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Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

Nights of Wine and Roses

In Design, Drink, Fashion, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on May 7, 2013 at 10:48 am

Lily Lodge Veuve Clicquot Rosé

A few weeks ago I received an invitation from Veuve Clicquot to join for an evening floral arranging class with my friend Ariana Lambert Smeraldo at her ultra-chic floral boutique, Lily Lodge. I knew it would be fun and that I’d learn a thing or two because Ariana has exquisite taste and her floral arrangements are second to none (psst—if you are wondering what we moms really want for Mother’s Day, a big green box from Lily Lodge is a good start). If you’ve ever wondered who does the drop-dead gorgeous arrangements at Bouchon, it’s this girl:

Ariana Lambert Smeraldo

At some point we’ll want to devote another post to Ariana’s hair, but in the meantime back to the flowers. Buckets of orange and pink petals on tables as Ariana instructed us how to arrange, starting with our biggest blooms first and playing around with height and color.

Lily Lodge Veuve Clicquot

flowers

lily lodge floral class

There were trays of gorgeous little lobster rolls and ahi on cucumbers. Even the food was pink and orange!

mini lobster roll

I love the idea of using cupcake wrappers for popcorn or crab salad. Wouldn’t they be great for a birthday party?

popcorn

And there was champagne, lots of it—pretty little coupes of Veuve Clicquot Rosé with candied rose petals were on offer from young gents, also with good hair.

ZIah6uI1RqiOeNqiHMghY8j7gZ-IjsgRyUI1aXtKPn0

If I can ask you to refocus your attention for just one moment, check out the gorgeous array of vintage vases over his shoulder in the background. Oh, that’s what you were looking at all along? Good. Because one of Ariana’s exquisite arrangements sent in a vintage vase for Mother’s Day would really knock it out of the park.

Christine Natalie Nina

At the end of the evening we got to take home our creations. I love Natalie Martin‘s arrangement, above, but she is a fashion designer after all so of course hers is going to look fabulous! Ditto for the stylings of STYLOOT co-founder, Carlota Espinsoa, below.

carlota espinosa

Even if my own arrangement was, in Ariana’s words “wild and crazy,” I am absolutely wild and crazy about it! Here it is on our kitchen table.

heathers flowers

Cheers and thanks to you, Ariana, for an absolutely beautiful evening.

Veuve Clicquot Champagne Reception at Lily Lodge photos courtesy of Veuve Clicquot.

Minty Fresh, Mint Julep Cups

In Design, Drink on May 3, 2013 at 11:50 am

churchill downs

Whenever my friend Lulu Powers sees silver mint julep cups at a thrift store or flea market, she grabs them. As a result she has an awesome assortment of mismatched cups that looks so effortlessly chic when she serves up cocktails, or “sneekys” as she calls them. I was inspired to do the same, and picked up this silver-plate engraved julep cup from Churchill Downs—home of the Kentucky Derby—on eBay. I surprised my husband with it just in time for Derby Day, and think it makes a wonderful cup for his toothbrush, razor, and comb and such in our new bathroom.

Hotel Bathrooms

In Design on April 22, 2013 at 10:55 am

hotel bathrooms

I love hotel bathrooms. I mean love. So when it came time to redo our own bathroom, I looked to some of my favorite hotels for inspiration. In my book, London hotels are the ones to beat, with those gorgeous polished nickel fixtures and  creamy palettes that age so gracefully. But I’m also partial to New York subway tile—it’s so good if a little masculine. Plus, I’m married to a New Yorker and don’t live in a luxury London hotel, so subway seemed to make sense for our project. So I’ve split the difference and used warm, antique whites and polished nickel with rich, creamy subway tile and a vintage hex floor that’s time appropriate to our 1921 Los Angeles home. Can’t wait to share the finished product, but in the meantime a sneak peak at the elements:

floortile

Chaos Theory

In Baby Love, Design on February 5, 2013 at 2:38 pm

batman

Yesterday I hit something of a wall when I walked into my son’s room and tripped over a one-armed Batman action figure, just one of countless toys he’d removed from his toy basket and strewn around his room. The mess is crazy making, but also a potential hazard as his 10-month-old baby brother is now crawling like a speed demon and sticking any- and everything into his mouth. Because I’m what is referred to in polite company as “Type-A,” what followed was an intense organization spree, concluding in an extensive online search for a covered toy storage solution. I love the look of this Oeuf Toy Store (below), but the open bins make it an impractical option for us with a baby on board.

oeuftoystore

It turns out that most toy boxes are really, really ugly. Or more than I want to spend, such as this gorgeous Fuji Toy Box ($420) from Argington:

argington4

Or this sweet locally made Maude Box from Mod Mom ($450):

maude_box

Somewhere deep in cyberspace I discovered a fabulous French option from Tolix, called the Tortue (tortoise) toy box.

tolix tortue

You may recognize Tolix’s iconic chairs, which are everywhere:

tolixchairOf course the toy box is not sold in the U.S.—that would be too easy—unless you are willing to wait for a container shipment six months from now, in which case you can order from Antiquaire, based in Lake Forest, IL. Instead, I hunted one down in hazard orange from a company in the Netherlands and with any luck it will be winging its way to us next month.

Beso.com (aka your new online addiction)

In Baby Love, Design on January 10, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Check out today’s beso.com—an awesome site devoted to shopping from former Lucky mag “it girl” editrix Elise Loehnen—for my favorite picks for boys bedrooms, as well as a ton of other great lists from virtual city guides to insider shopping picks from fashion designers, editors, stylists, creative directors and more. Happy shopping!

beso.com

Tomboy Style Q & A

In Design, Drink, Fashion, Food, Media on December 30, 2012 at 9:16 pm

lizzie garrett mettlerYou know how awesome it is when great things happen to great people? Meet the extraordinarily talented Lizzie Garrett Mettler, creator of the ultra-chic Tomboy Style blog and the smashing book of the same name, and—according this year’s September Vogue—inspiration for J. Crew’s fall collection. For reals. She is also one of my favorite people and mixer of mean cocktails, maker of perfect salads with shallots two ways and, of course, always the best accessorized girl in the room. I hope you enjoy this end-of-year peek into Lizzie’s closet and fridge… See you all in 2013!

What was the inspiration for Tomboy Style?

I felt like there wasn’t a blog out there that really spoke to my style, so I decided to start it myself. I remember realizing that there was a shift in the word “tomboy,” its meaning seemed to be in a transitional phase; growing up I thought of it as a pejorative word, now it’s come to mean something entirely different, especially when paired with the word chic or style.

Can you describe your design aesthetic? 

Not well. I definitely like a mixture of periods. I hate this word, but I guess I’d have to say it’s “eclectic.”

Your girliest moment?

I can get REALLY into table settings.

What piece of clothing or accessory in your wardrobe is in heaviest rotation right now?

My new Mrs. P Hicks canoe boots.

mrsphicks

What five things will we always find in your closet?

Striped t-shirts
light weight scarves
Tretorn Nylites
I think I just counted that I have nine chambray shirts (yikes).
a photo of my husband

madewell

What five things will we always find in your refrigerator?

Lillet
capers
ginger
beer
baking soda

kina-lillet-vintage-poster-europe

First song played at your wedding? 

With a Girl Like You by The Troggs (wait, Heather, you don’t recall that from memory!?)

[EDITOR'S NOTE: After the fireworks, things got a little hazy...]

the-troggs-with-a-girl-like-you-hansa

Favorite movie?

Hard to pick one. I’ve seen Casino Royale and The Graduate a lot of times.

Last book you read…

Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem (essays), a gift from Julia Leach the designer and creative director of Chance

Slouching-Towards-Bethlehem

Favorite drink?

Michelada

Five things you always bring on vacation…

Foldable Ray-Ban wayfarers
an L.L.Bean tote with zip-top
Swatch Watch
The latest issue of
The Gentlewoman magazine
Lavender essential oil—it calms, treats minor cuts or bites, helps induce sleep, and can act as a room fragrance. Plus, the bottles are always TSA-friendly.

Favorite piece of luggage?

T. Anothony 1-suiter

lizzieluggage

Photo of Lizzie, top, by John Konkal.

Sisters of Los Angeles

In Design, Drink, Fashion, Food on December 15, 2012 at 11:22 am

SOLApencilsHere’s a smart idea. If you want something done, ask someone who’s busy. If you want something done well, ask three working women with kids. Such is the story of SoLA—Sisters of Los Angeles—founded by architect Barbara Bestor, designer Karen Alweil, and fashion publicist Sara Stein, all of whom are moms. This summer, the trio launched their colorful SoLA collection of groovy goods, which highlight those places most sacred to Angelenos—neighborhoods, canyons, beaches and, yes, our freeways—and L.A. design at its best, or what Bestor describes as “Southern California nature and street culture, kustom kars, Ed Ruscha sunsets, Griffith Park flora, printed materials blown up.”

It’s all so, so good! Scroll down for a Q&A with the stylish sisters, but first my picks for any last-minute holiday shopping on your list. You can find SoLA’s goods at Kitson, Ron Robinson – Fred Segal, The Getty, MOCA, The Downtown Library, Venokado, Firefly in Venice, and Yolk.

SOLAcanyon glassesI love these Canyon Rocks Glasses, handmade in Los Angeles using organic ink. Or how about Santa using one of these oversized Hollywood totes to deliver presents this year?

SOLAbagIf I were Santa, I’d skip the milk and cookies and hope that a plateful of SoLA’s gorgeous Valerie Confections Chocolate Candy Bars (particularly the dark cherry and chocolate, available at Venokado in Santa Monica and West Hollywood) had been left by the mantle with a wee dram of Talisker…

SOLAchocolate

How did SoLA begin?

Barbara: I had lunch with Sara and Karen at Little Dom’s and we had a lot of iced tea and got very excited and that was that!

Favorite Los Angeles canyon?

Sara: I love Runyon Canyon—it is a place for people and their dogs (I have two rescues LUKE & LEIA). And just like all the best places in LA., you never know who you might see. But Beachwood is near & dear to my heart. I escaped there after a bad breakup—it is a place to disappear and redefine yourself.

Barbara: Elysian Park

Karen: Too hard to pick just one. Mailbu for the beach. Laurel reminds me of my childhood. Benedict because it is so much fun to drive and explore.

What piece of clothing or accessory is in heaviest rotation right now?

Sara: Saltwater Sandals & Superga Sneakers & Rachel Loren earrings my husband gave me.

earrings-large-disc-stud

Barbara: Roman Kremer for Camper wedges, Isabel Marant zipper jacket

camper wedges

Karen: Grey Blazer from Uniqlo, Rachel Comey wedges and an FFS necklace

ffs vulcanite necklace

What five things will we always find in your closet?

Sara: Muji Striped Sweater, Odd Molly tops, Matta dresses, Madewell t-shirts & white denim (I never met a white jean I did not like)

madewell t-shirt

Barbara: fancy tshirts black, fancy tshirts navy blue, black jeans, leather bracelet, dark jackets

Karen: dark denim jeans, Matta dresses, blazers, always in search of the perfect t-shirt and always a pair of platforms

mattadress

What five things will we always find in your refrigerator?

Sara: Manchego cheese, 1% organic milk, red grapes, my mom’s salad dressing, Fage yogurt with honey

Barbara: sharp cheddar, avocados, 2%milk, iced decaf coffee—homemade, apples

Karen: Salami, salami, cheese, more cheese—stinkier the better, and iced tea

Favorite piece of luggage?

Sara: my husband is the traveler so I steal from him whatever I can

Barbara: Clare Vivier leather travel bag (actually I don’t have one yet but I ASPIRE to have one, in navy blue, and then I can be fabulous).

clare vivier duffle

Karen: Flight 001 Spacepaks

spacepak

Five things you always bring on vacation…

Sara: My children Noah & Maggie, the game Apples to Apples, my iPad, Dr. Robin Sun Screen (for the kids and me), my running shoes

sunscreen_for_children_thumb_large

Barbara: Bea and Charlotte—my teen queens, books, tennis stuff, too much weight in my suitcase

Karen: My husband Daniel, my son Gabriel, music, ipad, magazines and of course too many shoes

SoLA iPad cases, image via apartmenttherapy.com

SoLA iPad cases at YOLK, image via apartmenttherapy.com

Favorite cocktail?

Sara: Hitching Post “Cork Dancer” Pinot Noir

Barbara: vodka soda or maybe a dark and stormy if I am on Block Island

Karen: Kettel one straight up with a twist

i love l.a. because…

Sara: I can BBQ my Thanksgiving turkey in shorts and a t-shirt! (and I do it every year as you know with my dad’s Red River BBQ Sauce)

Barbara: it is the funnest place to live and the most creative place I know.

Karen: It’s home and the most beautiful and inspiring place all year long

All I Want for Christmas: Wreath Edition

In Design, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on December 6, 2012 at 9:40 am

wreath

This is the wreath I *really* want for Christmas, and like all good things this one comes to those who wait. Moon Canyon Design‘s gorgeous designs, like the wreath above, will be on sale at the Echo Park Craft Fair on December 15 & 16. Maybe I’ll get this one below for my friend Lizzie as a special thank you for introducing me to Moon Canyon Design in the first place. Plus, I have it on good authority that Lizzie has been extra nice this year. (Which is probably how Santa Claus arranged for her to be featured in the September issue of VOGUE.)

mooncanyondesignwreath

 

In the meantime, both Lizzie and I will have to settle for the lovely boxwood wreaths we scored yesterday morning downtown at the L.A. Flower Mart. I love Lizzie’s repurposed coal bag from San Fernando Valley Mercantile Co.—perfect for toting wreaths or beer.

SFVbag

 

Here’s mine hanging in all its understated glory. Let’s not break it just yet that a replacement might be on its way…

boxwoodwreath

 

Take Me Home for the Holidays!

In Design, Food on December 1, 2012 at 10:21 am

strata

This morning my husband and I got up in the wee hours to finish baking two Goat Cheese & Prosciutto Stratas for the Larchmont Charter West bake sale, organized by my cooking club amigas Carrie and Jessica, whose children go to school to there. (An aside: It’s a little intimidating to be cooking for a school bake sale at which Suzanne Goin is also a parent, but I digress.) Carrie had asked that we decorate and label our baked goods, a small detail I’d overlooked until 11 o’clock last night. Fortunately I had a stash of paper grocery bags from Whole Foods that read “Take Me Home for the Holidays,” which I’d not previously registered until scrambling for some brown paper last night.

wholefoodsbag

I cut up the bags and wrapped them around the baking dish with some bakers twine. I’m so happy with the results, which cost nothing and are an easy, eco-friendly way to wrap holiday and hostess gifts. Added bonus, I am now officially in the Christmas spirit!

Kitchen Makeover

In Design, Fashion on June 18, 2012 at 3:14 pm

My friend Kim Friday, who is a senior fashion editor at Women’s Wear Daily, is also a fierce cook. So when I noticed kitchen demo photos going up on her Facebook page a couple months ago, I couldn’t wait to see the finished results. She started with this.

Kim Friday’s Kitchen: Pre-Makeover

Poor little Lola (pictured above) needed a more stylish space for her kibble, so Kim took her editor’s eye and created a super chic kitchen in a 30-square-foot space. Here it is, ready for its closeup! The paint colors all have lovely names like the Martha Stewart Popcorn on the walls or the Farrow & Ball Elephant’s Breathe on the cabinets. The space seems so much bigger thanks to sleek cabinets, integrated appliances (like a Fisher & Paykel dishwasher drawer) and other clever space savers. She gives us the skinny, below…

The Reveal: Kim Friday’s Kitchen

What were some of the design challenges in designing the space?
First and foremost its size—30 square feet, welcome to New York City!—and L-shape. I used finger pulls for hardware, a garage door to conceal the microwave, an integrated dishwashing drawer that blends right into the cabinets, and painted pegboard (in honor of Julia Child) the same color as the wall so the pots and pans look like they are floating. Everything has its place.

A pegboard is painted the same color as the wall so pots appear to be floating.

My building was also a challenge as it was constructed in 1931, which meant all kinds of soffits that concealed plumbing or electrical that couldn’t be moved. My kitchen designer, Sally Humphreys, had her work cut out for her.
Did your experience as a fashion editor come into play?
I think for me the new kitchen had to tick three boxes that were equally important—maximize space, be super functional and look great. I approached it much like I would a shoot starting with tear sheets and images of kitchens I liked, paint chips, appliances and accessories that spoke to me. When I couldn’t find specific things I wanted I improvised, which is very much a stylist’s trick. My spice rack is in fact a picture shelf from West Elm, and I made my own kitchen mat with fabric, spray adhesive and polyurethane.

Metal Picture Ledge via westelm.com

Kim’s spice shelf

What is the first you cooked in your new kitchen?
I planned on doing a simple salad with sweet grape tomatoes that my vegetable guy on Madison/72nd squirrels away for me, drizzled with the J. Leblanc hazelnut oil I got on my birthday trip to Paris, and a cheese soufflé, served with a gorgeous bottle of ’98 Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame that I’ve been saving for the occasion. Plans changed when it was finally finished on the weekend True Blood premiered it’s new season. I always host True Blood Sunday with friends so instead the first meal ended up being an ode to Louisiana with a crazy good seafood gumbo with cornbread muffins and a mixed berry crumble for dessert.
What five things will we always find in your pantry/fridge?
1. Intelligentsia coffee, I live for their El Gallo organic breakfast blend
2. Couscous – I like Savion’s Homestyle Plain Passover version that’s made with Matzo
3. Some sort of fish, lately a lot of local wild flounder and sea scallops
4. Assorted vegetables. In the winter root vegetables and kale, in the summer I love all sorts of tomatoes, beets, spinach and sweet corn
5. Stoli Vodka & Rose’s Lime Juice for gimlets
What five things will we always find in your wardrobe?
1. T by Alexander Wang v-neck tee shirts
2. Slouchy Tse Cashmere sweaters
3. Rick Owens or vintage Ghost wide-leg pants or pull-on midi skirts
4. Statement Accessories – lately it’s this massive black leather bangle by Honest Joe, a gorgeous wood and horn ring my pals at Sticks & Stones in Portland gave me and my engraved neon Original Satchel Company bag.
5. Ann Demuelemeester boots in winter, Christian Louboutin sandals in the summer.
What is your advice for designing a space that looks good and gets the job done?
Make a list of what you use regularly and what are the biggest challenges when you are cooking, then start ripping out tear sheets from magazines and printing pics from websites and blogs. You’ll see a trend fairly quickly of what you gravitate towards.
From left: Fretwork bracket in doorway salvaged from the porch of Kim’s childhood home. Umbra floating shelves hold her favorite cookbooks.
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