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    Ever since we spotted vegetables used in lieu of floral arrangements at Babylonstoren in South Africa, we've been intrigued (make that obsessed) with the idea. Here's a roundup of some recent favorites.

    Sania-Pell-Homemade-Home-for-Children-carrots-radishes-glass-milk-bottles

    Above: Our friend UK stylist Sania Pell uses carrots and radishes as table arrangements; see more at Tea with the Queen of Homemade. Photography by Rahel Weiss.

    Above: Beet greens stand in for traditional floral arrangements at Babylonstoren.

    Above: The potager bouquet; for instructions, go to Tabletop: Seasonal Potager Centerpiece.

    K by Keaton

    Above: A lettuce plucked from the garden anchors a table set with K by Keaton dinnerware in grass and white; see Easter in the Garden with Diane Keaton for more.

    Above: A cabbage sliced in half makes a compelling centerpiece. Photo via Gandas on Flickr.

    Above: Consider the artichoke. Photograph from Africa Bespoke.

    Above: Dark leafy greens in a cut-glass vase at Babylonstoren.


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    If you're like us, you've been obsessively watching the HBO series "Girls," Lena Dunham's spot-on portrayal of post-grad, pre-career life in New York. We’ve been laughing, cringing, and taking note of the disheveled and lived-in interiors, which ring as true as the plot lines.

    In particular, we like the Tribeca loft by production designer Laura Ballinger Gardner, who conjured up a home for what she calls "a modern urban New York family.” Working with set decorator Rich Devine, she created a groovy space featuring loungey seating and dashes of unapologetic color. Gardner, a sage in the world of production design and art direction (her work can be seen in Brokeback Mountain, The Fighter, and HBO’s Veep), divulged her sources; recreate the look with the following elements.

    Photos by Rich Devine.

    Above: The family loft, dreamed up by Gardner, is a mix of modern and vintage. The Place Sofa from Vitra offers sprawling seating; a West Elm ottoman is reupholstered with a vintage carpet (an idea dreamed up by Devine). The rug is vintage Moroccan sourced from Imports from Marrekesh.

    Above: Gardner's sources span the high/low spectrum: For the children's play area, she and Devine used a Vitra Cité chair ($4,130 at AllModern), Dexton Great Plains Canvas Teepee ($125.99 at Amazon), and Mxyplyzyk ottomans. For a similar carpet, consider Ikea's Vitten Rug ($129).

    Above: The photography on display throughout the apartment illustrates the parents’ artistic backgrounds, says Gardner. The play area wall features prints by Youngna Park, Paul Madonna (both sourced from 20X200), and Michelle DeBakey, The Eames Elephant is $320 from Hive Modern.

    Crane Fog Desk Lamp

    Above: A vintage framed Fritz Kahn hangs on the wall in the corner family workspace. The Crane Fog Desk Lamp is from CB2 ($99) and the Vitra Vegetal Chair can be purchased at All Modern ($635).

    Above: The shelves are painted a crimson red; the rocking chair is from Denmark (similar Danish chairs may be found at Horseman Antiques).


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    If you're a kid, the ultimate sleepover dream is a tent: whether it's a teepee or an A-frame, to bring the feeling of outdoor camping indoors. Here are some ideas for the indoor camper:

    La Tente

    Above: La Tente by Caroline Gomez is made of white linen with bright colored ties; €95 at Caroline Gomez.

    Plain Teepee with a Name and Felt Heart

    Above: The Plain Teepee with a Name and Felt Heart is made from an unbleached cotton base and folds up easily; £145 from Moozle Home in West Wales (who also ship internationally).

    Printed Canvas Play Tent

    Above: The Printed Canvas Play Tent features a blue ticking stripe print on soft cotton canvas, which is then hoisted up on an aluminum frame; currently on sale for $179 from Restoration Hardware Baby & Child.

    Fold Away Canvas Teepee

    Above: The 6-foot Fold Away Canvas Teepee is $150 from House in Habit on Etsy.


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    After completing more than a dozen remodels among us, we've narrowed our kitchen faucet selections to a handful of tried and true stalwarts. Here's our top ten high-quality, high-style faucets (featuring solid bodies, ceramic cartridges, and long warranties). Also see 10 Easy Pieces: Commercial-Style Kitchen Faucets.

    TRADITIONAL

    Churchman's Kitchen Pillar Taps

    Above: Sarah likes the traditional Churchman's Kitchen Pillar Taps; £109.99 at Chrome Tap & Showers. For the Churchman's High Neck Kitchen Pillar Taps, Tap Shop 321 has the faucet for £58.

    Chicago Wall-Mount Kitchen Faucet

    Above: Julie's top choice (she uses it in her Mill Valley kitchen) is the Chicago Wall-Mount Kitchen Faucet with double-jointed spout; It's well priced, well engineered, and features a classic industrial aesthetic; $222.64 at Faucet.com.

    Franke Manor House Gooseneck Bridge Kitchen Faucet

    Above: Both Francesca and Janet favor the classic Franke Manor House Gooseneck Bridge Kitchen Faucet. It's ideal for use with oversize sinks; $843.75 ($1,016.25 with a side spray) at Faucet Depot.

    Steam Valve Original Wall-Mount Bridge Mixer

    Above: Michelle's favorite, the Steam Valve Original Wall-Mount Bridge Mixer features a 10-inch swivel spout (shown in brushed stainless with wheel handles); $971.25 at Quality Bath.

    Watermark Wall-Mount Bridge Faucet

    Above: Christine likes the utilitarian look and feel of the Watermark Wall-Mount Bridge Faucet; $658.39 from Designer Plumbing.

    MODERN

    Vola KV1 Single Handled Faucet

    Above: Alexa's choice, the Vola KV1 Single Handled Faucet with a double swivel spout, worked well in Janet's London kitchen with a moderate sized sink; $997.50 at Faucet Farm.

    Oxygene Hi Tech Faucet

    Above: Sarah's choice for a modern space is the Oxygene Hi Tech Faucet from Italian company Gessi. The faucet comes in polished chrome or satin nickel and includes a pullout double spray; available through Davis & Warshaw in New York.

    Tara Logic Single-Level Basin Mixer

    Above: Izabella likes the Tara Logic Single-Level Basin Mixer is a modern classic; $1,656 at Faucet Farm.

    Purus II Single-Handle Kitchen Faucet

    Above: Janet installed the Purus II Single-Handle Kitchen Faucet from Blanco in her San Francisco kitchen. The swivel arc neck is highly functional; $517 (currently on sale for $477) at Designer Plumbing Outlet.

    Grohe Essence Pull-Out Faucet

    Above: Christine likes the Grohe Essence Pull-Out Faucet; $397.27 at Amazon.

    N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on June 22, 2011.


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    We've been admiring the work of Dutch designers Scholten & Baijings for Danish company Hay for a while now (who hasn't?). So when we learned that the designers had created a collection for Japanese porcelain manufacturer 1616 Arita, we took note.

    1616 Arita is one of the oldest porcelain manufacturers in Japan; the company's origins date back to 1616, when Korean potter Yi Sam-Sam-Pyeong discovered a high-quality clay in Arita. The company's latest collection consists of three series: Minimal, Colourful, and Extraordinary, presented at the recent Salone del Mobile in Milan. The subtle pieces focus on traditional Japanese colors (aquarelle blue, light green, red-orange, and yellow ochre) combined with minimal modern forms. For more information, contact Arita 1616.

    Photography by Inga Powilleit.

    Above: Tableware showing the unique layered color compositions—a mix of different shades of glaze in combination with the natural porcelain color in a gray-white hue.

    Above: The Colour Porcelain Collection consists of plates, cups, bowls, serving platters, candleholders, vases, and a tea set.


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    Phil Winser of white-hot catering company Silkstone and the Fat Radish has been called an "Eton boy gone rogue," so perhaps it's appropriate that he works out of a tent in a Lower East Side loft.

    Winser and his partner, Ben Towill, have built a mini empire based on their brand of nonchalant entertaining, which involves organic garden-to-table cuisine (they grow herbs on the rooftop) and earnestly charming service (the NY Times calls them "the caterers du jour"). The duo works out of The Silkstone Loft by day; by night, the space functions as a dining club, venue for cooking classes, wine tastings, and generally hip hangout. For more information, go to Silkstone.

    Above: Winser's office is located inside a canvas tent set on a raised platform.

    Above: The Silkstone kitchen is simple and functional.

    Above: A candelit dining table, before the guests arrive.

    Above: An exposed brick wall and a vintage school map add to the retro vibe.

    Above: Dana of Island Creek Oysters, located in Duxbury, Massachusetts, talks oyster shucking.

    Above: Fat Radish chef Nick serves oysters from Peter's Point in Onset, Massachusetts.

    Above: A corner workspace, with a vintage industrial lamp and an Eames office chair.

    Above: Chef and food writer Julia Turshen teaches a class on nutrition, ingredients, and food preparation using a mix of coconut oil, grains and greens, and spices like tumeric and cinnamon.

    Above: A custom phone booth offers a space for private conversations.

    Above: Insider Winser's tent, a side table from West Elm holds books and an ethnic rug covers the floor.

    Above: Kerosene lanterns contribute to the camping feel.


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    "Whenever we are together at a table with food, wine, music and laughter, inevitably there will be stains. I happen to love these flaws—to me, they are evocative and commemorative."

    Such are the words spoken by UK-based Elvis Robertson, a bespoke textile practitioner who hand stitches on wine-stained tablecloths, creating beauty out of imperfection. Robertson, who studied graphics and illustration at St. Martin's College, creates subtle pieces with what she calls "constellations, which are slowly revealed from the pattern of stains when viewed from a distance." To learn more or to commission a piece visit Elvis Robertson.

    Above: Cygnus Constellation tablecloth.

    Above: A detailed look at an embroidered "stain."

    Above: "This collection of tablecloths is a celebration of life's imperfections," Robertson says. "Those marks and blemishes that are left behind after some rocking good times. I take time to beautifully stitch things which are deemed to be ugly."

    Above: An Orion constellation created from the stains.


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    Located on the premises of Koskela, one of Sydney's best design showrooms, Kitchen by Mike is a canteen-style cafe headed by Michael McEnearney (the former chef of Rockpool), who shops at the early-morning farmer's markets and plans his menu according to what he finds.

    For more information, go to Kitchen by Mike at Koskela.

    Photography by Jillian Leiboff.

    Above: A concrete wall is painted black.

    Above: Built-in seating around tables made from wood industrial stools.

    Above: The tops of the wooden spools are painted matte black.

    Above: Furniture is comprised of a mix of contemporary pieces from Koskela.

    Above L: Tomato cans used as utensil holders. Above R: A giant wine jug.

    Above: A concrete basin sink.

    Above: Painted wood blocks serve as table markers.

    Above: Oversize rattan lamps from Gervasoni provide illumination.


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    Our friend Jo Craven (a UK Vogue contributor) takes us on a tour inside Marianna Kennedy's kaleidoscopic world in Spitalfields, London:

    Originally from Canada, Kennedy moved to Spitalfields nearly twenty years ago, after she completed art school in Dublin. Over the past two decades, she's applied her energies to renovating her 18th century Huguenot silk weaver's house back to how it was intended to be, using muted colors from Holkham Linseed Paints on the walls. As her friend Tash Aw says, "Everything here feels ancient but looks new." Throughout the interiors of the four-story house, Kennedy's own handmade lacquered tables, lamps, and mirrors appear like rainbow-hued quotation marks.

    Kennedy’s heroine is midcentury French designer Eileen Grey: "She had just a few clients who were very particular," she says. "Not many people work that way anymore." Kennedy does, though. "We make things in small collections, and when they’re sold, they’re gone," she says. Kennedy will be showing her latest pieces at Art Basel from June 14 to 17; for more information, go to Marianna Kennedy.

    Photography by Kristin Perers.

    Marianna-Kennedy-Spitalfields-house-showroom-workshop-branches-color-book-cover-fabric-blinds

    Above: Kennedy in her showroom, arranging branches. The window panes are covered in book cloth fabric from her husband Charles’s bookbinding business, which he operates on the top floor.

    Marianna-Kennedy-Spitalfields--house-showroom-workshop-resin-lamps

    Above: The reflection of Kennedy's signature jewel-colored resin lamps and wood carvings she is using for a Murano glass project can be seen in one of her lacquered tables. The lamps are available at Ben Pentreath; £400.

    Marianna-Kennedy-Spitalfields-house-showroom-workshop-desk-book-cover-fabric-blinds

    Above: The book cloth fabric Kennedy uses for her blinds.

    Marianna-Kennedy-Spitalfields-house-showroom-workshop-branches-pink-gilded-mirror-Izzy-Tennant

    Above: Kennedy has been working on a series of gilded mirrors called "Feathers of Gold." Made of platinum glass, which is then colored, the frames can take up to a year to create. They are first hand-carved of cherry wood, according to a drawing by Kennedy, and then gilded by Izzy Tennant, sister to supermodel Stella. Kennedy's first collection was exhibited at the Galerie Chastel-Maréchal in Paris and sold out to private collectors.

    Marianna-Kennedy-Spitalfields-house-showroom-workshop-branches-yellow-book-cover-fabric-blinds-lime-resin-Cawdor-lamp

    Above: The Cawdor lamp in lime resin (standing in front of yellow book cover fabric blinds) has a story behind it. Kennedy counts Isabella Cawdor as one of her good friends and asked to borrow a lamp from the family castle in Scotland (yes, as in Shakespeare and Macbeth) to copy in resin.

    Marianna-Kennedy-Spitalfields-dining-room-blue-book-cover-fabric-blinds

    Above: Kennedy's dining room is adorned with an assortment of her colored resin candle sticks and lamps. In this room, she has selected blue book cover fabric for her blinds.

    Marianna-Kennedy-Spitalfields-sitting-room-yellow-hand-painted-sign

    Above: In Kennedy's sitting room, one of her own hand-painted signs hangs on a wall.

    Marianna-Kennedy-Spitalfields-house-sitting-room-red-book-cover-fabric-blinds

    Above: Red blinds in the sitting room add warmth to the neutral tones.

    Marianna-Kennedy-Spitalfields-house-stair-colored-glass

    Above: Jewel-colored panes of glass light up a dark stairway.

    Marianna-Kennedy-Spitalfields-house-private-office-hand-painted-black-signs

    Above: In her private office, the hand-painted signs are a humorous nod to the various shades of black.

    Marianna-Kennedy-Spitalfields-house-crimson-red-table-antique-wooden-carved-peaches-pears

    Above: A catolog of Kennedy's show in Paris "Plus Léger que L’Air" sits on a crimson lacquer table with griffin feet alongside antique carved wooden peaches and pears.

    Marianna-Kennedy-Spitalfields-house-master-bedroom-yellow-lampshade-black-painted-bedframe-hand-painted-sign

    Above: Kennedy designed the black four-poster bed in the master bedroom. More calls to action are printed on specially designed horsehair bags (chef Nigel Slater uses his for vegetable shopping in the market); this one is embroidered with the message "Dites Moi," while the hand-painted sign on the wall says the same in Italian.

    Marianna-Kennedy-Spitalfields-colored-blinds-in-street-windows

    Above: The entry to Kennedy's home, showroom, and workshop. Photo by Christine Hanway.


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    Sam Hamilton's Aga cooker, installed in her San Francisco shop March, has us experiencing range envy.

    Agas are made of cast-iron, and the thermal mass allows them to cook slowly and evenly; the heat comes from a single central gas burner, which supplies different levels of heat to different parts of the stove. Traditional Agas have two hot plates instead of burners—one for simmer and one for boiling—and multiple ovens. For more information on how they operate, here is a good description.

    Above: March owner Sam Hamilton installed an Aga stove in anticipation of the occasional dinners she plans to host in the store; March is also a certified Aga dealer. (For more about the store, see Shopper's Diary: March in San Francisco Relaunches.)

    Above: Traditional Agas have two hot plates and a warming plate.

    Above: The classic Aga Four-Oven Cooker offers four ovens, two hot plates, and a warming plate; $21,000. Available through authorized Aga dealers, including March.

    Aga Six-Four Range

    Above: Aga also offers versions with standard gas burners and electric ovens like the Aga Six-Four Range; $9,249 at Vintage Tub or through an Aga dealer. Those of us lacking the roominess of an English country house can still capture the manor look with the smaller Companion Range (with four burners and two ovens); $5,749 at AJ Madison or through an Aga dealer.

    Aga Legacy Dual-Fuel 44-inch Stove

    Above: Another option with see-through oven doors: the Aga Legacy Dual-Fuel 44-inch Stove with six burners (four in the middle, and two deep burners on either side); $6,399 at AJ Madison or through an Aga dealer.

    Above: Aspiring Aga owners can always start with an Aga cast-iron casserole. The Aga Oval Casserole (L) and the Aga Round Casserole (R) are currently available at March in black matte (white versions should be in stock shortly). Prices range from $120 (for the 1.3 liter size) to $268 (for the 4.5 liter size). Contact March to order.

    N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on March 13, 2012.


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    We took a tour of London-based artist Marianna Kennedy's house yesterday; today, our friend Jo Craven talks us through the Spitalfields artist's inimitable style.

    Kennedy brings to mind the naughtiest girl in school: with her bird’s nest hair, spectacles, and daring red lips, matched with her uniform of brogues, short jackets, cardigans, and a dark wool skirt. This consistent and utilitarian luxe style, based on pieces sourced at Miu Miu, Comme des Garcons, and Margaret Howell, allows Kennedy to move seamlessly between her working and nonworking life. See London's Sorceress of Color and A Secret Roof Garden in Spitalfields for more on Marianna Kennedy.

    Photos by Kristin Perers.

    Marianna-Kennedy-hand-painted-sign-vintage-meter-ruler-step-ladder

    Above: In her showroom, Kennedy wields a vintage wooden meter ruler, schoolmaster style. Glimpsed in the niche behind her, color samples and one of her hand-lettered art pieces.

    Above L. Kennedy wears Clair Rouge lipstick from La Prairie (her mother gives her a voucher every Christmas). Above R: The artist purchases her reading glasses by the handful from a chemist in Paris; the similar Sinclair Frames are $95 (lenses included) at Warby Parker.

    Pleated Skirt

    Above: The black Pleated Skirt from Comme des Garçons is currently on sale for $395.50 from La Garçonne.

    Above: Variations of Kennedy's style theme can be sourced in Margaret Howell's 2012 collection: Cropped Trousers and Utilitarian Jacket (L) and Cotton Taffeta Shirt and Skirt (R).

    Karena Lace-Up with Heel

    Above: Shoe as art: Handmade in Italy, the Karena Lace-Up with Heel from Le Yucca's is a lifetime investment at $1,010 from La Garçonne.

    Marianna-Kennedy-hand-painted-sign-vintage-meter-ruler-step-ladder

    Above: Kennedy makes schoolroom style seem glamorous.

    Marianna-Kennedy-gilded-mirror-feathers-of-gold

    Above: Mirror, mirror on the wall: Kennedy's latest collection includes gilded mirrors called "Feathers of Gold," which will be on display at Art Basel from June 14 to 17.


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  • 06/08/12--06:30: A Standing Desk with Style
  • Standing desks are on the rise in the tech world (Facebook started using them when employees complained of lethargy), but most are low on the design quotient. Except this one.

    Ohio furniture's David Pierce has come to the rescue with the Adler Table, which takes "its cue from machinist tables built at the turn of the century," he says. Made with hand-rubbed gun blue finish steel legs (a process that creates a black/blue patina finish and protects the raw steel against rust), the table can range in height from 27 to 42 inches, making it easy to change positions throughout the day. For more information, go to Ohio Design.

    Above: According to the WSJ, workers at Facebook and Google were motivated to switch to standing desks by "medical reports saying that sitting for too long leads to increased health risks."

    Above: The Adler table can be easily adjusted to a sitting position.

    Above: The crank is made from solid steel gears and a chromed, cast iron handle.

    Above: The table top is available in a variety of woods, including walnut, oak, and maple.


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    As a twenty-something city dweller in a rented apartment, I've become a bit of an ascetic: Investing in bulky furniture is the last thing on my list.

    Here are five ideas for an instant headboard that is inexpensive, effortless, and most important, easy to haul into a moving van when and if the time comes.

    Above: A headboard outlined in pink paint by Los Angeles designer Alexandra Angle.

    Above: Black and white maps lean up against the wall; via 47 Park Avenue.

    Above: An entire wall painted in chalkboard paint in the bedroom of German fashion designer Hanne Graumannr; image via Vosges Paris.

    Above: A macrame hanging by Portland, OR-based Sally England makes an unexpected headboard; photo via Palace Store.

    Above: White reclaimed doors as headboard via Hus & Hem. If this idea appeals, see our post on DIY: Reclaimed Doors as Headboards.

    Above: A chalkboard is a nice choice for welcoming guests or for the children's room; via Jeanine Brennan for Apartment Therapy.


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  • 06/08/12--09:00: Outdoors: Lap Pool Roundup
  • The onset of summer has us thinking about pools, ponds, any watery respite; here's a roundup of serene lap pools.

    Above: Set in the grasslands of Lagunitas, CA, this 75-foot lap pool was designed by Australian-born, Northern California-based Bernard Trainor. Photo courtesy of Bernard Trainor and Associates.

    Above: A pool in the Hamptons by Alex Scott Porter.

    Above: A pool on Long Island by Bridgehampton, NY-based Stelle Architects.

    Above: Designed by Eliot Lee of Steven Harris Architects, in conjunction with Blasen Landscape Architecture, a serene pool in Napa; photo by Marion Brenner, courtesy of Blasen Landscape Architecture.

    Above: A modernist pool. Photo by Don Lewis.

    Above: A pool on Long Island Sound by Madderlake Designs.

    Above: Completed in 2010 by Daniel Marshall Architects, this lap pool in New Zealand blends into the contour of the ridge on which it sits.

    Above: Set on the Napa River, a pool in a project by SF-based architect Craig Steely. Photo courtesy of Craig Steely Architecture.

    Above: A pool by Long Island-based Bates Masi + Architects.

    Above: A pool in California by Bernard Trainor & Associates.

    Above: The simple modernist pool is defined by a slab concrete wall; Hix Island.

    (N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on July 28, 2011.)


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    Making a comeback: the classic revolving soap holder. The practical Provendi soap fixture from France has adorned public school washrooms throughout Europe for years. Now we're noticing them in chic baths everywhere (and we're coveting one for ourselves).

    Drai Linen Towels

    Above: Spotted at Society Limonta: the Pro Ven Di soap hook plus Drai Linen Towels.

    Provendi Soap Holder

    Above: The Pro Ven Di Soap Hook is €22 at Torquato, which ships to the US.

    Green Provendi Fern Soap Beige Provendi Fern Soap White Provendi Lemon Soap

    Above: Pro Ven Di refill soaps are available in a range of fragrances, including Green Fern, Beige Fern, and Lemon soap; €9.50 each at Torquato.


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    New from Seattle-based Ladies & Gentlemen: the elegant Ovis lounge chair, designed in collaboration with textile designer Ashley Helvey and made of wooden dowels, brass and copper tubing, and hand-felted Navajo wool.

    We've been following the work of Jean Lee (the lady) and Dylan Davis (the gentleman) for a while now, and when we heard they had collaborated with Ashley Helvey, we were curious. "This is our first collaboration," Jean says. "We pored through vintage books for inspiration and threw a few ideas around. It was really exciting and synergetic as we found ourselves drawn to similar things. We think the end result highlights our collective sensibilities: simple, organic, structural, with a hint of playfulness." We could not agree more. Stay tuned for information on pricing and availability; to learn more, go to Ladies & Gentlemen. To see Ashley's work, go to Ashley Helvey.

    N.B. Interested in seeing more? Ladies & Gentlemen will be joining us at Dwell on Design.

    Above: The Ovis lounge chair with the O side table made from poplar and metal.

    Above: The Ovis Lounge is made from wood and copper tubing with felt seating. The chair will also be available with leather slings.

    Above: Ashley Helvey's hand-felted Navajo wool with a cushion kept in place by a copper dowel.

    Above: A suspended version of the chair: the Ovis Hanging Lounge with brass dowels.

    Above: A rope fringe hangs from each corner of the suspended chair.


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    New from cult Japanese brand V::room: plush dip-dyed towels. Let's just put it out there: $198 for a face towel? Expensive? Yes. But—

    In our continuing obsession for all things dip-dyed, we find ourselves coveting one (if not more). We spotted the deluxe, velvety towels at Lost & Found where owner and ex-stylist Jamie Rosenthal has a knack for discovering under-the-radar offerings.

    Above: V-Room Face Towel in navy: $198 from Lost & Found.

    Above: V-room Bath Towel in navy: $320 from Lost and Found.

    Above: The bath towel collection shown in gray, charcoal, and navy.

    Above: V-room Bath Towel in gray: $320 from Lost and Found.


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    This weekend, Ted Flato and Bill Aylor of Lake|Flato Architects (members of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory) discuss their Porch House project in Texas, a compound of buildings made with a simple kit of factory-built components. The architects will be available for the next 48 hours to answer any and all reader questions (post your queries in the comments section below).

    The San Antonio, Texas-based firm has a mission: to deliver cost-effective, high-quality design; striving to ameliorate the built environment across the country. For the Porch House project, they combined factory-built rooms (living and bedroom spaces) with custom-designed elements built on site (what they call "connective tissue"). Lake|Flato’s Porch House system is able to adapt both to the unique characteristics of any site as well as to a client’s individual needs, resulting in a cost-effective yet customized design solution. Simple, really; instead of starting from scratch on every project; the architects' critical design input is used to arrange the rooms and the connecting spaces like porches, breezeways, overhangs, and carports in between. (Depending on the climate; connecting spaces are not necessarily outdoor spaces.)

    Not that the factory-built living rooms and bedrooms are anything to sniff at. Simple and perfect in their execution; “The big question we kept asking ourselves as we designed these rooms," says Ted, “ was 'Would Donald Judd be happy?'” We'd like to think so. For more information, see Lake|Flato Porch House.

    Above: The master bedroom and living area are arranged to take advantage of the expansive views while creating a protected courtyard for the compound. Photo by Kenny Braun.

    Above: The buildings can be built in a variety of materials, depending on environmental conditions. The materials of choice on this project were corrugated metal and wood, fitting for a ranch in central Texas. Photo by Frank Ooms.

    Above: After the design and budget have been approved and the permits obtained, site preparation and factory-built rooms occur simultaneously saving a significant amount of time in the entire process, which takes somewhere between seven and 11 months. Photo by Kenny Braun.

    Above: On a ranch in Central Texas, the clients wanted to build a weekend house for friends and family that was easy to maintain. The main house has a master bedroom and a living area (both factory built) connected by a breezeway (built on site). The second house contains guest bedrooms with a porch that was added on site. A custom-built car port is also part of the compound. Photo by Kenny Braun.

    Above: Lake|Flato's houses are designed to be responsive to the environment. The design of the living area is flexible enough to accommodate a variety of options for window openings, depending on one's climatic and programmatic needs. Photo by Frank Ooms.

    Above: The interiors of the factory made rooms are simple and executed well. Photo by Frank Ooms.

    Above: A view of the guesthouse from the master bedroom. Photo by Frank Ooms.

    Above: An outdoor shower is lined with corrugated metal and accessed through wooden saloon-style doors. Photo by Lake|Flato.

    Above: "The landscape is an enormous component of our architecture," says associate partner Bill Aylor. Photo by Kenny Braun.

    Above: This video demonstrates the way a Porch House comes together.


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    With offices in Paris and Marrakesh, French architects Karl Fournier and Olivier Marty of Studio KO have worked on a range of East/West projects for clients like Marella Agnelli and the Hermès family.

    Their projects range from a refurbishment of a 17th-century apartment in Paris to an overhaul of a 1960s house in Dakar to contemporary villas for high-profile clients. The duo does minimalist exotica well—as evidenced by this collection of images from various projects in Morocco. To see more of their work, go to Studio KO.

    Above: Villa D in Al Ouidane, Morocco; photos by Dan Glasser.

    Above: Interiors (and pool) at the new Domain Royal Palm resort.

    Above: Villa K in Tagadert, Morocco; photos by Dan Glasser.

    N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on September 3, 2010.


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    "Simple, organic, and structural": that's how Ladies & Gentlemen designers Jean Lee and Dylan Davis describe their latest collection, which includes the sleek Aura pendant lights.

    Above: The Aura Pendant Lights will be available from Ladies & Gentlemen in the near future; stay tuned for pricing.

    Above: The pendants come in a choice of brass and copper hoops.

    Above: "The juxtaposition of simple materials and the intersection of shapes make for something entirely new," Lee says.


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