Comerford Collection // Art & Artful Home Furnishings

Each season I look forward to my first visit to Comerford Collection, a home furnishings store with a distinctive modern perspective in Bridgehampton, NY.  Owner Karen Comerford has created a shop  based on her refined design aesthetic with a series of vignettes throughout the store that are a visual treat. I love to see what’s new and how Comerford has mixed in Xanda McCagg’s artworks along with the merchandise from other artists and artisans.

McCagg’s paintings compliment the other art, including paintings, photography and sculpture as well as the rest of the products presented in the warm and inviting environment. On the website, Karen Comerford describes the, “refined space...she works to redefine the term MODERN, stripping it of its implications of austerity and imbuing it with a comfortable, uncomplicated simplicity".  This is the third season that McCagg’s work has been represented and sold in this thoughtfully edited store, the bold color and abstract composition of her paintings suit the warm space.

I talked with Comerford about how the store has evolved from it's start as a source for custom furniture in 1999. With a thriving textile design business and a background in illustration and graphic design, Comerford sought to bring her creative interests together. She headed to the Hamptons and opened a store to feature her own products, and merchandise them with her particular style and vision. Each “tableaux” showcases her discerning eye

Comerford’s store has morphed over the years, she has stayed in tune with and responsive to her customers, responded to economic changes and design directions. What has remained consistent is her vision of presenting finely designed and highly crafted products to suit her Hamptons clientele. A clientele that looks to furnish and accessorize their local homes as well as homes in Manhattan and elsewhere.

The core business remains private label furniture, but they have evolved into a full-service furnishings store. Products have expanded into an array of modern & hand-crafted home accessories, glassware, barware and serving pieces for entertaining as well an eclectic assortment of hand-crafted jewelry

Comerford's background is evident in the array of textile products. Accessories range from assorted decorative pillows, including a selection of graphic hand embroidered ones from Judy Ross Textiles

to assorted throws

to hand-blown glassware, and lighting


and hand-crafted textiles from Columbia (the proceeds of these sales support women's micro-business development) round out the brightly-colored seasonal lacquer trays

and marquetry boxes

to several walls of art and design books to satisfy all creative interests

Art has always played an important role at Comerford Collection, it provides the “soul of the store”, filling the space with color and energy. This provides ideas and food for thought as to how both the merchandise and the art work together to create liveable and relatable spaces.  McCagg’s work with “both it’s lyrical and bold elements” balance the clean lines of the merchandise. From McCagg’s small, intimate paintings

to the stronger, colorful statement pieces. Comerford works with her artists and artisans to customize pieces that are unique to her store. I like that there is a familiarity when I walk back in each season, but I love that there is a fresh feel, pieces that Comerford works hard to source, whether from one of her regular resources or something new she discovers on her travels - like this circular bronze LED light from Paris.

I have always felt that seeing artwork in a home furnishing store is a terrific and logical way to see art in context, a clear presentation of how it would look in a customer’s home. Karen Comerford has created a shop that always inspires, the shop is visually interesting with lots of great options to consider - whether shopping for art, furniture, jewelry or lighting - its always enticing!

The Neue Galerie // A NYC Gem

An afternoon spent walking through the collections at the Neue Galerie  was a real treat, a glimpse into another era. My daughter Alexis and I had a few hours recently and chose the small collection of Austrian And German Expressionist art in the beautifully restored Beaux Arts mansion just off Fifth Avenue's Museum Mile. The museum showcases early twentieth-century German and Austrian art and design. The collection reflects the intersection of various creative disciplines at the turn of the century, the "New Art", (source of the museum's name) of this period was represented throughout Europe to capture the innovative and modern spirit that was emerging. Examples from these early days of modern design; in the decorative arts, painting, sculpture, furniture, lighting and the very new field of photography are all represented in this thoughtfully edited collection and inspired design and book stores within the museum. The collection has work from the fine artists from Vienna, including Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele.

and the decorative art of early modernists, such as Wiener Werkstatte and Josef Hoffman.

In the early 1900's in Germany, the Bauhaus movement was growing and included artists like Wassily Kandily and Paul Klee and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer. I have Breuer kitchen chairs based on the same tubular steel design of this bar cart and lounge.

The Neue Galerie grew out of the passions of two men who collected Modern German and Austrian art and design. Leonard Lauder, a businessman,  philanthropist and art collector and Serge Sabarsky, an art dealer and museum exhibition organizer. In 1996, after Sabarsky's death, Lauder began to create the Neue Galerie, to realize their shared vision of opening a museum for their respective collections. He bought  the former William Starr Miller House, on the corner of Fifth Ave and 86 St. Seldorf Architects renovated the mansion to appropriately display their artworks.

In 2006, Lauder purchased Gustav Klimt's 1907 gold-drenched Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer l for a record price (at the time of $135 million).  The painting is in the main floor gallery, it is really wonderful, and worth the visit to the museum.

Cafe Sabarsky, the intimate restaurant in the museum was designed to replicate the Viennese cafes at the turn of the century. The furnishings are correct for the period, light fixtures are by Josef Hoffman, furniture by Adolf Loos and the banquettes in a 1912 fabric by Otto Wagner. I began by saying the museum and cafe are a treat, a quiet and lovely space. We didn't eat here that day, but will plan to on our next visit. The museum and cafe are beautifully done, a wonderful break from the usual NY pace, an environment to feel immersed in the period it represents.

We saw the current exhibit of Ferdinand Hodler's paintings. Hodler is considered the most influential Swiss artist of the period. His landscapes are beautifully executed, and I loved how their rich colors looked on the vibrant blue walls in two of the gallery rooms.

Color was a key component to his work in his female figures - particularly blues and reds.

The museum website has photos from a number of magazine layouts that were recently photographed at the museum. How apt that the  elegant setting was used as a background for fashion and style in the 21st century. Diana Taylor, "New York's First Lady", in Harper's Bazaar, 2011, in patterned black and white, echoing the stunning grand staircase.

and from Quest Magazine, patterns and colors reflecting the detailed Klimt painting

To view the collection and the current exhibit, (Ferdinand Hodler: View to Infinity, is through January 7th) only takes a short time. Both the museum space and exhibitions provide a glimpse into a period in history that informed a lot of change in the creative arts and influenced a great deal of modern art and design.

Lumiere by Jean de Merry // Classic & Versatile Lighting

This cover of Elle Decor caught my eye in December, I loved the eclectic mix of materials and styles. I was especially drawn to the striking black light, which I learned was the Lumiere by Jean deMerry. The room, designed by Ashley Stark, successfully mixes a variety of materials and periods. The organic table with "tree trunk" bases and a cement top is by Groundworks, it's paired with 18th century Italian chairs, and a Tommy Parzinger cabinet.

I had previously seen the ceiling mount version of the JDM light in gold, at the Kelly Wearstler designed restaurant at Bergdorf Goodman

While in the D&D Building a few months ago, I stopped in to the JDM showroom, and saw the beautiful range of elegant furniture, lighting and acceessories. I learned the Lumiere is available in a choice of metal finishes, powder colors, and the size can be customized.

Lighting, a great chandelier, whether casual, formal or in between, can be a focal point of a room. I have come across the Lumiere used in a variety of beautifully designed spaces. My Pinterest lighting board has many  of them. It is a relatively new piece, introduced in 2008 - that’s classic and verstatile.  It works in modern, tradional, transitional and eclectic settings.

In Emily Sommer's elegant dining room in her 60's modern Palm Springs home featured recently in Architectural Digest, it is beautifully paired with Jean Risom chairs and a Karl Springer sideboard.

a black version in this warm dining room with a mix of natural elements

in this bright white kitchen, with a bold use of blue chars, the black JDM light is striking above a lucite table

in a library, the contrast of dark walls and a lucite desk

and as the focal point of an airy living room, by Kara Mann

to compliment the success of the hanging light, JDM recently introduced a sconce to the collection

The LA based Jean de Merry started in 2000, with a line of artisanally made chairs and have since developed a line of furnishings and lighting, of beautiful and quality design and workmanship. The Jean de Merry site  explains that the collection, “... merges neo-classical design with 1940’s French sophistication in their timeless...line. Each piece...transitions into both traditional and modern interiors and naturally becomes the stand-out piece of any room.”

Interesting, how when you come upon something that really catches your eye, you notice it again and again. I gravitate towards well-designed pieces that are timeless and verstatile, the Lumiere is just that.