Some of you may forget, but much of my writing still runs in print. Because of the pesky limitations of paper and ink, there are parts of my stories that wind up on the cutting room floor. This is exactly what happened when I wrote a story about the best cocktails to serve when "Mad Men" makes its return. The show resumes in 1968, when cocktail culture was going through a massive shift.
Because of limited space, only a few recipes ran in the newspaper. But through the magic of the interwebs, I'm able to give you additional recipes. Cocktail shakers ready, set, go!
Here are recipes from my favorite local mixologist, Brother Cleve
BLACK BULL (also known a bit later as the Brave Bull)
1.5 oz Tequila (at the time, this would be a gold tequila, in Mexico known as Mixto --neutral grain spirit with some agave spirit contained within)
.75 oz Creme de Cacao
Blend with ice and serve in a rocks glass
1.5 oz Vodka
.5 oz Galliano
3 oz Orange Juice
Fill a tall glass with ice and add vodka and fresh squeezed orange juice. Stir. Float .5 oz of Galliano on the top.
To make this drink as the FREDDIE FUDPUCKER, substitute Blanco/silver tequila for the vodka.
1 oz Galliano
1 oz white Creme de Cacao
1 oz Heavy Cream
Shake vigorously with ice and strain into a cocktail glass
1.5 oz blanco (aka Plata) tequila
3 oz Orange juice
.5 oz Grenadine
Pour tequila and orange juice over ice in a tall glass. Pour grenadine (pomegranite syrup) over the back on a spoon into the glass. Do not stir, as the grenadine will sink to the bottom and then rise slowly. For best results use real pomegranite grenadine syrup)
"Another sweet spirit that got heavily marketed at this time was Amaretto Di Sarona, a liqueur made from infusing neutral grain spirit with apricot pits, which somehow gives it the flavor of almonds. In fact, many people believe it is an almond liqueur. It is not. ( for the record, Creme de Noyeaux is! As is Amandine Liqueur from South Boston's Grand Ten Distilling). This drink is making a comeback today, being served up by top bartenders like Jeffrey Morganthaler (Portland, OR), Jackson Cannon and Josh Chids. Here's my spin on Jeffrey's mix"
1.5 oz Amaretto (DiSaronno or Lazzaroni)
.75 oz cask- strength bourbon (0ver 120 proof, such as Bookers, Willett or Knob Creek reserve)
.75 oz fresh lime juice
.25 oz fresh orange juice
1 tsp simple syrup
1 egg white
Dry shake all (w/o ice) then add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into rocks glass
More you say? You're a thirsty bunch today, aren't you? Here's a few from Adam Lantheaume, owner of the Boston Shaker. Oh, and a little reading music.
2.5 oz. Aged Rum (Quality matters here, get something nice that's aged around a dozen years)
3/4 oz. fresh squeeze lime juice (Please not bottled. Get a juicer, get a lime, juice it by hand. It will make you happy)
1.5 oz. 2:1 simple syrup. (read below on syrups)
Pour ingredients into a shaker. Add plenty of ice. Shake with gusto... you really want to knock this guy around. Double strain into a cocktail coupe. If you don't know how to double strain, or what a coupe is swing by the shop and we'll show you. On the other hand, just strain into a cocktail/martini glass and you'll be fine.
Simple Syrup comes in a few styles. Traditionally it's 1:1 or one part water to one part sugar. This recipe does really well with 2:1 or even better with Demerara or Turbinado simple. The richness really sets off against the rum. Plus then you have a delicious syrup for Old Fashions.
VSOP Cognac (Don't break the bank, but get something of decent quality - it's the base of the whole drink)
Cointreau (You can use another type of orange liqueur, but Cointreau is my go-to. That being said, if you don't have any, please still make the drink with another orange liqueur).
Fresh Lemon Juice (same as the Daiquiri. No bottles. Get Lemons and get a squeezer and juice it.)
Holy wars have broken out about the proportions on this one. Get quality ingredients and the rest will likely fall into place. The most common are 3:2:1, 2:1:1 or 1:1:1. So a 3:2:1 would be 1.5 oz Cognac, 1 oz. Cointreau and .5 oz. Lemon Juice (and be boozy and delicious). 1:1:1 would be more tart. Get it?
Add ingredients to a shaker. Add ice. Shake like the dickens. Strain into cocktail glass.
You can go sugar rim on this if you want to be traditional, but likely it's going to end up a sticky mess and if you find a proportion you like you won't need it.
SCOTCH AND SODA
1.5 - 2 oz. Blended Scotch.
3 - 4 oz. Club Soda
Twist of lemon peel
Fill a hi-ball glass with ice. Pour in Blended Scotch. Stir with bar spoon if you have one or your finger if you don't. Carefully, use a vegitable peeler or paring knife to cut a swath of peel off the lemon, trying to get a little pith as possible. Squeeze twist of lemon over drink and rub the yellow side of the peel around the lip of the glass. Drop peel in with attitude.
EXTRA DRY MARTINI
DISCLAIMER: "I'm of the belief that a Martini has gin, vermouth and orange bitters. That being said, I'm also of the belief that you should drink what you like and have no problems with anyone ordering an Extra Dry Martini. Sometimes a glass of chilled gin is exactly what you need.
"So we're talking Mad Men here and therefore we should put a Martini in this list. In the late 1960s cocktails were starting to use less vermouth and the drier you could order your drink the better it sounded. (It isn't.)"
2.5 oz London Dry Gin
.5 oz Dry Vermouth. (Vermouth should be kept in the fridge and goes bad in two to four weeks depending on who you ask. If you've had yours for over a month, buy a new one.)
Garnish - pick one: A Lemon Twist for tradition, olives for a meal, an onion for a Gibson
Take the vermouth and pour into a chilled cocktail glass. Turn the glass, tilted on its side, to coat the entire inside of the glass. Discard the excess vermouth into the sink or your mouth, whichever is more convenient. Add gin to your mixing glass, then add ice. Stir with a bar spoon until the gin is cold and the ice has melted a bit. About 20-30 seconds. Strain gin into the coated cocktail glass. Garnish as desired.
What are the "Mad Men" cast members drinking when they're off-set? Which season had the best fashion? Check out the video below:
Get your wishlists ready, girls: Target and Neiman Marcus are joining forces for a limited-edition holiday collection designed by 24 CFDA designers. The collaboration will include more than 50 pieces for the budget-conscious buyer in the women's, men's, and children's apparel and accessory categories, as well as sporting goods and items for home and pets. The collection peaks at $499.99, though almost all items price under $60.
The full list of collaborators is somewhat jaw dropping, with major-league designers like Diane von Furstenberg, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, and Marc Jacobs leading the pack of a lengthy list of fashion fan favorites, including Band of Outsiders, Altuzzarra, Marchesa, Prabal Gurung, Tory Burch, and Rag & Bone. Proenza Schouler, Jason Wu, and Rodarte will also return for their second collaboration for the big box retailer.
According to a release from Target, the two stores will also donate $1 million to the CFDA to celebrate the partnership and provide support to the continuing effort to foster fashion designers in America.
The collection will arrive in Target and Neiman Marcus store locations and online beginning Dec. 1. Let's just hope their Internet servers are ready this time.
Thoughts on the collection and collaboration? Anyone missing from the designer list that you wish was on there? (Olivier Theyskens, Jessie Randall, Phillip Lim, and Kate Spade's Deborah Lloyd for me) Any ideas on what the mystery $499.99 item could be?
Apologies for the Huey Lewis reference, but Flor carpet tiles are hip and square. Also, don't judge that I'm using the word 'hip.' You can now see the carpet tiles first hand at the recently-opened Flor store at 236 Clarendon St. in the Back Bay. If you're a creative type, it's a great option for creating your own patterns. And if you're not creative, you can be lazy and choose one of the patterns that Flor has already dreamed up.
Target announced its latest boutique collection on May 10, and that boutique-within-the bullseye will be created by none other than Boston's Patch NYC. The duo behind Patch -- John Ross and Don Carney -- will design a 50-piece collection featuring bedding, decorative pillows, lamps, glassware, serving bowls, and coasters. Prices will range from $4.99 to $119.99. The collection debuts Sept. 9.
This is not the first time Patch has designed for a national retailer. They created vintage-inspired mugs and platters for West Elm and Anthropologie. Carney and Ross started Patch NYC in New York before relocating to Cambridge. If you can't wait for the Target collection, you can visit their newly expanded store on 46 Waltham Street in the South End.
For more on Patch, you can read my 2007 article on the duo, or peruse a slide show of their home.
Molly Jane Quinn (at left) and Jenna Talbott, two Design New England alumna, are the creators behind cheeky contemporary design blog, Unhappy Hipsters. And despite what the name may suggest (or perhaps just my original assumption), they're actually quite happy.
"We're not referring to ourselves when we say 'Unhappy Hipsters,'" clarified Talbott. "It's just a term for the world that we're commenting on." Until this past fall, the blog was home to tongue-in-cheek commentary and contemporary decor and design photography written by the duo. They remained anonymous until this past fall when their first book, "It's Lonely in the Modern World," debuted through Chronicle Books. The book features plentiful design tips in a similar style to their blog.
Quinn and Talbott will be in town tonight for an event and signing at Twelve Chairs (319 A St., Boston) from 6-8 p.m. to visit "the city that inspired their book." Ah, we're blushing already....
Quinn, who recently moved to Portland, and Talbott, who remains local, rang me up the other week to chat about their book and how their time in Boston fueled the inspiration for their blog:
When you came clean about your identities, did anyone say "That's exactly who I thought you would be?"
Quinn: When we first came out people actually thought we were either from New York or were former Dwell staffers. They said they would have never guessed it was two women in Boston.
Talbott: We actually got marriage proposals from women.
Why did you chose to be anonymous?
Quinn: There's a lot of judgement going into an individual doing [a blog] like this and it's easier when it's just an entity writing it. It allows for a larger audience to relate to the humor of what we were doing. Now people are okay with who we are because they're familiar with the website.
What inspired the blog?
Talbott: Part of our jobs incorporated us looking at lots of other magazines and we started seeing the same things. It was almost like a formula for contemporary design, which is what in our subconsciousness began this website.
Quinn: It's also important to note that there's a difference between contemporary and modern design. A lot of contemporary design reaches a little harder than it needs to which makes it easier to pick apart. Including exposed duct work and concrete floors in a new condo building that's not a reclaimed space -- it's like, what's going on? That doesn't even look good!
Talbott: The captioning began from our love and respect for Dwell but the homes [that were featured in the publication] were increasingly photographed with unhappy people. It started when Molly told a great story about the first photo [featured on our blog] of an unhappy child sitting all alone in a gorgeous home.
Quinn: It was a cover image and he was alone, sitting on the steps. It's when Jenna and I decided, "they must be having the same feeling we're having -- keep pushing the envelope of how far they can push this aesthetic." The art directors and editors must be self-aware....The way spaces were being shown is manufactured; it's an art director's choice. It's a choice that Jenna Talbott never made! She only had smiley people.
Talbott: Yes, smile -- this is your home.
Decor8 blogger-turned-author Holly Becker (above), spent more than 20 years in Massachusetts -- bouncing between Swampscott, Nahant, Revere, and Melrose -- before moving to Germany with her husband in 2009.
Before she makes an appearance, we snagged her for a few tips on home design:
Stylephile: What's the hardest part about being an American decorator in Germany?
Holly Becker: Having to navigate the hardware stores! The words here are super long so it's hard to put together what things mean. You'll be trying to find things like paint and nails, things you take for granted, and you’ll just be standing there with a wide open mouth. It’s like starting again in kindergarten.
Did you ever think you'd transition from blogging to books?
I always wanted to be an author since I was a child. I would write ten copies of the book and have a signing with my dolls and bears. Now to be an author and sign for humans, it's kind of an interesting twist.
When I receive a letter, I tear into it so quickly -- hoping it's from a potential suitor, of course -- that I forget to notice the stamp. But, if one of those suitors used the new stamps honoring twelve of the nation’s most important and influential industrial designers, then he would instantly win my heart. If only these suitors existed in reality instead of my imagination.
Back to more important matters, the twelve designers honored on individual stamps include Peter Müller-Munk, Frederick Hurten Rhead, Raymond Loewy, Donald Deskey, Walter Dorwin Teague, Henry Dreyfuss, Norman Bel Geddes, Dave Chapman, Greta von Nessen, Eliot Noyes, Russel Wright and Gilbert Rohde.
I usually don't go out of my way to look at convicts -- no offense to our many incarcerated readers -- but I could not resist these cool, tough rebels from the 1960s in these mug shots that are being sold by one of my favorite online stores (or e-tailers, as the kids like to say). I bought a set, and it appears that I'm not the only one who enjoys retro criminals. Many of these pics have already sold out. I suggest acting quickly, if you're into this kind of thing.
Those of us who are procrastinators -- oh, come on, you know who you are -- often have the best intentions. The trouble is it just takes a long time to act on those intentions. In that vericose vein, I've been meaning to post a tidbit about a book called "Creative Walls: How to Display Your Treasured Collections" since March. If you struggle to come up with ways to display your treasured art and assorted gewgaws on the walls, the book will give you a few ideas. If you'd like to win a copy of the book, be the first to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the word "Wall" in the subject line, and it's all yours.
Since my life has turned as dreary as a Morrissey song -- I never knew that every day is indeed like Sunday -- I'm prowling Etsy (which should be renamed Cutesy) for goodies to lift my spirits. Nothing makes me happier than the combination of Scandinavian design crossed with midcentury chic, all created by a Brit. These are a tad girlie for me, but I still love illustrator Jane Foster's pillows, prints, and stuffed animals. OK, I admit it. I really want the cat pillows. So if you've been repeatedly pulling up the Carpenters on your iPod, I suggest heading over to Cutesy for some retail cheer.
I'm generally not a fan of shops aimed at the ankle biting set, but when I heard that my favorite Maine store was opening an emporium for kids, I put aside my normal prejudices and quickly became excited. Daytrip Society Jr. features classic toys, a vintage kiddie whale ride, Radio Flyer wagons, Orla Kiely diaper bags. You know, cool indie items for your favorite tot on the go. The store in Kennebunkport is now open, and we officially recommend it.
Apologies for my disappearance over the past week. After the endless Royal Wedding-athon, I spent the past week curled up in the fetal position muttering "Pippa" over and over again. Well, I'm happy to say that after a healthy dose of Xanax and a few scorpion bowls, I'm as good as new.
So, now that we're all caught up, let's talk about something more pleasant: The return of the Sowa market. It happens every Sunday, May through October. During a brief moment of sanity, I pulled myself out of bed and strolled down to Harrison Ave. to see what I could. And what I found was a lot of amazing goodies. My wallet had a mind of its own and nearly bought everything in sight. I practiced some restraint (although not a whole lot). Here are some of sweet treats I spotted.
These fantastic pillows from Park. This talented gentleman makes cool terrariums.
I wore a black arm band and big dark sun glasses for a month after Diptyque, the posh, Parisian candle boutique, shuttered their Newbury Street store. I'm aware that I can purchase the candles at a few high end department stores in Boston, and online, but I miss the way that the clerks would careful wrap my purchases in signature color tissue paper, then festoon the box with a lovely bow. Sigh. How I miss 2006.
Enough with my sad stories. This post is about is Diptyque's new fragrance 34 boulevard Saint Germain, a candle that celebrates the company's 50th anniversary. Diptyque perfumer Olivier Pescheux describes the scent as "fresh, green, and spicy." I'm not exactly sure what that means, but it has to be better than the smell of my condo after a long winter with closed windows. It's a unisex scent. You can pick up 34 boulevard Saint Germain as a candle, soap, or spray. The candle is $80.
With winter refusing to release its icy talons, it may be premature to be dreaming of cruising around on a bicycle, but I can't resist posting these retro-influenced beauties for your viewing pleasure. CB2 has just introduced bicycles for about $500 each. I can't testify about how they handle the road, but they are pretty adorable. Who can resist yellow tires? And as we daydream of warmer weather, I'm also wondering when CB2 will arrive in our fair city. There have been rumblings, but I think we're all ready for a new home furnishings store. You can never have enough, especially one that sells bikes like these.
I've been meaning to blog about this book forever -- OK, maybe not forever, but at least since December. The super talented Christine Schmidt from Yellow Owl Workshop put together a how-to book on printmaking based around some her of lovely designs. If I had any talent, I would be attempting these projects. Because I don't, I'll leave them to the experts.
If you are a talentless dolt like me, you can purchase Schimdt's work on the Yellow Owl Web site. She sells goodies such as uber chic rubber stamps and cards like these:
In my limited life as a condo owner, I've been afraid to tackle wallpaper, but this beauty could change my mind. The second collection from Finnish design house Marimekko is filled with charm, color and retro cheekiness. Their latest, Kippis (which means "Cheers") is covered with colorful line drawings of goblets. Perfect for the kitchen, especially because the paper is washable. Wallpaper party at my place this weekend! Anyone? Hello?
If "Hoarders" ever films an episode devoted to people who hoard coasters, I'll be in big trouble. I've got a drawer stuffed with more coasters than I could ever possibly use. It's not that I'm a total Felix Unger with a pristine house who worries about my not-so-fine furniture. It's more that I'm always finding cool coasters that I can't resist. My latest discovery is these letter press coasters from Ruff House Art. They're available for $10 for a set of 10. If you're celebrating St. Paddy's day next weekend with a rowdy bunch you may want to pick of of these up. Your coffee table will thank you.
Darling Clementine is a small stationer in Norway that creates cards and prints that are the paper equivalent of adorable kittens. Every time I see something that rolls off their presses, I feel a deep desire to bring it home with me. Their latest eye candy is this 'Folk & Flora' series of prints, which is available from their Web site for $40 each (you can also get them as greeting cards). And if you order it now, Darling Clementine will send you a selection of some of their best selling cards for free. Here are a few of the other print options.
It's Friday, it's raining, it's cold, and cocktail hour couldn't come soon enough. To make my afternoon glide by a little smoother, I'm daydreaming about summer. I'll blame artist Wayne Pate for this lack of productivity, because he sent me an e-mail with a photo of his latest canvas bag, which is based on this charming print.
And here's the bag. Perfect for totting around a bottle of Coppertone and the latest issue of GQ.
Also to blame for this afternoon's daydreaming is Debi Greenberg of Louis. She sent me pics of these bathing suits, which are perfect for the dog loving beach bum (do they come in cat? Please?).
Now to make the faux Friday at the beach complete, a little entertainment from Mr. Bobby Vee.
And speaking of fashion... hello Mama Cass!
I spotted Martha Stewart sitting front row at Marc Jacobs last week during New York Fashion Week, and now I know why. She was picking up conversation points for Andre Leon Talley who appears on her show tomorrow, Feb. 24. It sounds like diva, times two. Set your DVR, because Andre will be making a cake! The Hallmark Channel hasn't been this camp since... well, since "The Golden Girls" aired this morning. Here are a few choice bits of conversation between the two divas.
MS: What's your favorite word on your show?
ALT: This is not drecitude though. This is perfection [talking about the cake]. There are only two things in life that can really please you, food and fashion. The two big F's.
MS: Is that true?
ALT: There are other things but we’re not going to mention them today.
MS: Other F's?
ALT: Well… [laughing]…YES! Finances! Martha!
MS: We will not go there!
ALT: We will NOT go there!
The show airs at 10 a.m. tomorrow. I think I feel a sick day coming on (if you're my editor, please ignore this sentence.)
Bus stop, wet day, she's there, I say
Please share my umbrella.
Bus stop, bus goes, she stays, love grows
Under my umbrella.
Nolton sketches lovebirds under punchy red umbrellas in various cities: Paris, Seattle, New Orleans, and of course, Boston (above). There's something mod and a little French about these prints — amour in the air on a dreary day.
That's exactly what I thought when I saw this vinyl wall decal from walldecors on Etsy:
The Fab Four cut-out sets my heart aflutter. (I'll take the couch and citrus pillows, too.) How perfect would it look on the wall over a record player, in a cozy music room or library, complete with worn Oriental rugs and a well-loved leather chair? Heaven.
Local interior designer Michael Barnum's petite Provincetown escape, all 211-square feet of it, has been featured on HGTV and in the esteemed pages of our very own Boston Globe Magazine. Now, you can own this tiny ocean front getaway. Barnum is selling his Provincetown pied-a-terre for $299,000. That may seem high for such a small space, but he's selling it fully furnished. If you're looking to buy Stylephile a little something for Christmas, consider this a hint.
I am always drawn to anchors. Was I a swashbuckler in a past life? Or, perhaps my subconscious is pushing me to the open waters? [Insert alternative theory involving the sea as a metaphor for freedom and adventure here.]
Anchors are a little preppy, a little macho, and plenty summery. Check out some of my favorite seaworthy finds from an interwebs cruise. Ahoy, mateys!
Can you hear the sea in these?
[Earrings from meydalle, $29]
Get your sea legs:
[Sailing-the-Street wedges from Anthropologie, $59.95 on sale]
For the modern day mermaid:
[Tara Matthews bikini from Net-a-Porter, $350]
Perfect for the sea breeze:
[Illustrated People raglan from TopShop, $42 on sale]
No, we aren't referring to the pesky office worker malady. There's a reception for local papercut artist Joe Bagley at chic North End shop Acquire tomorrow night. He cuts silhouettes of old fishing boots, mustaches, ships, and deer from black paper and mounts them on white mat board. The end result is striking and graphic. Here are two items from his Etsy store:
And here's the event flier:
IKEA can be great -- for college kids. But when you reach a certain age, you may not want your friends recognizing that your sofa came from the ubiquitous Swedish mass retailer, not that there's anything wrong with that.
There is a way to avoid the shame of an IKEA living room (spoken from someone who has an IKEA chair in his living room). Online retailer Bemz specializes in creating slipcovers for IKEA furniture and carries not only basic fabrics, but patterns from design houses such as Marimekko. The only drawback is that the slip covers can cost as much as the furniture. In many cases, however, it's still less expensive than buying high end.
I was recently in Provincetown for a Globe travel assignment and stopped in Pauline Fisher's hip, rock n' roll-inspired shop Map. The place just drips cool. And on the wall: these bold prints from Brooklyn designer Arianna Orland of Paper Jam Press:
All the phrases on the limited-edition prints are drawn from hip-hop and rap lyrics. My pick — not pictured above — is "Thinkin of a Master Plan." Because I am, of course. I'll let you know how it turns out.
Orland says she was spending too much time behind a computer and needed to get back to basics and get her hands dirty. I'm glad she did — nestle one of her prints among your favorite art works and photos on a gallery wall or hang it solo for more impact.
Sweet John Quincy Adams! Orla Kiely stem wallpaper — or at least a very good paint job. How cheerful. (Yes, I took a photo on my iPhone in the restroom. Are you really that surprised?)
If you simply must know, the Hollands celebrated a lovely Mother's Day touring the John Adams house and eating scrumptious lobster and crab nachos.
Boston-based designers Patch NYC are going national, again. John Ross and Don Carney the pair who make up Patch (and landed in our 25 Most Stylish Bostonians list in 2008), have collaborated with big names ranging from Anthropologie to Barnes & Noble. This time, Carney's elaborate ink drawings are showing up on products now arriving at West Elm. You can pick up the Patch NYC goods on dishes, wall art, and pillow covers with prices topping out at $34.
We love maps at casa Hollands. We have an antique map of our Somerville neighborhood on one wall and Ork Posters' fun and graphic rendering of Boston (via Grand in Union Square) on another. I guess you could say we have a keen sense of place.
Which is why Portland (Oregon)-based painter Matte Stephens' limited-edition "Boston" print caught my eye:
[$60, from Etsy]
The muted colors remind me of a cloudy fall day in the Hub — plus the light blue hue is the same color as our couch.
Stephens, who counts designers such as Charles and Ray Eames and Alexander Girard among his influences, paints abstract forms and anthropomorphic birds and animals in addition to his cityscapes. He even sells his original works (gouache on plywood) at Jonathan Adler.
Some additional eye candy for y'all:
[Large "New Orleans" print, $80, from Etsy]
["Owl" print, $50, Etsy]
Whimsical and affordable — just the way we like it.
I'm fairly obsessed with Fish's Eddy, the fantastic New York store for plates, glasses, and flatware. Not only do they sell vintage plates from old restaurants, but they have a great selection of new basics. The store also has a fun sense of humor, as seen in these PG-13 Strip Tea glasses, which you can order from their website for $5 each. You can get them in male or female varities. I have to confess that I'm partial to the gentleman in the chaps. Nothing impresses your parents or dates like glasses with strippers!
I know, you're thinking it's too soon for Christmas. I almost agree. However, in this case, I couldn't pass up these retro-licious Christmas cards from Darling Clementine. Christmas is now less than two months away, and given my tendency to put off sending cards until the last minute, I figured I should order them now. Especially since they're coming all the way from Norway.
You can find these cards on Etsy for $25 for six ($19, plus $6 for shipping). If you're on my holiday mailing list, just pretend that you didn't notice this blog entry... OK?
Whenever I make my way to New York, I inevitably find myself taking refuge in one of Jonathan Adler's happy, retro-styled stores. I'm actually surprised I haven't been kicked out yet for drooling on the merchandise. Mr. Adler has finally opened a store in Newbury Street, and I suggest a field trip. At the very least you'll feel inspired. You can read my interview with Adler this Thursday in G. Until then, here's a look at the store.
Coming soon to a Playstation or Wii near you -- it's "Project Runway." Atari and the Weinstein Company announced that the "Project Runway" video game will put players in the role of aspiring fashion designer. I cannot wait for the digital Tim Gunn to tell me that my outfits are "A lot of look."
In addition, the Project Runway video game will include: "An interactive garment studio, a fashion career mode, hair and make-up studios, a Wii Balance Board-compatible catwalk game and a feature where the player can take part in high-profile fashion shoots and take on the role of a fashion photographer."
Look for it next spring. I can only hope that this game will not bore Nina!
Hello, my little chouchoux! I have been totally MIA for two weeks, but my wedding and a mini-moon to Martha's Vineyard count as excuses, no? The weather on the Big Day was sublime, my dress fit perfectly, and we were surrounded by lovely family and friends. Le sigh.
Amidst the lace and dahlias, and the Prosecco-fueled chowfest on the Vineyard, I still found time to shop. (Obviously.)
I stopped by Mix, a fabulous boutique in Vineyard Haven, and fell in love with the quirky, well, mix of old and new housewares, clothing, and accessories: vintage Brownie cameras, typesetting letters, first edition Golden Books, retro toys, a robin's egg blue Smith Corona typewriter, etc. I could have browsed for hours, but we had a bus to Oak Bluffs to catch, so I grabbed four Danica Studio Aviary print placemats to go:
These will be perfect in the dining room of our yet-to-be-located loft in Somerville. Something to tweet about, indeed.
For a while I was obsessed with the bedding and pillows from the company Inhabit. But then their offerings seemed to grow a bit stagnant, so I stopped obsessing and kind of forgot about them. The other day I visited their site, and was completely blown away. They have new products that I love, such as their Modern Classics collection, which features silhouettes of Eames-era chairs on pillows, stretched canvases, and fabric wall hangings. For those of us who can't afford a Barcelona chair in their living room, it's a nice (re: inexpensive) alternative.
One of my favorite blogs, Crocodile Tears, has an exciting update. The Cambridge store Abodeon has finally updated its web site. If you haven't hustled yourself over to Abodeon in Porter Square, do yourself a favor this rainy weekend and check it out. It's a fantastic mix of new and vintage.
Coming this fall: An amazing documentary on midcentury residential architecture called "Coast Modern." This has "Sunday afternoon at the Kendall Theatre" written all over it.
For those of you looking to freshen your space with a bit of balance, Design Within Reach on Tremont Street is hosting a free talk with feng shui expert William Spear. Here are the details:
Design from the Inside Out
Wednesday, June 3, 6:30-9pm
DWR Boston welcomes William Spear, a renowned feng shui expert, for a lecture tailored to builders, architects, designers and homeowners who wish to create harmonious environments that incorporate practicality, common sense and timeless principles of this ancient art. Spear will be available for questions about how to proactively apply the principles of feng shui in your space. Refreshments will be served. RSVP to email@example.com.
My room and apartment have always been filled with photos of friends and family. Color. Black-and-white. Tattered. With or without edges. The motley crew of memories was housed in equally random frames of all shapes and sizes. When we moved into our Somerville apartment three years ago, the frames on tabletops and dressers cluttered the overall minimalist feel of our home. (And by minimalist, I mean Ikea and not much of it. Minimalist is the new thrifty, people.)
Thus, our photo wall was born.
We spent hours picking out frames and hammering them into the wall just so. And though I like the depth and texture of actual frames, I just stumbled upon Swedish it designer Lisa Bengtsson's one-dimensional solution to the same more-photos-than-places-to-put-them problem:
I love the idea of wallpaper that's also a photo display. And the frames are perfectly arranged. No more afternoons spent swearing at the hammer as you try to hang photos straight. Instant art gallery.
Bengtsson also has some fabulous black-and-white shoe wallpaper that I'm lusting over. Maybe when I finally achieve that benchmark of housing success — a walk-in closet — I'll invest.
She blogs for Elle Interiör. But, alas, it's in Swedish. I'll be admiring the photos.
Well chickens, it looks like spring is finally here. I know this because my eye allergies are making me look like a bloodhound... and (this is the more important one), the SoWa Open Market returns this weekend. Saturday, May 16 and Sunday May 17 the market runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There's also the SoWa Food and Produce Market, and this year, the SoWa Antiques Market debuts. Three markets in one parking lot.
And if that's not enough excitement for you people (really, that's not enough?) the SoWa Art Walk also runs this weekend from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. Happy shopping.
Velocity is selling these delightfully twee prints by Spanish artist Blanca Gomez, and most of them are $30 and under. I'm facing a glut of bare walls, so I suspect some of these will be gracing my apartment soon.
It's time to sharpen your elbows and exercise your shoving arm. Fab housewares store Vessel is having a warehouse sale on Saturday. Step aside, kids, because I will be diving like David Beckham for that Gus sofa.
Production samples, prototypes, discontinued lines, overstock and scratch and dents will be available at discounts of up to 70 percent, including furniture from BluDot and Gus, travel bags and housewares by Authentics, outdoor accessories by Potted Up, and design & architecture books. The sale takes places at 125 Kingston St., Boston starting at 11 a.m. on 4/18.
If the sunshine today isn't enough to coax you out of hibernation, Jonathan Adler's festive new Acapulco melamine dishes might just do the trick:
I was recently in Mexico, and the patterns are very similar to the textiles and placemats I saw in stores. The duvet cover I almost bought was way too many pesos — these party ready plates are much more wallet-friendly. Pool party at my house? (Sans pool, of course, but we do make mean margaritas.)
A Northampton couple has created a series of imaginary subway maps, including maps of the Cape and Islands. I'm thinking how much more simple life would be if I could take the commuter rail to Nantucket. Sigh. They also imagine subway systems in Northampton/Amherst and Manchester, VT. Most of the maps are now available for sale on their web site, Transit Authority Figures, and sell for $20.
OK 'Philers, help a brother out.
I've been hunting for just the right light to go over my kitchen table. And, I'm doing it on a budget, quel surprise! I spotted a step-by-step on making this light on Craftynest, and I may even give it a try.
If I want to spend a bit more, there's also this DIY beauty:
It's at Velocity Art and Design for $129 in the small size. Decisions, decisions. What do you think, kids, should I break out the string and attempt to make the hemp and glue masterpiece? Or bag it and buy one?
If you're looking for a topical and quirky addition to your living room, check out Elodie Blanchard's Google Pillows:
Blanchard screens a summary of the top Google searches each year onto canvas. There are only 250 pillows available of the 2008 version (above left) and each one is signed and dated. Last year, we were apparently into technology and politics — naturally — and "American Idol" finalist David Cook (Really, people?). At least Britney Spears, featured on the 2007 version (above right), has fallen off the fabric.
Oh, who are we kidding? Our own searches pillow from last year probably would have included: ankle boots; put on some pants Lindsay Lohan; coffee; [insert serious political issue here]; gofugyourself.com; Bon Iver; beer; how to make more money to support our shopping addiction; Andy Samberg; and chunky necklaces.
I'm a huge fan of artist Matte Stephens, and have even splurged on a few of his paintings. So naturally I was super excited to see his art has been adapted to pillows, which are now selling at Urban Outfitters. You can pick this one up for $32.
I'm a big fan of Orla Kiely's retro-influenced designs, so I was excited to hear that she has designed a line for Target (bless you, Target), especially since her designs can be a tad pricey. Orla's products, which include dinnerware and home storage, arrive at Target on Feb. 15. I suggest you arrive that day if you hope to get your hands on her goods.
This is quite a sad item to post, but one of my favorite shelter magazines, Domino, announced yesterday that the March issue will be its last. You can read about it here.
Can I get a show of hands for folks who have had it with the recession?
Even if you didn't get exactly what you were asking for this Chrismukkah, you still need to be gracious about it. Don't forget to send thank you notes. I veer toward unconventional thank you notes -- blank on the inside to allow for personal expression. Some of my favorites are:
From Pistachio Press:
Hello, nostalgia. This resin roller skate doorstop from Koo de Kir is taking me way back to 1991. I'm racing around the rink — backwards, obviously — in a puffy paint-adorned sweatshirt featuring horses to the bumping strains of "Two Legit to Quit." (And yes, I still am. Thanks for asking.)
[Harry Allen Roller Door Stop, $95]
This isn't exactly a recession-proof, need-to-have purchase, but we should all have a little whimsy in our homes, right? And it's a nod to my late 80s-early 90s childhood without the usual neon trappings and bad hair.
In related news, I suddenly have an urge to break out Dire Straits' "Making Movies" album and listen to "Skateaway" on repeat.
I know, you're thinking 'Oy vey, why does he keep writing about Christmas in October?' Well, funny you should ask. Aside from the fact that November is ready to park itself on your sofa and demand a glass of Zinfandel, I'm talking about Christmas because I have a book to give you.
All you crafty Catherines will no doubt go nuts for this one. It's "A Greener Christmas," which is full of green (re: twig and berry) projects that you can make for Christmas. All you need to do is answer one simple question, and this book is yours. What is the song that Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen sing together in the movie "White Christmas"? Email me the answer (firstname.lastname@example.org). The first correct answer gets the book.
UPDATE: WE HAVE A WINNER!
Alexandra Trexler corrrectly answered "Sisters" and has won the book. Congratulations and thanks to all of you who wrote in.
I've never been interested in burning the American flag. Until now. This American flag Christmas tree could possibly be the tackiest holiday tree I've ever seen, and trust me on this, I've seen some ugly trees in my time. If you're looking to join church and state in one tidy holiday, this can be yours for just $199. I think I'll stick with the old fashioned green kind that grows on tree farms.
Finally got a chance to flip through the October issue of Domino, which includes — lo and behold — a shopping guide to our beloved Boston.
I always get peeved when I'm reading InStyle or Glamour and there's a list of the best colorists/shoe stores/spas/whatever in the country — and Boston doesn't make the cut. Hey, we're chic! We have great boutiques and hair salons and restaurants, too!
So, thanks Domino for recognizing our style quotient and highlighting such gems (and personal favorites) as Good, Black Ink, and Hudson.
[Lekker's repping the Hub in style.]
Ha. Now you have Foreigner stuck in your head, don't you?
Horrid hairbands aside, I was trolling the Somerville Target yesterday for the rumored John Derian collection. I heart the Bird Design Tray, but the Somerville Target being the ultra hip place it is, doesn't have any of the dishes in stock. So, I settled on some note cards. Maybe I will send love letters to John, asking for a little something-something in my stocking this year.
Per my usual trajectory at Tar-jay — go in for toilet paper, leave with $250 worth of jewelry, scrapbooking materials, marked-down flats, cosmetics, and Sour Patch Kids, obviously — I found myself in the home decor section, gazing lovingly upon this doormat:
Well, if it isn't an Orla Kiely pattern rip-off! Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present Exhibit A:
I already have the bag, so naturally, I scooped up the doormat — a steal at $11.99. Lesson learned: Shoot for John Derian; if you miss, you might just end up on an Orla Kiely-impersonating mat.
Newbury Street can be an emotionally taxing thoroughfare to navigate, and that's not even counting the irksome tourists with giant bags from H&M who insist on walking slower than slugs.
What in the name of Princess Chunk am I prattling on about? I was strolling Newbury last week, and noticed that one of my favorite Newbury stores, Diptyque, was closed. Not only was it closed, it was completely empty. You can still get Diptyque candles and fragrances at Barneys New York, but I enjoyed the experience of looking at the 700 varieties in the store. Ok, it's not 700, but there are many.
But just as I was feeling sorry for myself and the state of my French candle collection, I glanced up and saw that Ben Sherman is opening a store on Newbury. I was a big BS fan a few years ago, primarily because their shirts are well-tailored for scrawny gents such as myself. This, my friends, is the Newbury Street circle of life.
I was on vacation last week in very rainy, windy Maine. I know, poor me. One advantage to missing beach days is that my skin is slighty less leathery than it would normally be after a week in the blistering sun. Another big plus to missing the beach is the shopping.
I spent an afternoon in Portland poking around some great shops. At Ferdinand, I found journals which made are made from old books. Jacob Deatherage of Portland, Ore., takes the covers of old books that he finds at garage sales and flea markets and makes them new by binding them with blank pages. I picked up an "All-American Church Hymnal" covered-journal. There are a bunch for sale on his site as well. Here are a few of my favorites.
At $13 a pop, they're more pricey than a conventional notebook, but they're also much more stylish.
I'm neither classy nor fabulous enough to host a garden party this summer, but if I were, you can bet that this beauty would be invited. This is an inflatible sofa designed by the Dutch (of course) company Blofield. I've hunted high and low for a retailer in the U.S. that sells it. No such luck. You can, however, order it from a British web site. It's 350 British pounds, which is the same as $11,900, or something like that. You can get it here, but if you do, you're required to invite me to the garden party.
Last month at NYC's International Contemporary Furniture Fair, I came across this terrific series of lamps called Milk Gone Bad. Each milk carton shows what mold does when the milk has gone way past the sell-by date. There are eight versions to choose from. All I can say is this mold really knows how to throw a party. The mold in my fridge just smells bad.
These are produced in Europe, so shipping and that pesky exchange rate will cost you.. $92 to be exact.
My struggles finding affordable art are legendary (in my own mind, anyway), so I'm always excited to find a new outlet for finding hip ways to decorate my walls Threadless, the T-shirt company that releases a new batch of tees each week from indie artists, is now selling prints of their designs. They're $35 and are screen printed. Every week they'll introduce three new designs in limited numbers. I'm particularly fond of the circular city.
Isn't it funny how we are all attracted to different shapes, colors, and patterns? A few months ago, I was browsing my local Anthropologie (read: spending way too much money on spring dresses and laughably expensive candles) and fell in love with a set of brightly colored, folk art-inspired melamine dishes. And just last week, I popped into Grand in Union Square and feverishly debated purchasing similarly vivid dishes emblazoned with Russian nesting dolls. (Doll plates or rent? Rent or doll plates? Rent won. Sniff.)
Both plate designs were kitschy, rainbow bright, and playful — and, not surprisingly, I discovered yesterday that the dishes are all by thomaspaul.
Paul is a New York designer who worked at a silk printing mill before launching his own line of printed pillows in 2001. His collection has grown to include poppy wall canvases, bags, and rugs. I absolutely love, love, love the rugs (starting at $270 a pop for a 3'x5' tufted pile wool floor cover!) But in the interest of saving green, I'll snap up his fabulous punchy red-and-white coral plates, instead.
[A feast for the eyes, no?]
If anything, make sure to check out the trippy thomaspaul website. Colorful, flying birds abound.
Everybody's watching their pocketbooks these days.
That's why this reg-tag sale at the Boston Design Center may prove irresistible.
There will be savings up to 70% at 30 participating showrooms, including brands such as Baker, Grange, Baccarat, Ralph Lauren and Hickory Chair.
The sale is March 29 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and March 30 noon to 5 p.m.
There's more information on the web, www.bostondesign.com
I stare at my cheap-o white bureau from Target at least twice a week, yearning for a new, more stylish place to store my shirts and socks. But then again, the drawers still function and it's lasted through three different apartments. And I do need to pay off my plane ticket to Japan. Le sigh.
How about a compromise? Anthropologie has scads of chic knobs to screw into my lackluster particle board dresser — some are shaped like fire red corral, and the blue-and-white porcelain pulls are tres Paris. You can refresh your furniture on the cheap — genius! You can even splurge on a few sets to mix it up whenever the mood strikes you.
Here are some of my favorites:
Oh, and bonus: The fashionable folks at the Anthropologie website are overachievers. They have set up a whole area where you can pick different knobs and see how they would look against various dresser finishes online.
I often leaf through InStyle's party and home decor section (usually at the back of the mag each month), and dream about the day when I will serve passionfruit mojitos and tuna tartar to my guests on trendy art deco trays. Of course, Mario Batali will be manning the kitchen and magical maids will clean all the dishes. Can't wait!
Until I get to that level of entertaining maturity, it's nice to know that some designers are looking out for us in-betweeners (in-between red Solo cups filled with keg beer and champagne cocktails served in real glassware, that is).
I heart these chic paper shades from German company Anke and Katrin:
Simply assemble and drop one of these simply and pretty parchment lampshades over a votive in a wine glass. Mood lighting galore!
Cheap-o wineglasses from Target = $24.99 for 12
Votive candles = 10 cents or less each
Parchment lamp shades = $30 for three
Making a dinner party special by adding a few affordable, tasteful touches = Priceless
I am so in love with this Boston poster, I'm considering proposing marriage to it. This is Ork Posters' view of Boston by neighborhood. Designer Jenny Beorkrem (who lives in Chicago) is creating a series of city posters, such as Brooklyn, San Francisco, and Manhattan. The poster is $22, the screen is $27.
I have an ongoing problem finding art for the walls of my house. The problem is that I'm lazy and finding good art requires work. But through my intrepid reporting -- aka surfing the web -- I came across a Los Angeles-based artist named Christopher Bettig and his birds. I have a bit of a thing for birds, so I purchased a painting from him. You can check out his work on his web site. It seems that most of his bird paintings have already sold, but I'm sure if you ask nicely he might go back to his studio and paint some more.
Here's the one I purchased. I'm very excited to hang it this weekend.
The holidays are closing in quickly, and I'm feeling unusually generous. I have a story in today's Style section about UK-based color expert David Oliver and his beautiful new book "Paint and Paper in Decoration." Want a copy of it? Well then, let's have a contest! The first person to e-mail me the name of Oliver's company gets a copy of his book. And if you pay me a compliment, I'll throw in a copy of Bridgette Raes' new book "Style Rx."
OK, I'm officially done with snow. And ice. And water seeping in through my supposedly waterproof boots as I hack ice off my car.
Sorry — moving on to a rosier subject. If you're still hemming and hawing over what to get moi for Christmas, look no further than Belle Fleur candles. I discovered these fragrant beauties at Anthropologie a few weeks ago, and bought the "Orange Blossom Pomegranate" scent. Whoa. When I lit it at my Somerville apartment later that day, my mind definitely wandered to Anguilla... where I was on Jay-Z's yacht with Beyonce, and we were reading gossip magazines, drinking champagne, and generally being fabulous. Instant vacation!
This New York company's candles also come in intoxicating "Mayan Tuberose," "White Orchid Tea," and "Jasmine Verbena." Plus, check out the packaging:
All robin's egg blue, chocolate brown, and fabulous all over! I also read that Jen Aniston's a fan of the candles in InStyle magazine. Great minds think alike, right?
Now that it's December, my holiday anxiety is starting to kick into overdrive. I'm the kind of person who frets over shopping, but usually doesn't start until Dec. 23 -- much to the chagrin of friends who do not appreciate receiving framed photographs of my cat year after year (heartless!).
For those of you who are starting your shopping in a more timely manner, one of my favorite New York home stores is selling a very cool line called Brooklyn online. The Brooklyn platter is at Fishs Eddy for $24.95. If you're feeling generous, you can buy the matching salt and pepper shakers.
Lekker in the South End is selling these refillable hand grenade oil lamps from Dutch desinger Piet Houtenbos. These are surplus US Army grenades that have been painted gold and turned into oil lamps. Very chic. They're selling for $65.
I wrote a story last spring about Don Carney and John Ross, the couple that creates vintage-inspired jewelry and art in their Cambridge home under the name Patch NYC. The two continue to work on several very cool projects and have a few big collaborations on the horizon. Recently, Carney's art was shown in Paris at Astier de Villatte on fashionable rue Saint-Honore (you can find it locally at Louis Boston). I've lifted some pictures of the Paris art show opening from the Patch NYC blog.
Scratch and sniff wallpaper? Two concerns: (1) Does all that scratching and sniffing leave a mark? and (2) What happens when the scent of bananas and cherries starts to fade away? Are you left with the aroma of rotting ambrosia salad?
Other than that, I'm totally digging this tutti frutti wallpaper from Flavor Paper. Also available in tasty banana and cherry scents at (gasp) $450 a roll.
These orbit bowls from San Francisco design collective Miam.Miam look like something that Jane Fonda would have used for holding her soylent green in "Barbarella," which means I must own them immediately!
[I know, I know. I'm mixing movie metaphors and running a gratuitous Jane Fonda photo. And it's only Monday. Yikes]
In addition to the futuristic serving bowls, Miam.Miam also makes these stylish, stacking mushroom bowls. They're available at Black Ink in five different sizes from $6 to $30. Great, now I totally have the theme song from "Barbarella" stuck in my head.
If prints and patterns make you absolutely giddy — I know I'm not alone here — you'll love Ferm Living's quirky wallpaper selection. Yes, wallpaper. But not the checkered and cutesy paper that used to hang in your grandma's cupboard. Ferm's wallpaper is affordable art:
[Pod person? Ribbed wallpaper, $95/roll]
[Proud as a peacock? Feather wallpaper, $85/roll]
Ferm means clever in Danish — and you'd be clever to cover your walls with these graphical prints.
If you can't commit to wallpaper, or if you're just a wishy-washy person in general, Ferm also has wall stickers. (As much fun as your My Little Pony decals of old, except all grown-up!) The stickers make any surface pop and are easy to remove whenever the whim strikes:
[Whooo's wall looks trendy? Owl wall sticker, $50]
Unsure of your sticking abilities? Ferm has a "how-to" video on applying the wall decals on its website.
See? Your house feels instantly cooler!
I am a complete whore when it comes to throw pillows. I have a window seat in my living room that has become a shrine to my pillow collection. I'm fairly convinced that a well-designed pillow is your living room's best friend. You can change the look of a room fairly easily, and usually for a minimum investment.
That is until now.
Designer Kevin Corn, who spent six years at Ralph Lauren designing the interior of Polo stores, has introduced a line of pillows made from vintage fabrics. These are limited edition, hand-made pillows that are produced in extremely limited quanities (four or less of each). Here's the part that stings. The price is $425 each. The pillows are available at from Corn's website.
Seriously, is there anything that Martha Stewart can't do? She was mean to me on the phone last year, and for some reason, I still love her. Maybe it is because she was mean to me on the phone that I still love her. OK, I'm continuing this conversation with Dr. Kaplan when I'm back in Boston next week.
What I'm trying to say is that I'm here at the High Point furniture market, and Martha has introduced her sixth collection of furniture with Bernhardt, and it's quite lovely. It's called Dunemere, and it's very cottage-y and light. This bench isn't a great example, but you get the idea. The collection is light, lots of soft shades of sand and dune grass.
I'm spending the week at the mammoth International Furniture Market at High Point, North Carolina, a curious place where furniture makers converge twice a year to show their new lines. It is litererally acres of furniture in mammoth buildings. Some of it good, some of it downright disturbing.
Now for some bad news. A big trend for 2008: Global influence. For some reason a bunch of furniture makers think you're craving high end furniture that looks like it came from Pier 1 Imports. OK, maybe you are, but I'm certainly not. But, if you dig the bedding ensemble above, it's from Company C. I was under the impression that Company C was an all-lady band from the 1980's that sang the tune "Fascinated," but I guess these gals are making furniture as well.
[do you know where you're going to Diana? Do you like the things that Bob Mackie is showing you? Diana Ross in a Bob Mackie dress from "Mahogany."]
I had a story in today's Style section about designer Bob Mackie and his furniture line. Unfortunately, there wasn't room in print for the entire interview. But there is here. Check the extended entry to read Bob's resposes in all their glory.. here's a tease:
Do you feel like the nickname Sultan of Sequins was unfair?
Mackie: Oh, you had to bring that up! I had all these funny titles in the 1970's. Someone gave me a T-shirt with all of them listed down the front one time. They were so silly. I was doing all those variety shows and all those nightclub acts. Dressing Diana Ross and big personalities. It wasn't about fashion, it was about enhancing their image on the stage. It's what the audience wanted to see when they walk on stage. It's not always about what I like, but I thought that it works for the performer, then I'll do it. It's really like working as a costume designer, and you're designing a character in a play. If they see Carol Channing, they want to see her covered in diamonds.
The new issue of Metropolitan Home has a spread on the South Boston Loft of business execs Bill Sweat and Donna Morris. They enlisted Frank Roop to design an elegant, subdued space. Roop custom designed every upholstered piece in the loft. These are Eric Roth's pics from the spread. Just a bit of aspirational eye candy to start the week.
I know I've already vented about pushing the seasons. But Wednesday, Neiman Marcus in Boston was putting up its holiday tree!
Two workers were busy hanging up ornaments.
I reminded them that it is still technically summer. They just shook their heads.
Now I guess we'll be stuck with the holiday soundtrack. Bah humbug!
Night Owl Paper Goods has introduced a line of eco-friendly wood postcards (yes, wood). It's like mailing your buddies a small work of art -- for $5.50 (plus 26 cents postage). You can get them here.
placemats by Bob's Your Uncle
One of the things I enjoy most about New York is wandering from neighborhood to neighhood and coming across small, but tastefully stocked shops filled with interesting bric-a-brac. Happily. it's a trend that appears to be picking up in Boston as well. The South End is already there, and it looks like the Seaport District/Fort Point Chanel is showing signs of life.
plate by Bob's Your Uncle
A Boston company called Bob's Your Uncle (it's a British expression that means everything is fine) is opening a store in the Seaport District later this fall. According to owner Martin Yeeles, the store will be located on Chanel Center Street in Fort Point, near a new Flour bakery and new restaurants from Barbara Lynch.
tray by Thomas Paul
plates by Thomas Paul
pillows by Dwell Baby
He and his wife will be stocking Thomas Paul melamine plates, Mud ceramics, and Dwell baby bibs and toys. Look for a late Oct./ early Nov. opening.
Well, sort of.
The famed potter and designer (by the way, who else wants to move into his hotel?) is donating 10 percent of all sales from Aug. 22 to Aug. 31 to victims of the Peruvian earthquake. You can buy from his web site or at his stores. The closest JA store to Boston is New York City. Many of Adler's pieces are produced by Peruvian potters, and this is his way of helping out.
I realize this won't help the Peruvians, but it will help me a great deal if Adler agreed to never say "See you later, decorator" again.
These plates from notNeutral are educational, sort of. Once you've finished dinner, you can study maps of cities such as Dubai, Washington DC, and New Orleans.
Mostly, however, they just look extemely fetching. It would be nice to see a Boston plate in this batch (hint, hint).
Poketo, which collaborates with artists to make wallets and T-shirts, introduced a collaboration with Tokyo-based artist PCP on these melamine plates. It looks like granny's china attended a hip-hop festival and got a grafitti makeover.
Also spotted yesterday at the New York International Gift Fair, these giant stickers, pardon, pieces of wall art, from a new company called Butch & Harold. Sisters Michele and Ariane Gold made the 25-by-25-inch images that can be stuck to walls without damaging paint or plaster. You can even peel them and stick them somewhere else when you have had enough of a dog in your den.
According to Michele, the idea behind Butch & Harold was to create wall art that was already framed and could be easily hung in urban apartments without damaging walls. There are six designs (more are coming soon), and they sell for $50 and $55.
Thank you, Gov. Patrick, for another weekend of tax-free retail therapy. Like most people, I end up spending more than I save. But I'm a sucker for the illusion of a bargain, so I'll be out there with the rest of you.
If you're looking to
help the state's economy spend your hard-earned cash, here are a few of my favorite home good stores and goodies that I've seen in my recent travels. Remember, keep it under $2,500, or else the state will come calling for its five percent.
I walked by last night and spotted an amazing octopus pillow in the window. I couldn't find it on the website, but there are very cool items, such as these feed bag pillows.
My love for the Porter Square shop is legendary, but I can't help myself because it carries an ideal mix of well-designed new home products and mid-century vintage pieces. I'm further won over by the fact that the store also sells old records (swoon).
As you can see, the web site is in developement, but I've posted pics of the style of goods I've seen there.
Yes, I know it's a chain and kind of predictable. But, I'm still in a honeymoon phase with West Elm in Boston, and I dig their take on modern furniture. It's all relatively inexpensive. (the sofa below is $799).
Yes, I know you've barely had a chance to spray on your Neutrogena self-tanning spritzer for this weekend's round of beach parties, let alone think about next weekend's festivities.
[pin by Fusion Ethos Fashion]
"It's going to be an eco-friendly themed fair with all crafts made from recycled or re-purposed materials," he says.
[skirt by Lazer Beanz]
[pillows by skullknocker]
There will be more than 25 crafters participating, along with environmental organizations such as Groundwork Somerville, who will be educating on how you can be green.
The eco-fair will also feature hands-on recrafting tables where you can make your own disco ball from discarded CDs (woo-hoo!).
Last week I wrote a story for the Style section about fuzzy woodland creatures such as deer, squirrels, and rabbits invading fashion and homegoods. There wasn't room to fit all the goodies that I found in print, so here are two more of my favorite products featuring fashionable animals:
The Elusive Chocolate Moose by Andy Gonsalves
The sweet side of nature, Gonsalves's pun on nature and dessert shows up on this T-shirt from Threadless. The design is available on T's for men, women, kids, plus hoodies and onesies. $17 to $40 at threadless.com.
Deer pillow by Andrew Sebastian
The Los Angeles designer captures these sweet animals canoodling on a blue or brown backdrop. $55 at modnest.com
If you're interested in reading the entire story, click on the extended entry.FULL ENTRY
Summer clothing sales are definitely past peak, however, this seems to be a good time to catch seasonal sales for home goods. Diseño in the South End starts a summer sale tomorrow on furniture floor models, plus rugs, textiles, gift items and home accessories.
And as part of First Fridays, there will be live jazz and wines from Chile and Argentina in the store this Friday night. I've always said that drinking and shopping is a dangerous combination.
The humidity has me (and my hair) wishing I was summering elsewhere... or that I was in a position to be summering at all. I envy people who can toss around the word summering without getting a raised eyebrow.
To help indulge my fantasy of being able to use summer as a verb, posh French candle maker Diptyque is releasing three new scents in August. The scents are based on the 1960's travel journals of Diptyque founder Desmond Knox-Leet, who was captivated by Mediterranean scents. So I'll be traveling via fragrance.
The three are Maquis (a shrub that grew near Knox-Leet's childhood home in the South of France), wild fennel, and coriander. These scents are not at all perfumey, so get those visions of Yankee Candle out of your head. They'll sell at for $55 each at Diptyque on Newbury Street.
It's a good day when I can walk through the mall and see Marimekko designs available to the masses. Crate and Barrel is currently carrying bed and bath linens featuring the Finnish design company's minimalist prints.
Hark, the "Himmeli" bed linens:
And a little shower something, something I bought for my home:
In classic C and B style, these designs are devoid of color -- but some brightly colored accent pillows would really make the bed linens pop, no?
A home store for folks looking to build or renovate with eco-friendly materials opens tomorrow in Braintree, and for those who don't want to travel that far, its owner is promising he'll soon open outposts in Cambridge and Newton.
Builder Robert Botelho Jr. says he came up with the concept for his store GreenSource when a client wanted eco-friendly roofing on his home. One store told Bothelho that they didn't carry recycled roofing. As it turns out, they carried the product, but were completely unaware that it was eco-friendly.
Botelho spent six months researching companies to make sure that their products were green, and also to ensure that manufacturing techniques were environmentally friendly.
The store carries products such as cork tiles from Capri Cork, Ice Stone countertops made of recycled glass and concrete, and recycled glass tiles from Sandhill industries. Somewhere Al Gore is smiling.
[photos by Marcelo Vinces]
I had been meaning to check out Greenward, a new eco-friendly store in Porter Square run by Scott Walker and Simone Alpen, since it opened this spring. The store sells everything from jewelry to cleaning products. All the products sold in Greenward are made from recycled goods, sustainable materials, or are biodegradable. Both Alpern and Walker have impressive credentials. Alpern is one of the organizers of annual indie hipster craft fair Bizarre Bazaar, and Walker was
a singer with the Walker Brothers whose big hit was "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" an urban planner and cycling enthusiast.
This is how the pair sums up their retail philosophy:
Eco-modern Goods: At Greenward, we sell eco-modern goods. As we define it, an eco-modern product is always elegantly designed, attractive, and functional.
A new store called Studio Verticale opened this week in Boston, selling furniture that converts walls, doors, and closets into designer storage. It is referred to as "vertical furniture," but these are essentially very modern doors, wall partitions, closet systems, and walk-in wardrobes.
The 4,000-square-foot store features high-end European brands such as
Longhi, Gruppo Feg, and Casali (translation: It's super posh).
My buddies at Lekker just sent me spam (is it spam if it's wanted?) that they are having a big sale beginning tomorrow-- up to 75 percent off.
When I go to Lekker, I always check out Aunt Sadie's around the corner (18 Union Park). I'm not a big candle person, but it's a great store for browsing. I once picked up a 1950's telephone there that was imported from South America and rewired to work in current phone jacks.
I resent when stores start pushing the back-to-school goods in the middle of the summer -- c'mon, let those kids keep slacking. The Container Store is pulling this trick, but they're offering a discount, so I'll allow it.
On Saturday night from 6:30 to 8:30, college students get 20 percent off at the Container Store in Natick. The sale takes place on Sunday from 6:30 to 8:30 in Chestnut Hill. You need to present your college ID for access to the private event. It will also be helpful if you have mom or dad's credit card.
Martha Stewart has lent her name to some questionable projects (hellooo, Kmart), but her latest partnership gets the official Stylephile thumbs up. She has partnered with Flor, the company that makes movable tiles of carpet that can be arranged into floor rugs. The Martha Stewart Floor Designs will be available beginning July 16. But I have a sneak peak of the Martha styles here.
Douglas Homer, who adapts furniture in very smart new ways, is introducing an Adirondack chair that glows in the dark. No more drunken spills at dark parties for you. The chair, called AfterGlow, is made of recycled milk jugs and treated with a special paint so it glows for two hours after the sun goes down.
I always manage to unearth amazing, must-have (at least for a fleeting moment), kitschy household accessories at Black Ink in Harvard Square. Irreverent wedding cards? Check. Squishy, pastel laptop cases? Check.
A few weeks ago, I found the ultimate kitchen conversation piece there: a metallic, squirrel-shaped nut cracker. Put the nut in its jaws, pull the tail, and voila, shelled walnut!
(Also sold online at bayvillagestore.com)
I don't really eat nuts -- except for the pre-cracked, mixed kind from Trader Joe's -- but the next time I need a Yankee Swap gift, I'm making a beeline for this silver rodent.
Apologies for the blog overload. I'm still catching up from my New York trip to the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (and just wait until you see some of the finds from the National Stationary Show, which I'll post soon).
One of my favorite booths at the furniture fair was a New York gallery called Amaridian which showed a collection from African designers.
These rocks are made from felt, and they look quite real. You can buy them as cushions, or you can buy a rug which is several small felt pebbles joined together.
These bug shelves look like hot red wire shelves from a distance, but up close it's like that scene with the flies from "The Exorcist," only with beetles, and not as creepy.
Finally, these cup floor lamps from Gregor Jenkin Studios look like nothing special at first glance, but look closer, and the lamp is hosting its own tea party.
Because I know you're craving a more recaps from the massive International Contemporary Furniture Fair, here are some additional pics of chairs that I wrote about in today's Style & Arts section.
The pop art vinyl-coated Plastic Fantastic chairs from Studio JSPR were surprisingly comfortable (and chic!).
Douglas Homer told me that both Oprah and Uma have his Hairy Bertoia chairs (it's a Letterman joke waiting to happen, no?)
Mio, a Philadelphia company that creates environmentally-friendly products such as textured wall panels and felt capsule light fixtures, introduced the Nomad Architectual System at the furniture fair this week (sorry, I'm tired of typing out ICFF every time). It's a series of cardboard pieces that can be built into any configuration to make room dividers or walls.
I think it looks fantastic, and it would be great for kids, but I can't decide how practical this would be for home. Would it look cool, or just cheap (or, maybe both)?
I'm still at the International Contemporary Furniture in New York (hey, there's a lot to see here). Today I went looking for Boston designers who are showing at ICFF. It's slim pickings. Shouldn't there be a huge creative design community in Boston producing furniture and other accessories?
I did find a Berkshires-based company called Nama Rococo that makes hybrid wallpaper/artwork. It's sold in two-foot-by-three-foot rectangles, so you could paste it to a board or canvas, or directly use it to paper a wall. The papers are silkscreened, and in some cases, designs are handpainted over the silkscreening.
Monday at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York, and for some strange reason (lack of sleep?) I'm drawn to children's bedding. L.A.-based Amenity is showing a new nursery line that will be released this fall. Like all their textiles, it feels a bit 1970s. What I like about this bedding is that it's designed to appeal to adults, not just kids.
If kids are exposed to good design at a young age, instead of, say, Sponge Bob sheets, perhaps they'll blossom into little Karim Rashids? Boodalee is created by graphic designer Jeanice Skaril, and my only complaint is that they don't make these in sizes larger than twin.
After a day of looking at displays at the International Contemporary Furniture Show in NYC, I'm convinced that not only are the British more charming, they also design cooler wallpaper. Check out these designs from London designer Erica Wakerly.
My favorite British wallpaper design is DeBorah Bowness. She collects objects, photographs them in groupings, and then transfers her work to silkscreen to make wallpaper. She even signs each roll like a work of art.
It's the end of my first full day at the International Contemporary Furniture Festival in New York, and aside from feeling like a glassy-eyed zombie, I'm also feeling inspired. Lots of amazing new furniture introductions. (This is where retailers go to find the latest and greatest in modern design)..
This caught my eye when I walked in.. it's called Gaze, a hybrid multi-seat lounge/gazebo.. The photo is no great shakes, but you get the idea. I could easily see kicking back with a mojito in this. It's made by Jane Hamley Wells.
I confess that I've always had Dyson envy. Not that I'm a fan of vacuuming, or housework of any kind, but those Dyson vacuum cleaners look like something out of a robot autopsy. I recently had a chance to test out the new Dyson Stowaway. It's Dyson's version of a canister vacuum that promises not to lose suction.
My motivation for trying it was primarily that it resembles R2D2's illegitimate half brother. I would have been impressed if it suctioned a cotton ball (well, what do you expect? it's stylephile, not housekeepingphile).
I tested the Stowaway in my den, where my 15-year-old cat is losing the last of his fur on every surface. This vacuum looked great as it sucked up my balding cat's fur from the rug and the loveseat. If I'm going to be seen with a vacuum in my hand, it might as well be this one.
Oh yeah, it also did a fantastic job cleaning, if you're into that kind of thing. But I hate to think of little illegitimate R2D2 getting dirty.
OK, one more quickly. The SoWa (it pains me to type that, but not as much as Ladder District) Art Walk is happening this weekend. As you know, that stretch of the South End also has some home stores worth checking out. Lekker is taking another 50 percent off its sale merchadise to draw in customers who will be foaming at the mouth to spend some cash this weekend. Happy shopping, kids.
I'm getting ready to visit the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in NYC this weekend (where I'll be blogging regularly, please tune in my lovelies), so I'm in a nesting kind of mood. Although I can't decide if I'd want to nest my home with this. Ok, who am I kidding. Of course I would.
It's the Veuve Clicquot Loveseat by Karim Rashid. For $10,000, you can have a comfy pink spot to sip the bubbly. Chances are I'll see Rashid this weekend. Shall I put in an order for you?
I'd rather read about buying art in the latest issue of Dwell than actually get off the sofa and do it. Let's just say my place has a few too many blank walls and leave it at that. But lately, I've bought a few pieces by an artist named Matte Stephens, who is almost as obsessed with birds as I am.
I sort of dig the 1960s feel of his art.
The originals are fairly reasonable. Most are small, around $200. You can also buy prints for $35 on Etsy.com. Paintings and prints are sold on Etsy and Velocity (velocityartanddesign.com).