Monday, February 28, 2011

Pop Quiz 12

We may have picked up a few new readers, so I'll go over the rules quickly.  This is a Pop Quiz.

Pop quizzes show past rooms of a currently popular designer (You can see past pop quizzes here.)  I've shown the layout in its entirety so as not to edit out any telltale elements.

The first reader to guess the correct designer wins.  Nothing.  Wins nothing, but can walk around all day feeling quite superior to, well, probably to someone.

I'll be back with the answer and a few examples of current work tomorrow.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Bonus Round

Behind my desk I have low shelves.  Within short reach, on the top shelf, are lucite boxes of both current magazines and some with which I cannot part.

I have a lot of House & Gardens, a good bit of Domino and a smattering of older AD, House Beautiful and Elle Decor.  Sometimes, and it just might coincide with a hiccup in the writing process, I'll turn around and wonder why I kept certain issues.

Today was such a day.  I ran across a most excellent pop quiz, but I don't want to run it today.  I'm saving it for next week and it will be the mother of all pop quizzes.  Like the abhorred algebra teacher, I will place my head on my pillow each night over the weekend, grinning with anticipation of this too-hard test.

But today I will stand at the front of the class, a class expecting nothing new on a Friday, a class dreaming of red carpet gowns and sunny climes, and ask the tough question in an off-hand, yet steely way.

Anyone want to venture a guess when this was published?  These room struck me as timeless in a not-overly traditional way.  I think the publication is obvious, but if you can also name the designer you will go to the head of the class.

Post Script

Kudos to Los Angeles-based designer Oliver Furth.  At 12:54 a.m. CST, he correctly identified this as an Architectural Digest piece from the early 1990's.  He also recognized it as the home of Harley Baldwin above the Caribou Club in Aspen, Colorado.

I can hardly say "star pupil" as I am learning from him.
Oliver Furth
The design is by Peter Hans Kunz and Alan Tanksley, who had worked together at Mark Hampton and then went out on their own.  You can see Tanksley's portfolio here.  And, Mr. Know-it-All, Furth, here. I mean, geezo beezo the guy must have been, what, ten when this was published?

Images, Architectural Digest, November 1993, photography by Mary E. Nichols; Furth image courtesy of Elle Decor.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Too good for words.  Artist and designer Carol Fertig has begun sending these delightful postcards daily.  Opt in for inspiration here.  Each day Fertig selects an image from her amazing collection and sends them via email to subscribers.  Previously delivered "postcards" can be viewed in the archives on her site Objet-Lesson.  She provides brief descriptions which allow you to learn a little, while concentrating on what you see.

Trained in fine art with a career in clothing design, Fertig has turned her creative eye to branding for companies such as Sotheby's, LVHM, Mrs. John L. Strong, Barneys and Harry Winston.  Truly, in three-and-a-half years of blogging I have not seen one thing she has sent me before.  It's like a good piece of chocolate before breakfast.

All images via Objet-Lesson.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dining In

Just one more, technically not from the bulletin board, but inspiration just the same.  These may be my favorite dining room walls.

This house wants green and blue (and maybe a dash of red.)  It does.  It has no affinity for yellow, though it holds no personal grudge.  This house shrugs at yellow.  This house would walk by yellow in the hall and say "Hi, how are you," but would never stop to hear about the horrific drive to work.   It may also be a little vain as it cannot seem to pass up a mirror. 

A little mirror, a little fretwork.  I just keep wondering if I could do it myself.

Images from Charlotte Moss's A Flair for Living, photography by Pieter Estersohn.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Inspiration Board

We had a small cocktail party last Saturday night for the people who helped us move.  People who had packed my kitchen, donated boxes, driven my children.

People who insisted, who did things even after I said, "Oh, no, absolutely not - we're fine!"  People who helped anyway.

"Are you settled?" ask friends I see out and about.  "It's done!" said a few who have dropped by.

It's not done, not by a long shot, but we're settled.  The Wii and PlayStation 3 are absolutely at home and one of the boys has already thrown up here, which is a sort of christening in my book.

My bulletin board is hung and I followed the advice of a reader who suggested a cheap one from a discount store trimmed in grosgrain ribbon.

It was bare for a bit, but is now collecting images and invites and memos.

And, honestly, it's terrifically fun.

Images, from top, Albert Hadley and Harry Heissmann, House Beautiful, 2010, photography by Christopher Baker;  Veranda.  I think.  I didn't write it down, like I've never done this before.  Forgive me, I'm a ding-dong; Pauline de Rothchild's bedroom featured in Elle Decor, October 2010;  Peter Dunham, House Beautiful, November 2010, photography by Victoria Pearson; Christine d'Ornano, Elle Decor, April 2010, photography by Simon Upton; Oliver M. Furth, via; Fabric, Hinson - Trixie Red/Black on Off White; paper, Scalamandre, Baldwin Bamboo, Cream and Red on Aqua.

Friday, February 11, 2011

As Luck Would Have It

A welcome break this week, a delicious dinner with smart and funny women. Our hostess has a wonderful apartment and every time I am there I find small additions, not the stuff of boast and bluff, but really personal things that delight.
This time, in addition to a new snappy, red bar and a remarkable book stand, was this small piece of art in the living room. A girl, what, doing a card trick? Playing solitaire? It matters not as her message is so enchanting with the shift of a lever. "You are amazing." Could there be a better surprise?

The creation of Ann Wood and Dean Lucker, these mechanical drawings charm and amuse.

The two attended the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and have been creating collaborative works since 1990.

You can see their work here and on Etsy here.

The pieces are incredibly reasonable; I feel the return on your investment would be ten fold.

All images courtesy of

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Out and About - Dolphin Gallery

You know how you have things that you like, but you just don't have the right spot right now? That's the fun of moving; suddenly, you discover that you have the spot for the thing you felt quite sure that you needed, but couldn't fit. Last year the Dolphin Gallery had an exhibit of Elizabeth Wilson's collection of vintage Japanese textiles. The patterns in the fabric are classic and modern. They sometimes remind me of folk art.

While the fabrics were at the Dolphin they scanned hundreds of the patterns, making it possible to print them in any size (almost) on paper or canvas or, say, silk.

The problem, of course, is deciding.

And once I knew there were hundreds, well, I wanted to see hundreds.

I am looking for two large pieces to flank a window in the family room. I'm square, so I want rectangular, but this circle might cure a thirst for Hirst.

It is interesting to see the fabric enlarged so dramatically; up close, you can see the weave of the threads.

The Dolphin has not printed all the patterns that were scanned.

Still, there were plenty to keep me busy on a frigid day.

The pulling and pairing, the stacking and sorting, warmed me up just like a good game of hopscotch.

Dolphin Gallery, here. Elizabeth Wilson's marvelous shop, Asiatica, here.

Monday, February 7, 2011

You Lift Me Up Where I Belong

"Are you settled?" Well, some of us are quite settled. One of us, slightly less. Still, things are coming along. A week or so ago my good friend, David Jimenez, was here for lunch and in a very gentle way offered some thoughts. One of which was, "more stuff."

Our living room is larger than our last living room. Like something out of Harry Potter, it seems to eat whatever furniture I put in it. I had marked this image from Vicente Wolf's Lifting the Curtain on Design, as he's balanced this larger mirror with the door opposite rather than putting a mirror over the fireplace. My living room is similarly configured and this seemed like a nice approach.

(That being said, if an Irish Georgian mirror ever becomes a reality, the whole plan may be scuttled.)

I've had this table for a long while. It was one of the (many) things the movers moved from basement to basement. I love it. It is sort of chewed up on one side and two of the legs are shorter than the other pair. The original plan was to cut down the longer legs, but I think Mr. Blandings and I both knew that we would end up with something more like an alter table by the time the leveling was complete.

But after my lunch with Jimenez, I went scrounging for more stuff. The table sort of winked at me from under a pile of stuff in the basement and I agreed to give him a go.

Instead of bringing him down, I decided to build him up. After the gentlemen (plural) at a large, big box home improvement store assured me, repeatedly, that there was nothing with a flat surface and screw thread that could be used to elevate a table, I found these in a small drawer for about $1.50/ea. They were marked "elevator bolts." They are exactly what I wanted, as the table was exactly what I wanted, though I didn't know it until I saw it. He's very happy to be out of the basement and doesn't even mind a bit if people notice he's wearing lifts.

Image, second, from Lifting the Curtain on Design; photography by Vicente Wolf; Irish Georgian mirror from Michael Smith's Elements of Style; photography by Michel Arnaud.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Forward, March!

Yesterday, just as the snow madness was about to overtake me, the eldest yelled, "Mom, the mail is here."

In my girlhood I'd read Laura Ingalls Wilder's series, one book after another, and I wondered anew about having a blizzard come on without two days of weatherman hype. Hard to imagine, as my youngest played Wii, that there was a time when I would have tied a rope to his waist to make sure he would not get lost in a snow drift on the way to the restroom. Still, Ms. Wilder's fate seemed to pale in comparison to the suffering I have endured here on the Kansas plains as my mailman seems to take issue with delivering anything larger than a letter size envelope.

But yesterday, the March issue of AD arrived. Am I going to spill forth image after image, spoiling your first look at the silvery grain of the pickled cypress paneling in the Richard Keith Langham project? Nope. Deny you the pleasure of re-Klineing with Michael Smith? I won't. How about just a peek at a Paris home a la Grange? No way. But if you have to walk into town through two feet of snow because you can't get your horse out of the barn? I think it's worth it.

Image, Architectural Digest, March, 2011, design by Michael Smith; photography by Pieter Estersohn.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Friend of a Friend

Snowmaggedon. That's what they are calling it, anyway, and I'm giddy that I haven't left the house since four o'clock on Monday. I don't think it's particularly a secret that I think the joys of the New York International Gift Fair are a well-curated few (when it's good it's very good and when it's bad...), so I am happy to sit here in my p.j.s and watch what other bloggers turn up.

Marisa Marcantoinio of Stylebeat and Kevin Isbell have both steered me in the direction of Audrey Sterk. I am particularly grateful for the heads-up on the Circle and Stars pattern, available as paper, floor cloth and covered table, as it is hitting that sweet spot of folk art meets modern. And you can see it all right there from the comfort of your own blinking screen.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Red Herring

Unfortunately, the paper used in Mary's bedroom was Zoffany's Bergere in Red from the French Prints Collection. Unfortunate as it is discontinued. The St. Antoine paper from Farrow & Ball has a similar feel.

And, for the record, I receive no compensation for products mentioned on the blog either in the form of payment or product.