A friend went to Paris recently and brought me back a few rolls of this almost-too-cute-for-this-world Liberty of London masking tape. It’s part of a collaboration between Liberty and the great Paris super-boutique Merci, and it makes me wish I was a crafty sort who knew just what to do with something like Liberty masking tape, aside from the obvious wrapping of gifts. Thoughts?
Cire Trudon candles are fancy and French and seriously of the old school—Marie Antionette was a customer. And they are displayed in stores under bell jars, much like cheese. I always chalked that up to pretension more than anything, but my friend Stephen demonstrated their real purpose when we popped in to super-luxe apothecary Min New York while out on a shopping ramble last Sunday: you are to sniff the inside of the bell jar, and not the candle itself, to get the truest sense of its scent. Which is still on the pretentious side, but the candles are all so divine I’m willing to let it pass. Stephen shared one of his favorites, with which I am now fully obsessed: Solis Rex is meant to invoke the halls of Versailles, and is woodsy in the best, almost sharp kind of way, with the subtlest notes of citrus. I want and I want.
Here’s one for all of you who deep down inside still just really miss Polaroids: the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 camera, which has an automatic ability to measure lighting and adjust accordingly, and prints out cute credit card-sized photos. I want it so much I am all but sitting on my hands to keep from ordering it.
I like using cloth napkins: they bring a little extra added dignity to a meal, even if I’m just dining on cheeseburgers with one of my sticky nephews. And they’re always nicer for when company comes around, and you want to appear fancier than you maybe actually are. The only full set I’ve got are seriously ancient—as in, I got them as a wedding present and I’ve been divorced for close to a decade ancient—and so it occurs to me that it might be time for an upgrade. Something on the more durable side of things, like these from Schoolhouse Electric & Supply. Maybe a mix of a few blacks and yellows each is what I’ve got in mind.
Wolfum makes so many spectacular napkins I honestly don’t know which I’d choose.
Thomas Paul’s stuff is always rather cheeky, but pretty at the same time. I like the orange with the blue here a lot.
Classic, classic and a not bad price.
And why not Ikat dinnerware?
The past few times I’ve changed addresses, I have—to varying degrees, but always somewhat meaningfully—redecorated. There have been new rugs and cabinets, wall-mounted bookshelves, custom-made headboards, dining room tables, and the chairs that go with them (without really “going” with them, of course). There have been accent tables and Womb Chairs and visits to John Derian—oh, so many visits to John Derian—for vintage Moroccan rugs and whatnots. It was all loads of fun but not un-pricey, and it has left me with no shortage of very acceptable furniture. So this time around I decided there was no need for another go at it: change of any sort felt unnecessary; excessive, even.
That was before I moved. Now that I’m here, I want to switch out everything. The sofa, the club chairs, even the living room lamps—which I can’t have had for more than two years, because I wrote about them here—all seem like worthy candidates for elimination. And yet stay they will, because truly, to get rid of all this very nice stuff would be a crime, and besides, it’s easy enough to throw a few new smaller-scale pieces into the mix if it’s excitement that you’re after. Like for instance: this clever planter, into which I plan to put an actual plant that I will not kill, as God is my witness.
The kitchen counter’s got room for a couple of stools, and I’ve wanted an excuse to buy these cute steel ones from Schoolhouse Electric & Supply since my friend Ceridwen tipped me off to them months ago.
The one room that has worked out perfectly—and to which I do not care to change a stitch—is the bedroom. It was a delight in its old iteration, and I’ve tried my best to execute it exactly the same way over here. Sadly, however, my rather large gray nightstands no longer work logistically (blame a cumbersome central A/C unit) so I’m looking for something slightly more scaled-down. My first inclination would never be to go with a white piece for something like this—my brain’s hardwired to consider certain kinds of white furniture very teenaged girl’s bedroom and prissy—but the room itself is all whites, grays, and black, so it makes a certain sense. My official home design guru Stephen has given this one a thumbs-up on the condition that I go to West Elm first and see what the quality’s like in real life, but I’m curious: what do you guys think?
Greetings from my new place, where I can’t stop doing laundry (yes! in-apartment w/d!), looking out my big pretty walls of windows, and and geeking out on my very James Bond refrigerator’s inexplicable video display box. I am pleased to report that my new place makes me as happy in real time as it did in anticipation, and that just enough boxes have been unpacked and cleared for it to feel like the great trauma part of moving has passed, and normal life can again commence. There’s just one kink: as it turns out I’ve got rather a lot of shoes. They had their own dedicated accommodations back in my old place, but here, all bets are off. I know that more than a few of you must have maximal shoes/minimal space issues, so I put it to you: what are the best solutions? Or should I just roll this little wonder into the guest room/office, fill it up, convince myself it’s a cheeky little design moment, and be done with it?
When you’re in the process of moving, there is always that day when your home officially stops looking like itself and starts resembling a manic jumble, and yesterday was it for me. Unassembled wardrobe boxes now line the living room, and piles of packed boxes crowd the spare space that remains; the spoils of a rather epic closet purge lay in trash bags in the guest room, awaiting transport to Housing Works; and there are miles (and miles) to go before I’m done. You’ve got to have a really obsessive, military-precise mindset to get through a move with any grace at all, and sadly, I do not. My dear friend Kiki does, however: she is an exquisite organizer and maker of lists, and invited herself over yesterday to see if she might be of service (is that a good friend or what?) No sooner had she arrived than all of my books were packed, and she’d created my list of marching orders: a detailed rundown of to-dos, all laid out, clear as a bell. And because she is just that excellent, Kiki also brought me this retractable Sharpie, with which I have fallen completely in love. When you’re me and your packing strategy involves wandering from room to room instead of focusing, laser-like, on one area and then moving on to the next, it’s tough enough to keep track of the pen, much less puzzle over what you did with the damn cap.
Steven Alan has a nice little partnership going with West Elm, and it’s a good way to incorporate the modern organic* look of his home store into your life for not quite as much cash. It’s also pretty much all a celebration of Steven Alan’s love of stripes, which is fine by me. I like that this pillow could work as well in a midcentury room as it could in something more rustic.
And this makes me think I could live with and enjoy a striped duvet cover, which is not something I might have previously imagined.
I like the off-register effect of the stripes not matching up on this rug.
*I really just guessed at this. You home design types out there will correct me if I’ve mischaracterized his aesthetic.
Just because we all use our phones as alarm clocks these days doesn’t mean our nightstands don’t deserve better. I like this retro-ish design—and the one with the black face in particular—because it reminds me of this rather more pricey classic.