Thursday, April 23, 2015

Classically Designed for the Times

The girls of Niermann Weeks gave an informative talk recently, discussing the old and new methods of designing, fabricating, and finishing their extraordinary products.  Since NW is one of my favorite companies, I was very interested in meeting the daughters of founder Joe Niermann and hearing about "how the magic happens."  A family business founded in 1978, all the products handmade in Maryland, are classically inspired with their design aesthetic relating equally well to both traditional and contemporary interiors.

The talk began with their most popular chandelier, the Raj, one that I used in a client's home (above).  It was inspired by an antique original seen in Paris.  Nierman Weeks broke it down, piece by piece, and they rebuilt, piece by piece, for today's modern homeowner.

Everything begins with an auto CAD drawing and a cardboard cutout.  It's tweaked and perfected before it goes on to the fabricator to be made in metal.  The girls explained there is a lot of trial and error in mocking up designs this way.  The integrity of the product, performance, practicality, and beauty of something this special is well worth all the aggrevation!  All their pieces are very labor intensive.  The beading takes days, and the gold or silver leafing is done with a deft hand.

The CAD drawing files go to the Rhino 3-D printer to make up a jig, then off to the metal shop.

Neirmann Weeks talked a lot about their collaboration with Amanda Nisbet, celebrating their 1 year anniversary in May.   Vintage inspired metal lighting and furniture feature Amanda's unique viewpoint.  The collection pushes NW out of their comfort zone, but they welcome the challenge.  Amanda is known for her bold use of color and classic designs  juxtaposed with glamorous pieces which reside nicely within the same space.  Nierman Weeks meticulous work ethic makes them perfect partners for creative collaboration; a match made in design heaven!

Amanda found a vintage throne-like metal chair in her travels and loved the idea of  reinterpreting it. Keeping its klismos shape, but making it look mesh-like with the metal cutouts to give it a more of a decorative effect, and finishing it in a white wash, are all crucial design details that make or break the success of a product.

You can never underestimate the smallest of details

The Cielo Chair in leather is as decorative as it is comfortable.

Anything is equal opportunity inspiration, including this pair of little blossom earrings; turns out it makes a beautiful pendant light!

Hello, a palm leaf is a no brainer for a pendant or a floor lamp.  It looks as regal on Park Ave as it does in Palm Beach.

An antique campaign bed and the greek key pattern were married into a new, unique bed with an upholstered headboard and rails built for comfort and strength.  Their pieces are truly as beautiful as much as they are well made!

Nierman Weeks welcomes the opportunity to create custom orders.  Working with designers and serving the needs of the industry along with being able to deliver their products in a timely manner makes this company exceptional in many ways!

One of the inevitable issues with creating a beautiful product is being copied.  When asked how they felt about being knocked off, which they have been MANY times by MANY different companies, Claire and Eleanor said in unison, "Be flattered and be faster!"

To see more on their production process, check out their website here

ph: CLI & Niermann Weeks

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Little Shameless Self Promotion

What do High Point Market and Carrie Leskowitz Interiors have in common?  We are included in USA Today's Spring edition magazine, on newsstands till the end of May.  I was so proud to be approached about a piece on clever DIY ideas for the bedroom, and that morphed into 2 pictures on 2 pages and a story in the magazine as opposed to the supplement.  It was quite a nice surprise and coincidentally, I am writing this while many of my friends are at market.

The bigger story was going room by room through your home making improvements, creating beauty within each space to the best of your ability, and tackling DIY projects, especially if you are thinking of putting your home on the market.  I never understood why someone wouldn't want to make improvements and have the pleasure of living with them vs. doing nothing until it was time to sell and then spending all kinds of money fixing or upgrading things you have chosen to ignore.  It's cheaper in the long run to maintain things as you go along.  Trust me!

The sub story that I was a part of involves comforting details in a bedroom.  "With a few inexpensive tweaks, you can transform your master bedroom from drab to fab."  If you had seen the before picture you would realize the transformation was quite stunning.  With Crate and Barrel chests, lamps from HomeGoods (with custom shades), a remnant rug, and a few custom pieces, this room could pass for really high end, but we made it affordable without losing the quality.  Affordability does not have to forsake being luxurious!

Every project is different, as is every budget, but one thing is consistent: every client wants a lot of bang for their buck!  There are places to spend money and places to save money.

USA Today cites upholstered headboards as an inexpensive way to bring comfort into this very intimate space.  Some sort of seating if possible allows for another place to cozy up, bedding should express your personal style and finally, the importance of lighting.

This is where I come in ~ While they liked that my rooms expressed examples of the top style tips they mentioned, I gave a few tips on lighting.  I often like to use oversized lighting and I make custom lampshades more than I buy them ready made.  However, you can get great lamps at any price point, and I often spend less on the lamp than the lampshade, but the finished result looks like a million bucks.  Think about putting dimmers on everything and have different forms of light:  accent lighting (in this case the chandelier is the accent lighting in the room), task lighting (the reading lamps on the night tables) and ambient or general lighting.  Candles in a bedroom don't hurt either.

One of my favorite sayings applies ~ "When you know the rules, you can break the rules."

Monday, April 13, 2015

Spring Awakening

You may or may not know that I have been in training to pursue certification as a life coach.  Design will always be a passionate pursuit, but I felt a calling to this work as well.  I feel like I am having a full circle moment because I was a psych major in college, but fashion and design were my true callings; my North Star, as the very wise Martha Beck calls it.  It's Martha's program that most resonated with me when I was researching under whom I wanted to train.  Three degrees from Harvard and the backing of Oprah can't be wrong!

My thoughts were causing me pain over the past couple years and I felt the need to "retrain" my brain; to accept the things I cannot change (no it's not a 12 step program), but it may become a religion once I understand how to dissolve self defeating thoughts and live by the work.  And by The Work I mean Byron Katie's work.  It's all about turnarounds and just shifting one's perspective.  It's so powerful, I decided why not share it?  So, while I got into it "for me," the desire to share it and incorporate it, is an endeavor I will figure out how to do in the coming months.

What is a life coach you ask?  Life coaches, unlike therapists help take you from preforming to high performing.  We don't deal in the past, we don't deal with deep trauma, we help you reach desired goals.  It's collaborative, goal oriented, focused on solutions, and it's fascinating!

I had a huge AHA moment recently!  It really rocked me.  It's like the clouds parted, heaven opened up, and the angels sang!

Photo capture from WestEdge Design Fair when I was in CA.
with BlogtourCali & Modenus

Unlike the fleeting blossom of the Cherry tree, enlightenment lasts and forever changes you.

                                                                          ~ Oprah