Tuesday, November 3, 2015

New XOXO: The Furniture Library

I XO libraries. I XO design. Therefore I XOXO The Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library.

Just north of Krispy Kreme on Main Street in High Point, and housed in a c. 1923 former doctor's residence, The Furniture Library is filled with books and periodicals that serve interior designers, furniture makers, antiquarians, patent lawyers, students, and decorative arts nerds of which I am one. This industry-specific resource is the largest furniture specialty library in the world, and includes a climate-controlled Rare Book Room with 350 specimens dating back to 1543.  "Yale and Harvard have the same books, but they're not accessible like ours," says Library Director Karla Webb contentedly.

The library is an aesthetic study and gathering space. It has a number of  rooms, equipped with tech and other amenities, that can be rented for business, educational and social events and the garden, with it's landscaping and sculpture collection, is also inviting.With two floors and plenty of tables and chairs, the library is homey and quiet with room to spread out and delve.

A quick tour...

The interior was refreshed about 4 years ago by High Point interior designer Pat Plaxico.
The burning question I had for Karla ...
"What is this white paint?"
Edelweiss by Martin Senour.

 I've always liked these Phillips Collection wire figures and one greeted me in the foyer.
Flor carpet tiles add a zippy vibe to the studious libes. (found on Aphrochic)
I am totally crushing on these leather mid-century chairs that belonged to the Bienenstocks.
Karla Webb points out an unexpectedly colorful 1843 Victorian-era book filled with fabric samples.

I love looking through old magazines.  "House Beautiful" and "House & Garden" date back almost 100 years.
The Vuncannon Room, formerly a two bedroom suite. can be reserved for meetings, seminars, and study groups...

as can the Hadley Court Center for Design Collaboration with its 80" TV screen and live streaming ability.
This shot doesn't capture the beautiful outdoor setting so you must see it for yourself!
If I lived closer, I'd be here all the time.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Inspired by the Past: Wildwood Lamps Takes on Biltmore Estate

Tall and slender and in multiple finishes, I xoxo the antler lamp.

I fell in XOXO with Biltmore when I took the tour a few years back. So when I found out that Wildwood Lamps was creating a Biltmore Collection, I wanted to learn how Wildwood's creative director,  John Cunningham, had translated the legendary 120-year old estate into a collection of lighting and decor. He kindly took a few minutes off from High Point market showroom set up to fill me in.
John in Dongguan City, China

Q: Had you visited Biltmore prior to going there for Wildwood?

A: I grew up in Knoxville so I remember going as a child. It was a totally different experience -- a phenomenal one working with the Biltmore team.

Q: Biltmore is so extensive where do you start building a collection, mentally and physically?

A: We spent 3 full days at Biltmore, working with the curators at the Estate. We went behind the ropes and spent a lot of time in the archives. We took 300 photos of garden statuary, iron gates, balusters, doors, crown moldings etc. We looked literally everywhere, inside and out, at decorative ceiling patterns, furniture legs, and century-old wisteria vine, at the amazing copper patina gutters. We also went to the museum at Biltmore and got ideas from the Vanderbilt's travels and lifestyle. We were not permitted to reproduce anything in the house; this is a collection simply inspired by Biltmore.
Motif borrowed from a cinnabar box.

Q: Your eye must be trained to look and focus in on what texture, color, or detail is adaptable as an accessory, lamp, or piece of art, yes?

A: Yes, I see things, not always the whole piece but a part. For example my eyes went to a wreath of peonies on an angel statue and that wreath is now a decorative objet that comes in two finishes. The carving on a cinnabar box became the motif around the Edith Lamp.

Q: Favorite pieces in the collection? 

A: I love the whole collection. There are 70-80 skus including 50 lamps, decorative accessories, and artwork. People will hear "Biltmore" and think "Victorian", but nothing could be farther from the truth. Harriet Cook and I took our Biltmore inspirations and brought them into present day and made pieces that were modern and appropriate for today. We executed the Olmstead Lamp - a very natural design that can work in different environments -- in three finishes. The white-washed finish is beautiful for a beach house. Florida will love it!
Detail of Olmstead in white.

In metallic... the Olmstead lamp.

John and Harriet return to China and India in November and start working on Biltmore again!
John and Harriet perfecting a bronze finish.

Authors note: About 4 years ago, after my visit to Biltmore, I wrote a blog some of my favorite details for Bob Vila. Here it is.
One of my shots from my visit a few years back.

The Wildwood Lamps showroom is at 200 North Hamilton, High Point, NC. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

XOXO: Linda's Colorful World

Favorite paintings.
   "Some colors that have become really trendy and popular should be credited to me. For example, I have been using orange as an accent color for years...and I paired it with pink way before Tory Burch did!"
                                                                       ~ Linda Rosenberg McGuire

A glimpse at her closet.

She has a way with color, wearing it and decorating with it. She doesn't try hard to make herself or her house look good. She merely chooses what she XOXOs and it all falls into place. 

Happy Feet

When Linda visited me in Florida we took a long walk and I could not help staring at her sneakers and how great they looked in the super-green grass.

"I wore lots of black during my late teen years when I had a weight problem. In my mid 20s, I started to add pinks and purples around my face because I thought it brought out my green eyes. The older I got the more I realized that color just brightens me up inside and to the outside world as well."

I love that Linda still lives with my  mother's painting.
Linda and I met in kindergarten. I slept over her house a lot. I remember the chocolate brown den where we watched TV. I am pretty sure her bedroom was yellow. She recounts a lot of orange in the house and I remember a fair amount of blue. Plus, she grew up with one of my mother's colorful abstract paintings and still prominently hangs it today.

"Both my sister and I surround ourselves with color. I think it has something to do with growing up in a very colorful house."

On a recent visit to Pennsylvania, I helped Linda pick paint colors for her new home. Owned by the school where she works, she tread conservatively as she could not put color up on every single wall. She was allotted 3 accent colors beyond the creamy ivory everywhere color. She chose a saffron yellow in the kitchen, medium rich pink for her bedroom and a bluish gray for her son's rooms. I look forward to seeing it all upon my return. 

In the meantime, here are some more photos from the house that was.

"Surrounded by young men (Linda has 3 sons), pink in my bedroom makes me feel like is is a "lady cave."Warm tones in my living space elicit feelings of warmth , happiness and an overall cozy feeling.

"I have had green dining rooms in my last two homes. I think it is a gathering color, healthy color, and a color always associated with good nutrition. I read once that it is a color that encourages people to stay at the table, but I am not convinced it works."

Selecting a bowl: This is a choice I relish being faced with.
"I actually like a lot of color in my food too. On of my favorite dishes to make is tomato sauce with poached eggs on a bed of spinach. Beautiful!

Linda Rosenberg McGuire is a parenting coach, consultant, and speaker with keen insight into the teenage mind. She shares knowledge and guides parents and teens with a compelling combination of humor, wisdom, and personal experience. Linda is also the Dean of Students at Westtown School in PA.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

NEED: Do We Need Interior Design Emoji?

Eye candy from Maison
While walking last week's Maison & Objet Miami, I wanted to text a few friends but was dismayed by the lack of smart phone graphics to convey  my adventure. Granted photos of colossal glass chandeliers speak volumes over simplified cartoony emoji...but still, it's nice to have an option.
I thought: "Why aren't there furniture emoji? I WANT them."

Then I googled "furniture emoji" and discovered that Ikea had come up with its own iconic text language earlier in the year. Ikea's emoticons are beautifully illustrated; they remind me of modern flashcards. Ikea's emoji philosophy:

In the home situation
misunderstandings occur most around clutter.
And that is why IKEA introduces Emoticons:
a communication tool to ensure universal love
and understanding in your home.

Check it out at http://ikea.nl/emoticons

Before learning that Ikea had pioneered furniture emoji, I felt inspired to take it on. As a design enthusiast, I was feeling left out of the picture text world. Apple's existing emoji offerings enhance the victories, challenges, and overall communication of other careers, but for interior designers...there's.really nada.

A chef can express enthusiasm for a new dish that just got written up in the Times.

A basketball player can share his success after being signed to the pros.

But in the world of basic unbranded non-Ikea emoji, what can an interior designer really convey via text?I am a tad surprised, since designers and furniture makers comprise such a passionate group, that they have not left their mark yet in the emoji world, especially with design icons such as a Barcelona chair, an Egg chair, a Kagan sofa, an X-bench, a Sputnik chandelier. While waiting in a doctor's office, I mocked up these.

Perhaps for this trade, emojis simply cannot rival photographs to relay the design experience and the library could be endless. How would one adequately communicate:
Luna Bella's Medusa pendants
 these luscious tablecloths from LinenMe
a  B+W composition at Maison Montaigne
the comparative textures of nuLOOM's rugs
Sometime emoji move but not to this extent.

 Love these magnetized porcelain plates designed by Martial for Non Sans Raison
Me on a So-Nu river stone chair
So maybe it's ok then. We have our camera apps. Do we really NEED emoji? And is Ikea correct -- that all emojis are the key to harmony at home?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Countdown to High Point: The Currey 6

I was invited, among others, to preview Currey & Co.'s newest decorative offerings for High Point Spring Market 2015. Flattered by the ask, I am sharing 6 random pieces that spoke to me. Like playing a word association game, certain items triggered a quick thought, and it was this auto-response that drove
"The Currey 6."

For example, as soon as I saw the Medusa Multi-Pendant (above), I thought, 
in other words, I predict it will be one of the most widely editorialized spectacles of market. As for me, I'd XOXO to see it floating above me in a South Beach bar while I drink the crispest, coldest glass of prosecco.


Wild for folksy Mexican heart milagros, I now heart Shannon Koszyk's chic translation.

Sacred Heart Mirror (left) from the Shannon Koszyk Collection + a Milagro collection from Flickr.
As decorators/designers we all have experienced the NEED to find the finishing touches for a certain project, that je ne sais quoi piece for a puzzling corner, clamoring for something to fill the space, but nothing too much. Voila! The faux bois coat tree, except sans coats, in perfect fade-away gray.
Bonus: You can dress it up for the holidays.

The Countryhouse Coat Tree, 77.5"H,  is too cool to cover up.
As soon as I saw the black-n-nude Cooksbridge Pendant it reminded me of the killer dress Madonna wore on the IHeartRadio Awards, except in reverse.

Madonna image found on That 1960 Chick
Every cell in my body responds to green in a really good way.
Funny, they call this colorway for the Rehan Rug "charcoal" but I'm just seeing green.
...the whole idea of cross-section fascinates me, and since I've been keeping tabs, when I spied the sliced bamboo decorating the Currey & Co. shade, I was convinced of the trend.

Currey & Co's Grove Rectangular Chandelier (left) with Timothy Oulton's table, a firewood stack in Athens, GA and a window dresser's cardboard tree prop.
And one more thing...

The uber-creative and witty Aviva Stanoff will be in the Currey & Co. house on Monday the 20th from 3-5, High Point. She's working on a collection that will launch late this year. I can't even imagine!

And one more thought...

 If you are a designer/decorator reading my blog, please check out Parlore for iPad, sign up, and try it for free. If you are a manufacturer of pretty, cool, unique, well-made, designer-friendly home furnishings and decor, reach out: jane@parlore.com. Or come say hello in High Point at 220 Elm on Saturday the 18th.

Monday, March 2, 2015

XOXO: My Yearly Date with Angels

Top: Selfie with some of the Angels - Jody Battaglia, Letty Worley Brooks, Laurie Meseroll, Jocelyn O'Gorman, Sophia Brake -- after our annual lineup. Bottom: Life is good, especially when there is faux bois.
Never a dull moment with Jen.
Lucky me. Once a year I hang out and spend the night with Jen O'Connor and some of her stellar Earth Angels in Sanford, FL at the colorful Jeanine Taylor Folk Art Gallery. For 9 years, Jen and her troupe have come South for a two day trunk show filled with paintings, a menagerie of handmade animals and quirky dolls, jewelry and miscellaneous decor. I arrive in plenty of time for the Friday art stroll and open house and leisurely make my way back home Saturday afternoon. I XOXO this tradition.
Nicole Bowen's totally fantastic plush felines. Rawr-lite.
Nancy Wiley's portraits (right) with a Theresa Disney painting in the back. "Clara", with the black bob, stole my heart.
Sophia wearing a Jocelyn O'Gorman apron.
One of Letty Worley's mohair kitties.
Jody Battaglia, artist and author of Funtown says, "You should never be skimpy when it comes to cherries."
And there were other fruits besides cherries to take home.
Collaboration: Laurie Meseroll "mezzes"with my blocks.
EarthAngelsStudios.com is open 24/7 for browsing and buying PLUS the Angels often take their show on the road. Next stop, Nashville. You too can be a p/t groupie like me.

The Theresa Disney room at JT Folk Art
Jen Lindquist's studio space.
Jeanine Taylor Folk Art in Sanford, FL is an incredible gallery for original folk art from artists such as Theresa Disney, Mary Proctor, Ab the Flagman and Jen Lindquist.