Friday, May 6, 2011

In Love With Awesome: Mabley Handler Interior Design

Someday, I'm going to write a really long post about Alicia Paulsen, how Posie Got Cozy, my friend, Adrienne, and how, just as Dorothy woke up from the tornado to find her gray world filled with color, I, too, woke up one day to a bright new world filled with new people and beautiful things that I had never realized existed.

At least not virtually, anyway. But that day isn't today.

No. Today, I want to introduce a new series in which I highlight something I am in love with. Because I don't just love things a little bit. You see, Junkies? They can't just have a tiny bit of their fix, they need it in excess, and I am no different. When I find something and fall in love with it, I want it in piles, in buckets, in excess and most likely even potentially lethal amounts.

And I want it now! (Ha, I sound like that chubby little blueberry chic from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory-but if you were to ask any of my friends, they'd tell you that is exactly what I sound like when I'm all about something). So, because this is mine, and because I can do whatever I want with it, I am going to indulge myself each and every Friday (and hopefully you will, too) with awesome things that I am in love with.

Because caring is sharing. You know?

For my first post, I had to start with someone(s) super-duper special to me, and pair it with a teensy-tiny story (you guys know how I love to tell stories)...

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away  Michigan, there was a girl who became obsessed with design blogs, white, and various shades of aqua. So much in fact, that this girl would find any and all who shared photos on blogs of various shades of white and aqua, who designed things using various shades of white and aqua and eventually even those who just liked the colors of white and aqua. She would hunt then down, stalk their internets and fearlessly tell them she was in love with them hoping they would like her too, and if she was lucky not file a restraining order. One day, she met a fine blog that told the tale of a pool lounge, with shocking shades of peach (melon, pumpkin, orange?) with her beloved aqua. Well, this had never occurred to the crazy girl obsessed with white and aqua. She became fascinated and obsessed and decided to hunt down the creator of such magic in any way she could. She stalked their Twitters, she liked their Facebook, she subscribed to their website, found their blog, and finally, after right clicking and saving all of their images for inspiration, she was happy.

Hahahaha....And then one day she also realized she was a doofus and just emailed these amazing designers of the aqua and pumpkin (or orange or melon) and said, "You guys are awesome! I'm in love! You're super duper spectacular, Mabley Handler Interior Design!" and the rest, as they say, is history. (Yeah, so it kind of didn't go exactly like that, but who cares? It's just a story).

Thus, I only find it fitting to start you off with photos of the space that hooked me (and spearheaded a wonderful friendship with one of my favorite people, Austin Handler), the pool Lounge (Hampton Designer Showhouse 2010):

Right? I mean, seriously, riiiiight? Remind me sometime to show you the lamps that I made because I tried adding this same touch to my own rooms. The result was cute, but mostly just funny.

Now I must admit, I do not love my friend based on design ascetics alone. If he was daft, pretentious and not-nice, I'd still love his work, but truthfully? Austin is one of the nicest people that I've ever met that I haven't actually met yet. When I emailed him to tell him I was starting this series, I told him I had some questions I'd love for him to answer and that if he could take a photo of his workspace it'd be just swell. His response? "Do you want staged, posed, a flurry of activity, candid? You just let me know what you'd like because I can totally do it". Spoken like a true designer. Spoken like a true friend. 

I had to keep them all. They were just too darling. That, and I wanted one with his friendly smiley face as well as the one with the "flurry" and of course the one that best showcases the fantabulous built-ins.

Pretending we actually got to have a little sit down, I had questions, because well, I'm a nosy girl (get used to it, each post in the series has them). So let's have a sitty-sit.

When you were little, what did you imagine yourself doing when you "grew up"?

When I was little, I wanted to be an astronaut (what 9-year-old boy didn’t?!). And the funny thing is, I didn’t realize that I was even remotely creative until I was in college…I started taking photography classes, and I love it…And that somehow led me into graphic design and I loved that so much that I decided to become a graphic designer after college (even though my major was in journalism). And when I met Jennifer and we decided to leave our jobs in New York City and move out to the Hamptons and launch an interior design firm, I still had planned to remain a graphic designer…I figured that I would design the business cards, build the website, photograph the projects, but still maintain my freelance graphic design business. But after a year or so, we started getting more and more busy with the interior design work, and Jennifer was pulling me into project after project…And before I realized it, I was an interior designer more then I was a graphic designer. I’ve been doing this for almost 10 years now, and it sometimes still surprises me where I ended up! But looking back, even though I never really thought that I cared about interior design, I always wanted my dorm room and apartments to look nice. If I could find the bed I wanted, I would just build one. I was also always interested in architecture…When I lived in New York, I would often grab my camera on a beautiful spring/summer day, and roam the city taking photos of the buildings. And when I think back, when I was boy, I can remember a time when I drew up a floor plan to the house I envisioned myself living in one day…It was very modern, with a double-height open living room/great room, a catwalk, and a large metal spiral staircase. Now, I don’t think that I’ll even live in a house like that (I like traditional shingle-style houses too much!), but to this day, I remember the passion I had while drawing that plan, and how important it was for me to get all of the details right, and to make sure that the catwalk and the spiral staircase flowed well and fit properly into the open space that it was in. So, maybe I really did want to be an interior designer after all, without fully knowing it.

What inspires you?

I am constantly inspired by visionary people and the things that they create, whether it’s one of Wes Anderson’s quirky, beautiful films, Richard Avedon’s stunning, timeless photographs or Michael Schwab’s distinct retro travel style graphic art posters. When I see something that resonates with me, it grabs a hold of me in my gut, and makes when want to design and create, and to achieve that perfect moment when you have created something that is as great as you can possibly make it be. And I’m inspired by the works of other designers as well…It’s amazing when we think about how to design a room or a piece of furniture…And then stop to think about all of the other ways different designers might have achieve a variety of different results.

If you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be?

I would love to be remembered for creating things that made people happy…One of the more satisfying feelings that Jennifer and I have had professionally is when we have created beautiful interiors for a client, and they walk in and see it for the first time, and are so happy that they can barely express what they are feeling. THAT right there is a drug…That’s a high we want to get back to again and again! And speaking of inspiration, that feeling is what inspires us to constantly challenge ourselves, to push our creativity, and to always be on the lookout for new things that inspire us.

What are your favorite products, websites or vices that you simply can't live without?

Some of my favorite products are furnishings that I know I may never have in my life…I am very attracted to industrial style lighting and furniture, the kind of things you would see in a really cool Tribeca loft. But that doesn’t necessarily fit into my life now in small shingle-style house with a wife and family of two boys, four dogs, and two cats. So, for now, I’m content that it will be an affair…A flirtation from afar, most likely never to be realized. But hey, I can dream, right…?

Also, I can’t live without Dr Pepper. At the end of a long day, when we sit down for a delicious home-cooked dinner, a nice, frosty Dr Pepper can taste like liquid gold strained through a hangman’s noose.

Speaking of gold...

(look at those walls!)

(all images property of Mabley Handler Interior Design)

But my favorite spaces? My very FAVEoritest?
The Mabley Handler's private residence. 


Aren't they just the cutest? Forget that they're not old enough, I think that they need to adopt me. Why don't y'all get on board the convincing train and just help me out. We just need for Jennifer and Austin to realize that if they adopted me they would never have to hire someone to watch their boys for date night ever again. Nanny schmanny.

If you think you like Mabley Handler as much as I do (totally not possible) then feel free to stalk them in numerous ways:

Pillow Decor - Fire Coral Red 17x17 Throw Pillow123 Creations C762.18x18 inch Coral Colored Coral Needlepoint Pillow - 100 Percent WoolPillow Decor - Red Coral 22x22 Decorative Pillow

Arteriors 49846-892 Bexley Aqua Glass Lamp, Aqua


Jennifer and Austin said...

Chrissa, like you said...You one of the nicest people we've ever met that we haven't actually met yet. But we're going to have to rectify that. Hmmm...There's this thing...It's called an airplane...You climb aboard, and come fly out to the Hamptons and visit us!
Thanks again for this wonderful post. We are flattered that you though of us, and honored to know you. And we are in love with YOUR awesomeness :)

I am Chrissa. said...

I already told you, I am so taking you up on that one of these days, I am totally not kidding!

And you flatter me, but you're the bestest.

Classic Style said...

Greatnpost, we have solklar taste I have been published some of the pictures myself earlier at My Blog, :) nice to visit you, will come back for sure / Marie

Jenny P said...

OH MY!! So so soooooooo pretty and amazing!