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Friday, December 29, 2006

Just Scandinavian

Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with Boston, a little to do with New York, and everything to do with Scandinavian design.

I spent a few days in New York last week for work. During one the evenings I was off I took the subway from my hotel near JFK into Manhattan. I got off in Soho and walked south, into Tribeca. I wasn't looking for anything in particular, just kind of seeing what was going on on a Wednesday night. I happened upon this charming little store called Just Scandinavian.

As you can guess by the name, they sell a wide variety of Scandinavian design items. They are the exclusive US distributor of Josef Frank textiles (photo above). A set of Frank's brightly colored lamp shades would at a touch of color to any boring beige decor.

I fell in love with the Corona Chair, designed by Poul M. Vother in 1961. In it's description on the website, it says "This design is inspired by time-lapsed photographs of solar eclipses." It's available in a variety of colors and fabrics, but I think that orange would great with my dark blue sofas.

Just Scandinavian
161 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10013

Room & Board Annual Clearance Sale

Right now, you can save 20-60% off original prices on hundreds of discontinued and close out items during Room & Board's Annual Clearance Sale.

From sofas and chairs to beds and linens, Room & Board has literally hundreds of items available at great prices.

True, there is not R&B around Boston, but some of the brokers at my girlfriend's firm are trying their best to change that. I'm hoping they get one here soon!

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Do you remember Oriac Design? It was a Newton-based internet retailer that sold a variety of modern home furniture and accessories. It went out of business earlier this year.

Gregory Scott of ECCERE wrote me to say that ECCERE is now selling what's left of Oriac Design's merchandise. Below, please find the bulk of what he wrote:

ECCERE is a Boston company selling the remaining inventory of Oriac Design, a Newton-based internet retailer which tried and failed to compete with the likes of Hive Modern, Design Within Reach, Topdeq, and Unicahome.

The range of products available include: indoor and outdoor furniture, office chairs, accessories for your kitchen, bath, desk, and closet, indoor and outdoor lighting, carpets and floor coverings, desktop audio, luxury hangers, steel house numbers, and storage units. There's a bit of everything, but in many cases, we have only one of two of a given item remaining.

We have items from a number of premium brands including: Alessi, Artemide, Belux, Blomus, Cascando, David Design, Driade, Emform, Fatboy, FSB, Helit, Heller, Iittala, Kartell, Klenk Collection, Luceplan, Magis, Minox, Mono, Mox, Nanimarquina, Nube Italia, Radius Design, Reisenthel, Rexite, Rowenta, Side by Side, Sitag, Spore, Stelton, Tivoli Audio, Toulemonde Bochart, 24Seven, Vipp, Vitra, Wogg, Woodnotes, and Zack.

We are a verified PayPal merchant, and accept credit cards or cash via PayPal.

We normally ship via FedEx or FedEx Freight, but Boston-area customers or visitors can pick up items in our suburban warehouse.

We are NOT yard sale cheap, but our aim is to provide the lowest delivered pricing on the market. Defintely better than local prices on new items.

I have attached a searchable listing of the current inventory with pricing. Please make sure you can see both the Before and Current sale prices. There is not a website at this time (but it is under construction). The rather long list is ordered by product category, but we suggest you review the whole thing carefully, as it covers a LOT of ground. Some quantities are limited and of course, subject to prior sale. Please tell us if you need more than one of a particular item. All items are new.

Unfortunately, we are NOT yard sale cheap. Typically, the discount is twenty percent or more off rarely discounted retail prices. Please note that all prices are BEFORE shipping. Purchases picked up at the warehouse are subject to Massachusetts state sales tax.

If you do not have an old Oriac catalog, the best source of product pictures and details is the manufacturer. In the majority of cases, the attached inventory list includes a manufacturer website. You could also take a look at either cairo.fr or cairo.de , the websites of Oriac's European affiliates, as they have photos of many items. Please contact us at once if you still cannot find the product information that you need. We do have digital images of most products available on request.

Please contact us by e-mail or phone if you see something that interest you. We look forward to meeting your design needs,

Gregory Scott
Boston, MA

Since he wrote "We are not 'yard sale' cheap" twice, don't expect to steal anything from him, but there are some good deals to be had. If you would like a copy of the inventory list (it really is a long list) email me and I will forward it to you. I will also let you know when the ECCERE website is up.

The Travelled Home

What a small, well connected world we live in. Just this week, I got an email from Chris Barret, a local (as in he lives about a block from me) design enthusiast. Chris has traveled to many parts of the world, and after finding many quality, handmade products in various countries, has started The Traveled Home.

The Traveled Home features items from Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Islands. I particularly like the bamboo products (a fast growing tree, bamboo is a truly sustainable product), and the Buddha statues (I have a growing interest in Buddhism, so that may explain it). All of the pieces are made by local artisans, so buying a piece from TTH has a more direct impact on promoting a global economy than buying something that was made in a Chinese factory.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

BoConcept® Design Sale

Once you're done opening all those gifts your family thought you'd like, get ready to buy something you know you'll like. Once Christmas is over, it's shopping time again.

Starting on December 26 and running through January 28 (right before my birthday, hint-hint), BoConcept is having their Design Sale. They will be taking 20% off all living room chairs. I particularly like the Wing Chair and Ottoman (from $1199 to $419, respectively).

999 Mass. Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02138

Friday, December 15, 2006

Decor8's "Blog of the Week"

I was just checking my site meter stats and noticed a high number of visits coming from decor8. I checked it out, and whadyaknow? Holly made me her Blog of the Week!

Thanks Holly, and hi everybody!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Modern Boston by Holly @ Decor8

I've seen Holly from Decor8 do some guest blogging on 2Modern before, but I somehow missed her writeup on Modern Boston from last May. It's a very thorough writeup on all things design in Boston, although there are a few updates/corrections that I feel obliged to make:

  1. Roche Bobois has moved from the location on Commercial St to the Ritz-Carlton Towers on the corner of Avery and Washington Streets. This doesn't mean you should skip the walk (or cab ride) to Mike's Pastry, of course.
  2. The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston has moved to 100 Northern Avenue, on South Boston's waterfront. Actually, the walk to Mike's Pastry is only about 10 minutes from here.
  3. Don't forget to add Marimekko to the list of places to visit in Cambridge. It's located at 350 Huron St.
  4. There's *ahem* another Boston based blog, thankyouverymuch.
Beyond that, she did a great job, as always. If you're visiting Boston for the first time, or need a refresher on where the great design spots are (there are a few places I haven't checked out yet), check it out.

New City Hall announced

I know, I've been slacking. Even this news is a day late: Boston Mayor Tom Menino announced yesterday that he wants to build a new city hall on the South Boston waterfront. It would be built where the Bank of America Pavilion currently sits, near the Seaport World Trade Center and the new Institute of Contemporary Art.

Menino said, "This new building will bring together the city's past and its future, at a site that unites the history of our harbor with the promise of tomorrow's Boston."

What do I think? First, remodeling Downtown Crossing, then the tower in Winthrop Square, and now this. Tom's becoming a visionary in his old age.

If this goes through, the mayor plans on selling the Government Center site to developers. Does this mean the award winning, 40-year old Brutalist structure is going to be torn down? I hope not. I'll admit it, it's myriad levels can make figuring your way around a little more difficult, but it makes for such a visually interesting building.

As for the new building, it will be in a beautiful location that is seeing other various improvement projects over the next few years (and less than a mile from our place). The view of the city skyline would be blocked by the buildings on Boston Fish Pier, though. And getting there (either on the Silver Line) won't be as easy as it is to get to Government Center (Blue, Green, Orange, and Red lines all stop nearby).

Lastly, for the design, I'll wait to at least see the various developers' proposals before I agree with Menino that it'll be "architecturally magnificent".

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Vessel's After-hours Holiday Shopping Soiree

Too bad I have to work at Crate & Barrel on Thursday night, so I won't be able to make it to Vessel for this. Have fun if you attend, and let me know how it goes!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Uni Architecture's XS House

While waiting for my flight home yesterday (it was delayed 2-1/2 hours), I picked up the December issue of Wallpaper magazine. Wallpaper is a British magazine that concentrates on "International Design, Interiors, Fashion, Travel." Within the issue was an article on three houses across the world that incorporate wood - one of the oldest building materials around - in a truly modern way.

One such house is right next door, in Cambridge. Uni Architects, a small local firm that does architecture, design, and real estate development, built the 1000 sq. ft. XS house by twisting each of the three levels "to create four skylights on each level." By doing this, the house gets plenty of natural light (in fact, probably more than most triple-deckers in Greater Boston) without the need for a lot of windows.

They finished the building in okoume, a specialized plywood typically used in boat building.
"The grain is broad and pronounced, creating the appearance of a huge piece of furniture, and its almost windowless facades intrigue and seduce."

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Generate Design's Gift Guide

Generate Design, a Montreal-based design shop, has their own Gift Guide, presenting varied gift ideas in 12 categories, from "the girls", "the boys" and "the kids", to "the modernist", the interactivist" and "the difficult".

What's my pick? I'd say I'm either modernist or difficult. From the modernist list, I really like the Table Top Fireplace. In difficult, I'd go for the Laserpod. Not that I'm dropping hints, of course.

'Stroll' into Turtle and win a $1,000 shopping spree

Sorry this is coming out a day late. I'm in Philly for my company's holiday party.

Turtle, the boutique in the South End featuring "emerging urban design" is offering you the chance to win a $1,000 shopping spree.

This weekend, participate in the annual South End Stroll by picking up a map at any one of 18 participating retailers. Then earn points by stopping in and checking out each store, and earn bonus points by doing some shopping - which you have to do this time of year anyway, don't you? Collect 15 points and you can be entered to win that shopping spree!

*Turtle's sweetening the deal by offering 25% off nearly everything in the store.

Also, check out local jewelry designer Louise Douglas at Turtle next weekend, December 9 & 10. "Her holiday collection is a sparkly combination of freshwater pearls, gold, fiber optic beads and velvet. Hors d'ouevres will be served."

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Design Public Gift Center - and save!!

I love Design Public. They offer some of the best new designs available, and offer probably the best customer service around. For the holidays, they have set up a Gift Center, letting you look through gift ideas by either category (Kids & Baby, Holiday Quick Shop, Sustainable, etc.) or price range. Some of my favorite picks include the three sheets 2 the wind Color Wall Prints ($26-125 in sizes from 12" to 30"x40") and the zid zid kids Mini Poofs ($78).

Also, from now until 12/7, enter code 0212062ee72 (case-sensitive) at checkout and save %5 off your order. Great design, excellent customer service, and discounted prices? Fantastic!

"Limitations" by Adam Leiveille

I previously blogged about Adam Leiveille because his house made AT's second annual Color Contest. Unfortunately, he didn't win, but he's gotten past it, and is now onto bigger and better things.

All this month, "Limitations", a collection of Adam's art, will be showing at the Diesel Cafe in Davis Square, Somerville.

Diesel Cafe
257 Elm St.
Somerville, MA 02144

Extended Hours @ Uniform

Gary at Uniform is sacrificing his personal time this holiday season to allow you more time to find just the right thing for that special someone. Here is what he wrote me in an email:

Cuz I know all of us are last minute shoppers and need every minute we can get, Uniform will be open additional hours on Mondays in December! For exact times and dates, please check out the little list below:

4th: 1-7 pm
11th: 1-7pm
18th: 12-7pm

As always, we’re here for you…if you need gift ideas or an awesome shirt to wear to that special holiday party, don’t hesitate to ask. Best wishes for good humor and health

g and the gang

511 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116

ps - I don't know what's up with Blogger right now, but I will go back and edit in a photo and some links once everything is up and running again.

Friday, December 01, 2006

DWR's "Herman Miller Serious Sale"

DWR seems to be bombarding my inbox lately. Today, I learn about the Herman Miller Serious Sale. For two weeks, from tomorrow to December 16, you can save on items from such designers as Charles and Ray Eames, Isamu Noguchi, and George Nelson.

One highlight of the sale is the 2006 Limited Edition Eames Lounge and Ottoman (above), in a Santos Palisander Veneer. "Santos Palisander has a highly varied grain pattern, ensuring that each chair made will be completely unique. Also to celebrate its 50th, each chair made in 2006 will have a medallion set underneath the seat, and will ship with a commemorative book that details the history of the design."

How much can you save? They're not saying. At least not until tomorrow. And, unfortunately, expect the above average shipping prices to apply.

DWR South End
519 Tremont St.
Boston, MA 02116


DWR Cambridge
1030 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02138

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Marimekko Cambridge

This evening, while y'all were driving home from work, or to the mall to do a little Christmas shopping, I ventured into Cambridge to follow up on an earlier post and check out the the first Marimekko concept store in the U.S.

Man, the place is GORGEOUS! You'd never know that the site used to be a pharmacy. The store itself is a canvas of white walls and gray floors. This allows the product to stand out in a way unlike many other stores.

And the product... well, the store is stocked with a full line of men's, women's, and children's clothes, as well as linens, home and personal accessories and, for this season at least, hand blown Christmas ornaments. The women's clothes are a combination of mod and modern. One example was a plain black dress, with a shawl made of felted wool shaped into 3D blocks; the texture was incredible. The men's line is anchored by the classic Jokapoika shirt, a striped dress shirt with metal buttons that was originally released in the 50's.

Of course, the store was loaded with signature Marimekko fabric. There are so many options and colors to choose from, it's mind-numbing. I'm going to go back with Alicia to find just the right pattern to put up above out sofa. I'll be sure to put up photos when it happens.

350 Huron Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02138

ps - A special thanks to Holly from decor8 for emailing me to ask if I'd been to Marimekko yet. You kicked me into gear!

DWR's (Cool) Stuff to Give

DWR's latest email campaign is portraying itself as where to find the cool stuff to give this holiday season. True, they have some amazingly cool items, but I don't think anyone is going to dig deep and surprise me with something as expensive as an Eames LCW (not that I would deny such a gift - hint, hint).

Although their Gifts page includes such extravagances as the $2,490 Cellula Chandelier, I believe their true aim is the more budget friendly items, like George Nelson's book, How To See ($29.95), the Eames House of Cards ($35), or the Films of Charles and Ray Eames ($80). I think either of these would make great gifts for the design fan in your life.

For those that aren't necessarily design fans, but appreciate well designed objects, perhaps they might like the Cristal Water Carafe by Marcel Wanders (on clearance for only $39.95), or the Eclipse Lamp ($98), or the Crystal Marquis Desktop Globe ($168).

Maybe I won't get a me-sized one, but I can always wish for a Vitra Miniature Eames LCW ($175).

December Arts & Crafts Markets

Someone's been doing her homework! Fresh back from two months in Europe (so jealous!), Holly at decor8 has posted a massive listing of arts & crafts markets in and around Boston and Providence. Whether it's art or home decor accessories, you're sure to find something. Impressive work. Thanks, Holly!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Curbly's Design Search

Ben Moore from Curbly has created an interesting Design Search using Google Co-op. Google Co-op allows website owners to use Google's web search capabilities in a context specific format, such as Ben did with design.

BTW, Curbly is a fantastic site, and by all means, join up!

ICA to Reopen

After extended construction delays, the Institute of Contemporary Art is set to open on December 10! The ICA, Boston's home for truly groundbreaking art, outgrew its previous home for the last 70 years on Boylston St, so they built the first new museum in Boston in nearly a century.

The new building is breathtaking. The galleries are on a cantilever that extends right to the edge of fan pier; when you're up against the windows, all you see is water. There are so many amazing design highlights about this building, I can't list them all.

In related ICA news, local designer and fellow skateboarder (well, I'm a former skateboarder) Nick Sherman announced that his sister, Kelly Sherman, is one of four finalists for the 2006 Foster/ICA Artist Prize. The show will be up from December 10 through March 11, and admission on the first day is free!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Holiday Decorating 2006

After scouring the Internet for the past few days, it seems clear that the design event season is over, at least until after the New Year. That's okay, because we all have so much to look forward to in the coming weeks!

Christmas ornaments and decorations seem to get more beautiful by the year. This year, the availability of gorgeous items spans the economic range, from the Tord Boontje series of Christmas dinnerware and accessories ($10.99-24.99) at Target, to this amazing Sterling silver globe ornament ($110) from Neiman Marcus. Alicia and I settled between those two extremes for our tree, with items like this great red coil ornament from Crate and Barrel and this mod circle ornament from Pier 1.

Of the four stores I was browsing around for ideas for this post, Hanukkah items are noticeably scarce from Pier 1. Target had a great variety of Hanukkah pieces, although none had the visual appeal of Tord Boontje's Christmas line. Neiman Markus offers about a dozen Hanukkah seasonal items, but none of them struck the fancy of this design snob. C&B has, by far, the best looking Hanukkah decorations, like this Column Menorah. And no, I'm not just saying that because I work there now.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Crate & Barrel for the Holidays

In my last post, I described BoConcept as "modern design at Crate & Barrel or Restoration Hardware prices". This is not to say that I look down on either Crate & Barrel or Restoration Hardware; it's just that they have a different style. Restoration Hardware is classical, and Crate & Barrel is contemporary. Of the two, I prefer Crate & Barrel.

Which is why I decided to apply to the Crate & Barrel on Boylston St. for the holidays. No, a blogger's life is not all party's and inside information; we have to work, too. Starting today through the middle of January, I will be working on the first floor, in housewares, helping frantic customers find just the right gift for that impossible-to-shop-for relative. Or something like that. Come by the store; maybe I'll be there!

777 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02116

Follow-up: BoConcept® New Furniture Collection Launch Party

On Thursday, I went to the BoConcept® New Furniture Collection Launch Party at their store on Mass Ave in Cambridge. Right as I walked in, the store's general manager, Brad Dufton, immediately recognized me; the marketing coordinator forwarded a link to this blog to him, and he remembered the picture to the right (Yes, that is me).

We had actually met the first time Alicia & I checked out the store, but that was several months ago, before I started Design Boston. Brad, who organized the night and greeted nearly everyone that came by first name, is a fireball of energy, and, with a degree in furniture design from Wenworth Institute of Technology, he can surely help you create the right BoConcept setup for your home.

I also met Tina Pilgaard, BoConcept's US Marketing Director. She is a Danish native, and a wonderfully friendly woman. She's worked for BoConcept for 8 years, the last 2-1/2 in the US. Before she came to the US, Tina visited each of the 40 countries that BoConcept operates in. How much would I love a job that allows me to see the world and great furniture? You can't get that in the Navy!

I love BoConcept. As I described it to Brad and Tina, I see BoConcept as modern design at Crate & Barrel or Restoration Hardware prices. They both agreed. The beauty of their customizable, modular furniture was on full display in the showroom. As beautiful as the furniture, and maybe even more, was the Bang & Olufsen sound system throughout the space.

I had a great time. As I was leaving, Brad told me to come by often, because he and I are a rarity: straight guys that understand and love design. How true.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

557-559 East Second Street

I keep driving by this construction site on East 2nd Street in South Boston consisting of two buildings with a driveway or courtyard in the middle. It's only at the point in construction where the plywood walls are up, but it shows big expansive windows, and clean, modern lines. As in, my style.

One drawback of this site is that it is directly across the street from the Tools 4 Hire yard, a company that rents construction equipment. I'm not bothered by the industrial aspect of Southie, but I'm sure some people looking for the new, hip place to live would be.

Anyway, I'm browsing around MyBostonLoft today, and I see a link to 557-557 East Second St. One nice aspect of the building project is that the two buildings are not mirror images of each other: 557 has four three-story, 2 bedroom units with a patio off the third floor living/dining room area; 559 has four four-story, 2 bedroom units with a study and deck on the fourth floor. Every unit comes with a single car garage, something that is an extreme rarity around here.

Apparently, not only are they attractive, modern "loft-style" condos, but they are environmentally friendly. This is the pilot project of Green Homes Northeast, an organization "whose mission is to transform the residential building marketplace so that healthy, energy and resource-efficient homes become common practice." They are also aiming to earn an Energy Star® Home 5-star Rating. By using green building techniques, these buildings will provide improved energy efficiency (up to 30% lower energy bills); "thermal comfort" (double-paned, low-E windows, and spray foam insulation at all window and door edges); air quality (continuous ventilation and low or no off-gassing paints and sealants); and acoustic privacy (through improved insulation and other construction techniques on shared walls).

I'm not at a point to be able buy one, but at $529-$585K, it seems reasonably priced, considering the space, the amenities, and the environmentally friendly construction. As a buck to the trend of lower condo sales, two of the four units in 559 are already sold, so if you want a study and room deck, get going!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


One of the gifts I got at the Modern25 party was a Bodum Pavina. It's a 9 oz. cup with double glass walls. The double walls insulate both your drink - hot drinks stay hot, and cold drinks stay cold - and your hand. Because the insulation is so good, there is no need for a handle.

I used it for the first time last night. It insulates so well that I burned my lip on my tea - my hands felt like it was room temp. Since then I've washed and reused the cup three times!

The only drawback is that the mouth-blown glass is fragile, so it can't be machine washed. Also, it's more likely to break from unintended bumps than machine made glasses. That said, I would love to buy a whole set of these beautiful cups!

Mayor Announces New Boston Skyscraper Plan

Proposed Boston skyscraper planned for Winthrop SquareI read on the Boston Real Estate Blog that Mayor Menino announced what could be the biggest Boston area architecture news in years: a proposal for an enormous skyscraper in Winthrop Square. Trans National Properties' Chairman and CEO Steve Belkin proposed a tower with retail, restaurant, and commercial capabilities - mixed use seems to be the norm in most of Boston's new developments.

The numbers are astounding: Over 1,000 feet tall; 1.3 million square feet of commercial office space; 40,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space; and "55,000 square feet of public space, including a one acre 'Town Green' on the ground floor, complete with public art installations and integrated with retail uses, as well as a distinctive 'Lookout Garden' on the top of the building, providing visitors with a richly landscaped, publicly accessible observatory that is protected from the wind." (Source: City of Boston)

Belkin was the only bidder for the project. As was reported in the Boston Globe, Belkin "
was considered by many to be the one to beat because he owns a key adjacent property, 133 Federal St." If he gets the OK to go ahead, he would incorporate the space his current property occupies into the new building. Tricky guy.

The picture that I got from the city's website is a bit small, but from what I can tell, other than the spectacular height (which could exceed the John Hancock tower), the building isn't that exciting to look at. I would hope that a building "saying that people are bullish on Boston and what this city can accomplish going forward" would be a bit more daring. Maybe I'll be surprised when more renderings are released.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

20th Annual Boston Can Share Food Drive

Yeah, I know, it's not design, but it's for a good cause: The 20th Annual Boston Can Share Food Drive. The city, along with FedEx, has placed a trailer in Government Center to collect cans of food. All donations will go to the Greater Boston Food Bank. They're hoping everyone working in the shops and offices downtown "will respond to this appeal and bring canned goods to City Hall Plaza on their lunch or coffee breaks". The city's goal for this week is an astonishing 20,000 lbs of food, so get down to Government Center with some cans!

Monday, November 13, 2006


Design-Milk tipped me off to Curbly, which recently launched. Basically, Curbly is MySpace for home improvement addicts. "By connecting with others, sharing your experiences, participating in feel-good contests, and getting advice from experts, Curbly is the best community to help you feel good about your place."

Whether you're looking for How-To's, Inspiration, or News, Curbly's got it. It doesn't matter if you're just starting out or a veteran DIY'r; Curbly let's you share, ask, and help others that are interested in the same thing as you - improving their home and making it beautiful.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

mod*mom on HGTV

The most recent HGTV Decorating Newsletter featured "11 Ways to Create a Modern Nursery", and mod*mom, an obviously qualified source, was quoted in two of the steps, "7. Keep it child-centered" and "10. Don't blow the budget".

Way to go mod*mom!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Design 2.0 at Vessel

Wow, can I ever stop talking about Vessel? I guess not, since I keep finding great things about them. Next week, Vessel will be hosting Core77's "Design 2.0: Discussions on Design Strategy & Innovation". It's a one day panel discussion open to design professionals and students "on the opportunities and imperatives ahead."

As products and systems become smarter and more technologically imbued, the mandate of the designer is thrown into question. If we can make anything, what should we make? And if all of our activities have consequences — environmental, economic and social — what are the opportunities for moving positively into the future? How can we balance serving interests with setting agendas? Join us for a panel discussion on the front lines.

Design 2.0 is going to be held Wednesday, November 15, from 1:00 to 4:30, with a cocktail reception following. The panelists will include MIT Media Lab's John Maeda; Natalie Jeremijenko from UCSD and NYU; Bill Cockayne of Change Research, Inc.; and GreenBlue's Jason Pearson. Tickets are $175 (only $50 for students, but they're sold out). Vessel is at 125 Kensington St. in downtown Boston.

Boston Appliance

When it comes to buying home appliances, where can you go other than Best Buy and Circuit City? If you're anything like me, you want to spend your money somewhere other than the corporate behemoths, with their limited selection and often less than stellar customer service.

Boston Appliance is a local, family-owned appliance store, located on Summer St. in South Boston. I've gone in there a couple times since I moved to Southie (they're only a block away from me) and had chances to talk to two of their salesmen, Ken Petrillo and Christian Jason. Christian's family owns the company, and recently moved it from downtown Boston to their current location on Summer St. Both of them have been more than willing to talk to me, even though I told them I rented (and therefore was not about to spend money on appliances).

Boston Appliance sells ranges, ovens, refrigerators and anything else you could think of for your kitchen from everyone from Amana to Sub Zero, or as I said to Christian, "from every I want to everything I can afford". They have a beautiful, open showroom, although Christian told me they are rearranging the space to make room for a bigger display of islands. They have a pretty basic website, but I'm told that plans to upgrade it are in the works.

Boston Appliance is located at 840 Summer St, South Boston, MA. Their hours of operation are Monday-Friday 9:00-5:00, and Saturdays 9:00-1:00.

Friday, November 10, 2006

BoConcept® New Furniture Collection Launch Party

I mentioned earlier that BoConcept has release a new collection, and a new catalog. To celebrate, BoConcept is having a celebration next Thursday, November 16. Here's the announcement that was emailed to me:


BoConcept® New Furniture Collection Launch Party
Thursday November 16, 2006
6.00 - 8.30pm
999 Mass. Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
T. 617 588 7777

Join the launch party for our brand new design collection. Enjoy drinks and finger food as you get acquainted with our exciting new product line.

At BoConcept® you'll find an ocean of possibilities and inspiration for your home.

We are fond of the word value - we don't believe you should have to compromise your style or your budget.

That's why we specialize in the latest looks at affordable prices.

The BoConcept® collection is assembled with a focus on function, flexibility and comfort.

Visit our website www.boconcept.com for more information.

Adam in Somerville makes AT finals

As I mentioned, ApartmentTherapy has been running the second annual Falls Colors Contest. 60 entries each for the three AT Cities - NY, SF, LA, and Chicago - gave you a chance to see some good, some great, and some "Ohmahgawd! Who would ever do that?!" examples of people's use of color. One entry that proved good enough to be the first finalist announced was Adam's Kaleidoscope, from right here in greater Boston - Somerville, actually. Adam shows great use of color, an obvious Eames fetish, and best of all, as he said in the comments for his finalist entry, he did it on a limited budget. Now it's up to AT's judges to decide if his entry is worthy of winning a $2500 CB2 shop card. Good luck Adam!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Follow-up: Pret-a-Habiter at DWR

Last night, my friend Athalie and I went to DWR in Cambridge to check out what Pret-a-Habiter was all about. Carl Bradford Sibolt, the Founder and Executive Director of Pret-a-Habiter, greeted us at the door, and was amazingly friendly for someone from NYC (it turns out he grew up in Switzerland and NH - check out the website). The audience was light: There were only about 8 people there due to the miserable rain. Once we put away our umbrellas and got seated, Carl gave a brief overview of the company and its history, and also mentioned they got a write up in the Boston Herald.

Pret-a-Habiter, French for "ready to live", is trying to take interior design out of the realm of the super wealthy and bring it within the reach of average people. They have developed a four-step process to decorate a home - Design Style; Design Plan; Design Select; and Design Implement - that would take a client all the way from deciding what their style is and creating a design, to buying any pieces and insuring everything installed the right way.

Carl said that all of this could be done in as little as 30 days. Pricing can be quite affordable; they work off a flat fee with no hidden costs or markups on products. If you want a sofa from a to-the-industry-only store, you will get it for the same price the designer gets (typically, an interior designer will mark up anything you order through them). According to their website, Pret-a-Habiter's average Design Fee is $2000-3000 per room, depending on the size and scope of the project.

After Carl finished speaking, he introduced the two designers for the Boston area. Michael Samra is the Director of the Boston office, and Elissa M. Henebry is the Interior Designer. We got a chance to speak to all three, and they are all very friendly, knowledgeable people.

I am quite impressed. If you are looking for a designer, or maybe just an outside perspective on your project, I would recommend giving Pret-a-Habiter a call.

Brownfields 2006

A "brownfield site" is "real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.

Reuse and redevelopment of these abandoned, idled or underutilized industrial and commercial sites is both a challenge and an opportunity. Putting these sites back into productive use can serve as a catalyst for local economic revitalization. Complex financial, legal and environmental risks and uncertainties are some of the biggest barriers to owners and developers."

Polluted or contaminated land can be an expense and a liability for the land's owner.
Brownfields2006, being held at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center from November 13-15, will explore how to change that land from a liability for one group "to an asset and prime development or reuse opportunity for another."

There's an electrical plant that is largely shut down at the bottom of my street, and an old Coastal Oil plant is down the street from that. I look forward to seeing these areas cleaned up and developed.

The BCEC is located at 415 Summer Street, in South Boston's Waterfront District.

"Meet the Press" @ Build Boston

Build Boston is the city's annual "convention and tradeshow for design, building, and management professionals", featuring over 350 exhibits and over 225 workshops and other professional development opportunities. On Nov. 14, its opening day, there is going to be a "Meet the Press" event, featuring editors from numerous publications, including Metropolis editor in chief Susan S. Szenazy, where attending firms can gain "an up-to-date awareness of the opportunities, the editors, and the issues involved."

Build Boston will be held from November 14 - 16 at the Seaport World Trade Center.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Pret-a-Habiter at DWR

Tomorrow night, DWR on Mass Ave. in Cambridge will be hosting an interesting guest. DWR has a great write-up (plus I'm not feeling very creative), so I'm copying it:

Are you in need of modern interior design solutions for your home? Join us at DWR as we host an event for Pret-a-Habiter to celebrate the launch of their new Boston office. Pret-a-Habiter will demonstrate an easy, time-efficient approach to interior decorating and design through their Four-Step design process. A growing business, Pret-a-Habiter aims to share their new ideas and inspiration on modern residential interiors. The "Pret" designers will be offering free design consultations to the event attendees, using Design Within Reach products to provide design solutions. Please join us as we welcome Pret-a Habiter to the Boston community. Refreshments will be served.

RSVP to cambridge@dwr.com by November 7.

Pret-a-Habiter at DWR
Wednesday, November 8, 7:00-9pm
DWR Cambridge Studio
1030 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
Directions: www.dwr.com/cambridge.cfm

Wears + Wares

Have you ever loved that new whatever-it-is you bought, only to find a dozen other people with the same thing? Well, Alicia tipped me off to a new "young designer's market" opening in Downtown Crossing that will give you your fill of few-of-a-kinds. Wears + Wares was created by "Boston area designers seeking a regular market venue for selling and promoting their wares." The markets will offer everything from furniture and fashion to housewares, paper goods, textiles, jewelry and accessories, all from some of the most up-and-coming designers in Boston.

Wears + Wares will hold five pre-holiday markets: November 11 and 18, and December 2, 9 and 16, from 11:00 to 5:00. Next March, they will begin holding the markets on a weekly basis. Wears + Wares is located in the lobby of 101 Arch Street, but watch it, because the entrance is on Summer St.


The owners of Turtle, the "emerging urban design" boutique in the South End, have done it again, only on a smaller scale. Tadpole, a "modern boutique for little urbanites", offers kids' furniture and clothing, maternity wear, books and family events.

Tadpole is located at 37 Clarendon Street in the South End. They are open Tuesday through Saturday, 10-6; and Saturday, 12-5. They can be reached at 617-778-1788.

Monday, November 06, 2006

N55 at The Center for Advanced Visual Studies

Another tip from Ben Durrell: the Danish artists' group N55 will be coming to MIT as part of a new series hosted by the university's Interrogative Design Group. "Art and functionality, personal utopias, and the possibility of self-sufficiency are some of the themes that surface in their simple, paradigmatic, and mostly mobile tools and situations for everyday living: a workplace, a modular boat, a shop, a factory, a clean air machine, a commune, and more." N55 will be at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT on Wednesday, November 13.

While you're there, be sure to check out Design By +/-, Ben Durrell and his partner Matthew Christensen's gallery, in the front of the CAVS.

Ben, thanks for the tips! Be sure to keep them coming!

"A Yankee Amendment" @ Vessel

A while ago I posted about Vessel, the fresh product design firm and gallery that reopened downtown. Ben Durrell, a local furniture designer, tipped me off about "A Yankee Amendment", a set of his work, that is currently showing at Vessel. He also gave me a link to the flickr set of his work.

"A Yankee Amendment" takes a look at what it is to be a Yankee. "Each piece highlights what I consider a Yankee outlook on life: hard work and dedication to task breeds clean souls and healthy homes." "Lobster Trap", above, is "a halfway point on the way to the dumpster", where you can put those things that you don't need, but can't seem to let go of. I'm sure if you look around your house, you can relate to the idea that is being presented here.

"A Yankee Amendment" is showing at Vessel through November 22. Vessel is located at 125 Kingston St. in downtown Boston.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

DWR Warehouse Sale next weekend

If you've been holding out, saving for that perfect modern piece of furniture, you're in luck. DWR is hosting a Warehouse Sale next weekend, November 11 and 12. Pricing on overstocked items, seconds and samples will be cut dramatically - some as low as 75% off! Now that's "Design Within Reach". DWR has 3 warehouse locations: San Francisco, Cincinnati, and New York. What's a 3-1/2 hour drive for some sweet decor, right?

A Chestnut Hill home in NYT's Home & Garden

Today's New York Time's Home & Garden section featured a story on a local modern home. Molly Schaffer and her husband, Jeffrey Wallen, bought the Barnet Yanofsky house, built in Chestnut Hill in 1957 and designed by famed modern architect Paul Rudolph. This is one of only three Paul Rudolph houses in New England, one of which is set to be demolished this winter.

Over the last eight or so years, the pair have restored the house to it's original splendor. They have made a few modifications to the original design, such as pitching the flat roof for water drainage; enclosing the more Florida-friendly car ports; and replacing the vinyl floors with bamboo (because the original vinyl wasn't available anymore). Beyond that, the house is as it was in 1957, right down to the vintage Western-Holly wall oven!

Far too often, people are willing to throw money at a house to make it fit whatever trend is in at the time. I applaud the owners' attempt to respect and maintain the architect's original vision of the house.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Elsewares' Wee Ninja

I love decor8. Holly posts some of the best finds. Yesterday, she let us know about Elsewares, purveyors of "independent art & design". Amongst the items she featured was the Wee Ninja, a plush "action figure" handmade in Chicago. Proving not only an eye for design, but also for comedy, Elsewares has just about the best write up ever:

Wee Ninjas spend most days training, and most nights ninjaing! When not ninjaing, they can be found perfecting the art of the Stealth Hug and other ultra-secret moves, such as the Sneak Snuggle and the Fists of Tickle Fury. It is quite rare to find Wee Ninjas outside of their native and peaceful Ninjatown, but they adapt well to fun and loving homes. Ultra-secret moves only used for good, of course.

If you're thinking of things to get me for Christmas, this would be perfect!

TrueModern Twin Bed

Design Public announced the launch of a new series to their awesome lineup of modern furniture. Husband and wife designers Edgar and Julia Blazona started TrueModern, a group of modern kids' furniture and bedding hip enough to get ModMom's attention.

TrueModern's bedding has some great color combinations: blue and lime, and pink and orange (they also have the more mundane brown, and pink). They have matching sheets; quilts and shams; and duvets.

They also have very nicely designed dressers, a nightstand, and a bookcase, but my favorite piece is the twin bed. A platform bed set 9-inches off the ground with some very mod wood legs, this would look great in my son's room (too bad they don't have a bunk bed version).

Friday, October 27, 2006

One night, two parties

Last night I was lucky enough to attend two happening events in the city with a couple friends. The first was Modern Design 25, a dual celebration for both the opening of Alno's newest showroom in the Boston Design Center, and for Metropolitan Home's 25th anniversary. Alno, from Germany, is a designer and manufacturer of modern kitchens. Their pieces have a wonderful, modern look and feel about them. Bang & Olufsen had two spectacular A/V setups in the showroom; Bodum provided the glassware for the open bar, as well as had a table featuring their beautiful coffee and tea presses and pots; and Audi had an A6 Avant and Q7 SUV parked out front.

We had a chance to meet and briefly speak with Met Home's Senior Editor of Design & Architecture, Susan Victoria. She seems to be a very nice, intelligent woman. She's had a long history in the design and journalism industries; I would love to sit with her and learn one-tenth of what she knows!

After that, we went to the Oktoberfest party at Boston Art, Inc. BAI helps "Corporations, Healthcare Providers, Hotels, Building Owners and Residential clients when they need well-chosen art to successfully complete their relocation or renovation." It was an odd mix of young, hipster artists and older business people amongst some amazing local art. BAI has an incredible office in a converted mill building on Congress St. that I wouldn't mind spending some considerable time in.

All in all, a great night.