Monday, October 29, 2012

Inspired By

Hurricanes!  When I was growing up we used to have snow days. Since we moved to New York 18 months ago, we have had two Hurricane days - today being the second.  As I am sure everyone has heard Hurricane Sandy is coming, and so NYC has practically shut down. Since we have basically been given a free day in the city (the subways closed yesterday evening - LOVE the image below) I thought I would share my plan for the day with all of you. I hope all of you in Zone A have a good and safe day.

1. Movies
I am planning on watching lots and lots of movies.  I cannot remember the last time that we just had the day to sit and do nothing and we are planning on taking full advantage of it.  

2. Cozy Socks
I am not sure that this one needs much/any explanation, but I do love the photo.

3. Baking
Last year we bought a Kitchen Aid mixer and it has turned me into a little bit of a lover of baking. I am not very good at it but I do love making Madeleines. They fill the house with a smell of sweet vanilla and are the best just out of the oven. I think that a batch will be in order today.

4. DIY
Not sure whether I will actually get to some DIY, but I do love this paper hurricane lantern, and thought that it was very appropriate...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Quintessentially New York

Last weekend we had a close friend visiting and another couple in the city so we thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to introduce them to a New York brunch!  As I am ever curious on food and interiors in the city we decided to settle on Colicchio & Sons Tap Room in Chelsea.  The interior is a great mix of the raw industrial warehouse interiors we so often find in that part of town, and a very simply designed and detailed high end restaurant   There is a great mix of raw steel, leather and wood, and the lights that hang above the back dining room are simple steel rods with a tub bulb attached (see second image below).  The food was a fantastic compliment to the interior, and we were all incredibly impressed with each dish ordered (note - the french toast was to die for and is a MUST).

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Film Review - Design is One

This weekend it was the 4th annual Architecture & Design Film Festival at the TriBeCa Cinema, and I was so happy to have gone to see Design is One: Lella & Massimo Vignelli by Kathy Brew and Roberto Guerra.  The Vignelli's are an Italian born design duo (partners in work and life) who are amongst the worlds most influential to designers. Whether you know them by name or not, their work, especially to New Yorkers, is all around us.  Having designed the New York Subway map and signage system, the logo for companies like Ford, Bloomingdales and American Airlines, the Vignelli's have helped to shape the world of design we know and this wonderfully edited movie helped outline their immense body of work and passion for design. A selection of their incredible and diverse portfolio of work below:

Dual Time Watch - Nova 68

One of the things I find the most inspiring is their motto: If you can't find it, design it.  This movie left me feeling invigorated, impassioned and excited about design. All too often I find myself craving inspiration and feeling like I have to settle for what is available.  It is very refreshing to have heard them speak in the movie about how they questioned things in the early years of their career and have gained confidence and support over time - work and passion do pay off! They are not afraid of a challenge - whether a piece of furniture, interior or book layout - and have helped me remember that sometimes less is more.  As designers we don't always have to be re-inventing the wheel, however we do have to be constantly thinking about the world we live and interact with and how we can have an effect on it.  I highly recommend seeing this amazing movie and would love to hear thoughts and comments from all of you who already have.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Before & After : London Cafe

I am so excited for today's Before & After post as it is very close to my heart!! Friends of ours in London have embarked on an incredible adventure and have come out on top.  Leyas coffee shop was born out of their dream of converting an old deli in London'd Camden area into an artesian coffee shop.  The vibe is fresh, fun and trendy, and  it is wonderful to see how the owners managed to turn their vision into reality. 

WIth the use of reclaimed materials, old furniture and some very creative thinking, this interior has become a hip spot in this ever trendy area of the city.  I had a chance to ask one of the owners a couple of questions to get an idea of where their inspiration came from and how they managed to put this amazing transformation together with a cery little budget.

Where did your inspiration come from?
Inspiration came from loads of other coffee shops , mainly in east london, and my love of antiques. also rummaging through scrap yards and reclamation yards finding the odd pieces and trying to build around that.

Where did you purchase most of the furniture?
Most of it came through a small antiques shop in north london run by a 60 year old japanese man who would always suprise us with his new finds. other places were ebay, collecting from all over London and a few odds markets here and there.

What is the front of the upstairs counter made from?
The upstairs counter was always going to be the first piece people saw so we wanted to make something unusual. we luckly came across loads of old fruit crates, some were broken but we bought them anyway. we decided to make a supporting frame and nail loads of these broken fruit crate slats all over, we were happy with the look, so it then became our signature look that we applied all over. to tie upstairs with downstairs, we also did a similar piece to "hide" our under staircase storage cupboard. 

The sop is decorated very creatively, and so many materials have been repurposed.  There are some great little details that really make the space - check out the old coffee grinders and the little easels and chalk boards displaying drink prices (see image above for both). 

There is a brilliant mural going up the stairs to the food service area which is not just a great piece of street art but it really helps bring the space together.  

Leyas has delicious food, perfect coffe and a fantastic atmosphere.  For all those in London you have to go now, and for those on their way, I highly recommend this stop.  You can link up with Leyas on facebook and twitter as well.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Inspired By

Fall! It is hard to ignore that the seasons are changing.  Although the weather seems to be holding out now the colder days have hit Manhattan and so it is only a matter of time until it turns for good.  I am worried for what the colder weather will be like this winter, but for now I am putting that out of my head to enjoy the amazing colours of the fall. Since it has been a while since I had an Inspired By post, I thought it would be good to ring in the week with my favourite feelings of fall!

Elle Decor

I love these chairs and know that there is nothing particularly autumn-like about them, however I love that they are upholstered in an old Hudson Bay blanket and they just feel so warm and cozy.

Fall and getting into the colder seasons for me has always been about cable knit. I think that it is great that knit no longer only means sweaters - whether lining for hunter boots, or a little texture for your home, it is a comforting and cozy and reminds me of the change in season and wardrobe.

Image Credits : Photo 1,  Photo 2Photo 4,  Photo 3

I just loved this selection of yarn. What a stunning Fall Palette this would make - a nice selection of warm neutrals with a little pop of colour.  

Friday, October 12, 2012

Furniture Fridays

Today I am thrilled to have Bethany from Dwellings by DeVore with us for Furniture Fridays! Bethany is the super talented author of this wonderful blog and mother to the cutest little one.  She has a wonderful flair for design and her posts are informative, creative (amazing DIY ideas) and always inspiring. Please stop by, have a read and enjoy her fun selection below.

I was so honored when Anna asked me to be a part of her Furniture Fridays series.  It took me forever to decide on what I wanted to choose, there are so many great pieces out there!  Then it came to me, this coveted lucite bench.  Even though lucite seems to be a pretty trendy option these days, I feel like this bench is a classic staple that will stay in style for many years to come.  I love the combination of the tufted upholstery with the flawless look of the lucite legs.  It's such a great combination.  This bench could be used at the foot of a bed or even in an entryway or perhaps as a coffee table in a small space.  No matter where you choose to use it, you can't go wrong!  

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Every once in a while I like to post about design trends that interest me.  I have been coveting a certain trend and it has occurred to me that I seem to have a thing for plants and housing plants indoors as my latest love falls perfectly into this category (see previous post on the subject here).  We live in an apartment and so the idea of a terrarium is pure perfection - I can have a mini garden right in my apartment, and as the weather gets cooler, it is a perfect little garden oasis anywhere. LOVE!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

LA Part 3 - The Schindler House

To continue our architectural tour of LA, we managed to squeeze in one more bit of culture and design with a tour of the Schindler House. Built in 1922, this West Hollywood house was the home, and social experiment of Rudolph Schindler.  Originally from Vienna, Schindler studied under Loose and Wagner before moving to the US and working for Frank Lloyd Wright.  This house was his residence  and was intended for two couples to live, work and share communal spaces in. Broken up into two separate wings (one at the top on the left and one at the bottom right), the house had a communal kitchen and living space in between and allowed each couple their own terrace on the upper level - Schindler initially thought these would be the bedrooms as it was California and the weather is always hot!

The house was full of intricate little details and spaces. Each view was framed in a way that was deliberate and there were amazing transitions that led the user from one space to another.  The bathrooms and kitchen - usually my favorite rooms in any house - did not disappoint here as they had wonderful materials, details and just an overall great vibe. Using a very simple palette of materials - concrete, wood and particle board for room dividers - the house feels warm and well considered.  It was a very interesting and worthwhile visit and I would highly recommend it to anyone in the LA area.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Furniture Fridays

What a busy week it has been with client meetings, new projects and friends visiting from London.  I am happy that the weekend is almost here and am thrilled that today is Furniture Friday! Today we have the most wonderful Laura author of Creative & Ordinette blog with us to share her favourite piece of design. Based in the incredibly inspiring city that is Rome, Laura has an eye for design and her blog brings new and exciting ideas, products and projects to all her readers.  Grazie Laura!

Hello Canoe Design Readers! First of all I want to thank Anna for welcoming me in her wonderful blog! When she kindly asked me to choose a favorite piece of design for her weekly feature, I must confess, I found myself in great embarrass. But after a little thinking about what I wish I owned there is  the beautiful  Fornasetti Plate and whatever of the other Fornasetti objects representing the beautiful face of Lina Cavalieri. Did you know that she was a famous Italian opera singer in the 19th century? She had a very adventurous and interesting life and was one of the favourite show women of the founder of the Fornasetti Dinasty. In my view, that image has just a kind of a spellbinding effect to me. I love every single object that represents it, because it can really make a statement about an interior and tell a lot of the tastes of the owner. I reckon it a very decorating piece of design, extremely elegant and quite an Italian Icon.
The leitmotiv of the Fornasetti plates has been declined in a white range of different guises. One of the ultimate purposes in the life of a d├ęcor addict is to collect as many of the Fornasetti plates as possible. They add a dramatic effect and a good dose of style to interiors. Here are some pictures featuring the Fornasetti iconic image. Aren’t you craving to have some of them? 


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