Category Archives: modernism

Meet & Greet – Annabelle

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Meet Annabelle of the decor website Stylish Furniture & Decor. Annabelle worked for 10 years as a residential Interior Designer in Washington, DC and New York City, NY. She was inspired to start her new online furniture business because of her love of sourcing and helping to supervise a client’s design process. She believes that a new purchase as simple as one chair can help a home to feel “completely furnished”. She explains, “There is no purchase or project too small – as every piece is an important component.” She describes her website’s offerings as “sleek, “trendy”, and “fashionable”. Her favorite decorative time period is the present (even though I would love to live in Versailles or the Greco-Roman Era, her answer makes much more sense…I do love indoor plumbing)! She explains that, her version of “modern design” means mixing pieces from different periods and having fun with unexpected design.

Annabelle is a fellow New Yorker who lives in the West Village (one of my personal favorite neighborhoods in the city). As part of the EAT/SEE/SHOP/DO series, I asked her to come up with a short list of her favorites –

EAT: Mole, a Mexican restaurant on 57 Jane St, at the corner of Hudson St. New York, NY 10014. The mole enchiladas are actually to die for.

Image courtesy of Mole, West Village, HERE.

SEE: The Hudson River Park is one her favorite things about living in the West Village, she adores being able to access the river walk. The area is the largest park to be built in Manhattan since the completion of Central Park. It is right along the water and boasts amazing skylines and sunsets. The park also includes tennis courts and skateparks!

Image found HERE.

SHOP: Chelsea Market, especially the produce market, The Lobster Place (fresh lobster, fishmongers, and shellfish on ice!), and Buon Italia. If you plan on picking up ingredients for a gourmet dinner, this is your one-stop shop.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

DO: Sunday afternoon cocktails at any restaurant in the West Village or Chelsea! It’s always lively and fun! Bonus points for finding seats outside on a nice day for people watching.

Although Annabelle describes her home as simple and tailored meets cozy bachelor pad (her husband’s stuff), her website has a decidedly art deco, midcentury, anthropomorphic, and retro vibe. Here are my favorite finds from her site:

Shop by the Numbers: : 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

If you love these items, Annabelle has agreed to give The Walkup readers a whopping 10% off all items from today until 5/31/2012, with the code WALKUP. Enjoy perusing!

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White Hot

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Let’s get technical (sung to Olivia Newton John’s “Let’s Get Physical”) White is a color, although it is also an optical illusion. The color white is merely a perception which is evoked by light (the color white does not exist without light) that stimulates all three types of color sensitive cells in the human eye. These cells are actually all stimulated in nearly equal amount and with high brightness compared to the surroundings in order to produce the color white.  An object whose surface reflects back most of the light it receives (opaque) and does not alter its color will appear white. Most sources of light and incandescence also appear white. The etymology of the word “white” in most languages usually also means “bright”, “reflected”, and “light”. Clearly ancient civilizations understood the concept that the color white was similar to lightwaves way before science caught up.

When white appears in nature (such as clouds, and snow) the color is actually only water crystals reflecting back the light of the sun. Remember, even the moon at night (which often appears white) is reflecting back the color of the sun.

Rather than delve into the man-made connotations of the color (purity, chastity, holiness, weddings, mournings, et. al.), I think of white merely as an extension of the sun and life, and the light provided by stars. This is its natural state, devoid of context.

Image and furniture via Ikea. White furniture in a white living room can create an illusion of space.

Both of the above images are from the same home. And, technically speaking, if you were to view these white spaces against a dark backdrop, the brightness would be even more obvious!  White allows deeper hued objects (such as vases, books, and flowers) to pop at full potential. The contrast between the white and the tchotchkes allows each object to be put on a pedestal. It also allows each object to seem purposely chosen.  Image found HERE.

White does not have to be minimal! Stick to a color palette of three (burgundy, brown, and white) for a lush and deep feeling. Photo by Art Gray, New York Loft styled by White Webb.

A shabby chic inspired white room replete with reclaimed barn wood floors. Also, the varying materials in this room force the eye to look at all objects and all dimensions. Designer Darryl Carter transformed this blank space. Benjamin Moore’s “Simply White” is used throughout the apartment but to add the illusion of airiness, openness, and area. Image photographed by Gordon Beall and found HERE.

Amaridian, has teamed up with Cape Town’s Design Africa to showcase and promote excellence in African design. The images is from the showcase of African design in NYC, products by Mud Studio, Ronel Jordaan, Tekura Design and Diallo Design. White does not need to have stark geometric shapes, and uber clean lines. Here the color white is romantic, trivial, and subdued. Image found HERE. 

Did I mention how important windows (and thus light) is for white? The above loft has a very 1970’s design aesthetic! Image found HERE.

Ebony and Ivory! Black, Red, and White is a classic color scheme that is never wrong. Image found HERE.

I could actually see enjoying laundering in this space. I have never felt invited in by a laundry room, but here’s to firsts! I bet spotting stains in this environment is super easy. I also love the light, pine wood accents. Image found HERE.

Romantic, antique, luxe. Ivory, Cream, and White (keeping it in the color family). Achromatic works. Image found HERE.

Shabby, Romantic, Charming, Country style. Image found HERE.

I spy a Birkin Bag and a Saarinen Table and a Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed Barcelona Chair. Image found HERE. 

Neutral paint colors: ‘Veil Cream’ by Benjamin Moore and a Le Corbusier chaise. Somehow this space is rustic, western, and natural. Photo by Justin Bernhaut, Domino, Dec. 2006. Domino Magazine.

  • “White…is not a mere absence of colour; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black…God paints in many colours; but He never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white.” — G. K. Chesterton
  • “The first of all single colors is white … We shall set down white for the representative of light, without which no color can be seen; yellow for the earth; green for water; blue for air; red for fire; and black for total darkness.” — Leonardo Da Vinci

HOW CAN I LIVE IN A WHITE WASHED DREAM CLOUD?

Shop By The Numbers: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8/ 9

Valley of the Dolls

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Written by American author Jacqueline Susann, and published in 1966, Valley of the Dolls tells the story of women coping with uber-rich-socialite world, trapped in the Feminine Mystique lifestyle of 1945-1960. The women are dealing with the “problem that has no name”, attempting to find meaning through talent and rejecting the lifestyle of a housewife.  The word  “dolls” within the title refers to a slang term for downers and barbiturates used as sleep aids. Highlighting women’s self destructive tendencies, desperation for money, and sexual exploits, the book captures (via setting and scenes) the oeuvre of midcentury modern design perfectly.

Images via Star Pulse and Valley of the Dressing. (Here. & Here.)

Valley of the Dolls is the tale of three young girls who seek to be self-made, and independent. By men, society, betrayals and money, they weave into womanhood scathed by self-destruction and saved by dependence on what are poshly referred to as “dolls”.  My friend Jennell so aptly examines, “these characters ARE what they wear. Like, in an unprecedented way. Neely = Rags to riches and therefore is a bit gaudy.  Jennifer = The hearthrob showgirl exterior, homebody housewife in a nighty interior. Anne = Jackie O.”

Now let’s see what midcentury design is out there to buy in the year 2012 (for relatively cheap). If you have a million dollars to spend casually, I would highly recommend Design Within Reach. Basically everything they sell is innovative, slightly retro, perfection. Midcentury is an architectural, interior and product design field that generally describes mid-20th century advances in modern design, architecture, and urban development from roughly 1933 to 1965.  This genre of design was highly influenced by organic architecture, and the patterns represented often amorphous, almost animalistic shapes. Function was an extremely important aspect when designing the items, as the American family did not have extra income for spending. The aesthetic is greatly influenced by post-war materials, and lifestyle changes. Because of the heavy use of industrialization during the war effort, families sought to return to more individually manufactured and unique home state. Midcentury design can best be described as natural, democratic, and simple. An amazing exhibition about the philosophy of midcentury can be found via The Museum of Arts and Design featuring a forward by the curator, here.

Now put it all together and what do you get:

Midcentury - Valley of the Dolls
And just for fun, this “stepford wives chic” style is slipping its way into the 2012 runways ala Oscar de la Renta (whose label was launched in 1965). The collection features rich embroidery, kitten tongue pinks, exaggerated hair teasing, heirloom brooches, icy blues, luxurious textures, opulent fabric, and a youthful glow.
Oscar de la Renta Fall/Winter 2012 Collection at New York Fashion Week. PETER STIGTER PHOTO.
“Tomorrow I start the new collection. Really, it started yesterday when I had to decide the colors of next season,” de la Renta said. “And then this is a memory. I won’t remember this collection. You can ask me in a few days about the blue dress and I’ll ask you, ‘What blue dress?'”
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