Thursday, July 28, 2011

Save Neutra!

While Grace Hilton is an interior design firm, not a preservation blog, I'm also Vice Chair of the Los Angeles Conservancy Modern Committee and occasionally bring you preservation-related news and events. Below is a very urgent issue and if you love modern design, I encourage you to read on. 

You may have never heard of the Kronish House, but I hope the name Richard Neutra means something to you. The internationally-celebrated architect lived right here in Los Angeles and while our landscape is dotted with many structures he designed, only three homes were ever built in the City of Beverly Hills. One was torn down, one remodeled beyond recognition and the Kronish House is now threatened with demolition. It's basically being sold as a $13 million tear-down because of its location and the investment group that now owns it (following foreclosure and auction) wants to tear it down and sell an empty lot. Crazy, right? 

I won't get into the politics of preservation here, although I will say Beverly Hills is quickly gaining a rep  for this kind destruction due to their lack of preservation ordinance (A John Lautner home was demolished just a few months back and the Friars Club was lost not long before that). What it comes down to is that each and every one of you need to write a quick e-mail and help save this house! 

You don't really need to know all the ins and outs of preservation, the legalities surrounding the issue or be a Neutra expert. You simply need to speak up about why you love this era, this architect, this house and let Beverly Hills know that it's worth saving. The L.A. Conservancy has created an Advocacy Page for this issue and I did a screen grab of the bullet points they created to guide you in the comments you submit to the city. Write to  Comments are due TODAY

You do not need to be a Beverly Hills or Los Angeles County resident. Ever single message makes a difference! Thanks for your help! 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Screen Team

I was instantly smitten by the 900 square foot one-bedroom Chicago apartment featured in this month's House Beautiful (right) and recalled another old favorite that used that same screen as a show-stopping backdrop, in the bedroom of actress Ione Skye (left). This little design trick, credited to the legendary Jean-Michel Frank, creates visual depth and instantly punches up the interest level. I love the way it works in Ione's California bohemian bedroom as well as it does in the casually sophisticated executive's apartment.

I drifted off to sleep last night dreaming of ways to incorporate this into one of my current projects. Have you used a screen in this way? Or seen another great example?  

P.S. To get the scale of the zig zag right on those side chairs in the Chicago apartment, they used Madeline Weinrib rugs for the upholstery. So creative!  

Left: Ione Skye feature from Domino Magazine September 2005; Photo by Paul Costello
Right: Interior Design by Richard Borries and James Shearron; Photo by Ngoc Minh Ngo

Monday, July 18, 2011

Flea Market Fun: June/July Edition

I missed my June post about my flea market adventures, so this month I bring you double the fun! The following vintage treasures are a mix from Irvine and Long Beach markets. 

I scored a Hall teapot and four yellow Hall mugs all for under $10. (P.S. The tray is from West Elm, the tea towel is Crate and Barrel, and the spoon is a 1957 design by Arne Jacobsen, available here)

I had never heard the name Ernest Sohn until yesterday, but a quick web search turned up some photos of a chafing dish identical to the one I picked up yesterday. I'm now quite a fan of Mr. Sohn.

This little metal cabinet with our wedding motif was my end of the day deal. I paid next to nothing and with a couple more coats of white spray paint and it will be ready to hang in our bath, right above...

This little storage bench. Also a steal. Sure, it looks kind of funky now, but a quick upholstery job and it will be the perfect place for my toddler to stash all her bath toys.

This incredible coffee server, first mentioned in this post, turned up at an even better price at Irvine. I actually spotted it twice at Long Beach, too! In two different sizes! You can buy the smaller version here on Ebay.

There were many other appealing items, too many to show in fact. Here are some highlights:
1. Two Russel Woodard patio chairs $300
2. 70s Kitchen storage tins
3. Mahogany/Sterling ice bucket by Pyrex
4. Unused date book w/ four note pads to get you organized in retro-style
5. Vibrant silk-covered photo albums, never used
6. A sea of glassware. This booth must have had a half dozen tables of dazzling colored dishes.
7. Betty Crocker Party Book had some great illustrations and ideas that included a 'Space Age rocket party for the kids'. Check out more images and snag a copy here on Etsy
8. The cover art on this album totally had me dreaming of a future kid's party inspired by the film.
9. These three chairs needed an upholstery job, but could be made over and nestled around a round coffee table to form a conversation nook
10. Fun wall-mounted vintage spice rack. Love the bottle shape.
11. This free-standing cabinet with sliding doors was a decent price at $150 (potentially even less with a little haggling) and had nice dimensions for a hallway (only about 10" deep)
12. Catherine Holm-designed bowls always have me ready to fork over the cash, but they are a pretty penny. Check out the selection here on Ebay and I'll leave you with a lovely image by Viviana of her collection.

Photos #1- 17 by Grace Hilton
Photo #18 by Vivianna via Emma Lamb

Monday, July 11, 2011

Child's Danish Modern Armchair at Mid-Century LA

Okay, just one more quick post about Dwell On Design and I promise I'll stop. There are just too many good things to recap it all in only three posts (Part I, Part II, Part III). 

These mid-century children's chairs are just so good, they deserve their very own post. They're not vintage (although modeled after an authentic Danish Modern design), which means they're readily available in your choice of upholstery. It's such a great option for stylish parents who want a comfy place for their tot to sit, but also want it to blend with their decor. 

Since I have a little one of my own, my eye went straight to these mini chairs, although David at Mid-Century LA had his booth set up with all kinds of goodies for adults too. Check out his website to browse his vast selection or contact him about ordering one of these adorable children's chairs.   

Friday, July 8, 2011

Dwell On Design: Wrap-Up

To wrap up my series of posts on Dwell On Design, here are a few more things that caught my eye.  No particular theme to this post or common thread between the the products, except for good design, of course! If you missed Part I and Part II of my DOD recap, check it out.

What products that I've featured are you favorite? What products were you drooling over at the show that I missed in my recap? Do tell! 

1. Donate your heart(beat) to art! For a good cause.
2. These pillows from Balanced Design  are lovely and eco-friendly to boot! 
3. The pillows would actually coordinate well with this custom wallcovering from Aztek by 1960s artist, Jim Flora
4. The Charley Harper Studio booth had the dinnerware line by Todd Oldham for Fishs Eddy that I featured in this post was on display.
5. Herman Miller Eames' Aluminum Group chairs get an update in matte black and white. 
6. Stokke adds three new finishes to their Tripp Trapp chair -- Oiled oak, green, and oiled walnut; Best kid's highchair ever! 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dwell On Design: Beyond Basic Lighting

Next up on my series of posts on Dwell On Design is lighting. I gravitated toward companies that are definitely thinking beyond just your basic lamp shade and base. There is a focus on flexibility and functionality, not just good looks. Although, these lamps look pretty great, too! 

This light is full of function. -- The arm allows it to be adjusted for reading or used as a general light and the pivoting shade means you can transform into an uplight to bounce light of the ceiling. The Fork Adjustable Table Lamp by Foscarini Lighting + Diesel Home (Yes, that Diesel...the fashion brand. Check out their other furniture and textile collaborations with Moroso and Zucchi. They call their first home collection 'Successful Living by Diesel'); The full collection including table, floor, and task lamps by Diesel + Focarini available at Lumens 

Silva table lamp was one of the many beautifully crafted designs from Cerno Group. They also offer a  unique wall sconce that allows you to quickly adjust between diffused and direct light. See it in action here.  

My personal favorite was the Trapeze table lamp by Peter Stathis for Joby (the manufacturers of the popular Gorilla Pod) It was on preview at the A+R shop and will be available exclusively through their store this fall.  LED technology coupled with a sleek 3-axis design that allows it to pivot every which way. Of course when it comes to winning top honors from me, it doesn't hurt that it comes in a selection of fun colors -- Orange, yellow, blue, green, plus black and white

Two clever designs from Blu Dot include Bender (top) in black or white steel with a fabric shade and the Rook (bottom) which can be tilted and twisted as you please.  It's solid walnut and linen.  These two table top options are just $199 a pop and add a dash of fun to home or office. The Rook is a great option for next to a bed, since it's easy to manipulate the light for reading.  

If you're looking for more than just a table top upgrade, Trufig offers a full makeover for all the lights in your home and beyond.  This company is out on a mission to clear up wall acne. Outlets, switches, thermostats, even speakers can be a  bit of an eyesore. Trufig offers the option to make everything flush-mounted, so the architecture and interior design take center stage and all the bells and whistles disappear into the background.  It's not just for new construction either. They have a clever drywall patch that allows you to quickly swap out existing controls. It's fully compatible with Lutron, making it a breeze to upgrade your entire lighting, media, and HVAC system to get this sleek look.  

Friday, July 1, 2011

Dwell On Design: Kitchens + Baths

Before the weekend was finished at Dwell On Design, I was convinced no home is complete without a dishwasher that has a 'beer glass chilling' cycle, a built-in steam cabinet in the closet, and kitchen appliances that are wi-fi connected to alert you of maintenance issues. I was also dazzled by all the sleek shapes, fab colors, and impressed by the attention paid to every last detail in the kitchen and bath.  There are some really fancy solutions out there these days and we're come along way since this....

Not that I don't have a soft spot for vintage kitchens and I love browsing Pam's galleries over at Retro Renovation and her site Save The Pink Bathrooms.  But in a world where we consult our smart phones for everything, doesn't it make sense that we get a text if our refrigerator seems to be on the fritz? 

In addition to the high-tech products mentioned above from LG and Miele, here are some other brands that caught my eye including:

1. A sleek Duravit vanity with integrated towel bar
2. A new faucet collection from Kohler called Toobi, which has an unexpected shot of bold green color
3. Also from Kohler, a rainbow of finishes from their line of enameled cast iron
4. Infinity Drain, which is so much cooler than the average drain your contractor would opt for!
5. A trendy metallic tile from the Rondine group

All photos by Grace Hilton
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