Off to a Bright Start

January 11, 2012


As I mentioned in an earlier post, The Urban Electric Company is hands-down my favorite lighting company. I first fell in love with the aesthetics of these lights in about 2004 or 2005. I loved that they felt familiar and fresh, nostalgic and modern, all at the same time. Timeless. Many of my personal favorites in the Urban Electric line are the work of Michael Amato, the company’s Creative Director. Soon after, I placed my first order and I swooned over the impeccable workmanship. For a gal who cares about stuff like clean welds, workmanship of this calibre is a really big deal.

Last April, I had the opportunity to tour the Urban Electric Company‘s workshop and corporate offices in Charleston. What a fantastic experience. All of their fixtures are bench made by hand by their artisans in Charleston. From the artist who creates the glass to the engineering staff to the craftsman who applies the metal finishes, the process is amazing. Even the way The Urban Electric Company packages their fixtures for shipping is a work of art. I’ve really never seen anything like it. And I won’t even get started telling you about the service at The Urban Electric Company.

I am so pleased to be featured in this month’s Eye on Design Blog by The Urban Electric Company. What an amazing way to kick off 2012!

Title: A conversation with Andrea May
Link: http://blog.urbanelectricco.com/the-blog/2012/1/6/a-conversation-with-andrea-may.html

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The Slow Life

December 18, 2011


Lately, I’ve been thinking about Slow Design.

Slow Design is to the home what Slow Food was to the plate.  Like the slow food movement, Slow Design is about choosing high quality, local, sustainable objects for the home in a more mindful way.

Might take a bit longer to source and receive these items because they aren’t plunked into an online shopping cart and mass-produced on the third shift overseas, but the wait and effort is definitely worthwhile.

Slow Design puts skilled artisans and craftspeople to work.  It has a smaller footprint.  It uses better materials.  It’s designed and built to endure.  It’s bespoke.  Detailed.  Heirloom quality.  And most of all, it has heart and soul.

In a sense, Slow Design is about authenticity.  And that’s what I want to bring to my projects.  Whether new, vintage, custom, high in price or low, I want to bring things that are real and lasting.

When I start a new job, I try to think “slow”.  What artisanally handcrafted, inheritable items can I offer my clients?

One of my favorite ways to do this is through lighting.  Sometimes, I use antique, “upcycled” or vintage fixtures.  This is the ultimate in slow, green design.  It takes time to find the perfect vintage “jewelry” and it’s great for the planet.

Often, I use the bench-made lighting from my friends at Charleston’s Urban Electric Company.  This lighting is timeless, modern, bespoke and handcrafted.  It’s the whole Slow package.  I’ll take you a on a blog tour of the Urban Electric Company soon.  I wish I could take you all there personally, but I promise to make it as vivid as I possibly can!

Crafsmen spent many painstaking hours on this beautiful wood ceiling. The least I could do was pick a great fixture. The scale and hand-finish of the Urban Electric Company's Gwenwood made it ideal for the space.

Another great way to personalize a space is with custom linens.  I like to design a custom border or monogram and the hands-down most wonderful linens are from Leontine Linens.  They’re hand stitched in the original 1930s work room in Kentucky.  (There’s another great story…..)

This, of course, doesn’t have to mean doing a whole set of custom bed linens.  Sometimes budget doesn’t allow for that, but I always like to sneak in a little custom something, like a few guest hand towels or a couple of boudoir shams .  I have my tricks–and I’ll share–as I continue to explore this Slow Life with you.

Custom Leontine Linens monogram and blanket cover with border.