Objects of Desire: All Things Crystal Clear...

Confession time: I am not a big fan of all things acrylic. It requires proper application of this sparkling medium to impress me. The waters have been seriously muddied by cheap plastic $5 objects that just happen to be clear. Plastic spoons = not sexy. Perfectly crafted Lucite legs = dead sexy. 

Like anything, it comes down to quality. High quality Lucite and some of the more luxurious English acrylic products on the market are stunning. Cheap impostors are everywhere, though, and it seems many don't know the difference because they've only seen them online. To try to give insight: It's the difference between Waterford Crystal and a mason jar - they might both be clear containers but that's where to comparison ends. 

Higher quality acrylics (name brand or not) will set you back a pretty penny. You can, however, begin to develop an eye for those pieces produced with more intention by studying the clarity of the pieces. Look for crystal clear legs on ottomans,  heavier objects, pieces that look have substantial weight and clearly cut edges. Like diamonds, it comes down to the four C's of acrylic: you are looking for the best cut, clarity, color and cost you can afford. Don't fool yourself into thinking that a piece of clear plastic is going to sparkle and shine as nice as a lovingly made high-end acrylic. It's just not happening.  

However jaded I may be, when something beautifully created catches my eye I have to celebrate it. Recently I've noticed the emergence of high-end furniture using top quality acrylic and an abundance of very nice home accessories (a few of which are on sale at the moment). 

I hope you'll appreciate a little post featuring some lovely scenes that tastefully use Lucite or acrylic that give me hope that it is indeed a timeless material when skillfully employed. 

CLEAR WINNERS

Objects of Desire: Hermēs Scarves as Works of Art...

They say every Hermēs journey begins with a single scarf. As if a hand-rolled square of silk has the uncanny ability to turn an otherwise sane woman into a Birkin-lusting, leather cuff obsessed buying machine. Perhaps this is true. If so, A pretty creation such as this dip dyed number designed by Henri d'Origny in a delightful mix of oranges, pinks, tranquil turquoise and spots of pale lavender surely are to blame for the fall of many a strong-willed female. It is undeniably gorgeous by an standard. 

But what if you're keenly aware of the silk's inherent delicate nature and want to admire it and enjoy it without risking snags, wrinkles or (God forbid...) spots? For those of us on the obsessive side of the spectrum (raising hand high), there's the option to see these marvelous creations as the works of art they are and frame them. Yes, frame them. 

While I love tying a colorful scarf on my handbags in summer, I don't subject my nicest ones to this task. Due to the way I baby my belonging, risking "injury" to one of these investment pieces simply isn't an option.

I have observed them framed or placed behind a modern acrylic box as a beautiful art installation. It's clever. It's sharp. It's brilliant. In many ways, it seems the best use of these fanciful objects.

I think you're either a fan of colorful scarves as magnificent artistic creations or you aren't. I myself am fascinated that an organic material such as silk can be manipulated in such a way as to create such intricately detailed designs. Their delicate nature also amazes me (yet another reason to consider placing yours behind a protective barrier). Add to it, their worth both in the present (cha ching) and in the future (perhaps cha cha ching) as collector's items and it seems downright crazy to tie one in knots for a trip to Starbucks. 

If the above points don't sway you, consider this: you can only truly and fully appreciate the composition of a scarf design when it is spread out on a flat surface. So to me, hunting my favorite versions of these beauties down and hanging a few on a wall is a magnificent idea. In fact, it's a decision I've recently made: to collect (and protect) them. 

I can hear you now. Beautiful things are meant to be enjoyed, right? Yes. They are. Everyday luxuries aren't supposed to feel too precious or untouchable. I wholeheartedly believe this. While I would encourage you to use your bone china and pull out your crystal stemware for a picnic (life's too short to hide it!), your diamonds need to be worn as often as possible and by all means, wear your favorite perfume whenever the mood strikes. Life is too short. Yet... in this one instance I feel protective of these somewhat fragile artistic pieces. The idea of a grid of nine magnificent silky scarves on a large blank wall sounds just dreamy to me.  But perhaps just a single scarf, framed perfectly and hung on a wall alone is more of style statement and an expression of your love of fine things. Your only challenge: which one to choose? 

{all product images via Hermes.com // all interior photography via Pinterest

Objects of Desire: A Glamorous Punch of Color for My Desk

My eyes are suddenly ravenous for color. Bold, bright, unapologetic color. Happy color. The starting point was the discovery of a certain Christian Lacroix journal I spied at Neiman Marcus a day or so ago. From that moment I have been mentally assembling the other bold elements which need to play a role in what promises to be a colorful home office moment. 

I'm also blaming all of these amazing spring blooms (peonies are off the hook this season!) for my sudden need for an explosion of pink inside my house. It's a welcome shift from my usual cream & gold mix, and I love the idea of my interior color story being a moving, evolving creation.

So... what am I loving? Let me share...

Now you can see why that notebook held such power for me. The rest of these goodies will all play a role in my home office refresh. I've even considering adding a single wall of wallpaper to the mix. I've got my eyes on Speckled in Black from Chasing Paper and the "everyone has it but I still want one anyway" hair on hide zebra rug.  

So... what about you? Do you feel the urge for boldness in your desk area? A "life lift" that can be yours for the cost of a mere hardbound designer journal? If so, I hope you'll feel inspired to add a burst of energizing color to your home work area. Even if your "office" is a tiny bit of kitchen counter space (no shame in your game, right?), you deserve to feel pretty and powerful when handling your business. May the injection of happy hues bring light and love into your life. xoxo 

COLOR-INJECTED ACCESSORIES


Object of Desire: The Perfect Venetian Mirror...

There are several things I tend to search for continually: glamorous cream coats, down filled embellished pillows and fabulous mirrors. Lately my attention has turned to Venetian mirrors for behind my bedside tables. Finding the perfect scale, the right note of authenticity and somewhat reasonable pricing has proven to be a challenge.

There are no shortage of etched mirrors out there striving to be seen as Italian-inspired, but most read flat and mass produced (which, frankly, all of reasonable pricing will be). My favorite style features the signature "peak" at the top and is on the grander side of the scale. Done well, these mirrors are elegant and regal with a hint of historic appeal. Poorly produced, they are gaudy mistakes that draw too much attention to themselves. 

In the best of situations, you'll inherit one or a pair from your wickedly stylish aunt. Hers will have natural patina and a few chips here and there which absolutely add to their appeal. She'll regale you with tales of her heyday years in the 8th arrondissement and peppers her stories with names so big your eyes pop. 

No such relative? Try 1st Dibs and One Kings Lane. Expect amazing and authentic finds here, but be prepared to pay for the privilege of procuring finely curated goods. In my case I'm in search of a matching pair of a specific size. In cases like this I prefer to rely upon my go-to source for reliable quality and luxe style delivered to my door: Horchow

A few favorites...

If a smaller mirror is what you seek, I love (LOVE) this petite little mirror packing maximum style. The oval shape and relatively small scale is gorgeous over a desk or vanity (measures 20" w x 30" h and only weighs 7lbs). Love this one! 

Ernhardt Mirror $275 @ Horchow

Ahhh, the Vasari mirror. This one is just gorgeous and earns high points for its feminine appeal and elaborate but not overdone design. At nearly 40" high, this medium scale mirror is marvelous for many uses. In my case I need one a smidge larger, but this would look beyond gorgeous in my daughter's room over her dresser. It may one day find a home here with me. 

Vasari Mirror $475 Horchow

Easily the best of the bunch for my unique needs, the Margaux mirror is the perfect blend of grand and gorgeous. Opulent and done in a fashion that lends it Venetian authenticity, this 33.5 x 46" beauty is exactly what my bedroom needs. 

Margaux Mirror $994 Horchow

If your mirror needs are of the horizontal nature (for over a long dresser or console), The Elania mirror is not to be missed. I love this incredible piece as a solitary showstopper. It is enviably large at 50" wide x 48" tall. Imagine this beauty behind your bar cart or over your entry table. Stunning, right? It is hand cut and every bit as gorgeous as you might imagine in person. Love this option for a variety of uses. 

Elania mirror $796 Horchow

What about you? What are you in search of for your home? Are you a mirror nut like me? Do you collect something different? I'd love to hear all about what you're searching for this year for the home or for your closet. 

Objects of Desire: Feminine Finds for a Girly Desk...

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Somewhere along the line we decided that desktop accents and accessories didn't have to be so cold and boring. Gone are the black staplers and oversized calendars. Now, options abound to keep your home or office desk looking chic and feminine.

Let's start with the petite powerhouse otherwise known as the espresso machine. Hello, pretty soft white Nespresso! This is their newest introduction and it can be found for as little as $99. Perfect for the java lover in your life (perhaps that's you!). When you're focused on your projects all day a nice little pick me up is a lovely thing, is it not?

While we're sipping, why sip from anything less than a leopard spotted gold rimmed cup and saucer? It is the sum total of those individual moments in life that comprise your life story. Make every delicious private moment count. Ralph Lauren's matching set does not disappoint. You'll feel every bit the sophisticated

Try as we might to be tidy, we all need a place to corral small objects. I suggest a chic tray that serves dozens of uses. This acrylic version via Tory Burch is every bit as functional as it is glamorous.

A small brass sculpture resting on a stack of chic books and smart gold-lined correspondence cards set the tone. This is your professional oasis. This is your daydreaming, plan making, life's work achieving nook. Your chic little perch is a spot for knocking out killer work for clients (or perhaps just filling out thank you notes) without ever forgetting you're fully and fabulously feminine.

THE GIRLY GOODS

Objects of Desire: Krushing on Kasler...

There are few designers that I bow to as much as Suzanne Kasler. From the moment I stepped foot in her jewel-box like room in Hickory Chair's High Point showroom I was smitten. Each piece of furniture was lovingly designed, thoughtfully executed and dreamily detailed. I share her love of French antiques and quiet color palettes. What I love most about her, however, is her ability to marry supreme glamour with a relaxed sensibility. In her designs, she dances the line between formal and approachable like no one else. A heady mix of soft linens, painted finishes and gilt opulence makes me swoon.

Designing award-winning spaces is just the tip of the iceberg for this multi-talented designer. In addition to her wildly successful line of furniture for Hickory Chair, she boasts a lighting collection for Visual Comfort, a line of retail goods for Ballard, art for Soicher Marin, rugs for Safavieh and fabrics for Lee Jofa. It's enough to make your head spin! 

Let's not forget she is also an author. Thankfully - for those like myself who adore her - she has a new book coming out this fall. Timeless Style will no doubt build upon the work shown in her previous tome, Inspired Interiors. I can hardly wait to receive my copy! Suzanne's ability to infuse her spaces with dressmaker details and fashion house details always inspire me to add more femininity to my own designs and my own home. And having her books on hand for reference and ideas has proved invaluable to me time and time again. 

Talent aside, she is also one of the warmest and most personable designers of her stature I've met. Seeing Suzanne is always like seeing a girlfriend. You want to squeeze her and go sit down and catch up on all the latest things that have been happening in your lives. It's easy to forget she's one of today's top interior designers. Like her designs, she is elegant yet approachable and has a rarified ease about her. Beauty, talent and warmth all wrapped in one sweet package. What's not to love? 

Stay tuned Venti Cup readers... I'll have the priviledge of interviewing Suzanne right her for you to read. Look for it in the next few weeks. In the meantime, pop over to Amazon to pre-order a copy of her latest book for Rizzoli. I can hardly wait until mine arrives! 

{featured: Suzanne's work featured in Veranda,Hannah Two-Light Sconce for Visual ComfortLillie Bench for Hickory ChairTuxedo Cabinet for Hickory Chair}