31 May 2008

pretty and classique: the finest rooms

every so often, maison21 will grab a vintage decorating title from his little stash- just to peruse in a spare moment or two, and he almost always comes away with inspiration. the last title he pulled from his shelf was "the finest rooms, by america's greatest decorators" (viking press, 1964) featuring essays and photos of rooms by billy baldwin (and edward martin), rose cumming, marian hall and diane tate, mcmillen inc., mrs. henry parish II, george stacey, smyth, urquhart and marckwald, inc., and michael taylor. some of these names we all are familiar with, and some are unknown (at least to m21). it's always interesting to view period decor no matter if it's by a "name" or not and it's easy to see why some names we remember, because their rooms really do withstand the test of time.

a drawing room by mrs. parrish, from "the finest rooms"- so you think kelly wearstler and jamie drake invented the use of bold colors? think again...

as maison21 flipped through the pages, he found himself with inspiration he wasn't even aware he was looking for: he recently had to present some flooring proposals for a client's entry way, and thought the patterns in the stone floors in the first picture by billy baldwin and the wood floors in the second room by mrs. parish could be interesting options for the floor in question. whether or not these options get used in m21' current project or no, he's filed them away for future use.
this stair and entry were designed in the 1930's by mr. baldwin- love the birdcage!

this mrs. parish decor is a little too traditional for m21's taste, but the dark and light wood flooring pattern is a classique.

maison21 also thought he'd share these photos of an over the top sitting room and bedroom by rose cumming- you've probably seen them before, but it never hurts to revisit them. so gorgeous.
totally cluttered and totally wonderful- and that paper!

the metallic papered walls in the bedroom are simply stunning. no art hung, and none needed...

if you ever run across a copy of this out of print book, maison21 recommends you snatch it up, and get inspired, just like m21 did.

26 May 2008

weekend score!

maison21 is loving his newly found white ceramic and brass, neoclassic urn lamp by royal haeger- we're guessing that it's from the 1980's (dot-matrix printer label underneath, so it's gotta be at least 20 years old, right?). m21 purchased this ginormous lamp to grace his new home office- the one he will be making out of his guest bedroom any day (really, it's happening- right along with the refinishing of the floors and the painting of the kitchen. swear.)

whether or not it ever finds a home in the m21 atelier, it's kinda glam, no?

24 May 2008

when animals attack!

(warning: the following photos are graphic and violent in nature. mature viewing is advised).

maison21 was doing a little surfing on the internets today, catching up on his blog reading when he heard sounds of a scuffle behind him. he turned to find two innocent little faces looking up at him:
what? we weren't doing anything...

then without warning, richard proceeds to bite mona, right on the schnoz: "it's on, bitch!" (well, technically, she IS one you know...)

a full fledged assault ensues- richard jumps on mona, and wraps her in a headlock, and viciously attacks her with more bites to the nose.

a brief respite in this heated battle between two of nature's fiercest predators. "blink. no you blink..."

then it's mona's turn to attack, pinning richard to the floor with her vise-like jaws of death.

as suddenly as the violence broke out, peace reigns in the bedroom again (mona thinks she might have heard an intruder downstairs, so she called an official time out).

maison21's two fierce little gladiators continued on like this for about another 20 minutes or so, until worn out by their death-match, they called it a draw and took a nap together on the bed.

aren't they adorable?

ps- your eyes do not deceive you- the hardwood floors on which this battle was pitched are seriously f*cked up. in the business, we call that "a delightful antique patina" and charge you extra ;-) m21 will be refinishing them as soon as he finishes painting his kitchen...

(yeah- right- like that's gonna happen anytime soon! maison21 makes other people's homes prettier for a living- the last thing he wants to do on his day off is start projects around the atelier- put pretty flowers in the room to cheer things up- yes! deal with estimates, sub-contractors, dust and chaos- no thank you!!!!)

22 May 2008

decorator classic (or cliché?)

sometimes a classic really is a classic for a reason. way back when m21 was in design school (well, not that way back- he went back to school for design in his mid-thirties), m21 carted his projects around school in a hand-me-down land's end canvas tote. it served him well into his first job and then into his own private practice, and he probably would still be using it, if he didn't leave it on a train somewhere between connecticut and new york.

deciding that a canvas tote was a decorator cliché, m21 then replaced it with a succession of what he thought were chicer choices in messenger-esque bags, but after the strap on his last fashionable gray flannel man-bag broke for no apparent reason and maison21 was reduced to using a hideous nylon number more suitable for a teen bike messenger than a middle-aged decorator, m21 had to reconsider what is a cliché and what is a classic. the land's end tote really is a timeless classic with good cause- it's nearly indestructible, can handle a pile of marble samples without breaking a strap and easily can accommodate large or bulky items too, like a couple rolls of wallpaper, or a throw rug. like an old volvo station wagon, it ain't the prettiest thing ever, but you KNOW it's gonna get the job done, and last forever, to boot.

so as a little gift for his recent bday (amongst far too many items he treated himself to), maison21 ordered himself up a new land's end canvas tote in classic black and white (they come in so many color and style options now, it's dizzying, and they are so inexpensive, you'll smile as you enter your credit card number). this time, maison21 monogrammed his bag- so maybe, just maybe- when he absentmindedly leaves it on a train (or plane, or wherever), someone actually might turn it in, rather than keep it for themselves. after all, who the heck else could have the initials "M21"?

21 May 2008

p.s. i love you (trina turk residential, if i remember correctly)

maison21 recently spent his birthday weekend in his favorite southern california spot, palm springs. normally, when maison21 is in the desert, it's all about the shopping, but this trip was really all about friends and fun- we spent most of our time eating, drinking and laughing. in fact, maison21 was only able to squeeze in one brief shopping adventure, and was even thwarted on that trip by having forgotten his wallet at home. in his last post, m21 talked of how happy he was to be turning another year older. well, here's one of the downsides of aging, kiddies: your ability to remember the simplest of things- like a wallet- is gone. life becomes a game of "what did i do with that?". it's a minor annoyance comparatively, but m21 has to be honest to all you kids he got all excited about turning 45- there are trade-offs to everything in life! (yet another piece of wisdom that comes with age).
on maison21's one brief, and sadly purchase-free shopping adventure, he spotted that the new trina turk residential boutique had finally opened, so he had to duck in... the boutique is just what resort shopping should be: a sleek, modern and bright space filled with colorful tchotchkes, at price points from from a little to a lot, but nothing so crazy that you could never imagine spending that kind of money on an impulse buy. the interior is pretty darn fab as well- worth a visit even you have no intention of buying a thing (or like m21, couldn't buy even if you wanted to, due to the infirmities of old age). unlike the trina turk clothing boutiques- both next door in p.s. and here in los angeles, designed by our hero, kelly wearstler- the trina turk residential boutique was designed by phil smith of the art office. you can see some great photos of the space before the merchandise was moved in, at phil's own blog here.
ms. turk has filled the boutique with a selection of gift items from other lines to compliment her own line of signature brightly colored textiles, with which she has covered some fun vintage furniture, as well as sewn up into pillows and throws. we were told that the fabrics will be available by the yard as well, so you can bring a little fun trina turk resort ethos into your own decor!if maison21 had remembered his wallet he might have bought one of the below awesome volcanic glaze ceramics by josh herman, and he knows he would have bought one of trina's new scented candles. the "beach" scent was pretty terrific, so m21 will be returning for one soon- he meant to return for one before he left town, but of course, he forgot...

(ok, maison21 has to be honest here, and quit blaming old age for the wallet being left at home- it was a hangover that made him forget it, alright? see old age is good, whereas hangovers at any age are bad!)the trina turk boutique is on the same block of palm canyon as house 849 (one of maison21's faves) and fitzsu society (a great modern gift store- think moss without all the scary zeros on the price tags), so he recommends a stop for anyone doing a little shopping tour of the area- maybe you'll run into maison21 buying a candle or two- and if he's forgotten his wallet, would you mind spotting him for one? he'll pay you back- he swears! if he remembers, that is...

07 May 2008

so pretty (the winner's circle, l.a. modernism)

maison21 saw so many pretty things at last weekend's modernism show, that his eyes literally hurt after he left. so did his heart, after realizing there was just no way for him to afford to bring all those pretty things home!

anyway, we had hundreds of snapshots of pretty furniture pieces, and m21 agonized over how to present all his favorite treasures in one coherent post (well, two really, as he already did one posting on the art featured at the show). we decided we had to be ruthless, and narrowed things down to just three vendors, all of whom's (whose?) selections were so fabulous, that m21 wanted to take each and every item they offered home to the maison21 atelier (well, almost every item, that is- read on).

in a further cold and heartless move, maison21 ranked the top three in order of preference. this was an extremely difficult decision, but in the race to be prettiest, there is no room for error...

the three winners in the modernism pretty sweepstakes were:

3rd place: fat chance, los angeles
a pair of pagoda lamps on a waterfall console, a pair of horse head lamps on the thickest lucite (and wood) console/desk ever, chinese chippendale chairs covered in tessellated horn, a brightly colored abstract painting over a paul evans credenza- what's not to love?
in fact, everything at fat chance was so good, maison21 probably should have have just called it a three-way draw in the contest for prettiest in show, but unfortunately fat chance included something in their offerings that maison21 would never, ever, have in his home under any circumstances. see the lamp with the asian figure on it? (upper right 1st photo, upper center 2nd photo) well, most of you might have figured out that maison21 is a sucker for all things chinois, but not this lamp- uh uh. no way! it looks like that scary little man would come alive in the middle of the night and murder maison21 in his sleep! creeeepy! if you don't share maison21's terror of doll-like figures, he suggests you rent or buy "trilogy of terror", the karen black horror movie tour de force that had tremendous impact on maison21 as a child- chuckie gots nothin on her terrifying (and terrifyingly funny) witch doctor doll!

points from fat chance for giving maison21 nightmares! (but everything else was pretty darn dreamy).

2nd place award goes to: porter and plunk, palm springs (internet only)
now it was very hard to give this jewel of a booth 2nd place, as every single item was absolutely 100% to maison21's taste: a sally sirkin lewis lacquered goatskin console, sarried brass coffee table, an incredibly glam pair of red lacquer chinoiserie chests, the craziest chunky, solid lucite footstool ever, and five pairs of super glam lamps (maison21 is mad for pairs of just about anything, but lighting is a special love). and most important, maison21 is sure he wouldn't have nightmares while napping on the classic empire chaise- super chic in white!

much as he loved the selection over at porter and plunk, somebody had to win 1st place right? the decision was tough, but in the end, the booth next door to porter and plunk, won by a nose. well, a table really...

1st place winner: monument, san francisco!
maison21 loves black and white, so he was totally sucked in by this b&w story displayed in the monument booth.- a pair of kittinger greek key chests, a pair of black and white neo-classic tripod lamps and a b&w upholstered woodard chaise- chicness.

gurly gilt mirrors flanking a brutalist marcello fantoni sculpture on a brightly lacquered credenza? perfect pitch.
these chic cast metal chairs are a dorothy draper design, rescued from the fairmont hotel in san francisco. note to shawn- were we sitting in these very chairs- all those many years ago during our misspent youth- the evening we spent a fortune we didn't have on champagne and oysters at 1:30 in the morning at the fairmont? and you barely made it to the bathroom before losing our expensive late night snack? i can't remember much about that night (aside from you almost getting sick at our table), but you'd think i'd remember these chairs...

last, this shapely bright orange lacquer center table is what nudged monument into first place. maison21 loves it so much , he wants to marry it- we would be such a happy couple!

in maison21's mind, everyone who played the pretty game is a winner, but as he said, m21 had to narrow the field down somehow, so our sincere apologies to all the other vendors at the modernism show whose merchandise maison21 loved and photographed, but didn't share in this post (maybe someday we'll do another post on the fineries we left out).

as for our top three, do we agree with m21's ranking? which of the three is your favorite?

04 May 2008

so arty (l.a. modernism, pt 1)

maison21 managed not to be a total couch potato this past weekend, and made the trek out to santa monica to view the recent l.a. modernism show. actually, m21 was the complete opposite of a couch potato this weekend, as he spent almost a whole day cleaning the m21 atelier from top to bottom since the cleaning lady is on vacation (poor m21 and his luxury problems). but the sad story story of m21's endless labors will have to be saved for another day, as today's post is about the pretty things m21 saw at the modernism show! yay! and, ana- PLEASE COME BACK SOON!!

note: for those of you new to his blog, m21 often uses italics on terms like "endless labors" to indicate sarcasm and self deprecation. he really wasn't all that worn out from a little house cleaning. ok, that's a lie- maison21 was so exhausted from all that drudgery, that he was scared he couldn't be trusted behind the wheel and had to enlist a close friend to to drive him the 6 miles to santa monica and the modernism show (thanks, dude!). but fear not for our blogger- m21 perked right up the minute he was surrounded by all that pretty! (don't get confused by that last use of italics, as italics can also indicate m21's enthusiasm, as in "oooooh- that chair is just so pretty! you'll get the hang of it!).

anyway- pardon our digression- now, back to today's post: since shows like the modernism show/sale are almost as much about art as design, maison21 thought he'd focus today's post on artworks he loved from the recent show, and save the orgy of gorgeous furniture for a follow-up post later in the week.

maison21 was assaulted by pretty art before he ever got inside the auditorium, as the entrance to the show was lined with these oversized ceramic sculptures by stan bitters. slightly reminiscent of some of the work of paul evans, m21 fell instantly in love with them (m21 has a serious brutalist sculpture jones) and is hoping he has a project someday where he could incorporate a commission for one of the large wall-like works in a patio, courtyard or atrium.

at the booth of edward cella art + architecture, m21 was smitten with this 1962 ink on paper by rico lebrun:

next, m21 and friend stopped to pay homage to one of our gods, shiro kuramata, and his "how high the moon" chair at the chez camille booth. now, we know we said today's post would be about art, not furniture, but as mr. kuramata's amazing works blur the line between design and art, we figured it could go either way. today, it's art. maison21 vows he will one day have the space (and no small amount of $$) to own and properly display one of these iconic chairs.

we loved, loved , loved the display of vintage fashion photography by mark shaw at svenska mobler. reasonably priced, too.

more brutal love for this overscale metal sculpture at a.k.eleven14. big enough to be a room divider!
while at a.k. eleven 14, maison21 accidentally made some art of his own- you see, maison21 takes a picture of the sign or tag of whatever he's taking the real photo of, so he doesn't forget where he saw what, later when he downloads his photos. those quick "identification" shots usually come out blurred or out of frame, but the a.k. eleven14 business cards photo turned out so nice as a composition (purely by chance), m21 thought he'd share it!

these huge fossil skeleton recreations from x21/sultana were very cool. hard to get a grasp of the scale from the photo, but the prehistoric fish was probably 8 feet long. impressive. (don't know where you'd use one, or even why you'd want to, but impressive nonetheless).

loved these carved stone goldfish, and the 6 foot 1970's brass elephant tusk sculptures at mantiques modern. and what maison21 loves almost as much as the 1970's tusks is that terrific 1970's name, mantiques. maison21 can almost smell the pierre cardin cologne.

more brutal sculpture love from blagg's (no link, and don't know anything about them). maison21 should have bought the the large sculpture on the bottom even though he hasn't anywhere to display it. it was a steal...
last, while it doesn't rise to the level of high art, this kitschy 2 foot tall gilt ceramic poodle bobblehead made maison21 and his friend, smile (no vendor info, sorry):

next post- maison21's fave furniture from the show!

02 May 2008

ooh la la lighting! (and oh yeah- it's l.a. modernism weekend)

maison21 promises this will be his last habité l.a. related post (for a bit, anyway), but when maison21 likes something, he really likes it, and as he really likes lighting, too (maison21 would be the crazy man with 4 chandeliers in every room of his home, if he didn't sell his latest lighting loves), and since habité has such an amazing selection, he thought he'd devote one final post to the pretty lighting he is currently in love with in their showroom. kimberly, one of habité's proprietors, more than shares m21's lighting addiction, btw, so count on them to always have a great selection.

you guys can handle a little more pretty, can't you?

thought so.
what can m21 say- vintage chicness- no wonder this beauty is in the window!

classic venini bi-color prism chandelier.

this style of murano chandelier is usually a little too girly for m21's personal taste, but he'd hang this opalescent beauty in a heartbeat.

this gilt ceramic and bronze vintage italian number might be his fave- it's such a classic parzinger-esque shape with a little touch of both your grandma and liberace to give it a twist. love, love, love.

but maison21's most favorist chandelier of habité's fab selection, has to be this sleek and classic fontana arte 8 light wonder. it should really be in the maison21 atelier somewhere, dontchathink?

kimberly and laurent have also assembled an amazing selection of table lamps as well, some of which kimberly has customized with chic lucite bases, like this awesome tall opalescent pair of vintage murano lamps. digging the deco brass clamshell number, too.

this fat pale murano lamp, is well, phat!

this is the pair of bronze maison charles lamps (with bronze shades, no less) that maison21 fell in love with when he first saw them in kimberly's dining room- if they are in the shop, he wonders what fabulousness has replaced them on kimberly's sideboard?

maison21 has had a hankering for a one of these vintage 1970's agate lamps by willy daro for as long he can remember. someday he will have a pair in his library. (oh, all right, so maison21 doesn't really have a "library"- more like a spare room with a lot of magazines stacked in it, but one of these chic lamps would certainly class it up a bit).

this stunning bouillotte lamp is probably maison21's fave table lamp in the store- black and gold, with a 1950's modern meets 1800's directoire vibe. it's just so "maison21", he can't stand it.

last, and this really is the one light in the habité showroom that maison21 might sell his soul to own (if his soul could fetch a big enough price tag, that is), maison21 is loving this massive 1970's maison jansen brass palm tree floor lamp/sculpture. so mr. devil (or ms. devil, as the case may be), if you are reading this- let's make a deal!

so that's maison21's last mention of habité for a bit- except if you are visiting the los angeles modernism show at the santa monica civic center this weekend (may 3rd and 4th), be sure to sure to visit their booth, as he's sure it will be fabulous.
downtown's booth from last year's show (lifted from the modernism website)

maison21 is for sure, for sure, for sure, going to the modernism show on saturday. unless he is too tired, then he'll go sunday. unless he just gets lazy come sunday, and blows the whole thing off (when you basically shop for a living, shopping on the weekends can sometimes seems like a drag. i know- don't you pity poor maison21 and his luxury problems?)