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The Style Of Duchess Fare Is Inspired By My Far East + East Coast Upbringing

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

'Live At Sweet Briar College'

Dave Matthews -- Sweet Briar Dell, April 14, 1996

On the prettiest Spring day in 1996, during my senior year at Sweet Briar, Dave Matthews played in our Dell. Just him and a guitar......  And it was a perfect day -- we all sat & listened, with the beer garden near by. The ground swell surrounding Dave and the band was already in full force, having gone from playing fraternity houses and local bars in the Virginia area during my class's freshman year and getting ready to launch worldwide by the time we were seniors.

Dave Matthews has deep ties to Sweet Briar. So, we could't be more thrilled to learn that on the heels our Reunion Weekend (I attended my 20th), the band announced that they will be releasing the original acoustic recording from our senior year dell party -- Live At Sweet Briar College, April 14, 1996.

Live At Sweet Briar College will be a 2 CD set and will be available for pre-order later this summer. The absolutely sweetest news of this announcement >>> *All proceeds will benefit Sweet Briar College! Listen here to a preview track -- Pay For What You Get.  An ENORMOUS thanks to David, Stefan, Carter, Boyd, Fenton and everyone helping to make this possible!

Sweet Like Candy To My Soul
Sweet You Rock And Sweet You Roll

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

New Work


I've written two pieces published in the Summer issue of French Style, currently available on newsstands now..... First, an in-depth style & technique reveal of floral designer Katie Noonan, owner of Noonan's Wine Country Designs. And second, highlighting the interior design of Kim Radovich, of Kim E. Courtney Interiors & Design, plus the style inspiration she describes as "classical elegance" for her turn-of-the-century Long Island home.

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Saturday, June 11, 2016

Jill Sharp Studio


The June issue of House Beautiful - Turkey, features in and on the cover, the Charleston rental home of stylesetter Jill Sharp Weeks. Jill, a former longtime Atlantan, has relocated to South Carolina and is in the process, alongside her husband, of restoring one of the city's historic architectural jewels -- a former 1790's era tavern.

The decor reflects Jill's masterful mix of classic and current, layered with her signature worldly style -- collected textiles, tribal jewelry and primitive furnishings & accessories, amassed while traveling the globe. Check out the Charleston images above & below, plus read more about Jill from my previous posts herehere & here.





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Friday, June 10, 2016

Spotlight : Kelley Sandidge

Kelley Sandidge

My Spotlight series continues today with an in-depth Q&A with Kelley Sandidge, owner of the Austin, TX based home furnishings resource, Hip Haven. Kelley is known for a design aesthetic influenced by iconic elements of Mid Century Modern style and reinterprets the look within her custom decor. Learn/read more below.....


Kelley, tell me about your background.....

I was raised in an environment that nurtured creativity—in both Austin, Texas, and Peru—and it was my grandmother’s abstract expressionist paintings and her 50’s modern furniture that initially inspired my interest in the midcentury style. 

Prior to founding Hip Haven, I had careers in both the design and development of children’s museum exhibitions, as well as in commercial interior design consultation and sales. These professional experiences, combined with my enthusiasm for midcentury modern design, have given me the tools and motivation to pursue the creation of my own product line: and fourteen years later, the line is still going strong. 



How would you describe your "signature decor style"?

I would say that my signature decor style is a combination of classic midcentury modern furniture and accessories, vintage ceramics, fine art from the 1950’s through 1970’s (much of it painted by my grandmother) and folk art from all eras and regions.





What prompted your decision to open Hip Haven

With a background in museum exhibit design, followed by several years in sales to the design trade, I felt comfortable in both the roles of inventor/designer/tinkerer as well as in customer service and sales. 

As it happens, I’d been shopping on eBay for an original “bullet planter,” and I found it difficult to snag one without being outbid. At first, the idea was to create some for myself, but with each pass at refining the production method and with each prototype I sold, it became clearer that this was a product worth bringing back, and I was committed to getting it just right. 

From there, I expanded on the color palette of both the bowls and the stands, and graduated through three different production methods, with the first two involving a lot of hand-finishing. I eventually connected with my current factory, that builds our products using the exact methods used in the 1950’s, and does a wonderful job of bringing the past and its language of design back to life.

It was my passion for midcentury modern design coupled with a recognition of a demand for vintage-influenced, high-quality, decorative accessories, that led me to found Hip Haven in 2002.



Has your original business vision changed through the years?  

The scope of work for the company has definitely transitioned over our 14 years in existence, but our commitment to quality has not. I’m open to working with styles that depart from midcentury modern, but I will always strive to emulate the production caliber of that era. Our products are solidly built and we don’t cut corners in our choices of materials, finishes or process.



Drawing upon mid 20th-century modern style, what elements influence your design aesthetic? 

I’m drawn to the way that the furniture and functional objects in this style rely on simple, geometric and biomorphic forms, rather than on ornamental details. Midcentury designers applied new techniques and materials, such as bent plywood and molded fiberglass, in order to achieve organic and ergonomic shapes, that exuded both strength and style, but remained affordable for consumers. Designers of that era also respected and employed traditional arts, such as fine woodworking, ceramics, and hand weaving, and often incorporated these elements into their work. 

Additionally, in the 1950’s and 60s—when the style was just called Modernism—it was considered rebellious and futuristic. I’m drawn to its boldness and fresh perspective.



Are all the items offered your custom designs?  

Our products are reinterpretations of designs from the past. While we take much inspiration from midcentury styles and we strive to emulate the past, we choose to incorporate custom accents in our products that depart from the style, and to experiment with new colors, finishes, modern technologies, and design twists that make our lines more relevant to the present.




Could you share some insight into the process of designing a new product? Do you start with an idea sketch or make a prototype?

When I begin working on new products, such as lighting, I usually start by creating a Pinterest board of vintage fixtures, palettes, and different materials that inspire me. Then, I’ll sketch something that incorporates and expands on my favorite details, culminating an entirely new design. Next, I’ll source the necessary production method or existing parts to make my new design a reality. This stage sometimes takes months or even years, and I typically go through several prototype drafts before landing on a final design.



What inspires your color palette and selection of materials for crafting your pieces?

Images of midcentury modern spaces, ceramics, textiles, art, and graphic design are all sources of inspiration for me is a designer. I do check in with contemporary trends to predict demand for color or hardware finishes, but in our running line products, I’ve tried to be faithful to my midcentury modern inspirations, because I think that our audience and customer base appreciates the truth in the style. 





From where does your popular “Retro Bullet Planter” take its design roots and why do you think the style resonates so well with your customers?

First made in post-war, 20th century America, “bullet” planters reflected the era’s fascination with all things space age and modern. Situated in a steel tripod stand, they appear almost ready for take-off. Technological advancements in the plastics industry during the 1950’s opened up new avenues for designers, allowing them to build light, durable objects with curves, lines, and integral colors. An especially popular material for designers was fiberglass reinforced plastic. Used early on in crash helmets, this fire-resistant, waterproof material was introduced into the home decor world with objects such as colorful lampshades, the famous Eames shell chair, and— you guessed it—the original “bullet” planter. 

The original bullet planters were made by numerous factories, with no set size or shape; they just shared the common feature of being a pot in a stand, off the ground. But, for me, the elliptical shape of the bowl stands out and is incredibly pleasing to the eye. I chose different features from all of the past examples I could find to create the Retro Bullet Planter by Hip Haven™. With the elegant curves of the bowl nestled in its tripod stand, it reminds me of a living thing. It’s gravity-defying, bringing plants up closer to eye-level, and it offers jolts of color, texture, and contrast, that give the planter characteristics of a living sculpture — all of which resonate with our buyers. 



You just returned from ICFF, International Contemporary Furniture Fair, in New York City.....  Was this your first time attending?  Could you share some insight into being a part of the weekend and its impact on showcasing your designs?

This was my second time at ICFF as an exhibitor. It was absolutely the highlight of my year in terms of feeling plugged-in to the design world and getting the opportunity to focus on what drives me both creatively and professionally. The show is teeming with creative, hard-working people who really know their stuff, and it is invigorating to be a part of.


Hip Haven's Space at ICFF



What is your approach for maintaining fresh yet timeless designs, particularly in today's trendy home furnishings market?

I do respond to changing demand for different colors and metal finishes, but for the most part, I stick to designs that could have existed during the midcentury modern era. It is important to me that our products are able to provide the finishing touches that round out midcentury-influenced interiors while at the same time are able to harmonize with other decorative styles. 



What do you consider the unique style components that sets your designs apart from others?

There are so many wonderful designs out there, and at this point, good design has expanded to reach every level of the market. But, what sets us apart in my eyes is that most companies that have achieved the same level of quality as our lines are selling at considerably higher price points. Additionally, our new designs are built on past designs and there is a clear and gradual evolution at work, rather than a brand new look each season. Ao another standout component is our consistency in design theme.



Do you have any happenings on the horizon you would like share?

At ICFF, we introduced new finish options to our existing lines and also launched some brand new products! The two new projects that excite me the most are our Retro Bullet Lighting™ line and our new foray into furniture, with the Molded Fiberglass Chair by Hip Haven™. 

The bullet lighting collection has similar fixture configurations to our existing spun metal lighting line, but has shades are made of the same compression-molded fiberglass as our retro bullet planter line. The material looks spectacular when illuminated, glowing with intense color, and highlighting the unique texture of compression-molded fiberglass. It is also light and durable, and I predict it will be very well received. 

Our molded fiberglass chairs are another nod to the past, but incorporate a detail that hasn’t been used for decades. We are molding the chairs with inlays of woven rattan or burlap, giving them a standout, unexpected pairing of organic shape and natural material with man-made technology — a style so characteristic of the midcentury modern era.




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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

June Covers

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Star Provisions & Bacchanalia

 Soon to be new home of Star Provisions and Bacchanalia

Atlanta Magazine broke huge foodie news back in the middle of May......  Longtime fixtures, and truly ground-breakers of the Westside neighborhood, Star Provisions and Bacchanalia, will be vacating their locations after 17 years and moving a mile west. Owner Anne Quatrano is working with architecture firm Perkins+Will in constructing (image below) a brand new 10,000 square foot barn inspired building with wrap around patio that will accommodate Star Provisions at one end and Bacchanalia at the other, with plenty of parking for all.  The new site (my image above) is also appealing due to its close proximity to the Westside's section of the Atlanta BeltLine. If construction timeline remains on target, opening is scheduled around January - March 2017.




My culinary dreams will come true if Anne's new space is anything like SHED, in Healdsburg, CA. It's a foodie mecca I've previously written about back in 2014.....  A multi-functional space that brings a passion for food, garden, education, and craft all under one roof. Founded by husband & wife Doug Lipton and Cindy Daniel, SHED was designed by the San Francisco based architectural firm Jensen Architects. Image below.....

SHED -- Healdsburg, CA

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Architect : Philip Trammell Shutze

Philip Trammell Shutze Designed Home in the Druid Hills Neighborhood

I made a point of stopping at an estate sale on Clifton Road in Druid Hills on Friday, held at a house that I've passed by weekly and admired for over a decade.......   Truth be told, I was more interested in seeing the home & gardens than actually shopping the contents of the sale. This very special home was designed by one of Atlanta's noted architects, Philip Trammell Shutze (1890-1982). I was told by one of the organizers of the sale that the home was built around 1928 and sits on 5 acres of park like land, thoughtfully designed with dynamic stonework, fountains and detailed landscape. When I asked about its current ownership status, I was happy to hear that neighboring Fernbank Museum of Natural History bought the entire property -- records show that a sale was completed in December 2015 for $2.5 million.

I do hope that Fernbank will take great care in protecting & maintaining the architecture of this historic jewel..... The most recent Shutze design, known as The Maddox House, was torn down in February and it still stirs me up every time I think about it! I am absolutely dumbfounded as to why these important living relics, documents of Atlanta's history, are not painstakingly preserved!!

In addition to a number of residential projects Shutze designed around the city, he was responsible for a collection of commercial buildings as well......  Including The Swan Coach House, the original Rich's department store downtown, East Lake Golf Club clubhouse, and Atlanta International School.

*My images above & below of the Shutze designed home on Clifton -- architectural details and glorious grounds.....  The hidden Gazebo garden was truly a spectacular treat!














This had to be the most special hidden garden.....  Imagine seeing this in its heyday!  You approached through this shaded area, following stones steps to view the most beautiful Gazebo.....



The left and right are original fountains and beyond the steps, are divided by a centered fountain, leading the way to the Gazebo beyond.....



The highly ornate stone Gazebo, surrounded by foundations, with access by large stones.....  Absolutely dreamy storybook style!







**Totally random.....  But these details, handwritten notes & newspaper clippings taped to the inside of kitchen cabinets (above).....  And the interior of a closet door in the Boy's room covered with a collection of stickers (below).....  THESE artifacts pull at my heart strings.....  Even when walking through a house that is no longer occupied by its longtime owners and their "stuff" is up for sale, these are reminders that a family lived in and loved this home.....



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Monday, May 9, 2016

The HighBoy

I frequently share my passion for recognizing the importance of appreciating time honored treasures, from historic homes to period decor. My mentor here in Atlanta (a noted American antiques dealer) has always recommended to me to seek out interesting pieces, perhaps labeled by the maker, for furnishings & accessories that will retain their value over time. I also see collecting vintage items as a way to add unique style to our interiors in the wake of today's saturated on-trend decorating.

The HighBoy, an exceptional online marketplace for antiques and fine art, is my go-to resource. The HighBoy sets itself apart from other retail sites by collaborating with a select group of reputable and established dealers from around the country. Through this distinctive partnership, The HighBoy has expertly streamlined the search process, allowing buyers to easily navigate and discover a range of curated period decor, including Case PiecesDesksChairsSide TablesLighting - in a variety of styles - Art Deco, Chinoiserie, Mid Century and many more.

Also to note, The HighBoy publishes an online journal titled The Weekly. Featured within these captivating daily entries are expanded discussions and details of acclaimed makers and influential interior design styles as well as further exploration of particular design periods and processes.

*Below, I've included some pieces that caught my eye and are currently posted on The HighBoy.....  Followed with direct shopping links.





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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

May Covers

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