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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

2009 Round-Up: Notes from J

Does this picture make you smile as big as it does me? This is my Birdie and I did not realize I could love something so big.
I have been promising myself for the past few weeks that I would write a blog to sum up 2009. I figured I had to do it before February 1!

We had a big year at Gramercy. Our business continued to grow despite a crazy economy. We introduced new lines to the shop. We worked a lot. We were pregnant and hot. We welcomed a baby boy in May. We found new inspiration in people, fabrics, and colors. We made new friends in customers. We did A LOT of monogramming. Our air conditioning unit was stolen…yes, stolen. Did I mention…We were hot and pregnant? We welcomed a baby girl in October. We added a crib to the back of the shop. We hired precious girls to work with us. We lost a precious girl to Florida. We had an engagement. We had a wedding. We celebrated with a Christmas dinner and laughed about how far we had come.
I can sum this up by saying we are blessed.

C and I are headed to NYC for market this weekend, and I can’t wait. I need a little break, some time with my husband, some sleep and some inspiration. I have Jay Z’s Empire State of Mind playing on repeat right now. These streets will make you feel brand new, The lights will inspire you, Let’s hear it for New York, New York, New York….

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Suck it Up

I left the corporate world many years ago and certainly don’t miss my time sitting in the “Formica Jungle,” as a co-worker once coined our open-space, cubicle plan. I think I could “suck it up” and go back to the corporate world if it were for the company known for “sucking it in.”

Spanx (right here in Atlanta) just moved to a new building and hired local firm, tvsdesign, to get it ready for the next decade. The space is like a giant (37,000 square feet) home office that is over the top in shades of red, pink, orange, etc. Scroll through the pics from Interior Design for a delightful treat – my favorite pic is the one of the cupcakes in the employee kitchen. Is the company trying to maintain brand loyalty from its employees by keeping a little extra on their hips? Too funny!





How clever is this wallpaper?

I might not even doodle my way through a meeting if it were here....

See the cupcakes?!?!


Images from Interior Design and photographed by Brian Gassel

Oh Baby...

Happy Monday! I had such a fun weekend catching up with friends and their bambino's. A perfect gift for little ones is this precious, plaid receiving blanket. A best seller at the shop, this blanket is sweet "as-is" but even sweeter with a fantastic monogram. Classic.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Music To My Ears

I was reading Erin's blog (Elements of Style) about butterfly chairs, which was inspired by her urge to go to Coachella this year. Coachella is an AMAZING music festival out in Palm Desert that I encourage everyone to attend at least once. Hum, music and design? How does it relate? Well, Erin's blog is a great example but it got me thinking...

One can have a home filled with the "perfect" furniture, art, and accessories for a soirée but still leave guests wanting more. Music sets the mood. Music ignites something inside of us that makes us ease up a little...Without music (and the right music) we miss an important sense in home entertaining. Just like a woman wearing perfume - music helps pull it all together.

One of the first CD’s (there was no ipod then) that I used for entertaining was PB Soul by Pottery Barn – remember that one? Anyone else have it? Such great tunes. Whenever I hear one of the songs from the album (Midnight Train to Georgia) I reminisce on my first attempts at dinner parties! What songs bring back great party memories to you?

The past few weeks I’ve been OBSESSED with Mumford & Sons – so good, so cute and so British. I can not stop listening to the album (and each song) over and over and over and over – you get the point. I promise - you will too! The album, Sigh No More, was partially released January 19th and you should definitely check it out. Every song is amazing. Happy listening!

Images from Elements of Style, Amazon, and Mumford & Sons

Monday, January 18, 2010

Down to the Basics

It’s been chilly across the U.S. and while temperatures are getting warmer –we’re not exactly heating up. Down comforters can be used year round but winter is certainly its “high season.” Are you interested in a new comforter but baffled by the boxes? Fed up with fill-power? Or, feel like your about to quack over the difference between down and feathers? Let me help break it down for you….

What is down, anyway? Down is the light, fluffy, insulating undercoat clustered beneath the feathers of geese and ducks to protect them from severe winter temperatures. This down is softer, lighter, loftier, and warmer than any other material, which makes it ideal for insulating and maintaining an even body temperature in all climates.

What is the best type of down? The best quality down blankets and comforters are made of pure, white, hypoallergenic goose down (either Siberian or Hungarian). Down from geese is considered to be of a higher quality than that from ducks because geese are larger and, consequently, the down clusters are larger and softer and provide greater insulation. Down from geese that live in colder climates tend to offer more insulating power and better ability to loft.

If you're on a limited budget, you might find a down blanket with a lower grade of down, less down, or a combination of down and feathers.

What is fill power? The term describes the quality of down as measured by volume per ounce. The higher the fill power, the better the insulating ability of the down and more warmth with much less weight.

What is the purpose of baffles? Down blankets and comforters are made with long channels or a sewn-through box design which helps keep the down in place for an even distribution. Strips of fabric are actually sewn between the layers of fabric to keep the clusters of down from shifting. With baffles sewn in, you won’t have any bare spots or lumps in your down comforter.
Do I need to cover my comforter? A comforter without a cover is called a "duvet." In order to take good care of a new down comforter or blanket, you can use a "duvet cover" (similar to a large pillowcase) to protect your investment. A duvet cover also adds a decorative element and can be changed as you desire. I like the simplicity of the two choices below by Sferra. The lilac duvet cover would be precious in a little girl’s room.
Sferra Grande Hotel Collection - available in approximately 8 different color options.


Sferra Giotto - luxurious sateen (shown in honey and also available in dark khaki, ivory, white and sea mist).


Peacock Alley - Charmed Collection (shown in lilac and also available in white, pink and blue)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Vendor Spotlight: Stray Dog Designs

It’s a love story really…

A love for each other. A love for the beauty of Mexico and its design influences. A love of creativity, and (obviously) a love of stray dogs.

Newlyweds Bill and Jane had moved to Mexico for an extended honeymoon of sorts and quickly adopted sweet La Princessa, a local stray dog. The three of them built a life together scouring the country for unique wares to export to the United States. Jane’s creative juices couldn’t be contained and soon she was bringing to life (with the help of local artisans and encouragement from Bill) her sketches of unique lamps and home accessories. That was then….fast forward 10+ years and Stray Dog Designs is a thriving business with its pieces featured in top publications and touted by haute designers. More importantly, the company stays true to its core values and continues to produce hand-made items from recycled materials while supporting artisans across the globe. The paper mache pieces are actually hand-crafted in Haiti (click here to help for disaster relief). Additionally, the Company donates a percentage of its profit toward relief for hungry and homeless children, men, women, and (of course) dogs!

Come by the shop and check out a few of our pieces or to order some of your own. In the meantime see a few of my favorite (below):

1/ Paper Mache lamps: So many different styles - I particularly love the bulbous Vince & Vincent Lamp. These lamps come in 16 different base colors and 4 different shade options. I am particularly fond of the all white versions. But, the pops of color are an excellent way to add a focal piece to your room.

Vince & Vincent Lamp in White

Faux bois in Kingsport Gray


Artichoke Lamp in Douglas Fir


Tulip Tree Lamp in Bahama Blue

2/ Glass & Mirror Lamps: So fun. The cool blue on the glass number would be perfect as a pair on bedside tables. I love the antiqued mirrors and tin on the bottom piece - lovely in a foyer.

3/ Magalie Mirror: Need I say more? Okay, I will. Imagine how much lighter this would be to hang given the paper mache fabrication.
4/ Lucy Table in Pumpkin Blush: YUMMY!

I can't resist the urge to show you my absolute favorite stray dog....Oscar. Isn't he just adorable? Like the stray dogs in San Miguel, Oscar was found wandering in the mountain areas in Virginia and he has a love of cafes!
Image from Kristen Alexander

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Dreaming of Warmer Places...

Baby it's cold outside. And, I'm dreaming of warmer weather and warmer places. Looking back through my House Beautiful I felt an urge to jump in the pages of this Vero Beach home designed by Tom Sheerer. I love the Caribbean inspiration and great shades of blue. I think he strikes a perfect balance of casual beach chic with a touch of glamour. I'm also a big fan of Tom's idea to make an additional seating area behind the main living room. A big trend I've been noticing lately is the treatment of ceilings like floors. The ceiling below looks like wood but it's actually faux-bois wallpaper.

My favorite room in the house is this amazing kitchen. Check out the details of that tile! I know it's not new, but I really do love the use of orange and robin egg's blue together, especially in "beachy" settings. My favorite part if this kitchen, however, are the coal shovel bar stools by Thomas Moser.
Of course, I have my passion for all things bedroom related and I know from first-hand experience that bedrooms in this color provide calming, restful slumber.

How fun is this headboard upholstered in China Seas fabric? Do you recognize the pillows??? By John Robshaw - I just keep going back to his prints. Don't be afraid to mix your patterns!
Hope everyone stays warm and toasty this cold weekend!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

All Pieced Together

Style Court just posted this amazing quilt from the Sotheby's auction catalog...it got me thinking about quilts (I know, kind of weird since down comforters are what we need with this arctic weather!) I've always been a huge fan of quilts - my first being one my uber creative mother made me from old, childhood T-shirts. Then my grandmother followed up with an absolute priceless gift - a quilt made from the material of baby clothes worn by me and my mother. Amazing, right? While I adore the above mentioned pieces, they don't exactly work with my overall design scheme. Graphic patterns are more my speed...how great is this citrine, diamond pattern from Serena & Lily?

Then of course there's John Robshaw for his Asian-inspired block printed quilts.









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