A Christmas Wish List :: UnCommonGoods

It’s almost time for “caroling in the snow” (or sand if you live at the beach), decking out the Christmas tree, holiday parties, sitting by the yuletide logs and general holiday merriment. Followed (or proceeded) by a feeling of panic, because the majority of the population is involved in a conversation with a friend or loved one that is all too familiar “What do you want for Christmas?” With a dreaded response. “I don’t know get me anything.” Sometimes it’s an even more complex answer of “Just surprise me.” We all know what happens when we “surprise”someone, it ends up as a “Secret Santa” gift next Christmas. Then an all too familiar feeling of panic sets in, what do you get the person who doesn’t want or need anything for Christmas? Well, a few weeks ago I was contacted by UnCommonGoods asking if I would do a product review for the holidays. They could very well be the answer to the all too common holiday syndrome of “Christmas Present Angst”, because UnCommonGoods has holiday “home-runs” for everyone. As most of you are aware, I love to shop so pair that with an opportunity to partner with a retailer that features unique designs and handcrafted gifts and consider me “sold.”UnCommonGoods was founded in Brooklyn, NY (I love NY!) and they run their operations out of the historic Brooklyn Army Terminal. In fact, if you are ever in NY they offer Studio Tours, which gives you a look inside the work-spaces and minds of their artists and designers. They even allow you inside their creative studio. So the next time I’m in NY, I’ll be hailing a cab straight to their front door.

This unique company believes in using their business to “impact the world in a positive way.” In a world where so many goods are mass produced it’s refreshing to see an organization that empowers local artists and designers to develop their businesses through events such as “How to Make it Happen.” UnCommonGoods has also formed Non-Profits that support critical initiatives such as “American Forests and “Reach Out and Read,” to name just a few. With offerings that range from jewelry to home goods, I was faced with the daunting task of coming up with some “picks” in time for the holiday season, so I wanted to share with you some of the “unique designs and handcrafted gifts” that you will find at UnCommonGoods (http://www.uncommongoods.com/occasions/christmas-gifts/christmas-gifts). They made my job very easy, and making a decision on what to highlight very hard. Yes, so many choices and so little time until Christmas… uncommongoods

Just a few of my many favorites for the man in your life, or even woman. For more gift ideas visit http://www.uncommongoods.com/holiday/christmas/christmas-gifts-for-men 1) Camera Bookends-made from Vintage Cameras, each one of a kind. 2) Hybrid Wall Clock-made from using mirror like discs from recycled or discarded computers. 3) Ballpark Prints-prints on archival paper from some of the most famous ball-parks in the U.S. 4) Driftwood iPhone Docking Station. 5) Gold Leaf up-cycled beer bottle tumbler set. (I’m obsessed with these)…

UnCommonGoodsforher1Some perfect ideas for the woman in your life- wife, friend or girlfriend…for more fabulous ideas visit http://www.uncommongoods.com/holiday/christmas/christmas-gifts-for-women. These are just a few that I thought would make that “special someone” very, very happy…1) A European inspired street scene becomes a desk accessory. 2) Agate Desk Clock. 3) Gold Leaf Wine Glass Set. 4) Vintage Camera Pillows-Original photos by Ronda J. Smith printed on sateen. 5) My Life Story-Thought provoking prompts to spark a colorful memory.


Need a hostess gift? I love the thought of bringing some really unique gifts to the party. Visit http://www.uncommongoods.com/occasions/christmas/christmas-gifts 1) Gold Leaf Stemless Gold Leaf Wine Glass Set. 2) Ombre Stemless Wine Glasses-each is hand-blown from recycled glass. 3) Agate Coasters. 4) Double Tiered Serving Tray (made from teak root). 5) Stainless Steel Bread Box-the beechwood lid flips over to do double duty as a wooden cutting board.

Although, we received compensation for this post (as always) every opinion is uniquely and entirely our own.

Until next time,



As always don’t forget to follow us on Pinterest, Instagram & Facebook for more happenings in the design world and a whole lot of inspiration.

So I hope you are inspired to shop early, and pick something UnCommon over the holidays…

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Design Crushin’ With Brian Patrick Flynn

Welcome to our new series. It’s all about crushes, well at least design crushes. Which is perfectly fine and cleared with Mr. B. So I had this (self-professed) brilliant idea awhile back, to feature my design crush, who then reveals his/or hers which starts a six degrees of separation of sorts. Indefinitely. Hmm…so who to feature? Because I have stalked, slightly pursued, and downright made a fool of myself in front of a few of those in the interiors world who have been on my radar. Should it be Thom Filicia (my homie from Upstate NY?) Martyn Lawrence Bullard who promised to record the incoming message on my voice-mail, only to have my phone die at the precise moment of {sic} recording? (Imagine that silky cultured British accented voice informing my callers that I am unavailable?). That’s something that I may never get over. Enter Brian Patrick Flynn, not only is he talented, but he has a very, very wicked sense of humour. For those of you who know me, I love to laugh a lot, and I happen to think that funny goes far in a world that often takes itself a little too seriously. He and I have met a few times, and unbeknownst to him we are “kindred spirits of comedy,” in fact his Instagram feed is one of my guilty pleasures. He provides my daily dose of hilarity. So meld it all with the fact that he is an American TV personality, known for such shows as TBS’s Movie and a Makeover, a multitude of collaborations with HGTV and you have an approachable, charming, well-respected interior designer who also created Flynnside Out Productions, a full-service production company (www.flynnsideout.com). A man of many, many hats, and a man whose rapier wit is truly unrivaled in my book. So a week or so ago I approached him via e-mail and his trusty assistant sent an e-mail back asking if I could get the questions to them ASAP before Brian Patrick Flynn went out on the road. There was a little scrambling on my end, but luckily the hot lava of genius flowed straight to my fast tying fingertips, and the rest is history. This interview wrote itself…or at least Brian Patrick Flynn did. P.S. I want to thank him from the bottom of my heart for being game at the last minute, and kicking off our series that is going to be great fun! So without further ado here is the man of the hour… brianpatrickcollage2 What inspired you to choose design as a career? The set design and decoration of Wes Anderson and Stanley Kubrick movies. I studied film and TV in college, and after falling in love with the art direction of A Clockwork Orange, Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, I realized my favorite part of the industry was production design. I’m into spaces that have tons of personality, like pretty much every single room in a Wes Anderson film; however, I also like spaces that are streamlined with only a few sculptural and bold-colored elements, like 2001: A Space Odyssey. I consistently try to blend the two each time I approach a decorating or design project.

What was your “Oh my god I made it, AHA moment? Are you implying that I’ve actually made it? If so, well then, hot damn! I don’t know that I’ve made it just yet, but things are trucking along nicely nonetheless. I think my pseudo Aha! moment, thus far, was being asked to design a store window front for “Legends of LaCienega” in 2013. It’s a big who’s who of the West Coast design world, and being asked to join the likes of iconic designers like Thom Filicia, Mary McDonald, Molly Luetkemeyer and Jeff Andrews was pretty damn cool.

Favorite Project (television or private client? My favorite project I’ve designed for camera is HGTV Spring House, a show house-like digital series that’s both video and editorial based (http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv-spring-house-2014/videos/index.html). I stepped outside my usual masculine, dark aesthetic and instead tried my hand at muted color and feminine style to ensure the homeowner/client was happy, and I’m proud of how it turned out. As far as private clients are concerned, I’d say I’m most proud of the traditional Santa Barbara-inspired house on Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills I designed for a much-celebrated Emmy-winning TV producer. She was a dream to work with, and we both have personal styles that gelled beautifully together.

Okay, the funniest moment when you were in front of the camera? I was hosting an event for HGTV in Orlando, and this father of two came up to me with his kids as I was still addressing the audience, and he told me how excited his daughters were to meet a famous chef and asked if I’d take a picture with them and offer them some culinary advice. I told him that, unfortunately, the Food Network hosts were in a different building and that I was an interior designer and that he had come to the wrong event.

Favorite Colour? Navy blue is my favorite color, but I think I tend to use black and violet more than any other colors in the spectrum.

Favorite place to hangout (city, restaurant of chillin’ at home?). My mountain house in north Georgia, about an hour and a half from Atlanta, is my favorite place to hang out solo or with friends and family. It’s my happy place and the moment I pull up to it, all of the stress of my remodeling projects, show house designs, TV shooting schedules and budget management just goes away. But, unfortunately, there are bears and gigantic spiders in the mountains, so there’s that.

What is one design trend that you hate? I really, really despise when people shove sticks into vases and stick them into corners. This seems to be a trend that most major retailers just won’t ever let die, and I have no idea where the hell it came from in the first place. It makes me hate everyone.

Biggest design mistake that anyone could make? Buying matching sets…of ANYTHING. I know it makes life easier for people who aren’t professional decorators or designers, but matching sets are just impersonal, they’re like the “Kool-Aid” of the furniture world; just bust open the package, add water and you’re done. The only time I’m okay with sets of furniture is when they’re antiques. But even then, I will try to un-match them by changing up fabrics or even refinishing chairs differently than tables or headboards differently than nightstands or dressers.

AND most importantly who are you “Design Crushin’” on? Benjamin Vandiver who’s based in Nashville. He’ll be a household name pretty soon, and I’m sure he’s gonna make a huge mark on the design world. His work is absolutely stunning and tailored and edgy and unsafe and classic and timeless and just all around top notch. And I love how he pushes the envelope with his styling. There’s this one insanely gorgeous dining room he did, and he styled the center of dining table with sheep, or maybe it was goats. Anyway, it was some type of farm animal that makes a fun noise and has cool fur. Oh, and his use of art. And his use of black. And the fact that he looks like a 1950s movie star.

Thank you, Brian for continuing to inspire so many with your incredible talent! For more information about HGTV’s Spring House visit http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv-spring-house-2014 or for more on Brian’s Production Company and portfolio visit (flynnsideout.com).

Photo courtesy/ Brian Patrick Flynn
How lucky is one of his favorite clients?
Photo courtesy/ Brian Patrick Flynn
And a little more from his favorite client interior…
Photo courtesy/ Brian Patrick Flynn
The living room of HGTV’s Spring House visit (hgtv.com/hgtv-spring-house-2014) to see this fabulous transformation...
Photo courtesy/ Brian Patrick Flynn
The dining room of HGTV’s Spring House designed by Brian Patrick Flynn...
Photo courtesy/ Brian Patrick Flynn
and where does this uber talent relax? Right here….
Photo courtesy/ Brian Patrick Flynn
and here…
Photo courtesy/ Brian Patrick Flynn
This interior is one of my personal favorites, and it’s obvious why…
Photo courtesy/ Brian Patrick Flynn
and then…
I hope you enjoyed the first in our ongoing series “Design Crushin’”. We were so honored to have Brian Patrick Flynn be our first…and if you want to see even more of his incredible portfolio visit flynnsideout.com
For more design inspiration follow us on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
As always….

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The Best In Bath and Beyond

I’ve been missing for three days, and for good reason. I was traveling. Not for vacation (although there were R&R moments). I was in a state known for “cheeseheads,” lakes, and beer. What I was soon to find out, however, that there was a side to Wisconsin that took my breath away. Okay, it was cold (that explained a little breathlessness), and there was the scenery-endless trees displaying leaves in warm tones of fall lining the streets of a seemingly sleepy little town. One that bears the name of a brand that is a leader in the world of kitchen and bath fixtures, tubs, tile and bath furniture. Have you guessed it yet? If not…well it’s Kohler. Yes, this industry giant (the best in bath and beyond), has a thriving village of over 2,000 of the nicest “down-home” people that I have ever had the pleasure of shaking hands with. Kohler, Wisconsin was originally built in the early 1900′s for Kohler employees, complete with pockets of botanical gardens, art & memorable architecture. All master-planned by the Olmsted brothers (of Central Park fame, and Thompson Park in my hometown). The center-point is a century old factory defined by a symbolic smokestack rising up to meet the clear Wisconsin sky. I wasn’t sure if I was going to arrive in Allentown, PA or a sleepy little New England style town. But behind this picture perfect facade is where some of the most cutting edge product in the kitchen and bath world is not only being developed, but produced. Yes, the buzz words that designers crave….”Made In America.” My Tory Burch clad feet had touched down in a town that centers around a company that is the gold standard in the bath industry (www.kohler.com). But, don’t let the phrase “factory town” fool you because Kohler, Wisconsin is a destination complete with a historic hotel that went from a dormitory for migrant workers decades ago, to a swanky five-star resort complete with a world class championship golf course on the shores of Lake Michigan.

As part of Kohler’s Bloggers Conference 2014, we were treated to a peek inside a warm “family style” corporate culture, “The Beacon” building designed by renowned Chicago architecture firm of Gensler, and a “jaw-dropping” factory tour immersing us in the production of five star products. (Did I mention that Kohler is still a family owned company?). I’ll be sharing the sights of Kohler periodically over the next month starting with the Design Center featuring vignettes from some of the most iconic talent in the design industry. One of the many things that I walked away with was that the tub is not just a tub, and a toilet is not just a toilet- it’s a work of art (crafted with pride in Kohler, Wisconsin). So welcome to the world of Kohler, the best in bath and beyond. I’ll share some of my favorites from the Design Center…but as always there is inspiration in everything we see. All the images you see highlight Kohler products from their fabulous bath lines.




 Photos/ Courtesy of Kohler

The hidden room (one of my favorites) was designed by Tristan Butterfield as homage to his years with the National Trust. Although, it’s hard to tell -the room is actually a fabulous shade of pale pink.




 Bottom photo courtesy of Kohler

Yes, I have always loved the eclectic & creative genius of Jonathan Adler, and his “Roccoco Bourdoir” is based on the 2001 Space Odyssey which inspired this surreal environment.




Photos/Courtesy of Vicki Gladle Bolick

I love Bunny Williams, and I had the honour of spending a few hours with her and John Roselli at Treillage in NYC this past Spring. She brought such warmth and English sensibility to her space aptly titled “Bath in A Garden Folly.” The bath space was inspired by 18th century Europe and layered in texture, from the marble to the textiles. Of note is the lattice wall treatment reflected in the mirror…




Top Photo courtesy of Kohler-Bottom photo-Vicki Gladle Bolick

This bathroom was FABULOUS. Pictures simply do not do it justice. This “spa tower” design was the brain child of Eric Cohler, featuring a 14′ castle like shower as an entryway. It was elegant and simply stunning. 

I do want to mention that all the vignettes showcase Kohler product, and I have no doubt that you will be inspired to create your very own dream bath or spa. While my travel expenses were paid courtesy of Kohler, all musings and opinions are as always uniquely my own. I’ll be featuring a few more posts in the next month highlighting my visit to Kohler, Wisconsin.

P.S. Check back tomorrow for the first installment in our new series called “Design Crushin’, ” featuring the incredibly talented and funny, Brian Patrick Flynn.

Don’t forget to follow us on social media for more design inspiration and happenings.

As always.



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