Currents: A Reply to “Why Won’t Midcentury Modern Die?”

gln1Did you see the New York Times article published last weekend entitled, “Why Won’t Midcentury Modern Die?” The same question has hit me in recent weeks. Can it possibly still be in? Shouldn’t something else be coming next? Reading the article, however, I realized that this is the wrong question, and I also felt the article didn’t fully explain the reasons I was seeing for the persistence in Midcentury styles. Here they are from our studio’s perspective.

We use Midcentury furnishings regularly because our clients love them and insist on it! In many cases clients already own several DWR standards they want to incorporate, and name aside, these pieces are sizable investments that clients want to keep. They bought these things when they were younger, living in the city, and they want to hold on to the associations and vibe.

To most people, Midcentury modern still looks…well, MODERN! With a capital M. What the NY Times article doesn’t draw out is that most people still grew up in houses with far more traditional pieces, and outside of the urban center, mid-century modern can still feel new and fresh. As a suburban Gen X-er, I can say that it still feels stylish to me when I think of the floral chintz, turned wood legs, and sea foam green I grew up with! My contemporaries continue to see midcentury styles as a way to define themselves against the norm.

Midcentury modern styles can be less expensive to produce, and were designed to be democratic. The NY Times article mentioned this, but I think we should be totally clear on the point. Injection molded plastics and other new production techniques made production more cost-effective, and that continues to be a big draw today. These pieces occupy the same aesthetic space the iPhone does, they just happen to have been invented earlier. The iPhone is not going out of style. It is a necessary tool and accessory of contemporary life. That brings me to this.

Midcentury modern style is now firmly in the realm of classic and it is a permanent tool in a designer’s toolkit. All the pieces of furniture we use in a design signify something that we want to convey. I turn to classic English styles when I want to signify good taste and the comforts of an upper crust lifestyle. Italian when you want to signify precision, luxury, and glamour. Indian and Moroccan when you want to signify a global pedigree or relaxed, bohemian look. If we want to convey forward thinking, or the reinvention and updating of a traditional space, we still turn to midcentury modern. In some ways, technology and how we live is just catching up to these forward thinking styles, and they often feel totally appropriate to how we live now.

What’s next? As the article points out, Saarinen tables and Womb chairs are common, but so is a Chesterfield sofa or a traditional carpet. My guess is that we will no longer think of it as remarkable. Plus, there are many midcentury styles and designers that are less prevalent. I think we will see people on the cutting edge mining for less ubiquitous styles from this era. Finally, by recasting midcentury pieces with other styles into the truly eclectic looks of today, and working with new color palettes, we escape the realm of retro, and continue to reference the new, fresh, and forward thinking.

Big News: Our Textiles are Hangin’ Out in LA! (and so are we)

IMG_5136Last week Jill and I headed out to LA to celebrate the expansion of the LA interiors showroom Harbinger. Why, you may ask? Well because they are fabulous, and also because they are carrying our textile line in the newly expanded space!! Check out BLANKET STRIPE on this vintage French wingback right in the window!

IMG_5130The fun and brilliant Joe Lucas owns the showroom and designed these vignettes.  When I saw the window below featuring BOLT in Beach on these mid-century chairs I was wowed, and thrilled at what a great fit the Harbinger showroom is for us! I seriously want to transplant this whole thing over to my house.

IMG_5121

Here’s our display and the illustrious company we are in! We also met the lovely Maria and Erin from Maruja NYC.

IMG_5113

The highlight of our trip was the party at Harbinger. Lots of fun and new faces,and yummy bites and sips. We also had a nice outing to Santa Monica. Shutters on the Beach

IMG_5144 IMG_5182IMG_5152 We stayed at the super cool French boutique hotel chain, Mama Shelter, in Hollywood. They serve great food and cocktails and kept us in lively spirits.

mama-shelter-los-angeles-chambre-large-mama-ctiy-view-2-2--1

IMG_5166This was the view from my room! Happily back on the East Coast now working on new projects and new patterns!!

Hotel Tour: The NoMAD in NYC

the-nomad-hotel-is-now-open-for-business-in-new-york-cityLast year I stayed at The NoMad Hotel NYC with my husband for our anniversary. We live 20 miles from the city, but like many Jersey folks, enjoy living like resident-tourists rather than like commuters sometimes. When we walked into the hotel lobby, I remember thinking, wow, he really picked a good one! We enjoyed staying right in the Nomad neighborhood for a total change of pace from our usual city spots. We wandered through the flower district, checked out the Showplace Antique & Design Center, and had great Peruvian food at Raymi. The Ace is around the corner. Fun to pop in just to soak up the genius vibes for a bit. Most importantly? The NoMad’s perfect decor and Elephant Bar of course! Take a quick peek and I’m sure you’ll be headed there too. We are planning this year’s quick getaway now, and we may just go back!

nomad nomad-hotel _MG_3783-120kb 20120410-NoMad-13 _MG_7030-122kb_MG_6960-116kb nomad-hotel-bar

My House: A Plan for Breakfast

Breakfast Table Designing In Chatham NJSaturday mornings are bliss, aren’t they? We get up late. My husband and son work together to make pancakes while I catch up on my blog reading and Pinterest. I know. I’m super lucky! It gets better. The pancakes are amazing, and every week the recipe rotates: blueberry, cottage cheese, banana nut, or apple pancakes in the fall.

Some days we have lots of family and friends join us for the now famous pancake breakfasts we have. If our peeps are coming we make spicy eggs, and pull out champagne for some mimosas. So fun. The entire table gets filled to maximum capacity for quite a few breakfasts every year. Here’s a recent pic from my Instagram (stay tuned because the room is getting a fix up with some new pieces and Uma Stewart fabrics soon!).

Kitchen Decorator In Morris County NJBut other days it’s just the three of us for breakfast, and that is equally nice. I still try to make the table look decent. Right now black-eyed susans are growing wild in our front border. I am frequently inspired to head outside with the snippers to pick a few. I’ll often snip at the unplanned Japanese maple tree growing onto our patio steps too.

Dining Area Decoration In Short Hills Nj

I’m all for dressed up and ornate as you probably know by now! But these simple breakfasts for three call for a simple table. As it turns out, we don’t need much.

Once we’re done eating we might put on some music, dance (at least Aadi and I will), and read the news or a book. This week Michael had me listen to a new album he downloaded by Christine and the Queens. I loved it, and he knew I would. How about you? Do you have a pancake routine?!

Christine & The Queens Chaleur Humaine

Here’s a recipe for my favorite pancakes. I love it for the low fuss days because the cottage cheese makes it filling and more protein heavy! No side dish needed.

Cottage Cheese Pancakes
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk
1 cup cottage cheese
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cups finely chopped pecans
1/3 cup dried currants, plumped

2 large egg whites

Pure maple syrup or honey, or plain yogurt (optional, for serving. I like them with just some butter because the currants are sweet enough.)

Lightly butter, oil, or spray your griddle.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, cottage cheese, butter, egg yolks and vanilla.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently whisk them together, mixing just until combined. Stir in the pecans and currants.

Beat the two egg whites until they are stiff but not dry and fold them into the batter.

The batter will be thick and bubbly. Spoon 1/3 cup batter onto the griddle for each pancake, nudging the batter into rounds. These are thick and might take a little longer to cook than most other pancakes. Cook until the top of each pancake is starting to dry around the edges – you will get a few bubbles here and there – then turn and cook until the underside is lightly browned. These will keep in a 200 degrees F oven while you finish making the rest, but they are best served ASAP!