Monday, March 31, 2014


Smart,  eye-opening  quotes like this that resonate with the brand's philosophy can be read on the St. Frank Saintly Truth Pinterest page.

Photos courtesy of St. Frank
Blue Tenango, featuring a Mexican Otomi

Founder and CEO Christina Bryant (center) with her team

Textiles,  depending on how you use them, can really  make a statement. Try them framed on your wall, not only will they add a unique look, you will  start to see them in an entirely new way. St. Frank, a new digitally-savvy company, features framed artisan-woven textiles as wall decor. The founder, San Francisco-based Christina Bryant named her company after her home base and the Italian St. Francis of Assisi, patron Saint of animals and the environment, who provided for the poor and was the son of a wealthy silk merchant. With full passports and wanderlust, they seek out beautiful textiles around the globe and further transform them into art. Calling on a select group of boutique artisan workshops and textile partners in developing countries, their collective approach benefits artisan workshops.  St. Frank's two pronged social mission includes eventual economic empowerment for the weavers, and elevates their craft by bringing it to an entirely new audience as a celebrated art form.  Every textile, tagged with a small gold plate denoting the St. Frank name, be it one of a kind, limited edition, or print, is framed to best-suit the subject, with black or white wood, silver, maple or shadowbox options. One of the best parts of the St. Frank  approach, aside from the easy peasy process and  free shipping, is the story each  heritage textile tells. Each fabric's origin and meaning is explained in-depth, adding inspiration and allure to the piece. 
I think you will become hooked on St. Frank too.

Organic Indigo with Japanese and French influences features a wavy wash of blue indigo and white from West Africa. If a piece is one of a kind, it comes framed as is, and if it is available as a multiple, you can choose from their tailored options.

Biddew Noir, a Senegalese textile with a graphic geo punch

The Rose Pomegranate Suzani in a beautiful setting

Crowned Tree of Life Suzani from Uzbekistan

What a statement the black ground makes in this vintage silk Tree of Life Suzani

Spring Pomegranate Suzani, a vintage piece

 Ikat Floral Suzani from Uzbekistan

Vintage Lakai Suzani with silk embroidery

Friday, March 28, 2014


Photo courtesy of Anthropologie
It is the end of March, and spring is here, but it in reality, it could not seem farther away. After a wind-whipped arctic winter, the idea of riding a bike down a country lane to buy freshly cut wildflowers at the Farmers Market seems so far off. Perhaps your wheels need a way to transport a few things to and fro, and this woven basket from Anthropologie is just the kind of brightly striped accent every bike can benefit from. Us city dwellers take simple pleasures like this for granted, so here's to hoping spring truly arrives before May.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Photos courtesy of J + G Design
Jennifer Beek and Georgie Hambright

Although though they were both students at University of Texas in Austin and even lived on the same street while there,  Jennifer Beek and Georgie Hambright met years later in New York. They reconnected two years ago at Design on a Dime, the must-attend New York design event,  and realized they they loved the same things. At the time, they were both doing design work --  Jennifer  interned for the late great Albert Hadley, and Georgie worked for Bunny Williams among others--  but decided to start a business together when the timing was right. Goergie entered design from the PR world, and I met Jennifer Beek when she was working for Albert Hadley alum Harry Heissmann. I see the design duo, called J +G Design,  at many a design event, being part of the community dialog and interfacing with new products at launches and parties.  Being out and about has certainly benefited them, helping to create an awareness in their target market.  Attracting a young clientele,  often those decorating their first apartment, they push out creative inspiration on their blog Curatorial and instagram, updating their trad with a twist following  on what they are seeing and doing. I was eager to get the lowdown from them on practical advice they had for other designers eager to hang out their shingle and hear what is inspiring them now.  They have captured the attention of design watchers with their appreciation of design classics, and have recently been asked to overhaul the Avery Boardman Showroom at the D and D Building.  Read on for more on J+ G Design and find them on Instagram @jandgdesign

Who did you work for and where did you study to learn the trade?
Jennifer: I studied architecture at the University of Texas, Austin.  For my last two summers in college I was lucky enough to intern for the late Albert Hadley, where I met and became very close to senior designer, Harry Heissmann.  Upon graduating from UT, Mr. Hadley encouraged me to pursue a Masters in the Decorative Arts and suggested I look into the Sotheby's Masters in Fine and Decorative Arts program.  In the summer of 2009, between undergrad and grad school, I helped Harry launch his own design firm, Harry Heissmann, Inc.,  where I would intern throughout grad school and then work upon graduation until March 2013.

Georgie: I studied at Parsons and worked for various designers in Manhattan, Kemble Interiors, Bunny Williams Inc., and Blair Harris Interior Design, in that order. I strongly suggest working for different designers to help evolve your own personal style and to learn as much as possible about how they run their business. 

When did you know this was your calling in life?
J: I would have to say at age 4, when I decided to "wallpaper" my parents' bedroom with neon construction paper and glue.  It was more of a wainscoting as that is about as high as I could reach!  But in all seriousness, I thought I wanted to go into fashion design because I was drawn to textiles.  Soon after I discovered I loved arranging spaces and realized that interiors was where I wanted to be!

G: I think I always knew that it was what I wanted to do, but was too afraid to admit it. Once I decided to pursue design, enrolled in Parsons and was surrounded by like minded people, I knew I was where I was supposed to be.

How did you know you were ready to strike out on your own, and when did you?
I don't think you ever really know if you're ready to go out on your own. Working in small offices enabled us to see the day-to-day things that need to be done - learning how to actually manage your business is crucial.  We clicked right from our first meeting--having the right chemistry and working relationship is everything!  We had a few side projects we had developed together, which is ultimately what gave us the confidence to strike out on our own.  We knew that if we didn't do it, it would always be a side project, thus J+G opened its doors officially in March 2013.

What advice do you have for others wanting to do the same?
Think it through.  We didn't just quit our jobs one day and decide to open shop.  It was a year in the making--developing a mission, a business plan, company goals, establishing a brand, etc.  It is a big undertaking, but we are lucky to have one another!

Do you have a design mentor?
We are constantly reaching out to other designers to meet with us for coffee!  It can be isolating going off on your own, so we love to get together with other people in the industry to pick their brains!  Obviously we look up to the designers we worked for in the past--they taught us everything we know!

What did they teach you that you can't learn in design school?
Trust your eye.  This is something that takes time to develop, but we try to get out of the office as much as possible to visit new workrooms and go to exhibits and galleries.  It is really about constantly educating ourselves.

What is the most practical knowledge you learned from working for a master designer?
Hands down, proportion and scale.  You must understand those in order to have a successful project.

Do you have a signature look and how would you define it?
We would describe our aesthetic as traditional design as we see it through our lens - equal parts eclectic and tailored, glamorous and relaxed, bold colors/pattern and subtle textures. It's this unique balance that we strive for in every space.

What is the biggest challenge of being your own boss? Has that evolved from when you began?
The responsibility of running a successful business was daunting.  We are the last line of defense so it's all on us! Our confidence has definitely grown over the past year and we have learned how to deal with various situations.

You are very social media savvy,  how has that engagement helped you?
We knew from the start that this was going to be huge for us as a young business. Starting out you don't have photographed projects, so it is the best way to convey our taste and aesthetic to the design community and potential clients. Our favorite platform would have to be Instagram.

How do your clients find you?
All sorts of ways, social media and press being one of them, but word-of-mouth is still the most prominent way.

Whose work of the past do you hold in high regard?
Albert Hadley--it is actually our connection to one another...both Harry and Bunny hailed from him!

What books do you own old and new that you constantly refer to?
Parish-Hadley: Sixty Years of American Design
Billy Baldwin Decorates: A book of practical decorating ideas
Mario Buatta: Fifty Years of American Interior Decoration
Thomas Pheasant: Simply Serene
Where is your inspiration coming from right now?
We are so lucky to live in NYC!  We are constantly taking photos of inspiration, whether it be a new restaurant, boutique, workroom, etc.  Most recently we were so inspired by all the amazing work coming out of The Alpha Workshops.  If you can dream it, they can make it.

What do you think is next regarding trends in color, material and style?
While we don't typically adhere to trends, we are seeing a lot of the monochromatic look--very tone on tone, but with more attention to a variety of textures.
Do you have a  favorite fabric pattern or print you return to?
Yes--  Kelly Wearstler for Lee Jofa, Confetti in black/ivory. It's fun, yet tailored and makes everything look fresh. We recovered the seats of a set of antique dining chairs and the client's loved them. When in doubt, confetti it!

What material do you love?
 Nothing beats soft buttery texture of velvet. The color options and textures are endless. It can be dressed up or dressed down - you just can't go wrong! 

Where do you like to shop?
Perusing Pinterest or 1stDibs is the most convenient way to get inspired, but we are both very visually minded people. We love John Rosselli and Flair--they do a great job of styling.

What stores and or resources do you shop in the most?
We love helping clients achieve a high-end look within their budget, this means using a high/low mix of pieces. We shop across the board, everything from 1st dibs to vintage/consignment stores. We try not to shop at the same places all the time. We're always looking for new artists and resources.
Where are you eager to do a project?
Right now, specifically? Anywhere warm! We cannot wait for Spring to arrive!

 Furniture with classic silhouettes in a New York living room. Ever mindful of key to comfortable seating arrangements, they have a spot to place a drink beside each seat.

The color-accented  mix of furniture styles and a touch of pattern to offset the neutral white walls.

The dining room, with Biedermeier chairs and a mid century chandelier. Red vases make  a nice centerpiece addition to the dining table when it is not in use.

A red and blue abstract portrait hangs above a console-as-bar.

An interesting gallery art wall anchors the living room in Jennifer's apartment.

A dash of red, black and white pattern and brass make a handsome traditional nailhead-trimmed headboard come to life.

An antique dresser dressed up with a mustard yellow lamp and sunny vintage print.

A colorful tablesetting for a birthday fete features a coral and melon Quadrille print and accents of blue.

Their Avery Boardman scheme includes handmade Christopher Spitzmiller lamps and fresh printed fabrics.

 A corner desk with instant library for a client.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


So, what's it like to get carte blanche inside the halls of Sotheby's? Lets find out, checking out the six designer vignettes created for the first-ever Sotheby's Designer Showhouse. A design takeover is happening on 6th floor at 1334 York Avenue. Having free reign over spring auction items, the diverse mix of designers got to work, creating inspired spaces around their selections. Mixing in fine antiques (a George III Chimney Piece), stellar art (a Francis Bacon) and precious decorative accessories, Ann Pyne, Max Sinsteden and Catherine Olasky, Ryan Korban, Daun Curry, Rush Jenkins and Shaler Ladd integrated the goods on offer into their living spaces. Take a look at the fully realized results below, sponsored by Sotheby's International Realty, Town and Country and Bespoke Global.  The featured pieces are included in upcoming spring auctions at Sotheby's, and are on view until Sunday March 30th. Go, get inspired!

Photos courtesy of Sothebys
Ann Pyne, McMillen Inc.
"A dining room featuring formal neoclassical style with Chinoiserie whimsy and modern design."

Daun Curry of Modern Declaration embraced pastels and unique upholstery with mass. 
 "Le fauteuil vert by Jean-Pierre Cassigneul is the centerpiece behind Daun’s drawing room, inspired by the vibrant green and soft pinks. She used innovative materials and had an artist cover the walls with four pounds of commercial grade eye shadow, which created a subtle sparkle on the walls and married beautifully with the painting's hues. The room is “old meets new” featuring the Cassigneul, a Lalanne money table and works by Warhol, Picasso and Miró."

A wide angle of the space, where you can get a better look at the gorgeous eyeshadow-infused pale mint walls.

The Lalanne table set up as a bar.

Max Sinsteden and Catherine Olasky created  a yellow-walled enclave of elegance.
"A drawing room anchored by a George III marble chimney piece and the modern Title Unknown 2: Past and Present by Françoise Gilot blends living in the present with antiques and combines numerous periods, styles and textures in furniture, carpets, art and accessories."

Vivid yellow walls a la Sybil Colefax very 39 Brook Street, London.

Rush Jenkins, WRJ Design Associates
"This luxurious and handsome living room is a sophisticated blend of exquisite Belgian upholstered furniture, sensual textures, exotic woods and some of the world’s finest textiles.  The room has been inspired by the brilliant work of Picasso’s, L’ Homme au Baton, juxtaposed to the arresting console by Albert Paley and the Art Deco Masterpiece of Walter von Nessen, blended with dramatic African wood sculptures, all reflecting subtle complexities of tonality, line and textures."

The intricate Albert Paley piece anchors the wall.

Shaler Ladd, Shaler Ladd Design Corporation
"A library housed in a tent called "Library for Travel Through Time and Space" featuring a color lithograph by Francis Bacon, Etude Pour Une Corrida and a ceiling light by Angelo Lelli. The library is enclosed in silk panels and the floor laid with a sisal matt and altogether these elements create the experience of nomadic travel. "

The lush mix of gilt finishes and rich woods at play.

Monday, March 24, 2014


When my favorite watercolor artists get together and offer their prints all in one place, I get excited about it. Harrison Howard, Mita Corsini Bland and Caitlin McGauley, among other talented artists featuring interiors and fashion, are selling their prints in an online shop called The Tiger Flower Studio.  As a reflection on the finer things in life-- captured though elegant interiors, flowers and Chinoiserie scenes-- the artists limited edition giclée prints, available framed or unframed, are done using archival pigment inks on archival paper. They are wonderful additions to round out any interior aficionado's collection.

Known for her stunning interior illustrations, she creates beautiful watercolors of well-known interior designers rooms. You may recall her work in the Sister Parish book that came out in 2009.  I could frame every single image in there and cover a wall in it.

Brooke Astor's library done by Parish Hadley

A Tom Scheerer designed living room

Albert Hadley interior

Albert Hadley's bedroom

A Bar on Desk

A Bunny Williams great room

Miles Redd's First Apartment

A New York City Sitting Room

A Paul Wiseman interior

A Peter Dunham living room

A Sister Parish Living Room

Sister Parish's Maine Porch

Todd Romano's desk

The go-to gal for fashion-forward charming and bold watercolors and illustrations, Caitlin's work has legions of followers.


Two Chairs

Still life

I have long been in awe of Harrison's fantastical, whimsical Chinoiserie scenes. I am so pleased he has this outlet for his work, where he can gain new admirers.  He has been busy, for he has recently collaborated on some fun entertaining accessories which I will share soon.

A Look at The Moon 

Before The Concert 

Finger Sponge and Angria
Garden Plans 

La Belle Mer
Red Coral and Top Shell 

Rococo Fantasy

Sea of Poppies

The Blue and White Pavilion

The Chaise Lounge

The Coral Grove

The Courtship

The Shell Collector

The Topiary Lady

Turtle With Urn

Watching and Waiting