Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Dreamy Artist's Loft

I take a painting class every Friday. I love to paint seascapes. The teacher puts on some wonderfully soft music and brews us Cinnamon Tea. I sit on my stool and try to imagine the real sea. While I paint my mind wanders and I dream of where I would paint if I was "real" artist. Here is a picture of an artist's loft in NYC. It comes pretty close to my dream.
All photos Ochs Design
The 2700 sq ft abandoned warehouse space was converted and renovated into an artist's loft by Ochs Design. The painting studio retains the original industrial asphalt floor. The light is incredible!
The studio work table was fabricated from stone and wood left behind by former commercial occupants decades earlier. Only the steel frame is new. I love the wonderful mix of textures every where you look.

Platforms replace walls to define the living space. To the right is the painting studio to the left the living area. Raw industrial surfaces provide the backdrop for art and sculpture. A large skylight lets in daylight to paint by.

The client's desire to leave the space as open as possible led to this luminous fabric sleeping enclosure. Isn't this so romantic?
I love the spare furnishings - what a wonderfully unique side table.
The client likes to cook and entertain. The spacious open kitchen features a 1925 bistro table that seats 16 people. I could have some great parties here!
Just wanted to give you a peek of where I dream about painting when I finally get discovered!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ski Chalet in Chamonix

Off for a weekend of skiing in New Hampshire, but I leave you with a few photos of a wonderful ski chalet near Chamonix, France.

Have a lovely weekend!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Beautiful Norwegian Design - Helene Forbes Hennie meets Slettvoll

all photos from Slettvoll website
I spend time each week reading the Scandinavian blogs and watching new design trends . Two names keep coming up consistently: Slettvoll and Helene Forbes Hennie. Slettvoll, a case goods and upholstery company that has several locations in Norway and has recently opened 3 new stores in Sweden. They have over 23 locations and been in business since 1951. Its sort of Norway's' equivalent to Design with In Reach. Lets have a look!
They offer wonderful lines of furniture in several styles for classic, beach and modern interiors.

The above photos represent more of their classic line. I really love the fitted slipcovers and textured, linen fabrics. The mix of chairs and the bench around the trestle cross dining table is an all time favorite.

The above photos show a more beachy feeling. They also carry an outdoor furniture line.

Above is the more modern side of Slettvoll. Notice the diffrent mix of textures in the room above.

Now Slettvoll is a savvy company. In their own Norwegian backyard they have famous designer, Helene Forbes Hennie. Hennie is Norway's premier interior designer a recent recipient of the Andrew Martin International Designer of the Year Award. Winning that award is similar to winning the Academy Awards for interior designers. Together they have teamed up and launched a wonderful line of furniture.

Here is the most popular Hennie photo for Slettvoll, perhaps you recognize it. It has appeared in several blogs over the past few months.
Wonderful! I just love this dining room. I adore the slip-covered chairs -the lines are slimmer with a modern feeling. Brooke Gianetti at Velvet and Linen has designed furniture with a similar feel and offers it for sale in her store, Gianetti Home. (

Classic Hennie designs
Modern Hennie designs

Sadly Sletvoll has not expanded to the United States. We will just have to hope we see more of Helene Hennie and Slettvoll in Scandinavia.

Friday, February 20, 2009

3 Fine Grains - High-End Antique Originals

Since my last post on Antique Grain Sacks, I have had an overwhelming amount of emails and interest in antique linens. Like all antiques there are levels of uniqueness, rarity and therefore of value. Most of the textiles I featured were plain striped sacks, but I have learned about another world of textiles: the very high end, elite textiles! These are printed grain sacks with writing and even more unique, those with pictures of wreaths, horses or crowns. These grain sacks are quite rare and, of course, very valuable. Owning one is like investing in a precious piece of art, one with a unique history.
Since the mention in The Washington Post, I had the great personal fortune to connect and speak with Textile Artist and Interior Designer, Kymberley Fraser of 3 Fine Grains. Kymberley collects, restores and re fabricates these very rare vintage sacks into "Authenticated Originals". Kymberley explained that she has always had a passion for antique textiles, and as a result she has developed a true respect for these linens as historical antiques. She believes if her well preserved pieces could speak; they could tell amazing stories of people's lives in times past. Like any other reputable and knowledgeable dealer, Kymberley has been collecting for many years. She recently began designing these linens in to pillows and reupholstering them on to classic antique chairs and ottomans to create one of kind pieces of furniture.

Let's review some attributes of these rare linens and how to tell if its an original.
These textiles, on average are 100 years old. All are hand woven, made of pure hemp linen. The weave is generally a herringbone. Most originals have darns, or hand patched holes and staining. The chairs above both have pictures, as well as printing, which add to their value.
The horse symbol is very rare. This vanity or desk chair is made out of a very rare German grain sack from 1907. Notice the patching on the bottom right corner. Sadly this item is already sold, but Kymberley will do custom orders.
These rare Horse sacks above are stamped on both sides and are from 1909. Kymberley was able to locate four of these very rare sacks; wouldn't they look wonderful upholstered or slipcovered for dining room chairs! Here are examples of Laurel Wreaths from 1862, 1869 and 1898. The addition of the wreath adds significantly to the value of the piece. Notice the wonderful nubby weave and patching on them.
Extremely sought after and collectible are the very rare "Crown" sacks. This one, from 1862, was made into an ottoman. It's so charming, with nail heads around the base and ebony turned legs. Here are some lovely examples of Laurel Wreathing and Vines. I especially love the chair - what a wonderful piece of history beautifully preserved. Here is a kidney sized pillow from 1902 with a unique nautical print. Wouldn't this look fabulous in beach house?
These are examples of Puy Lentil sacks from the early 1900's made from jute. The Train sack is from Friesland which is a province in the Netherlands, while the Stork sack is from France. Rare and beautiful!
Above are two extremely rare sacks. Not very often are two sacks from the same farmer at the same time, still preserved and available. These are #2 and #5 - If you see two sacks that are identical beware! Sadly, like any other hot antique, fakes are starting to enter this market.

Kymberley guarantees that the integrity of her textiles and the printing are original and none are modern reproductions. When you are buying these special printed antiques sacks you need to ask, is it the sack that is antique or is the printing a modern reproduction on an antique sack? Here are some tips from Kymberley: Check that the sacks are not too perfect, have imperfections in the weave, or patching; also make sure the printing is not too bold or uniform. All are signs of reproductions.Another very rare sack from Kimberley has printing and stripes. This one is original, but you may start to see this type of fake, as well. They are taking real antique stripe sacks, which are inexpensive in comparison, and stamping them with modern printing in an antique style. So buyer beware and buy only from reputable dealers.
Of course these textiles are "green" - 100% pure organic hemp linen and tar based printing, made before "green" was even a concern or "in vogue". Kymberley's pillows range in price from $250 to $500 dollars. Her furniture and pillows are available in CA at Bungalow Antiques in Agoura Hills, and on line. Thanks Kymberley for giving us a lesson in these rare and timeless linens!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thank you Terri Sapienza & The Washington Post!

Wow!! I am so thrilled to have the honor of being recommended by The Washington Post's Terri Sapienza for a second week! She highlights my post about all the things you can do with Antique Grain Sacks, Linen and Hemp. Thank you so much, Terri!

If you would like to read what she has to say, here is the link:

Monday, February 16, 2009

Hemp, Linen & Antique Grain Sacks

What is our obsession (or is just me?) with antique grain sacks. We are starting to see them everywhere -
Maybe its because they are so easy to make into pillows - Here is a simple example that is just tied at the top!
I recently had the opportunity to speak with ebay seller "loodylady".
She is a major importer of hemp and antique linen. Here is what she says about this wonderful heirloom fabric:
"These antique and vintage treasures are available in a tremendous range of textures, tones and weights. Most would have been patiently woven by hand. The linens date from between 60 to 150 years old and many would have been stored carefully, for instance in a dowry chest, given the massive investment of time represented by each item. The shades vary from earthen grey and deep flaxy tones to bright almost white sun bleached linen. Some are plain, while others feature stripes or banding in a range of colours. The fibre content is usually flax, hemp or a combination of the two. Weaves range from a lovely open, loose weave to finely woven, tight and evenly spaced. Textures range from soft to rough. The linens are durable and most are machine washable, making them ideal for upholstery, cushions, tablecloths, table runners, curtains, bedcovers, bath mats, stair runners and the many other creative uses that our customers tell us of every day."
You can find more interesting information on her website:
Here are some beautiful pillows from the Dan Marty Designs. Aren't these beautiful??

And some more great examples from Velvet and Linen.


These pillows really bring in some wonderful texture and personality to these rooms. Perfect for a summer home or in a damp climate because hemp is naturally mildew and mold resistant.


I also love how we are now seeing these lovely antique linens being used as upholstery. Here is an example of a piece done by a customer of eBay seller, "loodylady" .

Below are even more examples how you can incorporate hemp grain sacks into your home.

The three items above are available from Dan Marty Designs! Aren't they charming?

Pottery Barn
Even Pottery Barn is getting into the game with this reproduction. I haven't seen it in person but the picture is very nice!
I adore these chairs - the backs are upholstered in vintage grain sacks that are also printed while the fronts are classic stripe. Below are many more examples for you to get ideas!
ebay ebayebay

Here is a great example of how wonderful a headboard can look - but I could do with out the floral pillow.

Below are examples of using these textiles as stair runners.

Certainly with a little imagination you can create unique one of kind pillows and upholstery to incorporate into your decorating.


I leave you with another all time favorite - a table runner and wonderful grain sack upholstered chairs! Charming and uniquely yours!