21 January 2014

join the las vegas market fun! #viewonvegas #LVMKT

i leave for las vegas winter market this upcoming weekend, and one week from today, i will be amongst this talented crew "hijacking" the @lasvegasmarket instagram feed while i'm there. be sure to follow along as i report on all the market highlights and hijinks! i'll be instagraming up a storm on my instagram feed during market, and then playing out a highlight reel of my favorite products on the market's feed next wednesday.  i can't wait to see how barbara barry's instapicks stack up against mine- i'm totes sure we'll like all the same things!  tee-hee.

and if you are attending, please don't forget to attend my panel on monday at 3:00 pm, discussing  "social media and the design community: how to encourage influencers to grow your brand"  with gretchen aubouchonjason oliver nixon, and michelle workman. whether you are a manufacturer, retailer or social media user, i guarantee we will drop both knowledge and amusement!

see you at market!  and remember, what happens at vegas market, stays... on teh internets forever!

20 January 2014

maison21 in living etc!

"be daring the in the downstairs loo" i love it!
it's kind of a special honor when a lil ol' los angeles interior designer makes an international print magazine like living etc., so i was thrilled when my friend, lifestyle writer extraordinaire, abigail stone, texted me last night letting me know my california home + design showhouse bathroom was in the pages of their february 2014 issue! cross another thing off my design achievement bucket list- i've made the pages of one of my favorite magazines in the entire world (and because of the distance thing, a magazine i didn't imagine i'd ever be in 'til someone asked me to design their london townhouse! which, you know, i'm available for whenever).


i'd like to thank talented interior design photographer bethany nauert for taking the photo and submitting it to living etc., and i'd also like to thank tracy hiner of black crow studios for working with me to make our wallpaper THE statement making paper it is! remember, you can buy it in five different colorways, from mild to wild on the black crow studios website! (self promotional sidenote- tracy and i are working on expanding the maison21 collection as i type, so stay tuned for the more wallpapery goodness from bcs & m21!)

thanks again, living etc!

12 January 2014

the urban electric co: a decade of lighting excellence. (#UECo10tour)

this past november it was my privilege to visit the beautiful city of charleston, south carolina to receive an up close and personal introduction to amazing lighting of the urban electric co, as they celebrated their tenth anniversary.  i've long been an admirer of their chic lighting, but let me tell you, after meeting the the company's enthusiastic founder and CEO dave dawson, touring the UECo factory, seeing the incredible craftsmanship that goes into every piece, and last, finally being able to see ALL of their gorgeous products gathered in one place, i have crossed the line from being a mere admirer to being a rabidly obsessed proselytizer for the brand!

seeing a product go from a sketch on a napkin to a prototype to a finished piece is an unique experience, and on our tour of the urban electric co's very groovy circa `1906 factory space we got to see how it all unfolds, from start to finish. CEO dave dawson has a passion for american excellence in craftsmanship and it shows in work of the artisans in his factory. outside of some of the glass being imported from italy, all UECo fixtures are 100% produced in the charleston factory by craftsman who have passed through the UECo's rigorous apprentice to master program. i was particularly impressed as this kind of master craftsmanship is a dying art, but urban electric is training and encouraging a new generation of true artists to move forward with american made excellence. love this commitment to the human spirit, as well the commitment to keep things local. after touring the factory, i wanted to quit being a designer, move to charleston, and become the world's best metal artisan by taking a gig there. ;-)

but since i am far too old to quit doing what i'm doing and pick up a craft, the designer in me was super inspired by the urban's custom capabilities to make just about anything you can think up. many of their designer partnerships actually started because they worked with the designer to create custom pieces and it was pretty cool to see the extensive CAD files developed from a designer's sketches, as well as see the details worked out as full size 3D mock-ups by their rapid prototyping machines. truly the best of old world craftsmanship meeting 21st century technology. my mind has been spinning with ideas for custom lighting ever since my visit, most notably, a pair of sconces for my 1930's fireplace mantel since the originals vanished to the sands of time, leaving two papered over junction boxes. i've had a fantasy of finding something new yet sort of machine age deco to replace them but have never been able to source just the right thing.  since my visit, i've been sketching concepts, now that i know someone with the capability to do the precise machining the design in my head requires. of course, dreams don't come cheap, so i may be dreaming a while (years) longer but i am super excited to know that UECo can craft whatever i can dream up. a rare thing, that, and hey- good things are worth waiting for. better to wait for quality that to buy crap in a hurry, i always say. ;-)

i opened this post by saying i've long been an admirer of the UECo's fab lighting, but up until now, it has only been an admiration from afar. outside of a few pieces i've seen installed locally, i've only been able to view majority of their line on the web, so probably the biggest treat from me was to see all (well, most) of their beautiful lights gathered in one place. some of them were surprises in scale since i've never actually read the dimensions to actually spec them, but most of all, i was delighted to see the UECo's exquisite finishes up close in and personal. finishes, perhaps even more than the actual craftsmanship of construction, determine how good a product looks in person and UECo's do not disappoint. i was sent home with a big ass gift bag with all types of goodies inside, but i think my favorite thing was the complete sample set of over 24 different finish options and 10 glass options.  having these on hand is going to make the glam urban electric company fixtures much easier to sell to my clients.
urban electric produces many different styles of amazing lighting, from this historically inspired wall-mount lantern created by UECo's design guru, michael amato, for the restoration of fenwick hall plantation... more contemporary styles with an industrial edge. there is something for everyone, but all keeping with UECo's overall aesthetic vision, and all with UECo's amazing dedication to craft.
UEC's master craftsmen, creating lanterns on the factory floor.
UECo's passionate CEO, dave dawson, explaining a welding process to our group, you'll notice my attention has typically wandered to the handsome young man actually doing the welding. what can i say? i'm a designer and my eye is drawn to aesthetically pleasing things.  ;-) 
urban's craftspeople are true artists, as you can see by the test sprays in their finishing room.
i was super-inspired by the raw materials in the factory and loved seeing them go from raw stock to finished product. very, very, cool to get this insider view.
globes for their hanging fixtures. i mentally designed a floor lamp using the half-silvered one during this stop on our tour. ;-)
even the factory signage shows UECo's dedication to craft.
look at the flawless details of this lantern designed by the talented amanda nisbet. (funny side note: i posted this having no idea who the designer was until amanda commented on my instagram "hey, that's my carnegie lantern!". small world, the internets is).
i've admired this steven gambrel chandelier, but have never seen it outside of the UECo website.
so was surprised it was about twice the size i had mentally pictured it, going by photo alone (the frame it is hanging from is about 5 feet tall). i consider myself something of an expert in reading scale from a photo but this is a good reminder to always read the dimensions before you order off teh internet! (of course, if i wanted a smaller version, UECo could easily make it, since they excel at custom work).
i was beyond thrilled to bring home a sample set as UECo's finishing is unparalleled.
i want to thank the urban electric co. for the opportunity to get to know their brand, and i'll be posting a bit more about trip as not only did the UECo family pull out all the stops to introduce us to their brand and designers,  they also showed us an amazing good time while wining and dining us throughout the beautiful city of charleston. stay tuned!

02 January 2014

a 2014 resolution. for serious. (with bonus mixed metaphors!)

we gonna get serious here for a minute... my challenge for 2014 is to enjoy the journey. i'm one of those people who if things don't go exactly as planned (or better), i feel like a failure, and that's just not reality. life has twists and turns and unexpected moments, good and bad, and they are all part of the deal.   sometimes, i'm gonna swing, and i'm going to miss- terribly- but how many other people don't even get a chance to step up to the plate?

so this year, i'm stepping up to the plate, i'm swinging, and i'm giving myself a pat on the back no matter how badly i swing and i miss. it's the experience of trying that counts, and i have to be honored to even be put in the game (me. mixing in a sports analogy, no matter how mangled... who knew?)

this is going to be the ONE thing i try to keep in mind for 2014: enjoying the journey. learning to love trying and failing as much as i love trying and succeeding; enjoying the good AND the bad because it takes both to live a life. i know that being afraid to fail can keep a person paralyzed in place, and worse, viewing taking a chance and not succeeding, as a failure, can make a person bitter and resentful and i refuse to go down those paths on my journey- 2014 is not about that. it's about the opposite of those things. it's about reframing the bad shit into something positive, because there is always a bright side.

so i'm taking the pitch, giving it my best, and shaking it off if i don't succeed the first time- with a dash of peptalk from the coach (me) for getting out there in the first place.

batta batta, swing!

whats your resolution?

*for serious photo courtesy of the urban electric company. we will be sharing our adventures with them next week!