Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sony Creative Center Installation, Milan

Sometimes you see a photo of a room that is interesting, but can't imagine living with it. This article in this morning's New York Times about the Sony Creative Center's new installation in Milan has some really beautiful and geometrically fascinating shapes applied to household sound systems. "Contemplating Monolithic Design" was designed by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, fully integrates home electronics into furnishings.

We see a lot of edgy interior design in the Palm Springs area, and I have a client in mind who would absolutely love this for their home. I'd love to see some applications of this in Bighorn Country Club or at The Reserve. If you are looking for abstract applications of residential electronics, check out the photos. You'll have fun trying to figure out the function of each object in the installation. It will be interesting to see how this kind of edgy design trickles down into more mainstream applications.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Rearrange Your Furniture?

As I was about to leave my Aunt Kathy's house in Tucson to return home to Palm Springs the day after Christmas, she mentioned that she was bringing a vintage Arts & Crafts buffet that I had given her years ago to her new home. She only really had to mention moving some furniture around, and suddenly I flew into action, quickly replacing and respositioning end tables, pillows, a curio cabinet, hanging an area rug on a wall, and changing where artwork had hung. We were all done in about an hour, and the house had a new take that I hope Aunt Kathy liked!

Many households need to rearrange furnishings to accomodate the Christmas Tree. Before you decide to put things back exactly how they were, think about if you are ready to change it all up.

Simply rearranging your home furnishings can give you a fresh look. Add to that an accent color on a wall, and your home could have a very fresh new look just in time for the New Year.

If you're not sure what to do, or where to start, contact an interior designer. William Miller Design does offer a home 'editing' package, and you don't need to invest a lot of time and effort. We can have your home looking fresh and new within as little as a day. We provide interior design services that are affordable for most households in Palm Springs, Palm Desert, La Quinta, Rancho Mirage, Los Angeles, and San Diego, but if we aren't close to your home, we are happy to try to recommend a professional in your area.

Fabulous Sale at Albert & George This Week!

Stop in Albert & George this week and save 50% off all Holiday Decor!

Albert & George is located at 70020 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage, California 92270. Hours are 10-5 M-F Saturday 10-4.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Don't sit in front of the computer until we are back on the 27th! Go and have a great holiday!

Best wishes for Joyous Holiday and a Happy New Year!

Matt and Bill at William Miller Design.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Origins of the Holiday Wreath

By hanging a Christmas Wreath on your door you are carrying on a tradition from the days of ancient Rome, when decorative wreaths were used a sign of victory (though these tended to be made of laurel). After each battle won the citizens of Rome would make a wreath and hang it on their door to thank their Gods.

But the origins of the Advent wreath go far back in time, to the pre-Christian Germanic tribes who during the cold and darkness of the long days of December gathered evergreens which they made into wreaths and lit fires as a sign of hope in the coming of the spring and renewed light.

Christians went on to keep these traditions alive and by the 16th century both Roman Catholics and Protestants in Germany used these symbols to celebrate Advent and their belief in Christ.

The use of the Advent wreath then spread to other parts of the Christian world. Traditionally the wreath has four candles nestling in a circle of evergreens and a fifth in the center. Three of these were violet and the fourth a rose pink but nowadays four white or violet are acceptable. Each week in December one candle would be lit, possibly with a short prayer and before the evening meal until the lighting of the center one on Christmas Eve to represent Jesus Christ being born again (We did this in my household growing up, and we even made the wreath ourselves from pine cuttings from the woods surrounding our home).

Perhaps as you hang your festive wreath on your door to welcome friends and family to your home this year, you will give a little thought to the people who for many hundreds of years have kept this tradition alive and all the wonderful things in history it represents.

By far and away the best wreath that I've seen this year is from Beach Bungalow 8's designer, Megan Arquette. It's constructed of vintage ornaments, and I can't wait to try and make one of these for myself next year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Tree Roots

While there are no hard facts about the origins of the Christmas tree, there is little question the Germans originated and popularized it. The earliest written record of a decorated evergreen tree for Christmas appears in 1521 in the German region of Alsace. In 1561, the same region had a forest ordinance saying that no one "shall have for Christmas more than one bush of more than eight shoes' length." The German families would set up Christmas trees in a prominent location in their home and decorate them. As these people moved or immigrated to other countries, they brought this tradition with them. By the 1700s, the Christbaum, or "Christ tree," was a German tradition. It quickly spread to other parts of Europe and finally to America.

America adapted slowly to some of the Christmas traditions, because of the Puritan influence. Many puritans felt that Christmas was too sacred of a holiday and should not be marred with Christmas trees and Christmas carols. When the Christmas tree later regained popularity, symbolism was common. The Christmas tree is a symbol of a living Christmas spirit. Because balsam fir twigs, more than any other evergreen twigs, resemble crosses may have had much to do with the early popularity of balsam fir used as Christmas trees.

In 1851, the Christmas tree market began when farmer Mark Carr hauled two ox sleds of evergreens into New York City and sold them all. In 1856, Massachusetts was the last existing state to declare Christmas a legal holiday. Since then, it has exploded into a tradition-rich, festive season. By 1900, one in five American families had a Christmas tree. By 1920, the custom was nearly universal in the United States.

Today, the Christmas tree is common in all Christian countries except Spain, Italy, and some of Latin America. Instead, these countries share the custom of erecting a miniature reproduction of the stable and manger where Christ was born. Even the Japanese have adopted the Christmas tree, but with this twist: they decorate their tree with tangerines and delicate rice wafers-which enclose fortune-telling slips!

Towards the end of the 1800s, another variation of the traditional Christmas tree appeared: the artificial Christmas tree. It is believed that like so many other Christmas traditions, artificial Christmas trees also originated in Germany. The first artificial Christmas trees were metal wire trees covered with feathers. The most popular feathers came were goose, turkey, ostrich or swan feathers. The feathers were often dyed green to look like pine needles. In the 1930's, the Addis Brush Company created the first artificial-brush trees, using the same machinery that made their toilet brushes! The Addis 'Silver Pine' tree was patented in 1950. This innovative Christmas tree had a revolving light source under it. Colored gels allowed the light to shine in different shades as it revolved under the tree. This silver aluminum artificial Christmas trees became so popular that it was exported throughout the world!

The story of The National Christmas Tree begins with Franklin Pierce- the first President of the United States to introduce the Christmas Tree to the White House in 1856. However, this was not the start of the tradition now known as the "National Christmas Tree". In November 1923, First Lady Grace Coolidge gave permission for the District of Columbia Public Schools to erect a Christmas tree on the Ellipse south of the White House. The organizers named the tree the "National Christmas Tree." That Christmas Eve, at 5 p.m., President Calvin Coolidge walked from the White House to the Ellipse and "pushed the button" to light the cut 48-foot Balsam fir, as 3,000 enthusiastic spectators looked on. The tree, donated by Middlebury College, was from the President's native state of Vermont. From 1924 to 1953 live trees, in various locations around and on the White House grounds, were lit on Christmas Eve. In 1954 the ceremony returned to the Ellipse and expanded its focus. Local civic and business groups created the "Christmas Pageant of Peace." Smaller live trees representing the 50 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia, formed a "Pathway of Peace." On December 17, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower lit the cut tree donated by the people of Michigan. The White House used cut trees until 1973.

Central to the season's celebration is the living National Christmas Tree, a Colorado blue spruce from York, Pennsylvania, planted on the Ellipse October 20, 1978. The tree stands as a daily reminder of the holiday spirit and of the tradition each succeeding President has shared in since 1923.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Great Design Books at Albert & George

you're still hunting for a gift for the design aficionado in your life, look no further than our store, Albert & George. We just recieved some great books on interior design and table settings (have your centerpiece for Christmas and New Year's yet?). Some favorite titles are Palm Springs Living (with photographs by David Glomb); Vincente Wolfe's new title: Lifting the Curtain on Design; Set with Style; and Modern Luxury.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ann Sacks Michael S. Smith Mosaic Tile

spending a week in Jordan this past Winter, I was able to see how much work actually goes into finely crafted hand-cut stone mosaic tiles. It isn't until you see the tiny piecework being done by hand that you actually start to wonder why the prices aren't actually higher than they are for mosaic work!

Michael S. Smith has designed a fantastic collection for Ann Sacks using ten graphic patterns and complimentary borders, using Greek, Moroccan, and Parisian themes with antiqued finishes. The result are some very lovely textures and colors for the home.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Albert and George Opens in Rancho Mirage

photos that our fan (and cousin-in-law) Oliver took before our grand opening party- I sort of lost count at about 300 people, but let's say we had a HUGE turnout! Thanks so much for coming! We'll look forward to seeing you at our next event in January! If you aren't on our mailing list for events, contact

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chinese Ceramic Accessories

Chinese ceramics look great anywhere. I like them to come in pairs. They look fantastic on a beautiful hearth, in an art niche, or flanking a prominent entrance or a home. They also are suitable for outdoor use (year round in mild cimates, but bring indoors if you live in a region prone to precipitation and freezing tempratures), particularly if you are setting an outdoor living area.

My favorites at Albert & George (our new home accessory and furnishing store in Rancho Mirage) right now are this pair of Chinese Foo Dogs. They are not the traditional "lion-headed" with their fierce paws on a sphere. These are poised and watchful, and I completely love the variations in the dipped glaze. The other pair that is perfectly charming are this pair of Chinese babies. Their torsos are glazed with blue and white, and have a glossy finish, but their faces are rendered with care and have been left with the ceramic matte finish, looking like fine white porcelain skin.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Root Ball and Teak Table Bases

Since we installed a teak root-ball coffee table base and a console table at our most recent project at The Reserve in Indian Wells, we've been seeing more organic forms creeping into the most interesting room settings. The roots have such motion and warmth to them, and look great in contemporary and mid century homes. We've placed them with custom etched glass tops from San Soucie glass, but they also look fantastic with a plain beveled glass top. One of my favorites today is from The Brick House blog. They have paired a root base with a glass top for a hip-looking nightstand. Also pitcured is a raw teak coffee table; a multi-tiered end table; a trunk segment for an outdoor living area; and our coffee table with an etched glass top at The Reserve.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Grand Opening Party Tonight!

hope to see you all at our Grand Opening Party tonight from 6-9PM. Our new store, Albert & George will be serving Hors d'Ĺ“uvres and drinks from Bangkok Five. We have a great selection of holiday decor, books, and home accessories, as well as home furnishings and artwork. Tonight we will be offering 10% off all holiday decor!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Branch Lamps and Coral Fans

Albert & George received these yesterday and couldn't wait to share them with you. The pair of gold-leafed 'branch' bedside table lamps are unique, not only because of the shape, but because of their low (15") height . They would be perfect for a sleek platform bed, and the organic form is a nice counterpoint to a contemporary setting ($1235.00 each). I also love the framed coral fans hanging above the lamp. Bringing natural forms and elements into a modern or contemporary home is a perfect way to balance out your home ($340.00 each).

Monday, December 6, 2010

Two's Company Accessory Favorites

can make or break a room...some that would make a room and not break the bank at the same time from Two's Company (one of our favorite places)!

Fun bolster pillows, porcelain cacti, teak driftwood framed mirror, and a bark-framed mirror.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Contemporary Teak Buffet

One of my favorite pieces of furniture is a sideboard or buffet. To me, a dining room is where the treasures of a household are kept- the silver cutlery, the china, and all the trappings of a beautiful table setting. I think this is why the buffet is my favorite- it is like the safe deposit-box where all the family treasures are hidden away until they are called upon for a special occasion.

This Asian-inspired buffet recalls a hip mid-century modern Japanese mizuya dansuthat I bought at the Tokyodome flea market some years back...but this is on a much larger scale, and more suited towards a home with an eclectic collection of furniture or as a organic balance to a sleek contemporary home ($3500).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

LaCor Sea Urchin Lamps

We fell in love with these "Sea Urchin" lighting fixtures from LaCor, and so did a client of ours. We're installing a cluster of these for a celebrity client in the Vintage Club. I can't wait to see them installed. The fixtures are made of a cast resin with "chopsticks" set into them and takes a low-wattage bulb.

They're so dramatic and organic!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Three Favorite Trees at Albert and George

We had so much fun choosing Christmas Trees for our new store, Albert & George!

I love the holidays, and putting up the tree- my sister and I used to drag our Christmas Tree out of the cubby hole at least twice a year and put it up in her room while we were unsupervised. There really is something amazing about those lights being in a tree that is still wonderful to look at.

I picked three trees from our store that I am absolutely crazy about...

The first is a red-flocked 3' tree- We had one up on our buffet for Thanksgiving at our house, and it really needed NO decorating. It looked absolutely fantastic with the thick, velvety red flocking ($140).

The second tree is a 3' silver glittered tree, sort of a minimalist/mid century modern/Jetson tree. It doesn't need any lights- it just sparkles constantly. Would be amazing as a centerpiece on a Christmas or New Year's Eve table...this one also comes in gold ($65).

The last one is a trio of trees that are somewhat untraditional- they are a wooden-framed tree silhouette in white glitter with red glass bulbs mounted in the central negative space. These are so much fun, and would be great on a mantle given their low profile ($75, set of three).

All of these are on sale now at Albert & George, located at 70020 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage, next to Bangkok Five. Albert & George is William Miller Design's new store that features home interior accessories, books, gifts, cards, and candles.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Royal Hawaiian Estates Palm Springs

Palm Springs Preservation Foundation had another great open house at a property that was recently deemed historical by the city. The Royal Hawaiian Estates were commissioned by 1960 and designed by Wexler & Harrison in a Polynesian or "Tiki" theme. It's a fun complex of 40 units. Among the notable exterior features are the spider-legged spans (Flying Sevens) and the outrigger beams that resemble the outriggers in Polynesian Longboats. The tour featured four units in the complex, each with a different take on Palm Springs Interior Design...

The next open house will be December 11 at the Stephens House designed by Clark/Frey. For more information, check the PSPF website.

Have fun looking at the photos, and don't forget about William Miller Design's Grand Opening Party for their new store December 10, 6-9 PM. RSVP to 760-770-9199. Our store will feature Holiday Decor, Home Interior Accessories, Gifts, and Books. In addition, the Interior Design Services of William Miller Design will be available at our new location: 70020 Highway 11, Rancho Mirage.
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