30 September 2008

our kind of decoratin' (in tune with the times)

so we were recently taking a second look through the latest issue of "o at home" (a mag we've come to quite enjoy), and as usual with a decorating magazine, we missed a bunch o' stuff in our hurry to take in everything, the first time around- stuff like this feature on bart swindall's tiny chicago apartment- on first glance, we thought the apartment was a handsomely done take on classic english antique-filled style, but on second reading, the word "styrofoam" jumped off the page at us, and we knew we'd have to take a closer look- antiques sure ain't made of styrofoam!
photo by roland bello/o at home magazine. article text by beth ann fennelly. styling by shelly coon.

the inset caption on the above photo, declares that "swindall repurposed styrofoam packing blocks and slide carousel boxes (painted black) to serve as pedestals for his lamps"- love that! plain ol' styrofoam, not even faux finished or nuthin'- but it looks fabulously luxe, doesn't it? m21 goes nuts for this kind of stuff!

the text further states that the lamps atop the pedestals were thrift shop finds, that swindall spray-painted black and gold (maison21 suspects that the shades are original to the lamps, and painted as well, though perhaps with a brush- they look pretty even). this is very similar to advice m21 recently gave his young client from our 9/22 post: we recommended they splurge $700 on a custom 6 1/2 foot long white lacquer parson's table, but then save some money elsewhere, like by buying a cheap old ornate lamp from a thrift store to sit atop the splurge, and then updating the look of the cheapo lamp by DIY spray-painting it a glossy black (shade and all)- kind of like we did with this $8.00 thrift store lamp awhile back:
the article goes on to explain how swindall scavenged the convex mirror in the photo for free from a trade show exhibit, and we easily found a similar 36" industrial mirror online for only $149.98 (betcha you could find it cheaper, too). and if our cheap n' chic eye isn't mistaken, that convex mirror is layered over what appear to be 4 standard behind-the-door long mirrors from home depot (or similar), simply hung side by side, with their frames painted the same color as the molding that swindall added as an architectural frame-like surround. with some beautiful silver-plate inherited from his grandmother, and some branches he probably snagged from a neighbor's yard, we think the only thing in the photo that the talented historian-turned-decorator may have actually spent any money on, is the biedermeier-style chest anchoring the chic tableaux (and even that could have been sourced on the cheap at an antique mall or flea market). but here's the magic... swindall put all this inexpensive and/or free stuff together, and voila- it looks like everything cost a million bucks!

swindall, like m21, obviously has a love for the chic object, no matter where it's found- whether in a bonafide antiques gallery, or dragged home from a pile by the side of the road. remember this photo from a long ago maison21 post? the pickled wood urn lamp was plucked straight out of a garbage can and placed directly a chest in the entry of the m21 atelier within 10 minutes of discovery- delightful curbside patina and all!
the great thing is that anyone can try out this kind of decoratin'- completely risk-free! unlike the stock market- yikes! if you are scared your home will end up looking too junk yard-y, when filled with a plethora of scavenged goods, then simply start slow and extend your budget by mixing a single cheap n' chic find (or two), paired with something of real value- like a thrift shop settee on a fabulously luxurious carpet (in the spirit of this image from the rug company, via alkemie):
so just because the stock market is falling, it doesn't mean your decor has to bring you down too! turn a little trash into a treasure, or mix a little down-low with your luxe, and stretch that decorating dollar in new ways. remember- if you can't quite figure out how to do it on your own, oprah and maison21 are always here to help... ***

*** oprah in no way endorses, or even acknowledges the existence of a mere mortal like maison21. what we really mean is this: there are lots more budget tips in the latest issue of "o at home" magazine, and m21 promises to post more of his own cheap and chic tricks, every now and then, as well).

we leave you with one last image of mr. swindall's fabulous apartment from "o at home"- this incredible antique table dipped in plaster is a trick we are dying to try! DIY john dickinson! love it!
again, photo by roland bello/o at home magazine. article text by beth ann fennelly. styling by shelly coon.

29 September 2008

the most helpful design staff in the biz...

maison21 thought he would spend the morning clearing out the horrors of his neglected in-box atop his work area. his staff had another agenda. guess who won.

27 September 2008

chic gifts on beverly blvd.

maison21 drives or walks down a small stretch beverly boulevard boulevard here in los angeles virtually every day- it's close to his 'hood and has two of his favorite restaurants: bld- for just that, breakfast, lunch and dinner (try the pork burger- it's amazing), and the landmark el coyote- not so hot mexican food, but more than made up for by oodles of atmosphere (tip: order the margaritas from scratch).

the area also has some really great decor shopping: dana john, lawson-fenning, ernest gregory, brenda antin and walnut wallpaper, amongst others (read all about the fabulous walnut wallpaper here at beachbungalow8). as we said, we frequent all these places often, so m21 was surprised on a recent trip to walnut to discover a store that he had never stepped into before: ige.

ige (rhymes with ebay, according to owner helene ige) is a chic little gift store- just the kind of place you want to go to before a friend's birthday, a baby shower or a house warming. lots of chic housewares, adorable children's toys, and assorted oddities. we loved it.

this original ige design wood mobile would be a perfect touch in a chic nursery.

a little macabre maybe, but these little birds in bronze, silver and gold leaf were one of our favorite items in the store.

these little handknit booties made maison21's ovaries throb, and he doesn't even have any!

our favorite item had to be this sweet little humpty-dumpty doll (along with his equally adorable girlfriend, eggberta). designed and handmade by helene and her mother, these will for sure be purchased for the next baby shower maison21 attends...

7382 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036

25 September 2008

the kindness of strangers...

we've said it before, and we'll say it again: one of the best parts of this whole blogging business is the people we've met through the magic of the internets. people whose faces we've never seen, but if we were in their city, we wouldn't hesitate to ring them up for a chat over coffee or cocktails. people who by all rights should be strangers to us, but are now valued friends, even if we've never met in person.

amongst the best of the blogging community is meg, of the delightful blog "pigtown design". meg and m21 share a particular love for flea markets, junk shops and thrift stores (as well as a passion for their respective pups, connor and mona), but when meg has written about her fabulous finds at her "book thing", that mutual love for the junk shop treasures turned to green-eyed envy on our part, and m21 could hardly stand to read about them- jealousy ain't pretty, and boy, was i jealous.

so imagine m21's delight when he received a parcel in the mail from meg containing one of her book thing finds! a copy of a vivienne westwood biography that i had left a comment about on her blog as a particularly appealing score, since dame viv is one of my personal heroes and inspirations. the fact that meg noted this, and took the time to schlep to the post office to share her find with me was incredibly touching (jealous no more!). the gift was doubly appreciated, as it arrived during my recent bout with back problems, on a particularly down day for me- well, it picked my spirits up more than meg possibly could have known when she sent it...
thank you so much, meg- your thoughtful gift is now on my nightstand, and every time i pick it up, i'll think of you, and the kindness of strangers turned friends!

24 September 2008

candy coated classique

stumbled on these reproduction arne jacobsen egg chairs from inmod, while poking around the internets. a true design classique, and inmod makes them easily available in a rainbow of dozens of bright colors to spark up any decor. we'll take two to pair with our antique repro frenchy-french sofa, please. please?

22 September 2008

it's the economy, stupid!

but even if times are uncertain, we don't want our homes to look stupid too, do we? which is why decorators are MORE important than ever (really- swear on our sacred measuring tape). when money is tight, who wants to risk a costly mistake by ordering a sofa that doesn't fit? or a wallpaper that fights with the rest of the room? when one is dealing with purchases as important as those, it really doesn't pay to be penny-wise and pound foolish, especially if you aren't quite sure what you are doing...

(and yes, this post is BLATANT self-promotion. sorry, gotta look after the bottom line- we're a little freaked out by the current state of affairs too, you know).

lots of people think you have to have to be rich to hire a decorator, and that just ain't necessarily so- at least not in maison21land. recently, maison21 was hired to consult on a young client's new apartment. overwhelmed by options, and realizing their design vision needed a little more cohesion, the client employed m21 to draw up a floor plan with some furniture size and placement guidelines, as well as give some recommendations as to what decor issues should be addressed first, and what could wait, what could be bought at retail or should made custom, and what could be reused or purchased vintage to stretch the budget. paint colors, upholstery and window covering options were also discussed.

the client can then take the info maison21 has provided and proceed all on their on their own if they wish, or m21 can be involved in the process as little or as much as desired. the client gets some needed direction and inspiration, while also getting the benefit of masion21's experience- as m21 made all those expensive first-time decorator mistakes years ago... now, doesn't that sound like a good economic plan?

19 September 2008


a small sampling of the plethora of pagoda products available from the well appointed home.

bonus points if you can figure out which 2 of them maison21 recently ordered for the bachelorette's dining room...

17 September 2008

i would walk over hot coals...

nothing will keep me from this event- even if i have to be wheeled in on a stretcher in a full-body cast with a morphine drip attached, i will be there. note the key words "at home".

thanks again for all of your well-wishes and positive thoughts- they ARE helping, and my recovery is progressing. hopefully, i'll be back to posting in my semi-irregular fashion very soon! in the meantime, cocktails at kelly's will certainly help dull the pain ;-)



05 September 2008

my summer stay-cation (where in the world is m21?)

thanks to everyone for their comments and emails wondering "where in the heck is maison21?"- it's been quite touching that people whom we've never met were concerned about m21's well-being, and in answer to your queries, we've been taking a bit of a summer stay-cation here at the maison21 atelier.

a forced stay-cation, that is- about 4 weeks ago, we noticed some stiffness in to our back and neck, which rapidly proceeded into extreme pain. sadly, the pain is at it's worst when sitting at the computer or driving the m21 mobile, so beginning three weeks ago, we limited our driving to doctor's appointments, and gave up the internets cold turkey, hence the lack of recent posts (and the lack of responses to your well-wishing emails- our sincere apologies for that).

now, thanks to our acupuncturist, eileen, and the chiropractor she recommended, and not much thanks to the DMV-like care offered by m21's healthcare provider, kaiser permanente (first available specialist appointment isn't until mid-september, and an MRI should follow sometime before 2012), we're finally feeling a little better and hope to be back blogging soon (still limiting our internets for the immediate future, however- still too painful to resume frequent computer use).

on a brighter note, at the onset of of the pain, m21 installed the living room over at the bachelorette's place. and from what he remembers through the haze of over-medication, it turned out rather terrific ("put the schofa over zhere, pleesh"). so until we get back up to speed and back to blogging on a regular basis, here's a sneak peek of the room: