I recently went to Dallas for the annual Interior Design Society National Conference. The trip was so enriching on so many levels. My friend, Suzanne Felber, a fellow designer, Dallas native, and fellow member of the Thermador Design Council was my guest and Dallas tour guide. The Dallas Market Center, where the IDS conference was held, offers floor after floor of finely curated furnishings, some incredibly artfully displayed. Aside from the eye candy of the market, the conference offered education on topics such as building a better business, artful uses of LED lighting, Feng Shui and child safety related to window treatment cords. All good things to know.:) The conference closed with an awards dinner and I am proud to share that I won an Interior Design Society “Designer of the Year” award in the kitchens over 50k category! Yes, a moment in the sun! My love for kitchen design is partly due to my love of food culture. I love cooking, entertaining and all things design that give you that space to feed your inner foodie. I think feeding your friends and family feeds your soul. I also think of art and music as “soul feeders”, too, and was amazed by the sculptures at Fair Park, the Nasher Museum, the Hilton Anatole, where I stayed the week and even the shopping area known as NorthPark Center. The feasts for the eyes were everywhere and fed my mind with inspiration. Speaking of feeding or “grazing” as I have come to know it, I was privileged to attend the Raiser Grazer event put on by Les Dames D’escoffier Dallas Chapter. The “Dames” went all out with food, drink, music and decor to transform a farmers market space into an elegant salon featuring the delectables of Dallas’ finest. The enticing dishes kept me grazing all right! Broth, soups, meat and vegetarian dishes, amazing desserts and innovative cocktails at table after table sent me to foodie nirvana. As the sun set on the evening and my Dallas trip, I was full with gratitude.
I was invited by my fab foodie friend and cookbook author Leeann Lavin to an event held by World Kitchen LLC to show some product they are launching and fell in love! The colorful and somehow sophisticated-ly whimsical Vintage Charm Brand is a winner! The updated Pyrex and Corelle tableware give the comfort of Gramma’s kitchen and the luxurious feel of something curated to be modern and artful even though it’s meant for everyday. Mid Century Modern design has those clean simple lines and vibrant color that make for happy, easy living and these haute housewares are simply perfect to accessorize with things you can actually use! Check them out! Coming soon to a retailer near you!
I am a huge fan of the the show “chopped” on FoodNetwork. The idea of having several ingredients, not of your own choosing, as the highlights of a sumptuous and well presented meal you are to prepare is so intriguing. I always think that it is the other items in the pantry and fridge, chosen by the chef, that rescue the meal.
I felt like one of the surprised “chopped” chefs when interviewing to remodel an east side apartment. “Make it gorgeous, really glamorous!! Make me love it and my husband will be happy. And… make sure we can use my Icarts, my Lalique glass and my French art collection. Oh… And I have a dog, Oscar, he’s a Cotton de Tulear. It has to work for him, too.” Art Deco, loving husband and a cute white dog. The mandatory ingredients worked for me.
This living room is soft and strong. The furniture is large scale and black accents balance the feminine art work. It is my sort of Ying and Yang tribute to classic romance. Creating the floor-plan and balancing new custom couch, heirloom chairs that we reupholstered, cherished accessories and art and new additions became a six month labor of love.The sparkle of the kitchen and the glamour of the master bath became the stuff of legends in the building while we worked. At one point Tal, the head of our contracting crew rolled his eyes at me. “Really, silver guilt on the cabinets? It’s already full of crystal and glitter….” “Do it…” I said and when it was finished he said he would not question my judgement again.
The vision to create an alluring, inviting space that IS my client is one part clairvoyance, one part whimsy, and two parts trust in myself. The way to make the vision a reality is with a true kick-ass contracting team and I thank West Village GC for keeping my trust in the process.The kitchen and bath have been featured in fabulous consumer publication Embark Magazine as Grand Illusion and trade publication K+BB as Art as Life. I look forward to sharing more of the “salon de familie” , the master bedroom and “Oscar’s room”.
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.
Here’s to hoping you are inspired to add some handcrafted items in your home that give you that “feel good” vibe!
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.
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.
Creating dream kitchens for single family palaces is a good portion of my work. Giving that expansive feel to a smaller footprint is a challenge I enjoy as well. To do that I really need to feel how you function. I want to feel how you live and interact. I want to create a space that has room for kids’ art, pet bowls, Costco runs, phone chargers, PTA calendars and still suits all your entertaining needs. I want to know who is cooking what and when so we have a tv for the morning news or easy access to the outdoor bar-b-q. I want to know if wine storage is important or if a built-in coffee system would really make your kitchen special and keep you from running out to Starbucks in your yellow fuzzy robe! Feeding our family and friends really feeds our soul and makes us happy. I want to help you outfit your kitchen to make the most of home celebrations and everyday living.
So, here I am with Ellen, talking about how we made her kitchen function for her specific needs.
My great appreciation for the work of Rick Spence and deepest thanks to the team at Houzz.com for featuring me in this promotional video.
Last night I had the pleasure of attending a wedding celebration. The attention to detail was amazing, as can be seen by the hand sown ribbon tablecloth pictured. This reminded me of a few years back when my lovely daughter was planning her wedding celebration. The dress shopping, the table settings and most of all the cake! I remember pulling out my tape measure and explaining to the baker that a five foot cake was as big as she was! Style has be personal and comfortable. People with great style wear their lives like they wear their clothes. There is a casual grace because it all just fits. Here is some ELISE SABATINO style. http://thebridescafe.com/index.cfm?q=elise+and+giovanni Enjoy!! Photos by Sara France Photography.
I am thrilled to be on page 72 of the K+BB Magazine April 2013 KBIS editiion! The recognition means so much after designing over a thousand kitchens over the years, in everything from local firehouse to some single family palaces. I love kitchens! The kitchen is where the action is. Friends are celebrated with food and drink. Firemen share stories over a pot of spaghetti and meatballs. Intimate news of love, life and true confessions are all shared at the sink during cleanup after a holiday meal. Interior Design is truly my passion and I love to start with the kitchen to transform a shelter dwelling to a stylish, comfortable home. Thanks again to Janet Groeber at K+BB Magazine for giving me the platform to share my love for design. http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_201304/index.php#/74