October 31, 2011

In the spirit of Halloween

Cocktails, anyone? From Lorfords Antiques in Gloucestershire, England, a late-19th century baby crocodile, stuffed and mounted with a serving tray. €1,116.81 / $1,577.80
H: 68cm (26.8in) W: 48cm (18.9in)  
To honor this strangest of holidays, we bring you a spooktacular (sorry) selection of seriously creepy objects courtesy of Decorative Collective, one of the most fabulous and fun furnishings resources online.

A set of five late-19th century pharmacy jars, also from Lorfords. €336.18 / $474.95
H: 26cm (10.2in)   

From London’s Ebury Trading, an Italian silver-plated tin frame, mid-18th century. €569.80 / $805.00
H: 33cm (13.0in) W: 24cm (9.4in)  

An... unusual... painted-wood head, possibly North American, circa 1770-1800, from Britain’s Brownrigg.  
€626.78 / $885.50
Height:12.25inch (31.12cm) W:6 inch(15.24cm) D:8.5inch(21.59cm)

At first glance, I thought it was a Steiff... but no, it's a beloved English pooch, stuffed by his owners at some point during the last century. He's now called Bertie by the tender-hearted fellas at Brownrigg. €854.70 / $1,207.50
Height: 17inch (43.18cm) Depth: 8.5inch (21.59cm) Length: 18.75inch (47.63cm)

From Heremijntijd in Amsterdam, a mounted brass sconce, 18th-19th century. €375.00 / $529.79
H: 40cm (15.7in) W: 40cm (15.7in)


Late-19th century stuffed parrot, lovingly named Eric by the folks at Blighty, in his original glass case. €341.88 / $483.00
H: 43cm (16.9in) W: 28cm (11.0in) D: 21cm (8.3in)

And, we've saved the best (I suppose that depends on your outlook) for last:

Also from Heremijntijd is a 16th-century mummified cat that was found in the wall of a Dutch farmhouse, where it was placed to ward off evil spirits, witches, bad luck, or anything else that might have threatened the home.  The cat is still in remarkable condition, with intact claws and teeth. €875.00 / $1,236.18
W: 45cm (17.7in)  

Happy Halloween, everyone. Have a safe and fun night!

And love and protect your pets: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/pet-care-tips/halloween-safety-tips.aspx

October 28, 2011

Monumentally Creepy in Manhattan

Halloween seems to be a much bigger deal than it used to be. Or, it could be that since I have two kids who take it very seriously, I'm just paying more attention. As the month has rolled on, we've spent a lot of time exploring our new neighborhood and checking out the latest decoration developments. (Personal favorite: the caterpillar made of pumpkins and carrots).

Serious Halloween decorations are not solely the province of suburban Los Angeles neighborhoods, however. If you happen to be in Manhattan, the OC Concept Store has a frightfully appropriate window up today.


Michael Benisty and Swarovski collaborated on this fellow, entitled Die to Live. He's eight feet tall, made of 1,100 pounds of stainless steel and features some 300,000 crystals. Check him out at the company's location at 655 Madison Avenue.

Now off to figure out my costume. Any suggestions?

October 27, 2011

Sweet Home Chicago

I seem to have Chicago on the brain—possibly because I stayed up way past my bedtime the other night watching The Blues Brothers. In any case, when one of our incredibly chic friends in the Midwest tipped us off about Bedside Manor, an absolutely dreamy (pardon the pun) source for incredible items for the bedroom, the bath and the table in the Chicago area, I was intrigued. I wanted to find out more about the company, so enter Meg Carroll, who graciously filled me in on the business.

How did Bedside Manor get its start?
We've been in business since 1985. We were inspired by an American manufacturer of brass and iron beds (Brass Beds of Virginia) and all the beautiful ways to dress them. To begin we carried handmade Amish quilts along with German down comforters and French linens. As we grew and the market for European linens did too, we began to add more and more linens from Italy, Portugal, India, etc.

What do you carry?
We now offer over 50 different linen designers, including our own brand that is made exclusively for us in Italy. We attend trade shows here in the states including New York, Atlanta and Dallas. We have also traveled to France and Italy. We try to select merchandise that is of high quality, is beautiful and what we feel our customers are wanting. We have a very broad range and try to cover looks that
are traditional, contemporary as well as transitional. We watch for color trends in home fashion as well as emerging themes. We always want to try to find merchandise that is not carried by nearby merchants.

How would you describe your aesthetic?
Our aesthetic is not neccessarily slanted one particular way. We offer so many different looks! One thing we always try to convey is the feeling that we have a lot. Our stores have a minimum of six beds set up and are dressed to display and showcase our vast array of fine linens. So, therefore, the looks are constantly changing as new product comes in, or items sell from the displays. We always want to look fresh and exciting. Then to support what we are showing on the beds, we have swatches from all the different vendors that we represent. 

How has the Web affected your business?
We have had a Web presence for somewhere around 15 years and have been e-commerce for 10. We know that it is critical in today's market. It has had a very positive effect on our business as it is in many ways the first place we are introduced to a new client. If they see our ad, they will usually check us out online before coming in to shop. Another very important aspect is when someone is looking for a particular manufacturer—we need to let them know what we carry! And it is a terrific way for us to keep in touch with our clients and those who subscribe to our mailing list. We send out 1 to 2 emails a month announcing any special offers or events we are having in the stores. Its a very important tool for us.

Bedside Manor has four locations around the Chicago area. In a couple of weeks, November 15th, to be exact, designer John Robshaw will be meeting and greeting folks and speaking about his collections at Bedside Manor's Lincoln Park (2056 N. Halsted) store from 4:000 to 7:00 PM. It's a great chance to see the shop—and hear from one of today's leading designers.

October 23, 2011

Carry it with you

The Tassen Museum, or the Museum of Bags and Purses, may now formally reside in a 17th-century canal house built for the mayor of Amsterdam, but for a short while a few pieces from its collection were on view at the Meesterlijk/Woonbeurs fair.

What began as the private collection of the late antiques dealer Hendrikje Ivo, ultimately became a family-run museum, and what is now the largest public collection of its type. Building on Ivo's foundation, the museum continues to acquire bags of all ages and styles, and its now 4,000-strong collection spans five centuries.

In ten photos, here's a quick look at nearly 200 years of handbag design:

Velvet handbag decorated with cut steel
France, circa 1820
Beaded purse with silver clasp
H. Fliringa, Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, 1843

Mauchline ware handbag with transfer-printed images of Fontainebleau
Scotland, 1880s

Leather opera bag fitted with opera glasses, a notebook, a pencil, and a folding fan
England, circa 1906

Gold leather evening bag with silk embroidery and semi-precious stones
France, 1920s
Brocade clutch
Mayer, France, 1925

Plastic handbag with lace decoration
United States, 1950s

Handbag embroidered in petit point
Austria, circa 1950-70

Evening bag printed with Cartier's Tutti Frutti  jewelry designs from the 1920s
Cartier, France, 1980s

Bourgeois Teardrop handbag with shells, crystals and satin
Cora Jacobs, Philippines, 2008

October 21, 2011

Beyond the dram

Easter Elchies House, the heart of the Macallan estate in Craigellachie, dates to 1700

Yesterday afternoon Entra was given behind-the-scenes access to several exciting new projects from The Macallan, distillers of some of the world's finest Scotch whiskies.

Watch for a special post next week!

Photograph courtesy of The Macallan

October 20, 2011

Entra's now an ASID Industry Partner

We'd like to extend a very big thank you to Pamela Meyer, Katherine Fern, Deric Schmidt and Will Meyers, and all of our new friends at the ASID, especially the wonderful Industry Partners we met at yesterday's meeting.

Entra is thrilled to be part of the group!

Inspiration Central

Last week we visited with Frédéric Lazare at Bourgeois Bohème's new location on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles. It's a massive space, and filled with an eclectic ensemble of antiques and modernist pieces. There's also a growing collection of African art. One newly acquired mask will make curators swoon -- the only similar example known is at The Met.

As Frédéric talked about some of the pieces on view, I tried to take a few pictures of the overall space... but apparently my subconscious took over and I only shot chairs. For months I've been dreaming about a good pair of big comfy armchairs for our new apartment, and Frédéric's got them in spades.

A pair of 1920s English wing-back chairs (yep, that's the original leather) and a Louis Philippe walnut chest of drawers.

The Rive Gauche armchairs are part of the store's Atelier line. They're beautifully proportioned for lounging but the trim Regency-style legs and castors keep them refined. The chandelier was also incredible. The globes are blown glass but they look a bit like ostrich eggs, and the whole design (they offer several variations) really distills the shop's quirky historical -- but entirely modern -- aesthetic.

And my most favorite: an 1890s French wing-back chair and ottoman. I love the devil-may-care spirit of revival styles... this one's a little bit Charles II, a little bit Flemish, a little bit Portuguese, and completely wonderful.

For more, check out Bourgeois Bohème's 1stdibs page, too.

October 18, 2011

Hello, Glendale!

In retrospect selling a house, buying another one, and launching a magazine, while simultaneously raising two smallish children (plus elderly, though smallish, pets) might not have been the greatest feat of planning. However. We were quickly outgrowing our old bungalow in the wonderful Northeast LA neighborhood of Atwater Village, and the time seemed oddly right to make the move.

When we found our old house, nine years ago, it was just the two of us, plus two cats. It was small and a wreck, but we were up for the challenge. We focused on subtractive decorating at the very beginning—tearing up carpets, pulling out faux-wood paneling, removing grim bathroom fixtures, the works. A few months later, we remodeled the kitchen and bathroom. And then once more as it turned out—my husband is a measure once cut twice kind of guy. We eventually added another bathroom (without adding square feet in a triumph of spatial planning by our contractor) and landscaped the front and back gardens. We loved it.

The old house's garden, complete with ancient and abundant orange tree. All photos courtesy me and my negligible photography skills.

Fast-forward nearly a decade. We have kids, we have a dog, we're down a cat. The kids are getting bigger (and so is their stuff—big kid clothes take up a lot more room). There's basically one closet. Even for the default minimalists we've become, it's getting tricky. On a whim, we call an agent we known for years and decide to list the house. We start looking for another place.Though we love Atwater, most of the houses are similarly dinky. Glendale, just down the street from us, begins to look really appealing.

Now, we wound up buying the second house we ever saw on our first real-estate go-around. This is something of a pattern for us. We tend to agonize over little decisions—where to go for dinner, for example—but make the big ones much quicker. So in keeping with tradition we fall head over heels in love with the second house we see. We keep looking, but nothing compares. The size, the flow, the street. Everything else seems hideous. There are ugly kitchens and bathrooms that have had the charm modernized right out of them. Weird layouts. We've seen nirvana. Nothing else will do. We make an offer; it's accepted contingent on the sale of our old place; we cross our fingers and bury St. Anthony in the front yard. Miraculously, it all works out.

We've been in the house now for a smidge over a month, and we still adore it. Of course there are quirks. It's an 80-year-old house. There's the so-frumpy-it's cool wallpaper in all of the bedrooms. The oven scorches whatever I'm baking. Some of the light fixtures, added at various points in its life, are on the hideous side. But all of the awesomeness outweighs them.

The spider light. Doesn't work but so cool. Apparently there was a wrought iron gate at the front with a spider, too, once upon a time.
The front hall. Floor is a faux-tile (pressed cement). Walls are faux-stone.

Fireplace. One of the most fab features. We're researching the tiles. Current guess is Markoff.

Master bath tiles. These, and the fireplace, might have been the deal-sealers for us.
At the moment, the plan is to do a little work at a time. The kids are begging for me to strip the wallpaper and paint their rooms. We also have to do a little work to the master bath—making the shower usable. I'll post pics as we progress. Stay tuned.

October 17, 2011

Fanning the creative fire

Artist Bea Peters at her Haarlem studio

While in the Netherlands, I had the good fortune to meet the talented Bea Peters. Though known for her ceramics -- particular her decorative tiles -- it was her new wallpapers, Dutch Estates, that caught my eye.

When I stopped to ask about them, Peters explained that she was an illustrator by training, and just naturally found herself sketching some of the historic houses in and around Haarlem, where she's based. Their detail and charm inspired her to turn them into a toile-like pattern. (The motifs found their way onto her wall tiles and dishes, too.)


Peters has since been approached by homeowners to draw their estates, and one not only commissioned wallpaper for their dining room, but a full dinner service, too!

On tap are new designs based on old farms, royal palaces, and Amsterdam's iconic canal-front houses. So there's much more to come, including -- possibly -- a line of textiles. "I just need to find a manufacturer," she says. Perhaps this post will inspire a collaboration.

The wallpapers, which are available in raspberry red, Old Dutch blue, and warm gray, are sold by the square meter for €45.00. Her studio is open on Friday and Saturday, from noon to 5pm, or visit her online at 1000 Graden

October 14, 2011

Inside the Showrooms: Vanillawood

A while ago, I met (virtually) Kricken Yaker, who, with her husband, James, own Vanillawood, a design/build business in Portland, OR. I was immediately intrigued, since I'm a native Oregonian, and so is Kricken—and you don't find too many of us. Fast forward several years of computer-friendship, and we finally met face-to-face while she was LA. We had a blast chatting about what she does, what Entra does and reminiscing about Portland back in the day. Her showroom is a testament to how much the city has changed. When we were growing up, the neighborhood where they've set up shop was pretty desolate, save for the legendary Powell's and the omnipresent smell of beer from the Henry Weinhard's brewey. Now, the area is known as the Pearl District,  it's one of the hippest spots in town, and the brewery houses lofts.

All photos Ty Milford/Courtesy Vanillawood

I love what Kricken and James are doing—putting their business into a storefront where customers can immediately see their aesthetic and interact with the duo. Plus, it's bright and poppy and fun and serves as a great antidote to the grey days in the Pacific Northwest. Kricken kindly answered some questions for us about how Vanillawood came about and what they're up to now.

How did Vanillawood come about?
 After buying our first house in Venice, CA, we fell in love with the process of renovating and designing together. We realized that this is what we really wanted to be doing for a living and not just as a hobby. Portland, Oregon, where I'm from, seemed like a better place to be buying and selling homes (this was at the height of the real estate market, mind you) and we were looking to slow the pace down for our growing family. We sold that beloved house and moved our family to Portland to launch Vanillawood. 

We started the business doing spec houses, and, after being approached by several people to design and build "our style" for them, the client part of our business was born. About two years ago, we were expecting our third son and looking to move our business from our home office. We stumbled upon this amazing location in Portland’s Pearl District. This location begged to be a retail store and showroom and our working studio. 

We opened our doors in July of last year, and it has become a great space where our clients, as well as people who happen upon us while walking by, can touch and feel our work, ask questions and get inspired.  The fun part about having this store is often people will come in to look at our retail wares and end up hiring us for our design, build or interior design services.  

How would you define your style?
Organic contemporary with a touch of Hollywood glam. Life is nutty enough and we are all running at a break-neck pace with work, kids, obligations, so home is where we unwind, decompress and refuel.  At Vanillawood we create homes and spaces that are livable and approachable, that make you feel good every time you enter the room. It’s what “design, build, live” is all about. 

What's the design scene like in Portland?
Portland has got a lot going on!  I left at 18 thinking I would never live here again and, boy, has it changed. I've lived in New York, LA and Italy, and I love seeing this city attract so many people for the creative culture and lifestyle.  There are a lot of extremely talented people. Sustainability is obviously a huge part of what Portland design is all about.  At Vanillawood we use a lot of really interesting reclaimed materials in our custom furniture and case goods and our design and build projects. It lends a great story to the finished product.  Function and design are critical, but it’s also important to feel good about how things are made.

How has the web changed your business?
Gosh, how has it not? Design is so much more accessible with the web. Inspiration can be found a click of a button—there’s a global marketplace at your fingertips. That can be amazing but also potentially overwhelming for a client faced with so much information. Part of a good interior designer’s role these days, I think, is to help their clients sift through all the choices out there and help define and curate what’s really right for their lifestyle and their home. The web also means that it’s not enough to just be a good online store or showroom. You need to offer an aesthetic and a service that’s about more than just the merchandise you are carrying. You need to set yourself apart and really communicate the passion and perspective you bring to a job. 

If you're in Portland drop by and say hi. If that's not in the cards, check out Vanillawood. They've got a portfolio up, and you can shop!

October 13, 2011

Touring the new at Room & Board

Yesterday morning, Lisa and I went over to Room & Board at the historic Helms Bakery district in Culver City. They're such a neat -- and growing! -- company. They partner with small, family-run American businesses and put the emphasis on quality and value. Plus, they're just nice people. Stephanie Martin of Blink LA, and Aurora Aramburu and Heather Neubauer of Room & Board, walked us through some of the new products they're featuring, so I took a few snaps along the way.

We loved the new hand-spun aluminum lamps from Brooklyn-based designer Babette Holland. They're made one at a time and finished in the most beautifully soft metallic shades. From left to right: Ruby, Skyscraper, Orb (my fav), Flamingo, and Twister

Heather shows us some of their new pillow fabrics from manufacturers like Galbraith & Paul and Eastern Accents.

Hot this season: all the warm tones your mind naturally goes to at this time of year.
Even hotter this season: powdery shades of charcoal and plum.

Don't ever get between Lisa and a fabric sample. :)

Party pics from our night at Community & Co.

Thought we'd share a few more!

Artist Dave Lefner and actress Shyla Marlin
Christel Quinn, Dana White and artist Patrick Quinn... proving you can never trust a man with an 8-ball earring
Agnes Gomes-Koizumi, Rebecca Ansert, Mark Johnson and Treanne Gomes
Photographer Jonny Marlow and Amanda Tracy

Photography by Bethany Nuart