H. Able to do it all

I don’t know what got me to thinking about Hable Construction exactly. I was thinking about Earth Day which is today of course, and that got me to thinking about sustainable fabrics, and patterns whose inspiration was derived from nature, and there I was, back in Nolita – NYC at the turn of the century. This one of course, I’m not that old!

California Beach Bungalow – design: Krista Ewart – Featured in House Beautiful. Note the fabric on the sofa – Hable . Note the pillows: Bead . Hable.

There was a little shop that I would visit on Elizabeth Street, whenever I was in the city. The bright patterns, a crafty re-imagining of the mundane or tattered, a wicker lamp turned into a front stage stunner, a wall, neatly lined with colorful canvas storage totes – hip before they were mainstream, or an old broken down chaise converted into an enviable place to lounge and recover from the stress of daily life — even if it is self-inflicted, as it so often is in my case, I support my own need to recover in a happy place.

Hable Construction Storage Baskets . $95.00 – Canvas Bead.

Lordly, lord I can’t wait until this renovation is complete. Which of course got me to thinking about the custom banquet I want to set prominently against the pale gray painted brick wall. That’s in Benjamin Moore’s Ice Cubed Silver in case you were wondering, and it’s dreamily calming. I’ve selected a rug that makes me smile, as much for its name: Carnival, as for it’s wonderfully unrestrained use of color. They’re all in there, giving me the freedom I so rarely have, and desire – to use whatever color I want – dare I say – throw many into the mix.

Custom Art Work . Blue Swatch . $620.

A banquet, I think, requires a fabric that is on the tougher side – all that sliding in and out of tight spaces (and trust me when I tell you, it’s a squeeze), can be hard on a fabric. It’s got to have a little metal, and canvas does. Naturally, (wink, wink) that led me to Hable Construction. A tough sounding company, whose name was derived from the founders Great-Grandfather’s Texas Road Construction Company. I can’t tell you how much I love that! Back to their roots, paving their own business road in textiles, flooring, and custom art work, these two sisters, Katherine Hable Sweeney, and Susan Hable Smith, are cool, talented, and apparently uninhibited in their reach.

Combining their talents – art, and marketing, they’ve made, and shared, their talents, and I cannot wait to make them part of my home.

Water Water Everywhere

Today is one of those days. You know the ones, don’t you. It’s raining outside and regrettably, it’s raining inside too. It’s not supposed to do that. Water is grand on the beach, overlooking the Adriatic, shimmering in the infinity pool. It can even be pretty amazing when you are riding it down a rapid or through the lock system of a French canal – you comfortably ensconced on a lounge chair on the lido deck of the luxury liner. It’s a whole lot less romantic when it’s gushing in through an electrical conduit. That’s a pipe whose job it is to hold the electrical wires neatly in – and the water – tightly out.

Slim Aarons . El Venero – Mirabella Spain

I think it’s safe to say, that at this point you know it’s not doing it’s job. I wonder if Bill Belichick did the yelling if they’d send someone over to fix it. I’m horse and it hasn’t resulted in any shame faced Eversource technicians showing any initiative. You’d think two fire trucks, 3 pick axes, and 6 burly men with hoses would have stirred up a little more fix-it action, but no. The only action I’ve got is Niagra Falla, in what should be my new bedroom. Maybe I could sell tickets to the spectacle – help pay for the damage. Anyone?

I’ve decided to turn my attention to happier aquatic experiences – ones that are safely painted on the page, captured in a photograph, ones that require you to use your imagination to experience the H2O.

OKL. Happy Frills.
Beverly Hills Hotel. What a way to experience water.

REEDing Between the Lines

While rattan always strikes me as a decorative accent best showcased somewhere down south, I find I long for it when the weather even hints (as it does here in New England, in fits and starts) of becoming warmer. It feels right that furnishings should get a little lighter, allow a warm breeze to pass through them – even if they are indoors.

Mario Lopez Torres . Parrot Toucan Monkey Chandelier . Chairish . $6800.

Now if you have begun to conjure images of the Golden Girls in their Florida condo, let me stop you right there. This isn’t bamboo and peach palm fronds that I’m talking about. Rattan can be sophisticated, elegant even, and I am here to prove it.

Rattan is derived from the Maylay – Rotan, which consists of an old world species of climbing palms, which in turn, belong to a sub-family known as Calamoldizae, which is Greek for reed. Now we are getting somewhere, so stick with me here. Those reeds are woven into cords, which are wrapped around a wire frame, allowing the decorative object or piece of furniture to take shape. It’s an art, and oh boy, are there ever some designers that elevate the form.

Draped like a cloth tossed on top of a table. Beautiful lines. Chairish.

Mario Lopez Torrez is perhaps my favorite for his cheeky use of monkey’s. A Mexican Artist known for his mid-century creations – though it is believed he still produces pieces today in his village – Ihuatizo. If a visual examination of the intricacies of his designs don’t convince you of his status, perhaps the price points at which his pieces sell will.

City or seaside, north or south, I have a hankering for rattan.

Piping Hot: taking upholstered pieces from warm to hot

If you’re like me, you admire perfectly upholstered pieces with their pretty piping, but think them just outside of your realm of sophistication. Now of course I have upholstered pieces, and some of them even have piping. I’ll even go so far as to say – it’s contrast piping, which means it is in a different color than the base fabric. You knew that though, and if you didn’t, it likely means you go for more modern lines. It need not be persnickety though. It can be cool, and tie disparate elements in a room together.

Oomph Headboard . talk about contrast! Whoa.

I guess the bit about tying different elements together is what has me most interested in piping right now. Having spent a boat load of money on No.5, little of which the viewer will be able to appreciate. Boo hoo, but which was necessary nonetheless, I will be forced to re-use much of what I have. Cue the violins. I know none of you are feeling sorry for me. Perhaps we can all learn something from this experience.

It occurred to me that I might get a little daring and add a true contrast to the base fabric. After all, there’s no law that says it must pick up one of the colors in the pattern, or be a boring neutral. Why not have a double row of piping. Why not make one of those rows an entirely different color – why not I ask you – why not?

Oomph . Rafia Scallop Slipper Chairs.

Designers are always making up rules and then turning around and breaking them, and then calling that rule that they just broke, the new rule that everyone should follow. I’m not blaming them for creating confusion, or design chaos, in fact I encourage it. Get after it. Just understand that even if we don’t have a host of IIDA initals after our name, doesn’t mean we can get to experimenting on our own. I plan to do just that. If I fail, I’ll be prepared to accept the I told you so’s.

A little contrast goes a long way. Pale grey and white with contrasting violet. Want to add an edge – try a double cord, lavender and navy.

Kit of Parts: When DIYing is all wrong

I have to say that were money no object, I’d do a lot of things differently than I currently do today – who wouldn’t. Surely you can’t stand in judgement of me, for that. We all make choices about how we want to spend our money, and what is worth the economy, and what is not.

Today I am going to report on a number of things that I think….ARE NOT. For those following along, I painstakingly selected a number of pieces that were to comprise the makings of a teenage boys room – a real room, a room fit for an almost adult. While it does fit the bill, arriving at the finished product was a right of passage, all on its own.

The Aristotle Bed that was nearly my undoing.

The items, bedside tables, dresser, and bed, arrived in alarmingly small boxes. I discovered exactly why when I opened them. If you can imagine what a Swiss watch factory might look like – 10 Old Salty Lane’s living room floor, hallway, and bedroom, looked just like we were revved up to assemble the next best version of a TAG Heuer.

The Aristotle Platform Bed.

I like assembling a puzzle as much as the rest of them, but when it comes to furniture – I like it to arrive…whole, and if not whole, I want a single Allen wrench, and a two part instruction process. What I was left with – was frankly DISRESPECTFUL.

Here is my consumer report. Do not get this:

The Crayton Double Drawer Dresser. It came with over 500 pieces, and took more than 6 hours to assemble.

Every single one of those drawers was in over 50 pieces….

The Aristotle Bed – also from Wayfair, didn’t come in quite so many parts, but the parts that it did come with – didn’t have the holes router’ed in the right location. I had to jury rig that thing, while I was swearing like a sailor – so unbecoming. When all was said and done, I asked myself why in the sam tarnation I hadn’t bought from West Elm to begin with….and that’s all I have to say about that.

Hencoop Hospitality my feather boa!

If Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell ( a painter and interior designer) Founders of the Bloomsbury Group, or Set, as they were known, and who gathered around them other like minded intellectuals, philosophers, artists, and influencers, could be considered frivolous by any group or gender, than I’ll eat that feather boa. I’ll do it without reservation, in protest to the outrageousness of the coinage.

Above: Allbright . London. Photographed by Tina Hiller

It’s only a wonder to me why it has taken us so long to embrace and proliferate, women’s only social and co-working clubs. Certainly we work differently than Virginia and Vanessa did at the turn of the 20th century, and Me Too wasn’t yet a movement, though it was a harsh reality, whatever the reason, a few pathfinders have helped to get the ball rolling.

From The Wing, which I have written about several times now, and if I am allowed to brag a bit, my firm, Elaine Construction is responsible for constructing in Boston’s Back Bay, to dozens and dozens across the country, women only co-working is in full swing.

Above: Make Lemonade . Toronto . Canada

Admittedly, it was the design of The Wing which first caught my attention. To my eye, it’s luscious interior is like a movie set that I could imagine Jan Morrow of Pillow Talk walking onto and sitting right down with a cup of tea and a bag of samples for her next project. It’s perfection. There are others which are worthy of mention for their jaw-dropping interiors including: Allbright . London, The Hivery . Mill Valley . CA, Make Lemonade . Toronto . CA, and Paper Dolls . LA . CA.

Above Left: Paper Dolls . LA . CA and Right: Paper Dolls Founder Jen Mojo

The names are as inspiring as the interiors and their missions. Allbright an ode to Madeline who famously stated: There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” so often quoted these days it would be hard to imagine anyone not familiar with it. The Hivery which elicits images of the Queen Bee buzzing around in control of her kingdom, and believe me, I’d be happy to Make Lemonade out of Rachel Kelly’s brainchild of a work space. I loved making paper dolls as a young girl, so Jen Mojo’s concept, born out of a dinner club that gathered regularly, brings a smile to my face.

The Hivery . Mill Valley . CA by Design Renegades
Design Renegades Founder . LeAnn Wanninger

The fact that all these spaces were designed by women, and in the case of The Wing . Boston – built by one too (yeah!) is a source of collegial pride. Allbright was created by London Based firm No. 12 Studio, founded by Katie Earl and Emma Rayner, is a stunner.

Above Left: The Hivery . Right Top: The Hivery Main Studio. Right Bottom: The Hivery Founder . Grace Kraaijvanger.

LeAnn Wanninger of Design Renegades is responsible for the clean, bright lacquered white desk tops, lucite accents, and happy yellow pops of color that make up The Hivery, and have women making the trek from the heart of San Fransisco and other Bay Area locales to get creative and get working. Grace Kraaijvanger its founder is driven to explore: “what create and supports a courageous women”. This space might just provide the bird’s eye view to answer that question.

No. 12 Studio Founders . Katie Earl and Emma Reyner

The inspiration and pride I feel for these spaces abounds. I hope you find a little of your own inspo today.

Rachel Kelly . Make Lemonade Founder.

Father and Daughter: a collaboration

Is it a southern collaboration or the fact that it’s father and daughter that developed this fabric line that makes it special? Maybe it’s the fact that Andra was likely rooting around in her Dad’s Memphis home on the hunt for some such thing she deemed important, or fighting a losing battle to straighten the home on one of her visits, finding herself immersed in a sea of art.

Electra Eggleston Textiles . Originally designed for the Noelle Hotel, pictured above. Miami . Peacock.

One really can never know where inspiration will strike. It could come from under the bed, in the form of a long lost colorful sock, a passing cloud in the sky, or a well worn wallet with a few stitches, long let way from the strain of receipts – sadly not money. For me, travel it seems, always ignites that inspo – in whatever form or fashion it might arrive, I am open to taking it.

Spy that Farrow and Ball . Lotus Wall covering – yes please.

Illustrations spanning decades, stuffed under sofa cushions, frayed and folded, along side luckier versions, catalogued and stacked, whisper thin alone, but a fortress of power and inspiration in piles. They sparked what I image was a warm glow of an idea for a business in the daughter of this famed photographer William Eggleston’s eye, and she flamed it.

This series of hotels in Nashville, connected only by their location, sitting neatly in a row on 4th, offered a design aesthetic that makes me happy. Was it cutting-edge? – no, but they all had their clever moments, and one had a fabric on their upholstered roof top furniture, in an eye popping kelly green that held my attention. Low and behold, as I am flipping through Garden & Gun – yes, that is the name of a real magazine, don’t I just spy that fabric, profiled within its pretty pages. Don’t I just. I should have known, after all, I did buy the magazine in the hotel’s gift shop. Noelle Hotel is curated perfection. They even use Steamline Luggage to stage their wares, as if everything else about the place hadn’t done the trick already.

So now here I go, thinking about how I might incorporate Habana and Hokkaldo, or both into No. 5. I’ll make myself love that No. 5 if it kills me trying.

Electra Eggleston . Hokkaldo . Winter – Left and Habana – Right.

Happy Sunday.