"" MaDDI: November 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

Newgate Bubble Clock + Ryan's Entry

Ryan's Newgate Bubble Clock via West Elm Market finally arrived! We bought one on our Market bender over a month ago, but when we brought it home, we discovered the hour hand was a bit wonky. So back it went. And its back-ordered replacement took about a month to arrive.

Now that it's officially in our clutches, I'm starting to get serious about the small entry way inside Ryan's front door. In addition to the clock, we absolutely need:

  1. a door mat; and
  2. hooks (sufficient for hanging Hektor's leash, keys, Ryan's bike helmet and maybe a jacket).
Space allowing, I'd also like to try to work in the following items:
  1. a boot tray for the sloppy, slushy months ahead (although potentially dangerous to leave shoes exposed, given the whole mischievous puppy situation); 
  2. an umbrella receptacle; and
  3. maybe some where for stashing mail.

Here are a few of the products I'm thinking about:

  1. Newgate Bubble Wall Clock, via West Elm Market - $85
  2. Portuer Wall Pocket, Urban Outfitters - $16-$19
  3. Karens Vase, Ikea - $14.99
  4. Chilewich 18"x28" Plynyl Shag Doormat - Black & White, via Didriks - $45
  5. Good Directions Boot Tray - Powder-Coated Steel, Sierra Trading Post - $24.95
  6. Eames Hang-it-all - Walnut, via Simply Benches - $105
Off to Toronto tonight! Will visit with our wonderful Canadian friend and cruise the One of a Kind Show. Dwell Studio's blog released their Toronto Guide just in time-- alas, it seems the timing was intended to coincide with founder Christine Lemieux's trip, rather than mine. Sigh. Stay tuned for highlights from the show.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Exciting Happenings in the Affordable Art Sphere

Now that the conclusion of my One Kings Lane 30-day Challenge has freed up some hours in my day, I thought I'd highlight a few exciting developments in the affordable art sphere.

For a primer on best online sources for affordable art (as well as a pro/con breakdown), check out HGTV stylist Emily Henderson's helpful post. Her favorites include 20x200, Mammoth & Company, Little Paper Planes, Society 6 and The Calm Gallery. I second those and would add to her list Saatchi OnlineOne Kings Lane, Canvas and CanvasArt.com (if you can brave the sheer volume. Navigational tips here) and Etsy (see my favorites here. West Elm's favorites are also a good starting place for Etsy art). As far as non-online sources go, the Affordable Art Fair tops the charts for me. The New York edition is held twice early-- in the fall and spring. See their website for dates and additional locations. That's where I bought my beloved Charlotte Evans piece!

While those are my stand-bys, I'm happy to share a few new endeavors I've recently discovered.

1. Artsicle
Artsicle is a bit like Netflix for original artwork-- with a few key structural differences and an added rent-to-buy feature. Founded on the core principle that "collecting original artwork should be for everyone," their goals are three-fold: to help collecting novices discover their taste; to make collecting original artwork more affordable and accessible; and to encourage budding artists to pursue their passion by offering a viable means of support. (In a sense, Three is the other side of the coin to Two. If you make art more accessible to a broader swathe of the population, you're going to make artist a more viable profession in the process.)

After taking a style quiz, you can rent your favorite pieces from their collection for a monthly fee starting at $25/month. Recommendations are prepared for you based on the results of your style quiz, but much like Pandora's "thumbs up"/"thumbs down" feature, Arsticle continues to refine your recommendations based on your feedback. You can keep the piece you rent for as long as you like (or at least as long as you keep paying your monthly rental fee...) If you fall in love with your rental, you can credit 50% of the rental fees towards the purchase price. If it's not for you, you send it back and try out another!

Based on my browsing today, it's a spectacular collection with an intelligently designed filter mechanism. You can search by size, shape, style, medium and more. Search update speed seems to be a smidge slow, but the results, when you get them, are worth the wait. Here are a few of the pieces I'm coveting:

2. Saatchi's 12xTwelve
Just in time for the Christmas season, Saatchi is offering an exclusive collection of original artwork measuring 12"x12", as well as a series of prints in limited editions of 12. All 67 pieces in the collection were commissioned by Saatchi Gallery in London. Prices start at $100 as advertised, but be warned that they creep as high as $5,000. On the plus side, since each piece was commissioned by Saatchi's seasoned director Rebecca Wilson, there aren't any duds. I found so many of the pieces compelling that for my favorites reel, I really couldn't narrow it down any further than top nine. And even that was tough! Here are the ones that made the final cut:
Saatchi Online's 12xTwelve
Sources (Clockwise from top left)

  1. Space Cowboys II by Micosch Holland, Limited Edition Print - $100
  2. Prevention by Danny Olda, Original - $300
  3. NY 1222 by Jennifer Sanchez, Original - $600 (Limited Edition Prints for $100)
  4. Magritte's Great Escape by Joe Webb, Original - $1,700 (Limited Edition Prints for $200)
  5. Desert I by Leif Podhajsky, Limited Edition Print - $250
  6. Memory by Robin Cracknell, Limited Edition Print - $500
  7. I Want to Be a Superstar by Martyna Zoltascek, Original - $500 (Limited Edition Prints for $150)
  8. Night Moves by Damien Gilley, Original - $500
  9. The Food Market Jerusalem by Sasha Tamarin, Limited Edition Print - $300

3. Artist Rising
Artist Rising is Art.com's kid sister site. Founded in 2007 on the principle of democratizing art, it's a venue for emerging and established contemporary artists to share their work with art enthusiasts with big dreams, but small to medium sized budgets. They carry both originals and prints.

I've spotted some really great pieces on Artist Rising, but as you would expect from a division of Art.com, the volume of pieces is pretty large. It's also not a curated collection like many of the sites Emily Henderson and I highlighted, so you definitely have to dig for the good stuff. (As far as I can gather, anyone at all can submit their work to the site.)

Browsing Artist Rising is kind of like going to Filene's Basement. You could come away with some real winners, but you've got to steel yourself to look at a lot of weird stuff first. And I mean weird. To the point where I recommend you browse at home. I love a bold, yet tasteful nude as much as the next art enthusiast, but some of the work on Artists Rising teeter preciously on the infamous "you know it when you see it" line. That said, just like Filene's Basement, the rock bottom prices justify the potentially eyeball-jarring hunt for diamonds in the rough. Here are few of my favorite gems:

  1. Boxer by Tara Benet, 20"x24" Giclee Print - $47.99
  2. Buffalo At Dusk by Cristi B., 27"x18" Original Mixed Media - $180*
  3. The White-Lettered Burger by Marcella Lassen, 20"x24" Giclee Print - $47.99
  4. August Moon by David Cramer, 11"x14" Photograph - $50*
  5. Wood Grain Deer by Peter Gebhardt, 16"x20" Original Digital Image - $60*
  6. Watercolor Landscape 301005 by Pol Ledent, 12.20"x16.14" Original Watercolor - $200*
  7. Picture Giraffe by Lisa Benoudiz, 19.68"x19.68" Original Painting - $770*
  8. July '04 by Kristin Cornig, 30"x22" Original Mixed Media - $200.00*
  9. Nude Study from Behind by Heather Castles, 12"x12" Original Painting by Heather Castles - $900*

* Price of original work listed. Prints also available at significantly lower price points.

The Lodge at Pine Cove: O (wild, beautiful, cozy Northern Ontario) Canada

While Daughter Alex is creating guest rooms, I write on being a guest! In this case being hosted by my dear friend from Toronto. For a long time my Northern gal pal has been working on me to go camping and canoeing in the Northwest Territories with  Canoe North Adventures. She entices me with stories of raw natural beauty, white water thrills, blinding cold rain storms, the joy of sleeping on rocks and happy hours drinking White Russians. I haven't yet succumbed to the call of this particular wild, but this does not stop my Canuck ami from hoping I will one day be tent side. Knowing a luxurious experience would be infinitely more appealing to the husband and me, we were treated by said friend to a weekend at The Lodge at Pine Cove on the French River near Noelville, Ontario.

After a four hour drive from Toronto on a cold sunny day we arrived and were greeted by the owner, Alex, and his friendly dogs. We parked the car near the main lodge and our bags were transported to the cottages that dot Pine Cove. The lodge is big and welcoming with a bar, dining room, pool table, TV room and is dotted with lots of seating by big windows with views of the spectacular French River. Since this is a design blog, I will focus on the beauty of the place. But check out the history of the river on the The Lodge at Pine Cove website which includes booking and activity information.

Lodge Bar

Pool Table

We walked over a rustic wooden bridge.  Bright canoes, gleaming in the sun, were piled high on the cove shore. Once in our cabin, we were charmed by the well laid out floor plan, the small but mighty wood burning stove, stoked to the gills, making our home for the next two days toasty. To my mind, thoughtful details are what takes a nice place to a great place... Besides being well equipped (tons of wood at the ready, glasses, corkscrews, fluffy towels, good storage space, plentiful pegs for hanging up coats, reading lights by the bed and by the chairs) there were local soaps in the bright white bathroom, colorful painted floors with matching trim on the windows...and lovely views.

View from our cabin's porch

Cabin Bedroom 

Small and Mighty Stove

 Canoes even when drinking!

Clever message in the loo!

Bright door trim with branch handles

During our fall visit the trees were brilliantly colored.  We dined well each night in the Lodge. My husband and I were initiated into paddling by Aleksander Gusev, President of Wilderness Canoe Association and Lin Pace, partner/owner of Canoe North Adventures. It was a convivial  educational weekend in the presence of a group of people who deeply love their country, its history, the beauty and the inspiration it affords them; and of course their passion for paddling!

 I have to write of the delicious breakfast delivered to our doorstep  each morning in an artful basket. Each morning noses were pressed up against the window glass waiting for the warm pain au chocolate to arrive with coffee! Hurrah. Even I can canoe after a breakfast like that!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

OKL Challenge - Day 30! Holiday Guest Rooms Inspired by Favorite Brands

Believe it or not, it's Day 30 of my One Kings Lane 30-Day Challenge and the holiday season is officially upon us. And while holidays are ostensibly about family, togetherness, giving, and rejoicing in the goodness of humankind, yada, yada, yada...to lots of us holidays mean two things: house guests and retail. So in homage to these time-honored midwinter traditions, for my final installment of a One Kings Lane mood board...drum roll, please...I bring you six guest rooms inspired by a few of my favorite retailers. Each with a subtle nod to the holiday season.

Excluding the Ikea Sveio nightstand that plays a starring role in each board, all items are sourced from today's sales on One Kings Lane. As such, these boards don't actually contain items by the retailer that inspired them. What?! I know! SO confusing. But "inspired" is a beautiful word that's applied pretty loosely these days. I chose to channel the spirit (or aura, if you believe in that sort of thing) of the retailers I deeply esteem and admire. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

A few notes on guest room essentials for those prepping for guests. As a demanding guest, I like to see a couple items on or around the nightstand of my temporary living quarters:

  1. A water glass.And perhaps a carafe if you're feeling generous and/or your bathroom sinks do not dispense potable water. (FYI, anything outside of NYC is borderline.)
  2. A small dish or shallow bowl for a guest to stash ear plugs, earrings, hair elastics, watch, etc.
  3. A reading light
  4. A soft surface on the floor beside bed (acceptable forms include: area rugs, runners, bath mats or animal skin.)
  5. Tissues
An alarm clock used to be recommended, but I think most people use their cell phones these days. A charger would be a nice thing to include, but really, your guests should have their act together enough to remember to bring their own charger (Not that I do remember to bring my own charger when I travel, just saying I should.)

I love the idea of adding a little holiday flavor by pinning ornaments up on the wall over the nightstand. It would be a cute and subtle way to recognize that indeed it is December and that is something we celebrate. I've also included candlestick holders because a) there were a multitide of cool candlestick holders on sale today and b) there are some bedroom activities that are best conducted by the low, flattering light of a candle. Like telling ghost stories or reading Dickens. (Really. This is a family blog. Mind out of the gutter.)

Inspired by: Jonathan Adler

These mid-century modern lines, funky ceramics, bold pops of color and graphic patterns scream Jonathan Adler to me. Granted, it's more of a "Jonathan Adler Goes to Morocco" kind of thing, but I bet Morocco's nice this time of year and I'm sure he wouldn't mind a quick jaunt. 

Sources (Clockwise from top left)
  1. Square Canvas Pillow - $189 (See Jonathan Adler's Pop Pillows)
  2. S/3 Wooden Finial Ornaments - $19 
  3. Set of 2 Honeycomb Wineglasses, Gold - $59
  4. Frank Keramik Candleholder - $69 (See Jonathan Adler's Orange Glass Nugget)
  5. Midcentury Cork Lamp - $239
  6. Vista Rug, Poppy/Linen - $119-$499 (See Jonathan Adler's Diamond Rug)
  7. Crocodile Print Tray, Matte Gold - $39

Inspired by: Calypso St. Barth

Calypso St. Barth is one of my go-to retailers (my mom's too!) for clothes and home alike. They have a great interplay between sophisticated neutrals and pastels with a hint of beachy glamour. This shimmering, ethereal nightstand set-up really reminds me of their vibe. Especially that stalactite candleholder-- doesn't it look kinda like the drip castles kids make on the beach?
Sources (Clockwise from top left)
  1. Untitled, Karen Kimmel, 2007 I - $1,149 
  2. Set of 2 Honeycomb Wineglasses, Silver - $59
  3. Nordic Winter Snow Mobile - $39 (Not to be confused with a snowmobile.)
  4. Ken Steiert Stalactite Candelabra - $349
  5. Hexagon Denim Pillow - $169 
  6. Bonita Rug, White/Gray - $119-$499
  7. S/3 Precious Metal Bowls, Silver - $59

Inspired by: Kate Spade

Kate Spade is the queen of polka dots and playful, preppy style. The illustrated rope and quirky ampersand cushions instantly reminded me of her. I especially love Kate Spade because as fun and flirty as her designs are, she never lets it veer too far into girlie girl territory. I tried to apply that same philosophy here by using gender-neutral colors for the more feminine patterns and tempering the super-bling ornaments with a black & white boxing photo (how cool is that shot?) and masculine wood & iron candlestick holders.

Sources (Clockwise from top left)
  1. Dempsey-Tunney Long Count Fight 1927 - $329
  2. S/2 Snowflake Ornaments, Snow - $19
  3. Set of 4 Tumblers, Red - $39 
  4. Oak & Iron Candleholders, Set of 2 - $55
  5. Fishermen's Net Pillow, Navy/Hemp - $99
  6. "&" 16x16 Pillow, Oatmeal - $45
  7. Santee Rug, Black/White - $119-$499

Inspired by: Anthropologie

For my Anthropologie-inspired nighstand, I went for a more bohemian and vintage look. Anthropologie does a great job of incorporating a lot of natural elements, so threw in the raw teak bowl, bird statue, vintage oil paintings of vegetables and those cool wood curl ornaments as nods to mother nature. (Linz, with its yellow and purple color scheme, this one's for you.)

Sources (Clockwise from top left)

  1. Oil Paintings, Vegetables, Set of 3 - $1,235
  2. Set of 2 Jewel Tumblers, Amethyst - $49
  3. S/8 Fjord Curly Birch Ornaments, Small - $19
  4. Danish Modern Bird Sculpture I - $149
  5. Teak Hat Bowl - $59
  6. Amethyst Gem Vase Large - $35
  7. 19th-C. Coverlet Pillow - $175
  8. Solana Rug, Marigold/White - $119-$499 

Inspired by: West Elm

It's hard to pin down West Elm's style these days, because they've really diversified their audience with their global collections. But in spite of that, I think they've done a great job of staying true to their classic style. To me, West Elm is fresh, clean, down-to-earth and immensely liveable.

Sources (Clockwise from top left)

  1. "Home" 16x16 Pillows, White - $95
  2. Hermetic Bottle, 17 Oz - $8
  3. Gradient Line Wood 7" Bowl, White Bean - $29
  4. 18-Pc Picardie Tumbler Set - $59
  5. Medium Painted Basket, Gold - $129
  6. Loma Rug, Beige/Linen - $49-$239
  7. S/2 Porcelain Origami Geese - $19
  8. S/2 Porcelain Origami Swallows - $15

Inspired by: Restoration Hardware

Restoration Hardware usually goes in pretty hard for the whole holiday thing. Holiday-themed catalog, special gift items and what not. So this is the most heavy handedly holiday-themed of the boards. But in  ephemeral Restoration Hardware style, it's mixes modern with industrial accents and includes sepia-toned artwork and a wee bit of french country (witness grain sack pillow). 

Sources (Clockwise from top left)

  1. Meat Packing District Map - $159-$169
  2. S/6 Highball Glasses, Green/Gray - $29
  3. Reindeer Grazing - $99
  4. Scallop Lantern, Medium - $12
  5. Triple Red Stripe Grain Sack Pillow - $155.00
  6. Anatolian Oushak - $895

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

OKL 30-Day Challenge - Day 29: Nursery Style

Don't get all excited now, people. This post is in no way an indication that I intend to have a tiny person in my life anytime soon. Hektor keeps our hands full as it is. But all the cool kids seem to be decorating nurseries these days (Exhibit A and Exhibit B) and god forbid I miss the boat on what the cool kids are doing.

95% of the items in the mood boards are available via today's One Kings Lane sales. But a few non-One Kings Lane items snuck in. Obviously, the crib-- which I hear is a key component to the nursery. Since I don't know anything about babies, least of all where one buys baby stuff, I stuck in a white and walnut crib by Oeuf Baby. It's neat looking. If they made a bigger, I might just sleep in it. Board #1 includes a rocker/glider, which I understand to be highly recommended these days. Something to do with rocking your baby to sleep? Boards #2 and 3 do not include rockers or gliders, because I intend to hypnotize my baby to fall into a deep and peaceful sleep upon hearing the trigger word, "carrot." But just in case that strategy fails (which it won't) I did include a comfy chair and ottoman in each room.

How come nurseries are always so colorful and pastel-y? Is that a social convention or an actual developmental issue? If the latter, then imagine that board #2 is for a baby with two very spirited older siblings and the parents are really hoping this one turns out to be more of a chill, bump-on-a-log kind of baby.

It was a big day on One Kings Lane-- Ralph Lauren, David Hicks and emerging artists limited edition prints. Lucky little babies.

Sources (via One Kings Lane unless otherwise noted)
  1. Sleepytime Rocker, NurseryWorks (via Bobby Berk Home)
  2. Gwen Chunky Knit Throw Pillow, Blue - $125
  3. Desert Modern Cube, Taupe - $1,399 
  4. Trevor 6-Lt Chandelier - $679 
  5. Kevin Russ, Street Walker - $169.00 - $269.00
  6. Oeuf Classic Crib, Walnut, Ouef Baby - $940
  7. Queen Mohav Navajo Knit Blanket, Natural - $379 
  8. Octogram Nylon Rug, Cornflower - $179-$1,859

Sources (via One Kings Lane unless otherwise noted)
  1. Driftwood Steel Lounge Chair, Black - $2,199
  2. Leather Moroccan Pouf, Grey - $183
  3. Cosmo Sconce, Bronze - $249
  4. Linda Monfort, Psychic - $129-$199
  5. Oeuf Classic Crib, Walnut, Ouef Baby - $940
  6. Cable Cashmere Throw Pillow, Camel - $169.00
  7. Logo Wool Rug, Amber - $299.00 - $2,999.00

Sources (via One Kings Lane unless otherwise noted)

  1. Fairfield Floor Lamp - $569
  2. Driftwood Upholstered Armchair - $599
  3. Coach Wood Toy Car - $8
  4. Poodle Pouf, CB2 - $299
  5. Proudman, Carousel Horse Framed Print - $189-$299
  6. Oeuf Classic Crib, Walnut, Oeuf Baby - $940 
  7. Aztec 20x20 Pillow, Blue - $115 
  8. Hexagon House Wool Rug, Beige - $249-$2,999 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Art.com: My Pinterest Spree Picks + Helpful Navigational Strategies

After a great vacation, everyone needs a little mid-afternoon pick-me-up their first day back at the office. Lucky for me my Art.com shipment just arrived! I won their $500 Pinterest Art Spree about a month ago and hemmed-and-hawed over what to order with my winnings. They have a seriously huge selection of art to slog through. (More tips on how to navigate the online art behemoth below.)

I finally narrowed down my selection to three pieces: a large scale black & white photograph for Ryan, a framed Roy Lichenstein print for me and a housewarming present for my friend Rachel (which she has not yet received-- hence the mystery square. But don't worry! All will be revealed soon.) 

Sources (clockwise from top left):
  1. Pedestrian Walkway on the Brooklyn Bridge, by Bettmann (56" x 42" Premium Photographic Print, Unframed) - $159.99
  2. Ball of Twine, 1963, by Roy Lichtenstein (15.5" x 16.5" Framed Print in Chelsea White with Bright White Mat.)
  3. ????
Thank you, Art.com! I'm so excited about my new pieces. The Art.com team members I interacted with were extremely kind and patient with me. I mean, come on, I took a whole month to decide. If they had been even the slightest bit impatient with me, it would have been totally justified. But they were nice and helpful as can be. Once I finally pulled the trigger, the shipping was lightening fast.

If you find yourself shopping for reasonably-priced art this holiday season, here are a few strategies I recommend for navigating their site:

1. Let others do the work for you!
When they unveiled their recent site relaunch, Art.com had the brilliant idea to ask trendsetters to pick their favorite pieces. The easiest way to browse is to check out their top picks-- after all, they are all seasoned design aficionados with great taste. Check out the Inspiring Insiders page.

2. Browse in other venues, then cross-check against Art.com
The sheer volume of Art.com's offerings can be intimidating. I admit that even when I had a $500 freebie to take advantage of, some mornings I logged into my Art.com account fully intending to make a selection. Then logged out seconds later because I didn't feel up to the herculean task of wading through all those images. It can be sensory overload! 

But the upshot to Art.com's volume is that if you see something you like on Pinterest, in a museum, in a magazine or even on a TV show, chances are pretty decent that Art.com offers a print of it. Just be sure to jot down the artist name and any other info you come across, then search for it in Art.com's excellent search bar.(This strategy is actually how I stumbled upon the perfect housewarming present for Rachel. I spotted it on Pinterest and on the set of a popular TV show-- hint hint.)

3. Word Association Search
I knew I wanted to find a large scale black & white photograph for Ryan's kitchen, but I didn't have any concrete sense of subject. So to get started, I thought of places, activities and things that I associate with Ryan-- New Orleans (his hometown), the Brooklyn Bridge (over which he commutes via bike everyday), football (his favorite sport) and dogs (our dog is maybe the only thing he loves more than football). I came across some really great vintage shots of New Orleans, but ultimately, he decided he liked the Brooklyn Bridge photo the best. I take it as a sign that he's adapting to his new home here in New York City!

You can also always rely on Art.com's categories-- Artists, Art Styles and Subjects, particularly if you have a sense of what artists or periods you like. Once you've saved your favorites to a gallery, I highly recommend their "View in Room" function. Jenny of Little Green Notebook has a good demo on how she used "View in Room" to pick out a piece for her daughters' room-- check it out here.

Artist + Designer Spotlight: Charlotte Evans

Hi all. I'm back to blogging after a full week of thanksgiving vacation. I hope everyone had a happy holiday!

A quick note on the 30-day One Kings Lane Challenge before I dive into today's post. I've been keeping up on my Pinterest board, but since their focus now is mostly gift ideas, the items on sale tend to fall into one of two categories: 1) outside my decor bailiwick (I'm certifiably fashion-challenged); or 2) items making a return appearance from prior sales. I don't re-pin an item if it comes up for sale a second time to avoid a board chock full of repeats. Hope that explains the quiet front on OKL-related posts. Now back to regular programming!

Charlotte Evans

This is a particularly meaningful installment of "Artist + Designer Spotlight" spotlight for me. This spring, I bought my very first piece of original art-- an oil on canvas by the talented Brooklyn-based Charlotte Evans. Ryan and I went to opening night of the Affordable Art Fair with every intention of just looking. But when I saw this Coney Island beach scene in the Will's Art Warehouse booth, I knew I couldn't leave without it. So I gritted my teeth and pulled out my checkbook.

Coney Island by Charlotte Evans, Oil on Canvas

My friend Rachel recently teased me that I'm the only person she knows with chronic buyer's remorse. I have a terrible tendency to second guess every major expenditure, no matter how much I love or even need it. But I can honestly say I've never once regretted the purchase of my first piece of art. Not after handing over to the check to the gallerist with the lovely British accent and not when I saw it come out of my bank account a few weeks later. (I did balk a little bit at the cost of framing it, but that's a different story.) Even though it has no clear utility besides making me smile, I just love it. No second guessing!

I have a suspicion that the absence of buyer's remorse has to do with the purchase's symbolic value. For some reason, buying my first piece of art made me feel like a real, live adult. I've bought posters and prints, but never an oil on canvas. From a gallery no less! Pretty grown up, huh?

You'd think the symbolic step into adulthood might be something more obvious like picking up your first paycheck or paying your first month's rent. But in discussing it with my friends, it's often an object-- a momento-- that ends up being a vessel for that step into independence. In the case of my baking enthusiast friend Meghan, it's a top-of-the-line Kitchen Aid standing mixer (you know the kind that comes with a million attachments and can practically bake a cake on its own?) For me, it's an oil on canvas. To each her own!

I'm normally more of an abstract art person, but I also love a scene that's deeply evocative of a place or time. Charlotte Evans' work hits both those sweet spots for me. Her landscapes are transporting, but her technique is vaguely reminiscent of abstract works. There are broad brush strokes with patches of canvas peeking through the scene. But the outlines and muscle details in her human figures is incredibly sharp and precise. All her paintings seem to tell a deeply personal story. I could look at my Coney Island beach scene for hours dreaming up stories for each of the characters in the water.

Here are a view of my favorite works from her portfolio:

Sources (clockwise from top left):

  1. The Big Leap 2, Print, 14" x 14" - via Saatchi
  2. Dive 2, Print, 14" x 14" - via Saatchi
  3. Brighton Pier (2007), Oil on canvas, 36'' x 48'', 91.4 x 121.9 cm - via charlotteevans.net
  4. Reflected (Red Canoe) (2012) Oil on canvas, 60'' x 60'', 152.4 x 152.4 cm   - via charlotteevans.net (Original and prints available for purchase via Saatchi)
  5. Orange Top (2011), Oil on canvas 12'' x 12'', 30.5 x 30.5 cm - via charlotteevans.net

Monday, November 19, 2012

Artist + Designer Spotlight: Sarah Nicole Phillips

Next up in the Artist + Desinger Spotlight, Toronto-born and Brooklyn-based Sarah Nicole Phillips. I discovered Sarah through a family friend and was immediately smitten with her security envelope collages. I love that Sarah's work is both beautiful and socially relevant, without being too heavy-handed. (For explicit socio-political themes, see her series of silver halide photographic and screen prints, entitled "ATMs".)

Sarah on her collages, made from discarded security envelopes:

These works conflate imagery of plant life with the hard edges, linear repetition and angles suggestive of man-made infrastructure and human-imposed order. Security envelopes obscure their own contents. It is impossible to read what is inside, even when they are held up to light. Offset and imprecise patterns inside these envelopes create a scrim which serves as a decorative backdrop to our everyday bureaucratic tangles.

Shapes of flora in these collages echo the security envelope’s intended use as camouflage to hide private documents. Vines, fungus and grasses twist and push out from cellophane windows suggesting indifference to the veneer of professionalism that official-looking paperwork can convey. Encroaching plant life calls attention to the living, wild source of paper fiber, the ecology of bureaucracy, and an ever-present, yet obscured wilderness despite the imposed order of a decontextualized civic life.

These are dystopian landscapes offered at a time of increasing mistrust toward corporations and financial institutions, alongside mounting pressures of unpaid bills, overdue contracts and increasing fees. Security Landscapes tears opens process and order to reveal the underlying wilderness.

Here are a few of my favorite pieces from Sarah's portfolio:


  1. Phases of a Peanut Butter Cup Wrapper, 4.5" x 19" print (2010) - $390 (framed w/ plexi)
  2. Enclosed, 15' x 22" security envelope collage (2009) - Sold, Private Collection
  3. Sunbeam, 11" x 15" aquatint with crushed photovaltaic cells (2007) - $490 (unframed)
  4. Untitled (Trees Beaming Away), 20" x 29" security envelope collage (2012) - $3,500 (unframed)
  5. Security Horizon #7, 10" x 23" security envelope collage (2012) -$600 (unframed)
  6. Past Dew, 15" x 22" security envelope collage (2009)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Artist + Designer Spotlight: James Devlin

One of my goals when I started this blog was to use it as a platform to highlight local artists and designers. For whatever reason, I haven't done much of that since May-- for which I'm profoundly embarrassed. As a Manhattan-native-turned-Brooklyn-transplant, I'm a huge fan of the Brooklyn art and design scene. And what better venue to celebrate these super talented people than my blog (instead of my brain, which probably doesn't much help their public exposure...)

So here's the first installation in my new series, Artist + Designer Spotlight, where I intend to focus on emerging stars in the greater Brooklyn area with perhaps a few forays into other lands.

James Devlin

I discovered James Devlin over a year ago at the Brooklyn Flea, where he got his start selling the zig zag stools he was inspired to create after taking a welding class at Third Ward. It's been so exciting watching his business expand via his super sleek website. From his "About" section:

James Devlin Studio was founded in 2011 as a full service design atelier. The collection features singular furniture, lighting, and accessories that combine clear, modernist inspired lines with the richness of natural organic materials. In addition to the collection, we offer personalized design and fabrication services to a select group of individuals and firms.

James's work is available for purchase in his Etsy shop.

My favorite pieces from his collection:

  1. Zig Zag Stools - Brindle - $500
  2. Cassia Table - $800
  3. Zig Zag Table - $625
  4. Tuffet - $350
  5. Alabaster Table Lamp - $450

Thursday, November 15, 2012

OKL Challenge - Day 21: Feeling Moody

Day 21 of my One Kings Lane 30-Day Challenge. I've had a headache on-and-off for the past 48 hours that's left me pretty moody. One minute I'm a ball of enthusiasm and productivity. The next, I just want to crawl under my desk and go to sleep. My poor coworkers.

Rather than fight it, I thought I'd use it as inspiration and throw together a few of the moodiest pieces on sale at One Kings Lane-- plus an image of ABC Home's Poolside Strata Wallpaper that perfectly captures how I'm feeling today. And what's moodier than a Magic 8 Ball?

PS I know Rachel Zoe's exclusive wrapping paper collection for One Kings Lane (the website's first exclusive line of products) is supposed to be the headliner today, but I'm more excited about the Saatchi sale. Saatchi is one of my favorite websites for affordable art. The social media component makes it awesome way to discover up-and-coming artists who share your aesthetic. If you're looking for a place to start browsing, I recommend starting with their collections by 100 guest curators from museums and galleries around the world.

Sources (All items available via One Kings Lane, unless otherwise indicated)
  1. Fog - $129
  2. Scheurich West German Lava Vase - $69 
  3. S/6 Double Old Fashioned Glasses, Onyx - $55 
  4. Poolside Strata Wallpaper, via ABC Home - $625 (sticker shock alert!)
  5. Thomas Saliot, Bare Feet, Blue Dress - $219 
  6. Eight-Ball Box - $25 
  7. Jarek Puczel, Lovers (s) - $219-$239 
  8. Swedish Rag Rug, Blue, 4'9" x 2'1", $179 

You can browse all my picks from today's One Kings Lane sales on my pinterest board.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

OKL Challenge - Day 20: Operation Optic Assault

Yikes! 2:30 pm and I just barely finished pinning my 30-day One Kings Lane Challenge favorites to my Pinterest board. Where did the day go?

To make up for my tardiness, I threw together a selection of grey and citrine items to confuse and dazzle the eye. Today I'm really gravitating towards crazy geometric patterns, wavy lines and cage weaves. (Warning: mild headache may ensue.)


  1. Charcoal & Ink w/ Goldleaf Frame - $169.00
  2. White Wash Wavy Leg Lamp - $149
  3. MLB Mamounia Petite Pillow, Saffron - $135 
  4. Gold Barrel Pendant Light - $99 
  5. Crochet Outdoor Rug, Slate/White - $99 - $299 
  6. MLB Milos Pillow, Ebony II - $55 
  7. Bisque Matrix Tray - $69

TOO by BluDot for Target

As I think I've mentioned on one or two (or forty) occasions Blu Dot is a real favorite of mine. See posts here and here for gushing.

It's part of their mission statement to create "products that are useful, affordable, and desirable." Affordable, of course, is a relative term. And while their products do reflect a design process that contemplates affordability, many of the bigger ticket furniture items are well outside my 25-year-old price range. At present, I'm enjoying more of an Ikea, Target, parents' basement/neighbors'-bed-bug-infested-curb-rejects phase of my life. 

Enter Too by Blu Dot, Target's latest brand shop. Sadly, it's online only. Which means I can only judge from carefully styled photos rather than touching the materials in person (always critical with diffusion lines). 

You know what also makes me sad? No lighting. I was initially surprised given how popular BluDot's lighting is. On second thought, however, the omission makes total sense given that BluDot's light fixtures are among their most affordable products and already tend to fall within the Target $150-$250 range. (No pun intended. Okay, maybe a little bit intended.)

But from what I can see the designs are pretty rockin'. In addition to the Lounge Chairfeatured in yesterday's round-up, here are my favorites:

  1. Plop Counter Stool - Blue, $59.99
  2. Hipper Office Chair - Wood/Walnut - $249.99
  3. Stories Bookcase - White/Yellow/Walnut/Gray - $249.99
  4. Quad Console Table – Dark Gray/Walnut - $159
  5. Sig Lounge Chair - $299
  6. Bubbles Coffee Table White/Light Gray - $139

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

OKL Challenge - Day 19: Inspiring Images from the Interwebs

Day 19 of my 30-day One Kings Lane Challenge. Here are a couple inspiring images I spotted today on One Kings Lane and elsewhere.

(Item 4 below is from Target's newest diffusion line, TOO by Blu Dot. Stay tuned for my favorite selections tomorrow.)

  1. Vintage Brass Candlesticks, Set of 6, One Kings Lane - $199 
  2. Archive Rug, Sage/Ivory, One Kings Lane - $49-$569 
  3. Tomorrow Island Lamp, Note Design Studio (via Dezeen)
  4. Sideburn Lounge Chair (Grey Botanical), Too by Blu Dot for Target - $279.99
  5. 21" Granular Vase, One Kings Lane - $45 
  6. "Lets Go Anywhere" Neon Light by Sarah Foelske (personal project)
  7. Patchwork Dresser: A West Elm-Inspired IKEA Hack by PANYL (Best Ikea hack I've seen!)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekend Update

This weekend was a big one for home decor inspiration. Definitely the most visually stimulating Saturday I've spent in a while. Maybe venturing outside of Brooklyn on a weekend isn't so terrible?

Club Monaco (SoHo)

The Club Monaco in SoHo has some of the best retail displays in New York. My interest is fashion has waned of late, but I can never resist stopping into this Club Monaco for design inspiration.

Check out their awesome gallery walls! I like how they filled a large swathe of wall space by putting a larger frame over a smaller framed photo (first image) and by mixing in a few empty frames (second image). A good trick to keep in mind for the financially-impaired.

Room & Board (SoHo)

Hot tip: Room & Board has the chicest public bathroom in SoHo. Actually, I'm pretty sure everyone in NYC already knows this, because there's always a line. But what may be news is that Room & Board recently added these lovely walnut frames to their 2nd floor restroom. 

The photos appear to be printed on regular ol' printer paper (no sheen, a bit grainy). The frames are pieces of walnut veneered plywood with rounded edges and a routed out display. Another genius budget-friendly trick!

 Dwell Studio Urban Tag Sale (SoHo)

Tag sales and sample sales do not bring out the best in me. I get overwhelmed, stressed out, and hyper-competitive. It's in my nature to be an impulsive (and compulsive) shopper when it comes to home goods. Particularly when they are deeply discounted. But it's decidedly not in my budget to make impulsive purchases. I've learned to compensate by forcing myself to be slow and thoughtful when it comes to purchases. Put it down. Walk away. Go get a coffee. Mull it over. Maybe come back tomorrow. It's a strategy that works for me. 

But you know what it doesn't work for? Tag sales. Especially New York City tag sales, where I'm afraid that some 00 in 6-inch stilettos is going to sink her fangs into me if I so much as touch the hot pink lampshade she has her eye on. This lamp shade was a real beauty, but for $45, it wasn't worth a puncture wound and a rabies shot. For $15, I might have risked it.

I did almost buy this charcoal-trimmed duvet set (duvet cover and matching shams) for $60, but I made the mistake of applying my "put it down, walk away" strategy and, predictably, someone else walked away with my duvet set in hand. Same story with the slightly scuffed, but hefty and awesome Facet Candleholders for $35.

Another item I spotted in a corner was this cool statement piece made out tangled sailing line. An easy DIY.

My Friend's New Digs

On Saturday afternoon, I got a long awaited sneak peak at my friend's newly renovated apartment. She stained the original hardwood floors a lovely espresso color. (The stain looks more walnut than espresso in the below photo, but it's definitely a darker hue in person.) Don't they look great? The apartment is still an active construction site, but I couldn't resist peeling back the paper to check out the floor treatment. (As previously disclosed, I am super nosy. Don't invite me to your apartment if you don't want me doing weird things like this.)

Blu Dot 20/20 Sale (SoHo)

I've had my eye on BluDot's Flask Lamp for a while. Conveniently, Ryan needed a table lamp next to his living room sofa so when I got wind of BluDot's 20/20 sale (extended thru 11/19), I pounced. I think I've said this before, but the sales people at the Wooster St BluDot are so cool. Knowledgeable, friendly, funny! Every time I go in there, I leave thinking, "would it be weird if I asked them if we could be friends?" Don't worry, I restrained myself.

Here's what the lamp looks like in its new home:

OKL Challenge - Day 18: Neighborhood Love

I love my neighborhood like Liz Lemon loves Sandwich Day. On a sunny afternoon like yesterday, I walk around with a goofy smile on my face drinking in how splendidly awesome it is to live in the Cobble Hill-Boerum Hill-Carroll Gardens bubble. (I will not call it BoCoCa.) I moved to Cobble Hill about 1 1/2 years ago-- and when I quickly discovered it was harder to find dried pasta than fresh within a 6 block radius of my apartment, I knew I'd found my place in the world.

So naturally this Brooklyn Pillow caught my attention on One Kings Lane today-- Day 18 of my 30-Day Challenge, if you're counting.  Here's the pillow styled with a few of my other favorites items, selected from today's sales. See my Pinterest board for more favorites.

P.S. I had a really fun design-filled weekend, including Dwell Studio's Urban Tag Sale and BluDot's Annual 20/20 Sale (extended thru 11/19)! Hope to share a few pics later today.


  1. Contemporary Black Swirls Triptych - $399
  2. Brooklyn 20x20 Pillow, Black - $89 
  3. Lacquer Ottoman Tray, Shagreen - $149 
  4. Large Intaglio Vase, Orange/Gray - $179 and Small Intaglio Vase, Orange/Gray - $149
  5. Week-Ender Throw, Navy/Orange - $225 
  6. Midcentury Chairs, Pair - $275
  7. Malibu Dresser - $1,349

Friday, November 9, 2012

Dwell Studio's 4th Annual Modern Thanksgiving Contest

I've decided to throw my hat in the ring for Dwell Studio's 4th Annual Modern Thanksgiving Contest. According to the rules, I must create a Pinterest board (check it out) to pin decor ideas for a modern thanksgiving, including at least three items from Dwell Studio. That last part was easy peasy, because I love me some Dwell Studio. But I thought it would be fun to take it a step further and throw together a few mood boards and a menu for my modern thanksgiving.

First decision: venue. In today's globalized economy (to say the least of this whole "limited employment opportunities for young people" situation stateside), what's more modern than finding yourself abroad for the holidays? My college friends wound up scattered around the globe in pursuit of adventure, jobs, post-graduate education, the occasional cute boy with a sexy accent...and jobs. There's also something really special about celebrating an American holiday with an expat community abroad.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Scavengers Anonymous

I need to unsubscribe to Apartment Therapy's Morning Scavenger blog posts stat. I'm fairly disciplined when it comes to shopping for clothes, but something about home goods just makes me lose all semblance of rationality and control.

For example:


This Danskina Bravoure rug. For a mere $1,000! I've dreamed of a Danskina Bravoure rug to call my own since House Beautiful featured this soft gray in my favorite house of all time (seriously, all time), Architect Cary Tamarkin's Shelter Island home. And then had the pleasure of actually running my hands through one of these beauties at Tribeca home furnishings shop/dream factory Karkula.
Source: House Beautiful


Apartment Therapy Classifieds.

This vintage Panton lamp ($250). It's so close to my office. I could just pop on over to Battery Park during lunch to check it out. Jussst to check it out...And if we fall in love, then so be it. I'll swing by an ATM on my way over. Never hurts to be prepared, right? (All shopping addiction problems aside, I do kinda need a floor lamp. So this might really happen if I negotiate down to around $200.)


An icelandic sheepskin ($199) is clearly a staple. I know, I know-- it's shameful that I don't yet own an icelandic sheepskin. Major kudos to the seller for staging this beautiful shot. Usually people do not get the highest marks for presentation in these Craigs List-like venues, but this is a photo I would be genuinely tempted to hang on my wall. Maybe in lieu of an actual sheepskin.
Apartment Therapy Classifieds
Clearly this Nor'easter has me craving warm fuzzy things.


Apartment Therapy Classifieds.

Pretty nifty, huh? $495 for as set of 4 chevron-upholstered midcentury modern dining chairs.