Thursday, August 30, 2012

Weekend Obsession: Happy Birthday to ME!

Like the old song says, there’s no place like home, not because of the real estate, but because of the sense of shelter and nurture that it provides. This deep, wordless experience can’t be manufactured in an instant but develops slowly, one birthday party, convalescence, Thanksgiving and cup of tea at a time.

From “The Other Real Estate Value,” by Winifred Gallagher, New York Times Opinionator Blog/Living Rooms, June 28, 2010

Image (Magnolia/Bloomingdale's Limited Edition FNO Cupcake) via

Monday, August 27, 2012

5 Ws of... DOMINO Fall/Winter 2012

What: Domino’s new issue just hit stands this morning.  It’s a mix of old favorites from the late, great Domino magazine and some new spaces not published before. 

Who: This issue introduces the Domino Style Council, an eclectic (of course!) group of 13 designers from legends such as Steven Gambrel and Bunny Williams to retail powerhouse Jonathan Adler to bloggers and authors such as Heather Clawson and Phoebe Howard.  Their insights and advice are sprinkled throughout the issue.

Where: Inside the magazine you’ll find three sections.  For living room, dining room and bedroom ideas, see The Rooms.  In The Homes you’ll find features on six houses including the original magazine’s iconic feature on Jenna Lyon’s Brooklyn townhouse. And “It’s All in the Details” offers styling tips for mantels, bookcases and reading chairs.

When: This Fall/Winter edition will be on newsstands until December 3.  Not sure what the official on-sale date is, but copies have been popping up on a few newsstands near Conde Nast in Times Square and on the Upper East Side.

Why: “This special Domino issue satisfies several very basic human urges: the longing to stare open-mouthed at things of great beauty, to covet them, to copy them, even make them our own… Let the drooling begin…” – from the Editors’ Letter
Images courtesy Domino Fall/Winter 2012.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Weekday Obsession: Desks

The morning commute meanders across 57 Street, where the AERIN offices overlook the intersection with Madison.  Coverage of her new office in Architectural Digest – and images of other fabulous workspaces – have inspired a little desk organization around the 5Ws office. 

Images: Architectural Digest; Vogue; Domino; Habitually Chic; Matchbook.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Weekend Obsession: Shagreen

In the 17th and early 18th centuries, the term “shagreen” began to be applied to leather made from sharkskin or the skin of a rayfish.  This form is also called sharkskin or galuchat.  To create the pebbled look we associate with shagreen today, the skin’s placoid scales are ground down to create small round protrusions on the surface.  The material is colored from the other side and the dye shows through the front, creating a textured and toned surface. 

Jean-Claude Galluchat, a master leatherworker in the court of Louis XV of France, first popularized shagreen.  Its popularity spread throughout Europe in the mid-18th Century.  Shagreen’s rough texture led to the French meaning of anxiety, vexation, embarrassment or annoyance. 

Images: Shagreen City Lights by Edelman Leather; Edward Ferrell + Lewis Mittman Swedish Lounge Chair via Elle D├ęcor; Studio E Sun Hee wallcovering. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy 100th Birthday Julia Child!

“We arrived back in Washington, DC in November 1956, and almost immediately dove into the task of renovating our little jewel of a house at 2706 Olive Avenue [sic].  It was a 150-year-old, three story wooden house, on the outskirts of Georgetown…  What fun to feather our own little nest, the only nest we actually owned.” – Julia Child, “My Life In France” 
Image via The Ten Mile Square.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

5Ws of... The Woolworth Building

Who: Designed by Cass Gilbert, the building, at Park Place and Barclay Street, was commissioned by the retail magnate Frank W. Woolworth and constructed between 1910 and 1913. Woolworth famously financed the building without loans or help from developers.

What: “The Skyscraper and the City: The Woolworth Building and the Making of Modern New York,” by Professor Gail Fenske, contains numerous illustrations, including one showing a 1929 advertisement for the building, calling it a "Cathedral of Commerce" -- a name that has stuck -- and lauding its height (792 feet), number of floors (60), weight (206 million pounds), floor area (15 acres), exterior windows (3,000), tons of steel (24,000), bricks (17 million) and tons of terra cotta (7,500).

When: On the evening of April 24, 1913, President Woodrow Wilson pressed a tiny button inside the White House, lighting up the Woolworth Building in Manhattan. It was "the tallest structure in the world, with the one exception of the Eiffel Tower in Paris," The New York Times reported, and it was a marvel of architecture and engineering.

Where: Construction will begin soon to turn The Woolworth Building’s neo-Gothic tower, one of New York City’s most recognizable landmarks, into about 40 luxury apartments, including a five-level penthouse in the cupola.   An abandoned 55-foot-long basement swimming pool, originally part of a health club, will be restored as an amenity for residents.

Why: “The question of whether the Woolworth Building is, indeed, a great work of architecture may still be open to debate. Yet Woolworth and Gilbert's project represented in the eyes of contemporaries more than a vulgar contraption for producing a profit, and more than a dubious expression of corporate power, egregious advertising, or an aggressive assault on New York's new signature skyline.” – Professor Gail Fenske

Note: The information in Who, What, When and Why is reprinted from “A New History for an Old Skyscraper,” by Sewell Chan, published on on July 25, 2008.  The information in Where is reprinted from “Luxury Living in Old Temple of the 5 and Dime” by Michell Higgins, published in the New York Times on August 7, 2012.

Images: Big City Blog Boy, Ronnie Elgavish (2, 5, 6), Saturday Evening Post, New Construction Manhattan.