Running Out of Space?

Staircases are traditionally meant for one function, to carry you to the next level. While they can be a beautiful centerpiece to a space and an architectural statement in a home, they are still intended for a singular purpose. If you are like me, however, you may have realized that much of that precious square footage is wasted when it could be used for other things. So use it we do, by stacking piles of papers and books and misc. items meant to be carried up the stairs on the next trip…several days later, they still remain on the stairs!

Photo Credit: Apartment Therapy

How awesome would it be, then, to employ this innovative solution? No more wasted space! Instead every last inch of wall space can be used to store your library of books, collections of trinkets, family photos, or maybe even financial records…ok, maybe that would be best stored away in the office. But you get the idea.

Photo Credit: Antero de Quental

Photo Credit: Antero de Quental

Just think, all these hundreds of years of architectural history we have been living with the philosophy that staircases are for transportation only…I can’t believe it has taken us this long to figure out the stair-book-case!

Still Loving…

Paul Smith! And the beautiful environment he chose to set his Spring 2011 collection to on the runway. I loved creating last week’s post about his work and have found myself referencing it in thought several times since then. In this case, it only makes sense that I share a few interior scenes that I feel exemplify the look.

Image Collage: Hilary Walker

Image Collage: Hilary Walker

Image Collage: Hilary Walker

Farewell Summer!

The past few days have been rather busy with the new job, house work, occasional social outings, and…a leaking roof in my apartment!!! Not exactly the seasonal greeting I was expecting from Autumn.

Photo Credit: Unknown

But this morning I walked out of our building into crisp 60 degree weather with a slight breeze. It was so refreshing and a welcome reminder that Summer is bidding farewell and Autumn will soon be undeniably present! I can’t wait!!

Photo Credit: Simple Song

Photo Credit: From Me To You

My sense of productivity soars when the weather cools but my poor to-do list swells to an unreasonable length. Closet reorganizing and summer shedding are sure to make the list. This is by far the best time of year!

I’ll Be In My Office

First week of the new job down and I already feel like I’ve been there for months. I work with incredibly helpful and friendly folks and I am learning all sorts of new skills and systems. Up for work early in the morning and home in the evening with the rest of the job-holding world is making me feel oh so professional! In the process, I’ve found myself gravitating towards useful basics such as slim black pants and tailored classics along the lines of colorful argyle sweaters. But my new favorite piece for the workplace…leopard kitten heels!! A fun print at a reasonable height. I just can’t get enough of them!

Photo Credit: Hilary Inspired

Photo Credit: Hilary Inspired

Photo Credit: Hilary Inspired

Whether I’m at home working on this blog or at the showroom organizing my business, I think it would be appropriate to tell you that I’ll be in my office if you need me! 🙂

Larger Than Life

This week has had an unintentionally underlying theme of design principles and craftsmanship. I can’t think of a better way to end that kind of a week than with a feature on the larger than life textile & costume designer, Nick Cave, who exemplifies all of the above. I am still learning about Nick’s design philosophy and work, but you don’t need to know too much to appreciate his unique perspective and artistic passion.

Photo Credit: The New York Times

For those of you that want the details behind this fascinating artist, here is a brief summary about his work.

“Nick Cave ( Chicago ) began his career as a performer and fashion designer, creating fantastic, almost ritualistic costumes for dance and performances. More recently, he has been presenting these costumes as sculptural objects. These works, which he calls Soundsuits, are textured, sensual, elaborately designed assemblages of sometimes unexpected materials that act almost like musical instruments, emitting sound as they move. He has produced 40 of these pieces, which he describes as ‘full body suits constructed of materials that rattle with movement . . . like a coat of armor, [they] embellish the body while protecting the wearer from outside culture.’ ”

Photo Credit: via The Art Monitor

Photo Credit: via Loudreams

Photo Credit: via Loudreams

Photo Credit: via Happenstand

Photo Credit: via Rachelhoward.com

Photo Credit: via Chicago Reader

I love that it is very difficult to place Nick in any particular category of art or design. He’s more than a costume designer, his work doesn’t act as apparel design for consumers, his textiles are only produced for one Soundsuit, and his pieces challenge the idea of tradition sculptural art. Who is Nick Cave?…A completely unique and incredibly talented artist!

The Thonet Legacy

An undeniable classic, the Thonet bentwood cafe chair has been around for well over a hundred years and still holds the same charm and elegance today as it did in 1855 when the #14 chair was first produced. Michael Thonet and his sons were known for their innovative method of steaming and bending wood into beautifully shaped furniture through an inexpensive manufacturing process and at an achievable price point for most. In many ways, the Thonet men laid the ground work for the Eames duo in the mid-twentieth century (another pair of designers who were tremendously influential in the history of furniture manufacturing). Lately, I’ve been running into these pieces all over the place! First at the local thrift store (gorgeous set of four cafe chairs in wonderful condition…if they stay put for a few more days, you may just see them here on this blog), then at the Starbucks corner of our near-by Kroger, and now in this lively painting by Toulouse-Lautrec.

Image Credit: Toulouse Lautrec

You’ve probably passed these pieces many times before and never thought twice about it. But now you are savvy to the wonderful history and heritage of Thonet’s work! Doesn’t that bring a greater understanding of the spaces and designs they are used in?

Photo Credit: Tom Scheerer

Photo Credit: via Carrier & Company

Photo Credit: Tom Scheerer

Photo Credit: Suzy Hoodless

Photo Credit: Tom Scheerer

I told you…they were a standard then and they’re a standard now! Where have you seen this style of furniture?

Bringing the Runway Home

This always happens during the season of Fall and Spring Fashion Week…just when I should be gearing up for autumn dressing and cooler weather, I become giddy over all the new collections showing on the runways for the next season, in this case Spring! It is totally confusing and a big distraction, to say the least. (But, I should mention, a distraction I don’t mind in the least). So please forgive me for today as I share a personal collage interpreting one of my favorite collections thus far created by Paul Smith.

Photo Credit: Style.com & various for artwork

Mr. Smith has brilliantly brought classic dressing in a contemporary context into the setting of a home or personal art collection…notice the scenery chosen for the runway. I think it is wonderful! The set perfectly complements the mood of the collection while making a memorable statement about the work, implying the artistry of the pieces and the sophistication of the woman wearing them.

Photo Credit: Style.com & various for artwork

Photo Credit: Style.com & various for artwork

So many of the elements in this collection, such as the button-up collar, multiple layered belts, and vintage style shades, caught my attention, but the color story of burnt orange, cloudy gray, mossy green, daffodil yellow, and iridescent violets and blues is by far the most impressive yet!

Distant Splendors

Yesterday’s vibrantly colored theme has put me in the mood for something rich and slightly exotic. Texture, color, and rhythm…again with the elements and principles of design!

Photo Credit: via Moroccan Maryam Flickr

Photo Credit: via Moroccan Maryam Flickr

Photo Credit: via Moroccan Maryam Flickr

Photo Credit: via Moroccan Maryam Flickr

Photo Credit: via Moroccan Maryam Flickr

These Moroccan inspired rooms further inspired me to do more research into the traditional Moroccan wedding blanket, something that I just recently discovered. It is a gorgeous textile, woven of warm neutral fibers and sequins and designed in a multitude of patterns.

Photo Credit: via Moroccan Maryam Flickr

Photo Credit: via Moroccan Maryam Flickr

Photo Credit: via Moroccan Maryam Flickr

Photo Credit: Tara Bradford

Photo Credit: Tara Bradford

Photo Credit: via Table Tonic

These pieces are just so unusually beautiful! But, if you were to tell me woven cotton and sequins, I would have been highly doubtful that a good thing could come of it. However, seeing the materials worked together in the context of a cultural tradition makes me think twice about my judgement. How wonderful would it be to toss this over the back of a sofa or the edge of a bed…glistening in the light like the stars of a clear Africa night sky? It would be stunning!

Photo Credit: From Morocco with Love

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