We're Not Getting older, We're Getting Better

As purveyors of Mid-Century Modern design, we fully understand the importance of maintaining the underlying integrity of a piece while lovingly restoring and tweaking it so that it is the best it can be at any age.  So naturally, we strongly agree that Clairol hit it on the nose when they introduced their Loving Care ad campaign in 1971 with the tag line: You're not getting older; you're getting better.  Maturity and aging are not to be shunned, but rather appreciated and embraced and above all else…honored.  And while we must all surely work at being the best we can be at any age, we need to embrace the benefits of aging gracefully and the life experience it offers.

 

Clairol's 1971 Ad: Time tested and still true

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Mid century Bench: Lovingly restored with integrity maintained


This is not always so easy to do.  In this youth driven, disposable age, the pressure to compete with younger has motivated more than a few to take extreme measures in the hope of defying the aging process.   And when news, trends and even material goods become obsolete in mere nanoseconds as epitomized by AT&T’s plethora of commercials chanting “That’s so 30 seconds ago”, and almost nothing is built to endure, it is easy to lose sight of the truly timeless beauty and character that are some of the many benefits of “maturing”.

 

 

So 30 seconds ago

photo courtesy of AT&T

 

 

 

Just last week our Bosch dishwasher in the country stopped working.  It has been a reliable piece of machinery for twelve years necessitating only one other service call, yet when I called to have it repaired, the head of service discouraged me from making the repair and suggested purchasing a new unit instead.   With the cost of a new unit being about triple the cost of the repair, coupled with the fact that the life expectancy of that new unit is a mere six years, we opted to repair the old one, hoping for another five to six years of reliable washing.  

 

And that used to be the status quo, double-digit years of productivity for major appliances and electronics; furniture that was built to last fifty or more years and a society that respected honored and held in esteem those amongst us with life experience.

 

While baby boomers are redefining aging, it is a steep mountain to climb in these youth driven times.  So when, back in February, in honor of Valentine’s Day, Jennifer Mehditash a wonderful interior designer and author of Dec-a-Porter blog shared a captivating image on Facebook, I was immediately smitten.  The photo of a mature woman in red- lipped shaped sunglasses was so striking that I was compelled to see more.  I clicked the link and was transported to a parallel universe where maturity is queen and style is timeless: Advanced Style Blogspot. 

 

 

 

A Sweet heart of Style

photo courtesy of Advanced Style blogspot

 

Advanced Style is the brainchild of Ari Seth Cohen and offers a respite from the plethora of images touting youth.  An oasis where there is comfort in seeing style on someone other than a pre- pubescent child.  It is not only beautiful to look at but infinitely inspirational as well.  In fact, I pre-ordered the book Advanced Style on Amazon and gave it to my Mother-in-Law who just celebrated her 85th birthday last month.

 

 

 

Advance Style: The Book

 

As a candid photographer I love to zoom in and capture the face. An expressive face, especially one that is not focused on the lens or the necessity to smile, is imperfect and utterly magnificent at any age.  But to see a multitude of images of so many gloriously proud and strong seniors is truly breathtaking and moving.  AND... gives all of us pause to broaden our definition of true beauty and style.

 

  

 

Imperfect and utterly magnificent

 

photo courtesy of Marcy Feld Photography

 

 

Ruth: Breathtaking at  100

photo courtesy of Advanced Style Blogspot

 

So, while we are all clamoring to find that ever-elusive key to the proverbial “Fountain of Youth”, let’s take a moment to appreciate our maturity and the beauty and Advanced Style we all possess, because: We’re not getting older, we’re getting better!

 

A toast with a little bubbly, or bubbles, as it were:

Here is to ageless Beauty- Let's all embrace it!

photo courtesy of Marcy Feld Photography

Yes, it is true we have found a home for our Pretty in Pink 4 Life bench and how befitting that it happened right before the universal day of Love, Valentine’s Day. It is truly a Love Story that was four months in the making.  Needless to say, we, along with Komen CT and countless others are overjoyed with this very happy ending; one that would absolutely never happened without the good friends of our Social Media Village.

A Sweetheart of a Valentine's Day gift!

 

As it happens we just celebrated our second anniversary on Twitter a week ago, having created our account February 13, 2009.  Simply typing that made me quite nostalgic and consequently I spent the last couple of hours attempting to locate my fist tweet. While I have not been able to locate either my first tweet or the first people I followed, I can remember how overwhelmed I felt at the prospect of engaging in any form of Social Media.  I was so overcome with fear that after the initial set up I did nothing with our Twitter account for almost two weeks, until that fateful day when my then eighteen year-old son agreed to give me a Twitter tutorial; one which lasted all of sixty seconds. His fingers flew across my keyboard as he followed a couple of dozen people and said: “This is all you need to do ….and if you're lucky, they’ll follow you back”. And with that, he was gone leaving me in the driver’s seat without a single driving lesson.  So I began my journey, driving in the slow lane, hunting and pecking, following and re-tweeting, learning and engaging.

Our Social Media Birth

 

Virtual conversations turned into real life meetings and priceless friendships, and as a result, here we are two years later, immersed in a generous, collaborative community of like-minded, talented individuals who make wishes come true and help seemingly impossible dreams become life-changing realities.

 

From Virtual to Real Life 

Photo courtesy of Amy Dragoo of abcdesign.com

 

Off the Tweetdeck into the gallery

Yours Truly with Tamara Stephenson 

photo courtesy of Landino Photo

supporting friends at ICFF

Leslie Carothers, Me, Tracy Hiner, Maybelline Te

photo courtesy of Leslie carothers

And so it was for our beautiful Pretty in Pink 4 Life bench. We had been trying to find a home for it since mid-October and despite tweeting, blogging and facebooking our hearts out about it relentlessly, it remained homeless.

Valentine’s Day was quickly approaching and I was hoping to tap into the gift giving spirit.  I wrote another post about the bench and asked for help. I also emailed many of my SM friends asking them if they would include something about the bench in their posts about Valentine’s Day.  The result was better than I could have ever imagined and the bench has found a wonderful new home where it is cherished and loved.

It currently resides in the home of Philip Erdoes, aka @CEO_TheNewTrad, the CEO of the New Traditionalists, a design house focused on home furnishings and a client of Leslie Carothers the CEO and founder of The Kaleidoscope Partnership – a social media agency for the home furnishings and related industriesShe happened to share our blog post with Philip and as a result, he purchased the bench in honor of his three beautiful young daughters for Valentine’s Day.  And he did it because, as he said :”With three daughters I'm totally focused on that issue”.  And that says it all!

I cannot begin to thank the Social Media Village that made it possible…but I will try.

Many thanks to Marcy Michaud of @Stylesson for sharing our post on her site stylesson.com, Susan de Chaira of @the zhush for writing a lovely post on her blog, The Zhush, Amy Dragoo of @abcdesigns for featuring us on her guest post for @ChicModern, Wanda Horton (@wandashorton ) for her heartfelt post on her site Interior Concepts by Wanda S Horton and Yvonne Blacker (@yblacker) for asking us to be contributors in her fabulous new digital magazine New England Finery

Other good friends that helped make this happen by spreading the word include  @maybellinete @shorelychic @modenus @brivkind @averydesign @jgoden @swaygrl @nestnestnest @exuberanthome @annNyberg @DecoratingDiva @JuliskaDesigns @GimletMommy  and soo many more.

Our Social Media village is powerful and harnessing its power for business is wonderful, but using it to support lifesaving organizations like Komen for the Cure is beyond astounding.

Although this is indeed a VERY happy ending, it is not the end, but rather what we hope is the beginning of much collaboration, in support of Komen for the Cure.

 

 Happily ever after
photo courtesy of Philip Erdoes

 

 

 

Last weekend as I watched the change of seasons unfold in the country, I was astonished by the fact, that despite many early undressed trees and piles of crunchy leaves amassing on the ground, there was still an astounding amount of summer blooms flourishing.   What I found most striking and quite telling, was the abundance of pink roses burgeoning amidst the deconstruction of flora that is synonymous with the arrival of fall; a testament to both their resilience as well as their sheer will to survive.  For me the irony was overwhelming and this unexpected sign of hope, like a beacon on a moonless night represents what organizations like Komen for the Cure offer.

Colors of the season

  

Trees undressed surrounded by a blanket of leaves

  

 

 

The remains of summer blooms

 

Pink power endures


A will to survive

 

When we were first approached by New England Home Connecticut Magazine to host their first Connecticut Fall Networking Event in our Gallery, we were both excited and delighted.  We were thrilled to welcome so many of our CT neighbors and share an evening with others.

To make this event a truly collaborative effort, I immediately reached out to my neighbors and many of them responded so generously, that it almost took my breath away.  Our newest neighbor, Fairway Market agreed to come on board and supply food for the event and Juliska, Colorblends and Godiva Chocolates were more than happy to supply lovely additions for our gift bags.

Fairway's sumptuous buffet

 

Juliska's lovely gift bag contribution

 

Pink Tulip bubs courtesy of Colorblends

 

Dreamy chocolate from Godiva

 

"In the Pink" Gift Bags

 

But it seemed that a gathering of some of Fairfield County ‘s (and beyond) “Best & Brightest” during October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, needed to be more than just a networking event and we decided to use this wonderful evening to raise awareness as well as funds for Komen for the Cure, CT.

Anne Morris, Executive Director of Komen CT was on hand to share valuable information with the crowd as we previewed our “Pretty in Pink 4 Life” customized Mid Century bench which we are now selling with ALL proceeds from its sale going directly to Komen CT.

 

 

The "pretty in Pink 4 Life" Bench

  

With a close personal connection, we are deeply committed to supporting Komen for the Cure.  It is one of the reasons we decided to participate in Holiday House last year doing a tabletop and returning again this year, doing a complete room. 

 

Holiday House 2009 "The 4th of July"

  

We hope that through our efforts, we can motivate other small businesses to see that with a little imagination and a lot of perseverance, they can help raise both awareness as well as funds for lifesaving causes.

 

Our new Gallery section featuring the works of Vincent Longo & our Pink Ribbon Chair

 

 

Just before the guests arrive: Pink Abounds!

 

Irwin & Roberta Thomas Mancuso of New England Home CT Magazine

 

 

Let the cocktails begin!

 

The evening was an amazing success.  A melding of designers, architects, suppliers, bloggers and more converged in the Gallery despite less than perfect weather.  Twitter and Facebook friends emerged from the virtual world and joined with old as well as many new friends for a delightful evening of food and fun.

A Happy group including Robert Dean, Beth-Eaton Koch, Evelyn Oschler, Elizabeth Chrystal, Betsy Abeles-Kravit, Anne Morris, Irwin &...Me

(photo courtesy of  Landino Photo)

 

 

Stacy Kuntsel, Tamara Stephenson, Roberta Thomas Mancuso, Yours Truly, Susan Young,

Robin Horton,  Gloria Battista-Collins & Liz Orgera

(photo courtesy of Tamara)

  

With many thanks to our good friends at New England Home Connecticut, including Betsy Abeles-Kravitz, Publisher, Kyle Hoepner, Editor-in Chief, Roberta Thomas Mancuso, Kate Koch, Glenn Sadin & of course our very own @StacyStyle Stacy Kuntsel, Homes Editor for helping make this evening so special.  And where would we be without the brilliant photography of Neil Landino, Jr. of Landino Photo who was on hand to capture the evening.

 

 StacyKuntsel, Roberta Thomas Mancuso, Me being held in place, Kyle Hoepner, Irwin, Steve cassler

& Betsy Abeles-Kravitz

(photo courtesy of  Landino Photo)

 

Though the evening is over, the memories remain, new friendships have been forged and collaborations continue.

So many of you including Kyle Hoepner and our good friends at Juliska, have offered to continue to promote the sale of our “Pretty in Pink for Life” bench and we truly appreciate all of your help.

Together, there is nothing we cannot do.  As the pink roses remain in bloom despite the arrival of cooler temperatures and less than perfect conditions, so too, must we continue to support organizations like Komen 4 the Cure, who allow those roses to continue to survive and flourish.

 And please don’t forget: We are looking for a wonderful home for our “Pretty in Pink 4 Life “ bench.  Anything you can do to help make that happen would be appreciated.

 

The "Pretty in Pink 4 Life" Bench Specially priced at $1800 to celebrate "Life"

 

 

More photos of the festivities to follow soon!

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity in and around the gallery, all involving the merging and melding of real life and twitter friends. This amazing experience culminated with our first Gallery “Tweet-Up +Spring Celebration” last Monday, May 17th.

The gallery gathering was attended by clients, local media friends, personal friends, as well as Twitter and Facebook friends.   Although my camera fainted and was indisposed aptly on a Mid Century chaise for the evening and I have few photos to share with you, the memories and friendships forged will last a lifetime.

After hearing a year of “tweet-tweet” from both friends and family, it was lovely to see EVERYBODY engaged in lively conversation.  No great surprise to me; I knew that the melding would be seamless because I have gotten to know my Social Media friends quite well over the past year and knew that we shared many things in common both professionally as well as personally.  Why this was such a shock to real life friends and family is quite baffling. 

Many people we know personally have used on line dating, whether it be Match.com, Eharmony.com or JDate.com to find their soul mates for life, love and marriage!   Why then is it so difficult to understand that collaborating and forging friendships via Social Media sites such as Twitter be any less authentic or satisfying?  Whatever the reason ( and I’m sure the name and the icon do not help the urge to utter a stray chirp), our “Tweet-Up” transcended all of the social media hype and rested gracefully on the shoulders of friendship and design, as it should be.

Despite the occasional sharing of a Twitpic or a mention of Foursquare, which I was inadvertently signed up for, the evening was spent sharing experiences as well as friendships and was a delight to host as well as attend.

So without further ado and thanks to @maybellinete for sharing some of her photos- here is a “taste” of the evening.

IFD Petit Fours- a little rough around the edges but delic!

 

Maybelline Te aka @maybellinete, Tracy Hiner aka @tracyhiner & Liz Orgera aka @shorelychic

 

Beth Dempsey aka @ImagesnDetails and Liz Orgera

 

Catherine Avery aka @averydesign with husband Bob and Gloria Battista Collins aka @gbcstyle

 

Liz Orgera and Roberta Thomas Mancuso

 

Catherine & Bob Avery, Richard Marti Jr. aka @ramartijr & his wife Laini

Mona & Mark Klapper

 

 

 Tracy Hiner & Maybelline Te

 

 

 

Irwin & Tracy Hiner

 

Tracy Hiner in the Baughman Love Chair: What's not to love?

 

 

 

yours Truly & mona Klein Klapper

 

 

Susan Blumenfeld, Ruth Warner & Mona klein klapper

 

If for some reason you missed our first tweet-up, no worries, we will be having another event in the fall to herald the opening of....well, we're keeping that a secret for now, but you can stop by the gallery anytime and say hi!

 

"Bench"-Marking the New Year

The New Year is in full swing and we are anxiously preparing for the months ahead.  We are listening to our clients and are charting a course that will better enable us to meet their demands as well as their expectations.  We are sensitive to our clients needs and are targeting areas of expansion to better address those needs.

One area that Irwin has targeted for expansion is one of our most popular classifications: benches and ottomans.  2009’s recessionary environment forced many clients to postpone or reduce the scope of their design projects.  While smaller projects proliferated, so did our sales of benches and ottomans.

This informational tidbit should not come as a surprise to many of our readers.  We have discussed the versatility of both for months on our Facebook fan page:

 

6/26/06 Alluring Kagan Style Bench

8/27 Mid Mod vignette featuring set of stools

also featured in an earlier post:"Your Next Great Piece"

9/29 "Ottoman Empire" Fit for royalty: oversized harlequin ottoman



 
10/23 Gallery vignette  featuring a Milo Baughman Bench

 

10/28 "We Nailed It":  Hand placed chrome nailheads add interest & detail to Mid Century pieces. Our studded console table & X bench are spot on!

 

11/3 "Ottoman Empire" featuring velvet mid century ottomans

 

11/11 Ottomans: More than a dynasty

the holidays are once agin upon us and seating versatility is a must.  Consider adding several ottomans to your living area.  They are beautiful, offer additional seating or table space & can be moved easily or tucked under a table or console

 

12/4 Our MCM Bench with bronze legs

Featured at "holiday house"

  

 

Benches and ottomans are versatile additions to any space redesign. They afford alternative as well as extra seating and table space in a variety of settings in home, commercial, retail and hospitality environments. They are also wonderful ways to infuse style and color into a wide range of settings.

The gallery in now brimming with vintage MCM benches and ottomans that have been completely restored as well as custom MCM inspired pieces designed by Irwin and completely fabricated on premises.

The distinct ability to customize and fabricate ottomans and benches on site affords us the luxury of producing pieces in a short period of time. This has come in handy when dealing with set decorators and clients working on press and production deadlines. 

Some of our latest additions to the gallery include:

 

 

Ebonized rosewood MCM bench with ikat pattern upholstery

 

Pair of Cylindrical Ottomans newly recovered in Stroheim And Roman velvet.

 

 

faux bamboo MCM Bench

 

So whether you are working on a large or small project, kitchen or bath or simply need additional seating or an infusion of color, remember that benches and ottomans offer all of that and so much more.

To view our complete collection of ottomans and benches please visit:

http://www.irwinfelddesign.com/index.cfm/category/3/seating.cfm

 

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