You are currently browsing the Ted Kennedy Watson blog archives for January, 2012

A Few Show Favorites

20120131-062249.jpg Walking a trade show in the home accessories and gift field can be a tricky venture. Because the categories are so varied, you see a tremendous variety of goods. As I wrote last August, you see some great stuff, you see some not great stuff, and then you find the gems. I find the Winter show to be even more challenging, as most of the companies introduce far few new things than they do at the Summer show, so you really need to be on your toes looking. It is the thrill of the hunt.

20120131-063139.jpg Lime honey, a rustic pitcher made in the shape of an orange, because you know I love my pitchers, and a cheese board made from very old tree stumps were a few things that made my heart sing yesterday.

20120131-063505.jpg We are up early this morning so TPS, Bailey & I can get to breakfast at Buvette by 8. Then another full day of buying. I can hardly wait for both!



Martinis & Pizza

20120130-062821.jpg Our Friday night tradition of martinis and pizza began ages ago. I love the high/low of it all. We often times have friends over, as it is a super relaxing way to entertain after a busy week. This last Friday, we had friends over who had given us an incredibly beautiful red Elsa Peretti “thumbprint” bowl for a wedding present in the summer. I really wanted to set the table using the bowl–the Venetian glass having the slightest shimmer from a dusting of gold leaf on the interior. I knew it would be great in the center of the table. I found the prettiest yellow tulips with bits of red running throughout that would be perfect with the bowl, as well as the red and gold lidded apothecary jars. Vintage Wedgwood plates with a gold rim that were a gift from my sister would pull it all together. Scented geraniums in pots that are growing like weeds would be fun. The curly, dancing stems seeming to mimic the lines of the bowl. I had yet to use the roll of paper tablecloth we sell at Watson Kennedy, so this was the chance.







20120130-064524.jpg We arrived in New York late yesterday afternoon after a fairly bumpy flight and a rough landing, so I am happy to have my feet back on the ground. It is an early start, as I have tons of ground to cover in 3 days of walking the show. I will share some of my favorite finds tomorrow…



A Sunday Thought

20120129-055515.jpg We are on an early flight this morning to New York. I am always reflective when preparing for a trip. Saw this card in the shop yesterday, and was taken by it.



A Smart Smock Thank You

20120128-075038.jpg Just in at Watson Kennedy, fab boxed ‘Thank You’ cards by the lovely upstate New York company, Smock. I just adore the simplicity and color range of these letterpress cards. Having extra cards around at the ready, really helps make note writing easier. If you have a box of them, even better! I like the size of these Smock cards, as a quick ‘Thank You’ can be just a few sentences, and these do just that.




A Black and White Dining Table

20120127-065044.jpg I had so much fun resetting the dining table at the Home store the other day. The Dunes and Duchess glossy black candelabra was the starting point and I just started pulling things from the shop floor after that.








I like it to be a fairly organic experience, and just let the creative juices flow. Short of knowing I wanted it to be black and white, everything just starts falling into place. The vintage playing cards were an idea that Amy & I came up with, and then the dominos followed. A customer said that she really liked the table as I was working on it, but that the gigantic vintage glove molds kind of creeped her out. Oh well, you can not please everyone with every display. I reminded her that there is a bit of fantasy in each table display. I am not sure she fully understood that. From there, the mini English trophies were added to each plate, as well as the relief medallions. I used those cool paper place mats I wrote about last week too. It is always a treat to play around with the table and see what direction it goes in. I hope you like.

Happy Friday to you!



Dunes and Duchess Love

When I was walking the show in New York last August, I was stopped in my tracks by the beauty and simplicity of Dunes and Duchess. Combining Old World style with a very Modern flair, stylish creators Stacy Kunstel & Michael Partenio are making amazingly beautiful candelabras, sconces, tables and lamps. I was most taken with the high gloss black pieces, which I quickly honed in on, knowing they would look great in the shop, and stellar in your home.



20120126-083751.jpg The standing 4 arm candelabra would work beautifully in a loft space, and be equally cool in a very vintage library. This is where I think the Dunes and Duchess goods excel. They work in such a variety of spaces.


20120126-084225.jpg I just reset the dining table at one of the shops, and the 4 arm table candelabra works perfectly. I went with a black and white theme and the striped candles were a natural. The high gloss black is downright sexy. It just elevates the whole look of the table.



20120126-084649.jpg The 2 arm wall sconce again looks fab with the striped candles. These can also be wired to be electrified, but I am a fan of candle sconces. Growing up, our home always had numerous candle scones, so they bring me back to my childhood. I say light away! A room with candles burning in a sconce is really such a glorious sight.

We are off to New York on Sunday for another buying trip, as well as visiting our property in the Hudson River Valley and meeting with our architect. More on that next week. I can hardly wait to see what new things Dunes and Duchess has waiting…



Happy Dog

20120125-063904.jpg Our dog section continues to grow. I am just finding so much fun stuff to add to it. We found some apropos vintage flashcards that made a whimsical piece of art, staying with our ‘art’ theme of the last few days.

20120125-064404.jpg The Denise Fiedler pieces of dogs are always a hit, as well as our variety of pooch themed reading material.

20120125-064621.jpg We just got these in yesterday. The perfect water and food bowls!

20120125-064731.jpg The Hugo Guinness dog images are charming too.

20120125-064855.jpg Such a face, and what incredible eyes.

20120125-064954.jpg And our selection of Harry Barker goods is sure to delight.



Buying Art

I wrote an installment on the Watson Kennedy website a year or so ago, about buying art. After watching the film ‘Herb & Dorothy’ I went back and re-read it. Here it is.

One of the easiest ways to make your home truly personal, is to fill it with artwork you love & have collected over time. To me, very few things are more personal or telling about a person’s personality, than the art they have in their home.

Buying art can be overwhelming and at times intimidating. My advice on this is to think out of the box a bit, and don’t feel like the only way to buy art is at a gallery.

*Art schools have auctions where the students sell their artwork. This is a great way to support the arts, and also get artwork at reasonable prices.

*Lots of retail shops such as mine also carry a variety of artwork, so the experience of shopping for a piece is far less intimidating.

*Many beginning artists have shows in studio space they share with other artists, so attending studio shows is a great way to add to your art collection, while also helping out a novice artist.

*Be on the look-out when you travel. Buying art on a vacation is one of the most lovely ways to remember a trip. One of our very first pieces was purchased in New York from an artist selling on the street. Over the years I have kept up with her work, and have bought more pieces of hers from shows she has exhibited in over the years.

*Artwork is not reserved only for things that hang on the wall. Think sculpture, ephemera art, pottery.

Art is truly personal. Buy what stirs an emotion. I think too many times, people worry about whether their art will be liked by others. Buy what you love, as you are the one who will be living with it each day.

20120124-072713.jpg This is the first piece of art we purchased, which I mentioned above. Here is a glimpse of some of what we have collected over the years.















20120124-074422.jpg Buying and living with art is a pleasure we have embraced from early on. We have purchased pieces by all the ways I mentioned above, as well as from galleries. As Dorothy said in the documentary “if it stops being fun, then we would stop collecting” which I think are perfect words of advice. Have fun!



Herb & Dorothy

20120123-084728.jpg I watched the most charming and inspiring documentary yesterday, while TPS took Bailey for their ritual Sunday afternoon walk. ‘Herb & Dorothy’ is about a love affair–between 2 people, as well as their combined love and passion for art, artists and collecting. This film came out in 2008, and I had read a bunch about it, as well as the Vogel story over the years, but had yet to see it. I can not tell you how much I enjoyed every moment.

The back story. Herb and Dorothy Vogel live in a one bedroom, rent controlled apartment in Manhattan. He was a postal worker and she a librarian. After they married, they decided they would live simply on her salary, and they would buy and collect art from his. They amassed one of the world’s most important collections of Minimalist and Conceptual art.

Put this film on your list and watch it when you want to uplift your spirit. I am still buzzing from the happiness that it brought.



Gift Tags & More

20120122-074637.jpg I received several e-mails asking about the gift tags that were in my post yesterday. They have become a staple at Watson Kennedy, and are the perfect little tag to hang off of a gift or a bottle of wine or bubbly. The tags were beautifully written originally by our in-house calligrapher Kelli. At 75 cents, they are nifty to have around when you are in a pinch and need a gift tag in a hurry. It is blank on the backside, giving you room to add a little note.

The other tag in the photo is by John Derian. We recently brought in a good number of his gift tags too, and they are fashioned in his creatively put together collaged style. The photo was taken at my shop in the Pike Place Market. You can also get a glimpse of the stylish decoupaged wall that artist Amy Duncan created for me many years back. I still adore it as much today as when she first worked on the project.