Designing Women: Gilda Midani

September 11th, 2014

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My sister, Carrie Crowell, is one of my favorite humans on earth. She is the creator of Big City Grits and runs the most fantastic shop, lf8, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. She is going to be a recurring guest blogger and this one is from her…

Is there anything better than being super comfy? When I get home at the end of the
day I immediately take off my horrifying and encasing “street clothes” as I call them
and put on my “comfy cozies” as my mother and sisters call them. Well ladies (and
actually gentlemen!), let me introduce you to the comfy cozies you can wear out and
about and not look like you’ve given it all up – which I actually have no problem
with; I can’t wait to give it all up, but Gilda Midani is thankfully slowing that
process down.

The Brazilian designer creates the most beautiful hand-dyed cotton clothing. Many
of the pieces are fashioned by using beeswax to create really cool relief prints –
from simple stripes to more Jackson Pollack-esque prints. The pieces are perfect for
layering; long tank tops looks amazing under her “trapeze” long sleeve tee-shirts.
Her dresses are so easy to wear it’ll be like donning your nightgown to that business
lunch! Except people will give you approving smiles and possibly gentle applause
instead of worried glances.

Do yourself and favor and just buy one of everything and thank me later. Congrats
on your new comfy-cozy life y’all!

Gilda’s Collection is currently available at lf8 in New York City until September 25th
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my girl Carrie in her comfy cozies. You can see why I love her.
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Balancing Act: Scandinavia by way of the South

June 1st, 2014

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Once in a blue moon a client comes along who possesses impeccable taste, is a joy to work with, trusts you implicitly and you adore them. Two years ago, just those people came into my life. My clients purchased a new build in my favorite neighborhood of Nashville, a mere five minutes from my own house. A dream for those of us that find driving to be the most loathsome task on earth. Without a piece of furniture to their name (they are Scandinavian transplants), we started with a blank slate. Their only real requests were keep it black, white, grey and modern. And off we went. As the interior progressed, they decided to take the design outdoors and we added a pool and outdoor living spaces.The pictures (thanks to Brad + Jen of Q avenue photography) mask the mayhem and bumps that ensued along the way. Nothing showed up when promised, painters were fired, I have 10 yards of of insanely expensive fabric collecting dust in my garage because of my own error, brand new irrigation systems were destroyed by rogue digging equipment and my children’s faith in my abilities was seriously questioned. I took my girls over to the house with me one day so they could see the pool we were putting in. They looked in the backyard, which was a disaster at the time, and my youngest said, “You did this to their house?!?? Mama, you aren’t very good at your job”. This is also the child, who when asked what her mother did for her job, told her class “she has lots of men clients and she goes to their houses for work”. Which might explain the noticeable lack of play date requests. But I digress. Some how it all turned out and these clients have become dear friends of mine. Here are a few photographs of the finished product.
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One of my favorite paint colors is Farrow and Ball’s Cornforth White. It is a true grey that does not read brown or blue as many do. I used that and Farrow and Ball’s Blackened throughout a majority of the house. We chose Verellen sofas in organic white linen with Schumacher and Designers Guild fabrics on the pillows. Arteriors marble coffee table and Patterson Flynn and Martin carpet. Painting by the endlessly talented James Wilson.

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This is an old table I found at an antique store in Franklin, TN. We had to alter the legs a bit but it fit in the space perfectly. And the old camp stools from a thrift store are a perfect fit.

crowell_vosswood_0026Everything in the house was brand new so in the interest of frugality we were selective about what to replace. I have a strong personal aversion to granite but this was brand new so we had to work around it. We painted the cabinets a fresher, brighter white and tiled over the builder basic tile with this hexagon marble from Mission Stone & Tile. Just those small changes made a huge difference.

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We painted an accent wall Kendall Charcoal by Benjamin Moore, which has a slight brown undertone and was perfect in the kitchen with the earth toned granite. I found an old farm table at Scott in Atlanta and used white Eames chairs and a sisal rug. Christopher Farr is one of my favorite fabric designers and I love the look of this muted print, Breakwater, in this space.

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These German educational botanical prints were little etsy treasures.

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This shade of grey (Amherst Grey by Benjamin Moore) pulls just slightly purple, which is beautiful with the Bryan Nash Gill wood prints and the Patterson Flynn and Martin rug we designed, which took forever but was so worth it! Arteriors chandelier, Verellen host & hostess chairs, Restoartion Hardware dining table and my favorite Carl Wegner wishbone chairs.
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My client is beautiful and sings like a bird. If she wasn’t so damn sweet, I would hate her. Music is such a pivotal part of both their lives so we turned the front room into a music room and Library. This might be my favorite room. All black and white with the books being the pop of color, it is so bright and fresh and endlessly inspiring. The oversized Amanda Means light bulb prints are stunning.
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I found these chairs in Atlanta at a “Palm Beach” themed flea market booth. They were dirty yellow with fabric I was convinced housed several thousand bedbug families. After serious extermination, we lacquered them black and reupholstered the cushions in Designers Guild fabric. Madeleine Weinrib pillows, a jielde floor lamp and élitis fabric for the draperies.
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I covet their library. COVET.
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The same Kendall Charcoal we used on the kitchen accent wall we also used in the master bedroom. We had the bed custom made and used Restoration Hardware linen bedding with Designers Guild throw pillows. Visual Comfort sconces and bedside tables designed and built by James Wilson.
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My clients and I share a love of Frida Kahlo and as soon as we saw this print, we knew it was a must have.
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Patterson Flynn & Martin carpet, Noir bench, ro-sham-beaux chandelier and Bart Halpern fabrics.
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This is perhaps my favorite furniture piece in the house and the most likely to mysteriously disappear. BDDW Lake oxidized maple credenza and a Bill Rastetter print. swoon.
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Anthropologie bench and painting by James Wilson.
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An office with a view of west Nashville and a jielde table lamp is all you need to persevere through the paying of bills and other monotonous office tasks. My sister asked me if the typewriter sent emails and now that’s all I want in the world.
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Emeco office chair, Restoration Hardware desk, Madeline Weinrib rug. Etsy and Ikea prints on the wall (we spared no expense!)

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This Taylor Scott grey velvet sofa with Madeline Weinrib pillows is about the most comfortable thing on earth. Marimekko fabric for the roman shades and Designers Guild fabric on the benches. Mooi lighting and Nuevo Living foos ball table.

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The lovely and talented Michael DeMay did all of our concrete work.
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I love this Gustavian Bed with Coyuchi bedding and pewter task lamps, both from ABC carpet.

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Cole and Sons Woods wallpaper is one of my favorites. Noir bed, Designers Guild bedding, Visual Comfort sconces and Keith Richards photographs by Ethan Russell.

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We did a very simple white linen roman shades with a black ribbon. West Elm dresser, Noir abacus chair with Designers Guild fabric and 1930’s astronomy illustrations I got for a steal at the Brooklyn Flea market.
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A vintage Parisian hotel sign that is apropos as the entire second floor becomes just that when both families descend at the holidays.
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Green Tolix chairs with a wood and metal table we designed is perfect for a lush Tennessee back yard.
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Acapulco Chairs

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Schumacher outdoor fabric, Mod cement tiles from Mission Stone around the fire pit and custom redwood benches by Michael DeMay.

To see more images or to purchase to the trade furnishings and textiles please visit Crowell + Co. Interiors.

Also, endless thanks to Brad + Jen. Check out their website! Q Avenue Photo

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Mad for Plaid.

October 8th, 2013

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Designing Women : Natalie Chanin

September 24th, 2013

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I first became aware Natalie Chanin in 2008, while reading an issue of the now-defunct Cookie Magazine. Pretty immediately, I was absolutely taken by, first, her striking beauty and then by her home, the feature of the article, which was so beautiful and perfectly eclectic that I wanted to write to her and invite myself to come live in her world. A gorgeous and textured menagerie of old family pieces, folk art, found objects, photographs and endless character. That particular issue of Cookie sat on my coffee table for months as, every chance I got, I would pore over the photos of her home over and over and over again (I also did this with Paul Mitchell ads as a child which is just odd, odd behavior). But alas, eventually my obsession and the time I devoted to it waned as two children, an increasing work load and my own home demanded the lion’s share of my attentions, as they are prone to do in real life. But it was that article that I find has stayed with me these years later both in my career and personal life.
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