Nov 29, 2007

Italy Trip

One half of the “Material Girls" duo just got back from a business trip to Italy. The goal of the trip was to get training on a cabinet line, Aran. Lauren had worked on an installation of this product, but many questions still needed to be answered (especially since half of the software is in Italian). After spending time in Rome, the group headed to the “Industrial Zone” of Italy, all expecting it to resemble Detroit. Could not have been more wrong, the countryside is BEAUTIFUL.

The Aran Headquarters include their manufacturing facilities, where they make all of their wood doors, like the ones we installed in this Austin, Texas home.

Fun doors!!!

The training was very beneficial, and lots of great Italian food and wine was consumed!
Other highlights of the trip were sightseeing in Rome and the Ruins in Ostia…Here are a few of our favorite pictures…

Hanging Lantern at St. Peter’s

Fell in love with these windows at the Vatican. We love the graphic pattern as well as the light blue/ mustard yellow color combination!

Nov 26, 2007

Swank Lighting now at Debris Antiques!

To celebrate the opening of Swank Lighting's showroom in Dallas, the launch of their web site, and the launch of their eBay Store, they are giving away these beautiful Barovier & Toso lamps valued at $3,400. All you need to do to enter is click on the link here and fill out the simple online registration form. If you are in the Dallas area you can see these beauties in person at Debris Antiques, 1205 Slocum Street, Dallas.
The deadline for entry is January 15th and the drawing will be held at Debris Antiques on January 18th. Good Luck!

I recently discovered Swank Lighting in the heart of the Dallas Design District and had the pleasure of speaking with its owners, Ed Sexton and Doug Taylor about their beautiful lamps. They were kind enough to answer all the questions I had about their company.

As I ventured through Debris Antiques in Dallas (where their lamps are on display) I took a great deal of photos of their exquisite lighting and couldn't resist taking a few of the wonderful Debris showroom, owned by Joey Edwards. Joey is also the owner of Lost and Found (two of my favorite antique showrooms I wrote about in a previous post- small world!)

Material Girls: Your lamps are gorgeous. The pictures just do not do them justice. Seeing your wide assortment of Murano lamps in person at Debris Antiques in Dallas really blew me away. I love all of the bright colors and various styles of lamps you offer. My first question I'm sure everyone is curious about is, how did these beautiful lamps come about and how long has Swank Lighting been around?

Ed/Doug: Venetian glass has been around since about the 1400s... maybe longer. After a few close calls several hundred years ago, the local government forced the glass blowers out of Venice and on to the Island of Balboa to avoid their furnaces catching buildings on fire and destroying Venice. The Edward P. Paul Company based in New York, began importing Murano glass in the late 19th century. 1898 to be exact. In the early and mid 20th century most of their business focused on lighting and decorative items such as figurines, bowls, and vases. My partner Doug and I found out about them, oddly enough, through an eBay contact. Both of us had long been fans of anything mid century, Hollywood Regency, and Murano. And after 27 years in the magazine publishing business for me, and Beverly Hills real estate for Doug, we were both looking to semi retire and do something we love for a change. When in 2005 we heard about this cache of long hidden and forgotten treasure, we hopped on a plane, flew to New York, and spent a week digging through the warehouse. By the end of the week, after pulling some of the most beautiful glass we've ever seen out of 50 year old shipping crates, we knew we had to negotiate a deal with them to buy the whole thing. And that's just what we did and that's when Swank Lighting was born.

Material Girls: What are the lamps composed of?

Ed/Doug: Right now all of our inventory is made of Vintage Murano Glass imported by Balboa in the mid 20th century. Balboa bought from the top line glass houses such as Barovier & Toso, Alfredo Barbini, Archimede Seguso, Aurileano Toso, and AVEM. The lamp glass was designed by some of the top Venetian glass designers as well such as Dino Martens, Archimede Seguso, Ercole Barovier, Galliano Ferro, and Anzola Fuga. Balboa used their in-house designers to design the bases and assembled lamps. When we made the deal with Balboa to purchase all the remaining inventory, we bought assembled lamps, lamp glass, bases, and designs. The assembled lamps have all been rebuilt for safe use in this century. We use Balboa's designs and bases to assemble the rest of the lamp glass with the same high end UL Certified hardware.

Material Girls: I must say that I love the bright colors in the lamps. They catch your eye immediately and are so different than any lamps I have ever seen before. Have you always been drawn to bright colors and more of a modern look?

Ed/Doug: Having lived most of our adult lives in Los Angeles, we grew to love the mid-century modern architecture. Many of the homes in the Hollywood Hills were built in the 1950s and designed with the modern post and beam style. Designers loved bright colors in the 1950s and 1960s. We love everything from that period because designs, like our society at the time, were so optomistic and hopeful. The space program was in full swing, and we all thought we could do anything.

Material Girls: One of the greatest parts about your collection is how you have so many different lamps to choose from- many different colors and shapes. How often do you bring new lamps into the Dallas showroom?

Ed/Doug: Well fortunately for us, Balboa had many different lines. They actually had a low end line designed exclusively for the S&H Green Stamp Stores. Remember those? We currently have over 50 pairs of lamps at our showroom. Space is limited there so we are pretty much limited to that amount. In fact most of the pairs are displayed with just a single. The match to the pair is stored at Debris Antiques storage facility a few blocks away. We bring in new stock as they sell and space is available. Joey Edwards, owner of Debris, has been great to recognize the beauty of these lamps and actually invited us to display in the art gallery section as well. On our website we currently have approximately 100 pairs of lamps and we are going to be adding more. We have lots of great lamps that no one has seen yet.

Material Girls: Do you have plans in the future of ever expanding your business into furniture, other home accessories or more traditional lamps?

Ed/Doug: Yes. We just recently acquired all of Balboa's ceramic lamps imported from Deruta in the 1950s. They are fabulous and we're currently rebuilding them and plan on introducing that line next Spring. We also have 2 large warehouses full of mid century furniture from such famous designers as Paul Frankl, Edward Wormley, Dorothy Draper, Robsjohn-Gibbings, Tommi Parzinger, and Gio Ponti to name just a few. Some pieces have been refinished or
re-upholstered and others have not. We still are not sure how and when we want to start marketing those pieces.We are most excited about a plan we recently developed with an artisan glass blower here in Austin to develop a line of lamps using American art glass. Hopefully we will be introducing that line in the spring as well.

Material Girls: Is your main showroom in the heart of the Dallas Design District at Debris Antiques?

Ed/Doug: Yes that is our only showroom. When we started this business and moved from Los Angeles to Austin, our goal was to greatly improve our quality of life. Los Angeles has grown so big and gotten so expensive that there isn't a lot of time to just relax and enjoy life. We both decided that it no longer made sense to stay there and fight the rat race. When we got to Austin, we realized that the last thing we wanted to do was open a stand alone showroom where we had to be there all day every day, and hire employees. So we are very happy to have our relationship with Debri as our only retail outlet, while maintaining our presence on the internet. Our goal is to never have an employee. Our lamps are rebuilt at Tipplers Lamp Store in Austin, we ship via the UPS Store, and we use contractors for all of our other needs.

The pink lamp is going on my wish list!

The black shades look so chic!!

We love all of the variety of colors Swank Lighting offers

I can see these lamps in a black and white modern Living Room sitting on a console table right next to Eames' black Barcelona chair

Love the shape of this one

The gold base on this one adds some sparkle and looks fantastic with the green

These in the middle are my favorite- because of the trendy turqoise color and its atypical shape


Debris Antiques Showroom

Love the color of this table! The gold accessories on its top are also fabulous and very fashionable

Eames' Chair in an unexpected color

Fantastic gold starburst mirrors
Paying tribute to my favorite 'of the moment' fabric- animal print!

Shell Chandelier

Quaint antique settee

Classic dining room vignette

Nov 25, 2007

Asian Inspired Decor

Adding Asian elements to your home can be stylish, classic, and inexpensive if done the right way. These pieces add tranquility and serenity to any room. This look is becoming more and more popular and the nice thing about this design style is that it can be made to look either modern or traditional.

The room above exhibits Martha Stewart paint colors (available at any Lowe's Home Improvement store)
MS053 Brick Hearth (is the red shade-overall paint color)
MS188 White Picket Fence (used for white trim accents)
MS025 French Bulldog Black (used for black accents)
We love how this room is set up- looks modern, sleek, chic, and the Asian accents and colors are not too overwhelming. My favorite part of this room is the unexpected hints of turqoise/ blue accents in the vase, artwork, and pillow. It is very subdued but keeps the room from looking too matchy.

Here are a few tips when adding Asian decor:
-Use nature inspired colors- grays, tans, and greens if you want a more minimal/Japanese look or use bold colors such as reds and mustard yellow for a bright/Chinese look. (Red was believed to provide good luck!)
-Paper shoji screens make great room dividers or decorative elements
-Purchase furniture with lacquered finishes or darker woods (such as chocolate or burgundy)
-Bamboo plants or bonsai trees help add natural elements to your room as do bare branches in a bright colored vase, fountains, and stones
-Emphasis is on horizontal lines as opposed to vertical
-Art is functional as well as decorative
-Texture such as rice paper, bamboo, and rock are very important in Asian decor
-Sacred animal motifs are also essential (elephants were said to bring prosperity!)

The most important tip is that less is more! Minimal is key. You don't want to end up with a room that looks staged. Place random Asian elements throughout your house to add just a bit of cultural appeal. These design elements mixed in with other styles of furniture and accessories, will make your home look eclectic and fabulous!

All of the finds below are extremely affordable and are available to purchase online!

Target Wall Art-$49.99

World Market Asian Lacquer Chest- $14.99

World Market Paper Lantern-$6.99
I love this lantern first off because it is affordable but mostly for the fact that it is Asian-inspired with a 'twist'- the trendy Zebra pattern gives a whole new dimension to the lantern

William Sonoma Home Foo Dog Lamps- $425
We want to know what you think- Design must or bust? These lamps usually get mixed emotions from people...

William Sonoma Home- Imperial Fretwork Coffee Table-$1650

Tracy Porter Pendant Light- $1127

Ballard Designs- Asian Inspired Art-$129

Lamps Plus Mirror- $99.98

Horchow-Asian Porcelain Pieces- $35

Horchow- Antique Side Cabinet- $175

The Great Indoors- Drawer Pull-$9.99

West Elm Pillows- $34.99

Pottery Barn Toile Bedding- $79- On Sale- Queen Duvet

Z Gallerie Asian Tealight Holder- $39.95

Horchow- Planter- $295

Anthropologie Picture Frame- $24