Cabin Fever

The season always started with four to five full cords of aged wood. In the beginning, we had a fire for everyday, which lasted for ten glorious hours of warmth and comfort. 

Warming up

Warming up

 Come March, running on limited fuel we only light it in the frigid evenings as the midday temperatures rose to the thirties. 

Schoolhouse doors and snow

Schoolhouse doors and snow

This was my first experience with Cabin Fever, and it wouldn't be the last. The anxiousness and excitement that arose from seeing the first snow of the season could make any person hear sleigh bells. But now that the snow had overstayed its welcome, and the overwhelming lack of possible snow days that followed the first few big storms made my mentality ache for the sunshine of spring. 

Settling in 

Settling in 

An afternoon with a great book 

An afternoon with a great book 

I stepped into too many snowdrifts and slipped on too much black ice to have any empathy left for the winter. 

Casa Fendi

Casa Fendi

Comforts of home

Comforts of home

I, along with my family, still experience the Cabin Fever symptoms of my youth but with a new backdrop. By March, we've traded in cords of wood for gas fireplaces, mountains for skyscrapers, and have arrived to the same frustration of the lack of escape that snow-days provide. To put it simply, I couldn't be more tired of sporting sweaters and the idea of ‘layering’. 

Beautiful view

Beautiful view

Stealth Barn - an 800-square-foot structure in Norfolk County, England with interior clad in OSB wood particle board by Carl Turner Architects. Photographs by Tim Crocker and Jeremy Phillips.

Stealth Barn - an 800-square-foot structure in Norfolk County, England with interior clad in OSB wood particle board by Carl Turner Architects.

Photographs by Tim Crocker and Jeremy Phillips.

Fresh, New Kitchen Sinks from Native Trails contemporary with Historical appeal

Fresh, New Kitchen Sinks from Native Trails contemporary with Historical appeal

So while I gaze out my living room window, day dreaming in the artificial warmth of the sunlight indoors, I imagine snowdrops beginning to bloom and the daffodils on either side of my walkway guiding me outdoors to enjoy the newly warm temperatures of the season. 

Cabin details Bringing the outdoors in; Cabin via Sunset magazine Washington State

Cabin details Bringing the outdoors in; Cabin via Sunset magazine Washington State

Clean and neutral 

Clean and neutral 

Wolfhound and color via Farrow and Ball

Wolfhound and color via Farrow and Ball

To momentarily remedy the lack of spring outdoors, we bring the season indoors with cherry blossoms and violets proudly serving as both centerpieces and accents to the furnishings around us.

The ultimate in year round living

The ultimate in year round living

Handcrafted comfort

Handcrafted comfort

Hand forged lighting via Troy Lighting

Hand forged lighting via Troy Lighting

A room with a view

A room with a view

Warm woods and plenty of afternoon sun

Warm woods and plenty of afternoon sun

Yet, I still remain indoors—trapped by the polar vortexes of the winter. The Cabin Fever anxiety of my youth remains as I await impatiently for the signs of spring to pop up around me, reminding me of the new adventures to come with the welcoming of the season. 

Making the most of the season

Making the most of the season

Sundays

I begin planning the perfect Sunday probably the week prior on Thursday night. During the week, I have gathered and made mental lists of everything I would like to accomplish. Yes, the list is long, but my New Year Resolution was not to get stressed out about finishing the laundry, cooking the perfect meal, baking enough fresh bread even grinding my own coffee. Cleaning the cupboards and polishing the silver.

 Winter in full swing, I love the sound of the radiators starting up. Clank, clank & hiss

 Winter in full swing, I love the sound of the radiators starting up. Clank, clank & hiss

Sunday organisation is key

Sunday organisation is key

Opening my eyes on a Sunday morning, legs heavy from a good night’s rest and the light from the window keep reminding me to get up with the sun. 

Oh, but it’s nice to wake on a Winters Morn, but it’s nicer to stay in bed. Designers find the best linens. 

Oh, but it’s nice to wake on a Winters Morn, but it’s nicer to stay in bed. Designers find the best linens

Comfort begins with a touch of Velvet. Velvet by Cowtan and Tout

Comfort begins with a touch of Velvet. Velvet by Cowtan and Tout

So, I rise as I do every Sunday. 

There are never enough throws and blankets lately. 

There are never enough throws and blankets lately

7:00 AM: Walk Summer (while I’m simultaneously achieving my morning caffeine intake at Starbucks. Summer meets with his friends and I mine—that quad skim latte, no foam.)

9:00 AM: Clean nearly every surface in the house. *Note to self, use vacuum near Miss H’s room if not yet awake.

The finest manufacturer of textiles. Making the house a home via Holland and Sherry.

The finest manufacturer of textiles. Making the house a home via Holland and Sherry.

11:00 AM: Take a rest. Watch Ina Garten make Jeffery the best brownies known to man. Consequently, make the best brownies known to man for myself later this afternoon. 

12:00 PM: After going to the market and putting brownies in the oven, take a quick nap

Laura Stoddart Pantry

Laura Stoddart Pantry

Exhausted cake stand By Bespoke Global

Exhausted cake stand By Bespoke Global

4:00 PM: Am currently in a food comatose state due do chocolate indulgence. 

6:00 PM: Think about dinner and watch the news.

Comfort in White

Comfort in White

Nothing better than A collection of Hotel Silver. Planning dinner

Nothing better than A collection of Hotel Silver. Planning dinner

Perhaps a good book or a quick game, Comfort all around

Perhaps a good book or a quick game, Comfort all around

8:00 PM: Check Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram to see what I have missed during my day off.

Winding down

Winding down

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Historic Influences. Details

 

Every Sunday, I participate in this self-made ritual and take a great deal of time enjoying the moment spent at home. It somehow recharges me for the hectic week ahead of unknown surprises and the expected appointments. 

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Like I do every weekend, take time to enjoy Sunday for yourself. You’ll be amazed at all of little adventures you’ll discover, both domestic and outdoor. 

Rinse and Repeat

The rushing of fresh water over rolling over the romantic rocks of my childhood comes flooding back to me. 

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I remember the time—to be honest the several times—my father drove his four-wheeler with all of the bells and whistles, including the ever necessary rooftop exhaust  through the gurgling rivers of my neighborhood. And when I say rivers, I don’t mean a cute little stream of water with a doe drinking from the water’s edge. Instead, imagine the adrenaline educing white water rapids of Colorado, with a determined Irishman at the wheel of the Jeep refusing to find a road. He’s the one who wants to drive through the madness.

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Polomba Bath Collection by Laufen

Polomba Bath Collection by Laufen

Now, as a kid and even to this day I think what happens next is the fun part. He’d tell my mother and us boys to get out of the car. My mother would patiently wait to see if it was safe to cross and my brother and I walked across the river. At the time, I thought it was just for fun

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Victoria + Albert graces the Orlando Hotel in Napoli. 

Victoria + Albert graces the Orlando Hotel in Napoli. 

Nothing like an outdoor shower. I saw these at the Architectural Digest  Home Show in New York. 

Nothing like an outdoor shower. I saw these at the Architectural Digest  Home Show in New York. 

Sometimes simple is best, colors reminiscent of the surf. 

Sometimes simple is best, colors reminiscent of the surf. 

Only later in my life did I catch on to the fact that he wasn’t trying to make the vacation more exciting, but using his own children—ME—as a gauge for how deep the river was so that the family car could drive through the chilly currents without stalling.

 

Transitional showers by Jee-O

Transitional showers by Jee-O

We’d all make it across. Me and my brother wet on the other side of the bank and my mother, now in the car, on the passenger side of this indestructible Jeep drove up with my dad. I remember the car struggling to trudge past the slippery boulders and my father’s fixed gaze on the shoreline when the water was past the door handles. Somehow he knew he’d make it across.

 

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Oborain showers

Oborain showers

And I know what I’m about to say may sound a little out there, but because of my outdoorsy upbringing, every time I hear the rushing of water, for a moment, I come back to this memory of my family daring to cross the river. And in this sense, of myself growing up and evolving to fit a now fairly urban environment, I’m somehow connected to the water. Like the rivers of my childhood, I came from an almost untamed environment where I crashed and collided with the rocks around me until finally the day came where I was fit enough to find my residency in the city—no longer needing to find my path because I was already on it.

 

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So, every time I hear an outdoor shower or the lapping of waves on Lake Michigan, I’m reminded of the determination of my father and how great an impact our relationship with water can be on the untamed human spirit.

 

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White out

White: Iconic in every right, in menswear, in women’s wear must haves, the go-to’s and now arriving to the home. The color stands for everything from classicality, sophistication, to the juxtaposition between masculinity and femininity, as well as a sense of demure sensuality.  A hint of the je ne sais quoi with a casual blasé attitude.

White by Nacho Polo

White by Nacho Polo

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Take for instance the feeling I get from putting on a crisp white shirt after a day enjoying the sun or taking a nap using white linen sheets fresh from the clothesline. Nothing could be better in my opinion. Just as a shirt can change my mentality for the better, so can a quick touch up of the woodwork around my house. White can make everything feel new again.  It’s refreshing, neutral, clean, bright and crisp.

The newest whites from Miele

The newest whites from Miele

white for the serious home chef by Miele

white for the serious home chef by Miele

Past the exterior now, a white kitchen is ideal for the home cook, whether your taste in home décor is classic or contemporary, urbane or rustic. White can make spaces seem bigger and airier, while providing a clean canvas for showcasing other elements. This creates an inviting, enchanting, and functional home. Wood finishes look richer against white; printed fabrics pop even more; and lighting fixtures such as chandeliers and pendants stand out as sculptural elements against the neutral backdrop. 


Quarts Surfaces by Silestone/Consentino Suede: Color: Kensho

Quarts Surfaces by Silestone/Consentino Suede: Color: Kensho

Laguna beach by Consentino

Laguna beach by Consentino

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White in the landscape can become a focal point. It has the power to make us think of travel by sea or plane. We can dream of stars and clouds while sitting on our porches. Bask in the ideas of what if, and share with our closest friends and family. In a contemporary setting it draws the eye inward making one conscious of his or her surroundings.

Quadrant lighted seating by Perin & Topan. Endless internal Illumination possibilities. A big thank you to Ms. Katja Matoseu for the introduction.

Quadrant lighted seating by Perin & Topan. Endless internal Illumination possibilities. A big thank you to Ms. Katja Matoseu for the introduction.

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The color white is pure and serene by nature. Blending in to reflect the aura of its surroundings. White has been used throughout the ages to speak of new beginnings. White harkens calm and influential architecture as well as in purist design. Our living quarters are transformed from the ordinary to the extraordinary simply with a brush, a roller, and a few well-chosen functional elements. A few of which I am highlighting here that are sponsors of the Architectural Digest Home Show that took place a few days back. I learned quite a bit visiting all of the different vendors, not only about advances in technology for the home but in identifying a comfortable trend in what I used to refer as “nesting.” 

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Perhaps white is about making things easier, not fussy, and even youthful.

On the Edge

Be Daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.  --- Cecil Beaton

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There’s something about the older cobblestone streets, the wind in my hair and the smell of the city--just a bike ride from Manhattan. This is where the true artisans live and work, in warehouses that are glamorized by television shows like Gossip Girl and the like.

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To my surprise, I found the residents and characters of area just as interesting as what they create and design. Their sawdust-covered workshops are filled with one-of-a-kind objects for home. To them their dedication is about the craft, the love of materials, most of all the process. The value of the dollar is different here. It’s measured in making the rent, buying recycled materials, a trip to the market all to maintain this “loft Style” existence.  I found myself not only drawn in by this lifestyle, but wanting to become a part of it somehow—this new perspective on day-to-day living was something to cherish.

Photo courtesy of Paul Raeside. 

Photo courtesy of Paul Raeside. 

Yet, when it comes to describing the proud grins of each master craftsman displayed as I acknowledged his talent, I can’t possibly give the moment its full justice. I wouldn’t want to butcher the integrity of it all. So, all I can do is attempt to emphasize the awe-inspiring work behind those smiles.

Architectural Digest Home Design Show

Architectural Digest Home Design Show

All of this took place on the other side of the bridge in Brooklyn, in an area named Dumbo to be exact. I witnessed families with kids in strollers, couples promenading down the chilly avenue along side the homeless, artists, bars and workshops. They were all existing together, each group contributing to the vitality of Brooklyn. It’s a city unlike Manhattan where one is merely measured by their address.

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After my tour of a few galleries and workspaces, we were able to stop for a much needed break and to enjoy a glass of wine at the Olympia Wine Bar where I met Chris and Goel. Just from a glance I knew they represented the people I have been reading about recently, reinventing a new frontier—The Quality over Quantity Brigade. They have lived in the neighborhood for twelve or so years, moving in when Brooklyn wasn’t so desirable (to say the least). They noted today there were more baby carriages than ever before. Looking out the window with concern behind his eyes, Chris suggested Manhattan may just be moving into “his” territory.  

Take for instance Mark Jupeter, in this company he is compared to the craftsman that made tables in the TV series “Sex in the City,” not a bad person to be compared to I suppose. If you recall in the show, Carrie and this gentleman were at odds over the addresses as well as individual lifestyles. That friction is apparent throughout Dumbo.

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Chris and Goel shared that rents were running 3500 dollars for a lofty two bedroom. While it may seem to some a bit romantic, picture what lofty really means here. No heat, cement floors, and vandals paired with great views. Have I mentioned no whole foods as of yet. But somehow with Manhattan only a bike ride away, all of the cities luxuries were available just on the other side of the bridge.

These craftsmen, designers and artists may seem outside of normal but are producing some of the neatest objects and furnishings I’ve seen in a while. I think we should surprise ourselves, seek these characters out in our own cities and towns. We may just be buying a new favorite heirloom, with a great story attached.

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All I can say is a big thank you to Veronika Miller and Modenus for the introduction as well as our wonderful sponsors.

New York City

“There is no question that there is an unseen world. The problem is, how far is it from midtown and how late is it open?” ~Woody Allen

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 As I begin to mentally pack my luggage and daydream of returning to New York, my mind wanders...

 New York City, so many designers, artists, and craftsman—spectacular architecture and not to mention the introduction to new products that cannot only fill our lives with conveniences, but with beauty.  

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In August of 2009, Saturdays opened its flagship store in SoHo as New York's premier downtown surf shop.

Before I decide on what to bring along, I imagine myself walking down the sidewalks from Broadway to Alphabet City, eating and drinking my way down to Saturday’s. As I finally approach the quaint surf shop the light reflecting off of the glass hits my eye; it’s obviously a sunny afternoon in my mind and I’m taken back to summer, to a time where the flip-flops and board shorts were once tucked away in the messenger bag for the quick getaway to the beach. 

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It all started here, in SoHo, September, 1977. This team creates a feast for the senses in an environment where expert customer service and culinary excellence reign.

However, in this daydream after gazing at surf gear, I make a dash to Dean and Deluca. I walk in and the smell of freshly baked bread that fills the grocery. I hear the crackle of crust and mindlessly grab everything I can reach for. I’m sure this isn’t the first time someone impulse bought almost half of the store… 

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Bunny Williams co-owns Treillage Ltd., a garden furniture and ornament shop in New York, with antiques dealer John Rosselli.

With bags in hand now, I travel to Treillage—Bunny William’s shop. Beautifully balanced and having an undisciplined look in both garden and interior. A definite must see for interior designers. 

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A 16-foot Buddha, which floats above a reflecting pool filled with Japanese carp, presides over the scene at Tao.

Finally, my feet begin to drag on the walk back to the hotel. On my way to my room, I plan my venture for the next day. Tonight, I’m sure to dream of Tao’s amazing cuisine as I drift off to sleep—the image of steaming pot-stickers ensure a quick visit for tomorrow’s lunch. 

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Many thanks to Modunus.com for including me in this year’s blog tour of New York City. I am ever so excited about the annual Mary’s and Mimosas event at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show, design tours and swank cocktail parties. Not to mention catching up with friends at Dining by Design.

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Meet the Team, see the sites

The product line up is incredible. I am humbled an honored to be apart of it. Keep an eye out for updates on my Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Make sure you’re connected with the links below.

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Have a terrific week and if you can think of anything a Chicago beach bum that loves design, great friends, and good food would enjoy, let me know.

https://www.facebook.com/michaelryandesign

http://www.michaelryandesign.com/journal/

https://twitter.com/dempsterbeach

http://pinterest.com/dempsterbeach/

http://michaelryandesign.tumblr.com/

Printemps

As I look outside my window, to see a whole city covered in a blanket of snow, I’m reminded of Bing Crosby, Christmas carols and all things holiday.  Yet, the presents under the tree have been opened for some time now, the ornaments gone, and lights properly put away. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love winter, being from Colorado; I love skiing down the slopes of Breckenridge and walking in my snow-boots to Starbucks.  I love everything from the first frost to the last flake falling.

But spring, if you’re reading this… can you come visit soon? 

 

Garden Plans

The world is anticipating your inevitable return and causing me to miss the warm(er) weather. Not merely the warm breeze, but the color green! My favorite reads on this frigid day was anything garden, with the likes of Carolyne Roehm, Robert Norris, Privet Home and Garden along with Suzanne Cummings and her images of her hand tied bouquets. I couldn’t help but to daydream of white gardens, the scents, textures, accents, charm and finally entertaining in the coming spring.

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With that constantly in the back of my mind, I want to decorate the house with Maiden Hair ferns under cloches, pick out seeds, and rework the garden landscape. I daydream of spring’s potential. Nothing would make me happier than being able to start growing a few Paperwhite bulbs on the kitchen windowsill or placing them strategically around the house utilizing my collection of white pottery.

 

Where have those strong wheat grass blades gone that I took for granted during the summer? It’s time to start growing, don’t you think? 

Our good friend and Chicago’s premiere florist Ms. Suzanne Cummings brings her training with designer Jane Packer of London and her personal esthetic to every creation. When she’s not running about town, Suzanne can be found at http://www.suzannecummingsflowers.com

 

 

Mr. Robert Norris not only designs spectacular classical homes at http://www.spitzmillerandnorris.com throughout the country, he gardens. He has taken this hobby to the next level with grounds and combinations that will absolutely inspire. I met Robert on Facebook a while back and I’m so happy I did.

 

After all, magazines are starting to pile up. I’m simply running out of storage space for all of these articles. In my attempt to organize, I divide the catalogues and magazines into three categories: fashion, color, and garden. (The slow return of the season is definitely not helping my floor plans.)

With each turn of the page, I let my imagination run wild with landscape plans…

One of My favorites spots for Home and Garden. Privet Home’s goal is to provide and serve clients with those often "impossible to find pieces", pieces which are destined to become family heirlooms. If you haven’t checked them out you can find them here, http://www.privethome.com/

 

 

 

Usually, I’m against rushing the seasons. Enjoy them while they’re here is what I tell my family and friends. However, in the case of spring I’ll allow this one exception.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming Home

It was a 100 degree day in the middle of July. What caught my eye while browsing through someone else’s garage was a bicycle that must have dated back to the 30’s—Rusted, broken, and nowhere near safe enough to ride. It was painted Holiday Red with accents of green, complete with the classic whitewall tires.

 

 

The snow this year was absolutely amazing. Giant flakes fell every day for a week. Before long, it was up to the forth step on the porch. Luckily I had the sense to put the Christmas lights out earlier in the week. White in the small evergreens planted in the oversized window boxes surrounding the entire house, multi colored on the full sized trees that graced the porch,  tiny white lights crept up the garlands that led to our front door intertwining with a generous red velvet ribbon. The outside was almost finished. 

A quick trip to the hardware store, an old fashioned one that remains one of my favorites, for a bit more wire. While digging through a dusty box of antique ornaments, looking for the perfect patina in silver, I came across a strand of antique lights. The really old ones that burn way to hot and are just as boldly colored. The lights themselves were the size of chandelier bulbs. I could tell they were destined for the trash, and I asked if I could buy them. 

 

After a little rewiring we were in business. The snow was beginning to fall at a steady pace. If we were going to do this, I had better get to it. We have giant eaves that that I could barley reach from the second floor window ledges. Dangerous yes, but maybe it made it a bit more fun. I placed two pulleys into the wood, centered perfectly considering the architecture of this Burnham Home. Slowly we pulled and pulled with far too many "artistic directors" offering their opinions about placement. 

Kyle Bunting Custom Upholstery

The 30’s bicycle officially had a new life hanging in front of the window boxes covered in twenty of the brightest colored bulbs I have ever seen. The tires were polished and the basket was filled with wrapped presents. It’s finishing touch being the dusting of fresh snow. 

 

 

 

 

 

 A few days later, Chicago Home and Garden came to take photos, the local newspapers even dropped by to highlight the neighborhood decorations and wanted to include ours.

 

 

RLH Collection: a collection that is defined by period construction, details, and authentic craftsmanship that is embody the spirit of artisanal luxury.

 

 

 

 

Four feet of snow never looked so good. I didn’t even mind shoveling that year. 

Merry Christmas

 

Night

 

"A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world" ~ Oscar Wilde

 

 With night falling more quickly then ever, I thought I would explore a night pallet for the home that exudes luxury and functionality all with a modern twist. An unusual break from my comfort zone. Here are a few looks that caught my eye.  

 

A menswear influence in grey,slate and black.Something has to be said about the allure of night and the promises it may bring.

Product development: a fantastic daybed

 

 

 

No human being believes that any other human being has a right to be in bed when he himself is up.

~Robert Lynd (1879-1947) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armani Casa: The perfect Bar and balance between trend and tradition

 

 

 

Fantastic use of texture and pallet

Ralph Lauren Home: Via Pacific Heights Place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 "Lay me on a cushioned chair; carry me, ye four, with cushions here and there to see the world once more"

                       ~William Yates

 

No bad decisions this Halloween, be safe.

Simple


With the sound of crackling bacon, my brother and I awoke. Pulling back the tent flap, we headed out to see what our dad cooking this morning. The ground was still frozen from the previous night and the warm campfire kept our spirits up, along with the breakfast (although it didn’t last long between two teenagers).

The conversations were never much in the mornings. Silence filled the air as the Rocky Mountain critters made their way to investigate what we were up to. Grabbing our fishing gear, the family headed for the river. 

 

I have never met a more resourceful animal

This is why we were here, to inhale the scent of pine tress, catch fish, and admire the crisp blue skies. Platt River was our little family tradition every autumn that I always looked forward to. Today, I thought to myself, is the day I’ll catch the first rainbow trout. Now, I’m not sure if it was because of my overeager youth, but something remarkable happened that day.

Something to be said about the craftmanship of ones gear

 

 

 

 

 

 I still can remember the fresh air, the colors and often catch myself listening for familiar sounds even here in the city. Perhaps this is why I’m attracted to the comfortable simplicities of home.  

 

 

A new casual mood, where styling is relaxed and products have a rustic charm that is familiar, comforting and seemingly unconsidered. This color story is about artfully curating the home to reflect a sense of personal style where items are deliberately mismatched, worn, natural and wholesome.

I cast my line into the rushing river, when it snagged.  Pulling in the trout, I jerked the line a little too hard, causing my trophy to go air-born about fifteen feet. I ran after him once I heard something hit the tree branches behind me. 

   Alpine chair

 

 

 

 

 

The trout was caught in the branches gasping for air.  Flopping around, he struggled to wriggle loose, but there was nothing I could do to claim it—he was out of my reach. There was only one thing I could do….cut the lead.  Fish, pole and pride fell in the river below.

 

 However, due to a rocky start, my day wasn’t an entire loss. 

 

 

Family Style

 

 

With summer shortly coming to a close, friends and family cling to the shore to soak up the last rays and swap stories that only the season can provide. There isn’t much left to cross off on the lists we’ve made in May. Painted the mudroom, check. Gone to a baseball game, check. Spent hours at the beach, double check. In this, I find comfort. 

Indian spiced roast chicken

 

 

 Just last week, I invited some friends over for dinner around the kitchen table, to what seemed to be an ordinary gathering. Nothing too grand was awaiting my guests on their plates, simply grilled chicken, rice, and a summer salad. Yet, with music playing from the living room, the young adults at the table gave updates on their afternoons. One filled the air with his soccer aspirations, eyes lighting up when he told us that he got accepted to the high school varsity team. Another spoke about becoming a college freshman and the excitement that awaited her. 

Rather than reflecting on what had been accomplished this summer, they kept adding. They kept gazing towards the future. And every summer, that’s what the season affords us. It allows family and friends to be hopeful of the future with a childish arrogance and naiveté. Even the adults, myself included, shifted the conversation towards the Olympics, our hopes riding on a certain country or athlete.

 

 

Then Ping-Pong was broached.

Once Ping-Pong was brought up—That was the end of dinner. The kids cleared the dishes and dashed for the dining room table.  The boys scrambled for the portable set, and with that our own Olympics began. The light clicking from side to side was much less tension filled than the real competitions. However, I think that there was more teasing involved. Laughter filled the room whenever someone would completely miss. The ball bounced too quickly for the competitor to even see, leaving him stunned.  Although my favorite was when one of the adults would butt in by throwing another ball into play or needing suddenly grab a book during midgame that was on the other side of the table.

Standing there, watching the evening unfold, I couldn’t have been more pleased. At that moment, we were grounded by our mundane to-do lists in the backs of our minds, yes. However, we were able to enjoy the youthful attitude that summer affords us all; we were able to take full advantage of summer’s version of family style. A style bursting with life, opportunity, and daydreaming. And although Autumn in fast approaching, I embrace the next chapter, the future, my next to-do list. 

 

 

I find resolve in the idea that we will continue to make the seasons worthwhile. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sound of Summer

 

 

 

Despite setting my alarm clock every evening, what wakes me isn't the buzzing of some mechanical gadget, but rather the vigilant woodpecker dedicated to his craft right outside my window. Each morning at around 5:30 he's ready to work on my copper rain gutters, which are obviously not up to his standards. Hearing his beak collide with the gutters, I pull back the covers. It's time to follow nature's example and start the day.

 

 From there, I head to Starbucks with my Portuguese Waterdog, Summer. He waits patiently next the newsstand while the neighbors say their hellos and hand him treats. (I swear that more people know that Muppet of a dog than me some days.) Once that iced skim latte hits my hand, I'm out the door. With Summer by my side, we walk to the shore. The sounds of the sails flapping in the wind combined with the overheard conversations of the sailing crew, known to the locals as the Blue Shirts, we dash for the water.

 

 

At first, with Summer living for the waves, we play a few rounds of fetch. He leaps over the waves as far as possible until he can no longer reach the false bottom that the seiche provides. That's when he really shines. Hearing him pant with each stroke he seems as unstoppable and as unchangeable as the season itself. Swimming past buoys and clashing with the water, he finally reaches that tennis ball and returns victoriously to the sand.

 

 

 

After a couple hours lying on the designated beach cloth, we trudge back. Exhausted from the sun, I let Summer recuperate at home while I set up the sprinklers and head for the market with one item in mind: chicken, otherwise known as a little piece of heaven. If I've learned anything from Martha Stewart or Art Smith is how to make a batch of buttermilk fried chicken. For me, it's the perfect end to a perfect summer day. To sit on the front porch with my dinner in hand, watching the lightning bugs slowly appear and hearing the crickets make their musical score of the evening I realize that I couldn't ask for anything more.  

 

Art Smith’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 quarts cold water
- 4 quarts ice
- one 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- 1 quart buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon Franks Red Hot hot sauce
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups White Lilly self-rising flour
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Vegetable oil, for frying
Directions:
In a pot, dissolve 1/2 cup of the salt in the water and ice. Submerge the chicken in the brine; refrigerate overnight.
Drain and rinse the chicken. Rinse out the pot. Add the buttermilk and hot sauce submerge the chicken in the buttermilk and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Remove chicken from the buttermilk. Place the eggs and hot sauce in a mixing bowl and add the chicken allowing it to be lightly coated with the egg mixture. Remove from the egg mixture.
In a shallow bowl, mix the flour, thyme leaves, garlic powder, Old Bay, cayenne, black pepper and the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Shake the excess marinade off the chicken, then dredge in the flour. Dip the chicken back into the buttermilk and coat again in the flour.
Meanwhile, in a large cast-iron skillet, heat 1 inch of vegetable oil to 375°. Fry the chicken in batches until golden and cooked through, about 6 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and serve.

 

 

 

Structure

Moldings establish scale and proportion in any room, and communicate the owner's taste. Photography courtesy of Brent Hull, Hull Historical 

   I began thinking about this single word "structure" and how it applies to design. At first, a very easy task, after all we use it almost every day. I couldn’t have been more incorrect. What I found was quite different from my initial thought. I began referencing the objects we live and surround us in our homes.  I got lost in the details; A carved leg, a surface design, a color….Almost every design has been influenced by “organic structure”. First was the apparent, a curling fern, the acanthus leaf, even the fullness of a bloom. My idea of structure grew from here.
  Most of you know my love for the beach and how I’ve incorporated the lifestyle into almost everything. In my home, besides the driftwood mounted on the wall (you’ve heard that one before) I have a collection of rustic oars hanging on a Robins Eggs Blue wall. The painted surface designs scattered about emphasize the always inspiring structures of English gardens. One of which is in this journal entry; a surface design intended to be a print for scarves, complete with Latin botanicals that I created. As if that weren’t enough, I even planted Sea Oats outside my kitchen window just for the texture and color last weekend. I’m looking forward to it taking hold and providing another visual opportunity. Perhaps it’s just another way of introducing structure into my personal space, but I find that details make the worthwhile difference of making house a home. How will you incorporate it into yours?
 
Michael Fogs 42" Faux Bois Bench. Utilizing materials to create impossible forms

 

Live willow fence

Jane Churchill

 

French Design, More information in the "Own the Look" tab.

 

 

Krause Music Store, Chicago, Illinois, 1922 — William Presto and Louis Sullivan.

 Louis Sullivan’s last commission as an architect before his death in 1924.

 English Tudor Garden Study: Michael Ryan Design

 

Orange Tree in Bronze: Andrew Zega & Bernd DamsThe Art of Topiary

Stunning latitudinal view from one sitting room through the foyer, on into a beautiful living room, and finally out to a gracious patio area in a home in Rye, New York by Mark P. Finlay, Architect.

Breathe

  It's time to put down the iPad and step outside. With the new season comes another opportunity to contemplate our lives. Now, I'm not saying that we all have to follow in Madonna's dramatic footsteps of reinventing ourselves. However, one idea is key for this transformation: family. Over the winter months we've forgotten that there's more to life than work, than surfing the internet, and checking Facebook. We've forgotten how to simply... breathe. 

More often than not, it's the simple moments with family that can inspire and catalyst the most profound changes in our lives. For me, given on a particular day, this feeling can be discovered by an afternoon at the beach. The first spring day exciting all of the senses with freshness in the air, and the sun recharging my exhausted and thinly spread life. Even repainting the living room wall, buying a spontaneous bucket of paint with my daughter and bringing the outdoors in. Whatever the case may be, the time has come to make the home the center of your life again. The time has come to take charge, turn up the music, and get to it!
Capturing this sense of relaxation and ultimate content may sound as impossible as catching lightening in a bottle. Yet, it's not only vital for your mental health, but it's as simple as deciding what to wear in the morning. No matter what outfit you end up choosing, it's completely and utterly you. With that in mind, reflect on what graces your home. Do the walls and rooms truly reflect the ideas and moments that you cherish the most? Personally, the color blue has followed my family for decades. It's always let itself be prominent in the memories that I hold most dear. From my brother's desire to become a member of the Air Force, planes contrasting against the sky, to my daughter teaching our Portuguese waterdog not to be afraid of the waves that hit the shore line- blue has always been a part of the story.  And with my desire to continue that legacy, I place hints of the playful color in almost every room. It's become a permanent guest in my home.
So, we must return the basics, there we'll uncover what inspires and motivates. Don't complicate the idea by over thinking every little decision. Follow your instincts. It's time to frame that old photo of grandma, repaint the office, reupholster that family heirloom that's been sitting around, and emphasize those little family quirks that make a house a home. After all, we shouldn't feel like guests in our own home. We should always have the time to breathe, celebrate family, home and a new season.
                                                                                   .

Ralph Lauren blue and white bedroom: Hand painted river-rock, the perfect keepsake
Kick off your shoes it's comfortable not fussy.
beach life
The joy of family
Antibes Bed from Ralph Lauren
collecting color
Waterleaf Interiors
Maritime Blue: Scalamandre
Seaside entry, don't be afraid of a little sand on the floor

We always remember the simple things.

 

 

 


A Clean Slate

A friend asked me the other day, where I get my influences. The answer’s easy: sea glass. I’ve spent hours walking up and down the sandy shores of Lake Michigan hunting for the illusive red sea glass in order to finally beat my daughter in our own little summer completion each year. At first, the game was merely a silly way to escape the heat of Chicago. Yet, while I write this, I understand that the glass has embodied something else entirely, the seemingly insignificant moments of summer that I cherish the most. This post is reminiscent of this, meaning the clean crisp colors that are found randomly and influence design.
By picking out hints of color here and there or the ultimate wallpaper for example, like my family tradition, may seem ordinary and insignificant. However, when you finally rest in your home, surrounded by the colors peeking from behind the curtains, a sense of accomplishment and pride emerges. You have finally captured the mood. 
Now go out and find your sea glass. 

 

The power of blue including the Thoroughbred paint collection from Ralph Lauren

Whitewash with a pop of color

 

 

 

 

Imagine the color possibilities by Sherrill

 

 

 

 

a fresh take on a spring/summer palette

keeping it neutral wall system courtesy of Somerset Bay 

 

 

 




A stroke of the pen

 

Balancing the weight of the pen in my hand, I begin to write. Each new idea forming and bubbling to the surface is scribbled on a post-it note. This may sound manageable and organized to some, but the fact is that these hieroglyphics remain to be incomprehensible by others and even myself at times.

The problem is that as I while I compose this post, preaching the beauty and importance of organization, my wallpapered wall behind my Mac is hidden behind the numerous post-its with evidence of my fleeting thoughts. I’ve become accustomed to tracking down an inspired idea on the backs of old grocery lists, yellow, green, blue sticky notes, and any scratch paper that’s in arms reach. Yet, understanding the simplicity and ease an office should leave its owner, I’ve become intrinsically motivated to make a change.  

And so, with a stroke of the pen, I begin. 

 

 

A simple home office illustrated by the use of CAD.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salvaged wood and extending glass desk

Dream office and Ralph Lauren office chair. Beautiful.

 

 

Zinc desk, milk glass lamp, and easy storage

Try to bring something into the mix that personal and enjoyable. For me it's a touch of the mountains.

Reuse, recycle and restyle. Leather pencil holders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always have your reference materials handy

A hint of Pantone's color of the season tangerine. A little goes a long way.

Calligraphy,it's never to late to learn. Drop by my facebook pages to see what we are all talking about.

 

 

 

Thin Air

Thin Air. Full screen it, look around a bit further, and you may agree-- Everything old is new again. 

 

Aspen Colorado 1950

 

 

 

Staffan Tollgard  Design Group's  Portfolio 

A playful experiment with the illusion of weightlessness. Handcrafted from solid hardwood bolted to powder coated steel straps Equilibrium's striking utilitarian lines and bold cantilever evoke classic modernist arhitectural forms.

Full Carbonite skis by Aviator. Aggressive riders only. Polished aluminium and neon reflectors give a new direction in surface design.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fly Girls: Ralph Lauren Magazine

As a designer, Jinseok always thought about presenting stories to people in a unique way through product design. He was inspired by the movements of the humanoid robot and mechanics from movies and comic books and tried to give life and emotion into a desk lamp design. LOBOT means "Lighting" plus "Robot" as well as a "Robot" designed by "low tech".

Color Me Happy: An psychological infographic, physiological effects of color. Specifically orange and tangerine, we will be seeing a lot of this through the year.

Frost

 

Snow white, quiet cold. Warm in Winter, here I lie with the memory of snow.

 

 

 

 

 

  Listen. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 My Frost palette. For more information including pantone and code feel free to email.     

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Sweet Paul Magazine for this beautiful image. Fits right into Frost. Click the link for "how to" details and to visit. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frost Inspiration by photographer Cecil Beaton, 1948

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first frost is here when you walk over familiar fall leaves, only to hear an unfamiliar crunch and enjoy seeing your breath for the first time of the season. 

 

 

 

 " In the middle of a darkened room, I wanted the table to be a twinkling blur of light. The centerpieces are an ordinary weed sprayed with glitter, but they sparkle like a million diamonds" From Carloyne Roehm Christmas: House Beautiful.  

 

 Own the Look

 


The Hunt

 

Greeting the crisp morning air, moss underfoot we are back to the hunt, amongst friends and fallen leaves. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Respecting tradition. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Two classics. 

 'The Musket Console' from Althrop Living History is adorned with replica fintlock and is inspired by the 2nd Earl Spencer who was appointed 1st Lord Admirality in 1795. 

 

 

 

 

Enough Said.

 

 

 

She may not have been as graceful as he. She may have even been new to horseback. But we love her for it all the same. Here's to The Hunt. 

 

Own the Look...