Belarusian painter Leonid Afremov captures the spirit of the city in his mesmerizing paintings. I love the impact of his bold use of color and the liquidity of the reflections. The mosaic quality of his work adds depth and comes from painting with a palette knife. Most of the vibrant settings illustrated are in Europe but anyone with a passion for urban living can relate to these paintings. My favorite is the cityscape above. Afremov’s work is available online at the artist’s website.
Images from freshome
French designer, Valerie Pasquiou designs the homes of celebrities such as Lisa Kudrow, K.D. Lang and Ben Stiller. LoftLife Magazine featured her effortlessly chic New York loft and interviewed the designer. My favorite room is also hers – the library shown above. The books and cozy modern furnishings add warmth.
Pasquiou cautions designers against getting too obsessed with trends and playing the matching game. The white color palette sets the tone and accessories and furnishings add color. I love the blending of modern furnishings with antique, masculine with feminine.
It is refreshing to see a bedroom that is poised yet simple. The bed is sans headboard – I have been doing this for years – who needs a headboard when one is surrounded by the texture of exposed brick walls.
Pasquiou in her cozy living room. I love the mix of the organic in the lounge chairs and cowhide rug with the orthogonal coffee table and sofa. A designer’s home often gives you the best sense of their style. And I love that Pasquiou makes intuitive decisions that culminate in a sophisticated, yet approachable environment.
Images from LoftLife.
There is so much to be thankful for this year. Often I find myself getting stressed from the pressure of work. A friend reminded me the other day that it is really the simple things that matter. I am fortunate to have my health and strength and to be surrounded by people who care about me. And that is what counts. Special thanks to Mark S. for the wonderful words. Wishing everyone a very happy thanksgiving shared with family and close friends.
Introducing the Film of the month! Featuring movies that make a strong architectural statement. I recently saw French director Jacque Tati’s Playtime (1967) again and was reminded of what a splendid essay this film is on modern society. The architecture of Playtime becomes the star of the film. Dialogue becomes background noise and Tati spent more money on designing this fictional world than on professional actors. Through humor Playtime reveals the extraordinary elements of modern life. The main character, Mr. Hulot, played by Tati, represents the everyday man, blending into the fabric of the urban context. One scene comes to mind – without ruining the film – Hulot and several similar looking men file on to this bus going home from work. Posing the question – are we all just clones of each other and cogs in the wheel? A couple days later I recall seeing three men returning sandwich in hand from their lunch break – dressed and groomed almost identically filing up an escalator. It made me laugh and it became clear that while this movie was made in the 1960s, we see the same elements of conformity and other themes expressed in the film today. Rental is strongly encouraged.
Thanks Emmy for the idea!
Image from Projo.com
Interior designer Thomas O’Brien recently launched his new collection. O’Brien is known for his integration of modern and vintage elements. His designs are available at Aero and Hickory Chair, to name a few retailers. I was particularly drawn to several of his case pieces and shelving units.
Studio Bookcase I am a sucker for anything that can be tailored to a variety of settings. These bookcases can be stacked horizontally or used independently. I particular love the effect of combining an espresso stain mixed with a lighter wood stain as shown in the images above. The bookcases pair nicely with the studio sofa as seen in the shot below. Studio bookcase is available at Hickory Chair.
Morgan Server This elegant server is quite versatile – working well as a sideboard, bar, or additional storage in a study. The design is simple, celebrating the beautiful kingwood or prima vera finish options.
Hallings Secretary Simply wow! This secretary is a great solution for the modern home – offering storage and economizing on space. I love the combination of ivory on the exterior and Kingwood veneer on the interior. Available at Hickory Chair.
Lorenzo Cabinet This luxurious Chinese inspired cabinet features open glass shelving and a removable microsuede tray at the bottom. Available at Hickory Chair
Glass Cabinets I am captivated by the versatility of these cabinets. They can be arranged for use as a buffet in a dining room, china cabinets, bookcases in a living room or study. Available at Aero.
Folding 5 Shelf Bookcase As many of you may know, Thomas O’Brien has a line of stylish furnishings available at Target. Considering that many of the above options are more investment pieces…I thought I would add an O’Brien design that is affordable and a long time favorite of mine. Price $180
Thanks GQ for a great final issue of 2009 – I would have otherwise missed this fabulous bench from IKEA. Sculptural and modern, the PS Rasken bench is constructed of solid birch instead of IKEA’s standard particle board and assembles without the need for any tools. The pieces lock into place when you sit. And the cost, not bad at $100.
Image from GQ
Also in their Nov/Dec issue, GQ dressed actor, Joseph Gordon – Levit in some very stylish ensembles, all from “low-cost, high style labels” such as Club Monaco, Topman, and the Gap. Two outfits really caught my eye and both cost less than $250. Love the mixing of plaids in the shirt and tie in the Uniqlo outfit (top). The H&M ensemble (below) is another favorite, pairing black and white striped tee shirt with Herringbone blazer and wool pants. Don’t be surprised if you see me on the street rocking either outfit. .
IMAGES from GQ
I have been working on getting an LCD TV for years and now when I purchase one – I will still be WAY behind the curve. AdNotam recently released a product that blows my mind. Simultaneously fusing together furniture and multimedia functions, the Glass TV is a mirror wall unit incorporating a mirror LCD TV with all of the necessary connection ports to DVD, cable, and satellite. To clarify, a mirror LCD TV essentially means that the television is within a mirror. Usually there are options for the television screen to vanish when turned off or remain visible. Glass TV is the former and I love that it looks like a mirror when turned off. Properly placed this unit can blend in with its surroundings and eliminate the whole how to conceal the television issue. These units are available in 36″ or 46″ and you can choose either mirrored, black or white glass. For more info, check out AdNotam.
IMAGES from Trendir
While perusing old magazines for inspiration, I happened upon this favorite from the May 2008 issue of Metropolitan Home. This home takes my breath away. Owner, Jim Dow purchased this 1920s Mediterranean in Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill. Dow hired designer Garret Cord Werner and landscape architect Bruce Hinckley of Alchemie to create an urban retreat.
The design team considered the importance of continuity and flow throughout the spaces. The color palette is simple and masculine. The incorporation of slots in the walls is a theme carried throughout all the spaces. Particularly the use of cubbies for wood ties together the dramatic living room and family room carved out of basement below.
The focal kitchen is sophisticated and sleek, opting to use custom open steel shelves instead of typical upper cabinets. The stunning walnut slab dining table branches out of the bar and allows a moment of organic departure from the rigid orthogonal lines in the home. I fell in love with the vintage 1970s Castelli armchairs that surround the table and found them via 1stDibs, a great online resource for finding antiques.
The masterpiece of this home is the spa-like master suite bathroom featuring a Japanese soaking tub recessed into the floor. The tub transitions into the exterior pond. It doesn’t surprise me that Dow mentioned that he takes a bath every night. The water feature of this tranquil oasis continues into a garden, then cascades down the retaining wall into a pool.
The use of concrete and steel creates seamless transitions from interior spaces and the exterior, elegantly bringing the outside in.
Check out these stylish, sleek, functional wallets by Ettinger of London, maker of fine accessories for gentlemen including weekend bags, flasks and much more. I love the Purple Collection featuring black calf skin on the exterior and soft grained leather on the inside. Pricing is £125 for the basic billfold wallet and a great gift for the holidays. These wallets come highly recommended by a friend and wallet aficionado. Thanks Paul V. for the submission.
Image from Cultureshoq