Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My Italian Love Affair

Elle Decoration, May 2005

Dear Zac,

It was in the May 2005 French Elle Decoration where I first read about Bulgari hotel in Milan. The interior as portrayed in the colorful spread is both sleek and understated. I was captivated by the image of the dramatic double-height lobby with its dark slate floor, complimented by designer Antonio Citterio’s timeless collection of seating with rather unusual proportion. I have always been a big fan of his design for the eminent Italia furniture maker, B&B Italia. It was love as first sight.

Four years later, I finally had the opportunity to visit Italy. It was a relatively short trip but I managed to squeeze in a two day layover in Milan. Aside from the luxury boutiques, I was motivated visit Milan by the prospect of experiencing the Bulgari Hotel in person. With the weak dollar, my dream to stay at one of the most stylish hotel in Milan remained just a dream. Instead of spending 700 Euro on one of their deluxe rooms, I treated myself a 12 euro bottle of Italian soda and a 10 euro cup of cappuccino at the hotel’s garden cafĂ©. Oh well, pictures are worth more than a thousand words. You be your own judge. Is it really all that?

Library - Taken with my new Leica

Library - Taken with my new Leica

A View from the garden cafe - Taken with my new Leica



Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Happy Reading


Have you checked out the new coffee table book for Interior Designer, Orlando Diaz Azcuy? If not you must check it out.

Not only does the book have fresh pictures of Azcuy's body of work - it tells the story of his journey starting in Cuba, building his design firm in San Francisco for the last 45 years,  and ultimately residing in NYC. The cover of the book graces the Fritz Henningsen chair of my dreams - what a statement! 

Acuzy's modernist and romantic approach to design translates into homes filled with graceful antiques, rare contemporary art, and custom designs by Acuzy himself. He routinely creates rooms building on a neutral color palette and then sprinkles in the art and furnishings to tell the story.

I couldn't wait for Amazon so I bought the $60 book immediately (ouch). This goes to show you how good the book really is!


Isn't he cute!?! Makes me think I need some fun glasses for the fall.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The search goes on

Dear Zachery,

Thanks for your recommendations. I especially like the one listed on Decorati's website. It's a happy marriage between the chesterfield and the international styles for a measely $1000...a true bargain!

I googled "Chesterfield" for the history of the design. I read that the word, 'Chesterfield', was used to describe a sofa in Canada and certain parts of America. In England, a davenport with arms and back of the same height in buttoned leather may also be referred to as a chesterfield sofa. Another, view is that the fourth earl of Chesterfield - Phillip Stanhope (1694-1773) was honoured by the commissioning of a piece of Fine Furniture (a Leather Chesterfield Sofa). There are also many who believe the term Chesterfield originally referred to the style of buttoning of the leather, shape of the sofa back, and even the height of the seat.

The 1950s Florence Knoll sofa was yet another modern interpretation of the Chesterfield style. A vintage Florence Knoll three seater in the orginal black leather that is well-weather with a faded and crackled would be ideal.
I also like Josef Hoffman, the Austrian architect's 1911 interpretation of the Chesterfield style with an art deco spin.

...or I could just play safe and go with something more modern with a simple clean line, like the Bennet sofa by William Sonoma Home. What do you think?

And here is that picture, taken through the front window of Tradesmen on a sunny Sat afternoon, that planted the whole romantic notion for the Chesterfield style forever in my head :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I'm here to help


Update! I'm planning a trip to Paris & Barcelona for this November. So I've decided to put a hold on all potential purchases, and will be saving my hard earned cash $$$ for the Paris flea market at Porte de Clignacourt! Vintage modern lighting will be mine!!

Thus being the case, I will now focus my attention on my friend's wish-lists and helping them hunt out the objects of their desires (as long as I'm in agreement with design and direction, of course). So let us begin with courting that Chesterfield you've been looking for.

With your appreciation for the "finer" made items; Ralph Pucci, Botega Veneta, Serge Mouille, I think the Chester One by Paltrona Frau may be the perfect match. In my book this is by far the best looking and best made Chesterfield you can buy new. It's traditional but not stuffy, and would look fantastic against your ebonized wood floors. I'm not sure of the price but we can assume it would break the bank.
Here's a Chesterfield that I found on The seller explains it's an original sofa from the 1950's, "edited" by Poltrona Frau. Not sure what edited means, but it is nearly identical to the version they're producing today. This one is going for $4,000 and needs to be shipped from Paris.

The final sofa I found is also needing a ride to the Bay Area (from Philadelphia). This mod 1970's version was found on the Decorati website and is also priced under $1,000.

Let me know your thoughts.


btw... Did you ever hear back on the Pierre Chareau side table.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Staph Infection

Dear Zackery,

This staph infection incidence turned out to be a therapeutic experience. I was like under house arrest this weekend without the fuss of an electronic ankle bracelet. I took a break from the gym (you know how obssessed I am), canceled all my social engagements. Instead, I spent all day Sat catching up on my sleep, going through a pile mail the size of Mount Fuji, and tidying up my apartment. While I was sorting through my old mags, I came across the April 2007 issue of Elle Decor. On the glossy cover page, next to the artwork by Ana Garcia Pan, was the wing chair by Fritz Henningsen you have been lusting after!

Not only does the designer of the featured London townhouse have extraordinary taste in chairs, I also found one of my favorite floor lamps adorning the living room of that same exquisitely decorated home. The lamp was designed by Serge Mouille in the 1950's during which he designed a myraid of large, angular, insect-like wall mounted and standing lamps with several arms and smaller, more curved wall-sconces. Some of his best known designs from the period are his “Oeil” lamp (1953), “Flammes” (1954) and “Saturn” (1958).

Add Image

Every once and while, one will come across a little desk lamp by Serge Mouille on Ebay:

The Serge Mouille floor lamp, the French Signal lamp by the company Jielde, and the silver plated brass equilibrium desk lamp by Edouard Bouquet are my three favorite lamps in this world!

The original French Signal lamp was designed as an adaptation of railways lights, sturdy, industrial, elegant and flexible to bring light in any direction you desire.

The French company Jielde still manufactures this lamp. You can find one locally at Karikter in San Francisco on Sutter Street for $1,335.

Of course you can also find it on The price is anywhere between 350 EUR to 600 EUR depending on the condition.

The Signal desk lamp also comes in 18 different colors! It's listed on for $405...not bad at all!

The equilibrium lamp was designed in 1924 and was reissued in the 80s. They currently go for ~ 3000 EUR. It's either two of these...

or a pre-loved 40 cm Hermes HAC Birkin...tough choice!

Dinning Chair Dilemma

Hey Ken,

I’m still trying to answer that question myself … I thought I would have purchased chairs soon after acquiring the dinning table. However, being that I’m partnered up it’s a tough gig to get us both in agreement on design and price.

Actually, the Czech chair by Gerrbruder Thonet in dark walnut is an option we’ve been considering. I fell in love with the armchair as soon as I saw it at Studio Guell in San Francisco. The only problem is our table doesn't lend well to armchairs so we’ve been holding off. Here’s a pic of the czech chair in white with beech legs. What do you think?

I love the Dunbar chairs you found on 1stdibs. It’s just that 12K for dinning chairs is probably not going to happen soon (but it will happen). If I had that kind of $$$ sitting around I would have snagged these Castelli stacking chairs made in Italy circa 1970. I have a great appreciation for vintage furniture - not to mention the 6 chairs are in mint condition!
The chairs are being sold at Lucca Antiques in Los Angeles for $9,600. Perhaps you can find me a “bargain set” when you’re on holiday in Italy. That would be a much more suitable Christmas present as I’m growing tired of Cartier stationary…

Keep shopping!


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Tired of waiting for your dinner party!

Dear Zac,

How long does one take to find a dream set of dining chairs??? We have waited for months for that long anticipated hand written invitation on the Cartier stationary I gave you last Christmas. I have had two bfs since you first tempted us with that fantastic idea :)
I love your custom dining table with the beautiful natural solid wood top on a painted industrial metal base. I thought these Edward wormley chairs by Dunbar on 1stdibs, with the curvy arms and back will create a nice contrast with the table's clean lines. Imagine them re-upholstered in a beige!

I also saw these beauiful Gio Ponti superleggera chair chairs on Cassina's website.

The Livia chair by Gio Ponti now comes in a million colors!

I also thought the Jean Prouve standard chairs will complement the table's geometric silhouette. They are also available in a number of cute pastel colors but the black is the classic.

Still dreaming about the side table by Pierre Chareau :)

Image: Ralph Pucci

They are also available at JF Chen. Will find out if it's a reproduction. How much do you think it cost?