Today's Ideabooks
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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Say it Isn't So.......!!!!

Today some very sad news crossed my desk, and I swear I think a cloud crossed the sky. News came in today that Domino Magazine is closing it's doors. I always had a somewhat love/ hate relationship with the magazine, but there is no doubt that it was one of the magazines that I NEVER missed. In my mind they filled a great spot in the market, a great place to show what is new and hot. It was a great entry magazine for people who wanted a magazine that was not as aspirational as some of the others, it was always full of ideas for things that almost anybody could put into their home.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It's No Bull!

Being a Taurus, I just love bulls. For the most part I have let my facination not get the better of me---having been horrified by my Godmother's pig collection---but recently I have been drawn again and again to Johnathan Adler's beautiful stoneware pottery, particularly this very masculine Bull with a ring in his nose. Johnathan also has some wonderful and playful vases with faces (and other unmentionables) and delightful teapots, pitchers and bowls. I love the whimsical and simple addition that any of this pottery would add to your bookshelf or entry table!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Area Ware

The NYIGF was last week and there are always a few standout people to visit. One of them is Areaware, they always have a few cool things. I went and visited their website and there are some great things to see, I picked a few of my favorites....

These stools look like something you might find in a circus, they would be great in a Child's room. The white one is probably a little more versatile and would look at home in a garden too.

Now here is a bird house for a very modern little bird. It would look terrific inside too, on a bookshelf it would be perfect.

This bowl will have your friends looking twice, made from melted plastic army men, it would be a cool addition to any coffee table. If you look closely you will notice that they even use two opposing armies, I like that sort of detail.

Artist in Focus: James Nares

I have been very interested in adding to my budding art collection and so attended the artLA show at Barker Hanger this weekend and although I was generally very disappointed overall, there were some gems to be had. Amazingly one of my favorite pieces was positioned just as you walked in, tucked to the side that one could very easily miss it. Thankfully the traffic of people stopped me just in time!

James Nares has a very singular style which I think one would either love or hate. Born in England in the early 50s, he has lived in New York since he was 21. His work can be seen at The Museum of Modern Art in NYC and the Whitney Museum of American Art to name just two of many and he has shown all over the world. I wont bore you with his bio, as you can read it as well as see his work online.

The singular stroke, the vibrant use of color and the sense of calligraphy---it is so simple. Perfect. I love modern art for the very simple reason that it tells everyone a different story, reflecting back at them their own story in a way. Amazingly, when I returned to the office this morning I discovered that I had pulled out a page from Elle Decor about a year ago which featured a piece of his work. I am hoping to some day purchase a piece. In the meantime, I might try to escape the office for NYC to see his most recent show at the Paul Kasmin Gallery where he has a number of new and very different looking pieces.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Australia Day

Well tomorrow is Australia Day, and while I am on the other side of the planet in Los Angeles, I still recognise it as something to celebrate. The country has proven itself time and time again to be anything but provincial. The work in the design field is consistently fresh with a unique point of view that blends a casual elegance with a chic sense of style and place.

No one embodies this more in my opinion than Glenn Murcutt, the Australian architect. His deceptively simple buildings draw on a vernacular style that is unique to Australia, but his pavilion like structures have a universal appeal.

I remember years ago when I was studying architecture in Brisbane, forcing a detour on a family vacation, so that we could visit his new museum in Kempsey, NSW. It was an early encounter with truly great architecture, that has stayed with me for years.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pasadena Showcase House of Design

I have always been a fan of Showcase Houses (groups of designers come together and decorate a house for a charity, usually doing one room each). I think that they provide the general public a great opportunity to see good design in person, instead of just in magazines. For the designers. it is a chance to try out some fresh ideas without the added pressure of a client.

Well, this year we are back at the Pasadena Showcase house, one of the oldest in the country, for the fifth time. My team and I are doing the Garden Room, which we are very excited about. It is a room at the end of the house, with windows on three sides, looking out to the garden. At the moment it is a fairly unremarkable space, but I see this as an opportunity to create an old-style trellis room. I have always been a fan of these spaces, and now I get to create one.

I will post some images of the room, next week, when I get back into the office, but for now, check out the inspiration images.....

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tony Duquette Collection

Sometimes you come across collections that defy definition. The Tony Duquette collection at Baker is one of those. The genius of this designer is undeniable, but the question arises, can this collection succeed? The price point is pretty high, and thankfully so is the quality, but still a single piece would go a long way. 

Another concern for me too, is that the pieces are so iconic, that it is hard for them to work in a larger context, that's the same reason I don't use a lot of 20th C. classic pieces, because they are so identifiable, that it takes away from the whole, by focusing so much attention on a single piece.

But I might be wrong, what are your thoughts?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Spring Into Organization

Recently I have invested a lot of time in reorganizing my walk in closet and my heart has been wishing for some bells and whistles. I have the basics but having worked with Elfa Closets from The Container Store, I know what I am missing! These versatile systems can fit in just about any space including no space at all (depending on you ingenuity with some curtains) and the extent of the damage to the walls is a few screws top and bottom of the main rails! The Container Store offers design specialists to help you get exactly what you want and you certainly do not need to live near a store to access these knowledgeable ladies & gentlemen!

My favorite combination of woods is the Walnut & Platnum but depending on your space the Birch or White Woods would work beautifully as well! The wire baskets and shelves can be customized to suit your exact organizational tendancies with lots of great add ons and certainly this is a place with lots of baskets and boxes look fab!

I really love these natural grass braided baskets from West Elm for chunkier items and storage and for shoes, there is nothing better than these clear drop front tweed boxes to keep things in order without having to move boxes all the time as I did for years with the box from the department store!

Finally, every gal (and guy, although most won't admit it!) needs a little place to sit down, add a zing of color and with casters, you can move it around or tuck it away!

Flat Screen Fundamentals

There are so many new options for flat screen TV placement, it can seem a bit overwhelming. With all of the gadgets and gizmos out there, your new plasma can really go just about anywhere... Whether you decide to have it raise up out of a furniture piece, or hide behind an art facade, there are a few things to keep in mind to get the most of your viweing experience.

1. Stay Leveled. The TV should be as close as possible to eye level when viewers are seated. Speakers should be at ear level.

2. How Far? Placing seating two times the distance relative to the screen size is a good general rule. Example: For a 42" TV, seating should be about 7 feet away.
3. Cut the Lights. You don't need to replace all of your drapery with heavy velvet, but a good rule of thiumb is to block out as much natural light as possible. Also, having dimmers on lighting is helpful.

4. Front and Center. Ideally, your TV should be straight on. As we all know, many floor plans don't agree. The best solution... choose a wall-mount bracket that lets you move and adjust the screen.

Happy Viewing!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hanging Family Portraits

As much as anyone, I like hanging family portraits on the wall. I tend more to snapshots than, more formal studio shots, but I really like telling the family history in pictures. I think it's important for the kids to see and understand that they are part of a longer lineage, and also friends often get  a kick out of seeing it too.

Here is an idea that I like, hanging a big group together, but laying it out so that the group has a very regular shape. I think it gives it all a distinctly modern feel.....

Monday, January 19, 2009

You Light up my Life

Ok. So these lights that I just found on Unica.com are my new favorite things in the world. They feel so retro chic, but fresh and new at the same time, they are just terrific. Now if only we could do something about the cost!!! I am working on a new project in Malibu and I am looking for something just like this, but was planning to do a cluster of four. These would be absolutely ideal, but at over $3000.00 each I will need to find something a little more affordable,,,,,but don't be surprised if I find a way to sneak a single one in. :)

Charming and Chic... without the commitment.

When I moved in to my latest TINY LA rental this summer, it was the first time I was ever hesitant to get out the paint and get to work. Maybe it was the hefty security deposit I put down, or maybe I was just being lazy... but I decided to leave the walls white. (Gasp!) A few weeks later, determined to make the space my own without paint, I came across a book of discontinued wallpaper samples I had. I decided to frame a few of the coordinating patterns, and the next thing I knew I had a fantastic grouping of "art" similar to the one below.

So my suggestion for all of you who love a quirky wallpaper pattern, but don't want to commit... frame a few pieces and hang it as art! It is a charming, chic and creative way to spruce up a bare wall... and still get that security deposit back when you move out. :)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pretty in Pink

Like most things in your life, things fall in and out of favor, well its the same for me in my business life. I am not sure quite what it is, but lately I have wanted nothing more than to paint the world pink. 

I have a new project I am working on down by the beach in Los Angeles, sort of a rambling Mediterranean style home. It's still under construction, so it's still a ways away from a final decision, but my client asked me yesterday what color I was thinking for the outside, and after a brief pause, I decided...pink!

I think that in the right shade it can be such a flattering color, that is not necessarily too feminine. My dream of course is to do a library or a mans office in the color to prove my point, but so far the right client hasn't come along....yet!

If you are looking for the right color pink, take a look at Farrow and Ball paints, you almost can't go wrong with their classic choices.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I am in Love

Aren't these images beautiful? They are by Mark Shaw, the photographer made famous by his images of the Kennedy's. He also did a lot of fashion work, and some of those images are now available at the Andrew Wilder Gallery in Los Angeles. I think think they have such a great presence, they feel almost like some of the old Cindy Sherman portraits that were at MOMA a few years ago.

The price point I think is pretty good too, so check them out.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

So Clever it Almost Hurts

I came across this in the new House Beautiful today. It's from an apartment that Vicente Wolf did in Miami, and it is one of the smartest, most clever stands for a TV I have ever seen. He uses a standard, albeit, large scale artists easel. It looks like a work of art, it's on wheels, it's perfect, absolutely perfect. His work continues to be an inspiration.

Spruce up a Small Bath!

Tired of your tiny bathroom feeling smaller everyday? Try these tips to help make it appear larger... (I swear by the last one!)
Lighten Up! Dark sinks, toilets, and tubs can make a great statement in a large bath, but induce claustrophobia in a small one. Go with classic white and add touches of style and sensibility with fixtures.
Make a Change…
Trade a standard door for a sliding pocket door. Bi-fold doors (doors that fold up like a screen) can also save space and add interest.
Go Brighter…
Small baths call for ample lighting to make the space feel larger. (It's also helpful when shaving and applying make-up.) So don't skimp on lighting! Instead, use both wall-mounted sconces and ceiling-hung fixtures. Lastly, windows provide natural light, which is a "green", easy and inexpensive to open things up.
Stand Alone…
A pedestal sink is a great way to open up a small bath because it eliminates the space-hogging vanity.
Glass is Great!
Glass shelves increase the room's sense of space because they can sometimes appear invisible. Items on them seem to hover, and this feels much lighter than heavy cabinetry.
Last but not least…
In a small bath, get rid of the clutter!! On the counter-top or shelving, store things you use every day, and put everything else out of sight in bins or baskets.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I Found Just What I Needed

I have been looking lately for a small book case (well calling it a book case may be overstating the need) but somewhere to stack books in my daughters nursery. As you can tell Orange is pretty much my only accent color, so trying to find just the right thing, can prove to be a bit of a challenge. 

This morning I was looking through the new CB2 catalog and there it is!! the perfect piece.

My order is already placed, I can't wait for it to arrive.

Monday, January 12, 2009

From A to

I have always liked using collections as displays. One of my favorites is the Alphabet. Firstly, you know the minute you look at it that it is complete, somehow that gives me a sense of calm, and secondly, it is always familiar, but as is the example here, not always childlike. I bought this collection on a trip to London, I had in mind a children's playroom, but when I got back, had it framed and hung, I realized that it had a somewhat dark side. Each of the letters shows a fairly macabre scene. For instance, here on the letter Y is a poor Rabbit loosing his life to a Hawk.

I actually like it more now that I know it has a dark side..... any thoughts?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Simplest Table in the World

It is constantly surprising to me, how simplicity can be the hardest thing to achieve. Take the Parsons table for example, can it get any simpler? 4 straight square legs, that are as wide as the top is thick.
Popular belief is that this table is theresult of a class taught by Jean Michel Frank at the Parsons School of Design in the 1930's. The brief was to design a table that could withstand any treatment, whether it be gold leaf, micah, upholstered or just bare wood, and boy, did they succeed!

Apparently the first was built by the school janitor in the basement, and now you can find them almost anywhere, at any price point, as consoles, dining tables, coffee tables or almost anything in between.

These are some of my favorites:
I know, Walmart!!!! This is a great example of the trype and less than $40.00!

West Elm would be one of the first places I would look for Parsons style, nicely made, well priced, what more can u ask for??

This is a great example of a Lacquered Parsons Dining Table at Twentieth ....Its Expensive though, but worth every penny.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Office Furniture

It's very tough to find great looking office furniture, everything seems to look much the same, and then I came across this series by Antoine Proulx I think its very chic indeed. I especially like the large two piece metal hardware on the front. I am thinking of using this for a home office that I am working on....it has a ver residential kind of scale.

What a great idea!

Living in Los Angeles, I have been inundated with the “Loft Trend” these last couple of years. Just a drive through downtown and you can see once commercial buildings that have been transformed into fabulous spaces housing floors of trendy lofts. So naturally, that is what I thought of when I got this link from one of our resident trend-setting Senior Designers.
The Swedish company Asko has dubbed the line “Designer Laundry” and what a perfect name! Imagine designing a fantastic modern loft and not having to worry about where to put the unsightly washer and dryer… I love it!

This is a Test

I am trying to get my blog to co-ordinate with Twitter....this is a test

Nomination for "Would be Great With a Coat of Paint"

Sometimes you come across things that are soooo close to being terrific, if only it was taller, shorter, made of metal, or..... given a quick coat of paint. This mirror falls into that category. It is by one of my favorite accessory lines...Roost. Unfortunately its a trade-only resource, but you can get this and the rest of the line from Velocity Art and Design. In the plain wood its a bit too serious I think, but imagine it in a great color,,, I think a rosy pink would be great (very palm beach) or a dirty funky blue...

What do you think?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Kevin Patrick McCarthy

I love to go to all of the trade shows I can ( I am dying for a trip to Maison Objet in Paris), especially the Furniture and Gift Shows. My favorite presentations are not the major ones though, but the quirky little ones that are shoved to the side.

Well several years ago, I came across one such stand, and I am thrilled to say that he has gone on to huge success, and that is Kevin Patrick McCarthy. I absolutely adore what he does, it has such an original point of view, and is totally chic. I am always asking him for custom stuff and he has never let me down,,, so take a look at his site, you will see exactly what I mean.