Posts Tagged ‘Art’

a few luxuries for your summer beach or country rental

July 23, 2009

Summer is well underway and here in New York City that means summer rentals or summer shares everywhere from the Hamptons, to Connecticut, the Hudson Valley and more.  And with those rentals come surprises, so best to be prepared.  Here are a few “luxuries” to bring along, re-creating a bit of home in your summer rental.

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1   sheets

My very top must have, beautiful sheets!  While thread count is not everything, it is a big part of the picture, as well as the type of cotton, where it is made and where it is finished.  My favorite sheets are made by Signoria di Firenze.  They are silky smooth, come in a myriad of colors to work with anyone’s palette and they are so very luxurious.

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Signoria di Firenze, Fine Italian Linens

Signoria di Firenze, Fine Italian Linens

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2   down duvet and pillows

Along with your sheets you will need a full down duvet and pillows.  Everyone says to me, and I mean everyone, I have allergies and I cannot have down.  This is simply not true! you cannot have down feathers!  You can use a full down comforter and pillows, just make sure it is 100% down without any feathers.  I recommend Scandia mid-weight with a set of firm 100% down pillows.  Nothing feels sexier than a bed made with luxurious sheets and a cloudlike down comforter and then falling into down pillows!

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Scandia Down Comforters

Scandia Down Comforters and Pillows

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3   bath towels

Bringing a few sets of fine bath towels because you never know what you are going to encounter at your rental property.  They may have locked away the lovely turkish towels and you will be left with the usual mis-match of old, worn-out towels.  My preferred bath towels are from Yves Delorme, match the color of your towels to the bedding for a complete look.

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Yves Delorme Bath Towels

Yves Delorme Bath Towels

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4   votive candles

As this is not your home, you never know what you are going to encounter upon entering someone else’s home.  The odors may be unpleasant, with a stale, dampness in the air.  A box of fragrant votive will go a long way to creating a more pleasant environment for your sensitive olfactory and add some ambiance as well.  A close friend of mine gave a box of Voluspa votive candles to me when I moved into my new home and I simply love them.

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Voluspa Cream Candle Set

Voluspa Cream Candle Set

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Please watch for next week’s blogpost, an interview with the famous matchmaker Janis Spindel.

Enjoy your summer travels.

dale b. cohen

new york city

energizing your career area

June 23, 2009

an interview with feng shui master Kate MacKinnon

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As we explore feng shui and how to work with it in your home, it seems to be a good time to work with your “career area”.  In the bagua, this area is located is on the lower center area as you walk in your home.  If it turns out that your home or your apartment is square in floorplan and fits easily into the bagua diagram below, the “career area” is in the center lower area as you walk in your home.  For those of you who live in a traditional colonial home, that will be right as you walk in your front door with the living room to the right and the dining room on the left, that small entry way/vestibule/foyer is your “career area”.  For those of us who live in a city, that is not what happens, often we open our door either to a narrow hallway.  In my case, we enter into the “mentor corner” and my entire career area was missing.  So Kate has helped me with feng shui cures to create the area in my home that was energetically missing.

bagua.career copy

a feng shui diagram of your “career area"

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In the ideal situation, your career area is a generous foyer/entry way allows the chi – the life force, as known in Chinese culture, into your home.  The idea is to do everything possible to welcome this energy into your home with ease and grace.  Traditional, the color of that area is dark blue to black, like water – the element associated with this area.  The color can be used as painting a wall, or in accents or the actual element of water – a fountain or a fishbowl or tank.  These elements, a fountain, are “active water”, bringing good energy, money and abundance to your home.  Additionally this is a great spot to have bookshelves in your career area, books about your career, your aspirations, your passions, etc.

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Foyer by Shaun Jackson, Elle Decor October 2007, Photographer Roger Davies

Foyer by Shaun Jackson, Elle Decor October 2007, Photographer Roger Davies

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In my case, Kate needed to energize  the “career area” because that area was missing because you enter my home through a slender corridor.  Her recommendations were to place mirrors the entry foyer.  In addition, I installed bookshelves in the niche in my entryway, which were perfect in the “career area”.   So after a bit of ruminating and pushing and pulling with Kate about the placement of these mirrors – she really wanted the whole place plastered with mirror and I just couldn’t walk into my home and into one of those 70’s discos, I mean who wants a mirrored ball in the foyer – ok, so Hugh Hefner would be ok with it, just not for me.  We came up with a solution, to mirror the three sides of the bookshelf alcove and add a slender frame to accent the architecture of the space.  On the wall facing the alcove will be a large mirror with a floating photograph in the center of a library that I particularly love.

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Foyer by Dan Barsanti, Metropolitan Home, December 2008, Photographer: Antoine Bootz

Foyer by Dan Barsanti, Metropolitan Home, December 2008, Photographer: Antoine Bootz

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In your home, if you have the “skinny hall” version of an entry foyer, Kate recommends mirroring as much of the walls as you can stand and there are many way to achieve this.  This is to allow for the expansion of the energy, bringing you abundance in your career.  If you have the career area of your home and it is not your entryway, reference the Bagua chart above, then this is a good spot for your home office/desk area.

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Aquarium at the Galleries Lafayette, Paris, France

Aquarium at the Galleries Lafayette, Paris, France

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This same position for your career area of your home, is also the location of the career area in room, however Kate made a point to say that she often does not emphasize the career area of each room, often only focusing on the entry way, the living room and the home office.  Since you really don’t want to have a fish tank as you enter each room, Kate recommends that the career area of your living room or office is a good spot to have a fountain, bookshelf, a painting of moving water or a if you are doing painted accent walls then this is where you might want a dark blue wall or painting with deep blues and blacks.

Jean Jorges Vongerichten's Restaurant 66

Jean Jorges Vongerichten's Restaurant 66

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Interesting footnote, when you sit at your desk, you are sitting in the career area of your desk.  So use a beautiful, comfortable chair.

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If you have any questions, please post them to blog and Kate will answer them.

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dale b. cohen

posted from Eilat, Israel

sofa shopping, lesson one

May 15, 2009

To err is human, to choose well, is divine!

So often I find that people assume that because you are buying something for your home, you feel that you should be able to choose the right item – meaning the shape, scale and color of say, your new living room sofa.  In fact, this is rarely the case and when you choose the wrong item, it is a very costly mistake.

In most areas of our lives we believe in the division of labor, leaving work we are not trained to do to the professionals.  As most of my clients are not trained in architecture, interiors or design, they understand that it is best to leave these decisions/suggestions to a professional.  Goodness knows I leave my legal work to my lawyers and my accounting work to my accountant.

And while you may spend a bit more working with a professional – the look of your home will be appreciably improved.  Additionally, you will avoid those expensive mistakes, buying a sofa that might be too large with a fabric that is possibly too dark or not durable.  Therefore when you move to your next home, there is a good chance that the sofa might stay behind or if it does move with you, you might get it in place and realize it does not work.

All of that being said, how do you buy a sofa?  I laugh when friends call and say “I need a sofa, where should I go shopping”, as if there was just one place to go.  I then retort, that would be like me asking you where to buy a pair of black pants?  There are hundreds of resources, price points, sizes and styles to choose from.  Where does that leave you when you are shopping for a sofa?  When I work with clients, all upholstery (ie. your sofas, lounge chairs, arm chairs, etc) is custom, in some manner.  And that can mean different things.

One custom option is to choose a sofa from a manufacturer like Lewis Mittman.  Your designer places the order with them and sends in your own fabric to be used to upholster the sofa (this is called COM – customer’s own merchandise).  This fabric is chosen from a fabric showroom, samples will be selected by your designer.

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Lewiss Mittman, Bond Street Sectional

Lewis Mittman, Bond Street Sectional

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Another custom option is to choose a sofa from a manufacturer like B&B Italia.  In this instance you choose your fabric from their showroom since they have stringent fabric requirements and make it a bit of a chore to use your own materials (you have send fabric samples to Italy for approval, and if approved sending your fabric to Italy is fraught with problems.  Thereby making an already lengthy process, interminably long).  They have a wide selection of neutral fabrics and leathers.

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B&B Italia, Sofa by Anthony Citterio

B&B Italia, Charles Large Sofa by Anthony Citterio

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And then there is a hybrid option at showrooms like Holly Hunt.  Here you choose from one of the lines that they rep, like my favorite Christian Liagre, and you have the option to choose one of their wonderful fabrics or send in your own materials.

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Picture 24

Holly Hunt, Augustin Sofa by Christian Liagre

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There is much more to know about purchasing a sofa, things like seat depth, seat height, back height, what is most comfortable is determined by the owner’s size, height and the length of your legs.  In the end I feel it is important to work with a designer because to a person there are two mistakes that are made by just about everyone who buys a sofa on their own – the piece is too large for the space and the finishes are much too dark.  In order to have a happy beautiful home, one that will sing either “swinging bachelor bad” or “I am looking for a wife and family”, it is imperative that you employ a professional to the task at hand.

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dale b. cohen

new york city