For obvious political and health reasons (I'm gay and have been diagnosed as tulle averse), I have issues with "marriage" as it exists right now. But weddings? Well, that's a different story!!! Especially those which I would have planned exactly as they happened, but didn't have to. I'm pleased to say I run in a social circle not bound to any degree of formality when throwing these events. Sometimes my friends steer clear of the proverbial envelope altogether. My "partner" and I recently ditched our kids and spent a weekend in rural, rustic, Ojai, CA at just such a celebration.
The first indication that this wouldn't be your run-of-the-mill church wedding arrived in the mail on craft paper card stock printed in chocolate brown and barn red. Location instructions included meeting a trolley at the hotel for a short ride to the barn where it would all go down.
The soon-to-be hyphenate Ms. Kate Powers - Puryear (below center), is escorted from the trolley to the hay bale alter by her step father (below right) and father (below left). The love between the bride and groom was electric, the passionate ceremony was concise. I believe the officiate was cast thru Ford Models and licensed via the "Minute Minister" iPhone app. The simple farm setting was at once disarmingly casual and movingly poetic. Podunk Elegance. Fantastic. One useful tip omitted from the invite - getting straw out of dress socks.
A glowing, blissful Ms. Kate Powers and her handsome husband Mr. Scott Puryear (above). Here's to a long joy-filled life together, brimming with love and two-steppin'. Hot dang!!!
Child's play is hard work. Styling a kid's space for an interiors story or for a catalog means kneeling, crawling - seeing the world thru their eyes. How one kid inhabits his or her room is exactly like no other. The reality of an unmade bed, a game scattered in mid play, and an experiment with toilet paper tubes and bubble wrap that makes sense only to its creator paint the picture of the occupant - when a client understands that level of real. This is my niche. And I love it. Authenticity thru idiosyncrasy breeds a beauty and relatability that is palpable. And my own daughter's room serves as proof of my theory as well as inspiration.
At nine, Nola and her twin brother, Ziggy now have their own rooms which has sparked a frenzy of interior decorating in her second only to Nate Berkus. And, as if inspired by her father's work, she has embraced a sort of Grey Gardens Chic. An unmade bed the centerpiece of the design.
Nola was insistent that her desk not face the wall but rather face her "classroom" - she adores teaching an imaginary class on her way to accreditation (in about 12 years). I was dead set against the furniture shift but humored her. I am the first to admit how right she was.
For the first two hours of our visit to friends Joe and Maria's second home on the north fork of Long Island, I was having an out-of-body experience. From the moment we pulled into the gravel drive of the old ship captain's manse, I functioned only as my eyes. We meandered across the lush, shaggy front lawn and I existed solely as the lens of my iPhone camera. Met enthusiastically on the front porch by our hosts, I was only vaguely aware of the greetings and hugs, as if heard thru a tunnel. I mumbled the occasional, "so beautiful..." or "wow" but was seriously lost in visual moments which all vied for my closer exploration and ultimate respite.
The house was built in the 1860's and does not betray that century and a half that has passed when viewed from the street. But get inside and you are enthusiastically welcomed by vignettes of furnishings and art spanning the decades (with a comfortable, gorgeous emphasis on customized mid century thrift). I was in heaven. A perfect balance had been struck between respect for the bones of the house and a humorous commentary or outright rejection of it's Victorian formality.
Consider it Craft College with a great gift shop. Reform School is a hybrid concept resulting in a beautifully curated shop of art, craft and display along with a roster of classes ranging from composting to ukulele. And the women behind the Los Angeles DIY boutique inspire the "my dad's got a barn, my mother sews costumes, let's put on a show" spirit that's hard to resist.
Shopping for a photo shoot I was coveting a beautiful branch sitting in the corner of the store. "That one's spoken for, but come back tomorrow and I'll bring a bunch more from my yard for you" I was told. And they wouldn't take a penny for them. They walk the walk. Reform School is no faceless one-note Etsy operation. They are about community and creating and subsequently create community.
As of June 1, Reform School welcomes a vintage clothing store in the back half. A clever way to meet economic challenges and a chance for the craft mavens to demonstrate their creative genius as they do a bit of spacial reinvention. I was happy to hear they'll keep both front windows - their displays are my favorite feature. I'm not above window shopping for great ideas.