Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pleat-Front Pants

I used to rail against pleat-front anything - men's pants, ladies pants, skirts - you name it.  I've definitely come around and I'm hunting for the perfect pair (or pairs) of pleat-front pants.  But it can be a tricky proposition, the waistband must fit perfectly (ill-fitting baggy and pleated is a recipe for oddly fat looking thighs),  the fabric must drape nicely and there can't be any crazy embellishment.

These remind me vaguely of great Colonial-era jodhpurs (without the insane thigh bulge).  They pouf just perfectly above the knee in a great, soft gather.
Vince pleated cropped pants, $116, Shopbop.com

The cropped pant tends towards casual, but worn with stellar heels these would look dramatic and definitely dressy.
City Style silky pleated ankle pants, $12, New York and Company

I'm always a sucker for the super high-waisted/wide leg combination.  I'd pair this with a slouchy grey American Apparel v-neck and some layered necklaces. 
Jean Paul Gaultier Wide Leg Pants, $114, zappos.com

This is the quintessential golf short that is probably the root of my fear of pleats.  Typically, I see these on people who actually fill out the pleats as if they were added to accommodate extra body mass so you don't have to size up.  Incorrect.  They are infinitely more flattering if they drape loosely against the body.  I love this casual, slinky pair.  Love them.
BR monogram bloomer short, $100, Banana Republic

Getting into the potentially oddly slouchy/baggy category here, but the stiff wool material and properly fitting waistband make me think these could be really cool in an architectural way.
Alice + Olivia Arthur Pants, $275, Shopbop.com

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Charm Necklace

Everyone at the magazine seems to have one of these brilliant little charm-holder pendants.  These simple pieces (please stay away from the gaudy dolphin or grandma themed versions) are a refined way to wear more than one pendant at once.  Plus, I wouldn't mind an excuse to start buying a few gold charms here and there.

The basic pendant holder.
Gold pendant holder, $49, Amazon.com

I think this is the sweetest charm.  It looks like a simple letter, until you slide them apart to reveal the hidden love note.
Spread the Love, $140, Charm Co.

The most adorable way to mark a special day.
Custom Calendar, $375, Charm Co.

I'll add the charm from my favorite new necklace to the collection as well.  It's simple, dainty and will add just a bit of sparkle to the assortment.
Emma Jane & Tan diamond initial necklace, $450, Max and Chloe

You can engrave the inside of this passport with your favorite travel spots or a special message.
Engravable passport, $250, Charm Co.

The oddest charm I came across...a gold rotisserie chicken.  Wow.
from Ebay

The complete effect
charms from Ten Thousand Things

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cross Stitch

I learned to cross stitch from my grandma when I was really little and have been doing it ever since.  I stay miles away from the typical cute samplers and tend to gravitate towards elegant, antique looking patterns or really unconventional applications.  One of my most recent projects came as I was decorating the bedroom of our new apartment and decided we needed throw pillows everywhere.

I found some amazing striped silk at a discount fabric store (it sells remnants by the pound!) and decided it needed a monogram.  I taped the cross stitch fabric to the inside of the pillowcase and stitched following the grid through both layers of fabric.  It was far more time-consuming than a normal pattern because I couldn't see the grid from the fabric side (it was a lot of flipping back and forth for each stitch), but I think it was more than worth it in the end.

The finished product.  That's my initial and the boyfriend's interlaced in the center.

The pattern I used, and some other beautiful options...

from Antique Pattern Library - the most amazing source for cross stitch, embroidery, crochet etc...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Amazing Bookshelf

This is one of the most unique bookshelves I've ever seen with the books brilliantly nestled under each stair riser.  It might be a look that is hard to pull off in many traditional homes, but I can think of some tight Manhattan spaces that could use this ingenuity. 
Front of the stairs from the bottom of the staircase / straight down from above

Coffee Table Books

Coffee table books used to equal outdated, stuffy and dust allergies.  But just recently, I was snooping around a very well-appointed apartment and was won over by the colorful, modern collection of these sizable tomes.  Stacked neatly on the floor next to the sofa, under the glass coffee table and as a makeshift coffee table themselves, the books made the room (note to self: there weren't any volumes actually on the table).  Some of my favorites: 

Friday, July 17, 2009

Colorful, Eclectic, Classic

Those three words sum up what I'd like to surround myself with at home. Every time I see these pictures, they make me happy...and make me want to run home and put a beautiful pastel wash on my stark white rental apartment walls.

The soft hues of this room are grounded by such a vibrant rug.

This robin's egg blue is brilliant. It would be so easy for it to seem childish, but mixed with so many other similarly sprightly colors and handsome finishes (that fireplace, the chandelier!) it is fun but grown-up.

I must have floor to ceiling elly green velvet drapes. Immediately.

I have several fire-redheaded friends and the cardinal rule is to never wear pink, right? Somehow the combination here is delightfully jarring and totally works. And the collage of framed art and zebra doors? I die.

None of the pieces in this room seem to really match, but the odd mix manages to be cohesive. The blue wall (I really must have a thing for this color) stands out above everything else and lets all of the similarly muted yet disparate pieces pale and coalesce in comparison.

Pink and purple and blue and green - sounds like a 5-year-old's dream room. Here, it's looks like a pastel jewel box made for a modern Marie Antoinette. I would probably add a carpet here though, as beautiful as those dark wood floors are.

Those windows! The art! That chandelier! It's quite interesting how the eye seems to dance around the top of the room before it ever notices the furniture. Stunning.

I really am a sucker for built-ins, and the wall of dark wood is just lovely. And really, I think it's the green garden stool that makes this room for me. Without it, it would be a dark couch against a dark wall. Amazing what one pop of color can do.

If these pictures are yours, please let me know!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Exotic room

I was feeling inspired by Tony Duquette's over-the-top exotic rooms and decided to try to conjure one of my own.  I'm feeling the need for a lot of color, texture and pattern with a few more modern pieces to keep it playful.

I've long had a fascination with cork wallpaper.  Not the thick chunks that used to line walls in the 70's, but thin paper-like sheets with interesting colors peeking through the crevices - or, better yet, a metallic bronze twinkling just enough to keep it from feeling too rustic.
from designyourwall.com, $24/yard

But I am also in love with all things Gracie - this hand-painted wallpaper is decadently beautiful (and expensive), and I might have to sideline the cork dreams for this.  An entire room wrapped in this orange would feel just magical.
Gracie wallpaper SY-233, $1,275/panel 

This carpet is totally '80s Dynasty and borderline ugly, but I think the bold emerald is fabulous (especially against a dark wood herringbone floor...sigh) and it is such a good quality piece that it will fall into the kitschy-cool category rather than the kitschy-crappy one.  Plus, it just makes me smile.
Climbing Leopard, Diane Von Furstenburg, The Rug Company

By all rights this belongs in a bedroom, but I love the idea of using this marble-topped masterpiece as a bar during a party or a station for hour d'oeuvres. 
Syrian chest of drawers, $6,500, 1st Dibs

The mix of classic Louis XVI and bold zebra stripe have great tension.  It feels wild, but stuffy/proper at the same time.
Sophie lounge chair, $2,750 Oly Studio from Tonic Home

A kilim is a must in any 'exotic' room, but it gets new life when repurposed on a sofa.  Though I'm not sure how comfy this would be with all of the scratchy fibers...just another excuse to buy lots of soft and cuddly throw blankets!
Kilim sofa, George Smith

Stuffed with pillows draped with fabric, this wedding bed becomes like a hidden cocoon, a room within a room.  I always wanted one of these for my bed when I was a little kid in Singapore and now I feel like it would still be the coolest addition to my grown-up living room.
Chinese wedding bed, Black Zebra

This table is intricately carved and totally unique - the little drawers open all the way around and are the perfect totally decadent place to hide keys, sunglasses, you name it.
Camel bone console table, 1st Dibs

I would pair these two tray tables side by side as an oddly paired coffee table or flanking the sofa as playfully mis-matched, but stylistically similar pieces.  The python piece seems to define 'exotic' and would be great as extra seating and the vibrant lacquer adds a nice modern punch to the room.
Faux python bench, $475, Two's Company from Tonic Home
Antelope tray and luggage bench, Dransfield and Ross

Moroccan poufs are a must and this lovely turquoise hue adds more great color to the room.  Maybe a cluster of three would be pretty - turquoise, metallic gold and a pink shade?  Amazing.
Moroccan pouf, about $140, Kazzbar

I saw a mirror just like this in one of the Ralph Lauren stores and wanted it immediately.  I will admit the bit of zebra mane at the top is a bit macabre, but it's mitigated by the clean lines and seemingly mitered corners.
Zebra mirror, $1,850,  Jayson Home and Garden

A wall of odd and interesting prints lends a certain museum-like quality to the room.  Plus, who doesn't like to check out pictures of Narwhals?
Prints, from $145, Panteek

I'll add these to the mix just because I love the color and because they feel like a new adaptation of the ubiquitous, but still cool, foo dogs.
Pair of 1940's ceramic cats, $1,200, 1st Dibs

Ikat is madly trendy right now (actually, it may be waning...), but I think used well, this fabric is a luxurious staple that never goes out of style.  I would layer these on the Kilim sofa (I think the crazy patterns would actually be really cool together) and carry them over to the zebra chair as well.
Ikat pillows, $56, Pillow Pagoda

Hand-painted and beautiful, this cushion feels regal but is toned down by the simple canvas fabric.
Painted elephant pillow, $218, Anthropologie

This mammoth lantern would only work if I had a towering ceiling (it's around five feet tall!), but imagine the statement this would make hanging in the center of the room.  Or positioned in a corner like an unexpected floor lamp.
XXL Rustic lantern, $1,400, Just Morocco