Thursday, May 27, 2010

Shop Like a Design Blogger: Sanity Fair

Today's installment of the ongoing Shop Like a Design Blogger series is courtesy of Skyla from Sanity Fair. Skyla's blog was one of the first blogs I started reading and it has remained a favorite. Not only does Skyla have incredible style, but she's also a wonderful writer with a wicked sense of humor and a definite Southern sensibility. I thoroughly enjoy her educated, witty take on fashion, interiors and design.

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There are so many great stores to choose from (and so many that have already been ably covered here) that I've narrowed the list by choosing a theme: the unexpected. The stores I find myself frequenting are the ones that practice the old partial reinforcement technique we all learned about in high school psychology: they've surprised me once or twice, and I'm back looking for more. Since we're talking about shopping and not decorating, my list of favorites won't worry over pesky details like representing a variety of items or what sources are best for certain styles. Instead, this is a treasure map in the form of a list: follow the path to each place and you're sure to find something special.

VIVRE. If I were going to break into a warehouse (notice to the FBI and your humorless redactions: this is hypothetical) it would be the Vivre storehouses, which I imagine are rather something like the underground chamber in the movie National Treasure. After slipping past the wobbly bridge and flaming torches (which have been somehow magically burning for 100 years, just like in the movies), we'd find vast piles of Christofle sterling, Lalique vases, Hermes pillows, and Mesi Jilly jewelry. Or, you can just pony up with your American Express at and get the same goodies right now, sans sand and booby traps.

FAVORITES include this Marie Christophe chair, originally designed for Roger Vivier's show windows to display a new bag for Carla Bruni (how's that for pedigree?), loads of coral jewelry, and gold zebra bowls by Waylande Gregory Studios. And if you can't quite spring for Vivre prices? Go ahead and dream - the unexpected is inspiring.

ANTHROPOLOGIE. Anthropologie is the "all things to all people" of interior design, embracing everything from mid-century modern to eighteenth century French in one gasp. Quirky and unique, their stores are staged in venues that show off the wares in unexpected ways: beds with canopies of newspaper, knobs resting on piles of pebbles, necklaces held to cardboard displays with stick pins. They've endeared themselves to countless customers who rely on their unreliable style, and guaranteed that, whatever your taste, you'll find something to love.

FAVORITES are the hardware and kitchen items, which bring the element of the unexpected into mundane daily chores. Open your bathroom cabinets by pulling on a bronze hermit crab knob, or measure sugar for the morning cup of joe with seashells.

IOMOI. If a pattern maker and a monogram machine got married, they'd have Iomoi. Everything in the store is just waiting for a personal touch - monogrammed bags, match boxes, trays, stationary, and plates - and the patterns are as unique as your initials. Camels, monkeys, elephants, pagodas, tassels, and airplanes rendered in brilliant colors and smart styles cover every surface. The trouble with this store is decision-making; I'm almost paralyzed by the wonderful choices.

FAVORITES include home entertaining items like lucite-rimmed trays, matchboxes, and ice buckets. Your guests will never have seen anything like them!

WEST ELM. I've always loved West Elm, although to my surprise, when I looked about for my WE acquisitions, it was hard to tell. This store slipped onto the "unique" list because my favorite West Elm features are the soothing, neutral palette and trim graphic patterns - just what you need to showcase special finds. Their furniture is well-made, and lighter of heart (and weight) than most stores in the same price range; they avoid the mis-measurement issues of home stores such as Pottery Barn. With it's whale-size sofas and court-side coffee tables, PB seems to be laboring under the impression that it is decorating an actual barn.

FAVORITES on my list include the overlapping squares pattern (available in chairs, headboards, and daybeds), and the lacquer parsons pieces, which look smashing with a variety of decor styles.

TARGET. Target's offerings are as many-layered as the rings in its ubiquitous bullseye: where else are classic British prints (Liberty of London), lime-green mixers (KitchenAid), and bamboo handled brushes (Sonia Kashuk) going to co-exist under one roof? And all for a low, low price? Target's designer collaborations are proof that the only thing standing between a little money and a lot of taste is a touch of creativity.

FAVORITES: my Target acquisitions are generally of the unplanned, guilt-free variety. While you may not be passing your purchases on to the next generation (although, I would argue a few designer collaborations are so worthy), this is the place to shop for seasonal decor, such as beach and holidays, or accent pieces like trays, vases, and tableware. My motto for visiting Target is the same for visiting the pool: always do a lap. You never know what you'll find on the next aisle!

(KitchenAid mixer, Thomas O'Brien tray, Miss Trish of Capri sandals, Dwell Studio bedding, Liberty of London plate, Sonia Kashuk brush.)

I hope you found some new treasure here to inspire you - or were reminded of some special possession that brightens up your home. A big thank you to Averill for letting me participate in this very special series! It's a delight and an honor to be on Odi et Amo.

xoxo, Sanity Fair

Next Week's Guest Blogger: Laura from JourneyChic.


Marija said...

Sklya has great style. Not surprisingly, her list is terrific. A peek at Vivre is always inspiring and her choices are great. Same goes for Target - great choices (and still totally drool worthy though certainly more attainable!).

Fargerike Dagny said...

LOVE this series, so fun!! Totally puts me in a mood for shopping ;)


Laura@JourneyChic said...

What great suggestions! I can honestly say that I love everything - especially that tray from Target. I love the hardware at Anthro but when I went to buy some I noticed that it was incredibly oversized...but perhaps I wasn't looking in the right bin. Great stuff, Skyla!

Sanity Fair said...

THANKS! so much for letting me participate in this series Averill! I had so much fun!

Christy said...

As you know, I just love this series! I discovered Sanity Fair through your blog not too long ago, and I just love it. I'm totally inspired by her finds today - what a great guest post. I might return to Target to get those adorable seahorse sandals for Fiona this weekend!

spark! (Ada-Marie) said...

This is such an amazing series. I just realized that I have "starred" each of these posts in my reader! I love all of Skyla's sources -- thanks for the inspiration. Can't wait for the next installment!

Samantha said...

Nice roundup. And great writing - like reading a magazine.

Unknown said...

Love her blog and writing, great guest post! Also, just read your guest post over at Ashlina's, fabulous job! One of my fave six to bliss posts!

Unknown said...

So great, I want to own each and every single thing in this post!

Beach House Living said...

Well said! Love the part about breaking in. Now since a purchase at Vivre is being held ransom. A trip to Target for those Seahorse sandals will have to do.

Karena said...

Skyla did great and the tips are priceless. Love her choices!!

Thanks Averill for featuring her!

Art by Karena

Cristin // Simplified Bee said...

I just rec'd a pair of Miss Tish shoes from Target... very cute, but not that comfortable. Hmm. Do I just keep them? They were only $24!!!

Loved the post. Vivre is amazing I must agree.


Sarah Klassen said...

I just have to say... I adore Skyla, and her fabulous blog, and so, when I opened up the page, I was so so thrilled to find her guest post today :)

I enjoy so many great finds that she mentioned, and can't stop thinking about that great mirror from Vivre. Love this post!

Wishing you a wonderful weekend, Averill!

Unknown said...

what a lovely feature. i'm definitely going to take a spin through target and west elm's website now that she's reminded me :) off to check out her blog as well! i hope you and your husband are having a lovely time in london!

Haven and Home said...

I have a few more places to add to my list from this post!

Maureen Stevens said...

fabulous shops Skyla! Iomoi is so much fun! Have a fun weekend!

FrenchGardenHouse said...

Great post! Skyla, I'll join you in the Vivre warehouse heist.:) Lidy

walrus studio said...

these are some of my faves, too!!

alison giese Interiors said...

Absolutely crazy for Skyla's picks, and haven't read such great commentary in a good while - she's definitely got a new fan in me!

La Dolfina said...

This girl knows how to shop! I agree with every choice. Skyla is an amazing writer and made her point perfectly!! Loved this post... it's right on the money :)

ashlina {the decorista} said...

skyla. i love this post. the moment we met in blogland i knew we had similar tastes....Love LOVE love this post!!!!!!! xo

bed frame said...

I can imagine those things in my house. It will fit perfectly in my house. I am glad that I found your blog. It is an amazing experience. Thank you for sharing it.

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