25 November 2009

abode features allora!
As if this wonderful week couldn't get more exciting--with the Southern Living article, Thanksgiving, Auburn v. Alabama, being home with family and friends, and Carolina v. Clemson--allora has been featured once again in a great publication! There is something so sweet about making it into my favorite Columbia weekly: the Free Times. Along with several other fantastic products for your home, allora's GIRARDEAU chair was featured in the trends section of abode--a monthly home insert. You can officially sign me up for VH1's greatest week ever! Have a happy Thanksgiving!

24 November 2009

website update
Many of the most devoted allora followers will note that earlier this month, the website was upgraded from the long-lasting "under construction" page to the logo; however, due to the overwhelming (and incredibly exciting) response from the wonderful Southern Living readers, the website is ready for a complete overhaul. Expect big things in the next month, including purchase options and a gallery!

23 November 2009

southern living!
I could not be more excited on a Monday morning! allora has been featured in Southern Living!!! It is so flattering to be included with so many wonderful products in the 24 Gifts Made by Southern Hands story. What an honor! I recently read an article about Pat Conroy, whose Aunt didn't count him as successful until he was written up in this great publication, and I can't help but giggle at the surreal feeling that allora has been included! Not to mention the fact that, as a Southern woman I have grown up with this magazine all around me and have no doubt been influenced by it. I wish I could describe to you the joy I felt when I popped into a Hudson News in the Birmingham airport yesterday and found the write-up (alongside the Robert Pattinson Vanity Fair, no less)! In this week of Thanksgiving, there is so much to be thankful for! Thanks to everyone who has helped allora along the way!

20 November 2009

chic color
Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of not only viewing a sampling of Betty Thalheimer's most recent works (while sipping on champagne at Oak, I might add), but of meeting the artist herself. I first read about this talented woman on Charlie and quickly decided that we are destined to be the best of friends! Full of spunk with a knack for color, Betty doesn't disappoint. I particularly like her combination of pink and citrus orange, one I've been trying to use myself. If you're in Charleston, stop by and see her at her new King Street studio! For more information, click here. Have a great weekend!

19 November 2009

write on
Who could have guessed, after the introduction of marker boards and smart boards, that the chalkboard would make such a unique and original comeback? I've eyed chalkboard paint for quite some time now and used it on several small craft projects and am officially ready to experiment with using it as a finish for an allora.signature chair. I have a very appropriate one in mind but am already looking past that and thinking there will have to be a collection! Be on the lookout for the first chair in a week or two...

17 November 2009

before & after:

allora.signature.GIRARDEAU is the perfect example of an adequate-but-wallflower before turned into an interesting-accent after with a few minor changes. The "bones" of this chair are remarkable; it is well-designed, but the shrimp and taupe colors of the fabric were only dated more by the linear pattern of the cushion and highlighted by the dark finish of the chair. Sara's choice of bright red enamel gives this chair a personality, while the jungle print's non-directional pattern is bold without being distracting.

before & after:
Today's before and after images of allora.signature.CANDIA show the transition of a pair of rusted lawn chairs into mod accent chairs on my very own screen porch. By scraping and treating the rust and finishing the metal chairs with a rustoleum enamel in cobalt, this pair was given a new life. Add white vinyl upholstered seat cushions, and you've got an instantly updated look!

16 November 2009

before & after:
There aren't many things more gratifying (or motivating!) than a good before and after, and I certainly love how the juxtaposition of the images makes the change all the more clear. I have been admittedly negligent in documenting the transformation of some of the allora chairs, but luckily for you (and for me!) I did manage to get some before shots of a few of the most recent chairs, which I'll be sharing with you this week. To kick it all off, here is allora.custom.KIAWAH!

12 November 2009

happy colors
I am so happy that Taco Boy is downtown these days. Where else can one get delicious flights of tequila and a healthy dose of fun color all in the same place? If that doesn't spell out a remedy for recession, I'm not sure what does. In addition to good food and good friends, Taco Boy deserves a shout out for their creative bathroom decor--I love a good surprise when I walk into a bathroom! These contained little spaces are very often mundane, so anyone that gives them a little attention gets an A in my book. Most of you have probably noticed the uber cool Mexican maps in the main restrooms, but have you ventured to the ones outside? If there is an award for the most creative use of marmoleum, these people should get it. The walls are covered in brightly colored tiles made of this earth-friendly material. I might not recommend it for your home, but its definitely worth a trip to take in the fun colors! Lucky me, I'll be there tonight!

11 November 2009

eye for style
How would you define your style? Are you more of a Risom lounger or a Chippendale high boy? Get to know yourself before you invest in a new piece of furniture or paint job with the style quiz (the perfect cure for the mid-week doldrums). Curious about my results? Check here. Happy hump day!

10 November 2009

'tis the season
...for turkeys, mistletoe, and unexpected house guests! Be prepared for the mysterious re-emergence of dear old Uncle Joe Bob without wasting valuable floor space (that would be better used for air mattresses or small children anyway...) by stocking up on some exciting and versatile folding chairs! The image above is from anthropologie, and though I truly love the chairs, they are a little on the expensive side at almost $200 apiece... yikes! You could have the same thing, customized for less than half the price; and the possibilities for adding cheer are virtually endless. Think fabrics in different (yet coordinating) colors, patterns, and textures brought together by a bold color enamel--I don't know about you, but this gets me excited for the holidays and ready to plan for some festivities! The more the merrier with extra folding chairs!

09 November 2009

You met her companion last week in a sneak preview, so I'm proud to introduce allora.custom.MONTAGU! This lounge chair marks a new look and new type of upholstery for allora with a removable seat cushion made of exterior grade natural canvas that allows for the tractor green enamel of the chair to really stand out. Coupled with a pillow, the lounger has a more casual look that allows for comfort without completely hiding the spindle structure of the chair back--love to show off those lines!

06 November 2009

word of the day: cabriole
I love how Dr. Suess-like that sounds: word of the day: cabriole. Fun for a Friday! In my recent work with chairs (and some recent reading), I've discovered that there are several very descriptive words that are used to identify styles and details of chairs. Not only do I love this word--its fun to say!--I love the style, and I love that I first encountered this word in ballet several years ago, where it means a quick, jumping, brushing of the legs. In the world of furniture, however, cabriole refers to the curve that flows so seamlessly from concave to convex on the legs of a chair (or settee or coffee table or what have you). This motion very appropriately reminds me of the set of French curves that I purchased in my first year of architecture school, so that I could draft these movements by hand. One of my very favorite chairs, allora.custom.KATHWOOD features cabriole legs; for more information click here. And have a great weekend!

05 November 2009

the new computer chair
When clients inquire about a chair, I love to ask them what they plan to do with it; mainly this is because I am quite attached to all of these chairs, but also, I'm always looking for new ideas--and it is quite interesting to find out what people are doing with their spaces. That said, the past three chairs that I have parted with (most recently, allora.custom.GIRARDEAU) have coincidentally all been used for the same unique purpose: desk chairs. Why didn't I think of that? I've given a lot of thought to this "market" that I never anticipated and have come to a few conclusions: 1. Most of us are in that post-college, pre-"adult" time in life that involves work (yes...) but does not yet include the ideal salary (no...), however; 2. we have our "beat up and dying but we can't afford a new one" computers that function just well enough to need a dedicated desk, ergo: 3. we don't have the room in our homes for a proper home office, so the desk for the computer goes in our living area.
This contemporary addition to the young adult's home is not something that our parents' generation dealt with. So, how to incorporate? I've found inspiration for integrating work areas (my personal one also includes a sewing machine that is often interchanged with the old laptop) on several design blogs, but what better way to make this unique aspect of your room versatile than to give it an interesting chair that can be used later (sans desk)? I learn new things about myself everyday, but one thing I know for sure is that I'm happy to "splurge" on things that are utilitarian in nature or have another use. Basically, since I have a desk chair already (and its not moving out of my living room anytime soon), why shouldn't I make it a fun and interesting place where I want to be? What a great (and responsible!) way to give the place a face lift!

04 November 2009

tutty fruity
Fall is in the air, but that doesn't mean your favorite bright colors and patterns are on hold until spring rolls back around again. I recently discovered a new fabric store near North Charleston (exciting!) and while perusing their bolts, I discovered a variety of interesting and very diverse textiles. These two are very definitely some of my favorites. With their bright tones, these two are the equivalent of resort wear: a fresh breath of the tropics in the midst of November! Each fabric has a wonderful texture, one is a heavy, embroidered canvas, while the other is varying piles of velour. Delightful!

03 November 2009

bright shiny morning
Bright Shiny Morning isn't only the name of one of my favorite books by James Frey, it is also one of my favorite parts of "falling back." The extra hour of sleep only lasts for one night (and the sun goes down before I leave work), but the sunshine on my porch in the morning is positively splendid! This chair is not quite done (or its partner--more later!), but I am so excited that the cushions (even without the zippers that they will get soon) are finally sittable! I'm test driving this lounge chair type and honing my sewing schools, so you might be seeing more of this look available in the future! At any rate, the fall light on my porch this morning made me want to share this sneak peak--be on the lookout for this chair's "official" debut (and name) sometime next week!

02 November 2009

dining with jeff

As you all know, I've been working on getting my new and awesomely huge screen porch in working order, particularly in time for the lovely fall weather. I have visions of myself snuggled up on a day bed in the sun--perhaps in a snuggie--reading a good book, watering my ferns as they grow bigger and greener, and last but not least, serving friends delicious chili around my science-lab-desk-turned-dining-table. Designing with a budget that tends to get way-laid by irresistible items, such as sweater vests at J. Crew, I'm taking this a day at a time, but thanks to ikea, I'm well on my way to the chili dream. Enter Jeff. Best dining companion ever. He's sleek, cheap, and oh so practical. It was love at first sight when I spotted him online, but I was slightly dismayed when (in typical ikea fashion) he was only available for purchase in store. Bah! Luckily, my incredible sister was planning a trip to Atlanta, so I didn't have to wait long for this new man in my life (x4!)... I love Jeff for lots of reasons. He's $9.99, quite the acrobat (you can see how he folds), happy to stay outside, good to sit on, and of course, because not every chair needs to stand out (Jeff hangs with allora.signature.CANDIA and the ladies can be quite diva-like).