Friday, October 28, 2005

Who is Cristina Saralegui?

INFURNITURE has an interesting article about famous people cross-licensing their names in the furniture business. I came across an article today about Cristina Saralegui, The Queen of The Airwaves By JEANNE DEQUINE and learned she is cross-licensed with CBK Ltd. in an accessories line "Casa Cristina" which is carried at Landfair Furniture.

Time magazine had an article on August 22 about The 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America:

When fans encounter Cristina Saralegui, the vivacious, sometimes ribald talk-show host of the weekly prime-time El Show de Cristina, they tend to ask for hugs, not autographs. Her mix of glamour, humor and kitschiness, developed over 16 years of doing the program on the Univision Network, endears her to viewers, though her penchant for the provocative has shocked them at times. On the air, she has revealed her cosmetic surgery, given condom demonstrations, bemoaned her menopause symptoms, even "married" gay couples. The latter event drew bomb threats and 1,500 protesters to her Miami studio. "I have gotten into a lot of trouble in my life for being brutally honest," she says. "Sometimes I put both my feet in my mouth. But like Elton John, I'm still standing."

She's doing better than that. Saralegui, who came to the U.S. from Cuba at age 12, now sits at the center of a Hispanic empire. Like Oprah Winfrey, to whom she is often compared, Saralegui, 57, has become a brand, which includes Cristina La Revista, the magazine she started in 1991; a talk show, which has won 11 Emmys and an estimated 100 million viewers worldwide; a Miami television studio; Casa Cristina, a furniture line; an upcoming clothing line; and a burgeoning acting career that has included an appearance on ABC's George Lopez. Her bilingual website receives an average of 50,000 hits a day. Her book Cristina! My Life as a Blonde is out in Spanish and English. And she runs a foundation, Arriba la Vida/Up with Life, which aims to educate Hispanics about HIV. "Kids can diet, stop smoking, but they will never stop making love," she says.
Landfair Furniture + Design Gallery has a number of the CBK Casa Cristina pieces including a 27 inch high metal urn and a mate that is 21 inches high; a centerpiece bowl with a lid that sits on a tri-pod. Coming soon are Casa Cristina swirl cone-shaped narrow neck vases. The set of three are as tall as 24 inches and 6 inches in diameter.

Bev & Mike

Casual Dining Hits the Heights

INFURNITURE has an article in the October 3, 2005 issue Casual Dining Hits the Heights by Jo Fleischer.
There are countless theories circulating to explain the current boom in counter-height and pub-height tables. Some blame the aching backs of busy moms who constantly shuttle between the stove and a low dining table where the kids are doing homework. Others speculate that pub-height tables remind us all of a pleasant evening out at Applebee's or Chili's and we're trying to recapture that feeling at home. Other theories hold that higher tables put kids, in particular, at eye-level with whomever is doing the cooking, and at the same time enable everyone at the table to keep an eye on a television in an adjoining room or attached great room.

Lifestyle expert Cheryl O'Brien of C. O'Brien Architects, Bala Cynwyd, PA, says that a trend toward darker woods in kitchens, especially in cabinets and center islands, also is leading table makers to move to darker hues, as well. The trend is most pronounced in newer homes where kitchens are attached to large great rooms. In many cases, the casual dining table straddles the line between kitchen and family room, and kitchen-white tables are rarely at home in those transition areas.

The result of these strong trends is the continuing growth of casual dining sets from counter heights of 36 inches up to pub heights of 42 inches or more. At the same time, darker finishes-including the widespread use of black-are achieving dominance in many retail showrooms. With the darker colors, designers are also moving away from what's long been traditional for dining by incorporating everything from leather chair seats to stone and metal table surfaces.

Landfair Furniture + Design Gallery has the darker colors in casual dining tables and pub sets to meet your design needs.

Bev & Mike

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Nancy Zieg Competes in HGTV's Designer's Challenge

Hey gang, next Thursday at 9:30 PM EST and PST Nancy Zieg will compete in HGTV's Designer's Challenge.

Nancy Zieg was one of Landfair Furniture's Top 20 Designers for 2004, based on business done with the store. We interviewed her here at Landfair Furniture (Blog).

The show's website explains the challenge this way:

Wouldn't it be great to choose from different plans offered to you by three design experts for your real-life interior-design project? This weekly half-hour series follows one homeowner per episode through the exhilarating decision-making process of selecting from among three designers' room renovation plans, created just for the homeowner. Viewers watch as the chosen designer brings about a fabulous new look for the room. Hosted by Chris Harrison.
We wish Nancy all the best. It must be an honor to be recognized on the show and we will be watching, next Thursday at 9:30 EST and PST.

Bev & Mike

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Volunteers Need for Friends of Trees

Several years ago, we decided that our parking needed a tree or trees. Bev and I worked with Friends of Trees to decide what tree to plant and through them how tall a tree was permitted, due to overhead wires. We decided on a maple that would have bright red leaves in the fall.

Planting was to take place in mid-January. Sometime prior to the planting, some group of volunteers dug a hole in the parking. Then, on the day of the planting, a number of us met at the distribution point where 8-12 groups loaded trees into pickups along with stakes. We set out in individual cars to the streets in our neighborhood to actually plant the trees. I remember it was cold and wet, but in about four hours, my group planted our maple and maybe ten others in people's yards.

Friends of Trees stayed in touch over the first year or so, monitoring the health of our trees and making sure they were watered regularly. I am proud to say that all but one of the trees we planted are alive and doing well. It is a joy to walk the Grant Park-Irvington neighborhood knowing I planted that tree!

Which brings me to

The Beaumont Wilshire Neighborhood Organization along with Friends of Trees are sponsoring a tree planting on February 11, 2006. The organizations are seeking homeowners who want trees. Volunteers are also needed to help organize and carry out the planting. If you are interested in either trees or volunteering contact Albert Kaufman at The deadline is November 1st.

Trees cost between $50 and $75 and range from 6 feet to 14 feet. The tree fee covers the cost of the tree, hole digging, assistance on planting day, stakes, twine, and follow-up monitoring. Both street and yard trees will be available.

Mike & Bev

"An Exploration of Portland Food and Drink" Blog

I wrote in September about a blog that gives restaurant reviews and blogs about food called An Exploration of Portland Food and Drink. If you are into the latest restaurants, you have to visit this site. Today we read this comment:
This is an amazingly busy time for new restaurants. We have Roux, Nostrana, Vindalho, and Fenouil (Jamison square in the Pearl), Siam Society on Alberta, an oyster bar on alberta, Blue Olive on Fremont, all opening about the same time. On top of that is the sudden rise (and fall?) of Olea.
In addition to the restaurant reviews there is an excellent article about cheese, What Does Cheese Mean?:
A certain euro-centrism reigns in cheese appreciation circles. When I think of good cheese (really good cheese), what immediately comes to mind is an imaginary French or Italian sheep’s milk gem crafted from the milk of herds grazing in the Alps. On some level, there’s a logic to this; European cheesemaking is a centuries-old tradition that produces some of the world’s great cheeses. But on another level, many aficionados take an us vs. them approach to cheese appreciation, as if great cheese can only be measured against European standards. I think there’s a lot more to cheese than that.

Bev & Mike

BTW the Clinton neighborhood blog says a new restaurant (is) coming to the 'hood on Powell across the street from the Fireside Coffee Lodge. Blue Dragonfly will be an a Latin American-inspired restaurant.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Decorating Trends at High Point

Kara Cox at Home Accents Today has a look at High Point and finds there is comfort with nature-inspired styles.
A soft mix of seascape hues such as sea green, sky blue and sandy beige create a simple palette for showcasing the treasures of the natural world. Wood is interpreted as a pattern in silky soft goods and cool silver-toned metal designs. Birds offer a feminine touch as sculptures and in hand-painted motifs on accent furniture. Wall decor showcases bird and egg designs featuring an antique quality offered with hand-colored prints.


With chaos becoming more evident in the world around us, consumers are looking for design and style that will create a calming environment in the home. Drawing inspiration from nature allows texture to remain organic, soft beach colors to relax and styles to merge the outdoors within.

Bev & Mike

Frederick Cooper Opens New Showroom

One of the lamp lines that Landfair Furniture carries is Frederick Cooper, a high end lamp that is almost art.

An interesting note in Home Accents Today, Frederick Cooper improves its showroom.

After entering the showroom at 200 N. Hamilton St., S-302,in Chicago, buyers move past the reception desk into an area featuring Larry Laslo licensed designs, then on toward other high-end designs in a range of materials, including lost wax bronze bases and weather-resistant Outdurables lamps featuring elephants in Thai art glaze.

Its showroom changes are a reflection of the company’s effort to move beyond its position as a premium lamp manufacturer and into the luxury lamp niche.
We spend so much time working to create great designs, we needed something to better show that we are in the illuminated art business.
The company dates to 1923 when artist Frederick Cooper’s work was so prized he was asked to illuminate his sculptures by incorporating his artwork into lamps.

“I think Frederick Cooper has always been interested in providing exquisite lamps that have an ‘Aha’ factor, an element that delights the customer

Bev & Mike

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Interior Design Styles: Oriental

We have been discussing five design styles used in the interior design world: Traditional, Country, Modern, Exotic and Oriental.

From the September Home Accents Today Anniversary Issue, Kara Cox Describes Oriental design in The Big Trend.

In the world of design, Asian or Oriental style has long cast a spell over the Western world with its air of elegant exoticism and mystery. Always in fashion, this design tour de force sometimes wanes in the interior scene, only to spike in popularity yet again as the season's newest trend. Whatever the current status, this centuries-old theme continues to captivate in settings from classic to contemporary.

Heading back to January of 1987, Home Accents Today spotlighted the Orient Revisited in its market sketchbook. Japanese and Chinese influences blended with upscale flair, accented with subtle ornamentation and shape and materials like rice paper, pine and wicker. In keeping with the mood of the times, the color palette was muted and subdued with soft rose shades and mint green. Later that year, Oriental looks were in the spotlight again with a focus on ornate influences (such as gilding and lacquering) mixed with subtle contempory statements.

The next year, Japanese and Chinese styling was show-cased in deeper, richer palette with stylized patterning, such as flowers, pagodas, birds and kimonos.

Asian styling continued to dominate on the home front until 1990, when it dropped off the scene until 1996. At this time, the overall style took a contemporary turn, focusing on Japanese-inspired designs steadily for the next few years. At the close of the century, the emphasis was firmly planted on the Zen approach to decorating. Serenity and tranquility were key words, a reactive counterpoint to the chaos and upheaval of modern civilization.

By the year 2000, the overwhelmingly Oriental imagery and rice paper looks were gone, replaced by gentle, and even romantic approaches. The calm simplicity and purity of Asian gardens created an understated aesthetic of airiness for the home.

Stepping into the 21st century, Asian looks maintained a low profile for the next few years only to return with a fresh new twist. Albeit uptown, urban, or loft, the Orient underwent a cultural transformation, blending with cosmopolitan designs for a look that could be almost be European or American in its derivation. Whispers of the Orient ratcheted up the sophistication level; these clean-lined designs could be at home in any big city around the world. Following the tone set by the contemporary trend, Japanese designs were more naturally dominant in this time period.

Now with the pendulum swinging in the opposite direction toward refreshed, updated classic design (combined with a strong undercurrent of exoticism) expect to see a movement for 2006 toward Chinese-based styles and embellished, as opposed to Zen, Japanese looks.

Spiffed up and polished down versions of Chippendale chairs and elaborate fretwork motifs are on the horizion, as are lavish, opulent Chinoiserie-style bird and botanical prints, provided they translate into the decadent, yet restrained sensibility that today is calling for.

Given the resiliance of Asian design over the years, there is no doubt the Oriental approach will continue to reinvent itself with style to spare.

This concludes our tour of five design themes that Kara Cox gave us permission to reproduce.

Bev & Mike

Chinese Gardens

Preparing for the Oriental review of themes and designs, I was reminded of our beautiful Chines Garden in the heart of Portland, Oregon, wonderful on a crisp fall day.

Bev & MIke

Chinese Gardens

Chinese Gardens31

Preparing for the Oriental review of themes and designs, I was reminded of our beautiful Chines Garden in the heart of Portland, Oregon, wonderful on a crisp fall day.

Bev & MIke

Monday, October 17, 2005

Interior Design Styles: Exotic

We have been discussing five design styles used in the interior design world: Traditional, Country, Modern, Exotic and Oriental.

From the September Home Accents Today Anniversary Issue, Kara Cox Describes Exotic design in The Big Trend.

Over the years. the definition of exotic has broadened to include a host of looks outside the borders of conventionally defined design. Webster's sums up exotic as "from another part of the world: foreign." Strictly speaking, this tidy definition covers a whole lot of design territory, encompassing everything from tropical and bohemian to safari and primitive. Each of these looks originally referenced a specific place, although these inspirations have merged and mutated in myriad ways. Other style categories join the exotic roundup including vintage, ethnic, flea market, eclectic and organic as the modern descendents of these exotic foreigners.

The latter part of the '80s was marked by a distinct safari or jungle influence, very African in feel, highlighted by animal prints, rough, textured materials, exotic woods and fibers, and bold, ethnic geometric prints. A mix of exotic cultures - India and Middle East - also were prevalent in home accent designs, showcased in ornately carved wood, highly decorated ceramics, rich colorations and burnished gold and bronze tones.

Heading into the early '90s, safari influences morphed into primitive, still African, but with an excavation-style, archaeological twist. Worn finishes, weathered and hammered metallics, crude forms, rough edges and an earthern palette mimicked the look of found treasures. A recurring theme of eco-consciousness (with an emphasis on natural materials) accentuated the first glimmerings of organic style.

By the mid1990s West Indies-inspired designs were at the forefront of exotic accents, showcasing a blend of Colonial tradition with casual island style. Tropical materials like wicker, rattan and teak were at their peak.

A major style shift occurred in 1996, leading far away from India, Africa and Morocco (although these continue to be viable styles). In this case, all roads do not lead to Rome either, but to Grandma's attic. The March 1996 edition of Home Accents Today predicted the top emerging home furnishing style through the rest of the '90s would be Romantic Vintage. The April sketchbook introduction that year described a new eclectic and informal viewpoint pervading the market, an irreverent blending of traditional, time-worn furnishings with modern and offbeat, funky touches.

Nearing the end of the millennium, vintage felt right in step with the times as a knee-jerk reaction to modernism: anti-cyberspace, anti-high tech, anti-futuristic. Vintage, as defined by Home Accents Today in June 1996, was divided into four distinct looks: nostalgic American Attic; rugged and exotic World Traveler; relaxed and elegant European Memories; and faded Rustic Remnants.

The millennium set the stage for global discourse, emphasizing the new internationalism of our world. Blending, or blurring the lines, between cultures was of primary importance, resulting in eclectic interiors designed to showcase multiple cultures, 21st century-style.

Inspired by the famed Les Puces de Paris Saint-Quen flea market in Paris, Home Accents Today showcased Paris Flea Market style as the cover in April 2002. Celebrating indiviuality and experimentation, Paris Flea Market encapsulated the present-day metamorphosis of vintage bohemian, mix-and-natch style, a look that smacked resoundingly accross the home accents market for several seasons.

Eclecticism at its best, the idea of "scavenging" for style gradually crept across to the consumer as mainstream, in large part due to design shows that advocated breaking all of the established rules of period design.

In the last few seasons, a renewed emphsis on organic and primitive design have emerged. The look has been handcrafted with an overriding artisan approach focusing on making the mass-produced feel one-of-a-kind.

Tuesday, the final installment of Kara Cox's article The Big Trend, focusing on the five major deign themes and style, will feature Oriental.

Bev & Mike

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Ralph in the Fall

Ralph in the Fall
Originally uploaded by gily122000.

This is the best picture I have ever taken of a dog. It shows his sweetness on a beautiful day and fall is in the air.
Bev & Mike

Interior Design Styles: Modern

We have been discussing five design styles used in the interior design world: Traditional, Country, Modern, Exotic and Oriental.

From the September Home Accents Today Anniversary Issue, Kara Cox Describes Modern design in The Big Trend.

Contemporary style's birth can be dated back to the late 19th century with its popularity growing through the two world wars. Dutch De Stijl, Bauhaus, Wierner Werkstatte's ground-breaking designs still are evident in today's modern pieces. Contemporary design strives to combine current fashion and cultural highlights with art, architecture and furniture.

While modern design stresses simple shapes, minimal decoration and high function, bright colors and abstract forms help create new art for a new time. Modern design often builds on retro sensibilities and recalls the past while offering breakthrough materials and functions for a fresh, high design look.

Twenty years ago, contemporary design was pulling from the Art Deco period inspired by the architecture and culture of the '30s and '40s. Sleek lines, arching curves and jazzy colors blended with industrial materials like acrylic, glass and metal. Brass combined with stone and acrylic in lighting designs while black and white marble and jazz-era motifs spruced up wall decor and tabletop. Lacquer surfaces and high-gloss ceramics lent a fashionable touch to abstract and geometric shapes. Black and gold were popular color combinations with touches of red for drama.

In the late 1980s, Post Modern gained popularity with cold, gray metals in matte and satin finishes mixing with stone and marble. Tapered column floor lamps and cylinder shapes appeared. In July 1998, glamour seeped into contemporary with shimmery silver, glittery gold and frosted glass setting off dramatic black and white and colorful glass sculptures. Watercolor abstracts provided a little pattern available in deep hues like black, graphite and plum or emerald.

Contemporary took a wild turn in 1989 with dramatic angles, neon brights and abstract patterns in black splashed with cobalt, magenta, emerald and teal. Elemental geometry tied together the look with jagged triangles, spheres and arches. Halogen ceiling pendants and torchiere floor lamps spoke to technological advances as well.

The early '90s popularized metals and metallic finishes from cool gray shades in pewter and chrome as well as black and gold pairings. Rough texture, weathered tones and updated steel were popular in sculptural looks and primitive craft pieces with comtemporary metal wall art simulating twisted metal. Color began to move into contemporary in 1992 with splashes and swirls of bold, vibrant color in graphic and abstract patterns for tabletop, wall decor and soft goods. Inspired by astrology, star and moon designs appeared with heavy black toning down for navy and gold. Black was no longer a background color but moved toward widespread acceptance as a neutral in wood tones and metal finishes.

The mid '90s softened contemporary a bit with the arrival of natural materials in modern design. Eco-friendly wood, paper, wool, stone, pottery and metal provided texture and interest to otherwise unadorned, unfinished media. Bold pop art styles made a statement drawing inspiration from Andy Warhol imagery of the 1960s in vibrant shades of blue, yellow, orange, green and black. Art Deco reappeared in 1995 and 1996 spicing up contemporary with swirls, curves and architechtural detailing.

Retro designs appeared with a throwback to 1950s kitsch and nostalgia in the late'90s. This time around, retro took a natural approach in apparel-inspired colors like gray, camel, tan and black offering a solid color scheme rather than mixing patterns. Primitive basics were updated for modern function as stone, iron and pottery showed off little ornamentation. An urban eclectic look emerged as modern, Asian and casual styles merged with artistic impact from simple solids, minimalist pencil sketches for wall decor and modern sculpture.

In contrast, with the dawning of a new century comes a return to '79s beatnik style with retro prints, colorful abstract patterns decorating everything from lava lamps to beanbag chairs. The last few years have shown a blend of contemporary designs with exotic motifs, clean Asian Zen styling, and artistic, stylized shapes. Today style and comfort updates soften lines, add curves and meld international influence with once stark contemporary elements.

We continue the discussion tomorrow with Kara Cox on Exotic.

Bev & Mike

Friday, October 14, 2005

Interior Design Styles: Country

We were discussing yesterday and for the next few days, five design styles used in the interior design world: Traditional, Country, Modern, Exotic and Oriental.

From the September Home Accents Today Anniversary Issue, Kara Cox Describes Country design in The Big Trend.

The April 1986 issue opened its style pages with the statement, "Country is unquestionably the most popular of all decors today." While much has changed in the last 20 years, Country remains popular and has evolved to encompass a host of informal styles from Southwestern to Folk, Lodge to Beach.

The mid 1980s held country styling in high esteem with the most popular Southwestern Chic featuring lightly colored, heavily grained wood, hand-carved and hand-painted effects, and imagery evoking American Indian motifs in warm desert palettes. Style details included rough textures, folk craft inspiration, leather, pottery, kilm rug and soft goods patterns.

As the 1990s approached, English country and Victorian influences brought a sweet, feminine slant to country styling. Flowers, lace, ribbons and heart motifs mixed with wicker, topiary designs and hand-painted wood. Wall decor depicted English countryside scenes and rich tapestries, fringed lampshades and deep Victorian hues.

At the same time Victorian romance was influencing casual style, primitive folk styling appeared with handmade looks, aged leather, rusty metals, raw wood and natural earthy colors. The pieces were used together for an eclectic collected feel rather than store-bought appeal.

In April 1991, Lodge debuted with rustic accents highlighting the American spirit in red, white and blue combinations, historical American scenes in wall decor, and hand-painted wood figures. Floral designs took on a country, wild flower look in wicker basket containers.

By spring of the next year, Western looks were strong in pine, walnut and oak finishes complementing soft tones of brown, beige and terra cotta that warm up rough surfaces and natural materials. Building on the success of the Bob Timberlake collection from Lexington Furniture, the home accessories market debuted rough-hewn, homespun textures and deep earth tone palettes throughout 1992. Tribal patterns appeared in rugs, textiles and ceramics while wall decor focused on Western animals like moose, deer and cattle. Pottery and iron became popular combinations for lighting, while rattan, hickory branches and jute appeared as natural materials.

Late 1994 saw the first move away from lodge to primitive Americana style with simple Pennsylvania Dutch influences in whimsical accents, darker wood finishes, embroidery and needlepoint soft goods designs. Graphic images of fruits and vegetables appeared as primitive expressions of rural style.

In 1996 country began traveling to places like the French countryside, with fleur de lis motifs, French storefront images in wall decor, light woods and painted furniture adding a casual European feel. Weathered vintage looks became popular with faded color palettes, floral patterns and Tuscan vineyard grape motifs dominating lighting designs from table lamps to chandeliers.

As Americans rushed to invest in a second or vacation home, furnishing designers in the mid-'90s introduced a relaxed coastal style with painted wood finishes, brightening whimsical ceramic and wall decor designs.

By the late'90s, several country themes coexisted with handcrafted cottage looks remaining true to American roots, French country blending European themes into casual style and coastal looks popular for second homes and regional decor.

Western made a quick comeback in the early 21st centuery with softened features as modern shapes and contemporary interpretations of Native American patterns adding an updated edge. True country went minimalist with white finishes, wrought iron beds and soft pastel florals.

Saturday, Kara Cox writes about Modern.

Bev & Mike

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Interior Design Styles: Traditional

For the next few days we will describe five design styles used in the interior design world: Traditional, Country, Modern, Exotic and Oriental.

From the September Home Accents Today Anniversary Issue, Kara Cox Describes Tradtional design in The Big Trend.Traditional design borrows on themes and styles from centuries past, updating the elements with fresh color, finishes and motifs. For the past 20 years, traditional home furnishings have changed little in some aspects and greatly in others. The design style has encompassed everything from Neo-classic to English manor house and antique French.

Two decades ago, traditional design centered on two major looks. Historic reproductions of 18th century English antiques, specifically Georgian and Louis XV styles, offered formal and elegant designs. Especially popular were ancient Greek and Roman elements such as marble, pottery and classic urn shapes featuring medallion and eagle motifs, obelisk-shaped lamps and classic architectual lines.

Worldly influences continued with European inspiration found in richly colored porcelain, fringed lamp shades, damask upholstery, colorful majolica and rich jewel tones with vendors showing renewed interest in historic licensing programs.

The 1990s brought about a resurgence in garden florals with hand-painted European country motifs found on everything from upholstery to chandeliers and pillows. Baroque styling offered an ornamental, opulent touch to wood carvings, iron accents, gilt finishes and sculptured elements. Classic motifs remained popular with mythical, archeological figures spotted on wall decor, table-top and lighting designs. Romantic sentiments carried a Victorian vibe into casual traditional looks of the early '90s with bows, ribbons, delicate patterns and floral designs.

Black took on traditional with a beaux arts feel in 1993, alive with drama and grandeur when contrasting formal marble, gold leaf and antiqued brass. Gold resurfaced in sophisticated tradition on gilded mirrors and accented tables.

The mid-1990s revisited classic English style with swag motifs, weathered finishes, topiary styles and brass and crystal combinations. Faceted gems appeared everywhere, offering a romantic touch to classic style. As grunge music gained popularity in America, Gothic detailing emerged in home furnishings with medieval images of harlwquin patterns, pointed arches, gargoyles, arrows and fleur de lis in black and gold with spots of red.

In the mid-'90s, relaxed European style battled over-the-top tradition on a grand scale. French Country and Tuscan influence lent a casual feel to traditional with painted finishes, terra cotta and vineyard motifs. Large scale, gold leaf, and heavily carved detailing added a formal touch to classic illusions. Old World Mediterranean style was strong on sun drenched finishes, leather looks and scrolled iron.

With the 21st century, formality returned in English manor looks with lion's head imagery, gilding, silk tassels, embellishments and a simple gold, red and black color scheme.

Recently, traditional design has turned toward updated classics offering clean, modern lines, less ornamentation and bright, colorful hues.

Friday, Kara Cox writes about Country.

Bev & Mike

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Goodbye Neighbor!

Two furniture retailers in trouble!

Two weeks ago Martin Scott Ltd. on Macadam avenue, in Portland, announced a "going out of business" sale. I don't know what happened to them. They were good neighbors and we will miss their competition. Rumors are that they may reopen in The Pearl under another name.

FURNITUREToday brings news of Levitz filing for Chapter 11. Mike remembers when they went public many years ago.

The 121-store Top 100 company filed in the Southern District of New York and said it has arranged for $90 million in debtor-in-possession financing. The financing package is led by GE Commercial Financing and includes an incremental credit line of $25 million from Prentice Capital Management.


While the company didn’t refer to store closings in its press release, J.B. Davis, president and CEO of key suppler Klaussner said he believes the plan is to eventually close 60 to 65 stores as part of the reorganization process.

That's the sad part in these closings; the harm to the employees and all of the people dependent on these businesses.

Operating a business is not easy. There are a lot of decisions to be made when you run your own business and good business guidelines to follow. I am humbled by the trust people have shown in me and grateful for the help of bookkeeper Helen Pilgrim, and our CPA Kim Wilcox.

Bev & Mike

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Who's Riding Shotgun?

Delivering furniture can be hazardous. We have heard of drivers suffering back and elbow injuries, but this injury to a driver was new.

We were supposed to get a shipment to fill a special order last Tuesday the 4th. The driver called and said he would be late. He arrived yesterday the 11th and apologized a number of times. I told him everything was ok and asked what had happened. He said he had spent two days in the hospital. Seems somewhere in Utah, two men in their 30's jumped him in a truck stop, kicked him in the head and robbed him of his wallet, pictures of his kids, and $4!

The memory of his close call brought tears to his eyes and he apologized again. He said they kicked him in the head so hard both eyes were bleeding. I asked how he felt visiting a truck stop now and he said it scared him.

"Will you "pack" from now on?"
"It's against the law", he said, "to carry a weapon in a commercial vehicle."
I looked at the size of the lug nuts on the semi and suggested he carry a lug wrench with him. You can always say you were just checking the lug nuts.

Turns out the police caught the bandits with his wallet. That gets them 10 years. If there had been no robbery, just bodily injury, they might get 30 days.

Why am I spending so much time on this trucker you ask? I was struck by his tearing up, almost like post-traumatic stress syndrom. We have come a long way from the stage coach and men riding "shotgun".

Bev & Mike

Monday, October 10, 2005

Duralee introduces Pavilion Fabric

From Casual Living, Duralee introduces Pavilion Fabric

Duralee Fabrics introduced the Pavilion Collection, a line of indoor/outdoor fabrics with color-coordinated prints, weaves and trimmings in a seven-book set.

Created from a variety of fibers, including Sunbrella, Weatherwise and Teflon, Pavilion fabrics are engineered for outdoor durability.

Bev & Mike

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Beaumont Trees

I love trees and I love the trees in Grant Park that harbor squirrels that Ralph loves to chase. Having gone to the park for over nine years, I have seen a lot of changes. Old trees have gotten sick and had to be cut down. New trees, usually deciduous, planted and now showing their red fall clothes.

I came across Ron Franscell posting at Under the News. He writes about his love for trees and how in the rigorous Wyoming climate, trees were more fragile than here and grew only about three months a year, between the last frost in May to the first frost in Mid-September.

Portions of Montana, the Dakotas and Wyoming were hit by a slow-moving snowstorm that knocked out power, closed roads and dumped up to 13 inches by Wednesday.

Franscell now lives in Beaumont, Texas and you know Beaumont took a direct hit from Hurricane Rita. He writes

When I came to Southeast Texas 18 months ago, the landscape was festooned with trees. They grew like weeds in a tropical climate, and some people removed them helter-skelter, the way some people change the furniture in their living rooms. My front yard had three majestic trees, and the back had even more. I took comfort in these eight trees' maturity and shade. They were home to birds and squirrels that made the whole place seem more like a home than a house. These were my trees and I wouldn't have dreamed of cutting them down.

But Hurricane Rita took them all. A sturdy cedar was literally ripped out by its roots. The storm sheared off the tops of three tall pines, and stripped huge branches from all the rest. The hurricane-force gusts shaved off most of the leaves, split the crotches of the trunk, shoved them perilously toward the tipping point and slashed fences across their bark. It's the same story all over this region, where grand old trees bore the greatest brunt of non-human damage. In Beaumont, the storm even claimed the old tree in the city, a historic oak that was older than America itself; it was so large that when it came down, it damaged three different homes.

All but two will be gone when I go home tonight. The tree-cutters were expected today to chop them down and haul them away. I'll plant more, and maybe for a while, I'll measure their growth, just to be sure. An old habit from a short season.

I remember the Columbus Day Storm and can imagine what Beaumont must look like.

Bev & Mike

Saturday, October 01, 2005

How to walk through a museum

Found this while surfin', How to walk through a museum at Marginal Revolution. I especially liked this bit of advice:
Go with a variety of people (but not all at once). It forces you to see the art through their eyes.
There's more advice here plus loads of comments. Have fun!

Bev & Mike