31 August 2009

fresh fabric finds @ diamond

m21 went shopping this past week, searching for inspiration for a new project, a 'freshening up' of living/dining area of a home with some serious modern architecture. we are going to reuse much of the client's existing mid-century classic furniture but throw in some seating that is actually comfortable (the curse of much mid-century seating- many are just plain old uncomfortable). we also want to make the room seem a bit more contemporary, and less period by the addition of a few new key pieces and rearranging the existing ones for better use of space and flow. not the biggest job we've ever had, but certainly in line with what clients are looking for in our current economic climate- style and comfort, with an eye for value. people are realizing their homes are somewhere they are going to be for a while, as opposed to upgrading every two years, and thus they want to enjoy them now, not at some unspecified future date (also without spending a fortune, of course. nobody seems to have fortunes these days, anyhoo).

one of our stops was diamond foam and fabric, where we were pleased to see they had some updated fabric choices (things were looking a bit dowdy on our last few visits). one of the curses of shopping at diamond is that a good portion of the fabrics are limited stock, so if you need 22 yards for a sectional, you are often out of luck- so we were pleased to see a new section of hipper fabrics available to order by the yard (2 yard min, and samples can be ordered for a fee). prices we saw ranged from $25.00 to $125.00, making them a slightly better priced option then ordering from a showroom- plus diamond sells to the general public, not just us designers. speaking of designers, it's also fun to see the names of the decorators who have stuff on hold- you'd recognize lots of them, we promise!

cuteness, right?

for chic, since she's been obsessing about orange

love this cut velvet zebra- don't know where i'd use it, but love it nonetheless...

diamond still needs to update it's toiles- much waverly sadness here, and there are so many great designs on the market...

loving the ikat prints- ikat is just one of our favoritist things ever. wish they had some brighter color choices, but the black/gray at the bottom should prove to be pretty versatile- we are showing it to a different client for some throw pillows at our next meeting (so don't go buy all the stock, k?)

all of these blue and white prints are pretty- how can one go wrong with blue and white, anyway?

these are alright too...

ps- diamond does have an extensive collection of solids too- in fact that's what we swatched most on our visit- we selected some great velvets, chenilles, and burlaps (plus our beloved embossed vinyl), but while solids are generally our fabric of choice for upholstery since they don't wear out their visual welcome quite as fast as a pattern, they make a booooooooring photo, so we just captured the prints for our post. hope you enjoyed them!

cheap n' chic tweet recap, pt 3

more picks from our recent tweets:

27 August 2009

cheap n' chic tweet recap, pt 1

if for some odd reason,you aren't following m21 on twitter ;-), we've taken to occasionally tweeting about the shiny things that have grabbed our attention in our obsessive trolling of the internets- just a random collection of cool stuff we figure someone, somewhere, needs to own, since much as we'd like, we can't buy everything. sometimes the finds are big ol' bargains, sometimes they are just chic or noteworthy. here's a recap of a few recent picks so those of you not part of the twitterverse aren't left out (don't worry- we didn't get it either until very recently, so we understand tweet avoidance- totally):

25 August 2009

chic lamps at one kings lane, but hurry!

if you are reading m21's blog, and NOT a member of one king's lane, he has just one question- what's wrong with you? ;-) seriously, sometimes the bargains available @okl are too good to pass up, and in our current economic climate, if you aren't bargain shopping, again, maison21 needs to ask- what's wrong with you? and if you never bargain shop, perhaps a even better question to ask would be, "do you need a decorator"? ;-)

today okl has some glam jamie young & co. lamps for less then half off retail. the cheery green classic ginger jar is our fave ($199.00- a steal).

hurry, okl events only last 72 hours, and the good stuff always sells out fast! (and please, if you sign up tell 'em m21 sent you- cmay at maison21 dot com- every referral gets a $25.00 credit, and we'd like a free lamp, thank you). ;-)

24 August 2009

21 August 2009

how relaxing...

...would your weekend be if this tub was in your bathroom? *sigh*
papillon bathtub by stone forest via wposthome (on twitter) via home&design's h&d100.

20 August 2009

shopping is fun- even in a recession (& oh yeah- i love this chair!)

the chair i loves...

m21 just returned from a great shopping trip with a client today, where we hit a couple of local shops. since m21's recent post on the alarming number of vacancies on 3rd st. here in los angeles, we want to make a concerted effort to: a) buy local when possible- the internet is convenient, but nothing beats touching and seeing in person, and b) publicize the venues we frequent (even if only while window shopping)- we'd hate to see any more closings, especially stores we love (or would love to afford). for more info on shopping locally, check out the 3/50 project- such a great idea!

first stop was fantasy lighting for one of their great custom ceiling fixtures (similar to below but smaller & flush to ceiling, and with a bottom to hide the bulbs). flush ceiling fixtures in a living room are NOT our favorite thing- they seem so suburban bedroom-y, but the living room of our project is tiny, and much as we love a big overscale chandelier or lantern hanging over a coffee table, it's just not the right solution for our current needs: something modern that hugs the ceiling and is big enough to have impact and look like something, yet isn't flashy or showy is called for. enter a simple 2 foot linen square that only drops 8 inches from our low ceiling. yay. and we've ordered many, many shades from fantasy over the years, so we know the workmanship will look great. again- one of the benefits of of shopping locally, m21 knows what he's getting and isn't surprised by some cheap stuffs from china (hate that).

gossipy side note- we saw nicole ritchie shopping with her decorator while @fantasy- tiny and ginormously preggers! she is so pretty in person, with hardly any make-up and the loveliest smile you've ever seen- totally outshined all the lamps! (you wouldn't get a celebrity sighting online, now would you?

empiric's new, expanded showroom- stop in!

next stop empiric on beverly for a big ol' convex mirror and some great accessories (well, not that big of a mirror- remember, room is small). m21 loves a convex mirror in a small room because the distortion tricks the eye into believing the objects reflected are a lot further away then they actually are- you know just like the warning on a side view mirror! regular mirrors make small spaces feel bigger too, of course, but sometimes if there is already a lot going in the the space, they can make a small room feel all junked up, as they perfectly reflect every single item, doubling the tchotchke count! since maison21 loves a tchotchke, in this case, distortion is our friend!

the chair i love in the window of empiric.

empiric just expanded (yay! screw the recession!) and in their new, larger window space they had a set of their eponymous brass dining chairs- reminding maison21 of how much he loves them (lovessss). we've been fortunate to have had several sets of the originals on which the empiric chairs are based, over the years, but empiric has updated them in shiny brass or polished nickel, so they are even better then the originals! plus, we love vintage but have you ever tried to find a set of 12 chic vintage modern chairs? good luck with that, k? at empiric you can order 12 or 24 even! picture them in a chocolate brown velvet (so good with brass)- delish! plus- bonus-bonus-bonus- they are made right here in LA!

the chair i love in the dining room of the atelier, many moons ago. sorry about the crappy photo quality, it's scan of a photo printed on a home printer- original died with a hard drive, also many moons ago. ps: look carefully- who do you see in the reflection on the right side of the dining table base? thinking the picture is about her? ;-)

see shopping is fun! even in a recession! (or even by computer screen via m21)!

18 August 2009

i got nuthin' today (but a pretty candle)

actually, m21 has a whole folder of photos and blog ideas on his desk top, but they are all seeming a little too involved to write up right now, so instead, we're goin' for quick n' easy, which is better than nuthin'- our next option...

franki, from life in a venti cup sent out a tweet today looking for glamorous hostess gift suggestions and m21 sent her one of his faves, these scented candles in chic porcelain boxes, from geary's of beverly hills (though at $85.00 bucks a pop, in m21's opinion, you'd have to be a pretty accommodating hostess to get one- like put out kind of accommodating)... ;-) btw, franki didn't order one, so m21 isn't spoiling any surprises or anything.

also, though m21 has sent a couple of these to a special friend or two, he has no idea how the candles inside actually smell, and frankly, couldn't care less- with packaging this glam, the product inside isn't the important part, right?

15 August 2009

detour into fairyland (storybook architecture & a mini tour of the 'hood)

people often complain of the traffic in LA, and yes, the stories are true- it's hideous! but like a new yorker lives with noise, a seattle-ite lives with rain, or a floridian lives with humidity, one learns to adapt and you just deal with it as best as you can. depending on the time of day, some trips that should take 15 minutes take 45, and if you need to be somewhere at 9 am or 6 pm, you can count on the longer times. you just have to be zen about it, and accept. use your drive time to relax and contemplate. ;-)

of course, easier said then done, and instead of zen, m21 often finds himself seeing red and succumbing to a wee bit o' road rage if we happen to find ourselves caught out at the wrong time of the commute. like the other day, cruising down venice blvd at the mind-numbingly glacial pace of 7 miles per hour. no accidents- just nice, normal people trying to get to the freeway and home to their families in the valley or south bay; but at 4:30 pm on friday, m21 hated each and every one of them!

so he tried to ditch 'em, and take smaller side streets, and that's when m21's rage and contempt turned into gratitude; and all those people he was hating and bitching about moments before, he instead wanted to thank, because they caused him to randomly stumble upon something he's never seen before in his 20 years of LA livin: on a tiny, nondescript stretch of road, in somewhat gritty urban culver city (a city within metro LA), m21 was transported out of modern day traffic and into a fairyland of a past that never was...

spread over two lots on this tiny urban street (almost an alley) was what looked like a village out of hansel and gretel or the hobbit...a compound of a single family home, and two adjacent apartment buildings, all built in the most whimsical, fantastical story book style- shingled domes and crooked roofs, timbered walls, multi-paned asymmetrical windows- all surrounded by moats, and ponds ,and cobblestone courts. completely charming and peaceful, and if it weren't for hideous LA traffic, m21 would have never stumbled on it - a silver lining if ever there was one.even more amazing to m21 was the above plaque, declaring the structure to be one man's unique vision, built between 1946 and 1970. love that! and really, this gentleman was not designing according to a trend- storybook architecture was a style that peaked in the twenties (it's scattered throughout LA, and other cities across the US), but outside of disneyland and disneyworld, it was a style that completely fell out of favor after the depression, so this really was his idiosyncratic dream of how he wanted to live- always so much more interesting then a mass produced style, donchyathink?

maison21 is passingly familiar with the storybook style because his own miracle mile district neighborhood, developed in the boom times of the 1920's, is riddled with cute little storybook homes- though decidedly less eccentric then our culver city friend above (and semi-mass produced). lots of steeply pitched roofs, gothic details, arched windows and doors, half-timbering, etc. - it's really quite charming. our neighborhood is nice, but modest, with a majority of 2 & 3 bedroom homes with a smattering of duplexes and small apartment houses, bordered by broader avenues with business development (the original developers actually thought about the use of the neighborhood. how refreshing- wish they still did that)! the majority of the houses in the neighborhood are also spanish style (not story book) the most widely popular stye of the period in LA and m21's own triplex is spanish style- kinda. it was started in the spanish style and one unit was completed in the late 1920's. the crash of 1929 put a halt to construction for several years, and once funds became available to continue, styles had changed and streamline moderne was the look of the moment, so the 2 unfinished townhomes were completed in a very different style and builder tied all three units together with a spanish style tile roof. the result, is well... quirky, and we love it.

here's a nearby street where m21 walks mona everyday, with a long row of storybook influence homes. note the first house on the left with it's 1960's alterations of a lava rock facade and cinderblock patio- maybe not the most tasteful reno, but at least they didn't tear it down in the 80's and build a mcmansion! m21's neighborhood escaped a lot of the frightening renos of the ensuing decades because it fell out of fashion (read: wasn't so nice) and by the time of its renaissance in the 90's, people had come to respect the charming original architecture, and were willing to pay a premium to get and preserve it (thank god). many similar neighborhoods to the north of ours weren't so lucky and are riddled with lot-filling monsters completely out of scale and style with the older homes...

this house is one of our faves- kept up, but with all the original charm intact- that little turret for the front door couldn't be any cuter; plus, it forms a petit entry vestibule so you don't walk directly into the living room- a m21 pet-peeve:

couldn't you see this front door in hansel and gretel? a little brick cottage in the woods? 'cept for the cactus of course- they are somewhat rare in the black forests of germany, we think. ;-)

another prettily preserved example, below. a hallmark of our neighborhood is most of the garages are set to the backs of the houses, and the homes sit close to the street (you can see a carport to the left on the below example). we wish all neighborhoods were developed like this, instead of the sea of ugly garage doors you see now- so much more pleasing to view homes' main facades as aesthetic wholes, rather then as something tacked on to freakin' car storage! another quirky note- since most garages and driveways were developed for model-t type vehicles in our 'hood, it means they are skinnnny, and most people prefer to park on the street in front of their homes. while this leads to lots of cars on view, it also means that neighbors in our 'hood actually interact with one another, rather then pressing a button to disappear inside their attached garage when they come home at night, never to be seen again until they leave (inside their car) the next morning. it's really quite nice, and helps to create a real community.
another favorite below, though hard to see the charm because of the greenery. note the tall chimney with the haphazard, exposed brickwork- a signature of the storybook style. we lost a lot of them in the 1994 northridge quake, and the ones that survived (or were rebuilt) are all now reinforced with with metal supports connecting them to the homes' peaked roofs. (another side note- our next door neighbor collected the fallen and discarded bricks from the chimneys not being restored after the quake, and built his patio out of them)!

if you want to learn more about storybook architecture, here is a great description of the quirky styles and some pictures of examples of buildings from all over (not just our little hood) at

hope you enjoyed our trapped in traffic fairy tale discovery, and the mini-tour of the 'hood!