Sunday, December 14, 2014

Birds of a Feather Living Together

More is More in Hunt Slonem's world!  Best known as a Neo-Expressionist, Hunt's childhood spent in Hawaii and a year spent studying abroad in Nicaraqua had a profound effect on the direction this artist's career would take.  Hunt developed a passion for orchids and owned a menagerie of animals which became influential muses that informed his subject matter, but maybe none more than the rabbit; he having been born in The Year of the Rabbit.

With his aviary of 70 plus birds serving as his inspiration and living and working in his extraordinary New York Studio, (Hunt also has homes in Louisiana and Upstate New York) this man melds many worlds.

When I heard he was doing a fabric, wallpaper, and carpet collection for Groundworks thru Lee Jofa, I was intrigued.  How will all those birds, bunnies, and butterflies translate?  Apparently, beautifully!
Slomen, working with the team at Lee Jofa, experimented for two years to get the exacting color saturation, complexity, and depth of field required to have Hunt's menagerie translate as magnificently as it does.  It is not kitchy or childlike, as one might initially think.  It's quite sophisticated, and in the case of the Hutch Gold wallpaper (below) with its matte background, it is downright regal!

The Star of India fabric, in neutral linen with appliqu├ęd velvet and embroidery, was inspired by a tortoise that was a former pet and a large sapphire jeweled tortoise that was said to have been carried around by a Maharani in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas for good luck.
Frittilery, in multi-colored layers of embroidery woven to mimic a cross hatch technique (which could  be interpreted as the cages these birds and animals might find themselves in), were collected and studied by Slonem as a youngster .

The collection translates beautifully from neutrals to energetic brights.
Monkey eyes and mouths are reduced to an interesting graphic design in the customizable carpet collection that was inspired by portraits of Frida Kahlo, where she often posed with monkeys.  They are also a symbol of protection.  The floor bunnies become more of an art installation.

There is a fluidity to his process.  Everything evolves, as opposed to "being designed."  He is a brilliant colorist with a strong need for a historical connection which led him to coin the term "collectorating."  He is an enthusiastic collector and decorator.  "He is energized by the act of creating settings with his collections which in turn fuel his work."  And I understand he hosts great parties in his studio.

"Bare walls scare me" says Slonem

Slonem's birds and butterflies symbolize the soul and spiritual liberation, as in a metamorphosis.  A fascination with these creatures as well as a menagerie of others captured Hunt's imagination and a spiritual life and visual life collided.  The repetitive imagery is like a mantra or meditative experience.  A stillness sets in.

Steven Gambrel

Jonathan Adler

For a little bit of happiness, check out Hunt's book, Where Art Meets Design showcasing his own homes and the magic that happens when art and design intersect colorfully.

The collection really reflects Hunt's joie de vivre attitude!  How do you want a room to make you feel?  Hunt thinks Happy!

Ph; CLI, Kravet/Lee Jofa, The Selby via NY magazine

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Newlywed's Nest

A kind of uninspired New York rental needs a little TLC.  The bones are good, the natural light is great, the location is fantastic, but these newlyweds with little knowledge of design and less cash need help!  Lucky for them we're related.  I can't have my stepson and new daughter- in-law living in a light grey box with neutral furniture from a previous apartment and bad lighting without wanting, NEEDING to help "zush" it up.

It all began when  approached me to do a sponsored post.  That was the spark!  I was already familiar with this fantastic local company and was more than enthusiastic to collaborate with them.  Thank you!


The basics are there but ~ snooze.....  The existing furniture may not be what we would have chosen for the place and it's a bit big, but they brought it with them from their last apartment.  It wasn't about buying new (maybe for the next nest), this was about working with what we had and adding a few things into the mix that brought  a little color and texture into the space.  As I always say, "we need a dash of drama."

Matt and Jamie loved the idea of a touch of red.  The corner bar was a jumping off point.  Now we had to float the color around the room for balance and consistency.  The ceiling light was inappropriate and off center.


We added red touches around the room.   In each case it has a lot of texture: the nubby pillows, the twig balls, the wool throw, the oil on canvas.  The black and white pillows are cowhide for additional texture and speak to the rug.  The coloration ties all the elements together.  I switched out the accessories on the raw wooded cocktail table for a more dramatic tableau and the arch lamp from Crate and Barrel I have used over and over.  It is a great statement piece with a matching price point!

Jamie said something really cute, "I'm 27, I don't know what my taste is."  That's true of almost every young person.  Your aesthetic is not fully formed, so you "try things on" to see how they fit.  Do you love it?  Will you love it in a couple years?  What speaks to you?  By the way, it's an on-going process that keeps evolving over time.  That is why I say when you are ready to invest, "Buy the best you can afford in classic (neutral) colors with classic lines."  You can change the things around as your taste changes without costly mistakes or make-overs.

The pewter deer adds a touch of whimsy and speaks to our love of the West.

The awkward existing ceiling lamp had to go.  The hanging light made a huge difference.  With it's gleaming chrome chain and blown glass globe, your eye is brought down and a more intimate eating area is established, while the twine balls lift your gaze up again and balance out the other side of the room.

We wrestled with what to choose from  The obvious choice would have been to get a lamp, but they recently introduced fabulous furniture and home decor items.  I think we got the biggest bang for our buck with the graphic wool rug we ultimately chose ~

Don't you?

What a difference a rug makes!  We choose this thick wool rug in a black and white graphic pattern to insure it coordinates with what we had and what we added in an effort to make this apartment a home expressing Matt and Jamie's burgeoning design aesthetic.  They're leaning towards cool  & contemporary with natural elements.  "They make me so proud!"

The Surya rug is the "shot in the arm" that this room needed.  There's that "dash of drama" again.  That is why I have made it my motto.  Every room needs something to make it POP!
Surya is a company that is known for adapting what is relevant and fashion forward into home decor products that are always on trend.  That's the type of business alignment seeks in an effort to be viewed as a "go to" vendor carrying the new and noteworthy!  As renters your hands are tied in many ways when trying to design a place to call your own.  Owners have a lot of rules about what you can and cannot do; the latter being the longer list.  With just the addition of a rug, a pillow, and a throw, the bedroom feels cozier and looks smashing from the living room?

Had I had my druthers, I would have pushed to add temporary wallpaper to one of the living room walls in an effort to create a coordinated bold, graphic accent wall.  I wanted to beef up the curtains as well but we were hesitant to put more holes in the walls, and I have not personally had any experience with the temporary wallpapers on the market.  The idea is brilliant, but the reviews are mixed on the outcome and whether it actually peels off without a trace of adhesive.  The landlord insured us we were on our own.  Fear won out.  I love the idea and it solves a real renter's dilemma when you want to put your own stamp on a place.  If anyone has used it, I'd love to hear your thoughts and/or experience.  It's not too late to add.  with its passion for design maintains a thoughtfully curated collection of modern and traditional merchandise.  The selection is vast.  With over 100,000 light fixtures and the recent addition of furniture and home decor, this young, dynamic company is on the move!  They were recently named the Philadelphia 100's 4th fastest growing privately held business.  GO TEAM!   They work tirelessly to provide a great shopping experience, believe in outstanding customer service and use cutting edge technology to ensure growth and evolve the business.  Navigating the site is simple and their blog imparts lots of funny or informative news you can use.  Plans for more merchandise and collaborations are in the works.

Check out gift guide  for great suggestions to ensure a merry and bright holiday this season.

 All this with free bulbs and free shipping  ~ Illuminate yourself ~ don't be left in the dark!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

At Home at The Huntley

Admittedly I stay in a lot of hotels.  I look forward to the small boutique hotels in particular.  They tend to be designed really beautifully with an out of the box aesthetic.  The Huntley Hotel checks all those boxes.

It was home to Blogtourcali when we were in Santa Monica.  The Huntley, with its prime location: steps from the beach, restaurants, and shopping positions it as a MUST if you find yourself in the area.

You know you are in for a treat when first you pull your car into the parking garage (if you can even call it that.)  Never in my life.  Between the curtains and the potted containers I could have spent more time there.

But a feast for the eyes awaits ~ Designer Thomas Shoos sexy, organic meets glam lobby with ethnic touches had me at hello!  The owners wanted something special for The Huntley, not just another sea inspired coastal haut hotel, but a conversation between sand and sea that unfolds itself slowly.

The piranhas are at once playful and become an important focal point, especially with the way the light dances and the shadows fall.

The difference is in the details.  As I was checking in, I was checking out the leather and shagreen inlaid counter top ~ a thing of beauty!

Orchids, manzanita branches, and succulents lend a dramatic, naturalistic vibe.  Schoos delights in what he describes as, "Bringing together flavors that don't match.  It begins a conversation."

Coral fans were a theme throughout

I did not have the pleasure of a suite but the standard rooms were very nicely appointed and plush beds are a must!

loved the light fixtures in the bathroom

The 360 degree view in the Penthouse restaurant lounge is spectacular day or night.  The etherial  feeling either makes you think it is an extension of the beach or you're up in the clouds.  The intimate banquette seating (in the 1st picture and below) was inspired by beach cabanas with their wispy sheer curtains and ocean view.

while at the same time a clubby vibe anchors the space at the other end of the restaurant

The view out towards Malibu is intoxicating.  SIGH ~ and people call this home.