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Events & Exhibitions

Monday, August 12th, 2013

The Island Institute and Photography of Peter Ralston


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I’m up in Maine right now and this weekend and I popped into The Island Institute’s Rockland headquarters and store, Archipelago. The Institute was celebrating its 30th anniversary and it was not only amazing to hear about all of the great work they’ve done to sustain Maine’s island and remote coastal communities, but also to look at all of the amazing photographs by co-founder Peter Ralston. There was an exhibit and the entire building is filled with them, to which we were allowed rare access.

Clearing by Peter Ralston

Ralston began the Island Institute with Phil Conkling in 1983 with a shoestring budget that has grown to $5 million dollars a year. Around 50 employees work hard to preserve the unique cultures of these special places, as well as help their economies, educational systems, marine management and more. I always enjoy their journal very much and if you are a fan of the coast of Maine, I recommend you join this wonderful organization and help their efforts. When you join, you get a 10% discount at their store, Archipelago, which has amazing made in Maine artwork, jewelry, pottery and other items, like gorgeous blankets from Swan Island.

Spectre by Peter Ralston

Cofounder Peter Ralston is one of my favorite photographers of all time. He can capture fog, boats, still lifes, animals, landscapes, seascapes, photos of houses in such a way that they look like an Andrew Wyeth egg tempura painting … his photographs have documented Maine’s islands and coastal communities for decades.

Glint by Peter Ralston

Learn more about visiting/joining The Island Institute

Noontide by Peter Ralston

Learn more about/purchase the photography of Peter Ralston


Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Eero Saarinen’s Greatest Hits


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I am so excited for Museum of Design Atlanta’s upcoming Eero Saarinen exhibit – it starts this Sunday April 14th and will run through June 30, 2013. For those of you who won’t be in Atlanta during that time, I thought we could do a post on Saarinen here to let you enjoy his work too. Here’s a quick peek at a fe of his greatest hits:

The Miller House, Columbus, Indiana 1957: Now owned and maintained by The Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Miller House is open for tours. If you visit, be sure to pay attention the landscape by Daniel Urban Kiley; it’s one of the most spectacular modern gardens in the U.S. and the interior fun provided by Alexander Girard. Tickets sell out fast, so be sure to plan ahead if you’re planning a trip to the modern-architecture rich Columbus! You can buy them here.

photos via The Indianapolis Museum of Art

The TWA Terminal at JFK 1962: The last time I was in this building, it was leaky and there was a bird flying around, but this architecture was all about the Jet Age, back when flying was glamorous and exciting:

photo by Ezra Stoller

John Deere Headquarters, Moline, Illinois 1964: After catching the eye of John Deere’s president, William Hewitt with his designs, Saarinen designed the striking headquarters for the company. The project is a wonderful example of modern architecture living in harmony with its surroundings:

photo via

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis 1965: One of the most iconic structures (at 630 feet high, it’s also the tallest monument) in the U.S. is also by Saarinen. Again, he teamed up with Dan Kiley to complete the landscape. Isn’t this picture crazy? It gives me vertico just thinking about it, and it also makes me miss my erector set!

Saarinen’s furniture designs continue to be some of the most popular examples of mid-century modern style today.

He designed the Womb Chair (1964) at the behest of his good pal Florence Knoll, who wanted a chair she could curl up in. If one wants to stretch out in it, the matching ottoman is a great addition.

Of course, his tulip table, a.k.a. Knoll Saarinen Table (1956), is one of the most iconic pieces of furniture from the mid-century modern period. Saarinen was not fond of legs and wanted a cleaner look when it came to kitchen and dining areas. “The undercarriage of chairs and tables in a typical interior makes an ugly, confusing, unrestful world,” he said. “I wanted to clear up the slum of legs. I wanted to make the chair all one thing again.”

For a typical kitchen table with four legs plus four chairs, Saarinen decreased “the slum of legs” from 20 legs to 5 pedestals. Not too shabby!

For those of you in Atlanta during the next few months, be sure to check out MODA’s Eero Saarinen exhibit!


Friday, April 5th, 2013

Make Weekend Plans That Celebrate Spring Gardens


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I know this has been a pretty wacky week for weather across the U.S. this week, but for some of us it will be warming up and it’s time to start planning some weekend activities to celebrate spring. Why not check out your local botanical gardens? If it’s too cold, check out the conservatory instead.

During the nicer weather a week and a half ago, I hit the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, and the tulips, crocuses and pansies were in full glorious bloom. So were camelias and Japanese anemones and a few more plant names I forgot to scribble down. It was a great way to get excited about spring gardening in the upcoming weeks.

Do a quick search for botanical gardens in your city and make plans. Also, check out how much a membership costs. If you plan on going two to three times per year, you usually save money, and many gardens that are open to the public have reciprocal memberships.

You should also start planning for Garden Tours. Many of these take place in the spring and tickets are available now. botanical gardens, garden clubs, museums and other organizations put together great peeks into some of the greatest gardens around. These are usually fundraisers and could be your only chance to see these spectacular gardens. Get online and start figuring out the best times to go. Often early birds or members can snag discounted tickets as well.

Finally, while you’re on your spring weekend field trips, take notes! Make plans for your next field trip to be to the nursery, so you can begin gardening season off with new inspiration.

photos by Becky Harris


Friday, March 15th, 2013

Field Trip: Museum of Design Atlanta


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Last week I had a chance to sneak away to Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) at lunchtime. Located across the street from the High Museum, this little gem is a lot of fun to visit. Another bonus – the receptionist told us that movie stars are constantly walking by and she’s seen Owen Wilson riding his bike out front on several occasions. A single membership is only forty bucks and they have fun events in the evening all the time.

“Recess in the City” by Willem Stear and Didi Dunphy

The current exhibition, The South’s Next Wave, is also a competition. Interior/set designers and object designers paired up to create vignettes. Visitors receive a ballot and get to vote.

As I rounded the corner to check out “Darkly, Deeply, Beautifully Blue,” by cg creative interiors and Lisa Humphreys, I could swear I smelled frosting. Sure enough, several of the odes to Marie Antoinette were cake, including the tall corseted column in the middle and the pillow with the shoes on top:

In “Energy Required” by Thom Borwn and Michael Kress, the vibrant color of heavy duty extension cords provide a dynamic backdrop for Kress’s boat and chair.

In “Fashion in Captivity” by Michel Boyd, Maken Imcha, Christian Harris and Caroline Mae Heidenreich, frills, swag, draping and scale create drama. Check out the way the folds in the drapes contrast with the malachite wallcovering.

“Sound Lounge” by Michael Habachy and Peter Soloman is a space I think Prince would love. If Memorex cassettes were still a thing, this would be a perfect set for their commercial.

Yes, the swing outside is decorative AND functional!

Have you checked out any cool exhibitions in your town lately? Let us know in the Comments section!


Friday, November 9th, 2012

Around the Web This Week


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What a week! Personally I ruined my fall back extra hour of sleep by staying up late for election results and speeches and never caught back up; it’s like a week-long political hangover and I’m just glad there aren’t 6 billion dollars worth of annoying ads assaulting us anymore. It’s been fun to think about other things; here are a few fun virtual design stops I’ve made this week.

First, let’s get serious. Victims of Hurricane Sandy need help. A lot of helpful tips have been posted all over the web this week; I’m finding first-hand accounts from friends on Facebook have some of the most useful information. Bottom line, these people don’t need your worn-out clothing right now, what they do need includes warm outerwear (coats, scarves, mittens, hats, wool socks, etc.), cash, hand sanitizer, batteries, wipes, cans of soup and can openers, diapers, warm blankets, power cords and more. An easy way to help is to text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Another charity that is doing great work and makes it easy to donate online is Family-to-Family.

If you need to lighten your mood, I highly recommend a viewing of Moonrise Kingdom from the comfort of your living room. If you’ve already checked out Wes Anderson’s latest visual feast but can’t get enough, check out the behind the scenes tours, particularly Bill Murray’s guided set tour.

I loved this post from Tablet about great spots for what they call “the annual man trip” but I have decided to call mancations, dudescursions and/or bro-jurns. While I’m not a man and I don’t really care to go fishing or smoke cigars, I would happily cozy up in any of these awesome spots around the world.

I finally had time to sit down and savor the latest issue of Anthology magazine. The theme is Rhythm and Hues and it’s a great look at the homes of music-industry types. I love that during a time when so many home glossies were going out of business, this talented group had the guts create a fresh and original print magazine. I treat each one like I would a book, and they will never be making their way to my recycling bin.

By the way, if you got too caught up in the fray and forgot to shop our Blu Dot sale, don’t fret. It’s been extended through November 19th. Click here to start browsing and saving.