Saturday, January 1

a month long look at furniture, starting with chairs taken from a year on NEST!

sitting room decorated for Kips Bay Showhouse 2010 by

Please Have A Seat
Since my January topic is furniture
I would like to take a walk down memory lane -- 
a look at Nest's experiences for 2010
and let's begin with my obsession with
-- Chairs --
I'm expanding this view for this story to all seating, but frankly I love chairs. 
I know that may sound a little strange,
and while many obsess over shoes and fashion,
I go a little batty for an antique caned chair. 
There is much to learn about form and function just by studying seating, and it is important to note that
the chairs of a room can truly anchor the space. 
While lighting, wallpaper, color and fabric can act as finishing touches,
seating has a powerful way of echoing the direction of the overall design. 

This month's look at furniture got me thinking...
There were many design events I attended this year and a variety of topics covered on Nest.  I brought you all glimpses of showhouses, antique shows, profiles of other designers and artists.  It's been a whirlwind, fabulous year and I am very excited to approach 2011, so let's take a quick look back but with a primary focus on the chairs. 

I am not alone with a chair affinity and during last year's tour of the
the New American Wing at the Met
(Metropolitan Museum in New York)
I showed you much beautiful furntiure, but the archived wing designated to chairs was fascinating.

Why do I like chairs you ask?
To begin with I think you can learn much about a particular time period by studying the chairs, and which  detailing, woods and accoutrements adorn the chair. The claw foot or musical lyre back tells a quick story about the provenance and inspirations of the piece.  Look at a chair -- there's a lot packed into those little bundles. 

A note about showhouses:  As in fashion design, interior design showhouses are not always  meant to be taken literally  -- sometimes they can be creative fantasy rooms and a tad "over the top" but later you will see a more usable version of the design in the market and the design industry. Designer showhouses help to set trends and influence our culture.  If you're embarking upon a decorating project, start to flex some creative muscles by attending a designer showhouse. Focus on the furnishings in these spaces because you'll notice that is often what keeps the steady hand of the designer's philosophy close by. The furniture is like the rudder and guides you through the space. I personally love to mix it up in terms of styles (like using a cream-colored Swedish table with french country black chairs), but it takes a delicate eye to blend furniture styles from baroque to post modern chairs succesfully, so I suggest you pay attention to these blendings when at a designer showhouse room you enjoy.

Kips Bay Showhouse 
in New York offered up an eclectic mix of seating
a freshly designed lavender colored kitchen

showed interesting seating pairings --
a modern white chair with a dark wood table

but the highlight of Kips Bay this year 
for me was this lovely
"Room For Daydreaming"
by Elizabeth Pyne
for McMillen Plus

I took this casual photograph of Elizabeth,
and she graciously invited me inside  the roped off area  for a quick chat and upclose view

Check out the full editorial in Elle Decor on the room
It was a precious sitting room, and the lush tufted seating promised a luxurious experience.  The colors were punchy, yet it felt relaxing. 
The name
 "A Room For Daydreaming"
was well suited.  
 This November I wrote about the
East Hampton Historical Society's
House and Garden Tour
 The Tour provided an array of homes
from antique to modern. 
 the kitchen below is from
interior designer
Michael Katz's home
East Hampton
Michael's home is a one level mid-century period home with Asian influences in the garden, interior design and architecture.  For the interior design, Michael showed an interesting mix of neutrals with a variety of textures and many historical and cultural influences.  I particularly liked the large modern white table in the center of kitchen with japanese-inspired lacquered chairs.  By using this particular large table and chairs he created an interesting focal point in the kitchen. Look up to the ceiling -- I love the white panel contrasting the dark beams.
Michael's home is decidedly modern in feel with interesting windows,
the chairs and seats offer fresh appeal.
The sette is low and not to impede the view across the two rooms. 
The post modern chairs with chrome arms keep it light and airy
There are many japanese and asian inspired elements throughout the space and the chairs and seats echo these sentiments.  There is an unusual skylight window that runs the length of the ceiling throughout the house, creating an incredible sense of light throughout the space.

Last October's tour of New York City's Mayor Home
 on Nest. 
these simple Windsor chairs keep watch over the stunning vista
on the back porch of Gracie Mansion in New York City
showed the steadfast designs of one of New York City's oldest wooden structures
with interior design styles influences stemming from Federal and Colonial periods. 
Many of the chairs and other furnishings are period antiques.
but over the years the association has done a spectacular job of filling in with quality reproduction antiques and wallcoverings to bring an authentic home to the public.  The 45-minute tour is quite informative about the home and the history of New York as well.  The collection of chairs and seating are a great education into this timeframe. 

 Hearst magazine's
creative project
Designer Visions
encourages designers to showcase how they create a space for the client, while thinking outside the box 

Did you see the movie  
"Something's Gotta Give"?
Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson lit up the screen in 2003
with their twinkling personalites and all set in the most fabulous oceanfront home in The Hamptons?

In November I wrote a story about the 4th Annual Designer Visions, Hearst's Home Group of magazines (which includes House Beautiful, Town &Country and Veranda) and this unique project. 

Read the post here

If you are one of the designers hand picked to create a room for one of their annual spaces, you are very fortunate. Yes, there are many showhouses, but not many spaces designed publicy with an actual client's life as the primary focus.  This is the unique project of the annual  Designer Visions program. I was invited for a private tour of this fabulously creative annual project -- this year's setting was at The Setai Fifth Avenue Residences (developed by Bizzi & Partners).  Designer Visions chose three interior designers to create three separate apartments in the Setai and all inspired by a former major motion picture.  Take a look at the home Jim and Phoebe Howard (a fabulous design team and married couple living and working in  Florida) created using the characters inspired by "Something's Gotta Give". 

 The Howards created a lovely Nest perched over an amazing view of New York City.  Every detail of their lives was taken into consideration from their extended family, love of wine, her fascination with cashmere turtlenecks (remember the scene where he cut her turtleneck off because they were too dowdy?) and more.

I took this photo of Phoebe Howard in the living room. 

The seating combinations were elegant, elaborate and comfortable and illustrates the delicate skill of mixing styles together well.  The chairs had many textural details, yet felt minimalist together in the space. The main room was one large open space so it was important not to overdo the details and create a cluttered space (this is where editing comes into play). The combination of the upholstered wing back chairs and the leather upholstered chairs worked well.

His office: 
wingback chairs that ensconce while viewing NYC skyline!

This Fall in Stamford, Connecticut
Shippan Designer Showhouse
showed a stylish blend of form and function 
It was an interesting home they coupled with for the Shippan Showhouse.  The home dates to 1922 and known as the Eltington Residence and is recognizerd by the Stamford Historical Society as one of the most significant residences in the Shippan area. 
I enjoyed the layered textural living room
on the first floor off the foyer. 
There was an interesting combination of seating,
the tufted club chair
offered a cozy place to snuggle up and read a book

Off the kitchen I immediately noticed
these vintage schoolhouse chairs
(notice the space on the back that was meant to house books). 
These chairs actually made the design of this space.

an upstairs garden type bedroom,
with an outside veranda was luxurious,  
conjuring up feelings of summer and New England outdoor living. 
The wicker, tufted ottomon, chaise lounges altogether worked well. 
The fabric combinations and colors complemented the chairs.

special mentions of rooms at Shippan that inspired me:
The beautiful outdoor Drawing Room by Jack Fhillips Design, Inc.;
the detailed greenhouse by Robin Horton of Urban Gardens  (I plan to feature Robin soon on Nest);
the Front Veranda by Judi Egbert Interiors;
the creative boy's bedroom by Holly Sutton-Darr of The Decorator's Eye (and I love how Holly utilized her daughter's artistic talent with the painted mural -- great to see mother/daughter collaborations!)

Last Spring's post on my 100 favorite rooms of all time
 was one of the most exciting posts to compile. 
I had the chance to go back and touch base with all my most favorite designers, from
Bunny Williams,
 Elsie de Wolfe,
Billy Baldwin,  
Barbara Southerland
and many more...the chairs and seating tell a story...

Bunny William's pink room above is anchored with the lightness of these french-esque chairs.  With the juxtapositioning of the black and pink both the gilded mirror and cream colored chairs offer the eye a chance to rest on something light and pretty - together, it all works in harmony

One of my favorite Billy Baldwin rooms above -- the blue and green combination is soothing, yet the clubby seating combined wih the softer arm chairs works well against the geometric pillows and black lacquered table.  An informative story about Billy in Architecture Digest here

Elsie de Wolfe...well, who doesn't love Elsie and the yellow velvet armless sofas are divine, and how she tucked them against the wall and under the paintings is wonderful.  Read about Elsie here in an interesting feature in Architectural Digest

Barbara Southerland decorated a  cozy"working" Pied A Terre in New York, which harkens to the tropics.  She packed much into the one room without overwhelming.  I love the slipcovered slipper chairs, mixed with the slipcovered silk leopard ottomon (on the left, which actually opens to a twin bed) Brilliant! The designs were featured in Dylan Landis' book below, Small Homes

 Last August I investigated the influences of
equestrian motifs in design.
Read the story I wrote for Dan's Papers on the subject here

The dynamic fashion industry duo
Bagley & Mischka's
Lexington Kentucky home was
featured in
Elle Decor magazine. 
It is simple, yet stunning, so I profiled their horse farm as well.
Here's some of the highlights on chairs...

a lovely monogrammed slipcovered chair by Leontine Linens

Read the post I wrote about equestrian influences on Nest here

the simplicity of this regency style chair works well with the equestrian details.

The Classic Windsor Spindle chair with the added height adds a twist and rounds out this library

 When I featured some of my friend's
historic homes 
last Spring
(read here for the full feature),
there was much beauty and craftmanship in this room to take in,
in this particular home the chairs left a lasting impression...
 even with the beautifully restored paneling, the detailed ceilings and the amazing art work, the chairs were singing

my husband and I had fun repurposing a set of chippendale style chairs this season,
 and here is a look at it step by step using an oil based paint

see below
flea market finds, antique show bargains and other chairs I featured on Nest:
 A bargain at the William Doyle auction and although caned seats, these whimsical covers (fabric from Clarence House) mimic the round chain link feature on the back
an equestrian inspired bedroom needed a chair. We painted this faux bamboo chair cream and  upholstered in Cowtan & Tout fabric
painting two chairs below for a seaside cottage --
red painted faux bambook chair was upholstered in a red toile Brunshwig & Fils fabric
I painted this interesting shaped chair white.  I love the casters for easily transporting around the room. 

a vintage upholsterd club chair set with the same red toile
I slipcovered an antique wing chair,
which gives a casual feeling to a usually formal shape. 
I like to add shorter skirts to expose interesting legs
Italian mahogany chairs needed casual slipcovered seats to bring their serious nature down a notch

an antique sleigh bed we repurposed into a bench. 
The spooled legs tell an American story of craftsmanship

Take a look at this orange leather wing chair!
While attending last year's
Architectural Digest Home Show
in NYC
I came upon this chair and was introduced to this company
The New Traditionalists 
Since that time, I've become familiar with their style and designs -- Wow!
Their Soho store is a wonder to behold - and I suggest you visit 
What a fresh, modern appeal but with traditional designs anchoring their concepts. 
I love how user friendly and accommodating the company's approach is.
 a view of a "green"
thinking Fashionista's home
in June on Nest showed

her love of federal style furniture, combined with country and modern pieces creates a beautiful "nest"

Her favorite shop for reproduction antiques is The Federalist in Greenwich, CT

last August's
East Hampton Mulford Farm Antique Show

 had much to see, and the many antiques featured this year offered us glimpses of unique possibilities from rattan, arts and crafts style, and french country painted chairs.  I like the cream urn backed arm chairs with horsehair covered seats above.  I covered the show for both Nest and also wrote and editorial about it for Dan's Papers magazine.

Paris decorative art show
Maison Objet
brought new ideas to the design world. I wrote about the show here  in November and current design trends that seem to be appearing from the show according to industry expert Hermine Mariaux.  She noted an interesting combination of a return to traditionalism (but with a twist) and also a continuation of modern furnishings in design


Martha Stewart's
line of upholstered furniture reinvigorates traditional furniture

Follow my blog with bloglovin
two photograph courtesy of: 
first on bblog - Elle Decor magazine story on Elizabeth Pyne
museum photograph - Metropolitan Museum of Art website

Twitter friend, Alice Kreuser sent this my way -
looks to be a modern furniture dream event 
with lots of Mid Century styles
in Houston, TX
this upcoming April


Karena said...

Tamara you are always so inspiring!! All the best!!

Happy New Years!

Art by Karena

Renae said...

It has been fun getting to 'know' you in 2010! I look forward to more inspiring posts and you are already off to a great start! I love the way you do your 'themed' months, something always to learn!
Here's to a fab 2011!
xo Renae

Anonymous said...

This is a nice look back at all of your Nesting this year Tamara. Thank you. I've been enjoying watching the blog unfold month by month and can't wait to see what you have planned next. Happy New Year 2011.


Elizabeth Pyne (McMillen) said...

I am so honored to be included on Nest!!! I loved meeting you at Kips Bay, and I can't wait to see what you write about next.
Happy New Year!

Jill said...

Really beautiful Tamara :) All of your projects have a beautiful balance. Looking forward to your next creations :) Be well!

Jill Healy
(Formerly High Style Interiors & Gifts, Charlotte NC)

Anonymous said...

January is a good month because we get to reflect back on our past year. I enjoyed seeing 2010 on NestNestNest and some stories I had missed over the year. Can't wait to see all the stuff in 2011! Thank You Tamara, Rochelle

Froulala said...

Tamara, what an honor to be part of your furniture month and what a great way to usher in SNUG's 2011! You have always been supportive since our launch and we truly appreciate the kind words and feature in your much admired blog where all FAB things about nesting reside. You are the best! Thank you so much, Maybelline and Alex!

Sarah H said...


Thank you so much for including Hearst Magazine's design show house at The Setai Fifth Avenue Residences! We really enjoy reading your blog and hope to work with you again in the future.


April Elizabeth said...

Loving this! So many beautiful chairs & beautiful rooms. I am completely inspired by the textures, elements & colors. Every space was stunning.
Take care,
April Elizabeth