Thursday, October 30, 2014

Early 18th-century pattern books—a wealth of inspiration

When I was did the Christie's Decorative Arts program at the University of Glasgow, the course was divided in to five categories. First we studied the history of interiors, then it broke down into media: ceramics, glass, textiles and silver. As the course went along, we were encouraged to focus our studies and were allowed to drop one of the four media. I dropped textiles... which I've regretted ever since, especially when I stumble upon treasure troves of historic patterns, like these by James Leman at the V&A. Leman was born in Spitalfields, London, in 1688 to a Huguenot family of weavers, and became a successful designer, providing hundreds of patterns for woven silks produced by some of the most fashionable factories. Most of the patterns posted here date between 1706 and 1716, making them some of the earliest silk patterns known to exist. I love the old color combinations, the stylized fruits and flowers, and the exotic bits of architecture. A single page could inspire a dozen new designs. I've always said I'll be a landscape designer in my next life. Perhaps I'll be a textile designer in the one after that. So much beauty, such endless possibilities!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Behind the scenes at designer Kathryn Ireland's new LA studio

Last month, I had the pleasure of meeting designer Kathryn Ireland at a photo shoot for a story I was writing for Interiors California. I **love** being on shoots, and while Kathryn and photographer Robert Benson did their thing, I tiptoed around with my phone and snapped a few pics of Kathryn's new studio/office. Its as charming as you might expect... There are antiques from London dealer Christopher Hodsoll, racks of hand-printed textiles, sitting areas that display Kathryn's designs and, of course, all the working parts of the shop, from the long printing tables to the sewing rooms. Below are a few pictures from the day. Enjoy!

Kathryn and Robert in the studio's kitchen. I covet her Aga.

The entryway leads past the workrooms, sitting rooms and kitchen to the big living room and meeting space.

Everything Kathryn in one cheerful room.

Textiles, wood, tufting... texture, texture, texture.

A tabletop laden with the designer's many decorating books.

Where the magic happens... the printing room!

Sew, sort, sell.

Kathryn's new book, Inspired By, pays homage to the many people who have inspired her over the years. 

Monday, October 06, 2014

Who's *your* favorite?

I must be in an angular mood, as these are some of my top pics on Interior Design magazine's Best of Year 2014 list. Show your favorite designers some love and vote!

To vote, click here.

STRATA is an innovative collection of MeldStone™ benches and tables. Created in collaboration with industrial designer Jess Sorel, it is specifically designed to employ the company's proprietary MeldStone™ Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC) technology. The collection includes a straight bench with and without back, a backless angled bench and an asymmetric six-sided table, all of which can be combined in multiple ways to create out-of-the-ordinary social settings.

Part of the collection titled "Hamel + Farrell for Jean de Merry", the Module Side Tables were inspired by sharing gourmet chocolates. Each elements is whole and equally interesting whether employed in single or triplicate, and they fit together in jig-saw format as a single form. Shown in ebony grain wood finish with antiqued bronze, each element is approximately 34 x 30 x 18.25(h). The table was designed by Dylan Farrell and commissioned by Thomas Hamel for production by Jean de Merry.

The new standard of luxury glassware is the Nero Limited Edition Box Set. This set of impeccably designed spinning glassware features a rich, black-crystal finish. These pieces are designed to spin without toppling or spilling while aerating your favorite spirits. The Nero series includes two black Cupa whiskey tumblers and a black Vaso decanter, complete with a polished Amish-made wooden stopper. Each set is hand-signed and numbered by the designer and comes in a custom designed collector's box.