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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Angela Adams now at BB&B

Angela Adams, probably the most prolific designer of modern home textile products, has begun to offer select bed and bath items through Bed Bath & Beyond.

Many of her 300-thread count, 100% cotton sateen bed linens, including Lulu Mini (pictured), Spice, Ocean, and Argyle will be offered. Lulu Mini will also be available as a set of bath products, from shower curtains and towels to napkin boxes and lotion dispensers.

Although many modernists may not appreciate the mass commercialization of their favorite designers, I'm sure this venture will get Angela Adams' name to many people that would love her style but have as yet never heard of her. Congrats, Angela!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Continuum: A Question and an Event

Michael Tracz from Design Continuum is asking for our help: he is looking for a place that he and the 20 or so others from their West Newton office can get together and talk business. Not your typical boring, corporate meeting place (they are designers, after all), but a cool space with interesting architecture, art, good food nearby, or a nice view. Do you know of any galleries, outdoor venues, or even some of the boats on the Charles and in the Harbor that might fit the bill?

Speaking of Design Continuum, they will be at DWR on Mass Ave. in Cambridge this Thursday to discuss customization and collective design. It starts at 7:00.

Jeremiah Eck FAIA at Worcester Public Library

Boston-based architect, painter and author Jeremiah Eck FAIA will be speaking at the Worcester Public Library tonight. He will discuss "the importance of the principles described in his books 'The Face of Home: A New Way to Look at the Outside of Your House' and 'The Distinctive Home: A Vision of Timeless Design.'" After the presentation, Eck will sign copies of his books.

Jeremiah Eck FAIA is the senior partner of Eck¦MacNeely Architects a Boston based firm specializing in residential and private school work. The firm has won numerous local and national awards and been published in over 300 books, magazines, and newspapers. Eck is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, College of Fellows, a former lecturer in architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, a landscape painter, and author.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007
5:30 - 7:00 pm
Saxe Room, Worcester Public Library
3 Salem Square
Worcester MA

Saturday, May 19, 2007

ICFF Day 1

Probably the wrong title for this one, since I didn't actually go into the convention center where ICFF is going on today.

After waking up at 4:45, taking a 5-1/2 hour long bus ride into NYC, and making my way to Brooklyn, I finally got a chance to meet Catherine Halley, aka Scrappy Girl.

Instead of going back into Manhattan, Cathy and I walked in the rain through Brooklyn (if it weren't raining, I'd have taken some photos). Even with the foul weather, I had a great time seeing all the new sights, like the Brooklyn Parade Grounds and Prospect Park. If you haven't, I highly recommend spending some time in Brooklyn.

Around 5:00, we made our way into SoHo to attend an ICFF party at Moss. Moss is a gallery, a store that sells limited run furniture and design pieces (like the Lightlight chair, Nebula lamp, and Witch Chair, above), and is also an authorized Maharam textiles dealer. There I met Stephen Treffinger, a contributing editor for Domino (pictured below, with Cathy Halley).

After a while, we left Moss and headed to Kiosk, for an very popular party hosted by ID Magazine and Areaware. Talk about a packed house - the photo below is only half of the place. After the requisite hellos, we promptly said goodbye and got some fresh air.

Tomorrow, we go into Manhattan and the ICFF. I promise!

Friday, May 18, 2007


While researching my last post, the Google side bar linked me to Treeflights.com, a British company that plants trees for each flight you take. The amount of carbon release getting a plane to lift off is huge. "We plant one tree for each flight so that your trip gets greener - and a small forest on a Welsh mountainside gets a little bigger." At only £10 (about US$20) per one-way flight, Treeflights.com is a great way to help make your flights carbon neutral.


knú is a new company, not yet but soon will be offering beautiful modern tables, desks, casegoods, and more in an environmentally responsible manner.

Dubbed "Inanimate motion in crisp, sustainable form," knú's pieces, like the knú desk 4 (pictured) have beautiful curves, using sustainably harvested, FSC-certified wood.

Not to be content with only using sustainable wood, knú manufactures all of its products in an energy efficient factory that offsets 100% of its carbon emissions. Heck, even the website is powered by wind!

knú's products will begin shipping on September 1. Pre-order now and get 20% off the product and 50% off shipping. That big of a discount on a product that isn't even out yet? Sounds like a great deal to me.

Mobiles by Julie Frith

Julie Frith "friended" me on Curbly a few days ago. Frantically busy getting ready for ICFF and to go back to school starting next month, I didn't have a chance to really look at what she's all about until now. Julie makes custom mobiles.

Handmade from colored plastic (or foam) and stainless steel, these mobiles reminds me of the playfulness you see in Mid-Century Modernism. They are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Don't see one you like? You can have one custom made. Every mobile comes with a certificate of authenticity, and is ready to hang, with line, hooks, and instructions.


Now here's a company that's right up mod*mom's alley. nurseryworks makes contemporary furniture, bedding and rugs for, you guessed it, the little ones. "(Co-owners Traci) Fleming and (Kaye) Popofsky Kramer launched their company to provide clean, simple, and modern furnishings for creating the ideal first environment, a vision that reinforced the nursery's relationship to the rest of the home decor." I'm quite excited to see their work at ICFF this weekend.

Nancy Selvage

Local sculpture (and program director and instructor at the Ceramics Program of the Office for the Arts at Harvard) Nancy Selvage emailed me to let me know her work will be available to see for this weekend's SoWa Art Walk.

Working with such materials as perforated sheet metal, photography, mirrored surfaces, paint, light, clay, and glass, Nancy "works in response to the character and context of an actual or constructed site, with the goal of enhancing awareness, transforming experience, and discovering visual, spatial, and kineasthetic means of expression."

The SoWa Art Walk will take place this Saturday and Sunday from 11:00AM to 6:00PM. Nancy Selvage's work is at the Boston Sculptures Gallery at 480 Harrison Ave, Boston.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


I was checking out brought to you by the letter L, and a cool little widget Lyn has to the right said something about scrap-wood skateboards. A former (or is it recovering from a life long addiction?) skateboarder, I was intrigued.

The widget directed me to Inhabitat, who featured Brooklyn-based Daniel Moyer's FunkinFunction Skateboards. A green-interested furniture designer, Daniel Moyer said in a recent Brooklyn Designs (a made-in-Brooklyn design show happening this weekend) interview, "I use small-mill, locally harvested hardwood for my furniture fabrication (no energy wasted in long haul transportation, fancy processing and kiln-drying). Making skateboards from the scrap is even greener, and using other makers' scrap is the greenest. Longboard skateboarding as a transportation alternative is just plain groovy."

Sure, $500 for a skateboard is a bit much, but let me ask you: How cool would it be to roll around on a skateboard made from hickory, oak, and walnut? How much would this kick up the cool factor in your place?

Whole Foods' Secret Ingredient

Scott Simons, who normally blogs over at Mies and Carrots, has a new gig: He is now the host of Whole Foods Market's Secret Ingredient video blog.

Tagged as "a cooking show for people who are big on taste and short on time," Secret Ingredient will show you how to make some incredible food, all with a Whole Foods marketing angle. The first episode showed catfish tacos with Thai cabbage slaw. I've never had catfish, but this makes me want to try it!

Congratulations, Scott!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Greener Grass Design

A friend of mine tipped me off to Greener Grass Design. When I first saw the name, I assumed it would be all environmentally friendly items. After looking over the site, it seems the "green" reference is more akin to the grass being greener. This fresh online store is filled with all sorts of design goodness.

Greener Grass Design is run by two friends in Houston, TX, "Out of Houston's shortcomings, pollution, suburban sprawl, beige strip malls, bland landscape, comes the desire to filter beauty out of the muck and mundane." And filter beauty they do. They offer a vast menu of items, everything from furniture and textiles to clothes and bags. They have one of the biggest selections of cat furniture and toys that I've seen (I recently got a cat, so I'm on the lookout!).

Harvard's Ceramics Program of the Office for the Arts annual Spring Show and Sale

The Ceramics Program of the Office for the Arts at Harvard will present its annual Spring Show and Sale May 17th – 20th at the Ceramics Program building in Allston.

Long recognized as featuring the best and most varied selection of excellent hand-made ceramics in the Northeast, the Ceramics Program's Spring Show and Sale will feature functional and sculptural work by more than fifty potters and sculptors.

On opening night, Thursday, May 17th, 3 ­­- 8 pm, free wine cups made by the exhibitors will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. I can only imagine how cool these cups will be. The Show and Sale continues Friday through Sunday, May 18 th – 20th , 10 am - 7 pm.

ICFF Preview: designboom mart

Next weekend, I'll be heading down to NYC to check out the International Contemporary Furniture Fair. Fellow blogger Scrappy Girl has been gracious enough to offer me her sofa (you may be surprised to hear that, though glamorous, blogging is not a "big money fast" venture). Rest assured, I will be taking boat loads of photos to share with you. In the run up to ICFF, I will be looking at some of the things that will be taking place.

For the third year, modern marketplace "designboom will host a group exhibition of international design professionals from around the world." Designers from North and South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East will be in attendance. You will have a chance not only to see some great avant-garde international works, you'll also have to chance to meet and talk to the designers themselves. Even better, you can buy design souvenirs™ and limited edition pieces directly from the designers themselves.

Two of my favorites are the Cassette Wallet (above) by Marcella Foschi (Italy) and the Booh Salt & Pepper Shakers (right) by Aleverson Ecker, Henrique J. Serbena and R. Luiz Pellanda Jr. of Holaria Cerâmica Contemporânea (brazil).

This Old House at K/BIS

Kristen Mucci, online editor for This Old House's blog, The Hardware Aisle, is in Las Vegas for the annual Kitchen/Bath Industry Show & Conference.

K/BIS features the newest and coolest advanced in kitchen and bath design, from Kohler's new do-it-all DTV shower (pictured), to green news, like the U.S. government's creation of the WaterSense label. Similar to Energy Star, the label will be affixed to appliances that follow reduced water-usage requirements.

Kristen, thanks for your updates from Las Vegas, and thank you to TOH's Andrea Ford for letting me know about it!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

art espirit & artstream gallery

I know at some point this summer you're going to want to get out of the city. Traffic heading to the cape will be as insane as usual, so don't bother. Instead, head north, to New Hampshire. Check out Portsmouth. Then head up Rt. 16 to Rochester. There you can meet Susan, an artist, owner of artstream gallery/art school/design studio, and founder/editor of art espirit, her blog.

"The blog is directed by my whims, musings,word of the day and new art finds. Truly one of a kind made by loving hands of artists."

What else can I say?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Jen Hathy

I've known Jen Hathy for a few years. She is a photographer living in Chicago. (I've had a lot of Chicago artists lately, huh? Maybe I'll move there and start Design Chicago...)

Jen's been taking photos since she was a kid. As she recalls, her family never really took pictures or kept record of special events. "We've got nothing for family photos, and some things just need remembering.

"I started stealing my grandfather's camera, it's either a really old Nikon or a Cannon, I forget which, when I was like, 7. It has this telephoto lens that's like 2 feet long, and you usually had to use a tripod with it. It was my favorite thing ever. I still have it, but it's missing a lot of the original lenses and filters."

She started taking photos of her cats, then started climbing trees to take pictures of thunderstorms. As she grew up, she would take photos anywhere she could, whether it was for her friend's metal magazine or chasing tornadoes. "Later in my teens, I hooked up with some Doppler weather chaser nerds. I always had stuff to take pictures of, and I really miss tornado chasing. Somewhere I have pictures of a tornado devouring a trailer where I lived at the time. Man, weather is fun to shoot."

Jen has a DeviantArt account, kind of a cross between Etsy and Myspace. On it, you can view a user's gallery of work, and if you like something, you can order a print. DeviantArt will take care of printing and shipping it to you, and keeps a portion of the profit.

My favorite thing about Jen is her lack of pretension, whether it be in her work or her life. "I don't have a message or a manifesto or a particular 'thing' I do, I just shoot what I like."

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Design2Share Q&A

I got a tip from Brad, a reader, to check out Design2Share Q&A. It is "a video podcast filled with design-related opinions and tips, starring South African born designer Irwin Weiner and British born designer Nicola Chernicoff."

They have 5 episodes so far, with such topics as "How do I get a great look?"; "How do I decorate my living room?"; or "What are good starting places for art & accessories?" Each episode is a few minutes long. Irwin and Nicola provide good, common sense information, and do it in a very friendly manner. Their dueling accents are quite fun to listen to, as well. There are also plans to expand the site with viewer submitted videos.

If you have any ideas for topics you'd like me to share, please feel free to send me an email!

Is 29 stories too tall for Chinatown?

In today's Boston Globe, there is an article about a proposed tower that would be built where the old Dainty Dot building is, right at the edge of Chinatown and the Financial District. If approved, the developer, Ori Ron, would demolish the majority of the Dainty Dot building, retaining 60% of its facade, and build a 29-story, 340 foot high residential tower.

Some Chinatown resident groups are saying that the tower is too tall for their neighborhood, and "would also intrude on the peace and privacy of the adjacent park at the southern end of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway."

I've never lived in Chinatown, so I'm no expert, but "peace" and "privacy" are not things that come to mind when I think of the former "Combat Zone".

Also, if you look at the picture from the article (above), you can see the concrete State Street Bank building across the street, and both One Financial Center and the Federal Reserve Bank towers down the street. Each of those are more than 29 stories.

I'm not one for gentrification of every neighborhood possible. I'll be at the front lines if anyone wants to tear down the brownstones in the South End, or the triple deckers in Southie. But I don't think building one tower this close to Chinatown is going to disrupt the oldest ethnic neighborhoods in the city.

What's your take on this proposal?

Thomas Watkiss

I met Thomas Watkiss through my job at Crate & Barrel on Boylston St. He recently moved to Boston after four years in Sweden.

Thomas is a talented painter and photographer; an audio producer, making ambient music; and a freelance sonic Creative Planner, providing "solutions for maximizing sonic presence."

Thomas' oil paintings are abstract, but (to my eye) have a somewhat environmental look to them. His photography gets you up close and personal with nature.

The way he went from painting to music production is quite interesting. "At the University of Pittsburgh I got into the ideas surrounding contemporary abstract painting and the possibilities of what the both artist and viewer can experience when confronted with something that is foreign. I naturally was interested in how this works with audio sources as well." He began using ambient sounds as part of his art work, and it progressed into a budding music career.

Thomas Watkiss is a truly talented artist. I am currently talking with him on procuring one of his pieces for my budding art collection. I think you should, too.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Jill Dryer

Jill Dryer contacted me through Dwell Connect. She is an artist based out of Chicago. She says her "pieces represent the balance between natural beauty and man-made beauty....so you'll see class design objects (mid-century) paired with classic animals." I love MCM design, so I had to check her work out.

Her "design meets nature" series is currently featured at Velocity Art & Design. It's a playful thought, since MCM was the first real push to factory-built design, and many of the pieces used industrial materials, like fiberglass, that are far from "nature".

She has two other series, "Birds" and "Musicians", available at her Etsy shop. This summer, her illustrations are going to be published in a children's book.

Jill, thanks for letting us know about your work!

Linda Merrill

Linda Merrill emailed me to say she too was at Residential Design & Construction last month. Linda is the owner of Chameleon Interior, an Interior Design firm based on the South Shore, and runs not one, but two different design blogs.

::Surroundings:: is her primary blog that supports her design business. In it, she not only posts great new finds, but also tracks the progress of a project she is doing for WHDH-TV's "Room for Improvement".

Master Of Your Domain is her blog with Peg McGuire. They bill the blog as "Interior Design for the cute but clueless man". I like to think of myself as having a clue, but I've seen some of my friends' places, and they could use this blog. It's a fun look into what women think about men's abode's, with plenty of suggestions.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Sushi Bench

Hungarian designer Gabor Jutasi emailed me about his new creation, the Sushi Bench. Made of plywood and a water- and UV-proof, scratch resistant coating, this graceful curve of a bench is good for indoors or out.

The minimal bench has a purposeful Asian design theme to it. Jutasi "took inspiration from dry gardens of Shunmyo Masuno. In bustling cities, these little gardens, sanctuaries, roof terraces, and spas offer a heaven of peace, and a place for spiritual purification." I can see this perfectly in a little meditation spot.

Gabor Jutasi is currently taking direct orders for the bench, but is working to get worldwide distribution. It is available in white, black, and red - I'll take mine in black.


Kate, who wrote in looking for location ideas for a wedding reception, wrote in again. This time, she's giving me the info to share with you.

Her brother imports a beautiful and environmentally responsible material called Kirei, made from the stalk of the Sorghum plant. Sorghum plants are grown worldwide for food. "The stalks left over after harvest are heat-pressed with a non-toxic adhesive to form lightweight, strong, unique Kirei Board."

Kirei Board can be used for a variety of applications, from flooring to furniture. Kate also told me about Organo-Contemporary, a line of natural home furnishings made from Kirei.

Kate, thanks for letting us know about Kirei!

Somerville Open Studios

Adam Leveille, owner of Book Sculpture, tipped me off to the Somerville Open Studios, happening this weekend, May 5 and 6 from noon to 6:00. Over 300 artists in 100 locations will be showcasing their works. There will be trolleys and free ZipCars to get you from one location to another.

Adam requested you make a point to visit his workshop. It's just off the bike path in Davis Square.

"Fear", the piece above, is by Adam.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Visit the Glass House

If you're looking for a great idea for a day or weekend trip to enjoy the warm weather, here it is: Philip Johnson's Glass House is now open to the public.

Located on 47 acres in New Canaan, CT (3 hours from Boston), the entire Philip Johnson estate is available for viewing. From within the Glass House, you can see many of Johnson's other creations: The Brick House, the yang to the Glass House's yin; the circular concrete pool; Lake Pavilion, "an experiment in pre-cast concrete located on a man-made pond just down a hill"; the Library/Study; and the Ghost House, "a barn-shaped folly made entirely of chain-link fencing — a wink at fellow architect Frank Gehry's use of everyday materials."

Three buildings you'll be able to go into, aside from the Glass House, is the Painting Gallery (1965), the Sculpture Gallery (1970), and Da Monsta (1995).

In order to keep things as intimate as Johnson intended them, attendance is limited to 10 people per tour, with six tours per day. Obviously, reservations are highly recommended. There are a variety of tour and group options available.