Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Little Friday Pretty: The prettiest rugs and pillows you ever did see

Last month, I attended the AD20/21 (Art & Design of the 20th and 21st centuries) show in Boston and nearly fell off my high heels when I came upon these amazing new rugs from Landry and Arcari. L&A is widely known for their beautiful collection of oriental carpets hand selected and commissioned from sources all over the Middle East and India. There is no question that this new collection of rugs belonged in an art show and are certainly beautiful enough to hang on a wall as the focal point of a space - although they are made to be walked on!

There is a touch of Monet at Giverny, only ramped up a few notches in these pieces.

Much like expressionist art, these rugs depict natural scenes that come fully into view at a distance, but are certainly amazing to look at up close. The detail below is an macro shot of the middle right edge of the carpet above. The many shades of green wool combine to create a visual texture. They also employ different weight wools and knotting techniques for added textural interest.

The colors in the rug below are were just amazing. Unfortunately, I've misplaced my notes from my chat with owner Jerry Arcari so have no details and these rugs aren't yet on their website, but I'm sure information will be there soon enough.

Landry and Arcari is also carry a beautiful new collection of Suzani pillows. Many are from old and new textiles.  Suzanis, traditional handicraft from Uzbekistan, are hand-embroidered silk thread on a cotton or silk surface. A riot of color and feast for the eyes!

I literally tripped and nearly fell as I basically ran towards this gorgeous pillow below.  It's pretty big - maybe 36" wide - the photo doesn't do it justice. And, the prices on all the pillows are very reasonable for the quality.

I'm busily putting the final touches on the two seminars I'll be presenting next week at IWCE's Vision12 Conference in Chicago - which is why there have been a dearth of postings this week. My in box and brain are chock full of post ideas, just not time to get them out!!

I'll be speaking on Social Media and also Team Building Across Design Disciplines. Both talks are on Tuesday the 24th. Concurrent to Visions is KBIS (Kitchen & Bath Industry Show) which I'll be attending on Wednesday. On Thursday I'll be hitting the town and seeing a little of the Windy City before I head back to Boston on Thursday evening. It's a pretty whirlwind trip. You can follow me on Twitter @surroundings if you want to check in.

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

Friday, April 13, 2012

Retail Design: Yarn's End

I think I've mentioned before that I'm working on a design plan for a fabulous new yarn shop to open here in the South Shore of Boston. Yarn's End will definitely NOT be your grandma's kitting shop and I'm very excited to be a part of the process. I wanted to share where we are in the planning stage.

Owner - Alison Schirone - has a deep background in business marketing and a love of knitting and handmade goods. She's planning on offering great quality, high end yarns, classes, drop-in sessions and best of all, the shop will be a great space for conversation. This will be a great place for girls-night outs or morning "stich & bitch" sessions while kiddies are otherwise occupied.

Retail space interior design needs be tied to the marketing "vision" of the business and I have been working closely with Alison and her social media & branding consultants to design a space that will be appealing to her target demographic, while still friendly and welcoming to all. We wanted fresh, modern with a touch of rustic comfort. I originally came up with two different scenarios - Whitewashed and Industrial Chic. As with any startup, there is a tight budget for implementing a design plan, so both these styles allowed for the use of flea market, recycled and upcycled items - such as the glossy painted mixed chairs shown above. Alison decided to go with a more urban Industrial chic look where we will incorporate her corporate colors into the decor plan. Since orange is one of her favorite colors - one she looks fantastic in - I suggested that we paint the ceiling a vibrant orange, keep the walls a neutral white to better show off the yarns, and use a natural looking tan or beige sisal "look" carpet on the floor. You can view all of the items that are inspiring my design here.

The ceiling color is going to be Benjamin Moore's Orange Burst. As I said, not your typical fusty old knit shop.

Coordinating colors from her brand are two shades of red and a mid-toned green (see logo up top). There is a tiny wet bar area that we're turning into an official coffee bar and I'm recommending that this space be painted a coordinating red. The green is nice too, but the red seems to really pop. We'll do a cute little burlap counter skirt under the sink to hide the water heater and plumbing and there will be a stainless under counter fridge on the other side.

"Before" as the coffee bar area is now. The carpet has been ripped out since I took this photo.  

And the coffee bar update plan:

The bar height counter will likely be a laminate counter, to save $. I've also suggested:
Ikea's Orgel paper lamp on a swagged light bulb for the bar area. 

Moen's square sink with faucet 

Ekby Jarpen shelves from Ikea (unless we find some cool salvaged shelves.

We're still searching for the best pricing on carpeting, but I'm hoping it will look something like below, which is from Flor carpet tiles. They are too expensive for the size of the space and the budget, but Lowes and other's have carpet tiles as well, so that's a work in progress.

I'll keep you updated on the progress, but meanwhile, if you're in the area - or know a knitter who is - send them over to like Yarn's End Facebook page for updates on the store opening.

Have a great 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, April 11, 2012

The Skirted Roundtable: Chatting with Phoebe Howard

This week at The Skirted Roundtable, we chatted with interior decorator Phoebe Howard, who refers to herself as "The Accidental Decorator" for the route she took into the business. Along with her husband, interior designer Jim Howard, Phoebe runs a chain of five stores called Mrs. Howard in Florida, Georgia & No. Carolina. These stores are famous for their picture perfect room vignettes where everything you see is for sale.

Phoebe's style is formal yet also warm and approachable. Classic furnishings and soft color palettes are hallmarks her style.

In addition to the stores, his and hers design practices, Phoebe has just release a new book - The Joy of Decorating - which is truly beautiful. When you go over to The Skirted Roundtable to listen to the podcast, there is a link and discount code for you to purchase the book at 20% off. The books that are ordered directly through Phoebe comes with an exclusive free paint chart listing Phoebe's favorite 15 color combinations for walls, trim and ceilings. (while supplies last).

And, on the show, Phoebe announced the launch of their first furniture line - Mr. and Mrs. Howard -  in partnership with Sherrill Furniture. The new line - which was incredibly conceived and launched within the last three months - will debut at High Point Market next week. So, if you're there, check them out!

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, April 09, 2012

Modenus Photo Find Contest - Throw me a Bone!

I'd previously mentioned that the lovely folks at Modenus were hosting a fun "Design Finds" photo contest at the Architectural Digest Home design Show. Attendees were asked to visit several sponsor booths and take a pic with their favorite item. I kind of pooped out on doing this, I'll admit. But some of the entries photos are hysterical and worth all the votes they are getting. The contest is being held on Facebook and the Grand Prize winner will receive an invitation to Modenus' Blogtour London Trip in September, plus a weeks stay at a pretty fantastic private apartment in Nottinghill, furnished by One Fine Stay. 1st place receives a Little-L sun lounger from Royal Botania and 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive iPad 2's. (I'd loooove an iPad!)

with Jimmie Martin's Red Dachshund pillow, the front half.

And here are some some of my favorite entries from other fun peeps:

The lovely Toma Clark Haines aka The Antiques Diva was really having a grrreat time in the Hastens Bed. Vote for Toma here

The vivacious Marilyn Russell of Design Magnifique in Orlando showed her stuff at the Royal Botania booth. Vote for Marilyn here.

Benjamin (doesn't look like a Benjamin...) posted this fun and happy moment. Looks like a perfect ad for the Hasten's bed. Vote here.

Andrew from Brooklyn had the brilliant idea to start just putting his image in his pictures - this from Royal Botania. "Disembodied" - a minimalist approach to promotion. I say - why didn't I think of that?? Vote here.

Toma (who's in the lead, I believe) should win something. After all, she's so shy and retiring - daintily sipping something fermented perhaps in the Victoria and Albert bath tub. Vote here.

Speaking of shy, Marilyn is here again - this time holding my Jimmy Martin Doxie pillow at the Modenus booth. Vote here.

One of my fellow Brizo Blogger 19 members Gloria Graham Sollecito of Kitchens for Living shows excellent planking form at the Royal Botania booth. Vote Here.

Cecy - "The Miele Me" Chef - cute! Vote here.

subtle, aren't I?

You can vote for multiple people Vote for me here and voting ends Tuesday 4/10 at 11:00PM. So, please - throw me a bone!  Vote for me here

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

Novica, offering a world wide audience to artists in developing nations

Novica is a website that offers handmade jewelry, art, clothing and small home accessories crafted by artists from around the world.  Their mission, in their own words:

"We want to give artists and artisans around the world a global platform to express their true artistic talents and to spur their creativity. And, we want to provide you with access to unique, hard-to-find items at great values that only the Internet infrastructure can allow. At the deepest essence of our philosophy, we want to create a bridge between you and the many talented artisans across the globe.
We want you to know about who you're buying from. We want you to feel that attachment to the product and to the hands that created it. In the spirit of the Internet, let us bring you together."

Novica promotes the notion that artisans in developing nations merely need the ability to showcase their talents in a fair way in order for them to shine. In addition to providing the web presence, Novica also offers Microfinancing to those whose local financing options, if there are any, come with steep interest charges.  Studies show that repayment of micro loans is exceptionally high and are great social investments. Novica customers can also contribute to lending pools by directly funding an individual artist's loan request. When the loan is repaid, it can be re-lent to another artist, used to purchase Novica products (with a 15% bonus on top) or withdrawn. Pretty clever.

They were kind enough to offer me the chance to try out their service and select a couple of items. I'm a stickler for customer service, delivery and quality and was not disappointed here.

Even though I don't cover fashion or personal style on this blog, I couldn't help but order this beautiful Elixir glass and freshwater pearl necklace. It's as pretty in person as it is here in their photo:

And this is Nareerat Tansuwansophon from Thailand, who made the necklace. You can read her story here.

I also ordered this lovely little handmade Celedon vase:

And this is ceramic artist Duangkamol Srisukri, also from Thailand. Her story is here.

The package arrived in about a week or so and was extremely well packaged and the presentation could not have been better. The vase was wrapped in an intricate "box" made of tightly wound sturdy tissue paper and then gift wrapped with handmade paper. The necklace came in a coordinating jewelry box. Each piece had a nicely made note card describing the piece with a quote from the artist, and a small handwritten note from "Team Thailand" was included as well.

I honestly can't recommend this site enough, especially if you wanted to send the item as a gift. Other jewelry items they offer are silver cufflinks from India, belts made in Brazil from recycled soda pop-tabs, gorgeous painted silk scarves, alpaca wool shawls, and hand-knit sweaters.

On the home decor front, they offer beautiful hand knotted rugs from Mexico, the Andes, Kashmir and India. A friend of mine was familiar with the Novica website and has been keeping an eye on their fine art offerings, as he has an interest in modern and in particular Cubist style paintings.

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

Friday, April 06, 2012

Season of Hope

A hole in the ground

The people





To those who celebrate,  Happy Easter and Happy Passover. And to those who don't, may it be your season of hope too. 
photos by Linda Merrill ©2012