Feb 28, 2009

Exploring Tile: Walker Zanger Showroom

I took a trip over to the Walker Zanger showroom in West Hollywood last week to select stone & tile samples for two kitchen projects I am currently working on, and, as I had not paid a visit to the showroom in some time, I enjoyed seeing some new items. While waiting for my samples, I snapped some pictures to share of some of the new-er collections:

A very Moroccan influence:


Colorful patterns:

Carrera Marble:

These graphic & colorful borders would be great for a bathroom:

Arabesque gold & silver tiles:

A showroom display:

Walker Zanger

Feb 27, 2009

Shopping in Houston...on a budget!

{photo via Cote de Texas}

Joni, of Cote de Texas, has posted many guides to fabulous shopping in Houston. Carolina, of Carolina Eclectic, put together a Houston Shopping Guide for Design Sponge. I still consider myself a fairly recent transplant to this town, so these guides have served as my shopping Bibles. Houston really does offer a little bit for everyone, but finding high style on a budget...that's the challenge. While Shabby Slips (seen above) is my absolute favorite store in Houston, it is a leeetle out of my current price range. I am always looking for great vintage and antique finds for a steal so I thought I'd share some of my local favorites, as well as ask for any suggestions on new places to explore!

I have blogged about the Guild Shop before, I scored these sconces for $90/pair. This consignment store is a hot spot on Saturdays (read: do not bring your man, unless he is totally prepared or properly sedated).

Langford Market in Rice Village mainly sells clothing, but they also have some fun vintage finds for fairly cheap. I still regret not buying this table for my patio...I wanted to put a marble top on it...the husband could not quite see my vision...

I thought these Bertoia inspired chairs were so charming.

19th street in the Heights is brimming with fun finds for the home. This dresser was under $200 at an antique mall...too bad I couldn't find a place for it!

Lower Westheimer is also a great spot for hardcore junk hunting. I love driving down the street on Saturdays. On Valentine's Day I made my husband do quite the maneuvering to pull the car over so I could look at some wire "Eames inspired" chairs (that I did get for our patio).

So local Houstonians, where is your favorite spot to score one of a kind finds for not so much $$$?

Feb 26, 2009

Sittin' Pretty?

Before changing the channel on the 4th hour of the Today show I caught a clip of Hoda and Kathy Lee discussing the recent sale of an Eileen Gray chair at a 2-day Christie's auction from the collection of Yves Saint Laurent. Gray's Dragon's Chair (or Serpent armchair as I've also seen it called) sold for a whopping $28 Million dollars!

I have to say this in not one of my favorite pieces by Gray so I can understand the surprise and shock that many people had by the high price it fetched (for the looks alone). But what really got me was when Kathy Lee quipped: "She can't be that famous, I've never heard of her!". Oh dear, dear Kathy Lee, it is unfortunate that you haven't and that your producers didn't do a quick bit of research on the subject. I personally learned of Eileen Gray in my first week of design school. I even did a project inspired by her work.

Eileen Gray (1878-1976) was a pioneer for women in a field dominated by such famous men as Mies van der Rohe and LeCorbusier. Gray ran in their circle and was a self-taught architect. She is probably best known for her chrome-and-glass adjustable table which retails at Design Within Reach and was designed in 1927.

Some of her other famous pieces include the Transat Chair:

And the Bibendum Chair:

Sometimes I think I forget to appreciate the women that paved the way in the design and architecture industry for many of us. We wouldn't be sittin' pretty today if it weren't for these strong-willed and talented women who weren't afraid to "run with the boys"! So Thank You Eileen Gray!!

If you'd like to read more about the life and work of Eileen Gray I recommend this book by Peter Adam (I own it!):

Feb 25, 2009

Ancient Alabaster

I spotted this lamp below on the PB website...loves loves loves!

Actually I love alabaster in any shape or form. But what the heck is alabaster exactly?

In comes Wikipedia... it's a "name applied to varieties of two distinct minerals: gypsum (a hydrous sulfate of calcium) and calcite (a carbonate of calcium). The former is the alabaster of the present day; the latter is generally the alabaster of the ancients."

Alabaster goes wayyy back- it has been used for centuries in carving and statues. Just look around in any museum- you are bound to find some alabaster objects.

White is the color normally associated with alabaster; however, the mineral can be found in other colors such as pale brown or reddish, or even just veined with color. Somewhat translucent, soft, easy to work with, and readily available, alabaster makes for a beautiful lamp.

Some of my alabaster faves...
Raymon Goins Fine Furniture- Mayfair Lamp

Visual Comfort- Balustrade Lamp (was in Charlotte's apartment in the Sex and the City Movie- thanks for the tidbit Paloma!)

1st Dibs- Italian Alabaster Lamps

William Sonoma Home- Madison Lamp

Frederick Cooper- White Alabaster Gu Form Table Lamp

Martha Stewart Alabaster Table Lamp

Restoration Hardware- Empire Egg Lamps

Alabaster is a nice alternative to crystal lamps, if you want something a little more low key but still nice, light and very elegant!

Thomas Paul Rugs

Looking for an area rug? Thomas Paul Rugs offer some great colors and patterns.

For pricing & sizing availability, please see the Design Public website.

Boutique Branding

I've been a big fan of Jo Malone perfumes and skin care products since her name landed on this side of the Atlantic. Her product is a UK based company that has had much success with opening boutique stores across the nation to supplement her initial outlets in high end department stores. Aside from liking the product alone, I've always liked the "whole package." The simplicity and clean lines of her packaging, the logo, and the interior design of the Jo Malone counters and boutique stores. It's a very simple design that is also very elegant. I think for interior designers who are designing retail spaces, it is important to take the branding into consideration. It may not work for all retail planning, but it sure works for this product.

Facade of the store front retains the branding influence of the name, the product, and the interiors.

Conceptual rendering of the stores interior:

The interiors of the boutique which are also consistent with Jo Malone counter's located in high end department stores such as Neiman Marcus.

The spa located in London. Retains the clean simple lines of her packaging and boutique interiors:

Packaging of Jo Malone products that inspire the consistency of her logo and store design:

Interiors of the Times Square boutique in NYC:

Visit the Jo Malone website for boutique locations & online products.