Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Master

I've been thinking about this quote for awhile now. . . and I'd say Steve pretty much says it all about what we want to achieve in our homes as much as it does about the most amazing (huge apple fan here) company ever.  As much as a beautiful room creates a sense of comfort and stability in our lives,  if the elements in it don't function as well as they could, then the point is missed.  How often have you sat yourself in a super comfy chair, put on your favorite music and realize for the millionth time that there is nowhere close to set down your coffee cup? Or the bedside table you have slept next to for years is just fine to hold the reading lamp, but why are all your books and mags on the floor?          

image from House Beautiful

Although I love love the color scheme and the cottagey feel in this bedroom, the end table, although a great style in itself, looks good but doesn't seem functional. I'm picturing a bigger table with just a bit more room for a few good reads or a cup of tea.  

image from House Beautiful

This table, similar in style, is in better proportion to the scale of the bed. It serves to hold some of the necessary luxuries nice to have on hand and is pretty to look at at the same time.   Design and Function.

In the shop now:  a beautifully shaped & graceful console table.  Too pretty for behind the sofa . . .  use it as a bedroom desk, or reserve it as an elegant table for coffee with a friend.  

I have to keep revisiting my own spaces at home as the family lifestyle changes as well as the furniture plan.  What is this space best used for now, and how can I make it work well and look great at the same time?  Maybe adding the one thing that I've been meaning to for years . . . 

What do you think?


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Young Designers

Young Dylan image by Jillanne Chimento

Last night I attended an incredible design show. . . not one on a runway or on Madison Avenue, but at my youngest daughter's Senior Show at Monmouth University.  The class of 2011 has produced an array of multi-talented graphic designers whose work just blew me away.  Everything from complete book design to conceptual posters, digital collage, package design, motion graphics, 3D animation and photography.  These kids have come such a long way from the days when graphic design was as simple as typeset and cut & paste.  I'm still in awe at the level of technical expertise it takes to just understand Illustrator, Photoshop & inDesign, no less be able to use it so proficiently.

Here's Jillanne with her classmate Jess . . .

Not only has the face of  advertising and marketing been profoundly changed by technology, but the days of using Luma Dyes and rice paper to hand paint textile designs is now almost pre-historic, and so the home decor industry reflects that as well.  Everything from tabletop to fabric to interior room design been replaced almost entirely by computer generated imagery. Not saying that's a bad thing at all . . . just a new and more efficient way to produce more goods, generate more creative output and market more industry than ever before.  A big shout out to this year's graduating class, and a wish for creative and rewarding work for all of them!

Best buds!

Here's a look at some fresh fabric from the latest crop of young textile designers. . . 
image from Ann Granlund
image from Ink And Spindle
image Christian Zuzunaga for Tate

Stop by the shop soon to see some of our latest colors and designs in pillows just waiting for your beds, chairs and sofas . . .

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


It's funny how a certain pattern on fabric or wallpaper can evoke emotion.  Sometimes it reminds us of people or favorite rooms from the past.  Other times a print can bring us toward a new design direction in our homes, or simply be a springboard for a different color scheme.  We are in love with this new Ralph Lauren fabric, a great floral with a vintagy feeling (from Calico Corners) which soon will be covering the seat cushion of this comfy natural wicker chair in the shop.  Pic update on the chair when it's done!


Fabric can do so much to change out the look of a sofa, bed or table.  The possibilities are endless and the great new fabric designs are fresh and bright for spring.  Whether it's organic botanicals (my own personal favorite right now), stripes, vintageflorals or retro inspired designs, there are tons of choices out there to give something in your home a new look.

image Mood Fabrics, NYC

Interior Garden
image Kim Parker Home

This really beautiful bedding line was done by textile artist turned designer Kim Parker.  Her paintings alone are so inspiring, and now they have been adapted to everything from fabric and rugs to linens and tabletop in her Kim Parker Home line. In her book Kim Parker Home: A Life in Design, Parker shares her creative inspirations and techniques for combining flea market finds with her fabric designs.  The stunning photographs in this one are worth the look!  

Great graphic and color on this pillow . . . more in the shop now. 

Coming this week to the shop . . .  a group of new handmade vintage pillows in whites and creams from a pillowmaker in MA.  Stop in before they're gone!

Have a creative day!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring Color

We thought it would never arrive but the signs are all there: kids (and dogs) playing outside, people without coats, windows open, and here and there a crocus popping through . . . SPRING is finally here.  Long awaited and I have never been more ready.  I'm taking one day (today) to just enjoy that fact before beginning the transition of switching out the winter clothes to the spring ones, washing the windows which look like they have 10 years worth of salt and water spots on them, re-organizing absolutely everything in the house, and finally getting to the garden pruning which I should have done in the fall.  That should take about a good four weeks.  By then, it might be warm enough to sit outside on the porch with Jackson for awhile and just listen to the birds.  He misses that as much as I do.

Spring always reminds us of welcome color . . . the bright and clear greens of leafing buds & grass, soft whites, luscious pinks and yellows.  Nothing can give you a lift after a long white winter as new color in fashion, or, in your home .  Just so happens that the Top 10 Spring 2011 Pantene Color Forecast in fashion is also the same for home interiors.  These beautiful shades will spring you up just by hearing their names!  Honeysuckle. Regatta. Coral Rose. Beeswax. Peapod. Blue Curacao. Russet. Silver Peony. Lavender. Silver Cloud.

                                                                 Image from Trendland.net
Whether it's fresh paint on the walls or a front door, a few new pots for the porch, or a great new dress, now's the time to add some color to your life! 

Image from Elle Decor

 Bright color accents in the Shop right now . . . 
 Fuschia Glass Vase
SWP $15

Painted Color Panes
                                     SWP $50

Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Southern Comfort

Yesterday the UPS truck pulled up in front of the shop.  I don't know about you, but whenever I see that big brown slowing down anywhere near my home, there is usually a moment of excitement . . . what's he got there? is it something I ordered and forgot I ordered, or, is it another book delivery for my husband (please NO), maybe an unexpected gift (rarely). But usually whatever he brings is a good thing.  Today it was a very good very nice thing.  Sent long-distance (by a never-even-met-in-person-yet friend),  a  h..u...g...e box arrived with what is commonly known in the Great South as a KING CAKE.   What might you ask is a King Cake?   Apparently it is a tradition which goes as far back as the Three Kings to celebrate The Epiphany, Little Christmas or the Twelfth Night.  Today, the residents of Louisiana, and the Missisippi & Alabama Gulf Coast  perpetuate that celebration by holding continued festivities starting the 12th day after Christmas,  continuing on until the Tuesday before Lent.  In the South, Mardi Gras Day.  I've never tasted a KING Cake but it looks yummy, so thank you Karen from Mississippi and Paul's Pastry Shop www.paulspastry.com. . . you've brought a bit of the old South to a little shop in the Northeast!

Some great spring color palettes . . . from the South.  

Image from Southern Living
Love these organic elements.

Image from Southern Living
Warm grays and white pop with some green for spring!

In the shop NOW
 Pair of Leather & Chrome Dinner chairs at $140. 

Image from Apartment Therapy
Which look amazingly like these Giovanni Carini Dinner Chairs. 

Top o' the Morning to you all,

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Work Table

I was in my studio most of the afternoon yesterday, and it's gradually looking more like a workshop than an art space. . . but that's ok.  Something told me that it was right.   It was at the same time peaceful and energetic, if that makes any sense.   Ideas were running rampant, a few projects were attended to in stages, but, the huge wood table was in the center of it all.  Built by my Dad for our family dinners, the table had served not only food but also as a meeting place for all 5 of us kids at the end of the day.  Games were played on it.  Homework and projects were done.  Birthday and holiday celebrations began and ended there.  As I worked today,  not only the table, but the old wood clamps, his clamps . . .and the saw, his saw. . . and the levels, his levels,  were surrounding me, and it felt good.  Comforting.  It's nice to know that as I work here now, his time spent with me in his little shop so long ago still brings me close to him.

This beautiful vintage chair belonged to someone's grandmother, and is getting ready for an update with a new fabric seat and some sanding on the arms and legs.  Yes, it's got a little wear on the arms, but that's what makes it so full of character and interest.  We'll let you see it when it's finished. 

Speaking of tables, this one is a consigned piece from a wonderful Victorian home in Englewood. Won a design award from the Chicago Art Institute in the 70's, and is a really good example of mixing the elements of tradition with contemporary styling.  Deep black glass top, shiny chrome edging and black cambriole legs.  It was packed and stored for a few years, so it has retained it's just about perfect condition.  Special thanks to Bobby & Michael for re- assembling  this one for us.  Come in and check it out when you have a few minutes. 

Enjoy your day!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Spring is trying so hard to make an appearance here in the northeast.  As I walk in the mornings I see the buds of crocus and daffodil peeking their heads through the groundline, and every once in awhile by mid day the temp rises to about 50 or so.  If it feels like spring, it must be coming right?  One more hour of light at the end of the day is so welcome now, after a long long winter season.  I'm so anxious to get out in the garden again and make new friends with the fresh "buds" soon to emerge.  But in the meantime, there is always the beautiful selection of flowers from your local market or florist, just to get you in the mood.  A simple bunch of tulips in a glass jar can go a long way to bring back the feeling of warmer weather and living outside once again. So treat yourself and go get some!

This beautiful bouquet was sent to us at the shop by Clare, courtesy of The Empty Vase in Closter.  Aren't they gorgeous?

A few pots and gardeny things in the shop right now. . . 

Small Bird Dish (or maybe chocolate egg dish)?
SWP $10

Pottery Barn Vase 18"
Fill it with Forsythia
SWP $30

Yellow Ceramic Pot (Big)
Would look amazing filled with Forget-Me-Nots.
SWP $25

Have a great Sunday . . .

Friday, March 11, 2011

Putting Things Together

Sometimes, when you are starting a project, or thinking about a solution, the end result just does not appear clear. You weigh your options and try different approaches.  You put pieces together and layer one thought over the other.  You overthink and go into overload.  My good friend (and amazing artist) Max once told me that confusion is the step before clarity.  How true those words are.  There is nothing better than a vision revealing itself after days, weeks,  sometimes months of planning and re-working.  Like the pieces of a puzzle, the strokes of a painting, or a list of recipie ingredients, all the little parts start to fit together, and begin to make sense.  Euphoria sets in and wow it worked!   That's when you step back and thank God for His many blessings.  That's what Mary & I will do today.

Thanks to all of you who stopped by today.  A special thank you to Tricia for the Corvo.  So nice.   We enjoyed meeting you and celebrating!!!  Tomorrow is our first full day of business . . .whew.  Love you all!

Have a wonderful evening,