Ipe Pool Deck Dreams

As I mentioned before, we have to replace our pool. It's certainly an unexpected and painful expense to bear, however, I'm starting to get a bit excited about the idea of having a pool that reflects my aesthetic preferences. So, to gather ideas and solidify my preferences I've been scouring portfolios of landscape architects and pool companies.

One pool element that I've always loved and keep seeing (especially from the landscape architecture firms) is a wood pool deck. Ipe seems to be the preferred wood for pool decks and countless other outdoor applications. Ipe is a gorgeous, super hard and tough wood that hails from Brazil. Like teak, you can leave it untreated and it will weather to a grayish tone or you can treat/seal it to maintain its rich brown color. I like the look of the latter better. It reminds me of a chic European resort or an exotic tropical destination. It's versatile enough for either setting...the theme that links both styles is luxury and that's what a well-executed wood pool deck evokes to me.

Anyhow, since they are so gorgeous, I thought I'd share some of the photos that I've found during my pool inspiration recon mission...

The Modern Honolulu by R.D. Olson Construction

Hocker Design Group

Hocker Design Group

Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, villa Eleana 
Castadiva Resort Floating Pool at Lake Como

Banyan Tree Seychelles

Banyan Tree Seychelles

Banyan Tree Seychelles

Artesian Pools

Unfortunately, using an imported, high-performance wood like Ipe to create a luxe look costs a whole lotta money...shocking, right? So we are trying to figure how we can use Ipe without breaking the budget. Hopefully we can make it work and I'll be able to report back with some pretty pics of my own!

What do you think of wood pool decks? Do you prefer the ones where the wood goes all the way to the edge of the water or the ones with a stone coping?

Do any of you have experience with Ipe? If so, did you treat yours or leave it au naturel? Any tips?


So I Bought a Kantha

I had quite a bit of credit at the Foundary that was about to expire so I used it to purchase a kantha. For those unfamiliar with the term, a kantha is a quilted blanket made from vintage Indian saris (the word Kantha is actually the type of stitching, but the American vernacular refers to the whole quilt). I see them everywhere these days...from ABC Home to Pottery Barn!

Truth be told, I've never been the biggest fan of kanthas mainly because they just aren't my style. They put off an exotic, boho effect and I don't go in that direction very often. Also, I've always thought that they looked a bit dirty (at least some do).

Anyhow my opinion has evolved and I now own one and I really like it, but it is getting washed immediately :) Most kanthas are one-of-a-kind so the key for me was finding one with a design and color palette that was to my liking. The one I picked is magenta, tangerine, and navy and the design is really cool. Have a look...

Per the usual, I'm playing with my new toy all over the house...

The colors work great in the guest room...

And the size is perfect for use as a coverlet on the daybed...

As you can see here, the pattern is varied and there are zones that are distinctly different from each other...

If the variation can be managed properly, a kantha could bring lots of quirky personality to an otherwise boring upholstered piece like a bench or a headboard. West Elm has a chair that is covered with kantha-embroidery upholstery and here's a kantha-upholstered settee...

What are your thoughts on kanthas? I still don't love most of them, but there are some with wonderful colors and patterns and it's hard for me to resist a textile with those two things going on!


Again & Again Gives Back

My favorite vintage furniture shop, Again & Again, is pitching in to help two awesome charities over the next couple of weeks and I wanted you all to know about the details.

First, Again & Again is partnering with BAR 828, a charitable pop-up cocktail establishment in Oak Cliff this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Guided by its vivacious proprietress, Leslie Pritchard, the space will be transformed with vintage furnishings and lighting from A&A...all of which will be available for purchase! A portion of the proceeds from the collaboration will go to Promise House, which helps disadvantaged and runaway kids. BAR 828 closes this Saturday, October 29 so if you're in Dallas, be sure to get yourself there by then so you can drink and buy furniture for a good cause :)

Second, Again & Again is a a Partner's Card retailer, which means that from October 28 through November 6, card holders get 20% off! The cards can be purchased at A&A (or at other participating retailers) and all proceeds benefit the Family Place, an organization that assists victims of family violence.

Sorry to dangle these fun events in front of those who don't live in Dallas! To make it up to you, here is some eye candy from Again & Again. If you live outside of Big D and see something that you love, don't fret...shipping is a possibility!

Here is a settee that I snapped as it was being reupholstered...they do amazing work, right?!?

Lots o' lucite...

This is a custom Greek key stool that A&A fabricates...

I adore these chairs...I imagine the wood in an ebony finish paired with Quadrille's Rio and black cording/buttons...

Also infatuated with this sofa...

There was a set of four of these fabulous chairs...

This settee was about to get Suzani-fied...

This awesome little chest will be bananas after a paint job...

Cool screen and great little pair of x-benches...

Glam headboard, cool brass lamps, amazing sideboard, the list goes on and on...

I covet this lamp...it's so funky and unique. It kind of reminds me of Stray Dog Designs' lamps...which you might've seen on the Rachel Zoe Project recently! Stray Dog's lamps cost about $400 a piece though so this one is a MUCH better deal :)

Super-duper cool midcentury mirrors...

Finally, here is A&A's sample book area...they've stocked books from the best fabric companies like Schumacher, Quadrille, Kravet, and Duralee. Having this sort of resource in the shop makes picking the perfect fabric quick and painless!

I just love this place...it totally gets my imagination going. Are you loving their inventory as much as I do? Keep in mind that their merch changes all of the time so the best way to stay in the loop is to follow Again & Again on Facebook where new items are posted.


Down the Blue Willow Rabbit Hole

I officially started my Blue Willow platter collection this past weekend. I bought one at the Urban Market in Houston. I didn't pay much for it and I'm sure to serious collectors it's probably not a notable piece, but I really like it!

I'm a sucker for the Chinoiserie designs and motifs...

Once I've gotten a collection assembled, this is how I'd love to display it...
Image via Gramercy Home

I'd have a similar slim shelving unit built for this back wall in our breakfast area...

Anyhow, while hunting for additional pieces, I'm trying to learn more about the pattern/style and what makes some pieces more valuable than others. Since I can't blow tons of money on this initiative, I'll probably be shallow and stick to well-priced pieces that are pretty...but I'm certainly open to hearing any insight that you might have!

Do you collect anything in particular?


Leopard and Turquoise and Lacquer, Oh My!

I loved seeing Veronica Swanson Beard's apartment in Harper's Bazaar so much that I just had to share the photos with you here. In the article about Beard (one of the stylish designers behind the label Veronica Beard), she talks about her love of color and how it had to play a major role in her home. She enlisted famed designer Thomas Britt to execute her exuberant vision for the 4,000 square foot, three-floor Greenwich Village apartment that includes a stunning rooftop terrace (gasp). Throughout the not-so-humble abode there are bold, exotic touches like animal prints, Moroccan lanterns, and rich, shiny lacquered surfaces. There's definitely a "more is more" aesthetic going on and it's pretty amazing! Take a look...

Via Harper's Bazaar, photo by Ditte Isager

Via Harper's Bazaar, photo by Ditte Isager

Via Harper's Bazaar, photo by Ditte Isager

Via Harper's Bazaar, photo by Ditte Isager

Via Harper's Bazaar, photo by Ditte Isager

Via Harper's Bazaar, photo by Ditte Isager

Via Harper's Bazaar, photo by Ditte Isager

Via Harper's Bazaar, photo by Ditte Isager

Via Harper's Bazaar, photo by Ditte Isager

So, what do you think of her place? I love all of the super-saturated colors and the black and white striped walls were a favorite element too. The fashion featured in the spread isn't too shabby either, right? I adore the blue Oscar de la Renta dress that Veronica is wearing in the photo on the terrace!


C. Wonder's Dashing Design Ethos

I keep a running list of stores that I want to shop when in New York and a new one has just been added to the list. C. Wonder is opening this weekend in Soho and I can't wait to check it out! The merch looks really fun (and affordable) and the store design looks impeccable. If great design wasn't enough, thoughtful, innovative touches like customizable dressing rooms and a mobile checkout system (like the Apple store) will surely make the shopping experience pretty darned awesome.

Kevin Sharkey's comprehensive sneak peek of the store was where I saw photos of the interior. Based on those, I'm pretty sure that I could live in the C. Wonder world. The design scheme is really fresh and hip, but there are plenty of classic elements that keep it looking high-end and tasteful. The bathroom stopped me dead in my tracks...I'm lovin' the tile design, the Audubon prints, and the Dorothy Draper-esque accents:

Photo via Kevin Sharkey's blog on MarthaStewart.com

Photo via Kevin Sharkey's blog on MarthaStewart.com

This lacquer tray is one of the items that they sell
Photo via Kevin Sharkey's blog on MarthaStewart.com

Here are some shots of the merchandise...
Photo via Kevin Sharkey's blog on MarthaStewart.com

Photo via Kevin Sharkey's blog on MarthaStewart.com

LOVE these enamel napkin rings!!
Photo via Kevin Sharkey's blog on MarthaStewart.com

This is the panel upon which you can change the lighting and music in your dressing room...
Photo via Kevin Sharkey's blog on MarthaStewart.com
Dog stuff!
Photo via Kevin Sharkey's blog on MarthaStewart.com

Looks pretty cool, huh? From a design standpoint, I love the white lacquer mixed with bold colors and brass accents. It's polished, but fun. There are more photos Kevin Sharkey's blog on MarthaStewart.com, so take a look at those if you want more! I'm really looking forward to seeing it all in person...now I just need to get a trip planned.