It is Easy Being Green

Jamali Garden Supplies

On any weekday at 4:45 a.m., 28th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues is undoubtedly the busiest, most wide-awake street in Manhattan. This is the flower district, where those in the know purchase the best blossoms to adorn Gotham and beyond. Why so early? Because the flowers are flown in each evening, trucked to the block, and prepared for the daily sale that begins at 3 a.m. Those who want the very finest arrive prepared to do battle with hundreds of other designers also after the botanical best.

Horse Hair Furniture

Joe Calagna ~ Anthony Lawrence Belfair

“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

Fashion Fusion

Knoll luxe

Knoll luxe in New York City’s D&D building is diminutive by comparison to other showroom spaces, but there’s more here than meets the eye.  It’s a concentrated nerve center representative of the  emerging technologies of no less than 8 countries in textile design.  Cannon Schaub, fresh from a 10 year stint as the textile manager for Holly Hunt (another known textile innovator) was tapped to manage the line introduced by KnollTextile creative director Dorothy Cosonas, and I for one can hardly imagine a better pairing.  Cosonas envisioned the collaboration between fashion’s current luminaries and the Knoll brand as the latest incarnation of the company’s history of mash-ups… so having the ever fashion forward Schaub at the helm is serendipitous.  This is stylish product, stylish space and a stylish representative.

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Master Class: Jane Churchill

Thoughts from England's Best Decorator

I spent 12 years as the co-owner of a curtain workroom in New York City and have since done consulting work with other workrooms.  Last summer while on one such project I answered the telephone, and to my surprise it was Jane Churchill on the other end.  She was in NY helping a client with her upper east side townhouse, and asked if I might be interested in meeting with her to discuss some curtains.  Meet Jane Churchill in a Manhattan townhouse to discuss curtains?  Needless to say I went, and we’ve stayed in communication ever since. Continue reading

Master of Illusion

David Amini ~ Beauvais Carpets

When Beauvais Carpet moved from their showroom on 57th and 3rd to its current space at 595 Madison a decade ago, people gasped.   Re-locating from the area considered the epicenter of New York interior design to a building monopolized by Madison Avenue’s high end art galleries seemed questionable to everyone except David Amini, Beauvais‘s owner.  Mr. Amini, along with his associate Stephen Haproff spent an hour with me detailing how connecting carpet and fine art makes perfect sense. Continue reading

Enduring Style

Jonn Boone's St. Thomas Sofa

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

Island Life

Balinese Batik

Batik is both the name of a wax resist dyeing technique, and the finished fabric it  produces.  The photo above shows a true Balinese batik, with its trademark “crackle” design.  In principle it’s fairly simplistic, which belies convention.  I tried my hand at making a batik with the help of Yvonne Sherer (a Jamaican master) a few years back.  Time consuming, complicated and messy (the dye took weeks to fade from my hands) are the buzz-words.  I recommend searching out an indigenous cloth (Bali, Pacific rim, West Indies etc) because when chromatically infused with Island ethnicity, batiks immediately transport you to the beach. Continue reading

Room With A View

Ochre ~Convex Mirror

115-0009_ochre_circular_mirror_with_convex_glass_105 Ochre “Convex” mirror,  41″ diameter.  Available in black, brown, and putty

With some research, I learned that mirrors date back to the late 12th / early 13th century.  At that time Venice was regarded as the center of high quality mirror production, but by 1650 mirror making was practiced extensively in London and Paris as well.  Convex mirrors first appeared around 1700, simultaneously with elaborately carved and gilded circular frames.  The English were the first to incorporate eagles for mirror ornamentation, seen as a symbol of strength and independence, which would explain it being adopted by early American’s in their frames.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’re not surprised by my fascination with pure simplistic design. I’m enamored with clean lines and refined shapes.  Ochre‘s “Convex” mirror falls squarely into that category.  The British based design firm denotes their work as “the embodiment of contemporary, chic and understated glamour”, which this mirror surely is.  Perhaps in a nod to historically ornate frames, this mirrors rim is painted with alternating coats of gesso and bole (earthen pigments mixed with gelatin and glue) and finally burnished to a luster.  The frames sheen echoes the reflection of the glass, a beautiful paring.  There’s something magical in the expanded peripheral scope convex mirrors afford, essentially showing an entire room in a single glance.   This mirror is a must have.


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