Thomas O'Brien

forgotten furniture: secretary

Oh I love a secretary. I file them under the heading of forgotten furniture because you just don't see them used very much. Pity. I don't think a more multi-functional piece of furniture exists on the planet. Take for instance the Hallings Secretary (above), designed by the delightful Thomas O'Brien. That beauty could hold silverware, serving pieces and table linens -- or even out of season sweaters -- in the drawers, while the fold down desk part could host a day's work, the writing of thank you notes or a complete bar setup, as needed. I love that a secretary doesn't give away all its charms in one glance. It invites interaction -- the opening and closing of drawers and compartments. Such a showcase for the cabinetmaker's art. I spied so many lovelies today on my brief search. All hail the secretary.

c. 1900 petite French ladies secretary, Antiques on Old Plank Road, 1st dibs

the Ethan Allen Newport. Repro but still very attractive.

the American Artisan Audrey also from Ethan Allen with a beach house feel.

simple and white Alve, with the option of having a top cabinet or not from your friends at IKEA.

the Eastman from Ballard Designs. Love the grey interior. Dang I wish they'd ship to Canada.

secretary no. sixty three from the next big thing in furniture, The New Traditionalists. visited the showroom recently for the Rue Issue #3 launch party. Incredible space in soho, gorgeous furniture and great party.

another 1st dibs classic. this one a Sheraton mahogany from Schwenke.


i am thankful for today

Today has been one of those pinch-me days.

1. I received a preview copy of a book by one of my very fave designers -- amazing the joy a PDF can bring!

2. I worked on a super-fun and satisfying project at work.

3. I had a very exciting discussion with 2 colleagues about the infinite possibilities of the year ahead.

4. I received a voice mail message from a complete stranger who happened to see an appearance I made on the Steven & Chris Show on CBC TV giving a tour of my kitchen. She showered me with compliments and kind words about my work and my enthusiasm. She had a lovely accent and said I "set her pulse afire" with my work and my passion. Wow!

5. I saw beautiful things in one of the best shops in town.

6. I listened to the latest podcast at The Skirted Round Table. Do you know about The Skirted Round Table? It's a series of podcasts by three of the best bloggers: Megan Arquette from Beach Bungalow 8, Linda Merrill of Surroundings and Joni Webb of Cote de Texas. By all means, go visit them, read their blogs etc etc. (well, silly me, I'm sure you already do know them!). But, please, you must must must listen to this chat with Stephen Drucker, editor in chief of House Beautiful. Click here.

7. Just received a call that my beloved husband has dinner made and waiting.

pinch me. 

sources: 1:  TOB design. laura resen photo. 2: my kitchen. donna griffith photo.

mantel style

I know it's summer, but lately I've been thinking about pretty mantel arrangements. Here are some recent loves. BTW, the shot with the leather wing chair is one of my fave rooms of all time (in my heart of decorating hearts I'm not a very girly girl). It's by Shawn Henderson and there's a chance I might meet him in a couple of weeks in NYC. Fingers crossed! 


sources: 1. james merrell. 2. ron marvin. 3. shawn henderson. 4. me. 5. martha for kb homes. 6. laura resen for thomas o'brien. 7. sophie conran for portmeirion. 8. paul c for me.

inspiration: top shop, thomas o'brien, calypso home

I was in New York recently and soaked up as much inspiration as possible. Always love the shops. Here are a few faves.

loved the butterfly wallpaper in the ladies changeroom at Top Shop. Also loved the Kate Moss for Top Shop top. 

amazing tumble of basketware at Aero Studios, the vision of the so lovely and so very talented Thomas O'Brien.

Also at Aero, these beautiful throws and blankies from Swan's Island, an amazing Maine company. First saw these here at Aero and still love them. These handwoven pure wool blankies exemplify our current love for all things pure, earthy, natural, handmade, artisanal. Beautiful for their simplicity and utility.

Oh Calypso Home is so very pretty. This Oly studio 4-poster is so inviting. Also gorgeous at Calypso: fine fragrance candles, John Robshaw bedding, amazing wall of decorative cushions.