Or is there? I am pretty messy when it comes to work, which is interesting because my home is pretty neat. Sure it can get out of order from time to time, but the closets show my shoes in militant rows, and my drawers would make Marie Kondo proud, with their perfectly folded unmentionables, snuggled in tight lines, front to back. This working from home thing is for the birds, and even a bird keeps a neater nest than me at the moment.
My dining table has been commandeered for the serious business of business. It’s not working for me, not that it did much work as a dining table. It’s there more as a suggestion of where some lovely couple might dine when they buy the place from me in the future. It’s covered in a rough grass cloth, which is not at all conducive to writing. My laptop is propped up on books to get it close to eye level, and my sit to stand would make the ergonomic specialists balk, or at the very least, attempt to sell me a home set-up that works.
I do have a desk at my house, but it sits at the bottom of the staircase and hasn’t been calling my name. It’s stacked with inspiration boards, posters awaiting framing, and a series of materials for odd jobs yet to be completed. If this Covid sitch goes on much longer, I am going to have to turn it into a proper desk and allow the dining table to serve it’s intended purpose. Who knew I’d end up using this kitchen more than the last 4 flips combined.
I haven’t wanted to be inspired by other WFH aficianados, but it snuck up on me. Some people have made the most lovely nooks, and cooked up plans to repurpose found objects in their home to maximum effect. It’s not The Wing, but it’ll do.
It sounds so British, and yet it was founded by two women (if you are paying attention this little formula produces major results – think Soul Cycle, Glossier, The Wing, Chief and many more – they are all founded by female duos), are California girls. I hope Alison Pincus and Susan Feldman will forgive me for calling them girls. I mean it in the best youthful, have sass, and sparkle, and bright ideas mixed with ambition, kind of way. They’ve got chutzpah, and that chutzpah got them to start OKL in 2008 when all the world seemed to be falling apart. There flash sale model morphed, and morphed again, before it was sold to Bed Bath & Beyond – clearly making them look good, and I mean really good, for their ability to make smart decisions.
The purchase of my very first home, coincided with their launch, and I lovely perused page after page of flash site offerings for inspiration. I have to admit that it wasn’t until much later that I purchased anything – I was broke. I had rubbed my two nickles together to make a dime, and hands opening in offering, asked if it was enough for the down payment. I think I can be forgiven, having just gotten into the game.
Now a gamer of sorts, I have traveled to NYC for their first in-house design advice session in their SOHO location on Houston – since relo’d and I got there just in time because they were selling everything in their “see it and touch it” studio, to avoid the hassle of having to move it. I left with an antique desk, two enormous Schumacher pillows, two gorgeous kelly green gourd lamps, and I am sure a few other items I couldn’t live without for No. 3.
Last fall I visited their first real bricks and mortar store – also in SOHO, and walked away with a petite vintage Turkish Oushauk in sage green, gray and lavender – for a steal! It’s in the kitchen of No. 5.
And now – drum roll, they have landed in Boston’s Seaport. One opening party, and a visit with my sister and I have already purchased a number of things that I didn’t need at all, and when I am supposed to be saving. I mean no disrespect to this venerable design store, with its sublime styling style, and its cosmic curation, but I have got to retire some day!
I did just learn that they’ll be launching Hunter’s Alley soon. A little marketplace that I can sell to others like me, that just maybe bought one too many things they didn’t really need, and are looking to free up some space and recapture some cash. I hope it launches soon, it feels like I’m becoming a hoarder and I really have no patience or desire to tunnel my way through my tiny little home.
Future, fate, fortune, doom, that hidden power that floats in the ether controlling your every move, your every breath – those ragged and smooth, gasping or shallow – leaving you a little light headed, does it really exist, or can you gently nudge it in one direction or another?
On the one hand it feels rather reassuring to think that it all doesn’t matter. The worrying, and the striving, the toiling and the task making – if it’s all going to happen as the universe wills it – why not relax? Blessedly I have two hands, and the other one isn’t taking any chances. Just in case, and for all the what ifs – I am in the game, and believe that fortune is made by those that grab it by the pig tails and squeal, and snuffle, get into the mud and sling it out – oink and boink, and decide. That’s right, just decide to put yourself in the path of other like minded survivors – thrivers – the really alivers. Ok, those are really words, but you get the point. It’s for the bold, even if your bold delivered in the form of a new word.
Today though, I prefer to focus on the word “Chief”. Derived from the Latin – where else – it references the highest, most important rank. It denotes power and prominence. For me, I’ve never wanted to be the number one, number one. I’m happy being the number one, number two – not because I don’t have my own ideas, and thoughts about what success looks like, but rather because I blossom in an environment of collaboration, and idea sharing, where together we can share in something that could not have been created as a solo effort. Chief, I bet is a lonely place to be at times.
I am nonetheless, fascinated by the most recent declaration of female power in the form of a Women’s Club that will soon be arriving on the shores of Boston. Unlike The Wing – Chief is not a co-working space, it’s a club, a club with a very specific purpose, to put high ranking women in the path of like power brokers. It’s a place to convene and share, trade secrets – not of their companies variety, but rather of the people, and places, and resources that got them to where they are today, and hopefully through this magical sourcing and resourcing, will propel them to an entirely new elevation in the future.
Founded by, what I can only refer to as two young gals, now that I am sadly struggling with my middle age title. I sometimes reflect on a Harvard Medical School talk I attended where the speaker indicated if we could hang on for another 50 years, he could give us another 100. It happily blew my mind. I plan to live another 50, so it most definitely slides me into the lower quadrant of my existence, and just like that – brilliantly – I have a world of possibility ahead. I digress, which I am wont to do. Carolyn Childers and Lindsay Kaplan, formerly of Handy and Casper respectively, were at the VP level of their organizations, and thought to themselves – where’s the support network. How can I break through?
Chief is their answer and I have to tell you, it just might be worth striving for the top spot to gain access to this interior. I love the Millennial Pink of The Wing, and a girl doesn’t limit herself to just a single pair of shoes, does she? Why ever would she limit herself to a single interior. Stay tuned for its arrival. Happy Saturday.
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 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.
The inspiration and pride I feel for these spaces abounds. I hope you find a little of your own inspo today.
When I was in my 20’s I used to pack my bag in the morning with my work shoes, my lunch, my workout clothes, toiletries, and head out to the T – that’s public transportation here in Boston. I would often add to this a cake, a tray of cupcakes or bags laden with cookies and other baking delights. Oh for the days where I had THAT much time on my hands. Not only did I bake, but I worked out 5 days a week. My gym didn’t allow for overnight storage so I carried everything on me – like a pack mule. I thought I was going to be a princess – it had come to this.
To be fair, though my circumstances have changed considerably since I was in my 20’s, I am still rather like a pack mule – though what I tote around has become much larger, and slightly less frequent with my house flipping.
Audrey Geltman and Lauren Kassan co-founders of The Wing decided it was disrespectful to have to change in a bathroom between meetings, to have no place to gather ones thoughts, prepare for a meeting, meet with potential business partners, talk, listen, engage, have a glass of wine to unwind or gear up for the night ahead – a place that was all about women – for women, exclusively.
So The Wing was born, first in the Flatiron District, then in Soho – plans for one in Washington D.C., and I think California – sadly, not Boston. Would you pay $2000. clams for a place to shower, store your clothes, listen to a lecture, attend a book signing or throw a baby shower? I think I might. Particularly if I could buy it off in food and drinks while entertaining clients.
The designers of this hip space are from CdR & Co. , Chiara de Rege and Hillary Koyfman. It is really no surprise that the space drew me in – aside from its decidedly practical side, it’s pinks, pale grays, and gold accent are tops on my happy place colors. Then they go and add a powder room in the perfect pink poof of a paint and attached Coco Chanel’s name to it and voila, it was love. They painted the floor, ceiling, and all the doors and casings in one of two pink tones – genius. It’s a womb of a women’s room, and I feel calm, relaxed, and certain that I will emerge rosy cheeked, and fresh.