Recent Posts

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Belgian floral designer Daniel Ost creates "exuberant installations that venture into the realm of sculpture." Somewhat of a celebrity in Europe and Japan, Ost recently gained widespread acclaim for his vertical installation at Dries Van Noten's spring 2007 collection runway show. Read more here.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Yes please

A gorgeous idea from Gourmet magazine: "Chez Navarre is a table d’hôte ('host’s table'), and the idea is to eat whatever is the meal of the day with whomever else shows up for dinner. There’s a big, open brick room with few long communal tables laid in advance with mismatched silverware. Down the middle of the table are dishes of room temperature canapés: grated vegetable salads, soft-boiled eggs in oil, pickled herring, house-made terrines. If you see something you want, you ask your neighbor to pass it to you, which is how conversations get started. There’s soup and bread on one sideboard; a simple main course (lentils and sausage the night we were there) on another; and some cheese and desserts on a third. There’s a small rack of wine at retail prices or pichets of the vin maison for a few Euros. You clear your own plates. Total cost: 20 Euros [$31.50 US] plus wine."

Friday, June 27, 2008

Cutest apron ever

Urban Outfitters is offering an additional 20% off sale items on its website. No promo code needed, and the offer ends at midnight Monday, June 30th. This hot little number (oops, sorry, it's actually an apron) is new and not included in the sale, but it you should purchase it any way.


So Zoinks has a new image on its homepage and it's not awful (aside from the Lecter head and the horse mirrors), and I thought "Hey, maybe they've turned over a new leaf and I should give them a second chance. I'll browse the chairs because Clift intrigues me."
Not too bad. I can get on board with this.
Enh, not my style, but it isn't offensive.
Jesus H. Christ on a popsicle stick! Whew, still the same old Zoinks. Continuity loves consistency and vice versa.


I am crazy in love with this coffee table. Goat skin and brass! OMG, I just passed out in ecstasy. I know it's about 10,000 miles away and I will never own it, but a girl can dream. I'm on the hunt for a smoked glass and brass coffee table. Still looking...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Daily deliciousness

- Bartok rug by Cynthia Sargent -

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Daily deliciousness

Disney decorating

- the top row of logs is a fixed display shelf -

I take issue with Disney decorating (my term), interiors with hokey, theme-y, OTT eye-rolling touches. I strive for a certain verity in decorating, furniture and accessories must be functional and contextually appropriate. No chairs that can't hold an adult's weight, no thin-necked decorative vases not meant for flora, no silk flower arrangements, and above all nothing twee. So when House Beautiful features a Napa "weekend ranch" furnished with enough Ralph Lauren* pieces to bankroll Mr. Lifshitz's next Bugatti, my decorating BS alarm starts screaming.

High-end appliances are hidden behind recycled fencing (too shiny!), and the ginormous light fixtures are from a Paris flea market. I'm waffling on the truck spring stools.

I am adamant about the tractor seat stools. Hideous. Supposedly the table is made of scrap metal from the Eiffel Tower for Gustave Eiffel's office. Uh huh.

Two vintage Louis Vuitton suitcases are stacked to make a nightstand in the master bedroom. The bed is modeled after a "woody" station wagon. Marc Jacobs meets the Beach Boys!

Brunch in the barn surrounded by artfully arranged hay bales. Country chic! Gingham gorgeousness!

Lest you think me a snarky beast (which I am and embrace), I adore this shower. I've wanted a shower that opens to the outdoors since I was a zygote.

*Mr. Lauren is a huge advertiser with HB. A coinky dink? I think not.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

In my Amazon cart

Daily deliciousness

What's the matter with kids [rooms] today?

The kids' room feature in the newest NZ Your Home and Garden magazine was a bust. Not a bloggable photo in the bunch. Sigh. So I dug around on the internets to find some examples of great children's rooms. Note, none of these rooms contain the following: a "theme," Disney characters, a child's name spelled out in big letters, chenille, shabby anything, a French-y/Murano-ish chandelier, wall decals.

On edit: This post is dedicated to The Nerdy Fashionista and her current project.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Lovely and amazing

- Lake Palace, Udaipur, India -

Vogue Living Australia has an incredible slideshow of photographer Murray Frederick's journeys through India and the palaces of Rajasthan.

- Lake Palace gardens, Udaipur, India -

- Sajjan Niwas Suite, Lake Palace, Udaipur, India -

- weavers of dhurrie rugs at their home near Jodhpur -

OK, just one more fashion post, but this one relates to interiors as this shoe's designer is none other than avant-garde architect (translation "very few of her building designs have ever been constructed") Zaha Hadid. From, "[e]ach season, the Brazilian shoe company Melissa matches up with a maverick designer, who then creates a pair of limited-edition shoes using the company's trademark injection molding technique." A jelly shoe by any other name is still hideous footwear.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Daily deliciousness

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Also on my list

This antiqued mirror pendant light from Jayson Home & Garden, here. Day-lee-cee-ous!

I want, I want, I want

This leather rhinoceros from Omersa in the UK. He's four feet long and absolutely lovely and would make a super companion for him.

From the company's website: American Vogue shot a picture of Edie Sedgewick standing on one our super king rhinos; the picture was published in the mid 1960's. The product is hand made by Omersa from British cowhide leather. Inside the leather is a sturdy metal and wood frame firmly surrounded with woodwool; the woodwool is hand worked to make the shape of the animal. Once assembled, the leather is stained to give an "antique" effect in mahogany brown, then waxed and polished to give a luxurious finish.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Pet peeve

- "Woods" wallpaper by Cole and Son -

What is with this damn wallpaper? Every shelter magazine has featured it in the past 18 months, and every design blog (and blog and blog) gets moist talking about it. Can someone at least try it in another colorway? And I'm not even going to discuss the bowl on the counter.

Daily deliciousness

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

- Pops and The Pea -

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, godfathers, Dads, and Pops'!

I feel better

- not my dog -

We had a beautiful weekend here in Christchurch, sunny and nearly 70 degrees both days. A lovely blip in what is usually a fairly miserable time down under (it's winter in the southern hemisphere). Even though New Zealand is an island (well, two) in the South Pacific, it is not a South Pacific island. Weather-wise it's closer to Portland or Seattle, temperate and damp. Curiously, Kiwi houses have not evolved to deal with this type of climate. Americans coming to New Zealand are usually shocked to learn of the lack of central heating. Kiwis use space heaters, wood-burning stoves, and fireplaces to heat their homes. Some new builds feature heatpumps in the main living areas, but bedrooms are rarely heated.

Commercials for under-floorboard "insulation" by way of polystyrene strips run frequently this time of year. The ads for Pink Batts wall insulation really have me LOL-ing. The commercials have an almost public service spin to them, not so much selling a brand of product but educating the public on its benefits. Warm = good, cold = bad.

More fun facts about Kiwi houses: Double-glazed windows are a new idea, most here have a pane as thin as a wineglass. Houses aren't ventilated which leads to huge dampness and mold problems (you crack a window when you shower). Most homes do not have clothes dryers, Kiwis prefer to hang their laundry outside or use drying racks on rainy or colder days. Dryers, dishwashers, and garbage disposals are considered "mod cons," modern conveniences that are somewhat upscale.

City councils have held a tight leash on allowing suburban expansion, supposedly for "green" reasons but I've not gotten a straight answer on this topic. This has led to a high premium on land and subsequently, in-fill housing. For those of you not familiar with that last phrase, it refers to the selling off of parts of your property for development. Basically, you can build another house in your backyard. Or more often, a home built say 50 or 60 years ago is demolished and between 3 and 5 are built in its place. Yeah, your mind is reeling right now at the thought of the sardine-like conditions. You get used to it. And high fences are the norm - can't see it, must not be there.

Now for our Kiwi experience, keeping in mind that houses in our neighborhood start at a $400,000 US dollars: When we moved into our current rental, it had three baseboard heating units, one of which was broken. Another stopped working within three days, so our landlord provided us with a space heater the size of a Mini Cooper powered by a tank of natural gas larger than most barbeques'. After the pilot light stopped working and my infant daughter and I were nearly asphyxiated, a heatpump was installed. The last remaining baseboard heating unit services four bedrooms and a bath.

Let's see, a couple of more tidbits... my kitchen cooktop is fueled by a gas tank under the sink (again like a BBQ). After 7 weeks of drying racks at our first rental, I insisted on purchasing a clothes dryer. Kiwi laundry rooms are not built to accommodate dryers so they are hung upside down, bracketed to the wall, over the washing machine. I'll pause for you to take that in... Hi, nice to have you back.

So why the rant? It was sunny and almost 70 degrees this weekend and I felt nearly human.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

It's her fault

- the natural habitat and standard uniform of an interior designer -

Interior designers often get a bad rap as social dilettantes interested only in the fripperies of making the world look pretty. A recent NY Times article features one such decorator who perpetuates the stereotype. Having grown up "in San Francisco in a 1920s Italianate villa with nine bedrooms, a ballroom and a flower-arranging room," Maureen Footer goes about her work with the "peppy precision of a five-star general in a uniform of a pleated skirt and Manolos." She is given an imaginary summer house to decorate and focuses "on a French theme for her theoretical vacation rental (in deference to the time she spent in graduate school at the Louvre in Paris)."

During the course of a day spent sourcing items, Footer offers up such decorating wisdom as “It shouts summer on the Riviera with Cole Porter” and "Doesn’t summer living revolve around cocktails?” Well, if you're an alcoholic, Ms. Footer, it does. She then passively-aggressively contradicts herself, selecting large Libertini glasses at CB2 on lower Broadway while tossing off "Just right for a one-martini-per-guest party." Who wouldn't want to spend time with a hostess who monitors your imbibing like some Martha Stewart-ish hall monitor? At another shop, Footer would have us believe she's eco-minded (so chic now!), as she selects Eiffel Tower-adorned dish towels while stating “And you save on paper towels.” And what does Footer suggest the imaginary assemblage of summer guests does after hitting the one-drink house maximum? "[G]ather the group for a lively game of pétanque." FUN!!!

Footer's website is replete with photos of expensive-looking yet oddly empty rooms and a condescending bio. It's no wonder we're the Rodney Dangerfield of the decorative arts.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Daily deliciousness

South American fashion designer Alexandre Herchcovitch has teamed with Band-Aid to produce a plaster collection. Available in Brazil and Stateside at Opening Ceremony in NYC.


When I saw this grotto-like bathroom created by "shell artists" Becky and Jerry Rodden, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I'm all for eccentric decorating, but, um, wow. I'm getting kind of nervous and jittery just looking at the photo, and I don't know why.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Favorite source

Nest is a contemporary home furnishings company started in Auckland in 1997. Carrying the Content by Conran range and furniture by Habitat, Nest has a limited but thoughtful product selection across most homewares categories. Prices are comparable to those of WS Home. Nest produces a small catalog twice a year with just the most gorgeous styling. Think a less twee Anthropologie. I was in the Newmarket store two days ago and picked up the winter edition.

Yes please

- Melanie Dizon clutch -


- Tory Burch store in Soho -

Tory Burch rubs me the wrong way. Although the boho prep in me digs her aesthetic, the big gold glossy logo is too too much. For starters, it looks like an enormous cross and Mrs. Burch (not Ms., even though she's divorced) is Jewish. The kind of Jewish Aerin Lauder is, where you appear in a glossy shelter magazine showing off your Christmas decorations (the now defunct House & Garden, December 2007). And I thought the well-bred super-rich weren't into logos, too declasse and all. I'm also bothered by her "I'm an everywoman" claim. Uh, no you're not. Until very recently you occupied a 9000 square foot apartment atop a hotel with an entrance hall so large your sons could skateboard in it. Mrs. Burch would also have you believe she's from a Philadelphia Main Line family when in fact she's from Valley Forge.

In today's NY Times, writer Cintra Wilson visited Mrs. Burch's Soho boutique and had this to say: "Tory Burch clothing inhabits a privileged, prim, declawed, deodorized look that culturally symbolizes a state of voluntary submission to the males of her tribe. But, hey, there’s nothing wrong with that, if that’s who you are."