Archive for May, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Oh My, Chesterfield!

Pic­ture a Chester­field sofa, and what comes to mind? Enor­mous, deep, tufted, brown leather, per­haps eques­trian prints on the walls and the scent of pipe tobacco in the air. A gentleman’s retreat for sure, right?

No one really knows if the Chester­field sofa is named after the town of Chester­field, Eng­land or the Earl of Chester­field. Philip Lord Stan­hope, the 4th Earl of Chester­field, may have com­mis­sioned the first leather ver­sion, but proof-positive is absent. First made in the 18th cen­tury, they are rec­og­nized specif­i­cally by the arms and back being the same height. Tra­di­tion­ally, the sofa also fea­tures deep but­ton tuft­ing, large rolled arms and a rel­a­tively low seat height.

Well, look at this gem from Anthro­polo­gie — the Ate­lier Chesterfield.

Fresh, fresh, fresh is the only word I can think of!  Tra­di­tional style in bold yel­low — so fab­u­lous!  Anthro­polo­gie is explor­ing designer col­lab­o­ra­tions, in this case with New York fash­ion house Mise en Scene by Ruf­fian — note the cou­ture detail on the arm fronts.  I can pic­ture this in an eclec­tic fam­ily room filled with antiques or in a mod­ern loft mixed with mid-century pieces.

Below are a few Chester­fields with oomph — not your basic brown!

a 1970's gem from

fab­u­lous white leather from Poltrona Frau

seen at Caderno de Tendencias

from the set of Nip/Tuck

Would Philip Lord Stan­hope have approved?

Comments Off

Monday, May 17, 2010

brimfield — a new england tradition

For many Yan­kees, men­tion the word "Brim­field", and they know exactly what you mean. For those who might not know, three times a year the tiny town of Brim­field Mass­a­chu­setts attracts thou­sands of antique ven­dors and tens of thou­sands of shop­pers. All those peo­ple, sell­ers and buy­ers, are com­ing together in a mar­ket­place atmos­phere that runs along both dusty sides of high­way 20.  Twenty-one fields become a tent world of sell­ers’ stalls — with every antique and col­lectible imag­in­able. Some buy­ers wear shirts or hats explain­ing what they are look­ing for — "in search of vin­tage saxophones".

The fields are arranged in no dis­cern­able pat­tern — if you are look­ing for fur­ni­ture, for instance, you can’t just look in one field — you have to look in all of them.  If you are just a browser not look­ing for any­thing in par­tic­u­lar, you could spend days here sim­ply perus­ing the nearly 6000 stalls. The show has grown over the past 50 years, and doesn’t appear to be slow­ing down.

Fri­day is the tra­di­tional open­ing day for the J&J Pro­mo­tions field, where I always start my show visit. I enjoy the more orga­nized feel­ing (real or imag­ined?) here, and the higher qual­ity on offer. The crowd was heav­ier today than I have seen in recent years, despite the threat of rain. By early after­noon, the sun and warmth had the shop­pers out in droves. The energy was pal­pa­ble, the smell of suc­cess in the air.  So many peo­ple had scored their trea­sures, there were smiles everywhere!

Some inter­est­ing finds, just wait­ing for the right shopper…

From the amus­ing to the truly bizarre, you will find it at Brimfield!

Comments Off

Friday, May 7, 2010

Ikat – multicultural and multi-purpose design star

For sev­eral years now, ikat has been pop­u­lar in the design world, appear­ing in rooms both tra­di­tional and mod­ern. A dash of ikat – at the win­dows, in pil­lows or uphol­stery – lends an exoti­cism that few other fab­rics can con­vey. Whether in more typ­i­cal eth­nic col­ors or in the vibrant shades mod­ern tex­tile design­ers have brought to the fore, ikat shows no sign of wan­ing in pop­u­lar­ity – a relief to those of us who love its sense of mys­tery. What other fab­ric so eas­ily rep­re­sents a well-traveled life?

[ee-kaht], in case you were won­der­ing about the pro­nun­ci­a­tion, is a method of print­ing woven fab­ric by tie-dyeing the warp yarns (warp ikat), the weft yarns (weft ikat), or both (dou­ble ikat) before weav­ing. The name also includes the fab­ric made by this method.  Ikat pat­terns appear in cul­tures as diverse as Japan, Indone­sia, Malaysia, Guatemala, Turkey, and India.

I love ikat for the home, par­tic­u­larly for the sense of punc­tu­a­tion it can bring to a vari­ety of room styles. It’s ver­sa­tile enough to play well with other pat­terns or stand alone as a state­ment against neu­trals and solids.  No one inter­prets ikat more beau­ti­fully, and more colorfully, than Made­line Wein­rib.

all images from Made­line Weinrib

Another great source is Quadrille Fab­rics.

this sofa fea­tures Quadrille's bali isle in avo­cado (via domino)

And ikat has def­i­nitely gone main­stream – check out this bed­ding from Tar­get.

But I will admit, I’m still unde­cided on ikat as fash­ion.  What do you think?

pants from jules reid, tunic and shorts from anthro­polo­gie, sneak­ers by keds

Comments Off

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ballard Designs – New Catalog, New Looks

I received in today’s mail the cur­rent Bal­lard Designs cat­a­log.  This is one I’ve ignored the last few years because of Ballard’s almost unseemly attach­ment to "pseudo-Tuscan" décor.  But I flipped open this issue and saw a few par­tic­u­larly inter­est­ing items – the com­pany has finally started to show more cur­rent fab­rics and even some trendy acces­sories.   And team­ing with noted designer Suzanne Kasler (her "Inspired Inte­ri­ors" is a visual feast) can only up their glam quotient.

Graphic fab­rics for indoor and out — love the green geo­met­ric on an arm­chair, and the black for a sophis­ti­cated out­door space or sun­room. And the still pop­u­lar ikat in an inter­est­ing color com­bi­na­tion I think has longevity.

Here is a nicely shaped head­board that’s call­ing out for an uphol­stered inset — a great way to cus­tomize a cat­a­log purchase.

These city street pil­lows are an inex­pen­sive way to incor­po­rate the cur­rent trend in alpha and numeric accents into your home.

Inject a graphic ele­ment into any room with an inex­pen­sive jute rug.

And these rain boots, just for fun. Ani­mal prints and fresh col­ors, what’s not to love?

Comments Off