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Chair Couture

Yummy, yum, yum.

Ron Marvin's studio kicks your McMansion's ass.

There, I said it.

Years ago Met Home did their annual "Winners" issue which features the best of reader's homes. I *still* vividly remember being completely captivated by Ron Marvin's San Francisco apartment because it completely rocked every notion I had about what "good design" was and also how much you needed to spend to get it.

2 things that stuck with me:

1) He didn't spend more than $500 for anything in his place, save for the sofa and bed, I suppose. He doesn't have anything "blue chip" just great finds artfully placed.

2) His fabulous SF home was actually a tiny studio that he made seem like a roomy cottage thanks to smart decorating. In fact, Ron said in the article that most visitors to his tiny studio would come in for the "tour" and they would completely miss the bed. Amazing.

What's more amazing? It seems that he lives in NY now and managed to do the same thing there:

See that in the lower right corner? That's the bed.
So much great stuff, well edited, and perfectly placed.

I guess this is proof I should go easy on Pottery Barn (see 2 posts ago). He was a creative director there for a while, it seems...

Trove - maybe the chicest vintage & antiques store ever.

I just emailed this to a friend:

We have to get our guns and our ski masks and and a getaway car (or truck, in this case) and drive to Laguna Beach, CA *now* and break into this Trove store and steal absolutely everything they have.

I mean it.

I can't even decide what I would grab first? If I were a Hampton's girl (or San Juan Island girl, in my case) and had people chumming up to me for gratis stays every summer, I might like those brutal and sinister lobsters. A kind of "thanks for coming, don't overstay your welcome" gesture.

Or I might be most inclined to take the amazing banquettes. In fact, yes, the banquettes. Heart-stopping.

I'm ready to move into Trove.

How can you love a Tudor?

It's hard to love a dark Tudor when you like light airy spaces. Tudors are famous for having, like, maybe 3 windows, and in my neighborhood, none facing a useful direction to catch any truly gorgeous glow from the sun.

I think my solution is to paint as much of it white, white, white, add light from many sources and add some beachy elements inside that keep the place looking more like a vacation house than some relic from another time. There are a lot of familiar accessories (finger coral, a gourd vase) but they don't seem ripped from the pages of Poverty Barn. Something about Pottery Barn's arrangements are like cartoons of how we live... ("Look! I have an entire room dedicated to wrapping gifts! Look at my craft table ... The placecards at my dining table are little slate chalkboards! How clever I am!").

Gambrel's arrangements are so grown up and, although I am sure he and some assistants shopped carefully for each piece, the whole thing looks like you could have carefully assembled the room yourself, over time, editing every year, and keeping the best and that which continues to define you over time, after trends fade and you cling to what you really love and makes you feel, singularly, at home.

God bless Steven Gambrel who provides my latest inspiration. You can see more of his great work at
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