Monday, September 1, 2008

Hard Labor Day.


In honor of Labor Day, I am, in fact, laboring insteading of barbequing/going to the beach/drinking. Luckily, I'm enjoying the project I'm working on so it's not really work to me....did you believe that? I didn't. Anyworkaholic, I've been meaning to post this killer Cooper's Draftsman Stool from Wisteria since forever, so now I'm finally doing it. I want to buy these in bulk and put them everywhere I can put seating...and by bulk I mean 4, since my place is tiny. If you have a dining table-use them with that. If you have a corner that needs a cool stool-use them there. If you have an outdoor space-use them in that space. In short, buy these and use them. If you're wondering why I'm so weird about these stools it's because a) I'm a designer and this is the old fashioned draftsman stool...obviously b) I have more than just a passing crush on anything industrial looking and c) it's pretty cheap for something so awesome. Because I love these so much, I am adding them to my faux wedding registry.


Happy Labor Day-throw down a brat and a Bud for me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Success?: How to measure a restaurant by its design

The goals of great design are many and varied and in restaurant design a great many variables go into enhancing the dining experience on any given night, for any occasion, and for every last guest. While one attribute cannot possibly ensure the success of the experience-it is most certainly a team effort- the colors, textures and materials- are critical to the diner’s initial perception up until they receive their check. What is most fascinating about restaurant design as compared to other fields of design, is that you are not designing for a single person, or a family, or a company, but rather, you are designing for an intended audience, one whom you do not know personally and even after exhaustive research, may not successfully reach. So restaurant design is not only design but it is marketing as well. The color, texture and material choices made are the advertisement, so how do you know that you’ve landed the “hook”? The following restaurants-Kress, Tanzore, Blue Velvet, Takami and Cut-have their own ideas on how to “advertise”, but are they successful? Success is defined in many ways, but often, the most important for an investor or owner is filling those seats every night. Success in this critique will be tied strictly to how well the elements-color, texture and material-execute the intended concept.

Kress, in no uncertain terms, has failed. This failure is particularly offensive because this restaurant/bar/club underwent an enormously expensive $25 million historical restoration and for what? To be the hot spot of the minute in Hollywood. The opportunity for success was wide open and ready to be had, but instead, it ends up looking like a rush job with too many opinions at the design meeting. Unfortunately, it seems all these opinions were executed to their fullest extent with nary a thought on how they would, or if they even could, harmonize. For starters, I’m fairly certain that every shade in Benjamin Moore’s “red” group was used. In other obvious words, there were too many shades doing too many things and none of them were the right thing. The deco/Asian/baroque/California contemporary styles were not the “eclectic” mix that was so obviously desired. Honestly, every person off the street claims their style is eclectic, which is basically just a code word for putting everything you like in one room and feeling really smug about how “creative” you are. Faux animal fur pillows in a purple space age capsule? A jarring plunge from the dining room of many reds to an underground lair of lavender? Rustic hardwood flooring paired with gilded tin ceiling tiles? Poorly made gold vinyl tufted booths with a clear view into their unfinished backs? Don’t even get me started on the unpainted cinderblock walls upstairs. And yes, this is all in one establishment. I sincerely hope this venue lands squarely in the 90% of restaurants that don’t make it within the first year.

Clear on the other end of the spectrum of design success is the Indian restaurant, Tanzore. With a budget of approximately $1.5-2 million, this renovation is outstanding from its conceptual delivery to its execution. An intoxicating mix of bright colors-deep turquoise, magenta, oranges and greens-mix beautifully and playfully with rich natural materials like warm wood slated ceilings, artfully mixed custom concrete floors and creamy Ceasarstone counters. Detailed nooks boast custom images and patterns or inviting display shelves and even the banquettes are original in design, with thoughtfully finished veneered wood backs. The bar at the entrance of the restaurant packs in every characteristic of the concept without leaving the patron overwhelmed. The difference in bar areas at the Kress and at Tanzore are a microcosim for the overall design. Tanzore carefully mixes a striking custom print on the back wall of the bar with subtle, yet rich, creamy stone countertops, a sophisticated horizontal wood slated bar fa├žade and alternately a glossy drop ceiling fixture and slated wood ceilings. Kress choose to kill an ant with an elephant gun, which is to say that they used a few too many bright, bold, and frankly, ugly in their own right, patterns along with mirrored surfaces, overly tiled mosaic columns and those awkward rustic wood floors again. Tanzore continued its focused design down to the very smallest details, which include a custom designed menu with a similar custom pattern as the bar and enchanting test tubes of mixed salts and peppers set in a simple natural steel stand. The care that went into each and every design decision definitely inspired me to add this restaurant to my must-try list but my one criticism, something which has nothing to do with the interior design firm who designed it, is the horrid little postcard advertising the restaurant. They somehow managed to make the restaurant look cheap and tacky! Sometimes, a picture does not say a thousand words.


Slightly less original, but pleasing in its design execution and consistent with its concept, is Blue Velvet downtown. This new trendy spot focuses on the current SoCal (and other big cities) trend of eco friendly design. The concept is quite obvious upon entering-a cool zen like spot-but it still comes across as fresh. Blue Velvet is not just another quasi Asian zen den with a Buddha sitting squarely in the middle of the dining room. Their concept of zen is a more nuanced feeling, and they accomplish this by using a variety of textures and a simple palette of blues and whites. Felt walls in the signature colors beg to be touched, while the ceiling treatments-slated wood similar to Tanzore and a hand polished plaster-put you in an earthy state of mind. The dining room is open to the outdoors and that is reflected in the cool blue frosted resin table tops, light fixtures and hostess stand as well as the airy white curtains and punctuated white partitions. River stones walls and a low slab table are a nod to the traditional zen space, but a natural steel bar gives Blue Velvet a more edgy and modern look. Unfortunately, it seemed that the money dried up before any thought could be given to the outdoor patio and pool area, which is a damn design shame seeing as though the interplay between indoors and out is paramount to the concept, but if your back is to the pool, you’ll have to agree that Blue Velvet is a design success.


Just a ways down the road is Takami, an Asian restaurant with a much warmer temperature. At this point, it seems that wood slated ceilings and hand mixed and polished cement is the name of the game and although I’d give more points for a design element that I’ve never encountered before, sometimes an element just works. For Takami, it does, and stays within the confines of their warm color palette and natural, more rustic vibe. While they did a particularly good job of selecting the hard surfacing-even using gorgeous porcelain tile that resemble leather (really, you’ll have to touch it to believe it!)-the choice of fabrics and leathers-well, vinyl to be exact-is somewhat disconcerting. Nevermind that sleek contemporary vinyl chairs are outside on the open air deck-I’m sorry, it’s just an inappropriate choice-but the banquettes and other upholstered surfaces would feel right at home in say a hospital or perhaps an airport. The patterns aren’t exactly modern and the feel and look of the textiles are far from inviting. That being said, at least they stick with a consistent color scheme and break up the waiting room style chairs with lovely warm wood tables.

The design equivalent to a sorbet palette cleanser is the restaurant Cut, located in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The concept is ‘light’, and the execution shines-pun clearly intended. With a color palette consisting only of white paint, light woods and black mesh, it is refreshing in its simplicity and clearly a backdrop for the food and not the other way around. While it more closely resembles a gallery or museum-Architect Richard Meier designs these almost exclusively-the elegance and simplicity has clearly been a draw for patrons and the design relies less on gimmicks and more on a ruthlessly edited selection of materials and furniture. The stark contrast to the other restaurants’ bold statements makes this restaurant all the more intriguing to sample, and will join Tanzore on my list of restaurants to visit.
As a designer, I seek out well designed spaces, be they a museum, restaurant or bar space, and I revel in the experience they offer, but when all is said and done Los Angeles pales in comparison to New York when it comes to the food on your plate. When great design and great cuisine meet, it’s heaven. When great design meets mediocre food, you’re usually in just another Hollywood hot spot. So my advice is to hit up the well designed spots for a glass of pinot and people watching, and save your stomach, and your money, for the hole-in-the-wall places for gastro-

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Cross my heart...hope for design.

I wouldn't call myself a religious person, necessarily, but if I had the Modern Gothic Cross ($198 for 16x16) pillow by Michele Varian perhaps I'd add a couple of hail Marys into my day or just worship it's elegant edginess atop my couch. Made of silk dupioni and hand-cut metallic leather applique, this pillow can reform the worst design sinners! And if grey doesn't quite suit your decor, it comes in custard (a mustard yellow) and sienna (a warm medium brown).

Amen.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Design Seeds Boosts Design Recession.

Our country, by all accounts or at least what's shown on the news, is going into a state of panic over the dismal economy.  Everyone I speak to seems to be hurting from it in one way or another, whether it be gas prices, food prices (I paid $1 more for my usual $2.49 box of Peanut Butter Puffins last night!!) or just business-not as usual aka super slow.  In speaking to my design colleagues, I find that I keep hearing the same thing over and over again- I'm doing small jobs for past clients, but nothing new is on the horizon.  

That's the unfortunate thing about a luxury service, it's the first thing to go.  Ultimately, everyone suffers-the designer (no new business), the vendors and workman (again, no new business) but the client suffers too.  The client suffers because they're left fending for themselves in a sea of endless choices.

Luckily for those folks (and maybe that's you), yours truly (Nest Interiors) is out with a solution to the current design recession as well as a sustainable solution for the future of design.  Pretty grandiose words, you might say, but on the contrary, it's a simple solution to a complex problem.  

My company has developed a collection of design packages called 'Design Seeds'.  The name really says it all, as it is the first step in the design process.  Like traditional interior design services, we come to your home for a consultation and measurement of the room or we schedule a phone interview and walk you through the process of measuring.  We'll talk about everything from your style preferences to your budget to a solution for how to display your daughter's barbie doll collection.  The packages are designed for stages of life and are then broken down by room size.  

My First Apartment- for our design enthusiast recent graduates
Bachelor/Bachelorette Pad- for those of us who could use a bit more polish and style or maybe just want to impress our dates when they're over for dinner
Just Married! Merger- for those couples who can't decide whether to live with that ugly black leather lazy-boy/floral comforter/tattered college poster or to just burn it in the night
Family Fusion- for the family that wants to spend quality time together, if only they could sort through the clutter and find each other
Retiree Refuge- for the couple or single person who is finally ready to do it their way...well, their way plus a room for the grandkids

After each consultation, we put together a binder filled with all the information you need to execute the project yourself, thereby cutting out the expense of project management fees and purchasing mark up.  You will receive a binder with a furniture plan, all the furniture selections for your project with the names of the company, the fabric to be used with it and a few key design details (ex: dimensions, wood finish) if you decide to choose something other than the proposed piece.  You will also receive a preliminary budget to keep on track, as well as an accessories list and a tip sheet customized for your stage of life.  All of this in only 3-4 weeks!

The great thing about Design Seeds, is that you don't have to do it all at once and you don't have to worry that we're selling you anything you don't need.  In fact, we want to include existing furniture, accessories or collections that are meaningful to you.

So if you've bought a new home, condo or rental, and you want to revamp the space but don't think you can afford a designer, call Nest Interiors and ask about Design Seeds-it's the affordable and approachable interior design solution.

www.nestinteriorsllc.com or 917.573.1774 for more information
This is an LA based company who is also happy to serve clients all over the US.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Value Add.

As much as I love working in my tiny office, there are times when I have office envy.  Case in point: The high energy design by Gensler for the international market research firm, AddedValue. Built in 1963, it is apparent that the style originates from that time.  The bright colors and funky "Jetsons" style furnishings must lead to creative brainstorming and maybe just a few after hours parties.  This is definitely a place I would rush to in the morning and pack in some extra hours at night.  If you're jonesing for those killer sheer orange curtains like I am, consider the "See Sea" collection by Perennials in color conch.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Getting Greener all the time.


In honor of my recent involvement with Nest Feathers, a non-profit design group that is currently working on a LEED building in downtown LA, and also with the Green committee I head-today's post and many posts in the future will be about green-ing your design environment.  

If you're on the right...I promise, no one will even have to know you're being environmentally friendly. (Sorry Dad, it's just a joke!)

Tumbler in evergreen- This gorgeous piece of glassware is actually made from recycled bordeaux bottles!  What I really love about this piece, is not just its environmental contribution but it's rad color.  I envision a cream tablescape-tablecloth, napkins, dishware....and these little jems adding a pop of color.  Obviously, use gold tone flatware and cream rhinoculous flowers to create the perfect summer fete.  Serve chicken or that other white meat, so you don't throw off the color scheme!  

Green-appetit!  Okay, that was lame-I'll add the cheese to my "tablescape".  

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Review of The Viceroy Palm Springs

I'm back from my long weekend at The Viceroy, and I'm not happy about it. I was definitely considering sticking around for another couple of days, but alas...work called to me.  
I loved the vibe, the relaxing days in the sun, the poolside drink service, and the attractive company....I did not; however, love the one thing I came to the Viceroy for....the decor.  I posted a "DIY" version of the Viceroy before I left, and believe me when I tell you that the DIY version would probably match the original pretty well.  The old Hollywood glamour concept is fun, there's no doubt about that, but the execution left a lot to be desired.  For instance, in the guest rooms there are black rectangular "frames" painted on the walls and ceilings.  This is a great idea...if you're broke and can't do any better...KWID (who did the interior design), could have done better and didn't.  My two other interior design friends and I agreed that it would have looked so much more polished and chic if those faux frames were actual frames.  Our other complaints included a rather ghetto pool area, although we really did enjoy our time there (maybe it was the pineapple/peach mojitos starting at 10:30am) and also the oversight of not replacing existing window and door frames...it just made it look a little sloppy.  We all agreed, though, that the bright orange doors were pretty sweet and the white washed terra cotta tiles were a solid solution and one we hadn't thought of employing previously in our own work.  
Overall, I give the Viceroy Palm Springs an A+ for concept and a great experience and a B- for decor.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Fourth of July America!

In honor of the independence of our nation, I thought I would feature some of my favorite red, white and blue things.

The pigeon light ($105) by Thorsten van Elten. Okay, this light is awesome. I would buy twenty of these and do a wall installation..ala the Alfred Hitchcock movie 'The Birds' except less scary and painful. I would also consider painting said wall a concrete or black color and then splatter painting with white, yellow, blue and whatever other colors pigeons like to "decorate" with. It would be a sort of ode to NYC. Check out http://www.smlpond.com/ for stores.

The 'Dory' pillow ($175). This little gem by Dermond Peterson Design is great for its scale, but really, fish are just funny looking up close and who doesn't want to walk into their living room in the morning and giggle at a weird fabric fish? In the vein of Independence day and the theme colors it offers, I would pair this fish pillow with a red cashmere throw or if it isn't the 4th of July, then I'd paint the walls lemon yellow.






The lobster tote($28-$32). This handsome sack is from LL Bean, the authority totes. The LL Bean tote is practically a part of my genetics, as this was the only tote to bring to the beach, the pool, or for sleepovers. The lobster print gives this guy a nice east coast flavor, so I suggest getting a Golden Retriever or Labrador puppy (adopted from http://www.petfinder.com/ of course!), putting on some J.Crew and heading to your cottage in Nantucket.






The Star(Maffee) knob($4.99 for 2). You get a twofer here! A star shape and it's red! From the children's section in IKEA, this fun little knob should probably stay in your child's room. Then again, it would work in the aforementioned Nantucket cottage guest room.





The Sparrow Jar($85). Alright, this one is kind of ugly, but kind of amazing at the same time. It sort of looks like something you might pick up at the flea market, but I think it would look super fly on a black lacquered front hall chest or console along with some bright pink lilies. Or, you could just stick it up on the aforementioned wall with the pigeon lights.






Happy Fourth everyone! Look for Palm Springs postings all this weekend.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Weekend Getaway: The Viceroy Palm Springs

This year, for my birthday, I've decided to forgo the usual large fete and take a few girlfriends to Palm Springs instead. It was a no brainer when it came to deciding where to stay as two of my friends are interior designers and the other is a jewelry designer-the Viceroy of course! Designed by KWID (Kelly Wearstler Interior Design), this hotel is a mix of old Hollywood glamour and some really funky accents. So in honor of this impending trip, I'm going to give you a list of great ideas/furniture/accessories to re-create your very own Palm Springs Viceroy!

Color Scheme: This one is easy-lemon yellow, black and creamy white. Stick with these and you are golden.

Busts: Stop giggling....you've gotta go with Greek or Roman styles here. Put these bad boys on a deep mantle or on a front hall table. For a more personalized look, try adding a Santa hat at Christmas time or a beer helmet for parties...filled with a premium imported lager of course, you don't want to appear uncouth to your guests.

Materials: marble, marble, marble, marble tile, and heavy fabrics in lemon yellow, black and creamy white. Check out Bisazza tile to re-create the look below.

Lighting: You know this is my favorite, and here are a few options. The funky little wall sconce in the above picture throws light around in a sexy way. Try the 'Paris Sconce' from Zia Priven in your own space. Although not pictured, to throw a little Viceroy glamour into any space, try the Eliza Black Chandelier...it looks sturdy enough to swing from-if you're having those kinds of parties (see beer helmet reference above)

Furniture: For the fabulous yellow regency chair above look no further than this link or for more like it check out 1st Dibs.

The greyhounds: Those greyhounds you see guarding the pool area...look no further than Inside Avenue.

I'll be taking many many inspiration photos to post when I return, so while you're waiting start decorating.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

In the name of science.


Night clubs don't do it for me. There's something about the repetitive music, underage girls getting molested by old dudes and too many body parts hanging out that I just don't get. Okay, I'm totally bitter that I didn't get into Rain last weekend in Vegas, but there is something that I love-test tube shots! It isn't so much the shot itself, as the way in which said shot arrives at my lips.


For the perfect way to enjoy summer; order in, invite the pimps and hos and hand out test tube shots with lavender-honey vodka... Drop it (into your gullet) like its hot...if you feel so inclined.

Faster than a speeding bullet.


I have been coveting these retro "Bullet" planters ever since I saw them in my friend's home years ago. They've always been in the back of my mind, and today I decided to search them out. Of course, you need to have a grouping of these fantastic planters-there's a tall, medium and short stand-and they would be equally amazing inside or outside.


Terra cotta is out the bullet is in. And in honor of the Los Angeles drought currently plaguing us, stick some drought tolerant plants or some sexy succulents in there.

Monday, June 30, 2008

LEED Platinum certification for NYC's Queens Botanical Gardens Visitor Center


LEED platinum rating is extremely tough to achieve, but it's absolutely doable. Check out this post from NYC based blog Sustainyc.

Summer Sale at Stansbury Collection in Venice!


One of my favorite vendors in Los Angeles is Stansbury Collection. I consider owner Armand Stansbury to be not only a great vendor but also a great designer and friend as well. Along with the fabulous and bubbly Vanessa Niakian, they take care of both designers and regular folks equally. While you can peruse some of the great pieces ready made (hence, the sale!), you can also have anything custom designed with the help of Armand or Vanessa or your own designer. The best part of the whole operation is the quick lead times. All of their products are produced in Los Angeles, so you can expect a custom sofa in a matter of two weeks!


So come visit Armand and Vanessa at 1344 Abbot Kinney Blvd. Venice, CA 90291

Nailed it!


There's something about nailhead that really gets me psyched. Personally, my style is fairly informal, but I love the tailored formality of naihead...it just gives a little more style to an otherwise boring piece. I also love that although it's formal and tailored, it's really just nails...and I love that bit of industrial flavor. You'll see nailhead trim everywhere and on everything, but I'm dedicating this post to my friend Melissa who has been looking specifically for an upholstered headboard. This classically styled one from Ballard Designs is perfect, comes in a variety of fabrics and you can even send your own fabric in! If you're more of a DIYer, then just purchase an upholstered piece or use an existing piece and add your own nailhead. Check out this site for all kinds of decorative nailhead options!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mariposa.


Mariposa means butterfly en espanol....didn't think you'd be learning about design and language today, did you? This snazzy 'Delight' pendant ($85) pleases me, although 'Mariposa' would have been a much cooler name. This fixture is definitely on the girlier side of things, but I can see it flying happily in a baby's room or cocooning in a small space, like an entry hall or vanity area. So fly to or click here to purchase.

Friday, June 27, 2008

You + Me=Forever


Wedding season is upon us, and I, like many of you have at least seven to go to. The wedding gift thing is easy, just point, click and order, but what about all those other wedding events in between? Showers, bachelorette parties, more showers because so many people love you. Rare Device has come up with a great little idea that I think would be perfect for any of the above occasions. The rust design custom birch tree mugs ($45 for 4) allow you to "carve" the couples initials into the mug. I might normally be gagging at the thought of something like this, but the mug is so well designed, I can't help but feel the love.


I guess you know what you're getting in August, Cristina!

Doggie Style.


Okay. That title was borderline inappropriate, but I had to grab your attention. The Animal Rescue League in Washington, D.C. is my new hero. I've posted previously about my involvement with animal rescue, and it's really wonderful to know that animals are being considered when it comes to design. I'm not talking about cute little beds or fancy bowls, my dog has both of course, I'm talking about how shelters house their temporary occupants.


Some of the amenities included at WARL include: tempered glass dutch doors on kennels instead of metal bars, glass block walls instead of cinderblock to let in more light, elevated beds-this is extremely important as dogs tend to knock over their water bowls or relieve themselves to close to their bedding, and radiant heat floors!


So check out their site and show your support. I dedicate this post to my foster Avery, whom I've been fostering for six months. She's a survivor that deserved a second chance (her name means courageous) and so do all animals in shelters the world over.
Please consider adopting and start your search at PetFinder.com

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Walk this way.

Check this out. Rockin' website Cool Hunting (thank you Tyler Fonda for the heads up) posted an article today about the new Tretorn flagship in NYC (the second after D.C.). I remember being obsessed with those shoes in grade school. It didn't get much cooler for me than Tretorns, acid wash and slap bracelets. Incidentally, I love the interior design. It's somehow gritty and preppy at the same time. Loving IT!

Flower Power.

Although I've had a lot of trouble with PB Teen in the past with furniture, I would be willing to try out this new line of organic cotton sheets and duvet covers. I must commend this mass market company for taking an environmental stance and making it look oh so stylish. There may be Teen in the name, but I think these sheets are sassy enough for a single city dweller.

Hard angles.

If you've got one of those oddly angled shower stalls and all you want to do is hide it-this angled shower rod is the perfect solution. While I'm sure there are many angled showers out there that a person would love to show off, if yours is anything like mine-weird textured plastic and rusting tin frame-you just want to throw a shower curtain over it and call it a day. Check out this hardcore shower curtain from Design Public.

Cool post from Apartment Therapy LA


Check out this post from Apartment Therapy LA. They presented it in its original purpose, but I think it could be really fabulous as a centerpiece using some floral foam and some tightly packed flowers.


How would you use it ($65 plus shipping)?

Rock wall.

My younger brother, we'll call him G, just graduated college in May, so he and his friends are starting to move out of the house and into their first apartments. They are totally candidates for my Design Seeds service, but I'll give them this bit of advice free of charge.

Ladies and gents- take down that ratty unframed band poster and step it up with the selection from The Heads of State ($20 each). I particularly love this one with Aberdeen City and Electric Six, two of my fave bands, seeing as the lead singer of Aberdeen City, Brad Parker attended my high school!

And don't forget to frame this one-I highly suggest a funky vintage frame from your local flea market, or, if you're so inclined...go on ebay and fight to the death for one.

I've been working on the railroad.

This table and chair set ($2,098 to shipping and tax) has been on my mind for a long time now. Brought to you by Viva Terra -a designy eco friendly company-it combines reclaimed railroad ties (the ultimate way to be eco-friendly!), teak and pine to create this weathered yet sleek dining set. I can see putting this in one of my client's lofts downtown or it would be easily at home in a casual beach house. Definitely keep the tablescape simple and clutter free to let the weathered wood grain shine through, but if you must have flowers you must use the floral designs of Eve Suter. Okay, so she lives in Japan most of the time, but use

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Don't blame me, I'm just the client.


I saw this print on the 2Modern blog, and I totally love it! FYI-the conversion to euros is around $45. Buy it here.

Going to the chapel and I'm...going to get registered.

The tradition I love most about weddings is the registry. On a sentimental note, it’s a way of family and friends starting you off on your life together…a support group made up of flatware, champagne flutes and dish towels. On a more realistic note, it’s an awesome excuse to get all the goodies you’ve ever needed or wanted. I’m nowhere near getting hitched, but in honor of the most popular month to get married and my single glory, here is my registry of personal favorites. While Sarah Jessica Parker's character 'Carrie' on "Sex and the City" put one pair of Manolo's on her "registry", I am all about home stuff, of course!
Hand towels- paper towels just aren’t cutting it for me anymore, so I’m turning to the sexy and exotic ‘Sultan’ towel ($12 each on sale!) from Schweitzer Linen Inc. I love the wide bands of neutral flax and white with the understated yet playful fringe. Perfect for my beachy bathroom. No monogram necessary, thank you.

Stemware- my stemware collection is currently a one size fits all giant goblet. Since I’ve moved past the days of a third of a bottle equals one serving, I can move on to a smaller and more refined selection. Tart comes to the rescue again, offering just the style I crave. 'High Society' ($564 for a set of six) is sexy and slim and is part of a collection, which includes water glasses, highballs, etc. You're welcome to get me the whole collection, but I'll settle for the wine glasses. Gorgeous hand blown stemware in a minimalist design. I can’t think of anything more chic to serve me, myself and I.

Napkin rings- I don't need a husband to have a dinner party, but I do need napkin rings. No, not the gaudy ones with all the beading-I'm talking about Joerg Gaetjens designed 'chalkboard' rings found at the Moma Store ($65 for four). These cool little dudes also double as a placecard. Bon appetit!


Mugs- Over the years I've collected quite a collection of mugs, my favorite being my "Woof!" mug, which I'm currently drinking French press out of. Yeah, I know it's lame, but not as lame as the "My grandchild is a dog" mug I gave to the 'rents for Christmas. So it's obviously time to get a little more hip. I've been a devotee of Tart on Melrose ever since they first opened shop, and their Nina aqua coffee mug ($72 for six) would be the perfect addition/replacement to my mug collection.

Dinnerware- Okay, maybe my faux registry should just be everything at Tart, since they have the best selection of ridiculously great things....ever. The 'Black Forest' dishes ($286 for a five-piece setting) I covet are designed by Bodo Sperlein, who I absolutely have a design crush on, and they're so perfectly minimal and intriguing at the same time. They'd match up quite nicely with my 'chalkboard' napkin rings or a perfectly portioned meal of short ribs.


Bowls- my Ikea white everyday bowls go with everything, but let’s face it, there’s not much style there. Enter the ‘Blue Mist’ bowl by Nancy Bauch sold at White Forest Pottery and made especially for Domino magazine. The subtle kiss of blue on these handcrafted ceramic bowls will take my morning cereal to the next level.


That should just about cover my faux newlywed needs....who needs a husband when you have great design!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Birds of a feather...

It's no secret if you've read this blog that I'm obsessed with lighting. But I'm even more obsessed with attainable aka inexpensive lighting. Tord Boontje's work is ridiculously cool, and his 'Icarus' fixture is no exception (only $84!). You've got to have pretty high ceilings for this fixture to have full impact. Unfortunately for me, I would probably spend my days getting caught in it with my low ceilings....okay, I would totally just stand under it, cooing "what a nice little bird" all day, but anyway.....

Definitely put this creature in a space for maximum appreciation, and if you don't attend church regularly, paint the walls pale blue...it'll feel just like heaven.

Light my fire.

There is nothing more sexy than candlelight, except perhaps candlelight outdoors…with wine, chocolate, well, you get the picture. To get you started on a romantic night, I highly recommend the ‘Candle Sphere’. It’s a modern take on a traditional lantern and the molded stainless steel wires will throw a sexy abstract light pattern over your patio or balcony. From $95-$350 depending on size.

Just add chocolate and wine.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A cool cocktail for a hot day.


It hit 110 degrees in my car today on my ride back from the Valley (LA)...this reminded me why I don't live in the Valley, but it also got me thinking about sexy little cocktails. Perfect for an evening like this. Brenda Langton is the owner of badass Mineapolis restaurant, Spoonriver. Besides her use of seasonal farmer's market ingredients, which I totally dig, she also created a ridiculously cool and delicious cocktail-the Honey-Lavender Spritz. This recipe was so inspiring to me, in fact, that I went right out and purchased my very own lavender plant, so I will always have this liquid gold available to me!


Here's the recipe.


1.5 oz honey-lavender-infused vodka (see below)

3 oz soda water

dash of honey

1/4 t Ames bee pollen, *plus extra for the rim of the glass


Honey-lavender vodka

1 bottle vodka, the very best of course (You're worth it)

1 T dried lavender flowers

2 T honey


1. To make the honey-lavender vodka, combine vodka, dried lavender flowers and honey, and let steep for 4 days.

2. Pour vodka in a glass with soda, honey and bee pollen; stir. Rim the edge of the glass with extra pollen.

3. Drink and repeat.

4. Repeat step 3.

5. Once more if your marriage is stale or you're recently unemployed.


Ames bee pollen is available at http://www.amesfarms.com/
This cocktail belongs in a sexy vintage tall glass...scour your local flea market and pick up an eclectic mix to serve at your next party.

More Horchow...the fun continues!

I'm a big fan of silver leafing...always have been. I made this fantastic art piece out of the stuff and a huge plywood sheet while in school at Parsons in NYC. When it couldn't fit in the rented van for my cross country trek to Los Angeles, I was devastated! Which brings me to this fabulous 'Entertainment Cabinet' in Horchow, which is about a million times cooler than anything I could ever create. It's not just the silver leafing, but the well proportioned "feet", the square draw pulls and the overall mega glamour of the piece. This piece can totally stand alone in all it's glam glory or it can play the supporting role beneath a sexy Robert Motherwell abstract. And stick a little succulent on there in a cobalt blue planter while you're at it!

I heart Horchow...this month at least.

I must say, I've never been particularly drawn to Horchow's line of home furnishings, but one of my clients is a big fan. This month I was really stoked to find that I actually liked quite a few pieces! One fantastic item is the 'Caramel Giraffe Rug'. The color combo is fabulous. It's a reasonable price. The pattern is graphic yet organic (that's a complete oxymoron, but it makes sense to me!). And, the edge finish is fantastic-none of that crappy surged garbage. I would absolutely pair this rug with some really hot 'Tequila Lime' (Benjamin Moore paint color) accents or even rockin' a whole couch in the shade. You could even throw a small 2'x3' in your bathroom for a little summer safari look.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Design Seeds on the Tyra Show Website!

Design Seeds is covered today on the Tyra Show website...check out "Designing a la carte" for the full scoop!


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Run, Recycle, Repeat


When fashion and interior design collide-it's fantastic. When fashion, interior design, community involvement and eco-friendliness collide-it's perfection! You've gotta hand it to Nike-they've been coming out with fabulous shoes, apparel and everything else for years and now they've introduced Nike Grind. Their solution to the question, "what do you do with your old shoes?" It just so happens that in conjunction with the Reuse-a-shoe initiative those stinky old sneaks can metamorphosize into rubber mats and flooring-for Nike stores and sports facilities across the globe. We're all winners in this race!

Micro-phony


You've used your hairbrush, a beer bottle, and maybe even a spatula to aide your amateur vocal stylings. You sound great, you really do...at least that's what your dog thinks. So now you're ready for the real deal. Enter the "Solo" pendant, a rock worthy new light fixture from Re-Surface. You'll be stage ready and the spotlight is all on you!