White Sale: Classic beauty

I came across several advertisements for White Sales this weekend.  Of course I know what a White Sale is, I am the daughter of Pat Falla after all.  Shopping was a top skill of Pat’s, right up there with etiquette, so you can see having clean linens in one’s home was naturally a priority, and shopping for them a must.

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Frette . Chine Lace Sheet . Queen $1175. frette.com

I did get to thinking about its origins though, and was tickled pink to learn that back in the day – the early 19th century that is – John Wanamaker of John Wanamaker + Co the first Philadelphia Department Store, dubbed January the month of the White Sale – bed linens, and towels, etc, only came in that single color.  Imagine that, it must have made selecting your wares a whole lot faster.

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Wanamaker’s Designed by Daniel H. Burnham

Fascinated by history as I am, I was even more pleased to learn that his department store was designed by Daniel H. Burnham!  Daniel is famous, in case you weren’t aware.  He was the Director of Works for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, aka – The World’s Fair, which celebrated the 400th anniversary of Columbus voyage, which took place in Chicago.  Chicago is coincidently known as the “White City” due in large part to the Master Plan that Burnham, Charles McKim, and Louis Sullivan developed accented by beautiful white stone Beaux-Arts buildings.

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The Flat Iron Building . NYC . Burnham design.

I like white.  It being far from the absence of color, it is the sum of all the colors that make white … white.  Perhaps that is far too technical an explanation.  The fact is – I like it.  It’s crisp, and clean, and allows me room to think.  White, like a good hostess, allows other colors to appear brighter, to pop, to be the lead character in a story.  A room with too many colors can be exhausting, don’t you agree?  This is particularly important to remember as many of you will be receiving house guests this summer. Entertaining too many colors simultaneously can be exhausting.  Keep that in mind.

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Serena & Lily . Marvista Duvet $258. – $428.  serenaandlily.com

As a proponent of advertising, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Wanamaker is the Father of the White Sale, the fact that he is was also a marketing pioneer has me thinking that I owe him a debt of gratitude.  That is, after all, how I make my living.

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Julia B . Mourn . Queen Top Sheet. $1214.  juliab.com

Happy Sunday.

 

Simon Says…small living is sublime

Simon Woodroffee wasn’t through with his Yo-deling after the launch of his Yotel Air and Yotel Urban Locations, the founder decided to add Yo! Home to his portfolio of small, but perfectly appointed apartments.  Just 40 square meters (430.5sf), these units possess all that you would expect a posh city pad to have; a kitchen, bathroom, dining room, and living room.  Ample storage too.

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Sunken Living and Dining Room disappear to make way for sleep.

Drawing from the same inspiration that brought Yotel to the market – an overnight flight to London tucked into the cozy confines of a British Airways first class sleeping pod – Simon got his bright idea.  Little can be simply lovely, and he set about proving it.  Now with the help of Glenn Howells Architects, Manchester, England is in the approvals stage for its own Yo! Home.  This stackable building complex will be largely prefabricated off-site, in the quality controlled environment of a warehouse.  This approach, in and of itself, is cost savings, and increases the quality of the end product as you don’t suffer the indignities of winter conditions, manpower shortages, and sequencing difficulties.  Just assemble, and slide onto the truck for delivery!

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Let’s get comfortable.  Style and sophistication on every level.

I have seen a lot of small spaces of late. The U-Hu (Boston’s road show of a solution to micro apartments), tiny houses on wheels, Ori (MIT Media Lab’s high-tech apartment in an amour), these are all steps in the right direction.  Densification is a hot topic, because frankly the population is getting hot under the color over the lack of affordable housing, and that has to change. The question has long been, “how do you make a little slip of a space desirable?”  How do you make it cool, sought after, coveted?  Yo! Home just might be the answer.

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When I first saw the renderings, and watched the video about how these spaces transform into a flat (you know, the word for an English Studio) – I have to admit I thought about Rock Hudson in Pillow Talk.  I should say that I love this movie.  1959, a time when a girl was taken on a proper date, when men dressed for dinner, and Doris Day had suitors that bought her cars to try and win her affection.  I’m thinking about this because it’s time for a new car, and that little grey Mercedes with its red interior, that she turned down … hello.  At any rate, no one is currently offering to buy me a new car, so I can’t possibly know whether or not I would turn it down because its offer is so highly inappropriate.  Is it so wrong to want the opportunity?

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Yo! could you say no?

Rock Hudson had a bachelor pad to beat all bachelor pads.  His sitting area converted to a bedroom, lights dimmed on command, music popping out from behind hidden panels.  A perfect modern wood wall suddenly reveals a cocktail bar, and Manhattan’s are served.  So is the case with Yo! Home.  The king size bed drops from the ceiling concealing the sunken living room, the dining table drops down into the floor and is covered over for safety.  The kitchen is revealed from behind glossy fold away doors.  Underfloor storage offers what us Feng Shui enthusiasts dream of – a place to hide away the clutter that is destined to keep us from realizing our full potential.

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Sleek lines, modern design, sunken tub…yes please.

Yo – can you feel me when I say, if these baby’s make their way to Boston, even at the conversion rate of 150,000 Euro, I’ll take one.  It could be the suitor for whom I’ve been waiting.

Bad Ass Boutique . Thompson . Nashville

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Thompson . Nashville – sorry Nash this is a five star hotel.

To be clear, I am generally speaking, a hotel lover.  I like watching people, imagining where they are from, what brought them to this place, and the delicious thought that others are toiling away – while you are not.  I love them so much, I spend a good deal of time in them, in the various neighborhoods in my own home town.  Lap top, mobile, note pad, it’s as good an office as any old place, and I find that the general buzz is a welcome and impressive noise.  So there you have it.  Hotels are my jam.

Tyler and Lauren stand under the lights . Design – Parts and Labor . NYC

But…Thompson Nashville is the jammiest of jams – high tea at the Ritz with crumpets and clotted cream without any of the formality that comes with a British accent.  The Southern twang is served up with a 40 ounce Rosé wrapped in a paper bag.  Don’t laugh, you’ll be pleading for more of this porch pounder before the last live song is sung for the evening.

The prettiest 40 I ever did see.

21st century lighting in mid-century costume.

It goes without saying that a place as hip as Nash, and Thompson would not disappoint with the design.  San Fransisco based Two Roads Hospitality, the owners of the Thompson Brand opened their newest, 12 Story, 224 room, boutique hotel (one of eight) on 20 October 2016, to rave reviews.  Located in the Gulch Neighborhood, named literally for the narrow, steep-sided ravine which marks the course of a fast stream, arcing through the city’s south side.  The Gulch was previously the site of a very active rail road yard, which brought the majority of the supplies to the city, but became defunct after WWII.

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The Marsh Restaurant at Thompson

Now for those that have been paying close attention to me, you know I love edgy design, and I swoon over lighting, and make all manner of bad decisions when this happens.  Darlin’ we’re all human.  When I tell you that Parts and Labor NYC based design firm combines the sweet and salty scrumptiousness that offers up a veritable explosion for your visual senses, I’m really not doing them justice.  Andrew Cohen and Jeremy Levitt offer up “bespoke, bare-knuckled and straight forward approach to high end design”.  I feel lightheaded.  Brass and glass, texture and layers, pops of color and sophistication, mixed with a little industrial to remind you of the origins of its geographic location.  The chug of the train receding into quiet.  It’s gritty and glamorous all at the same time.  This is Thompson.

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Cane Backed Bench inside a bookcase.  Considering my options.

I didn’t peak into the rooms, but understand the mini-bar dispenses vinal records.  So beyond cool I can’t stand it.  Apparently they provide maps that will guide you to neighboring record stores where you can really score.  Who doesn’t like an adventure.  Stop along the way at any of the restaurants or shops that have found their home inside the re-purposed industrial buildings that line the streets, or make your way back to Thompson’s Marsh House Restaurant, or to its roof top bar where the warm breeze blows, and views of the city are tipped in pink at sunset.

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Relaxing Rooftop

Y’all, I’m preparing to book my October visit.  Don’t wait, the hotel stock is so low in this booming city despite their hyper-track pursuit to bring rooms on line – the lines are outpacing supply.  The Thompson is a sip of perfect whisky in a city where you are the star in the song.  I so love being the star…..

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Rooftop Restaurant

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The final word . wood pendants, capped in silver, surrounded by Crystal … please!

HIGH POINT: design inspiration

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Nancy Price Interiors . Abby Price Art

Design is a high point in my day.  I’m inspired by beautiful settings.  It’s always a bit surprising to me when people aren’t.  And there are people that are NOT inspired by beautiful settings.  It’s as if they can’t see it at all.  They are foreigners to me.  I recently had to take a personality test.  It said I liked aesthetically pleasing work environments.  This doesn’t shock any that knows me.  Though if you were to take a gander at the state that my office is often in, you might wonder.  A story for another time.

High Point, South Carolina is a place I’ve never been and were it not for the International Interiors Market that takes place there twice annually, I probably would never have known of it’s existence.  More than 100 countries are represented, more than 75,000 people attend to peruse 1.5M Square feet of show space.  I get dizzy just thinking about it.    It occurred to me that it could be this cold that seems to have lasted 3 months, and has a tenacity that is getting the better of me.   Silly right?  It’s definitely the idea of having access to so many amazing designers, products and furnishings all in one place.  I’d just load up on cough medicine and Red Bull, and be on my way.

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Made Good . Area Chair

Though I wasn’t able to attend, and I am currently on a buying hiatus – also a story for another time.  I have been watching Instagram blow up with jaw dropping photos of all the new finds, and lines that the showcase had to offer.

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Maggie Cruz Home . maggiecruzdesign.com Habanera Console and Cleo Stool

I feel a pang that has nothing to do with the cold, and everything to do with jealousy.  I’m consoling myself with the reality that so many of the offerings are never going to be in my budget, and that’s ok.  They can still provide inspiration, and that is just what they have done.  I hope that you feel the same way.

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SHO Modern Verge Pendant Shomodern.com

Take a look.  Next showcase is in October in the event High Point is destined to become….well the “high point” of your Fall.

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Woodson & Rummerfield . wonderdesign.com

Robshaw: Revival of the fittest

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Step back in time…were it not for the sneakers.  Robshaw in India from his website.

John Robshaw strikes me as an old soul with an adventurous heart, and an appropriately reverent appreciation for the commingling of history, and artisanal craft.  It’s a mouthful, but I suspect, though I have not met Mr. Robshaw, that his waters run deep. Therefore, they are worthy of the words. One little post from a gal on a modest quest like me, cannot possibly do this man justice.  I can however attempt to share with you all, some of elegance of what he creates. From the dusty roads of Rujistan to NYC’s Bowery, Robshaw has pioneered a revival.

 

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The Bowery . in a time gone by.

From fine artist to artisan, from the studios and classrooms of Pratt, to the dirt floors, and open air markets of India, where the ancient and traditional techniques of hand blocked fabrics, found an eager student in John.  He has made a living, in living his passion.

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Aerial Light Indigo

I can only imagine he has a heart born for exploration, an inquisitive nature which led him to ask how, and why this ancient tradition was carried out in this fashion.  Crouched in small covered shacks, carving wooden blocks, which will later form the pattern.  Robshaw heralds the imperfections of the design, as a sacred sign of authenticity.  He imbues a sense of awe, infuses his own stylistic technique for overlapping pattern, and natural variation in color, that is the result of something made with adept skill and pride, rather than the cold, formulaic drone of mass production.

 

Left:  Robshaw: Aleppo Light Indigo. Right:  Malik

Robshaw is a fine artist indeed.  His Bowery based shop is gritty, and full of curiosities.  It doesn’t feel at all far from the farmland that its Dutch name indicates was its origin.  Before all all the shops, and bars and restaurants sprung up, before its neighbors in Chinatown called themselves by that name, and long before the Lower East Side was hip and called The LES, and before it was inhabited by writers, and Wall Street Brokers, Hasidic Jews and bejeweled starlets…it was just farmland.  Like a seed planted in that rich soil, Robshaw sprung up, flourished, and spread from East to West and back again.

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Robshaw . Murmur Kashmir

While many of the patterns feel Bohemian, I envision them in The Manse’s – Cape Cod Coastal setting.  The watery blue hues, the organic leafy patterns, vines and blossoms, feel right amidst the sand and seagrass.  Crisp, not rumpled.  Roman, not flowing reams of fabric for windows, upholstered stools and benches, not soft hassocks and floppy pillows.  Whatever your preference, Robshaw’s refined designs are both unique and familiar.

Left:  Robshaw . Citadel Lotus.  Right:  Robshaw . Faris Silver.

Sold to the Trade, and not here in Boston, you must email:  fabric@johnrobshaw.com.  Pillows and sheets can be bought at ABC Carpet in NYC.  I often find pillows at Hudson in Boston’s South End, and Target http://www.target.com/p/john-robshaw-bedding-collection/-/A-50746566 has an amazingly vibrant and playful line of bedding designed him.  Something to suit all budgets this Saturday.

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John Robshaw . Kalmala

Pillow Pile Up

Not everyone can be expected to buy a new house every time you want to change up your decor like I do.  I understand entirely.  Trust me when I tell you…you need not be jealous.  As I write this I sit in a state of what could only be referred to as … total disaster.  Stacks of broken down boxes block the front door.

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Erin Gates for Wayfair . Starburst $38.

I wish they were the only boxes lying in wait.  There are half opened boxes, their contents awaiting their final home on the wall or cabinet or wherever they are intended to go.  Sadly, some haven’t even been opened yet, so I’m not sure what’s in them.  I’ll find out, but it’s going to take more time than this weekend allots to me.

Pillows provide an answer for the sane home owner looking to breath a little fresh air into their design, without upending the living room, and blocking the television from the view of avid March Madness watchers.  Much safer, and in my opinion, more fun than preparing to paint.  I love the way a new coat of paint can transform a space, but it’s not as easy as some of the DIY shows, or sites claim.  A good paint job is 90% preparation, cleaning, and filling, and protecting, and taping.  You get the drill, when you actually arrive at the painting part most folks have had it, and rush through to completion, splattering paint on sills and radiators, and leaving unseemly drips on the wall.  That simply won’t do.

Erin Gates for Wayfair:  Left Greek Key – $48.  Right:  Palm Print Knife Edge $30.

Pillows are the answer.  Many designers create lines for the spring and fall.  Darker hues, seasonal references to nature, and heavier fabrics are common for winter.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a Santa or Snowman pillow in the mix, but as I have no children, you won’t find them in my house, no matter the season.  No judgement if you choose to accent a chair, sofa, or bed with one.  I think it’s important to celebrate the child in all of us.

Left:  Arianna Belle Blush Pink Velvet with light gold piping $142.  Left:  Etsy . Schumacher Lotus Garden Lilac $75.oo

The spring pillow punt got me kicking into gear to see what some of my favorite designers had been up to during the cold winter months.  Erin Gates has created a new line for Wayfair, that is worthy of a look, and in my case, action.  Her love of animal prints is expressed in a spring Zebra pattern.  She remains true to her traditional Greek Key standard with a lovely array of pastel, and kicky coral shades in two styles.  I think my favorite of the bunch is the Starburst.  It reminds me of a Dandelion gone to seed.  Whimsical and pretty.

Left:  Arianna Belle . Pale Pink Linen with Greek Key $178.  Right:  Etsy . Color Style . Kelley Wearstler . Bengal Bazzar $75.00

I love wild tropical flowers, and chinoiserie.  I like birds, and bold pops of color that draw the eye and surprise.  Not too many.  I like my home to be calming, but every room must have some element that is a bit unexpected.  Etsy is a great place to shop affordable pillows.  Arianna Belle at arriannabelle.com has a beautiful selection, some are a little on the pricey side but worth it in my opinion.

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Arianna Belle . Lotus Garden Parchment $104.

I’m ready to spring to action.  Are you?

La . La . Laduree: ain’t we livin’ the dream

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Geometry . Beautiful

Every once and again I come across a restaurant or a retail store that I want to move right into.  I think to myself, who needs a kitchen (in the case of a clothing store), or who needs a closet?  Well, I absolutely need a closet, but I could pull in beautiful lucite racks made by the caring and talented hands of the Brooklyn Gals at Lux Holdups.  Those would work.  Those would most definitely work.  There’s a timelessness to lucite that makes the installation glide seamlessly into any era. Masculine or feminine – ca march – it works.

I first visited Laduree in Paris on the Rue Royale when I was just 19 years old.  Now they have locations is fab cities everywhere.  Their pale green bags and boxes, accented with gold, won me over before the first French Macaroon, in all its pastel, delicate elegance melted on my tongue.  They are like rose petals in every hue, and my love of color has me mesmerized by the silver dollar sized delights.  It doesn’t stop there though. The stores design is perfection, as my friend Samantha House would say.  Pastel perfection with a geometric twist.  I love screens, and diamonds, and circles, and squares.  It provides a viewfinder to something beyond.  Draws your attention to a scene, or color or space, that you might otherwise not notice.

 

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Green and gold, black and white …it’s all stunning.

Laduree is a garden party, it is a fairy tale, it is a fantasy.  Life can be well…exhausting.  Laduree, and spaces like it, are replenishing.  Your shoulders drop, your lungs fill with oxygen, your synapses start firing.  I tingle, just a little bit, and not in a way that I think I am having a stroke, and need to google WedMD to see if I am dying.  In the good way, like I am a child again, and possibility, creativity, and imagination reign free – in a place before the adults told you otherwise.  That’s Laduree.  It’s Alice in Wonderland without the creepy animal heads at the tea party.

Ladurée Celebrates Its New Beverly Hills Boutique With Jimmy Choo

Peachy Pink Perfection and Lattice Delight.

The ice cream parlor green, peachy pink, the black and white diamond floors, and daisy accented walls, the layers of lattice, and pastel pallet of paints is precisely what I long to reference when I design No. 5.  Finding a millwork specialist that is willing to do something out of the ordinary – and not charge me an arm and a leg, will be the challenge. I’ll find them.  This week, after being turned down three times by Electrical Contractors too busy to help, I pulled a guy off the street to do the work.  I literally saw them out the window, dragged them into my unit, and begged them to finish the job that my contractor  could not finish himself.  Thank you Giroux Electrical Contractors.  girouxelectric.com.  You were my Knight in shining armor.

Getting close friends.  Really close to finished now.  No. 5 doesn’t seem so far away.  Happy Saturday.

You know how to whistle don’t you?  Just put your lips together and blow.  Whistle worthy desserts.