So as designers, we often talk of the collected home. Having a place to reside that reflects who you are and your unique experiences on the planet. But what does that really look like? What are the bells and baubles that make you who you are? I've decided to show you a few of mine. The trinkets that make up my journey and the back stories behind them.
While I am very clear that the things that you have don't define you, I am also wedded to a love of personal items that tell a story. Those tchotchkes that give a a home a soul. I am no minimalist. In many ways I am envious of those who can live with so little. And yet, I can't seem to curb my collecting ways. Also inheriting so much from my mother has resulted in a house that is brimming over with stuff. So, in this week's musings we are going to play a little game called I'll show you mine, if you show me yours.
Vignettes: Lessons in Story Telling
I really enjoy putting together vignettes. Its something that as a designer I pride myself on a bit. I'm usually pretty modest around my decorating skills but the finishing touches are my thang. Even if I did suck, I think I would just love doing it. Arranging and rearranging. Design therapy at its best.
The photo on the left shows an incredible iron and marble table that I inherited from m mother… who inherited it from my incredibly stylish grandfather (more on him another day). I lived with this table in the entry hall of my mother's house my entire life. To see it in a new space just made it all the more special and beautiful to me. On top sit some of my favorite design books (I'm pretty much obsessed with coffee table books) and an oversized marble ashtray from my mom that now holds keys. The painting is my husbands and one of the first things of his I moved into the apartment. It is a piece by our friend Jerome Lagarrigue who actually introduced us. I love the juxtaposition of the simple framed art against the more ornate table. And I love that my husband and I meet here stylistically in the entry to our home. C'est Magnifique!
The photo on the right shows some shelving in my living area. An incredible photo of my mom that I had never seen before was given to me at her funeral. Tear jerker much? The blow fish, sculptural glass vase, and Chinese vase on the top shelf are all items from my childhood home. Ever an art enthusiast, I purchased the African comb framed on kuba cloth when studying in South Africa my senior year of college. The metal necklace on a stand was from a sample sale. It was supposed to go to a client but clearly she had other plans. The mercury ball on a stand I purchased from another designer intended for a client. Do you see a pattern developing? And the photo on the wall features the company I formerly danced with, Robert Moses Kin, a million years ago. Past, present, old and new all find there place.
Inherited Gems: A legacy of taste
My hallway is one of my favorite areas in my house. It leads from a light and airy living room to a light and airy bedroom. My design philosophy around small, transitional spaces is to go bold. Perhaps my favorite thing in the space is the light fixture inherited from my grandfather. My mother never installed it in her house and I found it hiding in the attic eves. And when I moved into this apartment, I knew I had the perfect place for him to live. The coolest part about the fixture is that it used to live in a powder room in one of my mom's childhood homes. My grandfather painted the walls black, hung this fixture, and about a dozen gold metal starts from the ceiling. As a kid, I would always imagine what that room must have looked like and how crazy people must have thought he was for going so bold in the 1940's.
Another great small moment at home is here in my bathroom. The table is from my grandfather…. again. He really had amazing taste! Obvs. I had it refinished, lacquered black, to bring it back to its original glory. I use it daily in its new place.
The black and white metal jars are from my mother. In my home growing up we had a black bathroom, completely tiled in black, and a white bathroom, similarly completely tiled in white tile. These jars lived in the black bathroom, my mother's bathroom, and I always remember being drawn to them. I love how they look in this new setting. And they give my bathroom some added flavor!
The shower curtain is from West Elm. I looked and looked for that final piece and when I saw the tie dye I knew it was the one. I love the pattern on pattern play here. .
What's Old is New Again
I found this vintage kimono in a furniture consignment store in Riverhead, NY. I was out visiting my aunt and we have a tradition of always going to see what the store has. And more often then not we leave with something. And there she was. I didn't know at the time what I would do with her but I knew she was mine. That salmon color. The embroidery. It was all too much. Psycho eyes meet happy dance and the rest was history. And then when I brought her home and saw how well she played with my Sol Lewitt mural I knew I had a winner.
The story behind the mural is that a previous tenant did installations of Sol's work around the city. I imagine he came home with this piece and installed it for himself. It was the very thing that made me pull the trigger on this apartment. Original art in my dressing room now office? Yes and yes!
I must confess that sharing this with the world feels a bit strange, a bit too revealing. But at the same time writing about the things I love and objects that define my life simply leaves me feeling incredibly grateful. I am so thankful for all I have and all I've been through, both the good and the bad. Even the most painful and trying times can lead to amazing beauty and joy. And my journey is a great example of that.
Until next week...