73 posts categorized "events"

August 30, 2011

Shopping Brimfield for Antiques & Furniture Suitable for Painting

Lucianna Samu

Seems anyone who lives within traveling distance of Massachusetts is busy cleaning out their car to make room for every possibility and probability to be found at what hard-core salvage and antique hunters simply call, Brimfield.  It's known officially as The Brimfield Antique Show (Sept. 6-11) and next week it will be a nice diversion from the lingering Irene news, and a great opportunity to stock up furniture pieces worthy of painting and repurposing.  The deals and steals at Brimfield are plentiful, especially if you know what to look for--here's a short list of sound furniture buying tips to keep in mind.



Chairs Suitable for Painting


Brimfield is sure to be brimming with oddball chair offerings and sometimes even an entire set, table included.  Begin your chair negotiations by wiggling the back a bit; if it wobbles at all, know that it will need to be re-glued.  Sit on chairs before you buy them and do the wiggle thing again.  Turn all your chair choices upside down before you close the deal.  Often times, chairs are stuck together with metal brackets, gaffer's tape or copious amounts of construction adhesive to make them appear sound.  Reduce your offer on shaky chairs, but buy any you really love.  Wobbly or not, I'll tell you how to ready them up for a low-cost paint makeover.


Unpainted Wood Furniture


Experienced scavenger hunters can distinguish a solid oak dresser from a mass-produced utilitarian piece made of MDF from a mile away.  Readers of this blog have the added advantage of knowing furniture of any provenance can be successfully transformed with paint.  Big ticket mahogany and really good cherry furniture is better left to the refinishers, but that said, oak, maple, birch and all unidentifiable wood species are suitable for painting, irrespective of condition.  Run your hand over tabletops, to rule out excessive water damage, especially if the top is a veneer.  You can determine if tabletops are a "sandable" solid wood by looking at the underside.  Cracked or peeling veneer can be glued, primed and painted.  Buy low!

Don’t pass over mass-produced pieces at Brimfield if the size and line suits your style. Here’s a sneak peek at one of the many super-simple paint ideas I’ll be posting during the next few weeks.


Painting over Peeling Paint


I love this look, and even have a name for it: "Pleasing Decay."  You can arrest the peeling somewhat with a coat of Benwood® Stays Clear Acrylic Polyurethane, but the results are iffy at best.  Peeling paint needs to be removed before it can be re-painted, and that means stripping, otherwise it will continue to peel.  In general, it's a safe bet that previously painted wood in this state of distress may pose a lead hazard, so think these purchases over carefully, no matter the price, if you have small children or pets.


during and after

I myself will NOT strip furniture, and I'll pay extra for good pieces when this work is already done.  Good furniture strippers are as hard to find as good shoemakers, and nobody does this work cheaply anymore.  Know that paint strippers will loosen the joints of mortised furniture, removing old glue right along with the paint.  Not to worry--if you find an entirely naked table with it's legs falling off, re-gluing and proper clamps will return the most rickety looking pieces to soundness in less time than it will take you to peruse the Color Gallery for paint color options.  Go ahead, put it in the car!


Painting over Metal


Anytime I see rust--even out of the corner of my eye--I'm reminded of an entire summer spent wire brushing my mother's iron railings.  UGH!  But who can resist repurposing vintage metal furniture?  If reinventing utilitarian industrial metal stuff ranks in your top ten list of repainting obsessions, let's hope your car has a big trunk.  I'll be adding and documenting the refurbishing of my pair of metal wagons to the September blogging to-do and to-share list, along with a car load of low-cost Brimfield finds.  You can keep up with all things Brimfield, including my whereabouts at the show and Benjamin Moore sponsored Brimfield events, on Twitter, at #Brimfield.

Stay colorful!




Benwood Stays Clear Acrylic Polyurethane

Benjamin Moore Color Gallery

Brimfield Tweetup

December 13, 2010

Expert Of The Week, Alena Capra: Beat the Winter Blues With These Cool Hues

Alena Capra is our Expert of The Week.  She hails from the North, but lives and works in South Florida designing one beautiful space after another through her firm, Alena Capra Designs.  Alena's focuses We asked her how to use cool toned colors in a way that beats the Winter Blues.  Here's what she had to say:

Capra Alena 

Alena Capra

As the weather gets colder, the scenery around us begins to get a bit grey...a little less vibrant than the rich outdoor colors of fall, spring, and summer.  Although I live in South Florida, and we actually don't experience any change of season, I AM a native New Yorker, so I can relate! I've always liked having  bright, fun colors somewhere in my home to keep that feeling year round.  

So, I thought I would share with you a recent 'cabana' I designed to illustrate how to use  beautiful shades of Benjamin Moore blues and greens..to bring a little bit of vibrant, fun colors to a space to warm up your day.  Let's leave winter behind for a minute, and beat those winter blues with a little tropical punch!

"Tequila and Lime on Ice, under Blue Skies..."
Imagine yourself on a tropical beach, sipping a nice cold drink, palm trees swaying in the breeze..ahh...makes you forget it's cold outside already, right?  Well let's keep that image in mind as we choose our colors.
When beginning to choose a color palette, I often like to find a fun fabric that incorporates several beautiful colors to serve as my inspiration. The printed pillows pictured below were my starting point to build a palette of cool blues, vibrant greens, and a crisp white. I used my Benjamin Moore fan-deck to select matching colors to this fabric. The colors I decided on were:
The colors create a bright, fun space... I use them to help select other accessories and items I place in the space as well. Now it's time to add a little color to the walls...let the painting begin!
"Prime Time..."
I had the primer for the "Baby Boy Blue", (the main wall color)  tinted to be just a shade lighter than the actual paint, to ensure the best coverage and color saturation of the paint. Then, I decided to do some color blocks, alternating with large areas of blue (Baby Boy Blue) and white (Ice Mist), to add a little interest.
I separated the colors with a 1" piece of wood trim, which is painted in a metallic silver. I like the addition of a metallic hue in a room, to add a little sparkle and shine!  The trim is also a nice way to add a little dimension to the wall, as well as to cover any paint lines that are not perfect!
Now that I had the blue and white walls done, I then found some tropical wall art and a natural woven jute rug that both incorporated versions of "Tequila Lime" to pull the color through the space.  Adding in accessories with these colors in mind helped to bring punches of vibrant color everywhere. I kept all of the furnishings a simple white..to really pop against the blue walls, lime green woven rug, and colorful accent pillows.
"Spice it up..."
So, now the room is painted... and the accessories, furniture and art are selected...we're just about done, right?  Well, sometimes you just need to spice things up a little.  The white color blocks on the wall seemed a bit plain. All of the fun tropical art really works well against the blue walls....but the white walls...they needed some depth.  I found some great wall appliques from Architexture, that  can be painted any color, and quickly and easily applied to the wall! I chose a fun pattern that played off the printed pillow fabric. They were painted the same shade of "Baby Boy Blue" and put up on the white walls.  Problem solved!  The best part is, it looks like something that took hours to paint, when it was simply painted and applied in just minutes.  Truly, a great find!
"A Relaxing Retreat..."
Now the room is all finished....we have a cool cabana where you can relax and let all your troubles drift away.  The bright hues used really help create a relaxing environment, with just enough of a punch of color to warm up any day!
Winter Blues 1 
All photos courtesy Alena Capra Designs
 What colors would you use to create a vibrant sense of calm to balance the cold chills of winter?

December 02, 2010

Interior Design Hall Of Fame Event

What a night-- 1100 amazing architects, interior designers, and patrons of the industry gathered at the historic ballroom at the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC tonight to celebrate the 26th annual Interior Design Magazine Hall Of Fame Inductees.  Editor in chief of Interior Design magazine, Cindy Allen, assembled a line up of recipients who are inspiring, well-deserved, and filled with vision into our future in design!

The ballroom at the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC

Mistress Of Ceremonies, Cindy Allen, kept the room buzzing

Cocktail Hour

The new inductees-- Neil Denari, Karim Rashid, Shigeru Ban, and Paige Rense Noland-- were eloquent, funny, and spoke with sincerity.  Here are some highlights and photos:

Hall of fame designers 
Image via Interior Design Magazine

Neil Denari shared with us that he announced his plan to be an architect to his 3rd grade class.  He is an architect, interior designer, educator, and author.  His work is organic and functional.  He spoke of creating structures that can contain the spirit of spaces, which I thought was a beautiful analogy.


Neil Denari via NMDA

Highline 23 1
Highline 23 in NYC

Endeavor 1
Endeavor Screening Room

Karim Rashid wore pink tonight and claims that he has requested pink in his wardrobe since childhood.  Interestingly, they had a photo showing Karim as a young boy wearing what else but a pink plaid jacket and shorts-- now that's color conviction.

We know Karim has designed over 3000 products and 50 interior projects, but did you know that it took him ten years to actually get an interiors job and that he has lost projects from the likes of M.A.C. cosmetics?  He said it so proudly and reminded us all that sometimes you have to lose so you can appreciate a win.  He also reminded everyone that design is in everything, every place, every experience.

Karim Rashid 

Karim Rashid accepting the award


Snap chair feek karim rashid

Snap Chair by Karim Rashid for Feek


Bobble Water Bottle Karim Rashid 

Bobble Water Bottle to filter tap water

Karim rashid restaurant 1

Karim rashid hotel

Karim rashid restaurant 2

All Karim Rashid images via Karim Rashid

Shigeru Ban is a giving man who happens to be an architect.  He spoke tonight of our responsibility as design professionals to give back and help those in need and not just those with big budgets.  His message was profound.  He has worked on many projects around the world using unique materials and ideas.  One of his current projects is in L'aquila, Italy, a town that is centered around music, but was devastated by an earthquake in 2009.  Shigeru Ban is working to create a temporary conert hall and part of tonight's proceeds will befefit this project.

Shigeru Ban

Shigeru Ban accepting his award
Laquila Italy Concert Hall Shigaru Ban

Rendering of temporary concert hall in L'aquila, Italy


Centre Pompidou Metz Shigaru Ban 
Centre Pompidou-Metz

Tokyo House Shigaru Ban 
Tokyo House overlooking park

Paige Rense was a powerhouse behind Architectural Digest from 1975-2010.  She is ever-quick witted, bold, and courageous as she was in her pioneering days behind the extraordinary shift and development of the magazine.  We saw Paige's video and received a glimpse of her strength, but it's ironic that she was had to leave the event due to illness.  Robert A.M. Stern was there to accept the award on her behalf.  In the video, Paige talked about her intimidating beginnings as editor at Arch Digest.  She said she set her goal at bringing in one great design professional to the publication, with the belief that others would follow.  Her message was to create manageable goals and to focus on what is in front of you.  Once you accomplish it, go on to the next goal... Simple and profound.

Paige Rense 
Paige speaks freely about her journeys in design and the love of her life, the late Kenneth Noland

Arch Digest 1979 
Architectural Digest 1979

Arch Digest 1981 
Architectural Digest 1981

Arch digest 2008 
Architectural Digest 2008

Overall, an inspiring night that held a captive audience of 1100 design professionals, including me.  Check out all the Hall of Fame inductees over the years here.  Who's your favorite?

November 29, 2010

Expert Of The Week: Heidi Pribell

Antiques Dealer, Harvard graduate, Interior Designer, Historic Color Consultant, and genuinely fulfilled person are all great phrases to capture just a few angles of the real Heidi Pribell.  Boston Home Magazine has honored Heidi with three consecutive "Best of Boston awards.  I understood quickly what sets Heidi apart.  She's informed, passionate, and in her own words "has a voracious appetite for learning."  But what makes her tick?

 Studio HP 1
Heidi's studio is a converted gas station.  Ah, what vision can do!  Image via here

Heidi has these great layers when it comes to how she thinks, yet it comes out in such a simple and balanced perspective.  A strong background as a successful antiques dealer, Heidi references the many lessons history has to teach when it comes to design.  "Antiques offer a personal component- they add soul and meaning--a connection to the past.  The human psyche needs to be anchored."

Heidi believes antiques "can add a sense of grace and wisdom to a minimal or modern interior."  If more of us considered history as a springboard for ideas, perhaps we wouldn't repeat the same decorating dilemmas so often!  In her designs, Heidi refers to tried and true design rules of the past, but finds ways to reinvent, recolor, and redefine spaces in a contemporary way.

I asked Heidi about her clients and how she introduces new color and design ideas to them.  When it comes to color, it "can be very emotional and when I use it for people, color can be soothing and a mood enhancer" says Heidi.  "Clients have a boldness about them and seek me out.  White from Fright is popular, but not my taste.  I thrive on bringing out their adventurous side using color--  interpreting the colors that will work for them."  Perhaps it's her ability to create fun and functional spaces that keeps those clients coming back to her over the years.

Image courtesy of Heidi Pribell

Heidi's palette is vast and "inspired by the natural color spectrum that allows for every nuance of color."  Color helps to create harmony and that harmony helps those busy clients to "see" their space in a new light.  At the end of the day, Heidi truly prides herself on a happy client.

Location is key in deciding your palette, according to Heidi.  "Try to create the experience you’re after.  Keep your furnishings appropriate to the style of your home and pay close attention to proportion to get the look right.  Paint is the least expensive way to decorate your home, so it's a wonderful way to create many moods and satisfying environments."  When it comes to choosing colors, she says to consider your "exterior surroundings.  Geography makes big impact in my projects.  Light, location, experience of color in the natural world where you live, can all influence how colors look inside your home."

What are some of her tried and true palettes for clients? 

Image courtesy of Heidi Pribell 

Current Color Combinations:

Coral and Celedon, Turquoise, Lime, & Lavender, Red orange and Yellow

Image courtesy of Heidi Pribell 

Classic Color Combinations:

Claret and Sage, Pink and Green, Yellow and Blue, Red and White

In her own words, Heidi describes her design goals.  "I seek out these things in all my work: 

Vibrant Style: to create something evocative, with radiance and liveliness

Defining Detail: a focus on craftsmanship in everything

Bold Forms and Ornamentation as Art:  patterning and layering that gives groundedness

Fresh & Elegant: transcends time, always feel young

HP work Boston 1 
Image via here

Heidi considers her career and says she is "self taught on cultural history."  I would say she is defining the future of cultural history, too.       

Resources: Heidi Pribell Interiors, Adelphi Wallcovering, Best of Boston

Find Heidi at Benjamin Moore's Experts Exchange

November 11, 2010

Happy Chic: New Books from Jonathan Adler


The prolific and unflappably upbeat Jonathan Adler has just published two books on Happy Chic, his guides to using Colors and Accessories to perk up, add punch to, and positive-ize your decor--and your lifestyle.  The official book launch coincided with the unveiling of his newly re-vamped (and enlarged) store on Madison Avenue in New York.  Of course, the books, like the store, are filled with colorful moments together with a wealth of useful information presented in a fun and friendly way.


Even the guests at the book launch blended well with the new decor.  The hostesses for the party (left to right): Starrett Zenko, Celerie Kemble, and Rita Konig.  At right, colorful Jonathan Adler employee Ben Brougham, who helped decorate the man cave with its gingham and animal theme.   

J. A. tip: "Every room needs a dash of Hippie . . . and a dollop of Socialite."


Need a little something to perk up the bedroom?  How about these sheets in watermelon waves or a pink armchair with an embroidered banana pillow.  As you can see, there isn't a timid moment to be found in the shop.  It's totally infectious, too.  You feel happy being there.

J.A. tip: "Pure pink is too cloying; a hint of gray or lavender tempers the saccharine froth. Apply judiciously, lest you risk a slap-happy sugar rush . . ."


Afraid of using pattern?  Clearly, Adler has mastered the art of mixing and layering.  At left, a dining arrangement with no less than five patterns.  And it totally works!  The living room area on the right has three different scales of trellis pattern on the rug, couch and throw, topped by a bunch of contrasting pillows.

J.A. tip: "Mod up your sofa, bed, shelf, or window seat with color and pattern via granny-gone-wild needlepoint pillows."


Two takes on color.  At left: Another living area has a riot of blues on the couch, with a warm wood coffee table, variations of white vases, and red flowers.  So it's ultimately red, white, and blue--but here it looks so fresh and modern.  On the right is a dark and moody man cave, with tortoise shell lamps, ceramic animal horns, and a leather hippopotamus in the corner.  The shag rug and gingham-draped walls make the whole thing feel comfy and inviting.

Three Happy Color pairings:

Light Blue 2066-70, Mink 2112-10

Eccentric Lime 2027-30, Metallic Silver 2132-60

Outrageous Orange 2013-10, Old Navy 2063-10

J. A. tip: "Vanquish the vanilla. Bold colors will make you happy!"  It certainly works for him and his shop! 

J. A. tip: "I am a firm believer in neutrals to anchor bright pops of color; a neutral palette lets you go batty with hyperbolic hues and unapologetic pattern."


Packaging in the store is particularly nice.  Boxes and ribbons are bright and bold (plus they contain all sorts of goodies like animal ornaments or elephant salt and pepper shakers).  If you want to experience a little bit of the joy of color and pattern, visit one of Adler's stores or check him out online.  You can also get your own copies of the books on his site.

Jonathan Adler
1097 Madison Avenue (at 83rd Street)
New York, NY

link to book: http://www.jonathanadler.com/content.php?pageid=booktour

"Embrace chromatic exuberance through paint color, fabrics, pillows, and tchotchkes that are easily updated so your home can evolve happily and chicly with you."