Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Our New Riviera Bags from Catstudio: Feeding Our Obsession

A very special shipment arrived at The Nest Egg yesterday! Now mind you, most of us at the store are slightly obsessed with tote bags of all shapes, colors and sizes, but this shipment of bags was truly special. Aside from the obvious attraction of the classically simple summer stripes of black, red and blue, the wonderful texture of the hand woven materials and the vintage style floral lining, these bags have a special story behind them.

XL Black & White Riviera Bag 23 inches wide 17 inches tall and 5 inches deep

Brought to us by Catstudio, the Riviera tote bags are made possible through a collaboration of Catstudio & a non-profit society in remote Southern India called Sabala, a voluntary organization dedicated to the Empowerment of Women and Children. Set up in 1986, SABALA is working with widows, destitutes, tribals, physically challenged girls and women and economically strained women. To provide sustainable livelihood, Sabala provides these women with skill development and design training, which teaches them to make these beautiful bags.

For the movie buffs out there, even Julia Roberts donned a bag of Sabala in her movie Eat, Pray, Love! (and I'm sure her tote is what attracted Javier Bardem to her . . .)

The bags are all hand woven and made from cotton and jute. Each has beautiful hand stitched edges and shoulder straps. We all know a new tote makes us feel good but these Riviera Tote bags can't help but make you feel really good for supporting such a worthwhile cause! Take a peek at some of the bags we are carrying at The Nest Egg including the XL Black & White bag shown above.

Large Black & White Bag inches wide 11 inches tall and 5 inches deep

XL Red & White Riviera Bag 23 inches wide 17 inches tall and 5 inches deep

Large Red & White Bag inches wide 11 inches tall and 5 inches deep
XL Blue & White Riviera Bag 23 inches wide 17 inches tall and 5 inches deep

Large Blue & White Bag inches wide 11 inches tall and 5 inches deep
This is the lining inside all of our striped bags.

We carry the striped pouches in black, white and blue. 9x4
If you're local, come by and see the bags in person the next time you're our our way! If you're not, we are happy to ship the bag(s) of your choice to you . . . we certainly don't mind sharing our obsessions!

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Best Of: David Lee Furniture

I've been wanting to start a series of blog posts featuring the best of some of our top selling lines. Here's the first attempt at the series . . .I promise to try very hard to keep it going!

One of the things we are most proud of at The Nest Egg are the domestic made furniture lines that we carry. In 2005 we came across David Lee Furniture at the High Point Furniture Market and we met Dave the owner. Dave is an incredibly talented craftsman and furniture designer. All of his pieces are made to order in Northeast, Pennsylvania. The most wonderful part about Dave and his line of furniture is that everything can be customized. Over the years we've altered dimensions and finishes on everything from dining tables to entertainment centers and we are always so pleased with the finished products. We've put his pieces in New York City and Chicago apartments where space was tight, but storage space was essential, and in many homes around Virginia, DC and Maryland and beyond. A pair of David Lee nightstands has even made it's way to Hawaii! It's wonderful to be able to provide access to this type of American made furniture to our customers and to work closely with them to create custom pieces made just for them.

Here are a few of our best selling pieces over the years from David Lee Furniture. We hope you'll find something you've been looking for here!
Regency Pedestal Table (available standard at 42", 48", 54" or 60")
Chateau Sideboard
Milford 3 Drawer Chest
Kensington Coffee Table
Avignon Hall Chest
Heritage Entry Cabinet
Regency Media Center (can also be made as just the center best unit)
Hillsboro Media Center
Cambridge Media Center

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Cobbler's Living Room: Before & After

Have you heard the old adage "the cobbler's children have no shoes"? I googled the phrase just to make sure I had it right and Wikipedia gave such a perfect definition of what I was going to try to explain that I might as well use theirs:

"The essence of this phrase is used to describe the phenomenon where certain 'professionals' in any given area are so busy with work for their clients and their teams that they neglect using their professional skills to help themselves or those closest to them. For example - the painter &/or decorator who never decorates his own house, the web designer that hasn't finished their website, or the accountant who is late in submitting his own tax return!"

That pretty much sums it up for me! Since opening The Nest Egg 8 years ago, I've lost track of how many times customers have said "Oh, your house must be beautiful!" I would graciously accept the comment as a compliment to the store but very honestly, and sheepishly of course, reply that it wasn't. It was a beautiful house in many respects, but the decor was not it's strong suite. 

We moved into our current house 5 1/2 years ago. At that time we had a 1 year old and 1 store. We soon opened a second store and had another baby boy. We then closed the second store and expanded our original store so needless to say time was precious, funds were precious and our own house wasn't our first (or second or third) priority. Between running the store and having two young boys, there truly wasn't enough time, or energy, in the day to think about our own house.

This year, with one in kindergarten, the other in preschool and a continued great team at our store, it's the first time in many years that we have found some breathing room and have been able to spend a little free time thinking about and working on our house. Because two boys under the age of 6 and a big dog are not very forgiving on a house, I chose to start with our living room as this is the one place that doesn't sustain the extreme wear and tear on a daily basis.

So here it is . . .the first peek into the cobbler's home. First, the before of our living room:  

We live in a traditional home in Reston, Virginia that was built in 1971. The previous owners had lovingly decorated the house in a very traditional Williamsburg style. Most rooms were painted Williamsburg blue, many have blue tiles and everything used was as true to the Williamsburg colors and materials as possible
Another shot of the living room before we moved in.

This is the living room, more or less, as we've lived with it for the past 5+ years. Over time we did paint the room and the trim, removed the previous window treatments, added recessed lighting and replaced the sconces. I was also just trying to pretend that I could make the blue fireplace tiles work (I couldn't).
We had an "eclectic" (also known as odd) mix of old furniture and some new furniture that was purchased quickly just to fill the house. From this I've learned to always give the advice of living in your house for a while before you buy anything because your needs change. This room originally started as an office with a huge desk and has been various forms of a living room over the years.
I loved our new brown walls (Clinton Brown by Benjamin Moore) but the room felt so dark and dated. The furniture wasn't comfortable and nothing ever worked with the blue fireplace. It's also a difficult layout because the room has two entrances so furniture placement was a challenge and we were continually trying out new arrangements. 

My goal for the room makeover was to brighten it up while keeping the brown walls I really loved, to highlight the beautiful moulding that was an original part of the home and to create a space that was comfortable, inviting (you see the room right as you walk in the front door), calming and of course, kid friendly where possible.  

I was able to sell the leather chairs, the rug and the curtains on Craigslist. I moved the settee into our bedroom and let the kids fully take over the coffee table in their play space for art projects, lego building and Hot Wheels car shows. I also reused the end table, sconces, drapery hardware and many of the accessories that were in there. Here is the new room:
 Replacing the blue tile wasn't really in our budget so we painted over the fireplace tile using a ceramic primer and the same semi gloss paint that we had originally used on the moulding. We also painted the red brick hearth and repainted the black interior of the fireplace. (Currently the fireplace isn't usable as the interior has cracks so until the day comes when we can fix that, it's purely decorative).
Here is the most kid friendly factor in the room. . . The sofa is the Salon sofa from the Joe Ruggiero collection for Miles Talbott and the fabric is SUNBRELLA! Stain and fade resistant! This fabric is called Dazzle Wren. The sofa and the fabric are truly gorgeous (and designed by the very talented and always gracious Joe Ruggiero). The first thing everyone does when I tell them it's Sunbrella is touch the sofa and they can't believe how soft it is. My son was thrilled when I let him jump on it for the pictures!
The rug is the Bermuda Jute rug in Parchment from Surya. I wanted something thinner than a tufted rug but with more texture and interest than a solid sisal or seagrass. This rug has flecks of brown and gold throughout which mix nicely with the walls and the drapes. The buffet in the corner was from our first dining set. We no longer have the dining table but this is so neutral and great for storage so we moved it into the living room.
The side chairs are from Lee Industries (there are 2 chairs but on the day I took the pictures we had brought one into the store for a customer to "test drive"). They chair style is the 1011-01 in Thatcher Natural. I've coveted this chair style from the moment I saw it in the Lee showroom. It's incredibly comfortable and a really wonderful chair size for both men and women. The throw pillow is from Lacefield Designs. They offer gorgeous pillows, all made in the US!
The wall sconces are from Currey & Company. I purchased them a few years ago and then bought new shades to go with the new room.
The Sid Dickens Zodiac memory blocks were able to stay in the same place and they represent the four zodiac symbols for our family. I chose the Astaire curtain panels from Eastern Accents even before I had chosen the chair and sofa fabrics. They are beautifully made (also in the US) and the fabric has wonderful flecks of gold in the print.
The ottoman is from Miles Talbott Furniture and is part of their Ottomans Options Program where you can choose your ottoman size, shape, skirt or castors, as well as a tufted, smooth or mitered top. The fabric is called Tana Camel. All of the upholstery in the room is also made in the US (can you sense a pattern here?).
I love my buddhas. It's a bit of a joke around the store but they make me happy! I also love the quote associated with the Sid Dickens Hourglass Memory Block (T253) in the background: "Live presently. Discover the eternity of this moment." I finally have a room where I can sit and ponder that though (momentarily)!

So 5 years later, this is one of the rooms in the cobbler's house and we are really enjoying it. It still needs a few things including another piece of art on one of the walls opposite the couch and also a few more personal touches (something on the hearth) but we're really happy with how it turned out and I'm inspired to find some time to work on some other rooms. We recently did a mini renovation on our kitchen so will share that soon!