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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Du Verre: Hardware is Art

Today it became very REAL that I am going to Blog Tour Cologne 2013. Smiling from ear to ear, I opened up my first envelope enclosed with a catalogue, some recent press releases, a cool gift and a friendly hello from Gina Lubin, CEO and Creative Director of Toronto based Du Verre Hardware company. Du Verre has partnered with Modenus in sponsoring this year's group to Germany and Amsterdam. So thank you Du Verre and Modenus!!

After ruffling through all the cool brochures, my first impression was Du Verre was no ordinary cabinet hardware company. Each pull and knob design is like Art and uniquely reminds me of a custom-made piece of jewelry. Oooh la la, cool makings for an earring or a necklace.....

What is really impressive is DuVerre’s commitment to their artisitic vision while using clean technologies. They have responded to environmental concerns by manufacturing its die cast designs in eco-friendly recycled aluminum.  By using recycled aluminum, air and water pollution is significantly reduced.

DuVerre also works closely with several premier designers. Their collaboration has resulted into innovative, contemporary knob and pull collections.  They have partnered with an outstanding roster of designers such as...... 


TRIBAL By Clodagh

FORGED 3 By Heinz Pfleger

POMEGRANATE By Heinz Pfleger

OFFSET By Erin Adams

LOTUS By William Harvey 


Like I always say, “Love is in the details,” 
and Du Verre’s Hardware is a perfect example.

 I can’t wait to see and touch each piece in Cologne!!
You can connect with Du Verre Hardware on their 

Thank you, Du Verre Hardware for Sponsoring 
the Blog Tour Cologne 2013 Team!!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

MOD narrative: Uplift your New Years

MOD narratives
where products ignite the experience

Is it love at first sight?  Not sure, but the gaze says it all....... 
That amazing feeling lifts them up like it's New Years Eve 
in New York City’s Times Square.

The MOD narrative features a party for two with décor accessories 
that you can find on 
Mod Design Guru's Project Decor design shop -  
there you can go for décor inspiration, peruse products I love 
and purchase them on the spot! 

Let's amp up the volume for your home....

Take a sneek peek of my Project Decor shop HERE 
and more info about the accessories HERE.

Have fun shopping!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Mod Must Haves for your New Years Party

stylish, modern, unique
for party lovers

I am a guest on Design Thoughts blog today! Click HERE 
to check out some 'Mod Must Haves' for your 2013 New Years bash! 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Double-stuff Oreo Chocolate chip Cookie recipe for your holiday party

Want a drop dead delish desert for your upcoming holiday parties? I'm talkin’ about the double stuff Oreo Chocolate chip Cookie recipe! This recipe is so easy!  

All you need is a bag of Oreo cookies, double stuffed of-course, and the makings for a chocolate chip batter mix. I made these babies for a cookie- swap party last week and they were a hit!  It makes 2 dozen very large cookies! 

  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 Cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 Cup granulated sugar
  • 3 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla
  • 10 oz bag chocolate chips – I used the large chips
  • 1 bag Oreo Cookies, I used the double stuff

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Combine butter and sugars in an electric mixer until well combined.
  • Add in eggs and vanilla
  • Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl and then add to the wet ingredients.
  • Mix the chocolate chips into the batter
  • Take a scoop of cookie dough and place on the top of the Oreo cookie.
  • Take a scoop of cookie dough and place on the bottom of the Oreo cookie.
  • Now press the dough around the entire oreo cookie. (all sides)
  • Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake cookies 9-13 minutes.
  • Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.
Enjoy with a tall glass of milk!! Yummmmm!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Tom Matt's newspaper impressions

Artist Tom Matt

A couple of years ago, I was sitting in a Soho cafe sipping my coffee and I became mesmerized by a drawing of a New York City streetscape that hung above me. There was something very interesting about the artists technique that drew me in... there were ghostly typed words peeking through layers of graphite and oil paint. And then I realized, the artist used the New York Times front page as its canvas. I love art and design that is memorable and his work resonated with me. Ever since that moment, I have followed the artwork of Tom Matt and wondered what gave him this idea?  I was able to catch up with Tom for an embracing interview which uncovers the crux of his work...

Tom explains, "when I was living in Manhattan right before the millennium, I wanted to create a body of work that said 'New York' in a unique way, but didn't want to use white paper or canvas as a surface. I never drew cityscapes up to that point, and I felt inspired to try. One day as I was sitting in a cafe on McDougal Street, I found myself sketching a view through the front window. I was drawing on top of a torn scrap of newspaper, using a black marker and white-out that I was carrying in my pocket. When I finished, I loved the mid-tone effect of the newspaper and texture of copy that 'showed through' the drawing. It was then and there that a light bulb turned on in my mind – the idea of a 'series' of cityscapes on top of the front pages of newspapers came-to-life."

What inspired you to become an artist?

For me, art was something I grew up around since I was a child. My parents are both professional fine artists and professors, and I saw them every day, working in their studios at home, drawing, painting, designing in fabric, and making sculpture. In fact, when I was very young, I thought all of my friends' parents had studios too, 'like us' – I thought it was just 'normal'! My dad received a two year Prix de Rome in 1970 when I was 4 years old, and our family lived in Rome during that time. This experience left an impression on me, and introduced me to a world full of artists, fascinating museums, and interesting cultures and languages. I was always drawing and making things over the years, through elementary and high school, where I had some great art teachers. I attended art school for a period at Boston University, the Lyme Academy of Fine Art in CT, and later, the School of Visual Arts in NY. In recently years, a painting instructor in Brooklyn named Andy Reiss has also been influential. Growing up with art, I found that it came easily to me and it felt empowered and happy in discovering and expressing my creative process and vision.  

In three words, describe your artistic style.

Impressionistic, Representational, Conceptual.

Can you describe your creative process and the essence of what you wanted to capture in The Series NY, Paris and Kansas City MO?

I enjoy the series of 'moments' the add up to become the creation of a piece of art. When I start, I walk to the news-stand to pick up my 'canvas'. This is a magical and almost 'ceremonial' first step. I have no idea what articles will cover the front page of the paper, whether the issues will be agreeable or hard for me to read. This often unexpected 'reality' I'm about to face will merge and become part of the art. I accept this tension that makes the experience feel 'new' and makes me ready for 'perform'. Then, the actual drawing of the art itself is both enjoyable and done with a lot of thought, care and focus. I work 'on location' over a month's time. 'Finding' the view and just the right spot to stand, before I even start is a major part of the piece – as important as actually painting it. Hearing the city hum around me and encountering a diversity of passers-by also adds to the experience. Simplicity in color palette is a general theme, although in particular pieces I've also enjoyed exploring its complexity. It put final touches on my work in my studio. Knowing 'when to stop' is something I need to 'listen for'. Minutes can sometimes become hours between going back and forth between 'not yet' and 'done'.

What I want to 'capture' in each cityscape is often much more than simply 'the subject'. Its the 'movement' of the whole composition, the combination of abstract forms and shadow-shapes and how they 'work' together on the page, and the play of color and the tone of these forms within foreground, mid-ground and background. Its the managing and orchestration of these elements that is exciting.

Another inspiring part of the creative process is when a client commissions me to make a piece of artwork. The 'date on the page' they choose carries a lot of meaning for them – as it represents the celebration of 'the day' of a wedding, the birth of a child, an anniversary, birthday or... This is then tied together with a special city-view relating to the experience of the event or people involved. In these commissions, I'm grateful to be invited into the personal and memorable events of everyone involved.

Who and what are your ultimate muses in fashion, music, art and/or architecture that have shaped your art collections?

Jazz speaks to me most when I create my work on newspaper. Its melodies and rhythms are intuitive and interpretive, which mirror a large part of my process. Having lived on the island of Manhattan, I must say that its bridges hold a special place for me. But there is no particular 'architecture' that directly inspires my work. I will say though that often the juxtaposition and contrast of 'old and new' buildings create an appealing and unexpected visual dynamic that I like. A mixture of artists I admire: Degas, Lautrec, Van Gogh, Hassam, Bonnard, Vuillard, Hopper, Porter, Wyeth, Diebenkorn, Desiderio among others... They vary and interchange month by month. 

What collection are you most proud of and why?

All three Series hold meaning for me as my creative experience and expression are wrapped up in them. Let me mention Paris too, as it was impressive and wonderful. In particular, I respond to how each part of the city, with the Seine River running through it, was designed with such forethought and care. In my work, I hope to be able to continue new series in new cities. In fact, I recently moved to Kansas City MO and am just beginning a newspaper series there. On my website, you can see more pieces in my series, as well as other branches of my art:

Thank you Tom for a wonderful interview!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Elf on a Shelf antics

I just had to share all the fun my daughter, ok me too, are having with the Elf on a Shelf doll. If you're not a parent yet, this little Elf keeps your children in check before Santa comes to town. He 'magically' moves around your house too, with a little shove here and there....Here are some of the antics that are going on...

Happy holidays!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

MOD narrative: Reminiscing the Trail of 2012

MOD narratives
where products ignite the experience

As we embark upon the New Year, I savor in all the amazing moments that have happened over this past year. Framed images meandering along a hiking trail sets up a story... 

Reminiscing the Trail of 2012 - MOD narrative

This assemblage of spatiality and narrativity highlight points in time that mean so much: schmoozing at the Open Sky design celebration with my great pal and fellow blogger Design Thoughts; attending Jonathan Adler’s colorful Holiday in July 2012 giftables preview; designing an inventive picnic basket for DIFFAS Picnic by Design 2012 event; partaking in Brizo's blogger 19: Fashion Week Jason Wu fashion show; grooving to Stacy Igel's 'Forever Young' fashion week show and after party, landing a shop in Project Decor's Style Exchange program, winning Layla Grayce's 'Express your Style' contest judged by Jonathan Adler, ranking #5 in Modenus' Top 100 design blogs 2013 list and learning that I am launching-off to Germany in January with Modenus BlogTour Cologne 2013

Phew, the journey has been so rewarding! Moving ahead, this blog will feature MOD narratives - mini dramas that connect imagination, creativity, and shopping. Oh, did I say shopping? 

For example, each picture frame seen above in 'Reminiscing the Trail of 2012' is linked to Mod Design Guru's Project Decor design shop where you can go for décor inspiration, peruse products I love and purchase them on the spot! Take a sneek peek of my Project Decor shop HERE and more info about the picture frames HERE.

Let's amp up the volume for your home....

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Heading to BlogTour Cologne 2013!

Something has happened and I am ready to start howlin’ about it! In mid Janurary, I will be struttin' my stuff around Cologne, Germany and yeah, Amsterdam too with 14 other designer and bloggers for BlogTour Cologne 2013, hosted by Modenus. Amid all the good food, beer and wine, we will be absorbing amazing trends, products and inspiration at sponsored events and the IMM Cologne, an international furniture and design trade show focusing on innovative materials, fabrics and architectural lighting design technology.

Our amazing host, Modenus, an informative online design resource has pulled this BlogTour together. Veronika Miller, Tim Bogan and Erin will be supplying us with more of the details soon, so stay tuned!  Meanwhile, take a peek at the list of fabulous designers above by clicking the 'Meet the Bloggers' link.
Once the tour starts (Jan 13-18th), you will be able to follow any one of these designers/bloggers via Twitter (#BlogTourCGN), Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram

I wear this badge with honor! Thank you, thank you Modenus!!

Mod Must Have: John Houshmand's Glass Cube Table design

stylish, modern, unique
for furniture lovers

You all know that I'm a John Houshmand lover after my two part interview series. Well, he just surprised me with a new design inspired by his .oo98 bronze cube table design this morning. I really love it! A wood slab appears to be floating within its glass cube. The lines are clean and significant. With no sign of connections, John totally defies gravity. And oh my, the hidden drawer! Bravo!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Layers in Art: Victor-Raul Garcia

I came across a new abstract artist named Victor-Raul Garcia from Lima, Peru. I really relate to his work because he finds beauty in the dimensions between layers of paint. He uncovers and scratches what's beyond the surface. Although this sounds pretty deep, he describes himself as "an autodidactic artist who doesn't take himself too seriously."

His layered process adds and reveals mystery to each canvas. He says, "Complexity and Depth can actually be soothing and gentle if interpreted correctly (both by the artist and the viewer)..."

I find myself travelling thru each band of gray or color he dictates.  Where is he taking me? What are his inspirations?

Victor adds, "my inspirations are a vast array of images I witness and/or research daily .......from a religious scene on a stained glass window in a church to  the cracks, rust and moss left on a sidewalk; from the overlapped and torn layers of old billboards left in subway stations to the foto of a vintage brooch; from a stack of fabrics at Fortuny to the microscopic imagery of an element......."

You can follow Victor-Raul Garcia on his WEBSITE & Facebook.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mod Must Haves for lighting lovers

stylish, modern, unique
for lighting lovers

At first I was drawn to the differential textures of rough against smooth...

Sapi Chandelier by Eva Menz Design  SOURCE

Then a closer look.....

Sapi Chandelier by Eva Menz Design  SOURCE

The chandelier by Eva menz design is composed 
of several hundred bone pendants. Wow, pretty 
amazing how the light bounces off each jagged edge!

Sapi Chandelier by Eva Menz Design  SOURCE

Eva Menz Design explores any material and specializes 
in sculptural pieces that are magical and spatial!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Designer Spotlight Part 2: John Houshmand's retreat Villa Tierra Adento

Welcome to Part 2 of my interview with the talented artist and furniture designer, John Houshmand. In Part 1 of the interview, John described his imaginative furniture-making and process. To read all about it, click HERE.

Below John Houshmand kindly takes us behind the design of his own retreat - Villa Tierra Adento in San Miguel de Allende, a hidden treasure with a thriving artist’s community, and a shoppers paradise for finding odd and interesting things. The villa’s elemental architecture is breathtaking...encompassing air, earth, fire, water, and metal,…its pure geometry is set perfectly and born from the desert’s landscape. Oh! the views, especially by the pool! The house is meant for tired city dwellers to escape. I wouldn't mind being a guest!

John Houshmand recounts his experiences designing his home. "Working with my friend and colleague David Howell on my house in San Miguel de Allende was perhaps the greatest yet the most fulfilling challenge. It involved shared egos, shared vision, four years, a huge project of 12,000 square feet of house, 8,000 square feet of patio, on almost 9 acres of land, with 360 degree views."

John adds,"We built in the local material and technology vernacular to a sensual minimalist design around a hacienda program, and got a result that is amazing. I wore every hat on that one, and it was in a foreign country. The result is a testimony to a truly challenging and special process."

Looking at the villa's courtyard pictures brought back wonderful memories of living in Barcelona, Spain and visiting Morocco. Life is enjoyed around the courtyard experience and I understand John's inspiration.  He specifies the architectural layout and design for the Villa: 

"The rooms are all arranged around a courtyard replete with lemon and orange trees and a tranquil fountain. The traditional dimensions (4 meter ceiling heights etc) are merged with the traditional building methods (boveda brick-domed ceilings, viga flat ceilings, terracotta tile, wood oven in kitchen, the pyramid-in-pool feature, the stone construction of the 'music room' and the 'gallery', and more. Even the color of the house was taken from the earthen color of the hill upon which it stands. But all these features were abstracted into pure forms, and the colonial details were left out totally... no wrought iron, no curved arches, all these were ignored in favor of a powerful and elegant simplicity."

The interior spaces are as special as the exterior. I really love the beautiful architectural and furnishing features such as the grandeur of each space; the large spans of glass allowing the outside views in; the movement and texture of the brick boveda ceilings; the sunny and warm red-orange-yellow accent colors and John's own animate furniture pieces. Inspiring!

Take the journey inside with John.... "The interior design was accomplished as a collaboration with architect David Howell and his wife interior designer Steffani Aarons. The architecture was to be a canvas upon which to paint the art, furniture, and collected items that honor the Mexican hand and heart (Mexico has the largest number of artisans in the world), as well as the work of friends and my furniture design. Pieces were gathered from the roadside antiques stores, San Miguel’s shops and artists, and more. All upholstery, curtains, and fabrics were done from local shops...."

Thank you again John for the eloquent interview! 

I really love your retreat and how you and architect David Howell integrated 
local artisans and materials into the architectural design. Beautiful!

To connect with John Houshmand, 
you can link to his WEBSITE, BLOGFACEBOOK, and TWITTER.