Wednesday, May 19, 2010
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 1stdibs.com
fabulous white leather from Poltrona Frau
seen at Caderno de Tendencias
from the set of Nip/Tuck
Would Philip Lord Stanhope have approved?
Monday, May 17, 2010
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!
Friday, May 7, 2010
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
Thursday, May 6, 2010
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?