Best of: Makers I ❤️

Some of the makers I love have been up to fun new somethings, and I just had to share!

Block Shop is offering a free VOTE pin with every order shipped from their studio this month, and it is seriously the cutest version of this hugely important message I have seen so far. Also, if their Instagram is any indication, they will have masks back in stock next week! All mask profits go directly to support meals for garment workers in LA, plus they are super stylish and adorable. Win-win.

Heath Ceramics just debuted their 2020 Winter Seasonal Collection, and I couldn’t love it more. Dubbed “The Season of Hope & Love,” it is full of stunning icy whites and greys along with the happiest buttery yellows and a hint of wildflower purple. Gradations in glazes are meant to signify transition, which I find beautifully poetic for this tumultuous time. I think we can all use some hope and love right about now, and the gradient yellow trays and vases in particular are perfectly sunny and delightful.

Finally, Baleen Jewelry has some beautiful new arrivals to peruse. I am in love with the organic simplicity of the pebble necklace, and want to add the sweet little XYZ studs to my rotation immediately. As always, all of their pieces are sustainably handmade in the USA, with zero-waste manufacturing and recycled materials.

Enjoy!

Shelter and place

Yesterday I had the pleasure and privilege of hearing truly luminous readings from an incredible line-up of California poets: Dana Gioia, Garret Hongo, Robin Coste Lewis, Luis J. Rodriguez, David St. John, and Gail Wronsky. Cartography of Poets, a virtual poetry event presented by Visions and Voices at USC, centered around the ways history and place shape the poetic experience. The idea that writers and their work are shaped by their environments is certainly not groundbreaking — what would Henry David Thoreau be without Walden Pond? — but this event got me thinking about things in a more contemporary, more personal way.

Fires are still raging in the West. California is on fire, breaking records and breaking apart lives. Amidst this landscape, this small reflection by Dana Gioia reminded me of the beauty of our summers:

I can imagine someone who found
these fields unbearable, who climbed
the hillside in the heat, cursing the dust,
cracking the brittle weeds underfoot,
wishing a few more trees for shade.
An Easterner especially, who would scorn
the meagerness of summer, the dry
twisted shapes of black elm,
scrub oak, and chaparral, a landscape
August has already drained of green.
. . .
And yet how gentle it seems to someone
raised in a landscape short of rain—
the skyline of a hill broken by no more
trees than one can count, the grass,
the empty sky, the wish for water.

from “CALIFORNIA HILLS IN AUGUST”
by DANA GIOIA

We continue to shelter in place, and meanwhile, I am contemplating shelter and place, and the way we inhabit both those spaces. Our shelters — the homes we have been confined to and seek succor in. Our places — the solidarity of New York on 9/11, the orange glow of San Francisco’s skies, the hazy rain of ash in Los Angeles, and the ways we shape and are shaped by them. I think of how we are all nesting, all trying to make our homes work better for us — dining rooms becoming offices, offices becoming playrooms, kitchen tables becoming classrooms — and how beautiful the adaptability of the human spirit really is. The way we keep working, toiling, and finding joy in between.

I put up new lamps this week that I love. Something to bring a small joy in a small way. I think I am puttering, not doing much of import, and yet my friend exclaims over how productive I have been. And I think, well yes, I suppose I have. To shelter and find small joys is no small thing, today, yesterday, or tomorrow. I am here in this place, California sunshine streaming through my windows, and I think, I am lucky. I am of this place, I have shelter, and I am learning to find joy.

Yippee, chinoiserie!

Heron wallpaper in green via Gucci

I think I might be a little late to the party on the “grandmillenial” design trend, but I am here now — albeit with my own twist. I have always been a fan of mixing styles, and lately, my “old-meets-new” aesthetic is skewing decidedly 18th century, with dashes of Victorian and Belle Époque for good measure. Think less granny, more great great great great granny.

Chinoiserie is not so much actual Chinese style as a European imagining of Chinese decorative style. It originated in the 17th century with a Western fascination with the Far East, and became wildly popular through the 18th century. The fanciful designs featuring plants, birds, fruit, and animals in stunning colorways make for beautiful companions to the glamour of Hollywood regency, or a sumptuous counterpoint to clean mid-century modern furnishings. And I am HERE for it.

I have had a design crush on Theobert Pot for some time, and his sunroom always makes me swoon. The Gucci heron-print wallpaper panels, the paper lantern, the Danish modern elements, that glorious green Togo lounge? Perfection. He has an amazing eye for color and style. More and more lately, other jewel-tone florals have been catching my eye, too, as well as patterned lamp shades and animal-themed lamps. House of Hackney, for example, can do no wrong for me at present. How stunning is this cheetah lamp?! My heart! Also cue the sound of my wallet screaming, but I digress.

So, what’s a girl to do? I’ve scouted around and come up with my own shortlist of items to make my Victorian and chinoiserie dreams come true, at a much lower price point.

I also have a few items I have added to my decor: a had-to-snag-it vintage painting, a lovely tray my mom stitched years ago, and a pair of small reproductions painted on wood (hi, Pinky and Blue Boy!). Emily Henderson says vintage and antique items help give soul to a space, and I couldn’t agree more.

I am planning to custom frame a few wallpaper panels for a chinoiserie feel in our living room, mix in the snake lamp near a 1970s-esque round mirror, and hang that gorgeous heron wallpaper behind my bed. Wish me luck, and yippee for chinoiserie!

A little oasis

August means long summer days, a slower pace, warm sunshine — and trying to keep cool. I was inspired to update our small outdoor space, and managed to create a sweet little oasis for us to kick back and relax, sip a cool beverage, and float our cares away.

A couple comfy chairs are great for sipping something cool while enjoying the sunshine. I love the modern shape of these — style without sacrificing comfort.

Our biggest update is this small pool that packs a big punch. This is the deepest inflatable pool I could find at or under 6 feet in diameter, and it is big enough for me to float in on this without touching the edges or the bottom. With my eyes closed, I could be anywhere from Hawaii to Bali.

Our hammock we bought years ago is still going strong, and we love to hang out (wink wink) and relax. This one doesn’t take up much space, and it is sturdy enough to allow two adults to lounge together.

A ceramic stool or two can be versatile as well as beautiful. These make a ideal spot for your aforementioned cool drink, magazine, or in a pinch, extra seating.

A mosquito net over our little pool gives a dreamy cabana feel, plus it keeps the bugs away. A set of solar string lights makes it even dreamier at night.

Leaf-print outdoor pillows make our outdoor space feel extra tropical.

And some beautiful planters make the perfect finishing touch. What would an oasis be without greenery? I love the sophisticated shape and subtle geometric designs on these.

Go forth, relax, and have a great weekend!

Five fun decor items: birthday edition

This weekend is my birthday, so just for fun, I thought I’d share some of the home items I’ve had my eye on lately. Our house is an eclectic mix of 19th-century-Paris-apartment-meets-relaxed-California-chic vibes, and here are five things I have or would love to have in our space. We are home these days for work and play, celebration and everyday alike, so we might as well make it a place we love to be.

We have been home SO MUCH in the past several months that a new couch has become a necessity. Our old one is cute but not all that comfortable for the long haul, unfortunately. This beauty, the Maxwell from Interior Define, was customizable in so many ways — fabric, cushion type and fill, size, legs — everything! I can’t wait for it to arrive. And besides their lovely furniture offerings, their customer service staff has been nothing short of amazing.

I ordered this chair from CB2 about a million years ago (you know, back in February), and it finally arrived a couple weeks ago after a pandemic-related delay. It is super comfortable, and I love the look so much! It’s the perfect addition to our mix of dining chairs.

EQ3’s adorable Bingo Bango Bongo stools are all finally in back in stock, and they are on sale to boot! Bingo has had my heart for months, so you’d better believe I ordered it as soon as I could. Indoor or outdoor, stool, side table, plant stand, alone or as a set — these earthenware beauties are super versatile. Decorative AND functional.

This burlwood cabinet in CB2’s newest catalog had me at “hello.” I have zero need for a new cabinet, but if I did, this would be at the top of my list. Curvy edges with that gorgeous texture and the brass accents? Hel-lo. I’ll just lean here and casually sip a cocktail, thankyouverymuch.

Lastly, I am intrigued by this year’s pleated lamp shade trend. These gorgeous shades from Danish shop LeKrazyHorse are beautiful, come in amazing colors, and they offer pretty much any size you might need. New shade = easy way to snazz up whatever lamp you’d like to give a bit more personality. Bonus: this vintage Mads Caprani lamp is AMAZING.

I ❤️ Atelier Stella

studio photos by Fiona Murray

Our next featured maker is Atelier Stella, home of the sweetest ceramics you ever did see. Stella Baggott established her unique ceramics business in 2012, and all her creations are hand built, sculpted and pinched with love. She credits “Cornish, Italian and Swedish potters from the 50’s and 60’s” as influences for her stylish designs, and there is not a single piece that I would not love to bring home!

I was lucky enough to snag a couple of her pieces when she collaborated with West Elm and also Anthropologie a few years back, and their little smiling faces bring me joy every time I catch a glimpse of them in my living space. To me, her pieces mix dreamy neutrals and organic shapes with just the right touch of whimsy. Luckily for all of us, she has begun to ship out her beautiful ceramics again after a brief pandemic hiatus, so shop on her site to your heart’s content. Any of her little works of art will brighten your day.

The vase and candle I have are both sold out, but here are a few of my favorites currently available on her site. Act quickly if you see something you love, as her pieces are made in small batches and change regularly.

Flora vase in white
Double wave candle holder in terracotta
Mini rainbow pot in white

Enjoy, wear a mask, and stay well!

Blushing

Something about the start of a new season always gets me a little restless and a lot inspired, and lately I’ve been drawn to all things blush. It just feels so summery to me — bright, quirky interiors, sun-kissed cheeks, cotton candy, sandy shores, Popsicle-stained lips, juicy watermelon… I could go on and on. Here is some blush-hued inspiration for you going into the weekend, while I ponder what little rearrangements I might make around the house for summer. Enjoy!

Via: vtwonen oliver bonas coco kelley glow recipe my scandinavian home (x2) milk decoration michael godmer home designing lonny glossier sarah sherman samuel via sfgirlbybay

Casual Friday – WFH edition

Why yes, it is awfully difficult to tell what day it is anymore.  Friday?  It is?  Oh good!

Not that I have ever been hugely willing to sacrifice comfort for fashion, but working from home for six weeks has brought on a whole new level of expectations.  Tight waistband digging in?  No thanks!  Shoes that require anything more than nudging my feet forward to put them on?  Nah.  That being said, I do still have video chat meetings to attend and fellow Target shoppers to stay 6 feet away from, and there is no rule that says comfy can’t also be pretty.  Besides, I feel so much better when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror on my bazillionth trip to the kitchen for quarantine snacks more water if I wear an “outfit.”   It feels like a nice little treat for myself to wear something I’ve chosen, rather than whatever sweatpants are closest to my hand when I get out of bed (although there are also certainly those days, too!).

Here are the makings for a hugely comfy, very casual work-from-home Friday:

This sweet onyx heart necklace would make me smile every time I put it on.

A cozy sweatshirt with nice clean lines will last you forever.

This soft cheetah skirt feels (but doesn’t look) like pajamas.

Copper Birkenstocks for comfort with a touch of glam.

This Oscar Wilde candle by Paddywax is just as good during a workday as it is while you unwind in the evenings.  You know, when you have moved from your table to your couch.

A pair of nicely marked-down rose gold headphones (cute!) with excellent noise-cancellation (essential!) for all of those Zoom meetings.

A beautiful handblown glass pitcher and a pair of Deco-ish tumblers to keep you hydrated at your desk.  Also perfect for post-work margaritas to ease you into the weekend.

On my radar

As the days continue to blur into each other, I thought I would share some things that have stood out to me amidst all the sameness of sheltering in place.  It is such a strange clump of feelings we are experiencing — gratitude to be working from home, concern over friends and loved ones, guilt over never being “productive enough,” tiny joys found in a daily homemade latte or a dog nuzzle midday, and a foreboding sense of anxiety suffusing everything (mostly) under the surface.  It’s a relief to turn all that off even for a little while, so please enjoy!

As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc all around us, I was reminded of this thoughtful article from The Atlantic from 2018.  It rings just as true as it did then.  If you are a young child, be comforted by looking for the helpers.  If you have the autonomy and ability to, be a helper.

mr_rogers_helpers

 

Clare V. is having an excellent promo for Mother’s Day.  Now through 4/26 spend $200, and get a free webbing strap with code FREESTRAP.  Even better, 10% of all proceeds go to Every Mother Counts in support of safe pregnancy and childbirth for every mother, everywhere.  I have been eyeing her adorable Midi Sac for ages and finally took the plunge, along with this excellent Masculin Féminin strap for a nice graphic punch.

 

 

I’m still “nesting” now that we are home so much more, and currently I am focused on small tweaks to make our kitchen feel more pulled together.  This retro little microwave couldn’t be cuter.

daewoo_retro_microwave

 

Speaking of home decor, I am crushing hard on Nicole’s sweet pink Stardew Valley-inspired kitchen.  I’ve been playing quite a bit more of late, and I think I might be ready to dive into some modding for this game — especially if I can create a kitchen even half this cute!

And for a tiny dose of levity, here’s a video explaining the pandemic to one’s past self.  Ah, to remember the good old days…  four months ago.

 

Take good care of yourselves, and (at least try to) have a relaxing weekend!

 

 

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Retire to the bath

It seems that the bathroom has become even more of a sanctuary of late — someplace to find a moment of solitude away from a house full of family members or roommates, or to find succor in a warm bath if you’re feeling lonely as you isolate at home.  Here are a few particularly inspiring spaces I’d love to seek refuge, or at least imagine to.  Every one has a deep attention to detail, great finishes, and clever use of color.  Don’t forget a little pop of black for interest, too.

Via  Dwell  Architectural Digest  Viya Home  Sarah Akwisombe via Chairish  Studio DB via Domino  Maria Papko  Dwell  La Piece

May I suggest one or more of these for some self-care this weekend?  Retire to the bath and take a bit of a time-out.  You know, the good kind.  Enjoy!