ON A NEW YEAR
As we move into the next chapter in the new year ahead, we look forward to all of the experiences that await us. We hope for opportunities to meet new people and to learn and enjoy new things, but most of all we are grateful for everything this past year has provided. Thank you for joining us on the adventure!
One of my favorite trips to date was a safari in Africa that followed the wildebeest migration from Serengeti to Kenya. We got to know these creatures as we tracked them; we watched them eat, drink, sleep, run, and everything else you can imagine. I personally did not find them to be particularly attractive or intelligent animals. For example, they give birth and keep running. Only if the calf finds another female is he taken care of, but otherwise he becomes food for other animals up the food chain. So while it was hard for me to get excited about the wildebeest in particular, as we followed their migration we discovered incredible beauty in the form of various landscapes, birds, monkeys, insects, hippos, elephants, cheetahs, lions, zebras, and warthogs along the way.
We were in a very small group on this trip and we all slept in tents. We spent each night with a different tribe, and we enjoyed watching the dances and ceremonies of the many people we met.
At one point, we were able to leave the group to go with two Maasai warriors on a walk through the jungle with nothing but a large wooden club for protection! During our time at Maasai Mara we slept in a special camp created many years ago by our friends, the founders of the Friends of Conservation. This beautiful camp sat on a river filled with hippopotamus.
In another instance we were able break off from the larger group to visit a small school. In this village they had never seen anyone with light skin. All of the children immediately gathered around us, and the teacher explained that my hair was the color of the lion and that like the lion, I was their friend. He asked me to say something, as I would be the first woman to address the children in a position of leadership. I don’t remember exactly what I said on the spot, but I was humbled to have an opportunity to encourage all of the children and to support the girls specifically.
On another day we took an incredible hot air balloon ride. At one point, I looked down at the very moment that a giraffe looked up and we locked eyes. That was a vision I will never forget. After the hot air balloon ride, the twenty people in our group had a beautiful breakfast in a field of tall grasses. Our guides watched over us from above to ensure that we wouldn’t be attacked by lions, as they would frequently roam in the grasses.
From a design perspective, I found endless inspiration during my time in this rustic and elegant corner of the world. The African landscape spoke to me with its dry lands and textural, sculptural trees. The baskets we picked up on our journey were also dry and textural, woven with a beautiful handmade imperfection. There were many interesting vendors at the small airports that we visited as we flew from country to country. My favorite finds included a Coptic bible, jewelry, pottery, baskets, and milk jugs.
That trip to Africa was extraordinary and I would recommend it without hesitation to anyone who has thought of going.
This is the time of year when a roaring fire is an unparalleled luxury. We’ve spent a great deal of time contemplating fireplaces and our all-time favorites are geometric old world silhouettes made with old world materials including plaster, rough wood, and stone, such as these two stunning examples by Axel Vervoordt.
MASTERS AT WORK
WILLEM DE KOONING
Willem de Kooning is one of my all-time favorite artists. The couple of works of his that I own are some of my most prized possessions. I love the primitive quality of his strokes.
“The texture of experience is prior to everything else.” – Willem de Kooning
One of the highlights of my career is the relationships I am able to forge with other artists and visionaries, including other architects and designers. It is so enriching to have likeminded people to connect with and to be member of a community of such esteemed professionals. One such person who I have enjoyed connecting with is architect Jeffrey Dungan. I love the spirit of his work and I recently asked him to elaborate on his design philosophy, the answer to which I am pleased to share with you below.
“Most of all I love people; I enjoy taking the persona of my clients and creating a design that speaks to who they are. It’s an interesting challenge to get past the facade and really understand personalities – formal or informal, type A or old hippie – and then channel that into architecture.
Good design always meets needs. It works and it flows. I believe those goals should be solidly understood and met first. From that foundation we can build in deeper ideas like timelessness and permanence, and those are the factors that make a good design great.
l believe in authenticity and materials that project that feeling. Stone is a favorite because nothing says forever like stone. I love the English Arts and Crafts movement, as the aesthetic is both classic and modern. Charles Voysey was a very formative influence early in my career. Mostly I love to follow my curiosity where it leads me, so the view and inspiration are always evolving.”
SHOP + STUDIO
Our new design studio and shop is officially open at 428 North Wolcott Avenue. We’re excited to have more space to showcase finds from all over the world, as well as an upstairs studio space for our growing team.
Years ago I started the shop with the intent of providing architects and designers with the types of cool and unusual furniture, artwork, and decor I found it hard to uncover for my work myself. Among many other treasures, we refinished an enormous cabinet from Italy to showcase a plethora of smaller objects.
You can also view a selection of our inventory in our online shop or call or email anytime for more information about our current offerings. We also have a very special sale coming up next month so be sure to keep an eye out for that. I hope that you’ll find something extraordinary that speaks to you here, and if you haven’t visited in person yet, we hope to see you soon.
DECOR AS SCULPTURE
A central element of our design philosophy is the principle that all objects in a space should be thought of as sculpture, including the furniture and lighting. It’s important that we think of each item as its own work of art, and in treating it as such we are able to create more impactful compositions.
Oftentimes when there are fewer objects in a space each item can truly stand on its own. As we select and place each piece with intention, what results doesn’t feel forced or staged and the room naturally evolves into a place that is authentic, and provides relaxation and inspiration to its visitors.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!