A text message is received in the blink of an eye, a phone call will connect within milliseconds and you will never need to stop by your local post office to send an email, but despite the convenience and ease of modern technology, we’re still wondering, What could ever take the place of receiving a hand-written letter?
Who else votes for taking a little time to rediscover the lost art of letter writing? Where would we be if it weren’t for the discerning letters of Saint Paul, the honest writings of Abraham Lincoln or even the hopelessly romantic pleas of Napoleon Bonaparte to his beloved Josephine?It is letters like these that have defined history as we know it, and it is letters like these that will continue to change the world.So how to begin writing letters of your own?
When writing the perfect letter, you will first need to seek a little solitude.Find a quiet room in your home where TVs, computers and other gadgets won’t serve as a distraction.For beautiful penmanship, it’s helpful to sit at a desk (make sure it’s not cluttered – remember, a clear desk will make for a clear mind). You’ll see a few of our favorites in the photos — we especially adore the Love Letter Desk).Make sure that when you arrange your desk, you place it in an area with plenty of light or consider adding a desk lamp.
Next, you will need a few writing essentials. First and foremost, you’ll want a good pen.Consider purchasing a fountain pen – they have a nostalgic, vintage feel and will be easier on your wrists when writing longer letters.You will also need a set of stationary.Splurging on a lovely customized set, like the Kyoto from Mr. Boddington’s Studio or these Azure Blue Personalized Writing Sheets from Crane & Co., will make the writing experience all the more enjoyable. American Stationary also has an assortment of more affordable lettersheets, cards and everything in between.
Now that you have arranged your desk, set out your stationary and inked your quill (or more likely readied your ball-point pen), it’s time to write. A well-written letter will include five parts, the first being the date. Dating letters is important because even after reading, most recipients will choose to hold onto their letters as keepsakes, storing them in decorative boxes or in drawers where they will fondly revisit your correspondence from time-to-time.Next you will want to greet your addressee. Friends are often greeted as a “Dear” or simply by the first name, while it is appropriate to greet a significant other more intimately.
The third part of your letter is the body. As English poet William Wordsworth once said, “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”Let your creativity guide you in your writing.Convey your thoughts and feelings with sincerity and clarity, taking care to use good, legible penmanship.When you have finished the body of the letter, you will end with a complimentary closing.Whether it’s a very professional “Sincerely” or a warmly affectionate “Yours truly,” the closing to your letter will leave a lasting impression on its reader and will often convey the overall tone. Finally, sign your name.Your signature adds an element of authenticity to your writing.
Once you’ve signed your letter, you’re ready to fold, stuff, address and stamp, and voila!You’ve created a lasting, tangible and sincere connection with your loved one to cherish for many years to come.And even still, the best is yet to come – it is, after all, proper etiquette that when one receives a letter, one must write one in return!
To learn more about Drexel Heritage’s home and office furniture, as well as to view more desks, desk chairs and other furniture, click here.
We spotted this trend spotting piece on shelterpop and wanted to share it with you here.
Trend Spotting: The New Modern
A touch of glam takes these nesting tables into the 21st century. Photo: David A. Land for The Nest
Decorating rules soften, and the new modern decorating gets personal.
Decorating used to mean following specific rules that promised to transform our homes into the drool-worthy ones found in our favorite magazines. Craving country? Look for farmhouse tables, baskets and faded florals. More traditional? Then heavy drapery, fringed pillows and leather club chairs are for you. Follow the rules, buy what you’re told and you’ll be happy.
Not so fast. There’s a new, modern approach to decorating that’s brewing. Design enthusiasts everywhere are leading the way and reinventing the idea of just what modern means to them and loving it.
“There’s definitely a new modern style emerging right now,” says blogger and lifestyle expert Eddie Ross.”It’s this mixing and matching of different styles from different time periods. We’re making our own rules rather than having someone else dictate them for us. For so long there’s been a certain lack of personalization in design and I think that’s where this new approach is coming from.”
Ross finds this freedom of mixing things up and even altering furniture and accessories to fit one’s lifestyle to be liberating. “I love the idea of say, taking a traditional-style coffee table and updating it by having a sanded-edge mirror cut to fit the top. That little touch of glamour is just enough to transform an ordinary table into something that I will absolutely adore,” says Ross of a recent furniture makeover for The Nest (above), which transformed traditional, hum-drum nesting tables into modern showstoppers.
Making the most of what you have and embracing current technology and creativity to do so, is a huge part of this new modern revolution says Estela Lugo, owner of ModernDose.com, an online home furnishing web site.
For the remainder of the post and more photos, please visit the shelterpop site
Have you ever gone out to shop for something for your house and felt like you needed a degree in interior design to describe what you are seeking? We’re here to help! From time-to-time, we’ll share a few decorating terms to have you speaking the lingo in no time.
British neoclassical style that predominated from about 1760 to 1790. It was established by architect Robert Adam and his brother James. A reaction to the more fanciful rococo style of the 1750s, it is characterized by slender, graceful lines, refined shapes and restrained ornamentation.
Style based, literally, on the “new art” of Europe in about 1875. Flowing, nearly freeform shapes from nature were carved and painted on furniture. An elongated, slightly curved line that ends in a more abrupt, nearly whip-like second curve is its most characteristic design.
The Mallory Chair, from the Drexel Heritage Upholstery Collection, embraces the style with a subtle plant motif carved into its frame. Different finishes and fabrics can make it look more of less Art Nouveau.
Derived from a historic Paris exposition in 1925 that celebrated the marriage of art and industry in denunciation of Art Nouveau, this style introduces simple, streamlined forms that were majestically interpreted in exotic woods and materials. American designers of the 1930s took this look further, using asymmetry, arcs, sleek lines, and geometric shapes not only in furniture, but also in architecture and a wide range of household objects. The asymmetrical arm of a chaise is characteristic of Art Deco style.
The sleek curvature of Drexel Heritage’s Vivian right arm chaise gives modernity and elegance to this 1920s style. Again, the choice of fabric and finish can make it look more or less Art Deco.
Most of the rooms in my home are not matchy-matchy, and yet when I put a piece that is painted black with one that is a natural wood finish, I still always ask, “Is that really okay?” To settle this debate for myself, I went to Lisa Greenberg, director of education development at Drexel Heritage, and a fabulous designer. Here’s what Lisa had to say on finish options:
Repeating the same finish throughout a space creates a more serene, relaxing feel. Combining different finishes (painted and/or wood) creates a more energized space. Using the same wood finish can be a more formal look. You can immediately make the room feel more casual by adding just one painted piece. Here are a few more tips:
Tie in area rug colors with your painted items….pulling the color up from the floor to eye level helps balance the space.
Paint a piece in the same color used on an architectural feature like a door, window or fireplace to create continuity and interest.
Call out a special or “jewelry” furniture piece with color…again creating that focal point
You may have taken note that our Drexel Heritage history includes a proud contribution in the form of a single desk. So, why is this desk important to us? Because it was hand crafted and designed specifically for General Douglas MacArthur, a vital asset to our country and the success of WWII. He loved this desk, and wrote a letter of appreciation which remains in the Drexel Heritage archives!
Having said this, today, August 14th, marks an important day in American history. Any history buffs think they know the answer? Here are some clues: This day correlates with General Douglas MacArthur, ended a war and happened 65 years ago.
Still stuck? Here are three possibilities:
Battle of Buna-Gona
Battle of Manila
The answer is VJ Day, celebrating the surrender of the Japanese and therefore, the end of World War II. General MacArthur led many of the campaigns against the Japanese, playing a vital role in this surrender. It is intriguing to consider that MacArthur may have possibly composed vital war tactics and decisions directly from the desk he received from Drexel Heritage!
House Beautiful editor-in-Chief Newell Turner and Flipping Out designerJeff Lewis give us the scoop on their Rockefeller Plaza dream kitchen.
House Beautiful has a thing for kitchens. Each issue has a curated page of kitchen products, each house-tour spread has at least one dreamy kitchen shot and they even have a designated “Kitchen of the Month”, playmate style (no, they’re not centerfolds but we kind of wish they were).
So it makes sense that their big event pays tribute to the busiest room in the house by building a kitchen in the busiest part of New York City: Welcome House Beautiful’s Kitchen of the Year 2010, live from Rockefeller Plaza. Today kicks off a week of cooking demos, tastings and naturally, serious kitchen envy for everyone involved.
“I’m most jealous of the fact that there are 44 doors that I can open all at the same time,” says Jeff Lewis, who took on this project in addition to his 18 clients and, oh yeah, his reality show Flipping Out. “I’m one of those people that loves the indoor-outdoor feel so much that if I didn’t have five pets that could escape, I’d have every door and window open all the time. I’d even live in a tent outside.” Really? “OK, it would be a designer tent.”
Newell Turner, House Beautiful’s new editor-in-chief, has his eye on the Walker Zanger tile (seen below). Used to create a blacksplash, these sculptural tiles caught Turner’s attention because while he’s seen them on the market, not many designers have actually used them. And it’s not just the fact that Jeff used them, it’s how he did it — in repetition. “I think it makes the wall very three-dimensional. And when you light it, the wall becomes very sculptural.”
Sculptural is a big word with this kitchen — after all, it’s the first time in Kitchen of the Year’s three-year history that the design has been so contemporary, and Turner tells us the bold look may be showing up more in the magazine as well. “We’re always exploring the definition of House Beautiful and we’re now asking: What is it about contemporary that’s House Beautiful? In the case of this kitchen, it’s the softer side.”
And who knew the softer side would be ushered in by a high-energy reality star with obsessive compulsive tendencies? “Jeff is really good at doing clean livable spaces that are not cold, hard or austere. There’s still a lot of warmth in the kitchen, especially in the materials,” Turner explains. “[Jeff] thinks the way a homeowner would think, about what works and what wouldn’t work in reality and he makes it beautiful and practical — never superfluous.”
Turner’s right: Lewis actually thinks so much like a homeowner, he thought of himself as the homeowner of the kitchen. “I designed this kitchen completely for myself,” Lewis told us when we asked about the inspiration. “And I don’t care if anyone else likes it. I like it.”
Both Lewis and Turner advised that we keep an eye out for the stunning CeasarStone island — Lewis has been dying to recreate one in his own home, and Turner already has the material in his upstate New York home. “It looks like natural stone, but is actually a new high-tech material that’s better than stone in so many ways. It’s so easy to take care of!” he said. “And for someone like Jeff, who loves a glass of wine, it doesn’t stain like marble.”
Wine, you say? Another one of the exciting features is the KraftMaid wine rack, which Turner thinks will be one of the major ideas viewers can take away from the kitchen. “It’s a rack, it’s a screen, it’s a wall; it gives you storage and organization but it’s transparent so it’s not a barrier.”
Lewis’ take: “It that were in my house, I’d drink the wine faster than I could buy it.”
The kitchen is open July 19-23 but if you don’t get to there in time, House Beautiful’s website has got you covered. It’s got photos, videos and lots of fun extras like interviews and a guide to their sponsors (Kate Spade. Toblerone. The list is a who’s-who of designer favorites) . After Friday, the kitchen turns into Bar 30 by House Beautiful, a place for sweaty midtowners and tourists alike to grab a drink al fresco. For the full experience, pick up the October issue of House Beautiful to see the big feature.
Want a taste of the fun atmosphere? We asked Turner and Lewis for a few favorite summer recipes. Enjoy!
Newell Turner’s Summer Gratin: “It’s a beautifully colored dish, so easy to make and it’s great as leftovers.” Start with cut-up eggplant: salt it, let it drain for 30 minutes, rinse it, then lightly fry in flour. Place the pieces at the bottom of a clear bowl or deep dish. Now cut up the following in equal-sized pieces and layer them row after row, alternating veggies: sqaush, zuchini, tomatoes. Bake it for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees or until it’s soft. Then drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Bonus: It sits well in the fridge and makes for great leftovers.
Jeff Lewis’ Bloody Mary: “The size of the glass? That depends on how hard my day is.” Combine Grey Goose vodka and Mr. & Mrs. T’s Bloody Mary Mix. Always salt the rim with celery salt. Add in celery, green olives and Worcestershire sauce, then add limes and a little bit of lemon juice. “It’s a big production, but it’s amazing.”
In an earlier post, I was able to take you on location to an Adaptations photo shoot. This time, I am thrilled to take you behind the scenes with d Emporium via a beautifully produced video from the incredibly talented team at Elements Studio.
d Emporium is brand new in Drexel Heritage stores. If you are an interior designer or just love to take on home decorating projects, you have got to see it. There are so many options, and it is one of those collections that can effortlessly go from urban to traditional, relaxed to formal.
I tend to like just about anything with upholstery nails so there are several pieces here that are calling my name! I also really love the sofa in the video with the chocolate upholstery with cream welt and buttons.
One of the most satisfying things about getting to work with Drexel Heritage is all of the other highly creative people involved. Doesn’t the creative team at Elements make you want to go on a furniture shoot? What fun work!
Last week I had the delightful pleasure of spending some time with interior designer, Elizabeth Goodwin, in her Raleigh, NC home. I always like to see the homes of designers — feels like unedited work at its best. I can assure you that Elizabeth’s house is no exception. I loved every room, nook & cranny — from her ikat covered dining chairs to her exposed brick kitchen walls to the purple wall of a downstairs bedroom to… most of all… her delicious design studio with big, bold, flamboyant floral print wallpaper (you can see it in the background of the video), a funky chair & lots of pink upholstery swatches. Oh yes, I want to live in Elizabeth’s house!
Elizabeth was sweet enough to give me the tour and then sit down and answer a few questions about her blog, Life of Style, how she got started in interior design, and why her blog entry on Betsy Burnham is her favorite post. I’m sure you will enjoy meeting her and hearing her answers in our video.
Thank you Elizabeth for allowing me and the readers of our blog into your home! Happy designing!