Saturday, December 07, 2013

Remodelista holiday cheer!

A few shots from this morning's Remodelista holiday market at Big Daddy's in Culver City. Totally got me in the Christmas spirit. My husband, too. He's in the kitchen baking spice cookies! **joy**

A classic Remodelista moment: repurpose, recycle, rethink.

Serious goods, silly goods. Everyone's happy.

I'm a fool for paperwhites. And those woven chairs.

Herschel came too, in his festive new sweater. :)

Monday, December 02, 2013

The gift of gratitude

I started off Thanksgiving with a quote, so it seems only appropriate to end the holiday in a similar fashion. This time it's not about looking back or reminiscing, but about living in (and finding peace with) the now:
"I try to focus on the present and be grateful for the things that I haveto want the things that I have rather than want things I don't have. I've had a wonderful, charmed life, so that's how I try to live."               
                                                                                             Robert F. Kennedy Jr. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Waxing sentimental on this Thanksgiving Eve

"The dinner table was stretched to its furthest capacity, and there was another table for the small children. Both tables were covered with cloths of big green-and-white-checked gingham (three-inch squares). Down each table was a lovely arrangement of red apples, ears of corn, vegetables and fruits. On each table, too, were big old-fashioned jugs of beer and cider. 
There were place cards with red turkeys on them. And shiny new tin plates from the ten-cent store. The first course was oyster soup, served in yellow bowls (also from the crockery counter of the ten-cent store). Then came the turkey (three of them, in fact, stuffed with creamed puree of chestnuts...). There were candied sweet potatoes and celery and a green vegetable. There was corn bread, sweet and piping hot. There was a mixed green salad served in little individual wooden salad bowls. And for dessert pumpkin pie, of course, and 'country coffee' in big cups.
Everyone sat a long time around the table telling the old family jokes and stories. Then my aunt gave the signal and we all went into the living room where there was a piano. There was music laid out on it, all old-fashioned songs that everyone knew and could sing. Later on we had a magic-lantern show. The slides were photographs of members of the family when they were babies, and we had to guess who was who." 

Dorothy Draper, Entertaining is Fun! (1941) 


Friday, November 08, 2013

Recreating the Past: Francis Cadell's Edinburgh studio

Scottish artist Francis Cadell's circa 1912 painting Afternoon has long been one of my favorites. Cadell frequently used his Edinburgh studio (in the city's posh New Town district) to paint fashionable women in a relaxed interior environment. Many of the props must have been his own as they reappear in several paintings, which you can see at the end of this post. But, as this is my favorite of his works, and as I've had a free afternoon to Google with leisure about absolutely nothing... I've decided to find similar objects featured in the scene. What I'm mystified by, however, is the painting... perhaps it's a work of Cadell's imagination or something from his collection, or perhaps its a reference to something he saw while studying in Munich or Venice during the wee small years of the new century. What's so remarkable is that it looks startlingly like a Franz Kline, or maybe even a Helen Frankenthaler. If anyone reads this and knows more about it, please email me -- I'm dying to know!

Until then... a fun little round-up of pieces similar to those seen above, should you be wishing to redo your living room as a late-Edwardian art studio. (I am.)

An English Edwardian ballroom chandelier, circa 1910, from Matthew Upham Antiques.

A pair of Regency painted armchairs from Jayne Thompson Antiques.

A George IV mahogany wine cooler with brass mounts, from Mayfair Gallery.

An English Victorian papier-mache tray from Susan Silver Antiques.

A giltwood Rococo fauteuil, via Mallett

A 1909 sterling silver coffee pot by Thomas Bradbury & Sons of London, from Bryan Douglas.

Staffordshire teapot (New Hall type), c. 1790 from Patrician Antiques.

And, for fun, Bernardaud's 1000 tea cups... because the women in Cadell's paintings were nothing if not modern.

A few of the other Cadell paintings created in the same Edinburgh studio, believed to have been at 130 George Street:


The Artist's Drawing Room

The White Room

 For more information on Cadell:

Friday, October 25, 2013

Frightfully good design

It's the countdown to Halloween, how could I not post a few ghoulish finds?

Katsuyo Aoki, Predictive Dream XLIII, 2013

Haroshi, Skull, 2012
laminated recycled skateboard decks, resin wheels, dental braces, 18k gold

Scott Campbell, Cut US Currency, 2012
laser-cut U.S. dollar bills

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Farewell, summer

The first step is admitting you have a problem. But too many books is such a wonderful problem to have!

As we near the end of summer (so long, I say, bring on fall, my favorite season!), I found myself flipping through a few garden books. Here, a few pics from some of my favorite titles. 

Royal GardensGeorge Plumptre and  Derry Moore, Harper Collins, 1982
Gardens of FranceAnita PereireGabrielle van Zuylen and Robert Cesar, Harmony Books, 1983
The Gardens of SpainMichael George and Consuelo M. Correcher, Abrams, 1993

Enjoy a last dose of the season's beauty... until next year, that is.


(I had some help.)

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Highgrove House, a new home for Emma Stothard's sculptures

It's official. I'm absolutely smitten with Yorkshire-born artist Emma Stothard's willow sculptures.

Her work is newly available through the shop at Highgrove, Prince Charles's home and garden in Gloucestershire. In fact, it's the Prince's Charitable Foundation that awarded Stothard a grant to begin her career as a sculptor in 2001. By offering her pieces for sale (proceeds go back to the trust and continue to fund good causes) the circle is completed.

The sculptures shown on the grounds at Highgrove represent the prince's particular interest in historic breeds and his association with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Below are a few of Stothard's creations photographed on the estate but you'll find many more images of her incredible work on her Web site (click here.)
Gloucester Old Spots, £950each or £1,750 for the pair

Pheasant, £250 each or £600 for a set of three

Cotswold Ewe £700, Cotswold Lamb £600 (as you might expect, there’s also a collie at £800)

Irish Moiled Cow (aka Clarence) £2,750

Monday, July 08, 2013

Fresh air, fresh starts

A June morning in Cambria, California

This spring brought about many changes—some good, some bad—but I still can't believe it's been over 4 months since my last post. The loveliest reason for my absence is that I've been knee-deep in writing assignments for Modern Luxury magazines, chiefly Interiors California and Angeleno. I couldn't be happier to be contributing, and the many wonderful editors, designers, homeowners, and photographers I've had the pleasure to work with have been a source of absolute joy in the bleak days that have followed losing my father. Turns out Fraulein Maria, that icon of my childhood, had it right: "When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window."


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Of salt and water, and poignant design

Tear catchers have existed for thousands of years and are most widely associated with the Romans, whose mastery of glass-blowing enabled them to produce small, decorative vials perfect for collecting the delicate drops. Capturing tears was a way to honor the dead, and the tear-filled vials would accompany the bodies of the mourned to their graves.

The practice fell from fashion for centuries but returned under Queen Victoria, who so publicly mourned the loss of her husband, Prince Albert, in 1861. The practice also experienced a resurgence in America during the devastating years of the Civil War. Sometimes the vials were buried with the body; sometimes they were worn as necklaces and emptied at the grave site on the first anniversary of the death.

So many years later -- thousands of years later -- we're still coping with the same sorrows, the same pain, the same fears. What's changed, though, is the way in which tears can be captured. Dutch designer Roos Kuipers, a 2009 graduate of Design Academy Eindhoven (the Department of Man and Well-being), has created a new way to approach the ancient art.

Based on the belief that tears shouldn't just be dried with a tissue and discarded, Kuipers has designed a collection of tear catchers made from glass and bamboo. The glass rings, by their very nature, imply fragility, while the bamboo-fiber pieces take a more utilitarian approach: the material is three-times more absorbent than cotton and is anti-allergenic, making it gentle on sensitive eyes.

The charm of Kuipers's designs, which range from practical to playful, comes in the act of using them. Be they needed for tears of joy or tears of sorrow, the designs are as integrated with the body as tears are with life. 

When the water of the tears caught on Kuipers's glass rings has evaporated, a delicate pattern of salt remains.

Each of Kuipers's rings are meant to be worn two ways, either visible to all or turned into the palm for privacy.

The bamboo-fiber puff necklaces come in a variety of lengths.

A traditional handkerchief made of ultra-soft bamboo.

Kuipers's bamboo-fiber glove features an extra pad for the index finger, making it doubly absorbent. The idea is based on the Dutch expression "een traantje wegpinken," or "to brush away a tear."

For more information on Roos Kuipers, visit her Web site and Etsy shop. Prices range from about $80 to $130.

There are loads of images of antique tear catchers online, but this Pinterest board offers a handy collection.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's isn't just for grown ups...

I'm utterly smitten with this sweet little heart dress at the Victoria and Albert Museum. It was designed by Pierre Cardin in 1960, manufactured in France, and sold through luxury retailer Neiman Marcus. Its target audience? Little girls of about age 4. Or more accurately, their mothers. If only they were still being made!

To read more about the dress, click here.


Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Harbingers of spring

The first day of spring doesn't arrive until March 20th this year, but I think I'm starting to see signs of it already. Yesterday, I watched a little bird hop all through the bare tree outside our kitchen window, as if looking for the perfect nesting branch.

In her (his?) honor, below are a few of my favorite avian finds spotted over the last few weeks. For those of you who know me, and make fun of my bird obsession, this post will surely come as no surprise!

Etruscan Revival micromosaic earrings depicting doves, circa 1885, at A La Vieille Russie in Manhattan.

Take Flight I and II, made of Scottish willow, by contemporary British artist Lizzie Farey.

A circa 1925 silvered-bronze sculpture designed by André Vincent Becquerel, at the Antwerp antiques firm Deconamic

And, for a little more fun, a short film on the making of Alexander McQueen's Bird's Nest Headdress for the Autumn/Winter 2006 collection:

Thursday, January 31, 2013

E. Chambré Hardman and the art of pet portraiture

Margaret and Dog in a Boat

Irish photographer Edward Fitzmaurice Chambré Hardman (1898-1988) may be best known for his studio portraits and landscapes, but I've become smitten with his images of animals, particularly his cats and dogs. Some of the animals were his own (like Pep, above, with the artist's wife), while others belonged to friends and sitters. As an animal lover and cat owner (and as my fiancé and I begin the search for a puppy!), this sort of imagery just tickles me. Hardman captured their personalities brilliantly, and I suspect he had a very good time doing it.

Mr. and Mrs McDonald's Spaniel


Mrs H. S. Strother's Dog

Mr. and Mrs A. M. Blessett's Cat
The Last of the Leisured Class

A Cheshire Cat

Withinlee Witness (English Setter)

For more information on Hardman's work, visit the The Hardmans' House blog. You can also purchase prints of Hardman's work (including those posted here) through the National Trust.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A love note for Instagram


I'm a huge Instagram fan. In fact, as you can see by my account, I've become quite obsessive about it! Was thinking about ways to print my images the other day, when I stumbled across The canvas prints don't thrill me, I admit, but I do love the note card and prism options. You can work with your own images, offer your own photos for sale, or purchase the work of other Instagrammers. Pretty clever stuff. Must be all that fresh ocean air blowing into the firm's Santa Monica office!

Here's a round up of a few fun Valentine's Day-themed cards (they're sold individually for $3.95, or in packs of 10 for $29.95):