Friday, April 16

My girls in Milan

Last year at this time, I was in Milan for the annual furniture fair, along with just about every other design writer or editor in New York, London, Paris, and Tokyo, not to mention every furniture designer, distributor, entrepreneur, or aficianado in the industry. The Salone is where the big names in the business debut their work for their year, and the entire city of Milan is transformed into a sprawling celebration of design. It's a fair not to be missed, and I recall it very fondly from my desk in Greenwich Village at 6:55 a.m.

I bought a new computer--fast! zip!--and transferred all my files onto it. While watching the photos import at incredible flash speed (and to the accidental soundtrack of Daft Punk, which was fitting), I saw this set I took at the apartment some of my friends rented in the city center, between Tortona and the Duomo. Jill Singer and Monica Khemsurov, then I.D. editors, now Sight Unseen founders, and Kristin Victoria Barron, an artist and designer, all stayed here. (This year, Jill and Monica are posting not-to-be-missed coverage of the fair on their website, on Twitter, and for Fast Company.)

I went to visit them before heading over to the home of photographer Sean Michael Beolchini for the wonderful Italian dinner party, and we ditched press kits, opened a bottle of Prosecco, discussed the lemon decals on the kitchen cabinets, and considered which footwear would get us most easily to Sean's place way over in another section of our local map. It looks far.

The lovely Jill. A pine cone lamp, the computer, a kitchen nook.

In the kitchen, lemon decals all over the cupboards. The kitchen sink.

Euros. Business cards. Kristin's hat--feather in the cap, and Prosecco. It's beginning to feel like a party.

Tuesday, April 13


Back in December, this yellow number was the Nanabag. She bought it despite all the decorative metal on it ("looks cheap, honey"), so she took most of it off with a pair of pliers. Now it's a clean, slouchy, roomy bag that accents the kitchen while hanging on a closet door. Fashion-fierce!

Saturday, April 10

My Nana, her kitchen

This is my Nana, in her kitchen. Isn't she cute! (That's right, I'm not asking a question; it's a fact.) She lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and my mom and I went to visit her and Papa a few months ago. As in all homes, the kitchen is where we spent time catching up. Nana, who was born in Belfast, made pots of strong black tea, though it was pretty late in the evening, affirmed in her faint accent that my Sam Edelman shoe purchase was indeed "faaaabulous, honey" (below, that's my mom, gesturing with the shoe), and doted on me with so many warm, freshly baked cookies that I felt like a six-year-old with her first all-star report card.

Nana, well into her eighties and always dressed to the nines, has great taste. It's a long tradition that we shop with her or show her the day's finds. So I was not surprised when, after the shoe talk, she came back into the kitchen showing me her own Sam Edelman, a decorative ballet flat. Nana is so chic! Now where are those cookies?

(Much more after the jump...)
Nana loves roses, florals, neutrals--as you can see. Here's the kitchen from the opposite angle. And that's Aunt Cheryl standing on the rug. She and Uncle Ed came over for a nightcap. Oh, this was the night we went back to Ed's Bar for successive nightcaps! Good times.

Rose teapot. Cookies! Cheese. A knife I want. Dansk Dutch oven--funny, I have this Dansk style, in two sizes. As does my mother. Those are her hands. I have those, too. Same-same-same.

A while back, my Nana was in the news for her French silk pie. She is always baking, baking, baking--though this recipes isn't exactly a cooked dessert. It contains, among other things, a cup of butter and four raw eggs. Divine. Love the scarf, Nan. Sooooo fab!

Thursday, April 8

Homebodies is in the New York Times!

How This Half Lives, by Mark Rozzo. This story will appear in print on Sunday, in the Design Issue of T Magazine, published by the New York Times. CRAZY. Thank you, readers!

An excerpt:

"The interiors blog Homebodies might not offer hands-on home-improvement instruction, but it is itself the do-it-yourself project of the New York-based design writer Liz Arnold. Frustrated with writing house features for glossies based on fact sheets and JPEGs, she wanted to linger longer in personal spaces “to show how people are really living.” Her subjects — shot on an iPhone or Lumix — tend to be under-the-radar designers, artists and chefs, living in Brooklyn or Echo Park, Los Angeles, with forays to Iceland and Italy. Copies of Apartamento can sometimes be seen on their coffee tables, and Arnold is not above snooping her way into armoires or even R.V.’s to sniff out the ways in which the most private environments can tell universal stories. “To me, truth is always stranger than fiction,” she said over a glass of Gran Sangre de Toro at SoHo’s Boqueria restaurant (whose chef, Seamus Mullen, appears on Homebodies), “and the way most magazines shoot these places is like fiction.”

Arnold’s descriptions of domestic effluvia read like captions for an interiors magazine that she believes could never exist in a world that encourages aspirational “self-improvement through objects”: “An iPod is hooked up to a Tivoli near the nub of a mostly eaten carrot”; “This is where the ambiguously employed trio keeps a breast implant on the counter to use as a paperweight.”

In an unanticipated twist, Arnold — whose approach is so rough-and-tumble that she’s been referred to as the “anti-Selby” — has been approached by suitors interested in acquiring the rights to Homebodies, which she started in February 2009. Similarly, Apartamento — which is planning a pop-up restaurant during New York’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair next month — has had success on the advertising front. Velardi says pages from the likes of Vitra, Iittala and André Balazs Hotels have helped them scrape by from issue to issue."

I've moved!

I'm interrupting the tour of the Pres.'s house to update you with a few things: 1. I've moved! 2. I started working at WNYC public radio! 3. I had a big deadline for school and got sick, all while moving and new-jobbing! Are these good-enough reasons for my absence? Sorry! Oh, and 4. I haven't set up internet yet in my new apartment, but huge thanks to Jimmy Krackorn for the open network. The computer with all my Homebodies files can't connect to it. Anyway...

I have a slew of photos from my old King Street apartment, but I never posted many of them to Homebodies. Maybe I will, now that I've left. I couldn't get enough distance from it to write about. So until I do, a few things of note: The bathroom, below, is what I called "regular-house sized." It was HUGE. And covered from floor to ceiling with subway tile. I miss it.

Above, my bedroom-slash-office looked out onto the many lush gardens tended by the residents of the Charlton Street brownstones--and by that I mean they were tended by hired help. They're single-family dwellings, with awesome wallpaper, I might add, and the real-estate agent kept telling his clients that Aaron Burr, the third V.P. of the U.S., used to live in this area. Those houses, said the agent, over and over, sell for upwards of ten million. Ten mil! This homebody has been living on the wrong side of the pergola.