It's all in the details
Interiors maven Lisa Borgnes Giramonti, who writes one of our very favorite blogs, A Bloomsbury Life, will be discussing her current obsessions on our Editors’ Blog every Tuesday and Thursday for the next few weeks. (See her previous post here).
I’ve always felt that one unusual and well-made object is worth a dozen pretty but commonplace ones. To that end, I’m constantly on a hunt for the eccentric and offbeat and have become a firm believer in acquiring things over time rather than all in one go. Herewith, the culmination of my meticulous search for unique fall curios:
I’m going to start off with an item that rarely arouses any excitement (until now): the umbrella. My no-holds-barred favorite is the “Seat Stick No.158″ from London purveyors Swaine Adeney Brigg. I start to sweat a little just thinking about it. Fashioned from titanium, it features a pair of handles that open up to reveal a leather seat, very handy when you’re grousing on the moors and need a wee nip o’ whisky, and even better when you’ve had a long workday and are waiting for the F train. (The tip provides a stable base on either wet weald or subway pavement.) It’s Mary Poppins meets James Bond, plain and simple. Mine’s ten years old and it’s still impossible to carry it and not get a compliment. classicluggage.com
A work of art needs a great frame, and your umbrella will feel right at home nestled inside this faux-books umbrella stand. It’s handcrafted in Gloucestershire using a mould made from actual antique books. I love it in the white vellum because it feels very Miles Redd, but it comes in a range of other chic colors, too. originalbooks.net
Lately, my perfume collection has been migrating to different rooms of the house and my husband insists I buy something to corral all those scented babies. I’ve resisted the ubiquitous mirrored tray (too expected) and thank goodness, because I found something even better: a gorgeous agate plate from Jayson Home and Garden. How beautiful will that look arranged with a small selection of precious unguents? It’s sexy, unexpected, and very Tom Ford-becomes-a-geologist. jaysonhomeandgarden.com
Also from Jayson Home and Garden are these Tyrolean horn cups edged with silver. Love that contrast of rough and refined. I think they would look wonderful filled with just about anything: makeup brushes, sharpened No.2 pencils, even votive candles. jaysonhomeandgarden.com
A few years ago, I splurged on bespoke Smythson stationery and yes, it was pricey, but I have never regretted it. In fact, I am convinced my eloquence increases when I touch pen to their creamy triple-milled paper. “Three Crowns” was the color I chose for my stock (it’s like a pale Glaswegian sky) and I have my name die-stamped in red. smythson.com
To record my musings, I make a sharp U-turn from luxury wares and head straight for big-box land, because there’s no escaping my undying love for a Sharpie ultra fine point marker. Get the set of 24—it contains chic colors like navy, khaki, peacock green and mink brown and is almost inexpensive enough to balance out your splurge at Smythson. amazon.com
Confession: I have a serious fabric fetish, especially for exotic old textiles redolent of the Silk Road. Go on Ebay, type in “Uzbeki suzani” or “ikat fabric” and then get some smelling salts ready. The options are dazzling and, while admittedly not museum-grade, the prices are a fraction of what you’d pay in schmancy boutiques. (This will make you feel better should your passions ever switch to Highland plaid.) My traditional Samarkand suzani makes a fabulous picnic blanket and the multi-colored ikat robe I purchased (apparently sized for Andre the Giant) is enjoying a glorious second life as an upholstered bench. ebay.com
Sometimes you fall in love with something that has absolutely no purpose whatsoever except to delight and amaze. I feel that way about these enchanting little gunmetal bird feet from designer Ria Charisse. They are a bona fide curiosity, akin to a woolly mammoth tusk (which I also own) but more portable. They inspired me to weave a tale: I told my son a finch was held by his ankles and dipped upside-down into an invisible potion. Every time I look at them, I sigh a little. Perhaps you will, too. showlifestyle.com
Tablescaping: It’s an art all to its own. The power of three, contrasting heights and textures, the tension of disparate objects working together, you get the drift. Anyway, a beautiful candle will anchor any setting and add a warmth that’s irresistable. My new favorite is called “Beachwood” after Beachwood Canyon in the Hollywood Hills, near where I live. It captures the intoxicating scents of wild rosemary, sweet Seville oranges, organic Neroli and sultry musk. Heaven. candledelirium.com
I can’t get enough of the oversized rope tassels from VV Rouleux. I’m partial to the solid colored ones, which I attach to old iron keys, dangle from doorknobs, and hang from the zippers of my finest handbags. Sometimes, I’ll even wear one on a long chain around my neck. vvrouleaux.com
Read Lisa’s previous post here. And check back on Thursday for her next installment!