Friday, August 28, 2009


If you are in New York or have plans to visit, make sure you stop by Bermingham and Company at 243 East 60th Street. In addition to having nicely scaled, pretty antiques, they have the Ikat market cornered, offering over 100 ikat designs in glorious colors. Ikats were traditionally woven in Uzbekistan as clothing fabrics, so the widths were narrow. Most silk widths are between 16 and 18 inches wide, with a few available that are up to 27 inches. Bermingham is one stop shopping since they have their own workroom, where they can turn out pillows, festive lampshades, headboards and upholstery. Designers can decide to match the seams or not, depending on the whether they want the random pattern or matching design. A burst of color makes a neutral interior more lively and ikat gives your home that de rigeur global glamour.

The wall o' Ikats is like standing in front of candy jars at a Penny Candy Store. What should I get?!

Rich jewel tones and brights mean endless options

The circle pattern is a favorite of mine for its clean design and pop of color against the white ground. Their drum shades fly out the door

The square shade is a unique shape, and it gives any lamp a new lease on life

Pillows tossed on a floral sofa would add a kicky jolt

Contrast border colors tie a room scheme together


I recommend starting with the rug when doing a room scheme-- in this case, bring in some great textural wovens to make the ikat pattern the star.

An antique chair upholstered in a soft ikat is ready to go

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


The creme de la creme of antique fairs on the international circuit is closing its doors. This past June the show celebrated its 75 year existence, and was the only show to have royal patronage. Collectors of museum quality pieces are dwindling away in a time where people are choosing to live a more casual lifestyle.
Another sad casualty of the economy and changing tastes in the interior design industry---


It is with great regret that The Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair and Grosvenor House announce that The Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair will no longer be continued.

For 75 years the hotel and the art and antiques trade have enjoyed a happy and productive relationship, but it has been decided in consultation with the British Antique Dealers’ Association and The Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair Executive Committee that the Fair is no longer financially viable. The closure of this much- loved fair, however, presents an opportunity for the trade to mount a new event commensurate with maintaining London as the centre of the art market.

"It has been a privilege for Grosvenor House to host the Art & Antiques Fair for so long and I am delighted we were able to celebrate its 75th anniversary together", said Anthony Stewart-Moore, General Manager of the hotel, "I would like to pay tribute to Simon Phillips and the Executive Committee of the Fair as well as its long- standing Director, Alison Vaissière and her organising team for working so hard for so many years to produce one of the finest art and antiques fairs in the world.”

Simon Phillips, Chairman of the Fair, said that the 2009 event had been a great success and commented: “It is a great disappointment to me that The Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair has come to an end. I quite understand that it no longer makes financial sense to continue the Fair. It has been a very long and happy partnership but most great events have a lifespan and a Diamond Anniversary is a fitting point on which to end on a positive note.“

The Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair was launched in September 1934 to great acclaim. It was a groundbreaking event setting the standards that all others strived to follow. The final Fair – an acknowledged success - was held in June 2009.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I have a pagoda logo and find I am constantly drawn to all things chinoiserie. I just can't seem to get enough, whether it is from old books, fabrics, or archives. It is time for a pagoda round up because Eastern influences are always inspiring, and Hutton Wilkinson has a new book coming out on Tony Duquette this fall. Called More is More, it will surely satisfy your Duquette cravings!

Photo Courtesy of Coleen and Co
Coleen and Company has a custom made Garden Pagoda, with Chinese Chippendale walls with a painted metal scallop edged rooftop. This is the ultimate garden folly.

Photo Courtesy of Jack and Lulu
Jack and Lulu has fancy Gold Pagoda Flat Notes for jotting a thank you.
Photo Courtesy of Lunt
The Lunt NYBG Pagoda Teapot with red handle is highly covetable.

Photo Courtesy of Bungalow 5
Bungalow 5 has their Brighton Lamp. I have shown this before but cannot resist showing it again!

Photo Courtesy of WS Home
Williams Sonoma Home has new Pagoda Scroll Embroidered Bedding that is already on sale! The shade of blue is wonderfully serene.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Having shown at the Atlanta Gift Show for a few years, Karen finally decided it was time to bring her world of natural wonder to New York! I have written about her before, and her fantastic shell boxes, faux tortoise shells and pastel pillows. New shell items, sea life, maps and vintage books graced her booth-- a veritable cabinet of curiosities. See her handmade treasure trove at The Karen Robertson Collection. Her creative energy is boundless, and she gets her cues from the natural world. She is a stickler for quality, and all her things are handmade in the USA with tender loving care. Her work has a large green component, since she is reusing found materials, and using vintage books and maps to create something new.

Photos Courtesy of Karen Robertson
Summer is spent on Buzzards Bay in Massachusetts, where Karen escapes the Florida heat. Her genius studio in a tent is the ultimate warm weather hideaway. Talk about being inspired by your surroundings--this is heavenly. Her tent provides a civilized creative getaway where she can relax and generate new ideas.

A daybed for reverie in shell- adorned surroundings make it easy to get in the creative flow.

Winters are spent in Ponta Vedra Beach, FL. Her serene and soothing home there is decorated with her framed sea fans, shell encrusted obelisks and ultra suede icon pillows. Her love of shells runs deep, and she is constantly coming up with stunning new ways to incorporate them into her work.

Handmade shell finials make a mantel complete

The new framed maps of Rome circa 1843 are a fun addition. The prints look great hung in multiples

Shells take on a modern look when mounted on a sleek brushed stainless steel caliper stand

An embellished Ostrich Egg with bugs, butterflies and leaves on stand mixes in well on a bookshelf

The decoupage eggs come with a lobster, coral and octopus designs, seen here with her new paper covered books

Vintage books by the yard covered in marbleized paper were another hit at the show

The red and green marbled paper books have a holiday feel. Yes, I said holiday--it is not too early to start thinking about gift ideas.

The books have a cut out box which Karen calls, "a box in a book", perfect for hiding something secret...

Friday, August 21, 2009


Photo Courtesy of Alexa Hampton
Alexa Hampton runs Mark Hampton LLC, the legendary interior design firm founded by her father. Mr. Hampton served as a design mentor and inspiration for his daughter, and Alexa found her design calling at a young age. At 16, she was touring Versailles and classic English gardens en famille, helping to form her aesthetic. Travels to Europe gave her the art history and historical background. Both Alexa and her father were talented painters from a young age, and they could express themselves artistically. Alexa picked up his elements of style through osmosis, and British architectural elements, Roman antiquities and soft colors are hallmarks of her rooms. She took up the reigns, taking over the firm in 1998, and kept existing clients while gaining new ones, proving she could run the show. I went to visit her in her office this spring. The place is buzzing, and she works on so many different things at once it is most impressive. She is taking the product world by storm, and has designed a furniture, fabric, lighting and rug collection. Could a book be far behind? I think not. Her wit, vim, vigor and great eye make her a force. As a mother of three young children, she is a hard act to follow. She is one savvy business woman and terrific fun.

Photos Courtesy of AH

The entrance area

Archways lead to Alexa's office

Her library is spread out around the walls of her office, and bookshelf space is not wasted on nick nacks. Her library is full of old greats and is well used. Treasured historical references and newer tomes fill every last nook. Alexa's collection spans the ages and she uses every last book as a resource

Her view, perched high above Central Park, is inspiring and light filled

A great chair covered in her fabric

Two desks are better than one. A round work table is where the creative stuff, fabric scheming and sketching is done. Reading, computer work and stacks live on her real desk. Client meetings usually occur at the work table, since she can show past projects and spread out portfolios

The New York apartment building she grew up in, as documented in her youth

An early painting by Alexa, done when she was 20

A watercolor by her late father. He painted this in his teens

Endless inspiration points exist in her office. Antique furniture and accessories inspire her own designs. A wonderful swag table holds a dilapidated model of an English country pile and treasured family photos

Their very organized fabric library


Alexa Hampton for Hickory Chair could have been simply inherited by Alexa from her father, since he had an existing collection there. But no. Alexa, ever the innovator, wanted to have a her own line, reflecting her design aesthetic and how people live today, and she worked hard to get it. Less formal room layouts and casual entertaining means furniture serves different needs now. Having a little fun, Alexa named her pieces after friends. Impeccable room vignettes with Alexa's collection are shown below. This is how buyers, decorators and stores see Hickory's newest collections when making their biannual pilgrimages to Furniture Market.

The fun part is, designers that do a collection get scheme everything. By selecting fabrics, finishes and layout, they know what will be most alluring to the buyers that come through

Styling a room with finishing touches, signature accessories and personal elements brings Alexa's design philosophy to life

The Hubert Side Chair

The back has great details

The Blix Side Chair

The Regan Chair

The Roberts Sofa

The Christiensen Dining and Drop Leaf Table

The Pavlos Bookcase

The Olson

The Mark Desk

The Simon Bench

The Hoffman Side Table

The Andrew Side Table

Photos Courtesy of Hickory Chair
The Susanna Side Table


When you can't find what you need, you get it made. Or, you find gaps in the market and create product to fill that need. Alexa brought her numerous ideas to lighting manufacturer Visual Comfort and made them fly. Her incorporation of classical design motifs with lattice, Greek key and urn elements are fresh and easy to work into a room. The finish options can make a piece appear contemporary or traditional. Visual Comfort makes lighting of superior quality, design and proportion, so this collection is a natural fit.

The Kate Table Lamp in polished nickel finish

The Lauren Table lamp in faux bamboo porcelain

The Vivien Table lamp in natural brass

The Burt Table Lamp in alabaster

The Burt in black marble

The Estelle Display Lamp in polished nickel is great for a vintage book or small framed piece of art

The Charles Alabaster Pendant

The Gene Swing Arm Sconce

The Dean Single Arm Sconce

The Bob Table Lamp in wrapped leather

The Frank Flush pendant in natural brass

The Sophia in polished nickel

Photos Courtesy of Visual Comfort
The Basil in natural brass