Monday, August 31, 2009

Crack Up.

As we mentioned in our previous post, we were quite inspired on our trip to Connecticut last weekend. In fact one of our favorite takeaways came about when we stopped at KMR Arts, a small gallery located in Litchfield County. It was there that we saw the above photos and were pleasantly surprised to learn who was behind the lens of these abstract, expressionistic images. Believe it or not these are actually detailed shots of pavement cracks in New York City and were taken by the incomparable Lillian Bassman. For those who may not be familiar with Ms. Bassman, she worked as a fashion photographer for Junior Bazaar and later at Harper's Bazaar where she promoted the careers of photographers such as Richard Avedon, Louis Faure, Arnold Newman and Robert Frank. Under the guidance of the Russian immigrant Alexey Brodovitch, she began to photograph her model subjects primarily in black and white. Most of her painterly and elegant images were published in Harper's Bazaar, between 1950-1965 (see some of these photos after the jump).

By the 1970s Bassman's interest in the pure form, prevalent in her fashion photography, was out of vogue. She turned to her own photo projects and abandoned fashion photography. In doing so, she tossed out 40 years of negatives and prints - her life's work. This is also when she created the above Crack Series. Over 20 years later, a forgotten bag filled with hundreds of images was discovered. Bassman’s fashion photographic work began to be re-appreciated in the 1990s. Now 92 years old, she is working with digital technology and abstract color photography to create a new series of work. To learn more about Bassman click here and to see more work click here!

Katheryn McCarver Root who owns KMR Arts has worked with some of the best and the brightest photographers. In addition to running the gallery she also consults with individuals and corporate clients to purchase and install photography collections. She's an avid collector herself and brings that enthusiasm to each project. Believe us ....this gallery is a fantastic resource to add to your rolodex!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Love Hangover.

We're still recovering from an intoxicating excursion full of sheer inspiration and glee after visiting our dear friends who own Duane Antiques and Duane Modern here in the city. They invited us up to their "country" house this past weekend in Connecticut and from the minute we pulled into their driveway we knew this wasn't going to be your typical "country" get away. Imagine a Palm Springs manor being airdropped onto the set of Green Acres and you'll get a sense of what this incredibly sophisticated second home is all about. The house itself was stunning, but add to that the lush landscapes, sprawling vistas and surrounding farmland and it's almost more than any one design enthusiast can handle.

Our hosts bought this place five years ago and spent the first 2 1/2 years renovating, taking it all the way down to the studs. We love it when someone really goes for it and we can assure you these two weren't kidding around when it came to re-designing this modernist masterpiece. Every detail including the selection of materials was carefully thought out and executed brilliantly. Each corner turned was more beautiful than the last and every tableau created more artistic than the next. Add to this their exceptional hospitality and we were ready to move in for good and call it a day.

Not only were we impressed with their home, but the surrounding communities were equally charming and we were able to see several other homes that blew us away with their own creative spirit. Once we returned to the city, we got busy scouring the internet looking at every real estate website we could find to see what's available in their neck of the woods. We'd like to thank our good friends for such an inspiring weekend and we'd love to get back there again soon – hopefully sometime in the fall. In the meantime, we'd like to encourage you to check out their beautiful custom line of furnishings (a few images below) sold through Duane Modern and available here.

The collection includes 25 original pieces with all the good looks and great style inherent in the classic one of a kind pieces that have passed through their shop. From elegant sofas and super-chic slipper chairs to Moderne side tables and buffets, every item in the Duane Modern line is handcrafted locally in the Northeast in the highest quality using premium materials.
With good lines, great style and a whole new interpretation, Duane Modern is right for today’s interiors.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Life In The Fast Lane.

For anyone who's still unfamiliar with One Kings Lane, it's time to get with the program and jump on board this fast moving "savings" train. OKL is a website devoted to bringing you some of the best home decor products and accessories at up to 70% off retail. They've also partnered with celebrated designers and industry experts to inspire their members, provide tips for their homes and find fabulous gifts for family and friends.

OKL is a members-only shopping destination, but you can join for free by clicking here. Benefits include huge savings every day on top brands throughout the home furnishings industry, but you better act fast. New sales events start everyday at 8:00 am PT/11:00 am ET and when a product sells out – it's gone for good (at least at the discounted rate).

We're wild about this website as well as the products they've featured which include items from such noteworthy companies as Calvin Klein, Bulgari, Rani Arabella and Archipelago to name a few. We also want to give OKL a great big THANK YOU for asking us to be a part of their ongoing "Get Inspired" series. We really appreciate it and hope you'll check it out. Lastly, if you invite a friend and they make a purchase, you'll receive a $25 credit towards your next purchase. No joke – you better hurry and turn on your signal, 'cause this is one fast lane worth merging into.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Little Bit Country...

As we mentioned earlier this summer, we had several projects underway that were quite exciting, one of which was a makeover story for Country Living Magazine. We worked feverishly on this project at the end of May and now we're pleased to say it's the cover story of the September issue available on newsstands now (and hopefully in some of your mailboxes or homes already). This particular project is truly special because it holds something near and dear to my heart: my Family. Over 50 years ago my parents married and then settled into their first home, a small 2 bedroom house in Russellville, Arkansas. Being right out of college, my father beamed with pride over his first major investment and the house would soon be filled with an equal abundance of warm memories. Several years, kids and homes later, word got back to my dad that the little house he had first purchased so long ago was going to be torn down. He quickly contacted the new owner and offered to buy back the house for one dollar. He knew the property had more value than the home itself and was willing to have the house lifted off it's foundation and brought to my parent's current property to be used as a guesthouse. That was a few year's ago, but once Country Living got word of the back story, they wanted in on the action and asked me if I'd be willing to help "makeover" the house. The only catch was I had to do it in one week and with a budget of only $3200! Needless to say, this was among the most challenging projects I've worked on to date and if it hadn't been for my family, I probably would not have agreed to do it. But that's also what made it so rewarding.

Trying to find very specific sized furniture for a such small home, in a small town, in the time frame allowed, with a such a low budget definitely presented it's challenges. But my parent's reaction when they finally saw the end results was priceless and well worth all the hard work. Above are some photos of the finished job including a couple of shots that aren't in the magazine. You can click here to read the entire story and to see the before photos. In the meantime, I want to personally thank Country Living for the amazing opportunity and give a special thank you to Style and Market Director Natalie Warady for all of her hard work in helping this all come together. She knows there wouldn't have been a snowball's chance in hell I could have pulled this off without her. Thanks again Nat .... I truly appreciate it! (above photos by Lucas Allen)

Mom and Dad 51 years ago...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Out Of Africa.

Another great part of working on the Traditional Home Hampton Designer Showhouse is meeting new designers as well as working with ones you already know and consider good friends. We've known Wayne Nathan and Carol Egan of NathanEgan Interiors for years and were excited when we found out their firm was also participating in this year's house. But we got even more excited once we had an opportunity to finally see their finished room (above photos). Based on the idea of Africa meets Montauk, this bedroom was a big hit on opening night and really exemplified their fresh point of view which many consider edgy, colorful, eclecitc, modern and chic. The Nakashima headboard and Batik prints mixed with the Poul Kjaerholm chairs and kick-ass art collection proved once and for all this dynamic duo is definitely bringing sexy back to the world of interiors. We love risk-takers and taste-makers and these two no doubt fit both the bills. In fact, they were recently featured in Case and Stili, for a project they just completed uptown and we just so happen to have a few of the photos which you can see below. Hope you enjoy them. Have a fantastic weekend.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Why Can't We Be Friends?

Our friends from Philip Johnson's Glass House just sent us this exciting message and we wanted to make sure we passed it along. Trust us...this is an incredible opportunity!

The Glass House has just released a new series of tickets that I think might be of interest you + your readers. As the 2009 season of Glass House public tour tickets is almost sold out and as a way to raise funds this year, we have launched a new Modern Friends series of donor tours that include behind-the-scenes access to the architecture and art collection you so enjoyed seeing last year. These tickets are available for a donation of $100 per person (which includes a membership to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a 20% discount to the newly expanded Glass House shop, and Glass House Visitor Guide). On this tour, which is in a small group, visitors view the full art collection in the painting and sculpture Galleries and also visit Philip Johnson's Studio / Library. Reservations + donation can be made online at or by calling 866.811.4111. We would love to see our Modern Friends program on Design Therapy to spread the word about this fantastic program.

We've been fortunate enough to go on this tour twice now and we can assure you you will not be disappointed (click here to see a tour of our last visit). Tickets are normally almost impossible to get so make sure you call today and take advantage of this amazing offer!