | by Chris Rucker

Desk made of scraps | by Chris Rucker

Textile Scraps create a Chair | by Camilla Halvorsen

Textile Scraps create a Chair | by Camilla Halvorsen

Pleated Paper Makes a Chair | by Nendo

Pleated Paper Makes a Chair | by Nendo

Tile Envy.

One of the worldy locations that I hope to travel in my sooner-rather-then-later  lifetime is colorful Morocco. I’ve flipped through numerous pictures of colorful food, dyes, and intricate architecture from friends travels. In most pictures I found beautiful tiles in exquisite patterns and shades. To get these tiles here in the States without an expensive airline ticket, I could just visit Popham Design. Grouped into four collections, called as  Scribbles & Loops, Flora & Fauna, Plain & Shapely, and Classics & Twists, this company brings modern aesthetic to the tradition of handmade Moroccan cement tiles. With almost 40 colors in the company’s palette, anyone can encourage their inner creativity with striking custom designs that are timeless and not as tiring as good ‘ol jet lag.

Zig Zag | Popham Designs

Zig Zag | Popham Designs

Honeycomb Hex | Popham Designs

Honeycomb Hex | Popham Designs

Lop di Loop | Popham Designs

Lop di Loop | Popham Designs

Fretwork | Popham Designs

Fretwork | Popham Designs

http://www.pophamdesign.com/


Just a Thought.

"A person should design the way he makes a living, around how he wishes to make a life" — Charlie Byrd

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