Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Windows to the Retail Soul

In the era of online shopping, brick and mortar stores are, thankfully, still amongst us. Whether on a real, live, noisy, street with traffic lights, corners and sidewalks, or contained inside a mall,  it is still possible to actually WALK into a retail establishment.

I have a fascination with a store's front window display. A successful one draws me inside whether or not I need to go inside or not. In a perfect world, the promise made by the window is made good on and then some once I'm through the doors. The window should be a tease of things yet to come...and delivered with  merchandising successful enough that draws me to buy something whether I need it or not.  But I digress....

Here are some cool examples of what I'm talking about, in my opinion, anyway.

Figured I'd start out with one of the major players....Bloomingdale's Holiday Window 2008 

Of course, one can not even think about window displays without giving a huge ol' nod to Eddie Ross's big win of the Bloomingdale's Big Window Challenge of January 2010. And he's so darn adorable, too. 

Anyway,  let's go window-shopping at some "regular" stores both here in the U.S and abroad....

Who wouldn't check out what's inside at this shop?

Love the mix of modern lines and metallics with the soft, fuzzy fur rug. Somehow, when combined they emote such a calm but hip feeling.  

Nothing fancy at all. But the use of their existing space and placement of the mannequins is quite effective.

Fun, creative, crisp, modern and simple.

Great use of the literal and visual use of lines/planes.

Their use of color and accessories urge my inner party-girl to throw caution to the wind. Yet with the traditional use of symmetry, it feels more sophisticated and upscale so I wouldn't feel guilty for wanting to go inside.

The punch of no color. 

Just a plain mess?  Yeah, but it works!

This totally speaks to my love of vintage and techno combined. And is that a garden gnome??? Perfect.

Genius use of lighting!

Simple and provocative.

A magnificent display of art pieces, which, I imagine, would have been real easy to screw up. 

Wow. I don't know what they're selling.. But I don't really care...

This is a Lego window display in Disneyland for Syndy, Australia  I did not inherit the genetic material to even want to attempt a project like this. So I am in awe. 

This is the front window of a pharmacy in Germany. 
Their creativity in promoting a remedy for an obvious ailment certainly got my attention!

I could go on and on with pics. But how about you out there? Do you have any you'd like to share?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sh*t Happens

Frank Lloyd Wright's son's amazing carpet hits the auction block. Bummer?

To quote one of my fave blogs Dinosaurs & Robots:

"David & Gladys Wright's house in Arcadia, AZ has long been one of the major sites for the pilgrims of his father, Frank Lloyd Wright. FLW built it for them in 1951 out of concrete block, with Philippine mahogany built-ins and all the furniture, from the beds to the kitchen garbage can, to the massive, custom-fitted, abstract rug [above].

David died in 2006 at 102, and Gladys died at 104 in 2008, and the granddaughters sold the house for $3.5 million. The new owner has put the rug up for auction at LA Modern.

It's pretty spectacular, as far as rugs go. The design is apparently based on some early bubbly murals from the 1920s. The wall-to-curved-wall shape is so odd, you'd be tempted to leave it as is, floating in your even larger space. But actually, what you'd really be tempted to do is to cut it down to something more "manageable" that "works" in your [obviously architecturally inferior] space.

At which point you'd better hope the Cult of Wright doesn't have fatwahs or voodoo dolls or anything, because they would be even more pissed than they already are."

For more info: Read what the guy at the auction house has to say.

What do you think? Should historically significant pieces of art, architecture, and history be sold off in bits and pieces like this?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

To My Peeps

Spring is in the air - Yay!!!! It is always a hopeful time of year. The milder breezes caresses us with inspirations of all kinds. The birth of new ideas, new plans, and new life.

This year,  Spring has opened up some doors for me that will require more time away from my trusty li'l computer. So, my own posts and visits/comments to others may be a tad less frequent for awhile.
 In the meantime, keep checking back  
Until next time, I wanted to share some of my favorites of the season with you

Here are a few of my neck of the woods in Spring......

This one is actually more Summer than Spring - but isn't it gorgeous? Can't come soon enough!

Creek beds are all kicking off my shoes after a long hike and dipping a toe or two in!


Monday, March 8, 2010

Now You're Stylin'

Recently, a reader emailed me because she wanted to re-design some rooms in her home. Actually, she termed it as wanting to redecorate them. In fact, based on the info she shared (primarily that she has little, if any, budget for new purchases), a re-design is what she is looking at doing. The difference being is that she wants to use what she has but in a more styled and pulled together way. If she had asked me to help her pick out new furniture, accessories, window treatments, etc., then that would fall under the realm of redecorating. At least, that is how I approach what it is I do with my clients.

Here is a snippet of her S.O.S. :

"............when I look around my house, I just don't know where to start. I have so many 
things that I have accumulated over the years and hardly anything goes together but I love it all. How do I make it look less jumbled and more tied together?..."

As evidenced above, often folks just need some guidance to help them to simply get started on their home decorating.Whether they are totally redecorating a space or  re-designing it, usually the biggest hurdle is answering the question of "Where do I begin?". A colleague of mine has coined the perfect term. When she consults on such a design situation, she helps the client to "Get unstuck".

That is exactly what the 1st step of my mission was for this frazzled reader.

What I have found to be the most effective first step is to identify the homeowner's style. Easier said than done, you say? Not always. You'd be surprised at how easy it is to figure out.

I have something of a formula/checklist I use whether I am the one in the client's home doing the assessment or, as in this case, advising a homeowner online how to do it for them self. This checklist is one I discovered years ago. It's been an extremely valuable resource to glean from when figuring out someone's decorating style. I wish I could give credit to whoever wrote it, but back then I didn't think to take note of stuff like that. So, if anyone can claim it as theirs, please step up so I can give credit where credit is due.

1.Multiples. Do you have multiple items of the same color, shape, or style around your house?
This is one big "tell" I look for as I look through clients' home. A persian rug in the front hall, a  persian rug in the bedroom, another one in the living room? That means that you like persian rugs! It sounds way too simple to be that easy, but most people stop seeing their style even when it's right in front of them.

2.Form over function. Do you work on a desk that is too small, but can't bear to replace it? Have a couch that is crazy uncomfortable, but it's still in your living room after all these years? That broken clock that's still up on the wall? Take a good long look, because this is a dead giveaway to your personal style. There is something you love so much about this piece that you have chosen its form over your need for function.

3.Where you shop. Do you browse the same store all the time, even when you're not looking to buy? Does a good flea market make your heart pound with excitement? Where you look for your furnishings speaks volumes about your style. New, used, found, handed down from family; where your furniture comes from represents your style!

4.Art. What you have chosen to hang on your walls says something about you. Art is purely personal, not tied to function or need and therefore is usually the best indication of your style. A vintage movie poster means you probably like classic lines in furniture, while an abstract lithograph likely means that modern design rings true for you. Flea market oil painting of someone else's relative? Eclectic is your style.

5.Most recent purchase. A French country dish towel that caught your eye in the store, or an impulse buy of a Tiffany-style lamp that you thought you'd never like, but do. The last thing you bought for your home is a fantastic indicator of what your style is, especially if it is a design departure for you.

6.What unites your stuff? Do you have terra-cottas, rusts and warm yellows all around your house? These are the sun-kissed colors of Mediterranean design, so you should look for rough-hewn wood tables, terra-cotta lamps and vases to polish up your style. Does all your furniture have lean, sharp lines, and you don't have a single thing on your mantel? Your style is thoroughly modern. Whether it's color, scale, shape or era, the uniting element in your home is the best place to start when looking for your style.

7.What's your favorite hotel? This is my secret weapon in finding a client's design style! Always stay in cozy country B&Bs? Like the modern city high-rise hotel? Or do you go more for the traditionally furnished places? Hotels have clear design styles, so use them to help you find YOUR style.

8.Odd man out. When there is one piece different from everything else in your room, take note! Chances are, this is one style you like, but are afraid to fully venture into.

9.Travel. Where you chose to spend your vacations, and what you bring back with you are great style indicators. Always go to Mexico on your holidays and have a full set of cobalt-blue wine glasses? You like the hacienda look. Love your family vacations at the beach, and have jars of seashells in your bathroom? Coastal cottage is your style.

10.Best room in the house. What's your most fave room in your home? Look to your best design work and repeat it! There is nothing wrong with having all your rooms designed similarly. In fact, it can bring a calm and serene feel to your house.

Finding your "style" does not mean that you are going to peg yourself into one little box and can only have furnishings and accessories that are limited to that one textbook-definition. More often than not, we all have stuff in our homes that are different styles, patterns, textures, colors, whatever. The key is to find what it is about all of those different items that DO tie together. Once you identify that, then run with it. In the process, weed out what doesn't make sense. You will find that when you are done, your style was there all along!

hover over or right click each image for credits/sources

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Back to Basics

What follows is amazing.

"In 1967, Rhoda Kellogg published an archive of c. 8000 drawings of children ages 24-40 months. (See Kellogg, R.: Rhoda Kellogg Child Art Collection. Washington, DC., Microcard Editions, Inc., 1967; now available at LexisNexis, Reed Elsevier, Inc..) Up to now, as far as we know, no other archive of early graphic expressions was ever published, including a large sample of pictures and presented according to a classification system. Thus, the archive has a historical status.

Rhoda Kellogg was a psychologist and a nursery school educator. Here investigations focused on the art of young children, that is, on early graphic expressions. From 1948 to 1966, she collected approximately one million drawings of young children of ages two to eight. More than half a million of these drawings are filed in the «Rhoda Kellogg Child Art Collection of the Golden Gate Kindergarten Association» in San Francisco, U.S.A.. Of these half-million and more drawings, some 8’000 are available, in microfiche form (see above). Some 250 paintings and drawings, selected as outstanding examples of children’s work, are reproduced in full color. (See Kellogg, R. and O’Dell, S.: The Psychology of Children’s Art. Del Mar, California, 1967.)

Kellogg describes the very first development of children’s drawings as a sequence of basic shapes or forms and their configurations: starting from twenty «basic scribbles», which can be observed at the age of two, children develop placement patterns, emergent diagram shapes, diagrams, combines, aggregates, mandalas, suns, radials, before humans and early pictorialism appear. Kellogg understands this sequence as a manifestation of «Gestalts», according to the Gestalt theory.

Kellogg is one of the rare authors who emphasizes the role of formal design, which emerges before pictorialism and then plays a role in relation to pictorialism or is developed as a distinct type of pictures. (That is my own emphasis on this paragraph)

Kellogg is also one of the rare authors who presents an extensive classification system related to early graphic expressions, combined with an attempt to give empirical evidence for the picture attributes of the system and their role in the development of drawing and painting."

If you have a few minutes to be amazed, go to Rhoda Kellogg's website and you can view the amazing collection of children's drawings as well as how she has cataloged /categorized them.

Would love to hear your thoughts when you're done...

inspiration is all around even where we least expect it