StyleFile #49: Apartment Therapy In 1954

Like most young married couples in the 1950’s, artist Bob Wood and his wife Joani were overjoyed at the prospect of renting an apartment that they could afford and being able to fix it up the way they liked. They decided to redo the kitchen by replacing the appliances and then doing most of the remodeling themselves. You can see that many of their ideas are still applicable for today.

Before– When the couple moved in, the kitchen had nothing in it but a stove. No refrigerator! And a thin strip of linoleum only partially covered the wood floor.

After-Here Bob and Joani are celebrating their new DIY kitchen in 1954. The freshly painted walls are red in the eating area and a soft gray in the kitchen. Black painted rope secured to the ceiling divides the kitchen from the dining area. Bob installed a faux black-marble linoleum to cover the entire room’s floor.

After– He also extended cabinets all the way to the ceiling and fitted them with black sliding doors. The counter top was covered in solid black linoleum (not Formica). And check out the light fixture- one of three bubble lights by George Nelson!

After– Bob designed the curtain and chair cushion fabric. Taking heavy unbleached muslin, he took a whisk broom and brushed on the background colors then overprinted a second design by silk screen.

(Photos- McCall’s Magazine, 1954)

StyleFile #48: Highlander Knits

Nothing says autumn like cozy hand-knit clothing and I’ve discovered that the best patterns are always found in Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazines!  Fresh from the highlands of Scotland, Rowan featured these inspirational pictures of vests, sweaters, hats and scarves last year. Take a look-

Fyne Slipover Sweater Vest by Marie Wallin.

Tartan Scarf (lower right) by Anna Tillman.

Cawdor hat by Sarah Hatton and Rannoch Dress by Marie Wallin.

Details of Doon Cardigan (upper left) by Anna Tillman and Malt Cardigan (lower right) by Lisa Richardson.

Plaid Cardigan by Kaffe Fassett.

Fleet Cardigan by Marie Wallin.

(Photos- Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine #42)

StyleFile #47: Think Pink For Decorating

Most people look at the color pink and see only a little girl’s bedroom. But pink is a great color that can be used in any room- living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms and master bedrooms!

First, to get us thinking pink let’s listen to this song from one of my favorite movies- “Funny Face.”

Now some inspiring pink rooms- enjoy!

1. Living room– A soft blush of pink covers the walls of Marian McEvoy‘s living room. She kept it from being too sweet by introducing brown. Here it’s used in the rug and pillows. And check out Marian’s artwork glued to the walls- all from pine cones!

2. Living room– Would you believe this is almost the same color scheme of pink and brown? The only difference is in the color intensity. Accents of brown are in the solid-colored pillow, the dark wooden furniture and the picture frames.

3. Living room– Bright pink was used in this Parisian apartment and wow! Doesn’t it give a more youthful feel? Fun accessories include the chandelier ( see reflected in the mirror), the graphic rug, modern paintings and stacks of books everywhere!

4. Living room– Isn’t this charming? Pink walls combine wonderfully with the rustic features (wooden beams and stone fireplace) of this farmhouse in France. And I love the over-scaled pink checked fabric on the furniture!

5.Living room– To do pink doesn’t necessarily mean just painting your walls. You could purchase or cover existing furniture in pink fabrics instead.  A wonderful example by Shelia Bridges-  a solid (Holly Hunt “Pink Lady) on the sofa and a large floral on the chairs.

6. Kitchen Pink in the kitchen can also be totally unexpected and fun!

7. Kitchen– Small kitchens like this one in Europe, benefit from strong color. Why not choose a deep pink?!

8. Kitchen– Just because a kitchen is modern doesn’t mean it can’t have a touch of pink! Here back-lit pink acetate and Lucite create a focal point in this kitchen.

9. Bathroom- Don’t be afraid to try pink in the bathroom. Here is a good balance of feminine (the mirror) with masculine (marble countertop and contemporary sink.)

10. Bathroom– Simple pink elements like the flowers and bucket are nice touches in a bathroom.

11. Master bedroom– Classic pink floral wall paper called “Bowood” from Colefax and Fowler makes this room so romantic! And really, what’s wrong with that?

12. Master bedroom– Do you love modern? Pink can still be used as a background color (Benjamin Moore Regal Matte in Charming Pink) with bright white ceiling and trim. To keep the clean look, use white linens and edit your accessories to just a few- like the metal lamps and framed photos (bedside table.)

13. Master bedroom– Talk about a great mix! This room has rich pink walls (BL 32 Pink Tiger) paired with a mirrored bed, pink edged linens, a floral rug; all kept in check by the black club chair.

(Pictures- 1. World of Interiors 2. Elle Decor 3. House and Garden 4. House Beautiful 5. Domino 6. World of Interiors 7. Domino 8. Domino 9. Domino 10. World of Interiors 11. House Beautiful 12. Domino 13. Domino)

StyleFile #46: She Did It Her Way!

I love homes that reflect the personality of the person or people who live there. One such place is the home of Silvia Alvarez, a designer living in Buenos Aires. I was delighted by how she preserved the home’s historical details yet made the place hers by using a creative mix of furniture and quirky collections. Take a peek-

The foyer of the apartment retains its tile floor and wood trim. Silvia added the English floral paper to the walls and the ceiling. Her collection of black and white photographs takes up one full wall. Look closely at some of the pictures-  how many favorite movie stars can you recognize?!

Another view of the foyer shows a huge paper lamp shape covered in flowers. It was bought at flee market and restored by Sylvia’s daughter.

The living room and dining room are perfect examples of Sylvia’s mixing of different styles and periods of furniture- Victorian sofa and covered chair , a 1960’s coffee table, vintage floral rug, thick wooden topped dining table with black chairs from the 1970’s. And check out the surprising ceiling light fixtures!

The kitchen is painted all white with punches of color in the window curtains and seat cushions (not shown here). Open shelves display collections of pottery.

Silvia painted her bedroom a soft blue and threw a simple white cover on the bed. Romantic chintz covers pillows and an antique bench. To keep it from getting too ‘frothy’ she includes modern touches with light fixtures and beside table by Eileen Gray.

(From- Romantic Homes magazine. Photos by- Daniela Mac Adden)

Real Clothes For Real People

While I worked at Nordstrom we did a series a windows called “Real Clothes for Real People.” It was one of the most challenging and certainly one of the most popular. I think the positive reaction was because we took some great clothes that could become a part of real-life wardrobes.

When I came across this spread of photos from the current French Glamour magazine, they captured perfectly what I’m talking about. All of these are very fashionable yet wearable.

Instead of one plaid, try a mix- here a D&G woolen overcoat and shirt work well with the high-waist skirt by New Look. Don’t forget to add a pair of leather boots, a hat and this bag from Kipling.

Red is a hot color for fall. Choose a statement piece like this front bow shirt by Mexx. Worn with it are a Kenzo jacket, wool pants with suspenders (unseen) from DDP and brown leather shoulder bag at A.P.C.

The head scarf is a classic accessory. Wear it with a trench from Pennyblack, a plaid silk muslin dress by Dimension, patterned tights and spectator shoes to make the whole look fashion-forward.

Sittin’ pretty in cuffed wool pants with suspenders (unseen) from IKKA Women, pullover by Benetton, and long wool sweater at Lee Cooper.

StyleFile #45: Late Bloomers

In the late 1960’s mini-skirts got mini-er until girls faced the fact that bending over was embarrassing and that sitting down was a real problem! Designers were quick to introduce the “bloomer”-  slightly fuller shorts with elastic in the legs. They were not very flattering and thankfully had a quick life before the 1970’s ushered in longer hem lines.

Little Miss Muffet sits on her tuffet ! She’s wearing a black velvet puffed sleeved blouse with a pair of matching bloomers by Edie Gladstone. Golo created the black shoes. Don’t you love her hair?!

A combination bloomer-jumpsuit in black velvet with matching cape (not shown) from Galanos. This outfit in 1967 was $1,600!

Working girl– the alternative to the standard skirt and jacket was this white crepe bloomer suit designed by June Frances and Tom Nasarre for Junior Sophisticates. Black sleevelss shirt and a bright green sash at the waist completed the look.

(Photos- Look Magazine, 1967)

Henry Poor’s Crow House

One of the homes on my list to visit this summer was Crow House- the home and studio of artist  Henry Varnum Poor. During the first part of the twentieth century he was considered one of this country’s most important painters. Crow House became a place not only for him to work but for other artists, writers and assorted Hollywood actors to join him. When my husband and I tried to make reservations to view the house (an activity we both thoroughly enjoy), we were told that  “…it was owned by the town and not open to the public.” For now I guess I’ll have to satisfy my curiosity with just pictures instead.

On a table in Poor’s studio are some of his pottery. The wall holds early sketches of Crow House design.

Much of the house Poor built from materials found on his own land- wood used for walls,

ceiling beams, and stone used for the living room fireplace. The house still has his furnishings so that it gives a feeling that he is still actively at his art.

I hope the town’s caretakers preserve it and someday open it to the public so that I can see it!

(Photos- American Craft Magazine, World of Interiors)

StyleFile #44: As Time Goes By

I’m a big history fan, so when these ads for Tiffany recently appeared in a few current magazines I tore them out. I love how they show fashion through the years. For fun I’ve added some history facts below each picture.

In 1952...

Harry Truman was President of the United States.

Albert Schweitzer won the Nobel Peace Price.

Glow- Worm” by The Mills Brothers was a favorite song.

A movie ticket for ” Singin’ in the Rain“,  “The Quiet Man“, or “The Greatest Show on Earth” was $0.70.

A new house cost $9,075.00.

Average rent for an apartment was $80.00 a month.

Gas per gallon was 20 cents!

Jackie Robinson became the highest paid player in Brooklyn Dodger‘s history.

People watched television shows like “I Love Lucy“, “Dragnet“, and “The Jack Benny Show“.

The book “Anne Frank” was published in the United States.

The Art world celebrated Leonardo da Vinci‘s 500th birthday.

In 1962...

Jonh F. Kennedy was the President of the United States.

Linus Pauling won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Big Girls Don’t Cry” by the 4 Seasons was a favorite song.

A movie ticket for “Lawrence of Arabia“,  “To Kill a Mockingbird“, or ” Dr. No” was $1.00.

A new house cost $12,550.00.

Average rent was $110.00 per month.

Gas per gallon was 28 cents!

Jackie Robinson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Johnny Carson hosted his first “Tonight Show” with guest Joan Crawford.

People watched television shows like “The Beverly Hillbillies“, “Ben Casey“, and “The Dick Van Dyke Show“.

Pop Art was at a high with Andy Warhol‘s famous painting of  Campbell’s soup cans.

In 1972

Richard Nixon was President of the United States.

Money for the Nobel Peace Prize was allocated to the Main Fund.

American Pie” by Don McLean was a favorite song.

A movie ticket for “The Godfather“, “Deliverance” or “The Poseidon Adventure” was $1.75.

A new house cost $27,600.00

Average rent was $165.00 per month.

Gas per gallon was 55 cents!

Bobby Fisher won the World Chess Championship.

People watched television shows like “Maude“, “Bridget Loves Bernie“, and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show“.

The American Museum of Immigration was dedicated.

(Photos- Tiffany)

StyleFile #42: Suburban Fashion-1967

By the late 1960’s, many American businessmen and their wives had left the big cities for the suburbs. Following them were the businesses themselves. Soon thereafter metro-based designers noticed that suburban housewives still cared about how they looked. They wanted to be just as sophisticated and modern as their city counterparts.

Here sitting by an indoor pool, the hostess wears a pair of B.H. Wragger‘s linen shorts and silk top by Kabuki. Check out her clear vinyl shoes from Herbert Levine.

A reflection of the times! The very modern suburban housewife looks at herself in large floral silk pants dress by Donald Brooks.

Taking in the view from a bath tower, this model gazes out the window in a bloomer by Leo Narducci.

(Photos- 1967 Look Magazine)

StyleFile #41: Antique Marries Modern

Not too long ago the formula for decorating was: old house- antique furniture, contemporary house- modern furniture. Well, those days are gone. Today designers are putting mid-century modern in an eighteenth century farmhouse or wonderful antiques in a modern setting. If you plan to take the plunge, keep in mind the shapes, colors, textures, and patterns of the mix. Other than that, just have fun!

Dining room traditional- a 19th century table is tweaked with modern polypropylene Panton chairs from Design Within Reach.

Dining room modern– very contemporary Harvey Probber rosewood and steel table is warmed up with antique wooden mahogany George II styled chairs, metal Empire chandelier and the Samode rug.

Living room traditional – classics like the Jefferson bust and Regency chair loosen up when paired with the gray Dunbar chair, graphic pillow and glass-and-steel coffee table by Poul Kjaerholm.

Living room modern – colorful photographs by artist Jonathan Lewis blend beautifully with the paisley covered George Smith sofa, Hickory tray table and antique candle sticks.

Bedroom traditional– furnished with an antique Louis XVl fautieuil chair and converted oil lamp, the bedroom embraces a modern attitude with the queen size platform bed by Bo Concept, Maine Cottage Furniture quilt, lucite table and West Elm rug.

Bedroom modern– sleek white cabinets soften with an antique sleigh bed, Eleanor’s Ribbon bed linens and 19th century bronze Japanese vase.