Thursday, August 27, 2009

From Fashion to Interiors- I HEART all of it

There is a trend I am seeing in furnishings, and most notably with fashion designers..... a trend that was once only seen in little girls' bedrooms, on their school book binders, or Valentine's Day cards, and that would be HEARTS. It is my daily passing of Moschino, Alexander McQueen, Matthew Williamson, and Stella McCartney, that initially led to this discovery. You will usually find me staring into the windows of these couture fashion houses lusting after what the mannequins are wearing, imagining when I would be able to afford these masterpieces, and better yet, imagining where I would be wearing them. But this day was a little different.

Moschino changed their visual window display to include a chair upholstered in red satin and velvet quilted hearts. It is so cute, and I immediately fell in love with it. Very playful and modern, yet still remaining sexy, with a little bit of sass!

Then, while scouring the Internet, I came across Vivienne Westwood for The Rug Company's Love-Hearts rug. Wow... Another heart inspired object of my affection.

Am I onto a trend here? I think maybe. What's interesting here is that these are fashion designers bringing this motif into their showroom or in VW's case, her interior line. Often you will find fashion imitating interior design or visaversa- an endless circle of inspiration. I believe this is a perfect example of that. Perhaps it was the collections of Marc Jacobs, Vivienne Westwood, and Moschino that have inspired this emerging design trend for Fall 2009 (not new, I know, but definitely new to the world of high-end living.)

Vivienne Westwood


Marc Jacobs

Intrigued, I set out on a hunt to find the use of hearts in other stores, interiors, photo spreads, etc. Let me tell you, there is not much out there..... yet. I tried some of the hip stores I know of in NYC, websites, Jonathan Adler (the king of graphic accessories,) Target, Anthropology. I did find heart shaped mirrors on the site, A+R, the store in LA I blogged about the other day, that I really liked for only $96.

I picture this set of mirrors above the vanity in a dark powder room with traditional furnishings, giving it a pop of unexpected graphic flair.

The only other heart accessory I could find, was at IKEA- the Vanna for $7.99. I think these would make such a bold statement if placed on a wall in a repetitive collection. They could be lined up in rows on the wall at the end of a hall or powder room, or a single line down the wall of niche.

There is a trickle down effect in fashion, art, and design. The top designers decide what they love and how they will implement it into society, and eventually the masses catch on, and what was once a novelty is now a bore. The fact that I searched high and low to find hearts, and this was all I could find, can only mean two things.
  • It will not catch on and none of the big shot designers want anything to do with it.
  • My theory- we have caught the beginning of the trend, and will start to see this motif more and more, and I say by next spring, we will most likely start to see it everywhere.
Can't wait to see if I am right! :)
When it comes to the graphic design of the HEART, do not be afraid to use it, simply because it could be associated with being girlie. Creating irony is exciting when it comes to design. And who said there is anything wrong with being girlie!

The Designista

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Southgate Restaurant at Essex House in NYC
Faceted mirrored wall panels

When I first got out of design school, of course, I was unaware of all the uses of materials, and how they affect space and light-----but I thought I did. My first design job, with the ever so lovely Michelle Janczewski, opened my eyes to the world of mirror, among many other materials, that I never knew existed. And I am not talking about framed mirrors. I am talking about walls, ceilings, enclaves, panels, etc. It wasn't the 70's inspired gold flecked mirror walls of Scarface that I associated with mirror, but a glamorous, reflective, and bringer of light into interior spaces. I have since been collecting the work of many of my favorite designers now for years and thought it time to share this longlasting trick of the trade with all of you.

Unfortunately, at the time of finding these, I didn't bother writing down who is the designer, or where the picture is from, so I have to rely on my memory, which I hope serves me well. These are a few of my favorite mirrored applications.

Kelly Wearstler Interior Design (my favorite designer)- paneled mirror ceiling inset into molding with hanging pendant centered within the panels. Gorgeous entry treatment.

Antique mirrored tiled walls applied in a subway design, with painted design. We actually used this as an inspiration photo for an apartment we were designing in Paris.

I wanted to show the use of a simple fully mirrored wall. The mirrored furniture in my opinion is a bit overkill, but the walls open up the hallway into what looks like a large room.

Miles Redd in his Manhattan antique mirrored bathroom. This is the most fabulous bathroom I have ever seen- a 1930's David Adler design

Mirrored molding and walls in this bathroom. The rest of the bathroom, isn't too bad either!

Mirroring the wall behind the bar in this pool house makes the room seem to go on forever.

Diamond Barratta Design (Another one of my favorite designers) designed this Florida home. Putting mirror behind lattice, makes the mirror disappear. Makes it look as though, it is part of the architecture.

Whether or not you like this design, is possibly up for discussion, but I do. I love the ancient Asian mural painted on the mirrored walls. Many put painted chinoiserie wall covering panels up in dining rooms, this a different take on that look.

Elsie de Wolfe design- a famous interior designer who gained fame in the early part of the 1900's, who is still revered as one of the great interior designers. Here, she boxed out the mantle of the fireplace with mirror and added the detail of real bamboo for molding. Look how the entire room has bamboo molding- LOVE IT!

Antique mirrored panels in a Manhattan apartment. Antique mirror gives a romantic look to mirror- though it is more expensive.

Ahhh- one of my favorite uses of mirror- Dressing rooms and bathrooms....Make sure when adding antique mirror to interiors, use clear mirror where someone really needs to look at themselves, but the rest of the space can be in antique mirror. It doesn't take away from the look at all.

Designer Valentino created this tented space for a huge party in Europe. This is a tent! Can you believe it. This is the most gorgeous event I have ever seen. Look how the walls are mirrored with an Asian fretwork placed upon the mirror. True to form- Perfection!

Kelly Wearstler interior- inset mirrored cabinetry.... one of her trade marks.

Mirrored Dressing room- For the vanity in all of us, what else could you ask for in a dressing room?
Actress Chloe Sevigny's Manhattan Apartment- She placed a large painting on top of mirrored wall. The first time I saw this, it seemed like a trick. This was a really good idea to create the illusion of space.

Don't ever be afraid to use mirror. It is timeless and gorgeous!


The Designista

Monday, August 24, 2009

Los Angeles: A + R Store

1121-1 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

While thumbing through a recent magazine, an item was featured that piqued my interest. Looking to see where to buy it, I discovered A+R. This store is located in Venice Beach, CA, on it's famous main drag, where I have spent many days and nights, Abbot Kinney. For those of you unfamiliar with Venice Beach, a place I contemplated moving prior to my jump to the East Coast, it has the flavor of a small town with tiny little cafes and shops, but the mindset of an avant garde art community.

After looking at A+R's online store, it surely embodies this mentality. I absolutely LOVE what this store offers- globally and locally acquired lines with designs that really push the envelope, that are not only functioning pieces of design, but also relatively inexpensive. I will for sure become a patron of this store. A great place for unique gifts.

Check out some of my favorites from the A+R online store:

These come in five colors and two sizes. Perfect for lighting stairways.

Set of 10 Pantone mugs- $128
Considering my recent ravings on my love of color, and my addiction to coffee,
how could I not love Pantone mugs? :)

These porcelain exterior oil lamps are what contemporary landscape design is all about. They can even be weighed down with gravel on the inside. Imagine these lined up a walk way....In a beautiful sunny Southern California backyard....Mmmmmmm- 10", 15", 21", 27"

Wall Mounted Wine Rack- $59
I love how non-invasive this rack is. Especially when it comes to NY apartments, with little counter or cabinet space, this design is not only sleek, but also functional.

Colored Agate Coaster Set (4)- $55
I have to say, I am obsessed with these little volcanic pieces of earthly heaven. Every piece is uniquely colored and shaped. To me, these are like jewelry.

I don't know about all of you, but I can't rely on putting things in my iphone whenever I have a thought. I mean, is paper becoming that extinct? I have a little leather note pad my sister got me that I carry around everywhere. But sadly, I am coming near the last page. At 3.5" x 4.75", this little book could easily fit in your handbag to capture all your daily thoughts- for a year!

The stick lighters are actually what brought me to the A+R site. I just think they have a sexiness to them that every hostess should have hidden in their kitchen drawer. Perhaps this will be my new house warming gift!

And this...... let me tell you, a very special person with a fearless interior vision can pull this light fixture off with flair! This pendant comes as a flat metal garland that you assemble into your own shape around an Edison Light bulb. How cool is this!?!?!?! I think it would be fabulous for event design as well. Comes in silver, brass, black chrome and winter white- HOT!

The great thing about technology is that you don't have to live locally to find the things that make your heart sing. When I head back to CA, I will definitely visit this store. In the meantime, I know where I'll be finding some gifts. Be sure to browse their website!


The Designista

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Amy D caught in a Paparrazzi Frenzy with Kelis!

R&B singer Kelis with her new Baby boy Knight, and me, Amy D on the left hand side!
Click here for more pics and story

One day when leaving work, I did as I usually do- put my sunglasses on, put my ipod on, and walk to the subway. As I was walking, I looked up from the ground and was startled by loud yelling and many photographers standing right in front of me. I had no idea what was going on, but knew there was someone famous around me. Well, it was Kelis. I knew somewhere I would be included in the shots- Kinda Cool!

One thing that is interesting is that I worked on Kelis' wedding a few years ago to rapper Nas. I dined with her, spoke to her on the phone many times, sat in her bridal suite the day of her wedding, etc. I always wondered what I would do if I saw her in NYC one day, not knowing if she would remember me. Well, the moment came and went, because I certainly wasn't going to be the girl walking up to Kelis in the midde of a Pap frenzy!

It was fun though! I can't believe how many celebrities I see nearly everyday.


The Designista

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stop Shop: Evolution

I used to walk past this store nearly everyday when I worked in Soho. I was always intrigued by the faux skeleton hanging outside the front door, and of course, as I have already mentioned my strange love of skulls at the moment, the signage including a skull.

Due to it's location in Soho, I knew it would be primarily filled with tourists, but apparently it has a loyal following with "museums, universities, private collectors, nature enthusiasts, interior decorators, and photographers." It has it's own entomology department and many of it's pieces have been obtained through paleontologists, anthropologists, and entomologists. The "hipster" staff is extremely helpful and inquisitive about your needs and will engage you in all your questions regarding each piece. I was taking pictures throughout the store and they even asked if I wanted to come behind the counter to get a better look. A friendly and eager staff is always a plus!

This store is filled with so many things, it is eye candy for someone who enjoys history and nature. The prices ranges from tiny little souvenir type gifts at $5 to a Woolie Mammoth tusk at $8000. I am sure there are more expensive things, since many are artifacts.

Here is a brief selection of some great things I saw:

I have one of these rugs at home- very popular in design.

This picture does not show this mineral justice. It is a brilliant light blue, grey, silver, and stunning chartreuse green. This is like a sculptural art piece. Around $3000.

Coral and Seashells are a very popular home decor accessories.

The ancient Woolie Mammoth Tusk

Butterfly Shadow boxes- I loved how vivid this wall is. You can choose your own butterfly from their selection upstairs in their museum area. Kind of a fun interactive and personalized gift!

Tortoise Shells

The Peacock- of course my favorite item!

Wall of different types of skulls fabricated with different faces and material

Ostrich Eggs- Would be great sitting on a shelf alone, or even as shown here in a unique bowl or basket

After visiting Evolution, I was going through my design magazines this month and saw a lot of examples of this type of accessorizing. Here are just few!

Notice the barnacle piece and large shell on the coffee table, coral on the mantle and shelves. This designer/ homeowner went a little overboard with the shells. Key to accessorizing- you can have too much of a good thing. Keep it repetitive, or limit it to a few pieces.

(Elle Decor- George Stephanopolous' home in Washington DC- Interior Design by Elizabeth Martin)

Love the single Tortoise shell sitting on the console.

(Elle Decor- Interior Design by Victoria Hagan)

American Bison Head actually purchased from Evolution.

(Elle Decor- Istvan Francer's, Creative Director of Theory, home in Connecticut)

The Peacock sitting on a Moroccan inlayed mother of pearl commode dresser. A breath of fresh air to to the all black and white interior.

(Elle Decor- Anna Sui's, fashion Designer, Manhattan Studio Apartment)

Zebra Rug
(Elle Decor)
Evolution has a good online selection for purchase, but there is no doubt that there is much more in store. Definitely check this place out if in New York City! But if you are in the mood to accessorize your home, "prehistoric" style, this is the place for you! And considering the fact I spotted several pieces from this store in recent articles, it's also the place for top designers!


The Designista