Friday, November 30, 2007

Wendy Goodman + Tony Duquette = Perfection!

On December 1st, the new Tony Duquette book by Wendy Goodman and Hutton Wilkinson will finally be released! I know I for one can't wait! Recently, a friend of Ms. Goodman's was sweet enough to email me with Wendy's contact information so I could get her take on all the hoopla. Ronda at All the Best already conducted a wonderfully in depth interview with her so I just asked her a few questions and she couldn't have been nicer!

I'd love to know about your first meeting with Tony Duquette and what you thought about Dawnridge. I hear it was unbelievably amazing!

I met Tony while on assignment for House & Garden magazine (HG then)when I was originally there in early '90s doing a story on guestrooms and spied this wild, totally original piece of furniture in Hutton and Ruth Wilkinson's Los Angeles house. I hadn't ever heard of Tony Duquette, but asked Hutton, who was his business partner, if I could meet him on that trip. I ended up staying to produce a story on Tony's extraordinary Malibu ranch and that launched the odyssey of my working with him and Hutton to start imagining this book.

I know it took you 10 years to complete this book and I would love to know how you kept going! In this age of ADD and everyone moving on the next big thing it must have taken some serious discipline and patience!

Yes, it takes discipline and conviction to keep at a project that is so complex as there was so much archival material to unearth and edit...especially challenging for me as I had to go out to the west coast for research in between my deadlines for all the magazines I work with here in New York. What kept me going was my passion for Tony's work and the conviction that his story was unique and had to be told.

I was also wondering if you were involved with the planning of the windows at Bergdorf's. They are also amazing have been really well received in the city and online.

The incredible event of the Bergdorf Goodman Christmas windows is a dream come true! Linda Fargo and her amazing team headed up by David Hoey, produced the most extraordinary tribute to Tony's genius! I had nothing to do with the windows what so ever except to be dazzled and awed that they are beyond magical!

Wendy also mentioned that they have already sold out of the luxury edition at Bergdorf's and the regular book is being rushed into a second printing! Better get your copy today!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

An Eventful Evening

It's funny how a night of no plans can quickly turn into a fun and eventful evening. I ended up attended a book signing for Park Avenue Potluck at the Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery on 72nd Street. Quite a few of the socialites were in attendance including Coco Kopelmann in her Chanel finery, Jamee Gregory in the most amazing white fur coat I have ever seen, as well as Muffy Potter Aston and Rachel Hovnanian, who I recently learned is a wonderful artist. She and her art were profiled in the November issue of Elle Decor.

Park Avenue Potluck is a fun book of recipes from "New York's Savviest Hostesses" and benefits The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and has been so well received that it's already in it's second printing! I still think it's funny that a cookbook by society ladies would feature something so fattening looking on the cover when everyone knows socialites don't eat! Anyway, I was feeling so in the giving mood last night that I actually bought a copy at full price! I also sampled one of the best recipes in the book, Millionaire Turtles by Karen May who were graciously made for the evening by Tate's Bake Shop, my favorite place in Southampton! They even have their own cookbook so why not pick up both!

The Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery (that's a mouthful!), the event location, happened to be having a wonderful exhibition of work by emerging artist Martin Saar called Bubbles, Bodies and Bond. Martin was sweet enough to chat with us about his work and agreed to a studio visit and profile after he returns from Art Basel. So many people keep asking me if I'm going to be in Miami for Art Basel, I'm beginning to think I am the only person in New York not going!

Wednesday evening is the reason I love New York. You never know where you might end up or who you might meet. And if you don't live in New York, you can still cook like a chic New Yorker by picking up a copy of Park Avenue Potluck. It really is a great book for a great cause!

malm media unit with flip down doors

linus from sweden modifies a malm drawer unit for his media paraphernalia.

linus says, "this is a modification i did to a malm about a year ago. basically the idea was to be able to hide my receiver and DVD-player as i really didn't want to see them. i can still use the remote control since i have an infrared extender with one end in the former drawer and the other outside.

media unitentertainment unitonce i had unpacked it and figured out how it was supposed to be assembled i started modifying it. shelves were made from spare shelves from an ikea wardrobe. by using them as raw material i could save the finishing on the outer side so that the shelves would also look like oak. cutting them was done using an electric jigsaw. my entire apartment was filled with sawdust as ikea particle board shelves more or less fall apart when sawing through them.

the shelves were fitted in the 'housing' using plugs - this way i can actually disassemble the malm and convert it to a standard one, if needed.

media unitmedia unitmedia unitnext came the most tricky part: the hinges. the hinges used are the same type that are used for kitchen cupboards when you want to get a flat surface. to get the positions right, i built a dummy from spare parts, just to be see where the holes should be. drilling the 36 mm holes where the hinges folds down into was tricky as they partly covered the track in the front normally used for the bottom of the drawer. i used a hand held drill, it would have been way more steady with a proper rig.

the result was not perfect, the holes are slightly out of place, but by using the built in adjusting screws in the hinges you can't tell that they are not level.

as expected, the hinges could not take the horizontal load. they are designed for vertical use, so when i or some friend accidentally opened the doors too hard or placed something on top of them you can hear the screw trying to pull out of the particle board (which is not exactly good to screw things to from the beginning). so i had to add the chains to ensure disaster is avoided.

total build time for this project was about 20 hours, with the help of one friend. planning the project and figuring out how to fit the hinges took at least at much time. in the end i'm very happy with the result!"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

hacks for the holidays

two little hacks to get us in the festive mood.

a polarvide santa suit
sabine from germany sent me this some time ago but i decided to keep it for the holidays. "for a christmas party, we made out of 2 red polarvide throws and a litte bit of plush, a santa claus costume. it was a cheap and fast way to have a costume."
see more of sabine's santa.

an ikea menorah

anna of forty-two roads makes a modern hanukkah menorah with an ikea candle holder.

just hammer some tacks into the center of the metal cups in the hallare candle holder to hold the candles upright. after placing in the candles, add some white rocks (florera) for stability.

see more of anna's hanukkah menorah.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Animal House

It's funny how you can come across something you've never heard of before and then right after end up seeing it everywhere. Such was the case with the new book by photographer Catherine Ledner Animal House a perfect gift for any design obsessed animal lover!

According to The New York Times, "Catherine Ledner lives with 2 dogs, 2 cats, 11 rabbits and 1 husband in Altadena, Calif. A portraitist and commercial photographer, Ms. Ledner became fascinated by the idea of using wallpaper patterns in animal portraiture, and her new book, “Animal House,” is the result. During her research, she pored over wallpaper books from the 1930s and ’40s, and pulled new samples from the Pacific Design Center. The 47 animals were cast from the pool the local trainers had available. Once she had chosen her matches, Ms. Ledner wallpapered moveable walls in her studio, and invited the animals in."

The fox is my personal favorite and was apparently the shyest, but loosened up the longer he stayed on the set. His paper, from a 1930s pattern, was made for Ms. Ledner by Astek Wallcoverings, a company that can copy any pattern with a repeat.

The deer came twice, once to check out the studio and again for his portrait. “I have a particular fondness for deer,” Ms. Ledner said, “so it was very spiritual” to have him there.

The vulture was shot against a discontinued Cole and Son paper and was a bit timid, moved slowly and responded well to treats according to Ms. Ledner.

buffalo bill wardrobe and room divider

i love this amazing wardrobe room divider from wouter. you'll never guess, underneath all those horns is a plain old pax wardrobe.

wouter says, "i was asked to make a cloakroom/bookcase covering this massive wardrobe for a new apartment to divide the bedroom from the corridor. the wardrobe is ikea (pax nexus?) for sure (as seen as on the bad picture of course - the 'before' situation).

ikea pax nexus wardrobebefore

the front (or back of the wardrobe) is based on a custom made pallet, the wardrobe is still the wardrobe, painted in colour (buffalo, true) by hand, the graphic is an adhesive label and the seven handles are made by an artist specially for this furniture. she's a welder, and she decided to make them from prefab steel curves, i was very content with the results. finally i brought them to a car sprayer, and he coated them transparent.

buffalo horn wardrobe room dividerroom divider with retractable night standretractable night table

wardrobe room dividerwardrobe room divider
the results are quite pure, only screws (unfortunately we didn't use the socket wrench) - which meant no glue or anything, FSC wood, water based paint, metal, the tag and some hidden lights and personal gadgets.

wardrobe room dividerwardrobe room dividerplan and construction was realised in about two weeks, late night workshop hours, but lots of fun and very satisfying in the end. so please... do it yourself (drawings included)."
wardrobe room divider drawingsview from front

wardrobe room divider drawingsview from back

wardrobe room divider drawings
view from right

wardrobe room dividerview from left

palletstyle: wouter

construction: wouter and timo baerwaldt

graphics (and theme): annelies van limbeek

handles: christel kanbier

thanks to fransje

Monday, November 26, 2007

Green is the New Black!

After profiling the over the top conspicuously consumptive windows at Bergdorf's, I thought it would be fun to show you what's going on over at Barney's, where they are having a green holiday. And by green, I mean organic starting with Rudolph the Recycling Reindeer above. Each window is chock full of cans and bottles the Barney's team ending up buying from the homeless of the Lower East Side. Only in New York!

In a stroke of marketing genius, the fine folks at Barney's have also married the window theme to the "gorgeous green gifts, fabulously fair-trade fashion, sensationally sustainable swag, orgasmic organic denim and cashmere, environmentally conscious tchotchkes" available in the stores, catalog and on the website.

You can even check out a fun interview with the elf behind it all, window dresser Simon Doonan on New York magazine's website that was conducted by socialite about town, Fabiola Beracasa. I actually walked by the store when they were filming him which was pretty funny.

So do your part for the environment this holiday season and go green by buying something fabulously organic for your loved ones...or at least recycle that diet coke can!

***UPDATE*** You can also read an extended interview with Simon Doonan about the holiday windows in the new December/January issue of Domino magazine.

a virtual reality ikea hacker

this is an interesting one from ben. it's not a hack, but a virtual hack!

he says, "i made, not exactly an ikea hack, but a virtual ikea hack. it's a vr cave environment where you get to cross-breed ikea (for example, leksvik desk + billy bookcase) to get these strange mutations and constructivist sculptures.

virtual reality ikea hackvr ikea hack
oh, actually there is kind of an ikea hack in there. the projection screen is a 2-projector stereoscopic immersive display. one of the challenges in setting up these VR systems is precisely aligning two video projectors; usually they're stacked, and have to be very carefully angled so the images map up. there are slide projector racks out there that do this, but they're really large, and not so easily available anymore; and VR is such a niche market that there are not many products specifically for this. we got a 1' x 1' shelf and 4 metal legs (about 6" long) with threaded feet for adjusting the height. i think they were for an entertainment center or something. this makes a very nicely adjustable projector rack."

see more pictures of it at

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Gift that Keeps on Giving!

Before we start getting into the hustle and bustle of holiday posts, I thought it would be nice to start things off on a charitable note. I'm sure some of you may have already heard about Heifer International but for those of you who haven't, Heifer's mission is to work with communities around the world to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth. One way they do this is to let people like you and me "choose a meaningful gift to give a loved one and help children and families around the world receive training and animal gifts that help them become self-reliant."

Heifer lets you gift an entire animal or a share of an animal like heifers, llamas, sheep, goats, rabbits, and even honey bees. I think they would make the perfect present for the person who has everything or for children to give. Kids love animals and I'm sure they would love to pick out their favorite animal to give and to learn how it will help those in need. Just something to think about instead giving someone another tie or something else they won't use. Costs start at just $10 for a share and can go up to $500 for full gift.

"The idea behind Heifer ... is similar to the notion that it's better to teach a man to fish so he can feed himself than to give him a fish that will feed him just once. One animal could eventually benefit an entire community."

Friday, November 23, 2007

a bedside beauty

ikea noresund tableneed a sexy bedside table? jason shows us how.

"my girlfriend recently moved into a new apartment and was thinking of a cheap bedside table. she had a piece of circular glass she got from somewhere and thought maybe it could be placed on something (a planter?) after looking for a suitable host - and failing - we saw the noresund table at ikea: 19.99! the price can't be beat but it was a little uninspiring, looks wise.

i had printed up some vintage pin-ups for her wall, so she suggested i put one on the table top. a wonderful idea. i played around in photoshop with a gil elvgren work (the best pin-up artist ever) and got the design right, had it printed and mod podged that baby on there.

vintage artwork bedside table vintage artwork bedside table
artwork and table design

one note on assembly: to make sure the image was centered, i drew diagonal lines from corner to corner on the printed image, then drilled a hole in the center of the table to ensure everything was perfect.

vintage artwork bedside tableprinted and glued

vintage artwork bedside tablefinished table!

i also glued it to the table and then let that dry before sealing with the mod podge - the wetness from the glue can separate the printed layer from the paper on certain types of prints. the glass was a nice finishing touch, but it is by no means required. the table is a beautiful conversation piece that came in at around 30 bucks. i know it's just a simple mod podge job but you never know what might catch someone's fancy, and it's worth knowing that the noresund is just begging to be adorned with the sexy image of your choice."

a photo frame clock

clocks are turning out to be one of the favourite items to hack. joyce sent me her rusch wall clock that doubles up as photo frame.

photo frame clock"i dismantled the clock and traced the outside of its insert on a 8x10 photo. cut the photo into a circle with a hole in the middle and reassembled my clock. now i have a great bathroom clock that frames a pleasant memory from a trip to Japan. a new way to showcase your favorite photos!"

Updated! February 23, 2009

Laura's Loteria Rusch
Laura adds bright yellow paint and loteria cards to her Rusch.

See more of Laura's Loteria Rusch Clock.

other clock hacks:
- ribba clock
- a bamboo clock
- time bomb clock
- rusch's clock new face
- an international analog clock

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving in New York