As many of you know, Joe Niermann deals with a family history of heart disease. He has now been diagnosed with Stage 4 Congestive Heart Disease. Consequently, at age 67, his priorities now are rest, relaxation and just enjoying his family.
Joe is a dynamic, strong person who has instilled his passion for design in his daughters and the entire Niermann Weeks Company. We ask for your support, love and prayers at this time.
Eleanor McKay, CEO and Joe’s wife of 44 years
Since humans started using artificial light, we have found pretty ways to enhance the light source. Bronze Age people simply folded a terra cotta disc, fired it, filed it with oil, added a wick, and let there be light. I borrowed this image from www.worldwideflood.com/ark/technology/oil_lamps.htm.
Using candles, people eventually worked out more elaborate light fixtures, witness the Great Chandelier that originally lit part of the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris. I would guess that its multitude of candles probably gave off the equivalent of 15 watts of a modern light bulb.
In modern times, the candles in this chandelier in Hagia Sophia in Istanbul have been replaced by electric CFL bulbs.
At the American Craft Council Show in Baltimore this weekend I saw a wonderful contemporary take on electric lighting by GDG Studios, hand-crafted of porcelain in their New Jersey atelier. For more funkiness, look at their website, www.gdgstudios.com.
We at Niermann Weeks, however, work in more traditional forms, yielding many beautiful and functional light fixtures, of which my current favorite is a new one collaboratively designed by members of my family. Joe cut this original maquette from manila file folders. Joe and I have always been fascinated by the hugeness of aerial balloons and their ability to fly freely through the air, so this 8” skeleton reflects years of observation.
My daughters Eleanor and Claire ran with his concept to create our newest chandelier, the Roziere. Here you can see the drawing for the iron worker, showing him the exact scale and type of iron stock to use.
Hey presto – the Roziere in all its glory, with beads in place and the French gold leaf finish. The six lights wonderfully reflect light through the hand-strung crystals.
I love it and hope you do too.
Thanks for reading my blog!
Niermann Weeks is represented in fabulous San Francisco in the equally fabulous showroom of Michael Taylor Designs. Handsome Michael Taylor operated his own design firm from 1956 until his death in 1986, yet his designs for furnishings and interiors have earned him a place in the Top 100 Designers of Architectural Digest.
To refresh your memory of the Michael Taylor style, here’s a quote from the company’s website. Consistently denouncing the cluttered and pretentious, he had a simple ethos: when you take something out, you must increase the size of what’s left. The inventor of what has come to be known as the California Look, he became famous for white-walled, light-filled rooms with boldly over scaled furniture and decorative accessories. I think it’s wonderful that his company now represents the company Joe Niermann and I created. Our great thanks to Lee Pierce, current owner of Michael Taylor Designs, for including us in his showroom!
The San Francisco showroom reflects the California Look with wide open spaces, lots of white, and even a lofty second floor. That’s my Iron and Crystal Chandelier hanging over the dining table.
As visitors walk in the front door, my Avignon Chandelier hangs over a classic display of Michael’s outdoor furniture. Look on the bottom left at the praying figurine, a Chinese statue from Michael’s own personal collection.
More of Niermann Weeks lighting hangs hither and yon throughout. My Vivaldi, Grimaldi, and Rivoli chandeliers hang in front of my Iron and Crystal Sconces on the back wall.
My Gothic Lantern takes the right foreground while the Sévigné Screen anchors the chartreuse wall.
In addition, Niermann Weeks does have some furniture in this showroom. Here the Julian Mirror stands on the Renishaw Commode, flanked on the walls by the Avignon Sconces with, on the left, a LaFalaise Chair.
The showroom, however, invited me to do more than ogle their beautiful displays. 38 people earned an entire .1 CEU by attending my presentation, Greener Lighting: Today’s Choice in Light Bulbs.
These are some the new light bulbs whose efficiency and esthetics we discussed.
To cap off my great time in San Francisco, I even got to admire the fabulous statue, Cupid’s Span, on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. Yes, you guessed it – the sculptors were Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.
Lest you think all my exuberance has been ridiculous, look at the view from my plane when I left home. Now you can understand that I left the dreary ickiness of winter in Maryland, to go have a good time in a better climate with people just wearing light sweaters.
Thanks for reading my blog, and go enjoy San Francisco for yourself!
It’s new knee time for me, so please give me a couple months off from this blog to recuperate. Joe is now eight weeks out from his own knee surgery, and is well enough to have taken Amtrak to NYC. Having taken care of him this summer, I saw how completely dependent I will be for about the first month, so I’ve been hoarding reading material by my temporary bed in the living room. Some of these books will improve my professional mind, and some will provide escapism.
Newly arrived from Amazon is The Color Revolution (Lemelson Center Studies in Invention and Innovation series) by Regina Lee Blaszczyk. The author traces the story of mid-19th century chemical innovations in colorfast dyes and the fashion industry’s subsequent adoption of the new technology. For example, the French Empress Eugenie and Britain’s Queen Victoria co-inspired the trend of wearing a particular shade of lilac. Naturally, all the aspirationist fashionistas needed to also wear that color, which you can see at https://www.nobility.org/2011/01/27/social-inequality-redounds-to-the-advantage-of-all/
As you can imagine, as soon as new dyes came out, immediately designers of apparel, accessories, kitchen appliances, cars, hotels, furniture, etc. embraced the use of any color but black. As an aside, I started this book last night, but my eyes could hardly squint enough to comprehend the small, unfriendly typeface. Fortunately Joe collects magnifying glasses, so I put one next to my book pile. Prediction: using the magnifier on that font will be a PITA.
Writing about fonts, it’s time to re-read Just my Type: A Book About Fonts by Simon Garfield. He writes about the people who designed different typefaces, like these examples, all shown in their 12 point typeface.
However, the fonts in Introducing Postmodernism: A Graphic Guide by Richard Appignanesi gave me no trouble at all. This book is a surprisingly delightful comic book that explains postmodernism, which I didn’t really understand. According to him, the concept dates from the mid-nineteenth century. It means that there is no abstract reality, just our impressions of it. My practical mind had no idea what that last sentence meant – until I read this book the first time. the author illustrates this new theory with an example that a urinal could be considered a Fountain, as interpreted by Marcel Duchamp in 1917.
Or a sofa could include fantastic elements like this modern white sofa for a living room, as seen at http://trendzona.com/interior-and-furniture/furniture-design/10/art-furniture.html.
My personal reality prefers furniture combining form and function like Niermann Weeks’ Gabrielle Sofa. It sits well plus looks lovely in personalized upholstery.
I could sit in it while re-reading The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance by Edmund de Waal. a descendant of once prominent banking family, the Ephrussis. In the 19th and early twentieth centuries, the wealth and status of this Jewish family rivaled that of the Rothschilds, with whom they intermarried. Their lives were storybook until World War I ate their assets, and in World War II many were exterminated by the Nazis. De Waal’s history of his family is told through the passage from heir to heir of collection of 264 Japanese netsukes, small carved buttons once used by Japanese gentlemen to close their purses. The author, who gets this photo credit, named his charming, moving book for the tiny carved hare shown at the bottom left.
De Waal’s great-great-something uncle Charles Ephrussi originally amassed the collection. Charles was a serious patron of the arts and high culture in the Paris of his day. The impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir was so grateful to M. Ephrussi that his 1880 painting Luncheon of the Boating Party shows Ephrussi in the background, wearing the black frock coat and top hat.
Moving way backwards in time, I also plan to re-read Madeline Miller’s the Song of Achilles: A Novel. Homer’s Illiad has been required reading in the Western canon for centuries, and schools forced me to read it in both high school and college, yet I just couldn’t get my head around the core story. I did understand that Achilles, depicted here in an ancient Greek pot, was a major player in the Trojan War.
But the complexity of the poetry always kept my focus while the story just slipped away. Madeline Miller, however, has told the story in prose, which my head could understand, and her words have their own beauty. thank you very much, Ms. Miller, and please keep writing books.
Finally, I get to escapism pure and simple with mysteries by the Canadian author Louise Penny.
In the modern-day Province of Quebec, her Chief inspector Armand Gamache always snuffles around until he and his team root out the evil-doer. Each book in this series has won umpteen awards and has captivated me. If only all people were as noble, kind, intelligent, loving, and perfect as M. Gamache. The Beautiful Mystery is her newest title, incorporating her love of mystery with her love of music. I must re-read this book to savor the impact of music. I must re-read this book to savor the impact of music within its pages and within my own life. The music she uses is Gregorian chant, a beautiful style of singing taught to me in Catholic grade school. We sang the music in solemn masses and in the masses for dead.
And of course Donna Leon always transports me to Venice in her series on the equally charming Commissario Guido Brunetti. She is better than any guidebook to that magical city. The last time I physically visited her city was during Carnavale, when the strangest creatures walked among us. Ms. Leon entertains me with her stories and reminds me of my many happy times in her city.
You can see that my mind has lots to occupy itself during my recuperation, but please do send me recommendations of other not-to-be-missed titles.
Thanks for reading my blog, wish me well, and welcome me back in a couple months!
How to find these authors:
- Richard Appignanesi lurks in many websites but lacks one of his very own.
- www.imaginingconsumers.com maintained by Regina Lee Blaszczyk
Our new Sofie Cocktail Table revives French Moderne design for modern living. The stirrup stretcher sturdily anchors the table base, and we developed a new gold leaf finish based on the beautifully aged gold leaf finish of an antique gilded bronze finial from our collection of objects & artifacts. We recreated that finish on this new table base, and topped it with a strikingly glamorous inset black glass top.
The Sofie Cocktail Table measures 48″ wide by 24″ deep by 20″ high, and is finished in our French gold leaf.
Joe and I met in Manhattan at the Four Seasons Restaurant to help Veranda celebrate its 25th anniversary. When Lisa Newsom started that magazine as a brand new venture, Niermann Weeks was one of her original advertisers, so we were thrilled to party with the Veranda team and its groupies. Here’s the ad we placed those many years ago, showing off half of our enormous Forged Steel Dining Table. Satisfyingly enough, we got lots of orders from that ad. One lovely customer even ordered three of them to install in her covered patio in a Palm Beach mansion.
In Veranda’s March-April 2012 issue, we focused on the outdoor life again with this ad showing our garden furniture. We started selling these tables, chairs, screen, and accessories as early as 1982, and fortunately each year more gardens and patios need to use them.
So, anyway, back to the actual birthday party. This was my first trip to the Four Seasons restaurant, which is a modernist masterpiece of interior design located within the Seagram Building, an architectural superstar. Because I knew the place was super-special, I quickly looked it up in www.wikipedia.com, which said that The restaurant’s interior, which was designed by the building’s architects Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson, has remained almost unchanged since construction in 1959. The restaurant was designated by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Committee as an interior landmark in 1989.
Entering the building, Joe and I walked up a flight of steps into the Bar and the Grill areas, then down a hall past a tapestry designed by Pablo Picasso into the main dining area, which Veranda had rented for the occasion. Al I can say is WOW! To me, much of modernism seems cold and uncomfortable, never, ever adjectives I’d use for this interior. Throughout the main areas, glass windows go floor to ceiling and are covered by swags of metal beaded curtains. A hidden fan keeps the waves softly undulating up to the ceiling, and warm pink lights shine upwards . Blooming cherry trees in raised pots further enhanced this warm ambiance, making everyone at the party look as beautiful as we could look. This interior is truly a feast for the eyes.
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, dressed herself as a cupcake to lead us all in singing Happy Birthday, and she gave all of us a pretty little cupcake of our very own to enjoy later.
Veranda’s second editor Dara Caponigro and second publisher Jennifer Levene Bruno mixed with us all and made sure we had a great bash. Thanks, you all!
Afterwards Joe took me to dinner in the Grill area, where the food was just as beautiful and scrumptious as you would expect. In addition, my eyes found a new object to fixate on, a wire sculpture by Richard Lippold that hangs over the Bar. The wires are all of the same material, just hung in clusters of different heights, so the look of the sculpture changed as we changed our positions in the room.
It was a privilege to enjoy this celebration in this setting, just as it has been a privilege to be a Veranda advertiser and groupie. It made me feel all grown up and important.
Thanks for reading my blog, and be well!
I have always loved this design, as it reminds me of a flower bud unfurled and also reminds me of a successful trip antiquing almost twenty years ago. Joe found this chandelier’s inspiration but he had not yet absorbed my flower-mania, so he walked away from his drawings and the prototype chandelier. I rescued the drawings from oblivion and tucked them away safely, even though he recycled the prototype. It must be great to be creative enough to discard ideas and move on.
Fast forward to the winter of 2011, when my daughters Eleanor and Claire formally joined him in the design process at Niermann Weeks. They loved the idea of this fixture, tweaked it even more, and presto – the Redfern Chandelier!
Our little jewel takes its name from the character Christine Redfern, played by the famous actress Jane Birkin (of the famous Birkin Bag by Hermes). Ms. Birkin played this role in the film Evil Under the Sun (1982), to which my family can recite all the dialog in tandem with the film. Here she is in character, in a photo copyrighted by Universal Picture although I found the photo at www.cineclap.free.fr.
Her character pretends to be clumsy, clingy, and unattractive until the very end of the film, when she blossoms in a spectacular black and white outfit. Sadly Hercule Poirot figures out their crime and has Mr. and Mrs. Redfern hauled off to jail in their gorgeous clothes. What a difference a designer makes!
For me that film provides a parable of our Redfern Chandelier, which Joe ignored as mousy but my daughters have let bloom in its Parisian Gold finish. Now, please don’t make it go to jail, but welcome it into your home as you would these narcissus blooms from my dining room.
Thanks for reading my blog!
Websites for more information:
www.agathachriustie.com, the author’s official website
www.janebirkin.net/UK, the actor’s official website
www.hermes.com, to view the Birkin Bag
www.universalpictures.com, for more information about the film Evil Under the Sun (1982)
We are ringing in the new year with the Redfern Chandelier, our adorable first lighting introduction for 2012! Joe Niermann found an antique chandelier made of ice tongs with floral iron embellishments in an antique shop years ago, and he kept the curved forms in the back of his head. With more requests for smaller fixtures, we thought it was the perfect time to pull this idea to the front with the creation of the Redfern Chandelier.
The fixture has six lights, measures 21.5 diameter by 19 high, and is shown in our Parisian gold leaf finish.
The winter holidays have arrived, and I’m counting down to the winter solstice December 21, when the days get longer again. The leaves are long gone from my trees, however my yard has not yet received a killing frost, so the last flowers of summer endure. A few marigolds sparkle in yellow, sage plants display in red and purple, and that’s about all the color I can still enjoy. To me, the color freak, this is a dreary season, made even more so by rainy days like today. Tonight the cloud cover will totally obscure the meager light from the stars and the partial moon. Fortunately we humans have developed coping techniques with our winter holidays. For Joe and me, that means a lighted tree in the yard,
a big wreath on the front door,
and Christmas trees in the house. I was raised liking Christmas and then I married a total nut about the holiday. For our first Christmas, we had little money so we made our own ornaments. I made 12 dozen sugar cookies, cutting them really thickly. Joe the artiste then went in high gear decorating each one in my mother’s sour cream and powdered frosting. He painted the cookies in seasonal colors as their base coat, followed by lovely little designs specially designed for each little masterpiece. We tied each one up with a ribbon to hang all over our first tree. At that time in our lives we had no camera, so I cannot show off his beauties; you must just imagine his artistry from my words and your knowledge of the customization Niermann Weeks has always provided our patrons.
On New Year’s Day, we packed each cookie in tissue paper on the off chance they might survive till another Christmas. And some of them actually did! They turned into thick bars of colored soap-like material, so we hung them up again. The very last relic broke about 20 years later, but in the meantime we had accumulated a more varied hoard of ornaments. After four decades of marriage, we now need two trees for a proper display. Our nine footer sits in the living room window and is decorated 360 °. Using a timer and coming home at night in the dark, I need the satisfaction of all the sparkle.
In the foyer sits the three footer, dedicated to just shiny ornaments.
In the early days of Niermann Weeks, Joan Schenking managed our paint studio. Each year she led a weekly hobby night, in which volunteers used her designs to make special ornaments. I loved the years in which we used a delicate jeweler’s saw to cut thin sheets of steel into portraits of her dog Rusty the golden retriever, shown here in his base coat of white lacquer.
my cat Ms. Kitty in her base coat of yellow lacquer,
and other relevant creatures like a blue crab from Maryland,
The angel seques me into acts of charity, one of which Niermann Weeks has already done. We contributed the main tree, all eleven feet of it, to the Georgetown Jingle in Washington DC.
A dedicated volunteer group raises funds to support the pediatric cancer patients at the Georgetown University Hospital. A major fundraising event is a silent auction of holiday trees decorated by DC-area designers, which the Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC in Georgetown (www.fourseasons.com/washington) allows us to display in their main lobby. For more information on the Jingle, look both at their website www.georgetownjingle.com and on their Facebook page. Or you could come bid at the auction on the evening of December 11 for a tree. All proceeds do go to help make life better for the children battling cancer.
Now that all my decorations are up, and the longer days are just around the corner, my soul is happy, and I hope yours is too.
Happy Holidays, and thanks for reading my blog! It’s a pleasure to share with you.
WOW! That’s it in a nutshell. I haven’t been to a design function in twenty years that was so well promoted and attended. Joe and I had to push through the crowds just to enter the building, had to wait for an empty elevator, and had to push through the crowds in the halls and in our own showroom. My heart was tripping with joy.
Our sign on the ninth floor.
The view of our showroom from the hallway with our Andres in the purple cardigan helping a customer Andres has been with us since we opened our first Manhattan showroom, and his product knowledge is as immense as his courtliness.
The beautiful rugs in this room and throughout are on gracious loan by Stephanie Odegard, whose showroom is also in The News York Design Center.
Just inside the door, to the right of this photo, my daughter Eleanor created a vignette that she knew would please me. Our Gabrielle Chair and Ottoman are right there as a comfy, elegant spot from which I could greet our visitors. To the left stands a Henry Royer Side Table holding our Chinoiserie Tulipiere. Joe designed the plant holder as a Chinese pagoda in honor of Charlotte Moss, who like me loves all things Chinese and all things floral.
The plant holder includes a water well in each level, so mine at home displays seasonal flowers: asters right now, and at other times pansies, tulips, miniature irises, roses, daisies, etc.
A lovely customer at the opening bought this diptych Rolling Pathway by Douglas Freeman. I like this vignette for its composition of samples from our various vendors. Including Douglas’s work, you see Niermann Weeks’ Octagonal Mirror, Spectrums’ Edinburgh acrylic table, and Henry Royer’s Frisson Hall Table.
Our Lighting hung through the showroom, and here glows over our ever-popular Steel Four Post Bed with the Fantome Bench at its foot. The bed rests on another outstanding Odegard carpet and is flanked by a pair of our Danish Commodes. The Sienna Chair is by Gemelli Reproductions.
The New York Design Center directory scheduled my daughters Claire and Eleanor for demonstrations from 3-9 pm – oh their aching feet! Claire showed how we by hand wire and attach the beads to our chandeliers, and Eleanor applied silver-leaf on various items to show a step in our processes. As a proud mama, I greedily enjoyed hearing customers sing their praises.
Eleanor had already silver-leafed three of our Baccello Mirrors as door prizes.
Congratulations to our lucky winners!
- Dane Pressner from D’Aquino Monaco, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Heather Hickling from Jaime Drake Design Associates, email@example.com
- Suzana Monacella from McMillen, firstname.lastname@example.org
To add to our evening, Traditional Home sponsored a book signing by Matthew Patrick Smyth of his new book Living Traditions. Trad Home’s editor Ann Omvig Maine introduced Matthew before his hand started cramping from all the book-signing he did.
Joe and I stood ready to refill Matthew’s glass of sparkling water. Don’t we look absurdly happy?
Our friend John Danzer from Munder-Skiles of the fabulous garden furniture, also came up to chat with Ann and with a startled looking Joe. Joe should know that my camera is ever-ready!
Our opening was big enough news to attract interior designer/blogger Elizabeth Orgera from Shorely Chic in Darien, CT. Now that’s cool.
Tomas Georgi, the newest member of the NW team, stopped giving tearsheets for a moment so I could include him in this blog.
Joe and I finally left for a party featuring a great bluegrass band, BBQ, and cornbread. We abandoned our daughters who doggedly continued their demonstrations for all comers.
Even the Chrysler Building cheered Joe and Me on, as we trudged to our hotel.
When I left for the train home the next morning, I got to see public health at work in Penn Station. The free clinic for flu shots attracted as many people as the NY Design Center had the night before.
Thanks for reading my blog, and please do come see our digs at The New York Design Center (at Lexington Avenue between 32nd and 33rd streets). Tomas and Andres are expecting you.
Websites for you to check out:
Husband and wife team Joe Niermann and Eleanor McKay started the Niermann Weeks Company in 1978 in Memphis, TN, and their daughters Eleanor and Claire Niermann grew up working with them and the company. The family moved to Annapolis, MD in 1984 and relocated the business to their new home. Today, the company’s artisans continue to make each piece of lighting and furniture by hand in studios near the Chesapeake Bay. Joe’s designs combine his inspiration from 18th century neo-classicism through 20th century French Moderne with the comfort of 21st century Americans.
The family remains fully involved with the day to day operations of the company. Joe designs, Claire fabricates, and Eleanor & Eleanor keep you up-to-date about our hand made creations for your home. We fully understand that for your nest, you need goods made of high quality, a finish palette with a great feel, the proper scale, and comfortable beauty. That’s already been engineered into our broad selection of lighting, beds, tables, seating, cabinets, fabrics and accessories. Our family builds so your family can live surrounded by usable beauty.
Our company is also dedicated to maintaining life on our shared planet. We use sustainable resources and continuously work to reduce waste in our processes. This our home planet, too, and we all live here together. When you place a Niermann Weeks piece in your own home, the investment in your lifestyle further supports our planet. We promise!
That said, please take a moment to watch the video below to see how we work at Niermann Weeks.
My train arrived at New York’s Penn Station at high noon, typically such a bad time that I had given myself an hour to get to our showroom near 59th St and Second Ave. Incredibly, the fourth cab in the queue got me to our showroom in just 25 minutes. That’s got to be a new record for rush hour. In fact, I arrived so unexpectedly early that Joe was unprepared to hide from my camera.
Our daughter Eleanor Niermann had just finished re-arranging the showroom, so I wanted to see how she’d changed our merchandising around. On the wall furthest from Joe, her new vignette really showed off our Visconti Console. Its attenuated lines form a graceful, three-dimensional X that supports a thin slab of walnut on the top. Joe and I had purchased its inspiration in Paris, a teensy Italian mid-century table. We scaled that table up and into a console more useful for an American home. The size is now 66” w by 16” deep by 33” high. I’ve always envisioned this Visconti Console as a pair in a home, placed opposite each other in a foyer or dining room, holding a lovely display of treasured photos and souvenirs.
Another display that caught my eye was this variation on a theme with our Roman Garden Table. It’s unusual to place our Capucine Chandelier overhead this table, but I really like the juxtaposition of the delicate curves of the chandelier floating over the chunkier curves of the table. At home I also top the table with a Quatrefoil Planter. Its waterproof liner gives me the versatility to show a plant or to chill the dinner beverages.
We’d had a run in recent months one our Milano mirrored cabinet. People like the combination of the sleek French walnut cabinetry with the funkiness of our antiqued mirror. The Octagonal Mirror is also an oldie but goodie, and the Kent Sconces have a special place in my heart. Joe and I got the inspiration for them on a delightful tour of country gardens in southern England during one of our wedding anniversaries. (How will we celebrate #43 this fall?)
After looking around, then my eyes went up to enjoy the shadows cast by our ceiling fixtures like the Iron and Crystal,
the Thistle and Folia ceiling fixtures,
and our Biarritz Ceiling Fixture
As I dashed out for train home, my eye lingered on this vignette of our Louis XVI Bed with the Fantome Bench at its foot. I have a friend who considering this very combination of bed and bench for her own home, so she’s already gotten a copy of this photo to show her husband.
Again the cab swiftly delivered me to Penn Station, where I always enjoy these mosaics and murals. To see them, go in the entrance on Seventh Ave at 31 St. On the walls along the escalators are mosaics done in the style of the ancient Romans but showing scenes of gritty New York.
Thanks for reading my blog!
At our house, Joe and I get the holiday spirit on Thanksgiving Friday. The twenty foot tree goes up in the lobby of our facility. Our building is linear, so we can all see this tree from any place along the central hallway.
At home, first we put up the big tree, loading it with ornaments we’ve collected over 42 years of marriage. When we come home in the dark of a winter night, we get pleasure from all the sparkle.
Then we do the wreath outside using Joe’s favorite cherubs.
The next step is my favorite – the little tree in our foyer. It only displays metal ornaments made by people at Niermann Weeks, and each one holds a special memory.
First, the table is one of our early best-sellers, the long-discontinued Cygnet Table. Our former partner Mike Weeks sculpted and forged this one for Joe and me as a Christmas present many years ago. Each leg of brass and steel curves up and around like the neck of the native American Tundra Swans that swim in our nearby creeks. Covering his faux-marble top is a gold-embroidered tablecloth my friend Maureen brought me from Vienna. And now for the ornaments:
A Maryland Blue Crab
A dove of peace
A Statue of Liberty, commemorating the opening of Niermann Weeks’ own showroom in New York.
An angel trumpeting the news that we opened our own showroom in Washington, DC
A sourvenir from the wedding of Jeff and Heather. Jeff and his father do most of the welding for Niermann Weeks’ metal lighting and furniture.
An angelic face, used as a detail in our Russian Sconce.
A Chesapeake Bay retriever
And a reindeer, just for the heck of it.
We’ll enjoy all these sparkles and memories until New Year’s Day, and then start off the New Year to create new memories. I hope to have a lot of fun in 2011 and hope that you do as well.
With many thanks to Cynthia and Sean O’Hara for creating this star of Niermann Weeks chandeliers.
Happy Holiday from the Niermann Weeks gang to you all!
The 2010 blizzards of our discontent have now officially become history, as the Washington Design Center held its spring market on March 10. In my yard daffodils are blooming, in the skies Canada geese are flying north, and in the design center designers are smiling again. Business seems to have picked up, for which we are all grateful.
Entering the building, you are greeted by Kelley Proxmire’s reinterpretation of the lobby. As is her wont, Kelley’s design is fresh and crisp and intensely colorful. The lipstick reds just kiss visitors hello, and our Crillon Chandelier lends the sparkle of its rock crystal drops.
Then you take the elevator up to the seventh floor, get off, and come right into the best showroom in the building: Niermann Weeks. My daughter Eleanor and our design development manager, Bill Gardner labored for a week to completely redo the 8,000 square feet showroom, which made Joe and me really proud of their efforts. Entering our door closest to the elevator, you are greeted by a mélange of furnishings from us and from the William Switzer company, shone over by NW’s new Crevecoeur Chandelier.
You need to zoom in on the Crevecoeur to love its swooping curves and its shimmery Veronese silverleaf finish. Joe had planned to festoon this fixture with crystals, but its metal architecture didn’t need the extra embellishment. Consequently he and Justin decided to develop a plush texture under the silverleaf. They worked on various base coats between the metal frame and the silverleaf before handing the fixture over to our painters.
Then presto, the Crevecouer Chandelier!
That chandelier is a hard act to follow, but Eleanor gladdened her mother’s heart by putting flowers in our Chinoiserie Tulipieres. We designed these with Charlotte Moss for her former retail store in Manhattan. The pagoda shape fascinates Charlotte, so Joe created these multi-level vases for her. Behind each golden grate is a well of water for tulips or other flowers. Further pleasing me, Eleanor even reflected my current fascination with lavender tones in this composition.
Look into this Switzer mirror to see Bill Gardner taking photos of a new wallpaper by Studio E.
This paper is called Stella and the color way is Dusk, Flash Gold. Studio E’s Denise Vasaya took this silkscreen splatter pattern of glitter on a neutral background, and then she made it register top and bottom as well as side to side. The glitter looks so random, but the designing hand has improved it for perfect matching on the wall. I was ready to re-do our living room, but my husband rolled his eyes and restrained my enthusiasm. This paper looks alive, changing subtly in various lights and with various colors around it. You really need to go see it, as a color memo just doesn’t convey the punch of the entire wall.
This vignette also shows how well all our lines coordinate with each other. You’re seeing
* Stella Wallpaper by Studio E
* Italian Plant Stand by Niermann Weeks
* Murano Lamp by Nancy Corzine
* Ashanti Mirror by Niermann Weeks
* The spectacular inlaid Le Signet four-door Cabinet by William Switzer
And here’s Denise from Studio E caught in a snapshot.
Dennis Hunt from Nancy Corzine posed with my Eleanor and our salesman Brad Boswell in front of Nancy’s new Coral wall covering. Nancy has the remarkable ability to capture the pure fragility of celadon tones in all her work, whether fabric, wall coverings, or furniture finishes.
Further, Nancy Corzine understands how to make large scale easy to live with in any environment. Her sectional sofa, the Marina, accommodates many people altogether in comfy style. Then she designs her coffee tables like this Museum Coffee to nestle right into the sofa space, for keeping drinks and food easily at hand.
Also joining us for market were Malou and Patrice Humbert of La Forge Française, standing in front of their Sophie Table. Patrice is a master of wrought iron, having trained extensively in France in his art. Today he and Malou operate their forge in Southampton, NY, where they create one beautiful piece after another.
The first piece of their that I ever saw was their
Vincennes Console. By hand Patrice had formed the hard steel into floating ribbons. My word, he is a talented man!
In this showroom vignette, Eleanor and Bill gathered some of our most popular lighting fixtures with some of La Forge’s most popular tables and fireplace accessories.
Andrea Elish from Savel came down from NY for the day, and spoke about her newest fabric line “Saladino for Savel”, with Stephen Drucker, the editor of House Beautiful.
She showed him our Gustavian Klismos Chair upholstered in Saladino’s mohair in an ambiguously neutral purple/grey/pink tone. The metal console is by La Forge Française, and the diptych comes from my man Joe Niermann.
Now look at this arrangement of our outdoor fabrics and furniture. We thank the fabric designer Nomi for her new Tangiers and Labyrinth collections for the ancient patterns on our pillows. While the patterns are from cultures past, she weaves her fabrics of 100% solution-dyed materials that will be happy in your yard or patio. Our seating, bench, and tables will be happy there too, but our Bagatelle Chandelier must be in a covered area to retain its UL guarantee of safety.
For market, Joe brought various models into the showroom, since he likes to get designer input into NW’s newest design concepts. After making rough sketches in 2D, Joe translates them into 3D with hand-cut cardboard, manila folders, and plywood.
What a kick – Stephen Drucker is taking a photo of this chandelier mock up.
Later Joe used monofilament to hang the mockup next to our Baldachino Ceiling Fixture. We need to see how the model consumes space, how easy it is to see through, how the bead structure (the white
bands) will look, and generally how people react to the overall look of the fixture.
How do you like the concept?
NW’s Bill Gardner and I took all these photos. You already know me, but you need to meet Bill, artfully leaning on our Louis XVI bed. He’s a handsome addition to this scene, and you can also admire the floral bed coverings made from our newest fabric line, Telafina. I love the meandering of these vines and flowers along the duvet. They look as relaxed as Bill does.
Turning from admiration of the Niermann Weeks staff and showroom, I need to send you to two other blogs for really interesting discussions of Stephen Drucker’s panel at the DC market. He, Celerie Kemble, and Jamie Drake shared their experience on “Interior Design Today: The New Rules.” We all know the rules were in flux even before the recession, and they chatted about more recent changes. Celerie and Jamie agreed that customers now value anything artisanal, showing craftsmanship, and custom-made for a client – sounds like you need to make a road trip to the Niermann Weeks showroom in DC or NY. However. I won’t even give you a hint about the bloggers’ analyses. You really need to see for yourself at:
Now please go look at these websites for more information, and thanks for visiting my blog. It’s been a pleasure.
Much has been blogged about the goings on at the Washington Design Center during Capital Design Days from March 10-12, 2010. I thought I’d share a few photos of what Niermann Weeks had going on in our showroom during all of the excitement. Representatives from some of our lines were on hand, including Manou and Patrice from La Forge Francais, Andrea from Savel, Denise from Studio E, and Dennis from Nancy Corzine. Also, Joe Niermann himself was on hand to meet and greet, as well as work on new designs right in the showroom and show anyone who stopped by what he has in the works!
If you weren’t able to make it in to the showroom during Capital Design Days, be sure to stop by next week during Outdoor Week, when we’ll have our latest outdoor furniture on display.
The holiday of my ethnicity is upon us, so it’s time for the wearing of the green. My bah-humbug husband Joe Niermann has never gotten into the spirit of the day, but that’s his loss. You can tell by his name that he descended from German immigrants. Undaunted, I’ll toast the motherland with a Diet Coke and wear lots of bright green. My lapel will sport a tiny green shamrock that a great aunt tatted for me. (Tatting looks a lot like crocheting, but you use very fine cotton thread and the world’s smallest crochet hook to make lace.)
Use this photo of a three-leaf clover to create your own emblem for March 17. As an Irish-American I
encourage everyone to share my heritage for the day.
Just don’t drink and party to excess; that’s gross.
Even the President and Mrs. Obama shared the green in the White House fountain last year.
My mother’s family emigrated from County Armagh in the late 19th century as part of Irish Catholic Colonization Association. That organization was the brainchild of John Ireland (yes, that really was his name), the first Archbishop of St. Paul, Minnesota. He organized families in Ireland to come down through Canada to homestead farms in western Minnesota, including my relatives the Toners, Murphys, Learys, Conways, and Hanrattys. As you can guess, these maps are not to scale.
Surprisingly, the Niermann family also settled in Minnesota, further north than us, but they came from Prussia and Alsace-Lorraine. My mother-in-law Harriet Forge Niermann was thrilled the moment that I became part of her family, giving her a valid excuse to celebrate yet another saint’s day. She cooked corn beef and cabbage and dyed her mashed potatoes green, unlike my family that were just plain meat and potatoes people. Eleanor Hanratty McKay gave us meat and a starch three times day, but never any food that was identifiably Irish. I guess with all the red hair, freckles, and delicate skin, we never had to prove our heritage.
Anyway, have a great day on March 17, stay sober, and wear some green!
All images are courtesy of www.wikipedia.com. How did we ever do without it?
Now that I’m dreaming of the return of warm weather, I remember an unusual picnic Joe and I attended during the Clinton administration. Every summer the President holds a picnic on the grounds of the White House for members of Congress and their families. In 2009 President Obama and Mrs. Obama used a Hawaiian theme in honor of his home state. Tiki torches, leis, tropical plants, and hula hoops elaborated on that theme. A famous Hawaiian chef served the guests a traditional luau with roast pig, a salad of salmon and fresh tomatoes, and other goodies. The Washington Post’s story included photos of the Obamas boogying to the music. You can see more photos when you Google “White House Congressional picnic”. I know everybody in 2009 had as much fun as Joe and I did when we attended one hosted by President and Mrs. Clinton.
During the Clinton years we had made friends with the president’s interior designer, Kaki Hockersmith of Little Rock, Arkansas. We’d heard of Kaki when we started our business in nearby Memphis, Tennessee, and had met other Southern women christened Catherine but nicknamed Kaki. When the Clintons followed us up to the Washington area, we welcomed them in the abstract and their designer in person. Kaki kindly selected some Niermann Weeks furniture for the White House, and she included us in events at the White House. For instance, on the morning of July 27, 2000, Kaki called us at work to invite us that afternoon to a picnic on the White House grounds. Good grief! We hurried home to make ourselves presentable, and Joe re-dosed his summer cold. Around 2:30 we passed through security. Kaki then took us on a lightning tour of the state rooms she was currently re-doing in the first major refurbishment of the presidential residence since Mrs. Kennedy’s over 30 years before. The tour was fascinating, but before the era of digital cameras, so I have no photos to share with you.
However, I can share photos of the picnic which began at 4 pm and ran on Clinton time, i.e. – was over hours later, when it was over. The pictures you’ll look at weren’t processed very well at the time, so be charitable about their quality. What you’re really seeing at is the metamorphosis of stodgy Washington, DC into a carnival wonderland. As a native Washingtonian, I marveled at this unexpected transformation.
Joe and Kaki posed in the “back yard” for my camera. I’m sure the grounds were crawling with security, but the place felt like a county fair grounds with loud music and lights and not-too-healthy foods. You can see Congressional types still in their suits lining up for dinner at the picnic tables. Kaki had warned us to dress casually, but in context I don’t know if our clothes looked more out of context than the suits did. The weather gods had ‘favored’ us with an extremely humid, hot evening, so our casual clothing was the more appropriate. In fact, the evening was so uncomfortable, that subsequent Clinton congressional picnics happened in September.
The President took the mike at a temporary band shell to thank the congressional folks for all their hard work. This man made the simple giving of thanks into an eloquent, heart-felt speech. Even hearts from the other political party softened at his words. After all, this was an evening of fun and frivolity, a welcome break from the typical business of running the federal government.
As darkness descended, I saw the Washington Monument in a new perspective, with garish carnival lights glowing in the foreground.
The person on this balloon ride got an even better view of the Mall and monuments.
The tilt-a-whirl provided a more gaudy experience that we followed with sticky cotton candy.
In the almost darkness Kaki walked us beyond the picnic crowd to capture Joe and me in front of a fountain and the Washington Monument. This image has become ratty from poor processing and the passage of time. No matter, the memory of that unique evening is one that I’ll always remember and am happy to share with you.
You can get more information from:
* Mrs. Clinton’s book, An Invitation to the White House: At Home with History (Simon & Shuster, 2000) features six pages of text and great photos of their picnics on the grounds.
* The website www.kakihockersmith.com, soon to be updated, will inform you of the full range of Kaki’s abilities in interior design.
* www.clintonlibrary.gov leads you to the comprehensive source on the Clinton presidency.
Traditional Home (March 2010) includes a lovely photo of Niermann Weeks’ Chevalier Chandelier in a family home Manhattan Beach, California. The owners have moved hither and yon in the past, and in this home asked designer Mark Williams for a sparse, restrained interior in a palette echoing the nearby beach. He designed most of their furnishings and found our chandelier a perfect complement. The home owners are happy with his work, and I am honored that he included our chandelier in the dining room.
Our chandelier started its life as a fussy element in a free-standing Italian baroque torchiere. According to Wikipedia, torchieres were candelabra, usually with two or three lights. When it was first introduced in France towards the end of the 17th century the torchiere mounted one candle only, and when the number was doubled or tripled the improvement was regarded almost as a revolution in the lighting of large rooms.
We found our mother antique somewhere in Europe about 15 years ago, thinking that the candle part would look great once we removed it from its heavy base. We also re-arranged the wavy octopus of arms for better definition and light diffusion. The final chandelier needed to take up a decent amount of space yet allow people to see through it to the beauty of the rest of the room. Merely describing the new chandelier was, however, the easy part.
Developing the physical prototype took many trials. For fire protection standards, we specified arms of hollow metal tubing within which electrical wiring would be threaded. Our poor prototype-maker had difficulties selecting tubing and wiring that would curve to our esthetic standards. He’d make a sample set of arms and the curvaceous central pole, and we’d reject them as not pretty enough, or too difficult to use, yadda,yadda. Everybody got a little surly until just the right combination of form and function emerged.
Then we had to determine the finish. Joe wanted to make this fixture unique in our line, to add a new dimension of light and air. To that end, our daughter Eleanor selected hanging tassels of slightly different shapes and gilding. Daughter Claire suggested an overall finish of faux pewter, real gold leaf, and faux rust. Then Joe said let’s use beeswax candle sleeves under the light bulbs. This is a close-up of the final finish sample showing the faux rust and faux pewter.
Put it all together and presto….
Our Chevalier Chandelier premiered in 2004 in a Montecito showhouse, thanks to designer Barry Dixon. His mandate with this showhouse was to firmly anchor the home to Montecito’s earth tones, sky line, and clarity of light. I have always admired Barry’s creative approach to interior design, but this room blew me away. I had to call him at home to rave, and this is still my favorite setting for our chandelier. He perfectly combined the local earth tones with the interesting geometric shapes of our chandelier, the chairs, and the mural. As an added bonus for me, Barry anchored the walls with a pair of Niermann Weeks’s Beaton Mirrors.
For more information, please see these websites:
New for 2010, Niermann Weeks introduces the Crevecoeur Chandelier.
The Crevecoeur started life as a typical antique chandelier loaded down with tons of goopy crystals. Somehow the frame seemed dynamic enough to make us decide to explore different variations based on the basic frame. Editing and paring away the excess revealed this fixture.
Measuring in at 36″ in diameter an 34″ high with 12 lights, the Crevecoeur Chandelier is shown in our Veronese Silver Leaf finish and available exclusively at Niermann Weeks’ Showrooms.
Our Loire Bed dresses up fabulously, although when Joe designed it for our New York apartment he installed an acrylic headboard. He had painted this homage to a heroic Renaissance painting and wanted to be able to clearly enjoy all of it. Personally, I found it disconcerting to sleep under so much muscular energy. However, if I weren’t married to Joe, I would need to use an interior designer to make my spaces creative and comfy. My mind could never have conceived this space.
A designer who always makes me feel happily inspired is Mario Buatta. Although he’s called The Prince of Chintz, his range is immense. For an AOL showhouse in New York that was subsequently published by Architectural Digest, Mario encased our Loire Bed with upholstery at the headboard and lots of draperies from the testers. With Mario our bed underpins all the fabric, but I bet sleeping inside that sumptuous comfort would make a person feel cherished. He also used our mirrored Satyr Side Table (right foreground) and our Sevigne Screen (left background), again making the structure of the furniture vanish in the overall beauty of his interior design.
Phillip Sides of Montgomery, Alabama customized his Loire bed with an extra 18″ of height to the tester rods, dressing them with masses of a calming blue/white check. Imagine how important you’d feel propped up in this bed, whose photo was shown in the late, great Southern Accents (October 2007).
On the other hand, Washington designer Victoria Neale jolted us all awake with this presentation of our Loire bed in a showhouse held in the Washington Design Center. Yellow is among my favorite colors because of all the energy it radiates. I find the solar wattage of this room very attractive.
Right now we’re making yet another Loire finished in Venetian silverleaf with a metal headboard. I do hope the designer sends us a photo of her final installation. I predict our headboard will support acres of gorgeous pillows.
Please, dear Designer who specified our Louis XVI Bed in Venetian silverleaf with a brown mohair headboard, send me an installation shot. The completed bedroom should look voluptuous and give its owners peaceful repose. Please do share a photo!
Another designer used our standard finish of Italian walnut with goldleaf, but added the luxury on the inside top of masses of a pale silk gathered into a central knot. Looking up will give the owners great delight in the beautiful fabric and the hidden luxury of the elaborate construction. Wow!
Following one of our anniversary trips to France, Joe and I (mostly Joe) developed the Versailles Bed in our camel and silverleaf finish. This finish looks like time has carelessly worn away the silver to expose the camel undertones. This bed also gave Joe a chance to use a central bed crown from his collection at home. He’s always been a sucker for a tester with a central crown, which he further echoed in the curvaceously elegant testers, headboard, and footboard. Allan Knight’s showroom in Dallas introduced our Versailles Bed magnificently in these pale celadon silks and made us all proud of our design.
Further, our Arezzo Bed also dresses up well. Here Stiles T. Colwill of Baltimore debuted our bed in a Design House at the Washington Design Center. The blue and brown fabric gives a palette to this room that’s both masculine and feminine, which would be a comfort to both spouses.
Now that you have lots of models for romanticizing your bedroom, please use this Niermann Weeks website by going to the Products section. Have fun!
Other good places to search include:
At the grocery yesterday I saw my first flowering daffodils of the season and they made my heart jump with happiness! In my yard the daffodil bulbs are desperately forcing bits of green leaves up through the frozen earth, but seeing actual flowers really lightened my mood. For about the last month the Annapolis area has suffered from unremitting cold, made worse by deep snows and bone-chilling rains. My psyche needed to see those lovely yellow blooms of spring. Now I know that the darkness and cold of winter will give way.
By my father’s birthday, February 18, my crocuses will bloom again along the driveway, and the great cycle of life will re-start. I’ve already started ogling seed catalogs, and now I can dream of eating breakfast on my front porch. To celebrate this moment of delight in the renewal of life, Niermann Weeks created our statue Primavera. She is based on the Roman goddess Ceres, who is usually shown picking flowers and grains. Unfortunately over the centuries our Primavera has lost her head and arms, but her right arm still clutches a sheaf of flowering things. We finish her either in a faux terra cotta as below or in faux grayish stone.
Two weeks ago, my daughter Eleanor’s Primavera, which is finished in a faux stone, stood forlornly in her backyard the snow. In my yard even the birds were hiding.
But, and now I’m dreaming, soon Joe and I can enjoy the coziness of the brick terrace in front of his studio. Primavera can watch over us as we lounge in our Italian Arm Chairs or sit properly for a meal in our Loggia Dining Chairs at our aluminum Trevi Table. In the dusk, I put our Caribbean Lamp on the glass table and light the candle. When we were in Barbados, we saw this style of hurricane lamp and think it’s much more elegant than a glass shade encasing a candlestick. I like to use it with thick candles, but NW can electrify it. I bet there is even an LED candle on the market which could be popped inside the glass cage.
When we were freezing in the Paris flea markets several years ago, we first saw the mother of our urns. 19th century factories in Rouen fabricated these blue and white cast iron pots in various sizes and shapes. Obviously this antique urn was way too big for use except as an inspiration. Instead of cast iron which will rust, we use fiberglass, an all-weather material that can simply be hosed off. And we developed our decorative patterns based on a conglomerate of original patterns. The antiques always were painted white and blue, the colors of France’s royalty, so we kept those colors. Nonetheless we will happily customize the colorways, as yo u may remember this photo of NW’s custom Leones from an earlier blog .
My all time favorite spot, however, is our front porch, even though it is often flooded with sunlight. The cats and I live there if the temperature exceeds about 50 degrees. At 60 degrees, I put my seed starter kits along the sunny edges of the porch, so my garden will include favorite annuals like tall zinnias and marigolds. Colorful, tall flowers cut the best for my summer floral arrangements. Sitting in our Loggia Knole sofa, I can watch the birds and insects enjoy my flowers. In the right background you can see a Leone Urn. The cats like to hop up on its rim to drink wild water from the water garden it’s holding.
Having now seen my first daffodil of 2010 reminds me to make sure all my outdoor upholstery is clean for the spring. The fabric is all Sunbrella, making cleaning quick and easy with just a brush and a hose. Right now I can also pot up some ferns, azaleas, and pansies to happily grow in my sun porch until the weather allows them outdoors. That daffodil did a great job of snapping me out of my winter doldrums.
At Niermann Weeks we’ve already begun this order for outdoor furniture for delivery in March to a home in Alabama. These people have selected a pair of dining tables, dining chairs, and one chaise lounge. We’ll finish them in a faux verdigris, and I’m looking forward to our upholstery shop completing the chair cushions in a funky floral pattern with a contrasting welt. They will look very cool.
Since this is a blog on the Niermann Weeks website, you too can use it to get in your own outdoor furniture groove. Our lighting can be wired for use in a covered outdoor location like under a porch or along an exterior staircase. Many of our accessories are also outdoor quality. For our seating and tables, the key words are:
If you have any questions, please send me a comment on this blog or call one of our showrooms. Warmer days are inevitably returning, and we need to be ready for them!
Joe and I highly recommend that you put Narrowsburg, NY on your life list to visit. The town anchors a beautiful scenic area on the border of New York and Pennsylvania just where the Delaware River has coursed most deeply through stone gorges, and it’s only about a two hour drive from Manhattan. The town itself is tiny but has attracted a rainbow of amazing craftspeople, and from Main Street you can watch Bald Eagles swoop in for their fish dinner. Personally we humans ate instead at the wonderful bakery and restaurants. For us the original attraction was our friends, the Handwerker-Ward family, but the town has captured our hearts. We’ve already reserved a cabin on the river for 2010.
Of all the craftspeople, naturally Allison is our favorite. As her alter ego, Madame Fortuna, she keeps her fans up-to-date on her work, retail outlets, and news on www.madamefortuna.com. For a friend of mine who was pregnant, had a husband on duty in Kuwait, and was greatly stressed, Madame composed a special necklace with Taryn’s favorite amethyst tones and talismans. Madame did succeed in making Taryn feel better.
Her family and friends all collect old chains and other jewelry for her, which she assembles into new necklaces. In the photo on the left, she’s posing in a marine- themed creation, while on the right you can peruse her work bench.
Madame Fortuna’s creations arrive in her branded box and label, her guarantee of quality.
She also often sells her necklaces through the Anthropologie stores; www.anthropologie.com.
Allison and her husband Paul, a master carpenter who is building their new home, introduced us to other members of Narrowsburg colony. Joe and I went absolutely nuts about the organic ceramics of Matt Solomon, whose store is right on Main Street. Our friend Margaret bought many pieces, but I limited myself to two of his tulips. This one went right home to our living room, soon joined by another in white with blue veining. Then I called back to commission another blue and white for a friend. As our friend Paul said, Matt captures the tulip in “luscious decay”.
Please go to Matt’s website to enjoy his complete range at www.matthewsolomon.com/milleflora.html. As he posed for this picture with his vase, I got out my checkbook again so the vase could come home with me.
Several days after we left his store with our treasures, Matt got an enormous order from a very famous decorator for his very famous client. Lucky woman, she will love her instant collection of his fabulous ceramics.
Matt kindly lends floor space in his store to the chairmaker, Peter Galbert, who makes cahirs and benches in the Windsor style. We all gave his seating the “fanny test”, finding his work beautiful, functional, and comfortable – what a combo! That’s my Joe testing a Windsor rocker.
Peter invited us to spend a morning at his home and workshop up in the hills. There he makes chairs and bench completely by hand, surrounded by wood-shavings and tools.
The final products feel silky smooth and look elegantly spare.
You should go to www.petergalbertchairmaker.com to see more of his extraordinary work.
The next day we re-visited Main Street and marveled at the weavings of Charles Hadley Blanchard at Dyberry Weaver. He dyes all his wools and weaves in amazingly complex pattern with vibrant colors.
His website brags about his work much better than I can, plus it shows a wider range of his weavings; please go to www.dyberryweaver.com
Again up into the hills, we drove to Jill Wiener’s Earth Girl Pottery, the land of hand-thrown pottery, where my checkbook got lighter again. I love her sense of funk!
One of these pots went home with me as did a matching set of berry bowls. If you go to Jill’s website www.earthgirlpottery.com, you can learn more about her and how to get your own goodies.
As our Narrowsburg sojourn came to a close, the icing on the cake for me was a Norman Rockwell evening. Nearby Calicoon, NY holds a band concert every Wednesday night in the summers, a tradition started 37 years ago. We sat on benches to listen while watching children dance in front of the firehouse. The music ranged from Cole Porter to the standard patriotic fare.
I can hardly wait until next summer to repeat the enjoyable pleasure of hearing live music under the stars in a small New York town. The website www.visitcallicoon.com will help you savor the charm of this special community.
Joe, myself, our daughters Eleanor and Claire, our president Justin, our showroom staff, and everybody else at Niermann Weeks wishes you great health, happiness, and prosperity!