Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wearable Collections Keeps Cloth Out of the Trash

One of the things I love about making linen sheets is that it doesn't create a lot of scrap fabric. When compared to clothing manufacturing, which is very wasteful, Linoto does pretty well. We use nearly all of the fabric.  Flat sheets and duvet covers use the entire width of fabric with virtually zero waste. The Linoto linen tote bag, for example, is made from scraps after the fitted sheets and pillowcases are cut. 

Linoto linen tote bag made from linen sheet scraps

Linoto donates the scraps that can't be used to Wearable Collections, an agency that collects and recycles clothing and textiles scraps. The scraps can be ground up and turned into short staple yarns for knitted items like socks and sweaters or even insulation. So far we have spared about 300 lbs. worth of linen scraps from going into a land fill.

Wearable Collections can set up collection bins near you and will even work within your building's restrictions to make it work. Usable clothing and rags are resold internationally while what is unusable is sent to facilities where they can be broken down and rewoven into new textiles. They can also help your charity organization by sponsoring clothing drives and will then pay you for for what is collected.

The average annual amount of textile waste in the United States is well over 193 tons. So far Wearable Collections has diverted over 2 million pounds of clothing and fabric from landfills.  They are currently located primarily in New York City, but will soon be expanding to Long Island and Central New Jersey. Imagine how much we can save if Wearable Collections goes nation-wide!

There are drop off centers at these locations:

Friday- W 97th St. between Columbus Ave. and Amsterdam Ave. from 8am-2pm
Saturday-Grand Army Plaza in Park Slope  8am-4pm and Union Sq. @ 14th St. and Broadway 8am- 6pm
Sunday-Tompkins Sq. park @ Ave. A and 9th St. 8am-4pm
Monday-Union Sq. @14th St. and Broadway  8am-6pm

You can also follow them on Facebook, Flickr and Twitter and help them change the way New York recycles clothes!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Art and Inspiration in the Upper East Side: Buck House

I recently met with New York artist and taste-maker Deborah Buck at her upper east side gallery.

Buck House, located in Manhattan at 1318 Madison Ave (Between 93rd & 94th Streets) is an inviting and unique collection of art and antiques from every age.  Deborah surrounds her own paintings with other equally special objects such as glass work, sculptures, and jewelry.  The result: beautiful and harmonious scenes that reflect and inform both her artwork and the items she selects.  These scenes have been collected into a self published book called Tableau, which she graciously gave to me. A second book is currently in the works with new scenes and women as the inspiration. This time, she is redressing the front window of her gallery to symbolize the personality of imaginary female characters. Each display will run from 7-10 days and she plans to have 30 windows finished and photographed within the next year. The window displayed above represents an artist's model and muse in her apartment  in turn-of-the-century Paris. She is surrounded by gifts from artists and admirers as well as images of herself that painters have given her. A. Muse is her name; a tongue and cheek reference to her identity.
"Hands" original artwork by Deborah Buck

"The Indian" by surrealist painter Alvaro Guillot (1931-2010)
Art Deco pedestal

turquoise and exceptional examples of costume jewelry
Integrity in design, Deborah simple motto, is what sets Buck House apart from an antiques showroom or an art Gallery.  The upper east side has plenty of those.  She is not merely collecting and reselling, she is working, creating, and applying her own very tasteful stamp of reference on the gorgeous antiques and vintage items she collects on her travels all across the globe.  From vessels and jewelry to sublime lamps and furniture, each item in the gallery is special.  Though the items originate from different  places and eras, there is a unifying aesthetic that is rich, dynamic, and inspiring.

sublime glass work
a fantastic bronze lamp, ceramic vases and pitcher
Buck House will soon be offering its own line of wallpapers featuring design elements in Deborah's paintings. She gave me a sneak preview of an amazing silver matte-on-shine wallpaper with the same Foo dog from the Buck House logo worked into a geometric key pattern. Very chic. No official release has been set for the wallpapers, but keep watching her blog to find out more.

I was first introduced to Deborah when she purchased several sets of linen sheets from Linoto.  The aqua color she chose is an identical match to the signature "Buck House Blue" that is uses consistently in the gallery interior.

Gilt glazed ceramic vase
Whether you live in New York and enjoy exploring new neighborhoods or you are planning a visit, I highly recommend visiting the Buck House where you're guaranteed to be inspired by the fabulous art and design.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Holiday Photo Shoot

On Wednesday we had a photo shoot for Linoto.com. We're putting together a brand new collection of holiday photos and I wanted to give a sneak peak and a look at the process. We were fortunate enough to shoot at a gorgeous loft apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

In these behind-the-scenes images, you can only see a snippet of the amazing interior. In the final photos, you'll be able to get the full effect of the space. A great deal of time was spent setting up the different scenes, organizing props and making sure everything was perfect for the shoot.

Katrina Parris Flowers designed the floral arrangements for our dining room table shots. She used hydrangeas, dahlias, orchids, roses, and snap dragons.

The photographer, Alexey Kotlik, been shooting interiors and portraits in New York for 5 years. He has a great eye and really understands the technical rules of photography.  He used a Canon 5D Mark II camera, which he typically prefers to film. You can see more of his work at his website.
The work paid off in the end and I'm thrilled with the results. I'm sure you'll be too when the new images go live on Linoto.com!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Beautiful Designer Wrapping Papers

It's mid-October already and the holiday season is rapidly approaching! That means lots of shopping for friends and family and I really enjoy giving gifts to the people I love. It brings me great joy to see them open that "just-what-I've-always-wanted" present and see the expression on their face. But what if you could inspire that look of awe, wonder and delight before it's even opened? I'm talking about fabulous designer wrapping paper, like these:

Michelangelo-inspired "Italian Architecture" paper from Luxe Paperie

"D-vine Inspiration" double-sided gift wrap from Whimsy Press's line of 100% recycled wrap

"Folk" is one of the many bold designs from Eieio Studio

"Cavallini Gift Wrap, City Maps" uses vintage maps in a whole new way at Kate's Paperie

Each one of these stores have dozens of other wonderful designs, I only picked a few. Find your favorites - and happy wrapping!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fall Furniture

I recently discovered a wonderful blog post on Remodelista. The antique store, Bloom, in Sag Harbor, New York has the perfect aesthetic for autumnal decorating. The rustic look and muted colors speak back to a simple time with a homey, comfortable feel. The best part is the how easily the natural wood, bamboo and wicker pieces can be livened up with bolder colors without being overpowering.

And it would be so lovely to finish off this country-style table with an elegant linen table cloth and napkin set.

You can visit Bloom at 43 Madison Street in Sag Harbor, NY or call (631-725-5940).

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Minimalist fashion- a return to classics!

Remember when people used to think about the fashion of the future? In the 1980's, when we imagined the fashions of 2010 the look was skin-tight unitards with crazy metal shoulder rings! Well it seems as though it's not just the flying cars we were wrong about - and thank goodness for that.

A huge trend entering the Fall 2010 fashion season is minimalism. Tons of designers are relying on basic fall tones and colors with simplistic pieces that are understated and unpretentious. Others are instead focusing their attention on dramatic cuts and angles, while still keeping things "tone down". What is interesting about this trend is how it pulls from the past with very classic lines and style, but still looks to the future by taking something old and making it adventurous.

Style.com also has this cool slideshow of minimalist women's designs inspired by menswear.

On of the reasons I founded Linoto, was that it was difficult to find a set of linen sheets that were well made- with simple, modern finishes. Everything was embroidered, monogrammed, scalloped, lace-trimmed, etc. I appreciate this focus on craftsmanship, but it's too fussy.  Your bed should be a comfortable, cozy retreat rather than a made-up extravaganza that can only be admired from afar.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Travel sheets, a touch of home

A lot of people who frequently travel don’t trust hotel sheets. You can’t always know if they’re clean or who’s been sleeping on them - and do you even want to think about it? For those of you often on the move, consider keeping a set of clean linen sheets to bring with you on trips. Not only will you be sure of what you’re touching (you washed them yourself, after all) but you can have that home-away-from-home comfort of the familiar fabric against your skin. And of course, linen stays cooler during the night, so you’ll be more comfortable even if you end up in a stuffy room with a broken A/C or stuck window! As linen can be heavier than some other fabrics, if you’re worried about weight you can just bring pillow cases instead of a whole set. At the very least you can have that clean linen feeling on your cheek all night. 

The added bonus of keeping a travel set of sheets is avoiding the recently reborn scourge of bed bugs. No one wants to think about them, but those pests can be found in hotel rooms across the country and they love to latch onto fabrics. If you’re using travel sheets, they can get washed with your other vacation clothes to ensure you don’t take home any unwanted “souvenirs”.  Then your super clean sheets can be stowed away from your other bedding, maybe in a storage box or a fabric bag made of linen or cotton, so any survivors won’t infest the rest of your collection. Be sure to always wash your travel linens separately from your regular sheets.
You can get a travel linen sheet set at Linoto.com starting at $249. They’re available in a wide range of fun colors to add some style and comfort to your vacation.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Simple tips for laundering linen sheets

Laundering linen bedding at home is simple: use less soap, reduce the drying time, and let gravity do the ironing for you.  Forget about dry cleaning.  Forget Victorian ideas of straining over a hot iron, pressing with great effort and frustrating results. Linen is a beautiful, natural fabric that will soften dramatically with time and use.
  1. Start with a natural, biodegradable laundry soap such as Ecos, Biokleen, or Seventh Generation. Any soap will do, but natural soaps don't harm the environment, and protect sensitive wildlife.  You'll find an informative review of several popular green laundy detergents at Organic Authority's website.  Never use chlorine bleach. Oxygen bleach can be used occasionally for white linen sheets only. Fabric softener is not necessary. If you must, use a non silicone based softener. At Linoto we love the Seventh Generation blue eucalyptus and lavender scent.
  2. Use cold water for  bright and dark colors, use warm water for whites and neutrals. It's o.k. to place the entire set into the washing machine.  
  3. Air drying is best for the longevity of your linen sheets, but can leave the linen feeling stiff.  If you plan to air dry the sheets, 10-12 minutes on medium heat in the dryer before you hang them out to dry helps to re-orient the fibers after washing and leaves a soft finish on the surface of the fabric. When drying linen sheets in the dryer,  put one sheet and one pillowcase together in the dryer at a time.  Because linen dries so quickly, the whole set will be too much for a home dryer and you'll end up with a wad of linen that is over-dried near the drum and still damp in the center.  Turn the pillowcases inside out.  Dry the single sheet and pillowcase for no longer than 20 minutes on the low or medium heat setting. Repeat this process for the remaining items. Remember: linen dries much faster than cotton.
  4. Remove the sheets from the dryer while they are still slightly damp. Spread them out neatly on the bed or hang them over a railing or shower curtain rod to finish air-drying. Gravity will do the work of eliminating nearly all wrinkles.  The cool, gentle flutter of a ceiling fan is also great for the final stage of drying. Remember these steps and you'll be amazed by how quickly the linen is dry and how soft it becomes with each wash.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Paris concept store: Merci

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue . . .

If you find time after visiting the patisseries and sightseeing, visit Merci in the historic Marais.

Located at 111 Boulevard Bonmarchais, Merci is a 16,000 square foot concept store stocked with extremely thoughtful, well-designed housewares and clothing for every budget. The profits for all items (minus the cost of production) go to a children's charity.

The store has skylights, polished concrete floors, and a charming urban loft vibe. You'll find stacks of randomly sized and styled vintage letters, create-your-own lighting fixtures with fabric covered cords and fun bulbs, smart gardening tools, three-in-one ceramic dinner plates where the main, salad and dessert plates are cast all-in one piece like moons orbiting a planet, used books, and designer clothing for grown ups and kiddies too.

Obvious consideration has been paid to the design and functionality of all the products in the store. You'll find real linen dinner napkins, linen tablecloths, and linen duvet covers in the kitchen department. A rustic table covered with a beautiful terra cotta linen tablecloth was delightful. The linen duvet covers (in twin size only) is a bit impractical, bringing to mind the sad phrase, "wide is my world, narrow my bed" from the Frank Loesser tune Never Will I Marry.

When you depart through the charming Merci cafe, decorated much like a cozy Sherlock Holmes library, you may want to say "au revoir" to everything you've ever purchased for your home and start over.