Coup de Foudre: Paris awaits

Even though this French expression suggests the sudden striking of emotion – a thunderbolt of love – I struck anew by its power, every time I visit Paris.  Wednesday I get to sneak away in the night and awake in the warm embrace of the City of Lights.

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Marche aux Puce . Paris

It’s been three years since my last visit.  I’ve been warned by my friends and family NOT to visit Marche aux Puce again.  For those of you that have just started following, this is the flee market at which I purchased the infamous Italian, Mid-Century-Modern, Chandelier.  There were a number of indignities associated with this purchase, not the least of which was the fact that the vendor sent me a chandelier – but not the chandelier that I bought when I was at the market.  It was close, but a little worse for the wear.  I paid a fortune to have it rewired, have my ceiling reinforced, and hung, not once, but three times.  A story for another day.

Paris 1st

I submit here in advance my apologies to all – I will be going to Marche aux, and I make no promises that I won’t return with another monumental light fixture.  What fun would a trip to Paris be without the dream of a magical find at the market?  A trip that I wouldn’t be interested in taking – that’s the kind.

Paris 1

Frank Gehry designed Foundation Louis Vuitton

I’ll be staying in the 1st – which I haven’t stayed in before.  I’ve stayed in the 3rd, the 6th, 7th and 8th.  I love La Belle Juliette in the 8th Arrondissement, on Rue Cherche Midi, but I like to try new things, and the hot, hip boutique style hotels that have been popping up in the 1st caught my attention.  Hotel Therese is where I will be for my super fast 3 day trip.

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1948 Couture Dior . need I say more?

Here’s what I plan to do because its what I love almost more than anything else…eat, drink, and shop – for clothing and furnishing, fixtures, and materials.  Les Arts Decoratifs has an exhibit, that for me, is a must see.  The House of Dior opened its doors 70 years ago – that’s 1947, I know because my company, Elaine Construction is also celebrating its 70th anniversary.  How cool is that.  Over 300 couture dresses are on display, so it goes without saying – I have purchased the tickets to this exhibit already.

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Grand Coeur . 41 Rue du Temple . Paris

Foundation Louis Vuitton, designed by Frank Gehry is an architectural wonder.  It has been on my list, and this trip I will get to see it in person.  The texture and the light, pattern, and materials are amazing sources of inspiration and awe for me.  I can’t wait to see this building, and by the way, I hear the exhibits aren’t bad either.

I can’t wait to tell you all about it.  Happy Saturday.

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.

HP Made Goods Arla

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

It’s Clearly Love: Lux Lucite

It seems like plastic and luxury couldn’t possibly be synonymous, but I can assure you there is something so gorgeous about well done lucite.  I’ve written before about the “clear” advantages – pun intended, of using lucite in small apartment spaces.  It creates an expansiveness.  To be able to see through a chair or table to the other side of a room, which in reality is just a few short feet away, without question makes one’s nest feel a little grander.

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LuxHoldups . Etsy . Swoon Worthy

When well executed it looks like cut Crystal, which always makes me think of diamonds, and fresh cut roses, and tall, dark, and handsome men that adore me.  All very Hollywood 50’s glamour.  So with that stage set, it should come as no surprise that I have my heart set on lucite rods for my new bedroom.

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LuxHoldups . Etsy . Retail Display . I’m sold!

Lucite done elegantly, which means, not by the likes of me in some ill conceived DIY project, know it’s not cheap.  If any of you have those skills out there, please do reply to this post.  Have I got a project for you.  If not, I am treading in dangerously expensive waters, because it’s not just two rods that I want for my fantastically beautiful Galbraith & Paul . Lotus . Dove Grey fabric, but it’s the entire retail set-up, racks, and shelves, and rods, and the whole ridiculously glittery, tres, tres cher, mess for the interior of my very french, but entirely devoid of an interior, closet.

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LuxHoldups . Shelving.

This dusty gal is closet obsessed.  Not only do I love building them into the units I renovate, I consider it an investment.  I don’t want to just shove my Jimmy Choos into some dusty corner in the back of the closet.  How undignified.  They need their own special shelf.  I can just imagine how beloved they will feel on their own little lucite platform.  My friends are always inquiring about my belongings and where they all are?  In storage?  Tucked under the bed?  At a friends larger home?  No I reply, this is all of them.  I don’t own a lot, but I do own beautiful things.  It feels right that they should be displayed with ceremony.  Don’t you agree?

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LuxHoldups . Etsy . Door Pulls.

Mad Dash on Moving Day

Never enough time in a day, and often too much time to make decisions that would better be made in a few minutes.  I say this having no evidence whatsoever that my agonizing and indecision, my procrastination, and hemming, have resulted in any better a decision making process than those made on a spur of the moment.  Those spontaneous decisions don’t carry the weight of uncertainty, or result in costly scheduling delays.  How could they.  You simply make them.  What a novel concept.

Well it looks like I am at that point, like it or not where I will be making many a decision which are the result of months of delays, and which I could pretend to myself were made in an organic and spontaneous fashion.  If for no other reason than to make myself feel better.  This late Sunday, the decisions are exhausting.

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decisions . decisions.

I will leave the comfort of my sister’s home, and head to my new home.  I will paint the freshly painted walls with a host of new sample colors and when I awake in the wee hours of the morning, I will make a bleary eyed decision on the new living room wall color.  I simply cannot live with Alpine White, which screams yellow to me.  To name it white seems like false advertising.  Come on Ben Moore.  I thought you were on my side.

Left:  Benjamin Moore’s Calm – Right:  Benjamin Moore Vintage Taupe

I’ll shuffle down the hallway to see if I can locate a box marked bedroom, and dress my beloved bed.  We’ve only been separated a short while this time, but I miss it nonetheless. If I can’t locate it, or muster the energy to dig it out, or climb to the top of the stack and bring it down, I’ll just crawl on top of that unmade bed and close my eyes.

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Benjamin Moore . Cloudy Gray

Tomorrow is another day.

Hope you close out January strong.

If I’m Not Mistaken: The power of failure.

Friday I was having a conversation with my boss Lisa Wexler about failure.  She was recounting a story about the founder of Spanx – Sara Blakely and her family dinners.  “What did you fail at today”?  Was the question her Father posed each night at mealtime.  Hum, “what did you fail at”?  It got me thinking about all the scientists we build laboratories for, these amazing folks that are hard at work solving the world’s problems.  Scientists live in failure, they turn their faces up to it like one might tilt one’s head to feel the warmth of the sun on a cold winter’s day.  Each failure a learning moment, inching them toward a success.

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My year in review.

“A life making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing”.  George Bernard Shaw

I spent my morning at the site thinking about all the mistakes I have made on this project alone.  From paint colors to sequencing, mathematical miscalculations to the naive faith in a plan well laid.  I no longer have a Master Plan, but to steal the wise words of my good friend Pam Delphenich – I have a Framework Plan.  It’s so much more forgiving.  Life throws curve balls, and really it’s the master, not me.

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Trying something new and old all at the same time.

“Even the knowledge of my fallibility cannot keep me from making mistakes.  Only when I fall do I get up again.”  Vincent Van Gogh

My journey is a long one.  I am not yet halfway through my quest.  There are bound to be mistakes along the way.  Public failures, private trials, disasters side by side with minor mishaps.  I will be afraid.  I will doubt.  I will keep moving, I think, with a smile on my face, both literally, and metaphorically.

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Year in review too and 2, celebrating 4.

“If you have the guts to keep making mistakes, your wisdom and intelligence leap forward with huge momentum.”  Holly Near

My promise and advise to anyone that strives to make an imprint, is learn from the mistakes of others, and be ready to receive the insights of those that you make.  The possibilities, and potential are dizzying.

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Tape is always a good idea, but regrettably the real insights come after the walls go up, and then must come down.  Embrace it.

“I hope that this year to come you make mistakes.  Because if you are making mistakes, you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world.  You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.”  Neil Gaiman

Stay curious.  I hope 2017 brings you a whole lot of living.  Thank you for all your support.  Whether I am just scraping my knees or getting my heart-broken, in the infamous words of The Beatles….”I get by with a little help from friends.”

Back to Inspiration: finding answers

It’s not uncommon for me to feel befuddled by the byproduct of my own design. To feel my own inadequacy when seeking out an elegant solution to what I consider the central component of inspiring spaces.

hollywood-gown-3Balance.  Color. Detail. Craftsmanship. Clever resolution to that which is quite common – spaces and situations that simply won’t fit nicely into a formulaic solution.

What is inspiration anyway.  Derived from the Latin – as so much of our language is – the root “spirare” means to breath.  To breath is exactly what I stop doing when I am frustrated, anxious… in need of answers.  I hold my breath.  Stop that!  Inspiration, to me, is airy and ephemeral, shades of aquatic blue dotted with points of light.  It’s geometry and mathematical solutions that artfully address chaos – bringing order.

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Audrey Hepburn in Givenchy . pale, icy blue, white and gold, and look at those ribbons in pink and blue gray…swoon.

hollywood-gown-2Great design packs so much into such a little word.  It is engineering, it is art, it is math.  It’s renaissance era genius shimmying in those unassuming letters.  Don’t be fooled.  Great design is the confluence of many talents.  Even those that are considered top of class like Lin Manuel Miranda, Nader Tehrani, Mies, Aldo, Chanel, Bernini, DaVinci, surely they drew inspiration from others, as everyone must, from nature, the true genius at the heart of it all.

Left:  Iris Van Herpen.  Look at those folds, she’s like a butterfly or a ballerina….beautiful.

So, today as I shuffle through the snow, wade through the sawdust, avert the spiked nails that dot the floor, awaiting new finish boards.  I will tape, swing, shift, and bend that master bedroom to my will.  In the end, I WILL get the closets I need because fashion has always inspired me, and I refuse to allow it to be stowed away in some undignified manner.

Carolina Herrera – left:  vintage inspired, right:  recent couture collection. I could rule the world in either of those confections.

Alexander Vidal…speechless.

As Robert Frost so eloquently wrote in his poem – Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

…”The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

and miles to go before I sleep,

and miles to go before I sleep.”