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.

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.

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.

Shine on You Crazy Diamond: star worthy finishes

Screen Shot 2018-10-21 at 3.18.24 PM

Lime Wash . Skipping Stone.  Gives that traditional, relaxed feel.

For the love of the craft.  Jamie and Casey Davis –  brothers, and founders of Portola Paints and Glazes have an eye for architecture and for color.  I think it’s cool that their Dad was a high-end builder, their appreciation for craftsmanship and artistry growing from this exposure.  Each taking it in their own direction – one as a fine artist, the other a photographer, before coming together to start Portola.  Even the name is cool, but I would expect nothing less from a company based in Cali.

Screen Shot 2018-10-21 at 11.01.04 AM

They are so right.  Bedroom, Powder Room, Front Entry – if London’s Sketch can do it – I can too.

Undoubtably these California roots fed their knowledge and respect for sustainability.  Their paints, glazes, clays and washes are almost entirely green.  All the acrylics are zero VOC’s though their enamels do contain low levels,  out of necessity – shhh.

Screen Shot 2018-10-21 at 3.22.23 PM

Roman Clay Finish – the combo of dull and shiny is sexy.

They make them here in the good old USA, they hand mix them (quality control at its finest)  and even hand paint the sample decks before mailing them out to you.  From smooth to textured, pearlescent to trowel finished, they marry old world tradition with sustainable tech and innovation.  Paints that take on the appearance of patinated copper and aged iron, to the weathered lime washed wonder of the Mediterranean.

Screen Shot 2018-10-21 at 3.29.39 PM

Note that slightly textured finish – Sandstone…who knew.

They offer up the look of Venetian plaster in the form of their Roman Clay – though buyer be ware – this is trowel or putty knife applied, so the skill of the craftsman WILL make a difference.  The last thing you want is to pay a lot of loot and have it look like porridge.  Oy vey.  This is for a property yet to be known to me, but it remains a happy visitor in my rich fantasy life where at the end of all this flipping I’ve become flush with cash and fame (not likely) and have the money to buy a home the size of at least three of my tiny flips put together.  That Roman Clay will adorn the walls of the entry, and be the wow I’ve been waiting for.

Screen Shot 2018-10-21 at 3.37.42 PM

Lime Washed Moodiness.

Until then, I am intrigued, though admittedly a little nervous about their semi-gloss and sandstone finish paints.  These have a slightly textured surface.  They show the brushstrokes and give the impression of a silk fabric – albeit a slight one.  It interests me still, particularly when I consider how it might look side-by-side with a high gloss.  They carry a hybrid enamel, which I envision on a ceiling, the moldings, base and/or door, and juxtaposed against this slightly textured sandstone wall.  Too much shine, too many hard surfaces, too much perfection is simply uninteresting.  Appreciation grows when juxtaposed.  I’m so clever with my rhyming today, don’t you think?

Screen Shot 2018-10-21 at 3.39.22 PM

HAND Painted.

Two final things that will have me stepping out on my boyfriend Ben (Moore that is, and not my real boyfriend) support and pride in, and for the small business owner, they really do make our world go round, and the luscious names they have assigned to their pretty little palette….El Mirage, Fountain Stone, Blue Moon, Sweet Water, Gypsy Eyes, Sayulita (a place that I’ve been and loved), Magic Potion, Show time and Simmer Down.

Screen Shot 2018-10-21 at 3.45.58 PM.png

These guys….hero’s of tradition.

I could just drown in those lovely names.  Happy Sunday.

West Elm Goes Gami

Origami that is.  West Elm is a company that I admire on so many levels.  As a lover of Mid-century Modern furnishings, West Elm’s clean lines and sixties aesthetic appeal.  So too does the price point, the on trend colors and their in-house designers that work to put it altogether for you, if you need a nod indicating you’re doing it right – or a whole hand in crafting your next home look.

ori-west-elm

Ori on display at West Elm’s Fenway location. 160 Brookline Ave. Boston.

There business model, appears to this outsider, to be pretty pliable.  Not something I necessarily associate with a big corporation. They team.  Teaming is good for business.  It puts the community back into the places these stores are located, and small businesses are very important to our economy, not to mention fighting the good fight against homogeneity.  It feels pretty special when you walk into the store, meet with local Etsy purveyors, select a painting from an artist to go above the sofa you saved your hard earned doe to get, so you could stop watching tv on the floor atop a pillow.  Add to that a signed copy of Erin Gates book, Elements of Style, and you not only have a story to tell friends when you entertain, you’ve personalized it.  That’s the magic of West Elm.

OK2A9393+2.jpg

Ori Interface.

Don’t worry, they seem to produce that dust out back somewhere because they have done it again, albeit, in a very different way.  This collaboration will be short lived like their Esty pop-ups, so you’ll want to forgo one or two of your fav fall activities to visit the Fenway West Elm store, because Ori – short of Origami – Robotic Furniture has arrived, for a limited time (October 30 . 2018) in store.  160 Brookline Avenue . Boston.

Ori

A whole existence in a box.

I’ve written about this MIT Media Lab launched company before – wow that’s a lot of alliteration.  Their tag line:  “One room . One Hundred Ways” is pretty brilliant, but the fact that you can transform your living room into a bedroom, your bedroom into a study, your study into a walk-in closet, by hollering at Amazon’s Alexa, or if you’re old school, by pushing a button, is AMAZING.

Ori WE

At West Elm . Fenway . Try it for yourself.

Originally only for sale to developers, this limited time offering allows the public – that’s you and me – to get our hands on one.  The price point is a bit higher than the developer deal, but in fairness, they are buying in bulk.  Full size option at $15,500., Queen at $16,000. Not exactly walking around change, but if you haven’t been tracking, waiting, saving, and hoping (harassing the people at Ori to let you buy one) then you can rent one for $300. a month.  Now isn’t that convenient?  Designed to snuggle into a 300 – 600SF space, CEO Hasier Larrea (and team) have created something truly brilliant.

BS 4

345 Harrison . Ori would snuggle in there nicely.

Always willing to try something new, I am considering making my way on down to West Elm and ordering one up to be delivered, right under the gun, to 345 Harrison Ave.  a place I am considering for my next home.

Savers Regret: Not getting something you really want

It’s the opposite of “buyers remorse”.  Granted I don’t experience that emotion often, but in this particular case, the act of restraint I exhibited has haunted me for years.  Ok, it’s not like I think of it every day or anything, but periodically something will fire a synapse and the next thing I know, I’m at Cynthia Driscoll on Charles Street, turning my back, to what can only be described as pure genius.

KD 1

Kathy Dalwood Sculptures are genius!

It’s true that I was probably without the means to purchase this beautiful sculpture, but when has that ever stopped me in the past?  It was the holiday season, and while I rarely get to Beacon Hill, it’s just outside of my circuit.  I make a point every year of visiting during the month of December because it is so quaint, the decorations are beautiful, and it gets me in the spirit.  That and the fact that there is one very intriguing (to me) home decor shop on the main drag.  Oh there are many if you are looking for them, but this one – Cynthia Driscoll – also an interior designer – always seems to have the most interesting objects des arts.

KD Olypic Busts

Designed for the Olympics in 2012

One of her featured artists all those years ago – perhaps 7 now, was an artist out of London named Kathy Dalwood.  A sculptor that uses real objects as the base for her pieces caught my attention, because she is so clever.  The piece that I liked the most was entitled Gold Digger and featured a proper looking English Gal with a dramatic hat upon her head.  A closer inspection revealed that the hat was actually a back end loader.  A truck to you – a rather large one.  It put a smile on my face immediately.  I am in construction after all, and I am digging for gold through the sawdust, as we all are in our own ways.  How utterly perfect is that I ask you?

KD Gold digger

Gold Digger – Perfection.

As perfect as it may have been, I did not seize the opportunity, and when I went back to buy it, it was gone.  Not only that, but Cynthia told me there would be no more as these fragile and special objects kept arriving broken.  Quelle domage!

Why I thought of it again the other day, I have no idea – my brain is a strange and mysterious place.  One could get lost in there if they aren’t careful.  So I did exactly what an obsessed girl might do, I started googling with the tiny bits of information I remembered and voila.  There she was – on the web all along, and guess what….I can custom order a piece.  Happy Saturday.