Saturday, October 29, 2016

Got Mail #2 / Blu Dot

Blu Dot catalog is the latest new-to-me lookbook to show up in my snail mailbox, and there's a fall sale going on through Sunday, Oct. 30. I've listed original prices, but EVERYTHING is 20-percent off through this weekend.

Blu Dot is a Minneapolis-based company started by two college pals who couldn’t find modern-design furniture for their first homes. “The things we could afford we didn’t like, and the things we liked we couldn’t afford,” says the Our Story page on their website. So the two architects found a sculptor to join them and launched a design studio.

In addition to the website, there are now Blu Dot brick-and-mortar stores in major U. S. markets—New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Austin—as well as Sydney, Australia, and Monterrey and Mexico City, Mexico. The home base Minneapolis store is an outlet (lucky Minneapolis!!).

The Blu Dot motto is “We design it. We stand behind it. And we hope you dig it.” And dig it I do, very much. Blu Dot has some unique pieces at competitive prices. And unlike the Jonathan Adler collection I featured last Saturday, no creepy drug and body parts accessories.

So without further adieu, let’s take a look at my Blu Dot picks…

To everything turn, turn, turn @bohosusan
Blu Dot photo

My absolute, top-of-the-line, hands-down favorite in the Blu Dot lineup is the Turn collection of tables, which mimic lathe-turned spindles and columns. Each is made from solid acacia wood—no veneers or engineered-wood products. @bohosusan
Blu Dot photo

Left to right are the stool ($399), the low side-table ($299), the high side-table ($399), and the coffee table ($679). The Turn stool comes with a thick-cut felt top in your choice of five colors. Tops are also sold separately, in case you like a change every now and then. @bohosusan
Blu Dot photo

I love how the beauty of the wood shines through in these pieces. That and their sculptural quality make them easy to mix with a variety of design styles.

Join the ottoman empire @bohosusan
Blu Dot photo

Blu Dot’s fun modular ottoman collection allows for use singly as a traditional footstool or en masse for an abstract seating solution. @bohosusan
Blu Dot photo

Hecks ($229) are hexagonal, of course, and measure 23-by-17 inches. Convert yours to a table by adding a powder-coated steel tray in black or white for $69 more. @bohosusan
Blu Dot photo

Bumpers come in two sizes of round—26 inches ($299) and 17 inches ($179) in diameter. A tray option is also available for the small Bumper. @bohosusan
Blu Dot

The squares are called Otto (17-inches square, $179) and Quotto (34-inches square, $399).

All the ottomans come upholstered in Thurmond felt, a 60/40 blend of wool and rayon, and an array of happy colors. To add to their versatility, all are 17 inches high, except the larger Bumper, which is 15 inches.

Take a magic carpet ride @bohosusan
Blu Dot photo

Use the gorgeous Charlie rug ($499) underfoot or… @bohosusan
Blu Dot photo

…to deck the walls. It’s the perfect size for hanging—6-by-9 feet—and is a 56/44 blend of dhurrie wool and cotton.

Hope you like these real good 

When you recovered from what you thought was my grammar faux pas in the headline, you probably noticed the copper Real Good dining chairs in the previous picture. You’ll be tickled to know there are counter- and bar-stool versions of this angular beauty as well. @bohosusan
Blu Dot photo

Copper plate over steel runs $299 for the chair and $399 for either height of stool, while powder-coated versions are priced at $249, regardless of height. 

I love the angles on these, don’t you? The seats remind me of perforations, and they are in a way. The chairs ship flat, and you fold along the dotted lines to assemble. Former study-hall paper-airplane makers can now use their craft in the service of modern design!

R2D2? No, 2D:3D! @bohosusan
Blu Dot photo

Like the Real Good chairs, 2D:3D bowls ship flat and you fold them into their angular shape. Though part of the 2D:3D office collection, they're waaaay too cool to stay at work. In three sizes and colors, you'll be slipping these into the ol' briefcase and bringing them on home to mama. @bohosusan
Blu Dot photo

Small and medium bowls (with higher sides) are $129 for copper and $69 for black, white or space blue, while the large bowl is $149 for copper and $89 for the other colors. They make a great wall-art installation as well, don’t you think? A wall installation sure to work in ANY room of your home. @bohosusan
Blu Dot photos

But if you’re hung up on the office thang, the 2D:3D collection includes (clockwise from upper-left) an in/out box ($69), a letter holder ($39), a coat rack, and a wall-mounted magazine rack (both $119). All four are available in white, red and gray.

Lighten up!

My favorite of all the Blu Dot lighting designs is the Punk table lamp… @bohosusan
Blu Dot photos

It’s to-die-for in all three colors. Again, copper is pricier at $349, while white or charcoal can be yours for $269. Each one wears a solid walnut cap that functions as a switch. Punk me any day with one of these, please! @bohosusan
Blu Dot photos

The Trace pendants are classy times three. Each sports a different-shaped glass globe over a metal shade. Trace 2 and 3 (left and center) sell for $199, while Trace 4, which is slightly larger, is $299. Each shape is available in charcoal, white or copper, and this time around, there’s no upcharge for copper.

I can picture these hung in a mixed-shape group over my dining table. But wait a minute...Where’s Trace 1? Gone without a trace. But you might want to search around the perimeter for it… @bohosusan
Blu Dot photo

…The Perimeter floor lamp, that is. It's uber-classy in the black-base with black shade version shown here, but it also comes in a white base with either a white or gray shade. All are priced at $499.

I’m thinking this could possibly double as a time-out cage for my kitty-cat! What say you?

And who says you can’t nail down the value of Pi? @bohosusan
Blu Dot photo

The Pi collection of cocktail tables gives you absolute value, once and for all. There’s a small and large side table ($299 and $349), as well as a coffee table ($599). Pictured is the black powder-coated steel version with solid walnut legs, but each size of table also comes in white with white ash legs. So striking!

If you want more (which, of course, you do)...

  • There’s lots more to see at, PLUS a 20% off sale through Oct. 30!! Every bit of merchandise is marked down until then, both in-store and on-line, including outlet items—no promo code needed. Enjoy!
  • Follow my blog with Bloglovin or by email, using one of the subscription services listed at the bottom of this page.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Get your holiday hostess gifts on order!

Need a sweet and unique hostess gift this holiday season? Consider a whimsical, one-of-a-kind ceramic piece from Syma Small Works @bohosusan
BoHo Home photo

You may remember the Everyday Artist profile I ran of Syma a few months ago. Well, after the post ran, I decided to treat myself from her shop, and nothing would do her but that she make a gift of what I fully intended to buy. @bohosusan
BoHo Home photo

And what a gift it was! Not only did I receive the sweet Bull Ball Bell I chose... @bohosusan
BoHo Home photo

...but it came in a gift box decorated with more of Syma’s transporting art. @bohosusan
BoHo Home photo

Inside was an enclosure card that told me about the historical inspiration for the Bull Ball Bell and how to use it to release its “magic” properties. @bohosusan
BoHo Home photos

I always say that if you’re going to take the bull by the horns, those horns may as well be 24-karat gold. Agreed? @bohosusan
BoHo Home photos

Don’t you simply love the detail? Each piece is completely hand-formed and hand-painted, so each one is just a little different. I chose this one for his pink hoof… @bohosusan
BoHo Home photo

…And his extra long, extra-curly horns. The better to grip you with, my dear! (Love the cute little nose ring, too!) @bohosusan
BoHo Home photos

Each bell is signed and dated on the outside and signed and numbered on the inside (right alongside the bull ball clanger ;-> ) Notice how translucent the porcelain is; the light coming through shows up a shadow of the outside detail INSIDE. @bohosusan
BoHo Home photo

Syma also included in the package three beautiful art postcards featuring some of her other work.

And if a Bull Ball Bell doesn’t tickle your fancy, she has other giftables in her shop that come with the same beautiful packaging. @bohosusan
©Syma/James Dee photo

Consider a Smoked Little Pot of Gold—each one lined in 24-karat gold and smoked to unique perfection on the outside. Lit with a tealight, they're magical. @bohosusan
Syma Small Works photo

And inside the beautiful gift box will be this sweet sentiment. @bohosusan
Syma Small Works photos

The same is true of the Angel Feeder Bowls…. @bohosusan
Syma Small Works photo

…As wells as the four styles of coasters based on her Muse Charger series. @bohosusan
BoHo Home photo

If you’re not into bulls, Syma also has Cash Cow Bells in the shop and Bells to Summon a Frog (for kissing and turning into a prince?). But whatever you choose, I’m sure the person you buy it for will be just as delighted as I was when I received my gift. @bohosusan
BoHo Home photo

Come to think of it, you may be so tickled with it you don’t want to give it away. So plan ahead: Order two and keep one for yourself! And get your order in before the holiday rush. @bohosusan
©Syma/James Dee photo

A big shout-out of thanks from me to Syma for my beautiful bell. I keep it on a shelf over my desk, where I see it frequently and ring it with abandon. And each and every time I think of her thoughtfulness and her sound advice, which takes on extra meaning this election season:

Assume nothing. 
Expect even less. 
But trust that it will work. 

I would only add: Be sure to vote!

If you want more…

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Help yourself to Emily Henson's Life Unstyled @bohosusan
BoHo Home photo
London stylist Emily Henson’s latest book—Life Unstyled: How to Embrace Imperfection and Create a Home You Love—is really a self-help book disguised with photos of home interiors.

Fun BOHO home interiors, which link it to Henson’s previous book, Bohemian Modern. And if boho is what gets your heart singing, as it does mine, then you’ll want to own both volumes, as I do.

Life Unstyled is also the name of Henson’s blog, and she created both the blog and the book to further the cause of realism at home. 

“As an interior stylist, I create perfectly styled images for my clients in order to sell their products,” she writes, “but the truth is that these pictures don’t represent real life. It’s all a bit of fiction and fantasy…intended to inspire but also setting impossiby high standards of perfection.”

Her solution? Live stylishly but make room for imperfection. 

The first third of the book illustrates how:        
  • Work with what you’ve got.
  • Live with signs of life. 
  • Embrace good clutter. 
  • Paint is your friend. 
  • Break the rules. 
  • Put creativity before consumption.

Good lessons all, and in the final two-thirds of the book Henson takes us inside homes where the owners have put these admonitions to work. All totaled, it’s 160 pages of ideas on how to do the same in your home.

Here are some of my favorite photos from the book & why they resonated with me: @bohosusan
Debi Treloar photo

What I like most about this room is how the bookshelves are styled—or not, as the case may be. Some books are upright and some are stacked, but all can be easily removed from the shelf and read, then put away. There are no actual bookends, but the homeowner has repurposed other objects to serve in that capacity. 

My favorites are:
  • The stack of pretty teacups
  • The collection of green bottles
  • The bowl of photos
  • The globe
  • The bowling pin

These items may or may not strike a chord with you, but...

  • The teacups jumped out at me because I got rid of similar items when I downsized. They were teacups inherited from my husband's family. How I wish I’d thought to display them like this!
  • Ditto with the green bottles. I wish I still had my collection of Jamestown handblown glass. We’d bought those pieces on various vacations to national parks, and seeing these green bottles reminded me of my own. 
  • I don't own a bowling pin, but if I did it would remind me of my dad, an ardent bowler, who passed nearly three years ago. 
  • I’m not much for displaying framed photos on the wall or a shelf, but a pretty bowl filled with snapshots? Now that’s something else. I might try that since I’m always looking for reasons to buy pretty, colorful ceramics. 
  • The globe reminded me of being a kid again and waiting for the Christmas catalogs to arrive. My mother would give me an allowance, and I could pick out what I wanted Santa to bring. I always considered a globe but every time nixed it in favor of something else I wanted more—poor lonely globe!

The point is, nothing in this room looks new or expensive. But the room itself is warm and comfortable. It stands ready like a hug to welcome all who enter. @bohosusan
Debi Treloar photo

This bedroom and my own have lots in common. We also have two hand-me-down chairs that are usually piled and/or draped with colorful quilts and other linens. Sometimes the linens are waiting to be put away. Maybe I got them out to see how they would look somewhere but neglected to put them away, and so they ended up becoming part of the look of the room. It's not a bad look. 

I really like the wallpaper in this room that's mounted high like a towel rack and unrolled. What a great way to lead the eye up to those high ceilings and fill some of that cavernous space. I’m a person who doesn’t like the idea of pasting printed wallpaper to my walls, even though I love looking at wallpaper patterns. This is a way I could use wallpaper and change it out when I tired of it. Consider this idea: three rolls—either in the same or coordinating patterns—hung as a headboard or behind a headboard. They could be mounted even or at different heights. @bohosusan
Debi Treloar photo

Haha! This reminds me of my sofa. Colorful quilts are a great way to hide worn or damaged upholstery. My sofa’s only a few years old, but I have three kantha quilts on it covering spots my cat likes to scratch—the arms and across the bottom front. For some reason, she won’t scratch the quilts. I can take them off for visitors if I want, but actually, I like the relaxed boho look they give the room. @bohosusan
Debi Treloar photo

In this living room I love how the unfinished upper walls dotted with framed art seem to mimic the vintage print in the sofa and chairs. Most everything in this room could be thrifted to get that midcentury modern look on a budget.

If you're lucky, maybe you inherited pieces similar to these. I remember wood-framed sofas (solid walnut, no less!) and stereo cabinets like this one from my childhood. Remove the turntable and repurpose as a console or bar cabinet. @bohosusan
Debi Treloar photo

 My home is also so relaxed that the cat lays down anywhere—counters or table. I figure if someone doesn’t like that then don’t stay for coffee or dinner. She’s cleaner than most people, and BTW, it’s her home, too.

It’s hard to tell from this photo, but the top of the table has been decoupaged and sealed. Think of all the favorite images, prints and colors you could bring into a room doing that. And what a way to get extended miles out of an old table, since it’s usually the top that experiences the most wear and tear. @bohosusan
Debi Treloar photo

Speaking of pets making themselves at home, these pets on pillows are sure to warm any heart. The mirror’s hung too high for my tastes, but I do like how the dangling bulb pendants with differently shaped bulbs hang in front of it so the light is reflected. Think how inexpensively you could source the lights; all kinds of decorative cords and bulbs are available these days. @bohosusan
Debi Treloar photo

I love how this old tub has been refurbished inside but left in its unfinished state on the outside. The towels look beautiful displayed around it as well. The stacked bricks substituting for legs look cool, but I'm a little concerned about stability. It also looks like a deep and relaxing soak, but how do you get in and out? Details... @bohosusan
Debi Treloar photos

This room sports wallpaper that resembles a painter’s drop cloth, and it makes a stunning background for the sofa upholstered in a mix of florals. @bohosusan
Debi Treloar photo

Changing out hardware is an easy way to give a piece of furniture a new look. But how about mixing the hardware up? Not one of these drawer pulls is the same as another. The look is fun, eclectic and vintage.

Yes, I still think this is a self-help book. Why?

Because it made me remember something a visitor to my place told me long ago, back when 90 percent of what I owned was hand-me-down, homemade, improvised, or used. She said she loved coming to my apartment because there was so much to look at and everything had a story. 

And remembering that helps. This is a principle it’s easy to forget as we prosper and can afford more new stuff, but it’s a principle worth remembering to keep our sanity, our budget, and the planet healthy.

If you want more…

  • Use the affiliate links below to order Life Unstyled and Henson’s other books for your very own.
  • Check out her blog, Life Unstyled, where you’ll also find links to her various social media feeds.
  • Follow my blog with Bloglovin, or sign up with one of the subscription services at the bottom of the page to receive emailed posts.


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Got (snail) mail #1 / Jonathan Adler

My usual dreary snail mailbox of grocery flyers, credit card offers and catalogs took a new turn recently. In addition to the ubiquitous and mundane Brylane family of lookbooks I pitch without reading, I’ve started getting high-end designer catalogs that demand a look-see based on thicker paper, richer inks, and drop-dead gorgeous photographs.

We’re not talking Anthropologie or Restoration Hardware; those catalogs have been coming for years. No, this fall I found a Jonathan Adler catalog in my mailbox, plus a few others with cool stuff and high prices. I’m attributing the shift to subscribing to Architectural Digest last spring, but who knows?

So the trees who gave their lives to produce the paper these catalogs are printed on didn’t die in vain, I’m starting a feature about this new mail order stuff I can’t afford but love to look at. Whether you can afford it or not, I thought you’d enjoy spending a lazy weekend looking along with me. We’ll kick it off this Saturday with my picks from Jonathan Adler’s fall 2016 lookbook.

Off to Antibes @bohosusan
Jonathan Adler photo

This stunner of a cabinet is an addition to Adler’s Antibes collection and sells for $2,750. All pieces are based on the design of a bowtie. (See little ties in the carpet?) I love the nailhead trim and the sleek silhouette, don’t you? It looks so Mad Men to me. @bohosusan
Jonathan Adler photo

I love, love, LOVE the entire Antibes collection. Did I say I love it? I love it so much I had to show you the rib-like Antibes Lounge Chair, even though it’s not new. It sells for $2,950, with a matching ottoman available for $995 and reminds me of cave men furniture from the Flintstones. Remember the Flintstones? Bam, bam, bam-bam-bam!

Strolling the Trocadero @bohosusan
Jonathan Adler photo

New to Adler’s Trocadero collection is this console and cabinet. Items in the collection are made of laminated and lacquered goatskin and ebonized wood. The pair can be used together, as shown, or separately, and are priced at $1,795 and $3,200, respectively ($4,995 for the pair).

This collection has a glamorous Art Deco vibe to me, a la 1930s.

Speaking of glam… @bohosusan
Jonathan Adler photo

Check out this Lucite and brass chandelier, an addition to the Jacques collection, which sells for $2,495. @bohosusan
Jonathan Adler photos

There’s even a Lucite pet bed and feeder set for the posh-pet set addicted to Lucite decor. I’m trying to imagine paying $995 and $600, respectively, for these only to see them gunked up with slobber and hard-water spots.

While we're on the subject of addiction, how about an overdose of Adler style? @bohosusan
Jonathan Adler photo

I like to think I have a pretty good sense of humor. That said, my threshold of tolerance for anything drug-related is abysmally low. Maybe it comes from having a daughter who is a recovering addict. When you've lived the nightmare, you can hardly make light of it.

To show that sometimes taste can go so high it tanks, I’ve included Adler’s new Lucite Pill art objects. I can only conclude most run-of-the-mill drug addicts would rather spend their money on the real thing than pay $98, $168 and $248 for sizes small, medium or large pills in their various colors. So I'm predicting we'll see these babies only in the homes of rock stars and other celebrities too rich for their own good. @bohosusan
Jonathan Adler photo

Ditto for the slightly more affordable ($148-$198), but just as tasteless, brass miniature pillboxes. 

And then there are these… @bohosusan
Jonathan Adler photo

…The needlepoint Lips pillows, selling for $168 each. I’m okay with “Hush,” but I say BLECH! to “Full Dose” and “Smolder.” Now back to things I like.

Put a tiger in your tank... @bohosusan
Jonathan Adler photo

...Or on your dresser. I might put this one on my Christmas list, and then if Santa brings it, on my desk or a bookshelf. I CAN afford it, but I doubt I’d spend $68 for a trinket tray, cute cats aside. This whimsical wildcat does indeed look spectacular, though, against the emerald green background and 24-karat gold trim. @bohosusan
Jonathan Adler photo

Alas, the Tiger addition to Adler’s Glass Menagerie collection already sold out online at $148… @bohosusan
Jonathan Adler

…But this cute lion is still available at $128.

Grab onto body parts pottery and serveware in time for Halloween. @bohosusan
Jonathan Adler photo

The Eve Candelabra ($398) and the I-Scream Matchstrike (with tulips, $42) are what’s new in this vignette, but the website shows more body parts than a pathologist, and they're anything but creepy. @bohosusan

And while you're looking around, don’t miss the Muse collection, of which only a few are shown. Items start at $48 for salt-and-pepper shakers (second from right) and run up to $895 for a lamp.

If you want more…

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