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Archive for January, 2011

Metal & Mesh

Whiting and Davis, a producer of metal mesh products used for things like decorative architectural designs, industrial uses like protective shark mesh suits and, of course, for fashion.  Whiting and Davis also produced costume jewelry until the 1980’s.  The brand is also known for its dainty mesh handbags and the material has been used by designers like Catharine MalandrinoMichael Kors and more.


“These intricate materials look like metal covered fabrics but upon a closer inspection these lustrous materials are an intricate weave of interlocking metal links formed from rings of solid brass, aluminum, or stainless steel, plated or enameled, and polished to a brilliant finish.” You have seen this material on runways and in stores in the form of shoes, dresses, tops and handbags.

From accent pillows to window coverings, room dividers, and back drops, its applications are seemingly endless.  Beyond the luxurious opulence you may associate with the product, it can create an atmosphere of industrial or contemporary edginess.


Aside from its aforementioned use in the fashion world, it can be used for industrial, architectural and scientific applications as well as jewelry and home décor. “It is an intricate weave of interlocking metal links formed from rings of solid brass, aluminum or stainless steel, plated or enameled, and polished to a brilliant finish,” according to the company. It can drape like fabric while providing the longevity of metal. “This luxurious material ripples through the fingers like liquid gold…”


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Chatting with Christen Maxwell

We recently added the fabulous CHRISTEN MAXWELL’S home collection to Shop Ten 25. If you haven’t had a chance to stop by and take a peek, her pieces are a must see. We recently chatted with Christen about what inspired her to take the plunge and create her namesake product line. Christen’s passion for contributing to a pure world, supporting regional manufactures & proving that American made designs can be top notch is why we love her so much at SHOP TEN 25.

With her official launch at the New York International Gift Fair January 30th and many new pieces planned for 2011, her line is sure to be a huge hit.

Zorah Spring 22″ Pillow | Algiers Stone 22″ Pillow | Lulu Navy 18″ Pillow | Lulu Raspberry 12″x22″ Pillow

 

ST25:  You credit your parents for your passion for home products, tell us more about how your childhood inspired you to start CHRISTEN MAXWELL.

CM:  My childhood was centered around business and design. In the late 80s, my parents opened a pottery & glassware shop in Portland, Maine. I was an only child, so I was at the shop with them everyday playing ‘store’. It was there I learned everything I know about business. My parents’ aesthetic was extremely colorful. We sold plates from Italy, bowls from Poland, platters from France, textiles from India, tin luminaries from Haiti, etc.

ST25:  Tell us about your education, travel and other work experiences that have brought you to this point in your career/life.

CM:  I studied painting for two years at the School of Visual Arts thinking I wanted to develop patterns for pottery collections. At a mid-year review my sophomore year, a critic thought it looked like I was “designing objects with paint”. He was right. I transferred to Parsons The New School for Design to study Product Design the following semester.

ST25: Was there a “this is it” moment when deciding to create the CHRISTEN MAXWELL brand? Tell us when you started your business and a little bit about that process (process, support of family/friends & taking the
plunge).
CM:  I graduated from Parsons just as the economy crashed in 2008. It wasn’t the best time to be a Product Designer. What set me apart from my colleagues was my business experience. I immediately started a small consultancy, freelancing within product design, retail development, and visual merchandising for industry leaders across the country. It was a great stepping stone, and a way to save enough capital to invest into launching my own collection.
I remember working on a pottery collection for a company who asked me to email drawings to their manufacturer for quoting. The products were made in a country where child labor is permitted, and I just remember thinking that a little girl was going to be making the products I had just designed. I knew I’d never allow this in my business.

ST25: What were the first pieces you launched in the CHRISTEN MAXWELL line?
CM:  I launched my own fabric and pillow collection in the summer of 2010. Four patterns, four colors, three pillow sizes. It was all I could afford to start with. Within six months the collection has grown to over 400 SKUs. All of our products are handmade in the USA.


ST25: What is the most rewarding part of owning your own business? What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start their own business. (do’s and don’ts)
CM: It’s a pretty incredible feeling to know that something that was buried within your heart and soul can release and become a desirable, tangible object. Design is like art in that sense.  As for do’s, don’ts and advise….

Study, analyze, implement, and fake it ’til you make it!

Study: If there’s only one piece of advice you take, I hope it’s “know your customer”. Designers tend to design for themselves, but you can’t. My house consists mainly of white, black, camel, and natural colors, but all of my designs are much more colorful. I design for both the curve (colorful, blue, red and brown focused American homes) and also for the target user, a groovy, design-knowledgable, eco-minded individual who wants to pass treasures along to the next generation.
Analyze: An alert and successful business person needs to study the market to learn what your customer wants. You need to be able to analyze and study industry trends and find your opening with the market. Is there a market for my ideas? Would people rather get a pillow at a discount store they can throw away and replace next year? Is red popular this fall? Which exact hue or shade? Home colors tend to drag a year behind fashion, so was it in a fashion magazine last year?
Implement: If you’ve successfully analyzed your market and launched your concept, then implement it to the best of your ability. Market it, create a Facebook fan page, a Twitter account to spread the word, send press/media kits. Do whatever it takes to get your baby to fly!
Fake it ’til you make it!
1). Invest in your own domain. Don’t use a Gmail/Yahoo/etc. email address, it makes you look amateur. Even if you’re a student looking for an internship, post your resume and some of your work on a site!
2). Expect every phone call to be professional, even on your cell number. When your phone rings, answer “Good Morning, This is Greg”. You’d never just answer with “hello” at an office.
3). Always say “we”, never “I”. “We’ll get right on that and email you this afternoon”. Make it sound like you have dozens of employees even if it’s just you in a home office!
4). Print your own letterhead, print return address stickers, and make your own business cards (even on just cardstock for now). Do the works. You spent all this time on a website, but don’t forget to be legit on paper, literally.
5). Be poised & polished, and don’t forget to kill ‘em with kindness. Never say “um” and always send thank you notes/emails.


ST25: I can picture you in your NYC studio pulling together fabrics and details for your product line. If we were a fly on the wall on a typical day, what would we see? Do you work alone or have others that work with you during this process.  Lots of coffee breaks…lots of fun marketing lunch meetings?
(As you can see, I imagine your life in NYC as super fab and glamorous! Humor me) 

CM: We’re located in NYC’s celeb-clad, charming West Village. There isn’t a skyscraper in sight and our studio is absolutely tiny (about 20′ x 9′).  We love lunch meetings at Snack Taverna and The Little Owl, and take-out from Taim! Our just-back-from-studying-in-England darling assistant has us on an office tea-kick, but you’ll find us here bright and early with a pot o’ coffee listening to some jazz while starting to call vendors and customers. So much of our day consists of follow-up and quality control. I still oversee just about every product that walks out the front door. I want to make sure it’s perfect. It has my name on it after all!
2011 is off with a bang, so we’ll probably be moving – and expanding – quite soon!
ST25: Speaking of NYC…tell us what it’s like to live in one of the most fabulous cities in the world! How long have you lived in the city? Where is your studio located or where do you create your fabulous pieces? Where do you go for inspiration?
CM: It’s magic. I can’t imagine living anywhere elsewhere. Except Paris. That’s the goal; be successful enough to live and work in Paris. New York is alive. It’s a living city. You start your day with a half empty tote, go to the fabric district, wander down a street or two, pop into the market, and wind up back at home at the end of the day unloading your overflowing bag of treasures.
Image Via: E Adam Attia
Christen’s NYC Apartment

ST25: If you weren’t creating gorgeous pillows and accessories you’d be…
CM: If I wasn’t creating home accessories I’d be… traveling. There are so many colors and shapes and cultures to learn from in the world. Eyesight and perception is an invaluable education for a designer.
ST25: What is your biggest design pet peeve(s)?
CM: Overlooking use. I was just given a chic travel jewelry box with little suede earring divider squares, but when you close it and put it to use, all of your earrings mix around because there’s too much space between the top of the boxes and the lid. The designers overlooked the product’s actual use.

In interiors, it really hurts me when people put a sofa against a window so that one’s back is to the view. If there’s no other way to configure a room then there was a bad architect. 

ST25:  I am in LOVE with your laminated linen pieces! Tell us how you selected the product offerings for the collection and how it all works.
CM: Our products are chosen to create home accents that can be mixed within what people already have. We make jewelry for the home; you can splash our pillows around your home, add a new pendent over your dining room table, and serve cake on our trays. No major home renovations required!


Want more CM?  Find her on FACEBOOK, TWITTERONLINE & at SHOP TEN 25 .

Here are a few more images from Christen’s NYC Apartment. This 375 sqft Apartment is beautifully organized and full of her graphic pillows.  See more details on Christen’s swanky pad at Design*Sponge.

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Artistic details

Yesterday, I shared a few pictures from our moving day at a hip commercial office space. Since the space is located in a part of town that has an “artsy” reputation, it’s the perfect place for my client to run his creative business.

We are in the process of adding accessories and tons of color to the space. I picked up these colorful silk pillows from West Elm and they fit right into the artistic feel of the space. These three pieces are going to their new home today and will land on the office bunk bed! Nothing like a bunk bed to crash on after those long nights in the recording studio.

West Elm Water Splash Pillow

 

 

 

West Elm Tie Dye Stripe Pillow

 

 

 

West Elm Mongolian Lamb  14″x36″ Pillow

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Moving Day {Dope Creations}

The past two weeks in the Studio have been absolutely crazy busy. I am so fortunate to have clients that think outside of the box and bring me along for the ride!  Stay tuned to the blog over the next few weeks because we have tons of great products, designerss and project features to share. I’m trying to organize the content, it’s all so fabulous and hard to narrow down for the blog.

One of our latest projects is going to ahhhmazzzing! This commercial office is located in one of Dallas’ most unique creative areas, Deep Elm.  Exposed brick, stained concrete floors and industrial railings make this the perfect space for my client’s business.  My client, Dope Creations will be running a clothing line out of the space as well as using a portion of the loft as a recording studio. My client’s colorful abstract art will be displayed throughout the space and can be see from almost every room in the loft.

Here are a few pictures from moving day. We are curently installing furniture, art and accessories and hope to have everyone’s office complete soon!  My favorite part of the space is the custom logo on the ping pong table. They hired a graffiti artist to crate the logo on the table as well as a few other custom pieces for the space. Hopefully their company website will be up soon, I promise to share all of the details.

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Deer Dallas

This week I had the pleasure of meeting  Rachael Laine,  a professional photographer/stylist.  Rachael recently moved to Dallas from NYC a few months ago and is taking Big D head on!  She is also in the works of launching deerdallas.com.  A resource for all things fashion, art, design and entertainment in Dallas on more of a trendsetter, eco chic level.  Basically the site will be full of “photo essays/stories” profiling local designers and businesses, with a few paragraphs about the subject.

The deerdallas.com is on twitter right now as @pinkantlers and on facebook by using the email: info@deerdallas.com and the site is being built as we speak. I can’t wait to see what story Rachael launches first. And keep an eye out for fun Studio Ten 25 appearances on Deer Dallas in the coming months!

I also wanted to share a little bit of Rachael’s photography. While she was in NYC, Racchael worked on shoots for companies like Victoria’s Secret, Jonathan Adler, W Hotels, Marie Claire Magazine and on and on and on! Check out her site www.rachaellaine.com. And if your in the Dallas area and looking for someone to help with marketing or headshots, give her a shout.

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Stylish Blogger Award

I’m so excited because late last week Cristi from Charm Home awarded me with the Stylish Blogger Award!

I’ve seen this little award floating around the blogosphere  lately &  was flattered that it was passed along to me. Since starting my blog in late 2008, I have had the pleasure of  ”meeting” many other fabulous bloggers. Having a blog has been the perfect creative outlet and a wonderful way for me to share everything I love about being a designer, wife and mom to two fur babies!

When you are awarded the Stylish Blogger Award, you are required to share 7 things about yourself to your readers.

#1:  I HAVE A SERIOUS SHOE OBSESSION

It’s no big secret to my close friends and family that I love shoes!  From flip flops to high heels and even cowboy boots, I think shoes are the one accessory that make me feel pretty.  I love splurging on fancy brands but I promise, those 3″ and up heels are not comfortable. It cracks me up when other ladies say “Oh, absolutely they are super comfy” with a grimace on their face. YES, after walking in 3″ heels all day….my feet hurt!

#2: I’M FROM ARKANSAS AND PROUD OF IT…WHOO PIG SOOIE

Ok, get your Arkansas jokes out of the way. I love being from Arkansas and have wonderful memories of growing up in the land of Bill Clinton, The Razorbacks and The Stantons (my maiden name).  My father is a retired Colonel now, but when I was growing up he worked for the AHTD (Arkansas Highway Transportation Department). On occasion he would bring me to dedications and bridge opening ceremonies.  I was on cloud 9 when I met Bill Clinton who was the current Governor of Arkansas at the time.

#3: I DIDN’T EVEN WANT TO GET A DOG

Before we were married, my husband began to lay the ground work for  adding a dog to our new family. I grew up around lots of dogs, cats and horses but wasn’t ready to jump in to pet ownership again. My childhood dog,  Amanda was a dalmatian and loosing her in college was extremely tough. BUT, I caved and on Valentine’s Day 2008 we brought Cricket home.  Cricket was a German Short Haired Pointer and was becoming a great hunting buddy for my husband. We lost her when she was just over a year old and it was devastating.

Our house was left sad and spiritless.  We eventually added Caddo Brown (Brittany Spaniel) and about 6 months after that, Ivy Banks (German Short Haired Pointer) joined the Fenimore family. Now these two are best friends and great hunting buddies for their dad!

#4: I AM A TRUE ONLY CHILD…BUT HAVE A SISTER

My parents divorced when I was around 4 or 5 years old.  I was 10 when my dad remarried and I was so blessed to finally have a sister!  Since I didn’t live with my dad, I spent summers and holiday’s at their house and LOVED having a sister.  Jenny  is about 3 years older than me so we got along pretty well.  We were both only children when our parents married but we call each other sisters and I have loved that addition to my life. My husband still calls me a selfish only child at times, but I just ignore it…because it’s not really true!


#5: I BOUGHT MY WEDDING DRESS ON EBAY.

I am serious people. Wedding dresses are a complete rip along with most of the details required for a wedding. I spotted this Silk Blush Jim Hjelm dress and became obsessed with it. Once I tried it on in the bridal  boutique, I knew it was exactly what I wanted but the extremely high price tag really made me sick. So…like any bargain shopper I set out to find the dress.  My patience paid off when I snagged it on ebay as a “trunk show” piece that was damaged! The damage was removed once the alterations were made so it all worked out.

#6: I’M NOT A GOOD WIFE…I DON’T LIKE TO COOK!

But, I will clean up and do the dishes after dinner. My husband is a great cook, he loves to grill and is always looking for new recipes. He’s been on the “Cowboy’s Cookbook” kick lately so we have had quite a few “on the trail” type dinners.  There is nothing I love more than walking into a sparkly clean kitchen, so I would rather go out and have someone else clean up.  We are pretty 50/50 on house chores so there isn’t toooo much complaining.

#7: A CLIENT SUGGESTED THAT I OPEN MY ONLINE BOUTIQUE, SHOP TEN 25

After hours of digging through furniture, accessory and rug catalogues, we were both exhausted and sick of being on the computer. My client looked at me and said “this would be so much easier if you had all of this in one place so I could just look at things as I had time”. Hmmm, what a great idea! I started with a tiny template that was quite a pain to maintain and upload products. As things began to grow, I moved up into a full scale e-commerse site and we have been rockin along ever since!  Stop by SHOP TEN 25 when you have time, it’s full of pieces that I looove and use everyday in my Studio Ten 25 design projects.

And last but not least, award 10 great bloggers that you have fairly RECENTLY discovered with the Stylish Blogger Award.  Here they are….

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New Numbers in The Shop

Our  online boutique, SHOP TEN 25 has recently be updated with quite a few fabulous pillows and accessories. Today I wanted to share one of my favorites!  These number hook pillows are absolutely fabulous and I’m thinking that I need  this combination for my office!!   The pillows are 18″x18″ and made of 100% wool & cotton.

 

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New Year | New Look

I am sooooo excited to show you a sneak peek of the new STUDIO TEN 25 design site and blog.

Sam & Kevin from Swoon [The Studio] are rockin in out and I could not be any happier with the progress they have made over the past few months. Don’t get me wrong, I love my current site and blog, but I was becoming limited on what I could add, change or customize. I have been a HUGE fan of Sam’s for a while now and knew she was my go to girl for designing my new look!  I encourage you to visit their site as well as her blog, style/SWOON. You’ll see their work in many Dallas publications and their creations for  The Dallas Cowboys and Neiman Marcus are Ahhhhmazing!

It’s all me with a chic new upgraded look  including quatrefoils, a glamourous feel and of course touches of PINK! Keep an eye out for the launch of our new site and blog soon! Until then, I would love to know what you think of the sneak peak!

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Inspirational Shape {The Quatrefoil}

Today I am going to keep it short, sweet & simple. I have loved the shape of the quatrefoil for a quite sometime now and wanted to post a few of my favorite images with the beautiful shape. I love the shape so much that it has become a part of my soon to launch newly designed website and blog. Come back tomorrow for a sneak peek!

Here are a few fabulous facts about the quatrefoil:

-In Christianity, each of the leaves of the quatrefoil have symbolized the four evangelists of the Bible: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

-In Native American culture, the four leaves of the quatrefoil are believed to symbolize the four ends of the earth. This represents Native American prayers to the North, South, East, and West.

-According to the Seattle First Baptist Church, the quatrefoil is an ancient symbol of good luck.

-Since it is easy to divide a quatrefoil into equal portions or into other shapes, it has also come to symbolize harmony, symmetry, and proportion.

 

Image Via: Jeneration Interiors

Image Via: Jeneration Interiors

Image Via: Houzz

Image Via: Charm Home

Image Via: Turquoise LA

Image Via: Studio Ten 25

Image Via: David Jimenez

Image Via: Decor Pad

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Project Update: {Custom Wingbacks}

From inspiration to reality. When a client’s space challenges me on scale, I always turn to custom! The dining room we are updating is gorgeous with high ceilings and when we are done, it will be a gorgeous refined lodge like dining space.  The table is in great shape and my client loves the size and style. But, her dining room chairs are a bit blah and she was ready to kick the room up a few notches.

We are having the all wood chair transformed into a cozy fabric and leather combination.  Adding all leather wingback chairs to the ends of the table was something my client has had her mind on for a while. Since the scale of the existing chairs were a bit on the small size, finding a leather wingback that was in scale to them was becoming a pain.

Here is the inspiration for the dining room wingbacks.

I stopped by the work room to see how the frame shape was going and here is what the guys were up to…

On my next visit to the workroom, I was so happy to see the leather on the chairs. I love that the seat cushion is removable, this will help to make clean up after meals much easier if things spill. We are waiting on the nail heads and these gorgeous chairs will be finished and ready to go home.

Since using real leather can be costly, we decided to go with a leather look. Fabric manufactures have a wonderful offering of faux leathers on the market today. They are easy to use for upholstering, durable and keep your budget in check.  We selected Duralee’s version in Saddle.

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