Sunday, October 30, 2011

Exotic Lumber Field Trip

I am remiss in posting!  I went to High Point (more on that in future posts), and returned on Tuesday to a busy, busy week! 

I have been working on a fascinating and complicated project in Georgetown.  The client purchased an apartment with stunning views of the Potomac, the Kennedy Center and the night time sparkles our city has to offer.  The unit was completely gutted and not only was a complete build out in order but the client is an Art Deco aficionado!  This has added an additional element in my research and design for the project and it has been very rewarding.  Along with electrical, plumbing and other construction requirements there is a learning curve involved in designing a period inspired home.  This past week I went to one such resource to become enlightened and inspired. 

Exotic Lumber has two locations and we visited the one located in Annapolis, Maryland.  I had spoken to the owner Bill West, a charming and handsome man from South Africa, and he invited me out to his facility to have a first hand look and education on exotic woods.  I am in the process of specifying wood species for my project and this is the perfect place to gain an understanding of the best of the best.

A picture of the showroom.

Another view of the showroom with a listing of all the exotic woods and current pricing.

Bill and I discussing the project needs.

Sample bins with pricing.

A view in the warehouse.

Bill said that this would be used to make a sink!

Aren't these amazing?  Bill said the trees are so hard they can't be cut down but rather are burned.  Can you see the burnt edges at the top?  Of course I was so overwhelmed by everything around me I didn't take notes of all the wood species we looked at, only the ones for my project!

I would love to use this Zebra wood in my project!

Yew wood is lovely and rare.

Imagine this piece of walnut for a table or a door...

Thank you Bill!

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Halloween Decorating

My children no longer show the same thrill they once did when I go into the attic and pull down the big, huge, orange plastic bins that scream "Halloween".  My 14 year old daughter tried to show some initial enthusiasm when I started decorating yesterday, but a fresh text message seemed to trump the pumpkin lights that have graced our door way for years.  My 17 year old son was watching the game with his dad.  Of course, I decorated the house by myself.  I don't think you can ever be to old to decorate for a holiday.  Whether it's a simple seasonal wreath with a few pumpkins or you go all out, I think it's great fun.  Apparently, I am not alone!

Door ways in Old Town Alexandria

I love the little pumpkins tucked between the cabbages!

This house really had some fun stuff!

I took these pictures just as I was strolling a few block away from my office on Friday night.  What Halloween decorations are your favorite's?

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Kathryn Penn Fine Jewelry

My girlfriend Kate has the best sister-in law.  Why?  Because she is a jewelry designer! 

 Kathryn Penn lives in Aspen and when she visits, she doesn't come empty handed.  She brings a carry-on bag full of mouth watering jewels!  Kate has been hosting jewelry parties for many years at her home in Alexandria and we flock to see what's new and what we can't live without.  We try things on, ooh and aah over each others finds while enjoying wine and catching up. 

 However this year, I was invited to attend the lovely home of Joany Fabry and Michael Klein in the Kalorama area of Washington DC where Kathryn had her wares.  This is just one of many of the stunning pieces of art in their home.

These pictures came off of Kathryn's face book page.  They are from her store in Aspen.

I have one of these lovely brooches and where it often.

Kathryn creates this style of necklace in so many combinations of stones.  I bought one several years ago in white and grey pearls.  Great evening piece.


Here are a few I took on Monday.

This necklace I bought with cherry quartz.  It's pink!

Kathryn can be found at or Kathryn PennFine Jewelry on face book.

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Schumacher and Martyn Lawrence-Bullard

Our Schumacher sales rep came calling last week and I loved what she had to show us!  She had the new line from Martyn Lawrence-Bullard!  Spectacular!

I think he looks cutting edge, doesn't he? 

Love these vibrant colors!

As our sales rep Julie was going from fabric to fabric, I found my creative mind spinning and I asked for a memo sample of just about the whole collection.

This groovy flame stitch is digitally printed.

These paisley draperies are magnificent!  Look how beautifully the fabric drapes.  The fabric content is 100% wool and has a border on the sides.

A new twist on a Greek Key pattern.

This is the color palette I hope to use in my clients master bedroom.

Love the shimmer on the velvet.

I just ordered Live-Love-Decorate and am really looking forward to it arriving.  I'm really excited by the vibrant colors and fabrics that Martyn Lawrence-Bullard uses in his designs but I feel as if these lively, luxurious textiles are just right on as the leaves on the trees are just starting to show their vibrant contrasts and the crisp air puts a spring in our steps.

Thank you Martyn!

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Trip to the Tile Showroom

We are working on several projects that required us to specify tile.  My office is on Union Street in Old Town Alexandria and for those of  you who know the area, then you know Architectural Ceramics is one block away.  I love working in this part of Alexandria because we can walk to visit some of our suppliers.

The first selections we had to make are for a bathroom in house built in 1965.  Yes, we've all seen them; it's the blue one!  (The flesh colored bathroom and the grey powder room have already been done.)  The floors and the tub surround are what we are working on first.  Here is what we picked:

This gorgeous glass tile is the inspiration for the bathroom.  I love the irregular shapes and layout of the tiles and also the variety of types of tile within this one piece.  I don't want the glass tile to read as super trendy so I think these elements will keep it from being so.  Since it is pricey, we are using it on the back wall of the tub area and we are planning on using the blue/green glass pencil liner to frame the glass tile.  Like a frame around a picture!

This picture shows the floor and the white subway tile that is going to be used as the filed tile around the tub wall.

Here are some pictures of the displays they have. 

My associate Jen, looking at the flooring.

A few special things to share...

These tiles are soo cool!  They are sculpted!  One pattern has the floral motif and the other pattern is a bit more random.

A lovely installation that was just finished over their coffee station.

All for today...

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