Thursday, December 4, 2014

Table Manners

I came across a copy of Tiffany's Table Manners for Teenagers the other day.  During my tenure at Tiffany in NYC, it was always a classic and popular holiday gift.  It was originally published in 1961 and is perhaps even more relevant today for children of all ages.  Have you been out for dinner lately?


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing all of our friends and family south of the border a Happy Thanksgiving.  Watching the Macy's parade right now and thinking of New York City.  If you decided not to cook on Thursday November 30, 1899, this is what was being offered up at the Plaza.  One of the many esoteric delicacies was Coquille of terrapin, Baltimore style.  You could also have it Maryland, Philadelphia or Plaza style.  Turtle.  Enjoy your turkeys!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Michael Thomas Update

Thanks to everyone who has been in touch over the past couple of months to inquire about a new store opening, ask about art and merchandise, or just to say hello.  It's hard to believe that it has already been almost three months since we left Port Hope.  We are really enjoying our new city and our new home and have been actively on the lookout for a space for Michael Thomas, Hamilton.  While we haven't secured a space yet, we have narrowed the search and hope to report back soon with a new address.  If you would like to keep up on what's happening, please enter your email address to sign up for updates and notices of current postings.  While we aren't adding any product postings until we have a storefront, we will be posting things that we hope are of interest to you.  With a little extra leisure time on our hands, when not working on our home or searching for a space, there have been some interesting discoveries.  I have shared a few over the last couple of months and here is another from this past week to check out.

"Finding Vivian Maier" is a fascinating documentary about Vivian Maier who was a nanny and a street photographer.  After she died in 2009, items in her storage facility were auctioned off to settle unpaid bills.  She left boxes and boxes of undeveloped negatives that were purchased by the maker of the documentary, John Maloof.  What he discovered is extraordinary, and the film reads like a cross between "Gray Gardens" and the doc. on N.Y. Times photographer Bill Cunningham.  If you click on the link below, it will take you to a P.B.S. page where you can download the whole documentary.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Ambitious City

I came across this video and found it beautifully done, moving and worth a share.  It speaks to the heart here in the "Ambitious City".  

Monday, October 13, 2014

The 'Wright' Stuff

This week's discoveries and inspiration.....

Inspired by our visit to Fallingwater, we decided to shuffle off to Buffalo, and the vicinity, for the long weekend to explore two more Frank Lloyd Wright homes.  Both homes were built for the Darwin Martin family.  The Darwin Martin House Complex in Buffalo was completed in 1905 and is arguably the best example of Prairie style architecture in the Eastern U.S.  Wright referred to it as his "opus" for fifty years after it was built.  The other house, Graycliff, was designed  for Martin's wife Isabelle and completed in 1931.  Graycliff, the Martin's country house, is located about a half hour south of Buffalo in Derby, NY and overlooks Lake Erie.  Through their professional collaboration, Wright and Darwin Martin developed a close personal friendship over the years and Martin was responsible for sending considerable business in the Wright direction.  Wright's commission for the Larkin Administration Building, which was his first commercial project, was heavily influenced by Martin who was secretary of the Larkin Soap Company at the time.  The state-of-the-art Larkin Building was designed in 1904 and utilized steel frame construction, was fully air conditioned, and featured many other innovations such as built-in desk furniture.  It seems incomprehensible that the building, which still holds an important place in American Architectural History, was allowed to be demolished in 1950.  Fortunately both Martin homes were saved and have undergone, and are still undergoing, significant conservation.

Darwin Martin House Complex, Buffalo, NY

Original interior photos 

Graycliff, Derby, NY

Original interior photo

View of Canada and Buffalo across Lake Erie

Original tower to the lake (missing original bridge from the property to the tower)

Don't forget to visit the gift shop at Graycliff

Larkin Administration Building 

If you decide to visit one or both of the Frank Lloyd Wright homes in the Buffalo area, the Masters of American Architecture guided tour in downtown Buffalo is ninety minutes well spent.  Included in the tour are Louis Sullivan's masterwork, Guaranty Building, Richard Upjohn's St. Paul's Cathedral and Daniel Burnham's Ellicott Square Building.  After the guided tour we discovered quite a few gems on our own including John J. Wade's Art Deco City Hall Building, One M&T Plaza designed by Minoru Yamasaki who also designed the World Trade Center in NYC, and Alfred Bossom's Liberty Building.

Guaranty Building

St. Paul's Cathedral

Tiffany Stained Glass Window

Ellicott Square Building

First Floor Dining Room c. 1915

St. Joseph's Cathedral

City Hall

One M&T Plaza

Liberty Building

For unique lodging when visiting Buffalo, we recommend the Roycroft Inn.  The inn is located in East Aurora, NY, a very picturesque, historic small town which is a short drive from Buffalo. The Roycroft Inn was originally part of the Roycroft Campus of artisans founded by Elbert Hubbard.  Hubbard started the Arts and Crafts Movement in East Aurora, NY and the inn and campus are filled with furniture, murals, decorative accessories and ephemera of the period.  You don't have to leave the inn for dinner.  The food and atmosphere in the dining room are both great.

Save some time to visit the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.  It's a little jewel box of a gallery with a wonderful collection of modern art.  After Rothko, Klee and Picasso, take off your shoes and check out Lucas Samaras's 1966 "Mirrored Room".  

"Only God Knows I'm Good"