Showing posts with label New York. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New York. Show all posts

Monday, May 2, 2011


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Journey in the Abstract

This was my third trip to New York since the MoMA launched the Abstract Expressionists New York exhibit.    I had run out of time on my previous two trips, but was able to get there this time.  (And, horribly, it has closed so I feel terrible about going on and on.  But I'm going to anyway.)

I dig 'em.  The Abstract Expressionists, I mean.

Big and graphic and bold, they jazz me right up.  It was terrific to see all of these paintings together.  I forget, so accustomed to their images, so familiar with their forms, how shockingly foreign they were at their debut.  Forget that contemporary eyes might have gazed upon them and thought, "What the heck?" Puzzled, as Bert Cooper's employees were with his Rothko.

Gottlieb's Man Looking at Woman gave me pause.  I occurred to me that it would be logical for the eye to be drawn to that orange smudge in the middle of all that black and white, but my initial focus, and where my eye was stuck, was on the figures.  She seems amused.

Willem de Kooning Woman 1.  Really, we're not all that bad.

I was there Good Friday and the museum was packed.  A swarming museum is an idea that delights, but a reality that detracts.  There were people moving everywhere, looking and talking and listening to audio tours.  But people were visiting Pollack like a rock star.

One, Number 31 was magnetic.  Its presence in the next room made it hard to concentrate on the works at hand.  Pollock seduces.  I stood here for ten minutes at least and this painting could not have lent itself to picture takers any more than a life-sized cut out of William and Kate.

But art is a singular experience and as I pondered Shimmering Substance I thought, "That is exactly the impression I'd like my house to make."

Images from top, Jasper Johns Flag, Andy Warhol Campbell's Soup Cans and Mark Rothko Number 1. Shimmering Substance is Pollack as well.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Prying Eyes

I was in New York last week.  The last couple of times I've gone, I've flown up early in the morning and left late the next day.  It works out pretty well as it allows two mostly full days in the city with only one night away.  Besides the frenetic pace and the feeling that I have tricked the time space continuum, it saves me from obsessing about practice carpools and the fact that, try as he might, Mr. Blandings never gets the lunches quite right.  Not that I'm all that concerned about crusts on or off or apples sliced, but I tend to hear about it when I get back.

This trip I stayed at the Standard, a hotel for which I am not hip enough by half.  I felt quite sure that the people craning around to see who was there figured I must be Justin Bieber's mother.  Despite my cool quotient, the staff was completely delightful.  The view, as well, was wonderful as one entire wall of my room was a window.

Perhaps you'd heard this as there have been some shenanigans with guests using those large pieces of plate glass as a TV screen in reverse, have regarded the neighbors as audience.  After all, people tend to take liberties on vacation.  In a different city you are anonymous; you could do anything there, relieved from the prying eyes of Mrs. Kravitz.  Further daring to invite the witness of strangers.  Some people tell me that when the hotel first opened, encouragement of this kind of inhibition might have been implied.  To negate this, a letter from the manager was left squarely on the table.  "As a reminder, please be aware of the transparency of our guest room windows and that the activity in your room, when the curtains are open, may be visible from the outside."

My eyes brushed this letter three or four times during my stay.  I was amused each time to think that any human being capable of making a hotel reservation would need to be reminded that glass is clear.  That if you can see out, they can see in.  That, regardless your bravado, on-lookers might not prefer to look on.  Needless to say, that when I was uncovered my windows were covered.  The reverse was also true.

I thought I could get a couple of posts together over the weekend, but the holiday tripped me up.  Further coverage to follow.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Don't Look a Gift Show in the Mouth

I attended the gift show in New York last week and I'm going to give you a quick round up. I went to see what was fresh and new on the horizon. The big news is, well, not a lot. That's not exactly true, there was great, great stuff, but as far as trends (I know we don't use the "T" word here, but it is reality), it is pretty much the same. Vendors are still showing a lot of color, like these great pieces from Dransfield & Ross, above. (I circled around three times to see this vignette again and again.) Also, as far as soft goods, I hope you are enjoying suzanis and hand-blocked fabrics because you are going to be seeing them a while longer.

There was not much in the avenue of the current craze for all things Belgian (perhaps Restoration Hardware has cornered the market) and there was not nearly as much industrial thrift knock off as I had expected (though it was there.)

I was enchanted by Chelsea Textiles Mid-Century Modern Collection (previous two pictures) which had several pieces with punch in fab finishes including lacquer and, yes, there is still a lot of that, too.

Mr. Adler greeted me with "Pow." While I sometimes wonder if this happy chic will take on the edge of mania, Adler keeps producing product that delights. These brass tables, in particular, seemed a nice addition to the line and escewed the reserve of the antique finish with a bright and shiny gleam. A brass fretwork table base (implied, but not show; it is under the wood top) would be a great addition to homes both mod or trad.

Along with ethnic prints geometric graphics were still everywhere and Adler is the King of Pop in this catagory; new table linens showed a fresh face to these designs.

Ah, yes, don't forget the children. A local retailer told me once that there is a theory that when things are tight people will continue to spend on their children even if they are cutting back for themselves. Hmmm...another post for another day. Back on topic, I think Adler's children's line debuted in January and it is very, very cool.

little nest had terrific, iconic pieces for the pint-sized. I must say I would have delighted in having my little chicks reading The Pokey Little Puppy in an Egg Chair.

A new Dream House? Perhaps, and this one comes with fewer clipped heartstrings attached. This is brinca dada's Emerson House composed of glass corners, minimalist cut stone and hardwood floors.

I didn't play dolls and Barbies always creeped me out with their permanently pointed feet, but this is a doll house that would make a girl leave Little Women behind.

The house and the furniture are sold separately but don't be surprised to find mommy banging her fist and crying, "I want it all!" especially when she discovers that the fully functional solar panels charge the LED recessed lighting.

And, perhaps I was just missing toddlerhood (unlikely), but this tray with puzzle piece utensils is delightful and seems to solve the problem of Junior waiting for his peas and carrots. Plus, those little red knobs? Grasping those helps with fine motor skills. The puzzle concept? Addresses spacial relationships and eye-hand coordination. All important work for baby. And it just might give Mama time to fix herself a drink.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

American Modern

One of the biggest treats while in New York was being able to stop in and visit Thomas O'Brien at Aero, his studio in Soho.  He devoted an amazing amount of time to this near-stalker/blogger, giving me a tour of the shop and his design studio.

The shop is a wonderful jumble of vintage and antique pieces with O'Brien's own designs seemlessly mixed in.  He is a collector.  Personally, and in the store. You can see his hand in everything.

When we sat down to visit I asked him why he thought he had been named as a designer who will "last" in my Enduring Style series.  "Huh.  I don't know," was his reply and then he went on to discuss his design process in everything from product to interiors to his book.

O'Brien wears his soul on his sleeve and his is not the manic creative energy that you might expect from someone who is executing this inspiring amount of work.  He is exacting and passionate, but in a very low-key way.  He talked a great deal about process and inspiration; he spoke not at all of himself nor did he ever mention the word "brand" though I am sure he is quite aware of this buzz word and its significance.

O'Brien had a copy of his new book, American Modern, there for me to flip through while we talked.  It is a beautiful book featuring some favorite projects, but also homes that have not been published.  As Dick Diver, O'Brien is a man with repose.  His gaze is steady and his hands are still even when he speaks intently about the need to be inspired.  Even though many of us are struggling he notes, "The great buildings still need to be built."

Thomas O'Brien has new lamps for Visual Comfort that should be hitting retail locations by Spring.  His new collection for Target is rolling into stores now, including some very chic bedding.  He has several new pieces for Hickory Chair that will debut at Highpoint and be in stores by late Summer/early Fall.

You can pre-order his book, American Modern, here.  You should.  It's terrific.

I received no compensation for this post other than the complete delight of the experience.  All images courtesy of Thomas O'Brien and Aero.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Home Again, Home Again

I was in New York from Thursday until Saturday.  Short but sweet.  And cold.

I normally stay with my big-city friend but decided to go out on my own this time.  Be a grown-up.  I stayed in a hotel.  I stayed in a pod room, the thought of which concerned Mr. Blandings, but I assured him that there was a double bed and a private bath.

As we lay in bed the night before I left he said, "Be careful."  "Of what?" I wondered.  What does he fear for me there that is any different than the mishaps and tragedies that pop up around here?  But I said, "I will," instead so that he could sleep.

I caught up with several friends and stayed out too late and had so much fun.  The only real surprise was how often people asked me, "So why are you here?"  

As if one were to need a reason other than to celebrate a victory, catch up with a friend over pomme frites and devour a homemade meat loaf amid conversation that sparkled like my dinner partner's jewels.

I needed nothing more.  Except, perhaps a memo sample or two.  We have wonderful designer showrooms here in Kansas City and I have access to almost every line a girl could need.

But not Quadrille.

I've tweaked my dining room.  I discovered, with the help of a friend, that I was trying to make it something that it was not.  It was reaching above its station; holding itself apart from the rest of the house.  But with a little therapy we both realized, the dining room and I, that it is not a grand salon, but a room with a table that hosts our friends but also our school projects and my crafting and it needed to, well, relax.

I had brought home Clarence House's Flowering Quince and tucked her behind the ropes in my double hung windows.  She is nearly perfect, but her price tag is as magnificent as her design and with yardage and was not meant to be.

So I made my way on my first day in New York to the D & D building to see what Quadrille might have for the Dream House.  There are now several samples scattered across my dining table, which was reason enough to have gone.  But there is more, of course.  Who did I see as I marveled at Roy Hamilton's vases in the Brunschwig & Fils showroom?  Chatting and wandering and delighting everyone working there?  Mario Buatta.  By himself.  No fuss, no drama, no assistants, just a fist full of memos.  I texted Megan giddy as a school girl.  

Why was I there?  For design junkies like me, there can be no better place.

All images via the Quadrille website, other than the bottom two, which are mine. 

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mrs. B in NYC

I'm off to New York to catch up with a few friends and see this beautiful window.  Don't forget today is the last day to VOTE for Eddie Ross.  Here.

Detail image of Eddie's window on behalf of Elle Decor for the Big Window Challenge via Eddie and Jaithan's blog.  

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bright Eyed

I was in New York last week and got home last night to piles of mail, hundreds of email messages and 152 blog posts to read (you were busy while I was away.) Oh, and to hear them tell it, the three best behaved children in the world.

I thought I'd be all caught up today but find the Family Fun Fest schedule and a soccer game over hill and dale after school will impeded a post even tomorrow. Certainly by Wednesday.

These images are stand alone pieces from a shop we visited. It is a pretty easy do-it-yourself. Most of the bulbs are not wired, but just looped over the grate from which they are suspended. The ones that are lit are wired directly into a box which rests on top of the grate and does not need to be hidden because it's an industrial jumble already. There were about a dozen different kinds of bulbs. Figuring out which ones are burned out might take some concentration.

I asked permission to take the photo and was denied. The enchanting sales person then mumbled, "But I don't have any control over what you do on the sidewalk," and turned to straighten some stock. I like people like that.

Monday, September 3, 2007

New York State of Mind

Custom image courtesy of pve design.

In few days I am off to New York. The main reason for the trip is to see a couple dear friends, rest and relax, and hold hands with Mr. Blandings without having to let go to fix someone's Lego ship. I have a short list of a few places I want to go to:

Charlotte Moss's townhouse. I mean, how can I not? You've all been talking about it for weeks; I do feel a bit left out.

John Derian - for the fabulous decoupage and objets.

Oh, and then, well, one thing you need to know about me is, well, I have a bit of a problem with jewelry. I don't buy that often, you know, because the children need things like clothes and shoes and books and braces. But, like going to a museum, sometimes I just need to go see some things. Maybe try them on. But I can quit anytime. So, there will also be stops at Faraone Mennella -

Ted Muehling for the candlesticks (available in bronze and silver - gorgeous in both)

oh, and his jewelry as well -

Here is Isabel Toledo being fabulous in House and Garden. Love the earrings.

And Tiffany. We actually have one in Kansas City, but they don't carry the Sugar Stack rings.

Glorious combination of precious materials in a Cracker Jack design. Can't you just feel them sliding on to your finger? Anyone else getting the shakes?

And, last, but certainly not least,

Chanel Fine Jewelry. These Profil de Camelia hoops are just the kind of everyday indulgence that makes oh-so-much-sense.

But the real reason for the post, other than getting to thumb through my jewelry folder, is to ask your advice. Where else, gentle reader? Any thoughts?

I put this HG image in because it's oh-so-pretty. Who wouldn't want a vanity that looked like this?