Friday, January 24, 2014


As Americana week kicks into high gear this weekend in the big apple, I must admit I feel a bit glum not being there.  Americana Week has traditionally been the MOST IMPORTANT week of the year for American Fine and Decorative Arts collectors and dealers such as Leigh Keno and Hirschl & Adler, as well as one of the most important weeks for all high-end dealers. Not only is the impressive Park Avenue Armory Winter Antiques Show on, but both Christie's and Sotheby's hold their best Americana auctions. Despite the weather, this week is like spring break for antiques collectors and dealers alike.  Yes, we are a strange breed.

Why I am so glum you see, is not only that I am just not able to drool over these pieces, but also because I was lucky enough to work the Winter Antiques Show as an intern while I attended Sotheby's Institute, and attend all the auctions.  The Winter Antiques Show is such an unique experience even to visit, and getting to know the vendors, understanding the value of pieces, and seeing behind the scenes was just fantastic.  

Thanks to 1st dibs for showcasing some of the most impressive pieces from the Winter Antiques Show here, Christie's shares their gems here, and Sotheby's here. So at least I can feel a bit like I am there:)  A few that caught my eye- (don't tell anyone, but I would reupholster all of these if I ever got my hands on them...)

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Another great master bathroom renovation has come and gone, and there are some pretty good before & afters here.  First we have the floorplan.  This was a very divided and cramped space, with a wall and door between the two vanities which just made everything feel far too small and broken up.  At first, we feared the wall between the 2 vanities could not be removed entirely, so we decided to take the wall back as far as we could and remove the door.  The old fashioned tub/shower combo also went, as it was rarely used for bathing, and large showers just seem so much more spa-like and luxurious, don't they?



Much better, right?  But it gets even better, because once the contractor started work, we found it was possible to bring the wall down entirely, so bam! we ended up with one large double vanity and a truly spacious bathroom with tons of storage and huge shower.  In addition to this change, all the tile was replaced, walls repainted, new vanities, mirrors, lighting flooring and backsplash all installed.  The transformation is pretty impressive.

Here are the before shots-

And the end result-

I love this backsplash, a Bedrosians product that is a combo of natural stone and glass.  Very classic and contemporary at the same time.  And there is still one detail not finished here, the backsplash tile will be applied to the back wall above the vanity to give the full wall a more unified look... just waiting for the back-ordered tile darn it!  The countertop is quartz and I just love the color, a very subtle taupe that blends so well with the walls and shower surround and floors.  So much better than white.

Large showers are such fun, I love the opportunity to do something unique with tile layout.  Here we added two subtle vertical stripes of glass tile on each short end of the shower (one wider than the other) which adds texture and shine without being too loud or trendy.  Spa feel?  Check.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


I was so excited when a fellow interior designer told me he was moving and needed to sell two mid-mod chairs he salvaged from an old office space in Salt Lake City.  They were most likely used as guest chairs in the exec. offices or in the reception area.  I quickly snatched them up, and while they both needed some minor repairs, as well as some cosmetic updating, I knew they had great potential.  The first cosmetic change that had to be made was stripping the incredibly heavy-handed polyurethane, high-gloss, almost bullet-proof varnish that had been applied to the wood.  Surely this finish helped these look great over the years of heavy corporate office use, but it just had to go.  It looked as though they had been painted brown.  Not acceptable.

After stripping the wood back to its natural state, it was stained dark walnut (just a bit richer than the natural wood, and similar to the original finish in color) and sealed with a light satin finish which let the wood grain show and really enhanced the look of the chairs overall.  Now they felt as though they were made of real wood, not plastic.

The other plastic element that had to go was the vinyl upholstery that stuck to you while sitting.  After reviewing several options (see options and ideas behind the final selection in this past post), I settled on this Trina Turk fabric, almost as bullet-proof as vinyl but a whole lot nicer to sit on and enjoy.

I always enjoy looking for comparable pieces when I come upon a great piece like these, so I scanned to see if I could find anything similar, and I was very pleasantly surprised to find these listed -

I was also thrilled to find similar pieces on the set of MadMen-

So my pair have been officially dubbed 'Don & Roger', in my opinion a very appropriate nod to their corporate history (even if Salt Lake City is not quite Madison Ave.)  They are currently available to purchase here.

And now I am so excited to have these two on display at a Clearwater Homes Model Home in Salt Lake City!

Their Cardiff model is the current residence of Don & Roger, thanks to fab interior designer Danielle Robinson and her new designer showroom Lake City Loft.  I am so excited to see more pics of Don & Roger in-situ, I always feel such shots add another dimension.  Thanks so much Danielle, the model looks amazing!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Jewels by JAR at the Met

I was lucky enough to squeeze in a quick trip to the Met Museum during my two day visit to New York in early December.  There were, of course, a number of fantastic special exhibitions I was able to spend a bit of time at, and I must say that while all were fascinating, only the Jewels by JAR exhibit left me drooling.

However, it took me several minutes to even realize I was in fact looking at a remarkable collection of precious and semi-precious gemstones, not just costume jewelry.  I could not imagine it was possible to see such a collection all in one place, in a small, narrow, and poorly lit gallery (the lighting of course made each stone sparkle all the more).  Just the thought of the insurance required on the exhibit was mind-boggling. 

Once I established the amazing pieces were all made of crazy expensive stones, I became transfixed by the remarkable high level of craftsmanship unlike I have seen in any shop window along 5th Ave.  JAR, the creation of jeweler Joel A. Rosenthal based in Paris since1978, is know for its amazing use of pave settings, creating, as the Met notes, a "painterly effect", with colors blending seamlessly and delicately.  

My favorite piece was this tulip, one of the most detailed, realistic and dramatic thing I have ever seen done in stones.  It was so three-dimensional, and the colors so natural, it seemed as though the flower would actually wither if anyone touched it. Here is one application of the Pantone 2014 color Radiant Orchid I am totally and utterly on board with!  Lets hope (for my husband's sake) I am unable to find their shop next time I am in Paris :)

Alas, photos were not allowed, and the catalog was quite the tome, not easily portable cross-country, so since I am unable to share additional photos here, I say, New Yorkers, go, go now!  

Photos courtesy of the Met website.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


I must say I am having a bit of a hard time getting on board with Pantone's color of 2014.  I very much liked last years Emerald Green-

and LOVED 2012's Tangerine Tango (and even more excited when I could buy the lipstick color)-

But I have never really been a purple person, not for interiors or fashion or anything else really.  And I am not a huge trend follower anyway, as I believe interiors with longevity and a timeless quality are always the best way to go.  Add a splash of trend yes, but preferably not too much.  That being said, I do feel as a designer I need to embrace trends to some degree, and if nothing else appreciate them.  So, I decided to go on a quest for some interiors that I loved that used at least some Radiant Orchid or similar color.

And of course I was utterly convinced I would be unable to find anything I liked draped in purple.  But then I immediately realized one of my favorite designers uses lots of purple, in lots of his projects.  Darn it!  I was foiled right off the bat in my preconceived negativity.  Jamie Drake uses purple beautifully...and pinks, berry tones, and all sorts of colors close to Radiant Orchid on the colorwheel.

And Jamie (I can call him Jamie since we are both alums of Parsons, you know, I see him all the time ;) does it in such a clean and sophisticated way, with his amazing mix of contemporary and antique.  I suppose I generally associate purple in interiors with hippie-like attic apartments; spaces filled with rattan furniture, too many throw blankets, a futon, and unframed poster art.  That, Mr Drake does not do.

So, I am now officially open to Radiant Orchid, and will absolutely keep it in mind for future projects.  However, I KNOW I am not as skilled with color as Jamie, so I will likely keep my purples at a minimum.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Happy New Year!

After a great relaxing holiday with plenty of 'lounging', I am ready for the new year!  While 2013 was a hugely exciting year with lots of fantastic interiors projects (and lots of late nights), I have decided to take the interiors business down a notch this year and give myself some time to focus a bit more on other aspects of the design world also close to my heart.  I look forward to expanding my new furniture business and spending more time writing about design, here and hopefully elsewhere.  I miss my days at Sotheby's Institute where much of my time was spent looking at fine objects and researching their history.  I hope to bring a bit of that world into my everyday life this year.

So, my business resolutions are-

1. Find time to enjoy design all around me (can't pass a greek key without a pic!)

2. Spend time developing my long term business plans; where do I want to be in ten years?

3. Find new areas of interest in design and start reading and researching and learning again.

4. Visit more museums and look at more decorative art objects (but no touching!)

I look forward to sharing lots of exciting developments in the year to come, and thanks for the support over the years here!