Hudson Roadtrip

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Last weekend a few friends and I took a trip upstate a couple hours to recharge in the heart of the Hudson Valley. With the help of a little fresh country air, we managed to pack the weekend full of some of our favorite things: vintage shopping, farm-to-table dining and of course, a little house touring.

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After we checked into our Hudson apartment rental, we made our way to a brunch spot called Le Gamin Country. This original NYC offshoot is French inspired with a traditional French bistro styled breakfast menu of crêpes and eggs. Atmosphere was great. Lemon crêpes were delicious. Overall, we left the place happy customers ready to take on the insane amount of shops that lined the main street of Hudson.

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Hudson is antique central. Almost every store has something unique to offer…

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White Whale Limited (exotica, Americana), Hudson Super Market (vintage furnishings) and LOOK (clothing, jewelry) were amongst a few noteworthy shops but Neven+Neven Moderne was definitely a must-see for any mid-century enthusiast. 

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The George Nakashima floating shelf (above) and the teak Danish planter (below) were a couple stand out pieces that were on display.

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Another great hidden gem was a small shop aptly name Larry’s Back Room. Tucked away at the back of Mark’s Antiques, the place was jam-packed with old industrial tools, primitives and home furnishings from the Victorian era.

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An unexpected discovery was the artwork of Earl Swanigan. His paintings are everywhere in Hudson. Earl is a bit of a town celebrity so you bet we were a tad star struck when we spotted him guarding his paintings on a Warren street sidewalk. Yes, Earl’s artwork is a sort of enigma to us all but you can’t deny that they have an unusual ability to put a smile on your face!

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“Mostly, I paint dogs and cats and chickens doing things like human beings would do,” – Earl Swanigan

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That evening we tried what is claimed to be the first true farm-to-table direct restaurant called Grazin’. The burgers are made from pasture raised grassfed cows… Animal Welfare Approved! The burgers were clean, the brews were local and the diner atmosphere, spot on!

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The next morning we planned a house tour at The Vanderbilt Mansion located about an hour from the town of Hudson. 

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Now a National Historic site, the 54-room mansion was built in the 1890s and the Vanderbilts occupied the home and surrounding 211 acres until the 1930s. At the time the house cost about $2 million to build and furnish.

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The Vanderbilts, like many new wealthy industrialists, commissioned European artists and Beaux-Arts architects to imitate the palaces of European royalty. Their bedrooms were even inspired by Louis IVI and Marie Antoinette’s bedchambers at the Palace of Versailles. 

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The mansion was a seasonal home where the Vanderbilts would retreat during the Spring and Fall months. After the tour we strolled through the grounds and river valley. We ended the trip with the perfect view of the Hudson River!

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For another weekend getaway idea, check out our posts on Cold Spring, Beacon and Maine. For more architectural house tours, view our visits to The Glass House, Stahl House and Falling Water.

Special thanks to Aimee, Sujin and Natty for photographs and late night navigation!

angelique



George Nakashima at Untitled

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The furniture of George Nakashima has always blurred the lines between art and design. His organic approach to wood construction reveals the unique idiosyncrasies of the tree itself, in what he aptly called “the second life.” By utilizing the natural edge of the board and integrating imperfections like burls, knots and cracks, Nakashima’s pieces often lent well to a naturalistic expressiveness. It was so great to see a large body of his works staged in a home setting, the way they were meant to be used and displayed. 

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George Nakashima: In Conversation is being exhibited at the Untitled Gallery at 30 Orchard Street in the Lower East Side till April 20, 2014. The gallery is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 11am till 6pm. 

stevenson



5 Napkin Fold Tutorials

The peak of Spring is right around the corner and so are the dinner parties, BBQs and outdoor picnics! We put together five quick and easy napkin fold tutorials to help spruce up the table setting at your next gathering.

The French Pleat

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1. Begin with a square shape folded in half
2. Fold in half again

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3. Leaving the under layer flat, fold the top right corner of the next layer toward the center
4. Repeat with the next layer while keeping even pleats

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5. Fold the remaining layers to meet with the bottom left corner
6. Carefully flip the napkin and fold the left edge approximately one-third towards the right side

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7. Fold the right side over toward the left and try to tuck the napkin into a pleat to help hold its shape  

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 The Basket

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1. Begin with a square shape folded on the diagonal
2. Bring the straight edge halfway toward the point

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3. Fold the upper corner towards the center
4. Fold the bottom corner towards the center

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5. With the remaining point, fold down towards the backside and spread a layer open to create a pouch
6. Use the basket for flowers, dinner rolls, eggs or party favors!

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 The Double Diamond

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1. Start with folding the napkin on the diagonal
2. Fold the right corner to meet the top corner

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3. Repeat with the left corner to form a diamond
4. Carefully turn the diamond around and fold the bottom corner up approximately to the hallway point

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5. Tuck the sides under the napkin and you’re done!

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The Pyramid

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1. Begin with a square napkin or fold a rectangular shaped one into an even square
2. Fold the square on the diagonal

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3. With the straight edge facing you, fold the right corner to meet with the top corner
4. Repeat with the left corner to form a diamond

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5. Carefully flip while keeping the open end away
6. Fold open-ended corner towards you in half

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7. Flip again while keeping the open end towards you
8. Raise and fold the napkin along the middle 

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The Knot

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1. Fold the square napkin into a triangle with the point facing you
2. Start pleating equal sized accordion pleats. The last pleat should fold downwards

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3. Circle the right side around the left and pull through the loop you’ve created in order to form the knot. Tug and pull as desired!

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Note: These tutorials all begin with square shaped napkins. If your napkin is rectangular, simply fold one side to create an even square. Fog Linen Work cloth napkins were used in this tutorial and can be found here.

angelique



Japanese Treasures from the Brooklyn Museum

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The Japan Society is hosting an exhibition titled, Point of Departure: Treasures from the Brooklyn Museum. The exhibition highlights an array of objects and art works from the museum’s vast Japanese Art collection never before seen in North America. It was the perfect excuse for Angy and I to take the day off and head into Manhattan.

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Of particular interest, was a Japanese screen titled, “Cherry Blossom Viewing Picnic” from the Edo Period circa 1624. The four-fold screen depicts a procession of fifteen figures, whom appear to be “pleasure women” (yujo) accompanied by a few members of the samurai elite class. All the figures are fashionably dressed in colorful clothes with detailed designs. Notice how the patterns are rendered in a flat manner, similar to woodblock prints from that era. While most Japanese screens offer a bird’s eye view of a cityscape, this screen brings the viewer to a street level where the attire and accessories of common people become the emphasis. Almost like a fashion rendering!

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 Below are some other highlights from various paintings, prints, screens, sculptures and decorative objects showcased in the exhibition.

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 In the early 1900s, Brooklyn Museum curator Stewart Culin conducted a series of expeditions to Japan, which laid the groundwork for the museum’s collection of Asian Art. As we learned more about Culin, we became increasingly inspired. The following is a quote that epitomizes our shared philosophy…

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Stewart Culin (left) and Dr. Neal Gordon Munro (right) at Bokenji temple in Yokohama, 1909

 

1. Cherry Blossom Viewing Picnic, Unknown Artist, 1624-22, Ink, color and gold leaf on paper
2. Triangle Plate, Kato Tsubusa, 1999, Porcelain with transparent light blue glaze
3. Drinking Ewer, Unknow Artist, 1680, Glazed porcelain
4. Vase, Kitamura Junko, 1991, Stoneware
5. Vase with Everted Floriate Rim, Kawase Shinobu, 1988, Stoneware with Guan type celadon glaze
6. Ewer (Mizutsugi), Kato Kiheiji, 1980, Glazed stoneware
7. Square Dish, Ogata Kenzan, Early 18th Century, Earthenware with iron oxide underglaze
8. Matsushima in Oshu Province, Utagawa Hiroshige 1855, Woodblock color print
9. Woman’s Robe, Unknown Ainu Artist, Late 19th Century, Elm bark fiber cloth with applique and embriodery
10. Small figure of Bodhisattva Sho Kamon, Unknown Artist, ca.1100, Wood, gesso and paint
11. Mode of Shampooing, Felice Beato 1839, Photograph
12. The Silly Jelly-Fish, Basil Hall Chamberlain and Kawabata Gyokusho, 1842
13. A View of Mount Fuji from a Boat at Ushibori, Katsushika Hokusai, 1760, Woodblock color print

stevenson



Guest Curator: Daniel Chmielewski

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We’ve known Daniel for quite some time now. I guess you can say I’ve known him my whole life. Daniel is my eldest brother and also our latest guest curator! 

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Daniel, along with my other brother Arthur, founded the menswear store Haven. With their fourth shop opening very soon in Vancouver, they’ve had their hands pretty full! We’ve managed to catch up with Daniel on a recent trip back to Canada to visit his home in downtown Edmonton.

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We’ve always admired Daniel’s ability to make time to enjoy the finer things in life. Whether that be testing out a new cocktail recipe, painting a mural, or crafting a book shelf, he always finds a way to create a harmonious lifestyle. During our afternoon visit, we made almond butter from scratch. It’s a simple recipe but it was the small act of taking a few moments to savor a nice homemade sandwich that made this occasion stand out. It’s this appreciation for a healthy and diverse style of living that makes Daniel worthy of being our latest lifestyle curator. 

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Haven first introduced Hender Scheme footwear to their shop a few seasons ago, so when Daniel also mentioned his love for the brand’s home products, we knew it’d be the perfect fit for Nalata Nalata! Check out Daniel’s latest curation of Hender Scheme’s home goods collection here and stay tuned for his unique product selections in the future.

angelique



Video: 10¹² Terra Movie

A beautiful video produced by Chiba design studio, 10¹² Terra, showcasing our recently released terrariums for succulents. Check out their full product selection here and stay tuned for new releases from this bourgeoning brand. 

stevenson



Behind the Photo

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This past Friday, we were incredibly lucky to have had such an awesome setting for our in-situation product photography. Our friend Elissa and her family were kind enough to open up their Brooklyn home for us to shoot some of our new product releases coming up. 

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We start off the morning packing Armando’s van and make our way to Elissa’s place, which is luckily just a few blocks from our studio. Elissa, along with her husband Jay, are the founders of Kiln Design, a studio that specializes in enamel and copper objects. We immediately spot so many of their sculptures around the house and can tell that everything was decorated with a lot of heart and soul. Absolutely stunning! Every corner is considered! 

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Since we were shooting mostly cookware this time around, we had a lot of food props to prepare. It helped that Elissa’s home was full of beautiful objects that we would use as sub-ins whenever needed.

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Their cat, Princess Pea, was especially interested in our fresh fish props.

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Can’t wait to release the photos in the coming weeks! To learn more about Elissa and Jay, check out their site here.

angelique



Market Stroll

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An assortment of root vegetables lined the Fort Greene Farmer’s Market this past weekend – massive rutabagas, potatoes, Japanese daikon, purple German radishes, black Spanish roots, watermelon radish domes and Golden Globe turnips. I love waking up for the market with Steve on a Saturday morning to see all of this, especially to witness the remnants of the last days of winter… The transition of winter roots and vegetables to spring’s leafy greens is right around the corner. This was more of an aesthetic stroll through the market rather than a grocery run!

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angelique



A Closer Look at Uchino

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We recently released six distinct styles of Japanese towels in our shop and wanted to give you some insights into the acclaimed manufacturer and brand, Uchino

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With headquarters in Tokyo, Uchino is dedicated to creating the world’s finest towels and it all starts with quality materials. Their cotton is sourced from three specific regions in the world: the West Indian Sea Island, XinJiang region in China and Egypt. Cotton from these regions provide a longer, thinner fiber ideal for its production methods. The bounty collected from these cotton fields is then spun throughout integrated factories across Japan. By harnessing Japanese technology to spin specific yarns for each kind of towel, a range of different textures, properties and qualities can be produced.

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Here’s a bit more about each specific towel and what makes them so special…

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Air Waffle

The waffle weave was actually first designed in Europe, but perfected in Japan by weaving the textile with a hollow yarn. The Air Waffle towel is the result of such ingenuity, achieving an unbelievably soft cloth with a unique textured feel. The surface area that touches the skin is minimized with the three-dimensional weave, so the towels feel lightweight and fresh. The microscopic picture above showcases the crevices created within the yarn which gives the towel its namesake. The air trapped inside the yarn makes the towel especially adept for quick drying.

Air Waffle towels are available in white and grey

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Gauze

Gauze is created by coarsely weaving cotton yarn into a grid like pattern. It’s history dates back to the to the Middle East where it was commonly used as a see-through fabric. In America, it’s traditionally used in medical practices, whereas in Japan, gauze is more commonly used as a gentle cloth for babies and those with sensitive skin. Weaving gauze with multiple layers and combining it with a different material backing results in an elegant towel that redefines the concept of gauze, while maintaining its properties of being light and soft. Uchino is best known for a three layer gauze towel with a cotton pile backing. These luxurious towels offer two textures in one towel, the gauze side when you need a gentle texture and the pile side for when you want a softer feel.

Gauze and Pile Towels are available in a white and a charcoal weave. 

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Yarns are traditionally twisted fibers. But Zero Twist yarns are designed to have almost no twist. The result is a textile with an extra fluffy texture while maintaining an airy softness, evoking the feel of natural cotton. A special fiber is then woven in the center of the yarn to prevent the shedding of its extra fluffy texture.

Zero Twist towels are available with gauze backing here

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Marshmallow

Just like its name implies, this towel achieves an incredible lightness and soft texture. The premium softness is only created with extra long staple cotton fibers found exclusively in the Xinjiang province of China. The superior cotton is then spun into a superfine 60-count yarn and shaped to form thin terry loops, allowing the towel to function as a textile with high absorbency rates and heat retention. 

Marshmallow towels are available in white and grey

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For the complete index of bath and body products by Uchino, click on the link here.

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All images courtesy Uchino Co. Ltd and The Book of Towels, published by the Magazine House Co. Ltd. Photography by Rowland Kirishima, Masataka Nishi, Toru Kometani, Hisai Kobayashi and Eiichi Kano. 

stevenson



Leather Japan

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Its always so interesting how different artists and designer interpret one material. The Thomas Erben Gallery in Chelsea is currently showcasing a group of works that exemplify the contemporary leather craft in Japan. Selected works from the fields of fashion, art and design converge to convey the deep allure of Japanese leather goods, known for their high level of craftsmanship and artisan techniques. The exhibition is titled, Leather Japan and will be open to the public through Feb 22 from 10am-6pm.  I’ve showcase a few of my personal highlights below, but visit the exhibit to see the full collection. 

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1. Woodblock Print from Meji Era, 1879, paper
2. Flu Masks, Sasquatchfabrix 2013, deer leather
3. Deer Cell, Kosuke Tsumura 2014, deer leather, deer bone, plastic
4. Mock, Hender Scheme 2014, deer leather
5. Rice Ball Case, Blackmeans 2010, cow leather, metal parts
6. Manual Industrial Products 01, Hender Scheme 2011, cow leather
7. Manual Industrial Products 08, Hender Scheme 2013, cow leather
8. Straitjacket, Sasquatchfabrix 2013, deer leather
9. Sign, Akiyoshi Mishima, digital print, deer leather, used bullet, pigments
10. Symbiosis jacket, Class 2013, deer leather
11. Needle’s Classic jacket, Needles 2013, deer leather
12. untitled jacket, M’s Braque, 2014, deer leather and metal parts
13. Sign, Akiyoshi Mishima, deer leather, used bullet, pigments
14. Head Hunters, Shin Murayama 2014, deer skin, rabbit hair, wood, bicycle saddles, bmx handlebar, bicycle rim
15. Kinkaragawa, 1603, leather, metal parts

stevenson