Thursday, March 25, 2010

Neighborhood Beat: Madison Valley

On the route to downtown from Madison Park, the valley used to be sort of a seedy area to pass through, back in the day - but not anymore!  Now it's a destination for savvy shoppers and diners.

There are wonderful boutiques to treat all of the senses, for humans and their pets (or is it the other way around?), not to mention fabulous restaurants!  It's becoming quite la petite France with Rover's, Voila Bistrot, La Cote, and Rover's spinoff, the soon to open Luc, sharing the neighborhood with Cafe Flora, Chinoise, and the Essential Bakery and Cafe. 

One of my favorite shops, anywhere, is Lavender Heart, above.  Here you'll find candles, soaps, gourmet olive oils & sweets, jewelry, home accessories - everything to help "beautify" your surroundings.  The owner, Holly Henderson, is absolutely one of the best resources for perfect gift ideas or self rewards - she's my go-to first choice!

Red Ticking  (above and below) features antique and imported fabrics, furniture, and accessories from France ....and celebrates all things vintage, charming, and beautiful. Plus, owner Pamela Robinson is just delightful!  James Huniford gave the store a shout out when he spoke at Nordex March 11. Well worth a trip.  (photos courtesy of Red Ticking)

Another marvelous, not-to-be-missed shop is Veritables, in its "almost original" location.  (The store consolidated its two locations on Madison a while back and moved a few feet to this location)  This is gorgeous, high style decor.  I love these Ikat-inspired, gilded pillows.....

Last, but not least of my faves, is a new showcase for Lisa Hunter,at Vian Hunter House of Fashion.  So, I have to admit, even after my good friend, Bev,  showed me her cool new black Italian fabric pencil skirt from Vian Hunter, I was skeptical - based on the signage, I really thought the clothes were going to be a little "old lady-ish".  Little did I know Ms Hunter carries not only vintage garments from the 60's, but also features her own well-made vintage-inspired designs.  OK, I admit I stopped in for "research" and walked out with a pencil skirt of my own along with a fabulous unique top!  ("Designing Woman" was playing on her plasma TV - how could I resist?)  I'll be back......lots....

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Secret World of Design...... Nordex 2010

March 11&12 the Seattle Design Center hosted Nordex 2010, Seattle's version of "Market", in which the design industry is enlightened by national speakers, designers, professors, authors, and company representatives about the latest products and trends.  After two solid days of speakers, products, and parties, I came away with one main concept:  customization. That's the essence of design, isn't it?

The opening keynote speaker, James Ford Huniford, talked about incorporating his love of "found objects" into interior design projects - for me, the essence of "contemporary" and "green" - and gave us a preview of his new furniture line.  Plus, he loved and gave a big shout out to local fab store (and NWSID member!) Great Stuff, purveyor of all things great and re-purposed.

Michael Bruno, the founder of 1st Dibs, was the inspiration for so many things and he illuminated his rapt audience with predictions for the next 10 years of design online.  Hint:  better printers, online portfolios, more cell phone use (really?  more?), 3D modelling tools, design Utopia.......

Thad Hayes was the keynote speaker the second day of Nordex and, despite technical AV difficulties, he managed to share with us some wonderful designs.  I LOVE the idea of large dining rooms with large tables for entertaining but placing a small table for two at one end of the room - perfect for intimate meals!

Joan DeJean, explained to us fellow Francophiles, how the French under les Louis Quatorze et Quinze, ushered in the "age of comfort" through the introduction of the "sopha".  Oh la la!

I'm inspired again!

Monday, March 8, 2010

My Design library

I was searching through my design books for inspiration, recently, and the thought occurred to me that it might be a good thing to share my library, so that others could easily find design books of interest.  So, to that end, I'm launching my Amazon store this morning!

Here you'll find books featuring the work of some of my favorite designers:

John Saladino , above

Vicente Wolf  
 and Sherri Donghia (Donghia fabrics are incredible!)

as well as regional design source books from France, Italy and USA.  Even some of my favorite coffee table-worthy cookbooks.  Enjoy!