Saturday, September 30, 2006

Dulce Consignment

La Dulce Interior Consignment on Oak Lawn is tucked into a small shopping strip catty-corner from the Melrose Hotel. They offer a mix of modern and mid-century finds, some rarer than others. An American Leather sofa in grey microsuede was tagged at $1200, and many items undergo intermediate markdowns. The selection of seating, art, and case goods is varied in style, but quality seems consistent and staff is friendly but not overly pushy, letting you roam and explore the generously-filled sales floor.

In addition to the furnishings, Dulce has a long tradition of featuring artists' works on consignment and hosting artist receptions. The next cocktail reception is Friday evening, November 3, featuring the works of Venezuelan-born Dallas artist Jean Paul Khabbaz.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Slocum Street Style, Oct 5

Let me acknowledge that Slocum Street is known for antiques, and that most of them do not at first glance fit a modern Dallas design aesthetic. But eclectic looks, blending across eras to combine well-loved, aged pieces and crisp modern lines, are being featured more and more. And modern design, in my opinion, should encompass good design elements regardless of age or provenance in order to establish unique and polished, personalized spaces. These carved marble candlesticks by Paul Mathieu (featured at Odegard) would sit nicely next to a Womb chair.

On Thursday October 5th, Slocum Street gets shut down and antique and design-loving Dallasites get the run of the district. The event is sponsored by D Home and and the Slocum Street Antique & Design Association. Between 6pm and 10pm, Slocum Street will be closed to traffic and trolley cars will shuttle event attendees among over 33 showrooms that line the street. Silent auction items will be offered at various stops. The nibbling, sipping and shopping benefits the Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation.

Art Heist, September 30th

The Emergency Artists' Support League (EASL) is sponsoring the Art Heist fundraiser tomorrow night. The evening of cocktails and hors d'oevres and sale of special "loot bags" is capped with a snatch-n-grab. Attendee "thiefs" each get a minute to select one of 150 donated works of art. "Witness" tickets are available for $25, while "thief" tickets that guarantee taking home an original art work are $200. A number of contributing artists will be in attendance.

EASL was founded in 1992 with the mission of providing urgent assistance (both monetary grants and volunteer professional services) to North Texas artists experiencing medical emergencies or other catastrophes. Since its founding, the organization has granted over $250,000 to over 100 individuals in times of dire need and has helped artists negotiate payment schedules for what would be overwhelming medical debt. Examples of aid are varied, but they share the sense of relief and support granted to the artists thanks to EASL's assistance.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

W Dallas and the Victory Project

Opened in August as the beachhead of the Victory Project surrounding the American Airlines Center, home to the fabled Ghost Bar and Craft restaurant, inaccessible except through a small valet's the W Dallas-Victory hotel. The hotel features the zen-inspired sleekness seen at other W locations. There is a 16th floor fitness center, featuring the Bliss Spa and an infinty-edge pool with skyline views. The W's numerous floors of condo residences are capped with a private helipad.

Once the Victory project is fully developed, the hotel will be in the thick of things: shopping, business, entertainment, sporting and restaurants. The hotel is part of a larger project by the Hillwood group which will feature several other office buildings, condominium and apartment tower developments--including the Starck + Yoo project, and the Mandarin Oriental hotel. A fly-through model of the entire neighborhood's development is available on You Tube. Although there are numerous concerns over the use of tax incentives to build such upscale development on a previous brownfield, the infill into Uptown is testament to the interest in more urban, modern living, closer to downtown.

The photo of the W's serene travertine staircase is from the Dallas Daily Photo blog, while the exterior shot is from the Dallas Metropolis web forums, where several contributors are tracking the progress of architecture Uptown and Downtown.

Shopping McKinney-Knox-Henderson

With the recent closing of Urban Home, the east side of Central Expressway became just a little less hip. Fortunately, Ligne Roset has opened their second Dallas store just a stone's throw away, on McKinney near Knox. The store is between Design Within Reach and the Forty-Five Ten clothing boutique. Just north of DWR is Mody and Mody, who feature quite an assemblage of B&B Italia and Maxalto furnishings. (I'm personally craving the Arne sofa and its gentle angles.)

Heading north up McKinney takes you to the intersection with Knox and a few lesser-priced stores including: Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Z Gallerie, Smith and Hawken, and Weir's furniture. Of course, I haven't had much nice to say about these stores (see my post "Modern Quality" below), but it's nice to have a single neighborhood where you can park and browse until you decide what price and style fit your tastes. Speaking of tastes, don't think the only option for snacks is Chili's! Chuy's, a Dallas Mexican staple is right at the corner, and several other restaurants are nearby. With all the wandering (more walking than most Dallasites can fathom outside a mall) you might even see Oprah, Laura Bush, Jessica Simpson, Angie Harmon, or Gwynth Paltrow coming out of Forty-Five Ten!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Modern Quality

The October issue of Smart Money magazine offers an article on the deconstruction of some "modern American" furniture from "upscale lifestyle retailers" Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, and Crate and Barrel. The magazine bought several pieces and shipped them to a Maine furniture shop for disassembly. The magazine credits the approachability of the designs at all three stores and the cunning marketing talents of each corporation for being able to cause someone who enters the store looking for placemats to leave with a $2200 armoire. Then the article goes on to shred the construction of the so-called "classic" pieces. Many pieces are made of particle board and plywood with 1/40th-inch wood veneers. One chair's back support consists of a single large webbing strap, lots of polyester down fluff, and a canvas slipcover. Sure, there's a spring-filled cushion (on the bottom half only!). Rustic-appearing pieces use a species of Indonesian wood more commonly used for fabricating shipping crates than for quality furniture. Drawers are stapled and glued rather than joined with dovetails. Dark "espresso" and "mink" finishes hide problems with grain or tone between component pieces. To think that pieces of this quality approach the cost of the low-end pricy stuff! If image and simplicity of acquisition count, these stores are fine for it, but this article demonstrates more reasons for buyers to be wary of what lurks beneath the surface.

The article text does not seem to be online, which is a shame, but a few other bloggers have commented (here) on the article's findings as well.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

People's Design Award

"What is design? You tell us!"

The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum is sponsoring its first-ever National Design Week, beginning October 14th. In the run-up to the week's National Design Awards gala on October 18th, the site is taking nominations and hosting voting for the best design. Browse all the nominations online. There are the expected design impresarios--the Eames lounge chair, the Knoll Diamond chair, but also the everyday items we take for granted--the paperclip, the zipper, the Helvetica font, the contact lens--and the unexpected--Google Earth, the I heart NY logo, the US Constitution. Voting ends on October 16th.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Consignment Finds at Art is Art

Now entering its second year, Art is Art is a pleasant little storefront in Lakewood, not far fown Oram Street from the Greenville Avenue Whole Foods market. The store aims to offer "an eclectic selection of paintings by local artists, urbanized furniture, modern/retro furniture, new one-of-a-kind tables, funky gifts and accessories for the home."

They feature a mixture of furniture finds, art pieces and jewelry. While you have to look carefully around the shop's two rooms, you'll likely find something you fancy at an affordable price. Buying unique local art instead of a framed that's more like it!

The gallery hosts its next show on October 14th, featuring awesome paintings by Dallas artist, Justin Preston and Austin artists, dm.pevey and Lincoln. Complimentary beer and wine will be served (while it lasts).

The store is also having a 20% off sale on most furniture to celebrate its first anniversary.

Update 9/28/06: The store was selected as Best Art Support in the Dallas Observer's annual "best of' issue. The kudos: "The store has a friendly vibe that's only natural since the gals are so supportive of local creatives."

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ju-Nel Homes: MCM masterpieces

D Magazine's current issue features several homes in the White Rock area (hopefully a few will be on next April's home tour!) with a decidedly modern signature. All of them have large, float-glass window panes, low-lying roof lines, open floor plans, and courtyards. Built in the late 1950s and 1960s, the designs by architects Lyle Rowley and Jack Wilson integrate their lots' trees, curves, and natural lighting. The influence of Japanese design and Frank Lloyd Wright is found in the interplay with nature. Recycled brick and natural materials like teak and South African woods add to the nature-conscious design.
While you're waiting for April, take a driving tour: Silverock, Vinemont St, and Woodgrove.


While the "bones" of modern design are often stripped down lines, what calls attention to the forms is the contrast with well-chosen accessories. This zen-inspired coffee table (on sale for $190) slides open to reveal a river rock contemplation. While Wisteria's catalog features accessories that could be very victorian, in the right hands, they complement modern pieces beautifully. The selections aims for "thoughtful, intriguing combinations of color, texture, whimsy and history." The company is based in Carrollton. Wisteria-at-Home, their outlet store off Regal Row in Dallas, is open Thursdays and Fridays from 9 till 4.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sputnik Modern

Borrowed from Dallas's Shopping Buzz Blog:

Chris Thurman flips furniture the way some folks flip houses. The Dallas native grew up with a penchant for vintage clothing, which later morphed into buying, restoring and selling retro-modern furnishings. Turns out he was pretty good at it. Thurman was soon making a living hawking his refreshed pieces to dealers and, almost four years ago, opened up his own space inside Century Modern downtown.

Now, Thurman expands his reach again with Sputnik Modern, a new online-only source ( for 20th-century decorative furnishings. Expect to find everything from Harvey Probber mahogany stools to a Dunbar side table with Natzler ceramic tiles.

Ask nicely and Thurman may invite you to shop his warehouse by the Original Market Diner. Seems he keeps a rotating stock both here and at home. "I'm always changing things out," says Thurman. "I could replace our own dining table and my girlfriend probably wouldn't notice for a week."

Add another local source!

Spiral Glass

Rees Bowen owns Firehaus and is a member of the Spiralglassinc group. At a recent sweltering summer open-studio show, he and apprentice Matt Hare created a 3-foot multi-colored platter in front of a (very hot) audience. Works vary from sculptures to light fixtures, platters with a dramatic variety of undulous curves and captivating color swirls. Bowen worked the glass with choreographed forceful attention as inorganic materials took on the organic form. Handblown glass is more captivating than two-dimensional pieces through its manipulation of ambient light and its evocation of the artist's influence on the physical properties of the medium.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

More local furniture finds

This chair and ottoman from Lula B's has eye-catching contrasting piping. The simple lines and the outlining trim give a coloring-book feel to the mid-century style.

And this sectional made up of a pair of curvaceous gray couches and button-like ottoman draws you into a conversation area. Yum!

This wrought-iron-frame upholstered couch has a familiar pedigree--our friends at Century Modern had a hand in its rejuvenation.

There's a Z-gallerie sectional in Allen for those that want a little more modern and a little less mid-century.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Century Modern

This picture just doesn't do this desk or this store justice!
Century Modern is a fabulous store on Main Street in Deep Ellum featuring mid-century furniture and accessories. New stock come in from all over the country weekly, and the store features both original and restored versions. The store was featured in Architectural Digest and in Ralph Lauren's city guide, but it's been known to Dallas denizens for years, for the style and comfort from these classic pieces. This desk is a 1940s custom mahogany desk with a green leather top, adjustable wooden drawer dividers, and sliding letter trays. The massive piece has an imposing curved front that feels more like a command center than a simple paper-pusher's prop. The original owner's brass nameplate is still affixed to the side.

Friday, September 08, 2006

"Mastering the Modern Mix" Seminar

Metropolitan Home has been sponsoring a series of seminars recently (there was an event at the Lovers Lane Storehouse in May), and the next installment will be at Kreiss on October 6th.
Join Mike Kreiss, design visionary and CEO of the Kreiss Collection and Jo-Anne Pier, Metropolitan Home's Retail Merchandising Editor as they discuss "Mastering the Modern Mix." Mike will explain the Kreiss design philosophy while Jo-Anne will showcase the latest trends in modern design. Together they'll demonstrate how Kreiss products can be woven into your home by creating beautiful room vignettes with different design elements.
Kreiss is located at 1628-30 Oak Lawn Avenue in the Dallas Design District. RSVP to the store by 9/29 for the evening event. Munchies, gift bags and possible prizes are promised.

Ochre Design

Ochre, a London-based design group, is opening a SoHo retail store, its first American location. The New York Times has a nice slideshow featuring "distinctive modernist accessories and furniture constructed of offbeat natural materials". Designer Andrew Corrie explains, "We're not about stark minimalism. We're part of a trend away from that hard-edged commercial aesthetic. We're warmer and softer, with organic forms and earthy colors." This lamp combines a simplicity of line with a sinuous shape. Love it!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

North Dallas Design District

One of the first places I found for furnishings when I moved to Dallas a few years ago, the area labeled the North Dallas Design District is off Alpha Road near the Galleria and features a wide assortment of furniture styles and pricing. Some of these stores have been open since the 1970s, but in the late 1990s the dealers came together to for the District. Selection varies from bulbous overstuffed leather club chairs to sleek ground-skimming European platform beds, and prices vary widely. Eurway offers European design at a modest (think "innovative, affordable") price, with some assembly required. Cantoni and its outlet are just mere blocks apart, and Roche Bobois beckons to those with splurge-ready modern tastes. The Preferred Buyer card is a secret you can't afford to miss: for $25, you get a year's worth of discounts at 22 stores in the District. A full list of perks is here. You should also know that the District's First Saturday events offer special savings in addition to the cardholder discounts.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Dallas's West Elm opening October 18th

There's a new banner up on the Central Expressway side of Mockingbird Station announcing the opening date of West Elm's newest location: Wednesday October 18th. I'm curious to see how the converted Virgin Megastore features the furniture. Now there will be one more option for approachable and affordable modern furnishings. I've never been the type to order large pieces without kicking the tires, and the new additions give a few more chances to test out firmness of upholstery and look and feel of the finishes.

The fact that the store is in close proximity (Google says 0.2 miles, or 29 seconds travel time) to Horchow Finale means this area is getting more are more intriguing to savvy shoppers.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Dallas eBay Finds

Inspired by Blue Ant's eBay trolling, here's a few Dallas-area listings:

Danish Antique Credenza, 50x18x22 inches, $150

1960s Simmons Hide-a-Bed, 74 inches long, $99

Oxford rolling file cabinets, $9.99

Jofco 1960s desk, $9.99

3 metal frame tables, $9.99

Brandt Ranch Oak table lamps, $75

Update: The orange Century Modern couch I blogged about before is now down to $600 on Craigslist and starts at $100 on eBay (reserve not yet met). It turns out its back reclines to serve as a daybed.

Blue Ant Studio--Miami

Blue Ant Studio (Joel and Maria Pirela) has a new fun blog that is a combination of nice online finds and local design resources. It's a mix of design inspirations and executions from a family of industrial designers. Their goal is to provide a
place where I can post, discuss and reveal our everyday challenge to make our homes and lives more modern and interesting, with tips, DIY's, modern furniture sources, photos and links to all related to modern spaces. That includes MCM, minimalism, modern, arquitecture, furniture design, art, pottery, graphic and industrial design
The DIY projects around their house inspire my creative side to go find the circular saw, and the recurring feature is the Catch of eBay encourages me to continue to reach beyond Dallas to find the right pieces. I'm looking forward to seeing more!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Modern creeps into mainstream

When I wrote my first post, I wish I'd been able to quote this article from the October 2005 Wall Street Journal. Turns out, they too have been noticing the mainstream embrace of modern and minimalist design.
Just a few years ago, good taste was overstated, defined by ornate Oriental carpets and sofas dripping with tassels. Dining tables came with pedestals and crystal-chandelier sales were booming. Now, in a reaction against the clutter of tradition, designers and furniture makers are emphasizing a more minimalistic look. With its insistence on sharp lines and shiny surfaces, this style in the past has sometimes been a hard sell for consumers. But this time, there's a soft twist: In place of cold or stiff materials like metal and leather, the new versions come with fuzzy fabrics, plush stuffing and more forgiving edges. The goal? To bridge classical and modern looks and make the furniture easier to live with.
What the main outlets are producing caters to those seeking chic creature comforts: a soft, cushy, padded-up version of the hard angularity of modernism. All of this is geared towards improving approachability and decreasing the intimidation of the modern design classics. Kinda like the California Roll is approachable sushi, that shows you're still hip enough to get into the raw without risking the unagi.

Austin Modern

Maybe the biggest national exposure for Austin's hip and modern design came from the Season 16 of MTV's Real World. Downtown Austin has tons of other reasons to be both hip and modern. The views and svelte loft-style design offset more traditional or edgy furnishings. The nightlife and the music scene complement the design aesthetic.

Scott (recently moved from Dallas to Austin) has a fabulous Blog called Mies and Carrots that covers nice design in Austin and beyond. His most recent post features the Ultimate Tree Houses exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum! Even better, he's from the same mindset that I am: good, modern design is in evolution, meaning that we're always on the lookout for something new, and even better if it's a bargain. The modern eye appreciates the interaction between man-made and natural beauty and the contrast of crisp lines and organic forms. As Scott writes, "beautifully simple, and on sale". The savvy design fan's trifecta. is another fabulous site that is devoted to cataloging the modern homes in the Austin area, as a way of documenting and preserving non-McMansion architecture. While some of them are for sale, others are presented for appreciation.