Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bella Venezia

The Australian also visited Venice and I wanted to share with you some of his glorious photographs of the city.

I've never been to Venice but for a long time it has been #1 on my travel list. I'll be visiting Paris for a week in early December (more on that later) but even the beauty of Paris can't compare to Venice. Happy Weekend!

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Perfectly Imperfect Home

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of meeting author Deborah Needleman at a book-signing party to celebrate her new book, The Perfectly Imperfect Home at the Room & Board showroom here in DC.

Best known as the founding editor of the much missed magazine Domino, Deborah has since made a name for herself at the Wall Street Journal (which I adore!). I received the book last week and I kept joking at the party that it had been to bed with me every night, I love it so! A great book of basic ways to make a house your home, it is charmingly illustrated with watercolor sketches by Virginia Johnson. As most of the images are well known to us savvy to design media, showcasing drawings rather than photographs really enlivens the book and gives it a great casual personality.Of course, I knew I was reading the right book when an illustration of Kate and Andy Spade's New York apartment graces the chapter called 'A Proper Welcome', probably my favorite apartment ever published (by World of Interiors Magazine).With chapters endearingly named and on numerous practical topics such as Places for Chatting, Cozifications, A Bit of Quirk and Delicious Scent, the book should be #1 on everyone's Christmas wish list. It's also a perfect house-warming present, especially at the low price!Other bloggers I read who have fallen in love with the book and wrote reviews are Style Court, A Bloomsbury Life and My White Shirt (who stood in the book signing line with me!)

All images scanned from the book by illustrator Virginia Johnson.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Highpoint: Hooker Furniture

I was fortunate enough to be invited back to attend Fall market this year by the High Point Market Authority. As so many people who have gone in the past have been saying, Market is an amazing (but exhausting) opportunity to see what is new and hot in the design business.When back, the most common question everyone hears is "What was new this year at market?". Thats really a floating target but you do see similarities between a lot of the different furniture lines.

I'll use Hooker Furniture, my sponsor during my visit, to share with you some of the new fall 2011 trends.

Shape wise, the circle or oval shapes are HUGE. Circles everywhere!

Kim Shaver, the VP of marketing for Hooker furniture (follow the link for her interesting blog) thinks this is because in such uncertain times, the circle is soft and nurturing and symbolic of hearth and home.The circle was popping up all over like in the sides of this desk.

A new bed frame, the Marquette bed, also continues the round theme with an Art Nouveau inspired pattern.Following further trends towards tradition with a twist, Hooker released a new line called Primrose Hill, named after the famed neighborhood in London.The furniture in this line is inspired by 19th century European antiques but with an urban edge ( much like the neighborhood).I loved the Lattice Bed from the collection seen in the photos above.The woodwork details throughout the collection were really inspiring.Also new in the collection is the Braddington-Young (Hooker's leather division) tufted brown leather chair in a great small scale, perfect for apartments and smaller rooms (like my own apartment!).Not everything was traditional though; minimalism may be considered dead now in the design world but good modern design will always have a place in the field. Mixing upholstery in pieces was also popular such as in this chair with a plaid seat and leather surround.Loved this mid-century inspired chair from Hooker's Sam-Moore (the upholstery division).Another of the big trends was COLOR, particularly shades of red.In this economic climate where people are not investing as often in whole suites of rooms, accent pieces are more important than ever.RED is the perfect accent color as it's bold without being too crazy and goes with everything and any style.

Little colorful occasional tables are a great way to update your space without spending a lot of money.

These magenta leather wingchairs will certainly make a statement! Love the shape of the shelter back and those elegant little legs.This tufted leather corner chair looked straight out of a country manor house like Downton Abbey.The new Keltie chair comes in a variety of finishes and colors -again a great accent! Texture on furniture is something Hooker has always excelled at in my opinion. Maybe you remember my post on Hooker from last market HERE?The finish on this Curlacue chest from the Melange collection was stunning, like real linen!

While not strictly a texture, I think the Macintosh inspired Ludlow collection qualifies in the way the screens play with light and shadow like in this desk above; check out the shadow on the floor.

The Ludlow shelving unit with sliding screens above is really a fun piece.

Similarly, the Donovan bed from the lower-priced Envision collection contains beautiful woodwork with either a fabric or wood backing. A new piece which was taking Market by storm was the country-cute floral fabric accent chest which incorporated fabric panels into a worn wood painted finish.

Many thanks to Hooker Furniture for showing me around and helping me pinpoint the new trends at Market this season!

Hooker furniture is available from many retailers, find a list on their website HERE.

One of my sponsors here at ArchitectDesign is Carolina Rustica which is currently offering a sale on their Hooker furniture -be sure to visit their website!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Red House

My Australian 'penpal' has been traveling again and has sent me loads of photos from fascinating places around the world! I had to share 'Red House' with you, the home of Arts & Crafts artist William Morris.

The house was designed by his friend, architect Philip Webb in 1859. Morris wanted his home to be a "Palace of Art" and the Red House surely is. The gardens were designed to be a part of the house as a series of rooms: a very modern idea.While most known for its courtyard side (top 2 photos) the entry side is shown above; partly neo-gothic don't you think?

Sadly, Morris was forced to sell the house for financial reasons in 1865. The house remained in the same family for 150 years afterwards, a testament to its lovliness. It now is a part of the National Trust and is available for tours.

This 2nd story bay window has a really interesting stepped footing -almost like a chimney.

The little round windows on the courtyard side line a hallway, seen below.

The stained glass in the house was all done by Morris's friend, noted artist Edward Burne-Jones.The work that went into the house is really incredible. I love the woodwork in this sitting room below.

And no surface was forgotten; this tiled ceiling is amazing!
Update: Many thanks to my friend Richard for supplying me with a copy of the floor plans!