Tuesday, May 31, 2011

WHAT: Gilding

“Gilding” refers to a range of decorative techniques for applying fine gold leaf or powder to solid surfaces such as wood, metal or stone to give a thin coating of gold sheen. Methods of gilding include hand-application and gluing; chemical gilding; and electroplating, also known as gold plating.

Gilding styles include silver-gilt or vermeil; gilt-bronze or ormulu; and gold leafing. Parcel-gilt objects are only gilded over part of their surfaces.

Image (“Danieli Chandelier”) courtesy Niermann Weeks. Info courtesy Wikipedia.

Monday, May 30, 2011

WHO: Rose Cumming

Rose Cumming defined glamour in the Golden Age with her ardor for bold colors, striking designs and her talent for juxtaposing different styles and eras. She brought color to chintz and invented metallic wallcoverings. Her idiosyncratic, set-like designs became synonymous with 1920s style.

Operating out of her famous New York shop, she was one of the founding doyennes of today's interior design industry and a unique blend of practicality and eccentricity. For example, though she kept the shop lights on overnight at her Fifth Avenue shop (to help draw attention to the store even after hours), she personally didn’t like electricity and so lived by candlelight at home.

Her style contributions live on in the striking colorways of her textiles and the timeless exuberance of her interiors, which have influenced designers from Jamie Drake to Kelly Wearstler. “Parrots are blue and green,” Ms. Cumming remarked. “Why shouldn’t fabrics be?”

For more information, please visit rosecummingdesign.com.

Image courtesy Architectural Digest. Info courtesy Dessin Fournir, Rose Cumming Design and Architectural Digest. Thanks to House Beautiful for the inspiration!

Weekly Ws: Glamour!

It’s time for one last glimmer of glamour before we spend the next three months in sundresses and sandals (or shorts and flip flops). This week the blog looks at stunning sparkle and some inspiring designing women. Please visit throughout the week for a daily dose of style and substance!

Friday, May 27, 2011


Five things to flip through and click through this weekend:

Who: Sarah Richardson and Tommy Smythe share tips for scoring big at auctions in the June 2011 issue of Canadian House & Home.

What: Consider it the ultimate beach read: “Coastal Living Beach House Style: Designing Spaces That Bring the Beach to You,” available through www.bn.com

When: Elle D├ęcor’s Modern Life Concept House opens this weekend. www.facebook.com/elledecorshowhouse.

Where: The Colony of Wellfleet, the ultimate modern/classic/timeless beach getaway. http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/13/the-well-fleet-ten/

Why: Because it’s the unofficial start of summer… The Nelson Sunburst Clock, available through www.dwr.com

WHY: Alvar Aalto

God created paper for the purpose of drawing architecture on it. Everything else is at least for me an abuse of paper. – Alvar Aalto

Thursday, May 26, 2011

WHERE: Galerie Van den Akker

With a shared passion for interiors and 20th century design, Sean Robins and Rob Copley and Ray Raymakers of Van den Akker Antiques established Galerie Van den Akker as a way to introduce the newest ideas in 20th century and modern design in furniture, lighting and accessories.

It’s a unique collection of pieces ranging from the early 20th through the early 21st centuries that Sean, Rob and Ray hand select from across Europe. The collection offers a wide variety of the most prominent and recognizable names in 20th century European design including pieces by Jean Royere, Jules Leleu, Gio Ponti, and Fontana Arte. At the same time, Galerie Van den Akker showcases works by European designers that are emerging in importance in the United States, as well as one-of-a-kind prototype and extremely limited production pieces from a variety of designers. This has established Galerie Van den Akker as an important resource for the modern collector.

Galerie Van den Akker is located at 210 East 58 Street, New York. For more information, please visit www.galerievandenakker.com.

Image and info courtesy Galerie Van den Akker.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

WHEN: Phillips de Pury Design Auction, Wednesday, May 25

Phillips de Pury & Company will hold its spring Design auction tonight at 450 Park Avenue. The auction comprises 176 lots of 20th century and contemporary design, including work by British, American and Japanese artists. Top lots include furniture and lighting by Bertoia, Noguchi and Arad.

For more information, please visit www.phillipsdepury.com.

Image and info courtesy Phillips de Pury.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

WHAT: Modernism

The Modernist art movement started shortly after World War I and continued to evolve and influence art, culture and design through the middle of the 20th century. Modernist architects and designers believed that new technology developed in the early part of the 1900s rendered old styles of building obsolete. Le Corbusier famously said that buildings should function as “machines for living in,” and following this machine aesthetic, modernist designers typically rejected decorative motifs in design, preferring to emphasize the materials used and pure geometrical forms. Skyscrapers, such as the Seagram Building by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, became the archetypal modernist building. Modernist design of houses and furniture also emphasized simplicity and clarity of form, open plan interiors, and the absence of clutter.

Image courtesy archdaily.com. Info courtesy Wikipedia.

Monday, May 23, 2011

WHO: David Netto

Though he grew up on the Upper East Side and his father helped revive classic fabric house Cowtan & Tout, interior designer David Netto is best known for revitalizing the children’s furniture industry with pieces that are as good for children’s well-being as it is for their parents’ design sensibilities. His nursery and childrens’ collections are based on the definitely modern and decidedly adult furniture of Donald Judd. His interior design, meanwhile, draws inspiration from sources as diverse as 1930s luxury liners and midcentury modern California architecture.

For more information, please visit davidnetto.com.

Image courtesy Habitually Chic. Info courtesy Babble.com and Habitually Chic. Thanks to House Beautiful for the inspiration!

WEEKLY Ws: This is the Modern World

This week we look at people, places, furnishings and philosophies that represent the best of modern design. Please visit daily for a peek at a gallery, an auction, an architect’s philosophy and more that prove that designs don’t have to be traditional to be classic.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Five things to flip through and click through this weekend:

Who: Get to know the effervescent Iris Apfel, founder of Old World Weavers and a true style icon. www.archdigest.com

What: The brains (and beauty!) behind mrs-o.org. Veranda, May-June 2011.

When: Lonny gives a history lesson in neoclassical style. www.Lonnymag.com

Where: Look inside the stunning mid-century home of the man behind "the Athens of the Prairie," Columbus, Indiana. Elle Decor, May 2011.

Why: Because Spring calls for tulips… Eero Saarinen’s Tulip Armchair, www.dwr.com

WHY: Barbara Barry

Design is about what exists freely in the world. - Barbara Barry

Thursday, May 19, 2011

WHERE: The High Line

The High Line was built in the 1930s, as part of a massive public-private infrastructure project called the West Side Improvement. It lifted freight traffic 30 feet in the air, removing dangerous trains from the streets of Manhattan's largest industrial district. No trains have run on the High Line since 1980. Friends of the High Line, a community-based non-profit group, formed in 1999 when the historic structure was under threat of demolition. Today, the structure is an elevated public park.

The public space blends plant life (reminiscent of the quiet contemplative nature of the self-seeded landscape and wild plantings that once grew on the unused High Line) with long, narrow "planks," forming a smooth, linear, virtually seamless walking surface. The public environment on the High Line includes a water feature, viewing platforms, a sundeck, and gathering areas used for performances, art exhibitions and educational programs. The first section, from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street, opened June 9, 2009. The second section, from West 20th Street to West 30th Street, is scheduled to open next month.

This summer The New York School of Interior Design offers “Walking the High Line,” a one-time course exploring the park’s historical and cultural significance and its tremendous impact on the neighborhoods that surround it. Author and architectural historian Mat Postal will lead the tour on July 14. For more information or to register, please visit www.nysid.edu.

For more information about the park, please visit www.thehighline.org.

Image courtesy thehighline.org. Info courtesy thehighline.org and NYSID.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

WHEN: “Leading Women in Design” Book Signing

Tomorrow evening The Kips Bay Decorator Show House celebrates some of the industry’s leading “designing women” at a book signing. Noted authors and designers including Victoria Hagan (“Interior Portraits”), Charlotte Moss (“A Flair for Living”), Bunny Williams (“Point of View”) and others will be on hand to sign copies of their beautiful – and inspirational – books. This event is included in show house admission and tickets from previous visits will be honored for the evening.

The “Leading Women in Design Book Signing” will be held on May 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Kips Bay Decorator Show House 2011, 163 East 63rd Street. For more information, please visit kipsbay.org.

Image courtesy bn.com. Thanks to Habitually Chic for the inspiration!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

WHAT: 27 + 27 ≠ 54

Steve Mittman of Edward Ferrell-Lewis Mittman recently gave a great talk at the D&D’s Spring Market. “Fabric Selection 101:The Wrong Fabric for the Right Chair” provided a behind-the-scenes look at how an upholstered piece comes together, with a special emphasis on how to select the fabric or leather that works best for specific projects.

Mr. Mittman’s informative and entertaining talk answered several questions about pattern, style, weave, texture and other factors that influence application and wear. His presentation combined equal parts insight, humor and history. For example, he explained that some fabrics that technically measure 54” wide actually measure 27” plus 27” – the dominant patterns run parallel and repeat once in the width of the roll, making it challenging to find a focal point that balances aesthetically on a standard upholstery project. These patterns tend to be inspired by historical motifs, which were usually 27” wide since that was the standard width of textiles created on handlooms.

While there’s no match for seeing the talk in person, Edward Ferrell has published a great guidebook called “Fabric Selection 101: The Wrong Fabric for the Right Chair.” It answers questions such as, what should designers keep in mind when selecting patterned upholstery? According to the book, “A beautiful marriage of patterned fabrics to frame considers all of the following elements: Location of dominate motifs; repeat size in relation to frame; and pattern weave direction.” The book addresses other issues as well and provides guidelines for a range of projects.

For more information on how to select the right fabric for the right chair, please visit www.ef-lm.com/literature.aspx or pick up a copy of the brochure from a showroom.

Info and image (“Georgetown Lounge Chair” Style CH6460) courtesy ef-lm.com.

Monday, May 16, 2011

WHO: Angelo Donghia

A fine aesthetic sensibility, discerning eye for quality and concern for comfort in the complete lifestyles that he created made Angelo Donghia one of America’s most influential interior designers. His style was characterized by simplicity of line, purity of materials, boldness of form and sensual textures and shapes. However, what truly set Angelo Donghia apart from his contemporaries was his inclination toward business and an entrepreneurial spirit that, when combined with his innate sense of design, drove the creation of several successful product lines and numerous licensing ventures, from fabrics to furnishings.

Donghia’s design philosophy, a less is more approach, extended to all his projects. He understood what people like and enjoy living with and had an uncanny ability to turn that knowledge into comfortable, elegant designs. In his interiors he created total environments – not just rooms – on the tenet that “You should feel at all times that what is around you is attractive . . . and that you are attractive.” His trademarks included the use of silver gray, often through gray flannel, an attention to ceilings and “fat” furniture.

Mr. Donghia said of his aesthetic, “I feel that I’ve developed my own style that is as classic and minimal as the thirties style it reflects… It’s not traditional but it has a sense of traditional forefathers. It looks as if it came from something romantic.”

For more information, please visit donghia.com.

Info and image courtesy Donghia Inc. Special thanks to House Beautiful for the inspiration!

Friday, May 13, 2011

WHY: Kate Spade

I love a place that has a hint of formality. Not a lot, just enough to make it seem important and special. – Kate Spade

To purchase a copy of “Occasions” by Kate Spade, please visit bn.com.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

WHERE: Designers and Books

From William Morris to Frank Lloyd Wright to Edith Wharton, there has always been a particularly special and robust relationship between designers and books – reading them, writing them, designing around them, decorating with them… designersandbooks.com celebrates that relationship.

Designers & Books is devoted to publishing lists of books that esteemed members of the design community identify as personally important, meaningful and formative – books that have shaped their values, their worldview and their ideas about design.

It has been said that any book list is an invitation to begin a conversation (and sometimes an argument!). Designers & Books encourages comments, generates debate and facilitates discussions about the books that are posted each week. The site also includes a list of specialty bookshops, such as Rizzoli New York, that sell designers’ recommendations.

For more information, please visit designersandbooks.com.

Image courtesy Rizzoli New York. Info courtesy designersandbooks.com.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

WHEN: D&D Spring Market May 11

The Decoration & Design Building’s Spring Market schedule is packed with engaging and informative seminars and events. This year’s Keynote is “What’s Next In Decorating? What we love, 2011 trends – take them or leave them, and what needs to go away in decorating.” Sponsored by the Wall Street Journal, the panel features an all-star lineup of design experts, including Deborah Needleman, Editor in Chief of WSJ Magazine, the monthly style glossy of the Wall Street Journal; Sara Ruffin Costello, WSJ columnist; David Netto, Contributing Editor and decorator; and Miles Redd, decorator.

With a wealth of design media experience behind each panelist, this keynote promises to be a valuable survey of design trends and media representation, and a look forward at what’s on the industry’s horizon.

“What’s Next in Decorating” will be held at the D&D Building at 9:30 a.m. on May 11. Showroom presentations and open houses will be ongoing throughout the day.

For more information, please visit ddbuilding.com.

Image of Deborah Needleman’s Tribeca apartment courtesy New York Magazine. Info courtesy Decoration & Design Building.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

WHAT: American Country Furniture

Americans are known for their resourcefulness – a trait that served early craftsmen well. Colonial American furniture makers developed the Country or Village style of furniture – and like a designing MacGyver, they created almost endless variations of the Windsor chair and executing the design in whatever wood was available locally.

The designs’ trademark is utilitarianism. Stools, chairs, benches, chests, cabinets and other furnishings were made in pine, maple, hickory, oak, apple or cherry wood. Beds with short posts, ladder-back chairs, wagon seats, rocking chairs, writing chairs and other designs have a uniquely American feel. American Country Furniture embodies the solution to the timeless design dilemma of creating from available resources to meet specific needs.

Image (“Easton Occasional Table”) courtesy Niermann Weeks. Info courtesy “The Encyclopedia of Furniture,” by Joseph Aronson.

Monday, May 9, 2011

WHO: David Easton

Although celebrated as a practitioner and scholar of neo-classical design and architecture, David Easton is a master of many styles. His wide-ranging architectural knowledge coupled with his propensity for design has enabled him to effortlessly translate the taste and aspirations of his clients into extraordinary residences for almost thirty years. Most recently, he began applying his talents to commercial and hospitality design as well.

David Easton’s collections for Lee Jofa, Robert Abbey, Cole and Son and Walter’s Wicker are savvy interpretations of both traditional and modern styles. Inspiration comes from a variety of sources, ranging from his travels and his personal passion for history to the sheer practicalities of modern living. The understated chic of his furnishings collections reflects the seasoned assurance of a sophisticated designer.

Caroline Clifton-Mogg said, “David has the art of arranging a room so that it looks like one belonging to a man of taste and culture rather than that of a decorator.”

For more information, please visit davideastoninc.com.

Image courtesy Dan’s Papers. Info courtesy David Easton Inc. Thanks to House Beautiful for the inspiration!

WEEKLY Ws: Out With (Some of) the Old…

Time to Spring Clean your design philosophy! This week, in honor of the D&D’s Spring Market in New York, we celebrate traditional decorating and look ahead to what’s next. From a designer with timeless style to a panel about coming trends to a mashup of old and new info sources, we’re covering some classic and current Ws. Please visit daily for this week’s Who, What, Where, When and Why.

Friday, May 6, 2011

WHY: Celerie Kemble

In life as in design, it is not perfection you should be after. There's beauty in the faded and worn, the well loved, and the sentimental...After all, life has seams. Your home should be like a loosely woven fabric of desires, memories, practical, notions, and even compromises. - Celerie Kemble

Thursday, May 5, 2011

WHERE: Kips Bay Living Room by Richard Mishaan

Every designer at Kips Bay faces challenges of time, resources and space. This year, Richard Mishaan faced an unusual test: his assignment was the second-floor living area, which measures approximately 20 feet deep by 40 feet long. With generous windows along one wall and exquisite woodwork throughout, the room could be a dream assignment – or a nightmare to decorate.

Mishaan rose to the occasion, creating a seating area in one half of the room and a dining area in the other. Soft tones and rich (but not heavy) textures play up the room’s best assets, while stunning furnishings thoughtfully placed create parity, balance and focus. Mishaan’s finishing touch: blending art and accessories in unexpected yet surprisingly successful ways (the designer’s own Butero hangs between two overscale gilded mirrors).

Though Sister Parish, the room’s original decorator, might not recognize the room today surely she would appreciate its strong point of view and creative mix of textures – and that lovely yellow windowpane check on the walls!

The Kips Bay 2011 Decorators Showhouse is open through May 26. For more information, please visit kipsbaydecoratorshowhouse.org or call 718 893 8600 x245. Photo courtesy designwire.interiordesign.net. Info courtesy The New York Times.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

WHEN: Six Short Weeks Ago...

The Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse features rooms decked out in almost every imaginable decor. From swooping and soaring ikat wallcoverings to hand-drawn, finely-detailed painted panels, from classic boudoir furnishings to the cutting edge laundry technology, the showhouse offers ideas to inspire every design scheme.

The amazing depth and breadth of the rooms is especially impressive considering designers were announced less than two months ago, and they had just six short weeks to turn the classic mansion into a showcase for today’s trends and a launching pad for tomorrow’s. In fewer than 50 days, designers pulled together every detail – furniture, finishes, wallcoverings, carpets, hardware, software and more.

The incredibly positive response to the designs, the air of excitement around the event and buzz about a re-invigorated design community proves that their hard work paid off – beautifully!

The Kips Bay 2011 Decorators Showhouse is open through May 26. For more information, please visit kipsbaydecoratorshowhouse.org or call 718 893 8600 x245. Image (Bedroom by Amanda Nisbet Design) courtesy The New York Times.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

WHAT: Ikat

Ikat is a method of weaving that uses a resist dyeing process similar to tie-dye on either the warp or the weft fibers, creating a rippled repeat.

Dye is applied prior to the threads being woven to create the final fabric pattern or design. Double Ikat involves resist dying both warp and weft prior to stringing on the loom. Traditionally, and still commonly, a back-strap loom is used, though any variant or modern loom may be used.

At the Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse, Rauber + Rauber Interiors installed a super-sized Ikat wallcovering along a curved stairway leading to the fourth floor. The sunshine yellow and black color combination plays up the dramatic, swirling staircase to stunning effect.

The Kips Bay 2011 Decorators Showhouse is open through May 26. For more information, please visit kipsbaydecoratorshowhouse.org or call 718 893 8600 x245. Photo courtesy eyespy.squarespace.com. Info courtesy wikipedia.com.

Monday, May 2, 2011

WHO: Celerie Kemble

Celerie Kemble's childhood was in many ways a design tutorial spent in construction sites, antique stores, and in the unique homes designed by her mother, Mimi McMakin. After concentrating in English Literature she graduated from Harvard and quickly succumbed to what she calls a compulsion for design and home improvement. For 12 years she has been working as a much publicized residential and commercial interior designer based out of New York City. The office now boasts six designers and an influx of interns working with clients in The Dominican Republic, Puglia Italy, Texas, Amagansett, Bridgehampton, and Manhattan.

Celerie Kemble designed the “Lady’s Library” at the 2011 Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse. The room still features the dark wood paneling that Mr. Whitney brought over whole from England; however, the new design scheme incorporates clever and colorful new touches that give it light and life. For example, the designer lined the bookshelves with cream-colored faux leather, then swapped dark shelves for Lucite ones and displayed books from Assouline and back copies of The Paris Review.

The Lady’s Library combines style and substance – and a bit of humor, too. When The New York Times asked who the “Lady” was she designed for, Ms. Kemble replied with a grin, “A beleaguered decorator who needs someplace to drink.”

The Kips Bay 2011 Decorator Showhouse is open through May 26. For more information, please visit kipsbaydecoratorshowhouse.org or call 718 893 8600 x245. Photo courtesy designwire.interiordesign.net. Info courtesy kembleinteriors.com and The New York Times. To purchase a copy of “To Your Taste,” by Celerie Kemble, please visit bn.com.

The 5Ws of Kips Bay

This week we celebrate the opening of the 2011 Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse with a few highlights from the house. Please visit throughout the week for a peek at some the iconic furnishings and designers featured this year.