29 November 2007

chic outdoor chandelier

maison21 has long admired this grand 66" brass chandlier from richard shapiro studiolo- so impossibly chic and over the top.

so m21 was quite amused to find this 35" homage en plasitque ($149) during a recent visit to the ikea christmas store! if maison21 was planning an outdoor fete this summer, or even had anywhere suitable to hang it in his garden, he would snap several of these up right now and store them until summer. maison21 is going back to buy the smaller 19" version for a minuscule patio upstairs at the maison21 atelier, where we've long sought a lightweight, weatherproof, yet chic lantern. we were so taken with the large version, and trying to figure out how the heck we'd ever find a use for it, that it didn't even occur to us to get the smaller version we could actually be using right now! hate when that happens....

ps- somebody needs to speak to ikea about their names for their products- really, "GLÄNSA LYSA", is just retartet.

pps- while you're at richard shapiro studiolo, check out their gilded iron etageres. maison21 desperately covets a pair of them.

27 November 2007

decorating porn 11/26 part 2

4 more of my favorites culled from the 12 pages of new listings on 1stdibs this week (and another 12 pages will be out in less than 12 hours! yikes! it's much too much muchness!)

spider base circular side tables
belvedere, atlanta
$3,700 ea.
how hot are these? love the fact that they have a drawer, so they can be used as nightstands as well (a drawer in a night table is a MUST). maison21 doesn't even mind the crackle finish!

lightolier hanging light fixture
20th century gallery, hudson, ny
maison21 hesitates to use the word bargain in connection with anything on 1stdibs, but in this case it's appropriate, because this lightolier chandelier is like getting a jean royere chandelier without the extra zero on the price. all it needs is some conical shades...

curtis jere gazelle sculpture
collins & mccullough, miami
maison21 is mad for animals (the m21 atelier looks like a brass and porcelain petting zoo), and this c. jere gazelle is especially fine. i've never seen this particular animal by jere, and at 3 feet all, it's a whole lotta sculpture for the price.

decorative patio suite
sultana, san francisco
designed for the patio, this set would be equally fab indoors. one of the chicest decoristas i know here in los angeles scored a similar sofa for a song on ebay not so long ago (don't think i don't notice when you outbid me, jennifer! :)

26 November 2007

decorating porn 11/26

a client of mine once described 1stdibs as decorating porn. i thought that description was brilliant, because for design junkies like moi, it is indeed the stuff of which fantasies are made.

a few items maison21 is drooling over from this weeks new listings (had to hurry and get these posted- next weeks new listings are out in two days, and god forbid i get behind on my 1stdibs!)

two 1970s bronze skull sconces by maria pergay
offered by 1stdibs paris
$33,400 (or 300 euros)
these have got to be amongst the chicest sconces ever- so goth modern. luxe and a little creepy. remember, this is decorating porn, so since it's all a fantasy, price is not an object. but if let me tell you, if he had the budget, maison21 would buy these without blinking an eye and then proceed to design a room around them.

silver leaf bombe chest by samuel marx
offered by todd merrill antiques, new york
contact dealer for price
in my fantasy, this amazing piece would be under those maria pergay sconces. another exceptional piece from the exceptional todd merrill antiques. where does he get this stuff?

brass octagonal beveled mirror by mastercraft
quotient, new york city
and this mirror would complete my fantasy, hanging between the sconces and above that amazing samuel marx chest. maison21 would then spend the rest of his days, staring happily at the beautiful and luxe tableaux created by these four pieces.


24 November 2007

faking it is glamorous (trust us)

note: you are going to have to take a bit of a leap of faith and trust us on this post- the fakedy-fake-fake maison21 tree (the post's subject), really is quite pretty, but the photos we took of it are not. we didn't anticipate the problems of taking photos of something white and back-lit, and at night, so our photos don't quite live up to the premise of the post. maison21 is but a humble decorator, not a professional photographer, so please accept our apologies and use your imagination to photoshop the fug photos into something a little more fabulous.

maison21 recently posted about his love of fake christmas trees, the faker the better, so we thought we'd share our current favorite fake with you, just in case some you feel like taking the plunge and faking it this year.

several years ago, maison21 found himself seriously unprepared for the holidays- in a fit of redecorating pique, he got rid of most of the maison21 atelier's furniture several months before xmas, thinking he would work a new look in time for the holidays. but of course the season arrived much faster than anticipated (as it always does), and m21 found himself both over-budget and under-decorated, with a long scheduled holiday cocktail party in honor of a friend's birthday looming near. a dramatic holiday decorating intervention was needed to draw attention away from the somewhat unfinished state of affairs, so we high-tailed it to our local discount stores to see what we could transform with a little sissy magic and a limited amount of cash.

first stop was the world's most dilapidated kmart store at third and fairfax, where we stepped over piles of trash and discarded merchandise to purchase a 7 foot white wire pre-lit lawn decor xmas tree on sale for 30 bucks. since our fake wire skeleton of a tree was white, we wanted to stick to that theme but the martha stewart white ornaments we thought would look great, were 8 bucks for a box of six, and since we would need hundreds for the tree, we had to move on to a cheaper source.

so on to the .99 cents only store, which made the junky kmart look all upscale and pretty. unfortunately they didn't have any white ornaments at all, so we decided to broaden the scope of our all white theme and bought up every box of no-color ornaments they had- pearl, cream, gunmetal, silver, shiny, matte, frosted or clear- we didn't care as long as they weren't colorful.

even though we bought out the stock of silver ornaments from the .99 cent store (about $25.00 dollars worth), we still didn't have nearly enough for the tree, so we proceeded to the next rung down on the discount store ladder, the big lots store in hollywood, whose idea of retail merchandising is to pile mounds of debris about 10 feet high in the store and let shoppers dig through them in the hopes of finding something that isn't broken or entirely ruined. well, low and behold, in those mounds, they had boxes of assorted mixed white, silver and clear ornaments, 3 for $2.00! even though many of the ornaments in the boxes were already broken, at that price, i didn't care and i bought them out too (roughly another $20.00). (i also picked up a rather fabulous door mat with a greek key border btw, for $3.00- just goes to show that there is good stuff everywhere, even at the dreaded big lots, you just have to keep your eyes open!)

the final item purchased was a splurge in comparison: $25, for the glitter starburst topper from crate and barrel (i've seen them knocked off at discounters since, for much, much less). i also added an $8 "dimma" switch from ikea, because being intended for the outdoors, the tree was bright enough blind, and if you've read my older posts, you know i am a firm believer in the dimmest of lighting.

tree and ornaments cost about about a hundred bucks total (far less that the price of a single artificial tree, even at the kmart ) and i thought the end results were quite pretty. the guests at the cocktail party all seemed to love it as well, and a version of the the same tree later even turned up in the windows of a well-known decorator's los angeles store! (i'm not sayin' they stolded my idea or nothin'- it was all store-bought, i didn't actually make it or anything, and great minds do think alike after all, but still, the gift of a pretty needlepoint pillow or a pottery horse would not have gone unappreciated by maison21).

this will be my 4th year working this tree, and i've said every year that it will be my last, but after putting it up this year, i've fallen in love with it all over again. let us know what you think- pretty fake? or pretty fugly? (and remember, please be kind- the photos are dreadful, and the fact that i was too tired to move the really, really heavy marble table it's perched on doesn't help matters either).

23 November 2007

gift idea- lucite boxes

i was recently browsing through the mail order catalogue when these great acrylic "devon" boxes caught my eye- at $65 & $40 respectively, they are a third of the price of the classic albrizzi boxes they are clearly patterned after. at that savings, who cares if they are only available in black or white, compared to the rainbow of colors that the original albrizzi boxes come in (including a very chic mirrored option, also available on maison21 thinks this a gift he'd be thrilled to get, and another option for gift-giving where the luxe factor outweighs the relatively inexpensive price.

22 November 2007

giving thanks.

we're going to take a little departure from our normal design obsessed posts today, and instead offer a little heartwarming holiday story, followed by a brief public service announcement. tomorrow, back to the frivolous world of decorating, i promise.

this thanksgiving, i have so many things to be thankful for- great family and friends, a beautiful home, the ability to earn a living doing what i love- the list goes on and on. but hands down the thing in my life i am most grateful for are my two happy little furballs, mona and richard. day in and day out, they provide so much affection and amusement, i couldn't be unhappy if i tried. an example: i'm one of those people that wakes up grumpy, and it takes a while for my mood to lighten and the happy maison21 to appear. well, grumpy isn't strong enough a word, my whole life, i've woke up pissed off- ready to bite the head off the first person unfortunate enough to cross my path. well, since mona came around, it's been rather hard to maintain the black cloud of doom every morning. being the good girl that she is, she never wakes me, but on the first signs of my stirring, she goes on high alert- if i yawn and stretch, she starts to quiver with excitement, eager to start her day. then, she comes to the head of the bed, smiling like crazy and showering me with hot, stinky dog breath to complete my wake up process. if i proceed to actually sit up or make signs of getting out of bed, pandemonium ensues as she can't wait to start her day! up and down off the bed about a dozen times- she can't wait to go outside and smell good stuff! she can't wait to get that same old bowl of dry food she gets everyday! of course her enthusiasm wakes her little brother richard the cat, who has no clue what all the excitement is about but thinks it's probably a great time to play (he's 18 months old- he always thinks it's a great time to play) and even more chaos follows. the black storm cloud of my morning mood lifts to partly cloudy with a chance of clearing before i've even left the bedroom.

mona came into my life 8 years ago the weekend after thanksgiving- she was initially supposed to be a purebred french bulldog- not a corgi with a highly suspect bloodline. i had made up my mind to finally get a dog several months earlier, and my heart was set on buying a french bulldog puppy. like pretty much every decision in my life, my choice of dog was based on aesthetics and i thought french bulldogs were the cutest things going. my then roommate was aghast that i would buy a dog and insisted that i go to the pound to rescue one instead, but there was no way i was going to give up on my dream of a cute little frenchie. instead, i made an appointment with a french bulldog breeder while hatching a devious plan to satisfy my roommate and keep peace at home, but still get my way and get my designer dog. my plan was to go to the pound just once to shut him up- i'd report back that there was nothing there but german shepard-rottweiler-pit bull mixes, and since i needed a small dog for our apartment with no backyard, it just wouldn't work out and off to the breeder i'd go, obligation met.

well i put in my one-time-only visit to the pound and you know what? there really was nothing but large breed pitibull mixes, so i wouldn't even have to lie about it! but what i hadn't planned on was that they were all such sweet large pit-bull mixes, so excited to see a human, wagging their tails and pressing their faces to the chain link of the cages to get a little affection. just like that the plan changed, my heart melted, and i canceled my appointment to buy a purebred dog. i was now committed to decidedly non-designer mutt ownership.

i started visiting the l.a. county animal shelters, and the local humane society kennel every weekend. i really did need a smaller dog but this was pre-paris hilton lapdog mania, and there weren't many small dogs available. when they were up for adoption, there would be a waiting list- at one point i was number 13 on the list for a little chihuahua mix! i began to despair of finding a dog until one day at the humane society, i was trying to sweet talk the girl at the front desk into calling me first the next time they got a small dog. it must have worked a little, as she replied that they had smaller one right now, but she didn't think it was available- it was in the cat room as the other dogs were picking on it. the guy in charge didn't want to let me see it, as he said the dog was "unadoptable" but like with the french bulldog, i was going to figure out a way! eventually the nice girl volunteer and i wore him down, and he brought out a filthy little medium-sized dog, who cowered against the wall, running away in a panic if i even made the slightest move towards her. i thought maybe he was right and i wouldn't be able to adopt her after all, but just then a new visitor opened the door to the waiting room, and in her blind panic, she ran over to shelter against me, and when she realized where she was, proceeded to pee all over my shoes . well, it was love at first pee, and we've been inseparable ever since.

over the years, mona has blossomed from a dog who wouldn't let anyone near her, and who perpetually wore an expression of terror on her face, into a dog who does nothing but smile and who thinks that everyone was put on this planet for one purpose- to pet her and praise her. there is no nice way to put it- she's turned into an attention whore in the worst way, and i love her even more because of it. when i think that this sweet little girl was given up by her first owner and was considered to be "unadoptable" it literally brings tears to my eyes but it also makes me forever grateful that she entered my life that fateful post-thanksgiving weekend 8 years ago. thanksgiving really has a special meaning for me now.

so this year, if anyone out there reading this post is thinking about becoming a pet-parent, i urge you to give thanks for the abundance in your life and share it with a pet from a shelter or rescue group. take a look around and though you won't see the wagging tails in action like i did at the pound, you won't be able to resist the cute little faces staring out at you from your computer screen. even if you can't adopt a pet, or aren't ready yet, perhaps you could think about donating to an animal rescue group. i think that rescuers have received a bad rap lately because of the whole ellen debacle, and that's not fair- they really are a selfless group who devote huge amounts of their time and money to rescue animals in need, so they could really use some extra donations right now.

lest anyone think i'm ignoring mona's little brother, richard the cat, here's his story: one hot, sunny los angeles sunday, my former neighbor and i decided to go out for a refreshing beverage in west hollywood. after parking, we cut through an alley only to spot a little gray ball of fluff, followed by two more. instead of an afternoon spent ogling boys, we instead spent it bathing and flea combing kittens to rid them of the large amount of fleas infesting their tiny bodies- not quite as festive, but far more rewarding. richard's two sisters were adopted almost immediately but no one seemed interested in a boy cat, so he ended up completely winning the hearts of both mona and myself and was soon a permanent member of the family. he's grown from a tiny ball of fluff to a 15 pound behemoth of fluff, equally adept at making us laugh and making us cry when he destroys something we love (but we wouldn't have it any other way- fabric can be replaced, but the love he gives us is priceless). when he and mona wrestle and play, it's a sight both heartwarming and horrifying- mona caught in a headlock, and richard mock-ferociously gnawing on her ears, but all the while, mona is smiling and wagging her nubbin at a fever pitch, having the time of her life. at the end of the day, with richard on one side of me purring like a diesel engine, and mona sighing in delight during a never-ending pet session on the other, i am truly contented.

god, i love them so, and am so very grateful to have them in my life. now go to petfinder, already! and have a happy thanksgiving!


christian, aka maison21

21 November 2007

fabulous lighting in met home

i don't know that i ever intended this blog to be about posting pictures from layouts from the latest issues of design magazines- there are other blogs that already do that, and do it better and more consistently than i ever could, but when maison21 sees something that he falls in love with and excites him all over again about the possibilities of interior design, well he simply has to share!

the december issue of metropolitan home featured a spread on a czech villa by british designer kate hume, and while i liked the whole thing basically, a couple of the lighting fixtures made maison21 jump out of his chair:

i love, love, love these "aloe" porcelain petal lighting fixtures by jeremy cole. so sleek and so chic (i really like those bright yellow curtains in the dining room too- happy!):

i also loved these sconces by jaime hayon for artquitect that kate hume used in the master bath. the proportions are perfect. actually, the entire AQ hayon bath line is brilliant- very sculptural and modern, without being hard-edged or minimalist. the line got a lot of press when introduced a few years back, but it's worth checking out again as maison21 thinks it's a modern classic.

20 November 2007

decorating outside the box...

the maison21 atelier is a multi-purpose space- it has to function as home, office, showroom and international secret headquarters of the super-decorator's league (shhhhh...). regardless of what function it is performing, i have to keep it looking as good as possible, both for my sanity and for potential clients/customers (would you buy something from a decorator who's house was sloppy? i thought not). but sometimes this can prove rather challenging since the items we sell are one and the same with the items we actually live with- in the space of a day it can go from so crowded with tchotkes as to make victorian era decor seem minimalist, to so barren you might ask "did you just move in?- when is the rest of your stuff coming?"

the other day we were faced with a famine situation- not enough accessories to go around and a client on the way over. we had to get creative fast to fill up some bare and lifeless table tops with something, anything, and yet still have the atelier look chic. the results on a chest in my entry, incorporating two blanc de chine lamp bodies were rather pretty so i thought we'd share them with you:

i often have just the ceramic body portion of lamps hanging around because while the lamp body was pretty, the bases were ugly or dated, or the wiring was shot. stripped of their functional hardware, the bodies make pretty decorative objects in their own right, and it's a trick i've used to accessorize with before, but usually on a shelf, or somewhere where the little hole on the top isn't readily visible- when viewed from below you really can't tell that they weren't intended to be a vase or an urn. but on the chest where i was going to put these particular two lamp bodies, the holes would be plainly visible so i dressed up the holes with some some stock lamp shade finials, purchased at the hardware store for $1.99. to secure the finials to the bodies, i just used the same harps that would be used traditionally with a shade- you can't see the harps as they are hidden inside the lamp body. i think results were pretty successful, and the addition of the finals gives the bodies a finished look- if you didn't know, you'd think they were intended to be urns. i like them so much, i think i'm going to keep using them straight through the holidays (since these particular bodies are pierced, they'll be especially pretty with tea lights inside them when i entertain). the client who came over that afternoon even inquired the price of the "beautiful set of urns"!

now i can hear everyone scratching their heads, and wondering: "what the heck is the use of this post to me? who has blanc de chine lamp bodies, just laying around the house? that maison21 is crazy!" and the point of this rather long-winded post is this: when decorating, get creative and think outside the box- it's what will turn your decor from bland and boring to interesting and personal. look at the things you have, and the objects you love and ignore the purpose they were intended for and try to see their potential for what they could be (like turning a lamp into an urn, or vice-versa). if you like something, and think it's pretty, display it like it's important and it will be become important. have an empty space along a wall? lean your guitar there as sculpture. as mentioned in another post, a stack of books can serve as a pedestal or even an end table. fill your prettiest kitchen bowl with apples or oranges for a centerpiece (it may be the oldest decorating cliche in the world but it still works). need dramatic holiday decor for a party, but no budget? spray paint an old branch from your yard gold (maybe even some rocks, too) and display them on your best piece of furniture like sculpture- hey, it worked for tony duquette, right? seriously- the found object can be amongst the most successful (and least expensive) accessories of them all. of course it helps if you are using the more unusual items alongside beautiful, more conventional pieces, but it also works even if you don't have many or even any "real" decor pieces at all, because, after all, something is better than nothing. now go have fun and get creative!

19 November 2007

maison21 shops for a new bathroom faucet

this weekend, one of the handles to my bathroom sink faucet just kind of disintegrated, leaving maison21 a little bummed out. this time of year the last thing i wanted to think about was the expense of a plumber, and the vastly larger expense of a chic new faucet. i've specified a lot of fixtures for clients over the years, and i knew that finding a good replacement fixture for my bathroom sink wouldn't be cheap. don't get me wrong, you can get faucets at almost any home improvement store that are quite inexpensive but they usually look it too. that wouldn't work for moi as i wanted something more stylish to reflect the charming 1930's streamline moderne architecture of my home. i was pretty sure i'd have to shell out some serious cash, but before i went to waterworks and ordered one of their admittedly gorgeous and well made fixtures, i wanted to see if i could find something less expensive, because frankly i'd prefer to spend the money elsewhere- like maybe a few little xmas gifts for moi-self, like a chic white samsung flat screen t.v. for my kitchen, and an iphone would be nice too!

i recalled a recent article about renovating kitchens in domino magazine that featured a wall mount kitchen faucet (left) available for the incredible price of $80 at i thought it would be perfect if i ever needed something for my kitchen- basic, chrome, and slightly retro with cross handles (the important design feature for me). so off to i went, only to find their chrome bath faucet selection didn't really live up to the promise that kitchen fixture implied. i checked ebay as well, and what seemed like a million websites and found nothing that was doing it for me at that price point. i was beginning to lose hope until i hit, and found the perfect set- chrome with a vintage feel and cross handles- yippee! and the price? $99.00 plus $1 shipping! now i'm sure when i get my $100 faucet, the quality won't be nearly as good as that of waterworks, but i don't know if i'll care as i'm talking on my iphone and watching my new tv! let me know what you think of my find- waterworks is on top and overstock underneath in below photo:

18 November 2007

great gift idea: decorating books!

one of maison21's favorite things to both give and receive during the holidays (or anytime) is a fabulous coffee table book- preferably on maison21's favorite subject: decorating! we love books with lots of pretty pictures (sometimes it hurts our brains to actually read), and they are always inspiring as well- they pick us up when we are down, and get the creative juices flowing when we have a case of designer's block. plus, not only are design books fun to look at, they are also functional decorative objects in their own right. maison21 likes to have a stack or two in almost every room of his home- they look great lined up on a shelf or piled on a table, stack them on high on the floor, or use just a few on a piece of furniture as a pedestal for a decorative objet. see? fun and versatile!

now here is where the shameless plug comes in: maison21 has just opened a shop at filled with his favorite decorating titles, just in time for holiday gift giving! now you don't have to aimlessly search amongst the thousands of titles on amazon, or wonder if the decorista in your life will like the title you've purchased- maison21 has put a great selection all in one spot for you, and they are all m21 approved- not a dud in the bunch. visit the maison21shop@amazon today, and start your holiday shopping with style!

17 November 2007

divinely duquette xmas inspiration

maison21 insists you visit the habitually chic blog to view her excellent photos of the AMAZING tony duquette inspired windows at bergdorf-goodman. just like mr. duquette's work, they are a bit of divinely creative insanity, delivered via hot glue gun.

masion21 also wonders how in the heck bergdorf's was able to acquire the giant resin snails and gilt freeform consoles and mirrors that maison21 remembers coveting from the iconic christie's duquette collection auction catalog? if anyone knows, please enlighten us! now go! Habitually Chic: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

thank you, habitually chic!

decorating porn 11/16, part 2

the second half of maison21's objects of obsession, culled from the 14 pages of this week's new listings at 1stdibs.

pair michael taylor for baker slipper chairs, from the fabulous lawson-fenning, one of my los angeles faves.
i've always been in love with these asian influenced classically modern chairs, and the chinese yellow upholstery is perfect against the ebonized frames.

pair milo baughman for thayer-coggin benches, from
coup d'etat in san francisco,
not priced.
maison21 loves a pair of ottomans tucked under a console- fills what can be an unattractive void of space, and provides great extra seating when entertaining.

chandelier in the style of tommi parzinger, from
objects in the loft in
west palm beach.
if you've never been to the dozens of antique shops that line the old dixie highway in west palm beach, they are so worth a visit. florida is the promised land of vintage modern furniture.

16 November 2007

decorating porn 11/16

a client of mine once described 1stdibs as decorating porn. i thought that description was brilliant, because for design junkies like moi, it is indeed the stuff of which fantasies are made.

a few items maison21 is drooling over from this weeks new listings:

lucite base coffee table

gustavo olivieri antiques
water mill, new york

i love lucite. love, love, love.

grosfeld house louis xv style writing table
david duncan antiques
new york,
not priced
someday, maison21 would like to design a home filled with nothing but 1940's pieces from grosfeld house and maison jansen. so GLAM. the color combo is really working for maison21 as well- he is LOVING all things blue-y-green-y and gold.

quan yin lamps,
burke and comapany,
sarasosta, fl.
how great would these quan-yin lamps look on that grosfeld house desk- girly, yes, but completely fab too.

chan li console by phillip and kelvin la verne,
todd merrill, new york, not priced

maison21 shudders to think of the price of this, but thinks it would be worth every penny spent. love the tension of the brutal etched metal material and the delicate chinoiserie scene depicted. todd merrill has one of the finest selections in the business, so it's no surprise that he is offering this amazing piece.

15 November 2007

death by decorating (with free lamps!)

this morning, maison21 visited the blog, this is glamorous, for the first time. and it is. quite glamorous in fact- a delicious blend of fashion and interior design, with lots and lots of pretty, pretty pictures, and you know maison21 likes himself some pretty pictures. so go lose an hour of your life browsing the blog like maison21 did. it's worth the visit.

besides the pretty title banner on the blog, what really caught maison21's eye was the first post- "win a pair of murano lamps"! well, faster than a speeding bullet your super-decorator was at the swank lighting website, to win those lamps! and after reading the story behind the lamps, maison21 didn't know whether to laugh or to cry. seems the two guys at swank lighting found a warehouse full of hundreds of unopened crates containing brand-new, never touched vintage murano lamps from the 1960's and 70's. that's like the vintage furniture addict's holy grail! maison21 proceeded to get insanely jealous for 15 whole seconds! for someone like moi-self, who lives for the next great find, it would be like winning the lottery, maybe even better. but then the rage subsided, and i actually became a little grateful i didn't find all that pretty all at once. after all, maison21 is an addict who savors his addiction- the next time i find a dorothy draper chest on the back of a junk-pickers truck, or a tommi parzinger for stiffel brass lamp in a garbage can, i want my heart to start racing and the top of my head to tingle. it would have been like going from mexican tar heroin to pure uncut china white- a possibly lethal decorating overdose.

congratulations to swank lighting on your fabulous, once in a lifetime find (and for maybe saving maison21's life), and thank you to the aptly named this is glamorous blog for pointing me in the direction to discover my good fortune, and possibly win some free pretty!

14 November 2007

gift idea- silver lotus bowl

maison21 thought this silverplate lotus bowl from gumps looked far more luxe than it's $40.00 price tag, so would make a great gift- perfect as a thank you or a little something for anyone who is a lover of the chinois-inspired.

maison21 helps you find fabric...

maison21 needs fabric to cover the seats of his newly acquired totally 80's and totally hot, black lacquer queen anne dining chairs. we're thinking white patent with a black cord welt, but that could change depending on what strikes our fancy as we shop for fabric. while we love the "to the trade" fabric houses at the pdc, and in a perfect world, we probably would prefer to use them exclusively. unfortunately our resident fabric durability tester, richard the cat, hs ruled that option out, and made sourcing affordable fabric a necessity. it's a trade off maison21 is happy to make- we''ll take fur over fine fabric any day, thank you! so as we hunt for a bargain feline-friendly fabric for our chic chairs, we thought this would be a good opportunity to share a few of our better priced fabric resources with you.

one of the first places we turn is ebay- you'd be surprised at what kind of amazing fabrics from some of the best houses turn up on ebay. often, they can be purchased for a song, especially if you are looking for a small amount of yardage. for larger amounts, there are often generic fabrics listed that are almost as good as some of the big names, at a fraction of the price. i know of one very fancy decorator who would never use anything less the the top names in fabric for her clients, who literally has covered almost every item in her own home with bargains she's won on ebay. don't overlook the men's suiting fabric section when you are searching either- a great way to get basic wool fabrics for less.

here in los angeles, my first stops will be diamond foam and fabric on la brea (no website! it's 2007!) , and michael levine in the downtown garment district. you probably won't find that fab, over-sized pagoda print you dream of at either place, nor anything from kwid, (or for that matter, any named brands at all), but with a little hunting you'll find something that you can work with, and maybe even something you absolutely love!

diamond is by far the better known, and you'll see every decorator and set designer in town there. they have a fairly wide selection and good prices, though the parking situation is far from desirable- they do have an attendant, but i recommend going before 3:00 pm when la brea turns into a tow away zone. diamond is close by the maison21 atelier, so they are always my first stop.

michael levine, while somewhat lacking in the wider selection of diamond, just might be my favorite of the two, however (the schlep downtown sure ain't my favorite, though). the parking situation is worse than diamond and never, EVER go on a saturday- the crowds in the garment district on saturdays are crazy-making. the staff at michael levine is super-helpful, and the prices, are pretty darn amazing. their selection can be surprisingly hip too- on my last visit i purchased a zebra stripe fabric very, very similar to that of the two chairs featured on the cover of last month's elle decor for 20 bucks a yard! can't beat that!

my last piece of advice is don't overlook the unconventional- some of my favorite fabric finds have been scored at swap meets, yard sales and thrift stores. as always in that kind of situation, if you like it- buy it. you'll figure out a use for it later, but hesitation leads to regret. talk to your upholsterer too- you never know what fabric has been left behind by another customer- it just might be enough for that single chair or ottoman you need to recover. another tip- a while back i found a bargain on a humongous milo baughman sectional for a friend, and since it took something like 28 yards to cover, the white leather he fantasized about was not an option, so instead we bought car upholstery vinyl for 6 bucks a yard, and it turned out SENSATIONAL!

13 November 2007

a sad farewell...

just finished reading the final issue of house and garden magazine, and i am truly saddened by it's passing. in my opinion there are far too few shelter magazines on the market, so to lose even one is a great loss. to lose one of house and garden's caliber is a tragedy.

goodbye, HG. this decorator will sorely miss you.

12 November 2007

learning new things on the internets (about willy rizzo)

just read an informative post about the fab 1970's designer willy rizzo on the habitually chic blog. i knew about his designs, having had the pleasure of having had a few of his pieces over the years, but i had no idea that he was just as well known for his portrait photography. thanks habitually chic! go read the post here!

a willy rizzo interior. maison21 thinks it is sheer perfection.

wish i'd thought of it

love this witty bookshelf by matt carr for umbra ($525.00). i'd prefer it lacquered solid black or white, but that's an easy fix. twice as good as a pair in a hall or office!

faking it...

it's official, the christmas season is here- maison21 went to starbucks today and peppermint lattes are on the menu :( what happened to waiting until after thanksgiving? but like it or not, xmas is coming, so maison21 will be posting some of his holiday decorating/entertaining tips in weeks to come. actually, maison21 doesn't have a whole lot of holiday decorating tips as he likes to keep the holiday decor simple and minimal. but one holiday decorating indulgence he would like to share with you is his predilection for fake christmas trees. yes, that's right, FAKE. faker than fake. the faker the better. the merest suggestion of a natural tree in a man-made material is good with maison21. traditionalists may be aghast, but we're sorry, that's what we like (we think this preference may have started with an obsession as a child for department store xmas displays).

over the years, we've had some great fakes at the maison21 atelier- there was the monster we attempted to spray paint silver (12 cans!) which ended up a more of cool gunmetal gray (that then proceeded to shed a toxic paint flake "snow" for the entire xmas season). or there was the 6 1/2 foot tower of wire curlicue ornament hangers, straight out of dr. suess, that was a display liberated from a wholesale ornament showroom in the l.a. mart (we had to bribe an employee to get it and then smuggle it out in pieces). or there's our current fakety-fake-fake, all white, all ornament tree that we will share photos of as soon as it's set up (it's still too early for us, no matter what starbucks says).

if you are like minded, we recently ran across a cache of outrageous fake trees from the holiday decorations direct website (still plenty of time to order). these trees are so fake, they put m21's fake creations to shame. i'm particularly fond of the black one- i think it's quite chic. i like the silver one too, but the jury is still out on the bright red one (though i guess it could work for a "xmas in hell" theme). let us know your thoughts on these- is faking it a good or a bad thing?

11 November 2007

trying to think about art

i often visit the art, craft and design blog, dear ada, because the dear ada blog always has some beautiful and inspiring images on the site. what i like almost as much as the art are the interesting comments and interpretations dear ada makes with every entry,:
"Vibrant, odd, emotionally conveyed. Color as feeling."
"The crafting, the mastery of the medium, the subject matter, the underlying story and mystery of each painting. Perfection, pure and simple."
"...the banality of the subject matter, made active and alive because of it's dimensionality."
whew- dear ada must be very, very smart. maison21 tends to look at art and think either "pretty!" or "not pretty!" so he greatly appreciates others who can articulate their reactions a little- or in this case a lot- better.

here are two images from the dear ada site that maison21 thought were especially "pretty!", one a paper cut work by emma van leest and a mixed media map inspired sculpture by matthew picton. maison21 tried to think a little more deeply about these works, but the only thing he think of besides the fact that are both gorgeous and he would be happy to have either one hang in his home, was that both artists must have incredible powers of concentration and patience to finish these incredibly intricate works, because maison21 would given up on them after about 20 minutes and have gone out for cocktails instead.

visit the sites of the artists for more examples of their amazing work: emma van leest & matthew picton, and visit the dear ada blog for more great art and great insights.

10 November 2007

hit or miss? rate maison21

in the not too distant past, maison21 was commissioned to collaborate on the design of several pieces of custom upholstery for a residential project. two variations on a lounge chair were presented to the client, who ended up liking both enough that both variations were produced for two different rooms. what do you think? here's your opportunity to tell maison21 if you think he's full of hot air, or full of hot style.