Today’s Crush : Pale and Delicate

Today’s a PALE day. Not pale as in bland but rather, pale as in fragile and soft. I just dropped off my eldest to college. The leaves are falling. The delicate beauty of fall foliage is not without a certain sadness, reminiscent of loss, letting go, all things that happen when one sends off their eldest to college. Pale colors stir me. They echo a certain fragility and sense of transparency. How fugitive our world can be, how harsh. I find comfort in pale colors and their evanescent nature. Somehow they offer solace and comfort.

 :

This beautiful bird photograph exemplifies the PALE color scheme. Fragile, refined, nurturing.

Shell Hand Printed Wallpaper

Shell Art Deco inspired handprinted Wallpaper : delicate and perfect.

This beautiful set of nesting tables at Serena + Lily in pale aqua strikes my fancy today

Mughal quatrefoil mirror in pale lilac from Wisteria.

Beautiful Fern block printed fabric by Galbraith and Paul.

Pale and inviting grey armchair by Bernhardt.

Turquoise

Light turquoise turned wood candelabra by Dunes and Duchess.

Hand knotted contemporary rug via Dover Rug and Home.

I hope you enjoyed today’s selections!

 

 

Shagreen, Anyone?

Shagreen is such a soft, poetic word to my ears. From the French “chagrin“.  J’ai du chagrin literally means “I am disappointed or saddened” but in a grand, quite serious and dramatic way.

Shagreen is a spotted like, granular leather made from the hide of sharks and sting rays. Used throughout the centuries from Europe to Asia to make small decorative objects, cover sword handles or entire pieces of furniture, shagreen found its glorious expression in the Art Deco Period. Today it is still in use but has recently found a renaissance of sorts in its imitation form : “faux shagreen”.

I am drawn to its mysterious name and aspect, which gives depth and texture to the pieces it covers.

A few current favorites:

Faux Shagreen Trays

Faux shagreen trays- Jayson Home.

Faux shagreen octogonal lamp-Gracious Home

faux shagreen-Oka

 

Faux shagreen Lantau chest of drawers with real gold leafed handles and base-Oka

Faux Shagreen Box, Small, Charcoal

 Faux shagreen box-West Elm

Grey faux shagreen mirror-Jonathan Charles Furniture

Hope you enjoyed!

Paola Navone Designs for Crate and Barrel: A Hit!!!

Crate and Barrel describes Paola Navone perfectly in the following bio:

She is a world-renowned architect, designer, art director, interior decorator, industrial planner, creator of events and, in her words, “a little bit of an anthropologist.”

Photo courtesy Crate and Barrel

She is a dreamer, she is curious, she appreciates the eclectic. She is Italian by birth but calls the world home. She is a natural entertainer who finds joy in impromptu gatherings around the table to celebrate a beautifully simple menu.

Therefore it only seemed appropriate that Crate and Barrel would invite her to design a dining collection, composed of furniture, linens, tableware and lighting.

I had to stop in my tracks the other day at Crate and Barrel when I saw the beautiful arrangements at the Burlington, MA store. Whimsical and peppy, inviting and elegant are words that come to mind. I am not necessarily sold on all the colors, but they certainly deliver a big bang for lovers of red, white and blue. The greys and whites were my favorites.

Paola Navone- Photo Credit: Barbara Elza HirschPaola Navone designs for Crate and Barrel | Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch

Como Round Marble Top Dining Table by Paola Navone, a truly stunning combination | Photo courtesy Crate and Barrel

Riviera Tall Windsor Chair by Paola Navone offers fantastic scale | Photo courtesy Crate and Barrel

RivieraPendantGreySmPNF13

Riviera Small Grey Pendant by Paola Navone for Crate and Barrel | Photo courtesy Crate and Barrel

Paola Navone designs for Crate and Barrel | Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch

The Como Bench by Paola Navone for Crate and Barrel | Photo courtesy Crate and Barrel

Como Loopy Candleholders by Paola Navone for Crate and Barrel | Photo courtesy Crate and Barrel

Paola Navone designs for Crate and Barrel | Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch

ComoWovenChairWhtLLPNF13

Como White Woven Chair by Paola Navone for Crate and Barrel, a beauty | Photo courtesy Crate and Barrel

What do you think, friends? Curious to hear! Happy Weekend!

 

 

Boston’s Very Own Junior League Show House

I recently had the opportunity to visit  the Junior League of Boston Show House in Newton, MA.

A bit of history: the JLB was created in 1906 by women wanting to make a social difference in the Boston Metro community. They built their structure on the model of New York’s Junior League and went on to create diverse committees of interest (help to the poor and sick, entertainment for children, etc) and raise funding to assist charities and people in need. The Junior League has aligned itself with women’s changing roles over the years. It is composed of modern women who work but also want to volunteer and show initiative in diverse areas: education initiative, wellness, diet, etc.

The Show House runs from October 16th till November 18th at the Potter Estate, an 1867 property located on the grounds of the Jackson-Walnut Park Schools in Newton. The estate grounds and interiors have been updated and completely re-designed by 35 prominent local design firms who have donated their time and materials. The proceeds from the Show House will go towards the mission of the Junior League.

Potter Estate in Newton, home of the Junior League Show House 2012

Getting through Newton is always tricky for me: all that meandering, u-turning to get on the right direction of traffic, I just can’t seem to orient myself! I have to tell you, this Show House was well worth the detour! I was simply amazed at the hard work and creative genius and variety on display. I am proud of my Boston design peers!

Let me share a few photos I took of designs from local designer friends:

Elizabeth Benedict of Elizabeth Home created The Green Room, “a behind -the -scenes space for a mother to decompress…and recharge between tasks”. Creating a very organic feminine decor with soothing harmonies of greens and mauve, Elizabeth nailed the space, making it inviting and cozy.

Elizabeth Benedict‘s Green Room with framed Manuel Canovas fabric (doubles as a headboard if needed!), Stray Dog fixtures, custom paneled walls and ottoman.

More detail from the Green Room with beautiful rug by Landry and Arcari and chair upholstered in one of my personal favorite fabrics by Brunschwig & Fils.

Designer Kristen Rivoli, owner of Kristen Rivoli Interior Design smartly decided to create a romantic bedroom for an imaginary client: a well traveled couple that wishes to bring into their home design aspects from their travels to Paris and Morocco. A sumptuous canopy was created over the bed with a Moroccan lantern hanging from its heart.

Master bedroom by Kristen Rivoli with Poliform Arca Bed.

Facing the bed, was an inviting daybed with an array of pillows covered in Mally Skok textiles, and gorgeous side tables from Montage:

 Note the wallpaper with “hammered nails” effect by Phillip Jeffries, the soft grey purple velvet covering on the French bed by Charles Spada and the fabulous blue hide rug by Kyle Bunting.

Speaking of Mally Skok, she created a spunky and lively Young Woman’s Bedroom using a plethora of her very own gorgeous line of fabrics Mally Skok Design:

Mally shows her sense of humor with this warm and colorful interior. Love that window treatment! Wallpaper and all fabric on the bed are by Mally Skok.

Laurie Gorelick of Laurie Gorelick Interiors created a little jewel box she called “Inner Sanctum”. A “restorative space” for busy women, where one can meditate, refresh and enjoy. A earthy palette of greens and oranges grounds this small room and makes it extremely inviting:

I loved the Raoul Textiles lambrequin adorning the window as well as the built-ins and the desk area. Indirect lighting from a dropped ceiling creates softness throughout the space.

Another angle of the room with a custom daybed and lovely Schumacher and Seema Krish fabrics. The grasscloth wallpaper is by Schumacher. The rug is by Landry and Arcari.

Cecilia Walker of Cecilia Walker Design dressed up a very challenging back entrance and hallway with lovely little vignettes, bold wallpaper and light fixtures:

On site, I had the pleasure of meeting a few designers I did not know and who gracefully allowed me to photograph their work:

Janet S. Gaffey of Santini & Co created with the help of muralist Natalie Gardener a lovely tree-lined wall with accents of gold, copper and silver to showcase the very high second floor stairway. Note the incredible marbled like design she installed in the diamond shaped window:

Here is Janet in her space:

Frank D. Hodge of F.D. Hodge Interiors created a calming room he called Frank’s Study. I enjoyed the layering process he used, mixing both antique and modern furnishings:

Venetian plaster walls contribute to the taupe color scheme derived from the damask fabric.

Finally, Gerald Pomeroy of the Gerald Pomeroy Design Group designed a Conservatory in collaboration with Dessin Fournir, which gave him access to furniture pieces and fabrics from the same showroom:

I enjoyed the classic composition of this console table skirted by Gerarld in a Rose Cummings fabric:

This Show House opportunity should make Newton and Boston very proud!

Congratulations to my Boston Designer Colleagues!

 

 

 

ABC Home and its Little Culinary Jewel

While visiting with my sisters in New York, I had the wonderful opportunity of having lunch at ABC Kitchen, situated in the ABC Home building. A charming and vast room, with a gloriously high ceiling held by visible (thank you!) wood beams, white brick walls, the restaurant is simply a feast for the eyes and mouth. Created by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and dining mogul Phil Suarez, the restaurant offers a locally grown and organic cuisine of the finest quality. The construction of the restaurant is made of recycled and sustainable materials and decorated with an array of tastefully designed items such as: a medley of softly lit chandeliers, comfy white steelwood chairs, handmade porcelain dinnerware by local artisan Jan Burtz, recycled and pleasantly shabby-chic European porcelain plates.

ABC Kitchen softly lit seating area.

Some of my favorites dishes included the Roasted beets with house-made yogurt, the Spinach, goat cheese and herbs pizza, and the Gazpacho with watermelon and tomatoes:

ABC Kitchen Gazpacho soup served in a Jan Burtz bowl.

The service was impeccable. Young and friendly servers popped in and out of the kitchen at lightning speed, yet managing to seem unrushed,  gracefully depositing plate after plate on tables. My sister is friendly with one of the sous-chefs there, the talented Ross Mendoza, and we thrilled to have a quick chat with him after our meal.

One word: Dessert. Please, please indulge. The toasted almond Panna Cotta is SUBLIME.

Now, on to the store itself. Meandering in the ABC Home aisles I found myself having to take deep, calming breaths. Thoughts going through my head : How can I check out all these beautiful offerings in just under two hours?? Remind me why don’t I live in New York again?! This place truly feels like a museum exhibit!

A few eye-catching sightings:

Handmade Italian dinnerware at ABC Home.
More Italian handmade tableware at ABC Home.
Stunning arrangement of containers and stones on a back lit surface. ABC Home.
ABC Home has a love affair with lights. And it shows…

 

Lovely geometric pendant at ABC Home.

 

Paper bubble pendant at ABC Home.
Stunning Murano Glass chandelier with a painted iron chandelier in the background.
Blu Dot Floor Lamp with red cord at ABC Home.

Textiles and pillows abound. I particularly enjoyed these indigo items:

Indigo Blue Pillows.

 

Indigo Blue blankets and textiles.
Intricate patterned blue pillow by Eskayel.

I loved how the pillows and blankets were organized by color hues:

Superb pillow and blankets arranged on a shelf at ABC Home.

There were many other fascinating floors are items but I just cannot cover all. Make sure to check the Raw section (a space dedicated to industrial vintage finds), the Cobble Hill furniture line:

Cobble Hill furniture upstairs at ABC Home.

And take the time to check out spaces with quietly gorgeous pieces such as above the restaurant, if you go up that staircase, you can find cream and wood and metal sculptural beauties such as:

Jaw dropping imposing French fountain at ABC Home (I would estimate it measured about 4 feet in diameter).

Dashing across the street to the ABC Home Rug building, 10 minutes before closing, I was able to take a glimpse at one of my favorite rug designer, the great Madeline Weinrib:

Madeline Weinrib cotton flatweave rugs.

Voilà, my friends! Hope you enjoyed my tour. Clearly, I shall have to visit ABC Home again very soon.

John Derian’s Shop in New York-A Keeper!

I had a reunion with my sisters in New York this week and had a fabulous time! We shopped, swapped clothes, ate and enjoyed wine and barbecue on the Brooklyn roof tops. I could not resist a few excursions to some design shops I have been dying to check out IRL (in real life).

My first stop was the John Derian Company. I have been a fan for years. I was not disappointed!

John Derian is renowned for his exquisite découpage plates, platters, coasters, bowls and paperweights. Decoupage or Découpage is an art form that involves pasting images on objects or surfaces and then layering them with lacquer or varnish. The word is derived from the French verb découper, which means to cut out. John Derian découpage items are hand made in New York by the artist and his staff. Here are a few photographs I took of his work:

The store is jam packed with gorgeous découpage items.
Découpage platters and plates by John Derian.
Decoupage alphabet small plates and lamp bases by John Derian
An amazing selection of dome shaped découpage paperweights.
Decoupage plates, cake stand, platter and lamp base by John Derian.

Of course one cannot go to John Derian’s store without looking at the beautiful imported French Astier de Villatte Ceramics :

Vaisselle blanche by Astier de Villatte

The store is actually comprised of two shops. Both are filled with an array of refined and unusual objects, furniture and accessories. One can find contemporary toys made in New York using renowned German plush toy fabrication techniques:

One would be hard-pressed to believe these gorgeous toys are actually made today by a New York artisan!
A beautiful horse greets visitors in the other adjacent John Derian shop.

I had a crush on the embroidered Coral and Tusk items that were scattered throughout:

Coral and Tusk pillows on a John Derian Dromedary sofa.
Small embroidered dolls by Coral and Tusk at John Derian’s shop.

I cannot resist the Tête à tête upholstered seat by John Derian and was thrilled to be able to see it in real life and sit in it. Very very comfortable piece!

Tête à tête by John Derian.

Fabrics and bedding abounded and I was thrilled to see some of Les Indiennes printed fabrics up close:

Les Indiennes fabric.

Finally, I shall leave you with this image of Hugo Guinness Art:

Art by Hugo Guinness at the John Derian shop.

A bientôt! School is about to start for my children and I am looking forward to blogging more often :-)

Crazy, Vibrant New York : ICFF Finds (Merci, BlogFest 2012)

I dragged my luggage through long corridors, up into the subway, down escalators and carried bulging bags filled with awesome magazines, incredible gifts from BlogFest2012, battled rain and ended walking barefoot in Brooklyn on a particularly pouring evening; I met design celebrity after design celebrity, spoke with amazing people, stuffed my pockets with business cards and toasted many champagne glasses; I met an amazing family owned business (the one and only Kravet), snapped picture after picture, took notes and went to bed at ridiculously late hours, learning about design day in and day out. I came home exhausted but over the moon.

Where in the world did I go????

Two words: Blogfest 2012.

The Kravet Group launched the Blogfest 2012 concept in 2011. It has since become an amazingly popular destination for interior designers and bloggers who blog about design. This year, registration for the event sold out in 4 hours!  Blofest 2012 defines itself in these words : Blogfest is a three day tour designed exclusively for interior design bloggers featuring the industry’s top shelter magazines, A-list design celebrities and breathtaking venues. 

Follow me as I take you along and share highlights of my trip.

When: Monday  May 21st, 2012

First Stop: ICFF -International Contemporary Furniture Fair

Before meeting our Blogfest hosts and friends, we were offered an optional ticket to the ICFF.  I took advantage of this time to take a few photos of interesting items.

Stone Source- screen printed Porcelain tiles in incredible colors and patterns.
Stone Source tiles.

More tiles by the same vendor:

I finally saw the famous Family Chairs by Design House Stockholm  :

Family Chairs

I loved these sculpted bowls from the same vendor:

Ceramic bowls by Design House Stockholm

I really had to stop and admire the lines by Manulation, a Serbian Designer, making  traditional wood carved furniture since 1927, and now also offering a modern line:

Wood furniture by Manulation.

I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw the following work by Asher Israelow:

Spalted Beech Wood Chair by Asher Israelow. Incredibly comfortable and beautiful design. Desk in background is by same designer.
This chair also by Israelow was very comfortable as well and the leather offered a soft contrast next to the wood grain.

And this piece by Wewood, a Portuguese Joinery, made of French oak was superb:

Wewood French oak piece with beautifully crafted drawers would make a nice statement in a room or in an entry foyer. You could put all your keys, mail and small items in it!

Next I gravitated towards wall coverings and fabrics:

Textile Print Designer Julie Kouamo is based in London where she creates wall coverings and fabrics. She likes to create textural patterns mixing old and new dyeing and printing techniques.

 

Another creation by Julie Kouamo, in which she draws inspiration from printing techniques used in her native Cameroon and mixes them in with photographic elements drawn from nature.
Juju Papers Handmade wallpapers from Portland, Oregon were whimsical and could look fabulous inside a child’s bedroom for example.
Another design by Avery Thatcher of Juju Papers.
Double R Studio eco-friendly wallpapers. Artist Rosa Ruey is inspired by organic shapes and Chinese landscaping painting.

A few close-ups:

Shalimar Pattern.
Viceroy Palace Pattern.

In a very different style, these hand-painted wall coverings by Vahallan Papers were wonderfully textured and imitated metals to a T:

Destiny by Vanhallan Papers.
Urbana by Vanhallan Papers.

This sublime chandelier by Tracy Glover captivated my attention:

Handblown glass Silver lining Chandelier by Tracy Glover.

I am seeing more and more incredible outdoor furniture and fabrics. The following surprised me by their design, which I felt were very accomplished:

Barcelona foozball indoor and outdoor tables. Now, how cool was that?
Close-up view.
Massant outdoor chair.
Another lovely Massant outdoor chair.

Finally, back in the indoor furniture section, I was drawn to these unusual chairs by designer Cecilie Manz for Fritz Hansen:

Soft, curvy, sturdy and comfortable chairs by Cecilie Manz for Fritz Hansen. I love that they are so carefully crafted with soft felt like fabrics, available in dark or light grey for the exterior and warm to cool colors for the inner. A thin band of leather piping follows the edges.

What a way to start my Blogfest adventure! Thank you, Kravet and Blogfest, for this opportunity to visit the ICFF before the Blogfest kick-off!

Until next post…part 2 of Blogfest 2012 with fabulous more designs!

Travels to the Famous Brimfield Show (A Neophyte’s Telling) – Part 2

And now for Part 2 of my exhilarating adventure at the Brimfield Show!

I saw a lot of Americana or Folk Antiques, such as these quality pieces by Quiet Corner Antiques:

Early 18th Century American Chair in excellent condition. As seen at Quiet Corner Antiques‘s tent.
Antique wooden utensiles and containers offered by Quiet Corner Antiques
Early 19th Century Plates

Other vendors offered every day items which have now entered the vintage realm:

Oil Bottles
Milk jugs…Remember those?
Old signs and cycles. Signs were hot and selling like baguettes in a French bakery!
Metal furniture and anything industrial was coveted, such as this little crisscross table.

I enjoyed this iron twin bed at Ornament Home‘s tent:

A sweet iron bed.

 

Reclaimed grain sacks make fun decorative elements at Ornament Home.

Then I visited Pascal’s tent. A Frenchman based in GA, his furniture offers very appealing lines:

I fell hard for this beautifully designed bed by Pascal Home.
Lovely sofa in lush grape colored velvet.
These white plastic chairs were already tagged “SOLD” on Friday.

Then there was the Waltham, MA Darby Road vendor who had a nice selection of items:

Beautiful vignette showing a slice of wood on stand and a glimpse of a great carved sign with gold lettering in background.
I thought the painted lozenges contrasted nicely with the rounded body of this armoire piece.

I leave for Blogfest2012 this weekend and will be back with the final chapter of this Brimfield Series next week!

Have a r-el-a-x-i-n-g weekend!

 

Travels to the Famous Brimfield Show (A Neophyte’s Telling) – Part 1

I had the immense pleasure of traveling to the Brimfield Antiques and Collectibles Show these past few days. The outdoors show first launched in the 1950’s, and has grown to  be known as a “must-see” by all Antique aficionados, a gigantic spread of dealers over about a 1/2 mile strip along Route 20 in Brimfield, MA. If you add to that description the fact that the dealers extend back from the highway about a good 500 foot stretch, well, you do the math!

As an interior designer who blogs and has a strong social media presence on Twitter, I was lucky to be invited to a Brimfield “tweet-up” and meet my colleagues IRL (In Real Life) in an inviting tent, decorated by the talented and very kind Shane Inman, designer at The Inman Company with the help of a lovely young woman named Jen.

The Brimfield tweet-up was hosted by two hard working and very talented women, Gretchen Aubuchon, founder and editor in chief of Fashion and Decor, and Cynthia Bogart, creator and editor of The Daily Basics, an online “magazine” reuniting a community of lifestyle bloggers. They hosted a fabulous event!

Without further ado, I take you on my journey, inside the tent and on the field, as I push my shopping cart on gravel and stop to take some photos.

Brimfield Tent decorated by Interior Designer Shane Inman. Bar constructed with Benjamin Moore paint cans! Benjamin Moore, along with Robert Allen Design, Aubuchon Hardware and Company C were some of the event’s sponsors. Photo Elza B. Design, Inc.
Designers Laurie Gorelick and Elizabeth Benedict eager to start shopping with the Brimfield Tweet Up Cart! 
Brimfield Tweet Up Cart TAG detail. Note the clever ribbons and lost and found ID info!!!

 

Paintings at Brimfield. I really enjoyed these. Unfortunately the vendor could not tell me the name of artist. Photo Elza B. Design, Inc.
Van Briggle Vase. A superb specimen for collectors. Photo Elza B. Design, Inc.
European Linen sold by the yard at Brimfield. The vendor is Austrian and travels all over Europe to bring these back. Photo Elza B. Design, Inc.
European Linens by the same vendor. I just loved how she organized her cutting area with all the mini bolts. The fabric can be used to make runners, cover chairs, dishtowels, etc. Photo Elza B. Design, Inc.

Fabrics were in and I saw lovely vintage fabrics:

Vintage Table Linens at Brimfield. Photo Elza B. Design, Inc.
More vintage linens.

I found myself drawn to groupings of objects:

Collection of Tartan napkin rings and other small objects sold by vendor Craig Ringstad. Photo Elza B. Design, Inc.
Colored glass containers artfully displayed by Cobalt Turtle Antiques. Photo Elza B. Design, Inc.
Sand dollars on a silver platter arranged by the talented South Porch Antiques. Photo Elza B. Design, Inc.
South Porch Antiques interesting arrangement of little treasures. Photo Elza B. Design, Inc.
Another favorite: collection of wooden dumbbells offered by South Porch Antiques. Photo Elza B. Design, Inc.
Stunning Swedish antique clocks by Lone Ranger Antiques. Photo Elza B. Design, Inc.
Gorgeous Swedish secrétaire by Lone Ranger antiques. Photo Elza B. Design, Inc.
Detail of the same piece. Photo Elza B. Design, Inc.

I could resist the humor of this shot:

Swedish chairs wearing red plastic cup booties in lieu of rain boots!

More armoires and secrétaires by the same vendor:

Swedish Antique Armoire. Lone Ranger Antiques. Photo Elza B. Design, Inc.

 

Swedish Antique Secrétaire. Photo Elza B. Design, Inc.

 

Rolling Pins at Lone Ranger Antiques. Photo Elza B. Design, Inc.
Detail of rolling pins texture. Loved these! Photo Elza B. Design, Inc.
Dried pressed flower art at Lone Ranger Antiques. Photo Elza B. Design, Inc.

More to come, but it is time for me to go to bed!!!! Take this in, and the next batch will be ready before you know it :-) Enjoy a fabulous weekend!