Happy Anniversary!

On October 29, Alexandra Design Finds celebrated its 1 year anniversary! By celebrated, I mean it passed completely unnoticed by me until a week later. And then I noticed, but didn’t mention it to anyone until this very minute. Without letting any more time pass, I wanted to thank you, dear reader, for your continued support of my blog. It has been so much fun to share my Design Finds with you, and also to have you share yours with me in return. I have lots to share in the coming weeks, including a great one where a dear friend of mine takes us decor shopping in Bali. Stay tuned!

To celebrate this anniversary, I thought I’d share a project I started this fall. It all began when I saw this:

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It caught my attention right away, so I took a picture of it. But I didn’t buy it. Then I went home and couldn’t stop thinking about it. I felt like this buck was just the thing I needed to adorn the wall over my bed that has been blank for 7 years since we moved into this house. (Actually the whole room has been pretty much overlooked as we work to bring the rest of this house out of the 1980’s.) So I showed the picture to my husband, who himself liked it but was totally shocked that I would – it’s just not my style. But after seven years of looking for the right thing, something that was my style never came along. Obviously the answer was to go in a completely different direction. So I went back and bought it.

But once I got it home, it was obvious it couldn’t stand alone. Here it is sitting on top of the bedframe. It’s a little lonely on that big wall.

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So I repurposed some sheer grey linen tie-top curtain panels to fill out the space. We staple gunned them to the wall at the top and then tied them back with twine on either side of the painting. It turned the room into a beautiful romantic space.

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The above pictures show our summer bedding. Here it is in winter mode:

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The room isn’t done yet. Lighting is still a major issue in this room as you can tell from the poor quality of these pictures. It’s a very large room with a vaulted ceiling and few windows. It may take seven more years to get it finished (and styled for pictures), but we’ll get there eventually!

 

 

The Chairs of Childhood, Part II

Have I mentioned how much I love it when readers send me their Design Finds? I do. So much.

Recently a reader in Texas sent me a picture of some wonderful chairs in the children’s area at their local library:

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Made of one piece of plywood, these chairs have a really beautiful shape, and I just love how the back looks like a letter A – perfect for a library. (The overlapping color-changing circles pattern on the tabletop is also wonderful.)

Receiving this picture brought back memories of an amazing chair from my childhood local library. I have fond memories of curling up on the soft leather to read. (I also remember feeling frustration when some other kid was sitting in it!)

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While I’m not sure our local library had an authentic Heller “Joe” chair, the one in my memory looks just like this one, a true 1970’s classic and a great childhood chair memory. I’m quite sure the hours I spent in this chair fostered both my chair obsession and my love of reading.

Thanks for the memory!

 

Joe Chair Photo:  http://www.designlager.de

The Chairs of Childhood, Part I

 

 

Faking It

I spotted this recently…

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…and it got me thinking about how I really feel about fakes. This picture shows a chair that takes its inspiration from the Eames DAW chair. That’s the nice way of saying it. The other way of saying it is that it’s a fake. So I asked myself – is a fake so bad? This chair is kind of fun. But then again, the sales guy in the department store shoe department where I spotted it said that they used to have two, but one fell apart. According to my research, this patchwork version of the DAW costs about $165, while an authentic (non-patchwork) DAW chair made by Herman Miller costs more like $499. (Check them out here.) For the design lover on a budget, sometimes the authentic version is out of reach. But is the fake a good substitute for the real thing?

Some might say a fake chair is no different than a fake Rolex – put together with cheap materials in order to fool the eye into believing it’s real. That’s why no one with a fake Rolex has any hopes that it might one day be worn and enjoyed by their grandchildren – it’s never going to last that long. But with a real Rolex or a real Eames chair, passing it down to the grandchildren is a real possibility. On the other hand, a fake Rolex will still tell you what time it is, just like a fake Eames chair still gives you a place to sit. An authentic Eames chair is manufactured to an incredibly high standard of quality, while a knock-off is all looks – no fine craftsmanship here. In my opinion, the amazing quality of the materials and craftsmanship, as well as the attention to detail, is all part of the joy and beauty of the chair. With a cheap copy, that simply isn’t there.

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

Fall in Love

I love Fall. It’s partly because of the weather, but also because of the beautiful colors – every tree reaches this magical peak of color and beauty and I just can’t get enough of it. Fall is also wonderful because of the amazing variety of pumpkins and gourds available. They’re so easy to decorate with and they last much longer than flowers. Just pick an interesting mix – don’t shy away from the funky shapes or warty ones, either!

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Above are an amazing variety I spotted at a local farm. Below, a little arrangement I threw together:

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$2 worth of gourds from the grocery store and some faux fall leaves in a vintage midcentury pedestal bowl make a great simple centerpiece. Fall is a great time to keep it clean and uncomplicated and let nature be the star. But of course everything looks better on a pedestal!

Corded

I love when I see a product with a design that’s a whole new way of looking at an everyday item. I’m loving these new-but-retro extension cords from Conway Electric I spotted recently. Rather than something to hide, they’re something cool to look at, with brightly colored boxes and cotton covered cords. This is an extension cord you’d want people to see, not one you’d hide behind the couch!

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Check them out here: www.ConwayGoods.com

Flag Flattery

I love flags – they are the original modern art. I’m partial to the American flag and the Union Jack, because they’re from my countries. I was lucky enough to have an American mom and an English dad, so I got to grow up on both sides of the Atlantic. Flag inspired decor always catches my attention, especially when it has personality.

This fabulous flag-on-a-pallet hangs in my front hall:

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I love that an old wood pallet can become something so stunning. It’s one of the only pieces of original art that I’ve ever purchased.

Upstairs, this Union Jack mirror decorates a funny little nook in the hallway:

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So this summer when I saw this for sale in a coffee shop, I was instantly smitten:

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Check it out close up:

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It’s a collage! I would have bought it on the spot, but the $2500 price tag was out of my budget. So I started plotting to make one for myself. I spent months collecting home decor magazines and catalogs – I wanted the pictures I used to say something about me.

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Here’s just a few of what I collected. Last week I finally pulled out my scissors and got to work.

And here’s what I’ve got so far:

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It was significantly more time consuming and challenging than I expected. Believe it or not, red was the hardest color to find – that really surprised me. I have a long way to go to have enough to put together a piece as large as the one I saw in the coffee shop, but I’m pretty excited about what I’ve got so far. In the process, I gained a huge amount of respect for the artist of the original work. (And if whoever that is ever sees this, please know that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!)

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How Hipsters Sleep

Check out this bedding I spotted at Nordstrom’s Home department last night:

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From a distance, I first only noticed the pretty colors. Upon closer inspection, I saw so many fun things hidden in this classic damask pattern – Vespas, glasses, to-go coffee cups, French Bulldogs, iPods with earbuds…

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Love it!

Nordstrom “Urban Holiday” Damask Print Duvet.

 

Succulent

I love succulents – they look beautiful anywhere. In Arizona, they were everywhere. I spotted them in every kind of container, and they always looked fantastic – even in a sponge:

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Or in a galvanized planter:

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Or a wooden box:

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In a basket:

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Next to a turtle shell:

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Or spilling out all over a vintage stool:

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Everywhere!

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Some were real living plants and some were fakes – can you tell the difference?

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Upon my return home, I spotted some beautiful (real) ones at a grocery store. So obviously you don’t have to travel far to get this beautiful look.

Spotted at:

Bungalow, Scottsdale, AZ

Tierra Del Lagarto, Scottsdale, AZ

Flower Child, Phoenix, AZ

La Grande Orange, Phoenix, AZ

Wegman’s, Virginia

 

Reader Design Find!

I love it when readers send me their Design Finds! Inspired by my last post, a reader sent me a pic of this fabulous table she spotted in a Washington, DC restaurant.

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I love the colorful legs that look more like sculpture than structure. And what’s not to love about that super thick clear lucite top? Thanks for sharing, L!