Online store review: Moss Online

Moss Online is a store that features high end luxury goods which cost an absolute ridiculous price. However, they would cost even more if you bought them in Israel, and they ship here. So, if you feel like taking advantage of  the strong sheckel / falling dollar, and you are in the market for something insanely priced but exclusive as well – this would be the place for you.

Honestly, I while I love their goods I have to admit that I think it’s downright silly to pay… well, you’ll see that rant after I show the item…

Tord Boontje makes a stunningly beautiful chandelier, there is no denying that one. He also charges an arm, a leg, half of a head of hair, and an ear for them. The small pink Blossom chandelier above, made from Swarovsky crystals, costs $22,500. A lamp that costs more than a new small car. A small lamp that costs more than a small new car. And the lamp doesn’t drive.

 

I love decanters. Crystal decanters filled with exotic liquers – or pretty colored Koolaid for all I care. I don’t drink liquer or Koolaid – and both have such nice colors. As this is a decanter from Moss it is crystal and designed by Rudolf Eschler in 1934.  Because I know you’re wondering, it cost $525.

This ridiculous looking chair is made out of clay on metal skeletons. As clay is fairly easily broken I would recommend using this more as a conversation piece than an actual chair. Plus it doesn’t exactly scream comfort.

Moss takes themselves quite seriously. Their description of the chair: ‘Clay Furniture address the issue of form-giving in industrial design, revealing, literally, the designer’s ‘hand’ in this intimate process, today normally concealed through the use of a computer (but there, none-the-less).’

Really. Gosh, I feel so enlightened and arty suddenly. I think I’ll go put on some glasses and a black turtleneck.

This silly red chair was designed by Maarten Baas and costs $2,900

The rant begins here: Stop reading if you are not interested.

The Witches sticks above cost $770 and are made in an artists something or other by underprivilaged people in Guatemala. The price of this item pisses me off. The average salary in Guatemala for a non-urban area anywhere from $13 – $14 a month to $100, depending on how rural and run-down the area.

The average income for families in San Andrés is about 700/month/household (about $94).  In villages around the town of San Andrés, the average income drops to about $13-40 per month/household.  Conditions in surrounding villages are much more severe as they usually lack running water, electricity, stores, and most importantly, employment’

Let’s say that they are paying an artist to make this by hand and it costs them about 1 month to make a set (this is extremely unlikely). Let’s say they pay this artist around $50 for the work. Let’s even say that the wood is rare and expensive – another $20 for materials. Where do they get off charging $770 for 6 kitchen utensils? I don’t care if it’s a Tord Boontje – someone is making far too much money off of this and I can guarantee you it isn’t the poor sod in Guatemala. I am all for helping the underprivilaged and giving work to those in need. I just think they would be able to sell more and give those same artists more work if they priced the item in a range that doesn’t alienate your typical consumer.

Plus they look like they just stepped out of Hogwarts, literally. He even calls them witches kitchen. Please.

Much ado about collections

I was inspired to write about collections after visiting a tiny apartment on the second annual ”House Tours” event here in Tel Aviv a few weekends ago.  Nothing else about the apartment was outstanding, but the way the collection was managed made an impression on me.  I come from a family of collectors… it can be a blessing or a curse depending how the collection is displayed.  Around my house we say “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure”.

Here’s the collection that I saw on the house tour.  This guy had a fetish for action figures and small stone figurines.  I think he did a nice job on the display shelves which were in the center of the apartment and could be seen upon entering.

Here’s another collection of action figures, this one has reached it’s maximum capacity. This looks like a store display, but it’s not! 

Collectibles can be found in the most unique places.  There are also fairs and markets all over the world that only sell collections.  A friend of mine just made a special trip to Amsterdam for “Queens Day”.  On Queens Day, the residents of Amsterdam put their “junk” out in front of their houses and sell it for cheap.  She had a ball!

My 10 year old is a collector of sorts.  She recently reorganized here collection shown here.  At least they are the small ones…

When we moved to Israel 2 years ago we shipped six boxes filled to the brim with these Beanie Babies. The shelves were a good solution to house this collection.  After collapsing twice, they had to be specially reinforced. 

 

Salt & pepper shakers are a popular collectible.  I chose a few that I thought were cute.  You would be amazed at how much information there is on the web dedicated just to collections, I know I was.

I had to show this apron collection, it is a real hoot.  I can’t believe someone would even go there, however I do think that the solutions for display here are very resourceful.

These aprons are hung so conveniently,  you could just grab one on your way out to the BBQ!

Tips for displaying a collection:

* Display the collection against a neutral background, the collection adds the color.

* Choose one area in the home and confine the collection to it.

* Limit the collection to a specific theme.

* For maximum impact, group the items in the collection by color or theme.

* Display cabinets and shelves are great solutions for housing collections and keeping them safe.

 

A touch of art…

I can’t believe that this duck has been sitting on top of the Iria here in Tel Aviv for a while now and today is the first time that I saw it.  What is it?  Why is it there?  Because I am not from here I miss stuff, important stuff like this inflated duck in honor of Israels beloved illustrator Dudu Geva who died at the age of 55 in February 2005.

I couldn’t help but go to the “land of rubber ducks”.  I did some research and came up with a few products that are all about ducks…

Duck shower curtain number one,

Duck shower curtain number two…

This is a stress reducing duck that you squeeze, just looking at it makes me happy.

Incognito rubber ducks,

And THE rubber duck of all ducks! Dudu Geva is still making a statement, even from above.  Thank you Dudu.

Colors – Blue and Yellow

Blue and yellow are a classic color combination which originates from the south of France and French Provincial design.

I love these colors together. They scream happy in the nicest way.

The family room, above, and the bedroom and dining room, below, are all from House Beautiful and are fantastic examples of how to use blue and yellow together in a room.

I love the painted furniture in all of these rooms. The living room might be a bit twee for me, but it’s still a great example of how to use color in a space. The different shades of yellow and blue combine well and blend to give the space more interest. I’m not nuts about the shape of the blue sofa (wouldn’t a nice denim slipcovered piece look great there?) But the yellow lamps totally pop in that space.

What a fantastic airy dining room. The dark wood table anchors the space, and the chairs accent the color of the countertop and the pillows on the windowseat.

The bedroom shows how blue and yellow can bring some life into an all-white space, keeping it from becoming too cold. I would change the fabric on the benches in front of the bed, and I might even change the color of the chandelier. The yellow side tables are totally fabulous. I have some IKEA side tables in my bedroom which I have been debating on painting for ages now…

If you want to bring some yellow and blue elements into your own home the LL Bean Sandollar Quilt and Sham above ships to Israel. Keep in mind the shipping charges and the 15.5% tax on every shipment that is over $50. Even still the extra charges – with the falling dollar now is the time to take advantage!

The blue and yellow french provincial Orleans tablecloth from Williams Sonoma, above is another fabulous piece to brighten a space. Unfortunately, Williams Sonoma does not ship to Israel. Maybe if enough of us write to them and ask them to ship here they will change their policy? Otherwise requests will have to be made to friends visiting the US soon…

I’m not sure if you can tell, but the walls in the kitchen above are a light light yellow – the lamps is obviously a lovely blue. This is a modern way to add color to a space.

The blue hutch above is fabulous. Hate hate hate the walls. It’s too dull of a yellow (more of a dirt color actually) against the blue. Brings down the whole space. When using blue and yellow together it’s better to use a clean bright or light yellow, like all of the pictures above.

Historical site review: Sarona

Old world style in Tel Aviv

Historic Sarona in Tel Aviv has just been opened to the public after a 5 year long renovation of the area. This old German protostant community of houses that date back to the 1920′s are rich in architectural detail and old world style.  I recently had a chance to visit the site, which is just west of the Misrad Hapanim here in Tel Aviv on Kaplan street.  Featured below are some photos I took of the original wall art paintings that were uncovered and restored in some of the houses in Sarona.  I highly recommend a stroll through this old community which is now open for public appreciation. You can’t go inside the houses, but  being on the grounds amongst the old homes brings back a strong sense of the past.

The simplicity of these wall paintings breathe nostalgia.  

These border paintings, which are typically placed along the top of a wall just under the ceiling line; reflect true country style!

Notice the greyed down colors used in these patterns.  The old pigments were mixed with egg whites that served as an adhesive, the same technique as used in Italian fresco paintings…  very Michael Angelo right here in our own back yard!

These swans were a centerpiece for a longer, more detailed border painting.  Below you can see the swan pattern in full detail. 

These odd looking cast iron sculptures “Menchelach”  which means little man in German, are actually shutter holders. They sit on each side of the shutter and grip the edge to prevent it from moving. During the restoration they were stripped of many layers of paint to reveal their fine details.  

In the future, these sculptures are to be enshrined in a “Menchelach museum”somewhere on the grounds of Sarona.   This museum will be the one and only museum of its kind in the world.  Pretty COOL! 

 

 

White Webb in Kips Bay

I know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering when I’m going to get tired of Kips Bay posts? – Never I tell you, never!

White Webb is the team of Matthew White, an ex-dancer turned designer and Frank Webb, an ex-trader baby who probably made millions and doesn’t ever need to work again so now he just makes things pretty for a living. (This is simply my guess from reading their bios – and I have to say I am seething with jealousy towards Webb – does it show?)

Regardless of their credentials – they do make a place look fabulous. The guest room, below, was their contribution to Kips Bay.

My only serious negative critique of the room is the fact that it is meant to be a guest room, yet the placement of the bed gives it the impression of an afterthought. Maybe placing the bed in the center of the room, or somewhere a couple could get in on each side, is just too old fashion – but I’m just that kind of gal. I don’t really want my hubby climbing over me to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night. (Is that too much information?) The room is big enough to accommodate a proper bed, the type a guest would actually want to sleep in.

Love the tapestry blanket draped over the arm of the chair. Like the turqouise pillows on the floor. Kind of dig the tchochkes on the side table (not that I can tell what it is – but it looks neat). Not really loving the shape of the shelves, but they do go with the gold in the embroidery of the chair. The books on the shelves is one of those decorator details that no one who reads could actually live with. While it’s not as annoying as the twigs in a vase (thank G-d they don’t have that here) – it still irks me.

The back wall, however, I just love love love. According to their website the back wall is an art piece made out of tin can lids. I couldn’t even imagine how many cans of soda went into the making of that wall, but what a great way to recycle!

Now, how to get the look?

The bed is actually easy enough. You could go to Florentine in Tel Aviv to any sofa maker and get it custom made to fit the size of your mattress – you could probably haggle them down to around 3,000 NIS max since they don’t have to make regular cushions and it’s only one piece. The back wall you could make yourself after ingesting enough caffeine sugary poison to make a diabetic go into apoplectic shock.

The chairs can also be custom ordered in Florentine, but you would probably have to buy the fabric seperately in one of the specialty fabric shops down there.  The above chair is from Beitili, and I’m certain they would have a fabric available which is closer to the one in the Kips Bay room. Is it the same shape? – No, but it’s close. However, that back chair leg makes me pause. Is it just me, or are they showing damaged goods on their website? What’s up with that?

The wall lamps could be found easily enough as well – but the table lamp would be a hard find. I can not understand why Israeli’s aren’t into table lighting, but they don’t seem to be from the extreme derth of selection in the stores.

The nesting tables are designed by White Webb – perhaps they ship to Israel?

Design styles: Country

Country living with style

 

This house has country style written all over it.  Perched on a mountain top in Woodstock Vermont, it radiates tranquiluity.  These old houses were built to withstand harsh weather, something we don’t have to worry about much here in Israel.  The sloped tin roof insures that snow and ice do not linger there for long. 

This entrance is actually a mud room, a typical design feature in country styled homes.  What’s more functional than a place to leave your dirt behind, this one even has a bench on the left side making it convienient to takle off soiled work boots or shoes.

The dining room sits just off of the kitchen, making it easy to serve family meals.  The simple wooden table and chairs and the braided rug add to the relaxed country atmosphere.

In this guest bedroom a patchwork quilt is inviting.  Patchwork is a definite country style statement.  Lately I have seen it making a come back in home furnishings and fashion.

 

A view from every window of “the old apple tree” completes this house in real country style. I actually had the pleasure of staying here for three days and nights and it was devine.

Country Accents:

There are a few decorative accents that are absolutely country. The rooster stencil below is definitely one of them.

Adding an old ladder is a creative way to hang towels and clothing in a bathroom or a bedroom and it’s “oh so country” in style.  Ladders are multi functional and if you find a sturdy one, it can even be used to reach out of the way places around the home.

Punched tin cabinet doors and lanterns are a definite country style accent. These tin lanterns shed a soft diffused light through the tiny holes in the tin, I don’t recommend them as a main source of light, but they are a good secondary source.

This painted flower pot by Hagit Dvir, a decorative painter from Israel; is a sweet and festive way to liven up both an inside and an outside space.  These pots stand on their own with or without flowers.

There are many elements in design that reflect the country theme in addition to the ones mentioned above.  Any antiquated utility item can make for a great conversation piece.  No matter where you live, you can still visit flea markets to pick and choose items that can make any home “a little bit country”.   

Rehut Marom

What are those two semi-posts at the top of the bed where the headboard should be? ‘Look, it’s the bull-horn bed!’

My midnight searching for entertaining furniture led me to Marom Furniture, located in Haifa. Their site is packed with all sorts of goodies to make you giggle, and a few cute items thrown in so you actually have a reason to go and buy.

The sofa above was another item that left me tilting my head slightly to the left with a perplexed look on my face. I’m almost afraid to imagine the person who would buy such a thing. No. I’m not almost afraid - I am afraid.

I could do another rant here over how to make a proper bed… not to mention the swags of fabric everywhere. Is this bed in a bedouin tent?

The bed is made well. The pillows are in place, the sheet is back, it looks inviting. However, that back wall looks awful and completely overpowers the bedroom set. Also, where are the bedside table lamps? Paint the back wall something pale, but not white – and add some light colored accessories, please!

This is more like it. I have no idea what those things are on the dresser. But nevermind that. The bed is made nicely with cute accent pillows. The bedside tables have lamps on them. The floor is good and the back wall, while being a rather depressing color, is nice and goes well with the set while not overpowering it. This is a bedroom set I would actually drive up to Haifa to get a better look at.