Looking Forward….. Sustainability In Your Home

member SFCWhile on my furniture pilgrimage to High Point, NC, I joined the Sustainable Furnishings Council. I was moved by a presentation about the health concerns created by furnishings in the home as well as the commitment of these fine folks to ensuring that planet friendly, sustainable practices are used during the manufacturing process. They define sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. I think this is very important. I have also found myself looking at the kitchen and bath products I am specifying with more focus on planet friendly manufacturing including using recycled materials and conservation practices.Two manufacturers have impressed me greatly with their commitment to the environment.

My love for all things Art Deco led me to checking out some bathing beauties from California Faucets.

California Faucets Art Deco Collection

California Faucets Art Deco Collection

California Faucets wall mount rain head

California Faucets wall mount rain head

California Faucets sleek lines

California Faucets sleek lines

I was so pleased to read about their concern for the environmentand the the sustainable practices they follow. This link is a listing of green concerns http://www.calfaucets.com/green-philosophy  and more can be found on their Facebook page in an album titled California Faucets Cares About the Environment.

Native Trails is an artisanal manufacturer of some beautiful hand crafted products for both the kitchen and bath industry and home decor. Lovely copper holiday ornaments are a new addition that caught my eye. Sustainable and recycled materials are used for the copper and concrete sinks they manufacture for both kitchen and bath. They also make some beautiful bath furniture using reclaimed wood and a gorgeous line of copper tables.

Native Trails Concrete sink

Native Trails Concrete sink

Copper Star Holiday Ornaments

Copper Star Holiday Ornaments

With so many choices available, it makes me happy to specify products from companies that share my values and concerns about sustainability. I encourage you to consider the culture of the brands you buy. I hope you find their practices in line with your values. :)

 

 

My thoughts on High Point Market

Highpoint collage A friend casually asked, “What is High Point Market?” Hmmm… I found myself replying that I thought of it as some sort of Disneyland for furniture lovers, a haute housewares theme park … It is the bomb….

Joe Ruggiero

Joe Ruggiero

Nod to Mod that is earthy and edgy from Demorais International

Nod to Mod that is earthy and edgy from Demorais International

Gray and green and fabulous tufting from Nathan Anthony

Gray and green and fabulous tufting from Nathan Anthony

Magical modern lighting from Fine Art Lamps

Magical modern lighting from Fine Art Lamps

As I expected, homage to Mid-Century design and shades of gray were prevalent trends. I loved seeing the gray paired with bright tones to give it a fresh, happy look. The influence of fashion trends on home design was getting some well deserved attention from Joe Ruggiero and I loved the pieces he was showing. I also love clean lines. My eye was continually drawn to sleek silhouettes and edgy shapes that nod to Mid-Century design. Here are a few other trends I noticed and my thoughts about them.

Trending- modular coffee tables, I say, “it’s about time!”

I have always loved nesting tables for the convenience and versatility they offer. I find this new breed of coffee tables to be a natural.

Modular coffee table from Regina Andrew

Modular coffee table from Regina Andrew

Modular coffee table Global Views

Modular coffee table Global Views

Trending- nail heads, I say, “Sorry Stud, it’s time to hit the road”

I do love nail heads, I really do! However, I asked myself what I really think of this trend after I had taken hundreds of pictures of studded pieces. I think there is a time and place to accent a gorgeous line with some metallic studs, other than that it is too much of a good thing. It’s like when there is too much sugar in my coffee… Yuck.

Nice lines accentuated by nail heads on ottoman. LOVE!

Nice lines accentuated by nail heads on ottoman. LOVE!

Too much of a good thing........

Too much of a good thing……..

Trending- blues, I say  “Love! It’s like beautiful music for the eyes”…  as Professor Mutti Clark said, ” We start our lives with blues… with music. It’s our first language. It’s the rhythm of the womb. It’s your mama’s heartbeat inside your head.”

Blue inspires me for so many reasons. Oceans, clear skies, Paul Newman’s eyes… I’m loving this trend.

Beauteous blues from Feizy

Beauteous blues from Feizy

Blue accessories

Blue accessories

Blue rug from AMER

Blue rug from AMER

Trending- Beach Bling, I say, “no, just, no”

i really love the beach and a little homage to the sand and sea can be found in quite a bit of my work but I found that the trend to hang shells from light fixtures was not something I would want to work with. I much prefer dangling crystals and shiny bling.

"Beach Bling" lighting doesn't work for me....

“Beach Bling” lighting doesn’t work for me….

Speaking of the beach, what I did like was a more sophisticated coastal collection from Stanley Furniture. It has a modern relaxed vibe with clean lines.

A new more sophisticated coastal from Stanley.

A new more sophisticated coastal from Stanley.

All in all, I loved much of what the market had to offer. The energy of the market and some of the innovative pieces have me inspired!

 

 

Nod to Mod at NYDC What’s New, What’s Next

Atelier at the New York Design Center

Atelier at the New York Design Center

I recently attended the “What’s New What’s Next” event at the New York Design Center and what’s next isn’t what’s new at all! It seems that what is next is a nod to Mod, as in Mid Century Modern furnishings. My blog post, The Case For Mid-Century Modern, touted my mad love for this iconic style and why I feel it has such a broad appeal. The pieces in the showrooms at the design center encompassed original “vintage modern” along with new designs that pay homage to the sleek lines and chic shapes that define the style. This new breed of Mod, I like to think of as Millennial Mod or New Century Modern, combines those iconic shapes with organic elements, glamor and glitz.

Phillips Collection at New York Design Center

Phillips Collection at New York Design Center

Phillips Collection at New York Design Center

Phillips Collection at New York Design Center

The Phillips Collection shows earthiness with some great animal references.  I also love the mix of rustic wood and shiny metal.

Fred Flintsone meets George Jetson, and they get along.

Studio A NYDC

Studio A NYDC

Studio A NYDC

Studio A NYDC

Studio A mixes the clean lines of mid century with both golden glitz and earthy notes. The golden shine is so inviting! The collection of handmade bowls and metallic pillows on the modern sofa create an eclectic but sophisticated and well balanced space.

Carrasco large scale chaise

Carrasco large scale chaise

I love large scale and Raul Carrasco was full of big, modern pieces. The large pale pink chaise shows that the collection, although large in scale, radiates both style and grace.

Bakes and kropps at NYDC

Bakes and kropps at NYDC

A kitchen display at Bakes and Kropp really caught my attention. With clean lines but so much attention to detail, it’s a look that would work with modern chic and also rich pre-war architecture.

Design Lush showroom at NYDC

Design Lush showroom at NYDC

Design Lush is one of my favorite showrooms from social media. The current collection shows outrageous LED twinkly wallpaper, beautiful sculptural accent lamps and luxuriously finished pieces. The artful accents are particularly notable.

The New Traditionalists NYDC  showroom

The New Traditionalists NYDC showroom

 

The New Traditionalists know how to throw a party NYDC #WNWN

The New Traditionalists know how to throw a party NYDC #WNWN

The New Traditionalists showroom has a colorful, glamorous vibe. During the event the space felt like a nightclub. The bar was packed with design lovers of all kinds and signature cocktails were flowing.

Vladimir Kagan Couture New York Design Center showroom

Vladimir Kagan Couture New York Design Center showroom

Vladimir Kagan Couture New York Design Center showroom

Vladimir Kagan Couture New York Design Center showroom

The pieces at Vladamir Kagan Couture are truly inspired. I learned that Vladimir himself is one of the original furniture innovators of the Modern Movement. The current collection has a multilevel sectional, the likes of which I have never seen before. It is no surprise these iconic designs have held their audience since 1946! So What’s New, What’s Next? It seems that what’s old is new again and Mid Century Modern is definitely in style.

UPCYCLING….. Don’t Trash That Yet!

would be trash about to become something lovely

would be trash about to become something lovely

Upcycle is a catchy new word I really love. According to dictionary.com, it means to process (used goods or waste material) so as to produce something that is often better than the original. I am always inspired when I see artisanal furniture created from reclaimed wood and fabulous lamps made from old woodwind instruments but had never really thought about how to reuse materials from my own job sites.  While working on the remodel facelift of a kitchen in an old Long Island estate house, my client looked at the pile of rubbish cabinets we were creating and said, “You know, it’s too bad we can’t use those for something. Too bad we couldn’t find a way to make a sideboard out of all of that instead of ordering something…..” As the words were coming out of her mouth, I grabbed my pencil and sketchpad and started to draw. I had an idea to create a dish pantry in her breakfast room and she loved it. A talented carpenter, some new molding and a coat of paint and Voila! Our beautiful upcycled dish pantry gave what would have been a pile of junk new life.

up cycle 2

up-cycled piece

 

Handcrafted Feels Good

California Faucets buffing-spout

I had the pleasure of visiting the Corvette factory in Bowling Green, Kentucky a while back and it made a big impression on me. I was amazed at how many hands actually touched the car! Automation is utilized but the car is actually hand assembled by people taking great pride in their work. Watching as the energy in all those hands touched each car gave me a real feel good sense and also made me think of the car as more worthy of the sticker price.

I like to find handcrafted items for my clients when working on their homes. Finding affordable original art and handcrafted furnishings and rugs are key to my designs. I also love the idea of handcrafted quality in those items we take for granted like light fixtures and plumbing ware. Surprisingly, there are handcrafted faucets made right here in the USA. The products made by California Faucets give me that handcrafted feel good sense I love to incorporate into my work. Here is a quick take on their hands on approach.

http://www.calfaucets.com/video/the-2-minute-custom-faucet

Here’s to hoping you are inspired to add some handcrafted items in your home that give you that “feel good” vibe!

Corvette living the dream

The Case For Mid-Century Modern

Cabana Bay Resort, Universal Studios. Orlando, Florida

Cabana Bay Resort, Universal Studios. Orlando, Florida

While on a brief trip to the Cabana Bay resort at Universal Studios, in Orlando, Florida, I realized the how and why of my love for Mid-century modern. To my 52 year old mind, it is the nostalgic stuff of my avant-garde trendsetting artist grandmother, Cornelia, or Gramma Lella as I loved to call her.  As a designer, I see it as iconic, clean lines that work so well with vibrant color, art, book collections, musical instruments and all sorts of eclectic “accumulations”. To the youthful minds of some 20-somethings I was with, it is just plain fun. Noteworthy from a period in American history that introduced tv commercials and mass production.

A few years ago I designed a kitchen for an old friend. She loved it so much that she wanted to keep the updating going. Next was the living room. As I started to examine the old Danish modern love-seat and chair set that had been attacked over the years by several cats, she blurted out… “Oh, no! Those are going!” Not so fast, I thought. Sure, there was stuffing sticking out and the fabric hadn’t seen a good day in years but the frames were fabulous. Sleek, teak wood in a natural finish and such graceful lines! So I started my case for Mid-century Modern.

I started to gush all things Mid-century modern. How it is an iconic style recognized by the MoMA, how the clean lines and simple shapes actually trace to Bauhaus Modernism, c1919 and how the revolutionary concepts taught in that art school were embraced in the 1920’s by Kaare Klinte, a young European who combined modern art forms, fine furniture craftsmanship and an ergonomic sense to start the Danish modern movement. I rattled on about how it is a classic, how it could never go to the trash heap, how I would lovingly rescue it with help from some loving re-upholsterers…. As I pleaded the case, she interrupted with a smile and said, “Honestly, I have always loved it! I figured these pieces were too old and ruined and you wouldn’t like them. I was going to let them go because this is what you do and maybe it was time for a change…” I smiled back, telling her, NOPE! We would give them new life! And we did!

The funny thing is, the true Bauhaus style Danish Modern that inspired the American Mid Century Modern style actually born in the 1930s are becoming legitimate antiques. Add another design oxymoron to the mix. Post-Modern as in “after modern” and now vintage modern and modern antiques! With such a wealth of style options to choose from, we are living in a time when anything goes. Why consider Mid-Century modern with such a wealth of styles to choose from? Because a mid-century modern space with the right scale and some fabulous color will draw the eye, invite you in, keep you comfortable and inspire some good conversation. I rest my case.

The Right Rug

imageFinding the right area rug for a lovely Hamptons living room took me a while. A full day of watching as rug after rug after rug was peeled back from the pile and hoping against hope that the next one would be it….. but no….
It needed to be a perfect blend of a specific color palette I was working in,  have a large but soft pattern and a luxurious hand loomed quality.
The end of the day was nearing and I was looking at the bottom of yet another pile when the shop owner went the extra mile to open something that had just come in and… It was perfect! The right colors, a soft pattern and a real quality look and feel. The right rug can be a focal point at times but mostly I am looking for something to enhance a mood without making that bold a statement. Something that is harmonious with the fabrics, wall treatments and art and calmly anchors the room. Something that draws you in but doesn’t hold the eye.
This beautiful rug is from the fine folks at Peykar in Westbury, New York, and the client and I find it to be exactly the right rug.

My Fascination With Running Water

9190_pc_mosaicWhile on a recent trip to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, I became infatuated with all the cascading waterfalls in the huge atria that make the place a landmark destination. I realized how inspired I am by running water.  I really love the sound it makes and the shiny reflective movement.

I try to find some way to honor that sensuous sound and soothing feel when I do a bath design so incorporating the Styledrain from California Faucets is a natural. The options for a simple tile-in square that let’s the water cascade in from all sides to “stylish” square covers with artistic patterns really enhance the look of a shower.

A few of my current projects incorporate these interesting pieces as it is truly the attention to detail that make a project special. I am also a proponent of using dual drains when implementing curbless showers for easy access universal design. A square piece below the main shower head and a linear one at the shower threshold. The linear drains are a great looking way to transition floor tile and keep any stray water from cascading into the rest of the bathroom.

Good looks and good sense all around. I encourage you to give the drain a second thought when planning your next bath remodel so here is a link to these award winning drain designs. http://www.calfaucets.com/video/styledrain-tile-the-best-drain-you-ll-never-see

Until next time….

 

What Do Your Furnishings Say About You?

Companions Of Pan table by NickDavisArt.com

Companions Of Pan table by NickDavisArt.com

 

I have always enjoyed perusing the artistic furnishings at ICFF ( International Contemporary Furniture Fair) but this year I found something really special. I found the mythical creature Pan, courtesy of Nick “the bronze” Davis. This incredible table is a true piece of functional art. I believe that good design inspires conversation. I believe that your furnishings say something about you and I know I would love the owner of this whimsical table. I believe that handcrafted furnishings nurture the soul of the user and meeting the artisan was a real pleasure. My unabashed enthusiasm inspired him to show me a chess set filled with armies of mythical creatures that also really captivated me! What could be more fun than playing chess with these incredible pieces? When you touch them you really feel them. This chess set or table would really make a statement in a room. So I ask you to ask yourself what your furnishings say about you. I hope it’s something special.

Chess Set NIckDavisart.com

Photos courtesy of NIckDavisArt.com

White Set

The “Magic Box” We Commonly Call The Oven

Great neck cottage 1As a kid I was obsessed with magicians and magic tricks. Alacazam!! and the rabbit disappears in the hat…. Alacazoo!!!! and a bauble appears in what was an empty hand. I was amazed. As an adult, I am still obsessed with what I consider a certain magic although it can also be explained as technology. I consider appliances, especially ovens, to be magic boxes of a very special sort. Allacazam! I shout to my grandson as I put the gooey egg mixture in the oven. Alacazzoooom!!! I shout this time, 16 minutes later when a perfect cheese soufflé emerges from the magic box we commonly call the oven. “Wow, look what happened!” he says as I did back when I was a kid. Ovens were magic back then. Now, although totally explainable they are still magic to me, nonetheless. Todays’ breed of appliances is even more amazing with the introduction of steam as well as the convection I have come to love. Although I love the cooktop and wall oven arrangement above, my current favorite “magic box” is the Pro Grand Steam range from Thermador.photo 2 This 48″ magic box includes seven cooking options. All of them are impressive and sure to thrill the home chef. I love this piece because everything is in easy reach for my “cooking station”. The built in warming drawer can warm my plates or allow my cauliflower gratin to stay moist and serving temperature while I’m searing steaks and my rosemary biscuits are magically rising in the conventional oven with convection option. The steam oven can be used to quickly make healthy meals from fresh wholesome ingredients without the need for added fats and oils. The steam oven can also be used for proofing. A nice feature for home bakers. The griddle option is perfect that leisurely Sunday morning pancake breakfast, warming drawer so useful for warming plates or keeping the pancakes just perfect so everyone can eat together. All in all, I find the amount of cooking versatility built into 48″ to be a pretty magical thing. Cooking appliances are where I start when planning your magical dream kitchen. The rabbit and top hat are optional!