Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Catalog Comment: RH - Tragically hip but big at least...

I was pleasantly surprised and a bit startled by the new Restoration Hardware catalog and their newest "Spring" collection. Mostly because the Versailled chairs featured on the front (above) are lusciously over-the-top - jaunty from one angle, hunky from another - I fell in love when I saw them and blogged about it at Vegas Market last February. I hope RH had the guts to buy (v.s. copy for cheap in Asia) them from Noir Furniture & their lovely designer whom that I met at that show - a sexy French guy with a great eye for bold, ostentatious-yet-masculine pieces, whose name now escapes me - chalk it up to mommy brain.
As a rule, I hate catalogs - they make it seem way too easy & a bit contrived but I like the direction RH is going - they have been the predictably bland straddler between Ethan Allen and Pottery Barn - lots of oversized furniture, not much personality. Everything in the catalog seemed to say, "Upper East Side Impersonal." This new catalog is much more quasi-personal, much more curatorial. The lighting and other accessories are gigantic and bold - the pieces are statement making. The large 108"salvaged-wood trestle table is gorgeous, even if you need a barn for a dining room to fit it in your house. Maybe because I'm in the oversized-person catagory at 6'1", I just like big things - big babies, big furniture, big is better with almost everything. Pricing for RH is high but not higher given this twist in direction.

Spaces created solely from this catalog would be a bit precious and honestly, it would be much more fun to create a room and thus search for REAL architecturally-salvaged items, but I give an A for effort in terms of showing decorated rooms that are louder and bolder than any others in the stack of catalogs that visit my doorstep weekly.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Billie Jean Is Not My Lover (but she's on my FLOR)

I was a pretty die-hard Michael Jackson back in the day. I started a Michael Jackson fan club and had various Thriller iron-ons. Lots of my childhood makes its way into my interior design work -especially in my own house. And I have fond, strong, clear-cut memories of my Michael Jackson period, specifically an affinity for Billie Jean (as in, is, not my lover...she's just a girl who says that I am the one...but the kid is not my son.) This taught me oodles about love and paternity at way too young an age, but I was infatuated with the video - panels of flooring that lit up as MJ danced. It was the flooring of dreams. I had sort of stashed this flooring fantasy until this summer with MJ died. Only then did I realize how well it meshed with my current obsession with primary colors given the abundance of Tonka trucks and Fisher-Price which have infiltrated much of my living space due to my two-year-old son. So, I matched the dreams of my teen-years with my current day domestic realities and voila - Billie Jean carpeting.

FLOR has been a favorite of mine for a long, long time. Conceptually, I love anything that is sold as a kit, of sorts. I buy the tiles, neat little numbers at just under 20" by 20" and then I assemble them in whatever pattern I like. I've used them dozens of times for clients, for TV projects and of course in my own home. They can be mod, playful, uber-linear or subdued. And they are affordable, unless you're doing a ball-room's worth of them. They are better for smaller spaces.

My flooring dilemna was that I needed a solution for high-traffic areas where the passersby were almost always little people with greasy hands and likely dirty feet. I needed something that would wear well, and clean up even better. I needed something with punch and personality to liven up my boxy, 40's-era ranch house in the suburbs. In two configurations, I applied a Billie-Jean-esque pattern as an entry mat on steroids and then a hall runner with FLOR tiles cut into 1/3s. (Once you start cutting FLOR tiles - use duct tape as the "dots" they provide aren't typically adhesive quite enough.)

I'll be thrilled the day I can teach my soon to moonwalk on these babies.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Boy-proof & chic: What works for food fights and diners under 3ft tall?

It's the designista parents' greatest dilmenna - how to compose a stylish, intersting, functional home that can stand the test of toddler time? when it seems that anything cool is either a hazard to little ones or vulnerable to their PB&J-slinging whims - try some old-school favorites. Can formica and chic co-exist? Yes.

This weekend, I purchased this set for $99 on Craigslist. I can thank the modern convenience of websurfing on my phone and the ancient practice of middle-of-the-night breastfeeding as a combo which lead me to this seriously under-appreciated find at 3am on Friday night.

Bentwood Italian-made caned chairs in the iconic "S" shape with a white formica table that can stand up to mashed rasberries and my son jumping on it, hanging from it, and running any number of wheely toys across it. Formica - passe, you say? Not so. Go vintage or go home. Thanks to "Condo Gerry" for the friendly delivery service!
And the head of the table goes to my son who now proudly sits on the Argington Toddler Seat, which is fabulously sturdy, simply and interesting to my always-climbing two-year-old. Thanks Jenny @ Argington for another great idea (that works) for parents who hate ugly kid stuff.