Thank You GQ for the most helpful, Seven Style Mistakes piece…I loved the tips. I am so tired of seeing guys in clothes that aren’t current and don’t flatter them. And the fix is simple, concentrate on fit. I loved the author’s advice to try on smaller jackets until you can’t get the sucker on and then buy the size up. I love the Dolce and Gabbana leather bomber jacket above…a stylish and classic alternative to the all too common bulky leather jacket. Furthermore, bold printed ties have been out since the 90s, so why do I still see guys rocking them. And if any one is wondering, buying those shirt and tie combos you can purchase as some department stores is never a good idea. Keep the patterns simple: I am a huge fan of a bold stripe or subtle herringbone. And be adventurous with color with a solid silk tie. My final favorite without ruining the slideshow is the oversize suit – make it stop! I often see guys wearing suits that are too big for them. I agree with the author that the same sizing down approach mentioned earlier applies here as well. However, my shoulders have taught me much more. If you have an athletic build, then there is NO chance that a suit off the rack will fit you. So make sure you budget for a tailor. They can work magic and a good tailor will be able to educate you on how a suit should fit. To check out all seven of these common style mistakes, check out the slide show here.
So what is the moral of the story: keep up with fashion trends and focus on fit!
The Microsoft Courier just became a real tangible device with the release of a demo of the prototype. Microsoft clearly had interior designers and architects in mind when creating the Courier tablet. My lifelong quest to eliminate all paper from my life may be accomplished sooner than I thought. While I could never see myself trading in my sketchbook for a computer device, the courier retains the elements of the hand with unfathomable organizational capabilities. The tablet is comprised of two 7-inch screens that work together and sit in a case that looks like a book jacket. The displays enable users to organize documents and images among other elements by using a stylus or pen and finger multi-touch. The hinge houses the home button and serves as a holding dock for items that you need to move from one page to the other. And the device also offers a 3 megapixel camera with flash. Descriptions don’t do the device justice, check out the video below. Now, I must remind myself that this tablet is merely a prototype and that should it hit the markets this winter as anticipated, it will still be way out of my price range. For more information on the Courier, check out this informative article from Gizmodo.
Visit YouTube for more videos of the Microsoft Courier.
The research into the Microsoft Courier made me curious about how it compares to the Apple tablet also under development. While a prototype has not yet been released for public view and there is little substantiated information about the technology. The Apple tablet may be nothing more than a larger iphone with the capabilities of the Macbook tablet and stellar video quality. The the tablet has a 10 inch touch screen with a black resin back. The cost will run around $700 to 900 which places it right between and iphone/itouch and a basic Mac notebook. While the technology is quite different, I am a sucker for consistency. And I can visualize an application that might offer a comparable notebook/organizer capability to the dual screen of the Microsoft tablet. Check out this article from Computer World for more on the competition between the two tablets. The Courier demo blew me away but I am sure that Apple has some tricks up their sleeve.
Special thanks Jamie T. for submitting this grea
I get a little sad every time I pass by the Filene’s basement building, located at 426 Washington St in Downtown Boston. Designed by renown architect and planner, Daniel Hudson Burnham, the Filene’s building was built in 1912 to serve as the flagship for the Filene’s Department Store. In 2006, the buyers of the building planned to build a 38 story tower on the property. The $700 million high-rise designed by Elkus Manfredi would feature retail and office space, 140 residence, a 207 room boutique hotel, and a health club and spa. I was looking forward to the completion of the project as I thought it could play a large role in transforming the Downtown Crossing area. Alas due to the economy, the project was halted in November 2008. The Filene’s building is among quite a few local projects to be stalled during construction. Other projects include the Harvard Science Complex in Allston, the Longwood Center Biotech Lab and the Columbus Center in the South End. According to this article by Casey Ross and Jesse Nunes of the Boston Globe, the city is challenging designers and artists to re-imagine these eye sores to once again incorporate them into the fabric of the city. Take a look at some of the projects and choose your favorites. And Boston.com is welcoming submissions of your design ideas as well.
The most provocative designs shown were for the Filene’s building. Coming in first for me was the Filene’s Design #1 by Howeler + Yoon Architecture and Squared Design. The building would be transformed into an algae-powered bioreactor. While I won’t pretend to understand the technology – the design involves robotic arms and pre-fabricated modules or “eco pods”. I was struck by the creativity of the design.
A close second is the Filene’s Design #4 by Neoscape. The design incorporates a large interactive screen that can be controlled by visitors on touch screens on the fencing along the site perimeter. The designs were all impressive and I am glad that the city is taking steps to make these abandoned projects more aesthetically pleasing. While some of these designs are quite innovative, I began to worry about cost as that was the problem in the first place.
RH: Furniture Factory Cart Vintage Find: Industrial Factory Cart
Restoration Hardware has been revived with their latest catalog featuring beautiful antique reproductions and vintage inspired pieces I wanted to run to the store but as many of you know, the Bolyston street location in Boston closed a couple of years ago. I am still quite upset about that. While I love this new direction, I couldn’t help but think, reproductions? why not get the real deal. When I was in New York, I went antiquing at the Brooklyn Flea market. A lot of the things that caught my eye there are similar to the vintage pieces I love at Restoration. So, I thought why not do a little comparison. You be the judge, what’s better, the vintage piece or the reproduced piece. Have fun!
[THE FACTORY CART] Pictured above. I have been seeing these carts everywhere used as coffee tables so I snapped a shot at the Brooklyn Flea. The owner was asking $800 for this beauty, the RH versions start at $995.
RH: Pharmacy Bath Cabinet
Vintage Find: Pharmacy Cabinet (Right) and Stainless Cabinet
[THE PHARMACY CABINET] Unfortunately, I don’t have pricing information on the vintage versions of this trend but they would be comparable in asking price to the RH versions, which start at $1195. I really love the steel cabinet on casters – these two retro pieces I found on Craigslist, check out the source, J. Pasternak and Son of Rockland, ME.
RH: Mayfair Steamer Secretary Trunk
RH: Mayfair Steamer Collection Vintage Find: Black Leather Trunk
[THE TRUNK] Clearly RH has picked up on the trunk trend and taken it to a new level with their variety of uses and adaptations. The Mayfair Steamer Collection features trunks as night stands and dressers (which I must say I am not a big fan of). And the secretary ($3995) shown above is just wow…. My vintage find in New York is this beautiful black leather trunk with luxurious silk damask lining. I almost bought it for $60 but alas I was taking the bus home. The RH large trunks start at $999, no thanks. But count me in for the leather Buckle chair shown with the secretary.
RH: Devon Chair and Flatiron Desk
Vintage Finds: Swan Chair (above) Industrial Steel Desk (below)
[VINTAGE CHAIR AND DESK] The Devon Chair by RH ($795), pictured above with the RH Flatiron desk ($1295) is a clear knock-off of the Swan chair by architect and designer, Arne Jacobsen. The RH Devon chair does have casters and the price isn’t bad especially since vintage Swan Chairs start at $3500. The Chair pictured can be found at Design Within Reach, for $8088 in walnut leather. The flatiron desk by RH is also nice but a vintage alternative I found is this steel desk, also from J. Pasternak and Son.
RH: Subway Sign Art Large Vintage Find: Authentic Subway Roll Sign
[SUBWAY ROLL SIGN] At the Brooklyn Flea, I stopped in my tracks when I saw this framed old subway sign. Kind of regret not grabbing it, it wasn’t bad at $250. The RH large sign is $795, yikes. I think I will stick to the vintage one, especially since the roll is an authentic sign from the J line on the NYC subway system. Point for RH with the 1900s industrial tool chest replica though, shown in the image above. This chest is stunning, functional, and versatile, performing as nightstand or end table.
RH: Benson Pendant Vintage Find: Industrial Pendants
[INDUSTRIAL LIGHTING] These industrial pendant fixtures were eye catching at the Brooklyn Flea. I thought they would make a great addition to a loft in an old warehouse. I love the idea of incorporating pieces that allude to the history of the building. And not to worry, these fixtures can be retrofitted to work with incandescent lamps. The cost for each fixture was $50, $120 for the three. The RH Benson pendant is a more sleek alternative, adding diffused light and sparkle. I especially love the polished nickel finish but you can also purchase it in satin nickel for a more industrial look. And Benson comes in a variety of sizes, starting at $189, on sale now.
Conclusions I am torn…while I am a huge fan of the industrial and vintage furnishings and their generally more reasonable prices. I can appreciate that RH is celebrating these chic pieces from years past and adapting them for modern use. Which were your favorites, vintage or RH? As you go running out to buy stuff, just don’t forget to check out your local antiques markets.
Dreading the chillier weather, my outlook for fall wasn’t that positive. And then I stopped in to J. Crew and saw these Red Wing boots. Red Wing Shoes, provider of American work boots since 1905, has recreated the classic Irish Setter boot – circa 1952 exclusively for J.Crew. I spotted them this weekend and have visited them twice since and that is not like me. There are two problems: 1. I don’t need them (which hasn’t stopped me before) and 2. They are $325 – yikes. I am hoping that their wonderfulness evades Bostonians so that I can purchase them on sale. Although J.Crew sells this vintage version which I love, a similar pair is on the Red Wing site at a suggested retail price of $223. And while you can not order them online directly through Red Wing, I am on the hunt for a local store that carries the cheaper version.
I like the way J.Crew is showing the boots in their catalog with jeans, a striped cardigan and field jacket. Last season, I was all about refined, dressy boots, this season, I am into the rugged look. And these Red Wings are classics which will always be in style. So I recommend you grab a pair, but only if you are not a size 10.
photographs by John Horner
An inside source at Banq informed me that the restaurant is undergoing some changes. Banq will become Ginger Park at the end of this month. The stunning restaurant is located at 1375 Washington St in Boston’s South End. Earlier this year, Banq which is designed by Office dA won Wallpaper’s best new restaurant. According to the Boston Globe, new chef, Patricia Yeo is revamping their menu and taking the cuisine from Indian/Asian fusion to Modern Asian. I welcome the change after being underwhelmed by the food earlier in the summer. A commenter on the article was not exactly raving about Yeo or her reputation in New York, but we will see. Check out the article from the Globe.
Plans to renovate the space are also in the works. I gasped at the thought of anything happening to the interior architecture, the Banyan tree inspired birch wood canopy or the bamboo tables or the bambo walls and floors, which I believe are Neopolitan by Plyboo. Ok, you get it – I am in love with the design. And I was pleased to know that these design elements will remain. The plan is to move the bar in an effort to make a more direct connection between the bar/lounge and the main dining room. This change will make people aware that there is more to the space and invite them to dine there.
New chef, Yeo has her work cut out for her as expectations will be high, especially since Meyers and Chang offers similar cuisine down the street. Honestly I would love to see improvements to the menu, but I am mainly happy that the original design remains intact and hopefully the drink menu will be as well.
The Boston City Council has declared the month of October as Black Architecture Month in the city of Boston, in honor of city planner/surveyor and political advocate Benjamin Banneker and other African-American architects throughout history. Click the image above to view the official resolution. The month pays tribute to the many contributions to architecture, city planning, and community development made by Black architects over the years. In addition, the council hopes that this month will help to inspire the young and emerging professionals in architecture and related fields.
Members of Boston’s division of NOMA (National Organization of Minority Architects) are particularly excited as the NOMA Conference will be in Boston in 2010. And I am sure that Black Architecture month will be discussed at this year’s conference in St. Louis, MO. Stay tuned fore more information on this exciting month including events, exhibitions, and seminars. You will certainly see special features during the month of October on DESIGN FOR MEN on contributions made to Black design professionals.
Photographs Derek Swalwell
Architect Ong & Ong and interior design firm, YPS successfully bring the outside in 55 Blair Road, a Singapore home oasis. The owner challenged the designers to create a light open living space in an Art Deco style home. The traditional façade of the property was restored to envelop the new modern interior living spaces. Much like Tadao Ando’s Azuma House, the narrow home was divided in half with the incorporation of a large central air well. The well brings in light to both sides of the house. The walls of the void are clad in aluminum bands and the aluminum is carried in to the kitchen. The inclusion of the pool and the Century Frangipani, a native tree associated with Buddhist and Hindu cultures makes the ground floor the ideal place to reflect and entertain. And the use of computerized LED lighting located on the ground washing the aluminum walls also adds flexibility. The floors in the home are connected by a steel spiral stair, efficient on space and beautiful. The second floor of the home is dedicated to the master bedroom which features a study and suite bathroom. Another bedroom is located in the rear on the second floor for the maid and the third floor contains another bedroom.
The use of simple and cohesive materials throughout the home coupled with bold design statements such as the courtyard with pool make this home fantastical yet approachable. For more information on the design, check out ArchDaily.
On a recent trip to New York, I stopped in at the Ace Hotel in midtown Manhattan. My jaw hit the floor – I had seen pictures and heard wonderful things about the hotel but the photos didn’t do the experience justice. Kudos to owners, Alex Calderwood, Doug Herrick, and Wade Weigel and New York based design firm, Roman and Williams. I ran into interior designer, Loren Daye at a party and she mentioned that every little detail was considered from the bar wood paneling to the wall covering. She said that the owners were approachable and had a clear vision making the design collaboration more fluid. Even with the extensive renovations at the Ace Hotel, elements of the 1904 building were retained including the beautiful mosaic tiled floors in the lobby and coffered ceilings. The 179,000 sq ft boutique hotel features 258 rooms, a Stumptown Coffee shop, and a restaurant/bar called the Breslin, a nice nod as the building was formally the Hotel Breslin. The prices are reasonable, starting under $200. The rooms possess an understated sophistication and are luxurious but not stuffy. Their rooms range from a bunk, perfect if you and a friend are hitting the town to a super deluxe suite. The rooms feel like modern hotel meets college dorm room. Where one would expect to see a typical built in closet, there are chic closet organizers and art comes in the form of murals or hung canvas paintings.
What I love about the design of this hotel is the cohesion of the entire experience. Sleek, modern and bold graphic touches blend well with vintage inspired furnishings. My favorite part of the hotel has to be the library inspired lobby, decked out with loungy sectionals, old factory carts as tables, sparkling chandeliers and yes, taxidermy. The aesthetic of the hotel carries into the hotel staff uniforms as well, sort of hipster guy, even for the girls. I grabbed a shot of Ben at the reception desk. To create their off the street look, Ace teamed up with designers such as custom fitted shirts by L.Gambert, jeans by Levi’s, Chuck Taylers by Converse, and vintage Glen-check Coto tie. For more images and info on their uniforms, check out Coolhunting.
The Ace Hotel is located in the not so hip yet up and coming NoMad neighborhood (north of Madison Square), this fresh and youthful spot will no doubt help redefine this area…but there is competition nearby coming soon as the NoMad hotel opens this winter.
Obsessed with anything that moves, I am fond of using sliding doors whenever possible. I particularly love sliding doors on exposed, barn door style hardware as in the image above. Washington D.C. designer, Darryl Carter’s Virginia home above illustrates a contemporary use of barn doors. Many people don’t realize how easily this look can be achieved. The barn door hardware in Carter’s place is from Barn Door hardware. The really tricky part is the doors – you have to be creative here – check out your local salvage yards or even, dare I say it, Craigslist for vintage industrial or barn doors if you like that aesthetic. You might also check out Trustile, they make custom doors for a reasonable price.
The model room (left) for the Battery Wharf Residences by Boston interior design firm, Gauthier Stacy, features an inventive take on the barn door…I love their use of the sliding door as art and vice versa. While this custom look may be difficult to achieve for a do-it-yourselfer, I encourage this kind of creativity. Transforming your space with a barn door? Here is where to start.
 Make sure you have enough room – seems silly but you want to ensure that you have at least the door width clear on the side of the wall where you want the door to slide
 Find an especially awesome door, whether it be an old warehouse door or something more ornate and make sure it is trimmed to fit.
 Create the appropriate opening – remove the existing door, hardware, and trim (Note: You are all set if you have an unframed opening)
 Follow these installation instructions from ezinearticles. They are basic but helpful.
If you are digging the idea of a sliding door but not really into the whole barn door hardware thing. No worries, another option is conceal the hardware with a valance. Check out Johnson Hardware, they have a variety of wall mounted options. There is so much flexibility with sliding doors. You may find that the perfect place for a barn door is to define a pantry or convert a den into a guest bedroom or if you can, you switch out all of your doors for new sleek sliding ones.