Archive for January 2009

Busy, busy!

January 30, 2009

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In case our readers don’t know by now: [1] Christopher, and [2] Greg in his former hometown. It’s important to wear a big coat, in a big city! Brown was the new black back in the 90’s.
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This week Christopher is still in New York promoting his dinnerware collection at the International Gift Fair. Long days and short nights will bring him back exhausted, but energized. At the same time, Greg is in the middle of getting ready for a benefit to “Kick In and Stop Sarcoidosis”. Greg is a chair on this event this year, as it is a cause that is very close to his heart. This year’s K.I.S.S. Chicago 2009 event is happening on February 7th. So, there is obviously a lot to do!

Christopher: Can you tell me about the foundation?

Greg: The foundation was started by a great friend of mine; Andrea Wilson who was diagnosed with the disease 15 years ago. Sarcoidosis is a potentially fatal disease that can appear in almost any organ in the body. FSR is the nations’ leading organization dedicated to improving care for Sarcoidosis patients and to finding a cure for the disease.

I became involved to help my friend Andrea and other people who may be affected by this disease. This event is always so much fun for me, as well as my co-chairs Anne Coyle & Elizabeth Wood. We are going to make it an event to remember. Our goal is to: EAT-DRINK-DANCE-BID-LAUGH-K.I.S.S., and of course, raise lots of money for this great cause.

C: Sounds like a fun night! I hope it is a great success. How is Andrea doing these days?

G: She is an amazing and vibrant woman whom you would never guess has this disease. Her wide smile, gracious manner and contagious laugh makes you fall in love immediately. Please forgive me, Reading (Andrea’s husband), but I love your wife!

C: I’m glad to hear that she is doing well. I look forward to meeting her soon. I know you and I both feel strongly about volunteering, and we both agreed that we would talk about our personal causes in a future issue. These causes mean a lot to us, and we don’t want to just mention them in passing.

G: Yes, I wanted to hear about your preparation for the NY show. What is new at your show this January?

C: Well I always introduce a new design series, and I am really excited to show my newest black and white dishes. I don’t like to show it until after the show, so you will have to wait until a future issue to see the. But, I have (what I think are) some cool ideas for the booth this season.

I always try to think of inexpensive and interesting ways to change up my booth and make it look fresh. It is very expensive to ship pieces across the country, and traditional booth materials are ridiculously high. So, to shake up the look of my presentation, I am always looking for non-traditional materials for impact.

This year, I am making a wall out of recycled paper plates and connecting them with plastic screw posts. The booth is only 10 x 10 foot square, so since it is not huge, I am always trying to get it noticed. I think that the plates will have the power to have people take a second look at my booth. It is really simple, relates to my porcelain dishes (of course), and I hope be interesting to the thousands of buyers that walk by. I especially hope that it looks good!

I use the same screw posts to join my brochure, so I can use them over again in those pieces. Then after the show is dismantled, the paper plates are thrown away. So, I don’t have to ship anything extra around. I can save money, and save some carbon points!

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Notice the screw posts used in these two elements for the New York show. [1] A section of the paper plate wall, and [2] brochure. We will show more photos in later issues.
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My brochure was designed to save on material also. I was inspired by fabric/paint sample books. While I have to insert the pages inside by hand, I don’t have to worry if prices change, or when products are new or no longer available. I don’t have to throw my piece away with every new change. I think it is pretty cool, anyway. It saves me money and waste.

I know you are busy these days, besides working as a chair. So tell me what you are currently working on?

G: I have just begun preliminary plans for decorating a newly constructed house in Dallas TX, with this comes drawing up floor plans and various furniture placement layouts. I will be heading down there in a couple of weeks to review the plans with the client as well as color, fabric samples and pieces that I think will work well within the space.

C: That’s great! How did you come across this client with you living in Chicago?

G: The client is a referral from a past client and friend whom I helped with his living room. He had recently visited Chicago and when he saw his place he asked if I was willing to help him get his living room, dining room and master bedroom pulled together.

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A vintage Lake Shore Drive residence.
G: The client a bachelor requested a traditional but updated look to some furniture he already had in possession. I recovered the sofa and side chairs, custom made the end tables and coordinated pillows, art and a newly purchased cocktail table. We were both very pleased with the end result.
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C: How difficult is it working with a client who lives in a different city?

G: Interestingly enough it is not that difficult. The most important aspect of doing it from a distance is in collecting all of the right information and take as many pictures as you can early on in the process. 80% of the rest of the project can be done via email and express mail. There will of course be follow trips before the actual installation, but with good communication up front and a clear objective both by the client and the decorator the project should go relatively smoothly.

C: I know that every job is different, and there are always new things that happen during your project, but… how long do you think the process will take… from start to finish?

G: A project can go very quickly (2 – 3 months) or can be stretched out over several years. I like to have my clients do a little work before we begin. I have them price out a whole room of furniture from one store or catalog of their choosing. It doesn’t matter if they like the pieces or not. Then I have them try to price out the lower priced items… from sofas and chairs, to rugs and side tables and lamps… whatever they think will complete the room. It amazes them after this exercise how the money adds up so quickly. I do this exercise so they can get their arms wrapped around the expense of the project.

Not many people buy everything at the same time, and for the average living room the cost can range anywhere between $20k – $70k. I can work within any budget, but believe they have to commit to a number up front. And, depending where they land, they may not get everything they want, but we will work to stay on track.

Invariably, most clients, when presented with what they can have, often opt for some items that are outside of their budget. So I always make sure they have a contingency of about 10% – 20% extra for those “must have” items.

How long do you have to plan for a show?

C: I already have some plans for the next show this summer. There are things that I always think about, but can’t either get them done, the price is too high, or I just can’t figure it out quite yet. It takes me time, because I am always introducing new designs, and also want my booth to look a little fresh each time.

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An organized mess. At the Los Angeles show last year, these are some of the elements that travel there. [1] Walnut cubes that nest in each other for easier shipping, and these become the display cases. [2] Boxes, boxes, and more boxes of plates and various pieces, [3] crates that carry the cubes, [4] one of the tables that was built, and [5] my identifying “hello” sign.
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With any venture, whether a home remodel, a long vacation or even a child’s birthday, it takes planning and commitment to a budget up front. If you do not keep up with your plan and budget… something will probably go wrong. Good planning is one of the most important aspects of the business that we are in. As the old adage goes “Failing to plan, is planning to fail”. Good luck and until next week.

Greg & Christopher

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Journeys

January 23, 2009

As we go to “press”, Christopher is in New York (barring any bad weather!), setting up his booth for the NY International Gift Show. This show is one of his most important yearly events, as he showcases his dinnerware collection to retail stores. This trip has got us thinking about our love of New York, about traveling, and the places that we have lived. Places that we love to visit. Places that inspire us.

Traveling is done for work, for pleasure or out of some other obligation. if you stop and take a moment wherever you are and just look around, you might notice something to inspire your inner decorator or artist. We wanted to tell you about the place that we came from and where we are now in this issue.

Then and Now
We both grew up in South Bend, Indiana, smack in the heartland in the country. Our schools, and The University of Notre Dame  were our center for culture, sports, and entertainment.

Christopher: As I was growing up in northern Indiana, I remember wanting to leave, and go to a bigger city. I wanted to move to a place with more opportunities. Chicago was close enough; only a two-hour train ride away, but far enough to be out of reach for a young kid.

Looking back, however, there were some wonderful things about our hometown. Our family spent a lot of summer days at one of the dozens of small lakes around southern Michigan. The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan is still one of the most beautiful undiscovered places in the country.

When I go back to visit, I try to go in the fall. While the area doesn’t have the hilly backdrop of a place like Vermont; the bright red maple leaves set against the small red-roofed farms, surrounded by the golden-brown cornfields, are stunning to me. Driving down a long straight road surrounded by flat farm fields always calms me.

I also remember that we all ice skated the winters away, without feeling very cold. And, those winters were brutal, but fun!

What are your memories about South Bend, as a place?

Greg: The summers were the time that I most remember, and still love about growing up “Hoosier”. I think about our parents taking us for drives at dusk, and going to outdoor movie theaters (does anyone remember those?) where we saw “Hello Down There” and “Blackbeard’s Ghost”.

I also remember playing baseball in the back yard with dad pitching (of course, after all the yard work), and the big neighborhood bbqs. After a long day, we were sent to bed exhausted and covered with mosquito bites. As we grew older, our sister Cindy packed up her Pinto to head to one of the many area beaches for a day of sun, sand, and surf. I think maybe it was the free spirit that every kid feels, and the endless possibilities, that fostered my need to explore.

C: I remember those drives so we could keep cool! We sure didn’t have air-conditioning, but it was nice and cool driving around with the windows open. Dad drove around until we were almost asleep. Remember the root beer stands we stopped at?

Summer time was the best time! With a large family, we did not go on long trips. We would go on day trips to places like Deer Forest at Paw Paw Lake. I loved the name of that lake! It seemed so exotic. It was only about an hour, but that drive really took us faraway from our small world.

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On the rocks. Here we are at Deer Forest, on a rock that barely holds us all. Somehow it seemed much larger at the time. [1] Christopher, [2] Greg, [3] Janine, [4] Kelly, [5] Cindy, [6] Beth, and [7} Jeff. Pixie haircuts, long legs, and short shorts were all the rage that year (1969].
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C: I know you have been more of a big city boy. You moved from Chicago to D.C. to New York, and back to Chicago. New York and Chicago, of course, are full of culture, and great people watching. And, I always loved Chicago, since I was a boy. The architecture is outstanding. What do you love about Chicago?

G: It’s funny; I have always considered myself a “big city boy”. Ever since I was little, I loved going to Chicago and staring up at the tall buildings until I was dizzy.

It would probably be easier to tell you about the things I don’t like about the city , since there are far fewer of those things (especially coming off of our most recent snowfall and sub-zero temperatures). Without sounding sappy, I love it all (even the weather). The lake in the summer at Oak Street Beach, set off against the backdrop of the city, is amazing. The way the lake glistens in the morning with the rise of the sun, then turns this beautiful cerulean blue at mid-day, and then the deep blackish purple at night… is so wonderful.

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G: I had purchased this Remigio Gudin painting several years ago after admiring it for almost a year. At the time, the amount of money was a stretch but I eventually decided to take the plunge. I think the reason I purchased it was because it reminded me of the sun rising. During what can be some very bleak days in Chicago, it brings such warmth to anywhere it is placed.
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G: I think the architecture cannot be rivaled in any American city. The Wrigley building, the Hancock tower, and the Mies Buildings make the city so unique. The skyline is so diverse, just like the people. The feel of the different neighborhoods, each with their unique style, from east coast preppy to ultra hipster… it often seems like you have traveled farther then just a few blocks.

I love it when you visit. Which is the thing you most look forward to seeing when you are here?

C: I think like you, I enjoy the architecture, and think of Chicago as such a marvel. You can see the history of the twentieth century all over the loop and the city. The Art Institute and Museum of Contemporary Art are just two of my favorite places. And, I think Chicago’s public places are so beautiful, and at such a grand scale that they are so unique to any city. The views of the lake with the high-rises in the foreground are really something. It is amazing that such a flat swampy area has become such a remarkable site for a city.

G: Chris you had lived in the Boston area for so many years then moved to the Arizona desert. What a change for you! How do those two places reflect your artistry or design sensibilities?

C: The move, for me, was rather jolting. They couldn’t be more different. I lived in the South End of Boston, right in the middle of the city. Amazing restaurants, chic shops, Chinatown, historical landmarks, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the harbor were just a short walk away. The city is so compact and easy to access.

Phoenix, of course is so different… right in the middle of the Sonoran desert. The sun seems to always shine, people ride horses in the city, the citrus blooms smell is dizzying in the spring, and the desert seems to go on forever.

Boston was such an old city, full of character, and history, while Phoenix, is so new and filled with malls, strip centers, focused on car culture. The move was a big change, to say the least. It was very hard.

Now when I look at the plants, and mountains of the desert, I’m just awe-struck. I find inspiration in the animals and birds, and the adaptation of the plants. I’m amazed every time I see a saguaro. In addition, the Native-American people used the land so efficiently, and I try to learn from their history, and what they left.

I discovered the Desert Botanical Garden as a wonderful inspirational place for me, and I now volunteer as a horticulture aide there. Currently, they have an amazing exhibit of Dale Chihuly glass works. When you come to Phoenix next, we have to see this. It is especially stunning at night.

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These Dale Chihuly glass pieces are located at the entrance to the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix titled Desert Wildflower Towers (2008).
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Where next?
Although our family is spread throughout the country, we have still been able to get together at some beautiful places and most recently some of the family was able to surprise Christopher for his 50th birthday in Phoenix. The previous year some of us were able to see our niece graduate from her Hawaiian high school.

The settings are all different but we are in awe of the natural beauty around us. The mountains, waterfalls, or just even the sand at the many beaches we have all walked together. Inspiration can be found anywhere whether you are looking for it or not. As we have both collected rocks, pieces of shells, coral and driftwood, we bring it home so we may again travel from the comfort or our homes to those wonderful places. What inspires you?

Inspiration all around!

January 16, 2009

Last week we had signed off after talking about a few of the many inspirational people that we have been lucky to know. There are many more to mention, and we look forward to talking about them. We would however; like to pause, with the inauguration days away, and mention how inspired we are by this momentous occasion.

No matter our political party affiliation, we have to stop and reflect on what this moment means to ourselves, and our country. The two of us have both lived long enough to be amazed at how many changes we have seen in our lifetime, and how many more we have yet to see. But, it will be something else completely to see our first African-American president sworn into office next week.

It is inspiring to know that this moment in time represents a change; a change that reflects our belief that we can all achieve whatever we set out to do if only we try. Possibilities can be endless.

For us, we are at the beginning of fulfilling our dreams. As we write this, Greg is just beginning a new venture, and is now working with his first interior design clients, on his own. Christopher is getting ready for his second year in business, and will be leaving for his second New York International Gift Show to show his dinnerware collection. His Number plates were just mentioned in Domino Magazine. It is truly an exciting time for us, and we are excited to share these moments with the people that mean so much to us.

As Greg remembers our father once telling him, “That at the moment of commitment, the world conspires to assist you”, we believe we can all make a difference in our lives, and in others, no matter how small, if only we try. It has proven true for us both, and we are surrounded by so many people that want us to succeed.

We hope you can savor this historical inauguration, and let this moment inspire you. Yes, we can!

Who inspires us?
As we start working on the third issue for the Design Brothers, we are in awe of the bloggers who write every day. We are (obviously) not natural writers, and are trying really hard to find our voice. With other jobs and people to make happy, we, like a lot of people we know, are juggling with everything that goes on in our daily lives. We knew how difficult this little blog would be, but we didn’t really know. We’re learning every day though.

Designing for your life is the same. With everything going on with your job, with your family… who really has time to devote to the “perfect” life we see on television or in magazines.

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Ah, living the perfect life! It was difficult finding an old photo of us together (without the rest of the family), and apologies for the blurriness. Here we are at our late [1] Grandmother’s (Theodora) home, along with our [3] Aunt Trudy… probably all dressed up for Easter. Greg’s shorts mean spring! [2] Christopher and [4] Greg love the standing lamp with butterflies, and Aunt Trudy’s black and white, oversized hounds tooth dress pattern.
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Greg: Some people reading this may not know that aside from being my brother and a designer of dinnerware, you are first and foremost an artist and illustrator. As we continue with those that have inspired us, who else has influenced you?

Christopher: As I child, I always sketched and doodled. I drew comic strips, but when I was in high school, I remember seeing the work of Rockwell Kent. Not many people know of him, but his simple black and white stylized drawings made me believe that there were possibilities in illustration. His style was so simple, and to this day I live with a motto above my desk that says, “Keep it simple, stupid”. If I find my drawings or design getting too complicated, I know I am in trouble.

When I was in high school, Mr. Sealy (our art teacher) had us work with silk-screening, and linoleum prints, which got me excited about printmaking. I’ve always loved art that involved a little hard work. This was in the 70’s and Andy Warhol was too overwhelming of a presence, not to be influenced by him.

When I got to college (Indiana University), I thought I would be an Art History major. But the graphic design program and silk-screening classes were too tempting, and pulled me in. At that point, the art world opened up to me. I discovered Charley Harper, Saul Steinberg , Jim Nutt , and David Hockney , to name a few. At that time these artists were not really seen much in museums. These artists showed me that anything was possible. I realized that a pencil drawing or a comic book is as legitimate of an art form, as a large-scale oil painting. And when Jean-Michel Basquiat became big, he became my hero!

Who gets you excited about designing?
Greg: As mentioned last week, besides some of the local designers, I am in awe of the legendary designers Albert Hadley for his bold and almost experimental approach to design, David Hicks with his graphic patterns and use of color, and the theatrics of Tony Duquette.

I am always drawn to classic furniture mixed either with bold or modern fabrics, or old and new side-by-side. As you can see from a picture of my breakfast room, I put together a classic yet modern Saarinen table, along side more traditional chairs painted a lacquer white with black patent leather seat cushions. The mix radiates (I hope) a more relaxed tone that welcomes you in. Any table setting would work in this room.
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Greg does a lot of reading in his breakfast room, noted by the stack of books and magazines in the background. [1] Antler chandelier (a birthday gift from a group of dear friends) [2] An original piece of art “The 51st State” by Brian Graves , [3] Chairs by Baker Furniture, stripped and painted lacquered white, with black patent leather cushions [4] Original Saarinen table purchased on EBay.

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Christopher: Your home is really comfortable and thoughtful. It is nicely pared down and edited. I also love the designers you mentioned, because of their clean lines, and the beautiful simplicity. It goes without saying that I love Charles and Ray Eames, as I have their Molded Dining chairs around my dining table.

Greg: How have you incorporated your love of art, or those that have inspired you into your dinner collections, or home?

Christopher: I think it is hard not to. I wanted to mention Charley Harper again, as he is finally getting his long overdue respect from designer, Todd Oldham and others lovers of illustration. I didn’t consciously think about him while designing my Baja plates, but I see his influence there.
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Inspired by the Southwest deserts, two of four plates from Christopher Jagmin’s Baja series. [1] Joshua tree, and [2] Saguaro.
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Of course working as a graphic designer for years brought me to the Number series that I have designed. Good typography is getting to be a lost art form, and I try to honor it a little with these designs.

My mind is just spinning now when I think about other designers or artists that I am leaving out. At some future point, we will have to talk about the friends and family that we have been inspired by! With all of your influences, how would you describe your style?

Greg: I would have to describe my style as traditional with a twist. I absolutely love Louis XV & Louis XVI furniture mixed with a 1960’s lucite cocktail table, and a colorful piece of abstract art, or a modern sofa with a French empire chest to the side. I think in any great design style there is some tension. If a room is all from the same period it either looks too modern or too fancy and neither is very comfortable.

Christopher: I think people get scared to shake it up. Once they find a furniture store, or a time period they like, they are afraid to go beyond. It is intimidating!

Greg: A well-designed room shows no age or design period but rather represents well thought out pieces that are welcoming. The style that I would like to be known for is one in which it invites you in and you feel at home immediately. I really don’t like going into a home that has rooms that are off limits, to me it is just wasted space!

Christopher: I agree completely! I think that we will have to talk sometime about how we make the most of our small spaces that we both call home.

Greg: I know that you have got to ship your booth materials today, and get ready for New York. So we should probably end here for this week. I along with everyone who reads this wish you the best of luck. We look forward to hearing all about the trip when you return. New York is so inspiring I am sure I will have a million questions about what inspired you while there.

Christopher: Thanks much, Greg. I need all the good wishes that I can get. Next week we should talk about New York and other places that get us excited and inspired. I will be anxious to tell you how it goes in the weeks ahead.

Greg and Christopher: We truly believe that anything is possible. And, the new president is proof. We hope you have taken steps to live your dream! If any of our readers have any dreams they want to share, we would love to hear about them! Until next Friday.

Back to work!

January 9, 2009

The year has begun and we have all started to put our noses to the grindstone. The thought of the recession has left some of us wondering how we can make ends meet, let alone live a well designed and decorated existence. But during extraordinarily tough times, well, people can become extraordinary. With a little creativity, imagination and patience, you can achieve the look you want at a price that will not break the bank. And what is more satisfying then knowing how little you paid, but how expensive it looks?

We hope that our thoughts on design are helpful and interesting to you.

How we got started.
With a large family spread out all over the country, distance, obligations, time and cost make it difficult to get together as much as we would like. Not since our (other!) brother, Jeff’s marriage to his lovely wife, Amy, has it been possible for all of our family to get together. But that was over three years ago!

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Here is the entire family at Jeff’s and Amy’s wedding ,moments before the real family photo was taken (in eastern Washington state): [1] Our brother, Jeff, [2] and his wife, Amy. [3] Greg, [4] our sister, Cindy, [5] our sister, Kelly, [6] our mom, Barbara, [7] Christopher, [8] our niece, and Jeff’s daughter, Jessica, [9] our sister, Janine, and [10] our sister, Beth. More on everyone to come.
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When my brother and I are able to get together, we laugh, celebrate, reminisce, cook, drink and eat too much, and talk about family and loved ones. However, we rarely talk about our businesses, and our ever-changing career paths, let alone our design philosophies. Here’s an opportunity to talk about our dreams, our needs, and views.

Christopher: As we were talking about putting this blog together, I realized that I never asked you when, and how you got interested in designing interior spaces. I know your passion for decorating, but I don’t know what initially sparked your interest.

Greg: I think Mom was always a little adventurous when it came to design. Remember how she would get cool decanters (at least, I thought they were cool!) and put colored water to match the decor of the room?

Christopher: I’d forgotten about that! I remember coming home from school and she had all of the furniture moved around. I remember her doing this about once a month! She liked changed, and made me realize that you can use what you have in different ways. She loved those slipcovers to change things up too!

Greg: It seemed like all of us were always experimenting with some kind of design or craft ideas. Our sister’s, Janine was sewing, and Cindy was knitting, and was always redecorating their bedroom.

Christopher: I also remember dad painting a dresser for Cindy that had an amazing yellow and white checkerboard pattern. I would love to see that again! Sorry for getting carried away with the memories… back to your story.

Greg: It really wasn’t until I moved from New York to Chicago in 1994, and had a place of my own, that I started to pay attention to my surroundings. I looked around my place, and saw old posters on the walls. And had furniture that had seen better days. I was initially drawn to magazines like Architectural Digest and Metropolitan Home and loved imagining what it would be like to live in many of those homes, but I was not yet that financial secure to afford the pieces in those magazines.

I started to scour resale shops, thrift stores and flea markets looking for the unusual or overlooked piece that could, with a little work become something to be cherished like this old mahogany stereo cabinet I found. I ripped all of the electronic equipment out sanded it down and fund out how to ebonize it. It is still terrific.

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[1] My first piece of furniture that I still love, although it took weeks of refinishing work. [2] A custom mirror that I once used in a bathroom, over a sink, to cover the hole, that was left behind by the crusty old mirror, I had pulled out. [3] A Paul McCobb table I found on a treasure hunt last year. [4] 2 of the 4 Saarinen chairs I purchased on Ebay. They are original, and I LOVE them!
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Christopher: I also still have the very first piece of furniture that I bought for my first place, back in Austin, Texas. It is a Scandinavian dresser that I currently have in my living room. The piece was in my bedroom for a bit as a dresser, in a dining room as a side table, and then used it as a bar. Now it is a “treasure holder”.

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An ever-changing tabletop in Christopher’s living room: [1] A simple Scandinavian dresser that was his first big purchase for his first apartment, [2] a deer lamp that was purchased for $15 at a Salem, MA weekly flea market. [3] oil painting by Anne Christensen, [4] a primitive oil painting found at a Boston flea market purchased for $100, including the frame that doesn’t quite fit, and [5] miscellaneous seeds in a bread bowl (gift from sister, Cindy), a piece of knotted wood found on Martha’s Vineyard, an illustration by Christopher, and wood carved vase and “log” given as gifts.
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Greg: I found great joy finding these pieces and working on them myself. I tried to replicate the pictures in the magazines with some success. Later a designer friend and I would pour over those magazines as well as others that I was introduced to, and we would play a game of dissecting the rooms into what did or did not work. I then realized that I actually had a talent for pulling pieces together.

Christopher: Very cool. I didn’t know that… although I remember you reupholstering a chair when I visited you in Chicago along time ago. I’ve always wished I had the patience for upholstering, and that kind of detailed work.

Greg: Since I can remember, you have always been fascinated by art and design, why do think that is?

Christopher: I really don’t know. I do remember always drawing buildings, and making maps as a kid. By the time I got to high school, I really thought I would be an architect. I was very lucky to take an art class at John Adams High with Mr. Sealy. He saw something in me, and I owe him my gratitude for letting me know that it was not weird to be an artist. I remember Pablo Picasso died when I was a freshman, and Mr. Sealy told me why he was amazing… until then, I really had little direction. He really opened my eyes to possibilities, and changed my life forever.

Greg: God, I remember Mr. Sealy. I don’t think I ever mentioned this to you; but I always felt inadequate in his class because he talked about you and Cindy (our sister) incessantly. He talked about how creative and talented you both were. Don’t get me wrong… I was secretly pleased (as I was hoping that this would solidify my A in the class), but I felt like if I didn’t do something extraordinary in his class he would be disappointed in the whole family.

Christopher: I doubt that. He liked when his students did their own thing, although he was strict about having us learn how to use the materials correctly. Mr. Sealy really was very patient with students, and wanted us to use paint, watercolors, silk screening with confidence. He really had no patience with students who didn’t listen, or those who took the class because they thought art was easy.

I’m sure he would like what you do now. He was the first one who told me about the possibilities of getting a career in design. I was going to write him a letter after college, but then heard that he passed away. I regret not telling him how much he inspired me.

Greg: A couple of people who truly inspired me (whether they know it or not) have been; you, my friend Barri Liener (an author, stylist, and all around remarkable gal), along with two wonderful, Chicago designers; Nate Berkus, and Anne Coyle.

Christopher: We have been lucky to know such creative people, and could talk about them more, but should probably continue and talk more about them next week.

What next?
As we write this blog, we want to make sure that we tell you, the reader, where we come from, who we have been inspired by, and our design sensibilities. We just hope that it is interesting as we get our rhythm going. We want to make sure the blog is not too long or boring, so, if you have any thoughts… please write and let us know. We hope in the future, you get to know us, and we get to know more about you. Until next week, Friday… back to work!