Category Archives: Design

Springtime Accessory: Hook Handle Umbrellas

Show the world you've arrived

Of all my accessories, from pocket squares to lapel pins, weekender bags to Wayfarers, the one I piece get the most compliments on … is my umbrella. By no means is it a fancy umbrella. There are no crazy patterns and it doesn’t boast a different color underlining. It’s simply all black with wooden hook handle. And it cost upwards of $10. At Target.

I like it because it’s big enough to for two people. I like that it has the right touch of dramatic and sophisticated. And I like that it’s just meaningful enough where you won’t leave it at a restaurant or in the back of a cab. Sure it requires a little bit of purpose to carry it around, but there in lies the statement. Continue reading

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New American Standard: Schoolhouse Electric

Schoolhouse Electric: Redefining the American aesthetic, one Edison bulb at a time.

On a day that tends to be synonymous with both being American, and being a consumer (thanks, Presidents Day Sales everywhere!), we thought it would be a proper time to pay homage to a company that’s helping reinvent the reputation of American-made goods: Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

What started as a company who took pre-war lighting molds and turned them into historically accurate luminaries (that also happen to be wired for modern day energy efficiency), Schoolhouse Electric has expanded through the years to make or curate home and office furnishings that are tasteful, simple, and downright charming.

Schoolhouse-style wall clocks, hanging maps of the United States, super-industrial Ace Pilot staplers, extension chords that are as beautiful as they are practical, minimalist fountain pens, drafting chairs, button-backed sofas … we could go on, but it’s better if you just see for yourself. But fair warning: prepare to be tempted.

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Decorating Inspiration: Vintage Maps

This belongs in my house, and in my heart.

It takes one look at a map of the United States to get me excited. Why? Not only is it fun to get a sense of scope (whoa, Texas really IS huge), but they’re a blueprint for potential exploration and adventure.

When I was 10 years old my family took a trip to Denver, Colorado for my Uncle Steve’s wedding. It was the first time I had been west of the Mississippi, and I can still remember standing in the Birmingham airport looking at a map and feeling this huge rush because later that day (!) we would be touching down amid the mountains of west. What a concept: this morning we were in the muggy south, but by afternoon we’d be in the cool dry air of the Rockies. It was a euphoric moment.  

When thinking about how to bring that type of magic into the home, I’ve turned to vintage, pull-down maps (elementary school-style). They bring a touch of warmth and youthful familiarity while adding a big pop of color and charisma to any wall. And, they’re fun to stare at while pondering your next escape.

While I love all kinds of interior accessories, few deliver the child-like sense of adventure like these maps do. And I think it’s safe to say … everyone could use a little more of that.

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Classic Design: Accent Chairs

Exhibit A: Marais Chair (Photo: Sarah Dorio)

Sadly, men get severely stereotyped when it comes to chairs. The overstuffed and overused La-Z-Boy so often represents what people think most men enjoy. But accent chairs can be both stylish and masculine while staying miles away from the giant recliner. From colorful Eames lounge chairs to contemporary wingbacks, Jonathan Bakers gives 8 examples of stylish chairs on Houzz.com that men will enjoy (even if they didn’t know they existed).

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Classic Design: The Home Office Bar

Mad Men Season 1

Just another day at the office. (photo: amctv.com)

AMC’s super-successful period series Mad Men made drinking both at home and in the office stylish — visually, at least. And while today’s corporate landscape doesn’t allow for keeping a properly stocked bar behind your desk at work, adding a few choice bottles to your home study or workspace adds another dimension to your personal space’s character and style. SCL Creator Jonathan Baker’s latest piece on Houzz.com embraces such an idea, with accompanying photo inspiration. Read on!

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Masculine Upgrade: Ladders in the Home

Interior by Paula Grace Designs

Photo and Interior by Paula Grace Designs

Little boys as well as grown men will always have a fascination with ladders. Ladders give a sense of adventure and freedom, no matter if you find them connecting bunk beds, leading to tree houses, or serving as the passageway to a loft space. It’s an accent that women will appreciate, but one that will leave guys instantly nodding their head in adoration and saying, “Hey, that’s pretty cool.” Not just used for libraries and studies, these photos show how ladders add a tasteful, masculine upgrade to any space.

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Powder Rooms for Dudes.

Simple Classic Powder Room

Photo: Filmore Clark on Houzz.com

Ah, the powder room. Simply the name makes most dudes cringe with thoughts of fluffy pillows, ultra-feminine accents and a can’t-touch-this aesthetic. But in reality, a powder room is just a half bathroom. And any man can (and should) realize this is an important room for visitors to his home … be it a fellow guy, gal or unexpected drop-in. So from subway tiles to vintage mirrors, picture frames to concrete sinks, I give you 9 powder rooms a guy can be proud of.

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