A Tool for Living

As most of you now by now, I am not only an interior decorator, I am studying to be a life coach as well.  Honestly, I already do a fair amount of coaching, prodding, educating, consulting, hand holding, hopefully inspiring, and listening to my design clients daily.  You become fairly intimate with people when you are working in their homes.  It's not THAT MUCH of a stretch, right?

The trick will be for me to figure out how all the pieces fit together and how I will use them.  When to put on and take off each of my different hats, metaphorically speaking: designer vs. coach.  As a coach, I am learning so many tools.  Tools to help reframe thoughts, challenge us to see things from a different perspective, dig deeper than we thought possible, or just strive to be a better version of who we already are.

Metaphors are a big part of my new tool box, and one of my favorites (no surprise) is the Living Space Tool.  The theory behind it is that we each have an area in our home that is telling to the state of mind we may be in; a disorganized closet, a desk loaded with paperwork, a basement long overdue for an overhaul.  These spaces within our homes almost always parallel an area of least satisfaction in our lives.  In a non-threatening way, deeply embedded feelings may come to the surface using this and other metaphor tools.  It's really fascinating!

Think about it.  What area in your home do you feel least satisfied with?  It almost always corresponds to an area of your life that reflects unsatisfactory feelings or avoidance.  Can you find a similarity to an event or issue in your life reflective of this space?  This is obviously oversimplified for the sake of a short blog post but it's interesting exploration... Food for thought and as Mike Dooley says, "Thoughts become things, choose good ones!"

If you are interested in coaching, email me: carrie@carrieleskowitzinteriors.com.  I  am beginning to take on clients for a nominal fee while I hone my skills.  It's good stuff!

"Awaken to Awareness"  My new coaching motto ~ Like it?

Creating Cashmere

A beautiful townhouse with great bones gets a makeover by the design firm Wells and & Fox that has me swooning!  As soon as the present owners bought this Victorian beauty, bringing it back to its grand majesty was their first priority.  It had been broken down into apartments.  It was neglected, shorn of its magnificent moldings, trim, and the original details that that made this home so special in the first place.

From the moment you walk through the vestibule, you know tradition and modernity create the perfect marriage of past and present.  I am captured by the juxtaposition of contemporary pieces resting comfortably next to and within the traditional elements.

The five stories revolve around a skylit atrium.  The dialogue between the old and the new leaves you questioning what was here and what was added?  The architect, Dell Mitchell, describes the challenges of renovating a 1861 home in the accompanying article in Architectural Digest.  It takes on an almost surreal quality if you study the moldings, stairway, and layout.  It's not exactly period perfect.  Liberties were taken when playing with scale and proportion.  Plenty of wall space for large ''robust" art was a  goal, as well as the desire to find a unique voice for all elements to co exist comfortably.

Warmth is exuded by the neutral, tactile palette throughout the home, but brights do make an appearance when least expected.  I am seriously attracted to everything about the house.  The lighting is especially captivating.  The antique oak floors throughout lend more authenticity to the space.  The Jean de Merry sunburst fixture in the foyer radiates excitement, the Lindsey Adelman branching globe in the library is absolutely one of my favorite fixtures of all time!  Seeing it (anywhere) puts me over the edge!  Not to be overlooked ~ the interplay of venetian glass chandeliers along side modern classics is designed with a delft hand.  The David Weeks fixture in the upstairs den is a marvelous choice also!

Taupe, tan, ivory, and touches of blue and black make up the color palette with art being the focal point.

A vintage Milo Baughman chaise and the Arne Jacobson egg chairs are iconic for  a reason, but never take attention away from other important players within each room.

The intricate scroll ironwork balustrade is a nice counterpart to the plain panes of encased glass that make up the railings above the first floor.  The dance between the formal and informal, ornate and plain is what has me transfixed!

The wife explained that she wanted an environment that she described, "like cashmere," meaning soft, refined, warm and beautiful.  I think she got what she was looking for and more, don't you?  Add this to the list of places I could be happy in!

Phs: Josuha McHugh for AD magazine

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Marketplace

The Marketplace Design Center in Philadelphia, not unlike the D & D Building in New York, or any other design center across the country for that matter, keeps us interior designers informed, educated and amused with seminars or continuing educations courses.  I always try to support The Marketplace. It has/is going through a rough transition at the moment.  When I read that Hunt Slonem was to be speaking I decided to head over and support him and everyone at Kravet; besides he is quite amusing.

I ran into him and we had a conversation about a new building that he recently purchased in Scranton.  He was moving his studio and mentioned he has been antique shopping and he also barters his art for furniture.  I thought to myself, "Hmm, what do I have to barter?" Hunt went on to speak and I had an a-ha moment. I've got it!  I have been wanting to sell a heavy, dark, antique library/dining room table and Jacobean chairs.  I yearned for something lighter and slightly more modern.  But finding the right home for these somewhat sentimental antiques was challenging.  They came from a historic home in Philadelphia, The Horace Jayne House, that my father's law practice had bought; it housed his firm for years.

Hunt agreed and a deal was struck!  My antiques would be right at home at Hunt's place and I would be the owner of one of his beautiful paintings.  I wanted to go to his much talked about studio and select something personally.

It was everything I imagined it to be and more.  His fabrics thru Lee Jofa are right at home on the ornate furniture, creating a whimsical juxtaposition.  My furniture is a logical addition to what he already owns.

What an adventure!  From the moment you walk in, it is a huge visual feast of sights and sounds.  Painted canvases sit side by side with collections of all kinds.  He is a self professed "collectorator."

Much was being shipped to museums and galleries around the world!

A menagerie of animals; fish, turtles, birds, plus plants and flowers bring the studio to life, not to mention the birds, butterflies, and bunnies that watch you from the walls.

The famous birds take up a lot of real estate within the studio.  Periodically you heard them squawking, "Hunt! Hunt!"

They may perch on his shoulder periodically, but they don't interfere with the painting process.  Many paintings are on rotation vying for attention

No studio space was spared or overlooked!

So, while my dining room may be empty for awhile bunny Steven and bunny Carrie will be very happy in their new home as will my antiques, in Hunt's studio.

That's a win/win!


Poetry in Fittings

Chantal Thomass Pomes

I loved meeting some of the people behind THGParis, whom I had the privilege of meeting at the Contemporary Furniture Fair.  They really showed off where the company shines.  THGParis' bath fittings are "a subtle mix of craftsmanship, know how and a passion for creativity" three generations later.
Exquisite French innovation, the marriage of perfect partnerships, and exceptional collections have  earned THGParis recognition as the "haute Couture of bathroom fittings," earning them awards and accolades thru out the world!

Porcelain, 24 carat matte gold, silver, fine etching, and Swarovski crystal help create refinement in fittings to the likes we've never seen before.  These are no mere faucets, they are things of beauty!  Each faucet is precisely etched and meticulously manufactured.  The crystals are applied one by one with chopsticks.  Their attention to detail is unparalleled.

Monte Carlo

The marriage of fine crystal and metal creates a timeless elegance that is always in style.  The Lalique, Daum, and Bacarrat crystal collections are sublime.  Chic, modern, sophisticated, even witty, these artisanal faucets are masterpieces cut from glass.

Lalique Pomme

"Casting a piece using Daum’s exclusive process assures a rich and subtle palette of colors and a precision of contours, which would have been impossible to obtain using traditional crystal or glassblowing methods. This powerful and elegant artistic technique, more than ever before, affirms Daum’s creativity, and is among one of the many reasons why it was deemed worthy as a THG collaborator."

 “To be aligned with such a respected and illustrious brand as Baccarat and be trusted with Baccarat’s bold signature designs illustrates our abilities as a premier brand.”
Pierre -Yves Rochon P├ętale de Cristal
The future meets Baccarat crystal in the Beyond Crystal series.  An LED light shines from within and the true beauty of the material is "lit up."

If you think they are too fancy ~ think again, modern styles with equal amounts sensuality, fluidity, and sophisticated design abound.

The M├ętamorphose collection encompasses squares and curves, going from round to square and back to round.  The complicated design ironically evokes simplicity.  The team also incorporated carbon fiber or ceramic handles; the same used in a Chanel watch.

Studio Putman

Also under the Studio Putman line is Collection O.  It caught my attention not only because I am attracted to the "O" or circle or symbol of the infinite, but because I love the rose gold.  It is fresh and always aesthetically pleasing to my eye.  Not technically an O, it twists, it turns, it just speaks to me.

Quintessentially French is the Saint Germaine.  It seems subtly more masculine and industrial with its pewter (or black) coloration and heavy handed application.  It harkens back to the industrial France of the 1950's.

Aligning themselves with like minded artisans and brands keep THG Paris innovative and appealing to the luxury market.  While you may not be willing or able to run out and purchase them for your own home, you can certainly appreciate the aesthetic when you encounter one and know you are engaging with something very special!

This was a sponsored post but all opinions are my own.
Photos: THGParis, CLI

You had me at Hello

Authenticity in hand forged and cast bronze hardware creates patina, like a history that can be cherished and considered timeless for generations.  Anagha Dandekar found her way to hardware as a kind of happy accident while selling art in India.  She met someone who needed ironwork done and that caused her to switch gears, and a passion for hardware was created.  Not a completely unlikely route from one to the other, because the principles and integrity of hand crafting are similar.  The integrity and beauty of a hand made piece is art, be it painted or forged.

Hardware Renaissance, a fairly young company is fast becoming known for its look of traditional blacksmithing techniques.  The precision engineering allows the hardware to coordinate with commercial locking mechanisms.  They're a green company, completely committed to environmental responsibility and keeping their carbon footprint as low as possible.  Their bronze is made from at least 90% recycled material!

Everything from sand casting the molds to the forging of the piece to the application of the patina is hand done.  They even practice the lost art of hot wax application.  This creates that unique, high end, hand made quality that a larger company may seek to replicate, but really can't achieve.  The pieces are made in India and finished in Santa Fe, NM.  It is a multi-step process.  Many hands refine the piece, create texture, or in lay stones, depending on the design being executed.

The product line offers as many traditional as contemporary designs.  Mountain house, beach house, chateau, or casita ~ they've got it covered.  If they don't they'll create it!

This little company welcomes custom work, with their charges being reasonably low for a one of a kind piece.  Perfect if you need to match hardware in an existing home.  You never know when you might need a hinge, bolt, or monogrammed door knob.

Listening to Anagha speak so excitedly about the company she birthed was infectious.  Now that it is on my radar, I am adding it to my list of "go to" companies I will look towards when a hardware project presents itself.  "Great design starts at the door," and you know what they say about 1st impressions!

Photos via Hardware Renaissance, CLI.  This is a sponsored post but my opinions are my own.