Inspired Living: Rudolf Schindler

Ms. Burke and I were able to spend a wonderful week in Los Angeles recently.  I had the pleasure of bringing her to the Schindler House in West Hollywood.
Schindler was rethinking the whole possibility of living after coming out of the stodgy, late 1800s.  His home expresses this beautifully, if unphotographably.  He was thinking of a home for two families- where each would have shared space and also private space in both the interior and the exterior.  
Sleeping happened in exterior rooftop balconies.  Ms. Burke pointed out Schindler was really trying to get as close to nature as was possible.  Walls are concrete- with small long glass panes imbedded on sides that might require privacy, but huge open spaces to protected lawns.  The rest is unfinished redwood, lager panels of glass, and panels of a inexpensive pressed fiberboard.
The 2 bathrooms are among my favorite spaces in the world.  Full of low indirect light and cast concrete with exposed diagrammatic plumbing, these spaces are intensely calming and pleasing.
The home is run by the MAK and can be easily visited.  The staff is smart and knowledgeable.

Exterior Showing the rooftop sleeping balcony.  Photo from

Exterior Showing the rooftop sleeping balcony.  Photo from

photo by  Jonathan Smith

photo by Jonathan Smith

Photo from

Photo from

photo by  Stacy Laviolette

photo by Stacy Laviolette

Escape Maps

Pilots in WW2 needed maps in case they went down behind enemy lines.  The maps needed to be durable, able to get wet, and quiet to handle.  The solution was printing on silk.  Fine woven silk has a grain tight enough that ultra fine printing required for maps was legible, and also could be printed on both sides.  Sometimes Parachute silk that wasn’t up to the job of being a parachute would be used.
As the US’s engagement in the war loomed, Our access to silk from Japan was threatened.  Rayon was already being produced but was developed, refined and scaled up for the war effort.
Pilots would sometimes sew their escape maps into the lining of their jackets to make sure it was on them even if they had to quickly eject.  This is the antecedent to map printed linings in Bomber Jackets of today and also my high school years.
Right now these maps are available on eBay for what seems like too little money.
I just bought this one that shows New Guinea, but mostly the wind, wave, and current patterns in the surrounding water.                                                                                                                       My hubby Fabio had an Aunt who had a stylish blouse made of these maps.  I never got to see that but it lives on as a stylish and frugal use of beautiful fine silk.


Scatter My Ashes at Burke & Pryde

Bergdorf Goodman is a sanctuary of taste and design.  Their holiday windows exempllfy the things about BG that I love. I got to be part of the Burke & Pryde studio realization of the most expensive Bergdorf Goodman window ever!  I was in charge of about half of the 60 author portraits, and all of the text.  The red library was rendered entirely in thread, fabric and wool.  It was a hard and long project.  When I get to be part of something like this I feel like it is a decorative spa- a chance to really soak in a totally different and special perspective.  It is also always a pleasure to work with boss lady and friend Johanna Burke.

photo by  Ricky Zehavi

photo by Ricky Zehavi

photo by  Ken Hamm

photo by Ken Hamm

The WSJ covered the ramp up to the windows and I didn’t get a cameo, but my machine did!  I'm very proud that the window includes our own Ottoman Moiré in red.
David Reid, my hubby and I got to soak in the glare of a camera flash at the glamorous  unveiling after party.

Kevin Walz is in the NYT!

Kevin is a dear friend and a great designer.  He is just back in the US and getting himself situated and decorated.  See it all in the Times.  I'm just thrilled that our Moonlight gets to be in his life and is mentioned in the article.

Photo by Jane Beiles for The New York Times

Photo by Jane Beiles for The New York Times

Husband Watch: Hamlet at Hartford Stage

Darko Tresnjak directed Hamlet at The Hartford Stage.  It is powerful and surprising and is costumed by my hubby.  I helped Fabio with the epic quantities of machine embroidery on this project.  We are now masters at machine stitch witchery.

Photo: T Charles Erickson