30 October 2009

happy halloween!
Have a safe and happy Halloween from allora.signature.BEAUFAIN and allora home!

29 October 2009

charleston home: recognize anything?
What an exciting week! Charleston Home unveiled its first issue [and a new look] on Monday and low and behold, guess what I spotted while perusing its pages? allora.signature.VINE! We're thrilled to be the image to accompany one of our favorite blogs: Parker Sims Interiors! If you haven't had a chance to check out the magazine, grab a copy and a glass of wine and indulge yourself this evening with all of the wonderful ideas for your home! Oh, and yes, let us know if a custom chair is what you need!

28 October 2009

burlap: revisited
After last week's post about burlap, my sister and I decided to give this industrial textile another look. Has the potential to bring the burlap out from the bottom of allora chairs been there all along? After further investigation, we decided: yes. Lauren came to town with the supplies, and we got down to business for our "craft weekend." Between her post-consumer, green coffee bean filled burlap sacks and my pillow form collection and sewing machine, we were pretty busy! AND happily surprised to see that the natural burlap (i.e. pre-dyed) is much softer on the skin. The pillows are everything we hoped they would be and then some! We also worked on some chairs this weekend (surprise!) that are different than the rest of the allora collection... you might be seeing more of the burlap soon!

27 October 2009

charles. ray. gustave.
Charles and Ray Eames made several significant contributions to design, but the Eiffel Plastic Side Chair (1950) is without a doubt one of my favorites. Aptly named, this chair has a distinct chrome-finished base that suggests the Eiffel Tower. The seat of the chair is made of molded plastic and comes in a variety of colors. This chair is versatile and modern and altogether lovely! Perhaps one day, I'll have these around my dining room table.

26 October 2009

I love to start a week off with the debut of a new chair, and I am especially happy to bring allora.custom.GIRARDEAU to you on this otherwise typical Monday morning! Leave it to my friend, Sara, to have the coolest chair just hanging around her house... I love the lines and the detail and oh, the upholstered back, the arms, everything about this chair! I am so happy that she let me borrow it for a few weeks to give it a little face lift! Painted "regal red" and upholstered in a dyed linen jungle print, this chair is overflowing with character and should--hopefully--make sitting at a home computer that much more exciting! I also love how the bronze upholstery tacks bring out the darker tones in the fabric and provide some additional interest. Have a happy Monday and look for photos of GIRARDEAU at home soon!

23 October 2009

barcelona, me encanta
I just realized that today's post is the third day in a row featuring a fantastic chair "we love." I must say, of all the many many chair and furniture designs that I love, I would be a happy and content woman to own just this one. The Barcelona chair. Ah... one day. I've mentioned my trip to Spain last April on several occasions, yet somehow I have managed to neglect this most important detail. My poor sister had to spend the last weeks of her semester abroad racing around with me to see every significant and insignificant item relating to architecture that I could think of (and some more that we stumbled upon). I am satisfied, however, that she took away at least one thing from the craziness; she too loves the Barcelona pavilion (and even recognized the meaning of a "faux-Mies structure" in a book she was reading, but I digress). A sort of Mecca to architects around the world, this recreation of Mies van der Rohe's German pavilion for the Barcelona International Exposition is simple and clean and oh so modern. I mentioned yesterday that all good design is, at a minimum, detail deep, and the Barcelona chair designed to go in this spot, in this building, is a fine example. Have a good weekend!

22 October 2009

high on the high line
Like that marketing genius before me, I HEART NEW YORK. There are a million and one reasons to love the city to begin with and now my all time favorite architects have given us another. The first part of the High Line has officially opened up on the west side, right at the Meatpacking District, and I'm doing everything in my power to not blow my whole budget and get up there immediately to explore it. It looks absolutely incredible! My friends, Brian and Jennifer--lucky ducks, have already gotten to visit this wonderful urban intervention that hovers over traffic and reaches out to the Hudson, and I'm overwhelmed with jealousy (but very thankful for the pictures!)! I was looking at said photos, and just when I thought I knew every reason to love the High Line, BAM, another one. I firmly believe that good design is based in good details, so I'm not sure why I was surprised to discover that even the furniture in this raised park is wonderful! Now, wouldn't you feel special if you got to sit in the lovely green chair?

21 October 2009

a special place to sit
"my father fed me on this when I was a baby
M.L. McArthur
(mother's arm was in a cast)"
I know that a stool isn't necessarily a "chair," persay, but I would venture that they are not so distant relatives. Nonetheless, a good seat is a good seat, and this stool happens to be one of my favorites. I distinctly remember where this stool sat in my grandparents' kitchen on Roslyn Drive, remember sitting on it and eating sundaes with cherries on top, remember pulling it up to the table crowded with family. It is a rather basic stool, painted white with four legs, sturdy and utilitarian. But it is also a special stool. In the rough times following my grandmother's passing, my whole family, my mother in particular, found comfort in small notes left by Ga-Ba in the most interesting of places. It was as if she knew the joy we would find in the memories she left for us, some of which we might never have known, such as the one we found on this stool. I use this stool in my home now to put dishes up on shelves that are out of my reach, to sit while I chat on the phone, for guests when there aren't enough chairs on the screen porch, and even, on occasion, as a plant stand. And every time, I think about my grandmother, as a toddler being fed by her father on the same stool. Its a type of physical memory that I love! It makes me want to record my thoughts with an indelible marker on my favorite items, so that somewhere down the road, someone will find them and remember.

20 October 2009

did you know?
Yesterday, my friend, Jennifer, passed along an exciting do-it-yourself redecorating website called Homage. It is filled with wonderful ideas that are not only attainable for the masses, but actually doable in the DIY sense--perfect! One of my favorite stories featured on Homage happens to be about one of my favorite textiles, burlap. The warp and weft of this distinct material is just so... honest. I love it! There is something very natural and basic that is beautiful in burlap, and I'm fascinated by all the fresh ways to use it as suggested by Homage. Among their many exciting ideas, this set of chairs upholstered in screenprinted burlap are at the top of my list! I must say, however, that I've never considered using burlap as a seat material for one reason: comfort. I can't help but think to myself "OUCH" when I look at those ridiculously cool chairs. I have been using burlap all along though... on the bottom of the seats of every allora.custom and signature chair! I love a good surprise, so what could be more fun than discovering a delightful and bright color hiding on the other side of your seat? Can you guess which chairs go with these swatches from my burlap scrap drawer?

19 October 2009

The official debut of allora.signature.CANDIA--an exciting way to start an otherwise boring Monday! I know several of you may have seen the sneak peak of CANDIA last week, and I'm positively certain that you are dying for the details about these fabulous chairs. Well, fret no more. Different than any other chairs in the allora collections, this pair is made of tubular metal, rather than the usual wood. This is exciting for several reasons, however, perhaps the most exciting benefit of this material is its resistance to the perils of outdoor living. Yes, allora.signature.CANDIA will work outside! The chairs themselves have been coated in Rustoleum enamel in cobalt blue, while the seats are covered in an equally hardy white vinyl. Is it possible to be so instantly retro and so instantly contemporary all in the same moment? I would say yes. Bold. Blue. Beautiful. These chairs define the space of the table so wonderfully with their high backs, while providing fresh character to their screen porch home! Click here to see allora.signature.CANDIA back in August.

16 October 2009

it's my party
Well, its official! allora reaches the one year mark this month! Who could have known all of the exciting things that allora.signature.RUTLEDGE would get me into just a short 365 days ago? Things do change in a year... but not as much as I would have expected! I'm still mentally "moving," as I break in the new apartment, but as I said before, things don't change that much. I'm still on Rutledge. There are some exciting things coming in the next year... magazines, blogs, websites, and of course--more chairs! I'm going to be sure to keep all of the surprises surprises though! Just be excited--its good to be a year old!

15 October 2009

sneak preview
Usually I like to debut a newly finished chair--or in this case, set of chairs--with the finalized, typical black and white allora images, but after spending my lunch hour sitting outside (finally!) and reading in this refreshing autumn air, I couldn't resist sharing the most recently completed allora.signature chairs! Here they are in their new permanent home, my screen porch--allora.signature.CANDIA! There are so many things that I love about these chairs, but I'll have save that for the official debut next week! Hope you're all enjoying this weather as much as I am; see you at the design walk tonight!

14 October 2009

babies rock

Aside from eating, a baby's only other priority is sleeping. Conveniently, this is often a priority of both parents as well--particularly after a few nights of restless, cry-awakened sleep. For this reason, no nursery is complete without a rocking chair. Rocking chairs come in a variety of styles, fashioned to about any taste and can truly become a feature of your baby's room! New parents might also have an old rocking chair that has been passed on to them by siblings or grandparents that only needs to be updated to match the nursery's decor. Reusing a chair that has meaning is not only thrifty, it adds sentiment and provides a special story. It is amazing how the most outdated looking chair can be updated with a coat of paint and an interesting fabric to achieve that something extra in your baby's first room! An allora gift certificate for a mom-to-be is also a great gift idea to help with the nesting--as well as assisting in getting the little one to sleep! I can't wait to meet all the sweet babies that are on the way! "Peanut," "Strawberry," Kate, Wright, and Ra--happy rocking!

13 October 2009

haute chair
It is only reasonable for one to assume that following the wedding season of your generation of friends that the baby season will not be far behind, however, I assure you, it has taken me by surprise! Don't get me wrong, I am THRILLED--more than thrilled--for all of my soon-to-be-moms-and-dads friends; it has just taken me a little off guard! I feel quite educated on folic acid regimens and trimester timelines, but lets be honest. Part of the fun of these blessed little people is in preparing for their arrival (namely, while they are still quiet): decorating the nursery, stocking up on clothes, wandering through aisles filled with such exciting finds as desitin and bottles...

Once the baby arrives, life consists primarily of eating and sleeping, so these two functions quickly begin to fill the minds of soon to be new parents (at least in my experience). So in honor of the first of these two activities, I give you... haute chair.

While the nursery is the child's exclusive domain, your kitchen and/or dining room will still (hopefully) remain pleasantly civilized and adult, with one exception: the highchair. So why should it be boring or basic? There are so many great options... all waiting to be customized, not just to match your existing space but to accent it! What better way to celebrate the new one's arrival? What a great and thoughtful gift! Fun for the parents and good for the child... as I recently learned that high visual contrast helps with brain development. Tomorrow, we'll focus on a baby's other favorite activity: sleeping!

12 October 2009

urbanSHED arcade
I know that I've mentioned that September was a crazy month, and I feel certain that in the same breath, I mentioned, among other things, deadlines. One of these deadlines was the urbanSHED competition that Alicia and I entered on behalf of Liollio. Our scheme, ARCADE, is built around over-emphasized structure which is secured by water ballast via q-drums. These q-drums roll on site easily before being filled (again, easily) with water. They not only serve, however, as efficient connections, but as street furniture for passers-by and regular pedestrians, as a place where they can read the paper, talk on their cell phones, rest their feet, or wait to hail a cab. Seating at its best!

09 October 2009

warning: graphic nature
I've come across several new and exciting fabrics lately, but these most recent graphic prints have truly caught my eye. Stylized, simplified, bright and 2-d, these patterns are bold and playful, fresh and contemporary. Dandelions seem to be the favorite amongst textile designers, who have provided us with a plethora of different interpretations from which to choose. I love the mini green sunbursts of the bottom right hand print, and I'm dying to make the oversized, golden yellow dandelion head into a fabulous pillow or abstract cushion finish! Graphic nature at its best--have a great weekend!

08 October 2009

Alas, a new chair to share! This custom creation was made for Jimmy & Logan Fowles as a wedding gift--you can follow their process from gift certificate to fabrics right here! This chair is particularly special because it has belonged to the groom's paternal grandparents' family for many years. The clean lines of the modified chair (some embellishments had to be removed because of the wear and tear of time) instantly make it more contemporary, while the crisp hue (great choice Logan!) makes it feel fresh! Completing the look is the plush, raised velveteen paisley on linen. The tone on tone of the airy blues is a first for allora and a great call on the bride's part; I can't wait to see allora.custom.KIAWAH in its new home!

07 October 2009

chairs for charity
I was alerted of this idea earlier today and did some google researching... this could be a GREAT addition to the Charleston charity scene! See more about one of the Chairs for Charity organizations here... they put the chairs "on parade," similar to the "Ants Marching" that Darkness to Light has put on in Charleston! LOVE IT!

05 October 2009

admit you have a problem
One of my friends forwarded this link from Lovely Listing to me yesterday, and it was just too funny not to post. Even funnier (or perhaps scarier): I find myself relating to the people whose home is shown above! I think Cooper will find this particularly familiar...

04 October 2009

ode to the holy city
For my birthday, I requested and happily received Pat Conroy's new novel South of Broad, in which I have been immersed (when possible) for the past two weeks. I love Conroy's Prince of Tides for many reasons, but it struck a particular chord in me as a South Carolinian reading with familiarity as a transplant to New York. Reading this most recent ode to the Holy City while actually being here has been quite a juxtaposition, if not more of a palimpsest, and though I find the same familiarity when reading, it has become somewhat of a distraction. The penultimate master of name-dropping, Conroy made this book for blue-blooded Charlestonians who will recognize, appreciate, and best him in the category. With this undisguised social and physical context, I feel like I could be reading about people I know and thus am currently having quite the heightened experience of this city.

Add to that the general Charleston-y weekend that I had, and I'm sure you will all understand the complete and eerie confusion that I am experiencing between the fictional and the real. Friday marked the first French Quarter Art Walk of the season; the weather was perfect, the wine was good, and we had a wonderful time! I awoke early on Saturday with the french doors to my screen porch wide open and headed off on my bike to the Farmer's Market in Marion Square. I managed to fit in a little more reading time before making my way to the first of two weddings downtown, which were appropriately located S.O.B. and/or sufficiently near by. I found myself moving between St. Michael's, St. Philip's, Society Hall, and Hibernian Hall all in the space of a night. I'm not sure if I would call it irony, but I was definitely feeling something like it, while imagining characters with names like Worth Rutledge circulating around the cheese table with me.
I've been known to get a little too involved with the books that I'm reading (I thought at one point in college that my life was The Odyssey), but I thought it was only appropriate, in light of the circumstances, that I reveal what has been consuming my mind as of late! I've also been thinking about an allora tribute to the Holy City, which is full of such rich, deep colors and textures that I can't help but want to translate into a chair. Be looking out for the Charleston signature collection; you heard it first here!

02 October 2009

got ikat?
Alright, so I know that we are all familiar with the lovely textile that is ikat. It had quite a run of popularity in fashion last spring, and several of you probably even own a garment made from its distinct weave; have you, however, considered ikat for your home?
I must admit, until recently I thought of ikat as a great fabric for dresses and skirts, but I have quite suddenly been overwhelmed with requests and/or suggestions for allora chairs upholstered in it. Typically ikat comes in a melange of earth tones and muted hues, but there are also several bright patterns and bold, dichromatic versions available in broad ranges of color. If it is appropriate to refer to this ancient weave's aesthetic as pixelated, I am not sure, but the playful variance of focused and blurred patterns truly provides a visual treat and can be a classic, yet subtle way to add some oomph to your room! Have a great weekend!

01 October 2009

a new month
Looking at the blog, it is oh-so painfully evident that I have neglected allora for quite sometime now... one post all month! Unbelievable. T.S. Eliot said that "April is the cruelest month," but I do beg to differ. My vote is firmly for September. On a brighter note, I'm so happy to have a clean start for October: a month of football, renewed commitment to boot camp, and several fun weddings. Ladies and gentlemen, its going to be a great month!
Now, back to business. I'm so excited to share with you that allora has spread to the far-reaching lands of Georgia--even to the big city of Atlanta! Lulu Interiors featured several of our favorite chairs on their design blog! Check it out and stay tuned for the multitude of posts to come!