If you’ve read my wallpaper post, you know I am working on re-doing our bedroom. Wallpaper behind the bed, green paint for the walls, and a new dresser.
Erin Gates, a talented and sweet interior designer, is helping me put things together, make decisions, etc. I’m good at some of this, but not all. One of the things I need help with is mixing different styles of furniture. Erin suggested a vintage dresser in faux bamboo style. It’s not only stylish – once it gets a new paint job anyway – but you can find them on ebay for cheap, cheap, cheap.
I discovered the specimen above on Craig’s List. It was holed up in a not so cute secondhand shop in Brighton. Two hours and $40 delivery charge later it was in my bedroom. Not so fast.
My husband, whose taste and judgement is quite good, though he may lack vision, laughed when he saw it. Okay, the scale was off compared to our other pieces. Okay, it was rickety. (Actually, what he said was, “Let’s take it out to the alley, where it belongs.”) Okay, it wasn’t made out of real wood, though for that price what do you expect? Although he would have happily indulged me, I had to agree it just wasn’t right, at least for our room.
Erin generously posted it on her blog, “Elements of Style” (which you MUST bookmark), and by noon it was sold. There was lots of interest. So there.
P.S. The lucky buyer was Audra Boyle, the co-owner of Looc boutique in the South End, who has impeccable taste.
By New York City standards, the 1,400-square foot condo in JP that interior stylist and bloggerErin Gates shares with her husband Andrew and their two little dogs isn’t all that small. Or so points out our dear friend Jen, who lives in a tiny studio in the Village with her husband Luke, just upstairs from her in-laws. However, as my husband constantly reminds me, we’re not in New York. Really?
Erin’s place is quite the showpiece, in a very accessible, Domino magazine sort of way. And, she did everything totally on a budget, with the exception of a little splurge here and there. She did it herself too – painting walls, painting actual paintings, refinishing furniture inherited from Andrew’s grandparents, and scouring estate sales and design-conscious chains.
I loved the trendy but sophisticated hi/low sensibility so much, I hired her to help me with our condo. The piece I wrote about her home, “Small Is the New Black,” is on the cover of today’s Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. Both Erin and the interiors look fabulous.
Here are the photos, shot by everyone’s favorite photographer, Eric Roth.
Above left: The cover shot – Erin and Baxter in the entry. The painting is an Erin Gates original – she was a studio art major at, coincidentally, Connecticut College (I went there too, but graduated sooo much earlier).
Above right: Erin sitting in her brand new, wanted it so badly, Louis Ghost Armchair designed by Philippe Starck. The Kelly green walls were inspired by a page in Domino. The zebra print rug is from West Elm. The blue artwork in the background is a framed piece of wallpaper.
Above: Erin has inspiration boards hanging in her office, filled with all sorts of fun images. (I took these photos, not Eric.)
Above: Standing in the living room, looking into the dining room. I can’t even tell you how many inquiries Erin and I received about the bookcases. Listen up people, they’re the Sapien Bookcases from Design Within Reach. They’re actually on sale right now, $168.30 – $253.30. West Elm makes two similar models, the Cadman Spine and Spine Wood bookcases, and CB2 has the Array (in grey and orange). They’re less expensive, but not quite as sturdy.
Above: A full view of the living room. The sofas and chairs are from Boston Interiors. Who knew they had such clean-lined pieces? The rustic coffee table was a splurge from Crate & Barrel. The white pedestal side table is a Saarienen copy, called the Trumpet from Target, just $24.99. The white vase on it is a Jonathan Adler knock-off – IKEA’s Färm vase, just $1.99. The starburst mirror above the fireplace is from Pier 1. The curtains are from JC Penney – apparently a great source for custom drapery. The luscious Oriental rug was on loan for the shoot from Landry & Arcari, with the expected hefty price tag. Erin’s mom bought it afterwards!
Above: The dining room table and chairs were hand-me-downs from Erin’s husband’s grandparents, who relocated from Chestnut Hill to Sea Island, Georgia. Erin painted the pretty chairs white, and recovered them in an $8/yard zebra print fabric. When they bought the condo, the paneling in the room was a dark stained wood. Against the advice of their realtor, Erin painted them white. In the background is a glimpse of the glass-fronted pantry, which is what sold Erin on the place.
Above left: The pantry, Erin’s favorite part of the house. She papered the back in Jonathan Adler’s Bamboo Reverse wallpaper in white and metallic silver. A pricey paper, but she only needed a small amount. Notice the bamboo Roman shades on the window? From Target. Erin and Andrew built the wine storage slots and added the wine fridge – there were cabinets there originally. I love the vintage French opaline glasses as much as Erin does. “I’m literally mad for them,” she told me.
Above right: The bedroom. I adore this room. It’s so pretty and peaceful, and I love the grey accents. The funky grey ikat pillows are from Fabricadabra (did you see them in Daily Candy? Thanks for the tip Erin!) The double prints over the bed are framed pieces of vintage Schumacher wallpaper. (A wallpaper designer left loads of vintage samples to Erin’s dad.) She has French Provincial style dressers that are equally romantic, plucked from the grandparents. The Venetian crystal chandelier is from Great Chandeliers. It was only $100, but a real pain to put together. Here’s a funny little tidbit: When I visited the bedroom was yellow. Erin made her husband paint it blue the weekend before the shoot. What a guy!
Above left: Here’s Erin and Baxter in the entry again, this time we’re seeing the wall across from the bench. Erin scored the buffet for just $75 at an estate sale in JP that she happened to stumbled across. The interior was originally a sunny yellow, but she repainted the two end interiors turquoise. Atop sits her cherished Fu Dogs, found on Ebay. The arrangement of framed photos and artwork on the wall above includes all sorts of fun memories, like their wedding, the store her grandparents founded when they came here from Ireland, and a fun silhouette of Baxter, that Erin made herself. (See closeup below.)
Above right: The kitchen cabinetry and appliances are not so snazzy, but Erin made the seating area plenty spicy, with the black and white scheme and saffron runner. She loves her plate wall, with $1.99 plates from Home Goods. The blackboard is from Home Goods too; the frame was gold, but she painted it white. This seems to be one of Erin’s favorite pastimes! When I visited the Mandarin orange branches were on the mantle, but they look perfect here.
Above left: Erin’s handiwork, a silhouette of Baxter on a grassy background. (She sent me this image the weekend before the shoot. I think she made it to give the picture wall some punch.)
Above right: Erin’s brother, Sean Tubridy, who is a graphic designer and photographer, sets up and shoots these very clever Polaroid portraits, using LEGO figures. This one is a bride and groom, posed in the same way as Erin and Andrew’s favorite wedding picture of themselves. Sean also started the artsy and clever website Save Polaroid.
A few weeks ago I went to the press preview for the Shepard Fairey show at the ICA. I normally wouldn’t have gone – street art isn’t my thing. (Big surprise.) But I had an assignment for Lola magazine on the museum, and the timing worked out perfectly.
The overall museum experience, as always, was bliss. The vast white space, the expanse of glass overlooking the Boston Harbor on a snowy day. There was even swag – a Shepard Fairey tote. What’s not to like? The art.
To be fair, as an exhibit, it was aesthetically pleasing. Very orderly, graphic and color consistent. It’s all carefully manufactured, so expect nothing less.
As for the images on their own, after seeing a few, they’re all pretty much the same. Here’s the “now iconic” (as they never tire of saying) Obama portrait, and an amusing depiction of his charming predecessor:
Fairey’s into images of other iconic, political, controversial, famous for being famous folk, like Andy Warhol, Mao, Lenin, Angela Davis, Malcolm X, and of course André the Giant, whose image he displayed on a homemade sticker in ’88 as a student at RISD. He also fawns over music personalities; the exhibit includes portraits of Jim Morrison, Debbie Harry, Iggy Pop, Joan Jett, and David Bowie.
He said that morning: “I create portraits of people who made a very strong impact on me, but whom I am not necessarily aligned with.”
Fairey seems pretty chill, but it’s hard to tell. For a guy who’s become known for street art, i.e., graffiti, and who is constantly arrested, he’s also a corporate enterprise, with a thriving graphic design enterprise, plus a wife and kids. I can appreciate the graphic design and business aspect of his persona. The “artist” side, I’m not convinced.
The enormous murals in the exhibit are give more of a sense of a person behind the work. He says he works (or at least used to work) on sheets of old wallpaper. You can see the layers of the patterns, the newspaper, the ink. Here are a couple of details from larger works:
As a museum-worthy artist, I’m not sold. But now that I’m in on it, it’s fun to see the works plastered around the city. There’s a few on the side of a building at the ramp onto the Mass Pike at Mass Ave. and Newbury that I noticed immediately after attending the preview. The ICA is actually organizing bike tours around the city to see the on site works. You can see them on Flikr too. That’s probably all you really need.
The other day at jury duty , while I was conscientiously reading last month’s Dwell on prefab housing (I’m doing a piece on an amazing prefab in Maine), to kill time, I studied the little ads in the back of the book. I came upon a cute ad for Abode7. This morning I checked it out, and it’s worth a look.
It’s a decent mix of transitional furniture and accessories, blending trendy accessories, like Thomas Paul pillows and Dwell bedding, with more subtle staples, like eight different styles of sisal rugs.
The furniture is along the lines of Crate & Barrel in terms of style and price, with a whole bunch of upholstery options that are so-so. While much of it was too traditional for my taste, I found some simple silhouettes to consider, like the Nolan Cane Back Slipper Chair, especially at its sale price of $519. And the Asian-influenced pistachio curved stool, for $180.
I’m lured by the look. It’s pretty, easy, exotic. Chances are, besides my thesis of yesteryear (on the oh-so practical topic of the cross-dressing between Krishna and Radha in Rajasthani miniature paintings), you probably won’t find an ethnic accoutrement in my house. (We tend toward the starkly modern these days.) But I really do love the lush patterns and intense color combinations.
As for your decor, don’t by shy. Add color and layers with Indian motifs of lotus leaves, sultans, and scrolls to achieve a look decidedly Indienne. Pillows, duvets, and throws add immediate spice to a room. If you’re feeling incredibly smitten, consider dhurries, hand-blocked wall coverings, an airy canopy bed, elaborately carved doors, or inlaid end tables. Here are a few fanciful, yet refined, furnishings with which to Indian-ize your surroundings.