My friend, artist Joshua Yeldman and I have the best conversations. The latest being about amulets & talisman. This stemmed from a gift I sent him of a much-awaited owl pellet. There is a shop in San Francisco (one of my very fav), called Paxton Gate on Valencia St. They have recently-ish opened a children’s branch & sell all things slightly scientific & curious, reminiscent of growing up in the 70’s spending afternoons viewing The Curiosity Show. I sent him a little box with no return address containing the foil wrapped pellet & a piece of paper with ‘hoot hoot’ written on it.
He knew it was me.
There’s something magical & raw about things that are talismatic. I wear special amulets that I had purpose-made that would protect me & my Mum. I now wear both. They contain things I deem important eg. feather for flight, charcoal for purity, a piece of string so I am never left stranded etc. You choose what you like (I’m going to have an amulet-making workshop!).
Anyway, above are pictures I took in the oldest market in the world, the Spice Souq in Damascus. These stores just deal in cures & curbs- protections & curses for all your needs. Check out the cool stuff: starfish, pelts, cloves, nuts, tortoise shells, puffer fish, wolves teeth & other magical, mystical things.
During my most recent trip to NY I walked past this shop on 20th St at night time. It stopped me in my tracks & made me cup my hands as I pressed my face to the glass. Who knew a flooring shop could look so good. LV wood is family run (James is the son) and it has the coolest fit out. They specialize in wood, stained to perfection in their imperfection. I fell for the grey shades (usually so hard to achieve but done with ease here). It is such a wonderful big open space where you can imagine & create your interiors, with simple sleeper shelving & rolling Putnam ladders.
Kit Kemp is an interior genius! She brought creature comfort & the residential feel into the hotel word. She effortlessly mixes & matches patterns, colour, art & craft with globetrotting pieces that you may never think could sit so harmoniously together. She gives the meeting rooms and communal spaces as much thought & attention to detail as the rooms & suites which make you want to visit even if you are not able to stay the night. But I suggest you do. My favourites are the rooms that face East. You wake with the sunrise.
I rendezvoused with a past BIG LOVE on my whirlwind trip to NYC. We holed up in this secret hotel (I have promised to not divulge its location) and took over room 4. There is no concierge, you pick up a key from a bar & let yourself in. An elegant pied-a-terre, evocating the 1920’s, high ceiling-ed with soft lichen greens & dusty muddy pinks, Anaglypta papered walls, velvet upholstered compact chairs that creak & a bed that you had to climb up on to. So much romance & magic. You never know, I might just take up residence there & wear ballgowns to breakfast!
Memorial weekend saw me heading to Long Island for the opening weekend of Summer. Staying on the flat side of Amagansett, I stumbled upon a derelict fishery station, where the manmade elements were left to the sea. Although I disagreed with the uncleared and abandoned waste, there was so much beauty in its slow erosion I could not help but be inspired. Small old bricks with their maker’s marks scattered amongst the pebbles. Metal cogs, bolts & chains, rifts of net, all shades of rust & in various stages of disintegration. Often it is quite foggy at this end of the Hamptons, but that only adds to the romance.
I met Grace of Design*Sponge. She has been a long time supporter of The Society inc. & it was fantastic to finally meet her. A competition was drawn & I took the winners on a mini ‘loop’ through Soho, starting at Anthropologie 375 West Broadway. It was a perfect early summer day: sunny, sparkly & about 27 degrees (I think that’s about 86F).
We headed North to Spring and walked over to our first stop, Evolution. Head straight upstairs to mini Natural History museum where everything is for sale. Its casing & display is great, especially if you are short on time & cannot get to ANHM. Diagonally cross the road to KioskKiosk. You will notice the pink neon arrow pointing upstairs & venture through the graffiti lined walls & stairs to the upstairs, the Atelier. I love this entrance: unexpected, old-skool NYC feel. Forever changing product from different countries, mostly curious & often utilitarian, but always lovely. Cross over Broadway & North to Prince St to Paula Rubenstein. An all time fav of mine with fab furniture pieces, architectural salvage, a wall of textiles, atelier furniture, old cogs, letters, ribbon, art and everything in between. This is a treasure trove.
We continued on Prince across Lafayette to check out the windows of E.R. Butler. They have huge permanent cabinets filling the space of 3 or 4 windows, much like you might witness in a museum. These displays change & are always good.
Headed back to Crosby & Prince witnessing an undercover cop arrest of 2 men (v NYC!!!) on the way to Crosby St Hotel. Kit Kemp designed this hotel and is an interiors genius. Even if your not staying the night, have lunch, lounge around in the courtyard scattered with faux bois, romantic lanterns & lots of greenery or sit at the bar & drink champagne. There is an honesty bar in the super comfortable library room if you are a guest.
We head south to Broome and walk past my fav hardware store, OK hardware. This was my local & I have bought many necessities here over the years & had many a key cut!! Kept heading west to Ochre. On the way we poked our heads into Jack Spade on Greene for an oilskin messenger bag or even a bag to hold your ping pong paddles & balls! My friend Andrew’s shop, Ochre, has great upholstered pieces, horn drawer pulls and treasures from around the world as well as lovely linens & hamman style bathroom accessories.
From Broome we walked to Wooster & headed North to my fav retail interior, The Rug Co. It was designed by Fay Toogood, who I have long admired (like 20 years!!) and was the look behind many a fabulous World of Interiors shoot. This space has a sense of humour, great play of colour, texture & scale. If you want the Vivienne Westwood cushion, you have to pre-order but my latest fav piece are the dhurrie style tartan rugs. Yes Please.
It was a quick taste teaser of my book and it was great to spend some time with the winners, Design*Sponge & the Anthropologie crew from the Soho Store.