New York

frankly fantastic

What a happy little bright corner this is, don't you think? Sure, maybe there are a couple too many pillows, but you see the pillows are the whole point today. Today's post is a little appreciation session for the wild and wonderful fabrics of Josef Frank. I was lucky enough to visit Stockholm a few years ago and on a visit to the Svenskt Tenn design store I was fascinated to see so much of his work. I have a well-documented weakness for fabric and this stuff is just like yummy candy. It's so exuberant and bold and fun and slightly psycheadelic, but somehow it seems to rise above trend. It's always in a never in. The multi-coloured botanical prints have almost every colour imaginable. If you've been visiting 'round here in the past, you will know that green is my most favouritest colour. So imagine how much I like these fabrics. Deee-lightful. When I was at Svenskt Tenn one of the only things I could afford to buy was one of the cute little glass vases in the photo above. Out of the store and back home, it's the kind of thing that looks like it's from Dollarama, but I'll always know it was from Svenskt Tenn. It was designed by Estrid Ericson. The neck of the vase is designed specifically to fit an acorn and the vase is meant to be used to allow acorns to sprout. I like to put a single giant peony bloom in it. But I digress, back to Mr. Frank... One of the most famous patterns is a map-inspired design called Manhattan. Luurv. You can catch glimpses of it in a recent issue of STYLE AT HOME because our ed-in-chief Erin was wed in the Spring in NYC and stayed at the Maritime Hotel. The happy couple's swish suite has chairs in Manhattan. Great-looking hotel, and by all reports the wedding was a magical affair. Lovely! Here's the penthouse suite:

the skinniest house in New York City


Wow! I've read about this house before and loved it then, but now it's for sale! Oh please, I want, I want, I want. Sure it's a novelty (9 1/2 ft wide), and it's in the most incredible location (heart of Greenwich village at 75 1/2 Bedford), but what really makes me crazy for this place is the fact that Edna St. Vincent Millay once lived here. Do you know her? She is none other than my favourite poet of all time in the whole world. Her verse has been my best friend since uni days. I LOVE EDNA! I can't imagine how it would feel to just be in a house where she lived, let alone live there. Tons of other famous people are said to have lived/visited too (including another fave, Cary Grant). Recently the world has brought Edna to my consciousness a couple of times. Coincidences? Well, I don't believe in those. Everything happens for a reason in my books. What's the reason? Who knows, all will be revealed....

Read more about the house and see the house listing here

Oh yes, and one more thing. IKEA has promised to give the buyer design advice and $10,000 in furniture in a bril promo to align the company as a small spaces solutions destination. (there they go again those geniuses!). 

If only I had US$2.75 mil.

And finally, here's just a taste of Edna St. Vincent Millay:

The Philosopher

And what are you that, wanting you,

I should be kept awake

As many nights as there are days

With weeping for your sake?

And what are you that, missing you

As many days as crawl

I should be listening to the wind

And looking at the wall?

I know a man that's a braver man

And twenty men as kind,

And what are you, that you should be

The one man in my mind?

Yet women's ways are witless ways

As any sage will tell, --

And what am I, that I should love

So wisely and so well?


designers I admire: albert hadley

Imagine my delight when Mr. Austin and I were strolling down Madison Ave in the way that 2 professional shoppers do (that is to say, at a blistering pace, eyes darting about to spot the best shops and window displays and checking out all the bags and shoes on the Upper East Side ladies), and happened upon Gerald Bland Inc. Mr. Bland's walls are almost entirely covered with room drawings by master designer Albert Hadley. Not sure how I missed reading about this exhibit and sale before Portering to NYC, because of course it has been widely covered and I am late to the game here. The opening coincided with this year's Kips Bay Designer Showhouse, which was a salute to Mr. Hadley.

I'm quite glad I just happened upon it, since that was all part of the fun. The highlight by far was the very special very preliminary sketch for the design of Brooke Astor's library. It has to be one of the most famous rooms ever published. And there it was -- a masterpiece of modern interior design -- hastily plotted out in black ink on a cheap piece of yellow lined paper.  It's the kind of paper I used to write out a rough copy of an essay on before doing the "good" copy (Yes, showing my age here -- wrote essays by hand, even in university). Anyway, the point being that was the kind of paper you worked things out on and more often than not just crumpled up and threw away (before recycling). So glad Mr. Hadley didn't have a waste basket or recycling box nearby after that sketch. So glad I got to see it in person so many years later. So sad it couldn't come home with me. 

Not only was the exhibit a thrill, but Mr. Bland was a delight. So handsome and so beautifully dressed. His gallery features an amazing collection of fine and decorative arts. The likes of Alexa Hampton, Carolina Herrera and Daniel Romualdez are among his clients. It didn't seem polite for me to take photos, so here are some images from Gerald Bland's web site. Visit it here. And by all means, if you are headed to New York, do take it in and please bring me back a sketch -- any one will do!

A later sketch of the Brooke Astor library (not on yellow paper).

the interior of Gerald Bland Inc. shown with Albert Hadley sketches on the walls.