Sunday, July 29, 2007

Skeleton Keys

I guess it stands to reason that if I’m drawn in by huge, old beautiful doors (see previous post) I would also love old, beautiful keys. Specifially: skeleton keys. Over the last few years I’ve collected skeleton keys of varying shapes and sizes; from rusty, huge iron keys to small, delicate and detailed silver keys. Again, there’s just something about that creepy cool element that draws me in. A sense of mystery, maybe...
Needless to say I’m always on the hunt for interesting additions, so last year when my husband and I were on our honeymoon in Mallorca and we found this beautiful old iron skeleton key, of course we had to bring it home with us. I put it in a little frame, backed with a page from a vintage book and it now has a new home hanging above our key rack by our back door. There’s no need to go to Mallorca for some gorgeous keys, though. Ebay is where I found lots of mine.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sweet As A Sugar Blossom

I was checking out Bloesem (yet another favorite blog) this morning and saw the work of Aline Yamada. I’m in love. The flatness of her illustration style and the overall simplicity with little pockets of detail here and there is wonderful. And those sweet, sweet faces! Aline has prints for sale online at Etsy.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Welcome to the Parker

Welcome to the Parker, Bravo’s reality show about the Adler-designed, chi-chi Palm Springs hotel (and a stop on my must-see list) premiered tonight and of course I had to watch, being a huge fan of Jonathan Adler’s playful and most fabulous style. I have to be honest, his design more than upstaged the show. But then again there’s really not much that can compete with this amazing talent.

Betsy Dunlap

O.K. I’m suffering from some serious handwriting envy thanks to a recent post on Design Sponge. Betsy Dunlap, amazing handletterer and calligrapher, does work that is almost lyrical. Or musical. Or magical...I can only imagine how many brides proposition her to address their wedding invitations. I have to admit it would be something to get a piece of mail that looked like this. Check out her work — it won’t disappoint.

Speaking of Ephemera...

I thought I’d share one of my other all-time favorite ephemeral finds. I found this vintage stock certificate circa 1926 (in a stack with other gorgeous stock papers) in Paris at a flea market a few years back. I bought about ten, but wish now I would’ve bought the whole fabulous lot of them. From what I can tell they are all stocks for small businesses. This one looks like it was for a little French Chinese Restaurant. The typography is absolutely bee-u-tee-ful. And the colors are my absolute favorite combination: espresso brown, robin’s egg blue and chinese red. Très chic, non?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Little Doodles

I found a new blog, and it’s lovely. It’s called Little Doodles from an illustrator who lives in London. The blog is filled with wonderful scans of her artwork (along with great design links and observations). It’s a grave understatement to call them doodles. I love them.

Creepy Cool

I’m a casual collector of “vintage ephemera” — for lack of a better term. So the odd or interesting deck of cards, cigar label, matchbook, postcard or professional studio portrait photo I tend to find irresistable. Even if it’s creepy. Sometimes because it’s creepy. Anyhow, I just though I’d share this beautiful (and admittedly, semi-creepy) portrait I picked up a while back at a flea market. I just love the vignette of the photo, the way it fades away softly at the edges. And the pink card with the beautiful typography on the left is actually the back side of the photo. I soooo wish there were still studios that did portraits exactly like this. Only maybe without the bone chilling stony-face expressions.

Friday, July 20, 2007


Always a sucker for a captivating and gorgeous fashion shot, I just had to post this impressive capture by photographer Vangelis Kyris I found on My Marrakesh. The hair and wardrobe styling are perfection!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Gracious & Curvaceous

If dinnerware were described in terms of people, this collection would be Grace Kelly with a dash of Marilyn Monroe. And if I didn’t already have a full set of dishes I’d be saving my pennies for this drop-dead gorgeous one. This mid-century collection called Classic Century, originally designed in 1952 by designer Eva Zeisel, is once again available — at Crate & Barrel. Two parts tasteful princess, one part sexy coming right up...

Pablo and Françoise at the Beach

I keep seeing this photo around and I really love it. It’s Pablo Picasso and his wife Françoise Gilot (and “random dude”) somewhere on the Riviera. Picasso, just holding the umbrella for Gilot so adoringly. How sweet. It was taken by photographer Robert Capa in 1951. Gelatin prints are available through Monroe Gallery.


Succulents are, by far, my favorite variety of plants. Unfortunately they don’t do well in the Midwest, so mine have to live in glass jars, sort of terrarium-style. My cousin Dawn, who lives in Arizona, is surrounded by loads of them. Lucky girl. I’m very jealous. They’re just so graphic and captivating to look at. The hens and chicks here are actually from a genus called “Sempervivum” which means “live forever.” I joke that they’re perfect for someone like me because they thrive on neglect. However they aren’t impossible to kill, and sadly I speak from experience. This gorgeous image is from Botanica, and is actually a bridal bouquet. So wonderfully unexpected—and a nice metaphor.

Girlie Kitchen Love

I’m at a photoshoot today and my workday is turning out to be surprisingly relaxed, so I’ve found some unexpected extra blogging time! And time to think about my dream kitchen — which is of the classic white cabinet / marble countertop / nickel hardware / white subway tile backsplash variety. But when I saw this beautiful blue twist on that theme it was love at first sight (via BeachBungalow8). Of course when I showed my husband the other day I got an eye roll. I guess he has a point. This is a kitchen where a girl can whip up pink frosted cupcakes and creme brulée, but I’m having a hard time imagining a guy slapping together a bologna sandwich for himself. Then again, what’s wrong with cupcakes and creme brulée all day, every day?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Only a cat can make sleeping look so thoroughly satisfying. (Plus this kitty looks just like my baby boy, Calvin. Not to mention it’s appealing to my very, very sleepy side right now). This little gem of a shot is from one of Accolady’s many gorgeous photo sets posted on Flickr, which I found via Decor8 (another favorite blog). Night, night. zzzzz.....

So Very Precious

Still can’t sleep...
I love Anthropologie. Just look at this perfect little shadow box! This is exactly the kind of “little curiosity” I mentioned in a previous post that I fall for every time. And it’s precious at just 6 1/2 inches square. The glass is even convex. The only way it could be any more perfect is if it came with a certificate that stated the butterfly died of natural causes. I’ll just assume that’s the case if I break down and buy one.

The Little Reveal

It’s 4am and for some reason I can’t sleep, so I thought checking my favorite sites would be more productive than counting sheep and lo and behold! I found this little bit of coolness at Design Sponge (a must-stop on my blog rounds). Parisian designer Arnaud Lapierre designed this sweet little tray and key for a hotel room. The tray is meant to be a catchall where the guest can toss her cell phone, room key, etc. the minute she walks in her room. The genius of it is that once the key is set on the tray a hidden map of the city is revealed. Stuff like this brings out the little kid in me because it has that sense of magic about it. So cool.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Bold, Beautiful Butler

Fabric and sewing pattern designer Amy Butler makes me wish I could sew like my friends Kayna and Jordan (both extremely talented and creative seamstresses). Amy’s fabrics are gorgeous and unique and toe the line between traditional and mod perfectly. Some of her patterns seem almost psychadelic while others have a classic brocade feel—but in every case it’s her masterful and modern combinations of color that make them so extraordinary. Make sure you check out her home/studio space. It’s envy inducing and inspiring.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Enchanted Doors

I’m starting a design piece that’s going to be about extraordinary doors. I just wanted to share some of the imagery I’ve gathered for the initial concept phase because some of the doors and hardware are so unbelievably beautiful. I mean, just regular doors sort of seem inherently mysterious if you think about it, but these look like they lead to rooms filled with magical treasures or secret fairy gardens.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Amy Winehouse

She’s 5 foot 2, but has the voice of a big bluesy, bossy broad who’s not afraid to throw her weight around. No, no, no. Her soulful, swingy music is lush with lyrics that are poetic and naughty at the same time. Plus, she’s got the style to back it up: thick black eyeliner that would give Cleopatra a run for her money, a huge ratty beehive and a slew of tatoos. It all comes together in an utterly fantastic bad girl sorta way. Her current CD Back to Black is so totally worth it. Watch her videos for “Rehab” and “You Know I’m No Good.”


This detail shot of a project from M Design caught my eye because I love the idea of creating interesting vignettes throughout a home. Little unexpected, stand-alone compositions and curiosities. From what I can tell, this looks like a little biosphere with a tiny planeria swimming happily around inside — hung against a field of gorgeous silk-covered wall. I love it.

Molly Luetkemeyer, the principal at M Design worked for Kelly Wearstler and the influence comes through in her work, which is probably a major reason I’m drawn to it, but her own compelling sense of style is definitely there as well. I especially love the work she did for her sister, actress Julie Bowen (below).

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Super Campy

This post is inspired by my cousins Kayna and Dawn who each take their families on great little trips during the summer. Kayna and her family have a sweet little pull-behind camper that they take camping for a few days here and there throughout the summer, while Dawn and her family road trip through the Southwest, Northwest and Napa Valley. Anyway it got me thinking about roadtrips and camping in general and then I remembered this fabulous little Airstream (a special edition Airstream outfitted with accessories from Design Within Reach). It’s on the spendy side for sure, but it’s always fun to dream.

Friday, July 06, 2007

To Have and Behold

I was paging through a back issue of a bridal magazine and found these stunning Kahlo-esque images by Ruven Afanador for Reem Acra. I’m completely taken with these images; the approach is so artful and different for bridal, plus the color and styling are exquisite—right down to the wonderful, unexpected blue nail polish. I’ve never considered hanging fashion photography in my home, but now I’m seriously reconsidering...

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Fourth

I know this is a “design” blog, but it would be against my nature to post a simple “Yay for freedom!” with the way our current administration has been conducting itself. I feel mixed about the United States and our contribution to the state of the world, and find it a little difficult to celebrate without feeling conflicted.

However, when I think about our history as a country — the spirit of liberty, freedom and individual rights that have always been held high and for which so many have sacrificed everything to protect — I know we’re better than that. And there’s no doubt that as Americans we enjoy freedoms and comforts that are unparalleled anywhere else. So here’s to celebrating July 4th with a sense of appreciation and gratitude and hope for change — and not with an air of entitlement and disregard for the rest of the world.

P.S. On a designerly note, enjoy the fabulous vintage firecracker labels. I found them on this quirky site. Interestingly, most of the labels aren't even American — there’s just no escaping we’re really citizens of the world first and foremost.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

And the Livin’ is Easy

There is a mind blowing photoset on Flickr posted by Let’s Explode which is a pair of sisters who are masters with a Polaroid camera. That Polaroid quality — the softness of nostalgia and colors straight out of a memory — paired with their impeccable eye is the stuff of perfection.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Perfect Mantra

That’s why I had to order two of these reassuring posters from Lucas and Hayley at They are doing silk-screened reproductions of a Brit WWII fly-message poster. I believe the original was done in red on a white ground, but now they offer several colors in limited edition series. I ordered the black and the vanilla, but was seriously conflicted because the rose looks so yummy too. Carry on...