Monday, June 30, 2008

A-ha - Take On Me

Still rad after all these years.

Ode to Aubrey

When two of my very favorite people told me that they were having a baby girl, I looked all over the shoppes of Park Slope to find her interesting little t shirts, and had a hard time finding ones that I likes AND found affordable. As a design student I naturally had more ambition than money, so I made the collages above, scanned them and printed them on iron-on t-shirt paper then, (gasp) ironed them on myself.

While I admit they look a little (okay, a lot) "I made this", I was still happy to discover them this evening. And happier still to show you a picture of the beautiful girl that baby grew into.

My own room

This is the most perfect room ever ever ever ever.

As Le Owner can validate, I have always had a girlie bedroom. From the "Art Nouveau meets Singapore" Brooklyn bedroom with ornate carved woods, aubergine and lavender textiles and loads of white rice paper to the all white "Ice Princess" room I had in the apartment I shared with her, I have always needed a feminine and calming sanctuary to retire to at the end of the day. A place that is at once visually restful while pretty enough that I could stay in bed on a Saturday and have something to look at.

While our cabin is small, the bedroom is large, too large for my comfort. It is my least favorite room in the place, and thus it has been neglected. I am about to start work in there and wanted to share my inspiration images.


It could be that in the woods I am no longer bombarded with the amount of advertising that I am accustomed to, but lately I have been loving the 'words as ornament' aesthetic. I have been satisfying my desire by framing vintage signs and posters, but wouldn't it be lovely to hire painters to stencil a whole room with meaning, as Shelia Bridges did in her Harlem home?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Not easy being green

Once upon a time, I took on a client who wanted a clean, simple kitchen to accompany her gorgeous one bedroom, pre war co-op unit. I admired her views from our humble queens to the glitz and glam of Manhattan, and wanted to use that inspiration through out the work on her home. We longed to merge the decorative with the clean modern aesthetic that’s oh so very now.

And so for almost a year we worked…
…visiting kitchen showrooms the client insisted she loved that would make your skin crawl. Cheap materials. Poor planning. High pressure sales. Trying to make their plastic lacquer and fake wood work for us…
….deciding on custom cabinets, stained a lovely walnut. Cabinets (from local woodworkers!) to the ceiling for extra storage, counters in marble (from local suppliers!), shelving for her pottery collection in stainless steel (from IKEA…we’re practical after all!!)

And then I made the biggest mistake of my professional career. I brought her to our local green peddler, Build It Green, amazing expansive warehouse space filled with salvage items for just about any building project. We were looking for something to use as a work table, an island. A stainless part? A salvage kitchen bit? An old science lab table?

And then she spotted The Kitchen. It looked, even to my trained eye, like a large game of culinary Tetris. Counters, cabinets, islands, screws, hinges, and doors heaped on top of one another. It was clearly a kitchen of impressive means: Italian pedigree, fine woods, stainless steel counters with built in sinks (yes, SINKS). By the looks of it, The Kitchen was meant to be a U shaped set up with an amazing island fit for royalty in the center. Space for appliances was well spaced, one item per leg. It was the perfect kitchen for a loft or perhaps a little McMansion on the island.

And my client bought it the second she saw it. I begged her not to- I stood dazed that she was throwing out a YEARS worth of work to be green. I explained the ramifications, but the seemingly low price and oh, the GREEN of it all- I want to be green, we should all be green!!- took over her better judgment.

The contractor and I have had several meetings now, trying to figure out how The Kitchen is going to work in the clients 60 sq. ft. kitchen, when clearly it wants more like 400 sq. ft. to really work. We cannot find parts, and these kitchens are not stocked in America. The contractor will have to take it off site to cut down or alter most pieces. And, frankly, at the end of the day, I just don’t think it’s going to look that good or function any better than the horrible layout the client has now. The proportions are wrong, we’ve had to remove the dishwasher, and the client may have to settle for a 24” stove so that the behemoth pieces can be used. And we have not even started to install The Kitchen yet. It is still sitting in her living room, where its been for many months. And let’s not even talk about the cost of shipping, installing, and altering The Kitchen.

And people wonder why it’s so hard to be green? I don’t.

Artist crush: studio mela

This one is my favorite.

This morning, despite the fact that it is almost July, it is cold and foggy here in the woods. The only thing that cheered me at all (other than my coffee) was these prints I found in dazeychic's etsy shop. Please visit and read her seems that her darling personality really comes through her art.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

We'll laugh and toast to nothing and smash our empty glasses down

My father is a plant physiologist and deserves full credit for my sensitivity to the environment. My whole life he has helped me to understand the interconnectedness of all living organisms as well as helping me to see how much beauty can be experienced through the simple act of observing nature. A few years ago he and his wife bought a plot of land in Central Pennsylvania that they plan to build a home and live out their days on. Over the past few years they have planted trees and nurtured mushrooms on the land in preparation to build. They finally have a set of plans and are starting to build, and I am eager to help in anyway that I can.
In addition to solar panels and wind turbines, they are using as many locally found materials as possible to construct their "Ecotopia". I am helping with surfaces and finishes, and today I am sharing one of the materials that I proposed they use in their baths, Vetrazzo, a material made using recycled glass. The examples below are made with windshields, windows from demolished homes and glass food containers.

many things to love here

nothing more to say that enjoy. performance art, taco bell...bravo!

Saturday AM Etsy

Do I love or hate these*? Something about it is oddly appealing. Herb filled vial necklaces by Sarah Hood.

I suspect that mid 90's Mac would have LOVED these!

Friday, June 27, 2008

She's crafty - and she's just my type

Oh Trix, pass this on to your genius fiance....patterns for felted food (mostly stuff you wouldn't or shouldn't eat, but there is one healthy option!) Wish there was a beer can.


I wish that having an Etsy shop meant that I would shop less on Etsy, but that is not the case. I feel guilty not sharing these awesome vintage items from one of my favorite shops on Etsy, customeyes. (Space age real estate? What does that mean?)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Pamela Sunday

Typically, I'm just not that into sculpture. For me, a lot of the modern sensibility, clean lines, and thoughtfulness I've come to expect from artwork just isn't there for me- that' not to say it's not out there, I've just yet to find much of it.

Enter Pamela Sunday. My love of all things science (yes, yes, geek indeed) caused immediate love. Giant ceramic atom structures? Yes! But, it's not just the science, of course, it's also the art. The texture, the scale, and palate all drew me in and had me commin' back for more. I can actually see using these pieces in a client's home or in my own. They're not hoaky or gimmicky. They seem like they could easily mingle amongst the everyday items that most of us have.

Veryround Chair

Poetic, white and treated to withstand outdoor use, Louise Campbell's Veryround chair is my new objet du d├ęsir.

"The design is based on the pleasure that can be found in repetition. A single circle is not particularly interesting, but 240 circles, meticulously organised until they form an entire chair, are interesting." -Designer Louise Campbell

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cabin Friends

This is our cabin. The dug out on the right is where the path used to head to the front door...I moved it over so in went through the trees. I also moved the door over a bit by adding a side light, it used to be in the corner. We added the deck, as the old one was pierced by falling branches in a storm, and besides, this one had a cuter railing and overhang. It is about to be painted brown with white trim and a coral colored door.

This is a view of the new path and planters made from used wine barrels. There were beautiful purple and yellow flowers growing in them, but the deer ate them all while we were on vacation. It is as if we made them a bowl of salad.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

House Hunting

"The Cabin"
(i.e. the family cabin my partner grew up visiting)

Hello! And a big welcome back from Trixie! Sorry I haven't been around these days, but you will see why once you read on:

My partner and I are currently in the process of buying a house, and although it is very exhilarating, it is also very emotionally and physically exhausting. If you have ever been in this process you will know exactly what I am talking about. The never ending twists and turns of compromises and firm decisions. The caring enough to make an offer but not caring enough to be crushed when you find upon inspection day the foundation to be completely unstable. The decision of neighborhoods (gay friendly? liberal? "hip" ?) while worrying about the price tag (of course I would love to live in Northwest - but that Million Dollar price tag is a LITTLE bit over our budget).

It seems as though the only thing keeping me going is my endless "scope of imagination" (as Anne Shirley would place it), and my sudden inspirations of ways to "design" our "house of dreams" (okay, that phrase should really be our "house of livable compromises which someday may be built into the house of dreams"). So enough of this talking already, what I'm really attempting to get at is my point: the direction I am taking my angle of this blog is in my house inspiration, construction, and design. What better focus to have but within the realm of my own life?

I start with my partner and my first inspiration: the retro cabin.

Yes, yes, when one thinks "cabin" those horrible "Roughing It In Style" decor, filled with wooden carved bears and trout fishing curtains.

That's where we need to focus on the word RETRO.

We're thinking more Doug Fir meets Grandma's cabin in the woods: Jo Ammerman
At her cabin in the Bradshaw Mountains in Arizona

Its more of an emotional design inspiration that is much more basic. It’s the cabin that you visited with your family when you were a kid. The mixed lot furniture that was as comfortable as the sweat pants you were wearing while running around the woods. The eco friendly style of thrift store items and little waste. The plaid couch (see above) and large picnic tables:

The perfect living space to feel relaxed, at home, and comfortable. Because let's face it, mama wouldn't let you run around the house now would she? But the CABIN, well the cabin is that no holds barred "leave the rules at home," sort of place where you stayed up late roasting marshmallows and drank coffee from the percolator roasting coffee directly over the campfire flame.

Of course this style doesn't actually come at a "cheap" cost these days.

In fact the Franciscan inspired Apple dishes are a highly coveted and longed for item in the antique world (and can you believe that my partner's grandmother simply "had these" as the cabin throw away dishes?), as are the Fire King Tulip bowls. My folks were just in town this weekend and bought us a pair of these as an engagement gift:
They ran at about a $50 price tag, a "steal" for this set! So if anybody finds them elsewhere for less expensive, please send the link!

Okay, I also love these:

Now the only question is: what the hell do I call this new style?

A candle that alters time and space

Every now and then I stumble across a product that is so well marketed that I really do believe that they can change my life, make things more interesting, or even make the mundane into drama. Or in the case of the unbelievable, seemingly magical Modern Alchemy candles from the ever talented D.L. & Co, time and space altering. Every bit of these candles ooze personality, mood, and history.

Case in point:

Boston Tea Party Candle

"english black tea is thrown overboard tangled in brackish seaweed

yesssss.... or what about:

Opium Den Candle

"collapse into a languid, hazy cloud and submit to smoldering resins, opiates and tobacco"

Other creative scent combos include Coney Island (sea air and popcorn,
anyone?) and Tincture of Winchester (resins, gun powder, wood stock- of

Candyland Details

Just a few quick details I'm super excited about over at Candyland.

Wood Plank Flooring:

ok, ok, it's not really wood planks at all, but a great water tolerant ceramic from Cypress Trading! Normally I would not go for such things, but the texture and coloration is great, and both the client and I LOVE it! I'm excited for the balance of the star pendant with oil rubbed bronze and this chocolate floor with all the pop of nickel. Each plank is installed just like its wood counter part (thin, thin grout!!) in planks that are 4' by 3" wide. Holla.

Brushed Nickel Accents:

The client has been calling this piece his "well" and I love it. This vintage feel faucet will go well with his pedestal sink and had oodles of charm for only $149. I'm focusing on objects and materials that look and feel "found" and not newly produced for suburban america. This faucet fits the bill perfectly. While I have my issues with mixing oil rubbed bronze (all lighting) and nickel (all fixtures) I think we'll be able to do it with lots of style if we just pay attn to the details (multi hued flooring, keeping everything on the same plane the same finish, etc...)

PastPresent Gallery

I came across this website while sourcing maps to hang in a client's family room. I love to use maps in interiors for several reasons; they can connect the occupants to a place where they have lived or visited, they can add a sense of place and history to a country or vacation home, and they are non figural but not abstract which can make them feel graphic and modern yet traditional at the same time.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Chelsea Editions

New York based textile company Chelsea Editions are a wonderful source for luscious period-feel textiles. While their price points are by no means low, they certainly are a cheaper and more convenient alternative to antiques.