Chair, There and Everywhere

So of course I always take pictures of chairs everywhere I go. Here are some recent finds:

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The Huntington (see previous post) is an amazing but mostly a hands-off place to visit, so this welcoming chair put a smile on my face.

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Spotted these at MOMA in New York city – each one is a showstopper.

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Fabulous combo of shape and color at the Botanic Gardens in Houston, Texas.

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Not your Grandma’s chair – loved this outside the box upholstery at the Lucketts Design House.

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Gorgeous Frank Lloyd Wright chairs spotted in the visible storage area at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Interesting to compare the two versions side by side.

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If a coaster is more in your budget than an Eames chair, try these I spotted at the MOMA shop in New York.

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A little closer to home, here’s a sneak peek of a reupholstery project I’ve been working on.

I’m not the only one who’s been noticing chairs in my travels. Readers have been sending me pictures!

Here’s a mouthwatering arrangement of chartreuse Knoll Womb chairs a reader spotted in Richmond, Virginia:

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Another reader sent me a photo of this beautiful bench in Aspen, Colorado:

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Love it! Any more readers with chairs to share?

 

Let’s Go Shopping in Bali

Lucky us! My dear friend Katherine, owner of Zuna Yoga and part-time resident of Bali, is taking is on a decor shopping trip in Ubud, Bali!

Before we start, a few musings from Katherine on what we’ll be seeing:

‘Ubud is a hub of creative arts in Bali. It is brimming with carving, painting, jewelry, music, dance, theatre and more —so it’s surprising that the local language possesses no word for art. For the Balinese, this creativity has no meaning in itself. It is intended solely for pleasure of the gods, and its merit lies in the act of creation, rather than in the finished product. This also explains why so much of what is created, particularly the offerings for religious ceremonies, is simply destroyed directly after the event. 
 The Balinese are very religious and superstitious. Spirituality is everywhere, with trees, houses, temples, shrines being blessed by the people daily. The woven baskets (made of bamboo) are traditionally used to carry offerings to the temples. They are filled with flowers, fruit, incense, or symbolic coins. You’ll often see women dressed in ceremonial costume riding sidesaddle on the back of a motorcyle, with one of those baskets balanced on their laps. They also make fun decorative objects for storing more mundane items, like office supplies, charging cords and remote controls!
 Coconut wood is a common material, you can see the utensils and some of the painted trays (as well as the wooden inlay in the woven objects) are made from it. It has a lovely grainy, mottled texture and is polished to a smooth finish.
 Indonesian batik is quite famous. It’s a wax-resist dye technique, usually used on a heavy cotton fabric. The Balinese favor bright, rich colors and patterns. They wear batik tops and bottoms as part of their traditional garb – you see it everyday, everywhere. It’s also great for decorating – pillows, table runners, blankets.”
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Katherine tells me there’s beautiful beaches in Bali, too. But with all this fun shopping to do, who has time for the beach?
Learn more about Katherine at ZunaYoga.com
 

 

Alexandra and Julia

On a recent visit to the Smithsonian Museum of American History, I spent a long time peering into the windows of Julia Child’s kitchen. (Julia’s kitchen has been moved in its entirety to the museum – down to every last measuring spoon. You can’t walk in, but there are lots of windows to look through into Julia’s world.) I was fascinated – not so much by the kitchen, but by my reaction to it. I loved it. But why? If there’s anything I can’t stand, it’s clutter. My ideal kitchen has no wall cabinets, nothing on the countertops – it looks clean and sparkly and open. Julia’s kitchen is the opposite – there is stuff everywhere. To her credit, I wouldn’t call it clutter – there are no piles of mail or dirty dishes. It’s actually pretty well organized, but almost every surface is covered with cooking tools. I can’t begin to imagine what’s inside the cabinets – what should be the contents seem to be everywhere. No space is left untouched – there’s even framed artwork hung on the cabinet doors. So when it was so far from anything I could live with, why did I love it so much?  I do love a retro kitchen – was that it? Upon further reflection, I think it might be because it was an honest space – one that reflects Julia. It is who she is, no apologies. When you see a sleek, shiny, empty kitchen in a magazine, what does it tell you about the owner? Not much. Julia’s kitchen tells you everything about her. Bravo, Julia.

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Even Better Than the Real Thing

The things that grow in the desert are amazing. But to be honest, the most wonderful thing I saw at the Desert Botanic Garden in Phoenix was these amazing glass “plants” by artist Dale Chihuly, whose work I adore.

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These are a permanent installation at the garden. Unfortunately, I just missed a major Chihuly exhibition there in which his works were scattered throughout the landscape of the park. I was devastated! Google it – the photos are unreal.

Color Me SMOCA

Hello! Happy summer to you! Please forgive my blogging hiatus of the past few weeks – I’ve been enjoying summer so much that my laptop got ignored a bit. But I have been busy collecting Design Finds and I have many to share in upcoming posts.

Two weeks ago I got the chance to spend several days in Scottsdale, Arizona. What an amazing place! It was my first experience with the desert (except for the time my cousin and I drove from LA to Vegas, but I’m not sure that counts since we didn’t really get out of the car) and I totally fell in love with it. The landscape is so beautiful! The heat didn’t even bother me – I was so taken with my surroundings.

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I had a mini freakout of joy and disbelief when I saw my first Saguaro cactus. They really do look like the ones on the Roadrunner cartoons! I had a similar reaction when I came across the amazingly vivid and beautiful colors in the Lounge at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMOCA):

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Now THAT is how you add some color to a wall!

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Or a table…

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I was totally inspired. The wheels in my brain have been spinning ever since I saw this space thinking about ways I can translate what I saw into my own home.

Stay tuned in the coming days for more Arizona Design Finds!

DC Mix

Not all the cool stuff in Washington DC is inside the Smithsonian – sometimes it’s right outside. I spotted this great mix of Emeco chairs outside the National Museum of American History last week. It’s a mix of the classic and indestructible Navy 1006 chair in aluminum (originally made for the US Navy in 1944), and the Navy 111 chair in red and flint grey. The Navy 111 chair is so named because it’s made from 111 recycled plastic Coke bottles. All are American made and historically important – the perfect chairs to grace the outside of this particular museum!

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Knoxville

On our Spring Break road trip, we spent one beautiful morning in Knoxville, Tennessee – a lovely little city. I found a great little shop on Market Square called Bliss Home. There was so much to see in every inch of the shop – all of it fun and also well priced.

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I am a huge fan of the mismatched throw pillows trend. A wild mix like this one is wonderful.

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This huge chalkboard with the architectural black frame was amazing. Whimsical and sophisticated all at the same time. It was a little big to fit in the car with all our road trip gear, so I bought this fabulous orange Moroccan patterned mug instead:

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I’m almost positive that my coffee tastes better in it.

Outside the shop, there were some other fun Design Finds:

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Building numbers in tile.

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A dismantled radiator becomes railing supports.

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Orange Panton chairs brighten up an outdoor restaurant patio.

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And then there’s this crazy thing – the giant Sunsphere, built here for the 1982 World’s Fair. The sphere itself  is 75 feet across, but unfortunately it was closed when we were there, so we didn’t get to go up into it. I was dying to look out through the gold glass -it’s layered in 24 karat gold dust! The world must look pretty glam from there.

 

Primitive

Hello! We’ve just returned from a Spring Break road trip to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park and its neighbor, Dollywood! I learned pretty quickly that this part of the world doesn’t have too many modern Design Finds to share, but what it does have is an endless supply of beautiful primitive barns (many of which are fighting a losing battle with time and gravity), log cabins, mills, fences and churches. Their beautiful simplicity and the stories they hold really spoke to me. My dream house is a modern barn – maybe something like this:

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While the structures I saw in Tennessee were a far cry from the one above, they were lovely in their own quiet way. Their age becomes them – and some things just never go out of style.

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 All structures above photographed by me in the Cades Cove area of Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Modern barn/house is Thistle Hill Farm, photo via Houzz.com.

Love for Elvis

My friend Katherine recently visited Memphis, Tennessee and just knew that I would want to see pictures of her visit to Graceland. What an awesome friend! I’ve never visited Elvis’s home, so I was pretty excited to see it vicariously through her. I never expected to love any of it – Elvis is not known for tasteful choices. But then I totally fell in love with this room (which I believe is his music room):

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I don’t even know why. I don’t actually like heavy drapes or brass chandeliers or stained glass or grand pianos. But somehow all together it’s a fabulous time capsule of a space that I adore. I just made this picture the background wallpaper on my laptop. Go figure!