Smarter Alec info and design

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Smarter Alec is getting a facelift. And some lipo. Stay tuned. Xo. (

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Beauty Just Because: Blackline Cutting Boards

I am somewhat obsessed with these stunning coal-colored cutting boards from Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co. Part of their new Blackline Collection, the wood is not pigment dyed, but instead a natural reactive process is used to give them their "distinctive dark finish".

Boards like this are great to hang on the wall, making them both practical and decorative. Two things that work great in a kitchen. They range in price from $150-$215. Love them. Xo.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Beauty Just Because: Case Study Planters

I'm in the middle of decorating a client's home, and finally found an excuse to use these stunning Case Study Planters! I have always loved them, and I think they work beautifully in the living area, which is being designed with a strong nod to the classics (hello, Eames Lounge and ottoman) while maintaining a simple, streamlined look. I used hearty plants with strong "leaf detail" (Is that a thing? It is now.) Pretty divine, no? Xo.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Thoughts & Tips: Loving Your Home

I'm working on some new projects that are keeping me from writing as much as I'd like to. In the meantime, I've been looking at beautiful things, helping people find beautiful things, and compiling lists of beautiful things to write about as soon as I am able. But, doing all of this looking, helping and compiling has got me thinking about what it means to really create a home that you love.

I live, square footage-wise, pretty modestly. But I love our apartment. No matter how grand a home I visit, no matter how in awe I am of someone's beautiful space, I am always so happy once I am back home.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Beauty Just Because: The Ro Chair & Ottoman

I love the Ro chair and ottoman by Jaime Hayon for Republic of Fritz Hansen. I love how elegant the lines are. I love how it nods to its mid century precursors, like Wegner's Papa Bear. I love how comfortable it is. I just love it.

The company suggests using two different toned fabrics, which creates wonderful depth for sure, but on the one I just did for a client, I stuck with a deep green-black wool all over, and it is just divine. Xo.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Stores & Services: AFS Furniture Reassembly

The 100 inch long Hunter couch from Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams was just perfect for my clients. Sleek and modern and totally comfortable. To add extra style, I purchased 17 yards of the most delicious (and expensive) fabric to customize the couch to perfection. This was going to be one killer showpiece. Then we were told the couch would not fit the narrow pre-war stairwell, nor the too-small elevators of the apartment building.  I. Died.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Beauty Just Because: Mantis BS2 Wall Lamp

I love plug-in sconce that doesn't need to be hardwired. I love a lamp that moves around to put light where you need it. I love a sexy fixture. The Mantis BS2 Wall lamp, designed in 1951 by Bernard Schottlander as an homage to his idol Alexander Calder, does all of the above. You can see the nod to Calder in the way the light fixture seems to balance and float so delicately, yet its appearance is so bold. I love it. Xo. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Beauty Just Because: UPJ Chair for Children

File this under "genius on so many levels". B&B Italia has created a kid's version of the iconic Up Series "Ball And Chain" chair, called UPJ (the "J" is for Junior). The original was designed by Gaetano Pesce, who said of the original:
I told a personal story of my concept of women. Despite themselves, women have always been prisoners of the prejudice and fears of men. Along these lines, I liked the idea of giving this armchair a feminine shape with a ball and chain, the traditional image of the prisoner.
Exactly. Now for kids! Xo. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Five Things: Maple Furniture

I am constantly reminded that, while I try to get clients to step outside of their box in terms of how they see design, I can also get stuck in my "go-to" ideas around how to decorate. For instance, I am constantly pushing walnut whenever there's a wood choice to be had, but new year, new chance to readjust my view. There is something so clean and crisp about lighter woods like Maple, especially when paired with whites and creams and soft greys. So today, I give you: Five maple things I'm loving:

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year From Smarter Alec!

I want to take a minute and thank all of you who have read (and continue to read) this blog. You make writing it a total treat. I also want to thank this amazing design community for teaching me so much, and for continually inspiring me. I love this town for many reasons, but the incredible design resources are high on the list. I'm the kid; New York City is my candy store.

But even with all of the beauty that abounds, I have never been more sure that great interior design is not just about pretty things, it's about helping people understand that we ALL deserve to live in beauty. Life is hard. We should all be able to walk through our door at the end of a long day, and feel the emotional and literal sigh of relief. A good comfortable couch. A warm and inviting bed. A piece of art that makes us smile every time we walk by. Everyone deserves that. You don't have to live large to live right.

2015! I am excited to start bringing to fruition all of the creative ideas that have been brewing over the past year. Speaking of, right after the New Year begins, we start taping the first webisodes of Eyesore! with the hysterical Rachel Dratch for Real Simple Magazine. Get ready, it's going to be a blast!

Have a wonderful and safe holiday. Take a minute to think about 2014, and give it a fond and heartfelt farewell. Now where the hell is my champagne glass ?!

Happy New Year, everyone! XO.

Monday, December 29, 2014

High/Low: Non-Tailored Couch

I am surprised with how into these seamless couches with flowing lines I am (sorry for the bad sentence structure, but I get excited).  I am beyond obsessed with one in particular. Can you tell which is which? Answer after the jump.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Holidays From Smarter Alec

Here are some of the Bergorf holiday windows, this year celebrating The Arts, to put a smile on your face. You can get a closer look at the four images (Music, Film, Architecture and Literature) after the jump. 

I hope you have nothing but joy and love and peace during this holiday season. Xo.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Artist: Myoung Ho Lee Tree Series

This originally posted back in May of 2013, but as winter takes over and the cold becomes palpable, I am reminded of these stunning and dramatic images of isolated trees by Myoung Ho Lee. There are also spring images, but it's the cold bare trees that just kill me. I think it's worth a second look-see. 

I saw images of Myoung Ho Lee's Tree series in the NY Times T Magazine and I am totally crazy for them. Lee, a native of South Korea, shot the images in his homeland, creating these tree portraits (?) by simply separating the background, allowing part of the landscape to become the subject.
By framing out a lone tree with a white canvas, he has managed to make such a strong statement...and show such a beautiful image that might have otherwise been lumped in with the entire horizon.   These are really wonderful to my eyes.

After the jump there are more images. I love them. What about you? Xo.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Thoughts & Tips: Glitter Pinecones

Here's another Smarter Alec yearly how-to re-post: Glittery Pinecones.  I pulled down the ones I made last year (which I wrapped individually in a little tissue paper, ps) and they look just wonderful, proving my point that, with care, these really do last. Enjoy!

When it comes to decorating for the holidays, I am of the mind that less is more. I find an overly decorated home ends up looking too kitchy for my taste. I much prefer the subtle additions of a few key elements that blend into the home. Case in point: The glittery pinecone.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014