Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving 2014!

"I don't have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness - it's right in front of me if I'm paying attention and practicing gratitude."
--Brené Brown

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Bring Autumn To The Table

When decorating with a season in mind, it is easiest to mimic what the season is doing. See my "Four Easy Steps For Autumn Décor" post from last year here. But if you want something fast and elegant for your Thanksgiving Day table or mantel, try one of the following ideas.

Fiery autumn leaves still attached to their branches look great when gathered together in a bouquet. The wilder the arrangement looks, the better...

Of course pumpkins and gourds ripen for fall and can be included in the natural bounty of the season. The upside down galvanized steel buckets below, available at garden supply stores, are a great way to elevate pumpkins for a varied display. Or line up a group of orange beauties on a mantel for a simple but effective tableau.

Another great use for pumpkins and gourds is to hollow them out and use them as vases for autumnal colored flowers.

Many varieties of pumpkins and gourds come in unexpected colors like white, soft green-blues, or dark forest greens. Use these to coordinate with a white or natural colored table setting for a more sophisticated look.

Happy Autumn and happy designing!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Engaging Entries, Part 2

These Engaging Entries are a continuation of a post from August, here, in which I remarked that every house should have an entryway that announces the personality of the homeowner... an entryway that is playful, engaging, welcoming, or dazzling. If you don't have an actual entry space or foyer, or if your door opens into your living space, you can still take a cue from some of these photos and place a collection of interestingly framed artwork or even a small bench near the entrance.

Entry by Applegate Tran

Entry by Meyer and Meyer

Happy designing!

Monday, November 3, 2014

History of Furniture: Le Corbusier

For this installment of History of Furniture, let's look at another staple of modernism: furnishings by Le Corbusier.

Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris was a Swiss architect, designer, urban planner, artist, and writer who participated in the birth of Modernism as an artistic and civil movement. In 1920, early in his career, he adopted the pseudonym Le Corbusier (a version of his mother's father's name). Starting in 1928, Le Corbusier collaborated with Charlotte Perriand, another architect he invited to join his design studio, to create a series of chairs and lounges that are still being used today.

The first chair to be produced was the LC-1, consisting of a frame of steel tubing with tightly wrapped leather panels for the seat, seat back, and arm rests. Black or white leather was common but the chair is now available in options like hair-on-hide, seen below. (Note: this chair is often confused with the Marcel Breuer Wassily chair which was covered here in a History of Furniture post about Bauhaus and De Stijl.)

This was followed by the iconic LC-2 and LC-3 chairs whose designs were based on the idea of a cube. The LC-2 is smaller but the LC-3 is scaled a little larger, with ever-so-slightly lower arms.

The frame is made of--you guessed it--chrome on steel tubing. The only company that holds the license for Le Corbusier's designs, Cassina, now make these pieces with powder coated tubing in different colors.

And finally, the LC-4 lounge chair is a modernist masterpiece, taking its place alongside Mies van der Rohe's legendary day bed, previously seen here.

Le Corbusier designed many influential and famous buildings, structures, and homes. He became a French citizen in 1930 and died on August 27, 1965 while swimming in the Mediterranean Sea.

These timeless pieces he gifted us will add a bit of architectural interest to any space. They are available through Cassina:

Happy designing!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Know Your Chairs: The Panton Chair

Aside from vivid, vibrant, psychedelic interiors in the 60s and 70s, Verner Panton created quite an array of mind-bogglingly modern seating in his years as a designer. But none of them can surpass the popularity of the eponymously titled Panton chair.

The deliberate sensuality of the curvy, S-shape keeps the design from being sterile. Created from a single piece of molded plastic, the chair is stackable and, of course, quite durable.

Of course they look good in a sleek, modern setting, but they also look good mixed in with vintage pieces. Remember Design Mantra #1, "Contrast brings interest."

Above: Design, styling, and photography by Emily McCall. Photo used by permission.

Black Panton chair lurking behind the table...

The iconic has inspired modifications and other designers as well.

St. Bartlomiej Church in the Czech Republic was designed by Maxim Velcovsky and Jakub Berdych from Qubus Studio and features Panton chairs instead of pews!

The Him and Her chair by Fabio Novembre was inspired by Panton. It's a logical extension of the sunsuous form.

Vitra UK's National Panton Chair Competition in 2010 asked designers and architects to modify or reimagine the Panton chair. First place went to Jump Studios for their highly conceptual (and non-functioning) design of a hollowed the Panton chair strungt with fishing line.

Although Verner Panton died in 1998, there is an online museum of his work at:
His interiors are amazing and look like sets from sci-fi films in the 70s.

And of course his chairs can still be purchased through:
Vitra, the company that originally produced the chair and
Design Within Reach

Happy designing!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bunk Beds

Sometimes family head count or space dictates that children share a bedroom. And often said bedrooms can't afford the floor space for separate beds so a great solution is the classic bunk bed. Here are some stylish and fun configurations for bunk beds. Most of these photos show four beds--clearly for adults in summer cottage situations (what a delightful, convivial way to cram a lot of weekend guests into a smaller space!)--but there is no reason why these ideas could not work for two in a regular home setting.

Happy designing!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Hotel du Pantheon

The Hôtel du Panthéon in Paris last year completed a total renovation with rooms designed by interior designer Valérie Manoïl.

According to the Hôtel du Panthéon's website, each one of the newly renovated guest rooms "celebrate the great women of France, the ones who dared, the ones who loved, those with passion, those that decided their destiny - free, independent women. Valérie Manoïl’s project was not to imagine a literal retelling of their life stories, but to use them as the inspiration for sumptuous interiors that would evoke the past. Through a subtle mix of contemporary creations and original period furniture, the 35 rooms on 6 floors all have feminine influences, some obvious, some subtle…

Les Cocottes
The flamboyant ‘cocottes’, the high-class escorts of the 19th century, including Valtesse de la Bigne

Edith Piaf and Marcel Cerdan
The love affair of Edith Piaf and Marcel Cerdan in the 1950s, with its very particular design

George Sand and Alfred de Musset
The house of George Sand, of a more classic style, and the passage from the 18th to 19th century

Juliette Gréco and Miles Davis
Juliette Gréco, as the starting point for a choice of graphic fabrics that evoke the jazz of Saint-Germain in the 1940s

The Signares
The ‘Signares’, French-African women from French Senegal in the 18th and 19th centuries, referenced in a joyous melting pot of contemporary and traditional African influences

Marguerite Duras and l'Amant
Marguerite Duras’ emblematic novel 'l'Amant,' giving rise to silky, colourful, refined interiors"

Indeed, the furnishings and especially the wallpaper and fabrics specified by Manoïl are eye-popping. I can't decide if I want to stay in a Piaf/ Cerdan room or one of the Signares rooms...

Marguerite Duras and l'Amant

Edith Piaf and Marcel Cerdan

George Sand and Alfred de Musset

Juliette Gréco and Miles Davis



Marguerite Duras and l'Amant


Les Cocottes

There is a marvelous Tumblr page dedicated to the women themselves, with historical photos and informative but brief text. Visit it to see Valérie Manoïl's mood-board inspiration!

And if you are going to be in Paris, visit their website for reservations.

Happy designing!