Allied Member, ASID
February 28, 2011
Something that I just learned recently is that fringe has been used for centuries. It first made an appearance in the early civilization of Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Historians have found through recovered pottery, sculpture and writing that fringe was applied to the garments of both men and women. It is believed that in its early usage there was no class distinction and that everyone wore fringe on their skirts and their shawls. As the civilization began to advance in textile technology, artisans were able to dye the fringe to create different color combinations and layer the fringe with different knot designs. Fringe design became so elaborate that individuals and families claimed different fringe designs as their emblem. On formal documents instead of using their family signature, the men would sometimes imprint their unique fringe design into the clay tablet as a signature.
Ever since then fringe has been a very popular decorative detailing for fashion and interiors. Fringe possibly made its biggest debut during the time on the old west when it was used in cowboy costume in leather. Fringe was also used frequently during the Classical Victorian era when the modesty of showing leg was even applied to the furnishings. They used fringe to cover the legs of chairs because the idea of an exposed leg was too risque. Now fringe can be seem just about anywhere. Next time you are looking for a little decorative addition to your interior think about finding a fringe design that is individualized enough to be your signature. Happy Monday.
February 25, 2011
I had the most amazing week because this past Wednesday I had a photoshoot with Michelle Adams and Patrick Cline from Lonny for the new Trad Home online magazine. My team and I prepared for a shoot the we always do; lots of food, sturdy shoes, and a clear schedule because our photoshoots usually take 12-14 hours. Not to mention the craze of all kind of photographers and assistants running around, we are sure to pack the Advil. But to our surprise we met Michelle and Patrick over at the house where they proceeded to calmly organize a small collection of equipment. We were expecting more help but it was just them and they began to quickly go through the house and plan the appropriate shots. The shoot was calm organized and dare I say…fun? And it took a quarter of the time it usually does and they were such joys to work with.
As you know, Lonny is the hottest and best online magazine out there right now, hands down. The Lonny team has basically revolutionized the way we get our design information and has sparked many more teams to try and do the same. But there is no one like Lonny – just check out their most recent 200 page magazine full of fabulous interiors and the latest design trends. The fact that we know the people behind the magazine are just as quality as the magazine they produce is even more reason for us to say, WE LOVE LONNY! And we are so looking forward to working with them more in the future as Trad Home begins and and as Lonny continues to dominate. We would like to say thank you to the beautiful and talented Michelle and Patrick for all of their support. I can’t wait to see the photos!
February 24, 2011
Consequences – Penelope Lively
“Booker and Whitbread prize–winner Lively begins her 14th novel, a multigenerational love story, in a London park in 1935, ends it nearly 70 years later after covering several lifetimes of love and heartbreak. The story starts when Lorna Bradley and Matt Faraday meet in St. James Park; they are instantly drawn to one another despite her upper-crust upbringing and Matt’s “tradesman” profession. After their marriage, they settle in the country where Matt works as an engraver and Lorna fulfills her domestic role as a wife and mother to their daughter, Molly. It is an idyllic situation until Matt is drafted and sent to Egypt, where he is killed in action. Lorna and young Molly relocate to London, and Lorna works with Matt’s friend Lucas at his small printing press. Predictably, Lucas and Lorna marry, but she dies giving birth to Simon. The narrative diverges as grown-up Molly finds employment as a library assistant and has an affair with a wealthy man who fathers her child, Ruth. Grown and with children of her own, Ruth’s curiosity about her ancestors sends her on a journey that brings the novel full circle. Lively (A Stitch in Time; Moon Tiger) has crafted a fine novel: intricate, heartbreaking and redemptive.”
- Publishers Weekly
Gould’s Book of Fish – Richard Flanagan
“Flanagan (The Sound of One Hand Clapping) has written a Tasmanian version of Rimbaud’s Season in Hell, a mesmerizing portrait of human abjection and sometimes elation set in a 19th-century Down Under penal colony. A small-time forger of antiques in contemporary Tasmania finds a mysterious illustrated manuscript that recounts in harrowing detail the rise and fall of a convict state on Sarah Island, off the Tasmanian coast, in the 1830s. The text is penned by William Gould, a forger and thief (and an actual 19th-century convict) shipped from England to a Tasmanian prison run as a private kingdom by the Commandant, a lunatic tyrant in a gold mask rumored to have been a convict himself. The prison world consists of a lower caste of convicts tormented with lengthy floggings, vile food and various mechanical torture devices by a small number of officers and officials. Gould finagles his way into the good graces of the island surgeon, Tobias Achilles Lempriere, a fat fanatic of natural science, who has Gould paint scientific illustrations of fish, with the goal of publishing the definitive ichthyological work on Sarah Island species. In Gould’s hands, however, the taxonomy of fish becomes his testimony to the bizarre perversion of Europe’s technology and art wrought by the Commandant’s mad ambitions. Civilization, in this inverted world, creates moral wilderness; science creates lies. Carefully crafted and allusive, this blazing portrait of Australia’s colonial past will surely spread Flanagan’s reputation among American readers”
- Publisher’s Weekly
Hunting Midnight – Richard Zimler
“Acts of cruelty and bigotry and a shocking betrayal propel thiscolorful if overstuffed historical novel by Zimler (The Last Kabbalistof Lisbon), set in 18th- and 19th-century Portugal. John Zarco Stewartis the son of a Scotsman and, through his mother, is descended fromconverted Jews called Marranos who have kept their identity a secretsince the Spanish Inquisition. John grows up in the city of Portounaware of his true heritage until a necromancer curses him when he isnine. In the same year, his best friend drowns before his eyes, and heis only comforted when his father returns from a trip to Africa with aBushman called Midnight, a healer and freed slave who teaches Johnmany things as he grows into manhood. But Midnight, too, meets aviolent end, and when John is 16, Napoleon’s armies invade Portugaland John’s father is killed defending Porto. Years after the war, Johndiscovers that his father, who he believed was a hero, had committedan unthinkable act of treachery. In attempting to atone for hisfather’s misdeed, John travels from Portugal to England thenantebellum America. Zimler packs his tale with exotic detail,describing Porto’s bird markets, plantation life in South Carolina andthe lives of Jews in hiding. Though his prose style is somewhat stiffas he attempts to echo 1800s speech patterns (” `Close your goddamnedsnout and run, you little mole!’ “) and many of the events in thestory are melodramatic, the narrative has a vintage flavor thatbecomes absorbing.”
- Publishers Weekly
Elizabeth Costello – J.M.Coetzee
“Even more uncompromising than usual, this latest novel by Coetzee (his first since 1999′s Booker Prize-winning Disgrace) blurs the bounds of fiction and nonfiction while furthering the author’s exploration of urgent moral and aesthetic questions. Elizabeth Costello, a fictional aging Australian novelist who gained fame for a Ulysses-inspired novel in the 1960s, reveals the workings of her still-formidable mind in a series of formal addresses she either attends or delivers herself (an award acceptance speech, a lecture on a cruise ship, a graduation speech). This ingenious structure allows Coetzee to circle around his protagonist, revealing her preoccupations and contradictions her relationships with her son, John, an academic, and her sister, Blanche, a missionary in Africa; her deep, almost fanatical concern with animal rights; her conflicted views on reason and realism; her grapplings with the human problems of sex and spirituality. The specters of the Holocaust and colonialism, of Greek mythology and Christian morality, and of Franz Kafka and the absurd haunt the novel, as Coetzee deftly weaves the intense contemplation of abstractions with the everyday life of an all-too-human body and mind. The struggle for self-expression comes to a wrenching climax when Elizabeth faces a final reckoning and finds herself at a loss for words. This is a novel of weighty ideas, concerned with what it means to be human and with the difficult and seductive task of making meaning. It is a resounding achievement by Coetzee and one that will linger with the reader long after its reverberating conclusion.”
- Publishers Weekly
February 23, 2011
There seems to be many spaces in a home that people neglect or forget about. In someof my previous posts I have tried to address some of the those spaces and today I have one more fore you; the hallway. Unless you are in a studio apartment then you most likely have a hall of some kind, even if it is small. No matter its size, the hallway is still a place to get adventurous with design and create something beautiful. Since there isn’t a lot of space in a hallway there are really one options you have; treating the wall surface. That still leaves many options for design like resurfacing with paint or paper, creating some kind built in, or applying something to the surface like a picture or sconce. If you have the room, built ins can be very beautiful and functional – especially if you are in a small space. It seems that people are always looking for storage and just the same way you keep your linen closet in the hallway, why not add an entire wall of storage that will enhance the beauty of the space. Sometimes people can fit in benches which look especially nice if there happens to be a window in the hallway. A built in bookcase is also a lovely addition to the hallway. If doing a built in isn’t an option consider resurfacing your wall with new paint or paper. You can even make the space look more architectural by applying some crown moulding form home depot – its simple and inexpensive. After you resurface the wall consider adding some finish details. For some reason the hallway has become the place for hiding framed pictures from all of the family reunions they have had since the 70′s. Listen, if you wouldn’t put the picture in the living room for all the world to see, then do you think it makes your cousin who comes one a year feel better to see the picture discretely positioned in the hallway on the way to the bathroom? Um, no. If you are trying to hide a picture in the hallway do everyone a favor and get rid of it, it won’t hurt anyone’s feelings. Replace it with some beautiful art. You walk through the hallway everyday, why not display something beautiful? You can also add some sconces or faux pilasters – get creative.
February 18, 2011
I have recently become more and more interested with Orientalism and the style Boho chic. It it very popular right now if you have seen the top fashion lines for spring. Many familiar interior designers and architects are also bringing the influence of Morocco and India into their work. The style is characterized by the use of natural materials and the integration of complex motifs and detailing. With that being said, I wanted to talk today about Kilim carpets and Rugs.
The name is Kilim is Turkish and “and comes from the Persian gelim ‘to spread roughly’, which is probably of Mongolian origin.” The construction of a Kilim is want makes them unique because their extremely delicate. They do not have a pile to protect the warp and weft and therefore are very rare because such few originals have remained over time.
I am not an expert with the technical terms if weaving, so I am going to let wiki do the talking: “Kilims are produced by tightly interweaving the warp and weft strands of the weave to produce a flat surface with no pile. Most kilim weaves are “weft-facing”, i.e., the horizontal weft strands are pulled tightly downward so that they hide the vertical warp strands. When the end of a color boundary is reached, the weft yarn is wound back from the boundary point. Thus, if the boundary of a field is a straight vertical line, a vertical slit forms between the two different color areas where they meet. For this reason, most kilims can be classed as “slit woven” textiles. The slits are beloved by collectors, as they produce very sharp-etched designs, emphasizing the geometry of the weave. Weaving strategies for avoiding slit formation, such as interlocking, produce a more blurred design image. The weft strands, which carry the visible design and color, are almost always wool, whereas the hidden warp strands can be either wool or cotton. The warp strands are only visible at the ends, where they emerge as the fringe. This fringe is usually tied in bunches, to ensure against loosening or unraveling of the weave.”
These rugs typically have a lighter coloration then those rugs that your see coming out of the east. The motif design is often geometric and almost tribal looking with a simple motif woven in around the border. It used to be that collectors prized pile carpets as opposed to Kilims but recently Kilims have become more desirable and can be very pricey. Of course like everything, if you want a Kilim imitation rug for cheap there are always places to find them. A kilim rug is definitely a unique alternative to the overused oriental rug. Consider purchasing one from your breakfast room or study.
February 17, 2011
TGIT – Thank goodness its Thursday! I always enjoy sharing coffee with you fine people.
Here is what’s on the reading this this week:
Poison - Kathryn Harrison
“Perhaps Harrison’s most signal achievement in this story of two doomed women is her reflection of their time and place: Spain in the 17thcentury, a sordid and barbarous era. Harrison (Exposure) is totally in command of her tragic narrative, which proceeds with the stately, mesmerizing pace of a pavane, stepping to one side to look behind, to the other to look ahead. Francesca Luarca, a humble silk farmer’s daughter, is arrested for witchery. Her story parallels that of Queen Maria Luisa, the French Bourbon princess married to the impotent king of Spain, whose inability to produce an heir to the throne condemns her to death as surely as imprisonment in the Inquisition’s prisons dooms Francesca. Francesca commits several sins: she begs a priest to teach her to read (a dangerous ambition for a woman); he also introduces her to carnal delights and impregnates her. Francesca is destroyed by passion, the queen-who is also called a witch by the jeering mob-by its complete absence. Hovering over everything is the ominous shadow of the Inquisition, fed by a greedy, corrupt church that plays on fears of devils and witches but forgives “sins” on the payment of hefty fines. Harrison weaves a marvelous tapestry of almost palpable details: people in Madrid wore enormous jeweled spectacles, “an enhancement to dignity rather than eyesight”; “the Spanish nobility’s desire for loftiness was so intense and so literal that aristocratic women balanced on stilts.” This is hardly an historical novel in its accepted sense, however, since Harrison pulls free of exact historical documentation. While richly imagined, the narrative is sometimes overwrought; being confined inside the heads of the poisoned, delirious queen and the peasant woman torn by the Inquisition’s rack is a feverish experience. This claustrophobic darkness, the unremitting misery of the story, may deter some readers. For others, it will be an illuminating portrait of a woman’s lot in an age poisoned by superstition and the church’s tyranny.”
- Publishers Weekly
Until I find you – John Irving
“Actor Jack Burns seeks a sense of identity and father figures while accommodating a host of overbearing and elaborately dysfunctional women in Irving’s latest sprawling novel (after The Fourth Hand). At the novel’s onset (in 1969), four-year-old Jack is dragged by his mother, Alice, a Toronto-based tattoo artist, on a year-long search throughout northern Europe for William Burns, Jack’s runaway father, a church organist and “ink addict.” Back in Toronto, Alice enrolls Jack at the all-girls school St. Hilda’s, where she mistakenly thinks he’ll be “safe among the girls”; he later transfers to Redding, an all-boy’s prep school in Maine. Jack survives a childhood remarkable for its relentless onslaught of sexual molestation at the hands of older girls and women to become a world-famous actor and Academy Award–winning screenwriter. Eventually, he retraces his childhood steps across Europe, in search of the truthabout his father—a quest that also emerges as a journey toward normalcy. Though the incessant, graphic sexual abuse becomes gratuitous, Irving handles the novel’s less seedy elements superbly: the earthy camaraderie of the tattoo parlors, the Hollywood glitz, Jack’s developing emotional authenticity, his discovery of a half-sister and a moving reunion with his father. ”
- Publishers Weekly
Sepulchre – Kate Mosse
“Contrivance, cliché and expository overkill overwhelm bestseller Mosse’s tale concerning a rare tarot deck that helps link the lives of two women living eras apart. In 1891, Parisian teenager Léonie Vernier and her brother visit their young aunt at an estate in southern France. After finding a startling account of her late uncle’s pursuit of the occult, Léoniescours the property for the tarot cards and Visigothtomb he describes, unaware that more tangible peril in the form of a murderous stalker is seeking to destroy her loved ones. Present-day biographer Meredith Martin is in France finishing a book and tracing her ancestry when she sees a reproduction of the same tarot, which bears her likeness. She investigates the connection when she, too, arrives at the estate, now a hotel in which a new battle between good and evil rages. Mosse (Labyrinth) conveys so much unnecessary information through so many static scenes of talk, reading and interior monologue that the book’s momentum stalls for good soon after its striking opening. Mosse’s fans will hope for a return to form next time.”
- Publishers Weekly
A Classical Journey: The Houses of Ken Tate – Ken Tate
“ Award-winning architect Ken Tate is widely recognized for his intuitive approach to traditional architecture. His houses come from a place of soul, as well as a deep understanding of human nature and the history of architecture. In this book, nine dwellings ranging in influence from Norman farmhouses, Spanish estancias, Mediterranean villas, and Federal and Greek Revival houses reveal the breadth of his skilll and imagination. While some of these offer faithful representations of historic styles, others marry elements from several periods to give the impression that they grew and changed over time. By using authentic materials including custom-quarried stone, antique wooden beams, and natural plaster, and employing traditional craftsmanship ranging from mortis-and-tendon carpentry to English milled paneling, tate creates houses that seem to have been lived in and loved for generations. Among the houses featured in this book is a compoubd in Nashville, Tennesse, including a Georgian house with colonial Revival details, a fieldstone barn, and a Federal bedroom wing, which together create an illusion that the house was built over a two-hundred-year period.A creole-style plantation house with a Federal interior in New Orleans explores the range of styles favored in the region from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. In contrast, a Federal style house atop a hill in the Kentucky horse country faithfully expresses the early-nineteenth-century’s fascination with Palladian symmetry and elegance. In a Gulf Coast house, Tate also plays homage to Palladio, marrying the plan of a seventeenth-century villa with the airy style of West Indian plantations.”
- Book Description
February 16, 2011
February 14, 2011
How can anyone refuse the charming pastoral scenes of Toile de Jouy? During the 16th century, toile was the hottest textile around. After a 75 year ban on cotton (because of all of the importing of cotton from India and the far east, the silk and wool merchants demanded that no cotton products be sold) cotton reemerged in France as practically a new good. Toile de Jouy literally refers to “Jouy en Jonas” or cloth from the city of Jonas, where toile was originally manufactured in France.
I am sure all of you have seen toile, but in case this is your first encounter, toile is characterized by complex pastoral scenes being printed onto a white or off white fabric using one color for the print. The color range is fairly limited to blues, back, mauve, and sometimes red and green. The scenes often show landscape and usually contain people performing different activities like picnicking in the park, or guiding horses down a trail. The print design is definitely inspired by the chinoiserie textiles and good that were being imported by the East India Trading company. Many of the far east goods showed small scenes of Chinese houses and landscapes in the same fashion, and were recreated by the artists of Europe in the form of toile, among other goods.
Toile used to be used strictly on fabrics, but just like most things, toile has been reinvented in the current times to have many more functions. Not only can you find toile as a wall covering, but toile is even being brought into clothing and fashion, which is something you would have never seen in the 16th century. The monochromatic rule of toile has also been broken, and not only do the contemporary patterns feature many more colors, the scale and range of scenes being depicting has greatly expanded. Toile had a contemporary revival in about 2000, and I think it is here to stay. People cannot resist the nostalgic scenes and sense that toile brings to a space. Try thinking of unconventional ways to use toile in your home and it will always be a pleasant surprise.
February 11, 2011
Hey Everyone -
Just wanted to let you know that today we did a wonderful guest post for one of our favorite blogs, Visual Vamp.
Whether you read our post of not you should definitely check out the site because it is jam packed with great design inspiration from interiors to fashion.
We are so flattered to be able to be a part of VV. Thanks Valorie!
February 10, 2011
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It’s that day of the week again and I have some great books that I think you are going to love. Happy Thursday!
Alfred and Emily – Doris Lessing
“The first book after Doris’ Nobel Prize takes her back to her childhood in Southern Africa and the lives, both fictional and factual, that her parents lead. ‘I think my father’s rage at the trenches took me over, when I was very young, and has never left me. Do children feel their parents’ emotions? Yes, we do, and it is a legacy I could have done without. What is the use of it? It is as if that old war is in my own memory, my own consciousness.’ In this extraordinary book, the new Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing explores the lives of her parents, both of them irrevocably damaged by the Great War. Her father wanted the simple life of an English farmer, but shrapnel almost killed him in the trenches, and thereafter he had to wear a wooden leg. Her mother Emily’s great love was a doctor, who drowned in the Channel, and she spent the war nursing the wounded in the Royal Free Hospital. In the first half of this book, Doris Lessing imagines the lives her parents might have made for themselves had there been no war at all, a story that has them meeting at a village cricket match outside Colchester as children but leading separate lives. This is followed by a piercing examination of their lives as they actually came to be in the shadow of that war, their move to Rhodesia, a damaged couple squatting over Doris’s childhood in a strange land. ‘Here I still am,’ says Doris Lessing, ‘trying to get out from under that monstrous legacy, trying to get free.’ With the publication of Alfred and Emily she has done just that.”
- Product Description
Hotel Du Lac – Anita Brookner
“In the novel that won her the Booker Prize and established her international reputation, Anita Brookner finds a new vocabulary for framing the eternal question “Why love?” It tells the story of Edith Hope, who writes romance novels under a psudonym. When her life begins to resemble the plots of her own novels, however, Edith flees to Switzerland, where the quiet luxury of the Hotel du Lac promises to resore her to her senses.
But instead of peace and rest, Edith finds herself sequestered at the hotel with an assortment of love’s casualties and exiles. She also attracts the attention of a worldly man determined to release her unused capacity for mischief and pleasure. Beautifully observed, witheringly funny, Hotel du Lac is Brookner at her most stylish and potently subversive.”
- Product Description
A Much Married Man – Nicholas Coleridge
“Britain’s moneyed upper crust comes in for a slapstick razzing in this class-skewering 10th book (after novels Godchildren and Streetsmart) by Condé Nast U.K. managing director Coleridge. The titular much-married man is Anthony Anscombe, the thoroughly decent but naïvely innocent scion of a private English merchant bank family, who also happens to be a country squire responsible for the well-being of a picturesque village and 2,000 acres of “magical” land to which his family has held title for 370 years. The eccentric locals love Anthony, and Anthony loves haplessly: over four decades, he marries three unsuitable women, sires five children and shepherds five stepchildren through turbulent upbringings. Aside from his bank duties, which provide ample fodder for Coleridge’s wry satire, Anthony is called upon to undertake a load of unpleasant chores, such as confronting his philandering father-in-law at the latter’s “floating lovenest” and defending his rapist stepson, Morad. Throughout, Anthony remains the epitome of a gentleman, unfailingly patient with the demanding women in his life (the first a diva waif, the second a priggish homebody and the third a monstrous money-grubber). This well-informed comedy of stiff-upper-lip manners reads, charmingly, as if sprung from a writerly union between Iris Murdoch at the high end and Harold Robbins at the low. (June) ”
- Publishers Weekly
Michael Taylor: Interior Design – Stephen M. Salny
“Michael Taylor was a California-focused interior designer, who created “California Style,” and made it popular outside of the state. This retrospective of 46 of his projects is organized by house, starting in 1956 and going to 1985. The introduction also includes pictures from Taylor’s own home, Sea Cliff in San Francisco, the Fleur de Lys restaurant in San Francisco and the Auberge du Soleil resort in Napa Valley. The book is in full color, with many full page illustrations and commentary about all. There are many interesting asides about Taylor and his clients, making this more than just a retrospective of his work, but also one on the relationships he developed with each of his clients. Some of the older photographs are not as crisp as the more modern ones, but the coverage of the houses is superb, and the decoration that Taylor pioneered is excellent. Seeing the design work done chronologically also allows the ability to see how Taylor evolved as a designer, and how popular taste changed as well. Recommended for professional and amateur designers, and anyone who enjoys home touring.”
- Sacramento Book Review