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Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Our Top Five Favorite Mad Men Design Moments

Becky

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Now that Don Draper finally nailed the ultimate account and Mad Men has disappeared into 1970 forever, I’ve been binge watching the whole thing all over again on Netflix. There were so many fantastic moments of graphic design, fashion design, even hair design (and some not-so-good ones, those ’70s staches and sideburns were not doing the characters any favors). But most of all, I loved to watch Mad Men for the spot-on 1960s set design.

There are too many to count; with all that Eames, Saarinen and other mid-century icons lurking everywhere. Here are some of the highlights:

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What does this guy need an office for? No actual business ever happened here, except for a fake phone call to Lee Gardner over at Lucky Strike weeks after Roger had lost the account.

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1) The best moment to me was when Jane Sterling hired a decorator to redecorate Roger’s office, the spot where he dictated that not-so-bestselling Sterling’s Gold. A tulip table, a CJ Corona chair, op art and more iconic items in a black and white palette. I mean, check out that phone!

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“A modern Chinoiserie breakfront, a Dunbar Japanese-influenced sofa, silk Dupioni drapes, Murano vases, and a classic Drexel end table.” — Betty Draper’s decorator

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2) Betty redecorates the living room. Betty hires a decorator that gives her sharp Hollywood Regency style for her living room. Don walks in and moves a lamp around to make it perfect. Then Betty buys a very symbolic fainting couch that messes the whole look up. It’s so appropriate because the poor woman is trapped in an era that squeezes her like a Victorian corset.

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3) Betty goes to get analyzed. Has there ever been a sadder woman on a Barcelona daybed? And did analysts really call husbands to give them the rundown after the wife’s appointment? That was crazy. Anyway, this image is fun to compare and contrast with the fainting couch one above it.

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4) Don flies to sunny L.A. and winds up hanging out with a bunch of European tax evaders in “The Jet Set” episode. According to Curbed, this house is The Fox House, an abode Sinatra rented for 10 years. If that’s not a ringing endorsement that it’s classic California modern, I don’t know what is. The set designers and art director captured that clean white, glass and that unique California cool.

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Bert Cooper’s Japanese-inspired office. No shoes allowed in here. The arrival of new art was always exciting and gave us insight into Bert’s character and tastes. A new Rothko had everyone in the office a tizzy, a Pollack was behind his head during the moon landing, but the best was the sex octopus:

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But the best sex octopus moment was this vision of Peggy Olson, completely transformed, strolling into McCann-Erickson unrecognizable from the young secretary we’d met a decade earlier.

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What was your favorite Mad Men design moment? Please share it with us!

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Friday, May 22nd, 2015

Some Easy Swaps and Props for Summer Decor

Becky

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If you’re not going anywhere this weekend, it’s a great time to summer-fy your place. Or for those of you lucky enough to have a cottage or a summer share it’s the prime weekend to open it up and give it a zshush. Here are 10 favorite products that will help you get ready for summer.

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1. Lobstahs! Go for that overt sea creature theme, because now is the time. A favorite lobster accessory of mine is the Thomas Paul Lobster Sketch Pillow.

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2. Candlelight.  Get ready for some outdoor candlelight. The usual tealight holders won’t keep the breeze from blowing out your flames. Add color and cute little perforated designs to your moody candlelight with notNeutral Hurricanes (set of 2).

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3. Be picnic-ready. The Fatboy Picnic Lounge has plenty of room for your entire picnic party and comes with four pins to keep it grounded and a brush to keep it sand-free.

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4. Embrace the BBQ, and take it wherever you go. The RS Barcelona Mon Oncle BBQ is portable, has retro style and you tote it down to the beach  in a cool little briefcase. This makes it a cool little accessory when it’s stashed in the house, not in use. you won’t want to hide it in a garage like those other grills.

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5. Add some summery art. I love to switch up my color scheme in the summer. One key work of art can inspire all of your choices. The pastels and bright greens in this oil painting by Ginger Marshall will make the room feel instantly airier.

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6. Accessorize your mojito. Hot days call for cool cocktails. Jazz them up with these playful patterns from See Design.

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7. Have the lemonade or sweet tea chillin’. Also, you must have a pitcher of iced tea at the ready at all times. Them’s the rules. The ittala Aino Aalto Pitcher is a mid-century classic, and seeing it every time you open up the refrigerator will make you happy.

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9. Swap in cotton for wool. Lighter brighter rugs will remind your bare feet it’s summer. This is the Blu Dot Bravo Rug in Orange.

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10. Hang a summery shower curtain. This is the easiest and least expensive way to give your bathroom what will feel like a total makeover. Thomas Paul has everything from the squid to the whale on his sea-inspired shower curtains, but I find this pair of seahorses too cute to resist.

What’s your favorite summer design move? Please share it with us in the comments section.

 

 

 

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Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

5 Must-Have Elements for The Perfect Outdoor Space

Becky

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For many of us, the pollen is finally clearing, and it’s time to get that outdoor space spiffed up so that we can spend the maximum amount of time outdoors. What makes a great outdoor space? Here are my personal top five:

1. LIFE

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Even the tiniest of spaces needs plants to enliven it. Surely there is room even on the smallest of balconies for at least a potted plant or two. Consider a trellis, hanging pots or boxes that hang over the railings if you’re short on floor space.

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Modernica’s mid-century modern pots with stands are one of the chicest modern ways to add life to your outdoor space.

2. LIGHT

Hotel Saint Cecilia in Austin Texas

Hotel Saint Cecilia in Austin Texas

Sometimes, the moon is not enough (or it’s a sliver). Enhance your lighting scheme however you can — tiki torches, lanterns, even inexpensive outdoor holiday lights can be just the right way to set the mood.

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I’m also crazy about these pots from Offi, because they double as mood lighting. A compact fluorescent bulb is all it takes for them to light up your outdoor space with magical ambiance. Shop more outdoor lighting options —we’ve got everything from perforated candleholders to outdoor lamps with indoor style.

3. FIRE

Photo by Dave Lauridsen for Dwell

Photo by Dave Lauridsen for Dwell

Yes, lots of people have fancy fire pits and full chimneys start at about tens thousand dollars. But it is easy to bring in a small fire pit that will keep you more than toasty on a cool night and toast a smorgasbord of s’mores to perfection.

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Loll’s Fire Ring Set comes with an array of different colored tops so that it can serve double-duty as a coffee table when it’s not smoldering. But I like charcoal gray because it’s modern and it goes well with fire.

4. DINING FURNITURE
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You cannot very well host that al fresco dinner party you’ve been thinking about without a proper table and chairs. Whether you buy new or set up some sawhorses, an old door for a tabletop and a mix of chairs from indoors, start envisioning your outdoor tablescape.

5. LOUNGING FURNITURE

By Mark Tessier Landscape Architecture

By Mark Tessier Landscape Architecture 

While I’d like to think it’s my scintillating personality that keeps my friends coming back to my screened-in porch for wine night, I know it’s really the cushy sofa where everyone can get comfy on big pillows and put their feet up.
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The Blu Dot Jibe Collection is my favorite new outdoor line. It has all the comfort of indoor furniture without getting overwhelmed by overstuffed cushions.

What are your personal top five outdoor elements? Can’t live without the bubble of a fountain or the tunes from Pandora? Let us know in the comments section.

 

 

 

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Friday, May 8th, 2015

Weekend Trip: 48 Hours in Asheville, North Carolina

Becky

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A few weeks ago, a friend and I traveled four hours from Atlanta up to the mountains on a mission to see The Biltmore, but we found so much more in this small beautiful city. IMG_5216

I was gobsmacked by the striking patina on this roof as soon as we parked in the Renaissance parking lot. Asheville has it all, from the English tudor style architecture of Biltmore Village to art deco downtown, from charming Arts and Crafts bungalows and Victorian homes to the more industrial thriving River Arts District down by the railroad tracks.

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Night one, we hit Table. Hmmm, one-word name, some bragging about just how farm to table they are, the menu changing EVERY NIGHT(!) … I gotta admit, I was ready to be a hater. Until I tasted the buttermilk bread served before dinner. There are no words to describe just how good the entree was. They have earned their bragging rights. The food at Table is to die for, and the service was excellent.

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Photo by Alchemy Studio

Bellies full and headed back to the hotel, we staggered upstairs to The Twisted Laurel, where we enjoyed grooving to Jim Arrendell and the Cheap Suits with a horde of their local fans.

The next day we got it together and headed out to The Biltmore. Both of us bad planners, the online tickets were sold out. After waiting in a long line and paying over $60 each for the house tour, we had quite a few hours to kill until our appointed tour time. This was a blessing, because it meant we had precious hours to leave the property and hit the River Arts District, where creativity thrives in Asheville.

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A few favorites were Mark Bettis, who mostly works with cold wax and oil paint, and Element Clay Studio. I picked up a piece from each of them.

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The funkadoo vibe in the River Arts District was a really fun contrast to the display of Gilded Age wealth we were about to encounter at The Biltmore. Case in point: A wall and view in The River Arts District …

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…vs. a wall at The Biltmore:

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Which do you like better? While the breathtaking mountain and foothill views at The Biltmore were better, the found object fence in The River Arts District was my favorite.

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Here’s a unique mash up of a granite chunk and mid-century modern shell chair. The result is totally Asheville street furniture.

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Finally, it was on to The Biltmore. I have to admit, this place is kind of scary! I mean, look at those gargoyles guarding it from above! But the setting and the Frederick Law Omsted-designed grounds were spectacular.

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Oh, and it was tulip season. This brings the crowds but it was worth fighting them.

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Oddly, my favorite room in the house by far was this old school gym in the basement. It looked like something out of a Wes Anderson film. Also, it reminded me of when Izzy Mandelbaum was Jerry Seinfeld’s personal trainer and he said “Now pick up that medicine ball” andJerry responded with “Is this a gym or a museum of fitness?”

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Photo via http://gudgerandferguson.blogspot.com/

Exhausted from our tooling about, we found a place straight out of that Portlandia skit where Andy Samburg plays the mixologist to relax with some drinks. It was The Upstairs Monk, accessible through a speakeasy-like system. One in your party must be a member, but they let you join on the spot for $1. Drinks are expertly mixed from homemade ingredients, and with each drink, you receive a key to an antique apartment mailbox filled with snacks. The Nutella Waffles are a great one.

Thank you Asheville, I can’t wait to return for another weekend.

 

 

 

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Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Becky

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I’m not sure when Americans started making such a big deal about Cinco de Mayo, but I would wager only a few of them have heard of the Battle of Puebla. I hadn’t until I looked it up five minutes ago (Thanks USAToday!) However, that’s OK. We’ll take any excuse to have some fun sipping margaritas while having fun with our friends.  In honor of the day Mexican defeated invaders, we though we’d highlight some other ways Mexico is a big winner. Winners in design of course, because that’s probably why you stopped by this particular blog after all.

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Beautiful handmade textiles. This stunning photo, “Oaxaca Dancers” was taken by photographer Bob Krist.

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Mayan Pyramids. These world wonders are one of the biggest tourist attractions. Chichen Itza, photographed here, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Photo via visitroo.com.

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The architecture of Luis Barragán. Quite a few years after the Mayans, Mexican architecture is still rocking it. Photo by Armando Salas Portugal

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Hand-painted ceramics and tiles. There’s no pottery more lively, stairs more full of pattern.

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Colorful hand-woven baskets. These add texture and a dash of happy to any home. Oh I am craving a trip to a Mexican market right now.

Now back to those margaritas and queso everyone!

¡Arriba, abajo, al centro, pa dentro!

 

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