Writing about style, design and all things that catch my eye!

Perfectly imperfect and casually luxe; these are a few of my favorite things.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Magical & mystical Cypress knees (what's that you say?)

Cypress knees in their natural habitat, photo by Guy Fanguy

Looking around my own home, there is plenty of evidence of driftwood, curious looking shells, and other unusual/natural finds from the Pacific Northwest playground that I live in. In groupings curated over time, they are nestled in a way that makes some people take pause. Nature has a delightful way of offering up treasures to those of us who look far and wide.

Having never travelled to the South of the U.S. though, I was greatly surprised when I walked into Kirk Albert  in Georgetown, and spied a table topped with the most otherworldly of wooden sculptures. Not knowing what they were, I inquired into their origin and was interested in hearing that they were dried Cypress knees harvested from swamps in Louisiana. These Bald Cypress trees seem indestructible and can live for hundreds of years. Underwater, they have a taproot that is the same depth as the tree is tall. The smaller roots up closer to the surface begin to grow these knees. The older the tree, the bigger the growths and the more varied their shapes. 

At Kirk Albert Vintage Furnishings where they were grouped on a table surrounded by other gorgeous, vintage finds, they stood out to me that day. Imagine looking at them and alternately seeing a mountain range, a floating dress, or even a human face or hand. Their dried, polished color of golden brown highlighted their allure. 

In this moment of being mesmerized, I thought of a piece called The Weight of a Crown by Seattle artist Bryan Schoneman  Made out of local dirt mixed with water; drip by drip, the organic basis of his crown pieces create a kind of manipulated natural wonder.  Coast to coast, bow down to royalty outside our own doors (naturally formed, or generated by human hands).

As we transition to 2011, go hunting and find your own treasures in nature; and no matter how you spend it, enjoy your New Year's Eve! 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The stars are out tonight.

While I love modern, independent designers and special vintage finds, today's post showcases a big box shop. With only 20 minutes to peruse Anthropologie here's a complete look for New Year's Eve (if your budget lets you shop without looking at the tags). Grab a necklace from your closet, and step out into the night.

New Year's Eve Tweed $268
Pleated Kisslock Pouch $58
Draping Sapphire Heels $338

A touch of blue is hinted at in the purse.
Le Soir Magnifique Coat $298

Jules Accessory Design on Etsy

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pick a fun dress!

When looking for a Holiday Dress, look beyond the always elegant black and spot the one of a kind beauty that beckons from afar. The one that you are fairly certain no one else will have.

As easy as 1, 2, 3, these two stunners were spotted in online images; yet the Marchesa Dress was an old Ebay item; and the Marc Jacobs one is also out of inventory. For ideas, try searching simple terms like "blue silk dress" and scroll through until one calls out to you. In this case, while they couldn't be purchased instantly, the vision remains. That's when the true search begins!  

I so want the blue silk one with the gold trim;  the one that shrieks swanky party up ahead!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Modern furnishings from a different era.

The word vintage is one that I am so fond of using. With my love of all things refurbished, repurposed, and reworked, one of a kind styles are easily made. Seattle is a little treasure trove of shops that have done the sourcing work for you. Displayed in the most stylish of arrangements, Susan Wheeler Home in Georgetown is a place that I could spend hours in lingering over hidden treasures nestled tight in cases made to delight. Before she opened her own shop, she had a space in Pacific Galleries. It was a tiny, tiny area stacked high with her findings from around the world. On one project, she had to come all the way up from Olympia to lift layers of objects off of the prized brahma bull rug that is now displayed in a client's (and best friend's) stunning living room. Paired with both modern art and sculptures from Zimbabwe, it looks incredibly chic and bold.

Similar, yet with their own vibe, there's a new shop behind University Village: Gracious House to Home. Not only are the owners Tracy Reimers and Deidre Denckla finding and reupholstering fantastic pieces, they are also bringing in new jewelry by several local artists, one of which is my dear friend Jules whom I first met at a trunk show where she was hosting a night of wine and shopping. I return to her jewelry again and again. Make a visit to peek throughout Gracious h2h as they also have pairings of table settings, glassware, and home decor. Their prices alone are worth a visit since even if you don't believe you need anything, I guarantee that you will find something. If not, I will spot an irresistible item for you; and if requested, I'll even show you where you should place it!  Enjoy.

Antlers have never looked better.
Pairing two vintage necklaces. Swoon!Susan Wheeler Home

 Susan Wheeler Home

Gracious House to Home
Toast with a festive glass. 
What a beauty! The coolest fabric choice was made here. 
Gracious House to Home

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The first post from this Design & Style Alchemist!

In the fast paced world we live in, there's no time like the present to be living in style. Yet have no fear, this doesn't mean you always have to spend a bundle. By applying a modern take on the phrase "something old, something new..." you can update your home and your wardrobe with the flick of my magic wand. Ultimately, this saves you time and money because I'll know what you need to make your world shine. 

There are fashionable women out there who need me to edit their wardrobes and then fill it in with new pieces. These are the women (or men) who know what they love, yet that have no time to shop; or, they downright don't enjoy it.  On the other hand, we all know someone that needs a helping hand to show them how they can look their best. It can be an emotional endeavor for them to make that change, yet the end result is empowering. Now, there's no stopping me at wardrobes as I think that most people have homes that they want to be able to both relax and entertain in; and with all things visual, it's all about about finding the ideal arrangement.

My experience has shown that while there are those who have me work on their complete remodel from start to finish (working with their architect and contractors to plan and implement the design); more commonly, they only need a one room-makeover; or even, throughout the house, just a fluff of what they've already got. The treasures that most people have seem to be hidden. Let's get them displayed to best effect (just like you when you step out the door feeling good about how you're presented).

This is what I do, and I'm here with a promise to make your life golden; at the very least, in the way you dress, and in the space you come home to. 
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