The Cool House: designer
Showing posts with label designer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label designer. Show all posts

Friday, December 20, 2013

Classic Miid-century Furniture Reissues

Great news for fans of classic American furniture by designer and manufacturer Harvey Probber. Until now his furniture has been out of production since the 80s, the only way to find his modular sofa has been the occasional sighting on ebay or 1stdibs. This Fall, M2L, a New York distributor of authorized modern furnishings catering to the design trade, has been licensed to produce new editions, including the 1947 Sling Chair above and the iconic 1972 Deep Tuft sectional below. 
Prices for the Deep Tuft Sofa start at $15,000 in plush fabric for a 5 piece or $19,000 in leather. It may seem a lot but this furniture is so well made it will last a lifetime. 

Here at The Cool House we inherited a 1968 12-piece sectional sofa that's still as comfortable and sturdy as ever-although it was reupholstered four years agoAs Probber once said "the true test of great design is time".
Other pieces to be reintroduced include sleek, wood wrapped casegoods and seating from the Architectural Series that were originally produced inFalls River MA in the 1960s.

It's been 10 years since Probber's death when an retrospective of his work was held  at Baruch College in Manhattan. it's certainly time to give these gorgeous designs another, closer look.

Monday, December 26, 2011

R.I.P. Andrew Geller

Genius by modernemama
Genius, a photo by modernemama on Flickr.
Mid-century architect, designer and artist Andrew Geller passed away yesterday leaving a huge legacy. He will be greatly missed by all. Our condolences to his family at this sad time, we are thinking of you.
Andrew Geller, April 17th 1924-December 25th 2011

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

After a very long wait George* stopped by last night. He was supposed to come with Warren but he met with an accident and we decided to postpone his visit until the kitchen was renovated and he had a safe place to hang out.

I think he'll be sticking around for a long time.

*George Nelson Sunflower clock

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Big, Bold & Blue

I would. Would you? Ghislaine Viñas, Benjamin Moore's Hue 2010 Residential Award Winner designed a townhouse in Tribeca that's full of bright color. See the entire townhouse here.
via Herman Miller

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Inspirational Decor

One of my favorite inspiartion rooms. Black & White Salon from Marie Claire Maison featuring the "Bouquet" chair by designer Yoshioka Tokujin. I love the way all the black elements in this tall room bring your eye down to ground level and that the ethereal quality of the chair is balanced by the weighty ceramic bird. Beautiful.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Elemental, Organic Mosaics

Designer Ellen Blakeley's singular vision allowed her to see how the vandalised glass of a bus shelter could be repurposed into a thing of beauty and elegance. She takes recycled tempered glass, mixes it with eco-friendly pigment and resin to produce custom tiles and panels of mosaic glass that can be used as a stunning backsplash, shower walls or even windows. Here are a few of my favourites:

Rich, red Pompeii from her latest collection, Elements- reinterpreting Earth, Water, Wind and here, Fire. It speaks to me an a primordial level.

The Spotlight collection, contains four sub-categories. Organic incorporates real leaves into the mosaic, here the cool, inspiring Silver Leaf - perfect for a spa bath.

Also from the Spotlight collection the sparkling Pop category in Mango colorway. I'd be happy every time I looked at this.

Finally appropriately named greens, blues and purples - Vineyard from the Core collection. It would fit right into The Cool House.

Intricate, dramatic, sustainable, unique - there is something for everyone in Blakeley's collections. You can order Ellen Blakely mosaic glass through Artistic Tile or via her showroom or you can just admire the images on her website and dream.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

46 yards of fabric

Say good-bye to the big pink sectional. The 12-piece Harvey Probber-designed 1968 chair and ottoman combination that is original to the house is about to get a huge, fabulous makeover. Jacques Brel up there recently got re-framed and has been looking down his nose ever since at the tufts of batting hanging from the torn upholstered corners.

Finally the Awesome Designer decided she I couldn't live with the scratched up, spilt, holey mess it had become and kicked my butt offered to find a suitable fabric and re-upholster it back to its original glory. Over the course of a few weeks she bought me swatches - many, many swatches. She hunted all over the Island and into the City for the right fabric. We started with twenty or so contenders in browns and beiges, pinks, greens and blues - even a plaid

and soon there were more - many, many more - bags of chenilles, stripes and damasks in hundreds of hues. We narrowed down the palette to a range of blues and greens from pewter to denim to seafoam, and the pattern to a simple solid. I asked twitter and facebook pals to vote for their favourite, which helped narrow it down to four front-runners.

There was one fabric, a heavy-duty woven chenille, from the new range of fabrics by Kravet, the Kravetsmart that I loved above all others; it just felt right - soft but really hard-wearing. It's teflon-coated 102,000 double rubs so it should be bullet (or cat) proof.

I had to wait to see all the blue toned swatches but the end I chose the colour I'd always had in mind - a steely-blue that compliments the warm tones of the wood floors, ceiling and beams and the soft shade of the sandstone wall and echoes the bluestone fireplace and patio outside.

And now the fabric- all 46 yards - has arrived, the sectional is awaiting collection and the renovation will soon be underway. In a few weeks I'll be able to reveal the newly upholstered seating area... I can't wait!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


I am totally in love with this Sergio Rodrigues Diz chair from Vintage and Modern Brazilian dealer Mercado Modern. Designed in 2002, it pays homage to many 20th century styles and would fit perfectly into the unique architecture of The Cool House, perhaps near the Michel Arnoult game table. The asking price is actually something of a bargain - they retail for almost double. Dreaming....

Monday, August 17, 2009

Scarlet Seat

Around the middle of last week I got a call from the Awesome Designer to say she was on her way over with a couple of things she thought might fit in The Cool House. Full of eager anticipation I danced around in the driveway until she pulled in but nothing prepared me for the treasure she had stashed on the backseat of her car. Luckily The Guy was home to help because these two 1970s Steelcase chrome and wood armchairs probably each weigh more than she does. They are unbelievably solid and so comfortable that I've been sitting in one pretty much non-stop while Jefke the cat has taken over the other.

I've seen them before in black leather but the scarlet fabric seats and backs really add something special to the design and they fit in so well with the overall color scheme in the den that either the design gods were waiting for this moment to bestow a smack of style on the room or it demonstrates once again that you should always befriend a designer who has impeccable taste and knows how to persuade you to add another jolt of color to a room.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Upside-down Cupcake

The upside-down cupcake, a hot-cross bun, a ball of mud - some of the descriptive names given to the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum during the planning and construction phases of the building in the 1940s and 50s. It took a while for New Yorkers to accept the Frank Lloyd Wright design, but once it was opened in 1959 it was quickly embraced as a NYC landmark, and became the iconic symbol it is today. The white concrete building remains a testament to Wright's vision and is the most interesting exhibit in a repititous and occasionally boring show Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward.
All his major works are represented here: plans, blueprints and architectural drawings in abundance; but also too small scale models, too little information, too many renderings of the same building. It looked like the first stage of planning the project rather than a polished exhibition. More deconstructed models, like the Herbert Jacobs House, built on a greater scale would have held my attention, as would bigger artists' representations of projects that were never realised, like the Plan for Greater Baghdad. The show felt flat, and without any wow factor this visitor would have left disappointed except for the saving grace of the fabulous exhibition space, within

- and without.

Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward runs at The Guggenheim New York until August 23 2009; I found I got all I needed from the museum website. I can also highly recommend the book Frank Lloyd Wright Interactive Portfolio by Margo Stipe: it's detailed, informative and celebratory in a way the Guggenheim show should have been.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Or another delve into the photo albums. (Bonus: my kids are going to freak when they read this. I expect shrieks to be heard all the way from BXL)

Jean Martha, curator of Renovation Therapy and lover of beautiful fabrics, sent me a link to this blog from UK artist and designer Jane Foster. As I scrolled through the gorgeous images I came across this doll that looked familiar. Then I zeroed in on the text: "the doll I designed for Clothkits".

Clothkits! Way back when I dressed the kids in Clothkits. These are ready-made Clothkit dresses and somewhere in a toybox stashed in the secret room is an original Clothkits doll I sewed for them.

Dungarees, dresses and sailor hats, robes and padded jackets, I made them all from their ready to sew fabric. It was a delightfully easy experience. The fabric was printed with the pattern ready to cut; wadding, binding and all the other haberdashery goodies were included and each came with a pattern for a wee stuffed animal to go in the pocket. They were ADORABLE. (I made the jackets large so they could wear them for several seasons, that's why one poor child is swamped).

See that elephant on the front of the jacket, the one I stitched around to highlight? That is a muff. A place to warm tiny hands made icy while forming snowballs. And it's attached to the coat so it never gets lost. Genius.

Clothkits suffered an expansion and bust scenario many years ago that put them out of business but it seems they are back.

Anyway, enough with the happy memories and cuteness. Go visit Jane Foster's blog and as Jean Martha says "lose a few hours" in the retro-inspired fabrics, modern and vintage... she even has a store where fabric cats rule!. Enjoy!

After that, hop on over to Julia's Hooked on Fridays blog fest to browse through her family heirlooms

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pierre Paulin Dies

Iconic French designer Pierre Paulin died June 13 in Montpellier, France at the age of 81. Although he began his career designing for Thonet-France, he is most famous for his abstract and sculptural fabric covered foam on metal frame furniture that was produced by Dutch firm Artifort in the 1960s:

Ribbon Chair

Mushroom Chair

Little Tulip

Orange Slice

Tongue Chair

In the 1970s and 80s, two French Presidents, Georges Pompidou and Francois Mitterrand, invited him to furnish rooms in the Élysée Palace, and President Nicolas Sarkozy paid tribute to Paulin declaring "he made design into an art form". Last year a retrospective of his work "Pierre Paulin, le design au pouvoir" was held at the at La Manufacture des Gobelins - Le mobilier national in Paris. His designs are in the permanent collections of museums worldwide including MoMA in NY and were used in the futuristic Elrod House setting of the 1971 James Bond film “Diamonds are Forever”.

His last design, the Flower Chair for Magis debuted at the ICFF May 2009.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lean bacon as design muse

"My work is fat-free, it's like lean bacon, and it's efficient. That is how people and life should be, too"*.


*Designer Ross Lovegrove lets loose on ego, obesity and nudity at trade shows. Read the whole interview here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Designers' Lunch

Two designers and one person with definite ideas on design (moi) sat down for lunch today. You'll have to imagine them at the table because two are camera shy, and as usual at The Cool House there was a lot of running around with the cats and dogs and zero time for picture posing. But it was my pleasure to introduce The Awesome Designer to The Kitchen Designer over a little salad, some wine and a very satisfying raspberry and apricot tart. There's something about a pseudo-working lunch on a Monday that makes it both illicit and relaxing. Lots of fun anyway, and then a side trip so The Kitchen Designer could check out The Awesome Designer's kitchen, which was as stunning as always. A very enjoyable couple of hours for me. What did you do today?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Round Rabbit's Perfect Piece

Look at this fabulous, unique, porcelain necklace from Round Rabbit's etsy store.  Round Rabbit is also known as Nancy of The Rabbit Muse blog and she's related to the famous architect of The Cool House, Andrew Geller.

Anyhow, this beautiful piece was going to be a gift but I wore it the other evening (just to test drive it, so to speak) and it got a ton of compliments, so I'm claiming it as my own. Lucky me.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cottage Renovation: Flair and Authenticity

Once, a long, long time ago I posted a piece about my neighbors' stable conversion and Jeanne of House in Progress and asked if there were any possibility of interior shots. Well, the best things come to those who have limitless patience (or who nag a lot in a REALLY LOUD VOICE) so for Jeanne and all the other voyeurs out there - enjoy!

the original cottage and garage
This charming cottage and stables were once part of the Ferguson Castle estate on Long Island's North Shore.

the new kitchen addition with cupola
The property was purchased by the designer with the vision of renovating the separate structures into one cohesive living space; keeping the original buildings and many of the unique features as possible, while custom building others to be truly faithful to the original.

the stable conversion with double height window
It's the unique architectural elements that make this shingle-style cottage such a gem: the barred windows in the former stables, the fishtail shingles, the brackets under the deep eaves and the cross gables.

the kitchen
The kitchen links the old cottage, seen here in the background, with the stable conversion. Installing the cupola means lots of light and matching the original beams makes it cohesive with the rest of the cottage. The kitchen is reminiscent of a 1920's butlers pantry with its furniture style cabinets and thick marble counters but there's lots of room for family and friends to mingle there too.

the dining room
The dining room in the old stables with the new staircase and double-height window in the background. When the owner was first designing the stable conversion she was concerned about the lack of natural light; while horses find darkness calming. humans prefer daylight. She overcame this problem by installing double height windows on the south and west elevations and had them exactly matched to the existing barred stable windows so they would be as unobtrusive as possible.

the sitting room
Using the original sliding barn doors to separate the sitting and dining room areas gives the cottage a sense of timelessness. Putting a red leopard print wing chair in front of them - that's design genius.

the powder room
The onyx countertop in the powder room is a real show stopper and the colors match the old stained glass that provides both soft flattering light and privacy.

the side path
As much attention to detail was given to the landscaping as to the renovation. Fieldstone paths interplanted with flowering thyme, drystacked walls, pillars topped with bluestone and lots of flowering perennials give the garden a country cottage charm that perfectly compliments the house.

staircase leading to the master suite, formerly the hayloft
I had a really hard time choosing which photos to post, there are so many great features in this renovation. In the end I limited myself to the exterior and the first floor of the stable conversion, but there is an entire book's worth of images throughout the cottage. And a whole story to be told of how one person had the vision to preserve an old cottage and turn it into a beautiful home that enhances the entire neighborhood.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Crate - for Renovation Therapy

I meant to blog this last week and then got busy and forgot.
I've always been a big fan of British designer Jasper Morrison. His Glo-Ball lamp is simple and beautiful, a work of art. And his Bus stop for Vitra is a mundane structure re-imagined as a breath-taking architectural piece.
But I think this is taking post-modern irony to the limit. $220 and he can't even think up a snappy name for his new product? Oh wait, $220 includes a copy of 'The Crate Picture Book'. Perhaps the book is worth $200 and the Crate $20?
If I had fourteen wine crates lying around my house I would be selling them as Jasper Morrison-inspired bookcases right now. And I'm sure reno can put together a tie-in book while she's about it!