Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Are Decorators Really A Punch Line

The NY Times had a little tidbit called In Defense of the Decorator (by Penelope Green). I didn't know that decorators were under fire, or on trial, or in any trouble.

Designed by Brian McCarthy, a Parish-Hadley alumnus - photo by Fritz von der Schulenburg
The article praises the profession of interior design for providing hefty trickle down employment for all the vendors it takes to complete a project.  As we all know, it takes a village, maybe a small city of carpenters, wallpaper hangers, painters, upholsterers, drapery makers, flooring contractors, electronics experts, electricians, landscapers, home furnishing vendors, etc. to complete a major project that can take months into years to complete. This is good for the economy, and also a boon to keep the trades in crafts alive.

The dining room on the Paris apartment of Rudolf Nureyev -  Can you imagine the village it took to decorate this?  photo by Fritz von der Schulenburg

Bunny Williams said that on any given day, “There might be 300 or more people doing something for our jobs. And their work is what makes our work unique: we can do things that are unique, and not mass produced.”

The article talks about the instability of the profession,  about the ranks of talent being decimated by AIDS, of people going under with the passing of three recessions, and the shift in the paradigm of needing a decorator at all, with the avalanche of years of relentless D.I.Y. cable programming, along with shelter guides like Martha Stewart Living and the late Domino (not to mention blogs, Pinterest, Houzz, Decorpad, et al).

The library in the country home of Bill Blass - Was it  a DIY project? - photo by Fritz von der Schulenburg

Apparently it's also not cool for young people with new money to openly hire a decorator (note to my young clients: please close your ears), preferring to make it seem that they decorate and design on their own. Stephen Drucker, who has been editor in chief of House Beautiful and Martha Stewart Living, put it: “It’s not so cool anymore to credit the decorator. You’re supposed to have curated your own eclectic, wonderful life, not order Mario by the yard.”

Tuscan home of Mimi O'Connell - Was she her own decorator?

I don't care who gets the credit for a beautifully decorated home, steered through the land mines of expensive decisions, while project managing the above noted army of vendors and craftspeople. I just want to keep getting jobs. I can be a silent partner if need be.

Designed by Catherine Painvin - photo by Fritz von der Schulenburg

The One Percent, as the super rich are now called are still openly using decorators, and I suspect always will. It's not that they don't have taste or opinions or a certain innate expertise. They do, but the time it takes to put it all together is what they don't have, or don't want to devote their time to do the grunt work.

At 76, Mario Buatta is still answering his own phone, as he always has, to take care of clients like Mariah Carey and the financier Wilbur Ross. Bunny Williams, who though only 67 is the decorating world’s grande dame, noted that while business has steadied in the last year, “no one is taking it for granted,” she said. “Everyone is working harder than ever.”

Some nuggets from the article:

  • Decorators find they are behaving more like C.E.O.’s pitching their shareholders.
  • Decorators are more engaged in conversations about an interior’s investment potential than in conversations about how the space will feel.
  • Why is my time any less valuable than anyone else’s? Because I’m choosing wallpaper? Well, if you think choosing wallpaper is insignificant, then you go do it.
  • I’m not a discount shop, I’m not here so you can get the cheapest price, I’m here to spend your money well.
  • Everyone wants their home to reflect themselves, but how do you do that in a time of globalization? How do you create your own taste, if everyone has access to the same goods?

A stunning book published recently by Rizzoli, “Be Your Own Decorator” by Susanna Salk, is filled with the glossy projects of high-end designers like Celerie Kemble, Miles Redd, Katie Ridder and others (Note: Others - that would be me ha ha). 

One of the Others in Be Your Own Decorator

The intention is to draw inspiration from the pros. But page after page, its perfect vignettes unintentionally make the point that civilians may be incapable of replicating a skilled decorator’s work, in the same way that the pages of Domino magazine used to elicit a sort of panic in some readers. 

A perfect vignette at Chateau de Montmirail - photo by Fritz von der Schulenburg

“The ability to walk into an empty room and see it finished in their heads — that is a gift that most people do not have,” says Stephen Drucker.  “I certainly don’t. It’s a crazy, God-given special gift. Yet decorators have been targets of ridicule forever.” 

I don't know, do you think decorators and designers out there feel like targets of ridicule? I think that we are very lucky professionals, in good times and in lean times. And if that's a punch line, I'm having a good laugh.

Kathy Griffin with her punch line decorator Lara Spencer -  Read more at The Zhush

Excerpts taken from the article In Defense of the Decorator.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Blogger Appreciation Day

This came in the email this morning, and I share it with you. It's nice to be appreciated! Good until July 1.

Extraordinary Shops. Wonderful Things.
We love reading your blog. In fact, we’ve created a holiday in your honor.
Like you, we are constantly on the hunt for interesting stories and beautifully unique items to present to our Taigan shoppers. We’d love to share our discoveries with you and your readers.
Enjoy 20% off your next purchase on Taigan.com*
Enter BLOGLOVE in the promo code box at payment.  (Sorry- the code expires on Sunday, July 1st)
Thanks for the creative work you do; it inspires us all!
Your friends at Taigan
*excluding fine jewelry


This message was sent to mizvtheb@yahoo.com.   

Taigan 5500 Maryland Way Suite 200 Brentwood TN 37027

Friday, June 22, 2012

Florence Green


‘Florence’ with dark Soft Wax

The latest color in the Chalk Paint line is a jewel shade of green with a hint of blue

‘Florence’ with clear Soft Wax 


(New Orleans, LA, June 21st, 2012).  Leading decorative paint expert and author, Annie Sloan, has just introduced her latest paint color for Chalk Paint™ decorative paint.  It’s called ‘Florence’ – a rich, jewel-tone shade of green that is inspired by the color of the semi-precious stone, malachite (from the same family as azurite and turquoise).

Annie Sloan says, “This has always been a favorite color of mine, and now is the time to introduce it, with vibrant shades trending in home fashion as much as they are on the runway. ‘Florence’ can introduce a classic look or contemporary style, depending on the type of finish used.  Using my ‘dark’ or antique Soft Wax creates a historic look, while the ‘clear’ Soft Wax, buffed to a matte sheen on a dresser, for example, introduces a bold pop of modern color to a room.  It looks fantastic with black and white.”  In the photos above, Annie has used ‘Graphite’, a very dark charcoal grey, inside the drawers.

As with many of Annie Sloan’s paint colors, ‘Florence’ has its references in the 17th and 18th centuries when a similar color called ‘verdigris’ was much in demand and was a classical color for Italian furniture of the time.  Annie’s clever interpretation makes this color just perfect for the 21st century – whether used on a piece of furniture or a wall.

To lighten ‘Florence’ to a spring-like minty green is easy, using either one, two, or three parts Pure White or Old White to one part of ‘Florence.’

Chalk Paint™ decorative paint is made in the USA and comes in quart cans only, for $38.95 per quart (regional price variations apply). 

The above is a press release from Annie Sloan that made me smile. I recently painted my nightstands green. It was an"oops" color. I tired to match a Benjamin Moore color at Wal Mart and it didn't come the way I thought it would look. I did not buy the paint.
A  weeks later, the paint was marked down to $5. a gallon, so I bought it! I ended up using it to paint the lines on the walls to create the giant diamond pattern, and I used it to paint my nightstands. 

My green nightstand - Florence Green? Paris Green? Ooops Green?

I generally use flat paint for everything, including painting furniture. Sometimes I put a clear wax on it, nothing sp0ecial, a wax like Johnson Wax I get at the hardware store. It always looks nice, and lasts forever.

I am so intrigued by Annie Sloan.

I love her new color. It reminds of color I saw all over Europe painted on shutters, and doors. It also reminds me of the color Paris Green seen on old china. Florence Green, Paris Green, green is hot!

I love the Paris Green on old china

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Antique Glassware At Lucullus And How To Get The Look

Ever since I first came to New Orleans, I loved a shop called Lucullus. It sells antique dinnerware and glassware, and some small antique furnishings. It's mostly French, and all gorgeous.

Antique glassware from Lucullus
Michael Pelkey introduced me to 18th century stemware. The elegant shapes haunted me for years. He had many sets of glasses, often a dozen in a set.

My La Rochere Perigord glasses - I think they have that 18th century look

As the years went by I would always be attracted by antique wine glasses, but I never started collecting them. They were always expensive.

Set of eight exceptional French Empire period hand blown champagne flutes with broad and fine fluted cutwork, $1600.00.  Measure 6 3/4" in height - from Lucullus

Assembled set of sixteen fine French Empire period hand blown champagne flutes, $2800.00.  Measure approximately 6 3/4" in height - from Lucullus

Set of eight 19th century French hand blown champagne flutes with tulip lip, fluted bowls balloon stem, $995.00.  Measure 6 3/4" in height - from Lucullus

So when I discovered Lucullus I was beside myself. Of course the glassware was too costly for me, but I loved to look at it, and would search flea markets, eBay, and second hand stores for glasses that reminded me of the antique glassware.

Set of ten 19th century French hand blown wine glasses, with mirabeau stem, circa 1840, $1800.00.  Measure 5 3/4" in height - from Lucullus - These really look a lot like the La Rochere shapes

La Rochere Perigord wine glasses looks very19th century down to the mirabeau stem - Set of six $40. at Overstock

Blogger and designer Katiedid set her table with La Rochere wine glasses

After many years of trying to find reproduction glassware, I finally have settled on La Rochere. Many of you know this glass ware line.

Assembled set of six 19th century French hand blown absinthe glasses with cut panels on bowl and mirabeau stem, circa 1860, $745.00.  Measure approximately 6 1/4" in height - from Lucullus

Good looking set of 12 La Rochere Absinthe glasses with Absinthe spoons $98. -  I so want these - They would be perfect for aperitifs - Get them at Overstock

The glass making company of La Rochère, in France’s Franche-Comté, traces its history back to 1475, when “gentleman glass-maker” Simon de Thysac founded a glass works that supplied the needs of locals in this rural area located between Champagne and Alsace. The company is still making glassware today, and many of the forms are in the style of the 18th and 19th century.

Set of nine French Art Deco blown and molded glass timbales,  circa 1930, $495- from Lucullus

The La Rochere Versailless tumbler has a great antique timbale look

I have the La Rochere Bee and Eiffel Tower wine glasses, and recently bought a set of six Perigord champagne flutes. We use them everyday for aperitif size drinks, and I think the shape design resembles antique glasses that are much more costly.

How many of you have La Rochere glassware? Don't you love it!

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Monday, June 18, 2012

The World Of Kelly Wearstler

Kelly Wearstler has a never ending well of ideas. In the realm of her vernacular she creates her world of many intriguing layers.

One King Lane is having a sale of many things Kelly divided into several sub categories. Even if you are not buying at this time, just browsing all things Kelly is a mini master class in the art of the mix.

Kelly Wearstler: California Coastal Living
Throughout Kelly Wearstler’s beachfront designs, modern architectural forms mingle with the natural environment in an inspired seaside interplay

Kelly Wearstler Santa Monica  - This sale reflects the stylish spirit of the hotel experience: exceptional seaside living, and luxe accommodations

A blend of American tradition and unabashed eclecticism, The Kelly Wearstler for Pickard formal and casual collections represent a remix of traditional and modern.

The Avalon Hotel that Wearstler designed, offers guest a home away from home that echoes the relaxed patio lifestyle of mid-20th-century Southern California. This sale, curated by Kelly, captures that spirit.

The Rug Company and interior designer Kelly Wearstler have joined forces to create a new eight-piece collection of handmade contemporary rugs.

This sale is based on the super glam Kelly decor in her own home as seen in her book Domicilum Decoratus

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Oly Ari Side Table

The Plaster Mania post was so fun, and it was pointed out (thanks Squeak!) that Oly Studios makes a very cute table that brings to mind John Dickinson. Savvy Home has a nice post about the trend.

Oly Studios Ari Side Table

You can get the table from a site called Shop Candelabra. The list price is 832., but the site said to call for the price, and I did and was quoted 614. with free shipping. While not a bargain for most of us, it is still a great look that would cost so much more than the pieces it seems inspired by. You know I like to see nice things for your home no matter what budget you have.

This table is actually discounted t0 614. at Shop Candelabra
I have just the place for this little table, so I think I'll start saving up!

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Plaster Mania

Decorators have been obsessed with plaster objects for many years, and they are once again an accessory du jour.

Plaster dipped chandelier from Trove in Los Angeles - I am thinking of doing a DIY project

I remember an episode on Million Dollar Decorators where JAM and Ross were at the San Francisco Antiques show, making a bee line for a perfect coffee table that turned out to be a small vintage plaster table by John Dickinson. I think it the price tag was ten thousand dollars.

Ross and Jeffrey on the hunt for the perfect coffee table

They coveted this John Dickinson table that sold for $30K

Since then I noticed more and more John Dickinson pieces being featured in designer rooms.

A treasure trove of John Dickinson pieces

Plaster tables are popping up everywhere in designer rooms

John Dickinson lamps are also very popular

Room designed by the legendary John Dickinson
Syrie Maugham was famous for using white plaster objects.

Syrie Maugham with a white plaster palm tree lamp - Love the chevron rug too - This is 1930 people!
"The story behind this literally off-the-wall use of plaster actually began in the '30s. Serge Roche, a second-generation antiques dealer, began making ornate Rococo plaster tables, mirror frames and palm-frond torchiers during the Great Depression to bolster the stock of his Paris shop. Business was bad, so in order to keep going, he decided to design furniture. Not everything was done in plaster, but most of it was. Along with fellow Parisian Jean-Michel Frank—who sold the work of Emilio Terry and sculptors Alberto and Diego Giacometti—Roche became the go-to plaster resource for the decoratrixes of the day, such as Elsie de Wolfe, Frances Elkins and particularly Syrie Maugham, who snapped up pieces for her signature all-white rooms."

Syrie Maugham lobster phone

"In that era, plaster had a touch of whimsy and the surreal—Maugham collaborated with Salvador Dali on a plaster lobster phone—but it was still mostly focused on traditions past. It's no surprise that as the forward-looking '60s rolled in, plaster took a backseat to steel and glass. San Francisco decorator John Dickinson was part of its revival in the '70s with his almost cartoony animal-footed stools and tables."
from The Wall Street Journal

Frances Elkins with her plaster treasures

Here in New Orleans chandelier designer Julie Neill has been experimenting with plaster. She's made a couple of chandeliers. It's not as easy as my DIY idea of dipping a chandelier. She has worked hard in  finding a way to actually make a chandelier in plaster.

Julie Neill chandelier in the restaurant Oak in New Orleans

One of the first Julie Neill plaster chandeliers

Julie said this is the one that inspired her that she saw in a room done by Gerrie Bremermann

There are many other ways to incorporate plaster accents into your decor. A simple one is to use plaster brackets to display smaller objects. The little shelves are relatively easy to find and inexpensive.

Miles Redd uses plaster brackets

Steven Gambrel uses plaster brackets
You can also just place a few plaster objects around your home. I have a plaster lamp purchased at Ballard Designs over fifteen years ago.

I love this photo, an outtake for the book Undecorate taken by Melanie Acevedo - So much has changed since that photo shoot, but I still have and use  the plaster lamp
Plaster walls inherent to architecture are amazing

I love the plaster objects used in this table setting designed by Dwayne Clark and Bob Gaynor for DIFFA

Shells mix well with plaster - Detail of DIFFA table

Of course here in New Orleans many old homes have plaster mouldings and medallions

I'll let you know what happens if I dip an old chandelier in plaster! Has anyone out there tried this yet? Or made plaster furniture?

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