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 comments:

mrlfvl said...

Are you kidding me? M21, we so need to get together...if only we could remember to... I am a die-hard boat-and-tote fan as well. When I was preparing to start my new business last fall, THE FIRST thing I did was go to LLBean and order myself one Large and one XLarge boat-n-tote bag. My "logo" is brown and green (I know - kinda trendy, but green is my fave color) - so I got a brown bottom & gussett with green straps and my company initials. Anyway, I am partial to the LL Bean variety - you can get them with extra long handles which is SO key! I also got mine with the optional gussets and zipper tops. One is my "tool kit" and the other is my catch all tote. I love them. They are so "benign" and I love that you can totally carry one with a Fendi bag (not that I have one of those, but I can pretend) and it still looks fine. And you can even back over it with your car and it still looks great...I know that from personal experience!

maison21 said...

megan-

brown and green isn't so trendy. personally i'm of the view that NO color combination can be trendy, if you truly love it (though the blue/chocolate brown thing is kinda grossing me out a bit at the moment- just because it's so everywhere.

l.l. bean is another great source for these bags- the extra-long straps must come in pretty darn handy, but 'cause i'm a guy, somehow to me they would turn it from a tote to a purse and i'm scared the bullies at school will make fun of me...

Habitually Chic said...

I knew we were friends for a reason! I have been lugging around my black trimmed HMC monogrammed Boat and Tote forever since it is completely industructible and stylish!

The funny thing is that I actually called them last week to see what the maximum number of letters you can have monogrammed on and I could have Habitually on one line and Chic on the other. I'm seriously considering it!

Cote de Texas said...

omg - the Webb family is SO into these! They make great Christmas gifts. Last time we were all at the beach - we took a picture of our LL Bean totes - there were almost 20 in all - all different colors and monograms and names on them !!! good choice.

Joni

maison21 said...

heather-

i opened your email right as i was running out the door to a meeting, and you had me laughing as i went- the picture of your completely identical bag (save different initials) was hysterical!

go for it- get "habitually chic" monogrammed on one! maybe i'll get a second with my whole blogger name on it, too...

and joni- you've given me a great idea! i never would have thought of giving one as a gift. i have a friend's birthday coming up, and i've been racking my lil pea brain over what to get him, as he has everything already- but he ain't got a monogrammed boat n tote! (hope he doesn't read my blog comments) the great thing is, he could really use one, too!

thanks!

beachbungalow8 said...

i can't live without these. i LOVE them. poo-poo on any one who doesn't 'get'this

maison21 said...

beachbungalow8, thanks for stopping by! i didn't even know you knew my little corner of the internets existed...

Pigtown-Design said...

I've used the LLB B&T bags for centuries! We always had the boat name stencilled on them, before LLB monogramed them. Then we began using different colours for the boat and the beach. Then everyone had their own colour.

Almost the first thing I did when I moved back to the US was to order a LLB B&T. It's a cinnabar colour with cream straps. Not likely to be mistaken for anyone else's.

I just ordered a jute summer bag from Ballard. It's a little dressier. Green with brown monogram.

LLB B&T - it's a good thing!

Pigtown-Design said...

PS... The second thing I did when I moved back to the US? Buy a volvo wagon!

Claudia said...

:-) I honestly cannnot imagine living without these - from us, to the dog, in different sizes, everyone in the family has one!

I just recently discovered a gorgeous alternative (ok, and a lot more expensive, but oh so gorgeous) - linen canvas bags by Tampico with leather handles!

Be the change..... said...

We have about 40 of these floating around my office ( of 25 people ) with the company initials in navy on an off-white background - i've had clients comment on how chic they were!

maison21 said...

meg-

years ago, i had an old volvo wagon that i inherited from my brother. it had 200,000 miles on it and ran like a champ. i think i might still be driving it if it wasn't hit by another car while parked in front of my house. the damage wasn't so bad (old volvos might as well have been army tanks) but to repair it would have cost far in excess of the actual value of the vehicle.

i still miss "squeakers" (named by my brother's kids for obvious reasons).

maison21 said...

claudia-

those tampico bags are indeed gorgeous (i googled). a little too girly for moi, but i can see where they'd be perfect for someone named claudia!

be the change-

wow- 25 people! that's a big office- are you SOM or sumthin'? i can barely handle my unruly staff of 2 (richard and mona).

i'm impressed...

katiedid said...

Haha! My very first car was a '72volvo tank with over 100k. It had a sun roof and leather interior. I loved it! I have a volvo now too, newer, thank God. And YES. These are the best totes ever. Everyone in my family has one, even my husband (he uses his for fishing gear....go figure....he never fishes)

katiedid said...

P.S.- there was discussion over on Decorno about whether to monogram or not. This is a perfect example of when TO monogram!

maison21 said...

katie-

if i didn't love having the flexibility of being able to throw gigantic pieces of furniture in the back of my pick-up (affectionately nicknamed "granny clampett" for that very reason), i'd for sure have a volvo wagon- probably even an old one like your '72. i think the boxy shape of old volvo wagons is the epitome of anti-chic chic-ness (if you can follow that).

you know i was also going to lead into my post with the decorno discussion, because you are correct- this is a great example of when to monogram, but i guess i decided that monograms are pretty much always an ok embellishment- i don't do it a lot personally, but i have no problem if anyone else wants to monogram everything in their life! whatever makes you happy, and if it's 3 little initials on your pillow, go for it!

Suzy said...

Did you take that photo at your place...? I love the sofa/cshion/side table ensemble!

maison21 said...

yup, suzy, that's the living room of the atelier, so thank you very much!

the sofa is one of my all-time favorite finds- i found it in florida years ago at weird yard sale by the side of the road (for $50.00) and shipped it home for lots more- but the lines are super sexy and the original emerald green silk upholstery is still barely hanging on (richard is trying his best to give it the final blow). the pillow is from target (25.00!) and the 1960's sarried ltd. studded brass table is one of my newest favorite finds- those fat ring handles make me very happy!

Suzy said...

Great score! I love the colour. My cats are very naughty with scratching...I'm a little scared about what they'll do to my new Karl Springer table...

maison21 said...

u-oh, costa and rica better keep their laws outta the springer!

mrlfvl said...

Yes Joni! I agree - perfect gift idea! I got married on the Chesapeake Bay a few years back(hubby is an avid Fisherman) and our bridesmaid/groomsman gifts were monogrammed boat and tote bags. A HUGE hit!!!