Monday, January 25, 2010
I have a passion for Art Deco and also for Asian designs and motifs. Chinese Art Deco was a movement that centered around the city of Shanghai in the 1930's and ushered in the modern era in China. Shanghai in the 1930's was a hedonistic and culturally diverse Capitalist city that was controlled by the England, France, and the United States. At that time, Shanghai was referred to as the "Paris of the East." The Chinese brilliantly incorporated their unique and prolific design style into the streamline forms of Moderne. Pagoda Red is one of the largest purveyors of Chinese Deco in the U.S. Their merchandise can be found online at http://www.pagodared.com/
Thursday, January 21, 2010
On the way to our friend Annie's birthday party the other night, my friends, Oscar and David, and I stopped by Kari French's house for a pre-party cocktail. Mrs. French (pictured above) has been a colorful figure in the Los Angeles Retro, go-go, burlesque and performance art scene for many years. She is an authority on all things Mod, Pop, and groovy. Aside from being a hip girl on the go, Kari also loves to decorate in the style that most inspires her. Her home and handy work has been published and celebrated in such books as "Pad: The Guide to Ultra Living". Kari received us in in a purple psychedelic dress and white go-go boots. She poured our libations and led us downstairs into her new office/lounge she had just finished decorating. She did all of the work herself, including the far out painted floor pictured below. Kari wanted to utilize many of her large patterned fabric remnants by creating a funky, pop patchwork multi-purpose room. Kari has finally decided to help the public at large up their groovy quotient by offering design consultations and setting up fabulous and funky installations for home, office, or parties.
Kari made this chair/ottoman out of a vintage nightstand. How clever!
Friday, January 15, 2010
Stan Williams featured our former house in his terrific book, "The Find". The book was so successful that it has gone into a second printing. In it, he referred to the segregated displays of our personal collections as a "his and hers" style of decorating. This could also be "his and his" or "hers and hers". When a couple begins to merge their styles, some things need to stand out that suggests each others individuality. Collections of personally collected objects can define a space and also represent an intimate glimpse of a partner's own taste. A more impersonal way of claiming territory is the monogram. This can be used on sheets, towels, napkins, or hung in brass letters on the wall. When combining your lives, make sure that your surroundings reflect you, your partner, and your combined vision. Senor and I recently refreshed our nightstand decor. We wanted to use the "his and hers" theme to create matching nightstands that were stylistically similar, but thematically different. Our concept was masculine and feminine. Nightstands are a great place to have fun creating tablescapes that are functional and whimsical.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
The Italian Lobeco bottles pictured above are the perfect example of a marriage between Victorian and Mod style. The modern style became more curvaceous and ornamental in the 1960's. Fashion and Interior Design began to take a cue from the more ornate periods in our past such as Rococo, Art Nouveau, and of course, Victorian. When the hippies moved to San Francisco and set up their psychedelic homesteads in the land of brightly painted ginger breads, a new style fusion was born. Florals and damask patterns were back on top, and they were infused acid colors and a sense of fun. The groovy grandma syndrome was born. Lace became cool again and Pop Art style gave new life to old forms. Most people think of the Victorian era as dark and musty because of the profusion of heavily carved dark wood furniture. Plentiful and colorful ceramic and milk glass accessories added visual excitement to these rooms which were generally painted in rich, bold colors. The Mod generation turned this up a notch, but they abandoned all of the formality that went with it. I have pieced together some fabulous Victorian accessories and their Mid-Century counterparts. Sometimes it is hard to tell which of these periods the item is from. We should all open our eyes in 2010 to the design inspirations from the past and let it be our road map to the future.
This Victorian vase looks very modern. This profusion of orange and pink was called " End of Day" glass because it resembled a sunset.
The vase above would look stunning with this flower power wallpaper from the 60's.
This tablecloth from the 1960's is very "groovy grandma"
This whimsical "Victorian" covered dish was produced in 1963.
Tiffany style light fixtures became the rage again in the 60's and 70's. This set is from the Higgins company.
This exotic 1970's damask could set the stage for a Victorian inspired room.
These blue hurricane lamps with milk glass bases were manufactured in 1955.
This blue milk glass tray was produced in the late 1800's
This china pattern from 1883 looks very contemporary.
This Victorian milk glass artichoke is a timeless accessory.
I love this 1970's wallpaper with the Victorian advertisements.
This Thonet bentwood rocker was produced in 1904. This style became popular again in the 1960's.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
The magnificent Mallorcan Cathedral was a Gothic building which was built between 1230 and 1601. This building has had quite a metamorphosis since then. An earthquake in 1851 started an ongoing restoration project that was picked up by Antoni Gaudí in 1901. He worked on the project for 13 years until he quit after a falling out with the contractor. Gaudi's sensual and brutal forms worked beautifully in the cathedral and he also created a new stained glass technique for the project. It is fitting that almost a century later, Spanish artist Miquel Barcelo was hired to create a ceramic mural for St. Peter's Chapel in the cathedral. His sensuous and organic style is reminiscent of Gaudi and yet the work is quite a unique expression. I love that a Medieval Gothic structure was given many rebirths which now all live in harmony together.
Pictured below are the "crown of thorns" hanging light and a stained glass window designed by Gaudí.
Pictured below is the mural by Miquel Barcelo. I want to live there!
Monday, January 4, 2010
Our friend, Jean Spinosa, has created a wonderful tradition for all of her friends on New Years Day. Jean presides over her monthly club, Wigout, at Bordello with the flashy grace and humor that has made her a darling of the nightclub and cabaret world. On New Years Day, Jean throws a deluxe tea party for her bevy of creative pals that Alice from Wonderland would envy. This is how the Victorian Era would have felt without the large veil of oppression. The assortment of colorful and dapper characters gathered together made me feel as if I were in a special place or time. As we enter into our century's teens, Let's move forward with that same pioneering flapper spirit. Thank you Jean for showing us how to start off the new year in style by throwing a mad tea party!
The Mistress of Ceremonial Tea, Jean Spinosa.
The lovely savory table.
The luscious sweets table. Jean made most of the delectables herself! the Rod Serling atr behind her is by mutual friend, Jason Mesier.
I love the panels of vintage wrapping paper Jean used as a backdrop for her art.
Cabaret Chanteuse Anti Biotic looks thoroughly modern in her smart tea outfit.
These dapper gents are L to R: Senor Amor, Roddy Bottum, and Dan Weiss.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Senor and I are very big fans of White Elephant parties. This year they were so plentiful that I believe that everyone else is also jumping on the circus train. We held ours on Dec. 30 so that people had a chance to re-gift some of the duds they received on Christmas. In order not to break the bank, we asked that everyone contribute a drink or food dish and to, of course, bring a present that was either good, bad, or questionable. We ended up with around 30 gorgeously wrapped gifts which held possible delight or despair for their recipients. With our " no present left behind rule", the recipients were forced to take home and deal with their fabulous finds. Our rules were that the person who was # 1 began the game and ended the game. There was no limit on stealing and only 2 other rules applied. When a present was stolen from you, you could open a new one or steal one from somebody else, except for the gift that was just stolen from you. You could however steal it back if you are robbed later on. It is also very important to display the opened items all together so that the gems are easier to spot. (no hiding behind the back!) A fabulous display also makes the items of questionable taste seam more desirable. Some of our most fought over items were an amber glass dish, a chrome squirrel nutcracker, and food art from the 1970's called Incredible Edibles. Everyone loved the cut throat rules so much, you would have though I was in a den of thieves! After the game ended, we retreated into the dining room for more fabulous food and drinks that everyone contributed. Thank you to all of our friends who helped us pull off such a festive fete.
Club promoter Mario Diaz (left) and Lou Becker
Susan Littenburg and Beth Husnik looked beautiful and festive
Our friend Oscar hosted one of the pre-Christmas White Elephant parties we attended. http://jonamordecor.com/groovy-white-elephant/
Ann-Marie peruses the bounty of gifts.
Senor is up. Will he steal or unpeel ?
Jackie Beat contributed this delectable sweet potato pie.