Sunday, December 30, 2012

2013 New Year Resolution - Idea Boards

As much as I recognize the lure of the idea boards on both Pinterest and Houzz, I've been a little reluctant to delve into the latest trend in social media.  Not that I'm dragging my feet, because it is a bit of work. But I finally decided to take the plunge.  Our glass switch plates were the motivator that prompted me to create my first idea board on Houzz. Since glass tile walls and backsplashes are the latest fashion rave in kitchen and bath decor, customers often want our help in choosing glass switch and outlet covers.

So I started with a google image search for tiles that are compatible with our deep opal decora plate. I refer to our deep opal as a decorator color because it works so beautifully with modern color schemes. One of my favorites, it's best described as slate with a bluish greenish tint.

Amazed at how many beautiul glass tiles are in the marketplace, I had to narrow my focus and chose the mosaics for this blog. Although the exercise was a challenge, it was time well spent, as I found I was building my repetoire and now feel more educated on glass tiles and manufacturers. Needless to say this won't be my one and only shot at creating an idea board. Hot on my agenda for 2013, I imagine my next one may be about choosing knobs and pulls for princess girl bedrooms or matching drapery finials and the possibilities are mind boggling!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Annual Holiday Sale 2012

Every year Sally Socolich, the San Francisco Chronicle's Bargain Hunter's writes up a juicy column on all the yearend sales events happening in the bay area. She focuses on  home decor industry manufacturers and we're happy to be among her select list. Our annual inventory sale  is coming up next weekend in Sausalito. So here's a sneak peek at some of the fantastic merchandise we'll have on sale this year.  But first the details-

Annual Holiday Sale
Sat Nov. 3rd 10 am - 5 pm
Sun. Nov. 4th  11 am - 4 pm

465 Coloma St.

This year's super selection of cabinet knobs and pulls offer lots of choices for kitchen and bath remodels, built-ins and furniture makeovers. Switch cover inventory includes painted glass switch plates,  a perfect accent for glass back-splashes. Markdowns are 20 - 50% of all sale inventory including prototypes, designer overruns and seconds.

Knobs and pulls $12 - $25 (retail $24 - $50)

Switch and Outlet covers $20 - $30 (retail $28 - $42)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Shopping the Web for Wedding Gifts

It was a customer call from a bride to be that piqued my interest last week. She was putting together her bridal registry and wanted to add our cabinet knobs and pulls to her list for a kitchen makeover. I would imagine there are a lot of engaged couples  who already have fully equipped kitchens complete with espresso makers and state of the art wares. So why not put something out of the ordinary  on the gift wish list? There's nothing like getting a little help with a home decor project and it doesn't have to be limited to the kitchen. There are a fair share of decorating tasks for bathrooms and closets that could also use some updated decorative hardware.

A lot has changed since I got married in the low tech age before on line shopping. As much as I love the experience of roaming through the fine china section of Bloomingdales, the convenience of shopping on line coupled with the vast venue of merchandise offered up on the internet has hugh appeal.

Move over Major Retailers

But I have to admit that I'm mostly familiar with retail store resgistries. Realizing my experience was limited, I decided it was time to broaden my horizons. So I did a search for on line bridal registries and sure enough the first thing that came up was, followed by,, etc. As I did a little more probing, I noticed that expectant moms were also in on the wave of on line registry action. And then another discovery - baby furniture has a hugh presence on wish lists.

Knobs and Newborns

It's probably no surprise to anyone that I've given Susan Goldstick knobs as baby shower gifts. But making the selection  is not always easy. The hard part is not choosing the little boy blues or little girl pinks. This is especially true since we so often know the sex of the new baby and may even be privvy to the colors and design plans for the nursery.  It's the count that alway gets me baffled. Not knowing the number of drawer or doors is kind of tricky. It seems like a 6 or 8 drawer dresser should be ample enough for an infant's wardrobe. But is it? This is where the registry makes the purchase so much easier. I even got a flavor for the latest fashion and trends in nursery furnishings. Needless to say I've fast become a fan of on line gift registries.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Lamps - Star Power in Home Decor

As an accent piece that brings color, form, and light to the space, a magnificent table lamp can easily steal the show from any furnishing in the room. Even when the decor is comprised of carefully placed recessed lighting, a designer is bound to add a lamp for that extra finishing touch. It's no doubt an irresitable part of the interior landscape and one that demands certain considerations before making the ultimate decision - which lamp is the perfect choice?

Whenever I have the opportunity to discuss a lamp purchase with a customer, I have to admit I do a little bit of prying throughout the consultation. I don't mean to be nosy, but if the person informs me that they're purchasing a lamp for a bedside table I'll ask if it's purpose is for reading, mood or both. The criteria is important to making the best selection. You should probably allow a good 20" from the bottom of the shade to the table if your lighting needs are task oriented. But not everyone reads in bed. Although my preference is color, a white shade  with a 3 way bulb or dimmer will let you do wonders with the lighting, especially if set against a wall painted in a deep hue.

Buying a lamp on line has it's own unique issues. It's not as though you can switch it on and off to see how the light affects the shade color, or how it illuminates the space. So I thought I would take this opportunity to offer tips on how to choose a lamp that meets the needs of the space, purpose and decorative preference.

1. Color vs. white. There's nothing like the richness of a colorful silk shade. It has a subtle presence that turns dramatic with the flick of a switch. I like to think of a long corridor where a beautiful lamp sits atop a hall table like a captivating beacon that invites you to enter. Or imagine a display of bookshelves or built-ins where a shapely little lamp illuminates a nook or niche. Ah yes, these are examples of scenarios where you can indulge in low wattage and a colorful silk shade to create a warm and alluring ambience.

2. Size.  It would be crazy for me to suggest running to a store and buying a lamp to see how it fits the space. But you can certainly search your house and grab a lamp of comparable size or any object for that matter and see how it measures up. How big is the table surface? You certainly don't want the lamp to hog the table top. The base of the lamp really shouldn't take up more than half of the space on the table.

3.Light. Is there other lighting in the room? Is the lamp the primary source? This is when a white shade becomes the optimum choice. And just because it's white, it doesn't mean you can't play with the mood. Just a reminder that a 3 way switch or dimmer can magically transform the ambience.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Far Out Fashion Offers Artistic Inspiration

I was glad I had the opportunity to see the Jean Paul Gautier exhibit before it finished it's stint at the DeYoung in San Francisco this week. At first you would guess that the talking mannequins would be the talk of the show. Yes the special affects will leave a lasting impression for a lifetime. But it hardly steals the thunder from the creations themselves. Truly a feast for the senses. My fingers were itching to examine the outfits close up, and I constantly had to remind myself that I was in a museum  where the "do not touch" rule reigns. The man is an incredible genius in the way he marrys his designs with exotic materials and a bit of humor. That is not to mention the presentation, which is a whole other discussion in itself. He is definitely the whole ball of wax. But it was his focus on detail that overwhelmed and over wowed me. So imaginative and so masterful, you need to linger on each creation in order to fully absorb and appreciate the breadth of it, and even then, there will probably be a detail that you missed. 

Talking mannequins, wedding dress, dress of pheasant  feathers  and a hat made of tortoise shell combs

An inspiration for any designer, I felt the challenge to create something ala Jean Paul Gautier, leading me to that age old question - what came first the chicken or the egg? Did he find an old bag of collected sea shells that inspired him to create an evening gown? Or did he have a vision of a dress bodice cloaked in mother of pearl that sent him on a shell gathering mission? I like to think that he had a collection of found objets stashed away in his atelier, awaiting a useful and creative purpose. 

Atleast that's what prompted me to go through my studio drawers and closets to see what I had hidden away. OMG, Gautier would have a field day with some of the stuff I found. Glass beads, crystals, metallic studs, wood turnings, and a plethora of hardware essentials ie,  screws, nuts, bolts, and a lot of whatchamacallits. Why have I been saving all this stuff? I guess it's an old habit I picked up as an art teacher way back when. Surely my fascination with all this new found  paraphernalia is bound to give me the incentive to create something new. Maybe I'll create a sculpture in the way of wall art or possibly design a  furniture piece. Don't be surprised if you see a new Susan Goldstick console table inlaid with toy wooden wheels. Yep you guessed it. I found a whole box of them!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Posh Pooch Retreats - Dog beds get Susan Goldstick finials for the finishing touch.

I always enjoy when interior designers contact us for a public installation or event. Most typically the focus is a decorator showcase house. But every so often a special project will involve an unusual application of our decorative hardware. One of my favorites is still the house of cards sculptures perched in the poker room at the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas. So when designer Phyllis Harbinger contacted me about a challenge hosted by the New York Metro ASID for the Southhampton Animal Shelter, it more than piqued my curiosity. Fantasy dog beds was the theme and I was excited to see her creation. It was no surprise that her Moroccan inspired carousel dog bed got lots of oohs and aahs and won a prize. You don't have to be royalty to love it, but maybe a sultan to afford it. It auctioned at $1200 and a replica costs $2000.

Winning Contestant shows the fruits of labor from Alan Schatzberg's workroom with Susan Goldstick carnival finials and Kravet fabric. Photos courtesy of Design Concept Interiors. 

But actually this is not the first time, our decorative hardware was a key component in a dog bed design. Joanne Mahon, managing director of Diamond Dogs Uk approached us years ago for a "pet" (no pun intended) project. Her company specializes in Swarovski crystal dog collars and she chose our sparkly Isabella finials to crown the posts of her dog bed creation. I admired her philosophy that a dog's bed is a furniture piece and therefore should mirror the decor of the room, hence the rich leather cushions and arms.

Privileged Puppy looks happy in leather upholstery and surrounded by Susan Goldstick Isabella finials.  Photos courtesy of Diamond Dogs UK.

So there you have it, two very unique and very different interpretations of a dog's dream digs. No tired old baskets upholstered with chewed up blankets for man's best friend. However I will caution- my perisian cat would take ownership of these dog beds in a nano second! 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Developing a Knob Collection

There are many considerations when I set out to design a new knob and handle collection. Color and life style trends are a major focus of course. The color forecast for 2012 predicts an abundance of orange and all shades of blue are emerging.  But I have to admit that it's usually the customer feedback that is the bigger impetus for my direction.

Customer surveys are probably the single most valuable tool for determining the focus of product development. Although we don't have a formal questionnaire, I'm always aware of our customers' comments and concerns. They are the ideal focus group, bringing my attention to what I refer to as holes or decorating needs that are asking to be fulfilled.

Duc and Duchess collection

Inspiration comes from all kinds of places. Exciting visuals from travel, events or just a shopping experience are all motivation that move me into my creative playground. Just like a chef in the kitchen, it's ultimately the fiddling around with the ingredients in the workshop that gives birth to the new product. In the case of my new Duc and Duchess collection, I decided to pair some of our most requested color and metal combinations with the "diamond" crystal. It reads like white in decorating terms and gives the piece an overall liveliness.

Once I'm satisfied with the design, the next step is the merchandising; naming the product (not as easy as one would think) determining the number of pieces (also not so easy), staging the photos (time consuming but very rewarding), and finally developing an advertising campaign (ah yes, the final lap). But it's not done yet. Because it all needs to be evaluated. Sales figures, customer feedback, maybe a little tweaking to the design, it's all part of the process.