Sunday, August 26, 2012

Product Design: Cats

Short post, but these two well-crafted products just cannot be passed over. Coincidence that they both happen to be cat-related!

First of all, how cool is this cat lounger/scratching post?
By PetFusion via Amazon

In our den with a happy loungey cat on it.
 Love that this looks like a piece of sculpture in our house.
And finally, a good-looking litter box
(warning: not cheap, but well worth it IMO!)
By Modko

Very nice to see good design in an segment where most things are not thought through from this angle...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Long Awaited Love

The long awaited Onda counter stools have finally arrived and I am happy to report that they did not disappoint!

I literally spent days upon days looking online for stools—we really wanted just the right look in the kitchen and knew it needed to be something contemporary, yet elegant. I found the Onda stool early in the search from Design Within Reach back in December, and placed the order, but the lead time was 16-18 weeks from Spain.

In our impatience to get something quicker we cancelled the order after the new year. About 12 weeks after that, we decided to RE-order [of course by that time the first order would have been in if we'd stuck it out!]

Even though I was about to pull my hair out at hindsight, it's been worth it.

Onda Stool, by Jesus Gasca for Stua
Our three in the kitchen
They have a matte white back, matte taupe front, and stainless legs 
The final touch to complete our kitchen!

In other fun news, we moved a piano into our living room a couple of weeks back. It's a baby grand and was generously passed down from my in-laws. I called Modern Piano Moving to go get the piano and bring it down from Connecticut — they are nationally based but were recommended by a local store here in Charlotte. The whole process took about a month and was pretty seamless.

Modern Piano arrives to Norton Road
The guys rolling it up carefully on the sidewalk 

Unpacking it

And done!

In hindsight, I wish we'd turned it the other way so that the curved back part faced out, like this:

Although, his is Jennifer Aniston's house and clearly much more well designed than mine! :)

But it's going to take an afternoon with three strong guys here to experiment with that plan...

The piano is going to live in our living room, but we're making that room more of a 'music room' by moving in Mike's guitars too — so we'll actually use the space, instead of having a room nobody ever goes in. I have been doing lots of searching on furniture/next steps in the living room and will post about that soon.

But in the meantime, I'll be calling a tuner and seeing if any of those years of lessons stuck with me!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Happy Birthday (to me)

My birthday was about a week ago and Mike gave me the best present (!) -- a commissioned painting by the very talented Susan Carter Hall, who also happens to be a good friend of ours from our LA days. Just what a girl wanted :)

The painting will be going in the living room. Since Susan is making it for us, the canvas will be sized exactly to the size of the fireplace opening (I like some good balance!) Once Mike told me about the gift, I was able to share my thoughts on what I wanted with Susan.

I think this is such a fun process so I'll share the direction that I sent to her, below, in case anyone else is also interested:

I first sent pics of the space it's going in so she could get a feeling for the whole environment.
This is the living room as it stands now.

CAVEATS: The interior of fireplace still needs to be repaired and will be painted black. The little pile of tables in the corner is not there permanently and Mike's family's baby grand piano has just arrived for that corner (but -- full post on that later!!)

Only other furniture I have in this room so far are these Barcelona chairs
Then I sent pics of what was near the painting in the house. I'd ideally like that the pieces
somewhat visually flow together from room to room.

This photograph is in the foyer, which preceeds the living room as you enter the house.
And this photograph is in the dining room, which is adjacent to the living room.

Since we had 2 photographs in the rooms flanking the living room, I really wanted a painting
with all that beautiful texture for this middle space. 
Then I sent some other references of pieces I liked. 

Susan has a lot of great pieces, but these are two that she
just finished that I was initially really drawn to.

I also mentioned that I really liked this older one of hers b/c it's strong and bold yet simple. A good mix of visual
resting space + visual interest. I also think the lines have some elegance and softness to them.

I have a good bit of "red" art though and didn't want to go red with this new piece...
This is by another artist I am obsessed with called Madeline Denaro.  Again here I liked the mix of
resting space + areas of interest created by the texture, paint drips etc. Also really liked this color palette –
especially the hit of hot orange/red and limey yellow mixed with neutrals. Liked the elegance and detail of
the strokes and texture of the drips.

Only comment against it is that it has a majority of neutral space and I think I'd prefer it be just a touch bolder in feeling...
Another Madeline Denaro I love, too. Obsessed with that focal pop of orange and all the
interest with the paint drips right there and everything converging into that spot.

While I really like the color palette here, I think I prefer the overall look to be a teensy bit lighter

than this one which has a darker cast to it.
And a third Madeline Denaro, my favorite reference for where I wanted to go in this space.
I love this overall. It's my favorite color palette (neutrals mixed with those pops of hot orange/red, limey yellow,
and lavenders and blues). Really like that there is a lot of interest yet some resting space on this one too ––
the resting space is not too white or too dark but has a nice neutral tone still. Also great texture overall with the strokes.

Ok and where does that leave us on Susan's finished piece? Stay tuned...
(But I can't wait!!)