Hello Cool Design: Meet Hot Art

Okay, so my 20-year old daughter Annie thinks this room is “oh-so-70s” and can’t be bothered with it… I say it isn’t so – In fact, there’s nothing 70s about it! I call it the “Parlor” and have filled it with great finds that my husband Clay and I have collected over the years.

Clay tested the Modernica sofa (in front of a TV of course) – at the Nickelodeon store on Michigan Avenue – and had to have it. I wasn’t crazy about it but went along and have since improved it with two perfect pillows from Double D Ranch – Yoakum TX. By the way – it’s great for sitting but horrid for reclining – Forget about taking a nap there. (Happily, I still like the Chinese red after all these years!).

I got the Alvar Aalto webbed chair from my dad – actually traded an amazing Bruno Mathsson (vintage original I inherited from my mother), but the webbing in the Mathsson had given way after 20 years of abuse from me, my three siblings, and countless pets, so who knows who got the better deal? The second Aalto chair (upholstered in Donghia) is unarguably the most comfortable chair in the house – I routinely lounge there (with a glass of Chardonnay naturally), read on my I-Pad and watch the neighborhood like Mrs. Kravitz.

The Pièce de résistance – besides the art of course – is the spectacular Odegard rug that I convinced Clay to splurge on. Did you know that Odegard is the exclusive rug source for the J. Paul Getty museum in LA? (Yep – read it in a magazine!) And after 10 years, it is still my prized possession! Full Disclosure – My poor sister spilled red wine on it when it was quite new. I was not very nice about it but we’re still the best of friends.

The cabinet is a 100% Christopher Deam original that we bought it in the late 90s. I’m not sure if CD is still designing/manufacturing furniture but he did do the interior for the new Airstream. Note – If my heirs ever need a windfall, they can sell this beauty on Antique Road Show one day! The lamp is – you guessed it – Target – and my favorite in the house (including the Noguchi that my housekeeper seems bent on destroying!).

Okay – time to share details about the art. The black and white photograph is from PoP Gallery in Santa Fe. It’s Thomas Barbey’s Tourist Trap, a rendering of actual negatives spliced together (vs. photo-shopped) – another treasure I was able to talk Clay into! And the abstract – Speed of Light I from Benjamin Arnot – has an asymmetrical and amorphous feel that delights me. I actually bought it from gallerydirect.com long before I started working here! Benjamin’s recent work includes paintings in which he presents familiar objects in both conflict and harmony, which invite us to “explore our odd and constant obsession of iconography and precious objects,” (Benjamin’s words and my sentiments exactly!)



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