Archive for December, 2011

December 29, 2011

Black & White with Ease – Geoffrey Johnson

I’ve been sitting here looking through Black &White (the book from my previous post) trying to figure out to incorporate it into my everyday life. Other than the obvious solutions of outfitting my room with monotones and paint, how do you truly inject the black and white theme and add a touch of color without a pop? It’s more challenging than it seems. The idea is to enjoy it, not letting your eye abruptly stop at the color, but rather breeze by with ease. I started to brainstorm artists who paint in black and white and appear to think in black and white.  One of my favorite’s came to mind. Geoffrey Johnson.

He for the most part, gives the feeling of black and white to create majestic cityscapes. They are extremely rich in hue, but seamlessly transparent at the same time. He came out with a series of works where he blended more exuberant color with his contrast. Successful? You be the judge.

For more information regarding the works by Geoffrey Johnson visit

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December 28, 2011

Classic, Clean, Start from Scratch

Coming from someone who can almost NEVER resist color, even I need a break after the holidays. At the beginning of the festivities, the diverse interaction of hues triggers my senses and sends me into overdrive, but after weeks of stimulation, my eyes need to regroup. Black and white. Classic, clean, start from scratch.

If you are looking for ways to cleanse your visual palette, a good interior design read is Black &White (and a bit in between) by Celerie Kemble. Her book is exploding with tips, essentials and tricks of the trade.

December 23, 2011

Je Ne Sais Quoi

 I just took a trip out to a local small town in search of the perfect second hand piece to give my room a little Je Ne Sais Quoi. I’m still on the hunt. I came across many pieces that I loved, but none that I felt had that special something.

One of the things I do in my home and the homes of many others, is to incorporate a really fantastic contemporary piece with an old charm. In fact, if a room is completely new or completely old, I think it lacks character. You need to put a little of both in your life in order to have an open perspective. This may be a very scary thing at first, but once you start it just makes sense.

For me, it doesn’t matter if it’s an antique or second hand. Something that has always been ingrained in me is, the importance of antiques and the history of works. That being said, a second hand piece that can be reused has a history as well and can be given a second chance with a little love. I once found a beat up foot stool for $4 and it has turned out to be a treasure in our house. I painted it white, sanded some of the edges and put a gold leaf initial on it. Now the piece will never leave my home.  I put it next to a brand new vanity and suddenly there is life. It’s my son’s favorite piece of furniture because it gets them up to everywhere they shouldn’t be.

Creativity in general is using your imagination to combine styles and create something new. The most successful rooms are a mix of worlds and generations new and old. Mixing contemporary with vintage gives a room a certain  Je Ne Sais Quoi.

December 21, 2011

Keeping the Holiday Sunshine

I was just talking to someone very special in my life and she was referring to all the lovely colors of the holidays and how they affect her. One sweet thing she shared with me was how the metallic of the ornaments, lights and glitter remind her of the warmth of the sun. I thought, as I was listening, how can we make this last?

During the holidays, I keep my lights low so that the tree lights up the room. Next to the tree, I keep a chair making it simple to cozy up to the glow of the lights and read my favorite interior design magazine.

An easy way to continue this relaxing, festive style is to make a nook where your tree used to be. Hang a metallic pendent light and install a dimmer, so that the lighting may be adjusted to simulate the glow of the tree. Hang over your favorite cozy chair and keep the warmth of the holidays year round.

December 19, 2011

Closet Compromise

If you’re like me, you’ve been standing in front of your closet for the last couple of weeks, trying to figure out what to wear for all of the festive parties this season and thinking ‘I have nothing’. WRONG!

You have more than you realize on your hangers and you can find it by searching for outfits online. I’m willing to bet, that unless it’s fresh off the runway for spring, you have something similar. One trick I use to give my old clothing new life is to search for looks at one of my favorite stores online and then rack my brain to think of what’s in my jewelry box, belt rack, shoe collection, dress collection…everything. Almost every time I figure out I have something similar to wear instead of buying a new $500, or more, outfit for one night.

If you’re still out of luck, rent a necklace or earrings from rent the runway accessories and it will feel like a new outfit for sure.

Of course, the fashionista in me, who hates repeats, also feels sometimes the splurge is worth it if you need that little push to make you feel like a million bucks. Another less expensive route; look for a vintage/second hand dress, buy a new pair of shoes. Happy compromise.

December 19, 2011

Fash Finds for HIM

Here are a few fash finds for him because sometimes Men, especially mine,  have a hard time with runway style. Hopefully these are applicable to everyday life. 

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Inspired by John Galliano Spring Collection 2012.

John Galliano Runway show

click image for direction to site and details.

December 19, 2011

McQueen Me! Fash find in Red.

Somebody McQueen me please! Fash find in Red. Everyone loves a girl in red and isn’t Alexander McQueen’s Firestarter Lady in Red a vision? If you’re made of money, this is a must have. If not, here are some more pocket friendly solutions, including tibi, Hoagund, and Asos.

December 18, 2011

Glamour Illustrations and Installations – Bring them into your life

I’ve been told, only the original is what you should be interested in. Well…I’m not. Don’t get me wrong, I Luuv a good piece of original work, but if it already has a home or one you just can’t take home, there’s another route. Visit it or buy a print. Art is meant to be loved and evoke emotions, so do what you can to bring it into your life. I recently came across two artists that I have fallen in love with. One an Illustrator and the other a Modern Installation Artist. Both go to the extent of girly.

Fortunately, as I was writing this post, I swiped up a piece of the Illustrators original work at a flash sale that went live today. I found a post on her blog about the pieces being sold to public and was able to get one of the originals before it was gone. There are also limited edition prints sold as well. You can find them on a members only site. – Samantha Hahn.

Girl with Toy Cars

Samantha Hahn evokes a certain kind of femininity. Her strokes are effortless and her calm palette mixes with a vibrant strength which empowers my senses and makes me feel free. She has the ability to give a watercolor complex intensity and sooth at the same time. 

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The second Artist, Theresa Himmer, is something special. She combines large masculine modern buildings with SEQUINS! I mean…if I could get it passed in through the Architectural Review Board in our town. I’d be all over it! I LOVE IT!  Himmer colors one of my favorite cities in the world Reykjavik, Iceland. The Denmark native took the frosty concrete city by storm and made it beyond glamourous.

Below is an in depth interview with the artist and how she approaches design.

Theresa answers the Design Centres questionnaire:


The motivation?
The desire and internal need for taking part in having an influence on the world (hopefully in a positive way) – the desire to create  wonder, and to enrich.

The process?
The process is part and parcel of each project – in my case that always involves a clear study, sketch work and… apart from that, projects seem to have a way of appearing in the most unexpected gaps in the everyday – where you let go. I consciously try to be very open to such conditions, and create a space for them to happen.

The vision?
I am interested in challenging how we perceive our surroundings – and thus in some way to make pockets, or rifts, in conventional definitions, which can then be filled with new meanings. This can appear in many different stages or layers. Anything from working with buildings and objects…

click here for more on this interview with Theresa

December 18, 2011

I got it!!!

I got it!!! The original ‘Girl with Toy Cars’ is MINE!! Yay! Luuuv me some Samantha Hahn


December 15, 2011

Morton Fine Art – Athneaum Show

My dear friend and Curator, Amy Morton of Morton Fine Art in Washington, DC, was chosen as the Washington Post’s gallery opening of the week. Amy has chosen two recent graduates from the Corcoran College of Art and Design to exhibit their works in Old Town Alexandria’s Anthenaeum on Prince St through January 22.
Details are as follows:

“Into the Light: Esther Yi and Victoria Shaheen”. Curated by Amy Morton for Morton Fine Art.
Where? The Anthenaeum, 201 Prince St, Alexandria, VA 22314
When? Through 22 January 2012. Thurs, Fri, Sun 12pm-4pm, Sat 1pm-4pm
Why? An emerging artist show of this caliber offers an exciting opportunity for collectors to view and acquire work ahead of the curve!

December 14, 2011

The Contempo Dollhouse

For your children or the child in you? brinca dāda’s  contemporary beach/concrete style home has been scaled down to a modern day dollhouse, less the pink bows and purple wallpaper. It is cool beyond its years!!

A house like this is a good way to get perspective on rooms and how to lay them out. The furniture is free and you can use this home as a model when rearranging your own furniture. Granite, the shape of rooms are different and almost no one has a spiral staircase, but it’s still an easy way get ideas without uprooting all of your belongings in a space that is no longer functional after rearranging.

The Dylan House is currently offered on with free furniture and shipping. I just got mine. I’ll let know know how it goes.

December 13, 2011

Holiday in London – Louis Vuitton and Billie Archilleos

Billie Achilleos/Louis Vuitton collaboration with small leather goods displayed on New Bond St., London.

When we lived in London there was something unexplainably magical about the city during Christmas. There was a crisp feeling to the air and a pleasantness of attitude that could make even the stodgiest Scrooge break a smile. I remember, very vividly, getting off the train with my husband on the way back from an Oxford trip and there were carolers outside the station. It was one of those priceless movie moments. For some reason we decided to get off at Bond St. and walk to Oxford Circus, where we lived. We meandered after hearing the chimes of the carolers and stumbled through Marylebone Mews. There were lights streamed in zig zags from the roof tops and the store windows were lit up with the most beautiful collections to sell for the season. The most perfect part of it all was, the stores were closed. We had the windows all to ourselves. There was no one in the Mews but us.  The combination of the lights, the music, the fashion were all enchanting. My ears had been surrounded with bliss and now my eyes had the perfect complement.

As I sit here this Holiday season and reminisce of the jolly life in London, I have stumbled upon Fashion turned art work. In a coupling much like my eyes and ears magical moment. This year on New Bond St. the artist Billie Achilleos paired with Louis Vuitton to create animals out of leather goods. The worlds are truly intermixed. The artistry and fashion, does a marriage make.

December 12, 2011

Not your average Gold

Every girl loves a little gold, especially during the holidays. Here are few fash finds that aren’t 14 carat. 

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December 12, 2011

Back to Basics

Whenever I think of a room or a piece of furniture I would like to create/possess. I go back to the drawing board and look at sketches. I like the bones of work and the process. Everyone’s process is different and you have to find what works for you. I pull photo after photo in magazines. I do a layout mentally, draw it several times. Move things round and round, then, draw it again. Soon, I can envision what it’s truly going look like. When contemplating furniture, it’s helpful to lay out tape to make sure there is enough space.

Now, it’s time to hunt for the perfect piece. I’ve found along the way, what I thought I wanted and what I’m now searching for, gets morphed. The piece I began with is completely different from the one I’m lured to now. Being open to new pieces is key, but knowing what you want is priceless. Generally we buy things that are safe and comfortable.  I like to take risks and encourage them. BUT…if your house is vanilla with a splash of sage, going out on a limb and buying an electric blue chair is probably not going to make you happy in the long run. Maybe try something with the color in it before you commit to a piece of furniture. Another tip is to print out the piece and tape it on the wall. Live with it in the room for a couple days or weeks (in the actual spot you want it) and if it makes you happy, then commit. 

I think the suggestions above are good for substantial pieces or for a large financial commitment.

For the small pieces…be free! If you find a small piece that makes you smile and you can’t live without it, go for it. It’s in your blood. 

Inspirational images/sketches/pieces

Pedestal Group - via MidCenturia

air sketches - inventor spot

Inspirational design job- by way of K.I.D collective. Click image for more photos from this job and K.I.D. Collective projects.

French Baroque Chest - via Sweet Nothings

December 9, 2011

Artist/Gallery to watch

Paul Davies - Blue Forest Vertical

For the past five years I have used my work to depict and consider other examples of modern architecture, and its open plan living ideal as a way of responding to the landscape that surrounds it. My decision to paint images of modern architecture over other styles of buildings…’  – Paul Davies

View the Tim Olsen Gallery for more recent works.

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December 9, 2011

Living with Stripes

1840's fireplace - revamped

Living with stripes is a step not many can take easily, it’s a commitment, but one well worth making. Stripes give an energy, which makes a home lively and productive. A good way start is with paint. The great thing about paint is, you can always repaint. Start with a door or one wall, something not completely permanent. Don’t pick a door you just spent a Grand on. Choose an old closet door and paint the inside to see if it makes you happy when you open it. If it does, you can move the stripes to a more prominent places, such as, a fireplace, a front door or a refrigerator. If these steps are too courageous, try living with a piece of furniture with stripes or painting a small frame or mirror. Here are a few options.

Striped table – Zoe Murphy

Colorful Striped Chair – Anthony Hartley 

December 8, 2011

Winter White – Harper’s Bazaar

Can you wear white in Winter? Yes you can! Most recently I got an email for an event where the themed attire is all white. At first I thought, really, in winter, how washed out can I possibly look in a white dress in January? A dress isn’t the answer. Covering myself in an oversized white sweater with a belt isn’t the answer. The answer is in the December issue of Harper’s Bazaar Magazine. A white suit!

December 6, 2011

Functional Art

metal fabricated chair - designed and crafted by Christopher Smith

Add a touch of Art to your furniture collection. This modern metal fabrication chair is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Craft Fabrication is a company that builds to suit. They custom design pieces based on client drawings and are ‘one of a kind’. Each piece is personal.

December 6, 2011

Altitude Design Summit

Altitude Design Summit, Salt Lake City, here I come!! Alt Design is officially SOLD OUT and I have my ticket. Phew!

Now that I’m taking a shot at this, I want to do it properly. This is conference for design bloggers to collaborate and spread the word. Hopefully I’ll have a world of new info to report when I return.

December 6, 2011

Where there’s color, there’s life.

Color! Color! Color! A brilliant piece of furniture or lighting can make the most desolate room inviting. Don’t be afraid of color. Here are a few must haves in my future.

Vintage Kantha Uphholstered Chair

” The vibrant patchwork fabric of our chairs originates from vintage cotton saris. Indian textile artisans sew them into colorful quilts using kantha, a traditional running stitch embroidery. Each unique…” as posted on Viva Terra.

For more about the chairs origin please click here. 

Fly Suspension Lamp by Kartell

This bubble globe ceiling light is an amazing addition to any room. Each bubble is transparent so the light diffuses softly through the room.

Sukan woven silk pillow

This pillow adds a pop of color without being overbearing. The best thing about a pillow is it’s easy to store if your taste is seasonal. Rotating pillows for seasons is a must.

Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.

Victoria Elizabeth Barnes

Dictator. Procrastinator. Hoarder

the working closet

where life meets style

Best Of Everything

Home for the most interesting stuff in wordpress

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