Thursday, November 9, 2017


Sunday mornings are usually reserved for a lazy wake-up with Jane Pauley and the news magazine "Sunday Morning" but last Sunday was a little different. At eight o'clock sharp the doors on our local Target were unlocked to a waiting crowd and I was among them. Last Sunday Target's Hearth and Hand boutique was unveiled and I mean that literally.
For the week leading up to the unmasking of Chip and Joanna Gaines home venture with Target their niche on the floor of my Target was shrouded in black curtains hiding the space until the Sunday morning's reveal.
I have to admit I'm a fan of the pair even though they're a little too cutesy, and a little too formulaic. It's understandable that their HGTV program is coming to an end. How many homes in Waco are there that they can remodel with shiplap walls?
Their product line for Target on the other hand is well done, nicely designed, and offers a good selection of well-made objects at reasonable prices.
The stand alone structures incorporate Joanna's clear sense of good design. An open framed home establishes the footprint for the display.
Opening just in time for the holiday season meant that a lot of the product mix was devoted to holiday décor
I know they have a very Christian bent so there were plenty of items with a specific Christmas reference like their Advent calendar and "Letters to Santa" mailbox
Tabletop and ceramics played an important part in their collection. This array of ceramic pitchers in particular caught my eye.
Of course, their visual presence was tucked in everywhere including their New York Times bestselling book. They are pretty attractive so flaunting it when you've got is fair game.
When you talk home accessories and you want to keep your product line on the smaller and less expensive side hitting up the kitchen is a pretty safe place to go. Kitchen gadgets, dishtowels and containers were in abundance; they even offered a beautiful kitchen scale in their product mix.
Along with all the ceramic goods, metal and wood were additional materials that made a showing in their collection. I suppose anyone could come out with a metal tote but these storage bins mixing tin with brass had just the right amount of detail to set them apart from anything else on the current market
When you talk home décor and you're putting out a full product line you can't ignore fragrance. Chip and Joanna didn't miss on this one either. I fell in love with their metal containers with the brass band that came in four seasonal fragrances. I went home with two sugared birch cnadles to ring in the season on our Thanksgiving table.
Personal items was another category showing up in their virtual home display. Leather and canvas bags along with laptop and covers were part of what was being offered
These travel accessories were high on my list of holiday gifts.
They also  had these great leather gloves and at $14.95 I wasn't going home without a pair. I'm terrible with gloves and at that price I figured I could afford to lose them once or even twice and not feel guilty about having to go back and buy them again.
Not even the kids were left out in the cold. Chip managed to put out this great dollhouse. I'm only hoping that it didn't come with IKEA like instructions. No parent wants to struggle with a day's worth of profanity trying figure out how part D is supposed to connect to piece Y prior to having secured shiplap sections N through R to the mainframe.
If you didn't make it in for the 8am Sunday morning opening you may be out of luck. I'm hoping that they will continue to restock their shelves. In the past Target has developed these relationships with other prominent designers but if you didn't get there for the original shipment there wasn't a second chance. When the product was gone that was it
I felt I did pretty good with my shopping scores. Not only did I pick up a couple of candles and a pair of gloves but I grabbed this Magnolia wreath that has two beautifully chimed bells
that now hangs on our front door softly ringing in our guests for the holiday season.

The Weinfeld Family, 2009
Frederic Brenner, photographer
Represented by Howard Greenberg Gallery, NYC

Thursday, November 2, 2017


New York is a city in constant change. It's not hard to walk down a West Village Street, a Mid-Town Avenue or an Upper Westside side street you've walked down before and not recognize where you're at.
A new building rises to cloud level, stores that were there last season are gone and new ones have taken their place. It's hard to keep up. I have found myself standing in the middle of a block I've been on hundreds of times before with a look of consternation on my face wondering if Alzheimer's has set in. I don't recognize anything that's there now and fear I've misplaced an entire part of the city. Sometimes it's scary and sometimes it's thrilling to see all that's new
That's what happened in Soho, on Greene Street, at 138. A new store has moved into New York and I'm a big fan. Jayson Home has opened its second store. Their original store still remains in Chicago, another reason to make a trip to the windy city.
Jayson Home has an almost twenty year history of sourcing modern and vintage furnishings and home accessories.
The minute you step in front of the store you get a sense of the whimsical mix of old and new, artistry and structure, antique and vintage.
Once inside the product mix is a toyshop for adults possessing a design gene buried somewhere inside them.
There's even a bit of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari in objects like this metal goblet holding a snake's nest of woven leather whips locked away in a glass and wooden display case.
You can move from sophisticated garden tools with leather details
to amazing textiles from every continent you can purchase as upholstery or as magnificent throws with giddy tassels.
There's an emphasis on furniture throughout the space. From antique pieces that have been restored and repurposed
along with ornate mirrors and consoles pulled from estates from around the world
to Mid-Century finds that absolutely blew my mind. I so want this chair
There's also the truly contemporary and unique. This stone cocktail table with a Plexiglas insert tray was another piece that took my breath away.
Styles ran the gambit as well but even though genres from industrial to Victorian to French Moderne were all housed in the shop everything seemed to work seamlessly and flow as a singular vision
Accessories were just as varied mixing lamps with textiles and decorative items.
Tabletop was scattered throughout the shop like appetizers at a social event where you could pick from full sets
to dining accessories like these matte gray pitchers that now reside on our dining table
Another Christmas list find for me were these leather clad thermoses hidden on a shelf, a little treasure tucked away in the amazing mix of products and gifts at Jayson Home.
Trolling the maze of Jayson Home was like being on a treasure hunt where each find was more "must have" than the next.
Who could not lust after this set of vintage luggage that would set conversation rolling in any home entertainment event.
Every category of the home was covered in their mini department store. Books were tucked into every vignette.
Fragrance was everywhere. Beautiful Cire Trudon room atomizers were set out giving the room a scent I secretly squirted on myself when on one was looking
Then there's the lower level that's dressed in vintage carpets any sheik would be willing to purchase to dress up his Bedouin tent.
If you find yourself exploring the cobblestone streets of Soho make a stop on Greene Street and say hello to the finches chirping out the good news that Jayson Home has expanded to New York.

Suzy Parker Shopping Lanvin, 1952
Georges Dambier, photographer
Represented by Peter Fetterman Gallery

Friday, October 27, 2017


This year's Open House New York unlocked up close to 250 doors in the city that are normally closed to the public. It's a two-day event that happens once a year in Mid-October. This is the second time I've taken advantage of the event and both years I learned a little more about the ins and outs of how the event works. There's a process to how you get through the doors of the places you want to see. Here's what I know.
1. The most sought after venues usually require a reservation. Tickets for these interiors are acquired on an online sale with a first come first serve basis. Several weeks before the actual event tickets are put up for bid. If you aren't set up to hit the buy button for the space you want to see within the first thirty seconds of the sale you can just draw an "X" through being able to visit that space.
2. The first year I attended I tried for tickets several days after they went up for sale. I missed out on all the reservation only sites. This year I hovered over my computer like a duck eyeing a June bug. When the clock on my computer ticked out 11:00am on the first day of the sale I hit the purchase key and off I went to filling out the form for a golden ticket to the National Arts Club. It was one of six must see venues on my list. It took me about forty-five seconds to strike a win and move onto my number two site. It was a no go and it was a no go for the remaining venues on my wish list. Spots on the reserved entry only sites had all been gobbled up within seconds.
3. This left me with a list of about a dozen open entry places I was still interested in seeing. Here's where you need to reevaluate the possible popularity of the places on your list. Even these places can prove challenging. Some of the lines for getting into places like the Cultural Services of the French Embassy/Albertine Books required more than an hour wait and that kind of wait cuts deep into the amount of places you can actually see before time runs out.
4. You should make sure that you've checked out the locations of all the venues you've added to your list. Make a map to make sure that you're not traversing the island or trying to go from borough to borough instead of consolidating your visits to a tight locale. The hours sites are open differ from site to site and this can really screw up your journey if you didn't write down everyone's open hours or the day they're going to be open
5. Next you want to check to see if the place your visiting requires a tour or if they let you roam unsupervised. I prefer to be left alone to see and photograph on my own. When some of the tours take an hour or more this can also put a real crimp on time chart.
6. Here's my plan for next year. I'm going to enlist a bunch of friends for a sign-in party on the day and at the time that tickets become available. Then manned with a list of all the places I want to see I'll have all my guests lined up with their computers in front of them and an assigned venue for them to sign up for on my behalf. How many of you are interested?

What I did get to see was this gorgeous building, the National Arts Club. It was my one golden ticket event and even though it did require a half-hour tour it was a terrific event.
It was a very intimate affair, my group of lucky ticket holders was no more than ten and our docent was an incredibly informative employee of the club. Her spiel didn't last the full thirty minutes and the rest of the time she allowed us to roam from room to room on our own.
The private membership club is situated across the street from Gramercy Park. 6029It was the former home of Samuel Tilden: a former New York governor, the second presidential candidate to win the popular vote but not the electoral vote and a lifelong bachelor. There's a lot there to contemplate.
The building was originally built in the 1840's in the Gothic Revival style but when Tilden purchased it he hired Calvert Vaux, one of the designers of Central Park and had the building completely redesigned in the Aesthetic Movement dripping with detail from both the outside and inside.
Although the building is a members only organization it is frequently open to the public for lectures and special events. During the time before our tour was to beginning we allowed to wander through the lower level
The lower level is a warren of meeting rooms, studios and exhibition spaces. A sketch class was in progress as I toured the lower area. Here's where current exhibits happen intermingled with old masters and sculptures.
The main level consists of a series of gathering spaces on a parlor floor with sitting rooms, a bar, and dining rooms.
Each room retains that old world feel of the turn-of-the-century with tufted sofas,
ornate mantels and an eclectic mix of furniture.
The bar is lined with a ledge of busts and intricate woodwork
Under the canopy of an immense vaulted stained glass ceiling
Keeping with the buildings renovated style the use of stained glass is an integral part of the buildings beauty.
Windows and interior walls with backlighting are included everywhere.
Stretching out from the bar is a long banquet hall lite by crystal chandeliers
and lined with Tiffany aqua chairs.
Beyond the banquet area is the main dining room that can accommodate a corporate event, a wedding reception or an honors ceremony
The club gives out a Medal of Honor Award on an annual basis and many of the recipients are immortalized in portraits that line the walls of one of the room that overlooks the park.
Recipients have included three former presidents, several former first ladies and many creative luminaries from a broad range of disciplines including Frederic Remington, Chuck Close, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Leonard Bernstein, Whoopi Goldberg and Ang Lee
Of course there's art and sculpture highlighted throughout the Club.

Art from the National Arts Club