30 June 2012

m21 needs a slave- i mean intern!

it's time... we need smart, capable help around the atelier. every day will bring a different challenge, as one day it might be creating invoices, cleaning a tchotchke, or prepping a canvas for painting, the next it might be holding my hand in a client meeting, making a floor plan or shopping for fabric. we have lots going on in many arenas, both design and media, so be prepared to juggle.  it will be work but it will be fun too, and i guarantee you'll walk out the door with more working knowledge of design and social media than you walked in with. whether you still like either field afterwards (or me), i couldn't say...  ;-)

just putting it out there. if you think you might be interested, click above on the slave formerly known as the artist formerly known as prince ...

28 June 2012

something in the air (art by elizabeth dow)

sometimes there is just something in the air. you know, when everywhere you turn, you see the same thing, and everyone else seems to be noticing it at the same time as you.

such is the case with the art of elizabeth dow. i randomly stumbled on her website several weeks ago- no clue where i was when i clicked the link, but when i got to her site, i was mesmerized. i am usually drawn to completely abstracted works but elizbeth's more representational images of sea and sky are what grabbed my attention- just painterly and abstract enough to reveal the hand and imagination of the artist, but the subject matter is always clear.

the images stuck in my head for weeks, then this weekend i got a facebook invitation to an opening of her works in NYC and discovered to my chagrin, that i was facebook friends with her, but had no idea she was an artist (she also has a line of fabrics & wallcoverings so i assumed it was a design networking connection).

last, today, i got the "what's new" newsletter from 1stdibs which i rarely have time to click these days, but today i did, and there was elizabeth dow again, profiled in the pages of their introspective magazine. so after all these signs, i knew i needed to share in case you've missed the dow zeitgest. i hope a LA gallery will soon mount an exhibition of her works so i can see them in person, but until then, here is a selection from her website.


26 June 2012

going underground with the muddy leek

just after the pop-up store, the trendiest thing going right now is the underground dinner, and after reading about them in just about every publication devoted to food over the last several years, maison21 finally attended his first guerrilla dinner this past saturday night courtesy of the muddy leek underground (the nom de secret nom nom of bon melange catering).

we gathered at matcha source tea on 3rd st (you don't get to know the location until a couple days beforehand), and then enjoyed wine, conversation, live music and 15 courses of yum. since matcha source is a small location,  bon mélange manager juile retzlaff and chef whitney flood decided to make this dinner a chef's tasting menu of small bites, served cocktail party style. i can't imagine a better calling card for a chef 'cuz if you can turn out 15 courses without a dud in the bunch, you gots some serious food skilz.
the crowd enjoying wine, pre-food (look careful- i'm way in teh back having just been nosily poking around the kitchen to see what delights we had in store!)

15 courses- ALL delicious, quite a feat, if you ask me.
sustainable caviar blinis and creme fraiche
manchego with burkett farms apricot grilled cheese- heavenly.
fish tacos, pico de gallo & house made queso fresco
duck confit hash & weiser farms potato with duck egg. i would happily eat this every day for breakfast or dinner!
five spiced fois gras with pineapple, my favorite of the evening, though the lamp merguez w/lemon aioli crostini (no pic) were a close second. design industry man about town zak graff would disagree- he ranked the merguez as his fave.
the bon mélange photographer must have been as stuffed and lazy as i was at the end of the evening as we don't have any pictures of dessert, but the bourbon peach bread pudding and the strawberry rhubarb shortcakes were pretty damn amazing.

the verdict? trendy or no, i'm down with the underground. next muddy leek is scheduled for july, and i'm sooooooo there.

last, this ain't got nothin' to do with muddy leek, or bon mélange, but somehow just now typing the phrase "down with teh underground" reminded me of this... 2pac 4ever, y'alls!

22 June 2012

maison21 & casasugar visit 'dwell on design 2012'

today we had a bunch of fun seeing tons of cool products, as well as catching up with lots of awesome peoples, at dwell on design 2012, at the los angeles convention center. dwell on design runs all weekend-  saturday the 23rd (tomorrow) and sunday the 24th-  and if you register online, use discount code '20DODEM12' to get a one day pass for  only 10 bucks- 50% off the price at the door.

here's a few of our instagram picks, though we warn you, they were taken with an iphone, indoors, under artificial light, so you know that means half are blurry. sorry, but hey- not like we are pulling in the big bucks in photography fees, ya know?
the next kids room we do is going to get a wall of these six and a half foot high dutch row house cabinets from cool kids company.
kitchen drawer porn from poggenpohl
these chic tiles from sonite innovative surfaces look like a beautiful glass mosaic, but they are "a synthetic composite resin", or as you and i call it "plastique" :-) it also makes them very thin and lightweight, so we can think of all kinds of applications where they could be used when a traditional glass tile wouldn't work.
loved this tentacle-y crystal chandelier from online retailer, lightopia.
cool spun aluminum planters from local los angeles designer/artisan brendan ravenhill.
this is one of those things that pictures just can't capture the beauty of- you have to see and feel in person- but these polished concrete pavers from concrete collaborative got us very excited for use in a future project. hey, if they are good enough for zaha hadid and renzo piano, they are good enough for maison21. ;-)

we also had the honor of being roving instagram correspondent for our friends over at casasugar, so for even MORE design inspiration, click the pretty bottles from vetro vero:

21 June 2012

pairs competition

pairs of things are a decorator's secret for unifying a room, and a pair of tall etageres makes both an architectural statement, and is (are?) completely useful to display the pretty things we love. whether you flank a sofa, a fireplace, a bed, a desk or a door, pairs of etageres are your friend...
amy d. morris, via atlanta homes and lifestyles

carrier and company, via stylebeat

celerie kemble

unknown, via elle decor

eric kohler

kelly weasrstler, via studio ten 25

pheobe howard

now get to the m21 hipswap shop and replicate the look in your own home

20 June 2012

being social

this instagram of ted will be the only photo from this post. you've been warned.

the other evening, i had dinner with my new friend, australian superstar designer, thomas hamel, and two of his business associates, and the topic turned (as it so often does) to the subject of social media- mainly how and why.  people who don't do really do social media are understandably curious about how it all works, and why those of us in the social media (SM) game, stay in it, so i thought i'd share with y'all a bit of a recap of what we discussed...

why did you start your blog?

i used to say it was to share design ideas with like minded individuals, and it is about that- i love the discussion i have with y'all, my readers-  but the more self-serving answer is that in 2007 the writing was on the wall about the US economy, and i felt my business grinding to a standstill. i didn't know what to do to get my name out there so i could weather the coming storm, and a friend suggested i start a blog.  i didn't know a blog from a frog at the time, so the whole thing was a mystery, but i lurked and learned, and now i consider social media to be part of my identity. never would have pictured that when i started!

did starting a blog help your business?

the short answer is yes, kinda sorta. the blog has definitely brought me a few clients over the years, and that saved my ass in the dark days of 2009 & 2010. now i get clients via all sorts of avenues besides the blog but it is still an essential platform for me to keep my name out there.

do you make money off your blog?

well, again the answer would be yes, kinda sorta in an indirect way (see above about clients), but the real answer is no- it's still a labor of love.  the amount of time spent maintaining a social media presence versus actual business brought in doesn't even come near minimum wage... in china!  i also haven't gone the advertising route (yet),  so there hasn't been any money made that way either.  (i *am* open to paid sponsors provided the fit is right, but i'm not going to chase anyone down either... if you are interested, and you think my audience of design enthusiasts and design industry professionals would be right for your brand, please feel free to email ;-)  i *did* try pay-per-click stuff like google adwords a couple times over the years, and found that it just didn't pay enough to justify the valuable real estate in my blog sidebars, so now i pretty much just advertise me.

if you don't make money, why do it?

well, for one, i've found i enjoy it. it's sort of crazy cool to have a global community of friends that i'm connected to.  i've made such awesome personal connections both online and IRL (in real life), that i doubt i could ever give it up. also the connections made for my business (or brand, in SM speak) have been pretty incredible in ways i couldn't have predicted- social media has opened all kinds of doors, and really exciting stuff continues to happen almost daily. i have some stuff in the works that is pretty cool, so i'm terribly excited about the future as well (stay tuned!).

how do you find the time?

this is a toughie- the truth is sometimes i don't, and the blog is the first thing to suffer (paying the bills has gotta come first, ya know?)  i don't let anyone put anything out on the blog other then me, and there is only so much time to the day.  this will probably have to change at some point, as i'm actively seeking interns to help out with both the social media and design work (know anyone?), but it will always be my POV- why bother otherwise? nothing worse that a boring, faceless blog i think, so i'm always gonna keep it personal and m21ish. i gotta be me.

how many people follow your blog?

this is a question i don't answer anymore. when i started, it was all about the number of hits to the blog and i was obsessed, but soon realized that being obsessed with the numbers was a losing game, so decided to not focus on them any longer.  i reach who i should reach, and that is good enough for me.   also, as social media has evolved, the blog is just a small part of the overall social media equation- if you combine teh number of people who follow me through my other SM outlets (whose numbers are right next to my name if you are curious), plus the blog, it all adds up to somethin' and the blog is just a portion of that.   as a rule though, i try hard to not pay attention to ANY of the numbers of my social media outlets- even when they are published on my profile pages-  because if i did, i would always be inwardly thinking things like "why don't i have as many followers as _______?" (fill in the blank with the name of one of my SM friends)  "i'm just as funny/cool/smart as them, aren't i?",  and in the perverse opposite of that envious sort of comparison, the numbers can also have the effect of giving me a swelled head- "yo, shopgirl/waiter/random person on the street- why aren't you paying attention to ME? don't you know that thousands of people from all around the world subscribe to my every word?"  so now i just stay away from numbers- they aren't my friend.  after all, i'd never go to a party, and count the number of individuals i spoke with throughout the evening, and that's how i feel about social media: i'm talking amongst friends, and whether it's just to one individual or to a larger group, it's all good.

so if your blog is just a small portion of your online presence,  how many social media outlets
DO you have, then?

this is where it gets scary:

twitter:  this is my fave- so fast and easy, i can tweet while walking the dog or getting my car washed. it's also more about a conversation rather than me just putting out content, so it's fun on a social level as well. love the twitters.

facebook:  i used to ignore my facebook business page, but now it's my other favorite. i love reposting blogs and events i find of interest, as well as putting up as many links to cute pet pictures from around the internets as possible. it's a grab bag of whatever has captured my interest for a nanosecond, and again, it's fast and easy-  in n' out- so i update frequently.  ;-)

pinterest: straight up design porn. i try to check in here twice a day to soak up (and spread) design inspiration. it's totes visually awesome, as long as you don't visit the unfiltered homepage of pinterest itself- that sh*t can sear your eyeballs and scar you for life.  so the trick is to just follow cool people and cool boards (like m21), and have all the awfulness pre-screened for you. if you aren't on pinterest yet and need an invite, email me- we'll get you sorted.

instagram (@maison21): you want some ted & richard pictures? then follow me on instagram! it's also a glimpse into my LA surroundings and the  social events i attend . it's fun & visual, plus, everyone looks good with a fuzzy instragram filter applied to them.

tumblr: i had a brief fling with tumblr, then we broke up (actually, pinterest came between us)  ;-) now, it's basically just a secondary posting site for my instagram, because not everybody has an iphone.

houzz:  houzz has become a pretty important way of spreading my work around the internets, and it's super gratifying that thousands of people like my work enough to save it in their personal ideabooks. houzz is also a great place to source design ideas and trends, though be warned- some of the pics on houzz should be taken as cautionary tales of what NOT to do, so have your discerning design goggles on.

hipswap: the social way of selling my stuff. i have a feeling hipswap is going to take off, so i'm glad to be there at the start.

which do you prefer? designing, or doing social media?

that's like asking which came first,  the chicken or the egg? they are both so intimately entwined at this point, i couldn't separate them if i tried. i just try to be good at both, and hope for the best!

ok, i'm sick of typing now- i might post more about this in the future, so if anyone has any questions of their own about the ins and outs of SM, please either email or post in the comments! always happy to share and spread insight- it's one of things that social media is all about!

18 June 2012

thank you, lamps plus!

recently, i did a fun little profile with lamps plus for their "style illuminated" blog where we talked about color (you know,  how much i hate it ;-) plus some outdoor lighting tips.  i also selected a few m21 favorites from their extensive product line.

hop on over and check it out!

17 June 2012

cart got your tongue? (a bar cart roundup)

lookee what we found this weekend... and since we already have one at the atelier, you know where to find it, if you need one for your very own!

and here's some bar cart images to get you in the mood:

original source unknown, via pinterest

via design*sponge

deborah needleman via lonny

via veranda

via rue magazine

via society social

via the delightful emily henderson

via my living room

16 June 2012

kelly wearstler's garage sale

ok, so my post title is a bit misleading- kelly is NOT having a garage sale. but until that little fantasy comes true, the next best thing might be her upcoming sales on one king's lane this monday. i know i'll be clicking on the 7 (!) sales she is launching monday morning if just for nothing else than to lustfully window shop. my credit card will be at the ready however, just in case-  you know how window shopping tends to turn in real shopping when the sh*t is just too pretty to pass by...