30 March, 2010

"Tastemaker Tag Sales . . . "


Just picture it. An early Saturday morning. The spring dew still damp on the ground. You're heading out for an early morning latte. And you see it. A tag sale. And no one's there yet. Excitement pours through your veins. And glancing around the sale - there are GREAT things.

Well, One Kings Lane, which has been an invaluable source for great sale prices on top of the line products since it began last year, is up to something new and exciting. Beginning on April 10th, and continuing every Saturday - OKL will feature products from designers across the US in an online 'tag sale.' So make your own coffee. And stay home. In your fuzzy slippers and pj's. And let One Kings Lane bring everything to you.

You can find more information here.

excited (and ready to shop!)

29 March, 2010

"I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing . . . "


It's clearly not the fevered dreams of HAL9000 . . . and it's not "Daisy, Daisy" . . .

World renowned musician and composer Eric Whitacre decided to see if the internet could sing.

He produced part tracks to one of his sublime works, Lux Aurumque, and let the world sing along . . .

People. Around the world. Learning music. Singing into their computers. Vocal files emailed. And compiled. People sitting on a virtual hillside. And singing into the night sky . . . in perfect harmony . . .

Turn up those speakers . . .

and you might need a kneenex . . .

And keep it company,

And a big thank you to the wonderful GrannySmithGreen - who sent this to me. I was well aware of the project - and had planned to take part . . . but, it's almost more magical just seeing it. It is truly one of my favourite pieces of music. And I've performed it several times with my chamber choir here in SF.

27 March, 2010

"Zzzzzzzzzzz . . . "

Albert Hadley


I'm exhausted.

No really.

*fluffs down pillow*

Too much traveling.

*takes sip of herbal tea*

Too many parties.

Too much fun.

Too little sleep.

*gets teddy bear*

So today is going to be about some aggressive napping.

And sleeping.

*closes draperies*

And lounging.

And pampering.

*dims lighting*

And getting ready for the new week.

*puppy snore noises*

26 March, 2010

"I said NO Paparazzi . . . "

Greetings and Salutations,

Let me cast a word of warning before you delve into this particular blog posting. Though I live a gracious, somewhat quiet, little life here in San Francisco - there's really no way that I can tell you of my adventures in Los Angeles without dropping names with a frequency that would rival a gossip blog. It was a "Who's Who" of design. So, with that caveat clearly stated, let's proceed.

After my luncheon on Monday afternoon at Dawnridge, (and if you missed it, you can read more here) it was back to the hotel for a quick shower and wardrobe change before meeting Ronda for dinner - and heading out to Kathryn Ireland's delightful home. She is, of course, a marvelous hostess - and her home was everything I could imagine. A literal feast for the textile obsessed. In some ways it felt like one of those parties you had in high school. You know, when your parents were out of town. And you just invite a few people over. But, everyone seems to find out. Beautiful home. Great food. Great company. Late night. Deep sleep.

Tuesday afternoon was a little blogging get-together at "The Ivy." Megan (aka Beachbungalow8) and I have shared several long meals together - but, this time Patricia (aka Mrs. Blandings) was going to join us. Patricia and I have been chatting online for almost a year - and I was giddy with excitement at the prospect of meeting her. Well, she is as lovely and gracious (and hilarious!) as I could only hope for. And, yes, while we were waiting for our table - Jake (from The Bachelor) was leaving and the three of us were shoved out of the way by a pack (a mob?) (a flurry?) of paparazzi. It's part of the reason you go to The Ivy. There's almost always someone famous there - (even if only slightly famous in a TV reality-show kinda way!)

The three of us (Megan, Patricia, and I) had an hour or so to kill after our meal - so we hit the design shops! I may have to start traveling to LA more often. Great places!

Oh, but we're not finished yet - Tuesday night was a book signing party sponsored by Elle Decor (by the way - the new Elle Decor website ROCKS!) at the William Sonoma Home shop on Beverly. Packed. Really packed. But, from across the room I can see Eddie Ross and Jaithan - I knew they had just been in Kansas City - but, was delighted to see them in LA. Had a quick moment to speak to Margaret Russell - lovely and charming as ever. (I swear, we might be able to power a medium-sized US city on the amount of energy that woman has.) Ran into Christian May and Katie Denham. It was great meeting Joe Lucas. And Windsor Smith. And finally getting a chance to meet Brad Ford. But, just missed my chance to speak to Joe Nye (omg I'm such a fan - I was kind of stalking him.) He was already in line to pick-up his car at the door by the time I found him. Oh well. Next time.

Then we headed out for a late dinner . . . but, alas, that's yet another story. And will have to wait.


25 March, 2010

"Lunch at Dawnridge . . . "


Well, I'm safely returned to my little slice of heaven here in San Francisco. I awoke early this morning to the gentle sounds of a pre-dawn drizzle - and curled up dreaming about a magical land . . . Dawnridge.

When I realized last week that I might be able to sneak down to LA for a few days - I sent emails to a few friends to see what might be going on. Any parties I should go to? Anyone going to be in town for WestWeek that I could see? What would the weather going to be like?

Well, huge thanks to the amazing Ronda Carman - who replied almost immediately that she might be able to get me on the guest list for a luncheon hosted by Hutton Wilkinson at the Tony Duquette designed Dawnridge estate.

The wonderful setting for our luncheon.
Outside in the garden. Under the trellis. On the antique china.

Touring through the gardens after lunch.

The experience of being at the house is clearly going to be difficult to describe. To say that it is a feast for the eyes is a shameful understatement. Lavish. Exuberant. Charming. Theatrical. And well loved. And much enjoyed. And to say that I was charmed by the delightful Hutton would be a sad understatement as well. He was such the perfect host - and clearly enjoyed seeing his home through our fresh, excited eyes. And turning to remind us to 'keep up' if we began to fall too far behind.

And when I say 'touring through the gardens,' this is what is mean . . .

But, since you weren't able to enjoy the tour with me,
I found this wonderful video - with Hutton giving a peek through the house and the gardens.

I was only in LA for just over 48 hours - 2 luncheons, 2 parties, 4 star sightings (if you count seeing Jake from the Bachelor), 1 flurry of paparazzi (for the aforementioned Jake, at The Ivy), and a perfect time to catch up with friends - both old and new.

Back to work,

22 March, 2010

"Up, Up and Away . . . "

- Then the wizard said that he needed to take a break
from his duties in Oz and travel to "confer, converse, and otherwise
hob-knob with my fellow wizards"

Greetings all,

I'm excited to report that I'm headed down to Los Angeles for a few days - with a mad schedule of meetings and dinners with great friends and fellow designers. Wardrobe is chosen. Bags are packed. Sunglasses are shined. Nails are manicured. Camera is charged. Sunscreen is ready.

"We're off to see . . . "
(left, skip, right, skip, step ball change.)

I'll be away from "The Adventures of Tartanscot" for a few days - but will have access to my twitter account for postings. If you're not already - follow me - and I'll do my best to keep you updated.


20 March, 2010

"Touching the Stone . . . "


I'm wondering if I should just start doing a 'cut/paste' of the phrase 'well, it's been another busy week' into the header of my blog . . . lol. And I'm at my desk on a Saturday afternoon, finishing a few details and enjoying the quiet and solitude. And the productivity. All of the various projects here at the office seem to be moving along nicely. I have several clients hosting parties in the next few weeks - and that ALWAYS gets everyone excited and very focused. There's nothing quite like hosting friends in your home to assure that everything will get accomplished before 'the date' arrives.

And the project at my place is moving forward with decisions being made left, right, and center. The new armchairs for the bedroom are finished. And my custom designed sofa is in production. As well as a wonderful set of dining chairs the I've designed for one of my clients.

There are several aspects of a regular 'client' project that rarely affect a project in my own home. The 'time factor' being one of them. I'm much more willing to live in the middle of the chaos, than I would EVER ask one of my clients to do. But also, because it's the interior of my own space, the decision making process can move much quicker - it's not like I have check calendars to schedule a meeting to approve a new textile when I find something amazing - I see it. I like it. I buy it. So the process is a bit more 'fluid' than usual.
So, because things can move so quickly - I frequently look back through my stack of "favourite rooms." Back to my touchstones. Making sure I'm not swaying off target. Losing my sense of the space. I'm not really looking at the 'nouns' - I have no interest in copying anything, or reproducing a room. This is not an exercise in seeing how things look.

I always look for the 'adjectives.' What I love about these rooms
is how they feel. Warm. Elegant. Inviting. Dramatic. Detailed.

Maybe even exuberant.

Or classically gracious.

Or just simply beautiful.

Roger Banks-Pye

Or maybe it's a picture of one of my favourite rooms ever. A riot of pattern.
A simple colour story. And a perfect place to dream - and to
awake to greet the new morning.

I love when new clients have a file of their favourite rooms. But I'm truly fascinated to discover the 'emotional through-line' of these various pictures. They can say less about where we live - and much more about how we live.

Have a look through your pictures over the weekend. But remember, they're pictures of other people's homes. See if you can find something new in them. Something personal. Something specific. Something that reflects the way that you live.

Let's play a little game - leave me a comment about your house. But, you can only use adjectives.

happy hunting,

ps. And my apologies to the ever brilliant Tobi Fairley - whose work I love - that first image from this post is her work - and not that of Eric Cohler (whose name I had it filed under.)

19 March, 2010

"The Talented Mr. O'Brien . . . "


Good lord - how marvelously talented is Thomas O'Brien? Seriously. And his new book American Modern is being released. Can't wait? Here are a few images . . .

There is a great article in the latest issue of Canadian House and Home - with some great new shots of Thomas' place on 57th in New York. I swear, Thomas must change his apartment as often as I do - lol. But, a warm, comfortable aesthetic is a constant. A collection of beautiful textiles. And an ever expanding collection of artwork.

Beautifully layered. A great mix of classical and modern. Nicely edited art collection.

"The point of making a home with so much to look at was to relax
into the whole collection as something unfolding. I didn’t
acquire these things overnight. It took time to study and source
and wait for the right examples of favorite works. And I have
enjoyed each piece as it comes, observing how it settles in my space."
- Thomas O'Brien, from House and Home Magazine

A perfect example of clean masculine design.

"This circa 1950 Francis Bacon painting study marks a moment
when I was moving into a more serious level of collecting, buying
work by modern masters. I bought the worn first edition of
Berenice Abbott’s book Changing New York in a junk shop
years ago, when I was just starting out. To me, the book is
just as meaningful as the painting."
- Thomas O'Brien


17 March, 2010

"When Summer's in the Meadow . . . "

Greetings all,

Just a little something to celebrate St. Patrick's day today - from one of my favourite films,Brassed Off.

Turn up the volume on your computer - and get a tissue or two.


12 March, 2010

"And the drawbridge closes . . . "

Greetings all,

Whew. Another busy weekend. As you all might have read a few posts back - I've decided to completely re-decorate my place this Spring. Frankly, it's been a long time coming - and I'm really excited to be started. Don't get me wrong, I loved my old house the way that it was. But, I needed to experiment with some new colours. to edit. to re-imagine. Maybe use a few of my favourite textiles that just never quite worked in the old plan. Oh, and I needed a bigger dining table. (I blame this entire project on the need for a bigger dining table.)

So now I'm spending my days and nights in my lovely home, but with only about 4 pieces of furniture. My bed. An antique mahogany dresser. An 12 foot long bookcase. The new dining table. Tons of table lamps all gathered together in a corner. And, quite frankly, a bit of an echo. lol. Everything else is out either being reupholstered, stored, or sold. So, no guests over to the house for a few months - unless they're helping me to paint.

But best of all, all of the empty space is giving me a great chance to edit through most of my possessions and see what I really need. To see what I'm just keeping because I've forgotten that I owned it. Do I really need to keep ALL of my competitive fencing gear? I know that stemware is from Ralph Lauren, but I never seem to use them. And you know, I never truly loved that little cocktail table in my bedroom - why not get rid of it and find something better.

And speaking of re-covering - here's a sneak peek at the one of a pair of vintage armchairs from my bedroom - formerly in olive velvet - but, soon to be gloriously resplendent in chartreuse silk.

So back to work. I'm getting a coat of paint on the cabinets in my kitchen this weekend. Something dark. Something dramatic. Something new.

Cracking a window first,

"Since it's going to rain all day . . . "

Stark Carpet

Greetings all,

The day started out clear and bright - thankfully at least until I got back home from bootcamp - but, it's turned for the worse. Drizzling. Chilly. Damp.

So, why not take advantage of the dreary weather - and go shop for carpets! Stark carpet is hosting one of it's amazing warehouse sales this weekend at Fort Mason in the marina. It started yesterday - but, when I went by again this morning, there are still great deals.

There are also a selection of textiles and trims. greatly discounted.

And a vast collection of carpets.

So - go forth and cover floors,

10 March, 2010

"Love, Love, Love . . . "


Some evenings are blissfully free of purpose. Nothing pressing on the agenda. And I left all the paperwork and swatches for the project for my house at my office. On purpose.

So, I'm just having one of those aimless nights - quietly poking through the vastness of the internet - window shopping endlessly on ebay - watching Isaac Mizrahi's "Unzipped" on the DVD player - and also letting my mind wander through a myriad of design sites . . . and look at the delight that the web has presented to me. Tim Clarke Interior Design in Santa Monica. Stunningly beautiful. Classic. Stylish.

Perfectly lovely.

Just your bacis kitchen porn. Chic and effortless.

- take a moment to peruse through his entire portfolio. Inspiration around every corner.

Gotta run - I need to check my bid on ebay - I really need that antique china . . . no, seriously. really.


images from the Tim Clarke website

06 March, 2010

"Meanwhile, Out by the Beach . . . "


There's another grey, gloomy Saturday dawning just outside my bedroom window. Another harsh day of rain? Or just chilly and windy? Or conversely, there could be blinding sunshine before I can even finish writing this post. Such are the weather patterns out here near the beach in San Francisco.

So I'm heading where I know the sun is warm and shining. Out to a clear, bright summer's day in Southampton New York. And the bright, charming work of interior designer Ashley Whittaker.

Love. Love. Love. The soothing shade of blue. The great mix of
patterns. And the half-tester over the bed giving a
sense of intimacy in the spacious room.

"I wanted to use some serious furniture shapes and a few
antiques in the living room of this house, but I wanted
to have fun with the fabrics and color."
-Ashley Whittaker

And this little corner of the dining room. I love seeing these little 'micro' images of what are clearly large, dramatic spaces. It's like a little short film. A 2 minute documentary. And you have a complete sense of the entire space - because of the colour of those two garden stools under the console. And the great shade of the dining chair upholstery. The hint of the coral chandelier in the top right corner. And the Quadrille textile on the walls - one of the big stars of this little piece of cinema.

Okay, this room totally blows me away. Starting with the rich warm colour - and that amazing China Seas textile on the window treatment. And clearly, not forgetting the great use of white lattice to give this sunroom the perfect setting. And I love seeing the more formal dining room in the adjacent space. You just know that this is where everyone ends up after dinner. Laughing and relaxing.

More great textiles. More great colours. More great sunlight.

Well, it does look like it's starting to clear up a bit here. And i promised myself that I would go to the beach and workout. And give my recovering shoulder a little exercise. (Just a little exercise I said. lol)

Don't forget the sunscreen,

Photography by Eric Piasecki

03 March, 2010

"Fixing the Red Carpet . . . "

Emily Blunt in The Young Victoria

Greetings all,

With the Oscars coming up this weekend, I (like I'm sure a great many of you) have had movie making on my mind over the last few days. So before we start hyper-analyzing everyone's gowns and hairstyles - or how wonderful (and frankly, possibly dreadful) the evening's presentation is going to be . . . I'm taking a few moments to share some favourite moments from my last year at the movies.

Swoon. Rupert Friend's entrance in The Young Victoria (as the soon to be Prince Albert) was romantically breathtaking. Blenheim Palace was used as the stand-in for Buckingham Palace. The film makers used over a dozen residences across England - including Wilton House, Ham House, Ditchly Park, and Lancaster House.

I openly admit that I went to see this film about six (maybe even seven) times. I had promised numerous people that I would see it with them - and thus began a two week period when I saw it almost every other day with a wide collection of friends. Which frankly, was perfectly fine by me. Besides its beautiful sets, and beautiful crafted story - it had an amazing music score (sadly not nominated) with several period works of music skillfully woven into its design.
I guess I'll also admit while I'm at it, that Handel's "Zadok the Priest" is a serious favourite of mine - and the fact that it's used in the score (at about 2 1/2 minutes into the film) moved me to tears each and every time.

The Queen's Buckingham Palace bedroom - filmed at Ditchly Park in Oxfordshire.
Let's all just take a few moment - and look past the luminous Emily Blunt and the handsome Rupert Friend - to admire the handpainted wall covering. Yum . . . .

Julianne Moore Dressing Room. A Single Man

A Single Man. Damn. Double Damn. The simple fact the these sets weren't nominated for an Oscar in Art Direction borders on criminal. Julianne Moore's decadent dressing room (simply awash with colour - and those fantastical Hollywood Regency lamps) was simply marvelous. That lush pale pink carpet. The coral ikat drapes. The decadent flokati upholstered vanity chair.

In contrast, the stark simple lines of George's bedroom. Her bedroom absolutely flooded with colour and passion. His room completely devoid of both - simply utilitarian. It's a clear statement - and so easily expresses the inner lives of each characters.

And maybe the lives of our design clients as well.
"Interior design" - it's just set design that people get to live in every day.

May I have the envelope please,
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