Thursday, June 28, 2012

Where I live now

I'm still pinching myself. We are still pinching ourselves. We love it here so much. This week, three pieces arrived from NY - and, although the NY apartment is looking a little dismal (hey, it still looks better than most NY apts!) I really needed a few of my beloved things with me here in Minneapolis if this is going to be "home" for now.

So, I got my lovely antique day bed (photos this weekend), a wondrful old bench tufted with green velvet and our photo of the Guggenheim. LOVE. We put it in the Entry and now the Entry is set except for maybe a rug if my friends at Aubry Angelo can find me just the perfect piece. But, I am happy with it just the way it is - it is like walking into a little shrine every time I come home.

The light fixture is worth a shot in the day time. Lee and I found it in Florence for a song. It is like a violet. Hand blown Murano glass shade from the 1970's. Makes me want to do the swim.

I will try to take better photos in the daytime, but this Entry is in the interior of the apartment and never gets sun - que sera! We still love it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pheobe's Stupid Cancer

A "niece" of mine - by marriage - by possibly distant marriage, in fact....was diagnosed with cancer last year. I won't go into details, but suffice it to say, she and her husband, Ryan, just pulled out the stops and went head to head with the cancer, even creating a charming (is that possible?) blog called "Phoebe's Stupid Cancer"

In the end, Phoebe is well and she sent out this handmade card to thank all the people who had been there for her in multiple ways. This is so sweet - the saying so mindful - that the card is on my bulletin board for me to look at every day as I sit at my desk. Thank YOU, Phoebe, for reminding us of this. And godspeed!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Alien Headress

Me at Rita Hazan salon this morning in NYC - that spaceship over my head is
a heat lamp that rotates in the most concerning way.

Laurie Daniel, my colorist from Rita Hazan.
Laurie, I am not stalking you - but just want people to see the woman responsible for my great color!

Fyi - This is J-Lo - not me.

The week before Memorial Day I called my hairdresser because I seriously needed color! It had been 5 weeks, not my preferred 4 and "Shades of Gray" was happening right there on my scalp. No return call. I called again the day AFTER Memorial Day. No return call. I called again on Friday that week, now begging for mercy. Please call me back. I went online - I emailed. I called again 2 weeks after my first call. I gave up. What the heck? Had Aliens abducted my hairdresser? I sent my assistant, Becky, to check it out on a Wednesday when I was just too darn busy to go myself. I sent her armed with times that I would happily pay her to paint my hair with chemicals.

The shop was shut down - closed up - doors locked. Why was the voicemail operating? 

So, then what? Don't you hate changing hairdressers? It's like finding a new bra. Or a new everyday wine. (Oops, did I say too much? By "everyday" I didn't necessarily mean EVERY DAY! Or...)

Lee says, "Honey, you should go back to Laurie when you are in NY next week. That is the best your hair has ever looked. You deserve it."

Laurie was a referral from a friend in NY who has gorgeous! color.But it means..I will have to pay for it...Hmmmm....a new jacket or a hair color? 

But not one to want to research and try out someone new, I made an appt with Laurie Daniels at Rita Hazan (who does J-Lo's hair and I am certain you will barely be able to tell the difference between me and J-Lo now!) Laurie is sooooo nice - she is like your best friend from junior high. She got a little foxy with my hair this time - lighter and more highlights - yikes! But, hey it's summer and I'm sure that's what she had in mind. The best part - the most valuable part is that she does your eyebrows! Pale eyebrows just do not cut it. 

So as I left feeling like my wallet was quite a bit lighter, I checked out the eyebrows in the elevator and thought, "You, girlfriend, look at least 10 years younger." Lee loved it too. Now, if I only had J-Lo's backside.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lifelong Growth - the purpose of reading

Kafka believed a book should wake us up with a blow to the head. But we don’t want our novels to do that anymore.

-Matt de la Pena

I (well, really Lee and I) am committed to lifelong learning. I LOVE to learn new things. So....we are doing our Sunday morning reading of the NY Times with our cappucini (sorry, but as often as I've been in Italy, I really can't say "cappucinos." :-) and at the point that Lee is reading the NY Times Book Review, specifically the Top Ten Best Sellers, he mentions the "Shades of Gray" series - the series of female erotica that has washed over the publishing world like a tsunami.  He points this out with some sense of dismay and I say, "What? Should I read it because it is popular? What is there to learn? Will it make me a better person?"

After a conversation about the collective phenomenon that produces such a blockbuster, Lee left the room and I kept reading. I found a little article in the Sunday Review section called "Room for Debate." The Times presents a question to several people who have professional experience in a related field. Today's question: IS FICTION CHANGING FOR BETTER OR WORSE? Here, my concerns were addressed.

The published answer is written by Matt de la Pena, an author of young-adult novels. His answer pointed directly to my own disheartened, uninspired interest in the "GRAY" series AND it points to the challenges of Lee's own work - getting people to take "INNER FITNESS" seriously. Here is his response to the question:

There are plenty of obvious reasons the mainstream novel occupies such a different place in the lives of today’s readers. The emergence of digital media. The fact that attention spans have devolved in the age of the Internet. Curious education policy: the literacy rate in schools continues to decline, yet indispensable librarians are the first to get pink-slipped. And who can forget the “Today” show’s symbolic snubbing of the 2011 Caldecott and Newbery winners in favor of Snooki. One of the most important factors, however, is less obvious. We’ve grown terrified of sadness and self-reflection, and we actively avoid ideas that challenge.If there’s such a thing as emotional gravity, it’s the invisible force that continually pulls humans back down to their natural resting state of melancholy. Life is sad, man. We understand so little about existence (except that we’re ultimately alone and eventually we’re all going to die). It used to be O.K. to sit in this sadness. Great novels examined it. But today, in the era of pharmaceutical companies, the second we stop smiling we rush off to the doc for a happy-pill prescription. Some people genuinely need medication. Others are ducking perfectly healthy – even beneficial – bouts of melancholy.

This shift has directly affected the kind of novels many of us read. We don’t want our ideologies to be challenged. That’s too much work. We want escape. We want affirmation. We want to be told that we really are good enough and smart enough. Sad and challenging novels are still being released, but fewer of us are investing our time in them. Kafka believed a book should wake us up with a blow to the head. But we don’t want our novels to do that anymore. If anything, we seek novels that will deepen our sleep.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

First Shots from Kenwood

I have spent the last week installing a project in Kenwood that I have worked on for over a year. It has been one of those projects that just seemed to have a magical spell cast over it. The client(s) and I clicked from the moment we met. In fact, if I recall, we met so that she could interview me and I could see the project and she called me an hour later to tell me she wanted to work with me. If that is not the way it felt like it.

As a couple, they made great decisions and made them quickly. G. was usually quiet, but when he spoke, his insights were spot on. L. was rarely quiet! She had strong, good taste and, with her demanding life, wisely admitted needing someone to just take it on - completely willing to trust the process and my quirky "perceiver" style of working (as in Meyer's Briggs "P" which means I work best without too much structure.) Then, of course, I had Jean Rehkamp as another spoke in this wheel, which is like having the other half of my brain on the project. We finish each other's sentences and often communicate with just a look. We didn't even see much of each other on this project - just got the vibe and got to work. Her work has a quality of passion, thoughtfulness, and precision that is so impressive.

The truth is L. and I have really have similar taste - not too "done", plenty of vintage, mix of traditional and modern, something a little worn - all the better. So that made it easy from the start. We often had pulled the same tear sheets for furniture. But, in the end, we are not the same - don't have the same kind of home or budgets nor are we at the same stage of life. My job was to interpret THEIR needs while being true to whatever instincts I have that made her hire me in the first place  - to create a comfortable, elegant and cozy home for this charming family!

Here are some very quick snaps from yesterday - with flowers for a party last night. The talented Anna Hillegass stepped in earlier this week to help me style and did all the flowers. I don't know of anyone better for the job!

I think I'll purposely just not get the last layer in place so I have plenty of reasons to keep going back to hang out with these people. I adore them.

Entry - decided to layer two smaller rugs instead of one large one. See below.
Other side of entry - such a generous space!
Sunroom - with Belgian limestone floor. 
Sun Room with the yummy Ben Moore Dragon's Breath walls!
Vintage British Colonial piece from CW Smith
Cutest ever kitchen!
Dining Table with Anna's flowers.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

"New" old, very old bed

Our new "circa 1870" mahogany bed

You really cannot get wood and finishes like this now. Why?
I think it is the horror of poly finishes that look like plastic. This is just waxed.
And it smells like beeswax!

We have not really had a bed since we moved ours to NY in 2008. We've had a good mattress on a metal frame with a Chinese screen behind it  a la faux headboard. It was fine. The mattress was great so I didn't complain much. Much...

But as we were preparing to move, I was at H&B Gallery shopping for lighting for the new apartment - as well as keeping my eyes open for clients, which I always do, anyway. I saw an old mahogany sleigh bed tucked in the corner of the basement with a broken foot - unusable until it was repaired. I didn't see the rails - just the headboard and footboard, but there was something so elegant about it. The mahogany was gorgeous and I could see it was the real deal from the 19th Century. We decided to get it and entrust it's repair to my uber talented furniture repairman, Doug Broberg. He loves antiques and has a knack for repairing everything from major trauma (like this poor bed) to simply polishing the wood with the dreamiest wax.

He's had the bed for a month or so and learned that one of the bolts was missing - so he had to machine a bolt in his machine shop - the threads were so unusual, there wasn't one to be had at the local Ace Hardware. He delivered the bed today and we are so excited to have a real bed AND this bed, in particular! It is so yummy. I couldn't have bought a new one I could possibly love more.

Of course...this is a double bed - not a queen. Certainly no king. But, perfect for our small bedroom here and perfect for cuddling. I admit to loving a queen, but can't do the king thing. Did it in Italy and I felt like I was taking a vacation from Lee, not just a vacation from the US.

Anyway, here are a couple photos - can't wait to tuck in.