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Archive for November, 2011

It’s Kismet!

 These cement tiles by Kismet have been circling the web for a few months, but they’ve come to our attention just in time. We’ve been looking for an eye-catching feature for a client’s kitchen, and these Moroccan made tiles fit the bill. We love the bold look of this floor as photographed by Laure Joliet.

 Some images from Kismet’s website:

The possibilities and potential applications are endless, as well as the colors and patterns:

 We love that they can go retro, feminine, graphic modern… it’s all about the color combinations and where you choose to place them. We’re thinking of using them on the backside of the kitchen island for a pop of color.

 A peek into the process of how they tiles are made, and a selection of the tiles they sell:

 For more options and images, click here.




18 Fleeting Hours in London

So much to do and so little time! The last leg of of our trip was a whirlwind tour of London, and we made the most of the few hours we had.

“Impromptu” is our middle name, but we’re not vagabonds. One piece of pre-planned luck – terrific accommodations at Number 16 in South Kensington (a fab Firmdale hotel). Wonderful traditional interiors with a kick and a wink.

First stop, the V&A to see the Post Modern exhibit. We wondered if the charming and iconic fire-engine red phone booths might be an anachronism with ever-present cell phones.

Our next stop was non-stop. We walked and talked and shopped along the Brompton Road and Kings Road thoroughfares. Dusk falls early and for the first time this year it felt like Christmas – so many wonderful small shops subtly aglow. And, of course, Harrods was ablaze.

 We were in London so of course we had to eat Indian! Kudos to the Star of India. Delish food and drink. Near the end of our trip, we finally started to master the mysterious coinage – quids, farthings, pence and half-pences  — just in time to liquidate at the restaurant.

 There really no place like home. The “rub” (how can we not include a Shakespeare reference?) is to feel at home in faraway places. It’s a mindset and a skillset. We’re eager for the next adventure!


The Car & the Cobb

Getting there was half the fun

Time for a road trip. An excursion to Lyme-Regis came highly recommended. First by Jane Austen who set a crucial scene in Persuasion in this seaside retreat (we shudder at the consequences of Louisa Musgrove not taking a spill on the Cobb) and by local advisors, like Martin, our taxi driver.

Alas, Martin was not at our disposal to pilot the trip. No worries. Have Hyundai, will travel. The day was clear and bright. We were caffeinated and emboldened. We set out for the 40-mile drive to Lyme-Regis with Lisa at the right-hand helm. Joyce and Kathy navigated (after a fashion). The “cling to the left” mantra served us well, while the roundabouts challenged. The reward was a missed turn or two and a wonderful afternoon in Lyme-Regis. Our immediate goals were grand and modest: immerse ourselves in the town and get out by dark.

Our favorite Lyme-Regis experiences? The stunning beach, daunting cliffs,and sometimes-precarious Cobb.

Next, the landscape of the town itself with a maze of narrow streets, mini Venice-like waterways, and charming cottages. We now love thatched roofs, a special deeper-than-usual shade of cerulean blue, and Cath Kidson (albeit in small doses).

Our biggest success: we drove, we conquered, we returned to our Beach Haus to tell the tale.

Far From the Maddening Crowd: Beach Haus by the Sea

We almost became squatters.

The Beach Haus is a thoroughly modern glass house paradoxically situated in the countryside of Burton Bradstock, Dorset, with seductive and relaxing views of the sea.



And, this combination of opposites – the modern and the bucolic – gave our trip special charm and personality. Cool, uncluttered, and angular the Beach Haus wowed us in three fabulous stories. The scenery is out of this world.

  From the deck, you can see the stretches of pasture, leading to the water.

More photos of the house, which we quickly referred to as “home”… Sunday morning, we awoke to this:

Outside our perfectly modern cocoon, we wandered through pastures with grazing sheep and cows down to the sea.

At Martin’s behest, we made our way to the Hive Beach Cafe, where the food and drink were delish and resplendent as he had promised. This Sunday we’ll endeavor to duplicate Eggs Benedict and Bubble & Squeak in our own kitchens (probably to no avail).

On our journey, we met wonderful people – dozens of locals (all seemingly with well-behaved hounds) who made us feel welcome and at home — away from home.

 To see more great Beach Haus photos, just go to the Unique Home Stays website ( and search Beach Haus.

Again we’d like to thank Claire at UHS for giving us the opportunity to explore the southern end of England. To contact Claire regarding this or any other Unique Home Stays property, dial  +44 (0) 1637 882014 or email her at [email protected]

 For our next post- a tour of seaside situated Lyme Regis!

Inspiration from Across the Pond: A Travel Diary

While we absolutely believe there is no place like home, we love, love, love to travel. So when Unique Homes Stays offered us a chance to experience one of their private residences we packed our bags, snatched the keys and hopped a plane. Our Wanderlust destination? The UK, specifically Burton Bradstock in Dorset and then onto London. Lisa Sherry and compatriots Joyce Black (graphic designer extraordinaire) and Kathy Devereux (word-girl and marketer) have just returned from their latest adventure.

Now that we’ve returned to the States, we want to share with you the things we learned & inspiration gathered while abroad, along with pics of the beautiful scenery of rural England, and the design-y , “brilliant” bits from our brief London stay. Anglophiles take note! The next week of posts are for you!

But first, our rules for the road:

We love juxtapositions. And, what better study in opposites than a thoroughly modern glass house set amongst the sheep, the cows and the rolling hills of Dorset?

Defying authority is in our DNA, but rebelliousness has its limits. The TSA is serious about “no scissors.”Many thanks to the kind agents who confiscated Lisa’s sharp objects.

We loved Martin, our taxi driver, who offered a crash course on local eateries, animal and vegetation life, and the dicey future of the EU.

Imagine, a little sherbet-colored corrugated cabin by the beach. Oooops, we meant “sea.” We plan to duplicate this idea at home.

 No, it’s not a political statement. It’s about Yankee drivers in the UK. We white-knuckled onto a simple “bear left” principle to navigate narrow roads and multi-lane highways alike.

Simply put, there are no mistakes. It’s the wrong turn that can lead you to the right thing. Like a great meal.

 We are mesmerized and charmed by the patina of time and the easy use of natural materials in the UK – from thatched roofs to grouse walls.

 Dogs have status in the UK. Four paws up for a US movement to permit dogs in restaurants.

A travel strategy built on spontaneity takes planning! Unique Homes Stays careful attention to all detail made our trip a pleasure and whimsical delight. Props to the team, from our booking agent to our driver, Martin, for their attentiveness. We could not have envisioned a better trip.

SO. Want to see additional pics of the beautiful Beach Haus? Wednesday brings more, including breathtaking views of the prairie-meets-sea location and the charming streets of Burton Bradstock. Stay tuned!


Feeling Fall-ish

We’ve Succumbed. Here’s to embracing apples, extra carbs, and sunset at 6pm sharp.

Bottoms Up!

 Have a great weekend everyone!

images via Matchbook Mag, and unknown via tumblr

Food for thought: the eat-in kitchen

How are we feeling about this trend? Personally we like to sneak a cozy eating space, via built in banquette, into a kitchen/great room.

But what about foregoing the island all together?

It feels a little more intimate; we’d like to be invited to a casual dinner in a space like this:

Maybe there’s room for both?

Preferences, readers?

Sartorially Speaking

While shopping the market we noted that one of our fave showrooms had used the book Preppy: Cultivating Ivy Style as a prop. “I want that book!”, Lisa said. So a-researching away we went.

The pretty cover was almost enough to have us on Amazon stat. But we started reading the reviews and they aren’t so favorable… enter our new blog obsession, Crush of the Month: Maxminimus.

Let’s just say he hated it. His style of writing, a little pompous preppy mixed with self-deprecating dad kept us reading past the bad review. “ADG” as he calls himself is a stylehound, a part-time sartorial historian living “inside the VA beltway”. His specialties: mens fashion, Whistler, & all things preppy-trad. He’s opinionated on his subjects of choice (see his rule regarding patch madras after August), knowledgeable on classic American brands like Bass (Steph just learned what a Weejun is…) and particularly particular about most of his concerns- “Square toed shoes are cheap and butt-ugly. Myles Standish Pilgrim shoe looking absurdities.”  Ha. All this while still maintaining a strong appreciation of “girl-bootie” (“more than Peter loved the Lord”  he says, though he drives a Mini??).

“Go-to-Hell” pants:

aforementioned Weejuns:

ADG’s bespoke Cleverley’s:

So we’re signing up for his take on all things Maxminimus- we’re all women here in the studio but who amongst us doesn’t need a primer is classic mens fashion? He’s already got us on the hunt for some vintage bleeding madras. He reads, too. On our way to the local vintage shop we’ll hit the B&N for some Tom Wolfe, but only “the real old stuff…Tangerine…Mau Mauing…Pump House…that far back.” We like a male point of view once in a while, and he is kind of like reading the masculine, only slightly juvenile, version of Mrs. Blandings.

The full verdict: We think we like him (having read his touching & honest take on divorce) but we might also hate him (we suspect he’d correct our grammar &/or the cuff of our pants). Isn’t that the best kind of blog out there? We can’t think of a better argument for you to check him out HERE. Why buy the book when you can get the style for free?

ADG, if you need a decorator (we suspect you do, bachelor pad disguised with kilims?), we travel…

images via amazon & maxminimus

Still Neutral After All These Years

While it’s been noted by a number of friends & clients that we’ve been doing more colorful interiors lately, our hearts still belong to a great neutral room.

See these tears, from the latest Elle Decoration- nothing here not to love:

Also noting a new tendency to hang gallery walls in a more controlled way, with a plum line at the top, bottom, or both:




Market- the rest of the best!

We know a lot of the other bloggers in attendance have already posted their market recaps. We have our favorites, too, and while we look at trends we also want pieces that really work for our clients. So we’ve compiled our list based on the things we hope to spec in the near future. A lot of what we saw was familiar, though we noted that last Market’s “splashes” have turned into this market’s full on must have items. First up, lucite!

The buzz in interiors for the last year around lucite is a trend we can support. Until this fall, you could get a little here or there, and most often our best finds have been vintage…enter Nancy Price. Her collection for Design Legacy is a full-blown lucite attack. So many great pieces, from chairs to sofas, but we also loved this secretary; thoroughly modern, it would fit into any of our client’s homes. Here’s Lisa with Nancy:

The color of the moment in the DL showroom was this teal green in-between color. It looked very fresh with the white. Our girl Steph, who stepped away from LSI for the week to man her space at the Antique & Design Center, calls this color “aegean green”. She used it on her silk taffeta chair that was “style spotted” by famed blogger designer Tobi Fairley:

Other colors that made their debut last market and still remain strong are orange and blue. We fell hard for these rugs, and were charmed by oomph’s addition of this lacquered game table. Backgammon anyone?

Small side tables and stools are something we put on every floor plan we do- they just come in handy in so many ways, we always spec a few for our clients. Happy to see that x-benches are still going strong, and we loved this little pierced white number. Jonathan Adler’s Ulu stools are to die for.

Lighting with metallic accents really stood out for us this October. Scale was also important. Bigger is better, as with this pendant, top left. Brass has also been a key element, and all of us were in love with this Arteriors sconce, bottom right, which had scale, metallic, and natural elements on it’s side. Dying to use this one:

Break time! If furniture isn’t your thing, then we would recommend High Point Market for the free alcohol… Lisa & Michel took full advantage:

 Back to the shopping. Oly’s showroom never disappoints. The mural in the front was a frosty tundra of fuzzy animals. Again we’re seeing how great playing with scale can be. The large art wall was the perfect backdrop for the white-on-white scheme:

Ok SO on to the superlatives. We each had our fave piece. First up, Kathryn chooses her “best of market”, these mineral prints from Natural Curiosities:

Lisa’s medal of honor goes to this super luxe velvet tufted mirror:

Steph, the vegetarian of the group, surprised us all when she picked this sculpture by an unknown French artist featured in the Halo showroom as her fave of market. It’s a little macabre but we have to admit it makes a statement:

Halo also had this tea party thing happening. We were trying to figure out which one of us was going to stash this Diana & Charles piece in her purse:

And last but not least, we’re back where we started, with Michel’s Market pick, Nancy Price’s lucite collection for Design Legacy:

For those in High Point, the countdown to the spring show has begun. Until then we’ll be placing these pieces in our client’s homes. Which would you choose?