31 October 2008

a royal proclamation

29 October 2008

bath renovation preview

we recently briefly touched on a bathroom renovation project we are currently working on, so we thought we'd give you a bit a sneak peek at the room in progress.

the idea was to take a bathroom so tiny and depressing, that no one in the family actually wanted to use it, and turn it into a little jewel box of a bath- something people will actually want to be in (a variation on "if you build it, they will come", in this case- "if you make it pretty, they will use it").

we are going from this (taken the first day of construction):
to something looking a little more like this (m21 concept elevation drawing):

as stated, bath is teeny-tiny, so the challenge of working with such tight space was actually turned into a virtue. since wall and floorspace are so limited, we could splurge on materials- in this case white carrara 1" x 2" tiles for the walls and 2" x 2" carrara hexes for the floors, all capped by a sexy carrara molding. in a bigger room, this could have been cost prohibitive, but here, it totally works within our budget.

same concept on the fixtures- since we eliminated the too small to be used tub, and turned the space into shower only- we could take the money saved on buying a new tub (and faucet, etc.), and buy slightly more glamorous fixtures than the total budget would normally allow.

if budget was not an issue, we'd probably purchase everything from urban archeology, as they do the particular look we are going for better than anyone else, or we could also happily go with the glamor of waterworks (how we love BOTH of them), but we managed to get the look we wanted by selecting more reasonably priced fixtures from restoration hardware, and ended up saving quite a bit. restoration has been having fabulous online weekend sales lately, and we got everything for 20% off (and the weekend after that sale, they offered $100 off any purchase greater than $400.00, so it pays to check the website before buying). they also are offering no interest-no payments for one year, on purchases greater than $750.00, so buying selections from their "dillion collection" was a no brainier- the collection has the 20-30's vibe we want to reflect the architecture of the home, but the prices were easy on the pocketbook:

we also went with restoration's sutton grand sconce- a terrific value right now, on sale for $199.00!
bath should actually be finished fairly quickly, so we'll post the results in a week or two, and you can decide if the finished room lives up to the concept! we're pretty sure it will- we are quite excited about it!

26 October 2008

cave painting (the silver-leaf edition)

maison21 and a good friend were recently discussing m21's post on his cheap n' chic dining room curtains, and our friend asked if we mentioned the ceiling of the room, as it's always been a favorite of his, but funnily enough, we never even gave it a thought. because like the sun coming up each morning, and the seasons changing, our ceiling is just part of the natural order of the universe- something that just is, always was, and always will be. we haven't given it a thought in years- many, many years.

you see, when m21 moved the atelier- what now seems like thousands of years ago- it was actually a cave, not an atelier yet, and dinosaurs still walked the earth (swear). "decorators and dinosaurs co-existed at the same time", you ask incredulously? of course they did- just ask a certain vice-presidential candidate- she'll totally back me up on this one!
anyway, as usual we digress- back to decorating: when we moved into the cave- oops, we mean atelier- we dreamed of a glamorous silver-leafed ceiling in our dining room, like the above image from domino's website. problem was, we didn't have a clue of how to do it ourselves, or any money to hire someone to do it for us (if we remember correctly, there was a recession then as well, in addition to the dinsosaurs and stuff). so being the budding decorista that we then were, we improvised with an application of oil-based aluminum paint, applied with a rag. knowing we cold never replicate the squares of real leafing, m21, and his then housemate just ragged the paint on with a combination of tight swirls and loose strokes (a bottle of wine probably helped our technique). the end effect was rather pretty, kinda like a stormy sky. it reflects daylight beautifully, but really shines (pardon the pun) at night.
the application was totally cheap, and pretty darn easy- a quart of paint and a couple hours (any tedium was prevented by the wine). we chose oil-based paint (sorry, we don't remember brand- ask your local paint store to hook you up), because it provides a more reflective surface, and covers super easy- a quart for our tiny dining room was plenty. the drawback of oil-based enamel is that it's totally toxic- wear thick rubber gloves for this hand-technique (safety glasses would be smart, too) and have plenty of ventilation. oh, and if you ever want to paint over it- good luck with that! if you chose water-based metallic paints (ralph lauren makes a nice one), clean-up is a breeze, and it's not quite so toxic, but you'll have to do more than one coat (a real drawback with a hand technique like this one- you'll be totally over it before you are done). latex metallic finish paint also often has more of a satin, pearlescent sheen- still pretty, but not quite as shiny and reflective.all these years later, dinosaurs may be extinct, but our ceiling is still going strong (maybe a little foggy with age, but aren't we all). it was certainly a cost-effective decorating investment, having stood the test of time (and fickle decorating tastes), making it perfect for our uncertain economic times today. if you try a little faux-silver leaf cave-painting in your own home, let us know how it turns out!

24 October 2008

the domino effect

maison21 spent the morning shopping for bathroom tiles for a client's bath remodel and returned to find a fed-ex box waiting on his doorstep. could it possibly be the 3 yards of fabric we just ordered two days ago, because although his upholsterer clearly specified 14 yards, absent-minded m21 only ordered 11?

nope- even better! it was a care package shipped to him by his good friend, habitually chic, to wish him well on an upcoming medical procedure (no, not a face lift- not yet, anyway- m21 is having a cervical epidural for his back problems. i know my female readers are thinking "big deal, i had an epidural when i had little jackson", but please remember, m21 is a mere boy, and thus far more squeamish about this kind of thing than girls. when it comes to pain, women are most definitely the stronger sex!).
anyway, the chic care package was full of domino love- a copy of the latest issue of domino magazine, a copy of "the domino book of decorating" (yay!- you'll remember we were bummed we didn't score one at the kelly wearstler/domino party), and perhaps our favorite bit of domino love- a domino match box, featuring the cover art from the book! they didn't have those at the west coast party, so it's the kind of thoughtful, one of a kind, memento this decorator loves!
added bonus- the birdie on the chinioserie match box and book cover, echoes the pair of brass pheasants already on maison21's coffee table, so book and box will have a place of honor on his table for sometime to come!

thanks, chic- the domino effect is already working!

23 October 2008

rose tarlow/melrose house warehouse sale

rose tarlow/melrose house is having a sale at their valley warehouse this friday and saturday from 10-3. while we'd imagine even a melrose house sale price would still be some serious $$$, but you NEVER know at these types of things- could be worth checking out! maybe they'll have one of their gorgeous scalloped-edge chinoiserie coffee tables on sale for cheap- that would make maison21 very happy.

21 October 2008

the stranger in mirror (mirrored nightstand, that is)

maison21 has been scouring his favorite vintage stores for a glam pair of mirrored nightstands for a current project. the bedroom we are decorating is a little on the small side, so mirrored furniture, as well as touches of lucite, and perhaps a silver leaf or tea-paper ceiling treatment, are key to making the space seem bright and open, while keeping with the luxe old-hollywood vibe maison21 thinks is perfect for his client. the nightstands also need to provide ample storage, work in our tight floor plan, and last but not least, they can't break the budget. luckily, we can go either modern or traditional in style, so that helps, but still, finding a vintage pair that meets our other very specific criteria might not be so easy. so in case our inner junque whisperer doesn't come through by finding a chic vintage option, we've been doing a little hunting around on the internets:

first, these vintage maison jansen night stands from flessa's design via 1stdibs would be ideal, but unfortunately they are the wrong size (and a lil too 'spensive), so we can't use them as anything but inspiration...our first choice in something new would definitely be these grace home "hayworth nightchests"- sooo pretty with their jewel-like beveling and sexy cabriole legs, but sadly, they are waaaay out of our budget. we have to save some money for the rest of the pretty things in the room, so can't blow it all on nightstands! bummer though, as they really are perfect...

this deco influenced stand from julian chichester, available at the conran shop, would also fit the bill rather perfectly, but again, that pesky budget issue...
these contemporary nightstands from mecox gardens are getting a little better in price, but they are a little too minimal for this project- we want something with a bit more wow.

love the price on this option from horchow, however stylistically, they just don't feel right, so still searching...

in the end, if our inner junque whisperer™ doesn't led us to the correct vintage solution, we did find a newly manufactured nightstand we could live with both stylistically and cost-wise. it is both sleek and modern without being boring, and is a pretty darn great price to boot ($769.00 via csn stores). our only question is, could we live with ourselves if we purchased it? because the name under which it was manufactured is NOT a name we would normally associate with refinement and good taste (hence the title of this post- who is the stranger that would even consider this? certainly, not moi-self!). ladies, and gentlemen, we give you the trump home gotham nightstand:
yup, that's right- T-R-U-M-P, as in the donald. see why we might question our judgment over something as silly as a brand name? "No name is more synonymous with an upscale lifestyle, superior quality and success than that of Donald Trump"- gag! all nauseating branding braggadocio aside, m21 really kinda likes it, and we'll have to take the risk of turning into a weird-haired, rosie o'donnell hating egotist if we purchase it. ok, so we already have the ego, but still...

thumbs up on the donald? or is maison21 fired?

16 October 2008

cheap 'n chic curtain idea (decoratin' in tune with the times)

in our recent post on bart swindall's home featured in "o at home" magazine, maison21 admired his use of inexpensive and creative decorating ideas, and thought they were rather apropos for our troubled economic times; we also promised to post some cost-cutting ideas of our own, so here's one we used a while back:

in a fit of decorating pique, we decided we hated our dining room, and that we needed to begin again with a fresh look. we were in-between decorating jobs at the time, so instead of focusing on other people's homes, we actually had the time to focus on our own for once, but the downside of being in-between jobs, is that we also felt like we couldn't spend a whole lot of money- as real or imagined, we were just too uncertain of our economic future. sound familiar?
anyway, we painted the room a cheery blue/green- painting is the least expensive thing you can do to perk up a room, but with the biggest impact- and as often happens in decorating, one thing leads to another, and our new paint made our then curtains look positively dingy. so into the trash they went, and we set out looking for a budget alternative.

we decided on a set of cheap $29.99 bright red "merete" grommet top curtains from ikea (they are discontinued in red, but still available in other colors). we choose the ikea curtains because unlike many inexpensive mass-retail curtain panels, they come in lengths greater than 84" inches, and our personal preference is to hang curtains close to the ceiling- especially in rooms with lower ceilings, as it really adds some height. since ikea is brilliant at this kind of DIY thing, they also included iron-on tape to hem the curtains to any length (perfect for the sewing challenged, like moi-self)). you'll note that we hemmed the curtains to fall an inch short pf the floor- not something we would normally ever do or recommend, as we like our curtains to just barely touch the floor- no puddling, please! but here at the maison21 atelier, the furry dust bunnies that accumulate between the cleaning lady's visits are ENORMOUS, so rather than look at them sticking to the bottom of the fabric, we made it so they slide UNDER the curtains instead- one of those tough design decisions one has to make when one has pets!

the iron-on hemming tape gave maison21 his next idea: he loves a tape or ribbon trimmed curtain- it's tailored and chic, and just soooo david hicks (our ultimate decorating hero). so m21 went to the fabric store and bought some super cheap (like .79 cents a yard, cheap) white cotton webbing tape, used for some arcane home sewing purpose, and simply ironed it on with the same hemming tape, to the front and bottom edges of the curtains, folding at the corner for a mitered look.
voila- custom curtains at ikea prices! added bonus, the white tape tied the curtains into the white trim of the room, so we didn't need to add anymore red- something we were loathe to do, as with the bright turquoise walls and black and white furniture, we didn't want things to get too out of hand color-wise. we LOVE color, but sometimes too much, is well, too much.
last, maison21 prefers to leave windows bare if at all possible, but all too often it is neither possible or practical- some views must be blocked, and privacy preserved, and while alternatives like blinds or roman shades are great, sometimes a room just needs pretty curtains to look finished. our dining room definitely falls into the latter category- the wall with the window is basically a walk way, so a furniture piece under the window was out, but something needed to be added on that side of the room so it didn't look bare and ugly, hence the curtain panels; they both soften, and add a pop of color.

another of our priorities is we don't like an ounce of light to be blocked coming into a room, so for privacy, without resorting to keeping the curtains drawn, we added another ikea find: amorf frost window film. it's super simple to apply, and completely obscures the view (we applied it to the lower panes of our windows only, so we could still see outside up top). we liked it so much, we put it on all of our windows- light streams in, but passersby can't view the boringly mundane activities taking place inside the atelier, and since it's only about $4.00 a roll, it is the cheapest window treatment ever!

we hung our david hicks on the cheap curtains over 5 years ago, intending them to be temporary until we did a "for real" window treatment, but ended liking them so much that upgrading them with a pricier alternative has never seemed a priority. all in all, the whole thing, including ikea rods, probably cost about 50.00 bucks, and the coolest part is, we took the money we saved on curtains and invested it in the stock market, and now we're rich!

oh wait...

10 October 2008

watch out, richard...

richard is hiding under the bed, lest we attempt to dye the white bits of his fur yellow, in an attempt to match one of our favorite decor color schemes, gray and yellow.

in actuality, the color of cats in this photo was achieved via brushing colored pigment and talc in their fur, and the cats seemed to enjoy it, claimed photographer, tim walker, in an article in the guardian uk (we sincerely hope they washed the pigment off the kitties before they groomed themselves).

the photo cracked us up, and we are just gay enough to to enjoy the thought of kandi kolor kitties to enhance any decor. but don't worry richard, we won't really attempt to try it out on you- we love you just the way you are.

we found the pastel kitty image via paul pincus, a new to us blog, with lots more lovely photos, and an overall aesthetic we quite enjoyed during our brief visit. we hope to have more time for an in-depth visit this weekend, and maison21 hopes those of you that haven't discovered his blog yet will check it out too.

happy weekend!

08 October 2008

the perfect stripe

on a recent trip to walnut wallpaper, maison21 fell in love with what he considers the perfect striped wallpaper- villiers stripe from zoffany. a little modern, a little traditional; a little graphic, but without being loud; ever so slightly textural due to an over-printed horizontal striation with a bit of a sheen. m21 thinks it's the perfect foil to update traditional furnishings, or conversely, to take a bit of the edge off contemporary, and he can't wait to use it in a future project.

06 October 2008

sculptures at habité LA

our friends over at one of m21's favorite antique galleries, habité LA, are running a show
featuring the bronze sculptures of artist adam p. gayle.
the sculptures combine cast organic forms and a unique abstract style, the sculptor calls "dimensional".
they are quite striking, and if you are in the area, m21 suggests a visit before the exhibition closes on october 15th.
Habité LA
145 N. La Brea Ave., Unit D
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Tel: 323-692-0023
Fax: 323-692-0024

05 October 2008

h for hannah bone china

h for hannah "stickers" plate

local los angeles ceramicist , hannah morrow, recently brought her line of fine bone china to maison21's attention, and while her debut "stickers" collection has garnered a bit of press attention, and her new "jewelery" collection is bound to as well, it was the simple, sculptural shapes of the underlying bone china that grabbed m21's attention, so he was pleased to see it offered on her website in plain white as well, as the "hedy" collection.
h for hannah "hedy" bowl

maison21's personal taste runs to plain, white china, and the casual, yet refined and elegant shapes offered by the "hedy" collection would fit in great with his own stock of vintage and modern white china (that's one of the great things about sticking to plain white- different pieces from different collections and vintages can all be mixed seamlessly to form an unified and exciting table setting, whether serving for 4 or 40!).
h for hannah "hedy" cup

here's what hannah has to say about her collection, designed here in los angeles, and hand made in the UK:

"I have been in LA for about 5 years (love it here) and started the line about a year ago. While I was studying ceramics in the UK I really fell in love with bone china and although most of the factories have gone under, there are still a few that produce amazing work. To me, England is really the home of bone china and I love that link back to the old country plus their amazing craftsmanship. All the pieces are hand cast and hand finished rather than mass produced which really adds to their personality."

maison21 thinks you should go visit her "h for hannah" website today!

02 October 2008

veni, vedi, vamoosi

last night was the long anticipated (for moi, at least) west coast launch party for domino: the book of decorating, held on the grounds of kelly wearstler's glamorous estate. no peeking inside the house (quel bummer), but the lovely pool area, bordered by tall hedges and a chic 1930's beverly hills regency poolhouse was treat to see. m21's pictures are not a treat to see- just too darn dark. sorry, you'll just have to take our word for it!
the crowd was fashionable, of course, led by our hostess, ms. wearstler in a short, short skirt and long, long legs. she is absolutely stunning in person, and her handsome husband was herding one of their adorable little boys around at one point. some people really do seem to have it all... (total gossipy side note- speaking of someone who seems to have it all: gwen stefani is much prettier (and taller) in person than maison21 expected. gorgeous).
but alas, the evening was about 90 degrees and humid- a rarity for l.a.- and that made m21 uber-cranky, uber-quickly (ok, the *!#@! back didn't help). so after a brief twirl to soak it all in, maison21 and his glamorous date, the bachelorette, made a hasty exit- heading down the hill to the delightfully dark and air-conditioned environs of dan tana's (old school hollywood rat-pack italian, at it's best). and yes, m21 admits he is an old & jaded angeleno, perfectly willing to trade the "photo-op" atmosphere of a crowded and glamorous party for an icy martini and a veal chop in a dark restaurant, catching up with a good friend.

last, sadly, there were lots of copies of "domino: the book of decorating" scattered around the party when we arrived, but none left on our exit, so we're just going to have to order our copy on amazon in order to check it out, right along with everybody else! you snooze, you lose!

01 October 2008

some pinkness for patricia

patricia shackelford, of the delightful (and superbly well-written) blog, mrs. blandings, recently sent out an email requesting that her fellow bloggers "post pink" on october 1st for breast cancer awareness. maison21, lazy-ass blogger though he is, couldn't ignore the call to arms from his blogging buddy, patricia, and though he personally probably doesn't need to worry about breast cancer (you know, being a boy and all), that doesn't mean breast cancer hasn't touched his life: he's seen close friends go through the surgery, and the chemo, and all that hideous and painful, debilitating stuff, and no one should ever have to go through that kind of thing- ever.

but much as maison21 wants to support his sisters, what to write that hasn't been said? how can maison21 take his silly 'lil blog, and turn it serious?

the answer is, he can't.

but what he can do is turn breast cancer awareness into something that he can relate to, something every design devotee can relate to, male or female. something like, oh, um, lets say- shopping! yeah, that's the ticket! and more specifically, how about shopping at m21's favorite 'lil money pit: le tarjay! god- what an insanely great idea- we're helping the economy and curing cancer too! two birds, one stone!

so we make the following solemn vow: in honor of breast cancer awareness month (and mrs. b), maison21 will make the ultimate sacrifice and drag his lazy butt to target today, to purchase at least one pink breast cancer awareness product! ooooh, that maison21- such a giver, he is...

and furthermore, maison21 is challenging each and every one of his half-dozen readers to do the same: go to target today (or really soon) and buy at least one pink product! don't let them go to clearance markdown- it's for a good cause, and you know you have to go to target soon, anyway!

you could get something inexpensive and practical, like these pink post-it notes:

or the slightly lesbian chic of a pink pocket knife:

or brighten up your refrigerator with a pink brita pitcher:

the pink mixer is very cool, but completely useless in m21's wasteland of a kitchen:

or should maison21 just get what he really wants (and has been coveting) anyway? a pink dyson hand-held vacuum? yeah, we think we're butch enough to rock a barbie pink vacuum while cleaning out the truck. what sacrifices we make...

so what pinkness will you be buying today? come on, let's shop for a cure!