Monday, May 30, 2011

Elle Decor Modern Showhouse: Study By Sara Story

I must confess I found the study by Sara Story to be weak. The Venetian plaster walls and ceiling were stunning with the addition of the decorative paint details but I found the space to be under utilized and therefore not at all a study. 

The main space had a daybed with occasional tables around it and the closet in the room was made in to a nook to do makeup...or serve drinks...sort of; which I'll explain soon. 

There was nothing functional to convey this was a study. The daybed made it feel like was designed for occasional guests to sleep over but there was nothing functioning to hold or place 'study' type things like bookcases/etageres etc. for books, files and no workspace for a laptop. 

There was a desk in the closet but it was styled for doing makeup, well it had a small mirror but then it also had a tray with aperitif crystal glasses and what looked like a decorative dispensor. As odd as the styling was, it was not at all suitable for doing makeup (inadequate uplight...and red paint in the closet).

The room seemed it should be off of an ensuite bathroom or closet.

There was also the drapery which made the room unbalanced. They were beautiful lined golden dupioni silk but the left side of the room had them wrapping around a bulkhead, so at least 3 panels wide; however they were not meant to be closed. Then on the right side there was one panel which was not to be closed. 

Although the study had some really beautiful elements it fell short on meeting the design requirements. The other rooms in the apartment where cohesive and displayed a personality type that was very much *not* like the person Sara created the study for. So I was disappointed with the study.

However, do not take my word for it. Below are photos I took so you can decide for yourself. Please, let us know your thoughts! Yes, I'm *that* close to begging for comments ;)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Even the Best Make Mistakes - Albert Hadley

Very few admit it. Albert Hadley is one of the few who very freely admits it when he hasn't achieved his design goals. 

While being interviewed by Christopher Mason for the NY Times Hadley motioned to the concrete walls of his own Upper East Side apartment and commented:

One of the first projects Hadley worked with Sister Parish on was for the Bronfman's. It was to be a true Sis Parish design with lots of Chintz until, that is, the Bronfmans vacationed in Mexico. They sent a telegram to the Parish-Hadley firm with the message: "Stop all work. We want a floating apartment." Now this apartment was at 740 Park Avenue:

It wasn't working, until Parish sourced eighteenth century furniture for the space: 

“The chairs became like sculptures, and it was fantastic. That was a big turning point in Sis’s thought process. It was a challenge. I could never have done what I did without Sis. And she couldn’t have done what she did without me.”
Another project that had a mis-step Hadley recalls with humour was at another Park Avenue apartment. The drawing room had a Regence chandelier with real candles. At a glamorous party thrown to 'inagurate' the room:
“the air-conditioning was going full blast and the candles spilled all over the guests,” Hadley recalls, “and that was the end of that.”

Source: via Dane on Pinterest

I've made mistakes myself. The worst to date which Steve will never let me live down was a chair rail I painted in an old apartment. The walls where painted eggplant when I moved in and the chair rail was a dull creamy colour. I wanted colour! I loved lime green with eggplant so I went out and got a can of what I thought would bring a hit of colour to the space. 

Now, lime green is much like yellow when you paint it on the walls:  it is amplified 100 times and I was mortified. My hit of lime turned out to be  neon bright. I know now what I did wrong...but I had no idea at the time what was wrong with the colour I'd chosen.  

What is your worst design mistake?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Antiquing Finds & Tea with Barbara Barry

I'm so excited to share a couple of the items I found when I stopped in to a (new to me) local Antique Shop, Harvest Antiques in Hampton, Otario. They have 18,000 square feet of antiques spread out over 2 barns (2 floors each) as well as another building with the 'girly' stuff and chandeliers.

I usually try to avoid Antiquing because it can become very expensive for me...very quickly.

But I was good today and behaved ;) 

I'm head over heels in love with the tea cup and saucer I found. They are marked Bell Fine Bone China England. The deets I've found: they where made in Staffordshire by Shore & Coggins of Longton, who also produced the Queen Anne Mark, who produced from 1911 to 1966. The mark on the bottom of my sweet new set predates the mark in use from 1936-1966. But what I love about them is the pink coral pattern and doily edging. 

How cute is that pattern?!

My second find is the interesting plate under my tea set. Again, I love the pattern. It is so unique. I don't know if it is for decorative purposes only but that's ok. I'm planning on using it for display. 

The deets on the plate:
Mark is 'Ridgways England, Royal Semi Porcelain' which was manufactured by Bedford Works, Shelton, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent (my guess this is somewhere in England). The date for the mark as it is on my plate was used from 1912 on...till I don't know when.

Isn't the pattern great?! I love the black and white graphic used in combination with the illustrations of India. The photo doesn't do justice to the pink sky. 

I enjoyed a cup of licorice spice herbal tea as I worked on this post. I'm going to have to get myself a box of Barbara Barry's new tisane (an herbal tea) Citrine which she created for Tea Leaves. I was fortunate enough to enjoy a cup of Citrine with Ms. Barry when I was in NYC for BlogFest2011. Citrine is outstanding!

My camera battery died just as I met Ms. Barry so I couldn't get a photo although another designer was kind enough to take one for me. Just as soon as I get a copy of it I'll get it up. Till'll have to take my word for it ;)

Chinatown New York

When I was in NYC for BlogFest2011 I had some time to wander around in Chinatown. I had on my personal agenda to get me some yummy Vietnamese for lunch. Success on that!

I had a terrific meal at Xe Lửa a Vietnamese restaurant on Mulberry Street, just south of Canal.

I had a street side seat to people watch. You can't see me in the photo but you can see where I sat devouring my food :)

I had the Barbecue Pork on Rice Vermicelli and it was HEAVEN!

On another stroll through Chinatown I noticed a small lighting store with adorable rice paper lanterns. If I had room in my luggage I'd have brought these and more home with me!

I can't wait to go back to NYC. Steve and I are hoping we to get there some time in the next 2 months. Fingers crossed!

Where do you like to go for a stroll and light lunch in NYC?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Elle Decor Showhouse: Designer's Sketches

Marie Turner's Master Suite:

Aurelien Gallet's Master Suite:

I've an interesting story behind the art Aurelien selected and will dedicate a post to it.

Sara Story:

The other rooms I have sketches, by the designers, I could not get over all photos of because the rooms where so crowded. I do have some nice detail shots so if you'd like to see them let me know.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Elle Decor Modern Showhouse Beneficiary: Housing Works

Housing Works, the beneficiary of Elle Decor's The Modern Concept Showhouse, is a wonderful organization. Their Motto says it better than I could:
Housing Works is a healing community of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Our mission is to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy, the provision of lifesaving services, and entrepreneurial businesses that sustain our efforts.
I was in the Gramercy Housing Works Thrift Shop on the Saturday before Kravet's BlogFest2011...I'd won a pair of never worn Chanel kitten heel pumps in blush and pink
through their on-line auction...and was so inspired by the work accomplished by the volunteers that I donated $120. I also picked up my Chanel's; I'd won them for $93! In case you don't follow pricing on vintage designer shoes: used Chanel's go for about $200. So my winning bid for New vintage Chanel pumps...was a huge score!

Unfortunately they are a little too wide for me :( but it was for a good cause. I'll likely use them in my dressing room as a display...with the Cole Haan Clutch I found in a basket of small clutches in the shop!

Yes I do have a new DSLR but iPhones are uber convenient!
Clutch was $15 - craziness I tell you! I also got a gold suede Coach wristlette...envious yet?!

The rug you see under the shoes/clutch is a wool Madeliene Wienrib I picked up from ABC Carpets. I love the unique print and the colours are perfect.

You can shop Housing Works online...they offer everything under the sun as well as auction items.

BTW, the furniture you can find in their Thrift Shops is unbelievable. Don't believe me? Take a look at the window display the day I was there:

Prices are out of this a good way!

If you have the opportunity to stop in to a Housing Works take it because stock changes daily. Greater NYC has 13 locations; 10 of which are in Manhattan.

Please share what you find with me. I'd love to see your purchases and will blog your fab style! Because as you know, the find is exhilarating but it is in the gushing of others that you truly get to revel in your greatness!

A few more photos I took while in the Gramercy shop:

Raul, at the Gramercy shop taking my donation. He was as thrilled with my Chanel pumps and Cole Haan clutch find as I was. Very lovable guy!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Oh The People You Will Meet: Day 1 of BlogFest2011

Without a doubt what made the Kravet - Lee Jofa BlogFest2011 event for me was the people in the design industry who I was fortunate enough to get to chat with. 

Highlights of Day 1 for me were:
Scot Meacham Wood
Scot Meacham Wood with Kravet's Jennifer Powell

I had the opportunity to chat with Scot a couple of times. He is so fun loving and easy going. Add to that his unbelievably diverse design talent and you've got one fabulous package! Scot was attending BlogFest2011 with us but I've got him on this list of Design Talent.

Karen Marx
Elle Decor's Karen Marx with Jennifer Powell
I hit the jackpot at Elle Decor's Modern Life Concept House. Editors, designers...I got some quality time with them all! I took the photo with Karen Marx from Elle Decor while we were chatting in the Office designed by Oliver M. Furth. We were loving the details of the room. To find out what those details are you'll have to come back and read my It's in the Details post. ;)

Marie Turner
Marie Turner in the Master Suite she designed
Marie Turner did an incredible job with the Master Suite in the first apartment at Elle Decor's Modern Life Concept House. The suite included the en-suite bath, walk-in closet as well as the bedroom. I could have moved in instantly! Turns out not only is Marie beautiful but also a very lovely woman who was excited to share her sources for the room. I was stunned when she told me she was only 26 years old. We will be seeing much more of Marie's work in the future as she is a very bright star in the the design universe.

Future post, It's in the Details, is where I will give you insight in to the rooms at The Modern Life Concept House...stay tuned for the deets on Marie's Master Suite!

Aurélien Gallet
Aurelien Gallet
Aurélien Gallet, formally trained as an Art Appraiser is originally from France. He came to the USA about 8 years ago. Aurélien has over seen huge projects around the world working for 2 of NYC's top interior designers, Juan Pablo Molyneux and Robert Couturier before finally deciding in the last year it was time to strike out on his own. He's already got 3 Showhouses (Elle Decor's The Modern Living Show house, Kips Bay Show House and he is the Hampton Designer Showhouse in Southampton! He's also on Elle Decor's 5 Designers to Watch list.

Aurélien has no fear of stepping out of the box. With The Modern Show House he was limited in what he could do with the existing features of the Master Suite. To compensate for the inability to rework the space he had the walls upholstered in velvet (Lelievre Paris' Yeti in Truffe & Trianon in Blue) to create a feminine cocoon. Ideally, he would have moved/removed walls.

I've got some insight to the unique selections of art and antiques Aurélien used so stay tuned to my It's in the Details post where I'll reveal Aurélien's inspiration and thought provoking selections! 

It was a pleasure chatting with him but because he was shy about having his photo taken...I forgot to sneak one when he was not expecting it. P.S. Fabulous french accent, funny and tall, Aurelien Gallet is one hot commodity...err, designer. =)

That's just the first day of the people I met!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Delta's Amazing In2ition

I recently helped a Realtor with a listing she had in Cabbagetown which is a beautiful area in Toronto full of Victorian homes. The listing I worked on was stunning...if you could see past the Funeral Parlor look and feel of the previous owner. 

There was some work to be done prior to listing...ok there was LOTS of work to be done but I had a limited budget of $10,000 to do the repairs, minor updates, paint 2/3 of the home as well as stage it with rental furniture. 

The listing went extremely well...I'm told the house looked fabulous...and it sold for hundreds of thousands more than it was listed for. Yes, the house sold, firm, in six days setting a record for the neighbourhood. Yay me! 

Some simple updates to the house created the buzz. The have to be show stoppers! Lighting is the first thing I always change. Not all the fixtures but 2 or three key pieces. 

I find one of the most overlooked updates are the faucets and Delta Faucets makes my favorite uber functional kitchen faucet, the Pilar H2O Touch. 

For this house I also updated the shower with a new shower head. The bathroom had been renovated and was nice but not one that would make you WANT to use the shower. It had a plain old shower I put in Delta's In2Ition. You won't believe this: you simply replace your existing shower head with the In2Ition...and you get a 2-in-1 head and hand held:

If you are looking for easy, WOW, updates I recommend you seriously look at Delta's Pilar and In2Ition. You'll be glad you did! The Pilar kitchen faucet and the In2ition are available at retail showrooms as well as plumbing showrooms.

Kravet's Blogfest2011 1st Post....

I returned home from NYC and Blogfest2011 last night. I have over 500 photos (after deleting  blurry/redundant/unflattering shots). I was going to watermark before posting them on Picasa but I think I'll simply upload and trust in receiving link love...and I must say, the bloggers I just spent the last 4/5 days with are amazing at sharing the love!

*Update: Day 1 of BlogFest2011 is now available: 

Everyone I met was warm, open and enthusiastic. We were over the top excited about all the plans Kravet had for us and just as enthused to be sharing it with like minded design bloggers. We all left BlogFest2011 with at least 100 potential blog posts and I for one can't wait to read my fellow blogger's posts recapping the week in NYC.

This particular post of mine has no 'subject' per say. It is simply a Thank You to Beth Kimless Greene of Kravet who conceived, laboured and birthed Blogfest2011 and to thank the Kravet Family who where with us each and every day to share their experience and knowledge of the design elite in North America. 

Beth along with Jeniffer Powell blew us away with the agenda they set for us. I will be posting for the next...who knows how long about the wonderful and professionally rewarding week I had in NYC.

BlogFest2011 House Beautiful Luncheon

Monday, May 16, 2011

Live Today @ Hearst Tower

This Decorator/Design Blogger is Live in NYC @ Hearst Tower. You can tune in by clicking the banner below: 

Be there with me mes p'tit Chous


Thursday, May 5, 2011

I was in the city today to get my hair 'done'. When I walked outside after the appointment I will freely admit I looked Fierce. Totally hot hair. Don't you love how a great cut an make you feel good about yourself. Or is that just me?

I walked out of the salon like this:

Unfortunately I had to go pick up The Girl after school and it was really very windy out. As she was running up to me she, outside the school, she horror: 'What did you do to your hair?!'. 

So I got this amazing haircut but the family (and neighbours as well as their kids, cats and dogs) saw this:

Source: via Dane on Pinterest

Will I *never* get a break? 

P.S. I've been in a funk the past couple of weeks. It always happens when I'm between jobs.