STANDARD international design, live from Austin
4 garden giveaways!
artists at home
early summer 2012
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every issue The Letter 10 Newsreel Trend-Predictor 17 extreme furniture and nerding out on super powers
On The Boards 22 meet our staff and their giveaways
A Design Affair 104 Emily Henderson and cognac leather, a match made in heaven
Darling & Daring 114 our parting shot
22 104 31
artists at home,
early summer 2012
columns Perfectionist 102 goodbye movie posters, hello artwork
Wear the Room 108 flora turned fabulous
Win The Room 14 lighting, towels, accessories, and pro advice for your bathroom 29 On The Boards 22 seriously, weâ€™re all giving stuff away 7
features Color Chameleon 34 designer Stephanie Moore and her not-sosecret obsession with fabric
Scavenger Hunt 46 foraging artist + antique junkie = gorgeous
The Magic Eye Effect 66
click, clip, snip, stitch; Gwen Samuels in her studio, home and garden
Le Jardin de Papier 80 the many layers of paper mosaic artist Karen Sikie足足
Standard Visits 92 artist James Sommers in Austin
the letter mers’ canvases swathed in saturated hues, we’ve explored what makes these artists tick, and how they bring their work into their own homes and the homes of others.
Sometimes it’s me. In the early days of Standard it was almost always me—photographer, writer, art director, you name it. But as time passed I found help from smart people who were (are) kind enough to lend their talents to help make Standard stronger and better. Damn if I am not super grateful for these people, and I’m happy to have an opportunity to introduce a few of them in this issue’s “On The Boards” section.
A special treat awaits HGTV fans on page 104 where “Secrets of a Stylist” designer Emily Henderson gets good and sassy with us in “A Design Affair.” I cannot help but love anyone who throws aside their ego and just gets real. Emily H., you’re super fly. Over the summer and into the fall you are going to see some pretty awesome things happening with Standard. Make sure you’re linked in with us on good ole’ Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest (and for God’s sake, if you’re not a subscriber just click this giant orange box already) so you don’t miss out on all the fun.
Now go pour yourself an iced coffee Assembling our Artists at Home issue and enjoy the issue. has been a delightful opportunity for us to bathe ourselves in color, light, pattern and inspiration. From Gwen Samuels’ transparency-stitched-one- Kelly LaPlante dimensional-couture to James Som- Editorial Director & Founder
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trend-predictor early summer 2012
Whether you need something to give your home super powers, or to narrow down your dining chair situation, weâ€™ve got you covered. Here we present two noteworthy news items that are sure to aid in your search for new treasures.
it’s a bird, it’s a plane... Summer is approaching so brace yourself for the onslaught of comic book and super hero films. These adaptations may have been fodder for the nerd purists before, but now it’s chic-to-be-geek (have you seen hipsters lately?). This July’s Comic-Con will be for fans and nerds-in-training alike.
Impulse Purchase on Not on the High Street
Koncepts by Karyn
Ellie Ellie on Not on the High Street
we predict... An embrace of all things Super! The bold primary colors that cover comic pages will be infused into décor, and you can expect a lot of “BOOM” and “POW” graphically smattered across simple objects like coasters and vintage comics turned into objets d’art.
The Letteroom on Not on the High Street
FUNBUS on Blik
the western expanse As Americans have been getting bigger and bigger, so has furniture. But with more than one-third of American adults now in the official “obese category,” as well as the tremendous rise of childhood-onset diabetes, something has got to give. We’re about to see designers sending Americans a message to shape up or ship out with smaller furniture that is not designed to enable poor eating and exercising habits.
Cattelan Italia Decoratum
we predict... To encourage an all-American slim-down, the scale of furniture will begin diminish. Though skinny doesn’t always equal healthy, sometimes extremes have to be taken to get the message across. Expect hyperbolically thin seating that will serve as a backlash to our ever-expanding waistlines.
Colin Tury Furniture
on the boards
Mona Miltenberger, Intern
Patrick Jones, Intern
Joanne Kim, Intern
Jenny Gumbert, Associate Editor
James Saavedra, Columnist
Kelly LaPlante, Editorial Director & Founder
Dan Reade, Content Manager
Spencer Selvidge, Staff Photographer Mallory Hamel, Staff Writer & Senior Copy Editor
Our Austin staff members photographed at Big Red Sun. Dresses designed by Ruby Pearl, sold exclusively at Stella Blue; Vintage menâ€™s shirts from New Brohemia. 23
This page: 1. Linen Napkins, in Intense Grey, by MYdrap, $38; 2. Cube Birdhouse, in Leaf, by loll designs, $79; 3. Egg Press Linen Napkin, in Heraldry, from Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co., $14, “This is a great pattern that feels traditional but playful at the same time. It’s so fantastic that I actually had a dream about it.”; 4. Glassybaby, in Gratitude, by Glassybaby, $44; 5. Ripple Teapot from Task, $90; 6. Lago Chair, in Leaf, by loll designs, $496, “This lounge chair is the perfect merger between comfortable and sleek. I just bought 22 of them for the ecolodge I’m designing in the West Indies.”; 7. Satellite Accent Table, in Grey, by loll designs, $199; Opposite page: 8. High&Dry Dishrack by Black+Blum, $49; 9. Soho Dining Table, by Viesso, starting at $1428; 10. Glass Terrariums from Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co., $45; 11. Seed Bombs from Big Red Sun Austin, $40 for set of three, “The hand grenade design of these seed bombs is one of the rare occurrences where being literal is actually quite clever.” - Kelly
iCal or Google Cal
to 11save the date
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Win This! 1 2
3 This page: 1. Denizen Cube Towers by WilliamsSorel from Coalesse, $6047; 2. Allegra Hicks Flower Pillow Cover, in Flax, from West Elm, $29; 3. Not Your Grandma’s Vintage Whites from Greenhouse Design Studio, $29-39 for set of four; 4. Olivewood Spice Spoons from Leif, $5, “I’m usually attracted to the small details in a home, and these little spice spoons are a perfect example of bringing great design to even the tiniest objects.”; 5. Milk Stool, in White, by loll designs, $184; 6. Pretty Embellished Napkins from Greenhouse Design Studio, $49 for set of four; 7. A-Frame Plant Hanger from Poketo, $78, “Despite my lack of a green thumb, I’m totally in love with all things plant-related right now.”; Opposite page: 8. Re-turned Birds by Lars Beller Fjetland; 9. Toolbox, in White, by loll designs, $114; 10. Cabrio Lounge Chair, in Sand, by loll designs, $399; 11. Metallic Sand Leather Pouch by ANN-YA, $30, “I was already a big fan of Anja Verdugo, but her new line of leather goods really takes the cake. Swoon.” - Jenny
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6 This page: 1. Thomas Paul Crab Flax Pillow from Design Public, $88, “I love this pillow for its subtle print and unique design, but also because I do like to laugh, and c’mon— crabs are pretty funny.”; 2. Classic Bowls from Greenhouse Design Studio, $29; 3. 4 Slat Adirondack, in Sky, by loll designs, $609; 4. Owen Steel End Table, in Industrial Yellow, from Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co., $195; 5. Mid-Century Desk, in Mustard Yellow, from Mint Home; 6. Metropolitan Ave. Coffee Table by 31 and Change; Opposite page: 7. Classic Birdhouse, in Yellow/Blue, by Tweet Tweet Home, $13.95; 8. Thomas Paul Flock Dhurrie Rug, in Corn and Cream, from Design Public, starting at $196; 9. Step Stool, in Sky, by loll designs, $138, “I’m five feet and two inches tall, and after a lifetime of crawling onto counters just to reach shelves, I can say that a stool is a shorty’s best friend—this one would add a funky contrast to the mustard yellow walls in my kitchen.” - Mallory
is! Win Th
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3 Win This!
This page: 1. Pitch Birdhouse, in Apple, by loll designs, $79, “I would love to live in this house—believe me, I tried.” - Patrick; 2. Tyvek Watch by Sprout, $60; 3. Linen Napkins, in Aubergine, by MYdrap, $38; 4. Wool Felt Coaster Set by MOUFELT, $22, “These bright red coasters can add a pop of color and geometry to your stark white coffee table. Or you can easily string them and make a garland!” - Joanne; 5. Alfresco Bench, in Apple, by loll designs, $479; 6. Large Bucket Bowl, in Lilac, by Core Bamboo, $54; 7. Bob Lounge Chair by PearsonLloyd from Coalesse, starting at $1999, “I love this chair—it’s The Jetsons-meets-Mad Men!” - Mona; Opposite page: 8. Modern Bamboo Vases, in Lilac and Cherry, $100 each, Round Bamboo Vase, in Lilac, $100, by Core Bamboo; 9. Draper Stripe Amethyst Throw by DwellStudio, $150; 10. Zoom Cojín Pillow, in Purple, by Nanimarquina, $560
7 iCal or Google Cal
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chameleon story by mallory hamel photography by spencer selvidge
’m kind of a chameleon. I can walk into someone’s house and see their style and interpret it easily. If someone likes color it really excites me, it’s more fun for me.”
I inherited her creativity,” Stephanie notes.
Although the distinctive style which Stephanie has developed over the years is that of personal passion and education, her history with textiles is also rooted in her heritage.
The rooms in Stephanie’s home are evidence of her reverence for textiles. When choosing fabrics for the main space, Stephanie allows that she was in a “purple zone.” This has since become the present blues and yellows.
After having learned to sew from her mother, Stephanie studied fashion design and fabric design in school. At that time, she would often make her The words of Stephanie Moore, a own fabrics for her projects. woman with her own unique brand of creativity. Stephanie specializes in de- Stephanie landed in the film industry, signing drapery, upholstered furniture, where she worked in costuming. It was lampshades, bedding, and the like. at this time that she realized she didn’t Her company is Cush Cush Design— want to continue in fashion, but most Cush Cush meaning, “happy” or “joy” definitely wanted to take her work with in Hindi. Previously a high-end bou- fabrics to the next level. She began tique in Austin, Texas, Cush Cush was dabbling with slipcovers and drapes, open to the public from 2000-2004, and then fell into the realm of interiors. providing fabrics, furnishings and jewelry. When Stephanie closed the store, “The results were more rewarding... she began fully focusing on custom- to see a room and how you’ve changed designed work. it with fabric.”
“My grandmother passed away when I was six years old. She inspired me “I tend to get bored very quickly and more than I can say. Even at that age, redo things a lot. The house has gone I was so enthralled by her. I feel like through so many transformations.
roomy recovered chairs purchased at a festival. An antique console, formerly belonging to her grandmother, Verna Mae Moore, is the platform for one of Stephanie’s most intriguing assemblages. Atop this console is a quirky arrangement of bizarre and fascinating items. “I put little things that I collect and love there. I like to make vignettes.” Alien sculptures from Austin Art Collage, crystals and rocks, and a hummingbird nest are but a few of the oddities grouped together in an off-beat harmony. When I’m looking for things or pullThe crowning piece to this little set-up ing stuff for clients, new fabrics will inis a wintery white jackalope from the spire me. I like to bring in new stuff. Corner Shoppe in Austin. Sometimes it’s the one new thing that changes everything.” “I was working on a Stubb’s BBQ remodel, just giving it a little face-lift. In her living space, a colorful seating When we were looking for items for the arrangement pays homage to Stephaproject, we thought we may use the nie’s talents, as the richly involved patjackalope. I ended up keeping it and terns meet at their own boundaries. A putting a choker from India around its soft, taupe sofa sits across from two neck.”
In Stephanie’s living room, vintage pieces are given new life with fabrics—many from Designer’s Guild. 39
Stephanie (left) and her friend Laurel Kinney sit at her vintage dining table. Behind them is an old movie backdrop from Howl Interiors.
In her dining area, one of the most beautiful attributes to her home hangs behind the dining table (which was snagged at an estate sale). A wallsized canvas—stretched specifically for the space—from Howl Interiors in Austin, has printed upon it a movie backdrop which reminded Stephanie of Hanalei Bay on the north side of Kauai, Hawaii.
around that. I’ll buy a new piece, move stuff around and change colors.” In the bedroom, Stephanie has created a very relaxing environment—one that is most conducive to slipping into dreams. Grays, pinks and white are the basis for this sleepy area. “In the bedroom, I just wanted to turn it off and not have too much focus.”
“I walked into the store and was like, ‘Oh, I can have the beach in my However gentle in its design, the bedhouse!’” room is still very chic. A vintage chair, recovered in a lovely light pink, is poStephanie likes to find vintage pieces sitioned in one corner near a beckand spruce them up. Many of these oning bed. Off-white, paneled walls items come from festivals in Round are accented by the simple border of Top, Texas. Another interesting source the long drapes, and meet the slenfor some of Stephanie’s fabrics was a der planks of the floor. Several framed shop owned by two little ladies (fabric photographs are the work of James hoarders, according to Stephanie) in Evans—an artist and friend of StephaMonterrey, Mexico. The rolls are vin- nie’s mother. tage (60s and 70s), and were just being stored, lonely and forgotten, in a “I’ve followed his work over the years back room. Stephanie brought them and have always loved it. He has sevto the states for a revival. eral beautiful books out.” “Usually it’s colors that I have a crush on at the time… yeah, I get color crushes,” Stephanie jokes. “Then I start injecting them into the house, working
Two matching side tables are enlivened by fresh flowers (thanks to a friend at Pollen, an Austin floral design company, floral arrangements can be
Stephanieâ€™s grandfather, an acclaimed designer for Universal Rundle, designed the tiny, pink toilet (right) that sits atop one of her bedside tables.
“yeah, i get color crushes.”
seen throughout the home).
Stephanie is currently working with Kelly Wearstler (one of her idols), influencing the ambiance of some of the residential penthouses at the W Hotel in downtown Austin. At the moment, Stephanie is juggling several projects... and is always looking forward to the next opportunity to change someone’s life with fabric. u
Stephanie’s studio is delightful for the eyes. Rolls of fabric hang from racks along the walls, and her worktable is busy with materials for current projects. Some of her completed work can be seen in Austin restaurants; Uchi, Uchiko and Perla’s. More beautiful examples can be found at the Hotel St. Cecilia, where she completed all of the cushcushdesign.com draperies and valences in four suites of the classy guesthouse.
story by mallory hamel photography by spencer selvidge 47
Throughout Paulâ€™s homebuilt, open and airy studio, a myriad of his corollary lines the walls, and the tools that he employs fill the interior waiting to be applied.
here are individuals who become notable creators through education, dedication and practice. And then there are those who have been put on this Earth to create through intrinsic talent, and gift to the world the fruits of their calling. Those like Paul Meyer.
quently trashed supplies, but also an understanding of their compatibility and aptitude for beauty (and who doesn’t love a good dumpster dive now and again?).
Although Paul had been crafting his style for several years, it was the time spent working towards his BFA at UT Austin (which he completed in 2000) In the small community of Montgom- that afforded him the realization that ery, Texas, along a lonely wooded this passion was to be his life’s work. road, Paul shares a tranquil home with his wife Stephanie (a talented graph- “The professors would let me work ic designer), and their 4-year-old son from home, which was important due Dylan. This beautiful family, their home, to the nature and weight of the matePaul’s studio, and the natural elements rials. In the summer, they would give of which they surround themselves, me a whole studio floor. I felt like that form an inspirational tableau of trans- was a really rich experience. It awakformation. ened all of this stuff, and that’s when I really realized that this is what I want Working with unconventional mate- to do.” rials on a grand scale, Paul creates literal bodies of work which silently And thank goodness, because Paul persuade you to consider the natural was meant to douse our world with birth of all corporeal things. He sees the nontraditional results of his metier. potential for resurrection in the other- His work contains often faint imagery wise overlooked and discarded. of those things which follow his mind indefinitely. Abstract boats, burros, Having been around construction and vultures show up in his work conthroughout his life, Paul not only has sistently. Paul has a connection to vulaccess to a wealth of leftover, fre- tures that affects his method.
A cowhide rug pulls together a white sectional sofa, and two re-upholstered armchairs which had belonged to Stephanieâ€™s parents. A sunburst mirror made of reclaimed materials hangs above the mantle (a Christmas gift created by Paul for Stephanie).
“Vultures live off of the remains of things. They’re scavengers. They’re like the burro— very humble.” Depth and texture bring a commanding presence to his work. Although he employs minimal use of color, the structure of his output draws the eye regardless. Paul has branched out from just painting, now working on interior objects, such as light fixtures, decorative mirrors, and unique furniture. Some of these pieces are found throughout the Meyer household—a work of art in itself. When the Meyers purchased the structure that has turned into their home, it had just ended its life as a machine shop. In fact, their beautiful, light-filled living area was formerly a carport. After adding on living quarters to accommodate a growing family, Paul and Stephanie focused on revamping the house to meet their creative needs. A base of white throughout the home is given life with well-blended furniture, collected antiques, and touches of metallic tones. High ceilings provide an extra element of spaciousness. Stephanie elaborates, “Paul’s family is huge and mine’s pretty big too. When we have everyone over, it’s like 45 people. But it doesn’t feel cramped, because of the ceilings really.”
Also contributing to this open feel is the perfectly arranged interior accoutrement. The Meyers’ home has evolved to classic French country meets modern with hints of industrial—the appurtenances of an open-minded approach. “All of the mixing shows us maturing in our space,” Stephanie reflects. Exquisite elements include accents of metallic hues: gold handles on cabinets, gold vintage pheasants on a living room side table, and a simple gold frame defining Paul and Stephanie’s bed—in lieu of a headboard. The harmonious furniture has come from many a source. A seasoned antiquer, Stephanie has an eye for pieces that coalesce flawlessly, however different their styles may be. The sofa in the master bedroom, as well as a living room chair (upholstered in moss green fabric with highlights of gold thread), came from The Guild Shop in Houston. And a large majority of the home’s furnishings were snagged at the biannual, miles-wide gathering of antiques dealers and craftspeople at the Round Top Antiques Fair (Stephanie’s “happy place”). While designing, the Meyers took care to analyze how they were forming their ideal space. “It’s important to consider the view so that colors complement what’s outside,” Stephanie notes. “That helped our design process—to consider what we’re looking at and make it work.”
The bright kitchen boasts a long island for culinary work or coffee time gathering, and open shelving highlights deep green drinking glasses (from Sur La Table), an assortment of white dishes from Crate & Barrel, and a tempting collection of cookbooks. The dining area directly across from the kitchen, contains a large, richly toned wooden table that Paul built for the space, surrounded by super comfy bench seating that lines the walls of the inset area. This nook is especially fine in its completion due to the previous challenges caused by its shape.
“This room was always an issue,” Stephanie notes, “it never seemed to function right. Especially aesthetically, because we have this long kitchen island, so putting a long table here was too much. Weird amounts of wall where something should be but wouldn’t fit… we had this idea and it worked out really well.” At the far side of the dining table, tall and narrow windows look over the long porch into the greenery of the countryside—this off-shoot of the kitchen is now a wonderful place to enjoy food and company. 55
A small table in between the living room and kitchen holds a collection of found objects from around the world, including a sculptural piece by Paulâ€™s sister KimberlyÂ.
A farmhouse-style laundry room (top left) looks out onto the beautiful backyard. A pin board in Stephanieâ€™s office (bottom left), is covered in Les Touches by Brunschwig & Fils. In the dining room, a custom light fixture and oversized canvas, both created by Paul, help to modernize the antique furnishings (bottom right).
Past the kitchen, Stephanie’s office credits her knack for graphic design. Her desk is the table that she grew up having meals on, and is particularly special due to its age. This entirely handcrafted piece is completely devoid of screws and other modern fasteners. Instead, it is sturdily held together with wooden dowels and dovetail joints. An array of neat objects are placed around the room. Several antique scissors (something that Stephanie seeks out) lay on one worktable. A bulletin board covered in handprinted fabric (Les Touches by Brunschwig & Fils) holds colorful photos. Open shelving contains such things as a large sand dollarshaped vase, and a Frida Kahlo puzzle (completed by Stephanie’s best friend) hangs framed as a burst of color. Another special find of hers sits in a corner—an old WWII artillery shell basket which holds a variety of old construction blueprints. Her creativity is evident in every facet of her workroom. A long hallway is lined with bookshelves —custom built by Paul and dotted with photos of family—leading to the master bedroom. This is a passageway that you don’t just walk through listlessly. Stacks of books about art and artists are joined with many collections of various design magazines—Elle Decor, Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, and many more—further conveyance of the Meyers’ respect for the work of others and the institution of art for art’s sake. A little further in the sleeping quarters, the ambiance is a toned-down version of the rest of the home. A large, plush bed sits adjacent to a beautiful Victorian sofa (from The Guild Shop in Houston).
Dylan’s lively bedroom is the former master bedroom. Fun, interactive toys fit into canvas boxes with animal faces, and a hodgepodge of colorful art hangs on the walls. A rich, emerald leather sofa (a former resident of Madonna’s favorite room at La Columbe d’Or Hotel in Houston) awaits the trio for a bedtime story, or perhaps a good
nap. Hanging above Dylan’s bed is a large canvas that he and Paul painted together. Other than the burro central to the painting, Dylan can be credited for this one. Interestingly enough, one of his focal contributions to this piece was an unintentional image of a vulture. Like father, like son.
Arched lever doors were added to the house to help keep the interior cool when the sun strikes in the afternoon.
Outside, a patio offers seating at a vintage bench and table set from a German bier garden. Above the table, a unique lantern (another of Paul’s creations) lends a modern element to the area. Rose bushes and plenty of grass are contained by a wooden privacy fence, creating an open, natural interior playspace with the wide, lush woods behind the residence.
style allowed to grow and expand so perfectly? What is the driving force behind his experimentation? Paul—with a can of cold La Croix Pamplemousse in hand (a signature of sorts)—confidently states,
“Say yes to everything, trust your gut, your instincts, things that sound interesting—and then figure out how to make it work… Just go for it and figure From the inside of the Meyers’ home, it out.” u to the revelations found in Paul’s studio, this place is an ongoing scene paulmeyerstudios.com of art’s imitation of life. How is Paul’s meyeronthewire.blogspot.com
the magic eye
story by mallory hamel photography by kelly laplante
or me, stitches are the first female language. They connect and create pathways, some meandering, others direct, reflecting varying emotional responses, like when handwriting shifts in response to emotions. Strings randomly hang from the edges, signifying the ‘work in progress’ that is life. The pieces reflect my love of the handmade, mended and discarded.” Gwen Samuels, an eccentric woman with a hairstyle that mimics her personality (black and electric red with a nice shock of white on top), has been using the sentiments she speaks of to visually translate her conception of life through a never-before-seen form of artwork. Like a wise sage, she has a calm and confident presence, which has as much guidance to offer as it does openness to the unknown. Gwen’s working method is that of many thoughtful and patient processes, resulting in absolutely one-of-a-kind pieces.
Her home, garden and studio are very reflective of Gwen’s natural abilities, as well as her fondness of creativity outside of her personal realm. Filled with the work of others, Gwen’s residence is quite inspirational and multi-faceted. Her own art is rarely seen throughout the house, instead, she allows differing pieces to serve as décor. This modest approach to receiving the graces imparted through the ingenuity of others lends a heightened awareness of what else is out there, what her fellow artists are doing. In one living area, a simple arrangement of furniture is welcoming. Neutral upholstery, and earth tones complement each other in a soothing way. A duo of soft and simple chaise lounges anchor the space, accented with large pillows that have chromatic ethnic designs. A slender, wooden side table is a geometric version of a tree trunk, and blends in perfectly with the terracotta tiled floor. A cozy aspect of this area is a perfectly fitting fireplace.
A central skylight bathes the room with a refreshing amount of brightness, and a small group of paper butterflies, by Paul Villinski, create the illusion of independent flight. A variety of plants fills the interior of Gwen’s home, and in this particular gathering space a plant hangs—upside down—in a simple white pot by New Zealand designer Patrick Morris. Gwen reflects, “Mostly I don’t live with my own art. After I’ve first made it, I love to look at it, you know, for the short period of time when the creation is done, and then it’s out into the world and I’m not attached to it.” The landscaping is as lively and beautiful as her home. Designed by Big Red Sun in Los Angeles, the gardens are filled with a variety of succulents, grasses and bamboo. This native landscape is vibrant and flourishing, and adds the breezy quality that city life often lacks. A few sculptures placed among the other garden inhabitants can be seen in the form of a gurgling water fountain, and a plaster head entitled “God’s Head,” by artist Lola Del Fresno.
Gwen’s gardens in front and behind her home, by Big Red Sun in Los Angeles. “God’s Head,” by Lola Del Fresno lays silently among the grasses.
Although in a different locale, Gwen’s studio exhibits the same artful organization and colorful weight as her other personal spaces. Housed at the Santa Monica Art Studios—a 22,000 square foot, out-of-service airplane hangar at the Santa Monica Airport—Gwen’s studio feels open and all-encompassing. Inside of the space you can hear the powerful propellers and jet turbines overhead as you gaze around her private, gallery-like space. Many of her completed pieces and projects in the works hang from or lean against the walls, and her arsenal of supplies fills bins and lays upon worktables.
Her handstitched dresses fall into a fluidity with differing imagery—the subject for this particular grouping is “Clothing as Identity.” Gwen (who is commissioned often) completed a series of these dresses for Bloomingdale’s when it was opening a store between the Third Street Promenade and the Santa Monica Pier. “They were asking for Santa Monica-based imagery, the ferris wheel— things like that. So I shot that and turned it into ruffles.”
Gwen relates that her concepts come from her visual interpretation of the She begins with photography, shoot- world around her, whether working on ing things of interest to her—monu- personal pieces, or those for others ments, structures and the stuff of our who’ve sought out her talents. world that is scattered about; people, places and ideas coming true. She “It’s just the way that I think. The way then prints the images onto transpar- that I see things.” u encies and expertly cuts, manipulates and stitches them together. Her com- gwensamuels.com pleted works appear as layer upon layer of dimension, although most are only 1D in reality, giving a Magic Eyelike effect.
A prototype piece of Gwenâ€™s shows her dimensional experimentation.
Le Jardin de Papier story by mallory hamel
n r 81
aren Sikie is the kind of person whose mere presence lights up any room. She glows with positivity and smiles truthfully. This Mother Earth aura which she gracefully carries about doesnâ€™t just stop with her personality, it pours into her passionate work as an artist. Karen has been bringing to life her visions and inspirations for many years now. From sketching, to painting, to working with tissue paper (her trademark), her ability to turn ideas into something amazing is a testament to her continuously expanding skill-set. And the design of
her home is a product of her creative identity. Karen sits in her breakfast nook next to a selection of cookbooks. Above her is a circular piece resembling a bursting sunâ€”this was a dumpster find (something she gleefully revels in). She sips a cup of tea as she begins the slow unraveling of her homeâ€™s story as she knows it, and how she has made the place into a work/live haven. Located in Inglewood, California, Karen proudly trashes common misconceptions,
“It’s a really cute, family-oriented neighborhood. A few dodgy areas, yeah, but that’s anywhere. You know the place where they were eating in Pulp Fiction, Hawthorne Grill? That used to be right down the street.” In the living room, a long coffee table is punctuated with flowers and decorative items. A cushy, beige sofa beckons you to park your tush and relax. Adding a larger presence to the room, a beautiful caramel-stained bureau sits beneath a panther painting by Karen’s grandmother. Many of the items scattered about are family heirlooms and special gifts from those in her life. “As you get older, your house not only reflects who you are, but is also filled with things that reflect the people that love you.” The elevation of the home—and the view that it offers—is also very important to Karen’s interior principles, “I like being up high because the view of the trees is important. There’s a little group of parrots that hangs out around here.”
A tattoo-style paper mosaic tree on Karenâ€™s bedroom wall brings both whimsy and unexpected edginess.
Throughout the residence, paper sculptures and framed prints exist in many dimensions. This extends to interior applications such as windows in the dining room, fitted with beautiful, cream-colored paper coverings, producing a warm light when hit by the sun.
The pattern and manner of which this work lays on the surface produces a delicate tattooed effect. Karen elaborates on the birth and process of this feature,
“I had this extra paint from a job, and we were in the process of getting a new bed, and I saw the opportunity to “I really like the architectural elements do this here, and was like, ‘It’s now or of the windows, and didn’t want to never.’” cover them. I had just started working with tissue paper and was doing some She comments that it was a big, privacy screens, and thought, ‘Well, messy process, but with a certainty what if I did that here? Let’s see what she states, happens.’ I really love the yellow glow that comes in the morning. It’s one of “I’ll still paper a room.” my favorite rooms in the house.” Through a back room and into the gaIt is in her bedroom, however, that one rage is Karen’s home studio—another of the most intricate and amazing con- world, shaped by an artist’s mind and tributions to the design of her home soul. can be seen. Along a rust-colored wall behind the bed, is a paper mo- Like Karen, her studio is bright and saic of a tree with winding branches. colorful, but not in an overwhelming
way. It carries her personality into the physical realm. Her long worktable is covered in a variety of suppliesâ€”pencils, markers, paint, paper, and current pieces which she is working on. An industrial chair at her table is an Art From the Ashes rescue (a nonprofit founded by friend Joy) which reclaims materials from buildings after fire strikes. Clippings, inspiration boards and art books fill many spaces. Karen notes that these not only help with her creative process, but also aid in the formation of exhibitions and installationsâ€”certain words often give her ideas for the names and focuses of her shows. Rolls of decorative paper are held in a large, box-shelved compartment, waiting for their fateful transformation. These raw materials offer a glimpse into her delicate, one-of-akind process. Karenâ€™s light truly emanates from corner to corner of her studio design.
A new work in progress, featuring Karenâ€™s daughter as the subject, rests upon flat files in the garage studio.
Her collages come in many shapes and sizes. Karen will sketch her base images, then carefully apply the fragile paper. She also produces engravings which she uses to create rubbings.
She has a steadily growing presence in the art world (an active member of the Los Angeles Art Association), and some of her work can be seen in the Cisco Home showrooms in LA and Pasadena, California, and fine dining Her work extends beyond stand-alone locale, Elements Kitchen (as well as prints and paper sculpturesâ€”she also various exhibitions). works with designers and other professionals to complete such things as Although her work contains a special commissioned murals. loftiness and holds its own place in time, Karen is one of the most downKaren is modest about her talents and to-earth individuals you will ever meet. what they bring to life. She credits na- She has respect for the completed ture and the guiding work of others for works as their own entities, and she helping her bring ideas into the physi- feels very fortunate to be the bridge cal realm. She notes that as an artist, between ethereal notions and realized she strives to continue learning from visions. u the elements of our world. And this is what gives her pieces their own mes- karensikie.com merizing control.
James in his studio, sitting in front of a new work entitled Hamilton Pool.
Artist James Sommers tells us what turns him on... and what pisses him off! interview by kelly laplante photography by spencer selvidge
n an unassuming studio tucked behind a home in the Travis Heights neighborhood of Austin, James Sommers wears a pristine white shirt... and leans dangerously close to a wet canvas. A visualist, first and foremost, James possesses a quiver of skills, creating a complex weave between design, media, fine art, and film. My mission is to chat him up, find out his childhood secrets, and learn what pushes his buttons. KELLY LAPLANTE: You came into the art world with a background in film and cinematography. Tell me how it all connects. JAMES SOMMERS: Film is a process of superimposing as many evocative images as possible within a certain time frame. Cinematography deals directly with the drama between color, line, shape, and form within the confines of physical space. Paint on the canvas is instantaneous and at the same time indefinite. Your choices are all represented within one frame, as opposed to thousands of frames within a couple of hours. Painting
North Bay hangs in the foyer of an Austin home.
Photo by James Sommers
transcends these two mediums life. And now I am doing it. So I in the sense that choices are fro- see all the sunshine and happy zen into one experience. clowns coming to life from some distant, far away place. KL: Is there one thing that you simply cannot pick up a brush KL: And what happens next? without? JS: My process is strange to JS: I like Yerba mate with a little some. I paint directly from the local honey to start my process. tube of paint. I use Sheetrock Usually I am compelled to paint tools to drag and promote a once the studio floor has been variation of physical relief on the swept and my paints are ar- painting, and I use brushes... ranged by color. or sometimes my thumb. There are no rules in my process, and KL: Interesting... I can actually I never just focus on one paintsee that organizational quality in ing at a time. I usually build three your work, even though it is ab- or four canvases and paint them stract. So where does your inspi- simultaneously. Experimenting ration come from? with different ideas at the same time on multiple canvases really JS: Inspiration is a strange con- allows me to get as close to uncept for me since I donâ€™t always derstanding their direction behave it... possibly I believe I have fore I figure it out... up to when to been meant to paint my whole stop and leave one alone.
Left: Italian Design in the home of interior designer Marianne Seiler and her husband, Mark Seiler. Right: Tokyo in the home of Judy Voress, by Victoria Reed Design.
KL: Do you ever envision the painting’s JS: Ruthie and I would draw togethlife once it leaves you? er and rearrange the furniture in our house. She and her friends would JS: I like to imagine the painting’s life in dress me up as a girl all the time... the landscape of a museum. Or I ask and she used to hold me down and myself, ‘How would the painting look tickle me until I peed in my pants. Our on a chocolate wall? Or a white wall? mother would lecture her about giving Or in a living room?’ me a stuttering problem with such attention. She is still my favorite person KL: Your sister is the super-awesome on the planet and I am not sure exactly decorator, Ruthie Sommers. Tell us why. about your relationship with her. KL: If you could pick one amazing JS: Ruthie has always been instru- person to own a painting of yours who mental in encouraging my creative would it be? process. When I lived in Los Angeles, she consulted me with great frequen- JS: I think I would have to say Drew, cy on her design plans and ideas, al- [Barrymore, who is a client of Ruthways genuinely wanting my approval. I ie’s]... she may already have one of my believe she has tremendous skill, pas- sketches. Drew is so down to earth sion and experience, and continues to and loving. She came to our home blow my mind. However, our taste is with Ruthie and spent an hour looking different, and she swiftly acknowledg- at my paintings. I really like her spirit es me as the true creative talent. We and profile as a mega-celebrity. have mutual respect for one another as creative forces and have collabo- KL: What would you paint for her? rated on a wide range of assignments. JS: I’d like to paint her a huge green KL: What about when you were kids? designer high heel with skinny pink What kind of antics did you Sommers legs making their way to the top of the family children get into? canvas into infinity.
Big Sur in the home of John Tracey, by Victoria Reed Design. 99
Photo by James Sommers
KL: Nice. You’re kind of a wildchild aren’t you? What is the craziest thing about your life right now?
KL: I’ll steer clear of plagiarizing you. How about if I was trying to win you over? What would I do to really butter you up?
JS: Not knowing when my maltese needs to go outside and pee. Sometimes she just wags her head and bounces around like a little circus dog. Other times, this means time to go out.
JS: Commission me to make a series of three-story high birds with long skinny legs and fat bodies, covered in blue AstroTurf, walking along Auditorium Shores. Or put me on a Learjet headed to an island off the coast of Spain.
KL: What is your biggest pet peeve ever? Like, if I wanted to KL: Okay, when I get my Learjet piss you off, what would I do? you’ll be the first to know. u JS: I don’t like anybody who is not completely honest about wix.com/singing3songs/jamestheir intentions, etc.. Those who sommers-web pretend to be my friend, and hijack my artistic ideas and material and pawn them off as their own. Devine in the home of interior designer Marianne Seiler and her husband, Mark Seiler.
an artful life JAMES SAAVEDRA In every space, it is the details that make all of the difference. Cliché? Yes. True? Absolutely. The key to any successful interior is the building of layers, and art can add sophistication, drama and finesse. While I am not one of those designers who demands that your art be my art—I do have a golden rule when it comes to procuring that finishing touch: Always choose an original over a reproduction. Hold on to your britches Bessie, because originals do not automatically equate expense. For example, one of my clients once purchased a fabulous 5’ x 5’ contemporary painting at an MFA
show of inexpensive graduate work, and I myself, have done the same. Plus, with sites like Etsy and Society 6, there is no excuse for those ubiquitous, framed French posters with that black cat. There is no denying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but before you go out and drop three Ben Franklins on that black and white landscape at the mall, try and find something original and inspiring. Here are a few of the up-and-coming artists that I would love to add to my art collection right now.
patrick dintino Patrick’s color-saturated work is just as amazing in person as it is here in print. I’ve used his work in past clients’ spaces. I loved his work then and I still do today.
roni stretch I was introduced to Roni’s work by Los Angeles based art consultant Troy Thompson at TKO Art. The mesmerizingly brilliant Roni utilizes the subtleties of Dichroism.
robert madden Robert takes extreme close-up photographs of things we pass by or dismiss everyday, and turns them into painterly compositions that boggle the mind. What you see will blow you away. For example, this image is actually a painted traffic cone.
a design affair
Emily Hender tells us all the steam
A beautiful space that Emily designed; A vintage chair that Emily found on one of her thrifting excursions.
Interior Designer and Vintage Maven Emily Henderson shows HGTV viewers the “Secrets of a Stylist” but we wanted to know some of her personal secrets as well. What are Emily’s guilty pleasures? You’re about to find out...
favorite design lately? I’m kinda loving my new entry. It was an awkward space, so I didn’t know how to engage it, but I threw in a mid-century, round, small dining table, a rug and two chairs with some pretty flowers, and a sculpture on top—and boom, it’s like ‘Hello, welcome to the cool house,’ instantly. favorite piece in your home? I’m torn between my sofa, my coffee table, and my club chairs. All of them I would try to carry out of the house if it was on fire. But with a gun to my head, I would probably say my new 70s, beautifully worn, leather Brazilian sling club chairs. The scale of them is amazing, the comfort is out of this world, the shape and finish of the leather is perfection, and they are pretty much irreplaceable under $3000. (I scored the pair for $900 in Salt Lake City.)
Another lovely space that Emily designed using excellent vintage discoveries.
your design style is...? 70s California vintage glam meets crazy English grandma cat lady. Kinda most males’ nightmare, yet I have a lot of bachelor dudes as my clients. It’s strange, but somehow makes sense. I help them get laid with better style. favorite way to relax? Ready to start losing respect? I love downloading a whole series on my laptop and laying in bed for like 10 hours, and watching something super addictive. Could be Veronica Mars. Could be Vampire Diaries. It usually involves teenagers and some sort of paranormal romance. It’s my secret gross thing that I do. favorite decade? Easiest question ever: the 70s. And while I know they are in right now, I will tell you with 100 percent assurance that I have always been a 70s girl. I’ve been wearing high-waisted wide leg jeans since high school. I’ve had big blonde Farrah hair for 15 years. Cognac leather? Please, I invented that shit.
“70s california vintage glam meets crazy english grandma cat lady”
wear the room
From centerpiece to masterpiece
image courtesy of articulture designs
katherine brown Oh for the love of being inspired by those uncommon sites. We often neglect to literally, â€œstop and smell the roses!â€? Floral, fauna and fashion! Such a simple ambiance taken from a creative influence can be the main asset that will set your style soaring with flair.
the transformation to wearable style Bloom Jackie O Dress, in Yellow, by Jonano Disco Mermaid Stuart Weitzman Gold Glitter Pumps, from Quarley
on the scene
On April 30th, Standard hosted an intimate event inside the Art From The Ashes benefit exhibition in Austin’s historic Starr Building.
Standard’s partnersDunn Edwards, TreeHouse, RAD Furniture, and Howl Interiors each contributed elements to the design of the exhibition. With their help, the raw space was transformed The evening was a celebration for our into an otherworldly “industrial forest” two exiting interns, Joanne Kim and complete with fallen Lobolly pines from Mona Miltenberger, who have been the Bastrop fires. working with us for the past two seartfromtheashes.org mesters.
Top left and right: Standardâ€™s guests view the exhibition of over 80 works by local Texas artists, all using elements reclaimed from the Bastrop fires. Bottom left: Scenes, a sculpture made of melted glass by Jamie Panzer. Bottom right: Mona Miltenberger and Joanne Kim are thanked onstage by Kelly LaPlante.
S AV O R
T H E TA S T E O F S A F E R C H O I C E S
You’re already doing your best to raise your family in a safe and healthy environment. But did you know that today’s homes are filled with pesticides and chemicals from everyday objects and foods? Discover how to eliminate your children’s exposure to man-made toxic substances and provide them with the best future possible. Discover the
to a healthier and safer home >
A brighter future.
Every day, Habitat for Humanity volunteers, donors and partner families are building houses, hope and so much more in countries around the world. So, what will you build? 800-HABITAT habitat.org
darling & daring Stephanie and Paul Meyer jump on their bed while their son Dylan chills.
We're at home with some of our favorite artists and designers—and bathing ourselves in color (and reader contests!) in celebration of summer...
Published on May 8, 2012
We're at home with some of our favorite artists and designers—and bathing ourselves in color (and reader contests!) in celebration of summer...