Living Room Update: embracing the beige + eclectic mix

Chairs, spiral lamp, Persian cat, blue nude vase, fiddles, rubber tree, terrazzo side table: Got it!

Tile cubed glass top coffee table (I made that up!), rug, reupholster my sofa: Needed.

Visualizing where this place is headed. It’s been a wip for almost 3 years. When will I finish? There’s a note on my refrigerator that reminds me to FINISH and like where I live. I’m always living in design limbo. Home limbo. Life limbo. Your home, no matter where you are, what stage you’re in, should be a place you love. I truly believe that. Why isn’t my home a place I love? Working on it! 

I’ve been obsessing over 1970s Superstudio tiled tables for what feels like eons now and while playing with this mock up, it occurred to me 2 cubes and a glass top would look pretty darn cool. After fretting over how to do this myself, not spending $1000 on a table, I finally watched some youtube videos and realized tiling a small table is pretty easy. Post-Christmas project? I’m feeling inspired!

The pink Gilmour chair is literally in production and will be delivered next month. Thus my playing around with this room. I have so many pieces I love and have worked slowly over time to collect (intentional decorating) but have had no real plan going until now. 

What are you working on? How do you stay focused? Stay inspired? And finish?

2020 Holiday Gift Guide

As I string up a tacky shiny strand of green Dollar Tree garland (in the month of November!) in the hopes of some semblance of holiday cheer amidst the death and disappointment this year has shown us, I struggle to come up with a gift list. With COVID, racial inequality/equity riots, the Election, forest fires and hurricanes, the constant daily stress of 2020 has taken its toll on many of us. Holiday cheer pre-Thanksgiving makes a lot of sense right now. Just give us something we can hold on to! A bit of love. A bit of sparkle!

I spent most of the summer accumulating junk that filled the lonely void in my lockdown heart so creating this list was a challenge. What do I want? What do people want? Heck if I know. Here’s some pretty/fun stuff if you didn’t get your fill of packages April-whenever.

Happy Holidays!  For more ideas, see last year’s guide.

Modern Pairings

One thing I’m kind of obsessed with is chairs. Because it’s hard to live in a one bedroom, one living room, hardly room to turn sideways apartment, my chair collection is limited. Though I have managed to secure 2 Jeanneret knock-off side chairs, 2 80s dusty desert parsons, and 2 danish style loungers. And a mustard velvet mid-century number I’ve tossed in my closet. I’m not sure how much more I can hold.

 

When I started this entry years ago, these were the pairings on my mind. Let’s hope they stand the test of time. 🙂 

Today’s accent chairs come in so many shapes, sizes, colors, textures! We’re still experiencing a nod to mid-century but now we’re seeing even more use of soft lines, curves, and play. It’s a wonderful time to be a chair. Use them to spruce up any living room, bed room, or study! Best of all? Chairs range in affordability so everyone gets what they want (is anyone else hearing Oprah say “You get a chair! You get chair! You’re all getting chairs!”)! 

 

The Cane Chair

My god. Such a classic. I read an article the other day in House Beautiful that proclaimed, “The Incredible Comeback of Cane.” My bad, I didn’t know she’d gone anywhere. Caned furniture first appeared in Holland, England, and France around the 1660s, thanks to trade with Asia. Caning was typically used for the seats and backs of wooden chairs.

In 1851 Michel Thonet gave us the The No.14, also known as the coffee house or bistro chair.  Some consider it the world’s most popular chair.  Thonet’s No. 14 revolutionized the furniture industry. The simple caned seat contributed to the chair’s extraordinary lightness, making it less expensive to produce and transport. The original chair was made up of six pieces of wood, ten screws and two nuts. It was the first piece of furniture designed to be shipped in parts to save space during transportation and came with simple instructions to put it together. 

And wouldn’t you know, these ideas aren’t new ya’ll. Twentieth century designers like Le Corbusier (the architect who designed Chandigarh, India and outfitted the city’s offices with the caned “v-chair”) admired how the chair contrasted with the heavy old-fashioned upholstery that was in style at the turn of the century. Just like now, they still look good with outdated furnishings! 

Here are some fun cane chairs in more modern shapes than the classic Thonet bistro chair.

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The Parson Chair

The parsons club chair is probably my favorite chair. The original parsons chair was designed by students at the Parsons School of Design in Paris, France in the 1930s. Its functional and simplistic design blends seamlessly with many different types of décor. The original design sought to retain function and comfort while stripping away excess ornamentation that dominated the furniture designs of that time. The parsons chair was designed to pair with the parsons table, a simple linear design free of intricate scrollwork or other design elements. Together, the two pieces of furniture were ideal for creating a sleek modern look.

Parsons chairs

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

From top image: sofa + cane chair, floral sofa + rattan chair, blue sofa + curved chair, striped sofa + slipper chair, skirted sofa + parson chair, boucle sofa + 80s chair

What ‘s your favorite chair or item of furniture? Let me know in the comments or send me a picture 🙂

Pretty things vol. 7: Puzzles

I have a fond memory of finishing a train puzzle with my dad. He glued it to cardboard and we hug it on the wall like a painting. I bet my mom really hated that. I wonder what ever happened to that puzzle? I also remember a puzzle of the United States that I would do with my grandfather. I still have it. It’s frayed around the edges and water-logged in certain cities. It’s a vintage puzzle. It probably belonged to my dad or one of his brothers.

I’ve always liked puzzles. I’ve always liked assembling things and problem-solving (unless it’s math). I had one of those a-frame Barbie Dream Houses and would assemble the pieces in various configurations. I always made my own cardboard dollhouses. My own paper dolls with tabbed clothes. Today, I love putting together ready-to-assemble furniture, the bane of some people’s existence. I chose graphic design as my profession (everything is a puzzle). And I still like classic puzzles. 

Doing puzzles has a couple of benefits. Not only is it calming and meditative but when we finish, we feel like we’ve accomplished something. I don’t know about you but I can’t rest until the puzzle is complete. Those 1000 pieces nag at me, “I bet that piece fits there…” and the desire to master those unfinished edges keeps me going until the end. Give your brain a little boast with these pretty pieces. Lucky for puzzlers, there’s some beautiful ones to collect. And if you choose to back them and hang them on the wall, no one would fault you for it!

500 or less Pieces

1000 or more Pieces

New things!

I have acquired some new house things! Now what to do with them. Does anyone want to come help me hang my rice lantern (insert sweat drip emoji). Rachel Sanders was having a sale on the vases and I finally scored a blue lady! Super excited about that. And my sweet mama gifted me the kitty (now I have 4! ha) and lamp at Christmas. I keep going back and forth with what to do in my space. It’s hard to commit when you live alone and you’re the only person making decisions. Well, for me it is. I change my mind often. I’ve even become afraid to put new nails in the wall! Which is absolutely ridiculous because you can always fill them in. 

This is me wishing I had a partner to help with building projects. Where’s Mr. Man to go with me on Home Depot runs? 

 

2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Every year my mother asks me what I want for Christmas and every year I struggle more and more with what to ask for. When you’re a kid with zero money, the sky is the limit for your toy desires! When you’re an adult and buy stuff for yourself throughout the year, there is little to be left to desire come Christmas. 

Most of the stuff I see that I think I might want or you might want comes to my eyeballs through the wonders of Instagram. So here are some things from makers and shops and such you may not be familiar with. I’m game to know what you’re asking Santa for this year. Is it anything on this list? Better yet, who are you following that has the good stuff?

From left to right:

  1. Female body beeswax candle.  Who doesn’t love the female form?
  2. I’m told women love jewelry. I love bakelite/acetate whatever (are they the same thing?). You can find some dandy darlings on Etsy. I’ve followed Dear Golden for a long long time now (not so much into vintage dresses anymore but her outfit combos are inspiring). Another great company for acetate earrings is of course Machete (they will repair your earrings if you break them!).
  3. Rachel Saunders evokes that beige sort of lifestyle many of us want but none of us have. I enjoy her ceramics, especially this little woman vase. I love following her and watching her stories of creation and watching her flip through pages of 1970s pottery catalogs.
  4. If it weren’t for Instagram I wouldn’t know about this puzzle company! Currently they offer 4 images, and this one is super fun! I ordered myself the fruit. It’s somewhere on a mail truck making its way to me.
  5. I’m kind of obsessed with this pan.
  6. Athena posts pretty food pictures and we’ve both dined at Al Di La Trattoria in NYC. That makes me pretty cool, right? Kidding. But this is a lovely cookbook for that special someone that likes to create memorable meals.
  7. Simone Bodmer Turner…I don’t know how she does it but she makes these otherworldly sculptures. They are devine.
  8. For the interior design lover in your life, a yearly subscription to Ark Journal. They only publish twice a year. Each volume is like a book. Coffee table worthy.
  9. Murad Essential-C Day Moisturizer. This stuff is amazing. Get you and your mother sister brother some. They also have a gift box.
  10. Are you sensing a woman theme? I’ve been following Tina for a while and love her work. Once I ordered one of her catalogs just so I could have wee pictures to enjoy. A large print would make a great gift!
  11. I think this is so special and such a great idea. It combines my love of pottery and nostalgia! Maxine will create a vase for you with your objects. I first learned about this because RS did a collab. I’m particular to all the shells!
  12. I’m so impressed with what people are doing with polymer clay earrings. Studio Ramii is on fire.
  13. You can find Paloma Wool here and there. I like this sweater. It reminds me of the 80s.
  14. I don’t really smoke but I’ve been following this account. I’m not really sure why but they’re modern smoking apparutusseees are neat and they have fun modern packaging design! One of their pipe designs would make a great gift for the …herbalist in your life. I also really enjoy Summer School Shop. She makes a pretty shell pipe
  15. I love these rope candles and would be delighted if someone bought them for me. I can never justify buying candles. But as a gift!? Yes please. Sunday Shop has all kinds of beautiful things is owned by the same ladies as Logan and Killen Interiors.

Pretty things vol. 6

Just some things I’ve eyeballed and perhaps purchased. In the fashion department! I’m into oversized silhouettes. My jam! Curious what you’re into?

I'm also interested in finding some roomy thrifted blazers this fall!
So, I have some of these from Target. These look way better. $

Pretty things vol. 5

Sometimes you stumble across work worthy of a share! I love when I find a room/home that appears effortless in its design. Check out DISC Interiors.

“We favor rooms that reveal themselves quietly over time and offer ease to our clients—homes of calibrated simplicity that balance the push and pull of modern life. Our approach is the same for each project: We respond first to a sense of place and persons, not a period or style; our end goal is to balance traditional and modern, aesthetics and function. We firmly believe homes can be filled with less, and still remain powerful spaces.”

Pretty things vol. 4

Things that have been on my mind lately/ I’ve been hunting for: shell art, female torsos, travertine tables, parsons chairs, plaster, rams (Aries) or 70s Persian cats, pottery, Art Deco style, geometric shapes, 70s-80s decor. 

Philine van der Vegte

Coffee table books to collect

[Looking for Pretty Things vol. 2? This is it]

Dearest Reader, bookmark this page. I will update it regularly as I learn of new coffee table books. 

Remember when Kramer wanted to make a coffee table book about coffee table books and the book itself was a coffee table (it had fold out legs). I still think that’s genius.

The books currently on my coffee table are In the Company of Women, The Finer Things, The Shell, California Desert, and Mastering Hand Building

I think if someone saw those books in my home they’d assume I A. Like successful women and celebrate them. Maybe I want to be one. B. I like interior design and nice things. C. I just might like the desert or geography. (I am obsessed with the desert). 

Prosper Assouline, culture/lifestyle publisher says, “It’s the idea of building a collection – these are not just things that are big and expensive; they give an impression.

Books are just like our clothes. They tell our guests something about us without us having to verbalize our interests. My clothes usually lead people to believe I’m “artsy” or “unique”. And I’m okay with that. For my coffee table books, I typically enjoy art and interior design books. They are full of beautiful inspirational pictures and look lovely sitting on the table/shelf. Anyone who comes to my home knows these are my interests.

When the Marie Kondo Netflix show aired, there was an article online about how she obviously didn’t understand this concept. Of how books tell people who we are and you don’t just throw them away! We collect books like we collect anything else we enjoy.  You can read it here. It’s pretty much what I just said. 

I originally started this entry with the idea of “why are coffee table books so expensive?” I suppose you have to ask yourself what the book is worth to you. Is it merely a dang book with paper pages that a tree had to die for or is it something you can derive pleasure from for many many years? Can you apprepriate the subject matter, the price it cost to produce the book, the type of paper used, etc? 

Some books at Assouline are works of art themselves. A massive limited-edition version of Gaia, Guy Laliberté’s images from space, is available on watercolor paper featuring 25 gatefold images, 90 illustrations and layered topographic embossing, all hand-bound and housed in a linen clamshell case for $7,000. 

Interior designer Michelle Lloyd Bermann equates owning a beautiful book with something you can’t afford: “You can’t buy the $1,200 handbag but you can buy the Manolo Blahnik book and sit down and drool over it.” 

So true. I can’t own a Matisse but I love looking at the pictures in the books. And if you really wanted, you could snip out those pages and frame them. The $100 book may seem expensive (I am admitting to you I have sticker shock with books), but think of the years of enjoyment you’ll receive! And think of the story you’re telling about yourself as you collect and line your shelves and tabletops with beautiful bound works of art in and of themselves.

A hot tip according to me when decorating with coffee table books: I like to have covers and spines coordinate with the other things that are on the surface. It’s especially nice if there’s black type. Black is a unifying color.

The New York studio of artist and designer Doug Meyer

Today’s Pretty Things are coffee table books that pertain to my interests. I’m sure you can easily figure out what they are! I’d love to know what large scale books you have lying around the house!