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Home Design with Kevin Sharkey

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Reader Questions

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Classic Danish Teak furniture is a good example of mid-century modern design.  Image from www.scandinavianmod.com

I love the fabric suggestions.  I have a question about recovering a sofa - I have a Danish teak sofa and chair with black faux leather that I need to replace (it is worn and damaged). I would like to lighten the color and go with a neutral linen. Do you think that this will still suit the style of the furniture? I want to keep the integrity of the design and update it with something durable for family life...

Yes - I think that a linen in a neutral shade is a perfect upholstery choice for your style of sofa. It would look especially nice in a nubby linen or one with a lot of texture that compliments the clean lines that are so common in Danish teak furniture.

Regarding the painting above your bed: do you have an artist in mind for the commission?

I love the work of New York artist, Eric Beare, who has worked with Martha Stewart Living Magazine on several projects in the past. Most recently, he created the background for my bonsai Christmas tree ("Uncommon Visions") in the December issue. I would love to commission a piece by Eric that is similar in style to the work of Franz Klein.

"No. 2" by Franz Klein, one of my favorite American artists. Image from moma.org

"No. 2" by Franz Klein, one of my favorite American artists. Image from moma.org


Thanksgiving Arrangements

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Carolyne Roehm filled a pair of Franch transferware pedestal bowls with rose hips, berries, wild grapes, and chestnuts.  It certainly makes for a robust arrangement. I love that she made a pair of arrangements and used them to flank a hurricane votive.

1 Carolyne Roehm filled a pair of Franch transferware pedestal bowls with rose hips, berries, wild grapes, and chestnuts. It certainly makes for a robust arrangement. I love that she made a pair of arrangements and used them to flank a hurricane votive.

The mixture of dahlias and roses in bright oranges and reds is perfect for fall and winter arrangements.  I love the clash between the warm hues of the flowers and the blue and white china. Definitely a showstopper and perfect for an entry hall sideboard.

2 The mixture of dahlias and roses in bright oranges and reds is perfect for fall and winter arrangements. I love the clash between the warm hues of the flowers and the blue and white china. Definitely a showstopper and perfect for an entry hall sideboard.

The golden glass of this pedestal looks gorgeous in the sunlight and works well with the fuchsia goblets in the background.  Filled with pears and chinaberries, it is a stunning centerpiece for Thanksgiving - made even better by the fact that it is half-edible (do not eat the chinaberries!)

3 The golden glass of this pedestal looks gorgeous in the sunlight and works well with the fuchsia goblets in the background. Filled with pears and chinaberries, it is a stunning centerpiece for Thanksgiving - made even better by the fact that it is half-edible (do not eat the chinaberries!)

A trio of arrangements made from clusters of yellow mums looks stunning and fresh in cobalt blue Venetian glass. I really like these arrangements because of the unusual color combo and the fact that you don't need to spend a lot of money. These three arrangements are very affordable and will last a very long time.

4 A trio of arrangements made from clusters of yellow mums looks stunning and fresh in cobalt blue Venetian glass. I really like these arrangements because of the unusual color combo and the fact that you don't need to spend a lot of money. These three arrangements are very affordable and will last a very long time.

We lose a lot of greenery during the fall and winter, when the leaves begin to turn.  It's refreshing to find a bright green display such as this one, which includes bowls filled with Granny Smith apples, and a wild arrangement of immature persimmons with magnolia leaves and peppercorn branches. This arrangement would like especially nice on a front porch.

5 We lose a lot of greenery during the fall and winter, when the leaves begin to turn. It's refreshing to find a bright green display such as this one, which includes bowls filled with Granny Smith apples, and a wild arrangement of immature persimmons with magnolia leaves and peppercorn branches. This arrangement would like especially nice on a front porch.

Roehm used this arrangement to decorate her own Thanksgiving table.  She used iron pedestal vases to fill with lemon leaves, eucalyptus berries, olive-shaped hypericum berries and roses. The combination of textures is particularly appealing.

6 Roehm used this arrangement to decorate her own Thanksgiving table. She used iron pedestal vases to fill with lemon leaves, eucalyptus berries, olive-shaped hypericum berries and roses. The combination of textures is particularly appealing.

While I won't be hosting Thanksgiving this November (my apartment is not exactly holiday-ready), I am certainly going to get in the festive mood by decorating with fall and winter flower arrangements. One of my all-time favorite designers/authors is Carolyne Roehm. In searching for inspiration for Thanksgiving arrangements, I scanned my color-coordinated bookshelf until I came upon her "Fall Notebook," which is a comprehensive look at some of the best flowers and plant material to bring indoors during the Fall and Winter months (the spine of the book is brown, by the way). I also love her decorating tips for setting the dinner table, as well as the delicious seasonal recipes she provides. This is a book that every one of you should reference during the upcoming holiday season. Her entire collection of books would make a fantastic and endlessly inspiring Christmas gift, as well.

Vintage Modern

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Here's the simple signage for Aero studio in SoHo.

1 Here's the simple signage for Aero studio in SoHo.

That's me checking out a few items.

2 That's me checking out a few items.

There's such a fine array of items in the shop.

3 There's such a fine array of items in the shop.

J'adore this glass objet.

4 J'adore this glass objet.

A cabinet of treasures.

5 A cabinet of treasures.

Love, love, love this pair of etched glassees.

6 Love, love, love this pair of etched glassees.

I liked the look of this simple, modern clock.

7 I liked the look of this simple, modern clock.

Lighting!  I love and want it all!

8 Lighting! I love and want it all!

I really like the way the storage runs up the stairway wall.

9 I really like the way the storage runs up the stairway wall.

"Vintage Modern" - This perfectly describes the style of designer, merchant and collector Thomas O'Brien. I recently visited his Manhattan shop in Soho, Aero Studio - always an inspiring stop, where I saw some lamp options for my apartment as well as some great accessories.  As always, I took tons of photos as a reminder when I am ready to think about lighting and final touches.

The retail space, newly renovated, is like a curiosity shop, well-edited and curated to show off the best of the best.  From wood to glass to upholstery and textiles, the mix of old and new provides a lovely array of objects and inspiration.

Now, while I am sure you've seen the interiors of his apartment (as it has made the magazine and blog rounds) and you've checked out his line at Target, Thomas' true genius is at the store, where he can play around with design ideas; mix and match styles; and provide style aficionados with direct access to good design.