Smarter Alec info and design

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

Smarter Alec is now on Instagram

Finally on Instagram and it feels like home.  Follow me, won't you? Thanks! Xo.

Thoughts & Tips: Orange & Clove Pomanders

'Tis the season! Here's my now yearly re-post of a great DIY classic holiday decor: Pomanders.  There is also a video of yours truly talking about holiday decorations, which you can watch by clicking on my image just over there on the right. Enjoy!

Pomanders are my kind of holiday decoration. They are easy to make, are classic and elegant, and they fill the room with the wonderful scents of the holiday season.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Un-Titled Project Magazine: My Interview With Mad Men's Jessica Pare

I have always loved glossy magazines. Be it shelter or fashion, there is nothing like flipping through the pages of a great magazine. And, as publishing houses are closing up shop all around, it's nice to see a gorgeous hard copy hit the stand.

Un-Titled Project is a sexy, uber-creative fashion quarterly  that I just love. Oh, and I wrote the interview for the latest issue's cover girl, Mad Men's Jessica ParĂ©. In it, we talk about those Mad Men sets, particularly the Draper's New York apartment(!!) and her character Megan's new LA digs (!!), both beyond stunning- a mid century fanatic's dream.

Pick up Un-Titled Project, support the hard copies and enjoy the mini vacation of the mind and spirit that a magazine can bring. Xo.

Friday, November 28, 2014

I am super excited to be working with the fabulous Rachel Dratch on a new web series called Eyesore! And we are looking for our first round of contestants. 

Could that be you?!

Do you have a great space, but can't figure out how to fix that one problem area? Maybe it's a cluttered bookshelf, or you still don't have any art up because you've been too intimidated to put that first nail in the wall. Maybe you have a room that has become a catchall and you dream of making it an office, or your once pristine living room is now cluttered with kid toys and you need a way to contain it. If this sounds like you, you might just be the person we want to help!
SO... if you live in or near New York city and have an eyesore you need some help with, email me at:
Include a brief description, and attach clear pics
of your home AND of your eyesore.
Be sure to put "Eyesore!" in the subject box.

Now, remember, this is NOT for folks who want a full home makeover. It's for people who have worked hard to create a beautiful space, but have that one spot (that eyesore!) that they just can't make work.

We will pick our first four contestants by the end of the month.  Xo.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Peanut Butter Balls. What Thanksgiving is all about.

Peanut Butter Balls

2 sticks butter
1 box powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups graham cracker crumbs.

mix together until smooth and roll into small balls. Put them on a cookie sheet with wax paper.

Melt 16 oz bitter sweet chocolate. Dip the balls into the chocolate and place back on wax paper. Chill in fridge until chocolate is hard. Watch your family and friends devour them.

Have a wonderful holiday. Be happy and safe. Xo.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Stores: Homenature

I love a happy accident, which is what happened yesterday as I randomly chose a new side street for my stroll home. It was getting dark, but the huge glowing window front of the new Homenature pulled me in like it was Oz.