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Isak (England)

A new product just in! It was exciting to hear from Sandra Isaksson, a Swedish graphic designer and illustrator, this morning. Based in England, she wants to introduce you to her world of “exciting happy things”, Isak, which are adorable gifts and home accessories that I think you’ll really love.
Wallpaper, greeting cards, trays, cutting boards, cups, dish towels, prints for your walls, an adorable counting poster for the kids, and more! With a retro vibe and plenty of sweet apple prints, Isak will definitely lead you into temptation…

You can purchase online or, if you’re a shop owner scouting for fresh new products and would like to carry Isak in your store, please contact Sandra directly at info[at]isak[dot]co[dot]uk.


Thanks for the tip, Sandra!

(images from isak)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, ceramics, shopping, travel, walls on October 30, 2006

Heath Ceramics – Factory Tour (Sausalito, California)

By: Anh-Minh Le, decor8 west coast contributor


I have long been a fan of Heath Ceramics and was joyful beyond words when I realized that they have a factory store in the Bay Area. And, even better, they offer free factory tours.

For those not familiar with the company, here?s a little background info: In 1948, Edith Heath ? an industrial designer and potter ? founded her own ceramics studio. She specialized in tableware and tiles, eventually making her way into museums and stores across the country.

Even after half a century in business, all of the pottery is still made by skilled artisans in Sausalito, Calif., using the methods that Edith herself developed (she passed away in December). About three years ago, Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey purchased the company. The husband-and-wife team brought some of Edith?s old designs out of retirement and have managed to maintain her high level of quality as well as her wonderfully simple aesthetic. (We?re talking about pieces that you can pass down from generation to generation.)

The factory tour takes about 30-45 minutes ? depending on how many questions you ask ? and covers the entire building. Since tours are only given on the weekends, you don?t actually get to see any of the work being done, but you get detailed descriptions of how everything works. And you can get up close and personal here; there are no red lines that you aren?t allowed to cross.

It is amazing to me, in this day and age of outsourcing and mass production, that there is still this successful ceramics studio churning out beautiful products that require very skilled hands. Heath actually makes its own clay! And their own glazes! And all of the glazes are sprayed on by hand! That takes a pretty steady hand.

Any pieces that aren?t quite up to snuff are considered ?seconds,? and you can purchase them at the factory. The tour ends in the overstock tile room ? which is filled with firsts and seconds. Heath tiles are only available for purchase at the factory and in Ann Sacks showrooms.

The factory store also offers plenty of tableware, as well as books and textiles (like Lotta Jansdotter aprons). The table pieces can be deeply discounted, and there?s even a clearance section where saucers were marked 10 for $1. Yes, you read right ? 10 for $1!

Since the tours take place at 11am, you may arrive in Sausalito a little hungry. No problem. The staff puts out some tea and light snacks (I think it was a coffeecake when I went). Go ahead and test out that tea cup before you decide to purchase it!

Throughout the entire factory, Heath tiles are all over the place ? as a backsplash, as a decorative work of art ? providing plenty of inspiration for visitors. If you happen to be in the area, I highly recommend stopping in and seeing it all for yourself. (In case you can?t, I took plenty of pictures!)


Heath Factory
400 Gate Five Road
Sausalito, CA 94965
(415) 332-3732
For store and general inquiries, please call x13
Open daily, 10am-5pm
Tours, Sat-Sun, 11am
(Call ahead for tour reservations)


(images from anh-minh le)

Posted in ceramics, guest bloggers, Shop Tours, shopping, travel on October 03, 2006

Ugly Home [Paris]

The moment you step into Ugly Home online, you begin watching what appears to be somone busily using an etch-a-sketch to create a storefront.

Intriqued, you wait to see what’s next, and clicking on Entrer, you step inside a quaint little home boutique filled with lots of good things. Plates with blooms, plates with shoes (adds new meaning to soul food), candles, lamps (great egg pendant), wallpaper, furniture, textiles, wall decals (love the lab and the chandelier!), and more. At Ugly Home, everything ugly is pretty again!
When in Paris, visit them at 108 Rue Saint-Honor?. When online, visit their website.


(images from ugly home)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, ceramics, kitchen, lighting, shopping, travel on August 23, 2006

Laura Ashley UK Beauties

I spent a summer, when I was 18, as an au-pair for a family on Marlborough Street in Boston. This was no ordinary family. Their brownstone, a million dollar townhouse with a view of the John Hancock tower, was absolutely splendid. They had a home on the coast of Maine with another in London. The wife, the Charles Edward Wilson Professor at the Harvard Business School and book author and the husband, the then CEO of Laura Ashley.
Their little girl had an amazing bedroom, decked out in more Laura Ashley than one could ever imagine. Her closet, filled with tag-on clothes, most of which were Laura Ashley. Everyday was a treat, I was handed cash to take their daughter “lunching” on Newbury Street. She was only 3 years old, but she had her favorite stops – like Rebecca’s cafe for chicken salad sandwiches with plump grapes and almonds. We’d play in the park all afternoon with the other children who had no clue what being born into a life of such status would someday mean for them. It was a life that I’d never live, but for that summer, I had a chance to experience it and, quite frankly, I loved my very special summer with Jim (Dr. James Maxmim – whom I’d only met once, he was in London almost the entire summer), Shoshana Zuboff and their daughter, Chloe. By now, Chloe must be well into her teens… I often think about them and wonder what became of the little girl with everything, which brought me to the Laura Ashley website today.

Lace-like patterns are a real trend lately, and this delicious two-tier Mallow Lace Pendant with fluttering butterflies looks so delicate and feminine. I love this commanding Sabrina Ceiling Shade, too. Perhaps it clips onto a lightbulb, or? So elegant! I find the Renfrew Striped Shade quite pretty as well. You could purchase a plain drum shade from Target and, using muted pastel fabric paints, create your own (the Pavilion is pretty, too.) I’m really big on floral prints, but they need to be simple and bold, and this Erin Tapered Drum Shade in duck egg is just perfect. If you love this print, but aren’t looking for shades, try a few Erin Eau De Nil pillows. (They have coordinating Erin wallpaper to match.)


Speaking of wallpaper, Laura Ashley is known for their fabulous selection of that, too. The Fenton pattern in blue, the duck egg Kimono (with coordinating pleated panels – drool!) and Oriental Garden in charcoal are three of my favorites.


Looking for romantic accessories? This Etched Mirror Jewelry Box is as enchanting as it is stunning. Looking for something less glam, but big on country charm? You may like the sweet Rosie Dot 1/2 Liter Jug for milk or fresh flowers. Other pretty vessels include the Mallow ceramic or glass vase with butterflies in pink, blue and green.

Of course, don’t forget what Laura Ashley does best: Fabric!

Link here for Laura Ashley in the USA, Japan, Middle East, and Spain. It’s so interesting to see how they present themselves in different parts of the globe. I love thier clothing on the Japan site, I’m sure you’ll agree…

(images from laura ashley)

Posted in ceramics, textiles, walls on May 31, 2006

Books:

Some of my books...

Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.

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