AltLuxe

Posts from the “The Home” Category

Shhh.

Posted on February 23, 2015

Secrets. They’re not supposed to exist, are they? We’re supposed to tell it all, share it all, let it all hang out, preferably online. Mental health types talk about the corrosive effects of secrets.  We barely tolerate the notion that some state secrets should remain that way.  And TMZ’s created a $100 million empire on spilling celebrity secrets that readers lap up then lean back to savor, purse their lips, feeling smug that no secret should be safe from the public. As goes the broader culture goes the material, consuming world. “Authenticism” is the thing where every live edge table or industrial makes clear its material roots. Function is form and form is function (and nothing else.) Radical transparency is the by-word of companies like Everlane. And we’ve come to…

What will you leave behind?

Posted on September 14, 2014

What is this stuff that surrounds us and what does it mean? A great deal of this blog is about what to buy (or rather what not to) and how to relate to what you buy but when all is said and done – and I do mean done – what do you leave behind, what does it say about you, what is its true value? This subject’s been on my mind a great deal, as I sort through the things my mother left behind. It’s been so interesting a journey on so many levels. I don’t mean that cynically or snarkily or as a euphemism for feeling awful. I mean it’s been truly interesting: an education in the notions of value, of enduring…

Understated Luxe

Posted on May 31, 2014

A nice summation on the alt luxe look, via an interview by the fab Sarah Lonsdale of Remodeslita with Richard Ostell. Bottom line: Form follows feeling: the incredible importance of emotion in design Trust your intuition Design for now Mix different textures Use humble materials: “Pare down to the essence, but don’t remove the poetry.” Love that quote from Leonard Koren’s book Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers. Surround yourself with the real deal Balance old with new Stick with a neutral palette Mix styles. “But don’t do it just for decoration.” Yes. Practice restraint. “Know when to stop.” Rules to live by for more than interior design, I think. More images and text over on Remodelista.

InstaLuxe

Posted on March 30, 2014

Came across this article, “Behold a Four-Day Design Miracle in Noe Valley” (San Francisco) in the local lifestyle mag, 7x7SF. The piece chronicles a – yes – four day furnishing of a house in an increasingly swanky part of San Francisco (beloved of the newly minted Technorati Wealthy). And it reminded me of all that AltLuxe is NOT.   According to the article, the owners, after some fits and starts, got sick of the process of decorating their home. They were leaving town for four days, and they hired designer Ian Stallings to complete the project in that time. He interviewed them to find out what they liked and cared about, and then executed beautifully, right down to a fully-outfitted cabinet of curiosities. There are quirky…

The key to luxury: awe

Posted on March 2, 2014

By Regina Connell. I was wandering around San Francisco’s Pacific Heights the other day. Cold and rainy, it was actually the perfect shopping day, tailor-made for lingering in stores, rather than wandering in between. As I lingered long in a little cluster of stores on Sacramento Street: March, The Future Perfect, Elu, and the newly opened Jessie Black – all wonderful examples of AltLuxe, I had an epiphany … that what I’m really looking for from luxury – new or old – is one simple feeling: awe. I felt it as I picked up an intricately detailed, sumptuously seductive leather jacket from Elu, with metal brads joining the seam down the back. I felt it as I picked up a sake cup at March:…

The Iconic AltLuxe Store

Posted on February 21, 2014

By Regina Connell. One of the other questions I get asked a lot (other than the one about the home) is “what’s the iconic AltLuxe lifestyle (not just clothing) store?” There are some stores that kind of qualify. Maybe Barney’s with its hard to find brands and strong point of view, though there’s a coldness to it, and their home goods section constantly seems to struggle from a taste perspective. There’s Bergdorf Goodman, but it’s just a smaller mainstream department store with really great buyers. In London there’s Liberty, with its strong though slightly inconsistent POV. Maybe Dover Street Market in London (can’t say about the NY store yet), in a limited way. My choice for the retail icon is the dear, departed, sorely missed…

AltLuxe: home for pleasure

Posted on February 20, 2014

By Regina Connell. People often ask me what the new luxury is when it comes to the home. I get the sense that what they’re looking for is a pat answer, and a look: perhaps something involving exposed beams, industrial touches, reclaimed wood, flea market finds, etc. You know, that look. But then that would be about buying other peoples’ labels and looks again, which is not what alternative luxury is about. However, forced to come up with something more useful, I’d say that it’s about these things: ease, what’s essential, soul, sensuality, intimacy, and subversion. AltLuxe, like many good things, is a little complicated. No. 1  EASE. More than anything else, the AltLuxe home is about ease. It’s about not trying too hard to look…

Living well: recipes for pleasure

Posted on January 20, 2014

Like any foodie, I do love my indulgences. Recently discovered pleasures include the pucker-up tart seville orange marmalade from Josephine’s Feast, that sublimely creamy straciatella on the pizza I had the other day at Farm Shop in Marin, and that orgasmic cup of hot chocolate using Recchiuti dark chocolate pistoles… However indispensable these are to the life well-lived, over the holidays I realized that my real foodie pleasure comes from preparing it,  not just consuming it. So I resolved to cook more, cook with more focus, more intention. While this realization would have many running to the nearest farmers market, for me, it starts with cookbooks and recipes. Now there are a billion lovely cookbooks out there, oozing with luscious imagery, compelling stories and the…

The Goods: The Perfect Wooden Spoon

Posted on January 1, 2014

Doing anything well is about having the perfect tool. It renders the beginner at least halfway competent, the middling enthusiast confident, and powers the truly skilled to new heights. Working with the perfect tool is utter pleasure and yes, the ultimate luxury. Making something work is drudgery (and often a gigantic waste of time.) In the kitchen, one of the most fundamental tools is the wooden spoon. They were fetishized last year with all their connotations of honest home cooking and the toned-down life, and no end of earnest woodworkers took to making them out of premium woods, all sustainably produced. But I rather suspect that many of the spoons ended up as “design elements” on a kitchen wall: beautiful, authentic, ignored. What a…

Consuming Pleasures: The Line

Posted on December 9, 2013

Ah, someone who gets it. The Line from Vanessa Traina (among others) is a great example of AltLuxe. It’s an online clothing and home goods retailer, online and SOHO (NYC) space called The Apartment where everything is for sale (how’s that for contextual marketing?) Why is it AltLuxe? Because it’s about not what’s just essential, but what’s quintessential…the best of what’s essential. The clothing is timeless, seasonless, smart, and not to be found everywhere, “built to last but never boring” as they say on the site. “What unites these quintessential things is their staying power, the intention of their making, and how they work together in the context of a carefully considered life.” I love that for one of their first makers, they’ve featured…