Thursday, March 29, 2012

Caught my eye at the 2012 Architectural Digest Show, Part Deux

When I did my New England Connections at the AD Show post, I neglected to mention that the New Traditionalists furniture line is made in New England. I love the color of this adorable little night stand - it's both exuberant and sophisticated. Called "Side Table No. 84", its drawer face color is called Plum and it is truly the color of beach plumb flowers.

And the zebra print headboard is certainly an eye-catcher!

I've always been a sucker for an OTT little girls bedroom and Rooms by Zoya B designs usually grab the attention of my inner 5 year old girl. I'd totally put that lamp next to the bed in my own bedroom. Pink gives off such a flattering glow to girls of any age!

I'm not a gardener, but I do love a garden and well manicured garden pots and plantings. Having a full-time gardener is on my life list of wants. These classic looking garden pots from Pennoyer Newman are made in New York from lightweight resign and pummeled marble and rock and then cast. They were amazingly lightweight, yet they claim they won't age or crack if left outside in the winter.

Totally loved these eglomisé tiles by Simes Studios that were featured at the Modenus stand. Eglomisé (reverse painting on glass) is such an old-world art and rarely employed anymore. Simes Studios has really captured the classic essence of the art in very modern designs. They make backsplash tiles that are to die for, and really, the sky would be the limit when it comes to design, colorways, patterns, etc.

Grange Furniture is one of my favorite lines. I spent a lovely evening at a swank party in their Paris shop a couple of years ago and they do know how to throw a fete. Their modern updates of classic French styles are always winners.

These big wall mirrors from Brooklyn based Palo Samko literally called to me from across the show floor. The simplicity is truly arresting.

This hand-blown glass chandelier from Strawser & Smith, Inc is surely an eye-catcher.

I always love getting the underbelly view of lighting.

And here I am at Modenus' stand, with my favorite item of the show - a Jimmie Martin dachshund pillow - well, the front half of it anyway! I'm a sucker for anything with a doxie on it!

The Architectural Digest Home Show isn't that big - about 400 stands - but after a day of traipsing about...

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New England Connections seen at the Architectural Digest Home Show 2012

As previously mentioned, I did a one-day whirlwind road trip down to the Architectural Digest Home Design show in New York. Met some of my favorite bloggers, in person for a change!, and took in some truly beautiful design work. I wanted to start close to home with some designers and artisans with ties to New England. New England style is always rooted in history while still being relevant to today's homeowner and all these folks truly capture the essence I love so much about the region. 

Love the oversize prints and photos at Room 125  stand. The work comes framed or unframed. The frames are made from reclaimed woods and the images are reproductions from original plates and negatives. The varied looks and styles - from the ruby brooch to the pachyderm double print are fantastic! The name Studio 125 references a shop they had at 125 Charles Street in Boston. Now located in NYC.

The New England Collection - flat weave, hooked, needlepoint rugs and more. Love, love these rugs. While not actually based in New England, they do capture the essence of the region without being stuffy or out of fashion. I love all the colorways and patterns.

Modern Aire Ventilation and Susan Serra's Bornholm Kitchen cabinetry. Modern Aire Ventilation makes custom stove hoods in a dazzling array of styles. 100% customizable to the smallest fraction of an inch, the hoods are really jewelry in a kitchen. Modern Aire is a third generation family business based in California. All their products are made in the USA. Massachusetts vendor Valiant Sales out of Beverly showcased Modern Aire's products at show. Partnering with them was my friend, kitchen designer extraordinaire Susan Serra, who is from New York. Susan's line of Scandinavian inspired kitchen cabinetry is truly beautiful. I profiled Susan in my May/June 2011 issue of ::Surroundings:: magazine. Susan's cabinetry is all made in America.

Kennebec Company fine cabinet makers.  I didn't take a photo at their booth (image below courtesy of their website), but I am so taken with the Shaker-like simplicity of their cabinetry. Perfect to warm up a modern space or grace an antique country barn.  Based in Bath, Maine, they have been in business 35 years and all work is custom made to order.

Lawrence J. Perna Fine Custom Furniture. For traditionalists, this custom built, heirloom quality furniture is totally drool-worthy. Massachusetts-based Larry Perna has been hand building furniture and cabinetry for 35 years. I was so taken by the soft twist in the legs of this small side table.

More to come on my AD Home Show finds!

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Monday, March 26, 2012

The rewards of paying attention to the details

Design is all about details - noticing the small things, making improvements, downplaying flaws. Over the weekend, I was digging in some old files of my Dad's and I came across this photo I'd taken for my 1999 Christmas cards. I wanted to share it because I think it illustrates a pretty good lesson in the power of seeing the potential in the details of a space.

You see, this lovely windmill is not located in some European idyll as it might appear. It sits hard by the Sagamore Bridge on Cape Cod and is in fact part of the Christmas Tree Shops - the original off-price home goods store. Their stores are usually kitschy to the extreme and this one is no exception. Luckily, at the right angle and on the right day, I was able to extract the only pretty thing about this building for my photo.

The reason that I was digging about my Dad's old files (amazing what he held on to!), was that I was looking for our family tree that he spent many years working on.  Friday's nights episode of the NBC show "Who Do You Think You Are" featured the actress Helen Hunt as they researched her family history. Part of her family were Bavarian Jews who eventually emigrated out to San Francisco and made their fortune in the gold rush as shop owners. Oh, and along with Levi Strauss and some other similar folks, founded Wells Fargo Bank. Cool enough, interesting historical details.  She then traveled across the country to Portland, Maine to learn of the other side of her father's lineage. And that's where things got interesting.  She had heard that her Grandfather's grandmother, Augusta Hunt, had been a member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, which filled her with a surprising amount of trepidation. As they were going through the records, the camera zoomed in on this entry in a book:

MERRILL! Based on my Dad's family tree research, we know that most Merrill's in New England are somehow related and started with a pair of brothers - Nathaniel and John - who emigrated from Wherstead, England in 1633 to Newburyport, MA and Essex, CT, respectively. I am from Nathaniel's direct line and am 12th generation. While still watching the show, I Googled (on my iPhone, no less) Augusta Merrill Barstow Hunt and with the power of everyone else who has searched family connections, traced Helen Hunt directly back to the very same Nathaniel. It took all of five minutes, which is pretty cool. I so wished my Dad were here - he would have enjoyed the connections so easily discovered.

I put together a little dual family tree to see how closely our two lines match up. "Cousin" Helen and I come from the youngest two sons of Nathaniel and his wife Susanna (don't want to forget the ladies!) who were one year apart in age. Interestingly, over the course of 360 years, Helen and I, who are also one year apart in age, are in the same generation as well. You can see the Hunt side working their way across the country where my side has stayed relatively close to home.  Although I was born in upstate New York, I've lived most of my life in Massachusetts and lived for a time in Newburyport - a city I've been drawn too since the first time I visited.

Getting back to Augusta, she was quite the woman, apparently. A young widow with several children, she was an early crusader for women's rights including the protection of women and children against their alcoholic husbands (WCTU), educational rights and women's suffrage. She sat on committees, lobbied the Maine legislature and was appointed to position by the Governor of the state.  She lived until she was 90 and was the first woman in her district to cast a vote after the 19th Amendment was passed. I found a link to a scanned copy of a very interesting book written in the 1890's called "Women of the Century" to document over 1800 outstanding women - one of which is Augusta. They refer to the 19th century as the "Women's Century". If you want to see the whole Helen Hunt episode, click here.

Of course, it's fun to find out you're related to a famous person, especially an Oscar winner like Helen Hunt. But to find a relation (no matter how distant) who had such great impact on the lives of those in her community and women in general is truly amazing. And, had I not been paying attention to the details - like seeing a name pop up on screen - I would have likely missed it entirely.

Interesting images or making chance connections only happen when one is paying attention to the details. I'd love to hear your stories too!

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Friday, March 23, 2012

This is one comfortable chair

I spent more than a few minutes sitting in this super comfortable chair from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams yesterday at the Architectural Digest Home Show. This is the Ashton Leather chair. I couldn't get a seat at the Margaret Russell talk and the MG+BW space was right outside the entrance to the seminar room. I still couldn't hear Margaret speak (terrible ambient noise in the Piers!), but I did enjoy sitting and chatting with various people.

If you would like my help on your design project, I would love to chat with you! Please email me. Thanks! Subscribe to ::Surroundings::

A Random Little Friday Pretty

I have two recently published articles on that I wanted to share.

Eight Luxe Wastebaskets - including a doozy from Waterworks that costs more that most mortgage payments (but it's sure purty!)

Designers Picks: Eight Graphic Rugs for Modern Spaces

As I've mentioned before, I use Pinterest to gather my thoughts and collect product ideas for each article I write. Not every item makes the final cut, but if you'd like to see the entire grouping, click on the Pinterest graphics above to go to the specific boards.

Speaking of pretty, I don't do fashion on this blog, but I came across this bag on Tom + Lorenzo and all I can say is "hello lover!" With our crazy early Summer Spring we're having, a pretty bag such as this would be fantastic, wouldn't it??? This is the Crocodile Ricky Bag from Ralph Lauren. Let's just say that it makes the Waterworks wastebasket look like a steal. A girl can dream...

Happy weekend!

If you would like my help on your design project, I would love to chat with you! Please email me. Thanks! Subscribe to ::Surroundings::

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Architectural Digest Home Show

I'm doing a very quick whirlwind trip down to NYC tomorrow for the Architectural Digest Home Show - driving down and back in one day. Crazy, I know. But, it's a smallish show, which I like, so once I get there, it's pretty contained and easy to wander around. One of the neat things about the show is that it's one of the few that has both design trade days and also public days. Thursday is trade and press day, so it's likely to be less crowded than the others, always a nice thing! There will be a ton of blogging buddies there whom I'm excited to meet in person (IRL as it's called). Veronika and Tim from Modenus have put together a fabulous Blog Tour NYC group of international design and lifestyle bloggers who will be running all over Manhattan over the next week. But we all will be converging on the show at 11:00 for a Tweetup called "Mary's and Mimosa's". Given how hot it's going to be, I will be very excited for some cool orange juice and chamagne. 

I'm super excited to finally meet Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva whom I profiled in my new issue of ::Surroundings::. We've been emailing back and forth for a few years and I did a guest post on her blog of the Duxbury Antiques Show a couple of years ago.

I've been pulling together some of the booths that I want to make a point of visiting and pinning them to a Pinterest board. I have to say that it's one of the features I love about Pinterest is how easy it is to gather information with links right back to the source. I'll be able to access my board via my iPhone Pinterest app and I'll be good to go. Also, I noticed there seems to be a trend on my boards. It's always interesting to see one's own preferences. I guess I see: curvy, feminine, a little rococo, mixed with a touch of New England simplicity. I like it! You can click the image above to see all the images in a larger format and click through to the links.

If you're on Twitter, you can follow me @surroundings or follow the hashtag's: #blogtourNYC or #marysandmimosas And if you're going to be there - tweet me!

I'm going to end the day at the World Trade Center Memorial, which will certainly be an emotional journey. When I was a little girl living in New Jersey, we could see the construction of the towers in the far off distance - well, only in the winter on a very clear day. We were on the side of a mountainous area and the towers were two tiny sticks in the far off city. As it happens, I never saw them up close in person. Bringing my kleenex, that's for sure.

If you would like my help on your design project, I would love to chat with you! Please email me. Thanks! Subscribe to ::Surroundings::

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

::Surroundings:: Spring 2012 Issue is LIVE! All about antiques!

Thanks as always to Michael J. Lee for doing such a beautiful job on the cover shot. And thanks to Trianon Antiques and the Patterson Group at The Boston Design Center for providing the location and furnishings. This issue is all about Antiques and Vintage finds. Check it out for a fantastic Antiques Terms Glossary with definitions of common terms provided by Trianon Antiques and Regency Home. And, I'm very excited to present an extended interview with The Antiques Diva herself, Toma Clark Haines where we get an inside look at her fabulous antiques buying tours across Europe.

If you would like my help on your design project, I would love to chat with you! Please email me. Thanks! Subscribe to ::Surroundings::

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mom's mini bedroom makeover and a great giveaway!

The nice folks at Bedding Style contacted me a few weeks ago and offered a comforter for me and one to give away (!) to check out what they have to offer. They have a wide selection of comforters and bedding from Laura Ashley, Tommy Hilfiger, Vera Wang and others. I decided that while I wasn't in need of new bedding, my mother was and so I decided to do a little makeover. As with many New England Yankees, my mother is frugal (to say the least) and getting her to go with new bedding has been a hard slog, even though what she had was tired, faded and dated. So, this offer was the impetus  to make some much needed changes. The first thing we did was go through the website and select the bedding that she liked and would go with her pale green carpet, which isn't being replaced. She selected the small floral print "Laurel Hill" set from Tommy Hilfiger.

And, voila below:

(Yes, I know, it wouldn't kill me to iron!) I finally hung some framed photos I'd given her a while ago. The photos were taken at Edith Wharton's The Mount in the Berkshires. New lampshades and some serious buffing of the furniture were in order. I believe the lamps are from the 50's when my parents bought them for their first living room.

The comforter came with matching standard size pillow shams. For a more unique and tailored look, I used a 12 x 24" oblong pillow inside the shams and folded the extra around the back. It's good to note that you can always customize ready made bedding if you want something a little different than right out of the box. I whipped up a small green flanged toss pillow and added a pillow I made a few years ago from an embroidery my Mom did many years ago. And I gifted her with the beautiful Annie Selke white mini-ruffle pillow cases that Annie gave me at a dinner a few weeks ago. I think the two frames on the wall above the bed need to be lowered, but I went with some holes that were already there. There was something on the wall at one point, but my Mom doesn't even remember what. My Dad would have done the original hangings, and he was good at measuring and keeping things level, so I decided to just use his nail holes. I think what was there were two vertical prints. Should I lower them do you think? I'm terrible when it comes to hammering nails in walls!  Anyway, new window treatments are coming soon. I'd like to thank Bedding Style for the offer. The comforter set came quickly and was well packaged.

And now, for the best part.  Bedding Style is celebrating 7 years in business and wants to spread the love by giving one lucky reader a free bedding set too! As I said, they carry a large variety of brand name bedding and bath accessories from well-known lifestyle designers. If you would like a chance to win your choice of a new comforter , please visit their website and report back in the comments below which set you would like to win if you're chosen.

One winner will be picked at random. For a second chance to win, follow Bedding Style on Twitter  or on Facebook and let me know you've done that too! Good luck!


If you would like my help on your design project, I would love to chat with you! Please email me. Thanks! Subscribe to ::Surroundings::

Saturday, March 17, 2012

An Irish Blessing for you

The Claddagh ring (Irish: fáinne Chladaigh) is a traditional ring given as a token of friendship, love, or marriage.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Boston Event: AD 20/21 and honoring Vicente Wolf

Tonight is the launch of this year's AD 20/21 Art Show at the Boston Cyclorama. Fifty select exhibitors will be offering modern to contemporary fine art, photography, jewelry, vintage and contemporary studio furniture, decorative arts, sculpture, fine prints, drawings and more. It's the only show of its kind in New England.

Vicente Wolf

The show starts off with a Gala Preview Party tonight with proceeds benefiting my alma mater The Boston Architectural College. Design star Vicente Wolf will be honored with a lifetime achievement award at the Gala as well. We interviewed Vicente at The Skirted Roundtable last year, so I'm doubly excited to finally meet him in person!

The show itself opens at 1:00 on Friday. Vicente will be signing his latest book "Lifting the Curtain on Design" and will be giving talk on the infusion of global design and style into his work. The talks are at 1:30 and 3:00. I believe the 1:30 is full, but the 3:00 may still have space. There are several talks by different speakers throughout the weekend - info here.

I'm excited to see that my friend Ray Bachand of 60Nobscot will be exhibiting his fine woodworking.

And Peter Levis of BG Galleries in Hingham, whom I featured in my summer 2011 magazine.

As an added bonus, the 13th Annual Boston Print Fair is taking place concurrently with AD20/21 - so, lot's to see in Boston this weekend! A big thanks to Fusco & Four Ventures who have been doing an amazing job bringing great art shows back to Boston!

If you would like my help on your design project, I would love to chat with you! Please email me. Thanks! Subscribe to ::Surroundings::