2-New Orleans: Sustainable Gas Lanterns and Bevolo

The Gas Lantern is one of the signatures of the French Quarter in New Orleans. Our BlogtourNOLA group was invited for breakfast and a factory tour at Bevolo, a family owned business that revolutionized the production of gas lamps by developing a unique technique. In 1945, the French Quarter opened its doors to an Italian-American family owned business: Bevolo Gas and Electric Lights. Andrew Bevolo, Sr., who had worked in manufacturing  for companies such as Ford,  realized that by utilizing a hand riveting technique rather than making brittle soldered joints, he could create sustainable gas lights. He started working with architect A. Hays Town to develop a beautiful design. Thus was born the French Quarter Gas Lamp, inspired by the London street lights of the 19th century.

Bevolo Lighting in NOLA French Quarter.  Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Bevolo offers 500 types of lights, and we saw a good 40 styles displayed at the factory. These are offered in multiple finishes, but copper is the best seller, sought after for its beauty and durability. I learned that gas lights utilize very little energy and the cost to keep one lit is 7 to 10 dollars per lamp per month. They are “basically a pilot light with a fancy cover” to quote the third generation owner, Drew Bevolo. Due to their high efficiency, the gas lamps stay on day and night. They can be used indoors as well. Kitchens are seeing a big trend in large lantern pendants. Lights used indoors are equipped with a safety valve. All these lanterns can be made electric as well. Bevolo offers a lifetime warranty on broken glass: if it breaks, the glass will be replaced for free!

As I observed the soft glimmer of the gas flames, I was transported through time and charmed by the quiet and non glaring properties of this type of lighting.

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaSecond from right is the original 35 x 18 London inspired Street Gas Light. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Detail of 1/4 inch tubing used  for the gas line. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza.Detail of 1/4 inch tubing used for the gas line. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza.

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza.Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza.

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza.One of my absolute favorite lamp designs at Bevolo’s. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza.

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza.Entrance to the factory. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza.

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza.A coppersmith at work at Bevolo’s. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza.

 

Bevolo lamp -electrical version. Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaAn electric lamp version. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza.Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaHere I am standing in the courtyard beween the factory and the museum part of Bevolo. Note the Bevolo lantern on the wall behind me. Photo Credit: Linda Merrill,  a fellow designer, holding the camera for Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

I will end this second chapter by sharing a few images of the streets where the store and factory is located.

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaFrench Quarter- Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaFrench Quarter. Literally felt I was in Europe standing here. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaFrom the first floor of Bevolo’s, looking out. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaFrench Quarter- Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

I want to thank the Bevolo team for a fabulous tour and visit. I learned so much and as always, relish a factory tour!

Next on the list, I will share what I learned about the New Orleans community’s efforts to rebuild its homes. A la prochaine!

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.

A GUEST POST : Jessica of Arcadian Lighting

I was recently approached by Arcadian Lighting about a guest post on my blog. I am happy to share this article from Jessica, one of their writers. I love the kitchen she selected. Friends, let me know what you think: I am very new at this guest post blogging tradition :-)

Barbara/ELZA B.

Hi! I’m Jessica Cleary, a writer for Arcadian Lighting, a website and blog that features the latest in interior design and a beautiful collection of lighting fixtures for practically every room in your house.

I’m delighted to be guest blogging on Chez Elza and would like to share a few inspiring interiors that feature elegant vintage lighting. Vintage elements always add a bit of charm to a room, and vintage lighting fixtures really set the atmosphere for a room.

I hope you enjoy!

Vintage Lighting Image

The sleek curves of this lovely table lamp add a feminine beauty to this bedroom. Petite knick knacks reveal a bit of the homeowners’ characters.

Vintage Lighting Image

This retro ceiling light is particularly sleek and sophisticated. The black and gold color combination is always classy.

Vintage Lighting Image

Vintage crystal chandeliers fill this elegant bathroom with glittering light. The gilded mirror frames reflect the light back beautifully.

Vintage Lighting Image

A pair of French doors open into this elegant, classic kitchen. The crisp white pendant lights must fill the room with soft, ambient light in the evenings.

Vintage Lighting Image

Such bold, vintage ceiling lights make quite a striking impression in this dining room that belongs to Ralph Lauren. Sleek modern furniture and red roses give the room an air of sophistication.

Vintage Lighting Image

Why not make a statement and use ornate outdoor lamps indoors?

Vintage Lighting Image

This trio of vintage paper pendant lights have such a simple, romantic beauty. The subtle tint of age and delicate lines make these lights truly elegant.

Vintage Lighting Image

Pops of pink and purple give this gray living room a sophisticated, feminine atmosphere. The pretty pink vintage lamp stands out front and center. Images 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Which of these vintage lights was your favorite? Let us know in the comments! And stop by Arcadian Lighting for beautiful, elegant lighting fixtures for your own home!

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!

WEST ELM Mania

Okay, I love WEST ELM. I promise I was not paid to say this! But it’s a fact. This most interesting company is growing at a very fast pace, introducing (still) affordable lines and great accessories, showcasing artists and designers, florists and other talented creators. I drove to Boston the other day to pick up some furniture at the West Elm Store on Brookline Avenue. A lovely sunny day, and a wonderfully styled store with such friendly customer service!

I met the very talented Becca Olcott, owner and florist at PETAL FLORAL DESIGN, presenting her wonderful bohemian floral creations at the WEST ELM Pop-Up Flower Shop. Now, what is that, you ask?! Fresh flowers and arrangement advice from a West Elm favorite local florist are offered on a few Saturdays in a few cities in the nation. A flower shop is literally set up temporarily for the day, as shoppers browse and stop to purchase flower arrangements or simply take in the beautiful selections.

WEST ELM Pop Up Flower Shop in Boston, MA with Petal Floral Design
Becca Olcott, owner of Petal Flower Design, at the West Elm store in Boston, MA
Becca Olcott from Petal Floral Design, and one of her amazing floral creations at West Elm Pop Up Floral Shop

 

Bouquet by Becca Olcott, Owner of Petal Floral Design, prepared for West Elm Pop-Up Flower Event

I am sure you will agree Becca’s creations are simply superb. I love that they don’t appear rigid and uptight but, rather, offer a relaxed yet subtle and refined assemblage. Becca Olcott specializes in weddings and social events in the new England Area.

On another note, here are a few photos of the superb styling I encountered at this West Elm location:

West Elm Pillow arrangement in soft grays and yellows.
Ash, Salesperson at Boston West Elm, demonstrating how comfortable the sofa is! Ash was very helpful with my purchases that day.

 

I particularly enjoyed the selection of white vases, containers, candlestick holders:

Collection of glass and ceramic containers at West Elm.
Colorful Napkins at West Elm.
Napkin holders. West Elm.

And finally, I thought this little CURIO table lamp was a smashing idea: The glass “cloche” allows you to display whatever strikes your fancy!

Curio Lamp by West Elm

 

Next post, I will share an article on lovely fabric prints I found at the Boston Design Center recently. Have a grand weekend!

Blue Day Shopping

Last week my post was about feeling blue and the wonderful atmospheric quality of the  color blue.

This week I explore interesting items to shop for a Blue Day. Whether you like to be totally immersed in blue or just use pops of it here and there in your interiors, I have something for you!

Please have a seat:

Accessories, extra seating and coffee table:

Pillows, rugs and mirror:

Blue Fabrics: