More red…

I love the color red.  I love to wear red, my dining room is red, I love it as an accent color when it’s leaning towards copper against a pale green.  I’m still gearing up for my red car–stay tuned…

Wednesday night, Newell Turner of House Beautiful challenged a roomful of interior designers to take the color numerology test (really) at the Benjamin Moore showroom in the New York Design Center.  There are only three Benjamin Moore showrooms across the country–we tri-staters who are in to color are so lucky.

Now this numerology test was tricky, because as a married woman, do I use my maiden name or my married name?  I chose my married name partly because it’s shorter (I grew up with a full name that has as many letters as the alphabet) and mostly, because I think of myself as Catherine Avery.  After 6 years of marriage apparently I am still crazy about my husband.

Imagine my amazement at discovering that my numerology color is (drum roll) #1 or red.

So this is #1 Red: “The most dominant personality.  A visionary and risk-taker: energetic, passionate, tenacious, flamboyant, and courageous.”  Hmmmm…well, I’m an entrepreneur and that’s pretty risky and certainly takes a lot of courage.  I stay up until all hours running my business which requires both energy and tenacity.  And if you are going to work this hard at your own business then you had best be passionate about it!  Not sure about flamboyant though…feel free to weigh in…

bioMi Chair Giovanni Pagnotta

bioMi Chair Giovanni Pagnotta

Which brings me to Giovanni Pagnotta’s bioMi chair made of carbon fiber.  This is the most surprisingly comfortable chair and it’s sooo sexy red–look at those curves.  I was not at all surprised to hear that Giovanni’s design is influenced by Formula One–vroom…  I sat in this chair during an evening event at Design Within Reach Greenwich last week and still can’t get it out of my mind.  Meeting the designer and his entire family–all lovely–was a fantastic part of the night.  Giovanni is not only a talented designer but a truly wonderful human being.  It was such a fun party with tasty beautiful Knipschildt ‘to die for’ chocolates from Chocopologie (right here in my hometown of Norwalk, CT).  Hoping Design Within Reach Greenwich has many more events–they are on to something!

P.S.  DWR has a great blog too.

“Simply Red”

Today I spent the day in the city and so many wonderful things happened it will take days worth of blogs!  Don’t you love when you get lots of new blog material?

I attended the What’s New, What’s Next event at the New York Design Center and it was great!  The theme color was red. Now red can be a bit overwhelming if not done right.  But Kravet had the most sophisticated red party set-up by far.  It was red in passionate pops so restrained as to be elegant.  I entered through two bunches of red and white balloons and made my way past the beautiful display of red and white desserts.  Those of you who know me will guess (correctly) that I went back.

Kravet Showroom-What's New What's Next

Kravet Showroom-What's New What's Next

Tucked in the back corner was this view that struck me in its simplicity-just white cupcakes iced in red and a few red gerbera daisies in a vase scattered here and there.   I love flower arrangements of all one color, all one flower! The drink options were pink champagne or seltzer with lime.  The desserts included brownies (ok not red but so delicious), tarts filled with cream and topped with a bright red raspberry, raspberry linzer cookies and my favorite, red velvet cupcakes topped with cream cheese.

In this time of trying to streamline what is already a too busy life, but also wanting to be surrounded by great friends in your beautiful home, can’t you just envision having a “simply red” theme party?   How much simpler could it be?  Talk about great design…

Tree of Life continued…

“The art of living is in making the right mistakes.”  –Stefan Schulz

I am the first to admit that I am technologically challenged.  If you need a computer geek, please feel free to call my brother who has received all of the family gifts in this department.  Don’t ask him to help you choose a paint color or help you get a great sofa or find just the right recycled glass tile…then you can call me.

So in addition to having a blackberry with a mind of its own this week and several trips to Verizon, I have managed to lose a section of my Tree of Life photo blog.  I only found this out because in a wonder of technology that I don’t comprehend, a reader sent me a note about my blog on Facebook.  My first thought was “I don’t get it.  How did he read my blog?”  My second was “How cool that he read my blog!”

He is Robert Corin Morris (Bob), long time family friend and spiritual mentor.  Bob is an author, Episcopal priest and Director of Interweave.  He pointed out that the logo of Interweave, which I did in fact remember Bob, is the Tree of Life.  I tried to copy it here but can’t figure out the technology (a theme)…  But you can go to this link and see the amazing image.  As mine is a design blog, I will take poetic license in sharing this wonderful graphic design logo.  Not to mention have the opportunity to plug a great  organization with vastly talented people!  www.interweave.org

Tree Of Life Tapestry

Tree Of Life Tapestry

Above is the missing photo.  This tapestry is my daily inspiration as I walk in my front door, reminding me to stay grounded in family, friends and faith while reaching for my dreams.

I purchased it through a Fair Trade Cooperative in Bethany Beach, DE while we were on vacation this summer.  I love to choose fascinating objects through Fair Trade to accessorize my home and my clients’ homes.  Not only do you have the pleasure of owning a beautiful handicraft, but also have the opportunity to support people in countries that may not have the opportunities that we do.

Necklace by Satya for Housing Works

Necklace by Satya for Housing Works

I just have to show this great necklace one more time, so that I can tell you why I love it so much.  This necklace was designed by Satya in conjunction with Housing Works.  The proceeds of this necklace go directly to “benefit homeless and low income New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS.”  If you are in New York City, stop by one of the four wonderful Satya boutiques and take a look at their great jewelry designs.

Tree of Life

the-tree-of-life-stoclet-frieze-c-1909 gustav klimt

Gustav Klimt

My favorite design motif is the Tree of Life.  The Tree of Life is used in just about every religion from Judaism and Christianity to Chinese mythology and German paganism.

Stefano Coccioli

Stefano Coccioli

On a screen of gold and silver leaf engraved on a gesso panel.  I could see this in a modern home with Asian accents.

Kiyo Miking

Kiyomi King

Or this rich vibrant watercolor with a flavor of the East hung over the  fireplace.  Looks just like the ultimate tapestry to me.

Warli Tribe

Warli Tribe

This is also a watercolor from the Warli Tribe in Maharashtra.  It is a monochromatic view of tribal life with an emphasis on geometric shapes.  I can just picture this against a turquoise blue wall.

photo taken by Lucas Nam in Vietnam

photo taken by Lucas Nam in Vietnam

Wish I had a description of this amazing Tree of Life, but my Spanish is not good enough to read Lucas Nam’s blog.  Meanwhile, just enjoy the beautiful colors and the context of the architecture.  I’m guessing a religious site?  Feel free to let me know!

Indian Cotton

Indian Cotton

Can you imagine this beautiful Indian Cotton as a bedspread…mmm…

9 Panels Oil Painting from Blue Moon Gallery

9 Panels Oil Painting from Blue Moon Gallery

I love this modern reinterpretation of a motif that has been used through the ages.  This would be spectacular in an Entry Foyer to a very hip office.

Necklace by Satya for Housing Works

Necklace by Satya for Housing Works

Last but not least, this  beautiful pendant by Satya Jewelry for Housing Works that I wear most days.

Treasures of Afghanistan

Thursday, a group of art lovers from Trinity Episcopal Church in Southport had the pleasure of visiting the ‘Treasures of Afghanistan’ exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Afghan map 2008

Afghanistan lies at the crossroads between East and West on the Great Silk Route which runs roughly from Xian in China to Byzantium (Constantinople) in Turkey.  As such it was cross-cultural in nature.

Afghanistan was rich in the precious stone lapis lazuli, which was traded for silk, gold and other precious stones.  The treasures shown below (and in the exhibit) come from sites at Fullol, Ai Khanum, Begram and Tillya Tepe and range from the third century BC to the first century AD.

The history of this exhibit is unbelievable.  In a land torn by decades of war and strife, some quick thinking government and museum officials were able to hide away some of the greatest handiwork of the ages.  “Workers involved in the transfer swore secrecy and designated ‘key holders’ for the vaults. They kept their covenant through civil war and Taliban rule at enormous personal risk”. (National Geographic)

Afghan Folding Crown

I think this gold folding crown was my favorite.  I love the intricacy of the design and the folding functionality.  Many of the peoples along the Silk Route were nomadic and they carried their fortunes with them in gold jewelry inlaid with precious stones.

Afghan Gold Jewelry

More examples of the gold jewelry.  I would wear those bracelets! Just imagine wearing all of the wealth that you own-no savings accounts or safety deposit boxes…

Afghan lionheadbracelets

The level of detail on these lion heads is mind boggling.

Afghan Cybele Disc

This disc with Cybele is fascinating because it combines symbols of so many different religious and cultural beliefs in one item.

Afghan Painted Goblet of Achilles and Hector

First of all note that this is painted glass.  I still can’t believe that it survived at all.  It tells the Greek story of Achilles and Hector but is painted in the Roman style.

Afghan Blue Glass Vessel

The detail on this blue glass vessel is simply amazing.  The curlicues are added by dripping hot glass on to the vessel to form the design.

Afghan Ivory Carvings for Furniture

These ivory carvings again show elements from several cultures.  The design of the architecture reminds me of Hindu temples that I saw in Indonesia.

The Treasures of Afghanistan leaves the Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 20th.  It is well worth a special trip to enjoy this breath-taking exhibit.

(all images from websites of National Geographic, Flickr and the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Now you’re Cooking

Kitchens are my favorite room to design. Maybe because I love to cook (and eat).  I have an obsession with making kitchens functional. Nothing drives me more crazy than not having the pots and pans near the stove or the dishwasher out of reach of the dishes. Kitchens should make cooking easier and more fun.

Recently, I was in Kitchen nirvana. I attended a professional cooking demonstration at Miele. And yes, we did eat food cooked right there in their kitchen-in a word-yum!

First of all how much fun is the architecture of the cooking demonstration room-the floating ceiling with Ingo Maurer Birdie hanging lights, ovens backlit with color changing LED light, large tables and Verner Panton chairs.   See how all of the ovens are the same size in each column so that you can custom design your oven and warming drawer layout.  I could not live without my warming drawer!

miele nyc showroom kitchen

Miele NYC Showroom Kitchen

While we noshed on Steamed Shrimp, Lynn Anne and Barbara demonstrated the many features of the Master Chef Oven. You can cook pretty much anything in this oven and use Convection to speed the cooking time for your Thanksgiving turkey.  But the more important feature is that because of the dual fans there is no flavor transference.  You can cook salmon and cookies at the same time and the cookies will not taste like the salmon.  I know because I ate the sugar cookies–and they tasted like sugar, delicious!  The Master Chef Oven is like having a chef in your Kitchen: just enter the type of food and the oven will give you suggestions on cooking time.  The other great feature is that the oven has a Sabbath feature which will keep the oven on for 72 hours–unbelievable.

miele speed and convection ovens

Miele Speed and Master Chef Ovens

Then we ate Roasted Salmon on Mixed Baby Greens prepared  in the Master Chef Oven on Convection Mode while we learned about the virtues of the Speed Oven.  The Speed Oven can be used as a microwave, convection oven, traditional second oven.  The most amazing thing about the speed oven is cooking baked potatoes.  They bake on convection with occasional bursts of microwave to speed cooking, so the microwave doesn’t change the texture of the potato. If you have ever microwaved a potato to speed things up, you know how it just does not taste or feel the same…  I definitely have a Speed Oven in my future.

miele steam oven

Miele Steam Oven

There are no words to describe the Beef Tenderloin cooked in the Master Chef Oven on AutoRoast with sides of Corn in Cilantro Lime Butter, Spinach cooked with gorgonzola and pine nuts and Focaccia Bread cooked in the Master Chef Oven with a Miele Pizza Stone.  A veritable feast for the eyes, nose and tastebuds, while Lynn Anne demonstrated all of the features of the Steam Oven. You can cook four different dishes in this oven simultaneously with no flavor transfer. You could not find more perfectly cooked vegetables-divine.

miele built in capsule coffee

Miele Built in Coffee System

Dessert was a Key Lime pie — the crust was cooked in the oven and the key lime filling in the steam oven–it could not have been any better.   Cappuccino served from the Miele Built In Single Cup Coffee System was one of the best cups I have ever had–strong with a great foamy head…delicious…  If my husband finds out about this, we will have to lose precious kitchen storage space to the Coffee System. He is a cappuccino fanatic.  Move over Starbucks…

I could continue on for hours about the fantastic features of the Miele refrigerator, freezer and wine storage, but then you would have no reason to join me at Miele for a product demonstration. And you wouldn’t want to miss out on that great meal, would you?

(All photos from Miele USA website)

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