Saturday, March 31, 2012

Quintessentially New York

This week we were so happy to have a couple of friends come and stay - a colleague of my husband turned great friend was here for just under a week and then a fellow Canadian architect we met and became friends with in London was in town for a conference at NYU.  All in all it meant that we had a pretty busy week (especially since I am now working). With that being siad, it also meant that we got to experience some wonderful bars and restaurants that we have been hearing about and wanting to try for quite some time.  

We live in mid-town west and tend to spend most of our time on the west side of the city - there is so much to see, do and eat in Manhattan that we have been kept more than busy since we arrived.  On Wednesday evening we had a reservation in the lower East Village at Beauty & Essex and boy did this open the gates to the east side for us!  We have been to sister hot-spot The Stanton Social (see post here) that isn't too far away, however B&E was for me one of those places you hear about and think of as being quintessential to New York.

The street front is a pawnshop. Yes, a real, live, working pawnshop with an incredible selection of jewelry and items we swooned over. You then walk past the *massive* bouncer, through the non-descript door at the back of the shop and you are instantly transported into a world buzzing with energy and glitz.  Set over several floors, this jewel box of a space designed by the quirky minds at AvroKO and was a truly incredible experience.  The cocktails were delicious, the food - served tapas style to share - was moreish, and the women's washroom even had a bar serving champagne! We had such a wonderful time eating, drinking and checking everyone out that I highly recommend this place to anyone and everyone - we will be back!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Furniture Fridays

I would like everyone to join me in welcoming Jacquelyn from the amazing Lark&Linen.  Jacquelyn and I have become blogging buddies and I am so thrilled that she is here for Furniture Fridays. Working as an interior designer in my hometown of Toronto, Jacquelyn has an incredible eye for design and I am always so inspired by her posts.   Her aesthetic is sophisticated and down-to-earth and I highly recommend all to stop by her world for a read. Welcome!

While some women pine after shoes and purses, I tend to pine after chairs. I would much rather wear last years pumps if it meant I could dine on an Eames or Aalto classic. While the Hans Wegner wishbone chair will forever remain my favourite (something about it gives me googly eyes), there are many lesser known ones that deserve their time to shine.

Renound French designer, Jean-Marie Massaud, designed the ad-hoc chair for Viccarbe in 2007. The piece is both sculptural as it is functional which is an instant bonus in my eyes. It can be found in black, white, orange or clad in 24 carat gold, for when you're feeling fancy, and is perfectly suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. It's one of those items that can stand on it's own and truly take centre stage, or seamlessly blend into its surroundings. Plus, it's surprisingly comfortable to boot. Form and function at it's very best.

Image sources Vicarbe

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Chic Clubhouse

We were walking around the meatpacking district over the weekend and I noticed a nondescript door leading into a lovely mid-century building. The little black lettered plaque beside the door caught my attention with its very discreet script - Soho House.  When we lived in London I had a friend who was a member and so was invited to Soho and Shoreditch house a couple of times.  I have seen the episode of Sex and the City where Samantha sneaks into the club here in New York and have always been fascinated with the idea and nature of a private members club.  While I have never been to the one here I am sure that the rooftop pool on a hot Manhattan day is the place to be!

One of the most interesting (for me) addition to the Soho House chain is Soho House Berlin, which is housed in a late 1928 Bauhaus building.  The building has an incredible history as it used to be a department store until the government seized it for use in the Second World War as a Communist headquarters until the mid-fifties.  With 40 guest rooms spread over eight floors this club also features all the amenities that one is looking for as a member of the Soho House Group with a movie theatre, restaurant, bar and Cowshed spa.  The architecture of the building mixed with the eclectic mixed interior gives this club a great feel and is a place I could see myself spending a lot of time in.  Are any of you members of a private club - if so which one?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Great Eggspectations

Throughout my schooling we kept hearing how skilled craftspeople were becoming a rarity and that the design and furniture markets were becoming more commercial and more machine made.  Well I have to say that Eric Chapeau throws that theory out the window. He is a member of the 'slow-food' movement rather than 'fast-food' with ultra complex finishes and applications, one of which is made from eggshells. It is an ancient Vietnamese technique where one painstakingly applies eggshells - one crack at a time - to a surface, whether furniture or part of an interior.  

His creations are absolutely unique as with all things in nature as he cannot control the cracks and what shape they will form.  He and his team have been sought after far and wide for this incredible technique and has even been commissioned by William Sofield to panel a room (image above) in thesCoquille d'Oeuf - a commission that took them around 10,000 hours to create.  I think that there is a depth and interest created with these pieces and the application of the incredible technique that is unparalleled.  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spanish Serenity

As always I am so excited when my issue of AD arrives each month. I love flipping through the pages and finding new suppliers and inspiration on every turn.  This month had some really incredible spaces and ideas which I plan on sharing with all of you over the next few posts, and I thought I would start with the incredible house and studio of Spanish decorator Isabel Lopez-Quesada.   

In 2000 she discovered a recently closed wax factory and saw it's potential for conversion to her home and studio.  The property consists of an L-shaped building with a courtyard in the center. With large steel-framed doors that let light flood in, and a predominantly white wall palette, Lopez-Quesada has converted this old factory into a beautiful design statement.  Her choice of furnishings and art is interesting with a well-executed mix of old and new with textured and smooth. There is calmness about this space that I truly admire and could picture escaping from the bustle of Madrid to the tranquility of the leafy courtyard.

All Photos Courtesy of Architectural Digest

Monday, March 26, 2012

Inspired By

Pantone! The incredibly talented art director Emilie Guelpa has styled a breathtaking shoot for French food magazine Fricote. I love the creativity and the styling of the shoot.  As we have seen more and more over the past few years Pantone has been marketing themselves with accessible commercial items such as christmas ornaments, chairs and general home accessories,  in turn bringing some fun and colour to interiors all over. We are just in time for spring with these yummy tarts to match everyone's favorite Pantone colours of the season.  Bon Appetit!

 All photos courtesy of Griottes

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Quintessentially Johannesburg

We had such a fantastic time in South Africa, and it really has taken some time to get used to being back to reality here in New York.  As you will see from my posts here, here and here we saw and experienced some pretty incredible things and places. While we were only in Johannesburg for about 24 hours we were happy to get to visit and shop at a traditional african market in the Rosebank area.  Here we saw craftspeople selling their wears, vendors selling food and musicians playing amazing music.  It was an experience that we all enjoyed and felt really privileged to have attended - not to mention purchased some great little souvenir treats!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Furniture Fridays

Welcome back to Furniture Fridays! Thanks to everyone for your patience last week while I was away with very limited internet access.  I am so thrilled to be back with an amazing post from the lovely Liana author of Amourette here to share her favorite piece of furniture with us.  Not only does Liana write for her own blog but she is also a contributor on Apartment Therapy.  Her blog is one of the first that I got hooked on, and now it is a daily stop for all things interior, fashion and design. Thanks Liana for stopping by and sharing your insight on design with us, and give Luna a pat from me :)

Anyone who loves design and furniture will tell you that it is impossible to choose just one piece as their favorite. That was definitely the case for me when I was asked to contribute to Furniture Fridays. The flip side of course is that as a person who loves design, thinking about, looking through and pondering some of my favorite pieces, designers and styles is extremely enjoyable, so thank you to Anna for giving me a good excuse to do just that!

My favorite pieces are always changing but when I go crazy for a piece of furniture, nine times out of ten, it is over a chair. While I love so many styles and am always into a different color palate (neutrals! primaries! pastels! neons!) blond wood and supple leather the color of coffee with a heavy dose of milk in a sleek shape is always my style. While I am lucky enough to have a well loved Wassily Chair, my current dream obsession is with the Valdes Chair H designed by Chilean designer and architect Christian Valdes. This piece which is hand made in Santiago, Chile was once described by Architectural Digest as "one of the truly great chair designs of the 20th Century" and its easy to see why. 

I believe a person's personal space should reflect the things they love and are inspired by. I believe design should be fun and not too serious but I think quality and craftsmanship are invaluable and should be encouraged and celebrated. This chair encapsulates that idea for me and is definitely one of my favorite pieces.

Valdes Chair H - Matter

Thursday, March 22, 2012

One & Only

This trip was all for my mother - she grew up in Johannesburg and hadn't been back to South Africa in almost 40 years and so we really wanted to make it a special experience for her.  When I was looking online for hotels in Cape Town I came across an incredible deal at the One & Only Cape Town and knew I had to book on the spot  (we were later told that there was a technical error which caused the seriously reduced rate, but it was still honoured).  From the moment we arrived at the hotel we knew that this was going to be a once in a lifetime experience and that it was going to be a fantastic end to our already unforgettable time in South Africa.

The hotel and rooms were everything that you would expect from a five star hotel and more - impeccably detailed, spacious and fit-out with luxurious materials. With a warm glow from the walnut wood throughout, and the simple modern bathroom featured double vanities with surface-mounted glass basins, our island room as it was called, was larger than our apartment (actually) and felt more like a high-end residence than a hotel room. 

This was the beautiful view of Table Mountain from our room - we even indulged and had breakfast on our terrace one morning - I love hotel decadence!

We had a truly wonderful trip and would highly recommend anyone to go. We all would have loved to have more time to spend on safari, exploring the cape, and relaxing at our amazing hotel, however all good things must come to an end at some point. I know that there are a few of you planning trips and I cannot wait to hear about them, and for all of you who have already visited your stories and memories are welcome, so please share!


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