15 November 2014

Bedside Non-Tables

As an extension of this post on mismatched bedside tables, I thought I'd look at bedrooms that make use of other furniture or stacks of items at the bedside. I'm always a fan of reinventing pieces that may not be needed for their intended purpose. And the unexpected keeps a room from feeling stale. Convention and trendiness are two sides of the decorating coin that get quite a bit of play. But risk is what gets my attention these days. Taking a chance on a color, a piece of furniture or a design idea that others may not understand is worth the effort if the result makes sense to you. As Billy Wilder said, "Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else's."             

Images: 1) Muse and Co. 2) Nook & Sea. 3) Muchpics. 4) Homedit. 5) Vintage Luxe. 6) Uncovet. 7) Vtwonen. 8) La Dolce Vita. 9) Apartment Therapy.                 

04 October 2014

To Build a Living Room

Having owned a vintage furniture store, my tastes in interiors have moved away from disposable home decor toward pieces that continue to appeal even when they're no longer current. If I were furnishing a living room from scratch and my budget were unlimited -- I suppose this could be called an aspirational exercise -- my picks might run along these lines. I'd start with a couch from the Stephen Kenn Inheritance Collection, constructed from re-purposed World War II military fabric. I'd add a pair of 1960s Brazilian sling leather armchairs in the style of Sergio Rodrigues and then start adding more feminine pieces to the grounded masculine seating. For a coffee table, I might add this 1920s Mexican farm table with its pretty scalloped skirt. Or else I'd find a large farmhouse table with no particular pedigree and cut the legs down so that it sat just above seat level. Against a nearby wall, A French marble and iron bistro table would hold an arched mirror like this one from Anthropologie. Antique French seltzer bottle lamps like the ones I sold in my shop and have always regretted letting go would sit on either side of the mirror. With my basics in place, I'd add colorful boho touches with decorative kilim pillows from Sukan and an ABCdna nomadic cashmere throw. I would want to add a piece that doesn't remotely fit in with the rest stylistically, but that would nevertheless feel at home in the group, like this signed Philip and Kelvin LaVerne cabinet of etched and patinated bronze with pewter overlay for a mere $78,000. Finally, a completely useless yet beautiful French vintage mannequin would stand watch from a quiet corner and remind me that not everything has to have a purpose. Some things should live with us just because we love them.          

Images: 1) Stephen Kenn. 2 & 3) 1st Dibs. 4) Antiquaire Online. 5) Anthropologie. 6) She Moves the Furniture. 7) Sukan. 8) ABC Home. 9 & 10) 1st Dibs.                   

20 September 2014

Menswear Inspired Style

When I was 14 and living in a small town in England, I discovered the menswear inspired look via the Sloanes (which the Free Dictionary defines as "young upper-class or upper-middle-class women, having a home in London and in the country, characterized typically as wearing expensive informal country clothes"). Though I didn't relate to the lifestyle, I loved the look and adopted it with ease -- rolled-up jeans, doc martens, and a basic tee with either a tweed waistcoat or jacket over it. I still remember my dismay when I took home a gorgeous tweed jacket I had purchased in Covent Garden only to discover that it reeked of its former owner and had to be trashed. Beware of outdoor markets! Though I've expanded my wardrobe throughout the years, I've never abandoned the basics of the menswear look. Adding an ultra-feminine piece like chunky jewelry or strappy shoes keeps it from veering into Annie Hall territory.                        

Images: 1) Stylebop. 2) Boden. 3) Jason Wu. 4 & 5)  Carrier Company. 6) L.L.Bean. 7) The Sartorialist.          

31 August 2014

Street Style

I've been working in New York close to a year now and though there are a lot of things I find difficult about this city (noisy neighbors, circling my neighborhood to find parking, long lines at all my favorite grocery stores), finding inspiration isn't one of them. I never know what I'm going to see when I step outside of my apartment and the best people watching is definitely on the subway. Sometimes I wear my sunglasses so that I can observe my fellow travelers undetected. In my view, the only other city that rivals New York in creative street style is Cape Town. Seeing how other women put themselves together helps me see my own wardrobe from a new perspective and try combos I might not have considered before -- like the thin black belt I tied at my waist over a white lace blouse this morning. In home interiors as well as fashion, I'm a big fan of the high/low trend that's been happening for a couple of years now. A high end sofa with an Ikea throw slung over it or a pair of boyfriend jeans with a beaded blouse -- both make me happy. When lousy weather keeps me indoors, Pinterest plays substitute to roaming the streets and offers eye candy like these images.

Images: Pinterest.

20 June 2014

Film Interiors: Last Love

Last Love is a quiet movie about beginnings and endings set in Paris and and the picturesque walled island of Saint-Malo. Michael Caine plays a widowed professor (Matthew) who regularly contemplates suicide and Clemence Poesy is a lonely dance teacher (Pauline) with no family or personal ties. They strike up a friendship and fill the blanks in each others lives that his children and her boyfriends can't reach. The set design helps to reveal who these characters are, while also being lovely to look at. Pauline's apartment is colorless and largely devoid of furniture. She hasn't made any major commitments in her life yet and she lives like someone who expects to be on the move before long. In contrast, Matthew's large Paris apartment represents a lifetime of choices with its overstuffed library, the bedroom full of personal finishes and the stack of newspapers by the door. The house on Saint-Malo is further evidence of the history he shared with his wife. People have a way of lingering in spaces long after they're gone and that can be both a comfort and a curse.



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