Home Sense : The hype and a whole lot more.

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Oly Studio Etagere knock off.  Stunning.

Home Sense opened the doors on its first US store on Thursday, 17 August 2017, and I was there to evaluation, and prepare to be excited about all they have to offer.  Owned by Winners, which in turn is owned by TJXX, which also owns Home Goods, one of my long time favorite places for scoring trendy, inexpensive side tables, pillows, lighting, and accessories – Home Sense offers a whole lot more.

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Ro Sham Beaux Chandelier Knock Off.

Home Goods sources from all over the world, and stays on point with the hippest designs, offering knock offs in record breaking time, and at a fraction of the original makers prices, for many its an addition that brings out hoarding tendencies even in the likes of people similar to myself…I abhor clutter and find great pleasure in throwing things out, giving things away, or leaving things on the street and making someone else’s day.  Home Goods is hard to resist.

Left:  John Robshaw pillow:  ABC Carpet NYC $250.  Home Sense $49.00.  Right:  Robshaw table runners and napkins.

So what’s the difference between Home Goods and Home Sense?  The shear volume of product they have is certainly part of it, but it’s more than that.  They offer so much more furniture than a traditional HG Store, and their lighting offering is a 4th of July display.  Not only do they carry even more table lamps in an array of beautiful designs, they have a stunning collection of chandeliers.  I spotted two or three Ro Sham Beaux knock offs that were gorgeous.  If you are a follower of the Ro Sham, you know they define coastal chic, and they are tres cher.  These glittery goddesses were by comparison a stunningly low coast at about $499.  Yes please, and thank you very much.

Left:  Floor Pillows in the Moroccan Style.  Right:  Storage baskets abounded.

It felt like every parent with a kid headed to college made there way to Framingham for the big day.  Home Sense has an impressive offering in terms of Decor, bedding, furniture, cook ware, and basically everything you would need to set up a home from scratch from gardening tools and accessories, to laundry room essentials, refrigerators, even industrial mixers.  It remains to be seen if these items can be depended upon on a regular basis as the stores inventory will change regularly.  In fact, they couldn’t even keep the lighting hung and in stock while I was there.  They were unboxing and hanging as fast as shoppers were snatching them down and running, carts a blazing to the check-out counter as if they thought a clerk or manager would finally come to their senses and mark their finds with “the real price”.  Rest assured, there are bargains to be had.

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8 x 10 Turkish Carpet in the Oushak Style – $999.

I had highlights and disappointments.  I loved the etagere Oly Studio knock off they had in the store – it was beautiful and if I had a place for it, I would have purchased it, sadly this little home can’t accommodate it.  My disappointment came inI the carpet department.  They had literally hundreds of rugs on display, but only one that was a Turkish Oushak – my favorite.  It was beautiful, but I had the same problem – too big for my current space.

On trend lighting, accessories and mirrors galore.

I hate to say it but I think Framingham has been added to my GPS’s top 5 frequent destination list.  You can check it out for yourself at – One Worcester Road, Framingham, MA.

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A Smeg – who knew.  No price could be located on this.  West Elm sells it for $3000.

March On: Marche aux Puces doesn’t deliver bargains

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A French man with a painting that I seriously contemplated.  500 Euro….

There was a time when the Paris Flea Market had more than a bargain or two in store, but I am afraid that time is long gone.  If you are looking for a treasure for next to nothing, I am afraid you’ll be disappointed.  Having said that, if you are looking for an experience, attend you should.

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I was instructed in no uncertain terms not to return with one of these…sadness.

A maze of stalls in varying degrees of deterioration, some with make shift roofs that are stained  with water and threaten to collapse as you peer wide-eyed at the owner’s wares.  Some stalls are so chock full they not only spill out into the twisting and turning pathways, but there is nary a sliver of space for you to enter, let alone attempt to purchase a pin, or a soldier, or a carefully curated piece of silver.  Those stalls I leave for the braver of heart than me.

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Tres Mignon . Très Cher.  I left it there.

This time the famed Marche may have gotten the best of me.  The smaller, easier to transport items were no bargain at all, those that were larger, including furnishings were a relative steal, but they require shipping crates, and customs clearances, long delays, and often broken items at the hands of officials, who I envision tossing Louis VI Bergeres around the container like a ball at the playground.  Naturally, they aren’t very good, and Louis’ old bones are no contest for their less than skilled antics.  Your wallet will take a beating too, not to mention your heart.  So I left with none of the beauties I saw while I was there.  Someone from their homeland should adopt them, at least until I can find a carrier that’s assembled a winning team.

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A Restaurant with an old school French band inside the market.  Fantastique!

I had fun none-the-less.  I laughed at the 100 Euro picnic basket, it was cute but…please.  I adored a mirror comprised of a dozen or more rounded mirrors – so cool – but too big for my ginormous suitcase.  Fell in love with a one of a kind cane backed chair that I suggested to Tiffany I could break off the seat and the legs and shadowbox frame the back in lucite and mount to the walls – she said she’d break my legs if I did any such thing to a one of a kind beauty like that.

Tiff investigating the wares.  Oh how I wanted that table.

I did pick up a print or two, and least you think I didn’t have a ball – let me set the record straight.  I could pass the time, all day, any day, in the markets.  It is a fascinating place to be, full of inspiration, fascinating people, and the possibility – always of an adventure.

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I loved this and it would have been so great in the Manse!

Happy Shopping!

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The chair that got away…oh how I will regret leaving you behind.

The House that Dior Built: choose any door

Christian Dior must have had trials during his short life, but he doesn’t appear the kind of gentleman to be stopped by the likes of wars, great depressions, lost family fortunes, or childhood dreams realized, and just as quickly snatched from within his grasp.

 

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Les Arts Decoratifs . through 7 January 2018

Born in Granville, France – a seaside town in Normandy, Christian’s Father was a fertilizer magnate, who thought Christian was destined to be a Diplomat.  Christian had other plans.  From a young age he expressed an interest in art, and asked for his Father’s backing in a Parisian Gallery that he was to open with a childhood friend.  While his Father agreed – he insisted he keep the family name out of it.  The gallery was a great success, showcasing artists including Picasso along side less well known artists of the time like Marc Chigall, and forming lifelong friends.  The war, and the subsequent depression led to the loss of the family fortune, and the backing that Dior depended on to continue gallery operations, and it was forced to close.

Ever resilient, Dior simply went to work selling fashion sketches, eventually working for Robert Piguet in 1937 where he was allowed to include pieces of his own design in one of Piguet’s shows – they were well received.

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Les Couturiers outside their workshop…where all the magic happened.

After Dior’s military service was complete he returned to Paris to work for Lucien Lelong’s Fashion House.  Together they struggled to keep fashion alive in war torn Paris, designing for the wealthy wives of Nazi soldiers.  Dior credits Lucien for teaching him “the virtues of simplicity from which true elegance must come.”  They remained friends and confidants throughout his life.

A brilliantly set stage helped to recreate the mystique of the time.

Dior opened his “House” in 1947 with the launch of his first show – Corelle – Circlet of Flower Petals.  The collection was coined the “New Look” by the Editor-in-Chief, Carmel Snow and launched the brand which continues to thrive today.  A consummate perfectionist that loved the female form, Dior made curvaceousness all the rage.  A fortuitous clash of photography and fashion paved the way for a phenomenal pairing of artistic talents, exotic shoots, and the coupling of fashion and fashionable places that undoubtably enhanced the upward trajectory of the label.

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This year – the 70th Anniversary of the House of Dior led to the exhibition from which I just returned at Les Arts Decoritifs.

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Floral Perfection.

CHRISTIAN DIOR, COUTURIER DU RÊVE

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Percale wrapped in ivy and ribbon.

Over 300 gowns from his collection, miniature doll sized models, and toiles are on display through 7 January 2018.  Book your ticket now.   It was the single best museum exhibit I have ever seen, anywhere.  Tiffany agreed.  We could have spent all day in the museum setting off alarms that signal we were far too close to the dresses.  Signal away

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Toiles . Mocking up the designs.

– I will never feel close enough until I have slipped one on and headed to the ball.  The detailing, the beads, the fabrics, the folds, the genius, the glamour, it is all there.  From frocks to hats, shoes, jewelry, bags, and a stunning photography collection that captures some of the very best in advertisements.  The ode to starlets that wore his gowns and catapulted his name into the mainstream are beautifully displayed through film clips, and photographs, that have you spinning your head from one side of the display to the other, to first see the screen image that was created, and to then catch a glimpse of the real life confection, just over your shoulder, and through a throng of admirers, on the other side of the isle made me woozy with wonder and want.

Samples and sketches and created in miniature before the final piece is developed.

To think that it began with Dior holed up in his home, furiously sketching away, and then those sketches were turned over to the head seamstress – “Couturiere” that created the mock ups in the Atelier – the workshop – then presenting these to Dior, always with the same question….”have we achieved your vision for this piece Mr. Dior…thousands of hours can go into a single dress.  The mock-ups are pieces of art in their own right.  I would have walked right out of that exhibit in any one of those gauzy white creations – without a touch of color or a single embellishment owned one of the single most sublime creations that ever have I set my eyes upon.

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A prolific designer – in just 10 years he created a lasting legacy.

Now hip hop.  Pack that suitcase and book your ticket.  This exhibit cannot be missed.  J’adore Dior!

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I’m ready for a garden party with the Queen.

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I think I’ve used up all my adjectives…it’s beyond.

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Show up for work!

 

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Blow your own horn.

 

 

 

Swatch Watch: finding fabric in the City of Lights

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4 bis rue d’Orsel
75018 Paris

The 8th is home to some amazing fabric stores.  Whether it’s upholstery fabric or fashion you’re on the look-out for, start here.  Marche Saint Pierre, Sacre Coupons, and L’Atelier D’origins are just a few of the dozen that sit at the base of Sacre Coeur.  A bustling neighborhood full of tourists and Parisians alike, somehow on my last visit I participated in a food tour that cut right through the heart of this neighborhood, my eyes apparently remained fixed on the chocolates, cheeses, wines, and pastries, because I don’t remember seeing all the pretty prints that share storefront space with the gastronomique delights that I sampled.

My mother must have visited this neighborhood because she arrived home from a trip to Paris with a suitcase full of fabric.  This fabric she carted around for years – literally years!  This was normal for Pat Falla.  She had trouble making decisions.  Perhaps that’s why I make so many of them, with little thought to the sheer number of ill conceived avenues I have pursued as a result.  I guess I believe that forward momentum is more important than perfection. At any rate, the fabric did in fact get used but not by Pat.  My sister Mary Beth found it, had it made into curtains and hung them in one of her homes.  They looked pretty good.

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Nicole folding my beautiful fabric!

I too will be leaving Paris with a suitcase full of fabric.  I really had no intention of buying any, and then there it was – shimmering and winking at me.  I fell for it. It will be right at home in home No. 4.  Now if only one of those French Bergers would fit in my suitcase, I’d have something to drape the fabric on.  A good problem to have.

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2 rue Charles Nodier
75018 Paris

Heureusement Samedi!

 

Miles To Go Before He Sleeps

mr 1Redd gets it right for Ballard.  Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Miles Redd found his way to NYC where he studied Interior Design at NYU.  Though some call his style quirky and theatrical, I think it rather sophisticated.  Sophisticated need not be stuffy, and with Miles love of shiny objects and surfaces, and high gloss paint in bold poppy colors, he’s a far cry from boring.

I once had occasion to meet Jonathan Adler, and I asked him if he knew Miles because their design styles seem to share an ability to coax a smile out of even the most steadfastly serious individuals.  Jonathan reported that they were good friends.  Smile I did at that.  I told him that I drew much inspiration from his furnishings and accessories, and I hope to be able to tell Miles the same one day.

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Diamond Coffee Table.

When my Ballard Designs catalog arrived the other day, I spotted a canary yellow, ribbed and upholstered, with a long tassel fringe chair on it’s cover.  I saw it and said, that’s new, and I wonder who they have designing for them now.  If only I’d REDD on I would have discovered.

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Channeled Slipper Chair $599.

I paged through trying to find something – anything that perhaps I didn’t love so that I might narrow down the topic of discussion, but this Bunny Williams trained talent really gets it right.  His acid green diamond coffee table $599. , also available in navy with chrome, is a stunner.  The diamond dining chair with the fretwork detailed seat in chalky white or high gloss black and an a bright selection of leather fabrics to choose from, making it both edgy and glamorous all at the same time. $649.  The glass deco fireplace screen for $299. is a yes!  The Alberta Button Headboard, $699. (queen) and the Tuxedo Chest $2299. in black lacquer are just a few of the stand out pieces in this collection.

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Tuxedo Chest.

Miles style can sometimes look buttoned up in its perfection – as is often customary among Southern designers, but it takes the edge of with a bit of the playful in the form of a polka dot, or a gingham fabric, and you are reminded of how and why he rose to the top of the design world so quickly since opening his own studio in 1998….he’s good.

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Diamond Dining Chair. 

While the pieces are a little pricier than Ballard’s typical pp, I’ll be one of the first to say I think it’s worth it.  I better get moving with number 5.

Coup de Foudre: Paris awaits

Even though this French expression suggests the sudden striking of emotion – a thunderbolt of love – I struck anew by its power, every time I visit Paris.  Wednesday I get to sneak away in the night and awake in the warm embrace of the City of Lights.

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Marche aux Puce . Paris

It’s been three years since my last visit.  I’ve been warned by my friends and family NOT to visit Marche aux Puce again.  For those of you that have just started following, this is the flee market at which I purchased the infamous Italian, Mid-Century-Modern, Chandelier.  There were a number of indignities associated with this purchase, not the least of which was the fact that the vendor sent me a chandelier – but not the chandelier that I bought when I was at the market.  It was close, but a little worse for the wear.  I paid a fortune to have it rewired, have my ceiling reinforced, and hung, not once, but three times.  A story for another day.

Paris 1st

I submit here in advance my apologies to all – I will be going to Marche aux, and I make no promises that I won’t return with another monumental light fixture.  What fun would a trip to Paris be without the dream of a magical find at the market?  A trip that I wouldn’t be interested in taking – that’s the kind.

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Frank Gehry designed Foundation Louis Vuitton

I’ll be staying in the 1st – which I haven’t stayed in before.  I’ve stayed in the 3rd, the 6th, 7th and 8th.  I love La Belle Juliette in the 8th Arrondissement, on Rue Cherche Midi, but I like to try new things, and the hot, hip boutique style hotels that have been popping up in the 1st caught my attention.  Hotel Therese is where I will be for my super fast 3 day trip.

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1948 Couture Dior . need I say more?

Here’s what I plan to do because its what I love almost more than anything else…eat, drink, and shop – for clothing and furnishing, fixtures, and materials.  Les Arts Decoratifs has an exhibit, that for me, is a must see.  The House of Dior opened its doors 70 years ago – that’s 1947, I know because my company, Elaine Construction is also celebrating its 70th anniversary.  How cool is that.  Over 300 couture dresses are on display, so it goes without saying – I have purchased the tickets to this exhibit already.

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Grand Coeur . 41 Rue du Temple . Paris

Foundation Louis Vuitton, designed by Frank Gehry is an architectural wonder.  It has been on my list, and this trip I will get to see it in person.  The texture and the light, pattern, and materials are amazing sources of inspiration and awe for me.  I can’t wait to see this building, and by the way, I hear the exhibits aren’t bad either.

I can’t wait to tell you all about it.  Happy Saturday.

Hedging Your Bet: Versatile bedding that travels

In the summertime I basically live out of a suitcase.  Granted, it’s a very pretty suitcase with it’s silky, poppy bow tie interior, a la a Kate Spade and Steamline collaboration, but it’s still a suitcase that sits in the doorway of my second bedroom awaiting its next destination.  For me, it’s no problem.  My life in sawdust has me living out of suitcases even when it’s not summer.  I am acclimated to the versatility that is required to make oneself at home, whether it’s your home or not.

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Hedgehogs Portable Mattresses . $375.

I wish I could say that I adapt to my varied sleeping conditions with as much nonchalance as I do the traveling part of my existence, but never having been a great sleeper, I like my bed, its pillows, my sheets, the blankets, and all the other accoutrements that lend themselves to a restful sleep, or at the very least give you something beautiful to look at as you lie awake.

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Lyford Seersucker Throwbed . green

Cue French obsession.  I have long admired the French’s interesting custom of placing what appears to be a version of a featherbed, on top of the fitted sheet, and calling it done.  Very practical when making the bed in the morning, but not quite enough for me.  Since I love a coverlet, with all it’s smooth sleekness, I want that, and a top sheet so I can stick my toe in the corner when it wants to shake all the energy that’s still hopping around inside of me – out.  There is something so relaxed and elegant all at the same time about this floating cozy cloud that sits atop all the other bedding that I fell hard for.

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Metallic Throwbed in Mt Blanc

Low and behold, didn’t I just spy these beauties in one of my favorite South End stores – Willey Boston.  Now they are not French – they are produced here in the US – LA specifically, and I love the fact that Beatta Henrichs Lieb started making them out of her garage – Hedgehouse was born….and later having her very good friend and ex-MTV Executive join the company to support its growth.  Though they don’t say it, I have a sneaking suspicion that they are in fact influenced by this French custom.

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Toulouse Throbbed in Red.

The concept of a portable mattress that you can take anywhere, and lay your head down in comfort and style is brilliant.  I don’t just want one, I want a half dozen.  They will be perfect in The Manse.  Jo-Jo will make me buy them myself, but it’ll be worth it.  Sometimes knowing what your heart desires is more than half the battle.

Sleep tight this Sunday night.