Monday, August 29, 2011

WEEKLY Ws: Summer Break

Call it a staycation, a backyard vacation, whatever you’d like. We’re relaxing in the best city and town in the world this week. If you need us, we’ll be at Billy’s Bakery with a chocolate cupcake and an iced coffee. See you next week!

Image courtesy Catalina Museum.

Friday, August 26, 2011

WHY: Witold Rybczynski

Hominess is not neatness. Otherwise everyone would live in replicas of the kinds of sterile and impersonal homes that appear in interior-design and architecture magazines. – Witold Rybczynski

Thursday, August 25, 2011

WHERE: “Around the House and In the Garden,” by Dominique Browning

Dominique Browning, former editor in chief of House & Garden, writes “My story is about the way a house can express loss, and then bereavement, and then, finally, the rebuilding of a life.” For those who miss House & Garden and Dominique’s lovely essays each month, and for those who have more recently discovered her writing through The New York Times and other sources, this is a really lovely, very personal memoir of time spent renovating a house and rebuilding a life. It gives very personal meaning to Churchill’s famous words, “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”

For more information, please visit

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

WHEN: “Crafting Modernism: Midcentury American Art and Design” by the Museum of Arts and Design

Put this on your back-to-school wish list! This review of the rise of midcentury modern design examines how craft and manufacturing intersected in the years following World War II. Featured artists include Charles and Ray Eames, George Nakashima and more. The book will be released in October to coincide with a major exhibit at the Museum, but you can preorder now.

For more information, please visit

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

WHAT: “The Encyclopedia of Furniture” by Joseph Aronson

Yes, it looks like it’s about 100 years old and some of the photos look like they were printed from slides, but this is hands-down the greatest desk reference for furniture styles and history. Not to judge a book by its cover, but… The funky illustrations pretty much say it all. A must-have for every design afficianado’s book shelf!

For more information, please visit

Monday, August 22, 2011

WHO: “The Poetry of Home,” by Charlotte Moss

Charlotte Moss once said she always wanted to collect quotes about home and decoration. Rumor has it she compiled quotes for years before putting together this collection, which ranges from classic literature to more contemporary work. It’s a great go-to guide if you are looking a little inspiration – and it makes a great housewarming gift!

For more information, please visit

WEEKLY Ws: Summer Reading, Part 2

Summertime, and the reading is… Well, if not exactly “easy,” definitely more fun than your typical non-fiction! This week, we will share more of our favorite design books. Please share yours, too, by leaving a comment below. Thank you, and happy reading!

Friday, August 19, 2011

WHY: Cicero

A room without books is like a body without a soul. – Cicero

Thursday, August 18, 2011

WHERE: “Home: American Writers Remember Rooms of Their Own” by Sharon Sloan Fiffer

Almost 15 years after it was first published, this collection of essays still captures my heart. It’s one of those rare books that sit comfortably at the intersection of writing and home design. Contributors range from Lynda Barry to Gish Jen to Jane Smiley. The Los Angeles Times Book Review said it best: “These pages are filled with the kind of details that etch a childhood place into the deep recesses of memory, that distinguish the sensual life of one family from another.”

For more details, please visit

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

WHEN: “A History of Interior Design” by John Pile

This is sort of the book equivalent of that scene in “Adaptation” that compresses the history of time into a speedy monologue just a few minutes long. This award-winning book was written by a former professor at Pratt, and this edition has been updated and revised to include more non-Western interiors and a greater focus on residential interiors.

For more information, please visit

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

WHAT: “The Decoration of Houses,” Edith Wharton

What’s a summer reading list without Edith Wharton? Before she was legendary for her fiction, Edith Wharton was well known for this book that set the tone for American interior design. This is considered the very first book on interior design and it’s essential for any design library.

For more information, please visit

Monday, August 15, 2011

WHO: “Designing Women” by Margaret Russell

Margaret Russell’s first book looks at some of the style setters she featured early in her career at Elle D├ęcor. It’s not easy to find, but it’s worth it to track down this book for its in-depth, informative and entertaining interviews with style makers from Sheila Bridges to Muriel Brandolini to Suzanne Rheinstein.

For more information, please visit

WEEKLY Ws: Summer Reading, Part 1

Late August is a great time to treat yourself to a new book! Maybe you’ve wanted to read something all summer, and now you finally have time. Maybe you don’t have time now, but you have books on the brain since you are gathering ideas and making plans for that wonderful “back to school” feeling that arrives right after Labor Day weekend.

No matter which W – Who, What, When, Where or Why – you’re most curious about, we’ll recommend some books over the next couple weeks that will capture your imagination and provide some inspiration. Enjoy!

Friday, August 12, 2011

WHY: Charles Parkhurst

Home interprets heaven. Home is heaven for beginners. – Charles Parkhurst

Thursday, August 11, 2011

WHERE: Secondhand Rose

“For those who want a century’s worth of astonishingly beautiful wall-couture, Secondhand Rose is the source,” said New York Magazine. From Oscar-nominated set decorators to legendary interior designers, wallpaper fanatics flock to this shop on Lower Fifth. Suzanne Lipschutz, the proprietor, has “obsessively” sought out vintage papers for almost 40 years, compiling a library of more than 2,500 patterns including designs of almost every influence and finish. Whether you are looking for something Venetian-inspired or velvet-flocked, Secondhand Rose carries a wall covering to complement almost any design scheme.

For more information, please visit .

Image and info courtesy Secondhand Rose.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

WHEN: “Living Room” at The Jewish Museum through October 30

“Living Room,” a 2009 installation by the Israeli artist Maya Zack, went on view July 31 at the Jewish Museum in New York. The piece comprises four digital 3-D prints, each 4 feet high by 10 feet wide, hanging on the four interior walls of a room built within a gallery. Visitors don 3-D glasses and study the images while a 20-minute English translation of an oral history narrated by Yair Noam, an 88-year-old retiree in Tel Aviv, is broadcast in the space.

“It could have looked like a real place,” Ms. Zack said, “but I chose not to give it texture or pattern so it stayed this nonmaterial material.” There is one exception in a patch of floral wallpaper, mentioned in passing by Mr. Noam. “It only appears in this one area because he spoke about it only in the context of this window,” she explained.

For more information, please visit .

Image courtesy The Jewish Museum; info courtesy The Jewish Museum and The New York Times.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

WHAT: New Wallpaper from Studio E

Studio E, makers of luxury hand painted and finished wallpapers, introduced four designs this summer as part of its new “Line and Circle” collection. “We really enjoyed watching this collection take shape,” said Alexis Greene, President and Creative Director, “The launch is comprised of two very distinct looks, aimed at satisfying the need for earthy calm with a desire for playfulness and whimsy.”

Four types of wallpaper (the only-of-its-kind “Venetian Plasters”, “Metallics”, “Natural Fibers” and “Broken Color/Glaze Work”) form Studio E’s harmonious collection, whose worldwide installations include residential interiors, luxury retail and top hospitality properties. Studio E specializes in custom wallpapers for their clientele of world-class design firms.

Studio E hand manufactures luxury wallpaper in collaboration with its parent company, EverGreene Architectural Arts, who celebrated 30 years in business in 2008. America’s preeminent arts studio, EverGreene is known for restoring the nation’s landmarks (including the ceiling at Grand Central Station and the lobby of Rockefeller Center) and creating murals, ornamental plasterwork and decorative surface finishes worldwide.

Studio E is sold through fine showrooms globally. Prices range from $40 to $75 per yard, net wholesale. For more information please call Studio E at 212 244-2800 or visit

Image and info courtesy Studio E.

Monday, August 8, 2011

WHO: Charles R. Gracie

Charles R. Gracie established Gracie in New York City in 1898. Originally a custom lamp business, Gracie expanded into Asian antiques in the 1920s and 1930s. In the 1930s a textile trader brought Mr. Gracie a roll of exquisite handpainted wallpapers that he had discovered in Beijing. Mr. Gracie established a relationship with the studio that created that paper which has lasted decades. Today, handpainted wallpapers are Gracie’s signature product line and the company’s papers have graced interiors from Gloria Vanderbilt’s home to the White House.

For more information please visit

Image and info courtesy Gracie.

WEEKLY Ws: Off the Wall

Wallpaper, wallcoverings, murals… We are all about walls this week, from vintage papers to an exhibit that practically jumps off the wall.

Friday, August 5, 2011

WHY: Henry Anatole Grunwald

“Home is the wallpaper above the bed, the family dinner table, the church bells in the morning, the bruised shins of the playground, the small fears that come with dusk, the streets and squares and monuments and shops that constitute one’s first universe.” – Henry Anatole Grunwald

Thursday, August 4, 2011

WHERE: Embassy Row

Embassy Row lies along Massachusetts Avenue NW from Thomas Circle to Ward Circle, and the majority of embassies are found between Scott Circle and Wisconsin Avenue. Considered Washington’s premier residential address in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Massachusetts Avenue became known for its numerous mansions housing the city’s social and political elites. Though many of the original owners lost their homes in the Great Depression or moved on to more fashionable addresses after Massachusetts Avenue lost its cache, the area reemerged as a center of diplomatic activity following World War II.

Weekly walking tours of Embassy Row are offered through and more info is available on their web site.

Image courtesy Embassy of Indonesia. Info courtesy Wikipedia and Washington Walks.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

WHEN: Random Harvest Sale, Three Days Only!

Random Harvest is hosting a sale at its pop-up shop this weekend! Stop by 3144 Dumbarton Street in Georgetown and enjoy 30-70 percent off upholstery, furniture and accessories. For more information, please visit

Image and info courtesy Random Harvest.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

WHAT: “LEGO Architecture: Towering Ambition”

The National Building Museum is made of more than 15,000,000 bricks. Adam Reed Tucker may have used that many in his unbelievable exhibit, “LEGO Architecture: Towering Ambition,” which includes models of 15 buildings from around the world made entirely of LEGO bricks. One of only 11 LEGO Certified Professionals in the world, Adam uses his background in architecture to create large-scale models of some of the world’s most famous structures including the Empire State Building, the St. Louis Gateway Arch and Fallingwater.

After viewing the exhibit, try your hand at LEGO architecture and create a building for the National Building Museum’s LEGO community!

“LEGO Architecture: Towering Ambition” will run through September 3 at the National Building Museum in Washington. For more information, please visit .

Image and info courtesy the National Building Museum.

WHO: Darryl Carter

“Home is about individual lifestyle. Our work integrates an exacting vocabulary – responsive to both client and venue. Our practice is sensitive to lifestyle, architecture and setting; recognizing that these must be thoughtfully considered to create living environments. Design longevity is our hallmark; produced by honoring classic elements of the past and present.” – Darryl Carter

Image and info courtesy To purchase “The New Traditional” by Darryl Carter, please visit

WEEKLY Ws: Washington, DC (Design City) – Part 2

We still love DC! This week we’ll share more inspiration from our trip home. We’re already looking forward to returning in October…

WHY: Robert Frost

Home is the place where, when you have to go there/They have to take you in. – Robert Frost

WHERE: Olive Street NW

Quite possibly the prettiest street in Washington runs just three blocks from 27th Street NW to 30th Street NW. Olive Street is a narrow, tree-lined row of Federal style town homes, most no higher than two stories, and one former schoolhouse that has been converted to residences. The street abuts Rose Park at one end and a lovely residential block of 30th Street NW at the other, making it a picture-perfect sliver of Georgetown’s East Village. And few streets can boast better connections to the culinary world: both Julia Child and Ina Garten lived on Olive Street NW!

Image courtesy

WHEN: “Green: The Color and The Cause,” through September 11

Many cultures traditionally associate the color green with nature and its attributes, including life, fertility and rebirth. In recent years, green has become the symbolic color of environmentalism. This exhibition celebrates green both as a color and a cause, exploring the techniques people have devised to create green textiles, the meanings this color has held in cultures across time and place, and the ways that contemporary artists and designers are responding to concerns about the environment.

“Green: The Color and The Cause” will run through September 11 at the Textile Museum in Washington, DC. For more information, please visit .

Image and info courtesy The Textile Museum.