The House that Sam Built…

Chair by Sam Maloof, 1984 / fiddleback maple and ebony

You ask, Sam who? Sam Maloof (1916-2009), the renowned mid-century craftsman that is. I recently went to the titled exhibition, “The House that Sam Built” at The Huntington Library, part of the “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980.” Initiated by The Getty, PST is an impressive collaboration of more than 60 art institutions across Southern California celebrating the birth of the Los Angeles art scene. “The House that Sam Built” exhibition was my very first stop on this tour. What is unique about this exhibition is that it not only focuses Maloof’s work, but also his circle of artist friends who lived, worked, AND collected each other’s work in the Pomona Valley area. Amazing isn’t it. Another highlight of the exhibition is the Chair (shown above), just when you think you couldn’t sit on anything, there is a sign that says, “Please be Seated”. You really have to sit and move around in it to appreciate Maloof’s attention to detail and most importantly, the actual feel of the chair.

Oval Folded Bowls by Gertrud and Otto Natzler, 1947 / earthenware


Occasional “String” Chair by Sam Maloof, 1950 / walnut, maple, white cord

Easily my favorite of the exhibition. Absolutely in love with the simple and abstract form of this chair.

Abstraction by Karl Benjamin, 1955 / oil on canvas
Settee by Sam Maloof, 1959 / walnut and leather

Love the pairing of these two pieces. The shapes in the painting echo the lines of the settee, or vice versa?

Thought the display of his working patterns on the wall was brilliant. Maloof pictured on the left, he looked happy doing what he loves, doesn’t he?

{ all camera phone images by Peggy Wong }


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Entry envy…

I recently had the pleasure to attend the book-signing event of Grace Bonney’s book, Design*Sponge at Home at the Anthropologie in Beverly Hills. Purposely waited until the day of to purchase the much-anticipated book after I heard Anthropologie did an exclusive edition with Grace – 16 extra pages on top of the 400! already. I finally had a moment to sit down and really look through the book. And let me tell you, I’ve got a serious case of entry envy…

photo credit: Cliff Norton

case no. 1: home of Traci and Bill Fleming / Los Angeles, California. First off, great color combo. But I’m particularly interested in the planter, believe it or not! The pattern/design of it is fab, especially love how it’s balanced with the yellow on the bottom.


photo credit: Ellen Silverman

case no. 2: home of Carol Neiley / Lyon, France. This really brings back memory for me – a constant visual during my recent European holiday. There’s just something about their streets and their apartment entrances. This antique wooden door is just part of the charm. C’est si bon, no?


photo credit: Tec Petaja

case no. 3: home of Genifer Goodman Sohr / Nashville, Tennessee. A log cabin, with a red door, AND Bodoni house numbers – you had me at hello.

If you want to learn more about this book, head on over to Design*Sponge, particularly this post, “The Evolution of a Book Cover” documenting the cover design. Really great insight behind the creative process.

{ all images scanned from Design*Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney }


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What I saw in… Hoover Dam.

Original Exhibit Building at Hoover Dam

To be honest, I had never considered Hoover Dam as a “vacation” spot until now. My very first memory of Hoover Dam was from the movie Superman, and even then, that was a Hollywood-built miniature of the site. And let me tell you, if you are an architecture, history, or even nature buff, you would really enjoy the dam and its surrounding Lake Mead. I was pretty much in awe the second our car pulled into the security area and caught the first sight of the Hoover Dam Bypass, which opened to public last October. The view is absolutely breathtaking. Touring the inside of the dam was even more fascinating. A mere 70-second elevator ride takes you 530 feet below elevation! Speaking of elevator, when our tour guide asked what the elevator platform reminds us of, I immediately said the Empire State Building – art deco accents could be found all around. Besides all the great architecture, the environmental graphics were pretty great too. Pictured above, the original 1935 Exhibit Building at the dam. Mad Men anyone? Takes you back, doesn’t it?

Hoover Dam Bypass

tunnel drilled in the 1930s for construction / 530 feet below elevation

in queue at the visitor center

one of the four intake towers

{ camera phone images by Peggy Wong }

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Fall colors and textures…

Are you ready for fall? With the thermometer reading at 96ºF in Los Angeles right now, I do look forward to the cooler weather. I’ve always enjoyed the catalogues that TOAST puts out every season. Do you remember the post I did a while back on La Ricarda? So it’s no surprise that I’m loving their latest Autumn ones. One part woodsy, two parts industrial, and three parts rusts – which I have to admit, I find so much beauty in that… it’s hard to choose which one of these images I’m drawn to the most. Aren’t the colors quite spectacular? The texture and patina to these are just naturally beautiful. I usually put a space in between the images on my posts, but this time I feel they should be attached – strung together if you will – to create a continuous flow…

{ photography by Sarah Maingot for TOAST }

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Channeling Vermeer…

Looks familiar? If you guessed Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, then you are absolutely correct! When I found out Vermeer’s Woman with a Lute is on loan from the MET at the Norton Simon Museum, I immediately scheduled a museum day. And with Vermeer still fresh on my mind, I couldn’t help but to stare a little when I saw this fashion editorial the other day. Channeling the “Golden Age” painting style of Vermeer, these photographs by Riccardo Bernardi are quietly beautiful. Shot in Amsterdam (never been!), I wonder if the light there really does have this deep serene to it…  that dramatic blend of blues, aubergine, and greys is both moody and theatrical, don’t you think? Leaves me picturing the 1600s, life in Delft, colors that they saw day in and day out, their inspirations, their daily lives, and just how significant a pearl earring could be in a painting…

{ photography by Riccardo Bernardi for Schön! Magazine issue 13 }


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