I'm off to Eugene to see the latest version of Cirque de Soleil but I thought I would leave with you with a little pottery fix to tide you over. I love this work by Valerie Casada. So ethereal and feminine. Enjoy and have a great weekend.
First let me say my k style friends that I love Nate Berkus. So much so that I literally ran to Target today when I read that his new line had finally hit the shelves. The line is really gorgeous but what I fell in love with was his book! I bought the book first which is being sold at Target right along with his product line. It felt hefty and the cover beautifully photographed but I really had no idea what to expect. I hate to use cliched phrases but I was really "blown away" by this book. It is simply breathtaking in every sense of the word.
First there is Nate's personal story beautifully and poignantly told. He is a brilliant decorator but what I didn't know is that he is also a very good writer and I don't say that lightly. His words are beautifully chosen , his deeply kind persona and humorous take on life shining through on every page. It is not sentimental but rather authentic, raw and often funny.
Then there is Nate's decorating story which he evolves throughout the book focusing primarily on his love of "things" that have personal meaning and how he has integrated his life story into the homes he has created and lived in. And yes Nate has a lot of things, tons, which he somehow manages to "put together" in a way that frankly makes me want to clear every surface in my home and start over!
And then finally he shares the design stories of twelve friends and or clients. Each of these homes is absolutely beautifully photographed. Interesting stories of how objects and aesthetics came to be are told
in decorating and life story detail. I learned a lot.
And finally after reading the entire book which pretty much consumed my Sunday I decided to head back to Target. Not because I lusted after any particular item from Nate's new line. But rather because I wanted one "thing" that would remind me of this marvelous book and the really great day I had reading it. So my k style friends this is what I chose.
I love the stone texture of the frame. But mostly I love the personal connection I will feel every time I look at it. Thank you Nate for sharing. It was a great read and I don't say that lightly.
Just a little eye candy to get you through the weekend. I can tell you from my experience as a lampworker that these beads are just about as good as it gets. Corina Tettinger is one of the best and each one of the beads in the bracelet above took literally years in dedication and practice to achieve. Not to mention an inordinate amount of time in the flame to create, literally one involved bead at a time. I am passionate about lampwork and you will see a lot on k style.
I just got through reading and browsing through Gil Schafer's wonderful book THE GREAT AMERICAN HOUSE. The book is gorgeous and well, right up my alley with a beautiful display of homes and interiors combining the best of traditional classic design with a current modern take. His design process is brought into laser focus as he describes in detail the planning, building and designing of five grand projects including his own gorgeous estate "Middlefield". At the conclusion of the book Schafer includes a reference to some of his favorites sources for both design and custom detail work. One of the sources he describes is lighting, furniture and textile company Vaughan Designs. Take a few minutes this weekend and browse through this site. These are just a few of the breathtaking designs you will find.
Before I start this story I will tell you it has a happy ending. But, my k style friends you would not have wanted to know me in "real time" during what I think of as The Sofa Wars. A little background is in order. By now you know I love decorating. LOVE it! But where there is love there is also hate and I'm here to tell you that trying to buy a new sofa in the far reaches of Southern Oregon could also be described as wilderness shopping. Sadly we live in a vast, decor void zone. Enough to make you actually immune to the sofa on "steroids" that has stared back at you for years. In my case a big, green, fat, fake velvet version.
Actually it wasn't that bad when we bought it during what I call the "overstuffed" years. The fabric both practical and a nice neutral green did the job for many years.
In fact, I wanted something similar but more refined. Streamlined with elegant lines. Maybe a little flare at the arms. Something that would look as gorgeous from the back as from the front as our sofa sits floating in the middle of a large vaulted space visually dividing living room from dining room. And yes, I wanted it to be in the green category. I didn't want to change the whole room. I already have chairs and accessories that I love and adding a new or out of sync color would send my budget into overdrive. I just wanted a new, "perfect" sofa that would complement the space and the rest of the furniture and accessories that I already owned. Sound reasonable?
Well, I thought so too. But reality quickly sank in. I really knew very little about this process. So many things had to be taken into consideration. BUDGET, husband (he sits on the sofa for his morning newspaper, tv etc), style, color, accessibility ( I really wanted to literally sit, lounge, lay on it; try it out in real time). Well you get the picture. I hardly knew where to begin. So given the sofa void in our own backyard I knew only one thing for sure at this point. I would have to plan a trip. A sofa trip and I would have to drag my darling husband along. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that this would NOT be his idea of a fun trip. But I simply could not take the chance of hearing him whine for the next 20 years that the sofa was too this or too that and he just couldn't get comfortable or whatever. Nope, he had to come, he had to sit, he had to sign off. LOL he also had to sign the check so this could be problematic.
So we planned a trip. We live in Ashland, Oregon and we had two choices. We could go North to Portland or south to San Francisco both about a 6 hour drive away. In the end after much deliberation we chose Portland mostly because we have no sales tax in Oregon and this would represent a big savings in such a substantial purchase. We could also hit a few furniture stores in Eugene on the way up. So k style friends, reluctant husband in tow, we headed north and we sat, and sat, drove and drove hitting up one furniture store after another. We took notes, we took measurements, we took lots of photos. I really wanted to do my homework on this. I wanted to know there was nothing better out there that I'd somehow missed. I knew I wouldn't get a do over. Talk about pressure. I felt consumed, overwhelmed and yes obsessed. This was going to be hard. Really hard!
So we went to every store we could get to in three days.
In Eugene we hit
Edman Fine Furniture
In Portland we hit
Crate and Barrel
Paul Schatz Fine furniture
We looked at every line we could visually see and test
Baker (gorgeous but very spendy)
And all the contemporary lines found at the big online stores mentioned above.
We literally looked at and sat on over a hundred sofas. We learned a lot. Sofas are a very broad category. Here are just a few of the compelling issues that we began to understand in terms of what we wanted versus what we needed.
Sofa style: This was obviously a major consideration. I would say my aesthetic although eclectic would gear towards something traditional with a contemporary twist. As stated earlier I wanted something simple, maybe slightly sculptural, that would be visually appealing from both front and back. One of the issues here for us was the sofa had to look like a living room sofa but function like a family room sofa. Tricky
Sofa back: This issue was really difficult. I love the clean elegant look of a tight back sofa. Husband on the other hand definitely preferred a loose cushion style for the comfort he deemed necessary for a highly used everyday sofa which this would be. Sadly I had to agree with him on this point so loose cushioned it would have to be. This ruled out a lot of gorgeous options.
Sofa arms: This issue proved to be one of the most challenging. I had a definite preference here which severely limited my options. I did NOT want track arms. I know they are very popular right now, very chic and definitely prevalent in the many showrooms we visited. But I had a vision of something different. Arms that were subtly elegant. Maybe slightly flared or something. Definitely not boxy and square. Again tricky. Husband weighed in here also. He didn't want the arm height to be too low. Difficult to hold a newspaper or book without a little support. Ugh, I had to agree, this was important.
Sofa legs: This one was fairly straight forward for me. I was tired of the skirted sofa I owned previously and wanted exposed legs. But definitely refined. Not big balls or boxy squares.
Sofa height: Many of the sofas we sat in were very low. Beautiful to look at but almost impossible to get out of. Again a really good reason to trek around and try out the lot. A sofa really needs to be experienced. So we wanted something reasonably cushy but not too low. It had to pass the "get out of bed" test.
Fabric: This was a tough one. Unless you're having a sofa totally custom designed or recovering an old sofa you are pretty limited to the fabric options provided by the particular manufacturer. There were sofas I liked but not a single fabric choice that would work for me. Again I knew I was being pretty specific but I wanted what I wanted. Something in the green category, something practical and something fairly dark as again we would be using everyday. A little problematic since I didn't want brown. I am just not into brown sofas unless they are leather. And you guessed it. Brown or a version of brown was everywhere. Green was very hard to find.
Availability: I knew I would be waiting for this sofa. There was no way on gods earth I was going to find something I wanted "as is" on the showroom floor. But how long was I willing to wait? Patience is not my middle name so over 3 months would be hard. I would have to really love/want it to wait any longer.
Budget/Quality: Predictably I left this issue for last because well who wants to talk about budget. Yes, I wanted a quality sofa that would stand the test of time. That would be "worth" recovering in the future. But, and this is a serious but, I didn't want to spend $10,000 on said sofa. It would have to be in the middle sofa range. Not cheap but not high end. Again tricky!
So k style friends I'm sure you're dying to know. Did we find the sofa of our dreams on this trip? Well the simple answer is yes and no. We learned a lot on this trip. A ton. But we still had some work to do. Predictably there was no sofa that totally called my name. But we were definitely closer to understanding the issues, identifying some feasible brands and armed with new and practical insights ready to hit the vast online world of furniture shopping with gusto.
Here's what I knew. Baker furniture lines were beautiful, gorgeous in fact but out of our price range and frankly too refined and formal for our space. Contemporary big chain brands like Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, Restoration hardware were either too large scaled or well, not adequately made. The kind of sofas that would wear down and lose value in the future. We already had one of those.
But then there was Stickley. An American made brand that was beautifully crafted, rooted in tradition yet definitely offering many designs with a contemporary twist. I didn't find anything on our trip that was "perfect" but both husband and myself were attracted to many aspects of this line. We saw and tested a variety of sofa styles from this renowned company. So when we got home I hit the Internet. Specifically stickley.com. Well needless to say I wasn't disappointed. Flipping through the "Look Book" I found this. The Broadway Sofa.
While up in Portland at one of the fine furniture stores I had photographed another Stickley sofa, the Wheaton, upholstered in a gorgeous deep spruce/pine green corduroy like fabric. Very thin whaled and natural looking . The sofa style was close to what I had envisioned but too big and bulky. However, I loved the fabric. So click, I had it in my "like fabric" file.
And well k style friends, whew, three and a half months later I had my "perfect" sofa. The Broadway sofa from Stickley, upholstered in the fabric as seen on the Wheaton. It was a quest. It was a journey. But in the end I got the sofa I had envisioned. A sofa with beautifully articulated arms, elegant and sculptural in shape, as beautiful from the back as front, loose cushioned, medium height arms, cushy but easy to get out of, in the green category, dark and practical and within budget. And not to be underestimated it passed the husband test with flying colors!
"Our sofa feels like a man's well worn corduroy jacket thrown over the shoulders of a gorgeous curvy woman. A perfect blend of the masculine and feminine and for me the best of both worlds."
There's just one thing I should mention. Yes, all of my other furniture looks great with my new sofa BUT lol I'm thinking I really need a new coffee table to really do it justice. Stay tuned k stylers. The coffee table wars are definitely in our future! k
I know. I am a little bird obsessed this week. But these are just so fun that I wanted you to see. Originally introduced in the 1950's these playful birds designed by Kristian Vedel quickly became one of the hottest Danish wooden products of the times. They have been reintroduced and you can buy them here at Rare Device.
It's no secret that I love birds. You will see lots of them on Kstyle. I also love Etsy and the myriad of handcrafted originals that reside their. These darling birds found here are just too cute for words. LOVE them! Enjoy
Well kstyle friends, you can see I've been a little busy but not as busy as my son "the photojournalist" and my beautiful daughter n law Sally who just gave birth yesterday to my grandson Liam Adams Lusch weighing in at 8lbs 1 oz. We are all overjoyed and I am so lucky because we live in the same town and I will get to be a hands on grandma.
Anyway my friends hope to be back in kstyle swing next week. Have a great weekend.
I don't know about you but I have a "stuff" problem. It seems that when I sit in my favorite chair (not chair pictured) I don't travel light! Not at all. I need tons of stuff nearby, as in I just need to reach down and get it. BUT and big but here. I don't want to see it when I'm not using.
Well I found the perfect solution this weekend at Target. I was just browsing like I love to do when I saw these woven, felt, collapsible baskets and I knew I had found the holy grail of the need/it hide/it dilemma. So I can finally keep all my charging cords (ipods, nook, phone, underwater ipod, camera, more) hand lotion, pens, notebook, various club directories, backup hardrive, Emory boards, nail polish, journals, camera close by but out of sight. So problem solved! Yay and thank you Target once again for saving the day. k