Posted by: cindylewton | September 29, 2011

Halloween Count Down! Submissions wanted!

Found at  Now we know what’s inside a jack-o-lantern.

If you don’t want to carve, paint!  Country Living showcased these black and white pumpkins in 2009 and they are still relevant in today’s black/white design trends:

Here’s one that requires no carving and no painting from I Stamp, Do U? and you can even do this without stamping.

I would love to showcase your pumpkin creations!  Artificial pumpkins are welcome! Please submit pictures by 10/25/11 and they will be posted 10/28/11.  Please provide your blog, website, or other contact information that you are comfortable sharing on this site.  Let the fun begin!

Posted by: cindylewton | September 24, 2011

Philip Johnson’s first commissioned house – for sale

Philip Johnson, extraordinary 20th century architect, introduced The International Style to Americans.  His first commissioned house (which predates his famous Glass House) was built in 1946 for Richard and Olga Booth in Bedford, NY as a weekend retreat.  It has 2,320 sf with an additional 800 sf studio.  It was then rented in 1955 by architects,  and later purchased by these same architects in 1964 with loving, respectful updates in in the interim.

Originally listed at $2 million, it is now a cool $1.6 million.  The listing agent has done a great job of providing the history of this house, as well as details and floor plans, on his listing here.

Interiors – Booth House by Philip Johnson


Philip Johnson, Architect – Love the sparkle in his eyes!

Posted by: cindylewton | September 13, 2011

Kitchen Sink and Dishwasher – All in One

I’m in love with this piece of brilliance:  A sink of dirty dishes that washes itself.  Developed by a German and Korean design studio called Ahhaproject, Electrolux has patented the design.  Which means while it is not on the market yet, there is a good chance it will be in the future.  Here are the details of Eco Automatic:

At the press of a button, a sink packed with dirty dishes pivots 180 degrees, disappearing under the counter, while a second sink appears in its stead. Under the counter and fully covered, the first sink kicks into dishwasher mode, rinsing plates and pans and knives as would any Kenmore or Whirlpool. Meanwhile, the second sink can be piled up with new dirty dishes. Press the button, and the sinks turn another 180 degrees, triggering the cycle all over again. In effect, it’s two sinks and two dishwashers in one.


Posted by: cindylewton | February 25, 2011

Tea Parties

Blogger, Laura Ingalls Gunn, of fame, is hosting a linky tea party this month in support of the Royals upcoming wedding.  How fun!

And those of you follow my blog, know I recently posted my “Autumn Tea Party” tablescape.  Those who don’t follow me, can read more about it in earlier February  posts.

While my tea party tablescape was not “fit for a queen” it did fit the Master of Tea Parties, the Mad Hatter himself!  So here is a quick recap/repost.  Be sure to visit Laura’s blog (February 23rd entry) to view more than 50 beautiful tea parties, try new recipes, and relax with a cup of tea!

The table is set.

Tea for Eight


Let’s start with a cookie…

But we’re no longer in Autumn, we’re post Valentine’s Day…how about some mini cakes to accompany tea?

Mini Valentine cakes



Posted by: cindylewton | February 21, 2011

Not Your Grandmother’s Kitchen

Alice Kramden of the 1955 Honeymooners sitcom

In the midst of the current trend of downsizing and smaller homes, kitchens are holding their own in size and surveys show people prefer larger kitchens than what they currently have.  And why not?  Our grandmother’s kitchen would have the basics of a stove, ice box and sink.  However, not efficiently.  Then the concept of the kitchen triangle came about and identified how to optimize cooking with each leg of the triangle taking into account the distance between the stove, refrigerator, and sink.  Our kitchens are so much more than this.

Our kitchens now need to accommodate the entire family.  It truly is the center of our home/lives.  The kitchen really determines how we live in our homes and provides support to enriching our lives.  In addition to  family interactions, entertaining, and basic meal preparations, a good kitchen does so much more.  Considerations in a well-designed kitchen include:

  • Easy Accessibility:  Ask not only if your kitchen items are accessible, is it accessible in terms of wide pathways–doors that can open without interfering, can a second person walk in without being in the way?  if you had a disability could you easily navigate your kitchen? can it accommodate two cooks in the kitchen?  (a huge trend these days)
  • Functionality:  Different than accessibility, how easy is your kitchen to use?  Are the items you use most frequently close at hand?  Do you have enough storage?  Do you have the right type of storage, meaning deep enough, large enough, or do you have to store some items in a closet, or even worse, in the garage because none of your cabinets can accommodate it?  Is your sink large enough, do you need a second sink?  Can you oversee your kids’ homework in the kitchen?  It can be quite an extensive list.
  • Sustainability:  Are your appliances energy efficient?  Is your lighting energy efficient?  Are products used that support the environment as a whole, and support health in your own environment?
  • Technology:  Do you have a smart kitchen?  Just like our cars have improved through computerization, our kitchens need to support our lives in the same way.
  • A Healthy Kitchen:  Does your kitchen support your family in terms of cleanability?  Does it enable you to easily access fresh herbs (possibly in a garden steps away or incorporated into the kitchen?).  Does your kitchen support healthy relationships or do arguments start in a poorly designed kitchen?  Flooring:  Do you have tile with grout that is hard to keep clean?  Have you thought about cork flooring which is easier to stand on and virtually seamless?

Hyundai Nano Garden -- see my July post about this

Providing fresh herbs and vegetables inside the kitchen

  • Lighting:  Kitchens and baths are the #1 sources of accidents in the home.  Do you have good lighting?  Do you have a single light over your sink (which causes a shadow as you work over the sink)?  Have you considered having two lights, one on either side of the sink?  Shadowy lighting contributes to injuries and accidents.  Is the lighting energy efficient?  Do you have enough light without glare?

And we haven’t even talked about aesthetics and styles.  While clients may ask me about the Victorian kitchen they always wanted, or a sleek contemporary kitchen, these are actually minor considerations.  Once you have a great kitchen designed, it is easy to source the style.





Posted by: cindylewton | February 20, 2011


The rainy days here in Phoenix remind me that I want to get back to functional  interiors and my mind is on showers.  In the upcoming years we are going to continue to see the trend towards smaller homes, but also much more functional.   Back in the day, there were no ADA compliance standards that we take for granted now.  However, these standards were/are applicable in the commercial setting for the public.   As primarily a commercial designer now working on the residential side of design, I believe that commercial standards will move into our homes.

By this I mean in particular the functionality of the kitchen and bath.  New residences will include the means for accessibility for those who may have physical limitations.  New residences will be adaptive for the way people live and take into account that people will not move as often…what is known as aging in place.  There is no reason that a beautiful home cannot also be functional and adaptive.  That is exactly what exists currently in the commercial field.

However, not all of us will be able to move into new homes, so retrofitting existing homes for our evolving lifestyles is the biggest trend on the horizon currently.

That said, I have been impressed with the Poresta Slot floor-level shower system.

Poresta Slot designed by Illbruck

Looking closely, you can see that the drainage is along the back wall.  This is one of those things that you look at and think, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Additionally, notice that the floor is continuous (and any flooring can be used for this system) so there is no lip–easy accessibility.   And easy clean up.  Which is another fast approaching trend:  Smart Houses and Clean Houses.  We have the technology to making cleaning and maintenance a whole lot easier and the technology to make homes technologically supportive.

Lastly, notice the design.  It is simple and beautiful.  It is simply great design.

I will be posting on 2011 trends for the next several days, specifically in the area of functional homes.

Posted by: cindylewton | February 14, 2011

Window Dressings

The book, Windows at Bergdorf Goodman, came out over the holidays and of course I love it!  As you can see from my tablescape posted previously, I believe there are times when more is always better, and Bergdorf Goodman takes it over the top like no other!

Photo by James Kelly

The following is a Bergdorf Goodman window staging from Autumn 2008:

Anthropologie, one of my favorite retail stores, was the award winner in the annual Winning Windows Manhattan holiday retail window competition with this display reminiscent of trees:

I love the creativity behind all of these!

Posted by: cindylewton | February 13, 2011

Autumn Tea Party

You’ve seen the progress…here are the results.   Autumn Tea Party features my version of the Mad Hatter standing on a hat box, tripping on a pumpkin/vine while pouring tea.  He has let go of the teapot which continues to pour mid air (thanks to Mr. Elle).  Enjoy! These first three pictures are taken with extra lighting and not really how it appeared in the evening: These next pictures were taken by Stephanie Meredith and you get more of a feel of the dining experience: I sculpted a teapot with a papier mache pumpkin base.  The teapot is pouring into a gourd I sculpted and painted to look like an oversized fruit/teacup. My daughter made the delicious sugar cookies, and Stephanie decorated them. A lot of details…there are plants/vines on the backs of the chairs, teapots and teacups throughout, peacock place mats and peacock feathers included in his hat, the napkins, the florals…   If you look closely, there is a vintage Alice in Wonderland book open on the Alice chair.  If you read my previous postings, you’ll know I invited Alice Cooper as my guest of honor since I wanted a real Alice to sit in the chair, but he was on tour.  😦  I even custom made a special invitation for him…I have pictures of it but I won’t post them.  I was on the line between a cool invitation and a totally kitschy one, and I’m still not sure which it was! By the way, that cool chair was loaned to me for the evening from Rustic Stuff.  They have the best furnishings and accessories!  They are in the Scottsdale Airpark area–be sure to go see them!  Paul and Paul are the owners, and they’re the best! My tablescape won for Most Whimsical–a very fun evening with proceeds benefiting Ryan House!

Posted by: cindylewton | February 5, 2011

Eat Me

My extraordinary daughter-in-law, Stephanie,  makes the most decadently delicious sugar cookies.  Pumpkins met Alice with words, “eat me.”

This event was sponsored by International Furnishings and Design Assoc. with proceeds benefiting Ryan House, a home that provides support to children with life-threatening illnesses in Phoenix, AZ.

Posted by: cindylewton | February 4, 2011

Start with a Mannequin…

I entered a tablescape competition.  The idea was to create an over-the-top table design (because of course it had to be attention getting!) and any theme the designer chose.  And it had to seat 10 (who actually dine at the table).    Do you know how hard it is for a designer to pick a theme?  So I went with my very favorite story, Alice in Wonderland.  But I  wanted it to be my own interpretation and settled on “Autumn Tea Party” as the theme (since it was held in October).    And I decided I had to have the Mad Hatter serving tea.  So I needed a Mad Hatter.  Thus, the mannequin.

9-year-old size mannequin

The mannequin was the centerpiece of the table.  So how to make the mannequin look like my version of the Mad Hatter…

Well, the mannequin is fabric covered and bendable (though it took two people to create bends).   I decide I need to sculpt a face and I can’t sculpt on fabric so I need a hard plastic mask like this:

hard plastic mask

Then I became serious about gathering supplies.  I needed clothes, so I designed a costume.  Then I had to find fabrics for the costume and decided to use peacock feathers in the theme.

And, of course, teapots…

And flowers and pumpkins and an Alice chair.  Then I decided I needed a real Alice to sit in the Alice chair, so I invited Alice Cooper to be my guest (oh yes, I really did), but as it turns out, he was on tour with Rob Zombie and couldn’t make it (my daughter was incredulous that I didn’t know Alice and Rob were on tour and there was a time in bygone days when I would have known that, but not anymore).  So I placed an open vintage Alice in Wonderland book on the chair seat so it would appear she/he just stepped away.

So as it progressed, I decided that my Mad Hatter had to be pouring tea, but tripping on the pumpkin vines around his feet and falling forward.  Then he had to have dropped his teapot, but it would continue pouring (after all, I was entering the Most Whimsical category).   I had even more grandiose ideas, but I realized I would be lucky to pull this off so I scaled back.  My son complains that I come up with wonderful ideas that become  a project for him.  But not this time!  This time I recruited my husband to make the teapot suspend mid air and continue pouring.

Here is the Mad Hatter’s face I sculpted and painted on the hard plastic mask:

Mad Hatter

And the Mad Hatter needed a Hat, so I found a stovepipe leather hat.  But I will tell more about that tomorrow.

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