Tag Archives: Interior Design

Mad Men

AMC’s Mad Men is back this Sunday (July 25th), and like many other people I’m excited! It’s a cult phenomenon that has effected the country’s design aesthetic by inspiring us in the way we dress (please see Banana Republic [here] and QVC [here])

Raise the martini glass: Banana Republic and “Mad Men” are collaborating again. Photo courtesy of AMC/Banana Republic

and even the way we design our interiors (ie. Design Within Reach [here]). I mean haven’t you all noticed the resurgence of mid-century modern furniture in the past few years? Not only is this show full of beautiful people and interesting story lines, but also (in my opinion) it has one constant character, makes it so great.  The set design.

Photos courtesy of Interior Design Magazine and The New York Times, photographer: Carin Baer

The designer Amy Wells is wonderful with creating period interiors that feel authentic, and in some cases entirely modern.  Her work can also be seen in the beautiful film,  A Single Man. I must admit, I was very excited when I noticed the fabric on Charley’s headboard is the same kind I plan on using on my Louis Chairs!  

I found an interesting interview by Interior Design Magazine with Amy Wells, you can read Conquest of Cool [here].  I also read an article published in The New York Times this past Sunday called, Back to Work for ‘Mad Men’ [here] which discusses the changes that will be happening in the new season.  Can’t wait.

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“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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My Style in One Picture


Wow! What a challenge! the blog From the Right Bank has asked their readers to post ONE IMAGE of a room that would sum up their style.  I did a lot of soul-searching and archive searching trying figure this out.  In a few words I would say that my style is: Traditional Comfort, with a touch of Glamour.  I came up with a list of certain qualities that must be present to represent my style.  Those are:

Book shelves full of books:  Books are beautiful.  Books are influential. Books are educational. Books are entertainment.  And I believe one’s library will tell you a lot about that person.  Their books reflect their interests, their taste, and in some cases their IQ level.

Picture walls:  I love walls filled with pictures.  I love art and looking at it.  I also love the patterns and dimensions picture walls can create in a space.

Color:  I love a balance between punches of color and neutrals.  Bright colors bring vibrancy to life, while neutrals settle one’s mind, creating stability.

Light:  Light is so important to me in a space.  I am most happy in my apartment when the sun is shining in and space is enveloped in light.

Pattern:  Patterns create mood,  interest and movement in a space.  I also like how you can pick up any patterned object or textile and know exactly when in history it was designed.

History:  In everything I love, I seem to find that there is a sense of history involved.  Because I believe that every design decision should be intentional and relevant, having a understanding of historical influences is very important to my sense of style.  I always want to figure out why I love something and where it comes from first before I use it in my designs.

Other aspects of my style include french chairs, hardwood floors (french zigzag parquet floors are my favorite), mirrors and lastly, hints of chinoiserie influences.

The image that I found was pulled from an issue of Domino Magazine (Sep 2008).  The living room of Tori Mellott’s (the decoration editor who now is the contributing editor for Lonny Mag) apartment is the best representation of my style.  Her entire apartment suites my taste and of course the room I chose as my one image can’t have everything I love, because it would be far too much for this small space; but if you look at the rest of the place now available on brides.com, you can see how most of my qualities are exhibited in her apartment.  I also chose this apartment as my style representation, because for this time in my life, it is the most realistic.  My style has to reflect my life, I live in a 450 sq. ft space in New York City.  Everything I chose to put in my place, needs to be practical and fit in with my lifestyle.

photographs by Anne Schlecter

Here are some other rooms that I love, but just couldn’t make the cut:

Images pulled from Lonnymag, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, and Living Etc.

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Curtains: Making the best decision for your budget.

Today as I hibernate indoors away from the 90º heat and ultra humidity I am working on my curtains.  One thing about being on a budget in designing your space is having to make sacrifices on the things you want, for the things you need.  As for now, I’m spending money on having my AC blasted while saving money on paying someone to sew my curtains.  Curtains can be extremely expensive, even if you’re doing it on your own.  One thing is for sure, I could not pay for someone to sew my drapes for me, but even the cost of all the materials needed, was a bit of a surprise to me.  I know I wouldn’t want anything pre-made from the catalogues because I wouldn’t say that my style isn’t cookie cutter.  So when coming up with curtain ideas, I first thought about the basic elements that I wanted the pattern to have.  Those elements include, being classic yet relevant for today, lots of movement, colorful, and whimsical and lastly, a larger repeat.  Next I picked through tears sheets and my design library.  That led me to an old Domino article that I had saved about chintz and floral fabrics, which I loved.

I also found a tear sheet I had saved from a Brunschwig & Fils Bird and Thistle advertisement.  This fabric fit the bill perfectly, but costing over $100 per yard, I knew I couldn’t afford it at full price.

So my first choice was to wait for it to go on sale, but after a few months of not seeing it on my favorite discount websites, I had to settle for something else.  I researched several companies and fabrics, ordered lots of swatches, as you can see below.  I ended up chosing the fabric on the top left of the below montage.

It’s from Calico Corners, the name is Darjeeling, It was $19.00 p/yard.  When I ordered it from the website I didn’t think I would like it, but the pattern and the colors coordinate perfectly in my livingroom.  It also has the closest resemblance to the Brunschwig fabric.  In long run, I think having to source out other options has given me a better result. It’s a good thought to take with you when shopping around in the future.  To have the best design I think you really have to do your research, and probably not jump on the first thing you like, because you may regret those purchases later.

The one concern I had in the beginning about making my curtains myself was, if I could do it or not.  To be honest it’s not hard, it just takes a lot of time and patience. I found a great post from the blog Design Sponge that was a major help in the sewing process.  If you’re interested in that post please click {here}.  I’m pretty sure I re-posted this article several months ago when I was still researching fabrics, but it doesn’t hurt to post it again!

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Filed under Apartment, Home, My Apartment, Shopping

Must do: Visit Ace Hotel – Drink Stumptown Coffee

Just last month my boyfriend discovered in the Garment District (29th and Broadway) that there is a Stumptown coffee shop!  We were both very excited as we were introduced to the magnificence that is Stumptown coffee on our last vacation to the Seattle and Portland area.  In Seattle there has been a battle between Stumptown and Starbucks and I think everyone agrees that Stumptown takes the cake.  It’s always roasted locally and it’s always delicious. . . not burnt like the other stuff.  The Stumptown in Manhattan is also locally roasted, (of course) in Red Hook Brooklyn.  I guess they have been open for over a year now, but I’m hardly ever in that nook of town so without having previous knowledge of the company I may have never even found it.

The coffee shop is located inside of the grand Ace Hotel and coffee customers are more than welcome to hang out in the hotel’s lobby as there are no seats in the shop.

The other real gem about this find is the architecture and interior design of both the hotel and the coffee shop.  when you turn the corner from Broadway  on to 29th street, you feel as though you’re walking into a completely different neighborhood in another era.  On the north-side of the street is one of the last Second empire, cast iron buildings left mostly in tact in NYC and on the south-side is the beautiful (I think restored), Breslin Apartments building that is the sight of the Hotel.

I have to step back and take a moment to discuss the cast iron building, the landmarked Gilsey House is a former grand hotel (1872-1911), the first to offer telephone service to guests. It was noted for its bar made of silver dollars, and was a favorite of Diamond Jim Brady and Oscar Wilde. Converted to housing in 1979 it’s still a beautiful sight to see.

As I was saying before though, the Ace Hotel is by this amazing poser design couple/duo that is Roman & Williams. They are so inspiring and talented it makes my heart bleed when I look at their work sometimes. I know that sounds really dramatic but, seriously look at that rendering!

The design of the place is so successful, because my first experience was great, not only because of the taste of Stumptown coffee, but also because the building’s atmosphere and environment.  Standing in that coffee shop I felt as though I was transported back to Portland.

The other night while visiting my brother, his partner was showing me inspiration images for the shelving unit that they’re planning on building.  I thought the images looked very familiar and when I began telling them about Stumptown, and the decor I had to show them a picture of a light fixture that I had snapped on my phone. Well lo and behold, the inspiration images were pulled straight out of the Ace Hotel!  To make a long story short, you must try to visit this place when you’re in the city. It’s just so beautiful and inspiring, and tasty.

{The infamous light fixture}

I also found this video about Roman & Williams on their website.  It was shot by “The Scout” for some reason I can’t embed it into my post, but the images and what the designers have to say is wonderful and entirely worth the ten minutes to watch. So please check it out. Here is a quote from The Scout about the video:

‘”It’s a shame to only have dreams at night. You should have a few opportunities during the day.” This wistful quote from Stephen Alesch speaks volumes about the spaces he and Robin Standefer create as architects and designers. Their firm Roman & Williams, is named for their grandparents, paying homage to another era. Together, they draw on the evocative moods, textures, and meaningful objects that linger somewhere between past and present. Their work is infused with memory and allows participants to connect with a more romantic and important time.’

Along with the video, the can catch the studio visit here: The Scout- Roman & Williams Studio Visit

Video Link

Websites:

Roman & Williams

ACE HOTEL

NY times article about Stumptown

Photos via:

The Architects Newspaper – Douglas Lyle Thompson

NY Architecture Images site

Flickr, Man Seeking Coffee, and Hotel Chatter.

favorite sweets

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Filed under Food, New York

I’m a little behind, but the April/May issue of Lonny Mag is out!

It’s the green issue too! Check it out here: lonnymag.com

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Keep Calm And Carry On

click here to buy print
That’s right, that’s what I should be doing now.
As I am nearing the end of my very long college engagement, I am really stressed out.  This propaganda poster seems to be well suited.  I’ve seen a lot of it lately, possibly because this world is also super stressed with the poor economy and the thousands of unemployed.  Since I have seen it so much I thought it would be nice to know a little more about the meaning behind it.  Below the history is printed and if you’re interested you can find more information from the store.
This is the original, also found on the above store.
I must say, I have especially been seeing this print around the world of interior design.  It’s almost seems a ‘must have’ in your home office.  On the other hand, that is a bit cliché.  I guess I will let you decide for yourself on that one.
Century City Office
(I really like those chairs and rug)
Photo found on: Apartment Therapy
Photo found on: Apartment Therapy
I stumbled upon this image, the decal is a little more interesting, I was even thinking it might be fun to blowup of the text and stencil it on to a wall where it would take up almost the entire wall space.
click here to buy
Other prints to check out that may carry the same sort of wit but are a little more original are found on this site www.keepcalmgallery.com
click to order print
and here for this print
and this one is a personal favorite.
found here

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