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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Hers and His : Spring

April 16th, 2014

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The only thing I like about winter is when people give me presents at Christmas and let’s be honest, that takes all of 10 minutes and I am back to cursing the cold. Only difference is, I am doing it with a Williams Sonoma gift card and new scarf in hand. This winter was long and brutal and threatened to bankrupt me with enormous heating bills. Thank god it’s spring! Here we have the Hers & His Spring edition. James Wilson of Secret Forts lending a little help with the “his”.

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Hers and His : Fall

October 1st, 2013

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I love summer, but at a certain point, I’m just over it and ready for Fall already. I want big comfy sweaters and boots and more than anything I just want to burn the oppressive bikinis I have been a slave to for the last few months. It comes on slow and late in the South, but once it does, the smell of fires in fireplaces at night, fallen leaves and earlier sunsets are just about the greatest things. Here’s a few of the best things about Fall for both her and him.

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48 HOURS IN…Atlanta

July 30th, 2013

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A four hour drive south from Nashville, Atlanta is the South’s “big city”. As a teenager we made pilgrimages in search of prom dresses, to see concerts that had bypassed Nashville and once upon a time there was even a shop in Little Five Points where you could buy fake IDs (Sorry, Dad!). I moved to Atlanta in 2005 and my first daughter was born there. I had a little white house on the edge of Buckhead and midtown. Right in the middle of a metropolitan city but on a quiet, pretty tree-lined street with a half acre. I loved living there. Today I go back 6 times a year on buying trips, antique hunting and inevitably end up eating and shopping (for myself) way too much. Here are a few of my favorite {Atlanta} things…

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SELECT AND ARRANGE : THE HOME UPGRADE, pt. I

July 8th, 2013

To paraphrase Charles Eames, A home is a backdrop for ideas and eventually, everything connects. In that spirit, and inspired by a healthy dose of day dreaming, the upgrade is a wishlist of sorts. The pretty and well designed things that make for a well arranged life.

TEXTURE

DOUG JOHNSTON HAND-MADE BASKETS :

Hand formed and stitched on vintage industrial zig-zag sewing machines in his Brokklyn studio, Doug Johnston’s baskets add a soft and sculptural element to any space. Available in a variety of shapes and sizes these are prefect for storing rolled towels, toys or even firewood. I received one of his totes as a birthday gift this year and I have yet to put the beauty down. Available at dougjohnston.net and Steven Alan.
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VINTAGE ANDEAN FRASADAS :

Brilliant and beautiful colors, hand woven in Bolivia, these vintage sheep’s wool blankets are the perfect accent for the back of your sofa or foot of the bed. Truly one of a kind. Available at Spartan.
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HAND DYED INDIGO BLANKET :

It seems as though we are in the throws of indigo hysteria in all aspects of design. This shibori blanket is a testament as to why. Should you have the good fortune to live in a climate where the temperatures dip down in the evenings and a summer breeze blows through the open windows, so nowhere near me, this beautiful blanket would be perfect for said evening. For the rest of us in the sweltering south, it would look lovely on a sofa or foot of the bed as we suffer through the summer dreaming of the fall when we can put it to use.
At General Store.
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FOUTA STRIPED TUNISIAN HAMMAM TOWELS :

A few years ago I purged my house of all my tired, boring white terry towels. These Tunisian Hammam towels are extremely absorbent and give your bath an immediate face lift. These are also ideal for the beach as they take up less space in your beach bag and dry so much faster than traditional beach towels. I love them because on those days I am not feeling fabulous in my bikini (alas, they are many), at least I have a pretty towel to wrap up in. At ABC.
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UTILITY

ELLIPI STAPLER :

Made in Italy, these staplers add a pop of color to your desktop. And it resembles a happy whale. At Nickey Kehoe.
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REDECKER BROOM AND DUST PAN :

What began as standard training for the blind at the time, brush making has become the Redecker family business for over 75 years now. I always find that when preforming the mundane and dreaded task of housework, if I am using something beautiful it makes it a bit more bearable. Available at Joinery.
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SHINOLA BIXBY BICYCLE :

I have been on a mission to get my girls riding on 2 wheels this summer so bicycles are very much on my mind. Shinola, based in Detroit, is a company committed to manufacturing quality goods in the US. These commuter bicycles are a wonderful example of that. Using frame and forks made in Wisconsin, each and every Shinola bicycle is assembled in their workshop. Whether in town or country, it is the epitome of style. In pink, my daughter’s and I would be quite the cycling trifecta… if we can ever ditch the training wheels! Available through Steven Alan or go to Shinola for more info.
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FOUND MY ANIMAL LEASH :

When we adopted our little yorkie/poodle mix we went on a quest to find the perfect collar that is as cute as she is. Which believe me, was no small fete. She now parades around town adorned with a little ombre collar from this line that I am in love with. Ditch the ugly, retractable number for this one. Your pup deserves it. Available at Steven Alan.
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VINTAGE BRITISH ROTARY TELEPHONE :

In such a mobile and connected world, it’s nice to have a place in your home where you actually take calls on a real telephone. Call me nostalgic, but this phone reminds me fondly of the home phone of my childhood. Minus the sounds of four screaming girls fighting over whose turn it is to use it. At Sweet Bella.
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KITCHEN

ANDREA BRUGI CUTTING BOARDS :

With a crazy schedule and children, I hate to admit it but half my meals are eaten standing in the kitchen snacking off of a cutting board filled with various oddities while checking homework, sending a last minute e-mail or staring off into space wondering where my freedom went. I love beautiful cutting boards because they make me feel better about my little snack dinners. Handmade in Italy with no two alike, these cutting boards are as beautiful as they are functional. You’ll hesitate to use it but cut away. The character and beauty is only enhanced with use. Available at andreabrugi.com
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KAICO ENAMEL TEA POT :

Designed by Makoto Koizumi, this is a study in clean simplicity. Whether or not tea is, ahem, your cup of tea this will make any cook top the calm center of your kitchen. At Alder + Co.
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SEA OF CORTEZ SAL del MAR :

A delicious alternative to another favorite, Maldon, this coarse sea salt comes in natural cotton bags hand embroidered from the remote village of Sabinito in the Sierra Madre, Occidental Mexico. Each purchase helps benefit the local women who support their families from their traditional skills. Pretty. A good cause. Delicious. Kind of perfect. At Alder + Co.
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LOSTINE ROLLING PIN :

I love to bake. I spend an alarming amount of time thinking about what pies I will be making for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I am that mother that can’t remember the proper school supplies but will stay up all night before a birthday rolling out cookies and decorating them. So as one might imagine, I take my baking tools very seriously. These lovely rolling pins by Lostine have me thinking about buying a new apron (another obsession of mine) and having Thanksgiving in July.
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SIT/READ

THE PIONEER CHAIR :

Made in New Hampshire, Pioneer Chairs is a family run business with a long handed down passion for simple yet thoughtful design and skilled wood working. So beautiful, drag it outside with a glass of wine and a book on a peaceful summer’s evening. At Joinery.
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HOME MADE SUMMER :

Yvette van Boven’s follow up to “Home Made Winter” is a cook book after my own heart. “…ideas for long barbecue nights with friends, perfect salads to accompany the grilled dishes, cold soups for those super-hot days, and festive summer drinks.” Um, yes please.
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DINER JOURNAL :

Andrew Tarlow and co. just do it right. The eponymous offspring of the first of his many Brooklyn restaurants, Diner Journal is full of wonderful seasonal recipes, wonderfully written essays and with yearly subscriptions available, you’ll have something to look forward to each month.
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BLACKBERRY FARM COOKBOOK :

While I have never had the opportunity to stay at Blackberry Farm, it is something I dream of. The photographs are beautiful and the recipes amazing (the blackberry cobbler really is to die for!). Every time I open it up I contemplate taking out a second mortgage to pay for a weekend away in this idyllic paradise. Available at blackberryfarm.com
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DESIGNING WOMEN : Roberta Freymann

May 3rd, 2013

My Mother sent me my first Roberta Roller Rabbit Kurta about 10 years ago, and I have since acquired a drawer of these wonderful pieces. Her bright, candy colored block print patterns embody summers at the beach for me. I love her beach bags and hats, and my children are about as cute as can be in their little people sized Kurtas. Born in London and raised on the Upper East Side, her inherent passion for design came from her mother (the muse to the French designer Jacque Fath) and her explorer spirit came from her physician father. Traveling through North Africa with her family, she fell in love with the brilliant, tribal patterns that would later become her signature. She did not begin her own line until 1996, having worked as a buyer for Henri Bendel and Bloomingdales for many years. She was one of the pioneers of the pashmina craze (oh how I remember it well!) selling them out of her apartment on East 73rd to the women of Manhattan. In 2003, the spin off of her Roberta Freymann line, Roberta Roller Rabbit, was launched and the hand block prints and colorful patterns infiltrated the resort wear world. Her jeweled bib necklaces define her accessories line and have become extremely popular as she collaborated with Olivia Palermo on a line. She has opened  multiple stores in New York, California, Florida and St. Barthélemy. Each store reminiscent of a global bizarre, she is one of my favorite designers… especially this time of year.
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HELLO SUNSHINE!

May 3rd, 2013

Yellow is one of my favorite colors. As a pale blonde, it is the least flattering color I could ever wear, but I accessorize my world with it! Canary yellow trays in my kitchen, Designers Guild bright yellow curtains in the dining room, and my new lemon yellow IIIBeCa cross body bag that I love so. These are a few of my favorite {yellow} things…
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HIS & HERS: SPRING SPRUNG

May 2nd, 2013

The dogwoods are in bloom, the weather is finally warming up and while the rain seems eternal, my favorite season has finally arrived. Spring has sprung! With that said, here is a spring list of HIS & HERS.

JACKET

hers: J CREW LINEN SLICKER

It has been raining for what seems like years and this spring I found myself without a raincoat. I honestly don’t know that I have ever owned one, as I have a propensity for being ill-prepared and perpetually under-dressed. I became OBSESSED with finding the perfect rain jacket and settled on this J Crew Linen Slicker. I love the gold hardware and having a hood was a must… as you might imagine, I also don’t own an umbrella.
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his: MACKINTOSH FOR FREEMANS SPORTING CLUB

Almost 200 years old, The Mackintosh is about as classic a rain coat as they come. I love the “Kingfish” contrasting lining for a slight pop of color. Spring in the South can feel like summer in most places. This rain coat provides a light enough layer for those April showers.
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SHOE

hers: HASBEENS CLOGS

I live in clogs all year round. In the winter, I wear my No. 6 black leather clogs constantly but as spring approaches, they find their way to the back of the closet to make room for the Hasbeens. I have several pairs and am currently lobbying to be their official Tennessee spokesperson. I could not love these sandals more. They are so comfortable, make my legs look good (which, let’s be honest, that’s what matters) and are indestructible, which is paramount for me as I am a terrible klutz. And I love their spring colors!
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his: First String 1970’s Chuck Taylor All Star

There is nothing better looking than a man in Chuck Taylors.The subtlety of these 70’s era, very limited re-issues may be lost on some, but the devil is in the details with these. A thicker canvas, higher sole and slightly wider fit and the Ox Parchment color way make these a Spring must.
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BAG

hers: SMALL TRADE Co. FOR MILL MERCANTILE

I am in love with this Small Trade Co. for Mill Mercantile, the lovely sister shop to one of the best men’s shops there is, UNIONMADE. Made in San Francisco, this a deeply coveted item. I would also like to add that I was a spring baby and should any of my loved ones be reading this little ole blog… what an excellent birthday gift this would make!
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his: FILSON RED LABEL TOTES at UNIONMADE

The Filson tote is arguably the most popular with men comfortable enough to carry such bags. This is not a “murse”, I assure you! Filson has updated their rugged iconic bag in these wonderful colors both open and with zipped closure. I mostly love this bag because while it might be a purchase for him, it would undoubtably end up in my closet.
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LIGHT

hers: JEILDE LOFT ZIG ZAG FLOOR LAMP

I recently bought 2 jielde lights for a client. One red, one chrome. I love the French Industrial lights and in the baby blue, it is the perfect pop of color in an otherwise tame room.
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his: BTC TASK TABLE LAMP

This is a true classic British design with simple, clean lines. Looks perfect at the beside or on your shared work table.
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GUIDE

hers: TRICIA GUILD: COLOR, PATTERNS AND SPACE Published by Rizzoli

I might have an unhealthy obsession with Tricia Guild. Her patterns just make me so happy! I feel like she lives in an endless state of spring and I so envy that. I have all her books and use the fabrics, bedding and wallpapers whenever possible. This book is not only my design guide but my little guide to happiness.
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his: HOW TO BE A MAN by Glenn O’Brien Published by Rizzoli.

This one is a no brainer. The legendary Glenn O’Brien, GQ’s Style Guy and host of the TV Party has compiled all things relevant to the making of a modern gentleman. If your gentleman does not already have this, buy it for him. Encourage him to read it. The world needs more modern gentlemen!
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RIDE

hers: MERCEDES 300TD WAGON

I love station wagons. I own that there is nothing sexy about them, but I drive one now and probably always will. The Mercedes 300TD wagon is about as perfect as a car could be. I love the round headlights, metal roof rack, perforated leather seats…. and in cherry red, this is my dream car for spring picnics, trips to the lake, and Sunday drives.
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his: 1988 TOYOTA LAND CRUISER

As someone that fancies herself an environmentalist, this car goes against everything I believe in, as it probably gets 10 miles to the gallon, but it sure does look good! Certainly not your everyday car but perfect for those manly weekend adventures.
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DRINK

hers: MINT JULEP

With the Kentucky Derby around the corner, I would have to say a mint julep is a staple of any good Southern garden party. I ashamedly must confess that I had never had a mint julep in all my years of drinking until last year, but I did it right at PROOF in Louisville’s 21C hotel. I felt like I truly became a proper Southern lady that day. The classic silver julep cups and perfect pellet ice is ideal, but who really has that at home? I think a mason jar and standard ice will do just fine.
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his: PIMMS CUP

The Pimms cup stands out for me as the perfect man’s drink for the spring. Yes there are cucumber slices and mint, but I assure you this is no frilly concoction. Gin, Pimm’s No. 1, ginger ale, cucumber, lemon, mint. Any man’s perfect Spring cocktail.
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DISH

hers: ROLPH & DAUGHTER’S BRUSSELS SPROUT SALAD

In my humble opinion, Rolph & Daughters is by far the best restaurant in Nashville. Their brussels sprout salad is my favorite, and while we have tried and tried again to recreate it at home, alas it cannot be done. With shredded Brussels sprouts, apple, hazelnuts and who knows what else… it is delicious.
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his: SPRING PEA GEMELLI w/ RICOTTA + TARRAGON

I think most people associate pasta with the colder months, and those comfort dishes like lasagne and a hearty bolognese. But I serve pasta far more in the spring and summer months. It’s delicious and versatile and you can make it a day in advance and serve room temperature at parties. Local spring peas tossed with ricotta, fresh herbs and an open bottle of rosé is sure to make any man incredibly happy.
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Happy Spring!

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