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Art + Design

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I wasn’t looking for a new duvet cover, but when I spotted the new-ish TOFSVIVA at IKEA a few weeks ago, I got heart-eyes and had to have it. The color palette is perfect, and I my affection for droplet patterns and clouds is unending. So nice! I love it against the dark wall in our bedroom.

TOFSVIVA was designed for IKEA by Linda Sjunnesson, who is also responsible for the Josef Frank-ish KNAPPSÄV cushion I’ve had my eye on.

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OK, I don’t iron my bed linens. I don’t really iron anything unless I absolutely have to, honestly. I started cloning out the wrinkles in this photo last night, but I quit after five minutes. Apparently I’m no less enthusiastic about digital ironing than I am in the physical world. So…wrinkles. Whatever.

The TOFSVIVA duvet comes in a set with two pillow shams for the alarmingly low price of $29.99. Like other IKEA bed linens it’s 100% cotton, but I must say it’s definitely on the rough side texture-wise. The thread count (144) is somewhere between burlap sack and dishtowel. That doesn’t bother me at all for the duvet cover, but the pillowcases are pretty scratchy on the face. Evan switched his to a plain white case last night. I think they’ll get softer with more washings, but I may just go ahead and turn the pillowcases into tote bags or throw pillows or something. But still, $29.99 for a really nice-looking duvet cover? I’ll take it.

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I still have not painted that radiator. I don’t like silver radiators, and this one is really peeling and icky—I have to address it. I know I won’t get to it before winter, though (what happened to summer?!), so I guess my new goal is to paint it by spring. And by that I mean spring 2016, which will likely come and go without the radiator being painted…

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That beautiful silkscreened “vu de l’extérieur” print is from Fieldguided. I love Anabela and Geoff’s work, and I think this piece is my favorite. So dreamy.

Happy Sunday…

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Last week I mentioned that I had styled a couple of rooms for the new Society6 lookbooks. They’re up now! I’ve never done anything like this before, and it was a real challenge. They asked me to pick out a couple dozen items (I was given free rein, so rest assured 100% of what’s in the lookbooks is there by my choice alone), and then I spent a weekend setting up a staged bedroom and workspace in my house. FUN!

Society6 “In Flux” bedroom lookbook
Society6 “In Flux” workspace lookbook

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Society6 has a special sale going right now to promote the In Flux collection: $10 off $75/$15 off $100/$30 off $150. The sale ends tonight (Sunday) at midnight PST, so if you’ve been wanting a bunch of stuff, now’s the time to get in there quickly.

As always, if you have any questions about the products themselves (whether they’re from my own K IS FOR BLACK shop or any of the others), please feel free to ask—I’ll give you my honest opinion about everything. Also, just for the sake of full disclosure, I was not paid to write this post (they didn’t even ask me to write a post) or to style the lookbooks, but I did get to keep the stuff I picked out and photographed.

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Society6 “In Flux” bedroom lookbook
Featuring designs by: K IS FOR BLACK; RK // Design; Nicklas Gustafsson; Kurt Rahn; Party in the Mountains; Terry Fan; Garima Dhawan; Fieldguided; Budi Satria Kahn; Beth Hoeckel; Man & Camera; Matthew Korbel-Bowers; Georgiana Paraschiv.

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Society6 “In Flux” workspace lookbook
Featuring designs by: Priscila Peress; K IS FOR BLACK; Nicklas Gustafsson; Matthew Korbel-Bowers; Bree Madden; Justin Cooper; Beth Hoeckel; Georgiana Paraschiv; Laura Moreau; Thoughtcloud; Wasted Rita; Dawn Gardner; David Olenick; Jesse Draxler; Fieldguided; Tordis Kayma; Julia Kostreva.

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This is going to sound silly, but I’ve never hung anything on a wallpapered wall before. Considering the amount of wallpaper in my house, that eliminates a lot of possibilities when it comes to hanging art! I’m not usually so precious about stuff, but the thought of making a permanent hole in something that’s bonded to my walls fills me with panic. I got over myself this weekend, though, and I’m so glad. The dressing room looks so much more finished now!

The print that got me to finally pick up a hammer is Animal Sounds 002 by Matthew Korbel-Bowers. I recently did a styling project for Society6 (I think it’s going up on their site today–I’ll update this post when that happens), and this was one of the pieces I chose. I ordered it pre-framed (Vector White, 26×38″) since I didn’t have much time, and it looks great. I really love the design combined with the wallpaper pattern, and the way that bright green looks with my crazy orange bench.

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Long view! The dressing room is really narrow and difficult to photograph, but you get the idea. Oh, and the wallpaper (installed five years ago) is Berry Black from Ferm Living, the fluorescent orange Offcut bench is from Tom Dixon (discontinued, sadly, but you can still get the Offcut stool), and the rug is by Nate Berkus for Target (also discontinued, argh!).

I’m still feeling really hesitant to start hanging stuff all over my wallpapered walls, but this was a great baby step. Assuming I don’t hate it a year from now (I won’t), I’ll consider the hole worth it. Otherwise, I’ll take down the frame and point out the miniscule, barely-noticeable hole to every single guest who gets a house tour, because that’s just what I do.

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I picked up this set of four terracotta nesting bowls yesterday at Newburgh Vintage Emporium, a vintage and antique marketplace that just opened a couple of weeks ago. I’m amazed I made it out of there with just one purchase. So much great stuff! I have a feeling I’ll be going back there every weekend.

The vendor tag on the bowls said they’re South American, but after doing a little research, I think they’re actually Mexican. More specifically, they look like they could either be Talavera pottery (the glaze and terracotta reminds me so much of a set of Talavera plates from Spain that I inherited from my grandmother, but the pattern reminds me of Mexican pottery…though it’s also possible I have no idea what I’m talking about) or like designs I’ve found from Tlaquepaque.

I’m really curious to know more about where these bowls might come from or how old they are, so if you have any knowledge about them, please share!! There are no markings anywhere on them as far as I can see.

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The largest bowl in the set is about 9″ in diameter, and the smallest is 5.5″. The base glaze is a milky off-white, and the design appears to be black—though in areas where it’s bled a bit, it does seem like it could be a very deep cobalt.

They’re so pretty in the kitchen. I’m a little scared to use them for anything other than putting fruit or bread on the table, but they look beautiful just displayed as they are. It seems like a shame to nest them, though—I want to look at them all at once!

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Remember when I went to Stockholm like three years ago? OK, it was last month, but geez, could it take me any longer to put a second post together? I know I’ll regret it if I don’t do it, though. Last night I was talking to a friend about how my blog still serves as a rough diary (albeit a very selective one) for me to refer back to, and how legitimately sad I feel that I haven’t written posts about a lot of stuff. My memory isn’t as good as I’d like it to be, and it’s comforting to be read old posts and see how I felt about things in my life when they happened. OK, so now that I’ve explained the arcane concept of a diary…haha.

The schedule on my second day in Stockholm was, to put it mildly, bananas.

10:15am — Get on bus to Skeppsholmen.
10:30am — Presentation about the history and design of both Hotel Skeppsholmen and the Nobis Hotel, both designed by the studio Claesson Koivisto Rune. Tour of Hotel Skeppsholmen.

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During the presentation at Hotel Skeppsholmen (which, by the way, is very beautiful), my eye wandered across the room to this AMAZINGLY FABULOUS textile hanging on the wall. I couldn’t stop looking at it. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a great full-size shot of it without moving the banquet table (don’t think I didn’t consider it), but you get the idea.

I asked the hotel director if he knew anything about it, and he said he was a little unsure but that he thought it was from the 1890s. This seemed a little bit maybe not right to me, but I wrote it my notebook and decided to look it up later.

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As I was looking at my photos, I noticed these details in the corner: The number 1961 (which seemed much more likely to me as the year of origin than 1890) and the initials MR. A little bit og Googling later, and I had answers! The textile, called “Karneval,” was designed by Marianne Richter (MR) for the Märta Måås-Fjetterström AB studio in 1961. If you have a whole bunch of money, keep an eye out for auctions! One recently sold for about $12,000. Gulp. (The photos at the auction link are much better than mine, by the way.)

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Visiting the Moderna Museet wasn’t on the agenda, sadly, but I did gaze longingly at it from the window while I was in Skeppsholmen.

11:30am — Walk to Arkdes for presentations on Swedish design at the Arkitektur– och Designcentrum. (The presentations were excellent and I took loads of notes, but I’m not sure how well they translate into a blog post. They did, however, give me an awful lot to think about when it comes to the future of design, Swedish politics, and sustainability.)

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1:00pm — Quick stop at the offices and library of Svensk Form, the Swedish Society of Crafts and Design.

I could easily have stayed there all day looking at the bound issues of Form Magazine, the world’s oldest design magazine, reaching back to 1905. I was in heaven…but only for 15 minutes. It was at this point that I started feeling very sad about having to adhere to such a strict schedule, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it. Next time. (I said “next time” a lot during this trip.)

1:15pm — Bus to Pizza Hatt, where designers from LAST introduced their new brand and collection of design pieces.

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2:30pm — The event scheduled for this slot was canceled, so the bus dropped us off at Svenskt Tenn for about 20 minutes.

Svenskt Tenn was on my list of places I really wanted to visit, so I’m grateful for even that short bit of time to quickly zip around the whole store and take in as much as possible. I admire Josef Frank and his work so much, and seeing it in this context was overwhelming and emotional (and over all too quickly…next time). As I was leaving, I noticed Barnaba Fornasetti on his way in! I was immediately star struck, and could barely manage to sneak a quick picture, much less introduce myself.

I later spotted Fornasetti and his son at my hotel eating breakfast, waiting for a cab on the street, at baggage check at the airport, again while going through security, and then buying a banana and browsing design magazines at a new stand. I think maybe he thought I was stalking him. And yes, he dresses like that all the time. Style for days. (When you have a minute, go look at this slideshow of Barnaba Fornasetti’s house—it is fabulous.)

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3:00pm — Bus to Snickarbacken 7′s art space, where woven vinyl pioneers Bolon were presenting their new collection. A short film by choreographed by Alexander Ekman (who was in attendance) was presented.

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While loitering around on the sidewalk waiting to get on the bus, I noticed that seemingly all of the businesses in Stockholm had lit up lanterns on the ground outside their doorways at dusk. The effect was so beautiful and welcoming, and all I could think about was how having an open flame on the ground in public in NYC couldn’t possibly be legal, and how sad that is. Then I remembered a story my mother told me about a Christmas tree decorated with candles (!) catching on fire when she was a child, and I started to question whether Swedes are committed to fire safety. Then I realized it had been about 20 hours since I’d eaten anything, and went back to enjoying the lanterns.

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4:30pm — Visit to ICEBAR by ICEHOTEL, where Monica Förster introduced her new designs.

The ICEBAR is exactly what you think it is: a bar made out of ice. The walls are ice, the bar is ice, the chairs are ice, even the glasses are ice. The floor is not ice. Helpers drape you in very heavy, very warm, surprisingly flattering capes before you enter. Drinking out of a glass made of ice is unsurprisingly unpleasant, but the lingonberry and vodka cocktails are delicious.

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5:45pm — Visit the FÄRG & BLANCHE design studio for the release of an art/dance/design film by architect Erika Janunger and choreographer Oskar Frisk.

There were fresh oranges and hot tea at the FÄRG & BLANCHE event, so I was able to fuel up a bit and get my senses back in order! The film was really beautiful, and a nice (if abstract) way to introduce a furniture line. The designers behind the line, Fredrik Färg Emma Marga Blanche, were very charming and graciously showed us around not only their showroom, but also the workshop at the back of their studio where they produce all of their pieces. I’ll be keeping an eye on them in the future…

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7:15pm — Exhibition and dinner at Note Design Studio.

Note’s studio is a knockout. The whole thing is white and glass from floor to ceiling, with black dots marking the tops and bottoms of the stairwells. A bunch of their designs were on display, and I fell in love with the Silo lamps. I fell in love with everything, actually, including the chef who went out of his way to prepare a beautiful vegan meal for me (after I sneaked into the kitchen and did a little bit of begging). Shaved fennel, radishes, and cauliflower with slivers of toasted bread. I don’t know what he used as dressing, but the flavor was both delicate and full at the same time—very subtly vinegar-ish and a bit sweet. I could eat like that all the time.

11:30pm — Arrive back at hotel, crash, burn.

The final installment in my Stockholm adventure, Part Three, is coming soon! For real soon, too, not two weeks soon. That’s the most fun day, the Furniture Fair!

Here’s Part One, if you missed it.

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YAY, I’m finally writing my first Stockholm post! I got back from my trip a week ago, but I’ve been scrambling to recuperate/catch up since then. If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve seen a bunch of snapshots, but holy mackerel (holy lutfisk?)…I took a lot of photos with my camera-camera. I kind of don’t even know where to start.

WHAT A TRIP. I left for Stockholm the evening of Saturday the 1st, lost an entire night of sleep to the 6-hour time change and the 9 hours of traveling, then arrived at noon-ish local time on Sunday. I can’t sleep on planes no matter how hard I try or don’t try, so I was a mess by the time I got to the hotel. I pulled myself together and met up with my aunt and cousin (who was at work 5 minutes from my hotel) for lunch, though, which was really fun! I’d never spent time with my aunt apart from my mother before, and in her absence I felt very moved by how similar they are. They may live thousands of miles apart, but they are sisters to the bone—and I love knowing that there’s another person in the world who reminds me of my mother. (I feel more than a little choked up writing this…)

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From there I met up with Emma, who very kindly took me around to some of her favorite shops in the area despite the icy rain that was falling. Unfortunately a lot of stores are closed on Sunday (or because it gets dark at 4:00 in the afternoon!), so we were a bit limited, but I still managed to take in some of the city and squeeze in fika time at Snickarbacken 7. Mostly it was just so nice to spend time with Emma! We’ve known each other through blogging for years now, but we’d never met in person before. I felt instantly comfortable being with her.

Side note: I love saying “snickarbacken.” Google translate tells me it means “carpenter hill,” but I prefer to imagine it having something to do with peanuts and caramel and maybe a graham cracker crust.

I stayed at the incredibly fancy Nobis Hotel (more on that later), which is in what travelers call an “ideal” location, but it’s really a very touristy/business-y part of the city. I still don’t really have a great sense of Stockholm geography, but I’ve learned that next time I probably want to stay in Södermalm, which I repeatedly heard referred to as “the Brooklyn of Stockholm” and “the Williamsburg of Stockholm.” As a transplanted Brooklynite, I understand what that means (nope, I’m not going to use the H-word)…so, noted!

Anyway, despite being a bit restricted by location, Emma and I had an amazing dinner out at Riche. Their menu is decidedly un-vegan, but the chef was MORE than happy (I’d say he was excited, even) to prepare a special vegan meal on the fly for me. I don’t even remember everything that was on my plate because I was so tired and I wasn’t thinking about foodstagrams, but I do know that there was a vegan risotto, a fennel salad and something with hazelnuts. Whatever it all was, it was DELICIOUS. Such a nice place to sit and talk, too.

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Even though my photos of it aren’t great, I need to mention the Nobis Hotel, who put me up for the three nights I was in Stockholm. The Nobis is by far the fanciest hotel I’ve ever stayed in (though to be fair, it’s competing mostly with fleabag roadside joints—I don’t have much fancy hotel experience). It’s located in a former bank—a very famous bank, in fact—the one where the Norrmalmstorg robbery took place in 1973, and where the term “Stockholm syndrome” comes from. It’s a gorgeous building, with its protected late-1800s interior layout and architecture preserved yet made contemporary by the Swedish firm Claesson Koivisto Rune in 2010. The picture above is of the ceiling over the atrium that houses a lounge area.

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Orla Kiely toiletries, Scandinavian design everywhere, and a collection of great lamps from all over the world in the lobby. I wish I’d taken more photos, but I didn’t have much time at the Nobis during daylight hours. Here’s a really nice collection of both the common areas and the rooms, if you’re interested to see more. So. Damn. Fancy. (Also, the mattress and pillows? They’re making me rethink my entire approach to sleeping at home, where my bed now feels like a pile of rocks in comparison.)

After that first afternoon in Stockholm, I basically had NO free time whatsoever to do anything on my own. There were media events (and the Furniture Fair, of course) scheduled from early morning until late at night, so no time to go to shops or museums or restaurants that weren’t part of the Design Week tour. So Monday and Tuesday were jam-packed, and then I left for New York very early Wednesday morning. Talk about a whirlwind! My sleep schedule was completely crushed, and I brought home a nasty cold and a whole lot of exhaustion with me. It was a amazing trip, yes, but I really wish I could have added on a couple of extra days just to be able to breathe a little and get out to explore Stockholm. Next time.

I have SO MUCH MORE to talk about and share from my trip, but it’s too much for one post—I think it might be more like a dozen posts! Next up, lots of studio visits. For now, I leave you with a collection of Instagrams from Stocklhom…a little taste of what’s to come.

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Poster designed by Marcus Eriksson

I’m not usually a fan of being surprised, but sometimes crazy, unexpected GOOD things happen. This is one of those times, and even though part of me is sure there’s been a mistake, I’m letting myself be CRAZY excited.

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email totally out of the blue from the Consulate General of Sweden. That in and of itself was pretty exciting (I figured it was maybe an invitation to an event in NYC), but then I read the whole email…and IT WAS AN INVITATION TO SWEDEN. Specifically, it was an invitation to attend the Stockholm Furniture Fair in February! YAY!!

And, like, everything is paid for. The flight, the hotel, the food…seriously? For me? Yeah, seriously. What is this craziness?! I guess this is a totally normal thing for other people, but not in my world. You might as well have told me I’d won the lottery. (OK, maybe not Mega Millions, but a really good scratch-off.) How did this happen? I have NO idea, but it did, am I’m going. To Stockholm! My motherland! To look at tons of innovative and beautiful new furniture and lighting! And take pictures and talk to people! In Sweden! Me! Anna!

Once I convinced myself the email was real, I started thinking about how remarkable it is that the Swedish Consulate has a program in place to promote Swedish culture in the United States, and that part of that program includes covering the cost of transporting New Yorkers to Stockholm to learn about Swedish design. I guess I don’t know for sure, but something tells me there aren’t US Consulates bringing people from Europe to the US to cover American design. Are there?

The Stockholm Furniture Fair has been on my radar for as long as I’ve been reading Emmas Designblogg and admiring all of the photos she takes when she attends every year, but I never imagined I’d get to go. I am really looking forward to seeing as many booths as I can (the list of exhibitors is bananas, so I need to strategize…and get comfortable using Evan’s old iPad), taking loads of photos, writing up a ton of notes, and meeting lots of people. I’ll blog about the entire experience and all of my favorite discoveries, of course!!

I’m only going to be in Stockholm for a few days, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to find a little time to visit with my aunt and uncle while I’m there. I haven’t seen them since they were in New York several years ago—the last (and only) time I visited Sweden was when I was 10 years old! Even though that was 28 years ago, I still remember so much about the trip and about Stockholm. The only thing that could make this better would be if my mother were able to come along, but maybe next time.

What a great opportunity this is! I feel very, very lucky.

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IKEA’s 2013 limited edition collection, TRENDIG, is just now becoming available in the US, but we have another one to look forward to* soon: BRÅKIG. And ohhhh, it’s good. Lots of pale wood and bright colors and geometric patterns.

*UPDATE: Actually, if you’re in North America, you have nothing to look forward to, because BRÅKIG will not be sold here. Heavy sigh…

Designed by Danish art collective ArtRebels, BRÅKIG includes modified versions of existing IKEA pieces (the FROSTA stool and my favorite LERBERG trestles—that’s them above, re-imagined in COPPER [!!!] with a thin plywood top), as well as entirely new works.

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I’m in love with that wood rack/stand thingy, right down to the copper hooks. I have absolutely no idea what I’d use it for, but I feel like I need it in my life anyway. If I had a need to hang 20 dish towels and some mugs in one spot, I’d be all over it. (OK, I’m sure there’s an obvious, practical use for it that’s just not occurring to me. Blankets? But then what are the hooks for?) Anyway, it’s pretty. Those ice cream-colored FROSTA stools are pretty, too, though I think I’d only want the pink one. (Remember my FROSTA makeover? The FROSTA has been discontinued here for so long.)

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Cups! Saucers! Trays! A whole line of textiles! These triangle patterns remind me of IKEA’s own 2008 textile collections (I still have mine squirreled away), Eugen Trost’s Zebra ceramics, and of course Sven Markelius’s classic Ljungbergs Pythagoras pattern—not to mention more recent designs by House of Rym and Ferm Living. These elongated triangles have become a staple of Scandinavian design over the past half century, and I love seeing the theme continue through so many new designers’ works.

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The multicolored knobs on the BRÅKIG dresser are great. I’m surprised by how much I like this, though I can’t imagine having it in my house. Maybe it’s because the knobs remind me of the SNODD cabinet knobs I used in my old, old apartment kitchen—they were really nice, so of course IKEA discontinued them immediately. I hope whoever lives in that apartment now appreciates them.

And THE CHAIR! It comes in a couple of pastel shades, too, but I think the unpainted (birch?) version is nicest. I like that the back is cut from a single piece of wood. I kind of want to paint black “socks” on it, though, just to break up all the wood a little.

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These art prints aren’t available from IKEA, but I thought it would be fun to include them anyway. ArtRebels have put together a whole selection of artwork inspired by the BRÅKIG collection, and yes, they ship to the US. My favorites (clockwise) are these by Camillia Konradsen, Sara Gade, Kristina Green Bonne, and WAAITT. Hooray for discovering new artists and designers!

You can read more about the BRÅKIG collection and see pictures of some of the other stuff in the line on ArtRebel’s blog. The full collection contains 36 pieces, so there’s a lot more to come! IKEA doesn’t have anything on their site yet, but the products are due to roll out in Europe beginning in February. No word yet on when we’ll see BRÅKIG in the US, but hopefully soon—there are a few pieces I know I’m going to want to bring home with me. UPDATE: Unfortunately, the BRÅKIG collection will not be sold in North America.

And here’s the BRÅKIG line as it progressed, as presented in a fun video by ArtRebels

I’m not sure I ever really noticed it until I started designing stuff for my own shop (which is turning out to be surprisingly pink-heavy), but I really do have a thing for pink. Not only screaming-hot neon pink, but a much softer, paler, gentler pink — shell pink, pale corals…blush, if you will. I think my obsession probably started when I was working on the design for sfgirlbybay, when I realized how great pale pinks look alongside black, white, marble and wood — my favorite tones and textures.

To be honest, this wishlist I’ve put together here probably could have been 15x longer. Once I started going through my Etsy Page and my Dropmarks and all of the miscellaneous junk all over my desktop, I found a whole lot of pink. I managed to narrow it down, though, and these are my favorites! I might still need to do a part two…

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1. Two Circles print, K IS FOR BLACK
2. Ornament Pastel Wooden Blocks, Sketch.inc
3. Short Stacked Candlestick, Kate Spade Saturday
4. Origami Paper Lamp Shade, Re-Born
5. Alfabet Poster, Leise Dich Abrahamsen
6. Pink Clay Facial Mask, Herbivore Botanicals
7. I AM HUMAN AND I NEED MONEY JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE DOES print, Wasted Rita

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1. Mayor Sofa, &tradition
2. Nerd Chair, Muuto
3. Ink’d Pink, Sketch.inc
4. TS Berfa ampersand poster, Robert Wilson/Typespec
5. Wide-Rim Bowls, Kate Spade Saturday
6. Teepee Quilted Pillow, Ferm Living
7. Block Table, Normann Copenhagen
8. Wire Basket, Ferm Living

I was recently invited to become a member of Etsy Pages, which is sort of like Etsy favorites but specifically for bloggers and brands (or, to use a word which sounds to me like a type of breath mints, “tastemakers”). This past week I finally started getting the Door Sixteen Etsy Page in order, and man…it’s FUN.

There are lots of social shopping sites all over the place now, and I don’t use any of them (or Pinterest, for that matter), but for me this is a natural. I already post my Etsy wishlists here on the blog, so it makes sense. Anything I add to my Etsy Page links directly to that item in the seller’s shop, and no third party is taking away any of the profits. I like that.

You can follow Door Sixteen on Etsy here:

Door Sixteen on Etsy

When you follow Etsy Pages, the stuff I add to my lists will show up in your activity. I never used to follow people on Etsy because I didn’t really understand the point, but now I get it. MORE STUFF TO BUY!

I have a bunch of lists set up already, but my favorite one to look at is my black + white collection. I want all of these things…

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curated by Door Sixteen on Etsy

Door Sixteen on Etsy Pages