31 March 2010

katie, peggy & moi (& books n' stuffs)

westweek here in LA was kicked off by a lovely cocktail reception at williams-sonoma home in honor of margaret russell and her book, style and substance, the best of elle decor (margaret is the peggy in the title of this post- having met her for the first time that evening, for all of two seconds, of course m21 is now totes bff's with her, and we call each other by our nicknames. really).

if you read our last post, you'll know that the m21 instamatic committed digital hari kari the day before the party, and we didn't have time to get a new one, so please visit the delightful and talented katie denham's blog, katiedid for pictures and all the juicy details... (btw, katie is a sweetheart, just as nice in person as on her blog. we felt like we had been friends forever, though we actually only spoken once on the phone the week before, when m21 invited her to be his date to the party!)

while y'all are checking out katie's blog, m21 is curled up in bed getting over a spring cold, and reading the tipping point, trying to decide if he is a connector, salesman or maven. we'll be back later in the week with some more highlights from habitually chic's visit (so many visiting bloggers, so little time to post)!


30 March 2010

randomly chic at the getty

so did you see chic's pretty pictures of the getty? kinda awesome photography, right? my pictures all turned out like crappy crap- i guess that's the difference between a nikon DSLR and a canon point n' shoot instamatic (a tiny & cute lil elph, and now unfortunately in camera heaven). i mean, it couldn't have anything to do with the photographer, right? (we were actally quite impressed with chic's ability to art direct her shots- we just click, and hope for the best!)

before our elph commited digital hari kari, m21 got this one fun shot in the decorative arts galleries of the getty (a nice collection btw- better then the painting galleries). totally random and unplanned, but i love our placement within the mirrored panels:

29 March 2010

love on top of love (a "newsworthy" wallcovering)

when we saw the ad for this fantabulous wallcovering from weitzner limited in this month's interior design magazine, we just about fell out of our chair- it is that cool. can't wait to use it instead of the expected grasscloth in a future project.

love on top of love.

"newsworthy" wallcovering made from recycled strips of newsprint, available in los angeles thru kneedler-fauchere.

nobody walks in LA (chic @trina turk)

the trina turk boutique on third st., an early kelly wearstler project still looking pretty fresh after all these years, and proof that good design needn't cost a fortune. (photo from the trina turk website).

a week ago thursday, after m21 picked up his good friend, heather clawson of habitually chic, at the airport and once we got her settled into her hotel, he knew just what a girl wants when she first arrives for vacation in a new city: a quick bite to eat, followed by... shopping! and we couldn't think of much more quintessentially los angeles destination then the 3rd st shopping area, specifically a yummy lunch and people watching al fresco at joans on third, followed by a visit to the nearby kelly wearstler designed trina turk boutique. trina started her career here in los angeles before becoming a well-known international label, and in our opinion, her fashions embody the colorful, relaxed glamour of southern california...

joan's on third- a fabulous local spot for brunch or lunch. save room for dessert, as the sweets are not to be missed! (photo from the joan's on third website)

after lunch, we drove up the street to trina's, which cracked heather up immeasurably- she couldn't believe we got in the m21mobile to drive the four blocks up the street. truthfully, it never even occurred to us to walk - after 20 years, m21 is pretty much a native angeleno, and it's simply a fact: nobody walks in LA, or a least walks four whole blocks, that is... ;-)

mah gurl power shopping. if m21 was a chick, he'd be a trina girl for sure.

since m21 ain't a girl (much), he'll have to settle for trina's colorful home accessories line, and for holding the purse of a friend while she's in the dressing room.

what cracked m21 up is that while at the trina turk boutique, the lone employee in the shop was both helpful, and constantly doing other tasks- merchandising, pricing, etc.- when not assisting chic and i. we asked if she was the manager, 'cuz we'd never seen a salesperson alone in a shop be that attentive and industrious- normally they are on their cellphones or facebook, and it's near impossible to get some help. trina, give your manager a raise- she's workin' hard for her money!

yum, yum, yum- love trina's pillows and fabrics! that abstract flame-stichy/scaley embroidered pillow should be home with moi! (a blue colorway would work better with our decor, if you are reading, trina. ;-)

chic enjoying the rush of good deal on a fabulously bright and cheerful skirt.

be sure to visit chic's blog for much more extensive coverage of her vacation, and our further adventures in m21's home town! we had some serious fun!

28 March 2010

love. this.

bourgeois boheme's "vincennes" chandelier in plaster of paris and gold leaf. dreamy.

27 March 2010

decorating from the hardware store...

maison21's bff, talented graphic designer, rudy calvero, recently carved out a home office in his guest bedroom, and used a couple little DIY touches we thought you might enjoy...

first, m21 and rudy schlepped to ikea, where rudy bought 5 billy bookcases for his art books and reference materials. lined up, they almost look like built-ins, but for a fraction of the price. rudy wanted to light them from above to showcase his collections, but wasn't so thrilled with the shelf lights at ikea, so instead went to the hardware store and bought an industrial clamplight for each bookcase. looks great, right? for pennies too. it also helps that rudy used his trained graphic designer's eye to create pleasing compositions on each shelf. there is an art to arranging things like bookshelves and tablescapes and while it helps to have an artist's eye, it also helps to just keep arranging and rearranging until you like the end results- practice really does make perfect! m21 can attest that rudy had plenty o'practice with the rearrangin' as back in the day, rudy & maison21 were roommates for many, many years, and our idea of fun was to have a couple of cocktails and rearrange our living room, compulsively editing and moving each every stick of furniture, lighting, art and accessories, until the room was just right! oh, the words exchanged over the placement of a vase on a credenza! hey- everybody has their own idea of fun, and arguing about *pretty* happens to be ours. don't judge, k? ;-)

next, rudy solved the problem of having to many wall boxes for sconces and no budget to purchase a set of matching cool set of lights, either new or vintage, by making his own! he bought stock porcelain sockets, screw in y-adapters and some tube lights- again, all from the hardware store- and made is own funky fixtures. (make sure your sconces are hooked up to a dimmer if you try this, otherwise it's like staring at the surface of the sun!) tip- sets of 4 cool vintage sconces are like the holy grail of vintage lighting. if you ever run across a set, DO NOT hesitate to buy them, even if they aren't your first choice to use in your home. chances are after searching for another 6 months, that first set will look better and better and you'll regret not having picked them up! and if you do find a better set, you can probably resell the first without a problem- they really are *that* hard to find...

have a great weekend y'all, and maybe you'll try some DIY projects of your own! we'd love to hear about them if you do!

25 March 2010

nothin' says easter...

like caged baby animals!


22 March 2010

a lone voice in the blogging wilderness...

while m21 sorts through the hundreds of pictures he took while chic was in town, in hopes of finding 4 good ones, we thought we'd return to a post we were going to write to *before* her arrival. (our camera died the last day of her visit, but seems like it might have been having focusing issues through the whole thing, as 90% of our pictures were blurry. we ain't a professional photographer to be sure, but 90% rotten is *bad*, even for us). so our post was to have gone something like this:

we didn't love it.

the liberty of london for target collection. we just didn't get it. we love pattern. we love color. we love target. but we just didn't love this stuff. it looked a bit cheap (it was of course, but we like the cheap stuff when it can kinda pass for fancy. this just didn't cut it).

and every blog we read raved about it. but we gots to be honest with y'all, even when our opinion is unpopular.

we just didn't love it.

of course, we bought some anyway- 'cuz we shop compulsively like that ;-)

20 March 2010

the view from here (LA gets chic)

if you folllow either of our blogs, you'll know that habitually chic has come out to los angeles to soak up a little sun, fun and relaxation; and so far two outta three ain't bad- plenty o'sun, and plenty o'fun, but it seems that the fun factor may push the relaxation off until her plane ride home!

the first 48 hours her trip has been amaaazing (and i'm sure i can speak for heather too). i'm still pinching myself after tagging along on a day organized in heather's honor by superstar design + style editor of C magazine, andrea borda stanford. you'll have to wait to read all the details on heather's blog, but until then, you can get a hint of the complete fabulousity of it all, on our twitter feeds: maison21 & habitually chic).

to give you an idea of what i mean when i say fabulous & amazing in reference to our day, we ended it here, having cocktails in a grove of mature olive trees around a lily pond, 22 stories above the sunset strip. and you know what? this teaser wasn't even the highpoint of the day. yes, it was that kind of fabulous and amazing. m21 is still pinching himself.

the view from here:photo taken from the balcony of soho house, west hollywood, shortly after sunset.


17 March 2010

urban oddity

m21 saw this billboard at a rather gritty intersection not too far from the atelier, and we have waaaaay more questions then answers: is it a stealth marketing campaign for a movie? could it be real? if it is real, then los angeles has too many billboards, and we need to start pulling them down asap- because if they are cheap enough to rent out to sell a used car, then there are too many of the damn things to begin with.

and last, is there really a market for 15 year old dented gas guzzlers with almost two hundred thousand miles on them?

seriously, perplexed we are.

15 March 2010

my american idol

well, i guess technically, it would be my welsh idol, since she is a welsh corgi (mostly), but i'm sure mona's family has been in the u.s. for more actual generations then mine, if less chronological years, so she's as american as apple pie by now... ;-)

i didn't start today's post to do another pet related piece; i actually intended to write about something decorating related- the new fabric i finally selected and purchased for my sofa (so easy to select for clients, yet so hard to select pour moi)- but as i laid my 'lil swatch on a sofa cushion to take a photo to share my fab fabric find with y'all, my trusty sidekick saw the camera and jumped up on the sofa to be a part of the action, knocking the swatch aside and grinning like a mad dog. that's when i had one of those little 'aha' moments: i wanna be more like mona; she's my real life american idol.

i know, i know- peoples are peoples and dogs are dogs, but i want to incorporate a little of mona's dogginess into my personhood. i think it would be good for my soul. you see, mona has 3 states of being: happy, doing something she loves (eating! barking! getting a picture taken! getting petted!); then there is anticipating the things she loves coming into her life (sure would be nice to eat that! did you hear that noise, i think i might need to bark! he's holding his camera- there might be a photo op! oh, he looks like he's about to pet me!); and last, sleeping, blissfully unconscious and unaware. sure there may be a fleeting state or two not on the list- scared, or startled, or confused- but they pass as quickly as they appear, instantly forgotten, leaving only the other three states behind.

think about how nice our lives would be if we spent more time in those same three states: happy, anticipating good things only, or sleeping. not fretting, worrying, playing "what if" or "why didn't i"; no regrets, and no recriminations; no laying awake worrying about a relationship, or money, or whatever your perceived problem du jour is, but just knowing that you are happy today; anticipating that good things and good things only, will happen in your life; and finally, sleeping the sleep of the truly contented at the end of every day. mona doesn't worry that she's gone deaf, or has arthritis and isn't as spry she used to be; she is simply content with who she is at this very moment in time, and doesn't ever regret the past or dread the future. she just is, and knows nothing but the contentment and excitement of life lived in the moment, and that's why she is *my* american idol, and why i want to be more like her.

maybe later, i'll talk about the fabric- the reasons i searched for so long, and the reasons i picked what i did; but today, i'm just happy i bought it, happy to anticipate how good it will look in 4-6 weeks when it's finally on on my sofa; and happy to sleep with one more item checked off my to do list.

thanks, zenmaster mona, my little idol!

14 March 2010

just thinkin' big...

every time we go to trader joe's on third and la brea, maison21 drives by this little 1940's greek revival store front, sandwiched between a children's party/event space and a orthodox yeshiva. we've always thought it was totally cute building but it's last incarnation, a traditional furniture store called bluegrass home always seemed a bit out of place for the neighborhood- not so LA, if you know what i mean...
someone else obviously thought the building had potential as well, as it was recently transformed into a retail space for los angeles interior designer extraordinaire, timothy corrigan. completely chic, no? but then you'd expect nothing less from one of the top interior designers in the world.

in fact, only one thing could make it better:
just thinkin' big... :-)

13 March 2010

m21's favorite day of the year!

it's not christmas, not new year's, not even our birthday (may 19th if you're wondering- just around the corner, so you better start shopping!)

nope- our favorite day is none of those days. it's not a holiday at all, in fact (except maybe to us) but it is the the day our nation rights the wrong of the previous fall, and we restore sanity to our lives...

maison21's most favoritist day of the year is the day we spring forward!!! hallelujah! it's here!
finally, we'll be seeing *this* at an appropriate time!
photo courtesy of daily mail online.

12 March 2010

bull in a china shop (kelly wearstler party @tableart)

this evening, maison21 had the pleasure of joining up with the los angeles correspondent for the material girls blog, the delightful jill seidner, to attend a party at table art in honor of kelly wearstler's modern and pretty china designs for pickard.

a kelly wearstler/pickard china table setting. pretty.

the party was also a book signing for ms wearstler's fabulous book, hue, and even though we already own a copy, we decided to take advantage of this smaller and less crowded event to buy another and actually work up the nerve to have it signed by kelly- can't have too many books in the old design library anyhoo, right?

a candid shot of ms. wearstler looking fabulous in chunky jewelry, a fur vest, skinny jeans and tall leather boots, as she tries to figure out why this freaky character is asking for his book to be inscribed with an odd combination of letters and numbers. "what does 'm21' stand for?" ms wearstler politely asked, and i replied "i write a little design blog called maison21 and m21 is shorthand for the title". "that's nice", ms. wearstler hesitantly mumbled, as she looked around for security to escort the weirdo away if he caused trouble... ;-) (photo surreptitiously snapped by jill on her iphone- thank you, jill!)

so have you ever been so nervous about doing something embarrassing, that you cursed yourself into doing the very thing you were trying to avoid? well, during the party, m21 was so self conscious about bumping into one of the tables set with thousands of dollars worth of china (we can be a bit of a bull in china shop sometimes), that we concentrated on not getting within 20 feet of one of the china displays. we should have paid the same attention to the empty wine glass in our hand, as we ended up gesticulating while telling a story and sending it crashing loudly to the concrete floor. sadly, ms wearstler might just remember who we are next time- NOT the way we wanted that to happen!

ms. wearstler's pretty designs for pickard, available at tableart.

after m21's embarrassing lack of coordination, jill and i beat a hasty retreat from the party, and ended our evening at a los angeles stalwart, cobras and matadors for tapas and a bottle of wine- always great fun to catch up with a fellow decorator, blogger and friend! and we are proud to report m21 made it through the entire meal without breaking or spilling a thing!

11 March 2010

rose tarlow melrose house warehouse sale! (& waterworks too!)

when home & lifestyle PR maven and twitter friend, erik perez (@erikp13), asked m21 if he wanted a preview of the upcoming rose tarlow melrose house warehouse sale, we readily agreed- 'cuz you know what sale preview means to an interior designer, right? firstfreakingdibs!

a portion of the bounty to be available on friday and saturday (10-4 both days)! meg touborg, CEO of rose tarlow melrose house explained to us that they've recently freshened all 16 showrooms, in addition to opening their new flagship location here in los angeles, so they had a significant number of samples to offer this year, making the sale extra special- with prices from 30% - 80% percent off net! also graciously giving time to m21, was victoria dyer, director of sales and marketing, who showed us these fabulous rose tarlow fabric bolt ends (under 5 yards), some priced as low as $24.95/yard- a spectacular bargain! m21 tried to hide a couple for himself, but she caught us and made us return them to their bins. ;-) they also will be offering entire bolts of discontinued fabrics at clearance prices- here's your chance if you need 35 yards of sumpthin' fabulous, but only have a 10 yard budget! rarely are entire suites of side chairs available at sales like this, but there were six of these fabulous black lacquer lion's foot chairs (5 sides and an arm); as well as an entire banquet hall's worth of unfinished frames! victoria said they would be offering a finish option for them if the buyers wished, but m21 thought they'd be fab with just a waxing and some simple linen seats. they were also one of the amazing bargains of the sale- a small fraction of their normal price.
our absolute favorite item in the melrose house line will be on offer too- m21 has been mad for this scalloped chinoiserie coffee table since he first saw it, many years ago. sadly, even on sale, it is not in our recessionary impulse buy budget. we asked if we could put it on layaway until 2020, but the idea didn't seem to be met with much enthusiasm. ;-)
the exceedingly fabulous waterworks line of kitchen and bath fixtures is also being offered at the sale, and if anyone is thinking of updating their kitchen or bath in the near future, m21 says get your bootay on over to this sale friday morning at 10 am sharp! waterworks is all about chic style and quality workmanship, so to be able to score it at a bargain price like this is not to be missed! really, waterworks is one of our all-time favorite brands, so we can't stress enough: do not miss this opportunity!
natural curiosities
will also be offering their fabulous signature prints at the sale, but sadly they weren't on site yet, so m21 couldn't hide away the ones he wanted- oops, he means he couldn't preview the collection...

click here for a map to this fab sale- we'll see you there!