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

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! 

Pretty things vol. 2

The more I think I know how to design a room, the less I realize I really do. There is so much amazing design in the world. It leaves me so inspired and wanting more more more. For myself and for my home.

Because he's pretty cute, too...

Over the past few weeks I have been learning a lot about the history of chairs. I even started a favorites chair history entry. Maybe one day I’ll finish it. There’s so much to learn about your favorite vintage chair(s)!  You might notice that the Pierre Jeanneret chair shows up in a lot of these images. The history of Jeanneret and his cousin Le Corbusier and the Indian city they built from the ground up, Chandigarh, is amazing. What’s remarkable about his chairs (and all the furniture he designed for the city) is people in India didn’t know what they had and began tossing them out in the rubbish. In the 90s, collectors from Paris swooped in and now the chairs go for $30-60,000! Insanity. Since discovering this chair for my chair blog, I’ve seen it everywhere! I don’ know if it’s the red car self-fulfilling prophecy or I’m just tapped into the design subconscious and know this chair is a winner. I’m going to go with the latter… wink wink.

I’m also a fan of the Roly Poly chair, designed by Faye Toogood while she was pregnant. I read an article saying people like this type of furniture because the world is pretty much garbage right now and these childlike pieces inspire whimsy and hope in all of us. I don’t know if I agree, but I sure do love the shape of it. It’s actually a fairly large chair if you see someone sitting in it. Google it.

And Pierre Paulin and his “groovy” ribbon chairs for Artifort from the 60s (Pierre is pictured above in black and white with one of his chairs). “A chair should be more than simply functional. It should be friendly, fun and colorful.” Pierre studied stone carving and clay modeling at the Ecole Camondo in Paris in the early fifties where he began designing furniture for Thonet. In 1958, he became the designer for Artifort where he created a series of sculptural chairs with an inner structure of steel tubing, covered in foam and fabric. That could be me, ya’ll! All I need to do is get started on my lamps! You might also know Pierre’s pumpkin chairs/sofas. 

I’m so in love with chairs I might have to hang them on my walls (as seen in the room above. I definitely lack space in my apartment to truly hoard)! Anyway, more shape things, more sculpture, and more fun. That’s what I need in my life! 

Geometry for adults

I may have barely passed geometry in high school (thanks Coach Sharpe for being a terrible math teacher. I hope you were better with the kids on the football field) but I’m all about shapes now as an adult. I have been admiring geometric shapes for a while now.  I can’t really tell you what it is about them that is so alluring. I swear the simpler the better.  Perhaps it’s because we find shapes repeated over and over again in nature. As designers, it’s always the simplest forms that are the most impactful. I love me a triangle or a semi-circle. I spent a long time agonizing over this website’s logo because I wanted to incorporate many things I love, shapes included. I never quite arrived at the logo of my dreams but I think it’s evident I’m a fan of circles and lines.

I’m fully loving the world’s continued journey pushing the boundaries of geometry and design, the harkening to the 80s, to softer tubular lines. Melding the shapes of the 50s/60s with forms of the 70s/80s is giving futuristic fresh takes to everything from chairs to home decor. 

Here are some finds I’ve been eyeballing for my apartment. Some are true vintage and some are new takes on old classics – the line, the circle, etc.

semi circles

Pretty things vol. 1

Lately, I have been enjoying all things ceramic. I even ordered 100 pounds of clay so I could venture into the world of pottery. I’m working my way to lamps. 

Until I create my masterpiece, here are some pretty noodle vases. I’m kind of obsessed.

There is a large amount of interesting mid-century Japanese pottery on eBay. I would imagine it inspired a lot of these top designs. Do be sure to leave your favorite noodle in the comments below! I’d love to hear if you’re a fan of this trend. I wonder if I love it so much because I love actual noodles and my brain makes some sort of food connection. Hilarious. I also just enjoy the shape, the texture, and the pure beige of it all.