Live Your Best Light

Ask any stylist the key to a successful shoot and you’ll find yourself in a conversation about lighting.

More than just aesthetics, it possesses its own emotional language, writing atmosphere and warmth into contemporary interiors. If you or your home are feeling a little under the weather, consider experimenting some with some new lighting. You might be surprised at the life it brings.

To help you get started, Chaplins Furniture has created a shortlist of the best new launches this season…

On the Move

Freed from the shackles of cables, today’s best designer lighting its portable, fun and ready to move. Opt for the comfort of a time-honoured lantern or keep things contemporary with a colourful new BELLHOP.

Ideal for study nooks, reading or outdoor soirees, these versatile luminaires reimagine the intimacy of candles for the modern age.

Sleek Scandi

All clean lines and essential silhouettes, sleek Scandi finds beauty in the bare minimum, offering a serene reprieve from the clutter of contemporary life. Leading the subtle style stakes are the new POST WALL LIGHTS by Muuto.

Thanks to a system of magnetic wall brackets, they can be arranged in striking linear configurations, with 360 degree swivelling bulbs and touch-controlled dimming.

Back to Black

In 2020, designers are experimenting with classic drama, revealing a host of iconic designs in sleek matt-black colourways. Seductive and bold, the new palette feels fitting for this time of year, updating winter homes with a little monochrome magic. A new favorite? The New PH Artichoke in BLACK, a daring design statement if ever there was one.

Deja-Vu

We couldn’t sign off without mentioning a handful of new retro lights that are making waves in maximalist circles. Boasting everything from 70s fringe through to art deco prints, these funky designs pack a serious punch, with island culture inspiring the creation of the new ARCIPELAGO LAMPS and CONTARDI’S extended CALYPSO collection.

All photos courtesy Chaplins Furniture.

Exclusive writing instruments elevate the tradition of putting pen to paper — a ritual technology cannot erase — into fine art.

Writing a check or signing a document is generally a routine task, one far too often facilitated by an 89-cent piece of plastic and aluminum. But a bejeweled, limited edition writing instrument can transform a simple signature into a truly artistic expression.

Nancy Olson, a leading authority on fine writing instruments, reports, “Unlike many other luxury collectibles, a pen is portable, user-friendly and has a cultural element because of its link to writing and the arts.” Olson, who is also a prominent commentator on timepieces, notes the parallels between the two instruments, stating, “Pens and watches are both small, mechanical objects that provide a healthy hit of extravagance and enjoyment when worn or used.”

Among Olson’s favorite designers are German manufacturers Pelikan and Montblanc, the latter the high-end brand with the greatest mainstream name recognition. Montblanc pens have long been considered luxury items, but many are surprised to learn that some of the company’s limited edition writing instruments cost not hundreds, but hundreds of thousands, of dollars.

Montblanc collaborated with elite jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels on a $730,000 pen bejeweled with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires to commemorate both companies’ 100th anniversaries in 2006. The manufacturer’s Meisterstück Solitaire Royal LeGrand fountain pen is copiously embellished with more than 4,600 diamonds and valued in excess of $200,000.

Olson reports the qualities collectors admire most in pens are craftsmanship, scarcity and the ability to convey a story. 

Les Quatre Couleurs from David Oscarson commemorates the evolution of playing cards. Courtesy of David Oscarson.

The 1010 Timekeeper by Caran d’Ache celebrates the watchmakers that share the company’s hometown of Geneva.           Courtesy of Caran d’Ache.

Few brands have mastered storytelling better than St. Louis-based David Oscarson, whose eye-popping writing instruments encompass a remarkable diversity of themes. In addition to celebrating the natural world, art or architecture, Oscarson pens commemorate historic figures such as the Romanovs of Russia, Lewis & Clark and Sir Alexander Fleming, the bacteriologist who discovered penicillin. Most Oscarson issues are priced at about $5,900, but special editions command more than $250,000.

One David Oscarson pen — a blue and silver piece featuring the Star of David and the Three Crowns of Sweden — honors Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who harbored thousands of Jews during the Holocaust. The limited production of each theme often involves a bit of trivia, such as the 63 pens honoring Alfred Nobel (the philanthropist’s age when he died). For most David Oscarson pens, enamel is applied over metal manipulated through the painstaking technique of guilloché, an ornamentation process pioneered by Fabergé.

“There aren’t a lot of choices for gentlemen who like accessories,” states Oscarson. “Beyond wristwatches, there are very few pieces of men’s jewelry that are sustainable in style,” adds the industry veteran.

A one-of-a-kind special edition fountain pen from the company, crafted from solid 18-karat gold and encrusted with nearly 35 carats of white, yellow and caramel diamonds, has been offered on the resale market for $755,000.

“I judge a manufacturer by the quality of its pens and its creativity in putting a fresh face on what, in essence, is a very small canvas,” says pen commentator Olson. She cites Caran d’Ache’s 1010 Timekeeper, a limited edition that cleverly pays homage to the art of watchmaking, the industry that dominates the company’s hometown of Geneva. 

That fountain pen ($11,500) features a reinterpretation of the elements of a watch dial. Its silver- and rhodium-plated cap was inspired by watch strap design and a piston pump with a ruby accent is reminiscent of a watch’s winding crown. This model follows a 2008 limited edition of ten 18-karat gold 1010 pens, currently priced on the resale market at about $150,000.

Caran d’Ache also produced an 18-karat gold fountain pen — another piece valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars — sheathed in more than 4,100 brilliant diamonds and accented by a band of 108 emeralds. This unique writing instrument, whose precious stones were set by Geneva jeweler Pierre-Yves Bonzon, took about six months to complete.

Gregory Hengesbaugh, national sales manager for Creative Art Materials, Ltd., the exclusive distributor of Caran d’Ache in the U.S. and Canada, reports the venerable firm enjoys a worldwide cult following. 

“The brand benefits from Swiss manufacturing traditions, whose exacting precision in watchmaking carries over to fine writing instruments,” says Hengesbaugh.

Top: Italian manufacturer Aurora is renowned for its meticulous craftsmanship. Courtesy of Aurora.

Above: David Oscarson’s elegant Russian Imperial series reflects techniques pioneered by Fabergé. Courtesy of David Oscarson.

The limited edition samurai fountain pen reflects Montegrappa’s elaborate themes. Courtesy of Montegrappa.

No company on the planet celebrates the pen as an objet d’art as well as Montegrappa, Italy’s oldest manufacturer of fine pens. Last year it released a limited edition Samurai fountain pen ($15,000) that is a wealthy grown-up’s version of a toy soldier. Each of the 177 sterling silver sets (packaged in a black lacquered box) includes an armored warrior, along with a katana sword case that contains a letter opener.

Aurora

www.aurorapen.it

Caran d’Ache

www.carandache.com

David Oscarson

www.davidoscarson.com

Montblanc

www.montblanc.com

Montegrappa

www.montegrappa.com

Pelikan

www.pelikan.com

Tibaldi

www.tibaldi.it

Prices of limited edition luxury pens can be stratospheric, but the $8 million reportedly paid at a Shanghai charity auction has remained a safe record since 2010. Commanding that astonishing figure was the Fulgor Nocturnus from Italian manufacturer Tibaldi (a subsidiary of Montegrappa), copiously embellished with 945 black diamonds and 123 rubies.

Aurora, another venerable Italian pen maker, claims its Diamante fountain pen — whose graceful platinum form is sheathed in 1,919 De Beers diamonds totaling 30 carats — is the most exclusive writing instrument in the world. Almost too exquisite to use, just a single Diamante, priced at more than $1.4 million, is available each year.

Nancy Olson reports many collectors place a premium on the provenance of pens, collecting almost everything produced by a specific brand. Acknowledging pen aficionados’ diverse motivations, she states, “Some use all the pens in their collections and really appreciate the art of writing while others keep their pens in their original boxes, never to see a drop of ink!”

Either way, luxury writing instruments are in no danger of going out of style. “There’s something about a fountain pen that’s majestic,” suggests pen maker David Oscarson.

A Guide to the Michelin Guide

Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts is proud to announce that both the hotel’s signature restaurants, the Italian Il Ristorante — Niko Romito and the Chinese Bao Li Xuan, have been awarded Michelin stars during the Michelin Guide Shanghai 2020 presentation ceremony.

To Ireland With Love

A new color collection from Curator pays homage to the artists of the Emerald Isle.

Colorful Royalty

In an interview, Nelson De La Nuez discusses the incorporation of images from American pop culture, today’s advertising and high-end branding in his art.

Modern Midwestern Makes

These two Midwestern brands, both with a reputation for timeless design, craftsmanship, and innovation, will debut a new collection in January 2020.

Q&A with Sculptor Elena Colombo

Unique Homes sat down with the owner of Firefeatures, Elena Colombo, a sculptor whose biggest inspiration is nature, to discuss how this inspiration shines through in her one-of-a-kind designs.

Find Your Euro-spiration

These collections showcase a passion for design and creativity, all inspired by a European country or the style of that nation.

Candles are the new Trend in the Wellness Industry

With candles being the quintessential form of aromatherapy, luxury homeowners are making room for this new form of wellness.

Art Amenities Offer Limitless Creativity

Developments have been finding new and creative ways to elevate the standard of luxury living when it comes to amenities — and it’s through art itself.

Bringing the Outside In

While including more plants and flowers into the home is known to brighten up the atmosphere, some designers are taking this theme to the next level.

Overwhelming Perceptions

Bruce T. Martin uses photographs as words to create a vivid story about the culture and history of Mayan caves, cenotes of the Yucatan, and more.

The Cosmic Balance of Design

New York designer Aimee Wilder captures the many ways surroundings can influence our psychological state through her celestial-inspired collection.

A Castle in Tuscany

Located approximately 25 kilometers from Florence, this magnificent castle for sale is one of the most spectacular castles found anywhere in Tuscany.

The Art of Writing

Exclusive writing instruments elevate the tradition of putting pen to paper — a ritual technology cannot erase — into fine art

Luxury in the West

A modern traditional masterpiece of privacy and perfection. An exquisite Mediterranean work of art and appeal. An elegant estate designed with soaring ceilings and refined finishes.  

Gazing into Real Estate’s Crystal Ball

The luxury real estate outlook for the coming decade includes understanding millennials and dealing with low inventories.

Bedding for a Cause

The Good Sheet, a luxury bedding brand based in Tasmania, Australia partnered with non-profit organization, One Tree Planted, is planting five trees in its home state of Tasmania with every bedding set sold.

Destinations of Interest: Panama

From tropical escapes to spectacular biodiversity and marine life, Panama has great appeal to buyers interested in luxury real estate.

Supreme Auctions has 100% Success Rate in Houston

Supreme Auctions announced the recently closed sale of Westview Heights in West Houston, Texas.

Modern Midwestern Makes

These two Midwestern brands, both with a reputation for timeless design, craftsmanship, and innovation, will debut a new collection in January 2020.

An Italian Masterpiece

Formerly owned by tenor Titta Ruffo, this penthouse in Rome, Italy was recently redesigned by “starchitect” Dante Benini to grant the comfort of a yacht.

Elegance in St. Croix

In a quiet, gated community in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, this grand home offers comfort and space for grand entertaining.

What could be easier to give your own home personality than with the right photo?

Whether it’s a memorable quote or drawing, sophisticated or playful the right wall decoration can give a home that unique touch that helps further showcase you and your style. When finding the perfect picture, there are some tips that can help to skillfully stage the personality of your space. Katarzyna Kolenda, interior expert and managing director for Dekoria GmbH, reveals which wall decorations suit which type of home decorator and gives tips on how to arrange them perfectly.

 

 

 

Your Natural Habitat

From natural wood to walls of stone, untreated natural materials have once again become the focus of many interiors today. The comfortable, light effect that natural designs have on a room’s style is undisputed and can even be proven to reduce stress, from images of greenery and nature itself to a simplistic color palette of softer greens and whites. So what would go better with an urban jungle look than botanical motifs and photos full of vibrant greenery? 

Nature lovers can live out their great passions when choosing frames and photos. For example, canvases that display green or wooden elements give the room a rustic, creative charm. “As [if back] in the forest, the botanical motifs should find their perfect place on the wall,” advises Kolenda.

More than Words

The home is a place where you most feel comfortable, a perfect place to organize your favorite thoughts and feelings and give them a place of importance visually, such as a framed photo of a quote or life motto. If you frame a motto of life on the wall, it not only looks modern but also conveys a message to visitors, whether it’s to “Be brave!” or to “Find the beauty in every day.”

“Statements and sayings no longer just belong in the notebook or on a T-shirt,” says Kolenda. “You can give rooms a new mood in just a few moments while looking calm and trendy, especially when combined with other pictures.”

The Art of Change

Each photo or art piece reveals a lot about the person who puts it on display, whether it’s floral patterns for nature lovers or action heroes for die-hard cinema fans. “When finding the right picture, people should simply listen to their gut,” summarizes Kolenda. With passion comes the potential for change, so do not be afraid to change your art or photo style over time. Like art itself, style is never truly static and therefore has the potential to show growth and change.

Live Your Best Light

If your home's style is feeling a little under the weather, try experimenting with some new lighting. You might be surprised at the life it brings.

Picture Perfect

The right wall decoration can give a home that unique touch that helps further showcase you and your style.

Declutter Your Space

Start 2020 off right by organizing your space and making room for a decluttered start.

Colorful Royalty

In an interview, Nelson De La Nuez discusses the incorporation of images from American pop culture, today’s advertising and high-end branding in his art.

Be My Guest!

Make your guests feel more at home with these tips to improve your guest room, making friends and family feel as if they stepped into a five-star hotel!

Out with the Old, in with the New

Give your home a new spring in its step with colorful windows and doors that will draw the eye and boost curb appeal.

A New Style for the New Year

Lovers of Scandi’s enlightened sense of style will rejoice at the discovery of the beautiful Farringdon and Dorset collections of reclaimed wood furniture from Modish Living.

Green Dreaming

The color green symbolises life, renewal, harmony and growth and is set to steal the limelight of new interior design concepts in the year ahead.

Custom Stone and Glass Mosaics

New Ravenna, a designer and manufacturer for both residential and commercial installations offers unforgettable collections of custom stone and glass mosaics that are envious and full of detail.

Design Predictions for 2020

As 2019 comes to an end, we are looking at trends for 2020 and how our sense of style is bound to change.

A Guide to the Michelin Guide

Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts is proud to announce that both the hotel’s signature restaurants, the Italian Il Ristorante — Niko Romito and the Chinese Bao Li Xuan, have been awarded Michelin stars during the Michelin Guide Shanghai 2020 presentation ceremony.

The Art of Writing

Exclusive writing instruments elevate the tradition of putting pen to paper — a ritual technology cannot erase — into fine art

Bedding for a Cause

The Good Sheet, a luxury bedding brand based in Tasmania, Australia partnered with non-profit organization, One Tree Planted, is planting five trees in its home state of Tasmania with every bedding set sold.

Modern Midwestern Makes

These two Midwestern brands, both with a reputation for timeless design, craftsmanship, and innovation, will debut a new collection in January 2020.

Concrete-Inspired Gift Guide

Looking for inspiration this holiday season? Check out this gift guide with an edge. These concrete-inspired items are perfect for your home or office and will stand the test of time to celebrate for years to come.

Known as the King of Pop Art, L.A.-based artist Nelson De La Nuez is one of the most sought-after pop artists working today. His work is regularly exhibited at prestigious art fairs, such as Art Basel Miami and Art Central Hong Kong, as well as promoted through partnerships and private collections, including a series of works for Warner Bros. to commemorate The Wizard of Oz’s 70th anniversary.

In an interview with De La Nuez, he discusses how the incorporation of images from American pop culture, today’s advertising, high-end branding and more have strongly influenced his artwork since the 1980s. 

What kind of memories do you have from your childhood?

I was born in Havana and I came here to Southern California when I was seven years old, started first grade here. I still remember Havana, which I can remember back to when I was three years old. I took it all in. Fond memories of going to the beach, riding my bicycle around the neighborhood, doodling in the backyard.

How did your childhood affect you later on as a person, as an artist?

Well I’ve always been an artist, ever since I can remember. That kind of kept me entertained for hours, I would always get lost with [my art]. I love sports, but art has always been there for me. It was my escape. It was just a way to get away from everything.

Do you still use art to get away, now that it’s your career?

I’m always thinking 24/7 about what I am I gonna do, about ideas — so what I do is I jump on and go motorcycle riding and that kind of helps me come back again and revisit a piece or an idea, and look at something differently. What I was looking at a half hour ago looks different now, since I’m in a different state of consciousness, and I get to relax.

Material Girl

The Good Life

What kind of themes do you see from your childhood that are presented in your art now?

Most of what I do today is rooted in American themes from my childhood. I remember coming here [to America] and I remember seeing on TV the first Superman, TV commercials, the mascots — it all just spoke to me and I just absorbed it like a sponge.

How did these themes develop into your style?

The reason why I’m doing pop art is because of everything I observed early on when I came to this country. Living in
California is like living in a fantasy land when you come from a different country. There’s billboards, commercials, advertising, and you never know where the ideas come from. When I really think back, a lot of what I do today is really a reflection of what I was thinking and experienced when I was a kid.

Aside from your childhood, are there trends or present-day themes that inspire you?

I’m inspired by everything, literally. Every mundane object that you could think of I will look and see something there that I can maybe create into a piece of artwork. Whether it’s a billboard or a magazine ad, or an elusive train [of thought] I had the day before, I’ll ride it all the way down. I am really a byproduct of everything I’ve observed or experienced in my entire life. So I have this database in my subconscious where I can draw from.… Everything is art for me. It doesn’t necessarily need to be hanging on a wall, it could be fashion, it could be a song; everything is just an inspiration.

Corum Bubble Martini Watch

How does your art coincide with the clientele you usually work with?

Each partnership that I’ve done is
different, basically all with high-end brands. Each of them is unique and different; I just love working with high-end brands because it just puts my art on a different level and exposes me to a lot more people. Basically it provides a plateau to take my work to the next level and having the audience take a look at my work in a different way. That’s my audience, it’s always been a very well 
cultured, well traveled group that love high-end brands. It’s an audience that know what they want and how to express themselves, and they do that with my art.

What do you like most when people view your art in various forms?

I love when people react immediately. That kind of gives me a great deal of comfort. You put in all this energy and hard work and you don’t know what to expect. And they usually say “Yes, that’s the painting for me,” because it’s got legs, it speaks not just to them, but to a mass audience — it makes them happy, makes them smile, sometimes it makes them laugh. They know the perfect place that they want this for in their home. Some of them are drawn to a specific piece for no reason at all; they just relate to it.

Upper Left: First Class Girl – LA Art Show 2019

Bottom Left: High Maintenance (Left) and Yacht Life (Right)

Above: Chanel No. 5 (Black)

What’s a project you’d love to work on in the future?

I would love to design something like an entire hotel design, the colors, the furniture, the wallpaper. The other thing that I would really love to do is work with a cruise ship to design their rooms, or design the entire ship using my art. That’s kind of what I get excited about most, getting to do [art] on a large massive level, where it’s not just a small project, but a huge undertaking, to take it to another level.

Any advice for aspiring artists?

The number one piece of advice I can give is that you have to be committed to your craft. You need to find out who you are and what message you want to put out into the world, then you have to be good enough and clever enough and have something unique and different. You can’t just be a part-time artist, you have to do it full time and it takes a while.… Good art is subjective, but when you have people paying sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars for your art, you know that you’ve done something right.

Lovers of Scandi’s enlightened sense of style will rejoice at the discovery of the beautiful Farringdon and Dorset collections of reclaimed wood furniture from Modish Living.

Modish Living was founded by husband and wife, Chris and Hellen Barlow in 2012 with an idea born around a wooden kitchen table to create an online boutique selling a handpicked collection of beautifully crafted, reclaimed, rustic and sustainable wood furniture.

Renowned for its simplicity and beauty, Scandinavian style shows no sign of losing its popularity in homes and interiors. Its pared-back and minimal style have evolved into a more cozy feel, focusing on sculptural organic shapes, earthy pigments, natural materials and textures, such as wood.

Everything from tempting trestle dining tables and family-friendly extendable tables to a welcoming wood bench and seriously stylish sideboards, these naturally rustic additions will add an instant Nordic vibe to your dining space. Made using aged reclaimed wood rescued from old buildings, Modish Living’s Farringdon and Dorset collections are the perfect fit for Scandi design devotees. Skillfully crafted to enhance the natural tones of the wood and given a renewed sense of purpose and style, these pieces evoke a sense of comfort, style and happiness.

As well as providing essential storage, this sideboard has a natural beauty and character. The natural markings of the reclaimed wood shines through the white painted finish, giving it a lived-in authenticity perfect for a Scandi feel dining room.

The distressed white base of the Dorset Extendable Trestle Table keeps the aesthetic neutral while adding warmth.  Accessorize with a sheepskin rug and the large white bamboo pendant is styled here.

Three central drawers and two large cupboards offer plenty of storage for your kitchen essentials. The subtle lacquer accentuates the natural markings and history of the wood, whilst giving it a distinct Nordic feel.

The large pendant above the Farringdon extending table is made out of biodegradable woodchip; the perfect pared-back accessory to complement this 100-percent reclaimed wood collection.

Photos courtesy of Modish Living

Fashion and art lovers will fall in love with these items from textile designer and artist Dianne Erdmanis, who has created wearable art for nature lovers and more.

This artist offers a beautiful perspective that is also fashionable. Erdmanis has captured incredible, dreamy and realistic views of the Earth, as seen from space, on a 100-percent silk scarf. The beauty of the piece lies not just in the way the scarf so perfectly demonstrates a bird’s eye view of the Earth’s unique geography — it’s also hidden in the fact that it’s not a photograph.

Initially sparked by the enormity of uninspiring and mass-produced scarves on the market, Erdmanis wanted to create something unique, sustainable and inspiring. While staring down into the atmosphere of many trips through the clouds on planes, she wondered if there was a way she could capture the true-to-life beauty and geography of the landscape below her.

“I wanted to capture a zoomed-out view of the Earth as seen from a dizzying, almost stratospheric height,” says Erdmanis.

Erdmanis spent countless hours experimenting with paint color, viscosity, flow, and technique. Eventually, she found a truly unique but entirely cohesive method by which to achieve the look of bodies of water “melting” into the land, and vice versa, when viewed from space.

“The altitude had to be just right … so you could see our planet’s oceans, land, and clouds clearly,” she explained.

“The art told me a story,” says Erdmanis. “It made me feel like I was flying, it was beautiful.” The Earth Scarf resembles stunning views of the Earth captured by satellites or space telescopes, watching islands blend into the waters beyond it, depths of the oceans captured by darkening paint, hypnotic swirls of pink, aquamarine, coral and teal, that show how the land bleeds into the water while clouds float overhead.

Her greatest discovery was that her method led to an almost photo-realistic depiction of these aerial shots — except that these could now be printed onto an elegant silk scarf.

Photos courtesy of Pure Huntress

All photos courtesy Room & Board.

Room & Board​, the modern American-made retailer of furniture and home décor, today announced a collaboration with ​Cambria​, the nation’s leading provider of American-made natural quartz surfaces.

The two Minnesota-based brands, both with a reputation for timeless design, American craftsmanship, and a commitment to sustainability, service and innovation, will debut the Pren Collection, a versatile series of tables, desks and storage cabinets, in January 2020. 

“We’re thrilled to bring together two iconic Midwestern brands,” says Gene Wilson, Room & Board Director of Vendor Management and Merchandising. “Because of our shared values, this partnership felt like a seamless alignment. Cambria’s signature design capabilities pair perfectly with our modern style and together we’ll raise the bar on livable luxury.”

The initial assortment, suitable for both residential and commercial environments, will consist of dining/conference tables that can also easily work as desks for the home or office, coffee tables, console tables, and dining/bar cabinets. The expertly crafted series is available with domestically sourced walnut or white oak wood bases and one-centimeter Cambria quartz pieces in three signature designs: Brittanicca™, Brittanicca Gold™, and Mersey™.  

The natural quartz surfaces are finished with modern rounded corners, which mirror the form of each piece and offer a nonabsorbent, scratch and stain resistant, maintenance-free top surface that is backed by the Cambria Full Lifetime Warranty. 

“This is a classic pairing of like-minded brands joining together to achieve something beautiful, lasting and highly adaptable,” says Mackenzie Weldon, VP of Corporate Partnerships for Cambria.

“We look forward to working with such a reputable and forward-thinking brand to reach new audiences and bring Cambria to the marketplace in a new and innovative way.” 

The collection will be available online through ​Room & Board on January 4, 2020 and through Room & Board Business Interiors on February 4, 2020, and available at all 16 Room & Board retail locations after January 16th. 

Live Your Best Light

If your home's style is feeling a little under the weather, try experimenting with some new lighting. You might be surprised at the life it brings.

How to Add Elegance to Your Bathroom

Elevate your bathroom's appeal by adding a touch of luxury.

Large Windows and How to Dress Them

Large windows are certainly on-trend right now and with good reason. Natural light and unforgettable views are a must-have in the realm of luxury.

Changing with the Seasons

We spoke with luxury landscape designers about how they work through the challenges of the changing seasons and find beauty in the landscape all year long.

Picture Perfect

The right wall decoration can give a home that unique touch that helps further showcase you and your style.

To Ireland With Love

A new color collection from Curator pays homage to the artists of the Emerald Isle.

Declutter Your Space

Start 2020 off right by organizing your space and making room for a decluttered start.

Be My Guest!

Make your guests feel more at home with these tips to improve your guest room, making friends and family feel as if they stepped into a five-star hotel!

A New Style for the New Year

Lovers of Scandi’s enlightened sense of style will rejoice at the discovery of the beautiful Farringdon and Dorset collections of reclaimed wood furniture from Modish Living.

Fashion and Nature

The beauty of the piece lies not just in the way the scarf so perfectly demonstrates a bird’s eye view of the Earth’s unique geography — it’s also hidden in the fact that it’s not a photograph.

Green Dreaming

The color green symbolises life, renewal, harmony and growth and is set to steal the limelight of new interior design concepts in the year ahead.

Give the Gift of Sustainability

Ethical and sustainable jewelry companies are adding some sparkle to the world of fashion.

Flowers & Diamonds

The delicate and fleeting beauty of nature has been preserved in Earth’s hardest natural substance resulting in the perfect combination of jewelry and flowers.

Sustainable Shoes and More by Nisolo

Nisolo, a sustainable fashion brand, shares its impact report online and offers everything from jewelry and accessories, to heels, boots, bags and more. This company focuses on more than low prices. The handcrafted process involves intentional designs, an ethical work environment, and comfortable fashion that can be worn every day.

Who’s Who Luxury Real Estate Retreat Announces World Record Holder As Keynote Speaker for Spring Retreat

Want to learn how to become the real estate industry's go-to professional? Ryan Avery is the expert you've been looking for.

Tamarack Resort is More than Just a Destination

The Village at Tamarack is the latest ski-in/ski-out residential addition to the renowned Tamarack Resort in Idaho’s scenic Valley County.

New Luxury Residence Begins Sales

Pendry Residences West Hollywood features stunning interiors and high-end amenities.

Stacy Gottula joins Celebrity Team Eklund-Gomes

Stacy Gottula, one of the premier luxury real estate brokers with the Agency, has officially redirected her career toward working with Eklund and Gomes.

Engel and Völkers Snell Announces New Partnership

Luxury real estate company, Engel & Völkers Snell Real Estate, recently announced its newest partnership with Lifestyle Asset Group, an exclusive vacation home company.

New report affirms the allure of a second home

Luxury Portfolio International's newest report discusses "The Allure of the Second Home" and how affluent buyers are showing interest in resort markets.

Chinowth and Cohen Realtors to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

With more than 65 years’ experience between them, Sheryl Chinowth and Lee Cohen, co-founders of Chinowth and Cohen Realtors, have proven to be leaders in the luxury real estate industry.

Home of Dean Martin for Sale

Totaling approximately 27,500 square feet, the massive concrete home with a modern museum-style aesthetic was completed in 1995, and has since replaced the longtime home Dean Martin originally purchased in the 1950s.

Renowned Chef Gastón Acurio is Joining Atlantis, Dubai, in 2020

One of the world’s leading Peruvian restaurants is announced as the latest culinary addition to The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences, set to open late 2020.

Pimar Wins Award for Restoration of Ancient Italian Walls

The Italian limestone manufacturing company Pimar won first-place for its restoration of Parco delle Mure Urbiche in the city of Lecce.

Unique Homes sat down with the owner of Firefeatures, Elena Colombo, a sculptor whose biggest inspiration is nature, to discuss how this inspiration shines through in her one-of-a-kind designs.

Was there a particular moment when you knew you wanted to be an artist?

I believe I always knew I was an artist and designer — from the time I was a toddler, I was always making something. Making flower necklaces, building dollhouse furniture, making a background painting for my fish tank, making mobiles, etc. I studied architectural drafting in grade school and high school and went on to study art history and fine arts in college. Art has been with me since I was born.

I want to be clear; I’m not a fine artist in the true sense of the word. My art is not solely for art’s sake. I do not make things that are purely for looking at and pleasing the viewer, though that is integral to their success. I design sculptural yet functional gas appliances. I call it “art that works.” Everything I have done in my life for work and pleasure has been to put an idea or feeling into visual form. 

My father was a builder and contractor while my mother was a naturalist and placemaker. They both built/created places where people and families could thrive, whether it was building a library, planting a garden, or choosing a comfortable yet beautiful chair to sit and read in. I grew up in a nurturing environment where we were encouraged to create and solve problems. I want my work to create a beautiful place where people gather to commune with each other and fire is the medium — and it’s second to none in that regard.

 

How would you describe your style?

I hope, at its best, it is a clear abstraction of nature. Because I make a product that is specifically a gas appliance, I am bound by requirements and restrictions that pure fine art is not. The form follows function in my case, so the style has to be clear, pure, and functional.

How has your style changed over the years?

It’s gotten more focused, so I imagine it’s become more minimalist.

If you had to describe your works in three words, what would they be?

Clear, pure, and functional.

 

How does fire influence your projects?

It is the thing for which I create. My work is essentially a vessel to contain the fire and allow it to burn safely. The shape of the vessel can dictate how the fire moves, or the movement of the fire can dictate the shape of the vessel. The bowl was my first choice to hold fire as it is the simplest shape, and allows the fire to be the star.

How do you begin a project?

With a small quick sketch on paper, then translate it into 3 dimensions with Nic Spitler, our Head of Design. We work in Rhino which is a 3D modeling program and a very lithe program. It allows you to create, change and morph easily as you work out the ideas. I couldn’t do it without Nic — he’s extremely fluid with Rhino and our instincts are similar.

What is your favorite project and why?

The Bethlehem Bridge Project. It was a commission awarded by ArtsQuest and the National Endowment for the Arts in response to an RFQ for the Bethlehem placemaking initiative. And I just feel like I got it right. I am proud of it and it functions for the people of Bethlehem and for visitors from around the world.

What is your dream project?

A large-scale civic project in Manhattan perhaps, and to get further into design for end of life memorials and reliquaries. 

Can you tell us what you’re working on right now?

Right now are two big jobs with multiple fireplaces, both interior and exterior, for 2 residences, one in Southampton and one in Greenwich, CT. The Southampton house will have a series of cast bronze pieces I’m really excited about — one has a log cradle made from a singular piece of tree bark we cast in bronze, with an entire driftwood looking surround cast in concrete. It’s an intricate mold process we will be beginning in the new year.

 

What is the biggest challenge when it comes to sculpting?

Coming up with a good idea and then executing it!

Actually, sometimes it’s just moving these heavy objects around — you tend to forget about that when you’re in the creative process — moving big metal things encompasses a lot of shipping and installation details you have to consider when designing the piece.

 

https://www.firefeatures.com/

Photos courtesy of c/o Firefeatures

A Guide to the Michelin Guide

Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts is proud to announce that both the hotel’s signature restaurants, the Italian Il Ristorante — Niko Romito and the Chinese Bao Li Xuan, have been awarded Michelin stars during the Michelin Guide Shanghai 2020 presentation ceremony.

The Aloha Spirit

Experts say it’s the perfect time to buy in Hawaii. But when isn’t it?

Luxury Living on the Lake

This unique lot in St. Clair Shores is positioned to enjoy dazzling sunrises, fishing off the dock and watching boats, all in a tranquil environment.

Featured Agent: James Lucarelli of Real Estate Affiliates of Telluride

This exceptional 5-bedroom, 6-bath home is in a private neighborhood and has an adjoining open space lot.

Live Like Royalty in Cyprus

The Villa Diva estate, listed for $3.185 million, spreads across 6,000 square meters of land with stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea and mountains.

Featured Listing: 5,800-Sq.-Ft. Maisonette

This magnificent residence lives like a single-family with approx. 5800 square feet on 2 floors and a private street entrance, yet offers the 24-hr. security, maintenance, and management services of an 18-unit luxury, boutique condominium building… the best of both worlds!

An Italian Masterpiece

Formerly owned by tenor Titta Ruffo, this penthouse in Rome, Italy was recently redesigned by “starchitect” Dante Benini to grant the comfort of a yacht.

Featured Agent: Sisi Takaki of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hawaii Realty

Close to Waikiki business and Kakaako attractions, this luxury listing offered by Elite agent Sisi Takaki boasts a modern design set in a tropical landscape.

Elegance in St. Croix

In a quiet, gated community in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, this grand home offers comfort and space for grand entertaining.

Featured Agent: Kim Martin-Fisher of Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty

Listed by some of the top producers in Northeast Florida, this Ponte Vedra Beach home offers 2,404 square feet and waterfrontage.

Featured Agent: Debra Duvall of Water Pointe Realty Group

From the moment you arrive, you’ll instantly forget that life exists beyond this tropical oasis!

The Art of Writing

Exclusive writing instruments elevate the tradition of putting pen to paper — a ritual technology cannot erase — into fine art

Bedding for a Cause

The Good Sheet, a luxury bedding brand based in Tasmania, Australia partnered with non-profit organization, One Tree Planted, is planting five trees in its home state of Tasmania with every bedding set sold.

Modern Midwestern Makes

These two Midwestern brands, both with a reputation for timeless design, craftsmanship, and innovation, will debut a new collection in January 2020.

Concrete-Inspired Gift Guide

Looking for inspiration this holiday season? Check out this gift guide with an edge. These concrete-inspired items are perfect for your home or office and will stand the test of time to celebrate for years to come.

In luxury apartment buildings and community residences, amenities are everything. Without a vast array of opportunities for residents to live in the ultimate luxury, the quality drops. With this in mind, developments have been finding new and creative ways to elevate the standard of luxury living when it comes to amenities — and it’s through art itself.

Luxury residential buildings are fostering creativity for their child residents. Through different art-focused programs and amenities, the opportunities for children to explore their imagination are now limitless.

Photo courtesy of LoveWell Creative

Photo courtesy of  THREE MARKS

The luxury Manhattan condo 277 Fifth Avenue, in partnership with the global luxury service brand LIVunLtd, is providing opportunities for children to participate in music classes, dance classes, arts and crafts. The playful atmosphere in the rooms inspires children to have fun and get creative. 

Meanwhile, at the Brickell City Centre in Miami, the Reach and Rise luxury condominiums have installed amenities for children with an artistic twist. While some walls have screens for interactive games, others are blank and allow for children to write and draw. The colorful furniture allows for creativity to flourish.

Photo courtesy of Swire Properties Inc

Photo courtesy of Miller Hare

But these amenities aren’t always exclusive to children — at 1000M in Chicago, the residents will have access to both a music conservatory and a sound studio. The soundproof room is perfect for anyone looking to advance their skills or begin learning a new instrument. Either way, both children and adults can now feel artistic and inspired.

Surfing has always been one of the most approachable, laid-back sports in the world, with no cost to entry beyond access to a public beach, a second-hand board and a pocketful of change for an after-wipeout fish taco. But with iconic luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Hermès creating boards for their exclusive clienteles, another side to the sport has emerged.

Among the most striking boards available are those from Haleiwa Surfboard Company, at which septuagenarian surfer and veteran artisan Mahlon (“Lon”) Klein typically crafts no more than 15 exquisite wooden boards per year. Located on Oahu’s North Shore, one of Hawaii’s most storied surfing destinations, Haleiwa incorporates indigenous hardwoods such as koa, mango, kamani, and monkey-pod into its unique boards. 

#68: Hand-crafted by: Lon Klein @ Haleiwa       

Dimensions: 7′-3″ X 18 1/2″ X 2 5/8″  
Surfboard Company                          Deck: Koa, mango
Shape Design: Dick Brewer              Bottom: African mahogany
Photo courtesy of John Bilderback.

Klein originally began crafting boards from lightweight woods, and some are used to this day by pro surfers Michael Ho and Roger Erickson, but he eventually sought out more attractive woods that are too heavy for competitive surfing. “My audience was no longer the surfing market but the art market,” explains Klein, who insists no two of his boards are alike. “I never thought of myself as an artist,” says the native Californian who moved to Hawaii for the surfing. “But I’m always trying to accentuate the beauty of the shape itself,” he adds.

Klein says that more than 200 hours of labor go into each handcrafted, triple-gloss-finished board, and the artisan has no interest in compromising his craft for mass-production. Haleiwa Surfboard Company’s worldwide following includes clients from Europe to Japan, and Klein reports that a member of the Moroccan royal family purchased a pair of the wood-clad “sticks.” The firm’s larger surf-boards are currently priced at $22,000 while a shorter ver-sion commands $14,000.

Far from the iconic beaches of Hawaii or California is England’s LUX Surfboards, a collaboration of Ellie Miller, the only female professional board maker in Europe, and artist Danni Bradford. “The Aureus,” is their ’70s-inspired board, entirely sheathed in 24-karat gold leaf and currently priced at the equivalent of $45,600. The deck features a triple elliptical pinline design and the hull includes a single gilded fiberglass fin. 

“A 24-karat gold surfboard had never been made before, and we were inspired by how unique it would be if we could achieve it,” says Bradford, whose studio is close to her favorite surfi ng spot in North Devon. “I’ve been riding Ellie’s surfboards exclusively for the last six years, and watching her grow as maker,” says Bradford, who adds, “It seemed only natural for us to combine our skills.” 

“The board took months to complete, and it was incredibly painstaking,” says Bradford, who explains the gold was integrated into the construction of the board, not simply applied to the surface. The artist, acclaimed for her imaginative work with glass, says of her partnership with Miller, “I definitely think we’ll collaborate again on another board.”

In Los Angeles, designer Elisabeth Weinstock covers everything from handbags to soccer balls in exotic anaconda or boa skins. Her surfboards ($5,600), clad in snakeskin or other exotic leathers, are popular even with people who never venture into the waves. “Whether you’re a surf enthusiast or just appreciate the California beach vibe, this is the ultimate luxury objet d’art,” says Weinstock, who notes, “It was designed for the lover of the art of the sport.”

Kelly Wearstler, a prominent L.A. interior designer known for her trendy Holly-wood Regency- or Art Deco-in-spired hotel commissions, has also waded into surfboard design. Handcrafted from shaved Russian birch and sealed with surf resin, her $8,900 boards display compel-ling patterns, some organic and others more structured, that bring artistic expression to the sport. While you could conceivably paddle out on one of these glossy boards, they are primarily decorative, designed to bring the spirit of surfing indoors. Wearstler reports they were inspired by her love of the Malibu beach culture. 

Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto.com/EpicStockMedia.

Hawaiian artist Tim Nguyen, whose idyllic images of his fellow Islanders are expressed with rich tropical colors reminiscent of Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin, presents his love of the Aloha State on a surfboard. His “Under Banana Leaves,” currently offered at specialty retailer Martin & MacArthur for $8,190, is the ideal piece of décor for a luxury Hawaiian estate — or even a Chicago penthouse whose owner yearns for the Maui sun.  

“Art on surfboards is my expression of Island beauty, my passion for the ocean and the depiction of Hawaiian culture,” says Nguyen, who resides on the tranquil, unspoiled west side of Oahu where local traditions endure. “My board represents a scene in my imagination about a lush tropical garden,” reports the artist, whose frequent images of banana trees capture the magical qualities of Polynesian culture.

Russian Birch Board by Kelly Wearstler. Photo courtesy of Kelly Wearstler. 

Roses surboard from Elizabeth Weinstock. Photo courtesty of John Milios.

The most expensive surf-board on record was created by New Zealand designer Roy Stuart in 2014 and priced at $1.3 million. The board, named “Rampant” was crafted from paulownia, an Asian tree known for lavender-colored blossoms and has a 23-karat gold lion emblem engraved into it. The hull of the board has a unique tunnel-shaped fin created from kahikatea wood, a towering tree native to New Zealand, along with a distinctive neon blue polycarbonate fin for further balance. 

The Aureus by LUX Surfboards. Photo courtesy of M. Corker / Shimnix Films.

In addition to iconic fashion labels delving into surf culture — Chanel currently offers an elegant board for $8,900 — auto manufacturers like Peugeot and Tesla have also applied their distinctive style and engineering to the once-pedestrian boards. Mercedes-Benz created the “Silver Arrow of the Seas,” an aerodynamic carbon-fiber board with the sleek good looks of a sports car, tailor-made for monster wave master Garrett McNamara. In 2014, the legendary surfer used the board to ride some of the most enormous waves on record off the coast of Nazaré, Portugal.

Sophisticated Sticks
Elisabeth Weinstock
www.elisabethweinstock.com
Haleiwa Surfboard Company
www.haleiwasurfboards.com
Kelly Wearstler

www.kellywearstler.com
LUX Surfboards

www.luxsurfboards.com
Martin & MacArthur
www.martinandmacarthur.com

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