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November 12, 2008

Designer Saw Horses

Picture 776

New York based sculptor and painter George Gavin Zeigler sees Saw Horses as something more than the utilitarian objects I've always viewed them as.  He's made them over into high end design pieces handmade from Zebra Wood, Mahogany, Ebony, Maple, Cherry, Afrormosia... 

The luxury woods support float glass or diamond wire glass tops to make desks, dining tables, consoles and other custom creations.

Prices start at $2,100 a pair, much more than was paid for the two dusty versions in my basement, but I guess they don't look as good.

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November 04, 2008

One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State


Election Day is finally here and even Pure Contemporary, usually knee deep in design, isn't immune to its charms. We think a lot about color over here.  Today, we're especially interested in the two most talked about colors of 2008, red and blue.

Why are Republicans Red and Democrats Blue?

According to The Washington Post, the terms were coined by Tim Russert during his televised coverage of the 2000 presidential election.[1] It wasn't the first time colors were used to graphically portray state politics, but these colors stuck, and the connotations of each color is a good reason why.

Here's what the experts have to say about the meaning of red:

The symbolism of red is vast and varied -- by culture and by context. In Asia, red symbolizes luck, success, fire -- and stock market profits -- while in Western culture, red indicates a bad day on Wall Street. In either context, red indicates the ultimate. Of all the colors in the visible spectrum, red is the one that demands -- and attracts -- the most attention. In nature's palette there is an abundance of green's, blue's, brown's and even white. Against any of these backdrops, red stands out and impacts our moods; arousing, startling, warning, electrifying or agitating us.

And blue:

Feng Shui experts praise blue as being calming, soothing and tranquil. They say it seems to lengthen time, symbolizes understanding and can give an upscale look (historically, blue's a color of royalty).To the Egyptians, blue represented faith. The Greeks thought sapphires could help with physical health and mental composure; they used the airy hue to represent water, sky and truth. The Chinese used blue to represent the east and, along with green, the spring season of growth and rebirth. For early Christians blue symbolized the divine. In Islam it stands for winter, night and old age.

Makes sense to me. What do you think?

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November 03, 2008

Modern Design and the White House

Those of us who look forward to touring the White House via TV every year at Christmas time understand the effect every First Lady has on interior design at the White House. With that in mind, I can't help speculating on how Cindy McCain or Michelle Obama would inject her own style into the nation's most storied manse.

To help whet your imagination, here is an image of John McCain at home in a room he and his wife, who designed it, refer to as "The Indian Room." (I think "Native American" would be a better choice, but that's what they call it.)

Read the full commentary and explanation of each numbered item in the room, here, at


 And here's a shot of Obama's house, I admit not a great one.


Oddly, both have Southwest style rugs, and what any modernist would consider a lot of clutter. Other than that, it's difficult to pull too much from these photos. Still, we know you have an opinion and we want to hear it.

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October 21, 2008

Lighting Gets Fashionable


1) Alexander Wang   
2) YLighting: Pallucco- Gilda


1) Jean Paul Gaultier

2) YLighting: Collage Pendant

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October 20, 2008

Cigarette anyone?

Sleek, simple vase. Check.

Understated colors. Check.

Shocking resemblance to ciggies. Check.

The Arbor Vase from Chiasso.



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More Fashionable Lighting


1) Valentino
2) YLighting: Col Drop Pendant Light 


1) Armani Prive                                       
2) YLighting: Hugo Floor Lamp

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October 15, 2008

Parkersewn Modern Pillows

With a look that's at once crafty and couture, Parkersewn pillows deliver that punch of color and style we look for in this oft maligned accessory.

To be sure - we abhor "pillow shows" but  a few well chosen pieces will be warm and interesting. Parkersewn pillows can be the finishing touch in a child's room (left ) or a living room (right).

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Did I mention these handmade beauties start at $26?

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October 13, 2008



Chi Wing Low describes his YFI collection as being like “a hull of a boat floating in space, which rocks and takes us on an imaginary voyage.” 


The frame of the YFI sofa is made of profiled steel embedded in cold expanded polyurethane foam. The seat cushions and those of the back and armrests are in different density expanded polyurethane, covered in fiber.  The frame is covered in non-removable leather whereas the internal cushions can be in removable fabric or leather. A range of headrests are available.

YFI comes as a sofa and day-bed, maintaining the same technical characteristics and having the same double function as a comfortable seat and bed.

Dimensions- (sofa without head rest) length- 73 ¼” width- 35” height- 29 ½”

YFI will be available this winter at Giorgetti.

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Antique Herringbone Floors, Modern Furniture


4489_pp Paula Abdul knows it, scientists know it, and of course, the most interesting designers know it: Opposites attract.

Ask any artist or writer and they'll extol the virtues of juxtaposition. Having opposing items next to each other exposes the qualities of each to greater degree. This, I hope, explains the excitement I had when I first saw Herringbone Natural from Exquisite Surfaces. Although the floor is shown here in a traditional setting, imagine it under more modern furniture.

For dust haters like me, a floor with such warmth and variation in texture and color is a reprieve from rugs. Who would want them, with a floor like this?

The dark color is also a tribute to feng shui principles of nature. The floor, or ground, should be darkest in the room with the walls lighter and ceiling (representing the sky) lightest.

For me, these floors are the perfect backdrop to modern furniture icons, like the Le Corbusier Chaise or Platner's wire Lounge Collection, and the ideal base for a minimalist home.

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October 10, 2008

Updates from Adam Simha

One of our favorite designers, Adam Simha, precipitated today's trend toward metals in interiors with his minimalist line of steel chairs and tables.

We touted his work as being available at Orange22, (it was) and at LA design spot Twentieth, (it was). These days, though, Simha's wares are available on the west coast at FIVEten Studio in Oakland and in the east at NYC's Designlush.  Being much closer to Simha's Cambridge studio, Designlush carries some of his newest work, including the desk and bench he did for the most recent ICFF.

You can also score Simha's designs, like his latest knife collection, directly through his website, MKS Design.

Just for you, dear readers, we have a sneak peak of the 8'' Chefs and 5.5" Petty knives, and Simha's take on paring down in the kitchen:


The 8" is a significant departure in terms of geometry in that it is quite thin the entire length of the blade - more like Western style knives made by Japanese manufacturers.  It is also a good bit lighter.  The Petty, also thin and light, is the blade to bridge the gap between the Chefs and Paring knives.

I've seen a trend as I visit kitchens toward folks using just enough knife for the job rather than overdoing it - also using fewer knives.

His latest knife collection is also available at Souffle's in Newburyport, Ma; Bliss Home (Newbury St. Boston), and through Vessel (online and in store, as "Simha Knives").

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