Sunday, January 27, 2013

Boston Design Center

The Boston Design Center, normally only open to "the trade," opened its doors this past weekend
to commoners.  Some showrooms were having floor sample sales while others were
simply "open for viewing."

While I don't understand the concept of severely limiting your client base, it didn't matter to me.
I was just excited to see what design and decorating delicacies were behind
the forbidden post-modern facade.

I was most excited about going to Schumacher.  I've seen many beautiful Schumacher patterns and I wanted to see and feel the Martyn Lawrence Bullard and Mary McDonald collections.  I was disappointed to find that Schumacher was closed.  So lame!

Ralph Lauren was also closed but I was able to get these photos with
my crying face pressed to the glass.

Stark Carpets was open and I was happy to see their beautiful carpets in person.  I've seen some on One King's Lane and many of them appeal to me.  I was surprised to see that they also had a nice collection of antique thread-bare orientals and vintage Moroccans.  I'm on the edge of declaring Moroccans "over" because there are so many knock-offs but the real thing is still gorgeous.

In my mind, Stark is best known for their antelope carpet seen in this fantastic Jan Showers room.

The Kravet showroom was beautiful.  I didn't even know they sold furniture.  Their upholstered pieces are very elegant and some their case pieces are surprisingly modern.  
Their fabrics are all soft to the touch and seem quite luxe.  

You could spend weeks going through all of the fabric showrooms.  Weeks!
It would be easy to get overwhelmed in just one.

Here are few that appealed to me.

1.  Gaston y Daniela, Segovia pattern, Gris colorway
2.  Gaston y Daniela, Matsuyama pattern,verde colorway
3.  Brunschwig & Fils, Le Jardin Chinois, Aqua/Green colorway
4.  Gaston y Daniela, Regencia, Chocolate colorway

One of my favorite places was Janus et Cie, a beautiful showroom
that focuses on indoor and outdoor seating.

I was totally in love with the boxwood clad walls.

...their beautifully designed space and their great products.

I would love to have four of the wicker chairs around a small table on
my back porch when that gets replaced.

I was recently reading about this beautiful kitchen via this Tokyo Jinja post and noticed that the
subway tile was from Ann Sacks so I psyched to see it at the design center. 

What a beautiful showroom.  I'm not one for glitz but this patinated gold tile
was pretty amazing.

Also very cool was their selection of their porcelain tile made to look like plank flooring.  
What a great choice this would be for a kitchen.

VERY cool!

I have a very photographic memory and I was sure this yellow tile (I neglected to get the name) looked very familiar to me.  

Does it look familiar to you?

I'm pretty sure it's the tile that Kathryn Ireland used in her Ojai makeover in the most
recent season of Million Dollar Decorators.

There was so much beautiful tile, I couldn't begin to show it all but I took great interest in the
mosaics at the Ann Sacks showroom which I'll show in another post.

Despite my disappointment at missing Schumacher, I had a great time having access to the
showrooms at the Boston Design Center.  I would love to have more time to see everything and educate myself better on the products that are available if only through the trade. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

PTMD Collection Foam Plants

I was out and about last weekend and came across some amazing "flowers" from PTMD Collection and I wanted to share them with you.  They immediately reminded me of...

Six Swans Entry, Designer:  Steven Gambrel
...the foyer of the Six Swans house designed by Steven Gambrel that I highlighted in the
A Room with Two Views post I did with Camille from The Vintique Object.

I thought it would be fun to take a look at these faux "flowers," made from some kind of foam, 
and juxtapose those against some other rooms in the Six Swans house.

The connection seems to go beyond color palette; many of the plants seem like
they have come from under water.

I've been admiring this bathroom since I first saw it.
I love the wave pattern on the sink.

These "flowers" reminded me most of sea creatures, resembling something
of a cross between oysters and barnacles...

...can almost be seen growing in the pattern on the chairs that are
sitting on a sandy sea floor.

The "flowers" come in black, brown, white, blue, purple, green and gray.
The ones I've shown are all gray.

 To see more of the Six Swans house visit Steven Gambrel's website and
or the Frank Greenwald Architect website for the exterior shots.

PTMD Collection flowers are available locally at Winston's

I thought they were really unusual.  Have you seen anything like them before?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Knock Wood

Did you hear there's a flu epidemic? The Boston mayor has declared a public health emergency and the subway loudspeakers announce a computer-generated, almost post-apocalyptic message with a reminder we must wash our hands with soap and water.   Small talk has changed from the weather to questions about flu shots.  Because of an egg allergy, I'm unable to have a flu shot and so far I've been lucky in avoiding getting it.  The latter statement is always followed by my superstitious grandmother's favorite saying--knock wood--which I've been saying a lot lately.

Louisberg Square, Beacon Hill

"Knock wood" got me thinking about the fact I've never gotten a knocker for my front door.
I chose not to add a doorbell to keep the front entrance looking historically accurate but I also love the individual statement a unique door knocker can make.

It was an unusually warm day yesterday so I thought it would be a perfect day to get a little
fresh, healthy air and check out the doors and knockers in this tony Boston neighborhood.  

There were quite a few red and black front doors.

Placed side by side, these characters could be playing card stand-ins for jacks, queens and kings.

I had forgotten that many New Englanders keep their wreaths up through January so it was harder than you might imagine to find door knockers that weren't covered up by wreaths.

I love the egg shaped brass  and acorn decoration on this robin's egg blue door.

Most of the brass was left to develop a patina.  I think I prefer a little polish.

Carriage house door.

Some knockers and numbers were crusty and painted.

They all look very medieval to me.

Going au natural.

The natural finish doors were lovely.  There's something very yacht-like about them.

Castle-like doors on Beacon Street.

The most ornate knocker I found.

How awesome is this oversized gas lantern over the door?

I love it.

I think my favorite combination is brass on black.

Green and brass is also a popular combination.

There were a lot of lion heads symbolizing strength and courage.  

These seem very British to me.  Maybe because No. 10 Downing Street has a lion's head on the front door.  Given our colonial connection to Britain, these make a lot of sense.

This place had two lions!

But I was surprised to find only one dolphin fish.

For an interesting post on the dolphin fish, see this post on Streets of Salem.

Acorn Street is one of Beacon Hill's most charming streets.

Acorn Street residence with a simple brass ring knocker.

Pinckney Street residence with Federal style knocker.

A federal style knocker is a timeless choice.

The physician's knocker is also very classic choice although many 
were crooked and that would drive me crazy.

These two heads were quite unusual.  They seem better suited a Victorian home than to a Federal style rowhouse but I do like them, especially the Egyptian Revival one on the right.

Joy Place, Beacon Hill

While I wouldn't recommend having a front door two feet off the sidewalk, it's great to be unique.  My favorite door knockers are the ones I saw only once or twice as I walked around.  Those places left an impression.  While it's great to pick something that sets your front door apart from others in the neighborhood, I think it's equally important to consider time and place.   Eagles, lions and Federal shields are appropriate for old houses. Whales, anchors and shells are perfect for locations close to the sea.

My personal favorites are ones that not only take time and place into consideration but pair a door knocker with a house number that provide one focal point at the front door.

Do have any favorites?

Knock wood, I hope you will all stay well.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Heaven Scent Gifts for Epiphany

I've never been one to use home fragrances, scented candles, colognes or any kind of scented body products but after receiving a few gifts from Santa Maria Novella, I had an epiphany.
These products are in another league.

The Shop at the Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella

Founded in 1221, Franciscan friars began making herbal remedies and potions to use in the monestery.  Their reputation became world renowned and they opened to the public in 1612.

Their Carta D'Armenia, incense papers scented with frankincense and myrrh, will remove odors and freshen up your house or manger in two shakes of a lambs tail. Simply take one paper, fold into an accordion shape, light one end and blow out flame. They burn for approximately 5 minutes and are said to remove odors, staleness, dampness or mold and cooking odors. Carta D'Armenia  papers can also be placed directly in drawers or closets. 

From the Santa Maria Novella website:

"Once you've been enveloped by the magic scent of Santa Maria Novella's pot pourri, you'll understand why generations of captivated followers flock to Florence to stock up. Scrupulously handmade using ancient methods, this incredibly long-lasting, beautifully fragrant potpourri is a full-bodied blend of herbs and flowers (a secret formula), all grown without pesticides in the Florentine hills...Each batch is collected by hand, then soaked in essence in enormous, centuries-old earthenware jars, sealed with wax, then aged for several months, and carefully packaged as it has been for centuries.  All ingredients are 100% organic and pesticide free."

Potpourri can be placed anywhere in a small bowl or one
of the company's signature dishes or ornaments. 

Santa Maria Novella products are a splurge but so much nicer than your
average grocery store plug-ins or scented candles.

Even if a few gifts aren't in your budget today, browsing through their product descriptions online, is highly entertaining.  Check out the descriptions of their Ancient Preparations.  
Check out their entire line of Home Fragrances and Products for Dogs and Cats.

If the Magi were arriving in Bethlehem today, I'm sure they'd be bearing gifts from Santa Maria Novella.  They're truly heaven scent.