Thursday, January 28, 2010

Gorgeous Handmade Mirrors

Awesome vendor alert: Made Goods, a trade-only vendor (sorry, I know, but you can always order through me!) has some of the most beautiful and unique mirrors I've seen in a long time.  You can peruse the collection of mirrors along with their collections of small occasional furniture and objects at  If you're interested in pricing anything out, let me know!

Also - I'm updating this post to add that MadeGoods now carries stunning lighting and accent furniture.  Their line is greatly expanded with tons of gorgeous pieces that will add character to any space.

Here are a just a very few that jumped out at me...  There are many more in the collection that are more subdued, but I especially liked these unique, textural examples of their work.

Giselle Reproduction Coral Mirror, Available in red or white, 24" Diameter

Grotta Baroque Shell Pattern Mirror, 30"W x 38"H

Killian Interlocking Capiz Mirror, 32"W x 42"H

Madena Matchstick Mirror (32" or 24" Diameter)

This is such a small selection of what's available on the website - it's definitely worth a look if for nothing besides inspiration and a glimpse at some beautiful things.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Rex Ray - Am I the Last Person to Know?

Lasallia, mixed media on linen, 2007

Rationaria, mixed media on linen, 2006

Amandinia, mixed media on canvas, 2007

I'm apparently pretty late to the game on this one, but I just discovered the work of Rex Ray, a San Francisco artist who works in collage and canvas. 

He's been remarkably successful with his colorful collages and multimedia works.  His work is available in the original and as prints at Turner Carroll Gallery and Gallery 16 online as well as in reproduction through major print sites like and (although neither of those two carry my favorites available through Turner Carroll or Gallery 16.) 

Here is his bio from the Turner Carroll Gallery website:

"Rex Ray is a San Francisco based fine artist, whose collages, paintings and design work have been exhibited at galleries and museums, including the The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, University Art Museum in Berkeley, San Jose Museum of Modern Art, The Crocker Museum in Sacramento, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Michael Martin Galleries, Gallery 16, New Langton Arts, and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions.

"He is also a celebrated graphic designer. He has created work for Apple, Dreamworks, Sony Music, Warner Brothers, City Lights Publishers, Matador Records, Serpent's Tail, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, Rizzoli, Powerhouse, Mute Records and Crown Books. His package designs for David Bowie, as well as for Joe Satriani, Diamanda Galás, Matmos, and Deee-Lite, have earned him an international reputation for his innovation in type and with original photographs, drawings, and collage. He has designed over 100 historic Bill Graham Presents rock and roll tour posters, including ones for The Rolling Stones, Patti Smith, REM, Bjork, U2, and Radiohead."

I actually came across his name while perusing Z Gallerie (as I shrink down into my chair) to see if they had any new furnishings worth commenting on.  I saw one of his works on their site and decided to google and see what happened.  I'm so glad I did!  It just goes to show the mass exposure a serious artist can get by licensing a limited amount of his or her work to a major retail outlet, even if the overall aesthetic of that retailer isn't what the artist might adhere to normally.

Because they're colorful yet sophisticated and are so abstract, these can work in many different rooms and would appeal equally to all ages.  I'm even thinking about something for the nursery.  His work is so full of life and color - how did I not know about him already?

Parmotrema, 36" square, print on art block, at Z Gallerie

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Adirondack Style

I've been on the hunt for some concepts for a boy's room that aren't too precious or expected.  Something that kind of randomly occurred to me was the idea of adirondack or log-style furniture, which is very masculine and durable, yet all-American and somewhat eco-friendly given that it is mostly hand-made in America and thus avoids the off-gassing chemicals used in particle-board and veneer furniture as well as the transportation costs associated with cheaper imports.

I've always loved log furniture when we've vacationed out west, but wondered if it would look too theme-y and out of place in another part of the country (e.g. the Midwest.)  I've concluded that since the most substantial piece of baby furniture I'll likely get will be a dresser (in lieu of a changing table) and it won't be a whole suite of matching pieces, the theme won't be too overwhelming.  We can get a stained wood crib to begin with, and upgrade to a log-style headboard or canopy bed later if we decide we like this aesthetic.  But rustic furniture can also blend well with other materials and metals like antique bronze or brass with all sorts of reclaimed or antiqued wood, so we don't have to feel confined to more pieces in this exact style in the future when adding to the room. 

Here are some examples of dressers I've found so far as options.

ADK Design Birch and Hickory Dresser (located midway down page)

ADK Design Twig Design Pine and Hickory Dresser (midway down page)

Old Hickory Mule Chest by Old Hickory Furniture, available through Black Forest Decor

The Log Furniture Store Adirondack Twig 6-Drawer Dresser

I can't decide whether it will be an issue to have bark-veneered furniture in a child's room - while most pieces are coated to death with polyurethane to prevent peeling, it might be preferable still to go with a smoother-finished piece.  In this case, here are a few options in that direction.

Log Furniture Store Big Woods 6-Drawer Dresser

There is so much more out there and this is just a small sampling of things I happened to like.  Looking forward to doing more research, as this is a look I don't often get the chance to use here in Chicago!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Back with Baby Bedding!

Okay, I checked out during holiday season.  But I've been a little distracted because I'm expecting.  May.  A Boy.  So basically everything I read or look at these days involves babies.

The first thing anyone researching baby products will find is that there's a lot of cheese-ola baby stuff out there, especially at the lower end of the price spectrum.  I have zero interest in anything involving a merchandised character or an animal that's trying too hard to check those "cute" boxes (Oversized creepy cartoon eyes? Check!)

The good news is, it's not necessary to spend a fortune to get cool baby stuff when you can often get gently used things for much less, or find some great designers with lines at places like Target or other major retailers.  Ikea is also a great choice, with a modern-looking crib that gets great ratings from Consumer Reports.  I'll probably report on cribs later.

The first thing most people focus on for the nursery is color and pattern.  Some people will want to go with standard blue or pink, while others want to go more neutral for practicality of use with future children.  Whatever your preference, there are numerous options out there.  I've always thought back to my yellow childhood room and decided that I would like my baby's room to feature yellow in the design rather than one of the other "baby" colors.

I've been totally in love with Dwell Studio since I first saw it carried in some upscale baby stores.  They have a mid-century modern aesthetic that's so fetching and unlike anything else I've been able to find.  It's cute and age-appropriate while avoiding that saccharine sweetness so many other baby lines have.  And goodness me, they have a line at Target.

Shown above is their "Hippo" pattern that I love because of the gender-neutral coloration which makes it suitable down the road if we happen to have another child and it's a girl.  Also, I love anything animal-related, especially when it's not just your typical run-of-the-mill baby-friendly animals.  While I find their animal patterns particularly attractive, pretty much anything Dwell does is fine by me.  They can practically do no wrong.

As a point of reference, the Owls Sky crib set below is from their standard line sold online and in baby boutiques for $360 (includes blanket, bumper, sheet, and bed skirt).  The Hippo crib set at Target is only $80 (for blanket, bumper, and sheet - crib skirt is an additional $20.)