Springing Forward; Roots in Tow

We are rapidly approaching that time again; that much anticipated moment when we move our clocks ahead one hour and “spring forward”.  Despite losing a much needed hour of sleep, I relish that pivotal moment because it means that I have made it over the hump of another cold, dark winter and spring and summer’s renewal are just weeks away. 

 

 

Spring is riding into town

 

 

The appearance of Green

 

Over the Hump

 

But as I rush to pack away the coats and boots anticipating days of shorts and flip-flops, I give pause and recall the greater appreciation I have for spring and summer because of winter.  It is Old Man Winter with his short frigid days, his bare limbed trees and stormy gray skies that instills within each of us endurance and strength, not to mention the ability to make great strides in difficult times and …immeasurable amounts of snow, sleet and freezing rain.

short frigid days

 

bare limbed trees

 

 

 

stormy skies

 

 

immeasurable amounts of snow

 

 

While youth and its vitality are enchanting and alluring and surely the hope of our collective future, after all, who can resist a cute baby, puppy or kitten?  Respect and esteem for the elders whose many contributions and sacrifices have made it possible for a new generation to flourish, must never be taken for granted nor overlooked.

  

Our cute baby

 

 

our cute puppy

 

We are reminded of that everyday as we scan the Gallery and see our CF Modern benches standing shoulder to shoulder with the icons that paved the way for their success.  We acknowledge the “Greatest Generation” of craftspeople whose skill and ingenuity made it all possible and embrace our Mid Century masterpieces and the new generation they have given birth to.

 

 

CF Modern Style GP 100 Bench

 

 

CF Modern Style GP 101

 

So, as we prepare to move ahead to the longer and more temperate days of spring and summer and the bounty of imaginable opportunities the future will bestow, let’s salute and honor all who came before us and planted the roots that afford us the opportunity to “spring forward” and blossom.

 

Firmly Rooted

 


Springing forward

 

 

Our Future

 

It is another Sunday morning in the country.  As I welcome the first light of day, I am reminded that October has come to an end and Halloween has finally arrived. Most of fall’s cavalcade of color is now just a memory and the howling wind is a prophetic reminder of the months ahead.

 

 The last of Fall's Color

 

 

 Reaching for the sky

 

 

 convergence

 

Even as the first frost inches closer, the summer bloom continues to stand bravely and resolute, defying autumn’s ever-encroaching position.

 

 our burning bush aflame with pink roses still in bloom

 

 

 Cat nip holding on

 

 

 our roses: Pink Power

 

As I have said before, these late and continuous blooms are no coincidence but rather a sign of: Pink Power.

On a morning that feels more like Thanksgiving than Halloween, I marvel at nature’s continuous attempts to remind us that although October is over, the continued support of Breast Cancer Awareness is not.  Our vigilance and commitment must continue until everybody is “Pretty in Pink 4 Life”.

So, as we welcome in November, and the kick off of the holiday season, let us remain focused on a cause that is season-less.

Our beautiful “Pretty in Pink 4 Life” Bench remains unsold.  Don’t you know somebody who would love this gift that continues to give? Priced at $1800 with all proceeds to benefit Komen CT.

 

 Pretty in Pink 4 Life Bench

photo: courtesy of Landino Photo

 

 

 Charlie: The keeper of Pink Power

 

As our friend Charlie says:

Let’s kick off the holiday season with the gift of life!

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!

No Words Needed: A glimpse 4...Life

This is the first time I have participated in “Wordless Wednesday because….well being wordless does not come naturally to me.  But I have promised a glimpse of our “Pretty in Pink 4 Life” bench and since we all know that a picture is worth a thousand words, I present without further ado, a peek at the Mid Century Modern bench we will preview in the Gallery tomorrow evening.  It will be specially priced at $1800; a multiple of eighteen, which in Hebrew means "Life", and all proceeds from the sale will benefit Komen CT.

So please stay tuned for the reveal and help spread the word so that we can find this beautiful piece of “Re-Made in America” furniture a wonderful home and raise money for Breast Cancer research.

As many of you may have noticed, I have been highlighting some of our pink Mid Century Modern pieces the last few days, not only because they are simply beautiful, but also because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month; a cause that is near and dear to our hearts.

 

Our "Pink Ribbon" Chair

 

 

Our Hot Pink Curvy Chaise Lounge

 

 

our Pink Magazine Rack

 

 

Many Social Media and blogger design friends of mine including Leslie Carothers, Catherine Avery  Wanda S. Horton, and Cynthia Mason have been doing the same, sharing pictures and writing posts about #ProjectPink and #ThinkPINK with a common goal: To raise Breast Cancer awareness and promote Breast Cancer research.

Dear friends and relatives have both won and lost heroic battles with Breast Cancer and others very close to us are still fighting daily for survival.  With this close personal connection, we are more committed than ever to raising Breast Cancer awareness.  It is the reason we chose to participate in Holiday House, a Designer Show House that will be open for its third holiday season next month in NYC.  Designers will once again join together to raise both awareness and funds for the NYC affiliate of Komen for the Cure.

Next week we will be hosting the New England Home Connecticut Fall Networking Event in our Stamford CT gallery.  With lots of our Connecticut neighbors expected for a fun evening, we thought it would be an amazing opportunity to do something wonderful for Breast Cancer Research.  So, as part of our evening, we will be previewing our custom designed Mid Mod "Pretty in Pink 4 Life" Bench and donating all proceeds of its sale to Komen for the Cure CT

 

our Pretty in pink 4 life bench

is a mystery for now but will be revealed

October 14th

 

 

We are excited to be able to do this for Komen CT and Breast Cancer Awareness Month and hope you will help spread the word.  Although the Bench will be revealed on October 14th in the Gallery, you don’t have to be there to purchase the bench or share information about it.  The  "Pretty in Pink 4 Life" Bench will be on our website the following morning. 

 

With so many wonderful people joining together to achieve a common goal we cannot lose!  We look forward to a day very soon, when we no longer have to view our world through rose-colored glasses, a day when everyone can be “Pretty in Pink 4 Life”.

Last Wednesday night we had the pleasure of premiering Irwin’s interpretation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s at Spring Awakening, a Broadway inspired Tabletop Show to benefit the Summer Theatre of New Canaan.  Charles Pavarini III and Randall Tarasuk assembled an amazing collection of Connecticut, New York and New Jersey designers who displayed settings that rivaled any Broadway opening night.  We were humbled and honored to be included in such an auspicious group.

Immediately upon entering the spacious room at Le Beau Chateau, Irwin knew exactly what he wanted to do.  The space and the show (a musical that never made it past previews in 1966) buoyed his imagination and the magnificent Stroheim fabric became the inspiration and the foundation of the scene he began to build.   Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a very NYC story; elegant and sophisticated, with a sense of humor that Irwin made sure to reflect in his interpretation.

So please, make yourselves comfortable and turn off all cell phones as we raise the curtain on Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

The scene begins with George Ratkai’s oil on canvas entitled Man & Woman symbolizing Holly & “Fred” the main characters of the show, who in reality, need no names.  Below them is an Edward Wormely for Dunbar Bench and a Lucite and chrome cigarette table

They find themselves on Fifty Seventh Street, just around the corner from Fifth Avenue where they are greeted by a Frederick Weinberg horse cart offering up bubbly along with the sweet smell of spring’s flowers in Central Park.

The MCM floor lamp graces a custom handmade shade reminiscent of a Hepburn chapeau.

The beauty of NYC surrounds them and Norman Mercer’s incredible Lucite sculptures atop the mirrored pedestals represent New York’s majestic skyline reflected magnificently by our scrolled mirrors.

 

 

The massive Tiffany doors stand erect, beautifully built and faux finished by our wonderfully talented friend Fabrizio, of F & F Faux Finish Painting and are accented by our brilliant glass rod sconces placed strategically as handles.

The Baughman Love Chair is covered in hot pink and is …well, it just is and does not require any further commentary; you can just let your imagination go wild.  It is marvelously comfortable covered with splendid pillows, a copy of the work and a vintage piece of Marcy Feld Jewelry.  It is paired with a white Sculptura floor lamp and the "Atomic Scientist" lithograph by John Brunsdon, along with a Pace end table.

The inspiration for the setting, the striking Stroheim fabric covers the unique barstools which Irwin has re-sculpted to mimic the shape of a woman’s body and appear as incarnations of Holly sans the sunglasses: The peaked corners are our homage to Cat.

The “Tiffany” table is our custom designed MCM inspired piece that Tiffany’s purchased several of for the fifth Avenue store and is flanked by our sexy Grosfeld House chairs covered in dazzling Donghia fabric.  The entire scene is set upon the exquisite Yardo Silk Rug courtesy of Kooches.

And the tabletop?

It is brimming with painstaking details from the layered Juliska “fountain” topped with our little MCM rooster to the coffee bean filled cups.  Breakfast treats, including Tiffany box inspired petit fours adorn this magnificent mercury mirrored table with baguette edges and iron base.

 The table, trimmed with Tiffany blue ribbon, is set with glorious Juliska crystal and our personal Bernardaud Limoges china designed by Josef Hoffmann.  The cereal bowls are filled with pewter coco puffs and Juliska napkin encircled by our “Engaging” napkin rings designed by Irwin. 

 The details are unending and may require several viewings so please feel free to enjoy the visual feast and remember no flash photography is allowed during the performance.

The Best Nest

When we awoke yesterday morning and saw what a glorious day it was, Irwin and I were excited to hit the road for some R&R in the country.  But after dallying far too long, and with the expectation of bad weather the following day, we toyed with the idea of blowing off the two-hour drive and just chilling in the city. However, when Irwin and I realized that obligations the following weekend would probably not allow us any retreat time, we grabbed a bag and headed out despite the late hour because the idea of missing two weeks of seasonal transformation in the country was more than either one of us could accept.

We could not wait to get back and see what had transpired over the previous six days and we were not disappointed by the array of changes that welcomed us. 

As we pulled into the driveway a single daffodil that had bloomed by the magnolia greeted us.  Further up the driveway, our fragrantly blooming cherry tree welcomed us right outside the mudroom door.  We found a new guest preparing for residence in a sweet nest located in a burning bush next to the porch while another feathered friend was considering a flat in an architectural trellis.

Daffodil

 

 

Cherry Blossoms

 

New Guest

 

Architectural Trellis
  

But the most profound change was the drastic addition to a nest that seemed complete last week and was in fact last Monday’s Photo of the Day, "Perfect Project".  A once neat nest had been transformed into something much more extravagant and I couldn’t imagine why.

 

the nest last week

 

The nest when we arrived this week
 
 

This morning the explanation was revealed .  Last week's guests had abruptly departed and ownership of the nest had flipped.  The new nesters were a pair of robins who, despite the wet weather, were busy making some additions to suit there own needs and tastes; not so dissimilar from what we do when we want to make our homes our own. Fortunately for the robins, they were left a nest with a solid foundation and good bones to build upon, which made the transition easy.

New Nester

 

The rain continued to fall throughout the afternoon as the robins maintained a low profile, making it difficult for me to capture their DIY project in action, but the lesson that they shared with me was very clear.  A solid foundation is the key to good design.

The latest incarnation of the nest

As we create and personalize our living spaces it is important that they be built on a solid design foundation that can adapt to both our changing needs and tastes as well as the needs and wants of others who may inhabit our nests after we leave.

Who could argue with the simple truth that a little birdie shared with me?

 

 

Faux-ward Thinking: The Anatomy of a Wall

A wall can be so much more than…a wall.  It can be more than a room divider, a spot to set furniture against, or a place to hang art.  A wall can BE art.  Case in point: Our Wall.

Yes, our wall: The wall at the front of our gallery space; the wall that separates us from the bathroom. The wall we face, when we are fortunate enough to be sitting at our desks. Our Wall.

Our wall was not in particularly good shape to begin with, well, if the truth be told, it was in terrible shape.  We didn’t much care because despite its flaws, which we had disguised with several different shades of paint, it was still a more than worthy backdrop for some of our larger pieces of art and lighting.  We probably would never have given it a second thought, had we not met Fabricio Fabri.

We met Fabricio, a superb painter and faux finish artist, while setting up for Holiday House, a designer tabletop show we participated in this past December. Our friend and interior designer, Jolie Korek, brought Fabrico in to cover a wall in the space we shared. We were so impressed with his talent that we invited Fabricio to work on a wall in our gallery

As is often the case in our business, a quick redo soon became a full-blown project, and we were swept up in the process.  The metamorphosis was so astounding, that we thought we would share it with all of you.

Excited to begin the transformation, we were thrilled when Fabricio called and said that he was ready to begin.  Like most paint jobs, as well as many faux painting projects, the thrill is in the almost immediate gratification. We were not anticipating a Michelangelo chapel project, just a quick “pick-us” up; a couple of days from start to finish.

Day 1: Fabricio, along with two assistants arrived at the gallery ready to begin the project.  The scaffolding is put up and we begin to realize the scale of this project.  The day was spent removing nails and spackling the holes that covered the wall.  The spackle was allowed to dry and then sanded smooth.

Spackle Time

Day 2: The men returned and began the task of skim coating the wall. (A process during which joint compound is spread over the wall in order to make the wall smooth and even.)

Skim Coating Begins

Day 3: The skim coating was allowed to dry.

Day 4: The skim coating was sanded and another layer of skim coating was applied.

Coating to perfection

This process was done two more times and a week had passed.

Week Two began, and we were making larger pots of coffee to accommodate our growing family.

Day 8: Let the primer begin! The first, of two coats of an oil-based primer (grey in color) were used to cover the wall, which was then smoothed out by brush in order to avoid “The Orange Peel Effect” (lumps and bumps on the surface).  The odor was noxious and the neighbors complained.

All primed and ready to go

Day 9. The wall was allowed to dry and the neighbors grew restless.

Day 10.  The second coat of primer was applied and smoothed out by brush.  The fumes forced us to leave our doors open during the bitterest days of February.

Day 11.  With the wall primed to perfection, Fabricio returned with his assistants and they taped the wall in a checkerboard pattern.  Then they began their magic and began to apply the glaze. The first gaze was a beautiful metallic pewter with sand for added texture.  After each square was painted, the excess paint was wiped off and a hard brush was used to create the magnificent striation effect.  When Fabricio finished applying the first glaze, we were so in love with the color, we almost passed on the second color.

The wall is taped and the glazing begins

 

The process continues

The first glaze color is complete and side wall stripes are added 

Day 12.  The first color was left to dry.

Day 13.  The second glaze color, a warm metallic bronze was applied and allowed to dry.

Applying the 2nd glaze color

Removing the last of the tape

Finishing the stripe wrap

 

the wall is complete

And….Voila, our feature wall was complete.  Although it took longer than expected, the results far exceeded our expectations and the finished product is so magnificent, we shudder at the thought of placing a single nail in it.  It is, after all, Art.

Faux-Ward thinking-Mission accomplished

If you like the work you’ve seen and would like to contact Fabricio his information is below:

F & F

Faux Finish Painting

Decorative Interior & Exterior Painting

Fabricio Fabri (Bill)

349 N. Mac Questen Pkwy

Mt. Vernon, NY 10550

Cell (914) 882 9226

Fax (914) 667 2211

 

"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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