Thursday, June 10, 2010


Today, as I sit watching the rain and hoping for a fabulous and fierce thunderstorm I know will never come to this high desert, I am feeling somewhat introspective. I thought we might revisit the ideas I touched upon briefly in the first blog and maybe I could better explain my design philosophy- if anyone is interested.

And I also feel as though I am waiting. Waiting for a number of highly fascinating topics that will arrive in the not-too-distant-future such as:
- The American Wing at the Met
- Norway, with various charming Norwegian homes and museums
- Several posts on utterly amazing furniture my current clients own
-And of my very own condo, finally, finally finished. Which, of course, fully embodies all of my design philosophies and will make this current blog completely redundant.

So even if today bores you, you should return next week. However I will try my best to entertain.

So. Minimalism and the Antique. Minimal History. Minimal Antiquity. Antiquated Minimalism. Antiqimal. Minimantique. Still working on coining a term for what will one day become known as a ground-breaking and vastly influential style...of course best expressed in the work of Christa Pirl Interiors :)

So, while I greatly admire their work, the following (all, by the way, on the AD100 list) are not quite my cup of tea (as it was for some time in my younger and more innocent days). This, alas, is not the design that catches my breath. Because no matter how much I adore period rooms in a museum, any period room in any museum (I wrote me masters thesis on them), I am not going to make my clients live in a museum period room. But don't get me wrong, I love looking at these interiors, and am terribly glad someone is doing it, I just don't want to be that person.  (By the way, below is only a very small sampling of many in all catagories)

The amazing Paar Room at the Met Museum.  Vienna 1765-72.

1. Michael S. Smith (designer to the Obamas, by the way):
(photos courtesy of Architectural Digest, Michael's book &website)

2. Mario Buatta (the Prince of Chintz):
(photos courtesy of Architectural Digest)

Nor am I totally, utterly in love with uber minimalism (as I also was once in my younger days). While absolutely stunning, I don't want to resign my clients to the barren contemporary galleries of a museum either.
Some of the MOMA galleries:

1. Hariri & Hariri (check out their amazing pool house design in a town I used to call home:

(photos courtesy of Hariri and Hariri website)

2. Steven Ehrlich (often inspired by mud huts and feng shui, oh and- Latins)

(photos courtesy of Ehrlich website)

I sit in the middle...well, not in the middle, but I enjoy sampling from both ends. Maybe a house museum would be the best museum analogy? Like the Frick or the Cooper Hewitt (two of my favorites)? Elegant, full of beautiful things, but with an air of home and of course not stuffed full of stuff, so much so that one cannot see each item on its own. So, the real question I am sure you are asking- which designers do I in fact like(besides myself of course:)? Again I will note this is a small sampling...
The Frick:

1. Axel Vervoordt (the Belgian antiques dealer turned decorator): One of my all time favorites.  His aesthetic is so simple, so graceful, and so stunning. I am sold completely. Of course it helps to start with amazing European architecture that has been around for hundreds of years and likely clients who have had money for hundreds of years...

He has moments of complete simplicity that still vibrate with time and history.

(photos courtesy of Axel website)

2. Neoo Selon Neo by Marc Vergauwe and Jan Rosseel (more Belgians! Recently featured in Architectural Digest- May 2010) I love their subtle and sophisticated blends of traditional and modern.

(photos courtesy of the Neoo website)

3. Frederic Mechiche (now a, I guess I have to move to a very specific part of the world.)  This happens to be Frederic's own home...lucky.


(photos courtesy of 'Designers At Home' by Dominic Bradbury)

So I will end here, or near the French/Belgian boarder I suppose. While I could go on for days about designers I love that work to varying degrees with the old and new, the minimal and antique (and they will come another day), I think these few probably best embody what I love- or I should say- the aspect, at the moment, I love most about the minimal and the antique together.


  1. The number of Flemish designers on this week’s blog came as a bit a shock to me. I thought Belgium was better known for its chocolate, shaky coalition governments, and the largest corps of EU bureaucrats on the continent. I am delighted that Belgium produces good designers, but in Son of Zion’s humble opinion Belgian creative genius peaked with the development of the waffle.

  2. Perfect! Thank you, this is exactly the type of inspiration/definition we were looking for as we considering redoing a 100 year old empty loft space.

  3. Wow, sounds like a great project... a 100 year old loft...I am drooling!