Earlier this week I went to an event at Epoxy Green featuring the latest in fully electric cars and product displays of materials that rival anything available at Ann Sacks. Sasha, the owner, has really nailed "glamorous green". My favorite was the collection of pearly laminates that are applied as tile. It reminded me of the sublime Maya Romanoff wallcover introduced at Donghia a few years back- only it's eco friendly, made of recycled content. I also liked the bamboo wall tile, applied horizontally with a chocolately grout, featuring the material in an entirely new light- mod and sultry. I've been weary about using bamboo because it's become known as "a cheap flooring solution" . Haven't seen a comeback this noteworthy since John Travolta in Pulp Fiction. In the "I'm not sure if I like it, but it sure is interesting category" was Richlite's recycled paper counter tops. In a word -unbelievable. How can paper be durable enough for a counter top. They claim it can. Has anyone used it? I'd love to know. Also impressive were two of the fully electric cars on the front patio. Although pretty to see, Tesla models run at about $150,000... not really a solution for most of us. But there was a BMWish looking model with a $30,000 price tag (after the gov rebate of $10Gs) , evidence that we are getting closer to ending dependence on fossil fuels for transportation. Later I headed over to Santa Monica Place to see what ripping off the roof would do to the shopping center. My first high school job was in this mall (at the GAP) and it was always dark, dreary and cramped. Post remodel and sans roof: I witnessed loads of natural light and an abundance of fresh, ocean air, green roof tops, a showcase of recycled fashions from Otis students and plenty of people from the community and beyond enjoying the open air space and comfortable seating next to a fountain in the courtyard. In a word- wow.
For years I've been getting calls and emails from around the world asking..."where can I buy this (lamp, rug, throw, pillow, chair, sofa, etc) that I saw in your design. I've also received thousands of inquiries from people asking how they can make their rooms look like the ones I've designed. When I tell someone what is involved (especially the fees) in putting these rooms together, the average person, understandably, is less than willing to commit. So after decades of reading fashion magazines', "get the look" sections, a light went off. I'll offer "get the look" for people who love high design without the high end fees. In the Lori Dennis Shop you can instantly find the treasures that took me an entire career to locate. Everyone who has seen the shop, loves it and People magazine recently featured our sheep throw. Some of my favorite items are the beeswax candles, which are eco-friendly, 100% beeswax, long burning candles that contain no artificial dyes or fragrances and are made in the USA. Sweet, light honey smells fill the air and the wicks contain no metal or lead. Since the weather is so nice, I am also loving the outdoor furniture, especially the Maui Bed. There is nothing like getting some fresh air and lounging while returning work emails! If you have some time, check it out, I'm sure there's something you'll love.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a designer series lecture at the Pacific Design Center. AD 100 and Interior Design Hall of Famer Juan Montoya spent an hour dazzling us with images of his work and insider info on how he does what he does so well. Anytime I have the opportunity to listen to a person who is this successful, I take it. Mr. Montoya is in his 70s and is going strong after decades due to his common sense approach and passion for interior design and architecture. One of the things I love so much about being an interior designer, is that if you’re good, you get better with age- like a fine wine. It was reassuring to hear someone I hold in such high esteem, espouse the same principle that I hold dear- a green approach to design. No he didn’t use the words “sustainable” or “eco-friendly” or “green” but he practices these things none the less. In most of his designs he uses furniture, art and accessories from the 20s, 30s and 40s, some of my favorites being Jean Michele Frank and Jacques Rhulmann. (This one is actually one of my projects, but it's a Rhulmann table and chairs in the Frederick Lowe Estate.) He rarely uses carpets and instead creates design in a hard (more easily cleaned and longer lasting) surfaces. He is well known for his liberal use of exquiste veneer on columns, walls, ceilings- but always prefers to restore what is there vs. ripping it out and installing new. And the greenest of all is his attitude, his very best advice being to smile a lot.