Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Patch NYC

In the summer of 2009 I had the pleasure of accompanying my husband to Boston for three weeks.

He was in school and had classes and tons of work. His choice.

I, on the other hand, had three weeks to fill! Some people can't quite get this, asking why would I want three empty weeks. I was thrilled!

Being the design junkie that I am, I researched and explored every art and design museum, every art gallery, antique store and home furnishings boutique. I learned the public transportation system in Boston and I wandered streets all over, admiring architecture, from old historical..................

The Paul Revere house

 to the most contemporary.

I always tear pages from magazines when I stumble upon an interesting shop, gallery or museum, in hopes that one day I will get to visit whatever town it might be in. 

That summer I had a long list of places to visit in Boston, and Hudson , in Boston's South End, was at the top of that list.
I walked into Hudson and was immediately taken with the design aesthetic there -  perfect mix of vintage and modern and loaded with charm.

 I soon learned that I had, most unfortunately, just missed a special "Pop Up Shop" within the
Hudson shop.

 Patch NYC had taken over the back room and literally made it into their own "pop up shop" for one week.

Take a look at some of the photos from that short visit and you will see why I was so disappointed.

I had the nicest conversation with Lindsay, the manager of the shop, and she told me all about the creative two behind this clever and amazingly delightful collaboration.

Don Carney and John Ross established Patch NYC in 1997 with a collection of hand crochet wool hats inspired by a hat made by John's mom, Yasuko, for her son's first winter in New York City. The rest, as they say, is history.

John and Don
 Boston Globe Photo - 2008  Photo by Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff 

Read more here.

I was smitten with their style, attention to detail and artistic, witty talent.
So, a few years passed and I followed Patch NYC - noting they partnered with

 West Elm ,

creating unique and imaginative products for each.

Each time I would walk into either store, I would immediately scan to see if I could spot what might be "Patch", as I call it in my mind.

I wondered if they would change - if the partnership with big name stores might affect their individual style, their distinctive and original flair.

Fast forward to last week - May of 2011, and I found myself in Boston again for my husband's graduation.

Big event, BIG.

I would be remiss in not bragging on him for obtaining a Masters Degree in Health Care Management from Harvard!
It has been a long, tough road, and he works full time too - very full time.

His journey has affected our entire family, and we were all ready to celebrate his accomplishment, AND his completion of the degree!!

And, one last hurrah for me as far as having an excuse to fly to and explore Boston!

I did not have time to visit all of my favorite haunts, but we did venture down to the South End on Saturday for a bite of goodness at the Buttery and a few stops in the neighborhood for me!

So, quite a while ago, my husband decided that he liked the bench outside of Hudson. After our afternoon snack, he headed next door to take his spot while I wandered.

He is voracious reader, so he is quite content here for hours......okay maybe not hours, but for quite a while!

I have to tell you, he is most patient and a great companion.

He comes along if I ask, actually shows interest if I want to share, but is also quite content as a "husband bench sitter" - you know what I mean.

 (He couldn't find a bench at the SoWa market, but found a window sill that was perfect to lean into and read away!)

anthropologie NYC one Christmas - I think he was getting tired here.

The man is a saint.

 Oh look - back at Hudson!!
Again - do you think the folks at Hudson recognize him yet? This time my younger daughter hung out with him. These two can be dangerous together.....dangerously hilarious.

Oh, but how I digress...................

Now, back to PATCH NYC!!

So, I hope you are still with me because here is the good part.

I knew that Don and John had a small shop just around the corner from Hudson.
I had made several futile attempts to visit and they were closed each time. So, this trip I decided to give it one last try.

I was accompanied by my older daughter, who, I have to brag again.....

just graduated a few weeks ago from Vanderbilt!!

She is the cutie who asked me to go to San Francisco to "look at lots of art and design" over her last spring break.

I posted about our trip here.

So, we left the two clowns sweethearts on the bench and off we went to see if we could find the Patch NYC studio open.....and......

TA DA!!! 

They were open and both were there in their PATCH NYC SHOP,( in the courtyard at 46 Waltham Street  - corner of Washington Street)  and I got to meet and visit with each of them.

Now, one might expect two such talented guys who have had so much success and tons of press over the last ten years to be, well, a bit arrogant, or  at least, slightly aloof ....... not at all. 

 We were greeted warmly by John and invited to look around the tiny, treasure filled space.

As we browsed, Don appeared and asked me if I was familiar with the shop.

I confessed my semi - stalker status  (I think I just told him I was a "Patch follower" ) and we chatted a bit.

There could not be a nicer, more down to earth person, and I loved comparing notes on antiquing and flea markets.

In my reading for this post I came across this post from design sponge, and if you have the time you might want to read it - very good info for shopping flea markets, straight from the Patch guys, Don and John.

I didn't have my camera with me, but have taken the liberty of borrowing some photos from the

Patch NYC blog of items I saw in the shop.


 Vintage photos framed in black crochet with charms.

Charming, charming, flowers made from vintage neck ties.

Delicious smelling candles with designs from Don's hand inked drawings.

Speaking of hand inked drawings, Don told me about his love of vintage frames, and how often the frame inspires his drawings.


I have one of his originals on my wish list. Now my challenge is choosing which one.

They are each hand drawn, and framed by Don in which ever special antique frame he chooses from his collection.

I might even ask him to do one especially for me - he will do that for you, too!! 

To find out more about this design duo, check out their website and look for their creations at such places as Barneys, ABC Home and Carpet, and Jonathon Adler.

About that concern I had  - would they lose there individuality and charm partnering with the big name stores?

Not a chance - my guess is that they will continue to invent and evolve and create and change and grow.

Meeting creative, authentic, genuine people might just be my most favorite thing in the world.
I found meeting Don and John heartwarming and inspiring and
  I can't wait to visit Boston again to see them and their shop.

Meanwhile, thank goodness for email and blogs!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hill Country House Kitchen Update

 You may remember when I posted about my frustration with my kitchen here.

I was contemplating painting our kitchen cabinetry and asked for thoughts and opinions.

I sure got some! Most people screamed messages loud and clear like :

"Paint them!! It's your house - do what you want!!"

Others scolded me for even thinking of painting the rare and cherished antique long leaf pine.

My issue was, and still is, that all of the cabinetry is long leaf pine - I mean ALL of the wood work all over the house; the doors, the kitchen cabinets, the bathroom cabinets, the upstairs built in desks and shelving, the built in dressers in the closets, the frames around bathroom mirrors all over the house - all perfectly lovely and custom designed and expensive

One problem - it's just too much wood for me.

It's no secret that I am a color girl. I love color. I can appreciate all of the gorgeous designs in creams and putty and grays, and can always see the beauty in all white decors.......lots of shades of white and cream can be just beautiful. But, when I get right down to it, color is what makes my heart beat a little faster!
These kitchens just speak to me, make me happy and feel like me.

Does that make sense?

All kitchen photos from my files and my apologies for not having the proper credits.

I considered a look like this for my kitchen.
While I might not choose black granite counter tops, the fact is that I have them, and painting the cabinets would have really brightened up my kitchen with a whole new look. I also love the painted floor and may still do that at some point.

I am crazy about the feel of this kitchen, and it is rather a compromise between neutral cabinetry and color added in the chairs and rugs.

Oh well, all dreaming aside, I realized that I needed to do something in my kitchen that would brighten it up without compromising the integrity and specific design of a Texas hill country house.

There are those who worship the limestone, the old wood floors and the long leaf pine.The house is for sale and someone will love all these indigenous materials.

I had to do something purely decorative that did not change materials permanently.
Painting cabinetry, changing tile back splashes, changing granite counter tops - all out of the question.

Adding some color and softness to the room using fabric, brightening the room with a new fixture and better light......these were do-able!

I have long been a fan of this pattern - Joseph Frank's Vegetable Tree, as well as some others like it.

I found my fabric at Calico Corners and at several online shops.

It is a close look to the more expensive ones, (which I adore, but too pricey for a house we are leaving)  and fits my budget for this house.
And, it is very colorful!

I also like the white linen background for the light to filter through.

I knew, too, that changing out the light fixture could add more light and give the space a fresher, updated look. The original fixture was a very nice custom iron piece, but the light shone straight down on the island and did not add light to the entire space at all.

Here is a really close shot of the new fixture. It like it because it is not too contemporary for the house, but has clean, modern lines, and gives my kitchen a ton more light!

The light shines up and down, illuminating the island and the ceiling beams, while brightening the overall kitchen.

I added Roman shades to the large window above the sink as well as to the two smaller windows flanking the stove alcove.

 Finally, I changed the fabric on the window seats and cafe curtains in the morning room. I like them - they tie in to the kitchen nicely.


So, there you have it. My fix for awhile.....at least until I can design my new kitchen, which might just look something like this:

Yummy blue....... or this fun green.............

 or this barrel ceiling, with this amazing and gorgeous design!!

 I like the French favorite of so many bloggers out there.......it's just plain pretty.

This is nice and fresh looking.....

 as are the red and white tile in a checkerboard pattern.....

a little modern for me, but great color.............

Last but not least by any means,  I absolutely adore this one - love the tile work all the way up and the blue background to the cabinets. Move me right in!!
The last 8 images courtesy of House Beautiful

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"Home, At Last", with artists Liz Steving, Julie Sawtelle, John Austin Hannah,Sandra Hulse, and Allison V. Smith

A friend of mine made an astute observation about our town about ten years ago and I think it may still hold true today.
She said  "You know, ours is a funny town. You can buy a fine bottle of wine, beautiful clothing and the perfect wedding gift, but you can't find a decent bra or good pair of pantyhose anywhere in town."

Well said.
For the record, you can find a Playtex bra and L'eggs hosiery at Walmart, in a pinch.

One of the institutions in town, where one can get a fabulous meal, and buy the best in home decor, clothing, greeting cards,

Known for their fabulous food and wonderful cookbooks written by owner Cynthia Pedregon, the Peach Tree is a must stop in town for many, many tourists, and is a favorite among locals.

To say that the Pedregon family is talented is a huge understatement.
Cynthia's mom, Enid Collins, was the designer and creator of the legendary "box purses" many of us carried years ago.

Cynthia's brother, Jeep Collins, is known for his classic and lovely jewelry designs.

Jeep's daughter, Lara Bobo, is a young creative force with a shop called Enid, after her grandmother. I wrote about Lara and her talented husband Tim, here.

Yet another of the Collins descendants, Cynthia's daughter, Tina, has opened a chic new shop next door to the Peach Tree.

Home, At Last
is fresh, young and classic.

Peeking in the windows I already wish I had a spot for these bird lamps.
Upon closer inspection, they have beautiful oval shades. Love them!

 Tina's mix of classic furniture styles, some modern and some traditional, with warm, handmade pillows and current art make for a fun and interesting place to shop.
I love so many styles and this shop is right up my alley.

I spy a classic Eames chair and ottoman in cream leather, piled with colorful pillows.

Art by Liz Steving,

Sandra Hulse,

local artist, Julie Sawtelle,

John Austin Hanna,

and books by Jerrie Smith, and daughter, Allison V. Smith,

and Cynthia Pedregon - what's more to want!?

a take on old band boxes, in fresh, current patterns.....

Industrial furniture with contemporary lamps .........

Upon closer inspection, fun and colorful dishes, and great looking wicker pieces!!

Fabulous pillows in a Hans Wegner wish bone chair. Do you love it?

Oh, did I mention jewelry? Really good looking, unique necklaces, earrings, bracelets.....I will take one of each, please.

Some of my favorite Design-Legacy linen pillows. Love those butterflies!!!

Did I mention Dash and Albert rugs? The list of great design here is endless. 

Just know, the next time you are in the Texas hill country, a stop at

will be a real treat for you! 

Oh, and you really should eat at the Peach Tree - there is no other like it. 

You won't be sorry....promise.


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