I can’t seem to get enough of rug websites and catalogs lately, which reminds me, I need to get down to the Boston Design Center before the end of the week to further spiral downhill into my rug obsession. I want to learn more about them, sometimes I feel like there is so much to learn in the field of interior design, and so much that is constantly changing, perhaps it will always be a learning experience just like many of the other creative professions. Although my uncle is a surgeon and my great aunt is a dance instructor in Chicago at 82 years old, and both tell me that they’re still learning all the time.
I think that’s why I left my last job, I felt I had stopped learning and it scared me. Have you ever been there?? You know, that feeling? Being on this side of the tracks is far better than the other for me, but at least before I could do my job half asleep, easily show others the way, and still exceed the expectations of my employer. I’m sure that’s something to be proud of, but I felt a bit uninspired and uninterested being the office know it all. Now I’m the new kid on the block and it’s scary sometimes. My eyes and ears are constantly open and despite it all, I still consider myself very junior in this big design world. But, I’m in it now and there’s no turning back… So it’s learn, learn, learn and feed my obsessions. Must. Learn. New. Stuff. Always. So for this week, it’s area rugs.
Lots of people ask me questions, but the most common one is how to find items that work on a budget in a world where it’s socially acceptable to spend $700 on a pair of slingback heels. In other words, they want the 10,000 rug they saw in Elle Decor, but cannot afford it and need a budget version that doesn’t look cheap. Being totally immersed in design 24/7, when someone shows me a designer item they’d like for their home but they have a limited budget, I sort through all the files in my head to see if I can recall seeing something LIKE it someplace else for less. If I can’t, I spend hours in showrooms and on the web to source for something just like it. The search for a single product can take days. But when it’s discovered… Oh, it’s like a pint of ice cream on a really bad day. Heaven.
Let’s say someone wants the Diane Von Furstenberg Tribal Diamond rug shown bottom left. It’s a price band L on the Rug Company website, so we’re talking major cash. If you have it, do it – you’ll love it forever. If you don’t have the money, please don’t think you have to go into debt and that’s it’s wrong or unfortunate of you to have to go “dumpster diving” at old West Elm for a carpet. Some may question your choice thinking designer is always better, but honestly, unless they’re paying, who cares. If you came to me looking for that DVonF rug, I’d point you over to the Tribal diamond rug from West Elm shown below right. It’s a good match, not 100%, but enough to create the look without bringing down the design of the room. West Elm actually does sell some excellent area rugs. I own the tribal diamond because I once lusted for the DVonF beauty and I’m quite pleased.
Blogger Nadejda from Pan-Dan does a killer job covering Italian design. Could be because she’s Italian living in Milan. I’ve been reading her blog for about 4 months now and always find things that just never seem to find there way to stores in the United States. And that’s okay, because if everything suddenly becomes available here, we lose a bit of the thrill of the hunt, don’t you think? Who wants to stumble upon tons of American products when in Europe, or vice versa?
Regardless, her website is full of gorgeousness, and this week, she is posting all about the Milan Design show. One item she highlights that caught my eye is this Bird lamp by Chen Hung-Ming, a designer from Taiwan currently living in Sweden, who exhibited this light in Milan this year. I can’t take my eyes off of it, it’s so unique and definitely something I would own. It’s so exciting to see innovative, fresh products like these take flight!
(image from chen karlsson)
Another beautiful stop I hit whilst in Portland was Edith & Edna, a new store that stocks only items that are handcrafted by artists, but not just the locals, but from talented designers across the globe, from Morocco to Sweden. Joanna Mendicino, Zid Zid Kids, BlaBla, Alena Hennessy, Curious Bird, Karin Eriksson, and dozens more, they’re all there waiting for you to buy, cherish, love forever. Corny I know, but I feel a sense of excitement when I buy handmade.
I was instantly charmed the moment I approached the store, as the window display was really sweet and stood out amongst the other windows along busy Market Street. I actually purchased a few items directly from the window, I couldn’t resist. When I stepped into the store and browsed the wares, I was happy to see so many things I’d written about on decor8 before, so of course I highly suggest shopping Edith & Edna when you’re in Portland.
This is Julie George-Carlson, one of the owners that I had a chance to chat with (her business partner, Brandie Mayes, wasn’t available). She was packaging my new goodies when I snapped this picture. What a sweet lady she is!
The location is prime, the store is so fresh and inspiring, and after you finish shopping, you can hop across the street to Starbucks to chill out. After Market Street and topping things off with an Edith & Edna experience, my brain started to spark and sizzle a little bit (sensory overload), so I grabbed my fave mocha light frappuccino and looked through my bag of goodies. :) If you aren’t a Starbucks fan, head down to the waterfront for cold bubble tea (love!). I actually did both, because bubble tea is a rare find in New England, it’s more of a west coast thing, I highly suggest it.
I love their business cards, or shall I say, business blooms. Clever idea. Julie gave me this one, it’s crafted from magazine pages. Oh, and thanks Julie for your exceptional service and for allowing me to photograph your beautiful store!
By the way, here’s a glimpse of the general area for the non-locals. It’s so pretty there, great architecture, yummy seafood places, you can truly make a day of it in Portland. And don’t miss the Portland Museum of Art. (Psst: If you are a Currier member like me, you can get in free right now.)
This past weekend, I met Carrie at the one and only Angela Adams retail location and thoroughly enjoyed my visit. Located in downtown Portland, Maine at 273 Congress Street, it’s a must see for any Portland visitor, especially Angela fans!
What a pleasure for me to see the space for the first time, and since I know so many of you love her work, I have to share the photos that my husband and I took. You can click on any image below for a larger view, or view them all of them (and more!) in my flickr set. Ready to check it out? Here you go…
(most images above taken by thorsten becker, see flickr set for specifics)