I found this kilim as an option for a design plan that I did awhile back for a garden apartment in Brooklyn. I really loved it, but am not sure which one the clients ultimately chose. Today I came across it again on Overstock. Because it looks like a good rug at a great price, I thought I'd share it. Snatch one up here.
Remember that post I wrote awhile back 'Exposed Brick: To Paint or Not to Paint"? Well, here we are again. I started with some new clients last week. If they owned the place, this would be a no brainer, I would paint it in a heartbeat. However, this is a rental. They will likely stay in the apartment a good few years, but the decision is not up to me or them and I have a feeling we will be stuck with it. Luckily, it is only one of the walls, but it is in the main living room - and there is a part that juts out about 5" more than the rest of the wall. I am determined to kick this exposed brick wall's ass, however. Sure, there is no chance I am pulling off Hollywood Regency, but that is not really their taste anyway.
There is already a gray sofa in place and I am sure many neutrals will follow. Luckily the room is a decent size and it has two large windows, so it should be possible to create a lighter, airy feel, especially with some live greenery serving as an accent to all the neutral. Still, I have my work cut out for me on this one.
I was happily surprised when the most recent Serena & Lilly catalog landed in my mailbox. I've always loved their products for children and knew some items could transition to adult spaces, but I didn't realize they had expanded into a full on line of furniture and accessories for the whole house. Immediately there were several things I wanted. As you can see above, bright cotton dhurries, great rattan pieces and a myriad of occasional tables are available, not to mention that fantastic spiral pendant light. I couldn't help but pull a whole room together.
I usually use quite a bit of vintage when I do interiors, but I like to mix it in with store bought items too. Additionally, I probably would never use just one source for a space, but, I have to confess, this room looks pretty good to me. Maybe it is because the rattan feels vintage, the lights modern and the bench traditional, so while it is all cohesive in palette and mood there is enough variance to keep it interesting. In full disclosure, the painting is actually much smaller. I enlarged it because I liked how it fit the room and balanced out the bench, but Serena & Lilly has a great selection of art in varying sizes. I can no longer find this painting on the site to properly credit the artist (apologies!), but there are many lovely seascapes available by painter John Bucklin, such as this one below.
In general, sourcing can be one of the most time consuming aspects of designing a space, and sometimes looking for a particular item from vintage sources can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Having some go-to retailers and pieces to rely on makes the job much easier. Serena & Lilly is now squarely on my list. I am already imagining a few things for some new clients I am meeting this week.
The last month or so has been busy and my custom blind order was delayed. Since I knew I couldn't do a final installation until the blinds came, I think I subconsciously took a little vacation from thinking about the apartment - especially after the laborious endeavor of repainting the floors last month. Painting floors is pretty easy. Painting floors in a small apartment full of furniture, not so much. Well, the blinds have arrived and I guess I have no excuse now, aside from the fact that work is still keeping me fairly busy. Still, I am tryng to keep the ball rolling with little projects when I can. Here is a little update via (not-the-best) iphone photos. I had these white pots above that I picked up at IKEA ages ago. I finally planted some succulents in them. I was afraid they might not do well in the northern light, but they are doing great. It is also a good solution for this window sill because other plants did not get along with the radiator in winter, where as these succulents do not seem to mind a little heat.
There were little shelves here, which were fine, but I didn't really need them and wanted a spot for some art work. I finally took them down, patched and painted the wall and hung up this vintage painting. I found it last year while antiquing with my sisters and Mom in Virginia. It has really grown on me and I think it is quite cheery and bright in the kitchen. My sister made that vase holding the wooden utensils, it is really special to me and the carved bowl was a gift from a family friend. The two canisters are from a set I found on eBay. They had a real country vibe with roosters on them. Originally I just sanded off the finish - and roosters - and oiled them, but when I was painting the floor I had an impulse to paint the bottoms white and leave the lids natural. I experimented with just one at first, as I figured it would be easy to strip off if I didn't like it. I am happy with the look though, so now I have to do the rest.
The canisters come in handy because, aside from the large drawer on the pantry cabinet, I have no drawers. As you can see here, the under counter space is pretty simple. Under the sink are the appliances and under the rolling counter, behind the stools are shelves. I actually have enough storage, but I really want a drawer for the utensils. I was going to get a kitchen cart, but the one I found was on back order - which seems to be a theme with everything I want that is store bought. In preparation, I already removed the flip down table that I never really used. I am always at the counter or table in the other room. I said good bye to those lovely Plia chairs too. I really liked them, but just didn't need them for this space any more. So now I am considering a couple of options for that area. I also would like to have a more polished solution for the curtained off area - this is a quick fix with wire and muslin. The rug pictured above just came, but it may just be visiting. It is going for a cleaning and then I'll decide if it stays for the kitchen or is used to upholster a bench for a client.
I also added this tree awhile back and these brown baskets. My kitchen is also my entry (welcome to Manhattan!), so I want it to feel bright and welcoming and not-so-kitcheny. I know I am always preaching about what a large plant or tree can do for a room, but only because it is true people. Have you not added one to your space yet? Sure, they can sometimes be a little pricey, but if you think of it as both plant and sculpture, a bit of natural art, then maybe that will help. Although, granted, you could kill it, so maybe begin with something hardy and meduim priced. Try a money tree. This one I bought for a clients living room thrived in almost no direct sunlight. I was seriously amazed. My client was a busy lawyer who was not home a lot and probably not too diligent about raising the blinds and watering his plants - if he can keep this thing alive, so can you.
Okay, that's a wrap for this installment of Apartment 2.0.
An experiment from the weekend.
I had breakfast in the garden this morning. It is really beautiful right now. The plants have grown in enought to make it feel lush and the irises, peonies and wisteria are all in bloom. I am so bad about editing photos and updating my portfolios. I've been meaning to add some more open views of the garden. I know I have them already amongst the 10,000 images clogging up the hard drive, but I couldn't resist shooting a couple more today.
We had some intense thunderstorms yesterday and I found the peony bush had been a bit thrashed. Luckily, I was able to catch a few blooms that had not yet begun to fade. That flower is just so amazingly beautiful. Someone leaned over to smell one today as I was photographing. Peonies aren't fragrant flowers, so I joked with the person that they were such fantastic creations it would be almost too much to bear if they smelled wonderful too.
I don't know if it is because it's spring or maybe its just because it might be unexpected, but I am craving a floral chair (or four). I recently purchased a wingback that is slipcovered in white denim, so it is probably crazy to think about replacing it already. However, I can't help keeping my eye on a few floral options.
I am feeling these with the Danish modern, zebra rug, brass trunk, Victorian armoire and rattan that is already going on in the room. Or maybe these . . .
One pair is decidely a bit Palm Beach, the other a little more New England WASP. What do you think?
I could also just get a slipcover made for the wingback I already have - or maybe some pillows - that way I can switch things around by the season and my moods. But I do have those four bentwoods at the top seriously on my mind, maybe for a new client. They'd have to be recovered for this project, but I almost want to style them in a shoot beforehand because they are too good.
My last couple of days seem to have a green theme. On Sunday, I finished a shoot at a friend's loft in Brooklyn that has a vertical green wall and over 100 other plants. I met her years back via my fiftyRX3 days. You can see a little corner of the herb garden in the kitchen in the Instagram above. I will definitely be sharing more about her work and her home in the future.
Last night I met with Graham Hill and friends for dinner at Graham's NYC apartment, seen above, which was built to be very multi-functional, a kind of Life Edited living lab. I also know Graham, who founded the website treehugger, from back in those sustainable style days. Life Edited is Graham's latest project, check it out right here.
I dropped the ball a little bit on the Monday Markdowns. I have decided to make them Monthly Markdowns instead. However, I will try to upload and discount a series of images for the whole month versus one image a week. This month is LOVE.
I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. - MLK Jr.
I know it is a cliché, but I try to think of it in a universal way. It reminds me to gravitate toward postive things. Is there love in my actions - toward people, toward work, toward my environment, toward myself? It is easy to get caught up in the little things, so sometimes I like to return to these thoughts and check myself.
Use the code: LOVE to receive 20% off any print in this series through May. Custom orders are also accepted. As seen here, I made a print in green and pink to change the art up in the Sustainable Style Room. Feel free to contact me with any ideas or colors you'd like.
I know that I have mentioned them before, but sometimes you have to revisit them. Sister Corita Kent was on to something . . . feeling the urge to make.