Design*Sponge Interview

Yesterday I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge.  We talked about set decoration, interior design , and of course, wallpaper!

The radio station, Heritage Radio, where we did the interview was really great – in the back of the super popular Brooklyn restaurant Roberta’s Pizza.  Check out Heritage Radio’s great programming here.   I hope you enjoy the interview!!

Friday Favorties…Higgins Glass Studio

Usually “handcrafted art glass” is not my thing, until I discovered the Higgins Glass Studio. Based in Riverside, Illinois, the studio was founded in 1948 by the husband and wife team of Michael and Frances Higgins. While at the Chicago Institute of Design, they re-discovered the ancient art of glass fusing. This labor intensive art had been all but abandoned once glass blowing was invented in the mid 20th century. Fusing entails the creation of a “glass sandwich.” Designs are created by layering enameled glass in a mold under extreme heat with additional layers creating subtle complexities of textures and colors. They created all sorts of items ranging from jewelry to ornaments to clocks and bookends, but the mobiles caught my eye. The soothing colors and geometric designs are reminiscent of everything I love about mid-century design, and you can now buy them at Jonathan Adler!


Oak Park Library in Chicago

Higgins Glass for Jonathan Adler

Trundle Beds

While the words “trundle bed” may not conjure up images of sophisticated glamour, believe it or not there are some really well designed frames out there now, if you know where to look.  Generally considered to be either a practical solution for saving space or an investment in better sleep-overs for your kids, the bulky, unattractive trundle bed of yesterday is no longer the only answer.

At Marks & Frantz, the majority of our clients have children so we have been combing through all our sources to find creative ways to design children’s rooms that are great looking, have tons of storage for all the toys and clothes and are comfortable and inspiring for its young occupants.  It is very important to me that the design of a child’s room is as considered as the design of the rest of the home.

Here are some of the trundles that I love.  I am currently looking for one for my son’s room… There are so many cute ideas here that I may end up taking details from several and designing a custom one for myself!  Does anyone have other sources for these that you would like to share?  We would love to add them to our library!

The Duetto by Flou

The Duetto by Flou is great Italian design.  I love the thin upholstered headboard and footboard.  The shape makes it easy to push it up against the wall like a daybed.  The bottom bed pops up and makes a king size bed.

Presidio Day Bed with Trundle

The Presidio Trundle bed from Serena and Lily is similar in shape to the bed by Flou but slightly looser in its tailoring.  Its clean lines are accented with a contrast stripe at the bottom.  The slipcover comes in white or cream and there are a wide variety of colors to pick from for the stripe detail.

Argington Ayres Bed

This bed is modern, simple and minimal.  It is made with sustainable materials and low VOC birch plywood and finishes.  It is available in 3 finishes – I think it would be cute to do a the bed and trundle in two different colors.  Maybe the bed in the dark walnut finish and the trundle in the white?

Sparrow Bed by Oeuf

Another great design – the Sparrow bed by Oeuf is a modern take on the sleigh bed.  Oeuf is commited to being “green” so all finishes are non-toxic and water based.  There are two colors to choose from.  This is a design that will work as your child grows – you may need to repaint or change the artwork in the room – but the bed will have longevity!

Duet Bed by Nurseryworks


The Duet Bed by Nurseryworks is available in all kinds of configurations which can help when you are trying to do a lot with a small space.  There is a cabinet with a door at the end of the bed for storage.  A nice, contemporary choice for a younger child.

Alex Bed by Duc Duc


The Alex Bed by Duc Duc is entirely customizable.  You can pick either a rectangular or oval headboard and whatever finish color or fabric you like.  It is made of sustainably harvested woods.  The chunky scale of the base helps to keep the trundle drawers in nice proportion to the whole.  It looks so great without linens that you will have a hard time covering it up!



Guggenheim Books

If you love looking at art, love flipping through art books and love to be inspired, then this is for you.

The Guggenheim Museum has digitized a ton of their out-of-print publications and is offering them free. This is a treasure of art literature as well as great book cover design. Congrats Guggenheim and thanks!



George & Hilly: The Anatomy of a Relationship

Not at all design related, but written by a very old friend of mine, an inspiration nonetheless. Totally hilarious memoir and most will relate in a million ways. Also read the profile by Kat Stoeffel on him in the New York Observer yesterday, if for no other reason but that the title is “Journalistic Party Boy Puts Aside Childish Things, Pens Memoir.”  And just for a taste of “classic George Gurley” that may make you buy the book, read his story “Requiem for a Year” in Modern Luxury….it’s free!

George & Hilly book on Amazon

New Year’s in Aspen

New Year’s Eve and the Christmas season in Aspen is not what it used to be before two small children and tons of extended family appeared in our Snowmass house, but I still managed to get out and get in plenty of Apres-Ski time and a few meals at the Viceroy Snowmass. Such a welcome addition to the Aspen scene, Snowmass Village was feeling a little lackluster and then came the Viceroy Hotel to liven up this sleepy little family enclave outside of Aspen. It’s sustainably chic décor by designers Jean Michel-Gathy and Kelly Wearstler is not only beautifully designed, but eco-conscious to boot!

Green credentials were chalked up in several innovative ways. All dirt removed from the construction site was saved and reused. Construction workers were transported to the site by bus, reducing fuel consumption and vehicle emissions. The Viceroy also provides reusable and washable water bottles, hand towels, and shampoo and conditioner bottles. A saline pool creates its own chlorine through the use of salt and electrical current. There’s even a gratis on-site electric car charging system.

…and the Eight K Lounge makes a mean Hot Tuaca!

The Eight K lounge features a double-sided fireplace and the ubiquitous Wearstler-designed bookcase with perfectly edited books!

The glimmering earth tone palette even expands into the spa

The Nest is a poolside bar with indoor/outdoor cabanas

The best part about the whole place is that it’s about 300 yards from my house!

Backstage on Broadway: On a Clear Day

Kerry O’Malley, one of the leads in the Broadway revival of On a Clear Day, invited the the Marks & Frantz team to decorate her dressing room backstage at the St. James Theater.

Kerry O'Mally and Harry Connick, Jr. on opening night

We wanted to make her space comfortable yet glamorous.   In a space this small, the design must be well conceived and the color palette for the furniture, fabrics and wall color must be very tightly coordinated.  There is not a lot of room to make big statements.   Another important element of the design that we had to address was the necessity of making our decoration “temporary”.  We really wanted to introduce great color and pattern onto the largest wall of the dressing room.  Enter Tempaper Designs and Edie, their bronze toned wallpaper.


Tempaper Designs makes temporary and repositionable wallpaper.  Their printing process incorporates the traditional technique of gravure or intaglio copper plate engraving with state of the art materials to bring a classic look and feel to the finished product. Among my favorite patterns that they produce are elegant Art Nouveau patterns, cute herringbones in great color ways and a really sweet line for children. Here are a few more of their designs.  Check out their website to see more.



Lindsey Adelman featured in Elle Decor “How to Light up a Room”

We have been huge fans of lighting designer Lindsey Adelman’s since day one! Lydia used one of her fixtures to create a drop-dead foyer in Sex and the City and we try to use her fixtures in every client’s home that we possibly can. These beautiful, hand-blown, gold leaf inflected globes add sparkle and glamour to every setting…and the industrial chic hardware is pretty fab, too. Her new work is a deadly combination of milky spikes, ropes, chains and a little jewelry thrown in….can’t wait for an opportunity to design one into one of our clients’ homes.
To read about Lindsey’s tips for the best way to light up a rooom, check out the Elle Decor article online today!

Cinema Style

Cinema Style (a blog that I love) had a great post yesterday:  When Worlds Collide: Fashion and Film.   The post discusses how the influence of celebrity can affect our purchasing choices.  Specifically, moving beyond celebrity endorsements, how celebrity partnerships and inspirations actually may guide this market. Check out the article and while you are there  take the time to look around.  There are a lot of excellent posts to read if you are interested in film design.

At Marks & Frantz we are always interested in these intersecting worlds and try to foster these collaborations in our own work as much as possible.  Our redesign of the Top of the Strand, the rooftop bar at the Strand Hotel in New York City, was a creative partnership with Trina Turk for Schumacher and the set decoration for the films Sex and the City and Devil Wears Prada were chock full of fashion/design/furniture crossovers.





Where Fashion meets Furnishings

Early this Spring I had the opportunity to decorate a new TV pilot for HBO called Spring/Fall.  The show is set in New York City against the backdrop of the fashion world and centers around the relationship of two designers – played by Tea Leoni and Hope Davis.

A big part of my job on a TV show or film is to help define characters by creating what their environments look like.  In the case of Spring/Fall this was an interesting task since the premise of the show is all about style and design.  To increase the dramatic tension between the main characters, their very different styles needed to be evident in the decoration of their homes just as much as in their dialogue or wardrobe.

Needless to say, the quest to create original and beautiful sets for the show turned up many, many new sources and products.  I thought it might be fun to share some of them.  Here is one great new find:  Batik Carpets from Odegard.

Odegard’s Batik Kelim designs are hand woven in China in private homes within a cottage industry.  They are flat weaves that are tie-dyed by hand, producing a distinct texture and unique design.  The tie-dye process creates abstract and ethereal motifs.  They are really original and beautiful.  Just what we were looking for for Spring/Fall!


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