26 December 2007

eeeek! not chic! this one is for the kids (and decorno)

maison21 had an absolute blast hanging out with the family over xmas- especially the "kids" - some of whom are no longer kids at all, but young adults making their way in life. my sister's kids range from 13 to 19, and my middle niece was just accepted into two colleges! yay! as the old cliche states: they grow up so fast! my brother's delightful kids really are adults, as my brother was in college when moi-self was just a baby...

late on xmas day, my sister and i were discussing my blog (i was delighted to find that she actually reads it), and she showed my blog to my 13 year old niece, who on viewing the below photo of pauline de rothschild peeking through a jib door into her fabulous bedroom, declared admiringly "that harry potter room is sick!". my sister and i cracked up, because we realized that pauline peeking through the door does look a little bit like severus snape sneaking around hogwarts! just goes to how design sensibility and personal taste really are filtered through one's own experience! maison21 views that photo and can't get over the incredible chinoiserie wallpaper, but to a 13 year old, it's a "sick harry potter room". love it! btw, for us old folks- "sick" is good.

my 19 year nephew spent xmas day rocking a faux louis vuitton print velour hoodie- he is heavily into hip-hop and likes to work a gangster rap meets so-cal skater look, but just a short while ago he was in a heavy-metal screamo band. aaah, youth... maison21 loved that his nephew cares enough to have a style that makes a statement, and it led m21 and his sister to reminisce about m21's own crazy fashion faux pas days. my niece asked me if i was a goth and wore eyeliner- i replied that i indeed wore eyeliner everyday in high school, but there was no such thing as a goth yet- just one lonely punk rock boy (and a couple of his new wave girlfriends) in a sea of preppy surfers at m21's beach-adjacent san diego alma-mater. it's amazing, though, how 25 years later, the fads of maison21's youth are now time-tested classic looks of alienation for today's kids. maison21 proceeded to explain to his nieces and nephew (with tongue firmly in cheek) how as a youth, m21 invented not only the goths, but punk rock, gangsta rap and the internets! maison21 was a very busy teen!

so to prove to my nieces and nephews that their bearded, stocky (but hopefully not stuffy), favorite decorator uncle was indeed once a cool kid, i'm posting a photo of myself as a teen. can you tell i was heavily into the cure and siouxsie? see kids, i really did invent goth! now do you believe me that i invented punk rock, gangsta rap and the internets as well?

the below photo is also in honor of my fellow blogger, the absolutely hi-larious decorno, who recently challenged her audience to post photos of their past decorating mistakes (12/22/07). i'm still looking for a photo of my ghastly, too-colorful, zsa-zsa gabor meets barnum and bailey bedroom, that i thought was too cool for about a minute in my 20's. so until i find one, decorno, you'll have to settle for a photo confession of my past sartorial missteps instead. actually, since i now make make a living by peddling my good taste in decor, i will probably never find a photo of said room, but i'm perfectly willing to embarrass myself fashion-wise to make up for it! any of my fellow bloggers care to rise to the challenge and post a photo of your own youthful indiscretions? m21 DARES YOU! (please? m21 doesn't want to feel like a misfit teen all over again- someone else out there must have been a fool for fashion in their deep dark pasts...)

portrait of the decorator as a young (new romanitc) goth:

23 December 2007

peace on earth and good decorating to all...

have a very merry xmas, everybody- and if you don't celebrate xmas, have a most excellent and relaxing day off!

we'll try to get in a post or two next week, but we're planning xmas with the family in san diego and new year's in palm springs, while in between one of our oldest and dearest friends will be visiting with us here in los angeles, so with all that going on, if we aren't able to post, we hope you all will have a fabulous new year!

22 December 2007

early morning reading (and another morning lost to the internets)

for some reason, maison21 woke up very early this saturday morning- not a very usual occurrence here at the maison21 atelier- maison21 is SO not a morning person. maybe he woke up early because of the incredible quality of the sunlight streaming through his windows this morning- today is one of particularly beautiful winter days in los angeles. we're having a cold snap- expected high of 64 degrees today (brrrrrrr) and it rained earlier in the week, so the skies are washed clean of smog and are the most intensely vivid blue, without a cloud to be seen. absolutely gorgeous- wish you were here!

anyway, as i was saying before i digressed, i woke up early and as i was waiting for the caffeine to kick in, i checked my blog for comments. none (bummer). i wondered if maybe no one had visited since yesterday so i checked my blog counter and saw to my amazement that i actually had a lot of hits this morning. actually a HECK of a lot of hits for 7:00 am on a saturday morning, and they were all referrals from the terrific design blog, desire to inspire. hopping over there to find out what was up, i found that the girls at desire to inspire had put up a couple of posts called "holiday reading" consisting of nothing but banners from design blogs. 52 of them (i counted). maison21 had no clue that there were 52 whole design blogs out there, so he wasn't surprised to find out he hadn't visited most of them! of course, he started clicking on banners, and before he knew it, had killed 2 hours of his morning. so a very sincere thanks for including me, desire to inspire, and a very sarcastic thanks for giving me 51 more reasons to sit inside in front of the computer on an absolutely gorgeous morning when i should be outside enjoying my day!

here are some images from the first new-to-him banner that maison21 clicked on this morning, contemporist (we loved this blog because it has lots of lots of pictures and few of those pesky words that get in the way. maison21 needs to take a clue from them, and quit yapping so much).

loving this futuristic steel clad house from artist robert bruno! maison21 loves architecture that makes a statement (though we wouldn't necessarily want to live in it- it's heck to decorate around curved walls and asymmetrical windows and stuff):

and we wish we knew where to get this cat bed by designer christian ghion, for richard, maison21's resident fabric durability tester:
last, we though this modern bookcase by william earle was very sculptural and cool:

20 December 2007

maison21 is learning new things on the internets (and decides to use a big word to impress you)

maison21 likes to think of hisself as a pretty hip and knowledgeable decorator, but when he reads other blogs that are actually informative and insightful, he feels more than a little retartet. here i am blathering on and on about bedazzled zebras, while other design bloggers are actually delivering posts of substance! in the last few weeks, things that inspire posted a treatise about palladian windows; habitually chic had a great interview with tony duquette biographer wendy goodman, a bio on willy rizzo and explained the art of kiku (!) to us; studio annetta has been knocking herself out with all sorts of great designer bios- zaha hadid, tom dixon, marc newsom, jacques quinet, and on and on; and the peak of chic has blown maison21 away with informative posts on kazumi yoshida, van day truex, and and the one that really hit me over the head: the mysterious jib door. like i said, i thought i was a fairly knowledgeable guy, but i had no idea that there was even a name for the concept! did i ditch architectural history class that day? i thought a jib was something to do with sailing! seriously, and this is sad- i referred to them as "secret doors". thank god i don't think i ever called them that out loud, or anything...

if you haven't read peak's awesome post, here's how peak explained a jib door to befuddled wannabe designers such as moiself:

For those of you who may not be familiar with them, jib doors are basically disguised or concealed doors. The doors tend to be flush with the walls around them and lack any surrounding architecture, thereby creating a continuous plane. Many times the doors even have concealed hinges to further add to the disguise. Jib doors are usually given the same treatment as the rest of the walls in a room- paper, fabric, mirror, etc.

and here is one of the many photos peak used to illustrate the concept (again, muy helpful to peeps like me who's head hurts when reading lots of words and stuff):
so in honor of my erudite fellow design bloggers (and to not look like even a bigger fool in their company), maison21 is making a vow to every once in a great while attempt an educational post or two, and explain a big, important designer-y word or concept. not to worry- maison21 doesn't have the chops to pull this off more than occasionally, so you can look forward to lots more talk about pretty animal statues, and cute little shops in palm springs, but i feel i must at least try, so here we go! (god, i'm hoping this ain't too lame). today's word is bouillotte.

a bouillotte lamp (pronounced boo-yot) is a multi-armed candelabra lamp with a shade. the term bouillotte refers to a card game popular in france during the revolution, and these candle lamps were placed next to the players to illuminate their cards while the shades protected one's eyes from the glare of the candle flame. the traditional dish form on the bottom of the lamp was there both to prevent wax from dripping on the game table, and to give the players a spot to store their game chips. the dish is optional on the modern electrified versions, but a shade (or shades) and more than one candle post are standard features for the lamp. (a single candle post is usually simply referred to as a candlestick lamp). the shades are traditionally tole (painted metal) so as not to catch fire from the candle flame, but modern versions can be all sorts of materials, most commonly paper or fabric.
there are also chandelier versions:

maison21's favorite interpretations of the bouillotte lamp were designed in the 1950's by his hero, tommi parzinger, (the brass stiffel lamps are also a design attributed to parzinger):

thus concludes todays's brief design lesson. whew! tomorrow, back to animal statues and stuff...

16 December 2007

eeek or chic?

maison21 feels like he's finally arrived on the design blogging scene! no, i'm not referring to habitually chic's gracious post introducing me to the readers of her fabulous blog (though i loved that- it was crazy going from 11 hits one day to hundreds the next- i'll always be grateful, chic!). what i'm refering to is my first hate email- well, i guess hate mail is waaaay too strong a term for a comment left on a recent post that begins "Maison, love you darlink", but it was the first negative comment left on my blog, and i loved it! maison21 has arrived! he has haters!! i knew the post on my love for a bedazzled zebra would befuddle some readers who wouldn't "get" the statue, and i was proved right: here are the comments left by "anonymous":

Maison, love you darlink, but you're better off without the zebra. I'll incur the wrath of all the zombie Wearstler devotees here for saying this, but somebody has to address the elephant in the room: Hollywood regency is over! And all this animal shiz is seriously tacky. Get over your addiction!

Of course bad taste is better than not taste. Yada, yada, yada. But don't waste tears on that zebra. Ugh! I shudder to look at it. That thing looks like it belongs in the Reverend Ted Haggard's apartment.

OMG, I just saw your tiger (cub?)! Yikes! I'm thinking you need a design intervention. [cue Amy Winehouse] There's gotta be a Promises in Malibu for animal tchokes addicts.

where to begin? first of all, anonymous, i'll let you know when something is over! maison21 is THE DECIDER in matters of style! but seriously, much as maison21 hates to be compared to the reverend ted, or to amy winehouse (ouch!), maison21 must admit that "anonymous" does have a point after a fashion- while far from over, the hollywood regency look has been over-exposed, and frequently over-done, as well, but over-over? hardly- not in this decorator's opinion anyway.

maison21 has never been in favor of the hollywood regency label to begin with- it's a little gimmicky and evokes costume-esque connotations. he prefers the style he favors- a mix of chinoiserie, 70's modern, some french 1940's, a little rococo, a dash of deco and a hint of safari exotic- just be labeled "eclectic", though a decidedly glamorous version of "eclectic".
as for the "over-ness" of hollywood regency as a viable decorating style, recently a spread in a national publication featured a home vaguely reminiscent of the style of maison21's own, but not in a good way. the feature caused us to have a crisis of decorating confidence and literally think about getting rid of everything we owned. the crisis passed, thankfully, because after all, it's just decorating- and it's fun! we love what we love, and don't really care to change it because others are using a similar point of view, albeit somewhat less tastefully than we would like. styles of decor fall in and out of fashion, just like everything else and as things become more popular, people without a lot of taste or vision will jump on the bandwagon. but just because someone else is working a similar style, but at a different level of taste, doesn't make everything associated with that same style bad. the current hot trends in decor will change and evolve, and we will all evolve along with them, while along the way we'll learn what to to keep and what to pack away. right now, most of us think ms. wearstler's uber-hot "trellis" fabric & wall paper (above) is absolutely gorgeous, but i betcha in 10 years, we will probably be looking at it and gagging. some people though, will continuously use "trellis" and when it comes back into style in another 10 years, they will be hailed as visionaries, while those that turned our backs on it will look foolish. see what maison21 is getting at here? things go in and out of fashion but style remains, just not always the same style at the same time for the same person. a timeless classic to one person is stuck in a time warp to another.

as to anonymous' admonition "And all this animal shiz is seriously tacky." once again, there is no right or wrong opinion here- that's why we have both modern home and country home publications on the newsstand. this is a situation where you either "get it" or you don't. no right or wrong, no tacky or tasteful. it brings to mind jeff koons' "rabbit"- maison21 thinks it is true genius, a work of transcendent beauty at once both ironic and profound, tacky and sublime. in his fantasy career as an art collector, it is the one sculpture that maison21 would pay anything for (if a koons balloon heart sold recently for $23.6 million, what would a bunny go for? 50 mil? maison21, fantasy billionaire art collector, might even have to sell his private 747 or english country estate to afford a bunny, but he'd do it in a heartbeat- he loves it that much). maison21 can also see the point of people who just don't get the bunny- "it's an inflatable toy cast in steel- big deal". it's pretty easy to miss both the irony and beauty, and just see a toy bunny. not their cup of tea, and they won't be the fool paying 50 million for it.

so when "anonymous" doesn't get maison21's "tiger (cub?)" (sic), m21 doesn't think she's wrong, but that she doesn't have the same frame of reference to appreciate the darling cub (i know, an italian porcelain cheetah cub figurine and a koons' bunny ain't exactly in the same class of "art", but i think you can easily draw a line from one to the other). m21 thinks perhaps ms. wearstler, being approximately that same age as moi-self, probably gets both the irony and the beauty of the cub, which is why she's used similar statues in her interiors (see below). she probably gets the koons' bunny too. as a child, maison21, watched "valley of the dolls" on the late, late movie and thought it was super-chic, only to grow up to discover that it was more campy than glamorous, but still, the aura of glamor of the period can't be denied. and i remember thinking a giant porcelain tiger glimpsed at gump's while visiting san francisco, was the coolest thing i'd ever seen, only to find out as an adult that it was probably aimed at a market with more money than taste. but knowing the tiger is a little tacky doesn't take away it's glam factor, just adds another layer of nuance and appreciation- it's valued for it's beauty and craftsmanship as well as it's slightly dubious origins- the irony is part of the appeal. that might not make sense to some people, but maison21 gets it, and kelly wearstler gets it, and so do many, many, others. "anonymous" doesn't get and that's ok too- anonymous just has a different frame of reference for her design sensibilities, maison21 might not "get" her look either. maison21 says to each their own chic!

and thanks for the comments, "anonymous"- maison21 hopes you'll keep 'em coming!

15 December 2007

in a holiday mood (lighting)

i planned this post earlier to be relevant during the holiday season, but between the flu, and the demands of work, somehow it didn't happen. but better late than never, right? so here's the story: early in the holiday season, maison21 attended a party at an acquaintance's home that promised to be a lovely evening- the guests were chic, the host's new home was pretty darn fabulous, the food was amazing and the liquor abundant. and you know what? maison21 couldn't wait to leave! he thinks many of the other guests felt the same way, too. the reason? because the hosts committed one glaring error, and i do mean glaring- the house was lit as if by klieg lights! every single ceiling light, chandelier, and table lamp were all blazing away at full wattage- it was so bright, you could have easily performed surgery in the living room! in a word, it was uncomfortable. maison21 was a little shocked- he really thought that since the hosts were fairly sophisticated people, that they would have known better. so maison21 started paying close attention to the other parties he attended, as well as to the parties and dinners he observed while walking his dog in the evening hours, and he realized that this partay faux pas was actually fairly common. while most of you reading this are probably already aware of the power of proper lighting (and by proper, maison21 means dim), maison21 thought if he can save just one last holiday party from a potential ambiance disaster, then this tardy post will have been worth the effort...

in the age of trader joe's and whole foods, everyone can serve delicious food at their parties, (even without the expense of a caterer), and everyone has access to a costco or sam's club to load up on the jumbo bottles of ketel one, so it's the little things- that extra attention to detail- that will make your party stand out. maison21 thinks that one of the simplest ways to establish an ambiance that signals your gathering is an event, not just another party, is with your lighting. and when maison21 talks lighting, he means lots and lots of it, but with the end effect of seeming like none at all.

in a simple poll of my friends, i found that most of them weren't even aware of god's gift to the table lamp, the 7 1/2 watt bulb (on right in below photo). maison21 always has these in the table lamps of the public areas of his house, and before a party will actually go through every other room and replace every single bulb with them as well. lamps with black or opaque shades get the clear version to create a pretty puddle of light, and the rest get the frosted white version. you can get these little miracles at most hardware stores, and sometimes at places like target, for about 3 bucks a pop. but if you buy online in bulk, in advance, you can get them for as little as .50 cents each (here's a source). with these lovely little bulbs, you can have every lamp in your home blazing away, yet still keep things deliciously dim- think intimate lounge or restaurant kind of dim. your guests will look fabulous in this lighting, and so will your home, and when your guests feel they look good, they are much more likely to freely mingle and flirt, and that's the real secret to a great party (of course, lots and lots of liquor helps too).
now here's where maison21 gets even a little crazier with the lighting shenanigans- he then gets up on a ladder and replaces all the bulbs in his ceiling fixtures and chandeliers with lower wattages as well. even though all his ceiling fixtures are on dimmers, he likes to take this extra step because nothing ruins his carefully lit atmosphere faster than someone cranking up a dimmer switch to full blast so they can share baby pictures or vacation photos- maison21 will gladly provide you with a flashlight for that purpose if needed, thank you! most specialty light bulb retailers have 5 and 10 watt candelabra base bulbs bulbs available (online as well, of course), and in the above photo, i placed a clear 10 watt globe next to a standard 25 watt clear globe from the grocery store. they are a little smaller but still look fine in most chandeliers (maison21 almost always prefers a clear bulb in overhead fixtures and sconces).
the last step to successful party lighting is fire- lots and lots of it. maison21 likes candles everywhere, and if you have a working fireplace, it should be lit as well- even if you have to run the air conditioning! maison21 thinks candles should be in every room where guests will congregate or pass through, including entries and bathrooms (hallways and stairwells too, if you can do it without creating a fire hazard). don't overlook the kitchen- maison21 changes the wattage in there too, and scatters lots of votives over the counter tops and shelves, because like it or not, guests always end up in the kitchen at the end of the night, and even dirty dishes look prettier by candlelight!

one last note- go easy on the scented candles- maison21 loves a scented candle, especially since he has pets and is a little paranoid about odeurs (mariage freres' thé des mandarins is his favorite if you are reading this, santa). masion21 likes to extinguish any scented candles before guests arrive ,though- the scents can become rather overwhelming over long periods, like the course of a cocktail party. oh- and never light a scented candle beforehand if you are having a dinner party- your guests should have their appetites whetted by smelling the food to come, not a diptyque candle.

now, please go enjoy the last of your holiday parties- maison21 has to go a plan a cocktail party of his own for the new year, since now all his friends are going to be too scared to invite him to their next party lest he critique their lighting on the internets...

ps- kudos to patrick, one of maison21's oldest and dearest friends, and from who's delightful party maison21 just returned- your ambiance was perfection!

11 December 2007

farewell my lovely...

i'm always excited about my next find- the item i'm most in love with is usually the one i haven't found yet. that's why my "catch and release" decorating system works so well for me- it's more about the hunt, not so much the keeping: find it, use it, sell it. keep things churning, and i'm happy.

except sometimes. every so often i sell something, and then find myself wondering "why did you ever let that one go?". that's the situation i found myself in this week, as i packed up this fabulous mirrored zebra statue to go to it's new home. isn't he fabulous? so chic, yet just a little bit on the gaudy side, like a judith lieber purse gone mutant big (in a good way- if there is a good way to reference judith lieber purses). of the hundreds of animals that have walked in and out of the maison21 atelier over the last few years (i have a bit of an animal obsession right now), this is one i'll remember wistfully. come to think of it, the last animal i regret selling was a zebra statue too. that's it- i hereby swear- with all 5 of my blog readers as witnesses- that the next fabulous zebra statue i find, i'm keeping it. forever. cross my animal-addicted heart, no more selling the zebras...
ps: my apologies- i swore my blog would never degenerate into an infomercial for my ebay sales, but i've had the flu and haven't felt able to come up with a decent post idea. so i'm taking the easy way out. plus, i really am shockingly sad to see this guy go... (is there a psychological term for becoming emotionally attached to inanimate objects, just because they are pretty?)

06 December 2007

p.s. i love you, part three

** sadly, the 111 mall has gone out of business, so this post is now just for nostalgia's sake. ps- john, we miss you! call us!

maison21's final super "secret" palm springs' source for fabulous finds, is of course, like the rest, no secret at all, but i'm surprised to find how many decoristas within driving distance of palm springs don't know about it yet. i suppose that's a good thing for maison21, but at the risk of hurting our own business, and far worse- the risk of someone else finding a treasure THAT WE DESPERATELY NEED FOR OUR OWN HOME, the secret is this: when maison21 is in the desert, the very first stop he makes on his way into town (and usually the last before he leaves again) is the 111 antique mall.

the 111 antique mall is in the most unlikely of locations, tucked into a half-empty mini-mall on the corner of racquet club and palm canyon- the first major intersection as you arrive in palm springs on highway 111. you'll know you're in the right spot when you see the carls jr in the corner of the parking lot. please note- if you visit the 111's website via the link, the cathedral city location listed has recently closed (a good thing- means the palm springs location has even more stuff, and you don't have to make the schlep out to c.c., unless you want to visit maison21's other "secret" sources out that way).

the 111 mall is run by maison21's two favorite johns in the desert- no, not what you're thinking, as maison21 is FAR too old to be a rentboy- we're speaking of john hall and john connell, sweethearts both of them. john hall is a true pioneer of modernism in the desert, having run the fabulous john's resale for years, selling mid-century modern long before the current craze ignited, and john connell, well, his schtick alone is worth a visit- he should charge a cover for his comedy act. warning: his act is rated "m" for mature, so leave the kids at home (and your husband/boyfriend too, especially if he's hot). just kidding- he's actually pretty harmless, so the kids won't be shocked, and please do give the guy a thrill and bring your handsome husbands :). here's photo of the outrageous john c. in action on a consigned red satin heart-shaped hooker bed- talk about an unusual find, but somebody's gonna love it and work the hell out of it in their home (the bed, not john connell).

the 111 antique mall is divided into individual booths, some run by individual vendors, and some filled with consignments edited by john hall, and the whole thing is simply PACKED with goodies, in every style imaginable- from the one-a-kind high kitsch of the hooker bed to the incredible chic of the following pair of rougier lamps and faux machalite-lacquered widdicomb sideboard (they would be lovely and welcomed additions to the permanent collection here at the maison21 atelier, thank you very much). maison21 never leaves the 111 mall empty handed, and if you do, well, you just aren't trying hard enough...

the best thing about the 111 is that because the merchandise is supplied by individual vendors and individual consignees, both the styles of merchandise as well as the prices vary greatly, so there really is something for everyone, and some incredible bargains are to be had. on our last visit, the highest price m21 noted was $2400 for the most amazing super-thick scrolled lucite coffee table- not the cheapest price ever, but if you were to purchase the same table in any metropolitan area of the world, that price would be quadrupled. most of the prices are much more reasonable- like $600 for an incredible pair of high back modern chinoiserie throne chairs, or $995 for a double helix stacked lucite coffee table, and some prices are a downright steal, like $95 for a giant chinois brass lamp or $195 for a set of slightly scratchy lucite nesting tables (an easy fix). maison21 is getting those last two on his next visit to the springs, along with the coral mentioned in a prior post if they are still there- he greatly regrets passing all three up this time, and doesn't know what in the heck he was thinking. note: these prices are all from maison21's rather addled memory- please don't go to the 111 mall and demand those prices because m21 posted them on his blog. the 111 mall should not be made to pay the price for the brain cells killed during maison21's misspent 80's youth.

one last tip before you run off to plunder the 111 mall of all it's merchandise (and quite possibly ruin maison21's livelihood and future home decorating dreams in the process): while the 111 mall is worth a visit any time you are in palm springs, it's worth a special trip out to ps in the hottest dog days of summer. because when it's hot, and tourism is down and business is slow, most (but not all) of the dealers will have sales marking down everything in their booths by 10%- 30% off. and since many of the dealers live in palm springs year-round, they are still stocking their booths with fabulous finds- so you have fresh treasures with less competition, and bargains to boot! maison21 is willing to risk a little heat stroke for that! now those of you who live in southern california, or are planning a visit to ps in the near furture, get your decorating-addicted bootays over to the 111 antique mall! but maison21 would appreciate it if you were to please wait until after the holidays- maison21 wants that lamp and set of nesting tables and will be in palm springs between xmas and new years to get them- he thanks you very much.

04 December 2007

p.s. i love you, part two

the heart of vintage shopping in palms springs lies in the dozens of resale and consignment shops that line the 20 miles of palm canyon drive from palm springs in the north to palm desert in the south- when maison21 is in the desert he likes to make a day of stopping at every sign that says "consignment"along the way. not for the faint of heart, this day's journey involves finding lots and lots of "desert dreadful decor"- more lodge pole beds and giant terra cotta amphora lamps then you could have possibly ever imagined existed, but maison21 guarantees you will find a treasure or two amidst the sea of white wash and dusty rose. now if a day of encountering dream catchers in the hopes of finding a dorothy draper sounds more like a nightmare than a pleasant time waster, maison21 is going to lay out some sure fire winners in the vintage sweepstakes, sure to leave your decorating sweet tooth satiated!

on this last trip to the desert, maison21 made the discovery of a new resale store, and was quite taken with it: leftovers, in cathedral city- it's a little off the beaten path- which probably explains why it was so good and so reasonably priced. the store has an nice, electic mix of furnishings, heavy on the chinois, (always a good thing). maison21 spotted these hot dorothy draper-esque mirrors for $95 and $135 each! they are undoubtedly plastique, but at that kind of price, who cares? maison21 also picked up a pair of incredibly glam faux oryx horn mounts for hisownfineself! the shop isn't large, but it's worth a trip, and there is also a nice selection of mid-century modern pieces at hedge, another resale store in the same complex (you can skip the large shop in between them, though- brand new "modern" furnishings available in any city in the u.s., heavy on the black leather and chrome- not really our thing).

maison21's next recommended stop is further north along palm canyon drive towards palm springs, on the border between ps and cathedral city, the estate sale. the estate sale is a cavernous collection of buildings with individual consignee's selling a little bit of every style, with an emphasis on nearly-new furnishings, kind of in the henredon mode. still, it's most definitely worth a stop, and maison21 always makes a point of visiting when he's in town- it has a large section devoted solely to art, and maison21 has picked up a few great (reasonably priced) pieces for clients over the years. on this trip to the estate sale, maison21 spotted a fab 70's modern brass chinese chippendale headboard, and an awesome sleek early 80's brass and mirror bedroom suite. maison21 apologizes here- no photos as he left his camera in his car, and was too lazy to go retrieve it- he blames a slight hangover he was nursing from cocktails during dinner the night before at wang's of the desert (the gayest chinese resaurant ever).

speaking of hangovers, maison21 decided to cure his by meeting rudy for a deliciously greasy fried egg-topped bacon cheese burger at tyler's burgers(can you hear m21's arteries clogging through your internet connection?). tyler's for lunch is a must in the desert, and has the most amazing burgers, fries, potato salad and cole slaw. plus, it's outdoors, so maison21 can bring mona, who gets to enjoy a plate of bacon of her very own, plus all the attention lavished on her by her fellow diners and the dog-loving servers. yum.

after lunch, we decided to revive ourselves by walking along indian canyon to starbucks when maison21 made another palm springs new-to-him discovery: we were passing by the stewart galleries, which m21 has driven by for years and had never given it a second thought, thinking it a musty old lady art gallery, when rudy remarked that he read somewhere that it was one of kelly wearstler's favorite places to shop in palm springs. well, maison21 didn't need coffee to revive him from his burger coma anymore- he was into that shop like a rocket! and he must say it was pretty fab- as usual, our hero, ms. wearstler was on the money- the stewart gallery is filled with rock crystal obelisks, bronze mounted animal horns, faux tortoise shells and other exotic tchotkes. maison21 was particularly taken with a painting of a corgi with a tennis ball, as it reminds us of our own tennis ball obsessed little lady, and he thought these selenite votives were quite chic- an architectural twist on the ubiquitous rock crystal votives. they are a great gift idea too, at $20 bucks each, and by far the most affordable things in the store.

we also stumbled into the shop next door, the r. shafer art and antique gallery, mistakenly thinking it was an annex to the stewart galleries. maison21 is still kicking himself for not purchasing a large white coral on a lucite stand for the bargain price of $175. again, we blame the hangover. this is why drinking is bad for you, kids- it prevents you from improving your life with the purchase of pretty things! m21 was also taken with the giant pair of blanc de chine quan yin, also below, but at $1250, they weren't quite the impulse buy of the coral.

our second to last recommended stop on our day of design shopping, is to visit rudy's friends jimmy and miguel at their great mid-century modern shop, palm springs consignment. they have a wonderful selection of vintage modern goods at prices that seem pretty darn reasonable to those of us that live in los angeles or new york. of course, you'll have to take our word on that selection, as once again, that silly camera stayed in the car- hey- this blogging thing is new to us, and i'm not used to being maison21, intrepid boy-journalist, always ready to break a big story!

our last recommended palm springs source, is so amazing, so packed to the rafters with decorating goodness, that it deserves a post of it's own, so you'll have to stop back when we update "p.s. i love you, part three" in the next few days, and reveal our final "secret" source... until then, we leave you with one last photo of our friend rudy's palm springs modern living room:

02 December 2007

p.s. i love you, part one.

when my local buyers visit the maison21 atelier to pick up an ebay purchase, virtually every person asks maison21 the same question: "where do you find all your great stuff?", and about half then add "i'm sure you don't want to give up your secret sources" but maison21 is pleased to shock them a little and readily admit where his goods are found. the truth of the matter is that there is no secret- maison21 shops the same places everyone else does: flea markets, estate sales, thrift stores, garage sales, all manner of antique shops from high end to low, as well as online sources like ebay, cragislist and bazillions of assorted websites.

the difference is that my buyers are simply normal people who enjoy nice things, whereas moi-self is a deranged decorating obsessive-compulsive. i'm crazy enough to spend 10-12 hours a day searching for pretty things, willing to climb into a dumpster to get them (and have, on more than one occasion), and willing to trek far and wide, even into some pretty scary areas in search of treasures (i've been into neighborhoods in some cities that look like bombed out war zones in search of a promising estate sale or junk shop). maison21 is also willing to take sick and wounded finds and spend inordinate amounts of time (and sometimes money) to nurse them back to health, something that a normal person probably would be too smart to do. so when my buyers want to know want to know the best and easiest place to find the pretty, without risking life and limb (or their sanity), maison21 gives them the simplest answer- just two little words: "palm springs".

palm springs, california is an amazing treasure trove for the lover of vintage and antique decor, and frankly, there is more than enough goodness to go around- that's why i don't even bother to try to keep my sources there a secret! so go, knock yourself out, shop until you drop, the stuff is literally is falling out of the trees the city is named after. the only place that maison21 has ever been that has better vintage shopping is the coastal area of florida from palm beach to miami- that stretch of real estate is literally heaven on earth for vintage decor, but palm springs is a darn close second. so having just come from a weekend in palm springs, maison21 thought he'd share a few of his palm springs "secrets" with his blog readers (all 5 of you).

maison21 has been helping one of his closest friends restore his 1950's era palm springs home-a project is that is literally a labor of love as there isn't much of a budget, but here and there, little by little, my friend has been whipping his desert home into shape. recently, he extended the angled roofline of his home to shade his patio- it may not look like much in the following photos since it now looks completely original to the home, but if you saw the hideous mobile home-like metal awning it replaced, you'd know what a vast improvement it is. maison21 recommended the simple ball lighting fixtures from fantasy lighting, used on the patio, and we think the whole thing turned out quite nicely. good job, rudy!

when the patio roof was added, a metal cone fireplace was also installed (the fireplace was a m21 find, as were the vintage fiberglass chaise lounges around the pool), and with the addition of the fireplace, rudy thought it would be nice to warm up the limestone floors with an area rug, so we drove over to one of maison21's favorite palm springs "secrets"- the alley- and purchased the cowskin rug shown in the bottom photo for the bargain price of $219.00!

the alley is a chain of stores here in southern california that stocks close-out home and kitchen items, and is the kind of treasure-hunt store maison21 loves: 99% junk with the occasional bargain priced jewel and m21 has found some really great items there in the past. maison21 also knows some very fancy fellow decorators shop there too, as he's seen the goods in their homes (not that they'd probably ever admit to it, unless forced). but since maison21 firmly believes in mixing the high with the low- nothing wrong with putting a target pillow next to a hermes throw- he is coming clean, and admitting it: moi-self has purchased from the alley! the trick is to be selective, and don't buy every item in your home from a place like the alley- mix it up with some really good pieces and it all looks great.

on this trip to the alley, besides the cowskin rugs, maison21 found these lifesize cast iron crane statues for $149.00, and while maison21 isn't crazy about the "antiqued" finish, he thought they'd be show stoppers if powder coated black or white, or even gilded. for those of you that like to DIY, instead of powder coating, a little black or white lacquer spray paint would do the trick looks-wise, and maison21 simply loves the stuff- it really works magic. m21 also spotted a set of three karl springer inspired shell mosaic vases/urns for 20-30 bucks each, and the biggest bargain of all, an awesome overscale fretwork framed mirror for $349- it's about 6' by 4', so that's a lot of decoratin' for the price! and last, check out the so-bad-it's-good fake fendi bag!

more palms springs secrets to come...