31 May, 2013

"The Leather Settees . . . Before and After . . . "


We do a lot here at SMW Design.  We work with our great clients.  We get published every now and again.  We shop for textiles endlessly.  And we seem to be constantly traveling . . . lol.  But, one of my favourite aspects of the design business is having the chance to custom design furniture.  It's a fairly regular occurrence here at the office as there always seems to be that *one* piece that we can never seem to find in the market place.  Sometimes it's all about requiring a custom size.  Or a very specific detail.  And sometimes it's just about needing something completely bespoke to really complete a project.

That's the story with these dandy leather settees.  The space was going to be minimally furnished - as it's in the vestibule in a larger building - so the pieces used really needed to stand on their own - and make an impact.

So . . . we go to pen and paper.  And then finalize the details with CAD drawings.  

We actually based these settees on one that I had custom designed for 
my own home several years ago.  I loved the shape and exposed leg detail 
- and the generous tufting and miles of nailhead really made the piece 'sing.' 

So we tweaked the specs to make a perfect fit in this new project.

And then REALLY 'swung for the fences' by using a cherry red leather for the upholstery.
The finish on the leather photographed much 'glossier' than it actually is in person. 
But, regardless - the settees have some serious 'presence.' 

And here they are . . . in place.  Simple slate floors.  Masses of custom woodwork.
And the two flanking bespoke leather settees with custom tartan pillows.


27 May, 2013

"Happy Memorial Day . . . "


Happy Memorial Day y'all!


(Image from Round Swamp Farm, in East Hampton - photography by Scot Meacham Wood)

26 May, 2013

"Sunday Runway - Memorial Blues . . . . "


As we approach the beginning of our Summer . . . I thought I take this opportunity to re-start our weekends of examining men's and women's fashion.  So for this week's topic . . . I thought we'd start with something easy . . . just blue and white . . . with some weekend on top.

Justin Timberlake in Cannes (from Tom & Lorenzo)

Vintage Ralph Lauren advert from 1989

Prince Harry (from Tom & Lorenzo

24 May, 2013

"SMW in the WSJ . . . "


It's always a good way to meet the new day in the early morning hours . . . with greetings and congratulation from east coast friends about seeing our little "Card Room" from the 2013 Peninsula Volunteers Decorator Showcase House featured in the Wall Street Journal today.  The collection of images brings together various showcase homes from around the country . . .

If you have a moment - take a look!


23 May, 2013

"The Card Room - Before and After . . . "

Imagine, if you will . . . the laughter of ladies . . . gossiping . . . toasting . . . 
in the bright summer air of Palm Beach in the 60's . . . .


Well . . . our bright little "Bridge Tournament Room" at the showcase house is about to become a memory - but, I wanted to share a bit of the process of putting the room together before it all fades into the past . . . .

Yep.  This is what we started with.
Nice size.  Good windows.  Decent light.  Lots of heat vents.  Lots of light switches. 
The space had originally been a work-out room . . . you know,
treadmill, weights, and even a sauna.

Oh, and an old mirrored wall.  
There's the sauna - through that wooden door.

So . . . first we dressed up that sad mirrored wall.  
Adding the lattice work helped to bring the formerly 
utilitarian space some much needed style.  
And you'll also notice that we painted out the trim work in semi-gloss black.
The black trim immediately smartened up the room . . . 
and its graphic nature certainly made the space feel more modern. 
Besides - 'workout room' no longer - this was becoming a garden room! 

One of the other struggles with the space was our low ceiling.
Really - it's only 7'9" from floor to ceiling. 
So . . . the ceiling was metaphorically and *actually* going to have 
to be part of the design.
We chose this beautiful Cole & Sons Wallpaper - repeating the 
lattice work concept - and giving the ceiling some panache.  

And speaking of panache - 104 yards of Lilly Pulitzer toile certainly did the trick! 
THAT smartened up the room very quickly.
My reasonings were varied.  Firstly, the walls weren't in great shape - and I really didn't
like the idea of having to fuss with a bathroom door (to a room that was
not part of the tour) or that dreaded dark, wooden sauna door.
So we just re-wrote the architecture of the room by tenting the
entire space.  

Custom sewing arrived from our workroom in souther California - 
including the pink linen box-pleated table cloths.  We used box-pleating as a repeating
motif in the room.  It always feels like a more masculine detail - and helped
balance out the very feminine space.  But, don't worry - those are
bright pink and green oversized plaid table cloths in there as well.
The 'feminine' side of the space was going to be well covered. 

Yes, at one point the 'pile-of-showcase-house' took up one whole end of our
offices here in San Francisco. 

And then, moving day came.  As did all 16 dining chairs.   I was really pleased
that we were able to assemble a 'collection' of chairs instead of one large set of 16.
When I was thinking about the room . . . as if it were a real room . . . in a real house . . .
with our lovely hostess preparing the room for her day of cards with the ladies -
it's not like she would just HAVE 16 matching chairs.  She would have pulled the
8 chairs from her dining room.  And maybe the 4 from the game table in the living room.
And the two the flank the console table in her upstairs hallway.
So this slightly cobbled together (yet, stylistically similar) group of chairs gave the
room a bit a authenticity.  

. . . the lacquered console and artwork went right into place.
The rug, on the other hand, was on the floor for about 4 minutes before we rolled it
back up . . . and sent it back.  I wasn't completely sold on the idea of the rug - but, wanted to
see it in place to make my final decision.  So . . . away it went. 
You'll notice that we use that same 'box-pleating' detail in the style of the tenting.
And then added a grosgrain trim and chrome nailhead to complete the look. 

And by the end of the first day . . . it was starting to take shape. 
You'll see the repeated 'box-pleating' detail on the window valances too. 

And then it was just all about getting the 'detailing' done.  
Unlike our own homes - one of the best parts about these installations is that 
everything gets 'touched.'  Everything is placed in the room specifically.
Every book.  Every accessory.  In fact, each of the playing cards was
dealt and the first hand was played at each table! 

(I often tell clients when we're getting ready to freshen up a room - the best thing to
do is just take EVERYTHING out.  That way I know without a doubt, everything
piece of furniture, every single item has been placed purposefully.)

So after several months of planning and plotting -
and three long days of installation . . .
we had gone from this . . . . 

All the way to this . . . .

Bright and preppy.  With my love for gallery-hung artwork.  With layers of lighting. 
And a healthy mix of pattern, scale, and colour.  
Even refreshments on the table for my 'ladies' to snack on. 

Thanks for stopping by!


20 May, 2013

"May 19th, 1994 . . . "


There are always those dates that seem to drift on the edge of my memory.  Almost like old phone numbers that spring to mind when I'm trying to think about something else.  And May 19th is one of those dates.

It was the day that Jacqueline Kennedy passed away in 1994.  And like St. Crispin's Day in October . . . or Handel's birthday in February . . . I always seem to recall them after they've already passed by on the calendar.

But, not this year.  I had made a note on my calendar months ago to remind me of the date - as I had some images that I wanted to share . . . and it seemed appropriate to do so in her memory . . . 

You see last September, Drew, Mother, and I were traveling on the east coast . . . spending time together . . . touring the countryside . . . and watching the leaves turn.  And thus, we found ourselves wandering around Newport, Rhode Island on a brisk, fall afternoon.  We had toured through 'The Breakers' and were now working our way back into town when Drew suddenly stopped.  I think mid-sentence.  And pointed at this beautiful little gothic-styled church, St. Mary's Church, on Williams Street.

"Um, this is the church where Jack and Jackie Kennedy were married . . . "

So, of course, my first thought was . . . we gotta get inside.  Let's find an open door.

The space was flooded with light.  Construction began in the late 1840's - and the church was dedicated in July of 1852.  Beautiful stone work.  Amazing carved woodwork.  Glorious stained glass.  And all the romance of that era seemed to pour from every corner.  So here are a few images from the day . . . mixed with some archival pictures from their September 1953 wedding . . .

And this is included . . . well, just because it's lovely.  As many wedding videos tend to be . . .


(editorial note.  clearly, this was supposed to post yesterday.  I was 'off the grid' most of the weekend, and only discovered this morning that it had not posted as scheduled.  But, I didn't want to delay - so here we are.  One day late.)

17 May, 2013

"High Point Market - Drexel Heritage Furniture . . . "

Drexel Heritage Showrooms for Spring 2013


I feel like I've got to catch up with pictures from the last month of frantic, and yet fabulous, travel.  So just to keep things in their proper order - let's hop in the 'way-back-machine' and just zip back a few weeks ago when I was in North Carolina for High Point Market.  

I had the great priveledge of being sponsored for my trip by Drexel Heritage - and part of the schedule included a personal tour through their new showrooms to preview the new pieces added to the line - as well as seeing the classic furniture for which they are SO well known.

So . . . with trusty camera in hand . . . and trusty notepad in my other hand . . . let's take a jaunty trip through the showroom and I'll show you some of my favourites . . . 

Enjoy . . . 

Love this collection of Glint Mirrors grouped over the mirrored console.
I love using mirrors in a BIG way - and these certainly fit the bill!
These new Windsor-styled dining chairs from the 24 Willow
Crossing Collection were another hit for me.
I like the fresh modern take on a classic American chair. 

Loved the natural drama of these rope-wrapped Pedestal Tables -
also from the new 24 Willow Crossings Collection.
I also love seeing the same bookcase as in the image above -
but, this time without the contrast interior - and in a classic mid-brown finish. 

And y'all know how much I love a good detail on my casegoods.
So this Senna Table with added upholstery trim was getting me a little hot and bothered!
It's great that there are finish, upholstery, and nailhead options - the combinations are endless. 

Herringbone floor details - re-interpreted for table tops.
Again - with over 50 options for finishes and multiple sizes as well.
Good stuff! 

You long-time readers will already know of my love for tufting!
And this useful little Sara Settee would be happy in several of my current projects.
Clean lines and a modern attitude add up well here. 

Great case goods again.  This time again from the new 24 Willow Crossings Collection with the
Geometric Console.  Multiple finishes - with either glass or mirror insets. 

Who could have any questions about the Sofa of Logic?  Simple.  Stylish.  Logical! 

Then I started getting a little focused on the details!
Starting with this Gentry Arm Chair.  

. . . and the Synergy Armchair . . . .

. . . and the classic manly details of the Josey Chesterfield Sofa . . . 

. . . and on the paneled details of the newly introduced Fiennes Sideboard . . . 
And speaking of options . . . this was just one of three wall of textile options . . . fabulous. 

I finally admitted exhaustion . . . and had to take a seat and wait for my coffee!
A BIG thanks for Drexel Heritage . . . for their hospitality and amazing showroom.

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