Thursday, October 8, 2015

Weekend Recap

Last weekend one of my best friends came to visit me in New York, and we had such a great time that I have to document it in a recap post.  Grace and I met in undergrad at OU and have been virtually inseparable since then.  When I made the move here a few months ago, I made her promise to visit me as soon as she could.  We've been on many vacations and weekend jaunts together, and in 2010 we spent New Years Eve in Times Square.  I was so looking forward to being reunited in a place we both love, and her stay, albeit short, did not disappoint.  Friday we went to dinner at Balthazar  (my favorite) and stayed for a few cocktails at the bar.  Saturday, we grabbed a quick brunch at The Penrose and avoided the rain by going to the matinee of Wicked.

Before you write this off as "2 Basic Girls Do NYC," let me tell you about our dinner experience.  I'd been dying to try Beauty & Essex, but could only manage to get us a 5:45 pm reservation even two weeks in advance. So after the show, we headed to the Lower East Side for dinner with the rest of the senior citizens.  Walking in to Beauty & Essex was a bit confusing, as the entry is a thrift shop.  However, once you walk in to the restaurant itself, the atmosphere is dark, sexy Art Deco glam.  Even at 6 pm, the restaurant and bar were hopping, and we soon understood why.  The cocktails were truly works of art.  I had a St. Germain cocktail and Grace had the Old Dirty bramble (tequila, smoked blueberries, honey ginger, and lime).  They also brought us an amuse bouche of pureed beet on brioche: 

For dinner, we shared the tuna poke wonton tacos, chile relleno empanadas, thai style deep-fried shrimp, and lobster mac and cheese. No calorie was spared. After we finished eating, we walked over to the Ludlow Hotel for a drink, and the atmosphere there did not disappoint either. There was a man in a dramatic kimono parading around for most of the night, and neither of us could figure out if he worked for the hotel or was just an entitled guest.  It takes all kinds, I suppose.   The sun finally shone a bit on Sunday, so we went for a quick brunch near my apartment in the Upper East Side at The Writing Room before heading to Central Park.  I loved the industrial lighting and the plethora of books:

My brunch date was so in to our conversation.

While gallivanting through Central Park, we stopped for a few selfie opportunities.

And we rowed our way around the lake.  Or, I should say, I convinced Grace to row me around while I laid back and got some sun. 

I love this girl! Thanks for the visit, G!  Now I'm off to Texas for Austin City Limits.  I can't wait!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Lighting Lust

One of my favorite ways to make an impact in a room is through statement-making lighting. In design school, it was drilled in to us that a room should have layers of light, rather than just one direct source.  Whether it be a combination of recessed cans, decorative pieces, task lighting (table/reading lamps), ambient (i.e. indirect), or kinetic (candles and/or LEDs) - a room should have at least 2 sources but at best all 5.  Of course, the most fun to shop for is decorative.  I feel like a lot of decor stores are really stepping up their lighting game- especially West Elm and CB2.  My personal favorite lighting sources are Oomph, Coleen & Company, and Soane.  Here's a round-up of my current favorite fixtures:

Shop This Board:

1.) Colleen & Company/2.) West Elm Large Mobile Chandelier in Brass $249 /3.) Black Wire Semi-Flush-Mount Chandelier $1,995/4.) Tole Tent Semi Flush in Blush $1,575/
5.) Harbinger LA Elsie Lantern $2,400/6.) CB2 Vega Flush Mount Chandelier in Brass $249/7.) Serena & Lily Marlowe Pendant $295/

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Needing, Wanting, Loving: Chloe's Drew Bag

If there's one thing I love, it's a beautifully constructed handbag that can be paired with a variety of outfits.  While evening bags and clutches are fun accessories to browse, I don't own very many of them because they can only be used on a very limited number of special occasions.  I'd much rather invest in a bag that I can carry while headed to spin class, nice dinners out on the town, or simply every day to work.   That's why I love Chloe's Drew handbag.  The simple, round satchel design is accented with gold hardware and a gold strap chain for the perfect touch of luxe.  This style comes in a variety of colors and finishes, including a perforated option.  I personally would purchase the soft grey shade, shown below:

It's beautiful!  The Drew bag has been spotted everywhere, and I love the outfits these girls paired their satchel with:

What bag or accessory do you have your eye on for fall?

Monday, September 28, 2015

Lilly Bunn's Upper East Side Apartment

When I was in Montauk last month with Gaby and Lauren, we were discussing what interior designers best exemplify our personal aesthetic.  Besides my current firm, Amanda Nisbet Design, I immediately thought of Lilly Bunn Interiors. I love the way she infuses color in to her spaces to create a youthful, livable feel.  To me, her rooms feel well-thought-out and balanced, with the perfect mix of statement-making decor and classic pieces.  Her Upper East Side Manhattan apartment is a great example of a home that is both kid-friendly and adult chic:

{Don't even get me started on how cute Lilly is-  I have a major girl crush!}

Her living room features a Moroccan rug that anchors the seating area while creating fun pattern play.   She chose to go with a Moroccan that had shorter fibers, so she wouldn't be stuck fishing out her kid's crumbs from long shaggy hairs. I love that she chose to scale the table lamps a bit larger for added drama, and the frilly window treatments add a femininity to the space. 

A magenta juju hat pops against Hinson's splatter wallpaper:

Many different elements are at play in her dining room.  Black, lightweight bentwood chairs surround a modern pedestal table.  Lilly walked by a downtown lighting store admiring this crystal boat chandelier in the front window for weeks before she finally gave in and purchased it.  The natural striped rug was selected because it can easily hide her kid's stains and spills. 

I love the shape of Lilly's master bedroom headboard as well as the nailhead trim.  A gold Tiffany & Co. clock she received as a wedding present sits on display by her bed. 

Lilly and her husband Chris have 2 young daughters, Grace and Daisy.  Their rooms are playful havens filled with youthful textiles, and double as the girl's playrooms.

As always, fabulous job Lilly!  See more of her impeccable work here

{photos via One Kings Lane}

Thursday, September 24, 2015

NYC Bedroom Update 2

Today I am happy to bring you a NYC bedroom update, but I hope you weren't looking for a frilly, pretty post because the honest truth is that this is quite a process.  As much as I am loving NYC life (and that's the God's honest truth- everyone needs to live here at some point in their lives, the experience is indescribable), it presents obstacles a normal city would not.  A few weeks ago, a few of my artworks and throw pillows arrived from Houston.  As I unpacked the boxes and unloaded my things, I felt a rush of comfort.  It felt so nice to have a piece of my life from back home finally in NYC with me.  The next delivery I expected was an acrylic desk chair originally found at Mecox, but when I unwrapped the FedEx box, my poor chair had been broken in transit.  You can see it on the bottom right of the photo. Le Sigh.

There's always a silver lining to any cloud, and in this case I found a great restorer who plans to fix the chair for me and reupholster the seat.   This will be immensely less expensive than buying a new chair, and the FedEx claim money will more than cover the chair's facelift.  I decided on Bermingham & Co's Ikat silk fabric for the seat, and also plan to use this same fabric for my shower curtain and cornice.

My headboard is almost finished as well, which is exciting!  I had to have it custom made since my bed is so high.  Because I needed additional storage space, I used those risers we all love from the Container Store to make space underneath my bed.  Sometimes I truly feel like I'm back in a dorm room! 

I know it looks VERY tall, but once it's behind my bed and my shams are installed, the scale should look correct.  

As you can see in the picture above, I also got a few art pieces hung up- the Slim Aarons photograph is the first thing you see when you walk in to my room, and Kelly O’Neal’s Rhombus painting is hanging on the opposite wall next to my bed. 

Here's what's left to buy:

I plan to put this shelf by my bed to serve as both a display AND as a bedside table for my book, water, and phone.

2.) Coleen & Company Taylor Lantern

I bet you wouldn't believe me if I told you my room has no main ceiling light.  Right now I have a CB2's Tripel floor lamp with three bulbs that I'm using as a make-shift track light to bounce off the walls and provide as much light as possible, but I have finally caved and asked my super to install an overhead light.  To keep with the colorful, fun feel I'm going for, I plan to buy Coleen & Company's Taylor Lantern.  They have the best lighting!

3.) Oomph's Tini Table

I also need a petite table on the other side of my bed.  There is maybe 12” W available, so I’m thinking Oomph’s tini table would be perfect.  The best part is choosing the top finish- raffia, snakeskin, shagreen, or even a Quadrille fabric.

Despite the decor hiccups, I am having an absolute blast here.  My roommates are great, my coworkers are incredible, the projects we are working on are unreal, and I’m getting a nice little muffin top from all the dirty martinis and avocado toasts.  Life is good!

Follow this process from the beginning:

1.) I Found the Space
2.) Week 1 In the Books
3.) Bedroom Update

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Honoring the Greats: David Hicks

Undoubtedly one of the most (if not the most) influential interior designers of the twentieth century was David Hicks.  In fact, nearly any geometric print, whether it be Cole & Son's infamous Hicks wallpaper or Mary McDonald's geometric rug collection, is inspired by David's original designs. Hicks was known as a firecracker, both for his explosive personality and his bold design style, and was something of an English celebrity during the height of his career in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

Hicks was born in 1929 in Essex, England and graduated from the Central College of Art in London. His first job out of college was working for an advertising agency, drawing cereal box designs.  Meanwhile, Hicks was redesigning his mother's London home on the side.  Everything changed for David when House & Garden published a glowing article featuring Mrs. Hicks refreshed home in 1954-  David realized his true calling, and become a full-fledged decorator.  

David soon became THE authority on English design during the 1960s, most notably for his electrifying color combinations and his mix of antiques and modern furniture with pop art and abstract paintings.  He deplored chintz, which was the popular Victorian motif of the day, and doused rooms in strong magentas, reds, and chocolate browns with tightly woven geometric patterns.  When I picture the swinging 60s in England (i.e. Austin Powers), I immediately picture David Hicks. 

His clientele were a mix of fashion icons, media celebrities, and the aristocracy.  He did projects for Vidal Sassoon, Mrs. Conde Nast, and decorated the Prince of Wale's first apartment at Buckingham Palace.  His love of fame was perpetuated when he married Lady Pamela Mountbatten, the youngest daughter of the 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma.  Together they had three children, model and designer India Hicks, architect and designer Ashley Hicks, and Edwina Hicks.   Lady Pamela once told the press that David's affinity for high gloss brown walls came about after she began throwing glasses of Coca-Cola at him during moments of marital discord. 

{David Hicks pictured with a bikini model. He became a fixture in British high society during the 60s and 70s.}

By the 1970s, David Hicks, Ltd. was producing wallpaper, fabric, and carpets that mirrored his regimented yet bold aesthetic and showcasing them in boutiques and offices in 8 countries.  

"My greatest contribution as an interior designer has been to show people how to use bold color mixtures, how to use patterned carpets, how to light rooms and how to mix old with new." - David Hicks

Want to learn more?  David's son, Ashley Hicks, has written a few books honoring his father's work and legacy, and David himself wrote 8 instructional books on design and decoration during his life.  This is my personal favorite

Check out my previous Honoring the Greats posts:

Monday, September 21, 2015

Inspired by: De Kooning

This past Saturday, I finally had the opportunity to visit the new Whitney Museum of American Art in the meatpacking district with my roommate Kate.  If you live in NYC or are visiting soon, it is not to be missed.  We spent several hours wandering through the 7 floors (and taking pictures on the 8th floor rooftop), and I left more inspired than ever.  The current exhibition, "America is Hard to See", showcases artworks from well-known American artists and amateur artists alike throughout the twentieth century.  Walking through the exhibition was a refresher in U.S. history, as many artists were reacting to social and political issues of their time- the Industrial Revolution, World War II, the Vietnam War, the AIDS epidemic, and of course, the mid-century surge in consumerism and materialism.  My favorite part of the exhibition was the movement that put American art on the international map for the first time- the abstract expressionism works.  From Pollock to Gorky, I love the intense, wild brushstrokes and energy of the style.    I particularly loved Dutch-American artist de Kooning's paintings that were on display.  The colors are so vibrant and inspiring. My favorite work shown was Door to the River, which he painted in 1960:

Shop This Board:
Bauble Bar Dreamcatcher Bib Yellow Necklace $22/Arteriors Nina Lamp $360/Soane Venus Chair $Price on Request/Satin Stripe Turban $38/Cashmere Scarf in Ivory $98/Monica Flat $119/

Abstract Expressionism was a post-World War II art movement that took inspiration from Surrealism- emphasizing spontaneous, automatic, or subconscious creation.