Behind the Scenes

For our autumn home furnishings collection we drew inspiration from some of our favorite design projects.  The coastal oases of Martha's Vineyard and Rehoboth Beach offered us soft colors and buoyant graphics.  The smart simplicity of our urban homes guided us toward mid-century modern forms and artisan details.  And the elegance of the old homes we've designed in our native Virginia reminded us that antique wood and romantic silhouettes never lose their allure.  Creating a collection of American-made and sustainable furnishings was an ambitious undertaking; here are the mood boards we used to define our vision.

The Oasis.  Here not everything has to be 'just so' - this is a home that makes the hours after work and school feel like vacation.  Sturdy iron tables plant themselves where they're needed and the soft linen slipcover on the sofa looks its best when a little rumpled.  Shoes come off the moment you walk through the door and the piece of modern art everyone compliments is the doodle your daughter brought home in third grade.  Here you don't cry over spilled milk; you wanted a cocktail anyway. 

The Modern. This house isn't frilly or lacy or precious.  It is a thoughtfully composed design that favors simplicity.  The chill of minimalism is chased off by rugged textures and natural elements.  Each piece of furniture serves a purpose and everywhere you look there are testaments to artisan craft.  The sap cherry dining table is as smart as a suspension bridge and the custom sofa as handsome as it is comfortable.  This is the home of someone who doesn't believe in filler. Here thoughtful intention reigns.

The Estate.  You may or may not have grown up in this house, but you love that guests feel transported to an earlier era the moment they broach the porch steps.  This home isn't shy about embellishments; the moldings are elaborate and the walls are papered in garden scenes.  This is where emerald velvet doesn't feel too fancy and brass never went out of style because this is the good stuff. And while there may be the occasional new acquisition to add a spark of funk, the table at Thanksgiving is always set with antique china and Irish crystal.

Our design style is to mix more than match.  We use color, texture, and scale to make spaces pleasing, but a close inspection reveals that we don't play by the book when we're pairing objects.  When it comes to composing stylish design, we've thrown most of the rules to the wayside.  While we crafted our collection of American-made and sustainable furnishings with some specific inspirations in mind, we're sure each piece will shine when it finds new interpretations in rooms waiting to unfold.  Visit our boutique to explore the collection.

Responsible Style

made_in_america_artisan_shop_local_falllaunch01

Of all the words to paint the picture of the inspiration behind our fall launch, one word is at the forefront of our efforts.  Sustainability steers us towards not only responsibly sourced materials, but to artisans who have fostered their craft here in America.  

We've turned to our neighbors, makers of fine case goods, traditionally crafted upholstery, and artisan accessories; from their honest wares we've been inspired to create our autumn line.  Our makers hail from all over the country but most are based on the east coast, where we have set the story of our collection. 

Experience our launch of sustainably sourced and made in America products this fall.

Surreal Journey

One of our many short summer trips took us to the gorgeously curated Hi-Fructose art exhibit at MOCA in Virginia Beach. Each artist tells a different story - from nightmare scape to upside down fairy tale - with refinement and stunning potency.  This art merges our ideas of the sweetly precious with the murkier matters of the human inner world. Here are a few among many at the exhibit that roused our curiosity and fed our visual appetite.  

Mark Ryden,  Rosie's Tea Party  

Mark Ryden, Rosie's Tea Party 

Mark Dean Veca,  Madder Hatter

Mark Dean Veca, Madder Hatter

Tim Biskup,  Asylum #1  

Tim Biskup, Asylum #1 

Kris Kuksi,  Eros at Play  

Kris Kuksi, Eros at Play 

Martin Wittfooth,  Incantation  

Martin Wittfooth, Incantation 

Summer Prints

As the sunny days of summer continue to unfold in an endless splash of blooms, we're taking inspiration from some of our favorite prints.  The craft of printing on fabric dates back to China in the third century and has spurred a world of gorgeous graphic imagery ever since.  Many of the 20th century's most prolific designers - we're thinking of Dorothy Draper, her protege Carlton Vernay, and The Prince of Chintz himself, Mario Buatta - have used prints to stunning effect in some of the most iconic spaces in design history.  Follow us on our indulgent journey through five glorious prints.  To keep up with our fabric obsession, check out our Fabric Friday hashtags on Instagram.

This Jacobean-inspired print is a classic, rendered in bold indigo on an ivory field.  There are few punchy pop colors we'd hesitate to mix with this beauty.

Drawing inspiration from the primitive forms of South Pacific heritage art, this playful print is the perfect foil for its warm plum and oyster white palette.

The art style of this bold tropical print has all the innocent charm of a children's coloring book, yet the thoughtful mix of blues and greens keeps the palette tight and polished.

The whimsical waves of this cheerful print cannot help but uplift any space they wash over.  A toothy linen weave adds dimension to the block-print styling of this design.  

Perhaps our favorite motifs in prints are ones that speak to the Asian origins of the art form.  This gentle and joyful garden scene invites us to take a journey into a serene state of mind.

Scene Stealers

As much a character as any populating the pages of Daphne du Maurier's novel, Rebecca, the lovely seaside estate of Manderley epitomizes English grandeur.  Under the skilled hand of its former chatelaine and story namesake, until her death before the story opens, the vast manor was the setting of the most coveted soirees of 1930s society.  As the tale unfolds we follow the shy, inexperienced second mistress as she navigates the trappings of her new life with wealthy, handsome widower, Maxim de Winter, all the while reminded in countless ways of how short she seems to fall of his first wife's success.
 

The setting of the film had to meet the expectations set by the novel and those of director Alfred Hitchcock who was familiar with the kind of homes Manderley was based upon. The decoration demanded both opulence and restraint, and could not be a Hollywood fantasy of the era.  The architecture needed to convince audiences of the house's age and most importantly from a story-telling perspective, it needed to dwarf the young female protagonist.  The smooth and slow roving camera of photographer George Barnes earned the film an Oscar and lovingly shows the fine work that set decorator Howard Bristol brought to the production.  

A secluded morning room, boasting deep window seats and diamond mullioned windows, is dominated by a hearth vast enough to gobble up the timid young woman.  Yet due to the intimate scale of the room and the heft of its appointments, we understand that while she may not craft lofty correspondences here, as did her predecessor, she still feels more at home in this space than in the grander ones beyond.  Across the house in a wing overlooking the sea, the suite where Rebecca slept helps to fill in blanks about the first wife. Here the ceilings are higher, the architecture more contemporary and the textiles as supple and transparent as a fine peignoir.  That the fabrics suggest a seductive garment is no accident, for the story that unfolds reveals that Rebecca was as sure-footed a paramour as she was a doyenne of the haute ton.  

The modernity here separates the first Mrs. de Winter from the moorings of the past, indicating her freedom from passe expectations.  Furthermore, the design shows that Rebecca felt enough ownership of Manderley to transpose her personality unabashedly over the antique tastes of her husband's ancestors.

Watching this 1940 film is a pleasure on many levels, as the story adaptation, production values and performances are all stellar.  Yet in creating a character out of a house, Howard Bristol certainly deserves his own portion of the praise.

-PM