04 May, 2016

"SMW Home - The Tartan Party Windows . . . "


When I first launched SMW Home last fall, one of my initial goals was to broaden the uses of tartan in interior design.  It's such an iconic textile - but, it also can read much like a highland romance novel if you're not careful with its use.  So after the success of our previous more classically styled "The Scottish Lodge" windows here at the office this winter - I wanted to really open up the parameters and do something brash and bold and almost aggressive.  

Something like this . . . 

Spring 2016
SMW Home "Tartan Party" Windows

I immediately fell in love with the idea of having a party - especially with the launch of our collection of Vintage Barware at SMW Home.  I've never really shied away from using colour and pattern - so mixing bold hues and competing motifs has never scared me.  I also wanted to show even more of our custom and traditional tartans - so creating a canopy of pennants seemed the perfect solution.  Luckily no one was around when I had the 14 foot ladder tucked inside the office with miles of ribbon and a huge collection of custom tartan flags that I needed to create this!  (There was only a mild amount of swearing)  But - in the end - it certainly does feel celebratory!

My Edwardian maid "Mary" also found a new home.  Honestly - I think I'm just going to use her in every window going forward in some way!  She just delights all of us each morning when she greets us on our way into the office.

We ended up with such a great variety of our products in the window that I was able to create a new "Shop the Window" tab on our SMW Home website.  You can now shop the wallpaper, decorative accessories, even some of the furniture

If you're in the area - please stop by and say 'hi' and
enjoy a mid-day party!


02 May, 2016

"Before and After - The Presidio Living Room . . . "


I know how much y'all love a good before and after story - and this one is especially charming.  It's the living room from the same project I shared a few weeks ago.  Beautiful spaces.  Gracious proportions.  And TONS of light pouring in through an endless supply of windows.  

Here's a peek at the before . . . .

. . . And here is the after!

We used a completely neutral palette for the envelope - sisal flooring, a neutral paint colour, and simple linen window treatments.  But, we got a little punchier once we started to furnish the room.  A mixture of classic leathers with persimmon tweed arm chairs - with just a few pings of yellows and oranges in the decorative accessories.  

I loved this original fireplace - with the classic fan detailing and fluted uprights.  The french doors lead out to the new chic dining room that I shared a few weeks ago.

Once again we were working on a very tight colour story - but, with some very well-placed accents colours of saturated oranges, bright persimmons, and saffron yellows.  The layered Moroccan rug helps to define the main seating area within the larger space - but, also adds another opportunity for pattern and scale.

A gracious writing desk gives purpose 
to an otherwise dormant corner.  There has been a long-going debate about the use of 'brown furniture' in modern design . . . and I'm here to tell you that I LOVE it!  A mixture of antiques can give a new room such amazing emotional depth - and provides a contrast point for the more modern pieces in the room. 

There will be more 'before & afters' from this lovely home . . . so watch this space.  If you want to see the entire completed project - take a look!


30 April, 2016

"Racing to the Bar . . . "


As Kentucky Derby Day approaches, I wanted to share a few items from SMW Home's new collection of Vintage Barware that could be *perfect* for this weekend's entertaining schedule!   

Come . . . let's look around . . . .

circa 1940's

I searched through yards and yards of imported Italian shirting cottons 
until I found all my favourites!  I designed a generously 
sized cocktail napkin - with a classic hemmed edge - perfect 
for entertaining.  The collection contains two each of 
tattersall, check, and windowpane 
- all in a glorious bright blue. 

All orders placed by Tuesday at noon can be shipped in time to next weekend's festivities.


29 April, 2016

"House. Working . . . "


I was part of a slightly contentious online discussion (which is how I sometimes spend my evenings!) about the work involved in living in our homes. Beds that need to be made. Silver that needs to be polished. And chandeliers that need dusting (this was in fact the point of contention!) periodically.

Does the 'work of house' ever affect your design choices?

I love the advances in textiles and finishes over the last several years. Indoor/outdoor fabrics that were once clearly, and aggressively, abrasive can now be used for a couture gown without batting at eye.  Many case good finishes are almost bullet proof.  As part of my High Point Market adventures (much more about that in a later post), I saw a demonstration from Crypton that was amazing.  But, even with all of these advances, will our homes ever be 'house work' free.

I actually relish an afternoon of "deep cleaning."  I should also admit that we have a service that cleans our house regularly - so in some ways "deep cleaning" is all we ever have to deal with.  But personally, there's something SO gratifying about a completely empty clothes hamper. Or the gleam of freshly polished silver flatware.  I don't know that I've ever dismissed a design detail in my home because of a worry about upkeep.  I'd rather have the bother - but ALSO have the glorious design element.  Give me the beautiful chandelier that needs maintenance.  Give me the unlacquered brass hardware that will age in spite of each polish.

How does design and maintenance intersect in your home?


26 April, 2016

"Boxing Match . . . "

"Ali vs. Norton"

Greetings -

Sometimes I wonder if it's just 'the Scorpio" in me (as we're known to be a particularly private people) - but, I love having little places to secret things away.  A cache of rarely-used hurricanes tucked under a skirted table.  Tie bars and cuff links organized in a small jewelry box.  The cable remotes safely hidden in a decorative box on the coffee table. 

Beautiful boxes have always fascinated me - it's one of the main reasons that I'm so delighted to announce that SMW Home has a new collection of Decorative Boxes!  Many times their craftsmanship can easily outweigh their function - so they can simply be beautiful without needing to be filled with the jetsam of day to day life. 

Like these . . .

A beautiful Irish Regency Mahogany Box dating from the 
early 1800's - and absolutely riddled with tiny compartments 
to keep life more organized - or to simple marvel 
at the amazing craftsmanship. 

 A beautiful Mahogany Playing Card Box.  The perfect 
little place to keep everything organized for an afternoon 
of heavy gossiping and light gambling with good friends.

And I love this marvelous carved apple in fruitwood Treenware
String Box is the perfect place to hide away a wee treasure!

    Of course we also have a selection of antique tartanware 
    boxes from the Victorian era - including this 
    wee Thread Box - with the original "McPherson" 
    marking on its lid.

    This pair of Chestnut Book Boxes dating from 1890 
    are completely chic.  One can use the faux 'bookmark' to pull 
    the box open - perfect for hiding away one's private thoughts 
    or treasures. 

    Stop by SMW Home - and see the complete collection!


      22 April, 2016

      "Have a GREAT Weekend . . . "

      Vintage Barware from SMW Home.


      Just a quick toast for a super weekend!  What are your plans?


      16 April, 2016

      "Inspiration Point - Glorious . . . "


      If you've not yet watched the HBO documentary on Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper - "Nothing Left Unsaid" - stop reading this.  Turn off your computer.  Go watch it.  I'll wait.  We can meet back here in about 90 minutes when you're finished.

      *quiet humming and doodling around on my website*


      I don't ever remember not knowing about Gloria Vanderbilt - but, I can never seem to recall which part of her amazing (and often tragic) life I learned about first.  The custody battles or marriages or divorces or photo shoots or starring roles or marriages or children or suicides or designer jeans or painting or . . . or . . . or . . .

      Her houses . . .   

      Pictured here with her last husband Wyatt Cooper and their two boys Anderson and Carter . . . they seemed the very zenith of 1970's curated - but, effortless - chic.  Whenever I see interior images from this time period - what I most often see is my mother.  Because we had some of these pieces - and I'm SURE my mother saw these pictures and was inspired to create parts of her own life from them.  

      Because THIS is glorious indeed.  I'm sure to younger eyes than mine this must look garish - to the point of being cartoon-like - but, to someone who lived through the 70's, this is immeasurably chic.  And I'd best my last tartan pillow that somewhere in my parents house, this picture is still safely tucked away in my mother's belongings.  For Gloria (and my mom), more was more.  Sometimes with a wee bit more on top.  

      Sweet Lord, this is amazing.


      14 April, 2016

      "Before and After - The Presidio Dining Room . . . "


      Probably the best part of our recent website update is the chance to show you a few new projects that we had not shared in the past.  Website updates can be a bit of the grueling endeavor - lol - but, it's always a delight to see homes that we've created finally coming to light.  And 'light' is easily the best part of this family home . . . 

      The house is located here in San Francisco - on the historic Presidio - and is wrapped in the most glorious windows.  It is oriented on a direct east/west axis so the house is flooded with sunlight throughout the day.  We took what had previously been an enclosed side-porch and imagined it in an entirely different way . . . .

      As a glorious dining room . . . .

      The french doors at either end of the room give easy movement around what could have been a tight space . . . and the yards and yards of ivory linen window treatments make the room float on a cloud.  As much as I'm known for those deeply layered, masculine spaces - having the opportunity to experiment within such a gracious, tight colour story was great fun.

      And seriously, dressed for an afternoon luncheon - the light and furnishing are glorious to see!


      12 April, 2016

      "What's Shakin' . . . ?"


      As someone wisely once said, "It's always cocktail hour somewhere in the world . . . "

      I am completely delighted to announce SMW Home's brand spanking new collection of vintage barware!  We've been searching high (ball) and low (ball) to bring you a jaunty selection of equestrian-inspired glasses as well as an assortment of bright, beaming cocktail shakers and serving trays!  

      Here are a few of my favourites . . .  

       Loving these George Briard Tartan Cocktail Glasses paired 
      with a 1930's hammered-finish silver-plated Cocktail Shaker!

      be perfect for a soothing Bourbon after a long day!
       Another favourite from our collection of Cocktail Shakers
      If you're getting ready for a Derby Party - we should have you covered with these 1950's Glasses

       Stop by SMW Home today - and peruse our new selection of barware - because it's always 5 o'clock somewhere.



      10 April, 2016

      "Sunday Runway - Grayed . . . "


      This all may in response to the fact that I found a grey eyebrow over my left eye yesterday.  Or maybe model Aiden Shaw is just a glorious example of how even men need to sometimes break the boundaries of physical expectations.  Who said male modeling was only for the 23 year olds?!?!?!

      Aiden's journey to model superstardom has been a slightly circuitous one.  He grew up classically educated in England before becoming one of the most popular gay porn stars of the 1990's.  If you decide to do a further image search - yes - I said gay porn.  

      By his mid-40's . . . he had moved into fashion modeling and has made a dramatic impact on the pages of magazines around the world . . . 

      Here are a few favourites . . . 

      We haven't been playing with ye olde Sunday Runway posts in a while - but, gray hair needs to be celebrated sometimes.

       Besides, you've got to admit . . . 
      the guy can wear the hell outta a simple white shirt!

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