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!

 

 

Latest Houzz Curated Items: Jewel Tones to Beat the Winter Blues

Designer: Brian Del Toro Inc. Photo by: Rikki Snyder

 

 

 

Crushing On…

Brilliant design concepts need little words so I will let the images do most of the talking here as I introduce two young creators I admire:

Richard Brendon Cup and Saucer

Richard Brendon Cup and Saucer

 

Richard Brendon

And the creator, above : Richard Brendon, a London based designer, British bone china specialist and entrepreneur who graduated from Kingston University in 2010. Richard’s inquisitive nature has led him to taking an archaeological approach to design.  He believes to design truly innovative work, a firm understanding of what has come before is essential. Richard has a particular skill in identifying and distilling the best elements from the past and transforming them into contemporary designs.  Through his work, Richard aims to bring a new audience to hand crafted luxury goods, and to help regenerate the incredible industries that make his products. Photos: courtesy Richard Brendon website.

ZAK+FOX textile

ZAK+FOX Kaze textile

ZAK+FOX

ZAK+FOX Volubilis Textile

ZAK + FOX company’s founder and creative director, Zak Profera, draws influence from his early studies of conceptual art at the prestigious San Francisco Art Institute. His relentlessly curious nature and adherence to eclecticism have resulted in the creation of an aesthetic that is classic, contemporary, and ever shifting. It is based on the notion that great ideas can come from the most unlikely of places. From the outskirts of Istanbul in search of vintage finds, to the depths of the Black Forest for an open-air expedition, Zak’s travels afar charge his imagination with the same sense of adventure that inspirits his designs. He presently lives and works in New York City with his fox, Shinji. Photos: courtesy ZAK + FOX website.

 

Designer Insights-Interview with Elza B. Design, Inc

I was recently asked to answer some questions for a DESIGNER INSIGHTS interview by a  firm called Terry’s Blinds in the UK. They appear to be a company similar to Smith and Noble here in the USA. Tudor, their social media person got in touch with me and asked if I would participate.

I love that a window treatment company is so in love with design that it motivates them to go the extra mile on their blog and create a design interview concept that brings to the wider public the behind the scenes of interior designers and other design creators (landscape, architecture, etc).

Designer Insights

Tudor is actually taking the time to interview dozens of designers to find out what inspires them. What a fun idea! It’s also a great tool for a young adult wondering if this is the field they want to enter. In Designer Insights, designer wannabees can find out what creators have inspired designers, how they got to this place and what they recommend.

Here’s my interview (click anywhere on article to see expanded view):

Designer-Insights-Barbara-Hirsch-Preview

I thought I’d turn tables on Tudor and let him answer a few questions!

Tudor Davies of Terry’s Blinds

1) What is your role at TerrysBlinds?

TD: I work on the online marketing of the website, specifically this means making connections on Twitter and developing new and unique content ideas, such as the “Designer Insights”. I try to come up with features like this and get people interested in them and involved. It’s amazing to take an idea from the drawing board and test it in the real world to see whether industry professionals like it. 
 
2) Is Terrys Blinds the equivalent of a company like Smith and Noble in the USA? Tell me more about the firm.
 
TD: I suppose we are. I’ve just looked at the website and we seem quite similar. The only difference being that they sell curtains as well. 
The company is relatively new, and we only really starting trading January of this year. However our sister company (Terry’s Fabrics) has been trading for 40 years. Since January we have been growing the company by improving website visibility and increasing awareness on social media. We have done some amazing things on Twitter and connected with some amazing contacts, such as yourself. We have launched “Designer Insights”, an astounding interior designer interview feature. All of this has increased brand awareness and helped to establish the company as a brand. We have a lot more to do but the progress in the last 8 months has been amazing.
 
3) Why and when did you decide to create Designer Insights?
 
TD: I came up with the idea back in February 2014, after carrying out a similar idea asking 15 designers their golden rules of interior design. I really liked that idea and was surprised at how many people wanted to get involved. After it was over I realised I could refine the idea, by making the final feature more personal to each designer and something that they would love to share online. I wanted to make a feature that was of value to the designer being interviewed and that looked like a high quality magazine feature.
 
4) What is your wish with this project (such a cool project by the way)?
 
TD: At the moment we have interviewed over 100 interior designers (about 130 so far), so I just want to build upon this and get more designers involved. Our next target is 250 and from there who knows? Getting requests to be featured is also a goal, as at the minute I invite people to take part. We have had a few inbound inquires but I just want to make the feature more popular to get even more.
 
5) What have you learned about doing this project?
 
TD: That you can create an amazing piece of valuable content that speaks to an individual person. Most content marketing involves sharing content with hundreds of people at a time, which has limited results. Whereas my approach is a one-to-one approach, it is much more rewarding for both parties, giving us both something of value. It also allows me to get to know designers on a personal level, to learn something about them that no one else knows. It’s very rewarding.
 
7) Were there any surprises? 
 
TD: I suppose the biggest surprise was how well the “Designer Insights” feature has taken off. When I started I never imagined I would get to interview over 100 designers. The first interview I carried out was a complete experiment, after that people just kept saying “yes” and wanting to take part. It was quite flattering and rewarding really.

Thanks to Tudor for allowing me to interview him and for the lovely interview feature on their site! I enjoyed doing this tremendously!

 

 

 

Clark Gallery Offers Engaging Art in Boston Suburbs

I recently had the pleasure of discovering an interesting art gallery in Lincoln, MA, The Clark Gallery owned by Dana Salvo and Dawn Southworth (both established artists). Nestled near the railroad tracks in a quaint New England small town, this gallery showcases unique and contemporary art works. A well established gallery (1976), that partners with 1st Dibs and Artsy, Clark regularly renews its exhibits and represents a wide selection of contemporary artists.

I recently dropped in as I was scouting a piece of art for a client, and was wowed by Clark Derbes‘ sculpture work. A self taught sculptor, Derbes (born 1978 in New Orleans, now based in Vermont) recycles weathered wood and creates enigmatic illusions with his colorful and geometrically patterned sculptures. I love how the linear patterns react on the weathered and highly sanded wood shapes : imperfectly perfect! Derbes’ work has a modern folk art vibe, and his highly contemporary pieces would look great on a wall, shelf or a pedestal…

 

Clark Derbes sculpure | photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Clark Derbes Sculpture | Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch for Chez Elza

Clark Derbes Sculpture | Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch for Chez ElzaClark Derbes Sculpture | Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch for Chez ElzaClark Derbes Sculpture | Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch for Chez Elza Clark Derbes Sculpture | Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch for Chez Elza Clark Derbes Sculpture | Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch for Chez ElzaAll photos of Clark Derbes’s works by Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Another artist on exhibit is actually also one of the gallery owners, Dawn Southworth. Her mixed media works is arresting : composing a multi- layered and finely executed body of work, Dawn is constantly tapping into embroidery, sculpture, drawing, writing, painting, cutting (even burning!) as she works. It’s as if she can’t get enough of any one media, and deliciously indulges herself in as much as she can along the road of the creative process!

Dawn Southworth | Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch for Chez Elza Dawn Southworth | Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch for Chez ElzaDawn Southworth | Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch for Chez Elza Dawn Southworth | Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch for Chez Elza Dawn Southworth | Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch for Chez Elza Dawn Southworth | Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch for Chez ElzaAll photos of Dawn Southworth’s works by Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Looking at art will invigorate your mind, take a break and make sure to check these out, fellow Boston area residents!

 

All About Houzz : The HOUSE Go-To Site

Houzz.com, also known as Houzz : you’ve probably heard about this website by now. But WHAT is it?? And why do I like it?

The “Hou” in Houzz is pronounced “How.” Houzz is a combination of the words “House” and “Buzz”.

Houzz is “the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to get the design inspiration, project advice, product information and professional reviews they need to help turn ideas into reality” (Houzz)

Houzz-info-2Infographic from Houzz.com

Houzz-Info-1Infographic from Houzz.com

Clients have been finding me on Houzz for a few years and as a designer, I find it to be a fabulous platform. Professionals who are in the home improvement industry can benefit from a beautiful platform to showcase their work and reviews about their work.

Houzz-My profileAnother exciting aspect of Houzz has been the opportunity I’ve had to contribute articles for which I curate products I want to share with readers. My instructions are to always scout for new products, and try to write about them from an interesting angle. I tend to be bit tight with deadlines, which is actually really good for me as I tend to write better under pressure! Writing in the present also allows me to be very spontaneous, like when I selected items to pepper a mudroom and got to vent about New England’s lovely winter weather:

Houzz-Guest PicksHouzz’s very friendly interface was dubbed “Facebook for Interiors” by  Apartment Therapy in a 2009 article. Time magazine wrote in 2012 :Houzz is “a photo-driven site that’s become the poster-child of the post-recession renovation frenzy”.

The platform (which is also available as an APP for your smart phone or I-Pad) allows anyone to sift through articles on specific home improvement questions, search for inspiration or simply shop for home products.

Homeowners can also create ideabooks where they can file images of designs or products they like. A lot of my clients have worked with me this way when I first start the collaboration. If they are doing a bathroom remodel for instance, they can save images of bathrooms, tile, lighting they really like and send me the whole ideabook for me to review!

Houzz-Ideabook exampleAn example of a Houzz ideabook (I used one of mine to respect my client’s privacy). Note you can put your own comments under images. Pretty cool, no?

Consider Houzz.com as a source next time you’re looking for a home improvement specialist, need to research an article on a specific topic or just want to pop in and read my articles ! Do say “Hi” if you  do :-)

 

My Mother: An Inspiration

My mother is someone very special in my life: a strong and creative woman, a nurturing figure, a source of inspiration and laughter.

My mother and IMy mother and I

These past few months have been difficult for me on a personal level. Raising a son who has special needs can be exhausting, and I can thank my mother for being there for me as my husband and I battle the system to help our son reach his full potential and be happy. Some of you may wonder why I have not blogged as much: I have been focusing on my youngest son and my design business. I put the blog on the backburner…

As long as I can remember, I lived in a creative home. In fact, I learned to sew and draw at a very young age, modeling after my mother’s creative energy. I remember falling asleep to the sound of the sharp blade of a pair of sewing scissors, gliding along confidently on the hardwood floor, as my mom cut large slabs of fabric pinned to patterns to make dresses for us (at midnight!).

Fabric was a soothing and happy word in my household.

As a little girl, I saw my mother become a Montessori student and then a teacher. I would go to her classroom to help on my days off school, and hold the colorful beads, cherishing the colors and shapes. I would position the pink tower blocks carefully one above the other or arrange the little trays with the small pitcher and cup on their shelves.

Our house accumulated oriental rugs my parents shopped for; I remember we could spend a whole weekend driving around the country searching for the perfect antique corner cupboard. My mother would take an antique quilt and repurpose it as a curtain between two rooms, or she would make a patch work art piece for my younger sister’s bedroom, using scraps of fabric.

Color, texture, beauty, in infinite details of objects or in a carefully cared for garden, continue to inspire my mother to this day:

Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaMy mother’s collection of antique chess pieces. Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaMy mother’s assortiment of little boxes and “chinoiseiries”. Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza Books and picture in my mother’s living room and below, her wingchair- Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

GH-wingchair

Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaMy mother’s glass menagerie Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaHer silver cups…

Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaA fun vignette, I love the stool with the embroidered seat under the English table…Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaMy mother has style everywhere, including in her garden! Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaDid I mention she is a painter nowadays? Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaAnd to top things off, my mother takes me to strange and totally cool stores when I visit, like this escapade we made to Vermont, just to check out this quirky shop, The Owl’s Nest. Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

 I’d say my passion for interior design and the creative process was inspired, day in and day out, by my mother.

Interior Design, after all, is about the loving juxtaposition of items, gathered together to create beauty and comfort.

 

Friday Yellow or the Fight Against Gloom

January GLOOM is upon us. When sunshine goes in hiding, do not despair. I recommend fighting it with lots of golds and yellows.

Fight the gloom…Photo courtesy wearcolor.tumblr.com

Lorenzo_Castillo_Hola

An elegant and classic walk-in closet dressed up with a bang, bathed in pure yellow light, infused in old world style. Lorenzo Castillo.

Downton Abby‘s Dining Area. Gloriously sunny and at its best in the morning light.

http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/bd/45/86/bd45865ea8ac0c2de00db1f4f92f519c.jpg

A stunning gold splashed staircase via Architectural Digest.

Yes, please!!! My mood is already perking up. Sofa designed by Arne Jacobsen.

A breathtaking design created by the famous designer Elsie de Wolf. Shown here: Villa Trianon

Designed by design’s Grande Dame, Elsie de Wolfe

Yellow building

I love how this yellow Madrid building pops out.

This spunky and inviting room was featured in Country Living magazine.

In the hope I have brightened your day, I bid you farewell until next time. May the force sun be with you!

Arizona : Experiencing Frank Lloyd Wright’s Genius and Cactus Glory

One of the only existing luxury hotels in the world with a Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced design, The Arizona Biltmore has been an Arizona landmark since its opening in 1929 when it was crowned “The Jewel of the Desert.” The resort was designed by Albert Chase McArthur, a Harvard graduate, who had studied under Frank Lloyd Wright from 1907 – 1909 in Chicago.
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to stay in the resort for a seminar on Interior Design Business Practices. I was wowed by the distinguished hotel, which is stamped by the unique design touches of Wright and the geometrical fascination he applied to patterns and architecture. Nature is always a central element in his creations, and the building’s openness to the exterior is immediately evident.
The resort carries in its walls the quiet and invisible weight of famous past visitors and guests, extending a definite glamorous feel to one’s stay: Marilyn Monroe, Irving Berlin, JFK, Clark Gable, Liza Minnelli, Ronald Reagan are a few of the prestigious visitors who stayed at the Arizona Biltmore.
Below, outdoor and indoor views of the resort. Photo credits: Barbara Elza Hirsch.
Arizona Biltmore- Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza
Arizona Biltmore Hotel- Photo Credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza
Beautiful gardens and terraces surround the block like concrete pavilions of the Arizona Biltmore.
Arizona Biltmore Hotel-Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaArizona Biltmore Hotel Terrace-Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaAeizona Biltmore Hotel Lobby-Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaArizona Biltmore Door Detail- Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaUnusual juxtapositions of glass and concrete, velvet and carpeting enhance the unusual spaces of the Wright-inspired Arizona Biltmore Hotel.
Gleaming ceilings-Arizona Biltmore Hotel- Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaArizona Biltmore Hotel Sitting area- Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaWright Glass Art Mural at the Arizona Biltmore- Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaNote the repetitive palm leaf motif carved and repeated throughout the resort. This motif surrounds a stunning glass mural work by Frank Lloyd Wright entitled “Saguaro Forms and Cactus Flowers”
Arizona Biltmore Hotel Sitting area- Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaStunning ceiling fixture in one of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel's restaurants. Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaGorgeous chandelier and ceiling detail bring the eye up in this Arizona Biltmore Hotel dining area.
I was in Phoenix mostly for work but was able to escape to the Desert Botanical Garden with my designer friend and colleague, Richard Rabel.
Cactus glory comes to mind and I was truly awed by the landscapes and local plants and fauna. I had never been out West so this was really a treat! The Chihuly exhibit was being installed while we were there so I was able to catch a few interesting exhibits in the making, with stunning glass sculptures arranged next to grandiose plants.
Chihuly-Blue thistle like glass sculpture at the Desert Botanical Garden- Photo credit Barbara  Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Credit : Barbara Elza Hirsch
Chihuly-Yellow sculpture at the Desert Botanical Garden- Photo credit Barbara  Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Credit : Barbara Elza Hirsch
Me in the garden- Chez ElzaRampant Cactus at the Desert Botanical Garden- Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez elzaDesert Botanical Garden- Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Credit : Barbara Elza Hirsch
Hope you enjoyed this slice of design and sun from Arizona!