Ode to Dad

Holidays devoted to parenting often take on the cast of commercialism, and with one of our feet in retail, we too can fall prey to the present side of the occasion, rather than being present for the sentiment itself, as Elisa does below.

With Father’s Day on the horizon and Mother’s Day in recent May memory, I celebrate those who helm households in all forms. Father’s Day makes me think about my own father and the father of my children—how special and distinctive those roles are. My father’s more traditional attributes—as a Marine and therefore rule abider—complimented my mother’s nurturing character; together, my parents modeled conviction and compassion. Now, drawing on more models of parenting and partnering, my own marriage follows a personalized script based on supporting each other in our efforts as parents and professionals; Andy works from home and grounds the hurricane that is our family of six, which allows me to work in so many modes and remain responsive to my clients and my team. No matter how divergent our days, evenings find all six of us sitting around the dinner table, discussing a terrain of topics including the daily tribulations of being a teenager. And the weekends find us all outside together. I feel so grateful to live in a place where I get to recreate with my kids, and in turn, my kids are so lucky to be able to adventure with their Dad. The feelings of gratitude that suffuse Father’s Day inform every day I spend with Andy. Not only is he an amazing Father, he’s my partner and my best friend. He understands who I am and supports me in life.

Market Distillations

To prepare for the rush of Summer, we spend our Spring at market, sourcing fresh finds from our favorite brands at places like High Point. Before saturation set in, we sketched our thoughts on the throughlines we had observed—currents and concepts that felt new and noteworthy, less trendy, more timeless. We believe these design themes will outlast seasonal flux, setting the tone for further innovations in collections to come. As ever, we look for ways to spark epiphanies of beauty amid the everyday. By introducing one of these pieces—or concepts—into a room, you’ll find your space transformed.

Sculptural Silhouettes     

Image c/o Verellen

Sensuous curves, corners that seem formed by hand, forms with graceful gravitas. No one does sculptural case goods and accent pieces better than Verellen, a brand based in the furniture mecca of High Point, NC and informed by the founders’ Belgian roots. Highlights from the current collection include the Gaston Bed, a richly curved headboard and bedframe that gently arcs back as if exhaling in relaxation; the Bobbio Table Lamp in ash, a study in circular elegance; and two accent stools—the Lou Barstool (also available at counter height) and the Oakley Dining Stool, forms that feel almost figurative in their graceful lines.

Image c/o Verellen

Natural Textures

Image c/o Henry Wilshire

Rope, rattan, woven leather; botanicals as imprint and pattern; hair-on-hide as upholstery. The tacticity of nature, expressed anew in silhouettes as modern as they are meditative. Italian institution Flexform reinvents woven rope as both rustic and delicate in their Echoes, Lee and Tessa armchairs. Drawing on traditional weaving techniques from rural Italy, the seats are made from woven paper rush chord; the effect sits somewhere between a Mediterranean veranda and a Scandinavian living room. Abstract artist Sabine Maes of Belgium lends her immaculate eye for monochromatic texture to a custom collection of collaged sheepskin rugs. The tropical texture of rattan has been reinvented for all climes by exquisite artisans like Alfonso Marina of Mexico City, who makes rattan seem as sublime as it does sensible, a dichotomy best expressed in the Aarhus sofa and chair. Ever attuned to organic texture, Henry Wilshire explores the somatic effect of hand-scraping the sides of the Scraped Cocktail and Console tables, grooves left to invite imaginative pairings in situ. To add a touch of wild, accent pillows made of natural materials, like the Lance Woven leather and Suri Alpaca pillows, introduce a touch of wild amid tamed surroundings.

Image c/o Flexform

Budding Neutral

Green is the new black. Everywhere we turned, we spotted a green accent in lieu of a neutral. All shades and all textures of green seemed on the proverbial table, from avocado to British racing green and everything in between, from loose knits to sleek leather and soft linens. Bedding masterminds at Libeco introduced a fresh shade of hunter green to its Belgian linen lineup. Uni’quity, a favorite for Belgian linen throws and pillows, added a more leafy green to its striped collection of hand towels and napkins. In terms of upholstery, Verellen presented pieces in subtle hues of sage. Translating the trend into our showroom, we’ve placed our limey April Pillows in profusion, and spruced up tabletops with green-laced pieces like hand-painted botanical Jasmin Vase by Astier de Villatte.

Seasonal/Spatial Transition

Can a room, designated for dirt, be beautiful? A paradox we happily play with by reconsidering the mudroom, a space essential to transitions, both seasonal—with climatic flux making slush an ever-present reality in our alpine clime—and situational for the adventurous lifestyles our clients often lead. As such, designing such a highly-trafficked area requires a balance of form and function mixed with finesse. After the core components of the design are dialed, we look for ways to infuse aesthetics, whether through layering color, texture and/or artwork. So to help you map your mudroom, we offer key elements to consider as well as forays to introduce for fun amid the function.

Storage

Above all, a mudroom must offer abundant storage. From racks for shoes and cubbies for gear to hooks for jackets and hats, the more storage, the merrier. To encourage tidiness, add baskets in nooks (we love these square nesting baskets, available in natural or black) and consider segmenting separate bays for each family member. Built-in storage, a benefit of a new build or extensive remodel, allows for cohesively-designed solutions, however sourced fixtures—like vintage lockers or antique coat racks—can add character.

Seating

Building on the built-in or freestanding split, a bench is an essential component of mudroom, whether included as a banked seat within a wall of storage or ordered as standalone seating. No matter the context, a cushioned bench creates a welcoming landing pad for disrobing and de-booting. For beautiful functionality, we recommend the benches from our Signature 22 collection, namely the Olivia Bench (a blocky oak base topped in our favorite Tibetan lambswool) or the Parker Bench (with its indestructible metal form and upholstered cushion). For vintage sophistication, consider sourcing a showpiece like the Danish Shell Settee Bench, a teak masterpiece.

Flooring

To start, filter flooring options for durability: a soft hardwood will only be a headache amid so much stomping. Consider instead bulletproof materials like ceramic tile or slate/stone. Patterned flooring, such as Moroccan-inspired cement tiles, can add pop while distracting from dirt. Or layer in color and texture in the form of washable woven rugs or indestructible cowhides.

Fixtures

Beyond places to put your stuff, consider elements that would make your mudroom a truly catchall space. Like a deep basin sink or hidden bins for recycling. And as durable as they are, mudrooms can also double as flex spaces for kids art activities (if outfitted with a couple of pint-sized tables and chairs) or for wintry horticultural projects (add a rustic potting hutch to perform such duties). Brainstorm possibilities and outfit accordingly.

Finishing Touches

Once you’ve figured out the programmatic elements of the space, express yourself in layers: accent a bench with a bright wool/linen-blend or graceful cactus silk pillow; install a Karen Bezuidenhout cowboy scene in homage to all the memories that begin and end in the mudroom; fold an alpaca blanket within a bin so that warmth is at the ready; paint the backs of storage bays a lush hue or even splice in graphic wallpaper. Find the moments where whimsy can surface and smile.