Wednesday, November 9th, 2011
Do you notice the sets in TV shows and movies and wonder where they found all those great pieces? Set design is such an important part of the story telling process for shows and movies because they convey without words the personality, financial situation, and lifestyle of the characters. The same is true about homes and offices – the selections we make reflect our values, lifestyle and the image we want to project to the rest of the world.
Do you want to have an inviting home that all your teenager’s friends want to hang out at? Is your home a showpiece set up for fundraisers for 150 people every month? Do the piles of toys that never seem to be completely put away reflect your values that your kids are your focus and where you spend the majority of your time so formal entertaining isn’t a concern? These are extremes in different directions, but I think they help convey the idea.
One new TV show I’m watching this season is “Ringer.” The main character has taken over her twin sister’s life in NYC in a posh high rise building (due to a complex set of circumstances I won’t get into here.) The first introduction we get to the wealthy sister’s life is a visit to her beautiful home in the Hamptons. It clearly sets her place in the world in that she can afford such a large, beautifully furnished home.
Then we are introduced to the posh home in the city through the struggling sister’s eyes. The furnishings are so well done. I have a hard time focusing on the plot sometimes because I’m studying the light fixtures, accessories, side tables, etc.
So I was so pleased when I spotted these wing chairs and recognized one of my favorite fabrics on them!
That fabric is this fabric:
It also comes in other lovely colors – such as charcoal, peacock, and grass. My favorite version that I already have in my box of inspiration fabrics:
How fun is that to know that you could have a wing chair (or other style piece) made for your home with that same fabric?! I love recognizing details like that. Knowing the resources is a big part of my job so it’s really satisfying to recognize a light fixture or end table and know exactly where to find that piece or something similar for a client.
Do you have a favorite TV or movie set? I know the kitchen in the movie “Something’s Gotta Give” starring Diane Keaton is a perennial favorite. Crisp white and classic, just like the character, Erica. For more images of the home, if you haven’t seen the movie, click through to this site.
- Four room shots via CW TV full episodes online.
- Fabric samples from Schumacher (fabrics sold only to the trade (aka designers), so if you are interested in anything you find there please let me know!)
- Something’s Gotta Give kitchen photo from Modern Country Style blog.
Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011
This afternoon I was reading an article in Sherwin-Williams magazine, Stir, by Jackie Jordan, their director of Color Marketing, when I was struck by a couple of comments she made. Having discovered a photography book of homes of designers from the mid-century era, she was struck by:
“a distinct commonality among the various homes: They were lived-in, unpretentious and unassuming, yet still beautifully crafted, detailed and personally curated. A visitor would feel very much at ease in any of them. … As designers and architects, I’m sure you occasionally get the comment from your clients, “Your house must be amazing!” And I’m sure it is — but perhaps in a very unexpected way, just like the homes of these famous design icons.”
I do indeed hear that reaction from people I meet when they hear what is my profession/ passion. The challenge of course for so many designers is that we are constantly discovering new products and therefore it can be difficult to select a piece for your own home when you know there are so many other options out there and you may have not found “THE RIGHT” piece yet. Not quite the same as a plumber’s wife with a leaky sink, but you get the idea.
Somehow it’s so much easier to see a client’s taste and determine the best products for their home in part because there is a limited time window we are working in. Our own homes are constantly evolving and the layering process is never ending. So where does that leave me? With a dining room table surrounded by folding chairs.
Why? Because having moved recently we finally have enough space to comfortably fit a dining room table that can fit a crowd. In our old home we had to set up the table and chairs, and then pack them up at the end of a dinner party to fit at the back of a closet.
We’ve selected a beautiful dining room table we can both agree upon, but now I can’t find the perfect chair! Mind you I’ve been thinking about this for YEARS. Of course, the new house impacted the selection somewhat because of the space and style of the home. The biggest challenge is that I don’t want anything expected or overdone. It shouldn’t look like any typical dining room in Dwell magazine just because it’s a mid-century home. It shouldn’t be obviously mid-century or too classic Danish design because that room already has three Danish teak pieces and it would be overkill. I want comfortable chairs (I mean really, why WOULDN’T you want comfortable dining room chairs?!). And they need to be easy to clean since kids spill and cats scratch.
If the IKEA chairs above were still available in orange we would have gladly used those for our dining room. Alas, no longer available.
But I think we might have a winner, or at least a top two.
Here is the table, for your reference. Reclaimed wood plank top with cast metal base. Slightly industrial but with clean lines and a little ornamentation. The chairs above were all considered at one point or another. Some were too expensive, some too plain, some didn’t feel right with the table base. For all I know I might go back to one of these or mix them in with another selection.
It’s funny how something catches your attention but you didn’t realize it until the third or fourth time. I snapped a picture of these chairs at the Hickory Chair showroom last month when I was there for a book signing. I’ve always liked them, but hadn’t given them a lot of thought before.
The next week I spotted these chairs on designer Linda Engler’s website and thought “Oh, those could work for our dining room!” Didn’t realize it was the same chair yet.
Then reading the latest issue of House Beautiful last week (about a week after the second sighting) I flipped to this picture:
I quickly pulled out my phone, snapped a picture, noting the manufacturer and made a note to research it when I got home. Oddly enough, I spotted this right before Jackie Jordan, from Sherwin-Williams (see above), gave her annual presentation on color trends for next year. Wacky!
Looking at the website it all suddenly came together. It has a unique shape that doesn’t look like any retail products. It is comfortable, easy to clean (with the right material choice), and not a full upholstered back (another wish list item). The price is high, but it might just be worth it.
Unless this chair wins me over. It might be too classic Danish, and reupholstering is a must (the cushion is shot), but the curved back is so comfortable and allows you to crook your arm over the top in a delightful way (perfect for long intellectual or silly conversations after dinner). I found this when I went in to buy a different dining room chair set and it halted the decision process.
Now neither of these are cheap options, but for pieces like this I’d rather save up for investment pieces I love and will use for the rest of my life. These can be reupholstered in 20 years when there are no more kids to spill on them (but I’ll have to plan for grandchildren’s spills). Remember my mantra:
Buy the best and you’ll only cry once. - Miles Redd
So what will I choose? Goodness knows, but that’s the fun of it. I love the pursuit, the visualization exercise of figuring out what looks best together. I love doing it for clients and I love doing it for myself. Think of all the chairs I’ve looked at to narrow it down to those options. Now you can see why it’s faster for me to find great chair options for clients – I have so many already in my brain, on my computer and in my reference library. Let me spare you the same fate. Let me pick your dining room chairs and table for you and you can spend your time doing what YOU love.
1. Sideboard by Knoll, design by Christofi?
4. Chairs by IKEA, design by Pam Hill
5. Composition by Fox Interiors
6. Fox Interiors
7. Engler Studio Interior Design
8. Photo by Victoria Pearson, design by Parrish Chilcoat & Joe Lucas, House Beautiful, November 2011.
9. it’s a secret (I don’t want you stealing my chairs!)