Archive for January 2010

#9 – Go Green!

January 29, 2010

There has been much talk over the last several years on how to go green. Whether you buy into global warming or not, either way recycling items is good for all. A whole new sector of business are starting up to make green products. Because of all this new competition products are getting better, less expensive, and actually have good design. As technology gets better you will see an even greater line of products, from recycled rugs made from old plastic water bottles to desk and chairs made from old cardboard boxes.


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Vintage chairs with an updated fabric, a 1960’s table sparkles, Garage sale lamps painted gold all add to the beauty of this room.
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The forgotten trend of going green is easier to accomplish. The trend is to shop at flea markets and vintage stores where items from the past can easily get a makeover with a non-toxic eco-friendly paint or stain (try staining something with tea from ordinary tea bags or coffee). The resurgence of this style is prompted by people selling older treasures because they need the money. In exchange you can find great pieces at below market prices. (Check out eBay and craigslist).


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In a Dallas home Greg is working on, chairs found out of a hotel clearance sale were reupholstered. Also, auction finds of Jansen tables and x-benches complete the room.
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Hang on to your hat #8 is on its way.

Until then, Greg.

Top Ten Trends (We think)-

January 25, 2010

At the beginning of every year, we are bombarded with the top 100 moments of the past year/decade, top 50 songs, top 10 restaurants, blah, blah, blah. We know it gets a tad tedious so we apologize in advance for this list, but we decided to produce our own top 10 trends we see for interior decoration & design in 2010. For the next several days we will share our thoughts. We will keep the list short and have included some expert predictions as well. But remember these are only predictions, and we will not really know what took off until the end of the year.

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Is that Greg ready to count down his top ten trends?
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So, let it begin!

Day one of my Top Ten Trends for 2010.

#10 Comfort & Joy

During flush monetary times, expensive items are purchased because they are thought to go up in value; they are often not essentials, but wants. One of the trends that we predict is that people will still pay good money for items that are not only beautiful, but useful as well. More thought will be put into comfort, and specific need, as well as style. The items purchased will have a purpose in that they will fill a need that will bring comfort for the whole family… a sofa that may last a lifetime, or comfortable, but stylish chairs and tables.

Along that same line will be a trend toward remodeling existing homes instead of moving to larger ones or building new. People who have seen their home prices drop are now deciding to invest into their current home until they can gain back what they believe had been lost during the housing bust. But this trend won’t include trickery, but rather good solid design that will stand the test of time. No more trendy backsplashes or crazy colors. White subway tile will make a huge comeback. More subtle colors reflect a retreat back to timeless style, while thoughtful planning will be all the vogue.

Watch for #9!

Until next time!
— Greg

Tucson: Day 2

January 15, 2010

Thanks for coming back to read more about my recent travels to Tucson. My trip was short, but there is a lot more to see.


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Eric Firestone Gallery
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Walking a little further from 4th Avenue, my companion and I headed toward the area around 6th Avenue and 6th Street. A cluster of interesting art spaces and very good galleries are located there. One of our favorite stops was the Eric Firestone Gallery (403 North 6th Avenue). I am very embarrassed to say this, but I forgot the names of the two people that were working there at the time of my visit. They were so welcoming and lovely, and also so proud of their new space (they recently moved from downtown), that I would be sure to stop by and say hi on my next visit.


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Andy Burgess “Untitled” Oil on Panel 16” x 20
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On the 23rd of this month the gallery’s next show, “New Paintings by Andy Burgess” opens, and looks like it may be worth the visit. I have never been down for First Saturday (of each month) when all of the galleries in the area are opened for an evening art walk. It sounds like it is a Tucson event.


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Tin
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In the back of this huge (and interesting old warehouse) gallery is the store, Tin. This store has a nicely edited array of modern and bold furniture and lighting fixtures. The chairs are amazing! Most are one-of-a-kind, and offers a selection of inexpensive items like imported chocolates, and hats, but most items are incredibly pricey, so bring a credit card. There are also small gifts including hand made miniature Tucson buildings, cards and men’s clothing. Outside of some New York Galleries and Museums, it is the best shop in a gallery that I have seen here in Arizona.


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B Line Restaurant
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After a long day of walking around downtown, sitting at the Hotel Congress for a coffee, and finally checking into our hotel, we finally had some room for a light dinner. We headed back to 4th Avenue where we noticed the cute B Line Restaurant. It was not fancy, but homey, and comfortable. Order at the counter, and they bring your meal.

I had the fish tacos which were perfect. Not too heavy, but filling. The mahi mahi was fresh and perfectly seasoned. My friend had some pasta that was tasty, simple and also freshly made. The beers and desserts were plentiful, and we had a lot to choose from. A nice end to a wonderful day. This is a good place for lunch or a casual dinner. Check it out.

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The Presidio The next morning we had an early start with a disappointing breakfast, but we got over it, and headed to the Old Town. There we could walk around to enjoy the sunny day. The Presidio of San Augustin del Tucson, established in 1775, and used as a fort by the Spanish army, is the oldest settlement in Tucson. Now there is a shopping area (Old Town Artisans), which was part of the fort’s stables surrounding a lovely patio. This Spanish style courtyard is the perfect place to sit and watch the tourists go by. The Art Museum is next door, along with some beautiful historic homes in the area. We decided against going to the museum today, as it was too nice of a day.


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Lost Barrios
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After some coffee and heading back home, we got the energy to head over to Lost Barrios (Park Avenue south of Broadway Blvd.). This old warehouse area is off the beaten track (and was a little hard to find) is the place to go for three blocks of shopping for items from around the globe. You can find plenty of over the border goods and furniture, but can also find treasures from India, the south Pacific, and Africa. It is great fun to get lost in these cavernous stores, and fun to notice that a lot of the buildings are joined together in an open plan.

My favorite store had to be Colonial Frontiers. This huge store has a selection of beautiful cabinets, rugs, vases, and unique pieces that would work in a huge home. Most of the pieces are not small, and would never fit in my home, but the place is inspirational and gave me a lot of great ideas for my home. I will return here soon.

I hope that I can get down to Tucson very soon. I’ll have to take Greg! If anyone has any suggestions on where to go, we’d love to hear from you.

Until next time.
—Christopher

Go west… er south young man

January 11, 2010

Tucson is only about an hour and a half south of Phoenix, and I have gone there quite a few times to visit Saguaro National Park, to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, or to the beautiful San Xavier del Bac Mission. I’ve also used the city as a thruway on the way down south to Bisbee (one of my favorite Arizona destinations), and other fantastic Arizona sites. But, I haven’t spent a lot of time there, so it was so much fun to spend 29 hours in this very cool city.

Tucson, unlike Phoenix, is a great place to get out of the car and just walk. It is a manageable small city with neighborhoods that mix up a style of adobe and bungalow homes. It is an unpretentious place, and doesn’t have expectations to be something that it is not, and that is very charming.

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Cafe Poca Cosa We arrived hungry and ready for a late lunch. We heard great things about Cafe Poca Cosa and headed there immediately. The restaurant is located in a very nondescript building downtown, and frankly the interior was not that interesting, but this restaurant has some of the best Mexican food that I have eaten in Arizona. The chef, Suzana Davila, serves a limited menu that changes daily and also serves a tasting menu of her choosing. For the tasting, she will select three of the menu items for you and does not want any suggestions!

My companion and I both bravely gave it a try, so (as the waitress recommended) we received six of the nine menu items with our two meals. We mistakenly thought the portions would be small, but were actually impressive. Another mistake was eating too many of the chips and amazingly good salsa before our meal came. The lunches also included beans and rice, aromatic hand-made tortillas, and a green salad with mixed fruit. What an absolutely wonderful surprise!

The food was delicious, fresh, and unique. The tamales (2 kinds that day) were most delicious, with one having mango and corn, and the other; chicken and fresh vegetables. We were full, satisfied, and a little sleepy after eating! We might just order one meal to share next time!

We decided to walk it off by heading to 4th Avenue, which is just about a ten minute walk north of downtown. This lively area is the place to go for University of Arizona students and professors, bikers, hippies, tourists, and families just hanging out for the day. It is a little like 1971 here, in a good way! This area does not have any chain restaurants, and you will not find a Abercrombie here. But, if you want a tattoo, this is the place to come. There seems to be about a Tattoo Parlor on every corner. If you need a skull tattoo, want Frida Kahlo kitsch, a cheap beer joint, and colorful Mexican beer cap art, this could be the street of your dreams.

The Book Stop For me, The Book Stop ( 214 North 4th Avenue) was a highlight. This used book store has simple wooden shelves packed full of used and out-of-print books. It is a place that I could get addicted to, and the smells of leather and worn pages lull into sitting down to stay awhile. Time flies away when you are in this comfortable store.



Telegram
For another type of shopping, I loved Telegram ( 218 N. 4th Avenue). The owner, Elizabeth makes a lot of the knitted items sold, and most of her pieces are one-of-a-kind, and others are made by local artists. There are drawings, furniture pieces, vintage pieces, and repurposed items. This is a store that I would like to have someday. The pieces are lovely and smart, but, don’t feel precious. This is a place that feels more Brooklyn than Tucson.

Native Seeds/SEARCH Another completely different kind of store that has small pleasures is Native Seeds/SEARCH. I have bought seeds from this store online before, and was pleased to find the physical store. They sell and preserve seeds that have been used for generations in the Southwest by ancient and modern people. In addition to the fascinating work they do, they sell body care lotions, soaps and oils. Anyone who knows me, knows that I hate overly perfumed stores, incense, or perfumed candles. But, this store was perfect for me. This store smells heavenly, and very natural… a bit like a rainy day in the desert.

The liveliest store on 4th Avenue was Goodwill (300 N. 4th Avenue). The aisles were jammed with people. Whenever I see a store like Goodwill, I have to stop to look for plates that are use for my recycled series. Leaving with some fine pieces, I must confess that I left with a bag full of things I had to have! This store was comfortable, lively, and a lot of fun.

Later this week, I will take you to downtown Tucson, and other hidden gems.

Until then.
—christopher
The Design Brothers

2010… here we come.

January 7, 2010

Well, we did it. We got through a whole year. We put together 52 blog postings. Whew. This is a big achievement for us!

We’ll admit, some blogs have been better than others. There were a few weeks when we both had nothing written until our self-imposed deadline late on Thursday nights. There were a few computer crashes, and a couple of times the server lost our entire blog. There were a few weeks when we were out of town at the same time, and we both cursed our deadline. We had more important things to do, we thought.

It has been hard, fun, exciting, and frustrating… sometimes all in the same week. But, it has been worth it to us to know a bit more about each other in the process. More importantly, we hope, that we could give you some information that you could use, some small tips about design, and pass along some of the knowledge that we have learned in our businesses.


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Our late grandmother, Theodora in 2002 An inspiration to the Jagmin brothers
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This year, we hope to do better. We would like to pass along what inspires us.We both were talking about those things that keep us going in our lives and work. For the two of us, it is the inspiration of our family, our friends, nature, talented people and those little things that we take for granted. Christopher’s friend Robert posts a photo everyday of something that he sees on his walk to work. We love that he has a new experience in what could be a humdrum journey.

It is so simple, but if we look around a bit harder, we can see those little things that we may miss. A leaf, a stone, a bird singing, or a smiling face may just get us all through to the next year!

This year we will write more often, with (hopefully) shorter blogs. We may write them from both of us, but, will also write them from a personal perspective. While they may not come out on each Fridays, we hope you look for them during the week.

Look for your inspiration.
—Christopher and Greg

It has been a long year

January 1, 2010

We’re tired!


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Happy New Year! Greg (1), Janine (2), Christopher (3), and Jeff (4) wish you, and your family a wonderful 2010.
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When we look back at the last 365 days, it may look like the world has tilted off it’s axis a bit. Everything seems different, and it is not all good. Change is always scary. But, like every new year, there is always hope and promise that a new year (and a new decade!) can bring.

This year we have lists and plans already made. We have vacations scheduled for the summer and times with family in place. We are both energized about the potential, but that means changes from us, and the world throwing challenges at us. So, we are prepared for the roller coaster ride of 2010. We know it will be thrilling and fun!

The next time you look at this blog, it will have a bit of a different look and feel. We are still figuring the whole thing out, and have decided to keep it more spontaneous. We are determined to bring even more relevant information with our new and inproved format. The two of us will write when we have a moment, and idea, or hopefully something interesting of note.  We will keep you up to date and all of the changes.

We are both so thankful to all of our readers. We are so appreciative of your support, questions and comments. You have kept us going when we wanted to quit. Our family, our friends, and those people whom we have not even met, but read our blog, inspire us everyday. Thank you.

Until 2010
— Christopher and Greg