Thursday, February 4, 2016

Famous Writers and Their Offices

I recently came across a story in Vanity Fair about Joan Didion and her rise to literary fame in LA.  She arrived in 1964 just shy of 30 years old, having recently married John Gregory Dunne.  Her first novel, Run River, was met with little success or fanfare, so she was out to meet and greet in Hollywood, hoping that her connections would lead to a healthy career.  And a blossoming career did come, much later- but I loved the image below, taken in her office with husband John by her side, before she became a well-known writer.  It got me thinking about other famous writers and what their offices looked like.

Joan Didion:

{Joan in her office, with husband John Greggory Dune}

"We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget." - Joan Didion


I love the photograph above taken of Joan and her husband, as well as their daughter Quintana.  Arguably her best work was her memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking.  Written after the death of her husband John, the book explores the tricks we play on our mind after we lose someone we love, and the process of bereavement.  It is one of my all-time favorite books.  

Truman Capote:

Truman famously wrote all his novels lying down, and even went so far to say that he was a "completely horizontal writer."   After rising to fame, he purchased a secluded house in the Hamptons and would often write from this wicker desk:


"No one will ever know what 'In Cold Blood' took out of me. It scraped me right down to the marrow of my bones. It nearly killed me. I think, in a way, it did kill me." - Truman Capote

Ernest Hemingway:

While Capote wrote horizontal, Ernest wrote best standing up: 

"Writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind and I like to write standing up." - Ernest Hemingway


"All my life I've looked at words as if I were seeing them for the first time... It's none of their business that you have to learn to write.  Let them think you were born this way." - Ernest Hemingway

Stephen King:


“It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn't in the middle of the room. Life isn't a support system for art. It's the other way around.” - Stephen King

Nora Ephron:

The author behind "You've Got Mail", "Sleepless in Seattle", "When Harry Met Sally", and "Julia & Julia" was photographed below in her NYC home office:



"Maybe young women don't wonder anymore whether they can have it all, but in case any of you are wondering- of course you can have it all. What are you going to do? Everything, is my guess. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but embrace the complications. It will not be like anything you think it will be like, but surprises are good for you. And don't be frightened: you can always change your mind. I know- I've had 4 careers and 3 husbands." -Nora Ephron

"Summer bachelors, like summer breezes, are never as cool as they pretend to be." - Nora Ephron

Tom Wolfe:

Tom Wolfe is best known for pioneering "The New Journalist" literary movement, which sought to communicate facts through narrative storytelling.  He felt it was "possible to write journalism that read like a novel." In 1962 he began wearing a white suit year-round, which started a sensation.  Below, he is pictured in his office, sporting his signature look.  



"There are some people who have the quality of richness and joy in them and they communicate it to everything they touch.  It is first of all a physical quality; then it is a quality of the spirit." - Tom Wolfe

Happy Thursday!


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Designer Crush: Blair Harris

I first discovered Blair Harris's work when she was featured on House Beautiful's "Next Wave" column in 2012, only 1 year after launching her design firm.  Clearly she has an innate talent at pulling together a space and what I love the most is that no two of her rooms look the same.  Blair spent 6 years training under fellow NYC designer Noel Jeffrey, and believes every space should have at least one natural element to feel balanced:



I LOVE the shade of blue Blair choose for this bar cabinetry, but the antiqued glass accents are even better:










Love her rooms?  Her instagram is almost just as good!  I love her "sneak peeks" on projects and the inspiration she shares.  

{all photos via Blair Harris Design}

Monday, February 1, 2016

Design Finds (for Less)!

One of my close girlfriends always jokes that she'll never understand my love for Anthropologie. She actually saw this duster in the store being sold for $68, and snapped a picture of it to send to me.  "They can't be serious.  A cleaning product that can be bought for under $10 at the hardware store is retailing for $68 at Anthro?!"  I understand her point.  Some of the items are a bit ridiculous, but there's no store I'd rather wander through.  I remember studying the company in business school and learning that the store was purposely set up to feel like a treasure hunt.  Among the freestanding racks of clothing are small tables and niches with smaller items (i.e. impulse purchases) that allow your eyes to take a visual break.  While I love their clothing, I've always been drawn to their bedding, bath and furniture. While typically very pricey, I was surprised to come across these stunning lucite + brass bar carts for $698:



I thought my bar cart was a steal, and I still had to spray paint it to get it to be the shade of gold I wanted.  If I could do it over, I'd definitely go with one of the styles above because I love the lucite details.  Any time I find a good deal online, I always want to share it with you. It's rare that I find a beautiful furniture item or art piece that is somewhat affordable without feeling over-done or cheap, but it is possible.  Here are a few of my current favorites:












A few of my go-tos for chic art, lighting, and furniture:

Minted Art (fab photography and art for less, lots of framing options)

One Kings Lane (for unique furniture, accessories, and lighting)

domino (a great source AND a favorite magazine)

cb2 (modern, affordable furniture perfect for small spaces)

Etsy (the perfect place to get that custom, designer look for less)

Do you have a favorite online shop I failed to mention? Let me know, because I'm always out to discover new sources!





Friday, January 29, 2016

Sam Loves: 8



TGIF.  I've got a full weekend ahead with a few design events (including NY Now) and some get-togethers planned with friends.  Here's what I'm loving right now:

A fabulous bedhanging (with a lantern integrated in to the upholstery!) by designer Megan Rice Yager.

As I mentioned recently, West Elm has certainly stepped up their furniture game.  I adore their Roar + Rabbit Swivel Chair in the Dusty Blush fabric- $799

Kate Bosworth looked stunning wearing Boss for the premiere of her movie Still Alice. Kate and Sienna Miller are my 2 biggest style icons for their effortless beauty. (photo via  Who What Wear)

These mint + crystal statement earrings from Bauble Bar are perfect for winter parties (anyone else going to the NYJL Winter Ball?!?), and the cherry red faux leather shopper is only $58!

For all of you master DIY-ers, here's a great weekend project to make your staircase a little more interesting.  Jane with Oh Curiosity takes you through the step by step stenciling process to turn your stairs in to something special without the need for a carpet runner.


Any big plans for your weekend?  The snow has almost all melted here in NY, so no sledding in Central Park this weekend. :(




Thursday, January 28, 2016

Admiring a Classic: The Eames Lounge Chair

Last Monday I went to a friend's birthday dinner party at her newly redecorated apartment in the Lower East Side.  While the food was unbelievable (Vietnamese fare prepared by NYC chef Sung Lee) what really caught my eye was her Eames Lounge chair in the corner.  Hello, gorgeous.  Admittedly, I am not the biggest modern design fan.  I never really could get on board with Corbusier, but there are a few stand out mid-century pieces that just do it for me.  One is Milo Baughman's furniture for Thayer Coggin, and the other is- you guessed it- the Eames Lounge chair.



Designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1956 and produced by Herman Miller, the Eames Lounge chair was inspired by the traditional English club chair.  Charles's vision for the chair was for it to resemble "the warm, receptive look of a well-used first baseman's mitt." Constructed of a 3-part plywood base, innovative hardware fastens the cushions to the shells without damaging the appearance of the wood.  While Charles and Ray were typically known for their desire to mass-produce quality furniture at a reasonable price, the Eames Lounge chair is an exception.  This beauty will costs a pretty penny, and like most high-end products, has attracted several knock offs.  But there's a reason the original has been around for 60 years now- it's sleek, sophisticated, and beautifully simple.


The chair has become synonymous with tasteful, modern design and is still in production today.  It was a staple on the Frasier set and was spotted in the office of Serena and Bass's apartment on Gossip Girl:

{Could Penn Badgley BE any more shaggable?}




I'll take mine in pink, please.




Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Designer Crush: Jennifer Barron Interiors

Typically my designer crush posts feature decorators I've admired from afar, so today's crush is extra special- this designer is actually a girl near and dear to my heart!  Jennifer Barron is a Houston-based residential designer who also happens to be one of my closest gal pals from design school.  Born and raised in Dallas, Jennifer went to undergrad at Vanderbilt and went on to work as a teacher in Chicago with the Teach for America program.  After finishing her 2 year term, she decided what she really loved was design.  We always bonded over the fact that neither of us set out to pursue a design career, but that our interest and passion naturally evolved after a few years post college.   When you've built 3D models, stayed up all night together rendering floor plans, and pulled together a comprehensive portfolio in 12 short weeks, you naturally become close to your classmates and I consider myself one of her biggest cheerleaders.  Jennifer is already taking the Houston design scene by storm, creating livable, fresh spaces that remind me of her Texas roots:








As a young designer, Jenn's spaces feel comfortable and transitional with just the right amount of quirk.  I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!  And I couldn't end the post without at least 1 photo of us from our design school days.  Here we are at our senior portfolio show, in the fall of 2014:


Love you, girl! 

To see more of Jenn's beautiful work, visit her website here.

{all photos taken by Molly Winters, all design and styling by Jennifer Barron}
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