FOURTH FLOOR WALK UP

Brooklyn based lifestyle blog by Lauren L Caron

Fourth Floor Walk Up

LIFE | End Of An Era

LIFELauren Caron4 Comments
Our apartment in Brooklyn, shot by Claire Esparros of Homepolish,  just months before we moved. 

Our apartment in Brooklyn, shot by Claire Esparros of Homepolish,  just months before we moved. 

Before our move I wrote about how I was planning to keep the blog going but wasn't quite sure if I would be changing the name. It's now been a few months and we finally made the move across the country. While I've been working on both homes trying to make them livable and comfortable, I've also been doing a lot of thinking. This move has forced me to change a lot of aspects of my life, resulting in new beginnings and bittersweet endings. After over 10 years of living New York, I can't really call it my home any longer. Even though we're still planning to keep the apartment as a secondary residence I realize that I have to develop my life in Seattle and push myself to make it more of a home than New York is now. Because of that realization, I've also decided that I have to close out this blog.  

Fourth Floor Walk Up has been a written account of my life in New York since 2009. It was with me through my twenties, my college years, our rental walk ups on the upper east side, our first (owned) apartment in Brooklyn, our relationship from bf + gf to husband + wife, and even my career growth and new business. It's been a great stretch as a personal project that has produced rewarding opportunities, both as a channel for professional and personal growth, and for that I am grateful. Yet as I partake in this new journey west, writing in Fourth Floor Walk Up no longer seems relevant. Not only am I going to shift the majority of my life out of New York, I am also moving into rental cottage that is only one floor.

On a very personal level, moving out of New York is really difficult for me and my identity as a designer and creative. I love New York, I love the inspiration and the drive it has given me over the years. It's a challenging place to live but it has also made developing my career in a sense, feel easy (or at least that's how I perceive it to be). I have had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people and to learn from so many wonderful experiences. Being able to have the chance to edit out things to do and events to partake in is definitely a luxury that I understand not many cities can offer. 

My move to Seattle will be a challenge for me in the sense that I'm going to have to learn the lansdscape of the city, in regards to industry and personality. Which means, I will need to be open and present for this new home. Also, I believe in order to move forward I would have to lay the platform that is so centered around my life in New York, to rest. 

So here is it: A Layered Life, a new place to discuss and document my soon to be very complicated life. Complicated I say, because not only am I planning to build a life in the city of Seattle, but I'm also developing a business in both cities on both coasts. Union Adorn is my passion project that allows me to build a career on the work that I love. This new blog, will be a side project also driven by my passions, yet it's going to be a place where the pressure is removed. A method of practice, where I can commit to working on it daily or weekly, or perhaps monthly. Not perfect or print ready, yet it will hopefully as with everything I intend to do, be good. 

A Layered Life Logo - from my personal script. 

A Layered Life Logo - from my personal script. 

The name came about from a play on my style and design aesthetic, which has been characterized as being layered and eclectic. I am not a minimalist. I enjoy pairing contemporary and vintage pieces. I value both the modern ideas and classical school of thought and I can never leave a surface unset or vignette unstyled. 

In a blog it means categories that touch on decor, fashion, travel, shopping, and life's experiences. A format very similar to Fourth Floor Walk Up, just set for the most part, outside of New York City. With this new development I hope you'll follow me as I partake in a new chapter, era, whatever we should call it,  A Layered Life.

Thank you to those who have followed along over the years. I've always enjoyed your comments, feedback and the connections we have made.  It's been really special. 

www.alayeredlife.com

* Quick note: I'm still working out some of the kinks with the new site, so bear with me there may be some minor tweaks and changes that you may notice. And if you want to come back to Fourth Floor Walk Up, it will be here. I'm not planning to dissolve the site or let it completely. 

SPACES | Squeezing In A Dining Moment

SPACESLauren CaronComment

When I photographed my friend Emily's apartment months ago, I recognized her ability to fit into her one communal space, a  living room seating arrangement, a workspace and a dining area. After several weeks of envy, I realized that I too could have a cute little dining moment in my one communal room if I shifted a few things around and gave up a few items. I also realized I would have a reason to bring in other pieces that I had long been coveting.

The Apartment Staged for the Listing - See Table

The Apartment Staged for the Listing - See Table

When we first looked at the apartment (4 years ago, woah) there was a round dining table for 2, to the right of the living room entryway. Initially, that possibility no longer seemed right after we added the bookshelves along that wall, which cut the depth of the room down about 15".  Also, Jack built a large desk in the other space where you would naturally allot for a dining area. Now I can see that the room is still wide enough to accommodate a small table on that wall but near the door still isn't the right place. The only space we can put it is where I've had the leopard chair for the past few years. That chair for your information is about 26"w x 29" long so it's about the size of a 28" - 30" bistro table. 

The first step was to move the leopard chair to next to the couch. It's a little tight, because it basically sits right in front of my desk chair, however one positive is that my desk chair now isn't a visible - I'm not a huge fan of the black leather chair but I have plans for that (I will disclose of those soon.)

Next, I moved the side table that was once beside my couch to the 'dining moment'. The side table is only 26" in diameter, but it gives you a good idea of how a dining moment will fit in that space. I don't think this table is right for a permanent set up but it has given me just enough foresight to know what to look for in a dining table. Which is: 1. something light in color, 2. something more modern to contrast my mostly traditional space, and 3. something no larger than 30" in diameter. 

I decided to do a little research looking at spaces that were a traditional mix and similar in look to my home, that incorporate round seating moments as well as just round tables within spaces that are not completely dedicated to dining rooms. I found I was most drawn to the simple pedestal style bases or the brass wheat tables, so these are the spaces that I focused my attention on.

Source unknown... please let me know if you have the source.

Source unknown... please let me know if you have the source.

Design Sponge

Design Sponge

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

Lonny Mag

Lonny Mag

Architectural Digest | Gomez Associates Inc. and Kean Williams Giambertone

Architectural Digest | Gomez Associates Inc. and Kean Williams Giambertone

Matthew Lucas | The Design Files

Matthew Lucas | The Design Files

After looking, I had a better understanding of the direction I'd like to move in. It's the rooms that pair the clean, modern tables with the more traditional chairs. Right now we have a balance of traditional and midcentury and I'm very carefully trying to retain that mix with out it seeming too crazy. In some of the more traditional spaces pictured above, I really enjoy the way the tables have dual use, such as moments for research and inspiration gathering. This is something I will definitely be doing at my table. It's only going to be less than 3 ft. from the desk, an ideal surface to use when splitting my work time between the computer and books.

I narrowed my search down to the following three options - keeping in my mind that I didn't want to spend more than $300 on a table.

TRIPOD TABLE / REEVE MID-CENTURY TABLE / EERO SAARINEN TULIP TABLE

In the end I settled on the Saarinen style tulip table from Lex Mod (for less money here). It's lines are so clean, it's classic, and I love the lacquer - a texture that doesn't compete with the rest of the space.

We ordered the table while on vacation hoping to have it when we returned. Which did happen but, unfortunately after opening it I discovered a crack on the finish. Ugh... How many times something like this has happened to me is kind of unbelievable. I feel like the shippers in the Brooklyn area take joys in kicking deliveries off their truck beds or something. Does anyone else run into this? Luckily, Lex Mod replaced the top, free of charge and didn't make us send back the damaged one. 

Here it is in the space and I have to say it will be a little adjustment getting used to a table being there but I think it will be a wonderful addition to our lifestyle. No more tv tables, an expansion of my workspace, and we can finally invite friends over for intimate dinner parties! 

Please ignore the bookshelves, they're not styled but this the reality of the situation, we have our resource/educational books on this side of the shelves, and the prettier, interiors books (still for resource) in the center of the wall and closer to my porter chair on the right side. The next #operationbistro segment (as I'm calling it) is all about the chairs! So stay tuned...

The current state of '#OperationBistro'

The current state of '#OperationBistro'

CREATE | Artist Profile - Jake Messing

SPACESLauren Caron1 Comment
Paintings by Jake Messing | Photography by: Lauren L Caron © 2015

Paintings by Jake Messing | Photography by: Lauren L Caron © 2015

I recently visited the studio of the Brooklyn artist Jake Messing to get a glimpse into the life of a full-time working artist in New York City.  Jake was recently commissioned to sell a series of paintings at Bergdorf Goodman, the paintings are now on view on the Decorative Home floor on 7. The new Loft installation is a theme based loosely on a overgrown French Chateau showcasing a large collection of the Frédérique Morrel needlepoint animals.  

The subject matter in Jake's paintings are lush and robust, Dutch Masters style still life paintings with a modern twist. I especially love the insects and vermin that creep throughout the beautiful elements.  Continue reading to learn more about Jake as an artist and of course, enjoy!

Bergdorf Goodman Loft | Paintings by Jake Messing | Sculptures by: Frédérique Morrel | Photography by: Lauren L Caron © 2015

Bergdorf Goodman Loft | Paintings by Jake Messing | Sculptures by: Frédérique Morrel | Photography by: Lauren L Caron © 2015

JAKE MESSING

400 SQ FT | 1 RM | WALK UP | STUDIO | WILLIAMSBURG, BROOKLYN

Years in space: 2.5 yrs

Style: Representative

Favorite Medium: Oils and Acrylics....and watercolors....and graphite

Favorite Subject Matter: The surreal - anything that twists your brain a bit and questions what you're looking at. 

Where did you study: Parsons School of Design

How long have you been an artist full time:  6 years

Your studio is in a great location, how did you find it? Through an old friend who had been in the space for years and an opening came up at the right time. 

Where were you working before? I had a gorgeous studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn - directly on the water and perfect views of the Statue of Liberty. 

Why did you leave? What were the deciding factors to move? Hurricane Sandy hit and completely wiped out the studio. I lost a lot of art and chose to move to "higher ground." 

The collaboration with Bergdorf Goodman is a recent venture, but you have worked with other brands in the past, can you please list the other companies that you have partnered with, as well as some projects that you may worked on?  Yes. I worked with Tiffany & Co. for about 4 years creating original artwork and graphics for their windows and in-store experience globally. I have also worked doing windows displays and original art/illustration for Nike, Harry Winston, Van Cleef & Arpels, Mrs. John L Strong (no more), Cynthia Vincent and the Brooklyn Public Library to name a few. 

Tell me about this series: It is inspired by the Dutch Masters. I was drawn to the decadence, darkness, detail and overall traditional beauty of their work. I tried to emulate that style as much as possible and still put my own twist on it. The flowers in the pieces all bloom at different times of the year, and the feathers are from birds from different regions of the world. Each piece has an element of hidden yet imminent danger to them. I enjoy that dance between beauty and danger. 

Where did you look to for resources and inspiration? I found most of my reference images online. I went to the Met a few times to see some of the original Dutch Masters work in the flesh. 

Any specific detail or details that you find to be your favorite within these paintings? I love the "dark" or "dangerous" elements to them. i.e. - the snakes/wasps/rats etc. that lurk slightly beneath the beautiful veneer. 

Any upcoming exhibitions or installations? I am presently showing in an Art Fair in the Netherlands and am working on getting a solo show with a gallery there in September. 

Favorite Museum: Museum of Natural History

Favorite place to go for inspiration: The ocean, my sketchbook, and google

Favorite Art Galleries: Jonathan Levine, Lyons Weir, Driscoll Babcock, Paul Kasmin to name a few.

Any activities that you do as an artist for fun, that you would suggest other creative people to do? I got to a bunch of obscure classes at Brooklyn Brainery and through Coursehorse.com

PAINTINGS

"Last Voluptuous Moments" 36 x 42 | "Blue Apetition", 36 x 42 | "Thin Paper Veil", 36 x 42

The paintings will be on view until June 10, 2015

 

The Frédérique Morel loft and paintings by Jake Messing will be on view at Bergdorf Goodman until June 10, 2015. I recommend that you see this exhibit sooner than later, as they're all one of kind pieces. 

Lastly, if you'd like to learn more about Jake, you can see he & his finance's home tour [here].

TREND | Coveting Copper & Kitchen Updates

TREND, SPACESLauren Caron4 Comments

I've recently had several discussions with friends and acquaintances about how the rosy metal finish of copper is creeping into event design and interiors (mostly in seen kitchens and decorative accessories). Copper pots have long been a standby but the once too rustic or country finish is making a comeback in a more sophisticated and appealing approach. I would credit some of this comfort of the finish to the recent love of brass that came about over the past few years. With the quick turnaround of trends recently, people are clammering for the next best thing, which in turn leaves us to pine for something different. But when you really think about it, there are only so many metal finishes, and most importantly there are really only two tones - warm or cool. Luckily, going forward, I don't think any can be entirely out of fashion as we once projected. My mother loves to use the example of how, when they moved into their house in 1987, Stainless steel was so OUT and looking back over the last 10 years, Stainless Steel appliances were EVERYTHING. I think now it's about a mix. It's not necessarily in fashion to go with all one or the other but to create a smart mix of materials that pair well together. Adding subtle accents of copper will add an extra layer of warmth to your existing cool toned stainless steel appliances, or a touch of romance to table setting at parties and events. 

COPPER.jpg

KITCHEN UPDATE TEASER

My Kitchen - The new tea kettle and mills. Photography by Lauren L Caron © 2015

My Kitchen - The new tea kettle and mills. Photography by Lauren L Caron © 2015

My Kitchen - The recent update of my kitchen, with the almost finished backsplash, and the new copper accessories to bring in a touch of warmth. Photography by Lauren L Caron © 2015

My Kitchen - The recent update of my kitchen, with the almost finished backsplash, and the new copper accessories to bring in a touch of warmth. Photography by Lauren L Caron © 2015

As I'm slowly finishing my kitchen (if you follow any of my social media platforms you've seen that I'm unapologetically obsessed with my 35 sq. ft marble backsplash that was installed last month - still not finished, the grout is awaiting it's set) I've also started to slowly invest in 'over 30' accessories, which include an English Simplex copper tea kettle & brass and copper mills (happy finds on Amazon). I'm really excited about how the progress of this space, the back splash gives it a more sophisticated look and the copper accents are warming up all the stainless steel, grays and whites. it's taking an especially long time, I know. I am more eager than anyone to finish it!

Additionally, I'm dreaming of the day when I can finally invest in a new oven and range. I'm not quite sure what that will be, but there are some dreamy options that are not all one finish of stainless steel, black or white. I especially am loving the Lacanche ranges that pair brass knobs, stainless details with a solid colored cooker (I'd go with white, black or anthracite for my kitchen).  Hopefully soon I can do a full kitchen reveal but for now you'll have to enjoy the above teaser.


Want to see the before photos of the apartment, follow this link to what it looked like when we purchased this apartment. 

Or these links of kitchen updates over the years...

Kitchen To Do List

Kitchen Updates: New Microwave 

Kitchen Updates: New Direction 

Kitchen Plans

FASHION | American Made

FASHIONLauren Caron2 Comments

Earlier this month on a Sunday, I had a few errands to run in Lower Manhattan. I'm usually never in that neighborhood so with Jack in hand, I thought we'd make the most of the sunny Sunday by being a little touristy and visiting the Stock Exchange as well as the recently opened 9/11 monument. In addition to those places, we walked up to Tribeca to see the Shinola store. Shinola is a luxury-goods company based in Detroit, Michigan. Originally a shoe polish company founded in 1907, the new iteration of Shinola bought the name in 2011. In two years the brand has successfully re-branded, thanks to good marketing and above all, as the Washington Post is calling it "understanding the consumer zeitgeist" by means of "consumer guilt - or "responsibility, if you prefer."" Whatever they have done with their marketing plan, which I will agree is genius, they're also producing quality products in the USA. 

JEWELRY - EX VOTO VINTAGE | WATCH - SHINOLA | DRESS - REFORMATION | COAT - EMERSON FRY | JEANS - 7 FOR ALL MANKIND | BOOTS - FRYE

This trip inspired me to discuss and support a few other brands that I've grown to appreciate and love, which also produce products in the USA. It's finally starting to look like we can begin to outfit our lives with goods made here. It's not really easy, but little by little if we support the companies that have made a point to produce here rather than overseas, we'll see more and more of them. 

EX VOTO VINTAGE

JEWELRY

Ex Voto Vintage is a jewelry company started by the designer Elizabeth Adams. With former training in architecture and a strong appreciation for history, traveling and collecting, Elizabeth created the jewelry line of one-of-a-kind and limited edition pieces inspired from ex votos or keepsakes, that she hand picked along her travels. Her newest collection of modern heirlooms captures the beauty of classic designs like signet rings and stacking rings of semi-precious stones. 

REFORMATION

CLOTHING

Reformation is a cool fashion company based in LA that has a concept of trying to produce zero waste and be eco-friendly. Their 'secret weapon' as they call it, is in their materials. Because the textile industry is one of the most chemically dependent industries on the planet and the #2 polluter of clean water, they make their clothes from three different types of materials: 1) new bad ass sustainable materials, 2) repurposed vintage clothing and 3) rescued deadstock fabric from fashion houses that over-ordered. 

EMERSON FRY - NEW YORK

CLOTHING

Emerson Fry is one of those New York cult brands. Originally founded as Emersonmade in 2009, Emerson Fry is now named after the owner and chief designer. All of the designs are classic and beautiful wardrobe staples, which makes sense considering the mission of the brand is to create strong, beautiful, function pieces that serve their customer long term. The main line is produced in the USA and the shoes or other specialty pieces are produced in origins specific to their craft. Ie. the shoes are made in Italy, and the caftans in India. 

FRYE BOOTS

SELECT BOOT STYLES

Frye has been making boots in the USA since 1863. Now, please take note that only select styles are made in the USA and their reasoning behind that is that they chose their manufacturers based on craftsmanship and quality, unlike how many companies choose based on cost. It is very difficult to find quality leather or fashion shoes made in the USA because, typically the best shoes are produced in Italy. For Frye, many of the American mad designs are men's however there are few women's designs that are mostly of the work or motor style.

7 FOR ALL MANKIND

DENIM

Remember 7's! Well 7 For All Mankind was the biggest denim brand back in the early 2k's and recently they've been overpowered by other companies like J Brand and rag & bone (who also produce in the USA). Not that I don't love the others, 7's are still a standby favorite of mine. They always fit well and last long. 

Federal Hall | Site Where Washington Took the Oath as the Nation's First President | Lauren L Caron © 2015

Federal Hall | Site Where Washington Took the Oath as the Nation's First President | Lauren L Caron © 2015

NEW YORK MADE

While I was searching for clothing produced in America, I was really searching for brands that were based out of New York. Unfortunately, this proved to be more challenging, because there are several companies coming out of New York and Brooklyn in particular that focus on menswear and accessories rather than women's. So, If you're a man, with a good income you'll be set for life on American made goods, better yet, New York made! A few brands that I are on the top of that list including a select few that carry women's as well are below: 

Alexander Olch -Neckties

General Knot & Co. - Neckties

The Hill-Side - Small leather goods & accessories

Enest Alexander - Menswear & accessories

Maptote - Totes with maps on them

Stanley & Sons - Utilitarian accessories

Brooks Brothers - Bet you didn't know that!

Freeman's Sporting Club - Menswear 

Sleepy Jones - Cute Sleepwear for men & women

Spiewak - Uniforms & Outerwear

Steven Alan - LOVE Steven Alan, women's & men's clothing

rag & bone - really great jeans and fashion forward clothing for men & women

E. Vogel - Riding Boots

A full list of American Made brands can be found on A Continuous Lean

Lastly, to leave you with a few more images, here are some pictures from our day in Lower Manhattan. Do you have any favorite brands that produce goods in the USA? Anything from New York that I missed that I really shouldn't have? Please let me know!