Sunday, October 28, 2007

The devil's in the details.


It's all in the details.

I can spend hours on a Sunday just puttering around the house, going through vintage photos, family photos, reorganizing my office, sorting through magazines and editing a new stack of design books to keep on my office desk and peruse through this week. It's all the little things in the house that make me happy - little souvenirs from travel or scores from recent flea market adventures.

I had dinner with office mates recently and we were trying to guess everyone's sign. David just looked at me and blurted out, "You're a taurus. They're materialistic." He's kind of right. I do love stuff. Sometimes, I am a little snotty about it, too. Winston Churchill was on to something when he said, "My tastes are simple. I am easily satisfied with the best." These days, that applies to shoes and handbags where I have just succumbed to a little luxury. My thought is, since I can wear jeans to work, and I am not investing in suits or real clothes, maybe the accessories should be fantastic. So, the expense all comes out in the wash, you might say.

But at home, although I am technically "materialistic," some of the things I love the most cost me next to nothing, but to live without them would just kill me. When I see things like the old brass plate from a ship that says "TORPEDO ROOM" I just crack up, knowing you can't buy this kind of thing in a store. Or my old glass demi johns. No one else really has these. They odd things you collect become your signature, and that's what makes home feel like home, I guess.

The details matter. Maybe to no one else, but certainly to yourself.


I love flea markets so much, it's like they have a magnetic pull that grabs my car and yanks me over every time I see one (or a garage sale for that matter).

As a result, I find things I *must* have and yet I have no idea how I will use them.

This door knocker from Buenos Aires, for example. Lovely. Doesn't really go with my house. And that kills me because I would so love to knock-knock-knock the thing just for fun when I come home.


And then we have this massive film reel. I have only looked at the first maybe 3 feet of the negative, and I am not yet sure the subject of it. Sometime, I swear, I will find a projector and watch it. In the meantime, the reel is just kicking it in my office.


I am admittedly shell-obsessed. Here's another way I have managed to put them to good use. I use them here for the perfume samples that I randomly try out. I also use them at work to sort paperclips and rubber bands on my desk.


Vintage keys. I cannot pass up vintage keys ever. This is (sadly) just a small portion of the collection.


I am too lazy to throw away matches after I have lit a candle (plus I have a paranoia that I will light a garbage fire...) so I toss them onto a shell, and then put another shell on top to hide them. Weird? Maybe. I also don't like ugly match boxes sitting around, so this little cover up does the trick.


Faithful readers know I am obsessed with ribbon and wrap. Here's proof - - these are POST IT notes, for the love of god. But they are pretty funny, and I knew that it would crack my co-worker up. Who doesn't want to see a pretty little gift on her desk on a Monday morning? I think that if it's worth giving, it's worth wrapping well.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Things That Are Wrong, Part II - The Entertaining Edition



1. Napkin rings and folded napkins. As cute as the little urchins are, I have to say, napkins rings just shouldn't happen. If you need to glitter up the occasion, maybe wear some killer jewelry. And folded napkins... totally go for it if you want to have your table look like a bad Catskills buffet.


2. Wine charms. Seriouly? Can people really not remember which glass belongs to whom? You know what my wine charm is? It's the lipstick stain I leave on my glass.

3. Paper napkins. I know I shouldn't even have to say it, but paper napkins when company is over is, well, not cool. Don't get me wrong, we rock paper-towels-as-napkins when we decide we want pizza for dinner and we're going to eat in front of the TV while we get caught up on episodes of The Office, but real napkins are inexpensive. Make good use of them and be a gracious hostess. And if you haven't spent 30 minutes on a Sunday ironing white cotton napkins, you really haven't lived. Seriously, you don't need that Zen-spa bullshit to relax, you need to do some monotonous homekeeping while listening to Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me.

4. These wine ring thingies. The just remind me of cock rings and they seem really uptight. It's like the OCD hostess's version of putting plastic on your couch.



5. The stupid Pottery Barn reindeers. Kill me now.


6. Asking me to take my shoes off at your house. This is my OFFICIAL announcement to all my friends that if you like your carpet or your hardwood floors more than you like me to be comfortable (and by comfortable, that means, keeping on the clothes and accessories I deemed nice enough to wear to your party) then that means you should not invite me.

The shoes-off requirement is so completely offensive. I want to ask these people when exactly did they buy their house at a Christie's auction?? Because only a house with that kind of pedigree could be so precious that it would need to be defended against my Louboutins.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

REI is not the place to build your work wardrobe.


Dear Seattle-ite,

North Face doesn't really go with your weird, cheap unlined work trousers and your chunky-heeled shoes. I know you want to stay warm on this windy fall day as you go to your job as a file clerk at your law firm, but your zip-up fleece jacket is not the answer.

Your answer is a smart pea coat, or maybe a belted wool car coat. These options can be had for under $150 virtually anywhere, and you will have them for years.

Also, while we are on it, you walk funny and the heels on the outsides of your dated chunky shoes are wearing down. Now, if you want to look dated, that's fine, but can you please try to look polished? Take your shoes to a cobbler and have them repaired. Take care of them. You look like a mess and your shoes say so much about you. Don't you remember what style maven Hannibal Lecter told Clarice Starling/Jodie Foster years ago? "You know what you look like to me, with your good bag and your cheap shoes? You look like a rube." Exactly! Coco Chanel couldn't have said it any better. So take a tip from the cannibal and make sure your shoes are as good as your handbag.



Maybe we need to talk more about shoes since we do live in rainy Seattle. I know it's hard to get your shoe game plan together because there are so many things to consider: rain, hills, walk-ability.... it's a jungle out there. I know. But still, clunky shoes are NOT the answer. A large handbag is. Here's the deal... there are heels and there are flats. There should be nothing in between. That weird moderate loafer you have from 6 years ago? Stop it. You need a chic flat to get around in (that is, if you are totally opposed to learning how to rock heels like a real woman). So buy a pair you love, get a nice little felt shoe bag, and keep them in your purse. You can then presto-chango to and from work.

In your bag should be the workhorse heels - something you love - so spend a little money on them, dammit. These don't have to be sky high, but at least 2 3/4 inches. Remember when you were little and you wanted to be a glamorous woman and wear heels when you were all grown up? Pssst. That time is now. Take off the fleece, put on the heels, pull yourself together.

Looking like a lady is one of the great pleasures in a woman's life. Enjoy it.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I am no scrapbooker.


I have been thinking a lot today about a few things...

Blogging. It's so weird to think that we just put it out there... or in some cases, we don't. Like this Decorno business is supposed to be about decor, but it's really about the fantasy of perfect living, isn't it? Girls (and guys) like you and me who want to keep some kind of web log about good home ideas and how we can perfect our nests.

But there are so many really, really good blogs about decor, I have no business trying to be one of them. I have no interest in creating some kind of encyclopedic catalog of magazine clippings of perfect decor. Don't get me wrong. I *love* the blogs that do. I need these blogs, in fact, when I want inspiration or information about my next decorating project.

But that's just not me. Martha Stewart will never sponsor Decorno because I like to say "fuck" and I write about the unsexiness of zydeco.

Which leads me to the meat of the post, the other things I have been thinking randomly tonight.

Decorno is a bit limiting. I am never going to write about curtains. I, in fact, hate curtains. I am really interested in life and how we all think we can perfect it despite evidence to the contrary.

So, I am going to step out a bit and start writing about the rest of it. I have decided I don't care about traffic. Who wants traffic, anyway? I want readers.

So, on Decorno, you're still going to get the classics like "Things That Are Wrong" but you're also going to get more Jil Sander posts. And I am going to write more, and more randomly. And if you keep reading, great. And if not, I know exactly 3 of you who will follow me along as I do something different and weirder, and harder to read, but hopefully, more interesting and more unique. I've never been good at scrapbooks. I have been more of a writer the whole time, so that's what I am going to do.

You can't have sex to zydeco.



I am listening to NPR, and zydeco is playing, and I was thinking, wow. This reminds me of my dad. My father, he loves zydeco. And I am listening to this music thinking that it's such a joyful music, almost weirdly so. Kind of like the joy robots would have if they were joyful. Because there is certainly MORE joyful music in the world... music with real joy. Zydeco is joyful like you're tired of trying to force yourself to be happy. And given the roots of it, I think that sums it up.

And you can't have sex to zydeco, if you think about it. It might be the only unsexy music that's ever existed. Other than the Wiggles.

And there you have it. In case you were wondering about zydeco.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Basic, basic.

Thinking today what I will talk about next week, Original Content Week, and I remembered my fiance brought home this little video camera a while ago, so I thought I would put it to good use in the spirit of posting something personal and NOT torn from a magazine.

So, I sound retardedly self-conscious, because it seems slightly silly to record oneself and give a little house tour, but I wanted to take the camera for a spin because I am going to need some fresh content for next week, and everyone likes to be a voyeur, right? I can't believe I am so late to the You Tube party.



The dining room is NOT done, FYI. There are paint touch-up, re-staining of wood trim, and some framed things (a vintage touring map of France, for example) that need to go up.

Also, the sound is goofy. I seem to have a Drew Barrymore-like lisp on this recording, which is odd. Maybe the Flip hates the letter S?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Do something fucking fantastic this weekend!


This morning, in bed, I did a little scissor kick of happiness because I realized it's the first weekend in a loooong time when I have ZERO obligations and I don't have to go into the office or anything. I don't even need to leave the house. How magical is that??

Soooo, I was thinkng, I had better no squander it.

Here are things I am considering for my weekend... feel free to add suggestions in the comment box below, friends.

-Watch Diabolique (again) with champagne and popcorn sprinkled with truffle salt. I hear this is orgasmically good, but have never splurged on $20 truffle salt. This might be the weekend.

-Go on a decor book rampage and order like 6 at the same time from Amazon so that I can ensure a Christmas-like explosion of happiness when I get the package on Tuesday.

-Go see my friend Cristine Dahl's new baby AND pre-order her new book (I know! ALL my friends are having babies and publishing books... such accomplished people, these friends.)

-Prank call my mother. Ask her if her refrigerator is running. This would crack her up.

-Go to PCNW.They have a great gallery. Buy good, inexpensive art.

-Play tourist. Go to the top of the Space Needle. I have lived in Seattle 5 years and never done this. Afterward, walk over to Cafe Vita for some of the best coffee you can get your hands on in this country.

-Make beignets. I have a funny little Cafe du Monde box in my cupboard that needs my attention.

-Go to the San Juans for the day. Go shell hunting on Orcas Island. Shop all the antique stores in La Connor on my way back.

-Learn how to make a cocktail with a saucy name.

-Get dressed up for dinner. Order Campari. It seems chic to have Campari, yet I have never tried it.

-Wear my fur stole to go bowling... again.

- Take photos for Original Content Week! I'd better have something good next week, or you all will wish I had just scanned images from magazines after all...

-Get a pedicure, and treat my nieces to pedicures while I am at it.

-Have a Madison Park morning.. get breakfast at the bakery, wander around, shop, drool over Pam's latest shipment from France... hunt for Christmas gifts. (Photos of her shop below.)




-Send a memo to the office to remind everyone that "impactful" is not a word.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I DECLARE... next week is Original Content Week.


She looks kinda original to me.

Yep.

I do it, you do it. We all do it... sometimes we do it too much.

I was just visiting another blog and I saw images from a publication I JUST READ. It's one thing when people scan and post old photos from magazines to kind of tie together themes and ideas from different points in time, but totally weird when some people are posting things that just hit the newsstand. I was thinking how bloggers have such a huge opportunity to get to new content first, like when our friend Habitually Chic had a pretty fantastic behind-the-scenes look at the recent H & G spread on G Paltrow.

BUT, with Habitually Chic excepted, since she attacked it with a totally different & unique angle, I think some of us need to reevaluate how much we are using our blog to react to what was *just* published. Scanning it and posting it and rehashing it isn't the point, right? Blogs actually have a chance to publish a new idea faster than those dinosaurs who go to print only 12 times a year, so why don't we take advantage of this?

So... who is with me? I officially declare next week (starting Monday) as design blog "Original Content Week."

This means, no magazine scans... and if you borrow photos from the web, you need to be making a new point about something. And... for the love of god... no images from dominomag.com. (I am guilty, too, so don't worry, I scold myself at the same time I scold you, fellow decorno blogger..)

Who's in?

Best wedding photographers...


Photo by Bradley Hanson


Speaking of wedding photographers, these are the people I would take out a loan to hire:

Tina Carlone
Meg Smith
Christian Oth
Anna Kuperberg
Dacia Pierson



Photos by Meg Smith

For Megan at BeachBungalow8...



Your door post reminded me of this excellent wedding photo by Seattle's Bradley Hanson, taken at the justice of the peace... I love it.

Good Spirits, by AJ Rathbun - THE definitive cocktail guide.




My friend AJ Rathbun just published THE definitive guide to cocktails, complete with gorgeous full-color photography.
AJ is a riot, and the book is fantastic. Help make him almost-rich buy stocking up on this book to give to friends and co-workers for the holidays.

Click here to go right over to Amazon.com to buy it now...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

If you like Obsolete, you will love TROVE.

Checking my site traffic I noticed a few people coming from blogs that don't actually link to me, so digging around I realized it's because both sites referred to a store called Obsolete which I wrote about here.

So.... I was thinking, if they love Obsolete, they will really love TROVE, which I previously blogged about back when no one read my blog. So, click here for a re-run. Enjoy!

***********

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.

I spy.... James Nares.



***UPDATE*** Well, looks like it's a case of been-there-done-that... Habitually Chic has already covered this topic... see her fine post here:




Sifting through old Elle Decors to get more ideas for my house, I realized just how many NY people own a painting by Nares. Love, love, love.

Tonight I will post a few photos of homes featurng some of his paintings.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

They aren't even hot.


I don't get them (above), I don't get it (their show), I don't watch it, and I don't understand their fame. I think he looks like Beavis and she looks like she'd leave your baby in a pool to run an grab her Sidekick if she heard it ringing. They are both so totally disgusting I can't even articulate my disdain.

I can kind of understand why millions of weak-minded evangelicals want to keep an authoritarian moron like Bush in the White House. I do kind of see how that can happen. But THIS? Why do people ever care? I need to know. Is it like watching a train wreck? If so, I guess I could understand.

This guy is not hot. Why is she so proud to be with him?

It's all way too disturbing for me to be contemplating this early in the morning.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Domino's Best Young Decorators


The April '07 issue of Domino featured what they consider the best young emerging talent.

Here are links to sites for those who have them. I was shocked by the variety in both quality and design in these sites. Some are great. Some... not so much. ( Mental note - - If design was my job and passion, I would hope that I would fork it over for professional site design and - above all - a professional photographer.)

What does everyone think? It's too bad Michael Bargo doesn't have his portfolio online... judging by the Domino profile of this place, I would want him to decorate for me.

Kara Mann
Margaret Ann McEver
David Harris
Ashley Whittaker
Michael Bargo
Sarah Story
The Desk of Lola

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I'm painting the dining room.


My fiance's son said he thought the color we have (a cream that looks yellow when we have lamps on and no daylight) is "the kind of color people pick when they don't know what color they want."

Wow. He's only 12 and he pretty much vomited a bunch of design-y opinions about our house for the first time and he was totally right about everything.

He also said, about the sad wallcolor, "It's kind of 'cat-person.'" So devestating (and yet so awesome. I am totally going to start saying that).

Here's the problem in a nutshell... we have a Tudor. I love our house, but I am used to old apartments with mouldings and white chalky walls that let all your good stuff pop, like a great lamp, a nice photograph, a statement-y console. What I learned from this house is that you can't decorate for what the house needs. This house kind of says, "Put a bunch of Pottery Barn in me." And I see now that I made a lot of dumb compromises. Really dumb ones. I always loved my apartments because I kind of just did whatever I wanted, and I felt like I knew what worked in them... white, white, white (although I did have one awesome chartreuse apartment in CA...), black, strong lines, interesting objects, cool photographs... a graphic mix of things that I really loved. This house, well, it's been tricky.

Anyway... two coats of white primer have now covered up Benjamin Moore's Georgian Brick (red) paint in the dining room. It's like a new day in this house. Seriously, it looks almostyoung in this place. I think my house must feel like we finally took the Privos off her feet and we're just about to slip on a stiletto.

It's going to get interesting around here. I can't wait.

Here are some random photos for the ol' inspiration file. Oh, and tomorrow is the Sand Point Antiques & Design Market. I cannot fucking wait. I've missed the last 3 because I happened to be either on vacation or traveling for work, so this is a big deal for me. Last time, I really scored. I hope to score again. Especially since I am dragging my friend JJ out of bed at 7:30am, when I am to pick her ass up and take her with me.




Let's buy art.




Let's look at our closets and all the pricy bags and shoes. Let's look at the ill-fitting dresses we thought we could Atkins our way into. Let's look at the 10th tube of Nars gloss and ask ourselves:

How much of this would have bought me a painting?

Here are snaps by Tina Barney for the NYTimes about NY "society" chicks who also happen to be young collectors, standing in front of their goods.



Let me be your travel agent.






Like everyone else these days, it seems that we are so freaking busy at my office that people are actually scheduling a lot of their time off next year now. I am usually not that much of a planner, but I am starting to figure out the next vacation...

which led me to a little bit of wishful vacation planning this Saturday as I perform my ritual of drinking a pot of coffee, reading the news on NYTimes.com since I am too lazy to go get the local paper that's sitting outside of the front door, and watching my dog gleefully chew something as he sits spooned up next to me, delighted as he realizes that NO ONE IS LEAVING HIM TODAY for that mysterious place we go Mondays - Fridays.

Saturdays are for dreamin', kids... so let's start dreaming about our next getaway.

8 FRIENDS RENT A VILLA IN ITALY
Yeah, it's not cheap (about $6500 for one week in April - July, with peak rates effective in Aug) but that comes out to only $812 per person for this gorgous rental on the Amalfi coast. That's $135 per night, per person. You can hardly stay at a HoJo for that.
If we went with 3 other couples, packed a few editions of Trivial Pursuit and bought cases of wine when we arrived, that would be heaven. Sleep, sun, trivia, wine, friends, reading, staring at the water. That is pretty much how to live the dream.





You can read more about this rental here.

PARIS

Or you could say at this apartment in Paris (Marais, near the Picasso museum) for EUR 120 per night or EUR 720 for a week. Click here to read a Cottage Living article about a US transplant to Paris, describing her favorite parts of this excellent neighborhood. You'll be in walking distance to nearly everything great, and a short cab or subway ride to everything else.







The goal is to take the trip of a lifetime once a year. And it's really not that expensive to do it, right?