In last week’s blog I mentioned that we had just returned from a 16-day trip to Japan and South Korea - so fabulous and inspirational! I absolutely loved the landscape, architecture, culture, efficiency, work ethic, and gracious hospitality of the Japanese people. And there were so many design takeaways from my trip.
Below are a few of my design impressions and photo highlights from our trip which went south from Tokyo to the Southernmost tip of Japan, then to the Westernmost point, then North to Busan (South Korea) and finally back to Kyoto and Osaka. We were able to catch the end of the cherry blossom season in Tokyo, and then the peak of azalea season in the cities to the South. There is so much to share about design from the trip…so look for future posts interspersed here and there.
My design impressions:
Enjoy the photos and send me questions or comments (http://www.centerstageinteriordesigns.com/contact.html) since I’m curious about your impressions and if you’ve had Japanese travel adventures of your own!
Happy Spring to all my readers! I just returned from the International Window Coverings Expo (IWCE) show in Tampa - an amazing 52-hour trip filled with inspiration and fun. It was great to see all the new window covering product offerings arriving on the market, meet many talented designers and window covering professionals, and catch up on the business of design with my colleagues. Oh, and the 78 degree weather and beautiful sunsets at the downtown Tampa Convention Center location were especially fine since it was snowing in Massachusetts.
During the show I tried to see all the vendors and attend as many of the presentations as I could fit in. Here are my 5 design takeaways from what I saw:
From what I saw the new trims from Trimland are fresh and transitional…perfect for a family room, living room, or bedroom.
Even though it was a quick trip what I saw and learned was well worth the time and travel adventures. Major kudos and thanks to the IWCE 2018 organizers for arranging such a terrific show!
A couple of months ago, I visited Cultivar with my friend Deborah Norkin, who is the Editorial Director of Sante Magazine, a magazine for professionals in the restaurant industry.
You can read the latest issue of the magazine here:
Deborah is acquainted with Cultivar’s Chef Owner Mary Dumont through their mutual connection to Harvard Square’s Harvest Restaurant, where Mary Dumont was the Executive Chef prior to opening Cultivar and Deborah had been on staff in years past. Since Deborah was doing a piece on the food, concept, and décor of Cultivar I went along. What a fun treat for a designer!
You can read Deborah’s feature article here:
Below are some photos I took of the fabulous, fresh and polished décor of Cultivar, done by designer Glen Coben of Glen & Co, a NY-based firm that specializes in hospitality and commercial design. As a farm-to-table restaurant, the décor is filled with references to nature, from the leaf motifs etched into the glass, branch-inspired chandeliers, use of natural stone materials everywhere, and the live edge wood bartop. Since we were there before opening, it was nice to have the run of the place to take photos without disrupting any diners.
I love all the details! The buttons on the banquettes are replicas of Revolutionary war soldier buttons, and of course the diamond button tufting is one of my favorite designs. So cool, and after all, since this is opposite the Old State House in downtown Boston, the fight for freedom from tyranny in the 1770’s and beyond is NEVER going out of style in Boston…
Did you notice they have employed pillows into the banquette design too? The navy/orange/gray color scheme is a nice fresh complement to the live botanical elements. Yes, that tree in the planter above is on the inside of the restaurant.
Here’s a photo of the bar, and I want to point out a very clever design for today’s digitally connected consumer. Do you notice the electrical outlets on the underside of the bartop, perfect for recharging your devices? And the individual hooks for ladies’ purses, thank you designer Glen Coben!! Because really, if you’re seated at the bar, you surely need a place to stash your purse. The live edge bartop is very cool, I wonder just how old that tree was!
And here is the clever way they have boxed in a metal structural beam with glass etched with the beech leaf motif. The high tables have the base structure made from pipe, and wood abounds.
Also very clever are the details in the lobby of the Ames Hotel, where Cultivar’s entrance sits on the east side. Do you notice how the books on the shelves are covered in paper depicting iconic Boston scenes? If you have a display bookcase in your own home and want to personalize it with a favorite photo or vacation shot, this is just the ticket. You can get photographs blown up and printed on canvas or heavy paper from all sorts of retail and on-line stores nowadays, and then just carefully cover the books in the right places to depict the scene on the spine. I’m always looking for ways to use my travel photographs in décor, and I love this cool idea.
For more information and beautiful photos of Cultivar and the Ames Hotel, see:
http://cultivarboston.com/ and http://www.ameshotel.com/photo-gallery/
That’s all for this Sunday morning. Stay warm and dream of sunny and warmer days ahead in 2018, as well as divine inspiration for your own life and interiors!
How the Play “Hamilton” Led to Some Historic Drapery Inspiration
We recently returned from a summer driving trip across New York, Ontario Canada, Vermont, and the Adirondacks. What a terrific vacation! And so reminiscent of driving trips of my youth when my parents would pack up the 5 of us in August and drive cross-country somewhere for 3 weeks to explore the beautiful landscape, see the sights and appreciate the great history of the United States; recharging our batteries before we headed back to school for more formal learning. Although I must say that I learned plenty on those trips!
Historic Window Treatments at the Schuyler Mansion
So, a bit about historic window treatments. When I moved to Massachusetts in 2001, I fully embraced the amazing history of the Georgian and Federal period architecture all around me, and I began researching and creating historical window treatments. I enjoyed giving talks to interior design audiences and writing for trade magazines on this subject. This led to a significant amount of interior design work for me at the historic Wayside Inn in Sudbury, as well as for clients who appreciated and desired the classic period-correct look. As an engineer and perpetual student, I found several crucial texts from the period (written by upholsterers, for drapery was their domain back then as well) for construction of these intricate treatments.
Here are some photos of the parlor from the Schuyler house, the most formal room for entertaining guests, and actually the location of Eliza and Alexander Hamilton’s wedding ceremony. You can see the drapery panels are in the “Italian strung” design where a cord runs between rings sewn to the back of each panel, allowing the drawing up of the drapery.
Below is a photo from the outside of the Nathaniel Hawthorne “House of Seven Gables” in Salem, MA which also demonstrates the cord design of Italian stringing.
Finally, here is a photo of a similar treatment at Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts, taken about 7 years ago. You can see that over the years I have dragged my daughter to lots of historic places, and now she takes me! (And for the record, that is not me next to my daughter, it’s the docent at Old Sturbridge Village in period costume).
I am indeed fortunate to live in an area with spectacular history and plenty of homes and historic buildings to explore all year round. I’m also looking forward to seeing the “Hamilton” musical myself when it comes to Boston in 2018. Now that we played the musical’s soundtrack in the car non-stop the whole vacation, I know all the songs (but wouldn’t dare actually sing…since I am not a great singer). I even cracked a history book upon our return to learn more of the story with that Aaron Burr guy…grrr…...
Anyway, this post shows that design inspiration comes from the most unlikely places! I hope that you found some inspiration, peace, and tranquility yourself this summer!
Overall, the Boston Design Market was an excellent show! Thanks, BDC for delighting us with your incredible design and business-of-design programs and feast for the eyes. Can’t wait to bring my clients to the BDC so they can take in all the scrumptious offerings in one easy trip.
Barbara Phillips, interior designer and owner of Center Stage Interior Designs, has delivered impeccable window treatments and design services to both residential and commercial clients in Massachusetts since 2001.