Happinest: isn’t an illusion

It can be found in Verellen’s new line of lower priced upholstered pieces.  Sofas, chairs, ottomans, and benches, Verellen knows just how to put a smile on my face.  The Belgian based company is all about artisanal goodness.  They craft their pieces with love – I still cannot get over the fact that their base is located on a farm where chicken wander freely around the property, offering their support and contributing to the happy vide.

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Happinest by Verellen Dreamy Club Chairs

I first learned that this new line would be released this summer at Artefact in Belmont, MA where Tom Verellen spoke about the companies history, craftsmanship in an age of mass production, and disposability over heirloom.  He talked about bonding customers to the brand for life, forming partnerships, and …. still being accessible.

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Happinest by Verellen Dreamy Sofa

Here’s where Happiness comes into the picture.  Verellen, can only be found in a few select locations across the United States and it’s pricy.  In my opinion it’s worth every penny.  I have had my Verellen since my first flip and if I have my way – you’ll see it in number 10 too.  It’s perfection – it’s lines are sexy, its compact but sits deep, its graceful and welcoming after a hard day in the city.  It offers comfort, but it was not cheap.

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Happinest by Verellen . Quirky Ottoman

Didn’t my ears perk up at the mention of their new – less expensive line.  A line that 20 and 30 year olds could afford, and begin a life long love affair with this delicious brand.  Not a vast collection, but one that will likely suit many tastes.  The names of each are fabu; Dreamy, Happy Modular, Love, Lucky and Quirky.  Of the five – I love Dreamy the best.  Interestingly I don’t love:  Love, and Lucky doesn’t feels boxier than I think Luck should feel, but there is something that is so Verellen wonderful about the collection- and I hear from Sue Marsh at Artesan that they have been tweaking the design to give this line – the lines that curve and embrace.

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Happinest by Verellen . Happy Modular

It’s the happiest surprise I’ve had in a long time.

 

Sweet Design: Wearstler’s new chocolate shop

Everyone knows I love Wearstler.  She uses color combinations and geometric patterns that have me swooning.  Add chocolate to the mix and I’m catapulted into a divinely unhealthy infatuation.  Comparte – located at 912 S. Barrington Ave. Los Angeles is a jewel box of a chocolate shop.

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Oceany greens, petina’ed coppers, marble greys – all accented by the colorful pastel, papered chocolate bars, and brass lighting and shelves.  The grey marble, which lines the shelving nooks and spills out onto the floor like an accent carpet takes on an almost violet hue when paired with the green palette.  The stores narrow footprint, and high ceilings feel La La Land magical – a tiny anteroom to a Versailles Palace.  Instead of tea, prepare yourself for the frozen hot chocolate station.

It’s the prettiest palette I’ve set my peepers on in a while.  Wouldn’t I love my next condo to feature this combo.  Grey marble always makes me feel grounded.  I breathe a little easier when it’s part of my scheme, the other swirls of paint are the watery jewel tones of my seaside dreams.

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The display behind the receiving desk is a geometric sculpture inspired by Louise Nevelson.  Born Leah Berlawsky in 1899, Louise and her family left Russia to start a new life in Maine.  Louise found her way to  NYC where she attended high school, and later The Art Students League she became known for her monumental, monochromatic wooden sculptures.  Today she is considered one of the most important figures in 20th century American sculpture.  Wearstler’s signature geometric patterns are not only a wonderful owed to Nevileson, but showcase her knowledge and appreciation of those that have contributed to our artistic heritage.

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Join The Club:

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A Nantucket Institution, The Club Car has undergone a transformation that has created a stir in more than the kitchen.  Generally speaking, people don’t like change.  Me, I am so habitually acclimated to disruption that while I might not always embrace it, but I accept it.  I was sad to learn that not everyone has warmed this latest iteration of The Car.

It’s storied history began in 1881 when Nantucket developed its first rail service in support of its burgeoning tourist industry.  Modest in size, just two open air passenger cars, named Dionis after the wife of island’s settler, Tristram Coffin.  The train first went out to Surfside and later Sconset.  The service ran for 36 years until it was supplanted by the automobile.

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Main Dining Room

The rail car, first stood alone at its new location on One Main Street, and served as a diner.  Later the restaurant expanded, connecting to larger building, becoming the restaurant and piano bar that serves as the current day memory most hold dear.  Keys banging, drinks splashing, the sound of Piano Man carried out the door and down the street on the hot breeze of a summer night.  Add in a hangover, and you’ve got powerful memories of place.

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Additional bar seating adjacent main dining.

Under new ownership, its the design that drew me in and had me crushing hard.  Tharon Anderson, of Tharon Anderson Design, a native Nantucketer, is responsible in part, for the transformation.  The co-mingling of her coastal roots, with the historic tones of the original cars interior are a far cry from the blood red enclave that preceded it.  I love the high gloss paint that glints and sparkles like stars in the night sky on the car’s dome.  The brass scones that line the interior in the form of a hand grasping a torch, the brass pipe fittings that hold the shelves of old fashioned glasses, and the industrial light fixtures that are a major feature of the main dining room’s design.  Garden elements pop up in art work, and hanging planters.  Pale blue leather seating – some of the most comfortable I have seen a restaurant dare to install, least their patrons refuse to leave, create an airiness to the overall space that is powerfully hypnotic.

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The piano remains a fixture of the restaurant and patrons can lend their voice to performances twice daily – certain songs will cost you dearly, so select carefully.  The food however diverges from the well worn track its predecessor laid.  The Chef chose a largely gluten free menu, and a serious farm and fish to table commitment that drives the dishes.

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Luscious leather seating invites patrons to relax.

Like a train chugging down the tracks, mindful consumption has a momentum that is changing the way we eat.  I like Beef Wellington and Baked Alaska as much as the next guy or gal, but I really like the vitality and energy I get from eating clean.  The new Club Car is a breath of fresh air.  Given the chance, I bet your fall in love all over again.

 

Choix – pillows with punch

Nantucket is home to AMAZING design. From fashion to home furnishings, fine art, to fun jewelry, ACK has a knack for attracting the talented and visionary.  This season I have been surprised and delighted by a number of new shops. My insatiable appetite for new design accents is so easily fed on this island it’s intoxicating.

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Joey Wolffer . Esme Yozell, Retail Marketing Manager

I visited a tiny spit of a shack on South Wharf called Joey Wolffer.  A little bit of everything,  the stores clothing was unusual and beautiful, jewelry, just right, and accessories  – so fun, and trendy. What really caught my eye were the pillows.

Esme Yozell, Retail Marketing Manager shared with me that her Mom Abby is the designer of the pillows they have showcased in the store. A lover of France – her Choix Home brand is metallic fabulousness.  Inspired by international travel, and vintage baubles and materials, the pieces are unique, beautiful, and inspired.

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While Choix has more than pillows, its the pillows that speak to me.  From Camo, to fabulous nubby textiles, sequins to metallic surfaces, fringe and a fair amount of statements that seem timely, and emphatic.

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Pineapple appliques, Fun words and non-sensicals like HA!  Bossy!  Never! – the variety of interpretation that can be associated with them is fantastic.

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I have a thing for sequins – i have an even bigger thing for fringe. Oh boy –  ridiculous. I love that Abby has embarked on this business venture, has tied her daughter Esme into the process as she manages this Nantucket store, and brings her love of travel home to us all.  Find her pillows at:  Jeoywolffer.com or choixhome.com.

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Esme with her computer case.

 

Home Sense : The hype and a whole lot more.

Lovely Liberty of London.  Those delicate, girly flowers are a recipe for unbridled happiness.  They signal summersaults, and cartwheels,  a run through tall grass, and laughter that’s so contagious all the troubles of the world are carried away with the gentle breeze.

I’ve worked hard to make a case for the girly in a masculine setting, but I have to say in this instance – I think the girls own it.  I have ideas about how to give it a rocker edge – that I’m not quite ready to share, but I think I could convince a city girl or two to wear it out for a night on the town, or decorate their home with it.  You’ll are gonna have to wait for that.

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Feather Fan Edlyn Bed $2498. – $2798.

After my trip to Paris, I started seeing these iconic prints pop up all over the place.  The brand, which has a long history, began in 1875 when Arthur Lazenby Liberty borrowed 2000 pounds from his Father-in-Law to open his first store.  “I was determined not to follow existing fashion but to create new ones.”  Arthur said.  His concept had a momentum that would make any new business owner swoon.  From fabrics to fashion, home furnishings, accessories, and more, the store and its wares exploded.

J. Crew has been carrying Liberty frocks for several years now.  Calypso had them a few years back and now Anthropologie debuted their collaborative furniture line on 14 August, bringing upholstered furnishings to the states.  The collection includes 40 pieces, in addition to furniture it include bed and bath, and china plates.  There are 40 pieces in all, 18 of which hail from the Heritage archives.

A combination of traditional pieces and a more modern aesthetic allow you to be English Countryside or urban chic.  The palette is bold hues for the furnishings, which will bring a little garden to your indoor party.

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Nina Taylor Sheet Set. $158. – $198.

There’s a reason these prints have stood the test of time.  We crave nature.  It grounds us, and reminds us that beauty and inspiration is all around.

Happy Saturday.

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.

 

 

 

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.