29 September, 2015

"Stag. Party . . . "


There is very little as iconic as the silhouette of a proud stag against the rugged backdrop of the Scottish highlands.  I've seen this classic image played out in paintings, film stills, and marvelous poetry.

"Reaching a clearing with flakes blowing wild,
stopped to watch the proud beast on the brae.
His deep red coat and antlers full grown,
the Monarch reigns, despite this cold day."
- a poem by LittleMoon

As I began the craft the textile collection for SMW Home - I felt the I needed to expand the patterns well beyond a parade of tartans (as one cannot live by tartan alone!) and include some jaunty damasks as well.

So . . . *drumroll* . . . I'm delighted to introduce "Stag's Leap" as a part of the SMW Home textile collection!  And in some very sassy colours too -


Stop by and have a look at our entire collection of textiles - and enjoy a wee bit of the scottish highlands for yourself-


25 September, 2015

"Inspiration Point - Nick Olsen . . . "

Nick Olsen for Veranda Magazine.
(photography by Melanie Acevedo)

Greetings -

When one looks for inspiration - one can usually frolic through the lovely (and at times incredibly dramatic) work of my buddy Nick Olsen.  Maybe it's because of the microscopic flurry of Fall in the air here in San Francisco - but, this image - practically bursting with Spring - has been on my mind this week.


22 September, 2015

"Blackwatch Tartan - Then and Now . . . "

 James Norton - looking resplendent in a Blackwatch Tartan 
dinner jacket from Hackett on London.


When one thinks of classic Scottish tartans - the ever-present Blackwatch pattern almost always springs to mind.  But, it's history could be considered a bit more English than it is Scottish. 

Just after the Jacobite uprising in 1715 - the English government was having a hard time keeping those rowdy Scottish in line. And they were also having an issue with keeping a standing army in Scotland to keep those aforementioned rowdy Scotsmen in line.  

So "The Night Watch" was created.  

Therefore, Independent Highland Companies(of what would be known as the "Black Watch") 
were raised as a militia in 1725 by General George Wade to keep "watch" for crime. 
He was commissioned to build a network of roads to help in the task. 
The six Independent Highland Companies were recruited from local clans, 
with one company coming from Clan Munro, one from Clan Fraser, one from Clan Grant, 
and three from Clan Campbell. These companies were commonly known as 
Am Freiceadan Dubh, or the Black Watch, this name may well have been 
due to the way they dressed. Four more companies were added in 
1739 to make a total of ten Independent Highland Companies.

 In 1793 George III asked the Duke of Argyll to raise a regiment. Argyll delegated that 
task to Duncan Campbell of Lochnell and in July of the following year the 98th 
Argyllshire Highlanders (later 91st) were founded. Lochnell garbed the regiment 
in the tartan which the Campbells by then thought of as their own 
- the Government Tartan.
In 1800 Major-General William Wemyss (a cousin of the Countess Elizabeth) raised 
the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders. The regimental tartan, though called "Sutherland" 
was in reality the Government Tartan (as confirmed by Wilson's records).
The Government Tartan was worn widely by Highland military units and it became 
the basis of regimental tartans such as the Seaforth Highlanders (with red and white 
over stripes), the Gordon Highlanders (with yellow over stripes), and a number 
of Fencible regiments. It is believed that the adoption of these patterns as 
Clan Tartans by, for example, MacKenzies, Gordons, Grants, 
Munros and Sutherlands, arose from the military association.

When I was first researching tartans for my own collection of textiles for Scot Meacham Wood Home - I knew I had to include Blackwatch as part of the mix.  In many ways, I've always thought of this classic pattern as a neutral - because it works with everything . . . . 

100% Wool - milled in Scotland  

 SMWH's marvelous new 

The ever-lovely Kate - in an Alexander McQueen Blackwatch coat. 

from SMW Home

 SMWH's Pair of pillows featuring

Another classic Blactwatch Tartan dinner jacket -
this time from Gant.

and a VERY sneak preview of
SMWH's Inverness Tufted Sofa in Blackwatch Tartan
(launching later this Fall!) 


21 September, 2015

"Tartan and Tea - with SMW Home . . . "


If you're happen to be in the San Francisco Bay Area this week - make plans to stop by and help me celebrate our new partnership with HEWN (101 Henry Adams #480, SF) as we premiere our collection of textiles for Scot Meacham Wood Home.  We're serving tea and nibbles - and I'll share a bit of the history of my collection - including a few of the original samples that we created in Scotland last fall.

"At Tartan & Tea, attendees can browse SMW Home’s fabrics and mingle 
 with the designer over tea at HEWN’s San Francisco Showroom. 
The collection--inspired by the designer’s Southern heritage and 
penchant for traditional Scottish textiles--highlights tartan, a pattern 
that has become synonymous with Scot’s design identity. 
Although drawn from tradition, the tartans play with fresh color and 
scale to suit today’s modern home. Beyond the fabric collection, 
SMW Home features trimmings, hand-selected antiques, 
one-of-a-kind pieces and home accessories."

We're gathering RSVPs here.  And I hope to see y'all there!


18 September, 2015

"Ralph Lauren Spring 2016 . . . "


We're going to have a bit of a Sunday Runway on Friday this week . . . since . . . well . . . because it's fashion week - and sometimes things can't hold until Sunday.

Ralph hit the runway Thursday morning awash in nautical themes and classic ladies looks for Spring of 2016.   It's territory that I think we've seen before from the runways of Ralph Lauren - but, much like a well-worn and well-loved pair of trousers - sometimes there's a excitement about finding the 'expected' on the runway.

Still - the styling is VERY on point - and incredibly wearable.  And chic.  And luxurious. 

Welcome aboard the U.S.R.L. . . . .

"The seafaring theme was particularly hard to miss in a series of 
looks in a super-bold, geometric sail print.  A color-blocked sleeveless jumpsuit had the 
graphic punch of nautical flags. Clingy knit dresses that took cues from athletic 
swimsuits looked like they’d be fun to wear—in particular, the evening versions 
with their sexy, strappy backs. And who doesn’t love a striped knit? 
Speaking of stripes, the stars of the show were the evening dresses 
in cotton broadcloth shirting fabric: 
haute silhouettes in a humble fabric." 
-Nicole Phelps, Vogue.com

perfect, chic American sportswear . . . 


17 September, 2015

"Inspiration Point - Ward Denton . . . "

The home of Ward Denton and Christopher Gardner
from Elle Decor 2002


You know that silly thing that happens right after a really good first date.  When it's just the flurry of excitement - and you already know what you're going to name the dog that you're going to get as a couple.  

Well, it happens in design too. 

We're just starting a new project - and we've barely even had a proper meeting.  But, my mind is already racing with ideas.  And almost immediately - this bedroom from Ward Denton jumped to mind.  

Reserved.  Detailed.  Gentlemanly.  


15 September, 2015

"A Victorian Tartanware Mystery . . . "

Greetings -

I mean, I guess we could play an extended version of "guess what this is. . . " in the comment section.  But, since the solution is a wee bit clouded in mystery - we would never know which of you had come up with the correct answer.

So let's start with some facts.  It was made in Scotland in the mid-to-late 1800's.  It is marked with "McPherson" to signify the tartan in which it is covered.  It is approximately 3 inches tall.  Its diameter is approximately 1 3/4 inches.  It opens.  And it has a small receptacle on its top.

Well - there are actually two common answers to its name and use.  And I find both madly romantic.

"Since matches were essential to the Victorian home, makers 
assembled a wide assortment of match containers. Some were no more 
than novelty matchboxes serving no additional purpose, while others 
incorporated a bone holder for an individual match. 
Called "go to beds," this type could serve as a candle 
providing light just long enough to get into bed. 
Often their true purpose, however, was to melt 
sealing wax without burning the fingers."
from here

So whether you need to scurry across a darkened room to your canopy bed - guided by the light of a single candle - or just need to seal love letters from prying eyes - you are all set. 

Visit our complete collection of Victorian Tartanware at SMW Home.  We charge shipping - but, all the romance is included at no cost!


14 September, 2015

"Thank You Traditional Home . . . "


The scene is fairly easy to imagine.  I'm racing through the airport in Dallas, TX to make my final connection to get back to San Francisco on Friday evening - but, I also have a HUGE errand weighing on my mind.  I *know* the new issue of Traditional Home has hit the newsstands - and I recall that our showcase house from last Fall is slated to be included in the issue.

Well.  Missed flight be damned.  I'm stopping to see if I can find a copy of the new issue. 

And - y'all - what an issue it is.

But - first.  I trip down memory lane.

This was our showcase room last fall - The Dark and Stormy Study as we liked to call it.

"In the Cheese Barn living room, exposed rafters reminded designer 
Scot Meacham Wood of a ship’s hull, sparking in his imagination 
the story of a retired sea captain who craved a dark and stormy 
retreat away from the main house."

I wanted to create a space that was intentionally private.  A gentlemen's retreat.  But, keeping with the rustic ambiance of the existing space.  Besides simply experimenting within the confines of the space - I also wanted to play with the styling of the room - and offer myself a wee challenge.  I'm very often known for my lush, layered spaces - but, I wanted this room to feel much more reserved.  More spare.  Well-traveled but, incredibly edited.  As though my gentlemen captain had gathered items from his time as sea - but, only very special pieces.  I've done a few yachts in my time - and they sea-going vessels are not known for their generous storage.  Even as we were finalizing the work orders for the project - someone in my office actually said out loud, "This can't be right - there are only 5 pillows?"  

Textiles from Ralph Lauren Home and Kravet were the perfect accompaniment to my maritime idea - as were a lovely collection of pieces from Garden Court Antiques and Antique and Art Exchange - two of my regular haunts here in San Francisco.  Where else would you find a ship model almost 8 feet tall?  And the Bunny Williams table lighting was a sly nod to imported blue/white porcelain - but, with a much more modern point of view. 

The real drama happened on the walls.  I loved the combination of Cole & Sons "Nuvolette" wallpaper contrasted with the work of local artist Daniel Tousignant.  The modern painting almost turned into another window - but, looking out onto a hyper-realized cloudscape amongst the stormy walls.  

“To me, the design of the paper recalled maps from the early 1800s. It’s the perfect background for some of the more modern pieces, such as Daniel Tousignant’s "Big Sky" painting,” Wood says. He finished the room by layering in antiques that speak to tales of maritime history.
- from Traditional Home 

Keep an eye out for the October issue of Traditional Home - and enjoy showcase tours from the east and west coast!  

05 September, 2015

"Wrapping up the Week . . . "


It happens every year.  It happened just the other night.  After the long summer months - we finally needed to add an extra layer of warmth when we turned in for bed.  Just something light - but, still a wee extra bit of warmth for the night.  We just received a marvelous new collection of tartan cashmere and lambswool throws at SMW Home - if you're feeling as chilly as I am - swing by over the weekend and take a look . . . 

Scot Meacham Wood Home's Augustus Tartan Throw
in lambswool and angora.

SMW Design - Dining by Design 2009

Scot Meacham Wood Home's new 100% cashmere

SMW Home's Tain Tartan Throw in
Lambswool and Angora

Keeping warm,

03 September, 2015

"Inspiration Point - Jonathan Vickers . . . "


Just in case you were wondering after last week's posting . . . I'm STILL obsessed with adding some jaunty English ginghams and checks to my place.  And what could be more inspiring than this delightful kitchen from Jonathan Vickers . . . clearly his time at Colefax Fowler was well spent!


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