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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Raf Simons

Raf Simons is the influential designer behind Jil Sander and his own Eponymous line. His mantra is “Pride in Individuality”. Fabulous. In addition to being a talented designer, he’s an interesting guy. Raf was born in Belgium in 1968. He graduated in Industrial Design and Furniture Design in 1991 and started working as a furniture designer for galleries and private interiors. Then, he made a radical change of profession, and became a self trained menswear designer in 1995. A true interdisciplinary designer, introducing his modern and individualist design philosophy to all he touches. From his fashion design, to the design of his home,  I just love the he simplicity and considered detailing reflected. ‘Simon’s mid-century Modernist two story open floor plan apartment in Antwerp is full of collectible art and furniture’. The space is visibly deliberate and modern, and the art collection is playful, and full of color. There is a wonderful curated feeling to the space, well composed and presented. The abundance of natural light creates a warm, inviting and very livable environment. Thanks Raf. Nice digs.

Images found here. Excerpts found at Raf Simons website.





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Fritz Hansen has introduced another beauty. Known for representing some of the most coveted and famous modern furniture lines, they have teamed up with designer Jaime Hayon to create, no doubt, a soon to be classic. The colorful interpretation of classic form fits well within the line. I can imagine this piece placed comfortably among some of my favorite Jacobsen, Hein or Wegner Pieces.

“FAVN is picking up from the long tradition of Arne Jacobsen in the sense that I wanted to create a form that was based on a shell, like the Egg™ and the Swan™ which looks equally beautiful from all angles.” Hayón continues. “I wanted the sofa to be based on a shell. A shell being hard on the outside, soft and welcoming on the inside. I wanted to create a form that embraces you, something really organic – that’s why we named it FAVN.” Jaime Hayon

Introduced in ten scrumptious colors, fans of a classic modern decor are sure to find one to please; Light Grey, Sage Green, Clear Beige, Taupe, Chocolate, Moutard, Red, Violet, Dark Blue, and Black. The perfect palette. The sofa is designed for comfort, practicality, and environmental criteria alike. While the aesthetic is prim and proper, Jaime shares his approach in designing for real life, and real use. “Design needs to solve the problem and be long lasting – of-course. But it is important to remember that my design is made for humans – to be used by humans. I believe that design should provoke emotions. Design should make you feel good. Create happiness”. I couldn’t agree more.

To learn more about Favn, visit

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Checking in: Hotel Lautner…

Let me prefix this by saying I had waited three years for this – we were one of the lucky few who got to stay at the Hotel Lautner this past weekend when they had a soft opening. Originally built in 1947 and known as The John Lautner’s Desert Hot Springs Motel, this hidden gem was, and still is, quite a place. The property was purchased back in 2008 by Los Angeles based interior designer Tracy Beckmann and furniture designer Ryan Trowbridge. After a long three-year renovation by Tracy and Ryan, Hotel Lautner is finally resurfacing. A combination of redwood beams, smooth concrete, tall glass windows, and orange-red steel supports are part of the characteristics of this four-unit (yes, four!) desert retreat. Plans are in place to build a clubhouse and outdoor lounge on the adjacent property as well. Even though the hotel is still under construction, you can already feel you are in your own private oasis, especially with the additional wall that was built around the entire site. What I also love are all the personal touches by the owners. Tracy and Ryan shop for all the decor and furniture pieces to give each room its own personality. When I heard Miles Davis playing in the background as we stepped into our room, I knew straightaway that we are going to enjoy our stay there. The best part? Lying under the stars in our own succulent garden/patio, it was truly a magical experience…


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Curtis Jere


I was recently shopping for vintage furniture, when a fabulous wall sculpture caught my eye. Could it be I had just laid eyes on an authentic Curis Jere?  

I looked with cautious excitement, as there are many knock offs of the highly collectible work of the design team of Jerry Fels and Kurt Freiler. Together they launched Artisan House in 1964. They began creating costume jewelry and brightly enameled copper work in the 1950's and 1960's. Later, the team became known for their highly ornamental wall sculptures, like their best known 1970's composition above titled "Raindrops". 


So who was Curtis Jere anyway? All of the authentic work is signed "C. Jere", and notes the production date. The identification represents a creative contraction of the partners names, which lead many to believe it was the work of a single artist. Did my found object have the appropriate markings?  Yes!

This brand identity was marketed by retailers like Gumps. The tag, like the one pictured below, was often attached to artwork to convey a purchase of a one of a kind piece. The manufacturing process is most successful, as these jewel-like objects were in fact mass produced, yet look handmade.



The work of C. Jere has become so sought after, that interior designer Johnathan Adler has recently made arrangements with the firm to reproduce several of their most famous designs. Raindrops round mirror is one of the pieces offered by Adler. Prices are a fraction of an original at auction.


Original work of C. Jere can be found on Ebay and 1st Dibbs, or if you are lucky like I was, in vintage shops and estate sales.  Happy Hunting!


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