Trend Report

Trend Report: Inky Ombre

January 7, 2014 | Alex

My design partner and I have pretty different aesthetics. (It's our differences, I think, that make my mom and I such a good team.) But we do share one fixation: pairing blue and white. 

For my slightly more traditional mother, that can mean displaying porcelain plates from Denmark, or a nautically-inspired room that takes cues from Ralph Lauren. For me, the latest manifestation of my blue-on-white obsession is ombre. But not just any ombre. A deep, inky, dark ombre that creeps into bright white.

Here are a few favorites from the marketplace:



  1. Le Feu De L'Eau (Black Currant), via Upstairs at Pierre Lafond - $60
  2. Paintbox Cushion, via Bluebellgrey UK - £70.00
  3. Ombre Fleet Readers (Dark Blue), via Anthropologie - $38
  4. V-Room Face Towel, via Lost and Found Shop - $198
  5. Fade Pouf (Navy), via - $69

I hope all you mid-west and east coasters are keeping warm. This Polar Vortex is serious business!

Trend Report: Charcoal

December 30, 2013 | Alex

Charcoal has a long and complicated history with mankind. It's been linked to cancer and reputed to increase air pollution when burnt on a large scale. But the Japanese have long relied on the wood charring technique shou-sugi-ban to seal the exterior of their homes against wood rot and insect infestation, as well as to enhance its fire resistance. Contemporary Americans use charcoal to filter our drinking water and fire up our grills. The theme is so pervasive that the Vitra Design Museum recently payed homage to our conflicted relationship in their show "Confrontations." 

But recently, we seem to be wising up to other uses for charcoal's purifying powers. Have you noticed the sudden proliferation of Binchotan products? As it turns out, the Japanese also rely on charcoal to remove toxins from the skin. An alternate use that seems to be catching fire (no pun intended, I swear!) in local shops.  Binchotan is everywhere in Brooklyn-- in the form of body scrub towels, facial puffs and eye masks. American craftsman are even adopting shou-sugi-ban as a decorative technique.

Here are a few of my favorite applications, most as visually arresting as they are practical:

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  1. Charcoal Drawing by Formofantasma and Francesco Zorzi, for the Vitra Design Museum
  2. Binchotan Charcoal Body Scrub Towel, by Morihata (via Steven Alan Home) - $20
  3. Binchotan Facial Puff, by Morihata (via Steven Alan Home) - $18
  4. Charred Comode, Moran Woodworked Furniture  - $1,250
  5. Bincho Water Purifier, by Sort of Coal (via Remodelista) - $125

If you don't hear from me again tomorrow, have a very happy new year! 2013 has been quite a year of change for me-- starting my business, leaving my job as a regulatory analyst and launching I hope its been a great year for each of you too. Now onward to 2014! 

Trend Report: Contemporary Crochet

November 7, 2013 | Alex

In researching my post on Orange is the New Black, I came across a lot of fascinating applications of crochet. No longer is crochet the exclusive domain of the technicolor granny square blanket. I'm happy to report that there are products that are downright sophisticated. I especially like the inky blues and other worldly shapes. Who knew crochet could be sexy?

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  1.  Monika Pendant, by Naomi Paul
  2. Crochet Anemones, by Sophie Buckleberry
  3.  Neoprene Baskets, via Horchow - $70 - $115
  4. Handmade Puffy Poufs, by Rixxt
  5.  Crochet Runner, by Paola Lenti

Trend Report: Matryoshka Update

March 11, 2013 | Alex

Remember when I reported on the Matryoshka trend? I expressed an ambivalence about the look of painted dolls but mused that their unadorned figures would make for original styling props. Well, wouldn't you know that exact idea is bouncing around the blogosphere. (Silly me. Will I ever learn that originality is always hopelessly out of reach?)

Check out these minimalist matryoshka. The first is an image from Amy Azzarito's new book, Past & Present: 24 Favorite Moments in Decorative Arts History and 24 Modern DIY Projects Inspired by Them.The second image is from the inspiring budget-conscious renovation of architect Jen Turner's Carroll Gardens carriage house, featured on Remodelista. Both well worth a read!

PS You can check out my instagram feed for a couple of behind-the-scenes shots from our photo shoot this weekend.