Monday, February 28, 2011

WHO: Billy Baldwin

Billy Baldwin designed the slipper chair, a small, upholstered side chair or armchair with low legs, designed for bedroom use.

“It could be said of Billy Baldwin that he was the most beloved interior decorator of his time. In fact, given the sharp-tongued tendencies of the design world, he might go down in history as the most popular decorator there ever was. It is not difficult to explain this. He was the most attractive person anyone could imagine. Armed with a keenly intelligent mind, a delicious gift for conversation, and perfect manners, he was the best possible companion.” – Mark Hampton

For more information, please visit .

Image courtesy Vetry Ltd.

Friday, February 11, 2011

WHY: Thomas Jefferson

“Design activity and political thought are indivisible.” – Thomas Jefferson

Photo via Wikipedia. 

WHERE: The Textile Museum

Established in 1925 by George Hewitt Myers, The Textile Museum is an international center for the exhibition, study, collection and preservation of the textile arts. The museum explores the role that textiles play in the daily and ceremonial life of individuals the world over. Special attention is given to textiles of the Near East, Asia, Africa and the indigenous cultures of the Americas. The museum also presents exhibitions of historical and contemporary quilts, and fiber art. With a collection of more than 18,000 textiles and rugs, The Textile Museum is a unique and valuable resource for people locally, nationally and internationally.

The Textile Museum is located at 2320 ‘S’ Street, NW in Washington, D.C. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. An $8 donation is requested of non-members.

For more information, call (202) 667-0441 or visit

Copy and photo courtesy The Textile Museum.

WHEN: Design Bloggers Conference

Join interior design bloggers, new media innovators, and interior design social media enthusiasts for the inaugural Design Bloggers Conference February 28 – March 1 in Los Angeles– the premier conference for new media and the interior design industry. This two-day conference brings you a unique opportunity to learn about and discuss the intersection of interior design with the world of new media including blogging, social media, and more. All interior design bloggers are invited!  For more information:

WHAT: Parsons Table

The Parsons Table was developed out of a course taught at the Parsons School’s Paris branch in the 1930s by Jean-Michel Frank.  According to a New York Times article, "Frank challenged students to design a table so basic that it would retain its integrity whether sheathed in gold leaf, mica, parchment, split straw or painted burlap, or even left robustly unvarnished. What grew out of Frank's sketches and the students' participation was initially called the T-square table..." The first example, as recalled by Parsons instructor Stanley Barrows, was constructed by the school's janitor and displayed at a student show.

Since its key proportions create visual balance - the width of the legs equals the thickness of the top - this crisp, clean, modern design works in a range of sizes and for myriad uses.

Copy via Wikipedia and Domino: The Book of Decorating; photo via West Elm.

WHO: Michael S. Smith

In 2008, Barack and Michelle Obama appointed Michael S. Smith to redecorate the residential quarters of the White House. During this project, Smith worked with Michelle Obama and White House curator William Allman to select art on-loan from museums to be displayed in private quarters and elsewhere.

In February 2010, President Obama appointed him a member of the Committee for the Preservation of the White House. Smith's makeover of the Oval Office was revealed to the public in late August 2010.  

In an interview with The Washington Post, he describes his style as "updated traditional"; in fact, his work blends vintage and contemporary looks with elements such as "Georgian antiques, Uzbek suzani textiles, 18th-century Chinese wallpaper, sun-bleached Moroccan carpets and a dash of Anthropologie and Pottery Barn".

He has created his own furniture and fabric collection, Jasper, and has licensed collections of tiles and stone for Ann Sacks, vintage and contemporary bathroom fixtures for Kallista, vintage lighting fixtures for Visual Comfort, floorcoverings for Patterson, Flynn & Martin, rugs, carpets and tapestries for Mansour Modern, and home fragrance products for Agraria.

For more information:

Copy and photo via 

WHY: Mitchell Gold

“When a home has been furnished successfully, just walking in the door is like getting a hug.” – Mitchell Gold

WHERE: Columbus, Indiana

Columbus, Indiana is a city known for its architecture  J. Irwin Miller, Co-Founder of the Cummins Engine Company, a local diesel engine manufacturer, instituted a program in which the Cummins company paid the architects' fee if the client selected a firm from a list compiled by Mr. Miller. The plan was initiated with public schools. It was so successful that Miller went on to defray the design costs of fire stations, public housing and other community structures. The high number of notable public buildings and sculptures in the Columbus area, designed by architects such as Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Robert Venturi, Cesar Pelli, Richard Meier and others, has led to Columbus being referred to as the "Athens of the prairie". Six buildings, built between 1942 and 1965, are National Historic Landmarks, and 60 other buildings sustain the Bartholomew County seat's reputation as a showcase of modern architecture. 

For more information visit

Copy and photo via Wikipedia.

WHEN: WestWeek 2011

Save the Date for WestWeek 2011!  On March 23 at the Pacific Design Center, editors from top shelter magazines  - including Michael Boodro of Elle D├ęcor, Newell Turner of House Beautiful, Ann Omvig Maine of Traditional Home and Dara Caponigro of Veranda – will answer your questions.  Stay tuned for more info…  Or check out for details so far.

WHAT: Emeco 1006 Chair

The Emeco 1006 chair, also called the Navy Chair, is an aluminum chair produced by Emeco in Hanover, Pennsylvania.  It was commissioned in the 1940s by the U.S. Navy in World War II for use on on warships: the contract specified that it had to be able to withstand torpedo blasts to the side of a destroyer. The manufacturing process used for the chair, unchanged since 1944, is a two-week, 77-step process that involves twelve parts being welded together, then being ground to create a seamless one-piece look. A proprietary heat-treatment process contributes to the chair's strength, which has a life expectancy of 150 years and comes with a lifetime guarantee.  It’s an icon of classic design that appears regularly in tv shows, design magazines and fashion layouts.   

Copy via Wikipedia; photo via 

WHO: Sister Parish

Sister Parish was the first interior designer brought in to decorate the Kennedy White House, and her influence can still be seen in the Family Dining Room and the Yellow Oval Room.

A stately and occasionally eccentric white-haired lady, Parish was the design partner of Albert Hadley, a Tennessee-born decorator, with whom she co-founded Parish-Hadley Associates (1962-1999). Both were equally influential: Parish for her homey, cluttered traditionalism and passion for patchwork quilts, painted furniture, and red-lacquer secretaries and Hadley for his clean-cut take on modernism.

She was partial to the understated English country house look, and her combinations of Colefax and Fowler chintzes, overstuffed armchairs, and brocade sofas with such unexpected items as patchwork quilts, four-poster beds, knitted throws, and rag rugs led to her being credited with ushering in what became known as American country style during the 1960s.

Copy and photo via Wikipedia.