29 November 2010

my favorite accessory (some things never change)

take a look at the four following pictures of our dining room here at the atelier, taken over the last five years or or so. if you look carefully, you'll note that while the furniture changes frequently, one thing always remains the same...

the centerpiece on our dining table is the one thing in the room we'll never change:

it's a vintage murano bowl, filled with a collection of japanese fishing floats my navy captain father fished out of the pacific while commanding his ships on their tours of duty. sure, it has sentimental value, but even as a child, baby m21 was captivated by the aesthetics of the floats- the playful bubble shapes they formed as a group, combined with the bright colors and a bit of sparkle, made them seem quite glamorous and chic to young moi.

as an adult, m21 still loves them so much, we try to incorporate them in client's homes whenever possible:

we think they are a great way to bring a bit of color and sparkle to your home year round, and we particularly love them this time of year- they are fantastic holiday decor that doesn't club you over the head and scream "it's christmas, dammit!". 

in fact, we just put a together a small collection of the floats destined for a client's holiday table by purchasing an assortment of new and vintage floats on ebay. the new floats were sold as a group in netting, and were waaaaaaay to tiki-esque, so we simply cut off the net and threw it away:

and fluffed it out with a couple of these from cb2:

add in a vintage thick lucite bowl from our own collection (but any plainish decorative bowl will do), and it's a colorful, modern accessory, ready to grace our client's holiday table (though we'll be using it year-round) as soon as we drop it off!

it's just the dickens!

this might just be m21's xmas gift to himself- a handsomely bound complete set of works by one of his favorite authors, charles dickens.  pretty on a bookshelf, and an enticement to read the works of this much loved author one more time.  $199 @ one king's lane.  xmas perfection!

27 November 2010

cb2 goes international

m21 recently had the pleasure of having 3 aussies here as house guests, and due to america's sh*tty recovering economy, and the strong australian dollar, all three treated their stay here as if all of los angeles was one big 99¢ store.  the atelier hasn't seen that many shopping bags come inside the door in, well... never.  seriously, it was a consumer orgy that did this committed shopaholic's heart proud! they even bought extra suitcases to take things home like pots & pans, and sheets & towels (as well as 25,000 pairs of tennis shoes), because everything here was so bloody cheap...

so when m21 received a press release from cb2 announcing that they were offering international purchasing and shipping, it certainly caught m21's eye.  smart business that- since the domestic home furnishings market has yet to recover from our economic malaise, best to go where the money is, ie, anywhere but here...

so if any of my international friends get a hankerin' for a rather lovely lucite easel for a mere $179.00 (or about 18 australian dollars), cb2 will ship it to you tout suite.

ps- hong kong is on the list, suzy!  (on a side note, how ironic that all the cheap crap stuff american companies have made in china and shipped here, is now being shipped back!)

25 November 2010

thanksgiving gratitude (and a plea for help)

thanksgiving is a day of gratitude- something that sometimes gets lost in the turkey, football and mindless gluttony; but this kick off to the holiday season is the perfect time to reflect on gratitude before the madness of christmas sets in.  so before i embark on this long-ass post, i'd like to thank each of you, and express my gratitude for the camaraderie and friendship each of you bring to my life everyday when you visit me here at m21.  this past year has had more downs than ups in many ways, so really, i am very grateful to you all.

thank you.

when i sat down to type this post, i wasn't sure where to begin- for the past few years at thanksgiving, i reran my original thanksgiving post about the things i was most grateful for, my little happy little furballs. the post was centered around my dear little girl mona, and without her here, it seemed silly to run it again, but to simply rewrite it with ted's name inserted seemed disrespectful to her memory, so that was out too. i closed that original post with a plea for anyone who could manage, to please express their gratitude for the abundance in their lives by opening their hearts and homes to a rescue animal; so today i thought i'd expand on that a bit and make my thanksgiving gratitude post all about our pet companions in need.  for thousands of years we've bred these sweet creatures to respond to human affection, and companionship, so to simply see them abandoned seems incredibly cruel and unfair.  they didn't ask for any of this, and the sad thing is their needs are so simple, and it is such an easy thing to save them, yet so many people don't even think of it.  i hope that together we can all make a difference, so in the spirit of being grateful for all we have in our lives, i'm asking you to view this post in the hopes of spreading that gratitude around to our four-legged freinds.
the pet penitentiary. they do their best, but it's awful.
this little guy will be adopted soon, but to seem him alone in a cage, even for one day, breaks my heart.
army of little lovers
a sign on this girl's cage said "been here a long time" and it shows- she looks so lost and forlorn.
this sweet old lab's bio read "owner surrender".  9 years old and thrown into jail for no reason, but still hopeful that everyone who passes by will show him a little affection.
today, i went to the south LA animal shelter to take the pictures for this post- i wanted to put a personal face on the tragedy of these poor abandoned creatures, rather then merely pull pictures from the esteemed  mind you, me visiting an animal shelter is like asking whitney houston to visit a crack house, with the advice of "girl, don't you pick up that pipe". i mean you know she is going to fail, and it was touch and go for me too, as i white-knuckled through.  in time, i'm sure i will bring home another little friend as i'd love to get richard a playmate- but the house has had enough personnel changes lately, so i don't think it would be fair to anyone to rock the boat anymore at the moment (on a related side note, does anyone know how many animals you can have before you cross the line from concerned to crazy?).
two calm older ladies, looking for love
this velvet furred pit puppy was covered in scars- either from scrapping on the street, or worse, but he was still full of love and affection for a passing human.
so instead of looking to adopt myself today, i wandered around, handing out doggie treats and shedding a tear or two, while taking pictures with the hopes that these sad little faces will guilt one of YOU into visiting your local pound to help a friend in need (yes- i freely admit to trying to manipulate you with these photos- my mother taught me very well on how to pull a world-class guilt trip, so you can also blame her ;-)
another owner surrender, in her new metal home, wondering what the hell happened?
it was very hard not to take this lady home- she started purring the minute i walked into the cat room, and didn't stop. another owner surrender, she was full grown at 2 years old, yet tiny as a kitten, weighing all of about 5 pounds.
if you can't adopt a pet in need, i'd ask you to celebrate the abundance in your lives by volunteering or donating to a local rescue group.  the group i got ted from, molly's mutts and meows, estimates that each of their adoptees costs them on average of $500-$700 dollars.  i'd say that seems low since when i got ted, he came fully equipped with a crate, leash, poo bags, and enough food to transition him from the high grade dog food fed to him by mmm,  to the even higher priced organic raw food he currently enjoys;  not to mention they paid for him to be neutered, microchipped, a vet check up including all his needed shots, a flea treatment, and a visit to the groomer, all before coming home to me!

these faces break my heart.
another sweet, expectant face
really, all these guys want is a little affection, some good food, and to be let out a couple times a day (or have a clean litter box).  so simple, and less of an investment in time and money then most of us put into eating out or shopping every week.  yes, it is a commitment, but very few commitments love you back, so it all evens out in the end.

a cute lil crack rock who i longed to take home
this crew even  stopped the fun they were having wrestling one another to try to get some attention from a passing human.
many of my readers already are knee-deep in animal love (i probably get just as many animal lovers as decorating fans 'cuz of the obsessive pet postings), so to you, i want to express an extra helping of gratitude today, and since our little friends can't thank you, i will... thank you. thank you very much.
this one looks like a movie star mutt- how did he ever get here?
and to everyone who read through this whole post and viewed every sad little furry photo without clicking away, thank you as well!  i hope if you can't take a lil creature into your own life, you'll at least spread the word to others to make adoption their first option when looking for a companion.

last, happy thanksgiving to everyone!  please spread the gratitude however you can to make the world a better place- for the humans and the animals.

with full stomachs, much love, and much gratitude,

christian, ted and richard

23 November 2010

middle aged dream

so i ordered the super-skinny jeans (and loved all the feedback, pro and con- thank you!)  please know though i'm keeping it teenaged on the bottom, imma always keep it adult appropriate up top.

i might get your heart racing
in my skin-tight jeans
be your middle aged dream tonight

let you put your hands on me
in my skin-tight jeans
be your middle aged dream tonight

*thanks to the empress of fashion blog for making the katy perry-maison21 connection.  may you think of my age inappropriate jeans whenever you hear her song.

and have a super skinny thanksgiving, k?

22 November 2010

on the legs of a dilemma

yeah, yeah, yeah- we know the expression is supposed to be on "on the horns of a dilemma" but in this case, it's the legs...
standard straight leg 501's.  these look seriously dated to me
see, m21 needs new jeans, and therein is the heart of the dilemma- all of our current jeans have legs so wide they feel like palazzo pants, so we want some really skinny jeans.  not quite jeggings, but skinny, and we have to wonder at what point does a gentleman of a certain age, with a few extra pounds up top (but skinny chicken legs), look ridiculous trying to keep up with fashion fads?  we also have to wonder at what age do we look even stupider if we give up?

we've all seen those people who dress waaaaay age inappropriately, and think "what a douche" or "who are they trying to kid?", (hell, i live in los angeles- i see 7 kinds of age inappropriate dressing before breakfast, with frankenstein plastic surgery to match), but on the flipside, we've all seen older folks who look like they are in a time-warp, decades out of sync with reality.  which is worse?
these are "skinny" and should be a good compromise, but all of my current "go to" jeans have legs about this width, and they're the ones i'm complaining feel like palazzo pants!
i know i'll get a lot of "dress as young as you feel" comments, and that's all good, but seriously, should we dress as young as we feel? 'cuz most days i feel pretty young, but if i were to throw on some candy-colored raybans as i left the house, as i did in my teens & early 20's (you know the first time around), i'd look like both a douche, and a freak who has dressed the same for 20 plus years.

this subject came up recently when i had dinner with some kids all around the age of 30, and they felt 40 to be the cut off point "to keep dressing young", and i felt like telling them to piss off 'cuz they didn't know anything about anything yet, but i also thought they had a point- i'd tell a a friend who was 60 not to do it, because they'd look silly, so perhaps those inexperienced youngin's were on to something...
and these are in my shopping cart right now, but even though they are on sale, i just can't bring myself to hit "proceed to checkout" for fear of looking like an old fool. they may be cheap, but what price dignity? ;-)  and if i buy them, i will wear them.
so what to do when the only thing that looks right to your fashion eye might not be the right choice to look best on you for your age?

or should i just give up entirely, and wear nothing but brightly colored caftans? at some point, i think it's my destiny as a geriatric decorator, anyway...  ;-)
 m21's future?
what would you do?  discuss.

*all jeans from levi'; allan carr in a caftan was saved to my hard drive eons ago as a cautionary tale, so i have no clue where i found it!

the tao of ted

tonight was the christmas tree lighting ceremony at the grove, which closes with a grand fireworks finale, and ted didn't approve of that one bit- he let me know this by loudly barking at the window where he thought the sound was coming from, not letting up until the fireworks stopped. frankly this surprised me, because up until tonight, he's been an almost silent dog, letting out the occasional yelp of excitement at a treat, but that's about it. i've even joked i should change his name to val- short for valium- because he is the least excitable dog i've ever met.  his little mad dog barking session made me realize that while we've been together for almost six months now,  his personality is still emerging.  it also made me realize it was time for a ted update!

this is how he looks at me all day long- aren't i cute and lovable? yes, you are lil buddy. yes, you are.
one of the biggest hurdles we've crossed is that when i first got him, he was terrified of cars- on walks he'd often just stop and plant his feet to the ground when a car was going by, and god forbid if i actually tried to get him to get into my car- to the casual observer, it would look like i was kidnapping him, he struggled so fiercely! now he gets in quite happily- with a catch: first, i have to pantomime that i am getting in the passenger side, then he'll hop right in. i trained him by crawling inside, showing him by example it was safe, and then tempting him to join me with a treat or five.  well, i don't need treats anymore, and i don't have to actually physically crawl in anymore, but i still need to at least pretend to get in a little bit, or no go- he'll sit on the curb all day and stare at me...
this is ted being needy- except you can't hear the softly whining soundtrack, or see the tail furiously wagging.  it is both completely pathetic and completely adorable, depending on my mood. he acts like he's never received any attention in his whole life- well, for at least 15 minutes!
ted and richard now get along fine, with richard showing much more interest in ted, then vice versa. in fact, ted doesn't show much interest in anything- he ignores richard's attempts to play with him, as well as ignoring all other dogs on walks;  he rarely even acknowledges humans either- though he does let other people pet him, but doesn't react much when they do.  i should have qualified to say ted doesn't pay attention to anything except me, and then his attention is rather laser focused: he must be within a foot of me at all times (when i'm home), preferably touching me if possible, and if my attention should wander from him- you know like when i'm actually trying to get work done- he'll remind me of his presence by by jumping up on me and whining to get my attention.  i shoo him away, and he's fine for 20 minutes or so, then back to let me know, yes he is still under the desk, and yes, he'd appreciate a little love if i could spare it. a little annoying but pretty darn lovable too.  i know in time, his neediness will fade a bit, and that right now, he still needs a extra little reassurance; in fact, it's worked out pretty good, as i've needed him pretty badly over the last six months as well...

this is smiling ted. the smiles are rare, like rainbows, and usually only appear during walks, snack times, or extreme snuggle sessions.
one area where ted has excelled since the day i got him, is his ability to snuggle. every night, he sleeps in his doggy bed until i crawl into my human one, then as soon as i pull the covers up, he is running across the room, tail wagging to dive bomb me and burrow his head into the crook of my arm, where he will happily stay all night long if i let him.  if i decide i need some space, and move him away, when i next wake, i'll find him right back in the same spot, nose buried into my stinky armpit, softly snoring away.

all and all, i'd say the m21 family is doing pretty well at this six-month milestone, and i am looking forward to how much things will change over the next six- it will only get better!

19 November 2010

it's a small (and unscrupulous) world.

first let me apologize that today's post ain't so funny, rather a bit on the angry side, but hey- that's how i'm feeling today,  so i  hope you'll bear with me while i vent:

on tuesday, we published a snarky little post on "chateau d'omg", an over the top mansion for sale in bel air.  turns out an acquaintance of ours actually knew the decorator who furnished said chateau, so of course, we asked them not to point out our blog to the decorator- we would hate for anyone to get hurt by m21 being a smarty-pants at their expense, especially because in all probability,  he just gave the clients what they obviously wanted.   also, in truth, m21 doubts that le decoratuer would care less about our snark- after all, he is working on chateaus and cashing big ol' mansion-sized checks, while m21 merely works on homes and cashes mere powder room-sized checks, all the while writing this lil' blog and toiling in relative obscurity.    ;-)

but then i googled the dude, and you know what?  frankly, i don't care if his feelings get hurt!


because he is using other peoples work in his design portfolio, passing it off as his own...

how do i know this?

because a project *i* worked on over a decade ago, while working for my former firm, is on his site as an example of his work!  on that project, three people, and only three people designed and executed  the interiors of a beautiful home, later featured in florida design magazine, and i can assure you, mr. kenny, most certainly was NOT one of the three!  i've even kept my original hand drafted elevation of the fireplace surround i helped to design (as well as the drawings of the custom furniture pieces i was responsible for), as i was so proud of the way the project turned out.

the screen capture from dude's site:  

second row of photos is the project i assisted on, and which has NOTHING to do with the dude who is embarrassingly posting it as his own work. did he really think no one would ever notice?

my original elevation sketch for the picture in the middle of above:

original elevation sketch of a bollection mantle/overmantle surround to highlight the client's prized dubuffet painting.

it is simply unconscionable to post another person's work and claim it as your own.  you are cheating the original creative team behind the project, as well as the original client who PAID for the work to be done, and also misleading your potential new clients by promising a level of talent and sophistication to which you clearly cannot rise, or else you'd already have that quality of work in your own portfolio!  and if there is one project i KNOW this dude didn't have anything do with  posted on his site, are ANY of the pictures his own work?  who knows?
does he really expect anyone to believe that the guy who designed this...
and who claims to have designed this...

also designed this?

or this?

or this?

no matter how you slice it, appropriation of another person's work is never kosher, and it gives all of us design professionals a bad name to have this sort of blatant plagiarism in our ranks.

shame on you, mr. kenny.  shame. on. you.

and no, i prefer not to directly link to mr. kenny's site.  if you are really curious, you can google his name from the above screen capture...  first thing that comes up is his site, and the second, is work done for his most famous client, and  *that* name will tell you everything you need to know about the decorator in question- if chateau d'omg didn't already, that is...

18 November 2010


keeping pretty good faith to the 1950's designed original, the fiat 500 is about to launch in the us.  while not for everyone, m21 thinks it's a great example of 'so ugly it's cute':
the fiat 500, 2010 style

the original fiat 500- so darn cute it looks like it could talk!

whaddawe think?  a mini-success? or 2ugly2bcute?