Archive for January, 2012

Vase to Vase

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Those close to me are convinced I can’t go six days without buying a new vase. I can appreciate their concern, but really, vases are one of the basic building blocks of interior decorating. And as long as you’re mixing them in with boxes and books and objets and art, you should be able to avoid visitors mistaking your home for a vase museum.

Out of my most recent batch of home decor purchases, less than a third are technically vases, my critics will be (un)pleased to know. I’ve been pounding the pavement on One Kings Lane with increased frequency and found this vintage Mexican abalone box during my favorite Tastemaker Tag Sale of the Fall, curated by designer Darren Brown.

Brown offered some kooky, California folk art vessels shaped like bearded Jesus-lookalikes in the collection as well, which didn’t quite seem like they would’ve worked in my home.

But Jonathan Adler’s reversible king/queen vase referenced the same 70s, fuzz-faced vibe in a subtler and less psychedelic way, and for four hundred dollars less.

With the Adler vase, the abalone box, and the metallic paint-splattered pot I found on Etsy, I’m seeing if a hit of retro, hippie-commune chic can add some unexpected and eccentric echoes to the otherwise genteel tablescapes of Tudor Mansion.

I Repeat

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

For a long time, mini-paragraphs just like these two below were my biggest pet peeve about In Style-ish magazines.

“Ryan Phillippe loved the Stretch Cotton T’s from Santa Monica-based brand Dune A4 that he bought one in each of the line’s 95 colors.”


“Gwyneth Paltrow is such a fan of the ultra slimming Dario jean by Dan & Ann Tan that she bought an 8th house in London for no other purpose than to store the 7,000 white pairs of the denim that she swears she was born to die in.”

It seemed gratuitous and wasteful and also sorta boring to purchase (and then wear) any clothing item in such bulk-like quantities. And, for a long time, any time I ever loved something enough to buy even a second version of it – just a year or two later I’d be on to some different fit, fad, or aesthetic mission and feel like I’d wasted my money not just once, but twice or, oh God, thrice.

But now that I’m older, and sorta smarter, and more settled in my self and style, more and more of my wardrobe is made up of reliable repeats that I love wearing in any and all of the colors/sizes/styles I have them in.

Most of my multiples are cheap and chain store-ish, but I suppose that’s what cheap, chain stores are really best for. (Although the Levi’s Vintage 1950s T’s run a pricy $90 per pop, which seems expensive even for a CW tv celebrity; but the fit and fade is so yesterday that I can’t help having a ton of them today.)

After all, guys are about twice as persnickety about clothes as gals, and when you find a piece that you find yourself slipping into Sunday straight through Saturday you know you’ve officially found your sartorial sweet spot. And it becomes quite sensical and not too In Style-ish to stock up on such items and build up a stable of staples.

I’d still recommend not to ever go all Phillippe on any one item though. Three or four wardrobe repeats seems sage still, but beyond that you’re just begging the fates for boffo buyer’s remorse somewhere down the road.

The Shape of Things to Come

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

My own family’s already made fun of me for shading my eyes behind these sunglasses from OAK. They’ve been calling me an Olsen Twin if and when I’m in them. (I’ve, obviously, been called much worse.)

But their drying-blood color and futuristic fighter-pilot shape feel fresh and forward-looking, which is what this time of year is for, when it comes to one’s look. They combine with the rest of what I’m slipping into these days, and yet quietly clash as well.

That’s just sorta how we Olsen Twins always do things.

Public Television

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

You really shouldn’t, but if you ever do feel guilty about having a favorite Kardashian or Housewife, redemption is near. Simply inviting yourself into the esteemed halls of Downton Abbey a few hours a year will class up your boob-tube consumption tenfold.

Even I, a born Brit half raised by soap operas, was unsure if I’d take to the upstairs/downstairs drama of the haves and have-nots at Downton when I sampled season one over Christmas. But the series is so warm, well-cast and witty that none of its characters come off as stuffy and not one of its scenes ever feel stale.

Like in real life, every turn in the story twists about in ways which are thoroughly unpredicted yet instantly feel pre-ordained. Three episodes in and you feel you’ve known Lord and Lady Crawley and their three spit-firey daughters your entire life. And that they, and their sweet and scheming servants, are as much your family as they are one another’s.

Season 2 crosses the pond this Sunday onto PBS and marches its characters into the fateful call of the first world war. (Oh, Heavens!) Since everything’s bound to be so different for everyone at Downton now because of that, having already screened season 1 shouldn’t at all be considered a prerequisite for tuning in this weekend and enjoying the story. In fact, I’d think a light haze of confusion might make the war-torn drama go down all the more effectively.

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And, for the record, I don’t actually know much about the Kardashians, but Kelly was and Taylor, I guess, now is my favorite Housewife. (I like ’em leggy and un-lucid, apparently.)

Left Hanging

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Most of the art I was aiming to get framed and in place before the holidays remained grounded in lightless closets this past month. Every time I was set to be ready, some other piece, new or old, would pop into the picture and prompt me to pause. With the garland gone and our wilting Christmas tree now thrown to the curb, it’s time to finally spruce up our space and do some hardcore hanging.

One of the pieces I’ve been most excited to install was the above bust portrait from Russia. The image is originally off a postcard I retouched to eliminate needless negative space, and I threw in a free nose-job for the old Soviet while I was at it. I shaved a good 10 years off his schnoz in under a minute, that’s how deft I am with digital knives.

The abstract water color I commissioned from my very own artist-in-residence, M. Hurlburt. Over the course of six or seven nights I had Hurly render similar pieces in endless shades and shapes – and in the end, drove him to madness and myself to giggles by choosing the very first one he’d completed. When it’s right, it’s right, but sometimes you don’t know that until you first go way wrong. (For, like a whole week.)

The colorized photo of this sun-streaked courtyard had been sitting around, unframed, for at least three years. Probably more like four. I wasn’t ever sure whether to go modern or antique-y with it, so in December I finally decided to not really officially decide, and just jam it in a twenty dollar frame that wasn’t up to any good anyway, and call it a day.

Really/obviously, I’ve been thinking, and perfecting, and waiting too long on all this. Hand me the hammer, and let’s just nail these things.