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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Photo of the Day 07.31.12


As I was flipping through the new “Designer Secrets” special issue of Canada’s Style at Home magazine, I fell in love with this fabulous breakfast nook. I love the contrast of formal traditional shapes, like the table and settee mixed with the modern chair, lamp, and graphic rug. The rich, deep navy velvet upholstery on the settee is the perfect backdrop for the fabulous mix of pillows. The chic roman drapes, framed abstract print, and orchid are the perfect finishing touches. What are your thoughts? Love it or Leave it?

My Favorite Room: Vanessa + Valentine

Hi LDV Readers!!!  It's Vanessa Stern from Vanessa & Valentine and I'm so excited to share with you my favorite room!  When I found out in January that I was pregnant with my 2nd child (a girl!), we (my husband, 13 month old son at the time, and I) were living in an 1100 sq. ft. 1 bedroom condo in Brentwood (a neighborhood in West Los Angeles).  I immediately started panicking that there was no way I was bringing a 4th person into the space that my husband and I were living in before we were married.  I set out to find us a new home in the same neighborhood and had always loved walking down the street Gretna Green Way, a few blocks over.  As my luck would have it, there was an opening for a large 2bd 2ba + a den and wet bar in a building I loved that I knew was meant for us!  What sold me the most was the vision of making the den/wet bar into my dream office!  After months of measuring, sourcing, and planning, this is the final result and I couldn't be happier!    
On one side of the room is the sitting area where I read and hang out with my guests who enjoy cocktails when they come over.  I wanted to stick with a mostly black and white palette so I could easily change the colors and accessories throughout the seasons.  The walls were already painted Behr's Gobi Desert, which I wasn't crazy about, but decided it wasn't worth my time changing it, so it stayed as is.  I first started with 2 large white Billy Bookcases from Ikea since I knew I needed extra storage and wanted to balance the shelving with the built in bookcase already on the other side of the room.  I envisioned a seating area for at least 4 people and found the Nate Berkus Studio Sofa in Black Linen the perfect solution to fit between the bookcases.  I bought an ottoman to act as a coffee table and place to kick up my feet at a Home Goods in La Quinta (near Palm Springs) in the clearance aisle for $40!!!  It had hideous fabric on it and and the legs were ugly, so I hired my Furniture Upholsterer, my Mom, to recover it and paint the legs glossy black.  We found black and cream Waverly fabric on discount at a Jo Ann Fabric also in La Quinta and made a semi-custom piece for the space.  We also found the bold graphic print silk fabric in a $6 bin at the same Jo Ann and recovered some old pillows I had for the black linen sofa.      
I scored this small scale Queen Anne style chair at a second hand store in Century City on Santa Monica Blvd for $50.  It had a terrible looking slip cover on it and when I pulled it up, I uncovered a pristine white cotton canvas fabric underneath in perfect condition!  After many Febreezes and sitting in the bright sun, I brought it into the office and fell in love with how well it fits in the space!  The black and white striped rug was another score on that same trip to Home Goods in the desert and it was a only $25 for a 5' x 8'!!!    
My bookcases are styled with old editions of my beloved Domino and fashion books as well as a framed postcard of Mrs. Robinson from my favorite movie "The Graduate."  I also keep fabric swatches and paint chips organized here in a woven basket, as well as old yearbooks, wedding photos, and wedding albums.  I bought a ton of white storage boxes from Ikea to keep unsightly things concealed and saved my Tory Burch shoe boxes for their stylish design to store old love letters from my husband, thank you notes from friends, and birthday cards.  I collect matches from my travels and have them displayed in a clear hurricane vase.
The little black Vincent Sheppard Loom Chair on the left I picked up from my days working as a Project Manager at Janus et Cie.  When damaged merchandise was returned we had access to buy pieces at a very deep discount.  I picked up 3 different styles for $5 each and spray painted them all glossy black.  The chair retailed at some ridiculously high price of $700 and it's gone with me everywhere I've moved.  The floor lamp is another cheap Ikea purchase and the art work I made years ago from saving old issues of W.  I just love the halcyon days of Studio 54 and adore the black and white images of Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, and the Playboy Bunnies circa 1977.  The other pic is Elke Sommer painting in her studio designed by architect Paul Williams that I've kept since my early 20s. 
  I moved my desk a million times before deciding I liked it this way best.  The desk itself is an old writing desk that I swapped with my Mom.  It was a dark wood before I got my hands on it, and now it's painted black and trimmed out in gold paint.  It looks really stunning and glamorous now!!!  The little faux bamboo ottoman I picked up for $40 (and bought a pair) at Hotel Surplus in Van Nuys and had my Mom recover them in leopard, my favorite print.  I'm sure you recognize the infamous Expedit from Ikea, which I think is one of the best designed pieces for organization!!!  By far my favorite item in this area is the framed pic in the left corner of Mick and Bianca Jagger circa the Studio 54 days!  
On top of my desk I use this little chevron tray from Z Gallerie to organize things neatly.  I recently found this Iomoi iPhone Case I had been wanting on sale at Nordstrom!  The only thing it's missing is my monogram, but it was half the price and I love the design, so I bought it!  I pick up fresh flowers every Sunday at the Brentwood Farmer's Market which is just steps away from my front door.  I love having fresh flowers in pretty vases throughout the house for the week.  
Above the Expedit is my inspiration board.  The antique mirror candle holders were a wedding gift from a friend who purchased them at Pottery Barn.  I burn Target's Tahitian Vanilla votives year round.  I ordered a copy of "The Perfectly Imperfect Home" by Deborah Needleman from Amazon and used it as a great resource and inspiration guide while decorating my office.  I highly recommend that if you don't own this book, buy it for your collection!  It's so charming!!!  The mirrored lamp I found in the clearance aisle at Bed, Bath, and Beyond years ago and it's been a favorite of mine ever since!    
I use a monogrammed mug from Anthropology to hold my markers and an antique piece of china that is part of a collection given to me by my Grandparent's to hold my business cards.  Check out the Greek Key candle I scored at Home Goods!  When the wicks burn out, I'm going to use it to store my keys or sunglasses.   
I had to share with you my inspiration board.  My next project is going to be the nursery and I am super excited to get started!  Since my little boy Barron will be sharing a room with his sissy (for the time being) I am going to use the bedding I used for him in the aqua houndstooth and aqua stripe but give it a twist by adding coral to the palette!  The walls will be painted Behr's Dolphin Fin to keep it neutral and I found the most adorable coral flamingo fabric at F&S on Pico that I am recovering an ottoman in and making small crib pillows with.  All the furniture will be white with a few accents of black and white thrown in the mix.  Stay tuned!   
In case you missed it, check out my post here on Chic Black Tote Bags.  I recently purchased this East West Tote from Tory Burch and absolutely love how much it holds!  It's my new work bag and keeps me super organized.  When I come home from a long day at work, I plop my things down here and sit down at my computer, with the iTunes bumping, and little Barron jumping all over the furniture dancing around while I send out a few more emails.  We love to spend time in my office and once I have this baby, the wet bar located to the left of my desk, will be open for business!!! 
Thanks Paloma for including me in this series and see you all next time!!!
Let's socialize, follow me here! 

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Cozy Cottage


This charming home designed by Barbara Westbrook is so dreamy! The exterior is absolutely gorgeous and the interior is decorated so beautifully. It is at once classic and tailored while being incredibly inviting. While it is not a “cottage” per se, the size of the home is definitely cozy. Why don’t they build homes like this anymore? I wish builders—and not just those for millionaires with personal architects, would start building historically-inspired homes with the charming details of the past. Unfortunately, we really don’t have much of this in Houston. What is it like where you live?

Ok, back to this lovely home. It has everything one could need, wrapped in a beautifully-designed, elegant, timeless interior. Every last nook is tastefully appointed. It’s like a charming little villa.


{I love the way Barbara styled the bookshelves in the living room.}


{I believe this house is located in Atlanta and it certainly has a very Southern sensibility—French antiques, beautiful rugs, and a sense of genteel hospitality.}


{Aren’t the doorways beautiful?}


{This guest bedroom looks so cozy! I love the frames on the wall as well as the alabaster lamps.}


{The bathrooms are classically-appointed like the rest of the house.}

{Images via Westbrook Interiors}

This Week’s Quote

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I am off to New York this morning! I will be there until Friday, overseeing a photoshoot for our upcoming catalog at work. In the evenings, I’ll be meeting up with a few friends, both old and new to get a little taste of this fabulous city. What does New York mean to you?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fabulous Room Friday 07.27.12

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Hi, friends! How has your week been? Mine has flown by and I’m pretty exhausted since I’ve been busy preparing for a weeklong photoshoot in New York for work starting next Monday. I’ve got a million things to do at the office today and a list about a mile long of errands and things to do this weekend before I leave. Naturally, I have work on the brain, which is why I am currently loving this fabulous studio belonging to Chicago interior designer, Megan Winters. The space is bright, super-organized, and colorful—the perfect space for a creative person to work in!

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{This long island provides plenty of workspace as well as storage underneath. I really like the bright white and blue color palette. The lanterns above the island are pretty great, too!}megan winters

{This Bengal Bazaar-swathed area provides the perfect space for meeting with clients or having team lunches. At first glance, the triptych looked like a map, but upon closer inspection, I realized that it is actually a cool abstract print depicting a horse.}

Have a wonderful weekend!

{Images via Megan Winters}

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Do Tell: What are your favorite beauty products?

I’m always eager to try new beauty products, whether it’s a new face cream, bronzer, or shampoo. I love it all! What can I say? I was raised by a mother who never left the house without make-up. I have followed suit and rarely go anywhere without having “my face on”. I’ve only been known to go out sans make-up when I’m en route to the spa for a facial or if I am having surgery. I believe in making the effort to pull oneself together each day-- I put on make-up and do my hair every day. I just feel better about myself when I am “done”. I’ve been wanting to mix up my routine lately so I’d love to know what your favorite beauty products are. What are your beauty must-haves? Why do you love them? Any advice for anti-aging products now that I’m 30? Which item(s) could you not live without?

{Image via Into the Gloss}

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Design Under the Influence: The Hand Chair

"I admire everything that is useless, frivolous and whimsical. I hate functionalism, post modernism and almost everything else. I do not agree with the dictum that houses are supposed to be ‘machines to live in’. For me, the house and its objects is supposed to be some crazy place that make you laugh." ~ Pedro Friedeberg
Hello, it's Erika from small shop with our 20th edition of "Design Under the Influence" — can you believe it? I've been seeing the iconic hand chair everywhere lately, and it always seems to pop up in my favorite interiors by my favorite designers. I was hoping you would want to learn more about it?
The original hand chair was designed by surrealist artist Pedro Friedeberg in 1962, when he was just 24 years old. But it seems that even from a very early age, Friedeberg rallied against structure and convention, finding inspiration in the Dadaist principle of creating anti-art for art's sake. But don't tell him that: Friedeberg went so far as organizing an art movement with the sole purpose of ridiculing movements in art!
Although he has painted, illustrated and sculpted countless pieces throughout his still ongoing career, he is best known for the hand chair, selling over 5,000 units since its creation. At that time, the International Style of modern designers such as Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and the Bauhaus reigned supreme. Friedeberg's chair design was a parody of their principle that "form follows function."

Let's take a look at some of those aforementioned favorite spaces:
Lenny Kravitz
I'll let Friedeberg explain his thinking in his own words: "The surrealists are more into dreaming, into the absurd and into the ridiculous uselesness of things. My work is always criticizing the absurdity of things. I am an idealist. I am certain that very soon now humanity will arrive at a marvelous epoch totally devoid of Knoll chairs, jogging pants, tennis shoes and baseball caps sideway use, and the obscenity of Japanese rock gardens five thousand miles from Kyoto."
I like him! (Even though I still love a good Knoll chair.)
Top image: Jonathan Adler

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Favorite Room: Crystal Gentilello

Hi LDV readers, it's Crystal from Rue magazine and I'm thrilled to be here today! When Paloma graciously asked me to share my favorite room with all of you, I couldn't have been more excited! I had a lot of fun decorating my San Francisco home and it's always fun to see what others think. Though I love every room for it's own unique reason, my living room has a special spot in my heart. In my previous home I went all white, which I loved, but wanted to try something totally different with my new place. From the start I knew I wanted to experiment with moody and dramatic walls so I went with Farrow & Ball's Down Pipe and couldn't be more happy with the result. As a foil to the dark walls, I opted for soft grays, light woods, and lots of plush texture to soften the space. It feels warm and inviting yet still makes a bold impression. What I learned from decorating my living room is to get things out of your system. Though I'll probably always love light colors and neutrals best, I had a blast challenging myself to try something totally new for me. Have fun with your choices, don't take it too seriously, and remember that at the end of the day, a space is a living breathing thing and always evolving.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Classic Glamour by Kristin Paton

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{Rich Colors, Warm Lighting, and Glamorous Pieces set a Romantic Scene at this Home Designed by Kristin Paton}

I recently came across designer, Kristin Paton’s work for the first time. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, her work is rooted in the traditional as you would probably imagine. What struck me most about Paton’s work is the richness of the spaces she designs. Her rooms are beautifully layered, featuring rich colors and textures, elegant silhouettes, and a flair for the dramatic. This home in particular is just stunning. Each room is classic, yet feels completely current and the ambiance, thanks in part to the lighting is seductive yet inviting. It is the ideal home for entertaining.

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{The Foyer features Classic Mouldings and a Pair of Statement-Making Sconces}

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{In the living room, Paton has opted for more modern pieces, like the leather club chairs and the Asian-inspired coffee table.}

kristin paton3{Glamorous Details}

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{I am simply in love with this kitchen. It has all of the design staples we all love—white cabinetry, loads of carrara marble, and dark wood floors, along with a handsome, statement-making island. The overall look is so crisp and polished. I love every last detail!}

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{These hanging bell jar pendants add to the glamour quotient. I love the metal shade around the candle cluster. However, I am not sure if I could ever opt for this type of fixture in my own home since they seem so high maintenance in the sense that they probably collect a ton of dust inside.}

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{Doesn’t this remind you of a chic bistro? I LOVE the built-in, tufted, espresso leather banquette in the breakfast area and I am crazy about the mirrored mouldings above the banquette. This is simply fabulous!}

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{Next to the kitchen, the dining room is my second favorite room in this home. It seems to glow from within. The wallpaper is stunning and I love that the window frames and fireplace mantel were all painted a deep, chocolate brown. All that’s missing is a fabulous chandelier!}

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{I wish that Paton’s portfolio included images of the bedrooms in the house. If this peek into the master bath is any indication, I am sure the bedrooms are gorgeous as well!}

Which room is your favorite?

{Images via Kristin Paton Interiors}

This Week’s Quote

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{First Image via V Magazine}