Tag Archives: Designer

“I’m one to look back in order to move forward”- Thomas O’Brien


photograph by: Lauren Gries

Last week I wanted to write a witty post about how as we celebrated our independence, we should also be remember how much of England we owe our lives to American in interior design, music, fashion etc. Well I didn’t get around to it soon enough to do the post so I just decided to forget about it. However, tonight as I was reading through the new Thomas O’Brien book American Modern, his introduction basically explains my thoughts perfectly.

“Although I’m often referred to as a modern designer, my job is, I think, more about editing what has come before and making it into something new. I’ve always felt you can’t move ahead unless you know where you’re coming from, in order to really decide what you want to take with you and what to leave behind. In American design, that entails a particular debt to English and Continental influence, filtered through colonial assimilation, rural enormity, and the intensity of the city. Remixing those ingredients – making that mix your own – what I like to practice. I do believe there is something in that process which is quite American in spirit, ultimately modern in implementation.”

O’Brien goes further to say

“Practicality, industry, boldness, scale. Simplicity and sincerity. Innovation. These are the ingredients of American modern style.”

Betsy Burnham’s dresser seen on Decor Demon

Maybe it doesn’t fully explain what my post would have been about, but it describes the ideas I would have liked to evoke. I have grown up in America and fully appreciate what this country has to offer and has given me in my life. However, I feel that there are too many people in America who forget about where and how this country came about. If it weren’t for England, we wouldn’t have America. There would definitely be a country here now, but it just wouldn’t be the same. In any case, whether it be an understanding of our country or just anything that we enjoy in life, I think it really important to have an understanding of where and why that came from. I would see it so much in college where people would want to make something that referenced a certain style of design, or just ‘liked’ something, but never actually took time to research what that style was and why it even existed. I have to say, that would drive me crazy!

Design can be many things to many people, but to me, it has always been about tradition in modern life. I am guided by traditions, both inherited and studied, which I will bend to the moment I’m living in. I’m one to look back in order to move forward.” – Thomas O’Brien

On a lighter note, I’m really impressed by O’Brien’s new book. Although I’m only a few pages into the text (there is more than the usual design books), I have flipped through the photos and have already chosen a few favorites. Above are images pulled from aero studios and Laura Resen, the photographer.

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Filed under Home, Interiors

The New Old?

More like old news.  I feel like everyone is mixing and matching new pieces with old ones.  It’s just better that way, better on our budgets and better on the spaces.  No one wants a place that’s all Ikea or all grandma’s plastic covered sofas.  We want a mix.

photo credit: The Selby

My friend told me to check out this New York Magazine article, Home Design 2010: The New Old by Wendy Goodman.  Needless to say she was a little bummed because she’s doing ‘Neo-English’ too!  She just doesn’t have the exposure or the money like Rita Konig.  Well neither do I, us usual people have to design our spaces ‘on a dime’ or a couple thousand when you add it up later, but we’re definitely not going to be able to keep stopping in MecoxCalypso Home and John Derian for our interior design needs.  Either way, her apartment is cute and similar to both of our tastes and she was the editor-at-large for Domino, so one can’t hate too much.

photo credit: The Selby

I guess what bugs me is that not all of us can get our furniture upholstered in Pierre Frey fabrics or live in a 700 sq. ft apartment in Greenwich Village.  That is why I enjoy the NeoVictorian‘s home a bit more.  It seems like a lot of their pieces were flea market finds and their dog is really cute too.

The other kinds of design featured in this article are: NeoFormal, NeoCountry, and NewVersailles, you can read the rest here: Home Design 2010: The New Old.

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U.E.S. (Upper East Side) 2nd hand shopping

Thrift stores abound on the UES! Not too many know this about the district with one of the wealthiest zip codes in the country. But yes, not only are there are great 2nd hand designer stores, there also are great thrift stores.  In this installment of the UES I will focus on the less expensive thrift stores that you will find in the neighborhood. However, if you can’t wait to explore this neighborhood and would love to check out the designer resale stores, you check out the handy-dandy map I’ve created.

This image was taken from the HW website. It’s a photograph of the 17th street location.

As seen on the map numbers 1 & 8, the Housing Works Thrift-shops are my favorite thrift stores!  Not only are there great articles of vintage and second hand clothing, many designers will donate overstock or samples to these stores.  Sometimes even the original tags are on the pieces. I have found Marc Jacobs shoes, dresses and tops with the original price tags. I also bought a brand new pair of Cheap Monday jeans there.  Housing Works also offers great furniture, hence my couch that bought there. It was still wrapped in the plastic, an overstock item from some furniture company. It’s a pullout couch, wool fabric with bolsters with a low price of $400!  The two Louis XV style chairs I also picked up from there for . . . $75 ea.!

On the UES there are two Housing Works locations. One on 90th and 2nd avenue and the other on 77th street between 3rd and 2nd avenue.  I tend to find better deals at the 90th one because I’m convinced the people who price the product don’t know its worth. I’ve bought all of my furniture and artwork from this location because of that.  But there are always lines before the store opens on weekends. There are definitely cat fights at this location too! Its intense. The 77th street location is great for clothing, the last time I went I bought a BCBG Maxazria blazer for $30 and a J.Crew wool blazer for $8 (because it didn’t have a price tag and the girl at the register charged what she thought it was worth).

photo found here.

2. The Arthritis Foundation Thrift Shop expels the perfect musty-mothball-grandma thrift store smell.  Although I haven’t found anything here yet, there is a good selection of both men’s and women’s clothing.

PRELOVED A Designer Room volunteer shows off choice offerings, including a Thierry Mugler suit.

Photo found here.

3. The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Thrift Shop is a very large thrift store that is well organized.  You’ll never know what gems you’ll find here. Sometimes a little over priced, the best time to go is during the 1/2 off  sales. One time as I was passing by, I noticed the same exact pinched pleat drapes that my mother had.  It was so odd because hers were custom made!  This is the photo I took from my IPhone.  She could not believe it! (see below)

4. & 9.  The Spence-Chapin Thrift Shop is a store that I have not yet explored myself.  I have heard great things about it though.

According to  The New York Magazine Shopping Section the “Spence and Chapin, long bastions for the education of New York’s blueblood feminine heirs, sponsor thrift shops to support the Spence-Chapin organization’s considerable good works in the larger community, mainly by recycling the high-end, high-quality cast-offs of elegant, label-happy UES moms. The jam-packed store donates thousands of dollars every month to charity, earned from the sale of near-new castoffs like Prada and Miu Miu dresses, Carolina Herrera leather totes, and Marc Jacobs peacoats, all at half their one-time retail price—or less. Granted, the gently worn clothes can be a season or two behind, but how much does a year matter when you’re talking Lacoste polos or lined Ralph Lauren gray flannel slacks? The shop is organized by category, with men’s clothing towards the back and women’s offerings crammed onto racks that line the whole space; a selection of furniture—heavy on the kitchen tables and chairs—is also available. The shop is usually crowded with both merchandise and people; shop early for the best picks. While the jaundice-suggestive fluorescent lighting could be better for choosing among the used Luca Luca gowns, shopping at the Spence-Chapin thrift shop is worth it for the bargains alone. Sadly, no schoolgirl uniforms are for sale.” — Faran Alexis Krentci

That sounds great to me.  I’ll definitely be checking out this gift shop very soon!

Read more: Spence-Chapin Thrift Shop – – Upper East Side – New York Store & Shopping Guide http://nymag.com/listings/stores/spence-chapin-thrift-shop01/#ixzz0iBo7bHfv

5.  At the Cancer Care Thrift Shop you’ll find, after some scrounging and digging, designer brands with the tags still on them along with some cute costume jewelry, and handbags.  All proceeds benefit CancerCare‘s free, professional services for people with cancer and their loved ones.

6. I’ve never made it to the Council Thrift Shop because they’re hours are 11-4:45 and closed on Sundays.  But according to reviews, for a thrift store it can be a little pricey.  One reviewer from Yelp.com ended up buying a Krups espresso machine for $17.00 though.

7.  The Goodwill store is one of the larger stores that is definitely lower priced then the UES thrift stores because most of the people who tag the items do not know who’s who and what’s what when it comes to designers.  In the past I’ve bought a few Ralph Lauren Purple label blazers for $8.  Upstairs is the mens department, where nice button-down dress shirts can be found. Last week, my boyfriend found this really nice flannel. It was a weird no-name brand “Criminal Damage” (we had a chuckle) but its a great plaid and nice colors.  The store is well known for putting their better pieces in the window displays. Once a month or sometimes biweekly on Saturday mornings the store will sell the goods via first come first serve.  If the merchandise is worth it, there will be a line down the block. This store is definitely worth looking into.

The original article from the New York Times, published on June 10, 2009, features the Goodwill stores. The location in the picture is of the Chelsea store.  That’s another neighborhood with great vintage finds. The Chelsea installment is coming soon!

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Filed under New York, Shopping, Travel Tours, Uncategorized

Rainy days make me think. Maybe too much.

Wow, I never realized how hard blogging would be. Especially when you’re trying to write about something interesting and not so narcissistic. Which is what I have been working on for the past few days.  Recently, my boyfriend and I booked a trip to Seattle and while searching for interesting places to shop and things to do, I found it really hard to find what I was looking for.

These struggles caused me to be more self-critical of my own blog.  What am I?  As there are boundless shelter blogs out there, I almost find too many inspiring blogs to keep up with.  That is why I’m not going to focus on my shelter, but more on my city.  I know there are people out there are looking for the “Real” New York things to do.  I am going to embark on a series of installments that will guide us through the things that one can do . . . for fun, in New York City!  Such miscellaneous things may include: thrift store shopping, drinking coffee, walking your dog, vegetarian restaurants, grocery shopping, places for have  happy hour, museum days, furniture shopping, fabric shopping and even craft shopping.  I’m sure I’ll think of more ideas along the way, which will lead me off my path a little, but I promise it will all tie in and make sense! And of course, all the while, I will still be adding updates of my apartment’s progress, because a big part of living in NYC is making your only 500 sq. ft. work for you.  Well I hope you enjoy my perspective of New York City and thanks for stopping by!

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DIY

Love this post from Design Sponge, Sewing 101: Curtains. It is a step by step tutorial on how to make a simple set of curtains.

I’ve always made things myself because first of all I love to make and create things, second of all its cheap! My problem though is that I’m really terrible at following a pattern or planning out the piece I’m going to make. I more or less like to wing it. But in the long run it works out!

For example: my kitchen curtains.

Before:

After:

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