On October 1st 1990, exactly 22 years ago today, John Boone and Chris Lockwood opened John Boone Inc. in New York City. A lot has changed since their early days as showroom owners and collection curators, but their sense of style and personal taste remains the same. This morning also marks the launch of their new website – to coincide with their anniversary. It’s a virtual catalog of their classic home furnishings, and a welcome addition to luxury interior design shopping on the web.
“Chatwin” dining chair Walnut and Leather
“Campaign” furniture has been around since the days of Julius Cesar. It was originally designed and manufactured for military officers, who once in the field, needed a suitable place to sit, eat, and store their belongings. Historically, the British are credited with elevating the genre to an art form during the period know as the “Raj” (1600-1857) in India, when England set up trade outposts there. The basic premise: campaign furniture is manufactured with the ability to be broken down into component parts and stored in wooden boxed specifically manufactured to hold those parts for transport. In practice, stored campaign furniture was carried by servants or enlisted men to a military field camp where it was assembled for use. With the advent of the airplane and motorcar, battlefield war changed dramatically in the early 20th century. Campaign furniture became superfluous and time-consuming – seemingly doomed for extinction – until it was adopted by the English gentry for use while vacationing in exotic locals. Eventually the category made its way into residential environments. The added level of sophistication and precision required to produce furniture that is at once sturdy and collapsible requires adept skills in manufacturing… skills Richard Wrightman clearly possesses.
Bruce Tilley, owner and curator of Decor NYC, has a storied history when it comes to furniture. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, he began collecting art deco pieces in high school. His early love of home furnishings ultimately lead him to a position as President of Licensing for the home division at Alexander Julian, a job he held for 2 decades. Fast forward to last December when he fulfilled a life-long dream by opening a consignment shop which focuses its attention on high-end “gently used” furniture, lighting, accessories and art. It’s been a wildly successful half-year. I’d like to share why.
The Brimfield Antique show and Flea Market is open for its mid-summer sale this week, which made me think of Thomas O’Brien – master of the flea market find. Coincidentally O’Brien’s Aero Studio is having its 20th anniversary this year, so I decided to head to Soho to see what the store is offering 2 decades after he opened it.
“Horse hair furniture is a bit of a misnomer, since the high-end upholstery industry has almost uniformly replaced the actual horse hair used to pad furniture with a nylon synthetic ‘hair’ that outlasts its namesake” explains Joe Calagna, the 3rd generation upholstery master who with his sister Lana own Anthony Lawrence-Belfair in NYC’s tony Flatiron district. I spent an hour and a half with him yesterday to be educated on why his furniture is the very best available. Here’s what I observed and learned. Continue reading
When I hear someone say “everything old is new again“, skepticism takes hold as I imagine someone trying to sell a truckload of VHS tapes recorded with instructions on how to dance the “Lambada”. You see, for this humble design professional, nothing that’s old is ever new – unless it’s attained the status of being a CLASSIC. Classic design is FOREVER new. For a seasoned interior design professional, including a Hinson wallpaper or a Brunschwig chintz speaks of their pedigree… while with the new guard, perhaps it’s a Lulu DK stripe or a John Robshaw linen. One classic that enjoys universal applauds across the spectrum of our community is John Boone‘s “St.Thomas” sofa. Continue reading
New York City is a never-ending source of design marvel, and yesterday I wandered into a small showroom in the Flatiron where I had one of those “aha” moments that even this (slightly) jaded city dweller loves. Mondo Collections on 22nd street off 5th avenue has an interesting collection of furniture and lighting in an airy loft 15 floors above the pavement. Just inside the brushed steel doors, bathed in generous sunlight, I found a truly inspired piece of art masquerading as a wing chair. Continue reading
John Lyle Design, MARC CONSOLE SHAGREEN WITH BONE TRIM 29.5H X 39.5W X 20D
Back in the spring of 1979 as a freshman in Art School in rural Pennsylvania, I took a course in 3D design with a woman named Rosemarie Sloat. She was a painter at heart, but had a deep and disciplined understanding of form. Ms. Sloat taught me that all 3 dimensional objects were made of 5 basic shapes – sphere, cone, pyramid, cube and cylinder – either alone or as the intersecting elements of a larger mass. Successful 3D design she further professed concerned itself with the mastery of balance, proportion and rhythm between these forms. It was an amazing class. I learned the underpinning of my design philosophy. As an art student today, one would hope to have someone who could teach the same ideas, from a place of equal understanding, someone like John Lyle. Continue reading