Naming Your Style: Henderson writes the rules

em4The last few years I’ve been asked by many friends and acquaintances to name my style. Is it curiosity?  Is it a desire to determine their own style, figure out if they want me to help them with an upcoming project?  To be honest I hadn’t given it much thought.  When I first started this project of mine, I would have simply said my style was “French”. Later I might have clarified that it was Parisian French – not countryside.  After I completed No. 2 I had to admit that I had been bitten by the Mid-Century Modern bug, and began thinking of my style as Modern Glamour for it’s harmonious coupling of modern and mid-century furnishings, fresh takes on traditional prints with age old techniques and plenty of gold, silver, and chrome, from leaf to brackets, baubles and knobs, fancy frames and chandeliers, decorating with metals does indeed bring a little glamour to a space.

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Moder Glam

I can’t exactly remember how I came to know who Emily Henderson is in the first place.  Perhaps Instagram where I am introduced to so many amazing people and products it’s revolutionized my curatorial expeditions.  There in my feed, my world and my eyes – open wide.  It calms me when I am anxious and excites me when I am in need of inspiration.  So I may have found Em here or I might have spied her in a Target commercial, it matters not.  I think her style falls somewhere no the spectrum of Boho Vintage. Not mine at all, and yet I am attracted to all that she does, and after reading her book Styled:  Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves, I think I know why.

Creating Visual Interest.

Emily began her career as a prop stylist for residential photo shoots.  Looking to add the details, mini vignettes and touches that would create visual interest, and tell a story to the readers.  So while she doesn’t consider herself a decorator per se, she certainly brings a space to life.

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Rule of 3’s.

 

The book is very well written, funny, and real – making you feel as if you’d be fast friends with her if she didn’t live all the way across the country.  I love that she challenges you to NAME your style, first by taking a quiz and then by finding adjectives or words that appropriately evoke an image of that style.  I took the quiz just in case I had been getting my own style wrong all this time, but I nailed it.  I love getting A’s.  at 95 points I am considered:  Modern Glam.  While Mid-Century Modern isn’t considered complimentary on her style wheel – Zen is, I think the clean lines work well with the detailed style for which I associate most powerfully.  I think I’ll call it:  Marie Antoinette Goes to Hollywood.

The Holidays in Full Bloom

I love the holidays – the Martha Steward style holidays that is.  I like it to be pretty, and for all of my projects to turn out like her’s.  I think it goes without saying that – that never happens.  I have a track record that resembles more or less a miss, a miss, a miss and a couple of hits.  I try not to beat myself up over all the misses, and to celebrate the hits.

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Shawna Havenga of The Wild Dahlia demonstrating the intricacies of an arrangement.

Earlier in the week I attended a really fun event…DI-Wine where we were instructed on how to make a holiday centerpiece.  Shawna Havenga of The Wild Dahlia gave us some really smart tips on how to create something beautiful and organic looking.  Start with greenery, we used lemon leaves, fern, and eucalyptus.  Frame out the highest and widest points within your vase or base.  We used a floral foam to ensure the flowers and greenery would stay exactly where we intended them to be.  These two tips really set the stage. Shawna also recommended stripping the stem of the flowers and ferns to decorate the base and cover the foam – any additional bald spots can be covered in moss.  Perhaps my favorite new insight is to loosen the petals to open the roses, giving it a really natural, pretty look.

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Sylvie and Tiffany celebrating the season with me.

I am very proud of the arrangement I was able to make, though it is a little more structured than Shawna might approve of, and one of the benefits of having an unstructured arrangement is undoubtably the cost – a little less expensive than the arrangement I created.

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My creation.

This got me thinking what fun it would be to have party posies that I could bring as hostess gifts.  Flowers are always welcome, those that come in their own little vase, jelly jar, or tin, are an instant hit.  They require a little planning, you aren’t going to pull them out of a drawer and tie a ribbon around it and go, but its for this reason, that they will be appreciated that much more.

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A perfect posey in a little vase be the bell of the ball!

Happy Holidays.

A Room for all Seasons

 

Spring….

I love changing up the design and furnishings in my home, wantonly following the color trends of the season, or the Pantone Color of the year.  I thought to myself today, what will happen to me when I no longer just go out and buy a new house so I can decorate again?  Gasp, will I have to choose a single design that I live with for the rest of my life?

Summer….

That’s just unimaginable.  I don’t want to sound spoiled, so I think I need to remind everyone that I’ve moved about a million times in the last three years so I could continue to design and decorate.  It’s not really that ideal.  Wasn’t it Dorothy Parker who said, “I started this career because I loved doing houses.  I had done three of my own, and I couldn’t keep on moving my family all the time, so I started decorating other people’s homes and buildings.”

Fall….

I do foresee a future when I no longer have the inclination to move every 8 – 12 months.  While that doesn’t feel at all like me, I think it will in fact be me….somewhere down the road.  I’ve only owned this place 351 days.  That’s right – tomorrow marks my 1 year anniversary here.  Yet, I am restless, even as a few nudgy items left unfinished, I feel ready to move on.

Winter…

Still, I am staying for a least one more full year.  A virtual eternity for me.  So I’ll stage for the show, in a season that seems most fitting for No. 4, but in order to appease my desire to flee I am working a seasonal change-up.  I wondered to myself if it was possible, through flowers and pillows, and maybe an accessory here and there to give a living room a facelift – a make-over – a touch of the daring and or whimsy.  Please do let me know if you think I succeeded, or if you have ideas of your own on how I can remain happy in a marriage to this place that has to last me for another whole year.

 

 

 

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.