A White Washing Weekend / Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

After an unforgettable trip to the Barefoot Kitchen in Cornwall, England this October, I fell in love with the family & the paint they used all over their gorgeous abode on the cliffs. A chalk paint with wonderful colors - with a beautiful milky matte finish. Annie Sloan makes the most marvelous paints, no priming or sanding needed. Buy the paint here if you live in America (Patty is very lovely & helpful if you have questions, ships next day!) and see below for my white washing instructions.

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I've always loved white washed floors, and our dark wood floors were hiding all my beautiful walnut furniture. One weekend, I decided it had to happen, I would figure it out. We live in a small Brooklyn apt with 2 large rooms - a doable task solo, although company always makes it better, while you watch paint dry, stuck in the corner.

1. Take a quart of the Old White Annie Sloan and make two quarts - 1/2 paint, 1/2 water. (1 can = about 300 sq.ft.) 

2. Roll one coat of paint on, let dry for 2-3 hours and roll on another coat. Make sure the white wash consistency seems even all over. Paint should be diluted enough so you can see crack and some grain. Yup, no sanding needed!

3. After the 2 coats dry, take steel wool and sand down a few distressed areas, so floors appears worn & old.

4. Sweep up paint dust, then roll on 2 coats of Annie Sloan Floor Lacquer (or clear satin finish polyurethane if you forgot to buy the lacquer)

5. Let lacquer dry for overnight (at least 12 hours).

Video #2: The Sporting Project presents The Fat Radish in Paris

The Sporting Project Video 2 is finally complete - What an amazing trip & experience that was. As you'll see in the video - By day, I was shooting all around Paris following the boys from The Fat Radish to the food & antique markets and By night, we set up The Family Band (Paddy was flown over!) on the street outside the pop-up - lights, props & all. As you will see on the Family Band site, it was quite a set up - even the cops commented as they passed by our illegal street set up "Désolé, Les Artistes".

Paris was then followed by a few days to relax & surf in Guethary near Biarritz. It was a truly unforgettable trip to France.

Be sure to watch out for The Sporting Project's next Paris pop-up happening this weekend with Hudson Clearwater. We'll see if they can live up to The Fat Radish, lots of pressure after the amazing success of the September pop-up. However, The Sporting Project are hard working girls with fantastic taste, so it will be exceptional I know. Those of you lucky ducks in Paris this weekend, make your reservations now before they are all gone. Video 3 coming soon... this time focusing on Hudson Clearwater's Live Music skills & unique cocktails.

A Crown Heights Campsite with Anna Wolf

My good friend and very talented photographer Anna Wolf asked me to collaborate with her this fall to create the perfect backyard dinner party in the middle of Brooklyn. I wanted to create a campsite in the middle of Crown Heights complete with a kilim fabric lean-to, vintage ferry lights, beautiful dining table & fire pit for roasting marshmallows. Beautiful rosemary cocktails & fresh grilled fish were some of the highlights. Special thank you to our amazing chef from Communal Table, Caroline, who is also an amazing illustrator.

 

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Big Love & Thank You to Holly, Amber, Val, Alex, Lizzie, Peter, Kathryn, Kim, Alex F, Brad, Laird, Joey & Benj xxx

FRANCE - Paris & Guethary

This past September, I was hired to make another video for my friends at The Sporting Project. They had finally made their move out to Paris, so I followed them along for a good week capturing their first pop-up restaurant venture with The Fat Radish, which was done in Bob's Kitchen in the Marais district. What a magical week it was, and beautiful collaborations. The Sporting Project also flew out The Family Band as entertainment on the street outside the pop-up. It got pretty wild, you can see the Paris photos on our site. 

What a successful week it was - the video will be up soon!

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After Paris, Benj and I decided to go to the southwest of France - a place Benj has told me about for years. He briefly went to school there as a young lad and has always wanted to return to. After quite an adventure, we discovered the tiny Basque town of Guethary, 10 miles from Biarritz. We found a beautiful little abode on the beach (owned by our new friends Cedric & Ai Behr) and spent the next week in total bliss - surf out our front door, beautiful Pyrenees hikes 30 minutes away, and fresh fish at our local favorite Cafe Madrid.

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The Queens Jubilee Poolside - Soho House, NYC

For the Queen's Diamond Jubilee this year, Silkstone hired me to decorate the Soho House NY for a rooftop pool party. Union jack bunting & classic British candies adorned the bar & tables while guests wore British guard costumes & paper hats. We even projected a massive photo of the Queen in a bikini over the pool.

We even got a nice little write up the next day in Interview Magazine.

Unforgettable Patagonia

 

A trip like this must be mentioned. For Christmas, Benj gave me a trip to Patagonia, an area of the world I've dreamt of visiting since I was 15. The dream was heightened after watching this amazing documentary 180 degrees South. We explored purely the Chilean side of Patagonia, and it was unreal - from hiking through rain forests in the North where we drank from the rivers, to sliding on glaciers in the South where we slept in domes. The stories are endless.

     

A top highlight of the trip was visiting Douglas Tomkins', founder of The North Face, Chilean national park - Parque Pumalin. This was perhaps the most beautiful park I've ever seen, exceptionally cared for and preaching a beautiful message - Deep Ecology, a foundation of Mr. Tomkins' as well. We slept in beautifully designed cabanas on the water with hiking trails out our back door. Next to the fire, we ate amazing homemade meals from the local farms by our two gorgeous hosts in the main cafe, Andres & Ingrid.

          

We then flew down south to the famous Torres del Paine National Park. Since the park was closing the following week for winter, we decided to hire a guide and tour through. We slept in domes at EcoCamp, perhaps the most amazing camp you'll ever visit - from all organic delicious food to the most hospitable hosts. We hiked about 20K per day for 5 days through breathtaking terrain, filling our bottles with real glacier water by day & local Chilean wines by night. What an adventure, I cannot wait to return.

The Family Band Traveling Photo Booth - New York Public Library

In April,  The Family Band Traveling Photo Booth was asked to do another gig - this time at the New York Public Library. Silkstone created a beautiful event complete with foods from Around The World. With this theme, we created perhaps my favorite photo booth gig yet. With an amazing venue rich in history & architecture, we had some real fun with the props.    

and this man was my favorite - just strolled up for a solo shot for his grandson...

and as we always do with each gig, here is a photo of us, The Family Band, in our set.

The Rainbow Room - A Very Secret Dressing Room Bar in Times Square

This April, Silkstone hired me to create a secret backstage room at the Belasco Theater in Times Square for the new broadway show End of the Rainbow. The star, Tracie Bennett, who plays Ms. Judy Garland, uses the room to entertain & relax before & after each show. After a lot of Garland research, I took inspiration from Palm Springs design in the 50's, as seen in past Garland plays like A Star Is Born.      

Anything fancy backstage is quite uncommon in the world of Theater. See the photos of the room before - it was a janitors closet with a world record of conduit pipes.

  

Her hit song in A Star Is Born, "Born In A Trunk" inspired our centerpiece - the bar. I found a 1920's steamer trunk upstate, along with some reclaimed wood as siding for the support piece. My fabricator David helped me to repurpose the antique trunk into a stocked bar - complete with shelves for glasses & bottles, drawers for ice, bar tools & citrus, and even a built-in cutting board.

    

    

Knowing Ms. Bennett would be entertaining guests in the room, I instantly thought of this famous backdrop in A Star Is Born. With the help of Taylor from Fox Fodder Farm, we created a floral photo wall, where Ms. Bennett could pose with her VIP guests.

  

    

The Rainbow Room continues to be a great success - we even made Wall Street Journal's New York Photos of the WeekNY Post page six and on to Taxi TV.

But along with the success of the room, Tracie's unbelievable performance will have you floored. I could not take my eyes off of her. A must see for all you theater and Garland lovers!

The Fat Radish - Front Redesign

This winter, Phil from The Fat Radish hired me to redesign the front of his restaurant. The front was originally a coffee and juice bar, but he wanted to fill it with people at lunch and dinner. Seeing that The Fat Radish is English-themed with a bit of adventure, I took inspiration from the classic English dresser with a mix of an explorer's den, shown by the props in the cabinets - old tools, a vintage camera, antique trophies & headphones, paintbrushes & bottles of whiskey. I also created a drinks rail & large world map to finish the set.

We built a chef-height table for 6 out of oak & pickled it. Then painted the simple stools a chalky grey paint. I chose chalky/milky paints for the dresser & drinks rail as well, continuing with that country English feel.

Before:

  

I've really enjoyed making these leather handles and loops for various jobs. They are very easy to create and get better looking the more they're used. Also inexpensive - get leather scraps from your local fabric shop and make cuts with a simple blade & straight edge. Secure with brass screws or roofing nails.

  

Moonrise Kingdom International Poster Decoration - A Shotgun Post

Seeing as our movie comes out tomorrow, no more posting procrastinating, shot gun post!

Adam Stockhausen, Moonrise Kingdom's designer, called me in early February and asked me to dress the set for the international poster. After a few days of collecting all of the props and various set pieces, we were ready to shoot at Milk! I spray painted that grass with yellow paint to give it that neon green look and went through about 17 lettering options for that held felt sign. Love how it came out!

We had quite a fun day... Fran is the sweetest, and Bill will crack you up all day. Also, that dog was crazy impressive. Here are a few shots from set.

There are quite a few MK posters going around (heres where you can buy em) These two are my favorites...

  

Also, I was sent this by a friend the other day... forgot we had shot this. What a hilarious night on set, that's me at 2:16.

Hope you all enjoy the film!

p.s. After this holiday weekend, I plan to fully update from the past 4 months. Expect a Family Band photo booth for BBC, Rainbow Rooms for  Judy Garland, restaurant openings & redesign projects and a trip to Patagonia! It's been an amazing year so far xx

Krug in NYC

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/31919092] This is a bit of a late post, but I wanted to show a video I shot for Krug Champagne this fall, commissioned by Silkstone & edited by their talented digital tech Stephen Lang. I followed the wonderful people from Krug around NYC for a week creating their adventure called Krug On The Field. From tea time at the Plaza, fashion shows on the roof of the Mondrian, to a beautiful award ceremony for a world famous sommelier; what an amazing week we had. And icing on the cake - the amount I learned about champagne that week!

an English New Years

Three days before the new year, Ben & I decided to fly to England to visit his granny, Polly. Nothing better than a spontaneous trip, especially to the English countryside, a place I've always wanted to see. I lived a summer in London taking classes at Central St. Martins 3 years ago, but never ventured out of the city.

7am we landed at Heathrow, 7:30am we were in a very small car driving west. On the way, we stopped for a map, a proper English breakfast & fruit cake at Polly Tea Rooms, and the now-roped-off Stonehenge (shame... but still cool). Three hours later, we pulled up to Polly's beautiful farm in Somerset, Urchinwood Manor - complete with horses, geese, sheep, 4 sprightly dogs, Ben's uncle Pete racing on his tractor and his aunt, Sally Hall, a world class endurance rider and hell of a cook.

We had four amazing days of walks in wellies, pints at the local pub (from 16th century!), champagne cocktails, counting sheep, lots of tea, butter, cheese & ham and fireworks at midnight!                                    2012 is going to be a great year, I know it.

   

   

The Wren

This past November & December, I helped decorate & source for The Wren, a new restaurant by the same guys from Wilfie & Nell that just opened. It's a beautiful space on Bowery and a fresh look for an Irish Pub. Be sure to get down there for a pint or Guinness braised steak & stilton pie. And look at the illustrations on the walls, they're thanks to the beautiful children's book illustrator, Oliver Jeffers.

The Family Band Traveling Photo Booth - Bullett Magazine party

For Bullett Magazine's 1 year anniversary party, Silkstone hired The Family Band again for our famous traveling family photo booth. This time our theme was magical wilderness! So I ran to the flower district again for butterflies, birds, nests, feathers & lots of flowers to make headdresses... For the boys props, I wanted rifles, coonskin caps & lots of skins. I wanted the guests to feel like they were stepping up into an old school tree house - so I grabbed a massive tree trunk & lots of branches. I hung vintage lanterns with candles, a birdcage with birds and set up a little wooden table & chair. Paddy manned the polaroid camera and captured the night beautifully... what an evening we had.   

Here's a shot emailed to me the next day by a very hilarious guest

And a shot from the very end of the night, loved these guys so much.

With the genius work of Brenton Wolf, the beautiful venue Angel Orensanz on Norfolk street was transformed into an enchanted forest complete with trees, large vines and an entire bar covered in moss. Watch this cool little video Silkstone did of all of us setting up...

And one of my favorite shots of the set up - my good friend and amazing fabricator, Joey Lasagna

Sometimes the shopping / set up process of a job is just as fun. Here are a few shots of my adventures in the flower district - those succulents are fake! And so is the moss. Oh man, that wall of ribbons was a tough one.

Christmas comes & goes

Well, well, the holidays were very exciting for me this year - after Thanksgiving it was non stop. With all the holiday decorating jobs, I was in the flower district practically every morning - double parking my truck Walker Texas, running in and coming back with 3 guys with their hands full of wreaths, garland & holly a plenty. Here are a few photos from the holiday decorations I did for Wilfie & Nell.