30 August, 2010

"Wait, Where is Dinah . . . ?"


Hey y'all. Let's just cut-to-the-chase on this one. Basically, there is just a collection of 'design-porn' for today's post.

'Cause, seriously. "K" is for . . .


Whew - which is YOUR favourite?

28 August, 2010

"Some Weekend Sewing . . . "


Well another week finally comes to an end, but our adventurous tour through the "Love Letters" series continues. And this was actually one of the first ideas that I came up with when I began working on the series (but, of course, I'm still writing like a madman at the last minutes - why does it always seem to work that way - lol)

So prepare yourself for a lengthy look at our next letter.

"J" stands for . . .

"Jacobean Crewel"

And for me, one of the best resources for these amazingly versatile textiles is Lee Jofa. A prime example is their wondrous "Sohil" fabric - detail images open this post and also below - but, above - see them in their full glory in this wonderful seating arrangement from Suzanne Kasler.

And speaking of fabulous, this is a sample of the new textile collection from Oscar de la Renta for Lee Jofa. Isn't this brash, vibrant crewel work simply perfect?

Maybe something a bit more traditional, but with that same vibrant colours?
I'm loving "Arbre de Vie" - from Lee Jofa as well.

And some other favourites . . .

I actually used Bartholomew Velvet for decorative pillows in my own bedroom a few years ago.
So beautiful!

And who could ever forget one of my favourite rooms - with Jacobean Crewelwork upholstered to the very walls of the bedroom . . .

The completely delicious, Roger Banks-Pye


ps. and a particular 'thank you' to Jennifer and the NY Lee Jofa showroom for the amazing detail images.

26 August, 2010

"The "I's" Have It . . . "


Well, don't think just work out for the best sometimes . . . We're right in the middle of our alphabet tour, and I know that we already covered "i" yesterday - but, I found out that I'm being "INTERVIEWED" this weekend on Olivia Wilder's wonderful broadcast "The Art of Living."

Also on the schedule are Ronda Carman, James Andrew, and Andrea Schroder. Click this LINK and tune in Sunday evening at 9pm (eastern) / 6pm (pacific).


23 August, 2010

"Brollies and Tweeds . . . "

Greetings again,

Firstly, I hope everyone had a great (either incredibly productive - or maybe even better, massively unproductive) weekend. Mine was, blessedly, a good balance of both.

And we continue our "Love Letters" tour through the alphabet this afternoon with another of my favourites. Now as many of you know, I worked in fashion (for Ralph Lauren) forever (well, for 13 years at least) before opening my own interior design business - and men's (and women's) fashion has always been a big part of my life - and of my design inspiration.

Now - years ago - on one of my regular trips to London, I wandered into a tiny little men's clothing shop over on Jermyn Street (in the Mayfair district). And it has changed my life.

"H" is for . . .

"Hackett of London"

Now, I do believe that I've prattled on about Hackett on this venue before - but, frankly, it could use repeating. And you should understand that my wardrobe (let's agree to say that it's somewhat extensive) usually falls into a few simple categories.

In the summer, I love all of my clearly American preppy clothes. Tons of madras. Brightly coloured cashmere sweaters. And a healthy dose of spectator shoes and topsiders.

But, come Fall - I go English. Way English. Heavy tweeds. Thick fair isle cardigans. Chocolate brown velvet slippers.
And, as our weather is just beginning to transition, I've got Fall - and a BIG dose of Hackett - on the brain.

And, outside of the amazing clothes from Hackett - I LOVE their ads and photography.
A book was published several years ago, Mr. Classic - by Jeremy Hackett, and highlights a great collection of their images.

Enjoy. And dream of the rural English countryside with me . . .

And a few 'city' dreams as well . . .

The Hackett Store in Dublin.

The Hackett showroom in Tokyo.

And Jeremy Hackett, himself.
And for a link to Jeremy's wonderful blog.
Click HERE.

And now for the bad news, there are no stores in the US. You can find store around the world HERE.

Cheers (and cheerio),

ps. and just as a warning - you'd best bring your appetites tomorrow. seriously.

21 August, 2010

"Casting a Quiet Glow . . . "


We've made it through yet another work week - and our newest "Love Letter" brings us to the "g." I've always felt that one of the most important aspects of a beautiful home is your ability to layer lighting throughout the space. A good balance of overhead fixtures and table lighting can bring a beautiful glow to your home. Oh, that and some candlelight.

But, there's another layer of lighting that you can always add to your home . . .

"G" is for . . .

"Gallery Lights"

Now, I love gallery lighting. I love their ability to highlight specific pieces - bringing one's focus directly onto the artwork. But, outside of this more obvious use, there is little more glamorous than a room in the evening - aglow with only the gallery lights illumined. - and maybe a little candlelight as well. Lighting perfection.

And don't think that they can only be used in more traditional spaces. Jamie Drake easily adds gallery lights to the artwork in this remarkable, much more contemporary bedroom.

From one of the projects here in San Francisco - in our own portfolio.

Not only are they great for artwork - I also love seeing (and using) them for lighting a library as well. Casting a quiet, beautiful glow over the collection of books and artifacts.

A perfect library. Just bathed in glorious lighting.

And one of the images of the study in my own home. I think it's wise to keep all the gallery lights (as well as all of your lighting) on dimmer switches. It's important to be able to 'manage' the lighting at the house.

It's great fun - just before a dinner party here at the house - to adjust the lighting. Gallery lights a little higher. Table lamps lower. Turning the overhead lighting down to almost nothing. Lighting some candles. Making sure that everyone is presented in their best 'light.'


19 August, 2010

"Confirm Request . . . "

Greetings all,

*the scene opens in a darkened apartment*
*early morning*
(two characters, one in the kitchen. one in the living room adjacent)

Him: Coffee's almost ready. What do you want for breakfast?

Me: Maybe some eggs? Or some oatmeal . . .

Him: I'll make some quick eggs, I know you need to get to the office . . .

Me: Perfect. Thanks!


*floor creak*




"F" stands for . . .

I guess we'd have to take at least one major stop along our way through the alphabet to recognize the almost overwhelming presence of social media in our lives. For good or ill, I firmly believe that it's here to stay. But of course, the same was said of the rotary telephone. And the covered wagon. And "MySpace." So who knows.

I still remember riding back from a camping weekend with friends three years ago - and heard for the first time about 'writing on someone's wall.' I signed onto Facebook that very same evening. It was fun. I had a couple dozen friends. And we would chat with a fair amount of regularity. Occasionally 'defenestrating' each other (look it up! lol). It was great catching up with people that I had worked with. That I had sung with in operas. Friends from High School. But now, I'm fascinated with this completely new level of contact that social media gives me with people that I might never have know any other way. Designers from around the world. The enumerable other bloggers that I know on facebook. Industry people. And many of you.

I've been part of several conversations recently discussing the contrast between Facebook and Twitter. I'm on Facebook. And on Twitter as well. But, when all us said and done, I'm more of a facebook kinda guy at this point. It seems to be where I do the most 'chatting.' The conversation is easier for me to follow - and to take part in. Twitter feels more immediate, like a 'news feed' spreading information incredibly quickly, but so much of it moves so quickly it can, at times, be harder for me to use. And because I'm not at a computer for long stretches of my day, Facebook fits my life much better.

Are you on Facebook? On Twitter? I'm curious if there is one that you prefer over the other - and why?

click HERE for SMW Design's Facebook Page.

I'm also intrigued by the new film, "The Social Network," coming out in October. This one if clearly on my calendar!


18 August, 2010

"Passports Please . . . "


Well, thus far, we've read - we've run - we've rested - and we've had a bite to eat - so next on our trip through the alphabet, we're going to do a little bit of traveling. So many designers, myself included, have listed "travel" as one of the major influences of their work on most every "10 things you can't live without" list that I've ever seen.

But, besides the obvious attraction of the exotic, I also find that traveling can be the perfect 'palette cleanser' for my creativity as well. Wandering through a foreign land removes so many of those pre-conceived notions that we have about how one should (or might) want to live. It allows my mind to soar.

So for our next stop in the "Love Letters" series, let's take a little tour of one of my favourite cities.

"E" is for . .

"Edinburgh, Scotland"

Oh my, how I love this city. A perfect mixture of the ancient and the modern. The medieval castle and palace (on the eastern side of the city) and "New Town" (on the western), which dates from the 1700's. The two areas bisected by the huge railway station.

I visited Edinburgh for the first time in the Spring of 2001, during a long tour through England, Wales, and Scotland. Staying in a little Georgian hotel on the "new town" side . . . and spending long days wandering around through significant (castles and churches) and the slightly 'less' significant (shopping and eating.) I actually found one of my very first Scottish Clan tea cups in a little antique store near Edinburgh Castle - and went back on every subsequent visit to the city until I had purchased all the china that they had . . . lol.

The Military Tattoo on the grounds of Edinburgh Castle

One of the other highlights of the city is the military tattoo - performed daily during the month of August to the delight of locals and tourists alike. I had the great delight of seeing it a few years back - and here's a video of the finale of this year's event.

If bagpipes make you cry, you're gonna love this . . .


all photography used by permission.

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