jcrew design 600x401 Cool..perfectly designed...

Jenna Lyons, creative director of J.Crew, really listens to her customers.   If you recently read The Cut blog,(if you don’t- you should) NY Magazine’s Style blog, you would have seen Jenni Avins open letter to J.Crew, waxing lyrical about a discontinued style of swimsuit, the scoop back tank.   Avins said ‘Please bring back the scoop-back tank swimsuit,’ calling it a ‘simple, sexy, and sporty suit with straight, tank-top-style shoulder straps that swoop like the letter U, dipping seductively in the back to the area just above my waist.’

Lyons responded quickly and last week  she took out a simple full page ad in New York Magazine, featuring a model in the said suit, and a hand written message: “Dear Ms. Avins, your wish is my command … within reason. XO Jenna.”J Crew tank 600x600 Cool..perfectly designed...


If only all businesses responded so quickly to beloved products….

images via the cut and j.crew

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Cool..perfectly designed…

Have you ever had something that was perfectly designed be discontinued? well this one is for you….

in:  Design, fashion
23 April 2014



drum major eisenstaedt 600x456 Cool..the happiest photograph ever taken....


Is this the happiest photo ever taken? Life Magazine thinks it is.

Eisenstaedt says of this image:

“It was early in the morning,” Eisenstaedt himself recalled of the fall day in 1950 when he took the photo. On assignment for LIFE, covering the University of Michigan’s nationally famous marching band, he spotted the school’s drum major practicing his craft. Then, Eisenstaedt said, “I saw a little boy running after him, and all the faculty children on the playing field ran after the boy. And I ran after them. This is a completely spontaneous, unstaged picture.”


Eisenstaedt, of course, took many iconic images. This one of the V-J Day kiss in Times Square, captures the pure joy & relief of the end of the war and of the subjects’ survival.

 Cool..the happiest photograph ever taken....


image via adammarelli

He went to photograph many famous people: Marilyn Monroe, Alfred Einstein and President Kennedy were some of his subjects.

Alfred Eisenstaedt 1953 14  600x452 Cool..the happiest photograph ever taken....


I particularly love his American Ballet series- this one is one of my favourites.    Cool..the happiest photograph ever taken....


You can see more of his work here.


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Cool..the happiest photograph ever taken….

Life Magazine asks ‘Is this the happiest photo ever made? As Life magazine states: it is “a masterfully framed instant of authentic, explosive spirit.”

in:  Art, Blog
22 April 2014

faberge 2 600x401 Happy Easter

I have always dreamed of finding some undiscovered treasure, not of the  Indiana Jones variety, with marauding pirates and Nazis but trawling through a bric-a-brac or garage sale.   The closest I have got is finding a Susie Cooper tea set for 5 pounds 25 years ago and selling it for 200…but alas, this story puts me in the shade.

As you know, Fabergé eggs were closely associated with the Russian royal family.  After the Revolution,  the eggs were seized by the Bolsheviks. Looking for some quick cash, they kept some, but most were sold to the West. Two were bought by Queen Mary and are part of the British Royal Collection. The remainder were purchased by museums and wealthy collectors.   Eight of them went missing.  Of these eight,  only three are believed to have survived the revolution. 

This Fabergé egg contains a Vacheron Constantin watch and sits on a beautiful, classically inspired gold stand, embellished with swags and a Vitruvian wave pattern.   Measuring 8.2 cm in height, this tiny treasure was given by Alexander III to his wife Empress Maria Feodorovna for Easter 1887. 

It’s a long established tradition to exchange eggs in Christian traditions, but the Russian royal family took this exchange to new heights, asking Carl Fabergé, the Royal goldsmith to craft a series of these treasures.

This  particular egg was last seen in public over 112 years ago, when it was shown in the Von Dervis Mansion exhibition of the Russian Imperial Family’s Fabergé collection in St. Petersburg in March 1902. It was then confiscated from the Empress during the Revolution,and recorded in  Moscow in 1922 when the Soviets decided to sell it as part of their policy of turning ‘Treasures into Tractors’.

In 2011  Fabergé researchers discovered that the Third Imperial Egg survived the revolution, when a picture of it was discovered in an old Parke-Bernet catalogue. Its provenance had been unknown and so it was sold at auction on Madison Avenue, New York on 7th March 1964 as a ‘Gold watch in egg form case’ for $2,450 (£875 at the time).

Of course, by this time it was worth millions of dollars, though most feared that it had been melted for scrap.   In the meantime, the egg had indeed been bought for scrap at a bric-a-brac market.   The owner paid USD14,000 for it but was unable to turn the quick profit he wanted.   He recognised the Vacheron Constantin mark on the watch and  in despair the owner tapped ‘Egg’ and ‘Vacheron Constantin’ into Google and a Telegraph article regarding the egg’s survival appeared quoting Kieran McCarthy, director of Wartski, the London based, Royal Warrant holding experts on the work of Carl Fabergé.

Wartski acquired the egg from this dealer, who I am sure, was totally overwhelmed but this discovery.   The egg survived intact, less some scratches where the metal had been tested.   Recently, the egg was displayed at Wartski’s London showrooms.

What an Easter story!  One can only dream!

image and information via artdaily



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Happy Easter

I know, I know…a bit late but I have had a lovely few days by the seaside in south coast Australia. Idyllic by anyone’s standards but with little internet! I am trying to be a bit more regular in my posts, because no one misses them more than me! However, life is getting in my way.

Anyways, I wanted to share with you this wonderful Fabergé egg, lost for around 100 years which miraculously popped up via New York in the mid west.

in:  Design
21 April 2014

 Cool...chinese ming cup collecting

 Cool...chinese ming cup collecting


This tiny tea cup from the Ming Dynasty smashed the record for Chinese porcelain this morning here in Hong Kong, fetching USD36m (GBP21m) including the buyers premium. I bet  the collector, ‘eccentric’ billionaire, Liu Yigian, who is the 200th richest person in China, was pretty pleased with his purchase.  No doubt a great investment.   It will be displayed in his personal museum.

It is eight centimetres (3.1 inches) in diameter and is 500 years old. Sotheby’s said the previous record for Chinese porcelain was set in 2010 when a vase sold for $32.4m (£19.3m).

The cup was made during the reign of the Ming Dynasty’s Chenghua Emperor, who ruled from 1465 to 1487. The 500-year-old treasure is known as a ‘chicken cup’ due to its decoration of a cockerel and hen tending to their chicks, and is one of only 17 in the world, most in museum collections.

As the item was so widely coveted, bidding was limited to just a handful of wealthy investors – although the auction house itself was standing-room only for the momentous occasion. I would have loved to go, but didn’t fancy fighting for a look.   

Apparently, at the moment the cup was hammered down at HK$250 millon,  the crowd broke into a round of applause. As well they should.  I bet the previous owner was pretty pleased too.

You can see a video of the sale here.


images via dailymail

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Cool…chinese ming cup collecting

Living in HK has given me an appreciation of Chinese ceramics.  I have been fortunate to have done some courses at Christies, giving me a glimpse into this exciting world of design.   Unfortunately, it is incredibly hard to begin a collection, as the prices are steep and because there are many fakes on the market.  However, you can always visit the seasonal sales at Sotheby’s and Christie’s and look and handle many pieces.   You can find out about their many courses here.  There are many different courses and, being a Christie’s girl myself, I have to say that they are worth attending.

Today, this tiny porcelain cup, dating back to the Ming Dynasty, has fetched $36m (£21.5m) at an auction in Hong Kong, setting a new record.

9 April 2014






I love the idea of making art from a collection of beautiful things- and they don’t have to be collectors items- just graphic in their own way.  here’s a  few examples….. Cool...ideas for art for walls

I love typography (you may have noticed!).   You can collect stencils like these via sites like etsy  .  I like how instead of putting all of the stencils up, they have created interest by spray painting missing numbers on the wall.

image via sfgirlbybay

 Cool...ideas for art for walls


not quite sure what these little numbers are but I like the roughness of them next against the painted wall

image via sfgirlbybay


 Cool...ideas for art for walls


a bit of a classic look here- love a display shelf especially one used as graphically as this one

image via emmasdesignblogg

 Cool...ideas for art for walls


another little collection- the graphic quality of this is so beautiful: hands up- who loves black and white….


image via emmasdesignblogg

 Cool...ideas for art for walls


grab a can of matt white spray paint and cover some objects with it.  Make sure that they are fake though


image via emmasdesignblogg

 Cool...ideas for art for walls


are you an origami lover- get folding and stick it up on the wall. Love the harmony of colours here


image via designlovefest

 Cool...ideas for art for walls


loving spray paint and such fun too…grab a few different papers from the art store and layer them on the wall- go crazy with mt tape

image via designlovefest

 Cool...ideas for art for walls


I frame beautiful silk scarves quite often- I like this collection of scarves in the same pattern but different colourways- make sure that you frame more than one though, it looks a lot better…


image by the decorista

 Cool...ideas for art for walls


Something so prosaic as a rustic hammer can look amazing when displayed on a wall.  I love tools- old cooking spoons, washboards, plates etc all work…


image by remodelista

 Cool...ideas for art for walls


got a kid with an amazing collection of toys?  make perspex shelves or just mount them directly to the wall, they’ll love it but might make for interesting dusting ( invest in a soft brush!)


image via pinterest

 Cool...ideas for art for walls


any one that has visited a stately home will have seen the amazing decorations made of antique objects.  the key here is repetition, repetition, repetition.  I have seen amazing swords, copper pots, jam jars, jelly moulds etc used in interesting displays.


image via pinterest

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Cool…ideas for art for walls

There’s nothing I like better than a piece of art to add that certain something to an interior.  However, not all of us have the budget to buy knockout pieces of art for every wall in our houses.  Even if you do have the budget, think of it as a creative outlet or a way of showing off all those cool collections that you have…

Here are some ideas for art pieces on the wall….

7 April 2014









 Chairs to pair with a Tulip table



The classic Saarinen table with the chairs designed for it.   I love these chairs with their swivel base, but some might find it difficult to move backwards and forwards.   However, it is a classic look.

 Chairs to pair with a Tulip table

This is the table with another Knoll chair design- which looks equally as good.

 Chairs to pair with a Tulip table

I do love these chairs by Cherner, the loop armrests echo the ellipse shapes of the table and the contrast in materials is very pleasing to the eye.

 Chairs to pair with a Tulip table

For a more retro look, you can mix the table with Eames eiffel chair.

These are all closed back chairs but because the table is so sculptural, an open backed chair can look good too.

 Chairs to pair with a Tulip table


These very traditional chairs, based on an antique style suit the table very well.

 Chairs to pair with a Tulip table

This is a rather traditional chair, but I think it works well in the space, particularly with all the white accents.

 Chairs to pair with a Tulip table


This Louis chair is a nice choice as the open back adds a warm contrast to the table

 Chairs to pair with a Tulip table

I have never been a fan of the Kartell Louis chair- I think they look a bit cheap and too many copies exist, but their transparency and classic shape look very nice with this table.

saarinen 5 600x463 Chairs to pair with a Tulip table

Another play on transparency, chairs with a wire frame…

 Chairs to pair with a Tulip tableHere it is with a more traditional upholstered chair

 Chairs to pair with a Tulip tableAnother example…

saarinen blue Chairs to pair with a Tulip tableA bit of a dodgy photo taken on an iPhone…We recently installed this 121cm table and paired it with a Thonet Le Corbusier chair custom painted with natural socks. It’s open backed but with arms, making it comfortable for long, leisurely dinner parties.  The seats can be made even more comfortable with some custom made cushions for the seats.

 Chairs to pair with a Tulip table



Actually, I think this table is not real, but I wanted to show you the other style of Thonet chair looks great too!

images via pinterest




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Chairs to pair with a Tulip table

One of our favourite tables we love to use in HK is the Knoll Saarinen table.  You may be tempted to buy a copy of this one, but the real thing is so superior and ALWAYS looks great! We generally ship ours in from Europe as it is a bit cheaper than sourcing locally here.  It comes in a few types of marble and you can choose a black or white base.

Have a look through these ideas on the left…the best thing is that whatever you choose, a Saarinen table looks good with almost any chair…



in:  Blog, Design
3 April 2014

solar powered cumulus parasol inflates when the sun shines 818 600x337 powered parasol



Cumulus Parasol by Toer from studio toer on Vimeo.

A whimsical exploration of a parasol by Studio Toer will be launched at Salone del Mobile 2014… powered parasol

Solar panels are affixed to the top of the umbrella powered parasol powered parasol

fully inflated and resistant to windy weather…you can sit under your very own cloud…

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Cool…solar powered parasol

A sneak peek from 2014 salone del mobile , netherlands-based studio toer has designed ‘the cumulus parasol’, a solar powered shade which self-inflates when the sun starts shining. Energy generating modules fixed to the top of the stand-alone shade activate a fan with the presence of natural light, inflating the body of the fabric umbrella. It expands to its full size in in about 20 seconds; the curved shape is aerodynamic, allowing it to withstand windy weather, a silicone coating keeps it resistant to water, and its nylon skin makes it durable, lightweight, and strong.vThe whimsical shape refers to a cumulus cloud, billowing overhead and protecting those beneath it from harsh rays under its two meter diameter expanse. in dim skies, the parasol will either deflate automatically, or can be switched off manually using a mechanism integrated in the pole.

in:  Design
2 April 2014

 Cool...kate + kate blankets


This is pretty much the full collection from Kate+Kate. You can shop it here.  The blankets in black and white have been walking out the door and so they should.  The designs are sharp (& reversible) and the cotton is so soft…..yum!

 Cool...kate + kate blankets

 Cool...kate + kate blankets

 Cool...kate + kate blanketsThese are the new designs, I’ll be sure to pick up these on my next trip to Sydney.

images via the design files

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Cool…kate + kate blankets

We’re loving seeing the 2 Kates from Kate+Kate blankets appear in The Design Files yesterday morning. You can read the whole interview here.

in:  Blog, Shop Now
1 April 2014

 Cool...3D Kvadrat



The new collection consists of 3 fabrics: canal, moraine and gravel.   They can be used double sided and have a playful 3D effect.   Cool...3D Kvadrat

The moraine fabric looks rather like quilting

 Cool...3D Kvadrat

Colours are pretty subdued with the interest being in the construction of the fabric

 Cool...3D Kvadrat

Canal, moraine and gravel collections

 Cool...3D Kvadrat

Colours of the canal range

 Cool...3D Kvadrat

Colours of the gravel range

 Cool...3D Kvadrat

You can see the incredible detail in the construction of the fabrics

 Cool...3D Kvadrat

Detail image of the knit

 Cool...3D Kvadrat


The knitted quality of the fabric means that it can be stretched tightly around a frame so that there are no creases or buckles in the corners of the structure, making the joins appear seamless

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Cool…3D Kvadrat

You may know we stock the clouds and the ready made curtains by Kvadrat, and Kvadrat fabrics are widely used in most high quality Scandinavian furniture manufacturers, Gubi, HAY and Muuto all use Kvadrat’s divina, hallingdal and steelcut in their designs.  The high quality of the weave, and of the raw materials, means this fabric lasts!

I have a Panton cone chair, purchased when I was 20 (that was a long time ago) which was a vintage piece then which is covered in Kvadrat Steelcut.   I used this chair for many years as a desk chair, superseded only when I got older and my back required more support!

We were excited to hear that the Bourellec Brothers are presenting a new collection of knitted and 3d fabrics at the Salone del Mobile 2014.  The fabric is  constructed using a  double jersey knit , revealing  new surfaces in its slightly quilted form, combining the flexibility properties and firmness necessary to upholster a variety of shapes by using less stitching points.

This will mean more flexibility in design of furniture, allowing furniture to be fully upholstered, including legs and frames.   More fun for us!!!

in:  Blog, Design
31 March 2014

FLOURISH from Dana Tanamachi on Vimeo.

We love a good graphic…these chalkboard graphics by Dana Tanamachi are the best….Slightly retro, but altogether contemporary….

 Cool...the work of Dana Tanamachi  Cool...the work of Dana Tanamachi

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Cool…the work of Dana Tanamachi

We love the work of Tanamachi Studios and have been following the Studio for quite some time.   Here’s a bit about Dana…

Dana Tanamachi-Williams is a Texas-bred, Brooklyn-based graphic designer and letterer who enjoys living a quiet life and working with her hands. After designing Broadway show posters at SpotCo and working under Louise Fili, Dana opened her own design & lettering boutique, Tanamachi Studio. She has been commissioned by clients such as Google, Yahoo!, Rugby Ralph Lauren, The Ace Hotel, Tommy Hilfiger, West Elm, and Bloomingdale’s. In 2011, she was named a Young Gun (YG9) by the Art Directors Club and a Young Creative to Watch by HOW Magazine. In 2012, Dana had the unique honor of creating custom cover art for OHOW, and TIME Magazines, as well as an exclusive product line for Target in late 2013.

in:  Blog, Design
30 March 2014
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