Thursday, August 25, 2011


With our budget set for the gift fair there ended up way too many marks on our "like this" list to make it into our final stack of purchase orders so we've decided to show some things we loved but couldn't buy this trip
Fiona McIntosh had some of the most beautiful scarves and ties we've seen. Created in her studios, Tessuti Printed Textiles, in Edinburgh, Scotland these accessories were beautifully crafted and exquisitely designed. Made from either felted wool, cashmere or lambswool and silk, if we would ever move into selling clothing these pieces would be at the top of our list.
I loved this flatware from Canvas. The modern lines and thin profile would make eating an elegant, drawn-out affair. Made from stainless and ebony they felt light as a feather. Simplicity in design is one of the hardest things to accomplish successfully. Here the crutch of embellishment has been stripped away leaving only the basics of proportion, choice of shape, and use of materials to carry this flatware pattern to a perfect four star rating.
Vanguard was a vendor we purchased from for our former country store, Mercantile, back in Andes, New York. Their look is a blend of rustic and industrial with a patina of elegance. If we could only have squeezed another thousand dollars out of our budget we would have written an order here as well.
We loved these wire and tin buckets.
This side table evoked both the sea and a Gothic Cathedral all cloaked in one piece of furniture.
Limed oak was a theme at Worlds Away and this finish was done to perfection. The Wersler dresser with its Greek key motif almost seemed blue the way it reflected light. It was like a piece of driftwood setting on a sandy beach.
Their round side table in the same finish was a perfect blend of finish, material and proportion. Their website doesn't do these pieces justice but in person they transported us to St. Barts and the sound of waves lapping at the shore.
The photographer, Adrienne Page of Velvet Raptor, has created a collection of photo albums wrapped in the softest of velvets. Each shade of velvet she has chosen feels as if it was stripped from the fabric walls of a Victorian Mansion where ladies napped on chaises dressed in high collars straight out of a John Singer Sargent painting. Expect to see these photo albums on our shelves in the not too distant future with a little bag of ivory photo corners dangling from a silk ribbon tied around their spins.
Maybe it was because we hadn't explored the show in a few years, or maybe it was a new aesthetic brought out by a new group of vendors but our jaded attitudes didn't follow us this time around the fair. We enjoyed every minute of our three day, eight hours a day marathon...well maybe not every minute. Now we can't wait for our orders to start rolling in.

Well I'm clearly not as smart as I'd like to think I am. My beautiful cloth globe I haggled for at the flea market garage in New York unexpectedly showed up at the "Go Home" booth at the New York Gift Fair. I had concocted this story in my mind of some highly creative backwoods artist tearing up old seed sacks and sewing them onto a discarded canvas beanbag, her fingers covered in calluses from pushing an industrial needle through layers of thick fabric. So much for my fantasy, this mass produced bean bag ended up making a mockery of my over-rated imagination. When I saw the globe at the flea market I lusted for it and couldn't believe someone else hadn't scooped up that one-of-a-kind world in their hands. I instantly handed over my cash, wrapped my treasure in a black garbage bag and traipsed over to Home Depot where I shelled out more money for a cardboard box so my globe could accompany me as luggage on my plane ride back to Madison. I coveted that globe. When I returned and uncrated my treasure at the store I debated putting a price on it. I wasn't sure I wanted it to sell. I felt a globe like this one wasn't likely to show up ever again. I, obviously, couldn't have been more wrong. We'll now be carrying the world in our store, available for a modest fee with the disclaimer "no little ladies in Appalachia lost any sleep or feeling in their fingers making this faux folk art gem". It's still a beautiful piece

Most of us these days are watching our pocketbooks and this is most important when shopping for our homes. No matter if you are looking for a pillow, a lamp or a bureau for the front hall, look at every possible option. Shop, shop, shop...eyes only. Those days of impulse buying are behind us. We can no longer just pick up an item and say "Oh, I love this, it'll work somewhere." Every dollar counts and every object or item of furniture must have a raison d'etre. If you see something you simply can't live without, ask the shopkeeper to hold it for you. They'll usually hold if for a day or two. You'll be surprised how the need and desire for a beautiful purchase can wane after a day or so of seeing other pretty little things.
However, if you come into Pleasant Living to shop, forget what I just said


Checker Cab, New York, 1982
Helen Levitt, Photographer
Represented by Laurence Miller Gallery

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