Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Of all the projects I am lucky enough to work on, I have to say that children's rooms are often my favorites -- they tend to allow for the boldest color choices, most whimsical patterns, and certainly the most direct clients. People seem to be more willing to take risks in kids' rooms, perhaps because they feel more temporal, knowing that the kids will at some point paper it with posters of the future Robert Pattinson, or paint it all black right before they stop speaking to everyone in the family and padlock their door.

I recently completed a nursery project that was special for a number of reasons, which I am pleased to say you'll be able to read all about in the next issue (April 2013) of Seattle magazine!

Here's a sneak peek:

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Get Plastered

No, this isn't a post about what I did on election night (though I am not denying anything) -- this is about ANOTHER kind of plaster, one that I may even prefer over the alcoholic variety....may.

Over the last year or so I have had the great pleasure of getting to know a wonderfully talented local artist/designer/generally fabulous person named Tamara Codor, who with partner Sterling Voss is the brains/beauty/brawn behind Codor Design. You may have read about her from one or more of my pals here in Seattle, so it almost seems fruitless for me to try and describe or depict her work better than they already have. But when did that stop me?

I was lucky enough to get a private tour of her Seattle showroom a few weeks ago, and now I am (more) obsessed with owning one of her plaster-covered mirrors. To the best of my recollection (correct me if I'm wrong, Tamara), she culls found objects like plastic frogs, toy boats, rope, dolls and other miscellaneous oddities that make my heart sing, applies them to wonderfully shaped mirrors, and coats the entire piece in plaster to an austere, haunting effect.

Here are some favorites:

That bird!

Can you spot the toy violin (or "fiddle," as we call it in the South)?

The frog kills me. 

This one is smaller scale, and I think my very favorite. It would look smashing against one of my client's Albert Hadley black-and-white "Fireworks"-papered bathroom walls. (My English teacher would cringe at that sentence.) 

The devil is in the details.

Here's a peek at her back room:

Ironically, my favorite thing in her entire showroom is a piece that was left behind by a previous tenant. Add a coat of white paint and VOILA! A white monkey holding up some stuff.

Speaking of her showroom...

A sampling of her custom furnishings:


A cast-glass Louis coffee table (!)

This chandelier is HUGE and amazing, with rotating arms.

And as if all this weren't enough reason to envy Tamara's talent, she's also a talented artist... I happened to spy this pile in a corner, only to find out she had created the whole lot.

Get thee to Codor Design. Buy a plaster mirror and tell her Leah sent you.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Appetite for Destruction

Love at first sight -- it is indeed a rare and special thing. I was lucky (unlucky?) enough to fall prey to it recently...On a leisurely weekend walk with a friend, I was inexplicably drawn to see what lived around the corner from the public beach we strolled past. I spotted a hint of a dock, and thanks to a few pre-walk cocktails (I know, I know), my accomplice -- I mean, friend -- and I waded through the water, around the bend...and I was instantly a goner.

There, before my eyes, was the most perfect house I had ever seen. Granted, all of its doors and windows were covered in cobwebs. And the stagnant pool water was the oddest shade of blue-green I had ever seen. And peering into the windows, I saw disarray and rubbish everywhere. But it was still like nothing I had ever seen in Seattle -- a Hollywood Regency diamond in the rough, made for Slim Aarons-esque pool parties and Black and White Balls.... I could see it all, even through the dirt and cobwebs.

I decided then and there that someday I would live in this house. I felt it to my core. After snapping some photos and committing the address to memory, I raced home to research the history of the home, its current ownership, etc., only to learn it had sold a few years earlier for more than $6 million. But I didn't let this deter me -- true love conquers all, right?

Here's what hooked me:

The front entrance. Really.

The fence separating me from my destiny...the fence and $6 million.

The kidney-shaped pool on the banks of Lake Washington

The world's most perfect pool house

The dock


Detail of windows and brass hardware covering the entire back of the home
Listing photo of the home when it sold several years ago

A few weeks ago I stopped by for a quick check-in with my future home, to spot a crew of roofers hard at work...on a Sunday morning. A bit troubling, but I clung to my belief in fate and wrote it off to a minor interruption in the process of me and my house finding each other -- after all, it would take me some time (ahem) to raise the necessary $6 million to reclaim my house destiny.

So imagine my sadness when on a recent visit, instead of my dream home, I saw this in its place:

The house was....gone. As if it had never existed. Although sad to realize I would have to find a new home to be my star-crossed lover, more than anything, I mourned that no one else would ever be able to experience that same delight I felt when I discovered the house so unlike any other in Seattle, imagining what it had been like in its day -- what it could be like again. I am guessing a year from now, in its place will stand some sort of spartan modernist box, which seems to be the trend these days. Sigh.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Go to Elles

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at an amazing new exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum a few days ago, Elles: Women Artists from the Centre Pompidou, Paris.

Because I couldn't phrase it any better, here's a description from SAM's site about the exhibition:

Elles: Women Artists from the Centre Pompidou, Paris is a landmark exhibition of more than 130 works of art made by 75 women artists from 1907 to 2007. Organized by the Centre Pompidou in Paris, home to the Musée National d'Art Moderne—the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe—this exhibition is an unforgettable visual experience that will challenge visitors' assumptions about art of the past century. This survey of daring painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, video and installation by pioneering women artists offers a fresh perspective on a history of modern and contemporary art. With humor, disdain, sensuality and ambiguity, these women represent the major movements in modern art—from abstraction to contemporary concerns.
Artists include Sonia Delaunay, Frida Kahlo, Dora Maar, Diane Arbus, Marina Abramovic, Louise Bourgeois, Atsuko Tanaka, Cindy Sherman, Sophie Calle, Hannah Wilke, Nan Goldin and Tania Bruguera, among others.
An exhilarating exhibition that has already become a milestone in the history of exhibitions, Elles: Women Artists from the Centre Pompidou, Paris will excite the casual viewer as much as the hardboiled expert.

– Marisa C. Sánchez, Associate Curator, Modern & Contemporary Art

Here are some of my favorite pieces from the show...

Helen Frankenthaler, one of my favorite artists--male or female--of all time:

Jenny Holzer:

I love these. Not part of the show but one of my favorite of her pieces from this series is this guy:


A huge installation covering multiple walls, with multiple copies of the following texts:

Sonia Delauney, who I recently raved about:

Artist unknown -- but it was one of my favorites:

"Hilton Head Island, S.C., USA" by Rineke DijekstraHer work is amazing:

Cindy Sherman, who I think is pure genius:

Guerrilla Girls:

I love "Not having to undergo the embarrassment of being called a genius."

 I was unfamiliar with Guerrilla Girls prior to this exhibit, but they are spectacular. In their own words:

"We're a bunch of anonymous females who take the names of dead women artists as pseudonyms and appear in public wearing gorilla masks. We have produced posters, stickers, books, printed projects, and actions that expose sexism and racism in politics, the art world, film and the culture at large. We use humor to convey information, provoke discussion, and show that feminists can be funny. We wear gorilla masks to focus on the issues rather than our personalities."

I can't say enough good things about the show, not to mention the opportunity it has given me to begin a dialogue with my two daughters, ages 6 and 4, about why women have their own exhibition -- why women are underrepresented in museum collections, in art history, and in all sorts of other places. You simply must go to Elles!
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