5 Chairs: Modern Design Classics you should know by Ginevra Held

1.  Lounge and Ottomon Charles and Ray Eames 2. Panton Classic Chair, Vernor Panton 3. Wassily Chair (1925), Marcel Breuer 4. Tulip Chair, Eero Saarinen  5. Chaise Longue, Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand, and Pierre Jeanneret

1.  Lounge and Ottomon Charles and Ray Eames
2. Panton Classic Chair, Vernor Panton
3. Wassily Chair (1925), Marcel Breuer
4. Tulip Chair, Eero Saarinen
5. Chaise Longue, Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand, and Pierre Jeanneret

Without any arrogance, I promise, I am starting a series of  "You should Know"s for your personal Design Development. The intent of this series is to give you a little bit of cocktail convo knowledge and a lot more confidence in what you know about design.

So to begin, I chose the number 5, not because there are only 5 modern Classic chairs to know, far from it, there are way way more, but because its a nice prime number to start with.  These are the chairs, as the daughter of an Architect, that I have known about my entire life.  That I have seen over and over again, that I have lounged in and enjoyed.  

I hold these chairs to be self-evident, but there are many out there who can't tell an Eames from a Panton from a Corbu. This, my friends, is for you.

Finally, before I describe each in detail, an Interior Design note for everyone:  These are the chairs that can live anywhere. Whether you have a Haussman apartment in the 6th (thats in Paris for Newbs) or a 260 square foot studio in Detroit, these chairs make your space.  Read on and enjoy.

1. Lounge and Ottoman by Charles and Ray Eames, 1956, Herman Miller.

Ahhh, the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, officially known as No. 670.  The holy grail of modern design cool.  If you are trying to impress, and don't know much about design, you should at least recognize this beautiful piece.  Often placed in somewhat lonely looking modern rooms, with little adornment, it was actually designed by two of the most exuberant luminaries of the modern design world: Charles and Ray Eames.  This is an important moment to note that the Eames' house was full of color and design and anything but bare minimalism. The Eames' were commissioned by the United States government to design splints for US soldiers, this led to experimentation with molding plywood, which eventually led to many of their most famous chair designs, including this one.  The No. 670 was originally designed for the Museum of Modern Art's "Organic Design in Home Furnishings" competition in 1940.  The prototype exhibited there, became one of the many furniture collaborations  between the Eames's and the furniture manufacturer Herman Miller.

2. Panton Chair by Vernor Panton, 1959-1960, Vitra for Herman Miller.

Vernor Panton is probably one of my most favorite designers, and this is my favorite chair.  I saw an exhibit on Panton at the Design Museum in London in the early 2000's.  It was an absolute experience.  I was transported to the '60's and the fun and exuberance of Pop Art Culture.  I was completely enamored by the work of this amazing Danish Architect.  The Panton chair is arguably the most physical embodiment of form meets function meets beauty.  It was the first chair made of an unjointed continuous material, perfect for mass production.  The joint forces of Swiss manufacturer Vitra and American Herman Miller have made its manufacture possible.  Verner Panton wanted design to be fun.  He made these chairs in bright colors and their striking organic form plus their innovative production came to represent Pop Art Culture of the 60's.

3. Wassily Chair by Marcel Breuer, 1925-1927, Knoll International.

Marcel Breuer, one of the founders of the all important Bauhaus, designed this fascinating tubular and leather suspension chair, made to be a modern interpretation of the club chair that does away with the typical timber, horsehair and spring construction of traditional chairs.  The Wassily Chair is so named because it was part of Breuer project at the Bauhaus to furnish the appartment of the painter Wassily Kandinsky. The Wassily Chair, leads a group of Breuer designs that explore this suspension collection of metal tubing and leather.  In this time of turmoil, its important to note that the Bauhaus and the innovative designers who headed it, whose works are now considered part of the lexicon of modern design, were deemed degenerates by the German government.  Think about that.

4. Tulip Chair, by Eero Saarinen 1955-1956, Knoll.

This is the tulip chair.  It is awesome. The Entire Tulip collection by Eero Saarinen represents the best in design.  Attractive, practical, innovative, fun.  The miriad of tables and chairs in this collection share the single pedestal support.  By rethinking the traditional four leg support of most tables and chairs, Saarinen opened up the area under these forms and created new open space. This chair is elegant in its form and simplicity, but embraces an organic beauty that keeps it cool and modern for today.

5. Chaise Longue, by Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand, and Pierre Jeanneret, 1928, Cassina.

Last, but certainly not least the LC4 Chaise Longue, designed by Le Corbusier, his cousin Pierre Jeanneret, and Charlotte Perriand.  The other day, someone, looking at a living room design I did said the "brown chair didn't match."  To which I replied, that "brown chair" is the penultimate of modern design classics.  That chair is the LC4 Chaise Longue.  And that chair is allowed to go wherever it wants. I hold this truth to be self-evident: the LC4 is at home anywhere. I've been napping on my Dad's chaise since, well, forever.  For architects and designers this chair is THE CHAIR.  It represents the fundamentals of the modern design movement of form following function, a pure example of Le Corbusier's idea of a "machine for living".  

As a send off, here is a photo of how I used the LC4.  Like I said, its at home anywhere, with anything.

Ginevra Held Interior Design

Where to buy:
1. Lounge and Ottomon by Charles and Ray Eames, $4,935.00 - $6,435.00 Design Within Reach.
2. Panton Chair by Vernor Panton, the Classic $1,675 and Regular $310 Hive Modern.
3. Wassily Chair by Marcel Breuer, $2498 Hive Modern.
4. Tulip Armchair by Eero Sarrinen, $1720 Hive Modern.
5. LC4 Chaise Longue by Le Corbusier, Perriand, Jeanneret, $3,875.00 - $4,810.00 Design Within Reach.

Design: Interior Styling of a Living Room Side Table by Ginevra Held

Hi Friends!

Its been a while....

So, I have to admit, I really like Instagram.  In thinking about why, its the purity of one really great photo.  So I thought I would use my Instagram account as a jumping off point for my post today...and maybe for days and days or miles and miles if you're a fan of The Who.

Yesterday I posted the photo you see above.  It is a detail shot of a chair and side table in a living room design I did.  The styling was influenced by a Philippe Starck Interior style shot:

I created my own composition of Fornasetti candle, other candle, bulb vase and pillow.  The Fornasetti candle I chose ended up dictating the rest of the composition.  My candle shows Fornasetti house muse Lina Cavalieri. (the lady who's face is on everything Fornasetti) looking up at a bee.  I then found a beeswax candle with a gold bee on it.  I then found vintage red silk fabric of a Napoleonic Bee print embroidered on it and my little mise en scene was complete.

Here is a little board with the individual components of the design:

1. Restoration Hardware Lorraine Chair
2. Napoleonic Bees Pillows from One King's Lane
3. Ikea Rens Sheepskin
4. Fornasetti L'Ape Candle from Barneys New York
5. Gueridon Style side table from Ballard Designs

(the above items are all clickable with links to the items.)

Well, dear reader, that's it. From inspiration to reality.  Stay tuned for more!

xoxo, Ginevra

Recipe: Grilled, Braised and Frittered by Ginevra Held

Lunch today was super yummy and healthy so I had to share.  I had grilled Fava beans with shaved Comte cheese, braised fennel, and leftover Mario Batali Carrot fritters. This is not exactly a recipe, more of a food share, and this is after all the sharing economy.  However don't fret, I will tell you how lunch came about.

Grilled Fava Beans:

Super Easy:

Preheat oven, use the broiler for this, I did a broiler with fan at 220 Celsius, we have a pretty fancy oven here, so if you don't have that option, just put it on the broiler setting.

Wash and dry fava beans.  Put on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Put in oven and cooked until they are deeply brown, charring a bit.  I was going to turn them over, but didn't have to as they were browning on both sides.

Serve with Fleur de Sel, shaved Compte or Parmesan and Lemon!!!

Here is a link for Saveur Grilled Fava Recipe for reference.

Braised Fennel:

Slice fennel bulb, not too thin, not too thick.  Put oil in a pan at medium high.  Add the fennel. Leave the fennel alone! until it is brown on one side.  Turn it over and brown the other side.  Then add about a tablespoon of water and let that boil off. Done! Serve with lemon zest and lemon!

Mario Batali's Carrot Fritters: My adaptation:

5 carrots, washed, peel, cut in half

1 scallion

1/4 cup buckwheat flour

1 egg, beaten

Place carrots in food processor and process until small but not baby food.  Alternatively use the grating blade if you have it.

Place carrots in a bowl with scallion, buckwheat flour, salt, pepper, and egg.  Mix to combine. Should hold together nicely.

Using your hands, made little patties and place them onto a pan with olive oil that is relatively hot but not smoking,  Brown on each side.


Here is a link for Mario Batali's original Carrot Fritelle Recipe

Interior Design: Styling, not just for Photo Shoots by Ginevra Held

I've been doing a lot of styling work for photos here at the Farmhouse, and I wanted to share how that translates to your own home.

Whenever you see a photo of in interiors in a design magazine, it has been heavily styled.  The place has not just been cleaned and decluttered, its has been styled.  A stylist's job is essentially to create a mise en scene, the idea that someone lives in that home, that the place has life.  Good styling is subtle but transformative. I think of all the painting periods, Styling is most like the work of the Dutch masters like Vermeer.  Intimate and with a close attention to detail.  Many designers hire a stylist for the shoot, or a photographer has one on hand.  Personally, I like to do the styling myself, and one of my design heroes, Vicente Wolf does as well.  In fact, he also takes his own photos, which I am hoping to learn eventually as well.

Anyway, styling is about creating these mise en scene. You probably have a lot of objects and props, as I like to call them on hand already.  

My favorite things to style with: books, flowers (always!), small objects, pillows!, mirrors! and fabric.  It's all about creating a layered look and an environment that is a reflection of you.  The personal objects in your life should be put on display neatly and deliberately.  

All surfaces in your home deserve a little styling.  Side tables, coffee tables, dining tables, chairs, bookshelves etc.

And most fun, it doesn't have to be permanent, you can move things around and choose to hide or display different things at different times.  It's like decorating for the holidays, but all year long. Decorating for your life!

In the photo at the top I used a combination of books, objets, flowers, fabric and a mirror to create what I called "Miss Havisham's Reading Nook"  It has a soft dilapidation which I like.  I imagine this little nook as a lovely place to read while the sun pours in.

Here is another I did:

Here, I relied heavily on pillows, both on the bed and in the window area.  I took what was a window ledge and made it into a cozy reading seat by adding pillows.  Ah, the power of pillows!

And another:

Again pillows! A beautiful quilt, a framed drawing on the side table and a present from Net-A-Porter doesn't hurt.

What kind of styling do you do in your home?

xo, Ginevra

Beauty: Body Brushing by Ginevra Held

I’ve started Dry Brushing, Have you?


People, not everything is about Interior Design.  SO I repeat, I’ve started Dry Brushing, have you?

I heard about dry brushing kind of randomly.  You know how you’re browsing Vogue online, and there's some other site popping up and it's like “Miranda Kerr Swears by Dry Brushing!” and you’re like okay.  She’s attractive.  But you’re still skeptical cuz like she also divorced Orlando Bloom, and where is the logic in that?

Anyway, I kept seeing it mentioned as being done by other celebs, like Gisele Bundchen, Elle McPherson, neither of whom have divorced Orlando Bloom, so like dry brushing and divorcing Orlando Bloom are not causal.  If you’ve taken the LSAT’s there’s no if…then… if you know what I mean.

So I casually mentioned dry brushing to a friend of mine, and she was like, dry brushing is why Japanese people don’t have cellulite.  Ummm okay, that is interesting.

I confess, I do have cellulite.  Ewww and thanks a lot MOM, apparently it is very hereditary (are there varying degrees of something being hereditary, if so, it is very).  I was wearing short shorts last summer and I squatted down to get some chips (of course) and noticed that when squeezed there was dimpling.  Very upset, I went home and directly googled “Victoria’s Secret Models With Cellulite” and thank the lord, Candice Swanepoel had instagrammed a paparazzi pic of her cellulite. So there you go, I am in good company.

So I thought I would give dry brushing a try.  Of course, dry brushing in itself can not reduce cellulite, that takes an entire arsenal, eating well, exercising …. But it apparently has benefits that exist beyond cellulite.  It is stimulating, invigorating, good for circulation and exfoliation.

I did a lot of research on what kind of brush and learned that vegetal, namely cactus brushes are the best.  The one I bought is from Net-a-Porter (if you don’t know what that is, please get out from under your rock).  

Then I perused GOOP, as you do, and found an article on dry brushing.  Thank you Gwyneth. Basically, before you take a shower or bath, you use your brush on dry skin and do light upward strokes, starting at the feet and moving upwards always toward the heart. 

Now when you get to your stomach, it says to move the brush counterclockwise.  I confess I still have no idea what that means.  Is there a clock superimposed on my stomach and I go the other way, or if I’m looking at a clock?  I mean really, I majored in Architecture at UC Berkeley and had to take advanced Calculus and for the life of me I have no idea what counterclockwise on my stomach is.  

Gwyenth has a diagram, and I kind of think I kind of get it.  Thank you GOOP.

Anyway.  I’ve started dry brushing.  It is invigorating, don’t do it too harshly and try to enjoy it. This time, before my shower, I put coconut oil on my skin after dry brushing, sort of to protect it from the water.  And then Coconut oil after.  So apparently with consistency, of course and over time, I should see improvement in my skin and hopefully with the cellulite.  Though I am attacking that on another front but that is for a different post.

So lay it on me….Do you dry brush?

Good Reference Articles for How to, both from GOOP: