Thursday, January 29, 2009

South Of The Border.

We just got back from a fantastic evening with good friends to celebrate the launch of a new boutique hotel in Mexico City, Las Alcobas. The hotel was designed by the renowned interior design firm Yabu Pushelberg who also hosted tonight's event at their stylish apartment in one of the striking, Richard Meier-designed Perry Street towers. Founded by George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg, this innovative firm has been creating timeless and artistic designs worldwide for more than 30 years. With offices in New York and Toronto, the forward thinking duo specializes in luxurious interiors, both residential and commercial and were recently inducted into Interior Design magazine's prestigious Hall of Fame. Their apartment (above photos) is a mix of elegance and edginess with just a hint of whimsy found in some of the artwork. Their generosity as hosts was immeasurable as was their enthusiasm for the new hotel Las Alcobas (below photos). Over 6 years in the making, this 35-room hotel is set to open in early March with the promise to embrace and nurture each guest with revitalizing comfort. It will feature high-design suites, signature spa services as well as fine-dining by famed Chef Michael Mina, who also provided the food at this evening's event. Our favorite dishes tonight: the lobster grilled cheese sandwiches with roasted tomato soup and .... are you ready, LOBSTER CORN DOGS with a whole grain mustard sauce .... IN-credible! (click here for the recipe!) We can't wait to pack our bags and head down south to check out this stylish hotel. At the very least, to get another one of those damn corn dogs!

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stuffed Animals.

Our friend Melissa Dixson was recently featured in the New York Times and we were so excited about the photographs and the format that we had to share it with you here. This particular story is part of an exciting weekly series from the Times called "One in 8 Million," which features the many different characters that make up this colorful city. We actually met Melissa years ago at Potterton Books in the D&D building and one day she told us she was thinking about going back to taxidermy school. Being from Arkansas, this wouldn't have phased us one bit if we'd been back home...but at a bookstore in Manhattan at a Design Center? Well, needless to say we were a bit caught off guard. Fast forward several years and Melissa's proved she's got what it takes to skin a fox or mount a coyote, and she does so with a rather artful eye. In fact, her work is available through Moss here in New York. Congratulations Melissa...we can't wait to see more "stuff." (click here to see and hear Melissa talk about her's fascinating!)
(Photos from:Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Easier Said Than Done.

Nothing makes us happier than a clean, sharp interior camouflaged by a welcoming, serene overlay. Messana O'Rorke Architects manages to pull this off with the above project, and with most of the work they take on. Known for creating crisp, compelling spaces MOA was established in 1996 by partners Brian Messana and Toby O'Rorke. Between the two of them, they have quite an impressive resume including stints with Richard Meier, Peter Marino, Thierry Despont and Ralph Lauren Home. The firm takes on both residential and commercial projects, including several stores and showrooms for Donna Karan. We first took note of their work back in 2004 when we shared the spotlight in New York Magazine's interior design issue, and we've been following them ever since. It's quite a challenge creating a seemingly simple space and giving it real interest, but they manage to do it brilliantly. When you take the time to study their work, you can start to see the serious amount of thought that went into each design whether it be their use of space, scale, material, or selection of furnishings. What's even more inspiring is that it somehow comes across as being effortless. Like we said...Easier said than done. (Photography by Elizabeth Felicella)
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Thursday, January 22, 2009

WUD sample.

WUD Furniture Design is a Brooklyn based design and manufacturing studio specializing in high-end furniture. Executed with impeccable craftsmanship, they use only the finest woods and other high-quality materials to create sleek contemporary designs while still using classical joinery. We first took notice of WUD a few years back at BKLYN Designs and were instantly taken with their design sensibilty as well as the exceptional hand-crafted quality of the furntiure. We've since used them on a number of projects and have also commissioned them to do large complex custom built-ins. They are capable of just about anything and it has been an absolute pleasure each time we've worked together.

That being said, we are thrilled to announce that WUD has just opened a brand new showroom overlooking their new spacious workshop. To celebrate the opening, they will be hosting their 2nd annual SAMPLE sale this Saturday (10am-6pm) and Sunday (12pm-6pm) at 222 Clifton Place, Brooklyn NY 11216. All floor models and in-stock pieces will be discounted up to 40%. In addition, all new and custom orders placed during the months of January and February will be discounted up to 25%. They will also be offering free delivery to NYC area for all in-stock purchases. Can't beat that with a stick. Check it out this weekend.
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ready To Serve.

Our friend Dave over at The Future Perfect just sent us over an exciting opportunity to own a piece of history. These commemorative plates were designed by "Andre The Giant Has A Posse" artist Shepard Fairey, and provide the same iconic style as his now famous "Hope" Poster. Along with being idealistic, these plates are exclusive to the Future Perfect and officially became available on Inauguration Day. There is a limited edition of 500 plates in each color and they're only 89 bucks each. (Certain to be worth a lot more in the near future!) We recommend you act fast...we have a feeling these are going to fly off the shelves faster than Bush flew out of DC!
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A Monumental Day.

At this moment, regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum; regardless of race, religion or sexuality; regardless of age, education or income level, we are all a part of history today. Keeping the focus on design, we certainly aren't going to attempt to talk about the importance or the magnitude of today's inaugural event, except to say we're unbelievably excited and feel an extraordinary sense of pride for our country. Instead, we thought we would simply feature a different type of monumental marvel on this incredibly historic day. We hope you enjoy these fascinating facts about Mount Rushmore:

-Mount Rushmore is located on a mountain in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
-Sculptor Gutzon Borglum was the visionary behind this immense granite sculpture.
-It is representative of the first 150 years of U.S. history and features George Washington,Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.
-Carving began in 1927 and was finally completed in 1941.
-Rushmore's granite faces tower over 5,500 feet above sea level. Each head is as tall as a six-story building (they are scaled to fit men who would stand 465 feet tall).
-The Presidents' noses are 20 feet long, their mouths 18 feet wide and their eyes are 11 feet across.
-Over 800 million pounds of stone was removed from Mt. Rushmore during the construction.
-There were 506 steps the 400 workers had to climb each day to reach the top of Mt. Rushmore.
-Even though it took 14 years to finish the sculpture, it ended up only costing 1 million dollars.
-No deaths occurred during the whole period of carving, just a few minor injuries.
-Alfred Hitchcock's movie North by Northwest ends with a dizzying chase scene atop Mt. Rushmore.
-Originally the sculpture was to be placed on smaller, granite pillars known as "Needles".
-The structure was originally intended to only depict George Washington, but after the commission was authorized by Congress in
1925 President Coolidge insisted that another Democrat and two Republicans be portrayed as well.
-Many think Mount Rushmore must erode at an alarming rate and require an extreme amount of maintenance, however the actual rate of erosion is only 1 inch per 10,000 years. And no one is even paid to clean the monument. The only time it has ever been cleaned was by a manufacturer of cleaning machines, who did it for free.

Happy Inaugural!
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Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Cause To Celebrate!

This week we were kindly asked to help celebrate the launch of one of our absolute favorite causes, DIFFA's Dining By Design. Founded in 1984, DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS) is one of the largest funders of HIV/AIDS service and education organizations in the United States and has provided more than $35 million to hundreds of AIDS organizations nationwide since it's inception. Dining By Design is DIFFA's signature fundraising event and multi-city marketing platform and it's also one of the most FUN parties of the year. Dubbed the “Cannes of Tabletop” by filmmaker John Waters, this annual event is an opportunity for various corporations and designers to showcase their creativity and talents by creating unique dining installations to ultimately accommodate their dinner guests.

This week's DBD launch celebration was held at Alain Ducasse's stunning restaurant, Adour, in the legendary St. Regis Hotel and the food was absolutely delicious (we especially loved the tender ricotta gnocchi with sauteed lettuce and crispy prosciutto as well as the banana macaroons)! Adour, which generously underwrote this event, was designed by the uber-talented architect and chairman of DIFFA, David Rockwell.

To kick things off, Rockwell gave some inspiring words regarding the importance of DBD before introducing his friend and fellow trustee Whoopi Goldberg. With her smart humor, Whoopi spoke passionately about how important this event is as far as DIFFA's fundraising efforts go, especially during a time when non-profits may suffer because of the down-turn in the economy. Dining By Design will start in New York March 26th and run through March 30th before moving onto Kansas City, Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago and San Francisco. We strongly encourage anyone reading this to click here and learn more about this incredible cause and to buy a ticket to one of the season's most magnificent gatherings. We're especially excited because this year in New York for the first time, DBD will be adjacent to and coinciding with the Archictectural Digest Home Design Show! We'll be posting reminders periodically until the event to make sure you have plenty of time to get your tickets. We can't wait to see you there this spring. (Above photos from last year's event featuring a table designed for the New York Times by Doug Wilson and DWR).
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Well it's official! According to the Huffington Post, Domino magazine has just announced that Los Angeles-based interior designer Michael S. Smith has been named The White House decorator. Mr. Smith's clients include Stephen Spielberg, Dustin Hoffman, Brian Grazer, Cindy Crawford and Rupert Murdoch. "Michael shares my vision for creating a family friendly feel to our new home and incorporating some new perspectives from some of America's greatest artists and designers," Michelle Obama said in a statement released late this afternoon by the transition team.The California native, who's written two books on design, was one of three finalists for the job, according to Katie McCormick Lelyveld, spokeswoman for Michelle Obama (we can't wait to find out who the two decorators were that didn't make the cut). Smith has already started working with the family to get the residence up and running, especially the bedrooms of 10-year-old Malia and 7-year-old Sasha, and shopping at "a variety of different outlets, kid-friendly everyday retail stores," said Lelyveld. Little is known about the Obamas' tastes; their Hyde Park home boasts Asian and African art, glass-fronted bookcases, and framed family photos. "The family's casual style, their interest in bringing 20th century American artists to the forefront and utilizing affordable brands and products will serve as our guiding principles as we make the residence feel like their home," Smith said in a statement. We here at Design Therapy have always admired Michael Smith's work, and once again the Obama's have shown their keen ability to surround themselves with the most talented advisors. Click here for an insightful interview Michael Smith recently gave with Domino magazine and then click here and here for two gorgeous books featuring Mr. Smith's work.
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Monday, January 12, 2009

Fire Works.

We've fantasized for years of having our very own fireplace here in New York City. However living in a post war, 60's apartment complex there's not a snowball's chance in hell that will ever happen. Similarly, we often dream about a gentle crackling flame and it's soft, warm glow toasting our cheeks at our non-existent lakehouse. But unfortunately, the only thing burning right now is our latest iTunes mix and the toast in the oven. Oh the lengths we'd travel just to have a little fire in our lives. Keeping that in mind, we've been collecting resources for years of exactly what we'd have if we could have it. And with the weather turning bitterly cold this week, we thought it was the perfect time to share our Top 10 favorite modern fireplaces. Some of these are actually stoves, some are inserts and some don't even require a flue or any type of gas connection. Regardless, we think any one of them would satisfy the most "flaming" design enthusiast. Hope we've sparked your interest and that you find your match (sorry...we had to). In no particular order, here's what we consider to be the hottest designs in fireplaces for 2009 (click the + sign to move through slides more quickly):

1. Wittus Cubic 240

2. Fireorb

3. Conmoto Balance

4. Spark Fire Ribbon

5. Wittus Shaker

6. Focus Oggifocus

7. DWR Malm

8. Focus Filiofocus

9. Ecosmart

10. Rais Rondo

Lastly, we would love to hear from you. We realized just last week that we've had the wrong setting enabled for our comment feature since starting Design Therapy, making it difficult for anyone to leave a message. Please, please, please take a second and leave us a quick note. We often track our traffic and we see people visiting literally from all over the world. We're intrigued and would love to know more and hear your feedback. Thanks again for all your support and if you don't mind, please continue to share a little with all your friends!

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Kitchen Mixer.

We just returned from the most delicious breakfast with House Beautiful magazine at Robert Verdi's beautifully designed Luxe Labratory. Newell Turner, style director for the magazine asked a handful of designers and architects to join him and catch up on what's happening in the industry, specifically with kitchen design. In addition to working with the magazine, Newell also has his own blog ,Twilight Field Journal, which chronicles the renovation process of his charming country home in upstate New York. He told us how excited he was with his own kitchen (above photos) and how pleased he was with the cabinetry supplied by Plain and Fancy Custom Cabinetry. Plain and Fancy also did the cabinet work for Luxe Laboratory and after seeing their work in person and hearing Newel's winning testimonial we can't wait to use them on one of our next projects. We're also excited because they're repped by kitchen showroom Quintessentials here in New York who can design any style of kitchen, soup to nuts, from the cabinetry, to the appliances as well as the finishes. The breakfast itself was so tasty and was prepared by Bite one of our favorite catering companies. Being the foodies that we are, we wanted to share the menu: For starters, they served Scottish smoked salmon with crispy parsnip pancakes creme fraiche and dill. Then they had chive crepes with serrano ham and aged gruyere on a salad of baby arugula and Asian pear grapefruit and celery root brulee, and finally a heavenly maple cinnamon"pain perdu" with fresh berries, maple syrup and candied ginger. Thanks again House Beautiful for the delicious, fun, and informative breakfast! To see a tour of Newell's country house click here! (images from: House Beautiful)

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