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

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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A tale of two bathrooms.

My favorite ever clients are close friends, the duo consisting of talented local filmmaker SJ Chiro along with her technology focused husband Farayi Chiro. Smart, busy people who a few years later still have fresh, modern looking bathrooms. Much like the difference between disparate cities yet without the upheaval of a Dicken's novel (unless you call remodeling "the winter of despair,")  these rooms are completely unique in style. To start with, we have the family bath:

Farayi Chiro is originally from Zimbabwe. As a nod to his culture, Shona stone sculptures from Zimbabwe decorate the wet area. In the dry area hangs a framed travel poster for Vietnam from the 1950s, part of SJ’s grandfather’s (a South East Asian Anthropologist) collection. Frosted glass windows sit at the height of the soaking tub on two sides, and two skylights let in lots of natural light, contributing to the benefit of healthful relaxation for the whole family. This family bath features both a sauna and a traditional Japanese soaking tub-- hand crafted by the Alaskan company Sea Otter Wood Works as well as a large walk in shower covered in glass tile along with large glass paneling helps separate the “dry area” (vanity and toilet) from the “wet area” (sauna, tub and shower). 

This area is further separated by a custom sliding door, designed to resemble a Japanese Shoji screen. A natural color scheme in overlaying browns and grey highlight the wood and stone tones. The owners also stipulated that they would like a footbath in the shower. All four members of the family are students of karate and sometimes ‘little feet’ are all that need washing before heading to the dojo! This room was the most designed and redesigned room in the remodel. The owners had a very specific idea of what they wanted from this bath, and their persistence paid off.

Moving down the hall to the master bath...

Designed with the subtle yet elegant glamour of Hollywood in the 1940’s in mind, the master bath of the Chiro household evokes a quiet calm. There’s a nod to the beauty of the past showing through-- in the slightly updated subway tiles on the walls of the shower, the matching rectangular American Standard sinks at the custom made Bamboo vanity, plus the Hansgrohe chrome fixtures in the shower. This room is outfitted to stand the test of time. Combined with modern amenities like heated tile flooring by Emil (‘Vintage Wood, Scandinavian’), the long, narrow room feels wider than it is due to the placement of these tiles which echo the lines of planked wood flooring.

The natural light pouring in through windows (which are placed high enough that no window treatments are needed) highlight the soft tones of the room. With a backdrop of pure, snowy white tiles and soft blue walls, this light bounces off of the glass accent tiles (color ‘cloud’) giving them a hint of green. The linen closet is made of the same bamboo cabinetry and has a pass-through opening in the hallway on the other side of the wall.  
Right about now, I'd like a little sauna time along with a soak in the Japanese tub, how about you? 
All of the really good photos are courtesy of Bellen Drake.  Architect: Tom Morris of Morris Architects Inc., Contractor: Toepfer Construction Co.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pariscope Studios- art for your home, and for you to wear.

This week, I had the pleasure of meeting artist  Elena Korakianitou of Pariscope Studios. Her studio partner, Joanne Sugura was out, yet I was able to see many of the treasures from their jewelry collection which they collaborate on together. Both women have strong sculpture backgrounds, and it is clear to see that each and every necklace, ring, earring, & bracelet is a work of art formed out of this training-- and out of their travel and life experiences. Click here to see how their blog illustrates how they go from inspiration to artistic reinterpretation. Here's a look at my visit:

Note: the colors are more saturated here with my camera phone- see a 2nd image at the end of the post.

Peering into the display case, it seemed as if these were grand items rescued from a ship hidden beneath the sea; or even from an ancient castle whose courtesans wore their bracelets stacked high and their earrings dangling low-- better to catch the light off the candelabras. The bracelet that I was drawn to was made of bone, with the addition of tiny gemstones. It was structural in nature and is from their Sticks & Bones collection that harkens back to memories etched of a dream of tribal villages; or maybe, of remote island wonders culled of the land & sea. These pieces are all thoroughly modern though. I took a fancy to it all!

On the left is my own Jules Accessory Design ring & the two on the right are still at Pariscope

Happy Lucky Buddha Sculpture.

There are many more choices in the studio; plus, select pieces are also available at Baby & Co.

The studio is now open every Friday from 12-6 for sales and to meet the artists at work. Elena is a skilled multidimensional artist who paints & sculpts, too. She was born in Greece and was raised both there, and in Paris (where she still lives part of each year). The paintings and sculptures in the images above are done by her.

Elena & Joanne-- wearing their hand-sculpted zipper necklaces.
In their June '11 issue, Joanne is highlighted in Seattle Magazine's style feature! Mine arrived in the mail today, check out page 31.

In the studio.

Bone, metal and gem bracelet.
 Won't you visit on a Friday, soon? I haven't even told you the half of it. 

Pariscope Studios
159 Western Ave. W. #452
Seattle, WA 98119

The top 5 photos are from my camera phone during my visit, and the remaining are courtesy & copyright of Pariscope Studios. Thanks to Elena for inviting me in, and for the gracious visit. I hope to meet Joanne soon. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Arresting Nature Based Art

Here in Seattle, once the brightness in the sky lasted more than 2 hours in a row, I declared it floral and nature week on my blog. It's rained so much lately that our grass needs to be mowed twice a week and everyone complains on the gloomy May days that we've grown accustomed to. Generally, we like the moodiness and artistic thought that comes with the dark; but in the middle of May? No way! I was thrilled when Sharon Arnold pointed the way to a few artists that weren't on my horizon for my theme. Starting with Katy Stone whose large scale works create shadows that add another layer of intrigue to her already vast, yet delicate works that are represented locally at Greg Kucera Gallery.  Right here are a few of her flowers, clouds, forests and trees...

Katy Stone, Glade (closeup)  102” x 59“ x 2”, Acrylic paint on Durarlar, pins, shadows

Katy Stone, Cloudtree (puff)  46” x 55” x 3”, Acrylic paint on Duralar, pins, shadows

Katy Stone, Forest (detail)
120” x 84” x 3”, Acrylic paint on Duralar and paper, pins, shadows

Next up is Casey Curran who recently created his Sacred and Profane groupings of assemblage art cranked up a level with incredible moving parts that elevate his still pieces to breathing works infused with life. What at first seem to be merely fantastical, still groupings of feathers and bones and dried flowers, turns into an entire life cycle repeated again and again with the addition of a turning hand shaft.

Unification by Casey Curran; love it now?! Watch it here in motion.  Be still my heart-- WOW!

Yellow Dawn by Casey Curran. Watch the video here.

To wrap up this particular nature-based art post, I must include the following image. As I was watching the formation of the feather cuttings that Sharon Arnold was doing last winter, I was taken in by the repetition of the art in the way that one feather is nice, yet many are superb. Each feather is the same-- and yet very different. Just as is each raindrop, or leaf or blade of grass. Once brought together, their sense of motion is created in unity. Sharon has recently created this type of gathering with local artists who are participating in her LxWxH project. The goal is in making local art both accessible and sustainable. You, too, can be part of this project by checking out her subscription options; or purchasing a single month: Each issue is one box containing two pieces by two artists, and a short essay by a local writer. I think it's a great idea for easily bringing some local (often edgy) art into your homes. 

Muff, 2011, hand-cut Strathmore 400 paper, dimensions variable

Go out and delight in the natural world made new through art. Looking out my window, I see that the sun is currently shining-- I best quickly leave my keyboard while I get the chance to see it! How about you?!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Floral Elegance from a Seaside Home

Bainbridge Island artist Kathe Fraga lives in a 100 year old home by the sea. Take a peek at the first image below (behind her largest ever painting), and see how the tall windows in her studio let in such a gorgeous light. It both looks and sounds like a magical space to paint in. Her works are inspired by the natural world along with frescos in France--  with her own take on chinoiserie; all in all evoking old world elegance in a current style. The colors that she layers are exquisite-- and these works would hang well in either a grand mansion or a charming cottage. It's also easy to see why Swedish Medical Center just purchased 3 of her paintings. Here's a sampling of some of my favorite ones...

60" x 48" Showing at Pacini Lubel Gallery 6--2-2011

Kathe uses acrylic paint on frescoed canvas. At the end, she finishes them off with lacquer.

Greeting card series soon to be available at Frank & Dunya

Love Song



Updated post: More Studio Shots--The Fauna has arrived:
From the Patterned Bird Series 
The kitty likes the Patterned Bird Series! 
Astute Art Critic
What's your favorite one, and where will you hang it?
Photos copyright and courtesy of artist Kathe Fraga.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Giddy for Gurgle Pots!

Ta-da! Aren't they sweet? Just wait until you hear them gurgle!
One of my best ever girlfriends gave me the tall, red Gurgle Pot that you see above. People will come by the house and scream "You've got the RED one? I want the red one yet can't find them since they are so coveted and out of stock!" Yep, I say the same thing; yet it sounds like this: "Get your hands off my Gurgle Pot!". OKAY, so I'm only kidding. I'm more likely to suggest that they pour some water in it and then go over and water one of my thirsty looking plants (sorry, plants). Click here to hear their delightful sound that will make you smile. Need a pick me up? Use your gurgle pot! It's a decoration, a vase, a water pitcher...  I'm lucky enough to have two.
Isn't it about TIME that you get yourself a Gurgle Pot, plus maybe an iphone with the ShakeItPhoto App so that you can take pictures like this of objects on your living room table? Swoon!
That sweet little baby in the top photo was a gift from my younger daughter for my birthday. She had to keep going back to the gourmet kitchen store Dish It Up! on old Ballard Avenue until she spied this one here. It was the very last one at the time (aren't I the lucky one?)-- go out and see if they have some more; you just might get so sidetracked by their gorgeous shop that you won't mind the extra trips if they are currently out of stock. Be sure to go back sometime on a Sunday for a visit to the Ballard Farmers Market. It's one of the best in the city! As for now, I need to get back to my gurgle babies... my plants need some lovin'.

Friday, May 6, 2011

These boots are made for stomping!

Scandinavians really know how to combine function with high style!  Thanks to Happy Swede in America Splendid Willow for this image! She has a gorgeous blog, plus an online shop to buy these boots. Tack så mycket!

This weekend, I am headed to the forest and waterways of Hood Canal. Between walking through moss covered trails and getting mucky in the seaweed of the shore, these Boots are just what I'll need to stay dry, warm & very happy. The cerulean blue color is my favorite, yet I think I'll choose black so that come fall, I'll wear them again and again on the streets of Seattle. Created by the Danish designer Ilse Jacobsen, her Hornbæk line is named after the small town she is from. With her current take on waterproof gear, she has made her mark as a style icon in Scandinavian countries. It's certainly easy to see why the trend is crossing over stateside. 

Color blocking at the beach.
Made of 100% natural rubber for a more breathable boot, the not-so-secret touch is that they are lined with a cotton-fleece lining which is very light for both comfort and ease (no matter how messy you might be getting). When I'm cleaning out the oyster farm aqua purses this weekend, I'll be wishing mine had arrived sooner! Though my heart is set on these tall, lace up classics; I did find a different style on sale in Fremont over at Lambs Ear Shoes. That is, if you just can't wait to get out and get dirty this Mother's Day Weekend!

Get out of town- these are styled like leather boots! Who's headed for an ocean getaway?

I know that no matter the weather, Scandinavians spend a lot of time outdoors. It's in my genetics; plus, for nearly 3 years, I worked locally for the good of a Danish playground equipment company called Kompan. Danes know how to play so well-- and with forward thinking, sleek designs! Whatever playground you choose, get outside and have some fun!

All copyright images provided courtesy of Ilse Jacobsen Co.; with credit to Splendid Willow for the opening photo. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Brassière fitting tips!

With both friends and acquaintances, it's been a busy week of talking about problems with bras. My everyday conversations have included questioning why there are so few non-padded bras available for those of us who are perfectly happy on the small to average side-- to the instance where a young woman that I know took out the bra wires that were poking into her, and then she was shocked when everything fell out of place (note: if your wires are poking you in a newer bra, you need to go up a band size). Poor thing! She actually had to borrow a co-worker's extra sports bra to get through her work day. On that note, grab a measuring tape and let's get all of you girls properly fitted (or rather, in recent lingo- let's fit your girls!).
A little background- when I was in my early 20's, I worked in a lingerie shop and was trained as an expert bra fitter. I've never forgotten the tips. For the shy ladies, it's possible to have someone do these measurements even if you're wearing a soft-cup bra; or simply a fitted tank or tee.  The fundamentals of good fit seem to be a mystery to 80% of women, so I am on a mission today to eradicate this difficult situation. You can try this by yourself, yet grabbing a friend certainly works better: 

    Measure around your rib cage and just below your bust. If the measurement is even, add 4", if the measurement is odd, add 5". Side note: this isn't always perfect- try things on- sometimes, 3" is what works as can be seen here on this chart). With a new bra, always hook on the first row as the bands stretch over time, and you'll eventually need to tighten. If you can comfortably place one or two fingers at the back, and there is no pulling up in the front center, it fits properly.
    For the cup size, measure across the fullest part of your bust. You will take this number and subtract the band number you arrived at per the above instructions. The difference between the two measurements will give you your cup size (an important bit of news is that not all cups are created equally. For example, a 36B is equal in cup volume to a 34C).

Difference in "
The Cup Size is:
0"-1/2" (1.3 cm) AA
1/2"- 1" (2.6 cm) A
2" (5.1 cm) B
3" (7.6 cm) C
4" (10.2 cm) D
5" (12.7 cm) DD or E
6" (15.2 cm) DDD or F
7" (17.8 cm) G
If you are planning a pregnancy, remember that there will be big changes up ahead so be sure to go somewhere like Bella Materna for pregnancy and nursing bras. By golly, small busted ladies who are very  familiar with the start of the alphabet regarding cup sizes may someday be surprised to find that even they might need to wear something like a 38D bra after having the baby. It'll be short lived, yet be prepared! So help yourself out, and if you've had any changes in your body size, have your size checked and try on a lot of different bras-- it's the only way to accommodate all of the differences in shape and fit. In the end, you will look and feel so much better though. I'm happy to be of service by helping my friends out here! Go out into the world comfortable with your size--- each and every one is just right...*Read more about the designer of that lovely lingerie by Céline Pinckers (seen above on the "non-padded bras" link) on the delightful Honey Kennedy Blog).
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