April 11, 2013
Last month, I heard style scion Bobbi Brown declare over the radio that the 2013 Spring trends in fashion will be florals, lilacs, roses and the color of the moment – GREEN. Sounds terribly original but am wondering how this will translate into fashion for the home.
I’m not a celebrity and I don’t “do” Fashion Week in NYC or anywhere for that matter, but I am a data geek and a shop owner and I have definitely seen a trend building momentum over the past decade for Danish Modern.
But what the heck is Danish Modern and why is it so popular now?
Danish Modern sums up a loose but definable category of furniture that is part of the larger mid-century modern aesthetic. Originally from Scandinavia, but popularized by the Danish, this style had its heyday from 1925-1975, but truly took off during the post-war years, when scarcity of materials made the simple, function-over-form aesthetic hugely popular.
Danish Modern pieces are most often made from light-colored wood or plywood, typically Teak, Birch, Ash or Oak. Many times, contrasting wood colors is a notable design feature. As functional as these pieces were intended, the wood itself lent a warmth in opposition to the glass and steel pieces that were emerging during this time. Informed closely by architecture and cabinet making, the pieces are extremely light and generally easy to move. Ray and Charles Eames are referred to as influencers to the Danish Modern aesthetic, and it should be noted that American manufacturers licensed and began production of Danish Modern designs in the 50′s. Lane is a well-known American manufacturer of the style, as is Plan B from England.
For our brownstone-loving customers, this furniture trend makes perfect sense. Afterall, Danish Modern is the perfect way to modernize, yet complement, a wood-heavy Victorian decor. The continuity of the wood and its warmth allows for the stark departure in style. These pieces seem to magically fit in and make it all “work.” If you’re feeling tired of your Victorian details, why not try changing it up with a little Danish Modern? Check out our Danish Modern section online or come into our stores to see for yourself what makes Danish Modern so appealing.
March 5, 2013
Every so often we are blessed by a windfall of good fortune that brings something simply irresistible to our stores. This happened last Fall when a veritable archaeological find unearthed hundreds of Frozen Charlottes.
Frozen Charlottes, made of bisque, are charming little naked figurines that were manufactured starting around 1850. The stash we bought was discovered in Limbach, Germany, dug up from the remains of a destroyed doll factory. These delightful dolls were produced in a range of sizes, the smallest of which were used as charms in Christmas pudding! The male version is known as a Frozen Charlie, and yes, you can distinguish between the two anatomically . Beyond their nakedness, their chipped and/or broken limbs are considered part of the appeal. We had a customer in last month who realized she was the owner of three Frozen Charlottes, about a foot high each. She was told that they were created as bath toys.
As for the name, legend has it that they were named after a poem written by Seba Smith in 1840 titled, “Young Charlotte.” Apparently, the inspiration for his poem was an article in the NY Observer that stated: “A young woman was frozen to death while riding to a ball on Jan. 1, 1840.” How’s that for die-hard party-goer?
Whatever their former function, these dolls have recently gained some mainstream attention. One of our staff spotted a display of Frozen Charlotte reproductions at Restoration Hardware. We are happy to report that we have the real deal in our stores, available for purchase (not just display) and ready for your imaginative use.
So come on in before the big Spring melt to see our limited supply of Frozen Charlottes.
February 21, 2013
At Sterling Place we are often asked, “Is that piece of furniture for sale?” We always answer the same way—everything in our store is for sale. And this may surprise you gift-only buyers, but now that the holidays are behind us and we can actually see the furniture in our stores again, I thought it was high time to share our tips for finding the perfect piece of furniture.
Step 1: Get clear about what you need regarding type, size and budget by asking yourself these questions:
- What problem will the ideal piece solve? For example, storage, organization, entertaining, seating, etc.
- How much space do I have? Take measurements of various spaces that are available or could be made available and then keep those measurements on your person.
- How much am I willing to spend?
Step 2: Get inspiration
Flip through magazines or go into your friend’s home with the eye of a decorator. Think about style and color. Do you want to stick with a predominant theme in the room/apartment or do you want there to be a stark contrast? You need not be a designer to do this. Simply catalog what you like and let that be your true north.
Step 3: Go shopping
Use your measurements, style and color preferences, etc. to eliminate options. It is so much easier to shop when you can say “no” to an item.
Step 4: Get under the hood
OK, so you think you have found the perfect piece. Now it’s time to inspect each and every surface. This process will reveal to you essential information about the material, construction, finish and condition of a piece.
Step 5: Buy it when you see it
If the piece meets your criteria, buy it. Don’t be a disappointed customer who comes back a week later only to discover it’s been purchased by someone else!
February 12, 2013
If you haven’t glanced at your calendar lately, Valentine’s Day is this Thursday. Most of you probably have yet to begin shopping, so today’s post will help break you out of your Valentine’s Day rut and get you headed in the right direction.
Now you may be one of those people who firmly believes Valentine’s Day was created by Hallmark to lift mid-winter sales. If so, you are not alone but that doesn’t mean you get to skip it. What it does mean is you can ditch the chocolates or flowers this Valentine’s Day and give them something they really want: a heartfelt thank you and a new way to say I love you.
How do you find a new way to say I love you and thank you for being part of my life? By giving your partner something they are deprived of. Start by identifying what they don’t get enough of and then find a thoughtful and clever way to deliver it. One current in modern life is time……we never seem to have enough of it. Can you find a way to give more time to your partner so he can do what he wants to do? Is there a way to share that experience together?
We were given a wonderful book this Christmas called The New Brooklyn Cookbook, which will be coming soon to Sterling Place. It details 31 restaurants across the borough that define the “new” Brooklyn, revealing signature recipes and more interestingly, the backstory of the owners/operators. I am both blessed and cursed to live with a foodie so when I started to flip through this book, a perfect “gift” came to mind. Let’s spend the next year or so going to each of the restaurants profiled and decide for ourselves if these restaurants truly comprise the culinary trajectory of where Brooklyn is going. I will take on the work of making the reservations and scheduling the babysitting and together we are guaranteed to enjoy some truly extraordinary meals. It’s perfect because it provides not only an excuse to spend time together but more importantly a shared adventure.
Still feeling stumped? Come on in and our staff will show you some sure to please Valentine’s Day winners.
January 15, 2013
As a retailer, the month of December is a nothing less than a marathon. A marathon of sales to be sure but also sweet encounters with our customers.
Part of the fun of December is getting to be “in” on the gifts. Many of you come to our stores with the person you are buying for and we love it when you slip an item to us behind the counter. What follows is mostly comical body language indicating we need to go into stealth mode on the purchase. This is a true pleasure of the season and you will find our entire staff ready and willing to participate in whatever charade you have improvised!
Also enormously satisfying is the feedback from our customers. This season one of our favorite stories came from a young shopper, age 10. She and her mother came to our store one afternoon about a week before Christmas. The mom began with an urgent explanation that her daughter insisted that she would find the perfect gift for her older sister at our store, even though a strict $10 limit was in place. The mother was clearly worried that we were not the right fit and through some expressive body language, showed us her desperation. As we began working with these two customers, the backstory emerged and now we could understand the mother’s anxiety. Apparently the daughter insisted on going to Sterling Place, saying and I quote “I just know it in my blood and guts that we will find the perfect gift.” Let me just say that we were absolutely delighted that we not only could deliver on her prophetic pronouncement but have this interchange as well. In the end, our 10-yr old customer found, not one, but two perfect gifts within budget and I must say, based on her choices, she is on her way to a lifetime of delightful gift giving.
So a big thank you to all our customers, whether you shared your story with us, got us in on the purchase or simply just choose to shop with us this season. Because of your loyalty, our business continues to grow and we are energized again this year to find the perfect gifts for you and your loved ones.