31 July 2009

my new favorite style

m21 just loves french pervential furniture. don't you?

worst furniture mangling ever. 'rot iron' pales in comparison...

30 July 2009

third st. sidewalk sale (and an s.o.s.)

m21 got this flyer posted to his facebook page a couple of days ago, but didn't think much of it- the trina turk store near his house mainly carries women's wear, so no great excitement for him (if the residential collection was on sale, it would be a different story); but we did notice that the sale was in conjunction with a wider "sidewalk sale" sponsored by the west 3rd st. business association, and we thought maybe we should blog about it. alas, we soon forgot all about the post idea over the course of our busy day (many, if not most of our blog post ideas are fleeting thoughts, never to see the light of day when the next shiny thing distract attracts our attention), so this post might never have happened.

then yesterday, we happened to drive the entire stretch of west 3rd st between la cienega and fairfax, and when we did, we were shocked- virtually 50% of the storefronts that line the street were vacant, with for lease signs, and of the remaining stores, almost all had "sale" signs up. we drive down this stretch of road so often, m21 had become immune to the number of stores going out of business, but yesterday, the sad reality of the situation grabbed our attention anew and hit us hard, really hard. it bummed us out for the rest of the day, and got us thinking about the "sidewalk sale" flyer we recently received on the FB...
2 years ago, west third st. was booming- one of the few true walking streets in los angeles, lined with chic boutique after boutique, interspersed with restaurants and cafes, and nary a chain store in sight (how refreshing is that)! if a storefront opened up on the street, it was quickly filled with an even cooler business selling even more unique and unknown lines of clothing, or gifts and housewares. rents were not cheap- we know, as m21 priced out a few vacant spots with the fantasy of opening his own atelier in the neighborhood, and yet despite the steep rents, the stores all seemed to thrive, some even expanding- small merchants living their dreams.
until our hideous recession hit, and now this vibrant neighborhood is less so. there are still great places to shop, but markedly fewer, and the number seems to shrink weekly. which brings us to the point of this post- if you live in los angeles, make a point to go to the sidewalk sale on west 3rd street this weekend. try to buy something too- you don't need to spend a lot, money is tight for all, we know- but in this dire economy, even a couple of small sales could make all the difference for a struggling merchant. for someone, this sidewalk sale could be the make or break moment for their shop. make a day of it and eat at one of the great restaurants while you are there- joan's on third is a particularly great casual spot for lunch. heck, make a day and an evening of it, and stay on for dinner at the always amazing AOC...

and if you don't live in LA, go to the the area of your town that's similar to w. 3rd st. - not a mall filled with chain stores- but an area with local merchants, and spend a little time and hopefully a little money there. m21 knows, this isn't exactly feeding the hungry or housing the homeless, but if you are reading a decorating blog that means you are a lover of pretty things and pretty places, so a little support for those that provide us with the pretty on a local level wouldn't be so out of line, ya know?maybe m21 will see you on third!

28 July 2009

introducing the maison21 marketplace

when you have problems even regularly posting to one blog, what's the intelligent course of action? why start another, of course!

inspired by fellow angeleno, victoria molinelli, proprietress of vicky's yard sale (and a seriously talented artist), maison21 has started a mlog, or merchandise blog, the "maison21 marketplace", to showcase his vintage decor finds in a slightly more commercial setting then our current talky and self-obsessed decorating blog.

we have tried to kick our habit of buying the vintage and the pretty, but just don't seem to have the willpower- we see a pretty thing, and the urge to take it home with us becomes too overwhelming. after a couple months of almost complete abstinence (with only the occasional slip), our jones returned even harder then before, and we realized, "why stop doing something you love?"- as long as our addiction isn't killing us, or harming others, who cares, right?

but our addiction does tend to kill our pocketbook- if we buy and don't resell, that is. so we've started the maison21 marketplace as both an outlet for our obsession and a way to feed it (basically it's an online "will work for pretty" sign). so why don't you help a brother out, and hop on over to take a look around? maybe something pretty will call out for YOU to take home and love...

27 July 2009

i love my readers!

thanks to anonymous commenter, "JP" who steered m21 to outdoor rugs, and the perfect imitation rag rug for our client's porch. could it be anymore perfect for a 100 year old bungalow?

also, while on the subject of outdoor livin', maison21 thought these pillows from williams-sonoma home were totally chic @60% off ($39.99) with free shipping! (too modern for our project, but still deal-worthy).

25 July 2009

outdoor living

all things outdoors are on our mind, as we are helping a client with a "budget freshen up", of their large classic california bungalow style front porch, just in time for summer entertaining...
we ordered some classic cabana stripe outdoor pillows from pottery barn ($29.00 w/free shipping, m21 couldn't have them made for less- a true bargain), and they will sit on a vintage white wrought iron sofa purchased off craigslist (!), as well as on some inexpensive white adirondack chairs ordered from the home decorators collection (kinda cheaply made, and have some finish problems, but for the price? not so much of an issue).
the house is almost a century old, so we want to keep the styles classic, yet eclectic- kind of a summer house vibe where the furniture is a accumulation of generations, hence the wrought iron/wood mix. the key here, so things don't end up looking all junkedy, is to unify all the disparate styles and materials by keeping the furniture all white, and keeping all the upholstery to a simple, classic white and blue theme.
we are also looking for a chic white and blue outdoor rug- something similar to this striped number from shades of light, but m21 is a bit concerned about about the wide white stripes in a high traffic area (even a scrubbable, hoseable polypropylene rug could look dingy fast), so we'd like something in the white and blue theme, but perhaps with a smaller stripe, or all over navy/white pattern, or best, a varigated blue/white outdoor version of a classic braided rag rug. any readers out there know of some outdoor rug options that might fit the bill?
last, we saw these outdoor sconces from pottery barn that we'd love to use, but unfortunately won't be able to on this project. we think they look far more expensive then their $169.00 price tag, and we love the puddles of light created created by using downlights outdoors (with a low wattage clear incandescent bulb only, please), so we are keeping them on file for the future. we LOVE when a mass marketer like PB gets a look right, bringing style to the masses that looks far more exclusive then it's price tag would indicate. m21 wouldn't blink if he saw these somewhere far more upmarket, like the urban archeology catalog, for many times the price...

speaking of pottery barn, paloma over at la dolce vita, recently had a thought-provoking post on pottery barn bringing "found" vintage items into their mix, as opposed to vintage reproductions. the post and resulting comments are an interesting discussion we thought, so y'all should hop on over and check it out...

23 July 2009

speaking of pillows...

just ordered a pair of these delightfully fresh trina turk 'zigzag bargello' needlepoint pillows to go on our client's newly delivered chocolate brown velvet sofa:
m21 is loving trina's new pillows so much that he is thinking about these brown 'geo bargello' numbers in the same room, to sit a pair of vintage tub chairs recovered in a bright turquoise-y blue. why not, right? pops of wild pattern and color via throw pillows are such a great (and relatively inexpensive) way to give energy and hipness to a room without overwhelming the senses- and so easy to switch out if you tire of them...
the pillows are available directly from trina turk's website, or we also found them online at homedeco-direct- on sale, no less (and a larger selection too)! of course, for the best selection of trina's home line, visit the trina turk residential store in palm springs and make a weekend of it!

ps- trina? if you have your google alerts set, and happen read this on our humble blog, we love the rugs too, but we need them bigger. 27" x 40" is just too small to be of much use...

15 July 2009

dissed (by disney)

sometimes, it feels as if maison21's chosen profession gets no respect. it would also seem this is nothing new:
hi-larious. buy the poster for your favorite interior desecrater here.

(thanks for bringing this to our attention, t.- we'll try not to take it personally). ;-)

13 July 2009

m21 field trip! downtown los angeles fabric district

maison21 needed some fabric for a pair of vintage club chairs for one of our current clients. the the budget for this project is tight, so our dollars really have go a long way to get the look we'd like, so we headed to downtown los angeles fabric district to see what affordable fabric we could find!
the fabric district occupies the southeast corner of the larger garment district, and is clustered around 9th st., between wall st, and maple, extending out for a block or so in all directions. you'll know it when you see it, as tons of tiny stalls line the streets, packed with bolts and bolts of fabrics, spilling out to sidewalk displays. about two-thirds of them are devoted to dress making fabrics, but there are enough that carry home decor fabrics and trims to make it worth a day's adventure. we have to warn you, though- while bargains abound, but this is not fabric shopping for the faint of heart. the PDC it ain't!
not all of the fabrics are incredible bargains, of course, and you won't get the selection you would in a showroom- no 20 colorways of 7 different weights of linen or nuthin'- and you will see far more fugly fabric then chic, but if you are like m21, and love a bargain (and a treasure hunt), then the fabric district is for you.
the stalls have the air of a foreign bazaar, and like a foreign market place, the rules are often inscrutable- even to frequent visitors. prices are not marked, and can change if you visit twice in the same day; some stalls will bargain, some will not (don't be afraid to ask- it's pretty much expected); some offer great deals for cash, and some don't take credit cards at all. the shop keepers can be in your face aggressive and yet some will ignore you, and fair warning- some shopkeepers are just plain mean- don't take it personally, it's just part of the charm of the place! some shops will give you swatches, some won't, and there are usually minimum yardage requirements to cut into a bolt- 2 or 3 yards, and many will refuse to cut the bolt at all, if the price per yard is especially low (like a couple of bucks per yard low). so if you only want 10 yards, you might have to buy 30 to get it, but at 2 bucks a yard, if you love the fabric, who cares? make pillows or a matching dog bed with the leftovers!
an exception to the chaos of the stalls is the michael levine showroom (on maple), which is a traditional retail fabric store, albeit with slightly better prices, and slightly less selection. no haggling, and no cash deals, but it is blissfully air-conditioned and well organized- a great oasis to retreat to if the madness of the streets become too much... ;-)
because m21 is like a magpie and always attracted to shiny things, we immediately were drawn to this shiny gold metallic vinyl at michael levine- not that we could ever imagine a situation in which we'd use it (a nightclub maybe?) but we liked it nonetheless:these printed cottons were cute, and all in the 20-25 dollar range:
we were mad for this cork fabric- at $75 a yard, it was the most expensive thing we saw all day. still, in comparison to PDC prices, a good deal we thought, and we can't wait to use it on a future project!

we hesitate to even publicize the home fabric showroom because the owner is, well, difficult (he basically threw m21 out for taking photos, even after we explained we were giving him free publicity, and we asked one of the other employees that worked there if it was ok first). but home fabrics really does have an extensive selection of silks and velvets, and the prices are reasonable, so we'll put up with some unpleasantness if our decorating needs are met. like michael levine, it's well organized, and again, blissfully air-conditioned (can you tell it was hot the day we shopped)? we wanted to show you some of the pretty embroidered floral silks at home fabrics too, but we were cut off from our picture taking after snapping the below wall of prints by the mean owner (our advice, deal with one of the ladies when you shop there).
here are the swatches we pulled from various stalls on our trip- we wanted a plain, textured blue to blue-green fabric for the chairs to offset the more formal chocolate velvet used on our sofa, so the below fit the bill and ranged from $15 to $22 a yard. the periwinkle blue and natural thick woven cotton on the far right was sadly the wrong color direction for this project, but we want to use it somewhere since it was pretty, and a true bargain at $7.oo/yd!

these embossed vinyls were all bargains at $7 -15 bucks a yard. we love vinyl used in moderation, and we pulled these earlier this year for a young single guy's loft we were working on. sadly the project fell victim to the sour economy, and we never got to use them, but how hot would an ostrich vinyl platform bed have been?

some additional tips for shopping the fabric district: park in a paid 5.00 a day lot, the meters are only good for an hour, and are expensive to boot; dress comfortably, but not not flashily- it's safe, but you don't want to call attention to yourself needlessly, plus, the nicer you dress, the higher the prices some shopkeepers will quote; bring water- there is no shade and the stalls are hot; and never fear- it's not as uncivilized as m21 makes it sound- there is a starbucks on 9th! last, and most importantly, never, ever, ever go on a weekend- half the stalls are closed because the owners observe the sabbath, and the place is mobbed with crowds shopping the adjacent garment district- seriously it's madness, so steer clear!

06 July 2009

this is what blogging is all about...

the interaction between readers, bloggers and our whole delightful community of like minded souls, is one of the main reasons i blog, and i suspect it's the same for others. that's why the comments left are so important- just as important as the blogs themselves, really. the comment section is where ideas are shared, relationships formed and a community is built. i've had blog comments that have made me laugh, comments that have educated me, comments that have literally changed my way of thinking about a subject, and of course, i've also had the occasional comment that has made me want to hurl something at my computer screen! but last week, via email, i received the first comment that made me full on cry, and today i'd like to share it with you- not to build myself or pat myself on the back (though lord knows i love doing those things), but hopefully as an inspiration to others who might be thinking along a similar line to the email's author.

and to marian, the sender of the email, thank you so much for taking the time to share your story with me (and the permission to share with all of you out there). if i ever had any doubt of why i do this whole blogging thing, you've erased it. thank you for your generosity of spirit- you've made my day, my week, my whole blogging year...

here we go:

Hello M21: I check your blog daily because I so enjoy reading it. Your humor and sense of perspective avoids the pomposity that seems to be present in so many blogs, your sense of style, and your occasional very touching and thought-provoking musings.

I wanted to write and tell you how your blog has affected my life. Now you would probably prefer to know that your beautiful decorating has transformed my life, but no. It was one of your wonderful blogs about Mona and Richard.

I have lived with cats for a very long time. I adore them and they are a joy to live with but for a couple of years, since I moved to a small acreage, I have been thinking of adding a dog to my "family". I haven't lived with a dog since I was a teenager, but now the time and place seemed right, even though I work fulltime.

I was determined to get a purebred dog and had researched breeds with the characteristics that I wanted (temperament, lack of aggression, intelligent and trainable, large enough to enjoy long walks -- the works really). A woman at work kept suggesting that I go to the Humane Society but I kept resisting. I had arguments about getting a dog with problems that I couldn't handle, like aggression or separation anxiety, about how all the dogs would be labrador retrievers or spaniel mixes or rottweilers.

Then I read your wonderful story about finding Mona. It changed my thinking. All the humane societies in my area did have labs, spaniels, etc. -- an experience much like yours. Sooo, I followed your petfinder link and it linked me with the Minnesota Wisconsin Collie Rescue. I applied and passed the home inspection and settled down thinking that it would be a long wait for a dog close to my needs, but in less than a week a dog appeared on their website who seemed close to perfect.

I drove to Iowa just over two weeks ago and picked up my wonderful, oversized, blue merle 5 year old collie. He is just wonderful! He may not meet standards for collie physical perfection, but his sweetness and gentleness shine through his eyes. I discover new things about him every day -- all of them pretty wonderful (well, we're still working on his relationship with the cats -- he's very curious and to them, pretty scary).

So thank you for your beautifully written, touching and funny blogpost about adopting Mona. It has enriched my life by opening it up to this beautiful, abandoned dog.

(P.S. I attached a picture. Believe it or not, he also matches my living room. Bonus.)

*sniff* how sweet is that? lucky doggie and lucky marian (and yes, for those curious, doggie and kitties are still adjusting to each other just fine).

here's the link you'll need if you'd like to follow marian's example:, and if you are already set with an devoted companion, or can't own a pet, or simply not interested (that's ok, too- pets aren't for everybody), then please click on the button below to feed a stray- it's totally free and takes seconds- just a simple click. thanks!
The Animal Rescue Site

02 July 2009

global views at one kings lane

hop on over to one kings lane for terrific pricing on some chic items from global views- like this fab cerused tray table at $299.00, marked down from $690!
and this mid-century chic sputnik lamp, $149.00, down from $343.00!
sale ends 7/05, and go sooner rather than later as the good stuff at one kings lane sells out fast!