Archive for the ‘New Projects’ Category

Convergence in Hell’s Kitchen

It was six years ago that I met a man out in a bar in Brooklyn Heights, New York. He drew me into a question for the patrons, while I was ordering a round of drinks. I answered and that was the beginning of one of many conversations. It would have been an entirely ordinary way to have met if I hadn’t been there with my grandmother, celebrating her 85th birthday, whom later that night taught him the fox trot. We were all out until the morning light crept in over the Heights and it was time to go back to Chicago. It was a chance meeting that would mark the pivot of our becomingness.

But we would both have to wait almost five years before he would see me one evening, from the back of a cab, entering Regents Park. I wasn’t there in the park then, but he did indeed manage to find me, once again. With perhaps some help from the Gods and credit to ourselves, we didn’t hold back.  I was finally ready to let this someone, brilliantly beautiful, in.

After nearly seven months of writing and reading love letters from my side of Chicago, a trip to London on Randy Ave, rambling across the green heaths and moorlands of The Peak District admist Bronze Age stone formations, and tuning into a deep comforting voice across the ocean that could only be my best friend; I now find myself in Hell’s Kitchen, New York, smiling and playing frisbee in Central Park, in a convergence that is our sui generis.

Here, in our living room, is where some of our art comes together: A Dempsy vs. Firpo, possibly the best fight of the first half of the 20th century, Apsaroke Indians, Waiting For the Signal, Henry Miller on his bicycle, Hunter S. Thompson smoking on the beach, a Leroy Neiman polaroid art copy of a painting of Vegas ladies, Prada in Marfa Texas, a three dimensional Roman Colosseum, Frazier, Ali, Liston and Patterson, a photo of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, a preserved Exile on Main St.album, more American Indians in canoes off the coast of Washington State during sundown, my family’s saloon on the mudded streets of Broadway, St. Louis, a cobbler shop in the Netherlands and a Parisian bicyclist, images of rural Illinois meets the suburbs, an unleashing of butterflies from a man’s chest, flecks of gold and Free Air, all mingling with us.

From here, who knows what we will find together to add to our collection or where we will find ourselves in love. What I do know, is that I’m with someone that I can find beauty, art, and truth in everyday life with. And at the end of the day, here’s where we both become further encouraged.

More images of the art and design elements of this work in progress….

The Deco frame sofa was finished as I was loading the truck for New York and I had one word for it once I saw it–badass. It was upholstered with three fabrics that I had been saving for three different upholstering projects, which I decided to use all together in making this one piece for our apartment.  I enjoy the labyrinth black and white graphic against the warm stripes. The glass beaded, copper end table is also an upholstered piece that holds a brass lamp from my late grandfather; similar tailored silk shades flank the sofa. Reflections of the copper beads, brass, glass and dashes of gold play up the room and call for many candle lit evenings.


Hush, Violet Hours and Patience

Hush is the name of the color that cloaks the walls, mixed with metallic silver at the top of it’s arched neck, shimmering as it meets the ceiling. I have been working with this client over the past couple years and the project continues to be a work in progress, all for the love of vintage finds, a violet palate, and sweet patience.

Together, we have carefully restored an Art Deco rosewood and walnut dresser, ebonized a sleek lingerie chest, revived a vintage, Murano, leaf chandelier, and created a master bath, which has become the quiet respite every hardworking woman deserves. One of the adored pieces found for the bathroom is an antique painted armoire from Italy, which has been repurposed to store bath towels and robes, fashioned with lock and key.

Lush velvet textiles were selected for seated stools and beige and lavender pillows by Kevin O’Brien Studio, accessorize the sculptural club chairs upholstered in champagne silk. In the master bedroom metal accents were re-platted in a brushed nickel, adding to the hush cooling effect.

Sometimes it can be best to allow progress in a space to come about slowly. By allowing yourself to feel out where you are, you grant yourself the time and the hours to decide what is truly meaningful.

Here is more of Hush, Violet Hours.

How to Seduce a Long-Lost Love

You have to taste it to believe it. Later this month Rick Bayless stars in a new type of role for a Lookingglass Theatre production, entitled, Cascabel. Many people have been seduced by Rick’s passion for Mexican food, either from watching Mexico:One Plate at a Time or from one of his cook books like  Fiesta at Rick’sor have had the privilege of eating at one of his many restaurants, such as Xoco, Frontera GrillTopolobampo or, while at O’hare airport, Tortas Frontera. Because if you have, you would certainly remember the mole.

I had the pleasure of working with Rick, styling his 1940′s wardrobe and set props for Chicago Magazine’s feature on him, covering Cascabel. Listen, I don’t get overly excited about working with celebrities but I do when I work with certain exceptional chefs. Not all celebrities are down for dangling from a chandelier made up of pots and pans. And I have to love the fact that he practices yoga too. That’s right, note to all the men out there, men that do yoga or even try it once–very sexy.

Cascabel is a Mexican boarding house in the 1940′s. Rick plays a chef, called the Cook, who tries to seduce his long-lost-love by preparing food for her. She is a flamenco dancer and actress, only, she has no appetite. During the show, as Rick is cooking for her, the audience is tasting the food right along with her.  Oh yes, and there are acrobats and a tightrope-walking sous-chef.

Rick says in the article, beautifully, on this relationship with food: “It’s the kind of thing that food does so regularly in our lives, yet we don’t think much about it. It can tie us to a culture or a person; it can remind us of a place. Those are all memory centered. But food can also center us in the present and even open us up to the future. It can make us live in the moment and dream of what is next.”

Now, I’m seduced…. and quite hungry.

To read the full Chicago Magazine Article that I worked on and behind the scenes photos: check it out.

Baileys’ Range is Homemade Goodness

Baileys’ Range, one of my latest design project collaborations, opened recently on the corner of 10th and Olive in downtown St. Louis. During the same week, only a 10 minute walk away, the Cardinals played historically memorable games to win The World Series. Baileys’ Range continues to be a casual dining destination and offers a fun and unique menu including grass-fed local burgers, homemade ice cream shakes (spiked if your old enough), soda pop, boozy lemonades, and local craft beer exclusively.

The design decor includes old windows hung, separating the kitchen from the rest of the two level restaurant. A beautiful fifty foot long bar and a mirroring fifty foot long communal dining table was built by Tyson Rinderknecht, perhaps the longest bar in St. Louis and the first communal dining table for the city. The lighting consists of freezer locker fixtures throughout and large, vintage milk jugs repurposed into hanging pendents. Commissioned photographs by Ricardo Martinez adorn the walls depicting rural and range landscape.

The result is a warm and inviting place to meet up for a beer and try out some of life’s simply paired pleasure: burgers and shakes.

Grant Achatz for Time Magazine’s Top 100

This week’s Time magazine covers The World’s Most Influential People and Chef Grant Achatz is one of them. When my agency asked if I would like to prop-style and work with Grant Achatz and photographer Martin Schoeller, I was thrilled to be a part of the mix.

The 28 + chefs working in the Alinea kitchen moved fluidly like silent stage hands, all knowing their individual role, task, and how to preform around one another seamlessly. Watching them all with their quiet focus and orchestration was fascinating.

Let’s make it clear here,  I’m not a foodie.  But I appreciate good food and anyone who dares to be a modern, if not a postmodern, forward thinker. This chef is testing how we think of food, cocktails, and experience dining. Grant Achatz’s new restaurant, Next, takes you to Paris 1906 with the current menu and then down the road to another time and place in the world for their Next menu. That is, if you can get your hands on tickets.

For the headshot with Grant we used liquid nitrogen to harden up the prawn in order to fix them onto his chef’s jacket, further styling it’s tentacles. For the chalkboard shot I copied on the board some scientific diagrams and we then propped Grant with a live pheasant and then later a dead pheasant, as if he were opening up it’s wings like a book. The pheasant here exemplifying nature is indeed by design, which brings me to mention Achatz’s other new spot, The Aviary.

Regardless of when I will have an opportunity to experience Paris 1906 or the avant-guard not-so-cocktails, these projects and Grant Achatz certainly have a following.

Dive here to read the full article written by Grant’s mentor, Thomas Keller of the French Laundry, in Time Magazine.

Check out the globe-trotting and imaginative Martin Schoeller talk about shooting three of the top 100 behind the scenes here.

Making an Entrance

Enter the foyer of one of my dear clients’ Georgian Revival home, located on the South Side of Chicago in our president’s hometown neighborhood. It becomes illuminated by Italian chandeliers from New Metal Crafts, creating the welcoming tone. The home is stately to say the least and commonly nicknamed “The White House”—only as you enter this house it reveals to be far more colorful.

The home was originally designed by architect Benjamin Marshall in 1899, who also designed and built The Drake Hotel, The Blackstone Hotel and Theatre, and the South Shore Country Club. Benjamin Marshall loved a good party and was known as a big “people person”—witty, well-dressed and flamboyant. Maybe that’s the reason why the home attracts like-spirited individuals.

It has been a pleasure to work on the interior of this home for the last two years with the clients, who are, in a word, delightful. We have added joyful touches that bring pleasure into everyday living.

Lighting has become an integral tool in shaping the space and flattering the clients’ art collection. In my opinion, art is what makes a home feel alive and welcoming, because it means something to you personally, and you in turn share it with your guests.

So if you have an artifact, photograph or painting that you’re hiding away, take it out and display it. Live with it over good conversation and a glass of something bubbly. Because you never know who might stop by.

Entering the dinning, an antique turn of the century, Austrian crystal chandelier found at  New Metal Crafts. The emerald and sunflower oil painting plays off the peony wallpaper by Gaetano

A yellow flower study and crystal lamps found by the client at auction.    

The painting of the horse jumping out of the dark, hung over the fireplace, was a commissioned piece by Linc Thelen

Props for The Dilemma

Earlier this fall I was brought in by Universal Studios through my agency, Artists by Timothy Priano, as the prop stylist for a photo shoot with Vince Vaughn. It was for the movie poster for The Dilemma. The photo was shot by the talented Andrew Eccles and produced by the charming Aya Larkin. None of the props were used in the end game as Vince Vaughn can relay all that is needed with simply one shot of himself. He was intense, all business and a handsome house of a man. I am very much looking forward to seeing the film.

60′s Murano Chandelier Makes for the Beginnings of Bohemian Chic

What is it that makes the craftsmanship of Murano glass so enchanting? For one thing, years of handcrafted expertise. Italy as the backdrop for inspiration can’t hurt either.

This vintage 60′s Murano glass leaf chandelier is the beginning of a current project in progress. Illuminated, it is delicate and delightful against the Aruba turquoise walls. This room is going to be the epitome of playful with a custom Deco-inspired  bed and hanging Eerro Aarnio swing. The concept is Bohemian chic with peace as the symbol, the message. An idea and mantra that should indeed remain timeless.

Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar in The Riverfront Times

The Riverfront Times reviewed Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar, one of my recent interior design projects.  Ian Froeb wrote about his experience: “You enter into the bar, a space that is awesome in the original sense of the word: Light fixtures like oversize birds’ nests are suspended from the ceiling.” To read the full Riverfront Times article on Bridge click here. Or check out more images of Bridge in my portfolio section.

Bridge is named after the bridge of a violin, which is essential to the tone of the instrument.  This tool became inspiration for the design and sound resonating moods, including a gallery of commissioned studies by photographer Ricardo Martinez. Here are some of his stunning polaroid prints:

photo by Ricardo Martinez

photo by Ricardo Martinez

Check out the full gallery of violin photos by Ricco here….

Bridge is located in downtown St. Louis and is a great spot to chill casually in the city and sample the impressive selection of beer and wine. The food is also quite yummy. Some of my favorites are the gorgonzola and bacon bread pudding and the board called Heartland, which is goat cheese and tomato jam. Remaining one of the most delicious things I have ever put in my mouth. Just another reason to miss and visit St. Louis.

March O Magazine

Amazing set designer, Jamie Dean, asked me to help him decorate and style the recent March issue of O Magazine. The location, Oprah’s closet. Little secret, peonies are indeed available in the dead of winter. Cover shot by RuvenAfanador.