California

SHAPERS / / / LISA CHESTER SCHROEDER

A couple times a year, I'm lucky enough to be invited to dine in the magical Culver City backyard of Lisa Chester Schroeder and her husband, Denny. A lovely, warm, and gregarious couple, they never cease to amaze me and my man with the multiple courses of deliciousness (some of which has been purchased during one of their many international jaunts), accompanied by more than a few bottles of wine and hours upon hours of conversation. Ubiquitous at these dinners are artists, writers, designers, inventors, and, like any skilled hostess, Lisa assigns the seating, so you can't simply cozy up next to your partner and casually kvetch about the traffic on the 10 or your annoying new co-worker - your curiosity and amity concerning the unknown are mandatory elements of the consummate experience.

As Southern California mainstays for a long while, Lisa and Denny are close friends with many contemporary artists, so they've an enviable art collection, and having worked with Herman Miller in several capacities for nearly two decades, Lisa is a fount of knowledge about the company and its inner workings. Naturally we couldn't wait to chat with Lisa about the ultimate deities of design, Lisa's own rescue cats, and what she cannot go without during her travels in our SHAPERS Q+A*! Enjoy! ~Rebecca


Could you tell me a little bit about your job as a global account manager with Herman Miller? How long have you worked with the company?

I am fortunate to be entering into my 18th year at Herman Miller.  While working here, I have had many different roles.  Over the past 4 years, I have been leading the Western US as the Director of Sales for our Healthcare team.  Many people don't realize that Herman Miller has been providing solutions to the Healthcare industry for 50 years.  It all began with Robert Propst.  Providing solutions that can enhance the experience of the caregiver, the patient and the family members is incredibly rewarding. 

I imagine you have at least a handful of interesting anecdotes, having worked with Herman Miller for so many years. Would you be able + willing to share one of these unforgettable stories with Lily Spindle?

Yes, I do and yes, some of these I can not share.  But some I can.  What is interesting about your question is the way you asked it: "unforgettable stories".  After an employee has been with Herman Miller for 20 years, we become known as a Water Carrier.  In Native American societies, the water carrier plays an essential function that helps a tribe survive. Former CEO, Max DePree, introduced the concept of water carriers to Herman Miller in 1987, and described them this way in his book, Leadership Jazz: “The tribal water carrier in this corporation is a symbol of the essential nature of all jobs, our interdependence, the identity of ownership…” Part of the role of the Water Carrier at Herman Miller is to pass along stories to the newer employees within our organization.  One of the reasons we use stories is that this is a way we as humans can more easily learn.

Here's a story for you that you may not know:

In 1954, Charles and Ray Eames designed a home for Max DePree and his family in Zeeland, MI.  After residing there for approximately 20 years, he was contemplating selling the home.  Word got around town that he was considering the sale.  At the Herman Miller company picnic, one of our employees asked if he could purchase the home.  However, Max had not decided yet, if he would sell, but if he would, he would give the first option to buy to him.  The DePree family sold the home and the Herman Miller employee, Rynbrandt,  purchased it in 1975. Herman Miller purchased the home back in 2010 with plans to restore and preserve it.. The side story goes that Max began looking through old photos of the home to assist Herman Miller in the restoration.  As he spotted pieces of furniture that had been in the home, but had since been passed along to his family, he began calling his children to give it back in an effort to place back to its original "home". 

Charles and Ray Eames, posing with their chair bases. Photograph: Eames Office

Charles and Ray Eames, posing with their chair bases. Photograph: Eames Office

Collage of a room display for An Exhibition for Modern Living, 1949. Photograph: Eames Office

Collage of a room display for An Exhibition for Modern Living, 1949. Photograph: Eames Office

 

You are, as far as I'm concerned, a gastronome of significant proportion. Your dinners last for hours upon hours, replete with multiple courses, many bottles of wine, and a buzzing table of artists, writers, designers, and entrepreneurs. Did you ever consider making beautiful, delicious food your full-time passion?

Rebecca, yes, I have pondered this in the past.  However, at my age now, I enjoy simply providing my gift of cooking for friends and families.  I began cooking at 4.  When I was 6, my father told me that I should be a "food taster" in a restaurant. Back then, food critics and chefs were really not on the radar of my family in my small town. 

I have a dear friend that is a chef and caters beautiful meals, upon my retirement, I would love to work for her.


Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Morning. I get up most days between 4-5 am.


You and your husband, Denny, have quite a few rescue cats. What are their names and where are there most beloved sleeping spots in the house?

Nambe-on top of the cat tower
Sir Stirling-on top of Nambe
Julia Alexander-In the Eames aluminum chair
LBC (little black cat)-under the Eames sofa
Mija-on an orange pillow on the Eames sofa


Name your favorite Herman Miller design and describe it using three words.

Eames Molded Fiberglass Chair
-Comfortable
-Classic
-Sleek

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 10.42.13 AM.png

 

It seems like you travel a lot (like A LOT a lot) for your job. What are the things you never travel without?

-My coffee press and Peet's Coffee (two things, but they go together)


If you could have lunch with one famous person, living or dead, who would it be? And where would you dine?

Julia Child in my backyard.


*Lily Spindle's SHAPERS profiles the people whom we consider to be remarkable movers and shakers, doers and dreamers, trailblazers and big thinkers, the people who are doing things a little bit differently and unconventionally, with immense heart, passion, and authenticity in what they do. Artists, designers, writers, philanthropists, iconoclasts, artisans, heroines, voyagers, and all kinds of extraordinary extraordinaires will be interviewed in our SHAPERS series.

Hello, new year

Donut, Greta, Fred, + Lucie wishing you a healthy + creative + fun + beautiful 2016.

Donut, Greta, Fred, + Lucie wishing you a healthy + creative + fun + beautiful 2016.

It's 2016!

My husband and I stayed in last night, of course, as so many of us with animals do on these bacchanalian holidays, and endured a panting, pacing, panicking shepherd mix twisting her head maniacally towards the celebratory explosions in the sky until around 2 AM. Yay! Kablamo! Happy new year! Crikey.

OK, all that wild, inconsolable canine terror aside, a new year invites the very real opportunity to loosen the grip of whatever (or whoever) isn't serving you well and to create your own damn future, filled with much more of what you love, much less of what you loathe, and an expansion of this thing we're all in together.

I read this recently on Instagram and, heck yeah, it sounds hokey as shit, but it can be enlightening + powerful, seeing the disparity in those things and recognizing that you have the power to make changes in your world.

MAKE A LIST OF THINGS THAT MAKE YOU HAPPY
MAKE A LIST OF THINGS YOU DO EVERY DAY
COMPARE THE LISTS
ADJUST ACCORDINGLY

with love from me and Deb and the rest of the Lily Spindle cohorts.
xx - Rebecca

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.
― Neil Gaiman


FIVE SIMPLE TIPS TO SURVIVING THE HOLIDAYS

I sat down intending to write this post about the best modern holiday decorations or the top ten ways to make your house sparkle with holiday cheer using things you'll easily find in your pantry and then I thought, 'Holy smokes, we can't, in good conscience, tell our readers they should gleefully be placing glittery glass balls in a bowl or wrapping the banister with silver and gold garland while singing every carol in the book.'

This can be one of the most intense times of the year and I can't pretend it isn't. The holidays have the capacity to be magical. They can be beautiful. They can be heartwarming. And they have the potential to be incredibly stressful. I'm talking, like, insomnia-inducing, heart-palpitating, breakdown-inspiring stress. The gifts to buy, the traffic to navigate, the places to be, the food to make. Are you feeling superduperanxious yet?

OK, deep deep breaths, baby. We're going to help you alleviate the holiday stress and take it in stride, by being pragmatic and present and deep breathing (no joke). You can do it.

#1 - DEEP BREATHS BRING YOU BACK

It's SCIENCE -- deep breathing positively impacts your heart, brain, digestion, and immune system. Imagine that your deep breaths are the brake that stops a careening car (your body) from gaining additional speed and crashing into a brick building. One of the best and most effective breathing exercises I've learned is this: Breathe in through your nose for a FOUR COUNT; hold the breath for a SEVEN COUNT; release through your mouth for an EIGHT COUNT. Do this a few times and I promise you, it's like a shot of endorphin tequila leveling out your soul. (And then maybe do that shot of actual tequila anyway, just in case.)

#2 - LESS TIME CLEANING, MORE TIME BEING

The dirty dishes can wait. And you don't have to clean underneath the sofa before your guests arrive or take on the landscaping project of the entire backyard to start and finish in two weeks. If it's crazy-making to even consider the elements of resolving a project, that's a sign that the frenzy will only escalate as the insuperable reality of the job takes hold. Your friends won't care (or even notice, most likely) if your home isn't spotless (tip: it will never be truly "spotless"!). What's of much greater importance are the conversations and humor and time bonding with your beloveds.

#3 - YOU CAN SAY 'NO' + STILL BE LOVING

During the holidays, we're invited to about one billion fetes and events and gatherings and "white elephant" parties. If you're anything like me, you want to say yes, you want to be able to do it all, and do it all well. But, hey, will missing an art opening across town on a Thursday night be the worst thing in the world? NO. No, it will not.

Just say NO. Try it. Practice it in the mirror to get used to the sound of it coming out of your own mouth. Now, mindfully and with love, say no to the events you cannot make, the dinners you cannot attend. Set those boundaries, baby, because you're the only one who can.

Maple walnut pie from Huckleberry Cafe on Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles, CA. photo cred: Huckleberry Cafe

Maple walnut pie from Huckleberry Cafe on Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles, CA.
photo cred: Huckleberry Cafe

#4 - TAKE-OUT TIMESAVERS ARE NO-BRAINERS

Your favorite green bean and almond dish, butternut squash and arugula salad, and ginger cake with salted caramel glaze are tried and tested showstoppers. You don't need to make these delectable concoctions from scratch. Make it easy on yourself and order these elements of the holiday meal ahead of time and pick them up, ready to roll. No prep time = more time for you to breathe deeply and ground yourself.

#5 - BE NICE. BE GENEROUS. BE KIND.

Being altruistic to others makes us feel positively about humankind in general and specifically in regards to the people upon whom we're bestowing our magnanimity. And it goes both ways - the trust and connection created from kindness mirrors itself between the giver and the receiver. Giving releases oxytocin, the hormone released during sex (YOWZA!), galvanizing feelings of warmth and euphoria and connectivity. When you're on an oxytocin high, you feel more empathy and compassion towards others, and this high can become infectious, with the ability to kick off a "virtuous circle," person after person becoming generous and kind. Can you even imagine? A contagion of kindness making us all a bit cheerier and allied with one another? How phenomenal and astounding could that be?

Volunteering your time at an animal shelter, soup kitchen, hospice, community college or non-profit organization, or even donating blankets to an animal rescue you follow on Instagram and adore from afar can elevate your soul, reduce your stress levels, and, wonderfully and surprisingly, lengthen your joyful life.

Let's do this thing, holidays! You got this.

xx - Rebecca

How to sexy up that loo (we promise you this - it's pretty easy)

I read some time ago that men spend just under two hours in the loo on a weekly basis, while women will devote approximately one year, seven months and 15 days, over the course of a lifetime, to the loo (a month longer than men, incidentally). Some of us find the bathroom to be the only place we're able to discover privacy and peace, barricading ourselves behind a closed bathroom door. And maybe that's also why we stack books in there, to keep us otherwise occupied when we're avoiding the bedlam of our lives beyond the loo door. I personally have a copy of E.E. Cummings poetry and Carole Maso's "Aureole" in my guest bathroom at all times. Yeah, it's some high-brow stuff to display next to the toilet.

Since we evidently spend so much time in this particular room, I think it's important to give it a kick in the arse and infuse it with some beauty. Here are our Lily Spindle tips for beautifying your loo:

1) WHITE TOWELS ARE THE LYNCHPIN OF A SEXY LOO

I can't stress this enough. Soft, absorbent, textured or untextured, so long as they're white. Not only are they crazy easy to clean (a splash of bleach and your favorite non-toxic laundry detergent), but they take every loo to spa-status sophistication. (*additional tip: when your towels have reached their expiration date, cut those suckers up and make them into rags for housecleaning, et cetera.)

(image source: Pinterest)

2) ADD A SEAT (BECAUSE THE TOILET ISN'T ONE)

There's something elegant and unexpected about a side chair in the loo. If you have room for it, go for it. Not only can it lend color and texture and shape to a room that's basically all about function, but it's a decidedly lovelier place to sit when clipping your nails, isn't it?

(image source: Pal + Smith, Heritage Bathroom, Nanette Wong)

3) THE LOO NEEDS ART TOO

When you're not reading or meditating or staring at your own countenance in the mirror, I think you ought to be looking at something wonderful (not more wonderful than your own gorgeous reflection, of course, but wonderful nonetheless). Art in the loo is the ultimate in luxury (and need not carry a luxury sort of price tag, either). Whether it's the colorful resin sculptures made by artist Ned Evans (full disclosure here: he's my husband) or a framed vintage painting, artwork in the bathroom infuses it with levity and life.

(image source: T Magazine, Ned Evans)

4) HIDE YOUR FLOOR

Cowhides are extremely durable and outlandishly beautiful. And they're able to warm up a tile or wood floor instantly without a lot of fuss and maintenance. A well-placed sheepskin is another means to immediately sexy-ing up the joint. And what's better than stepping out of a shower or bath into this soft cloud of amazingness? If you have ethical issues against these elements, I hear you and respect you. That said, design studios like Pure Rugs, repurpose the hides after the fact, as the animal (after spending some time languidly wandering the countryside) has already become a part of the meat industry. *I've also personally been to the Pure Rugs showroom in Culver City, and it's just as lovely as the people who run the place.

(image source: Camellia Interiors, Pinterest)

5) SUPER SOAKER + TINY TRAYS

Assuming there's ample enough room to accommodate it, a soaking tub is like inviting a glorious deity to set up permanent camp in your loo and generally make your life more awesome. Claw-footed or otherwise, a soaking tub is the ultimate in relaxation. Better than an afternoon at Burke Williams and you can super soak until your fingers and toes are contentedly wrinkled! If you're gonna follow the wise words of Charles Eames and "take your pleasure seriously," this is how you do it.

And as for all those shea butters and body oils and q-tips and cotton balls - get those guys organized. It's incredible what a pretty little tray can do. This brass and acrylic one from Williams-Sonoma is a solid choice, as is this vintage Sheffield silverplate tray. Or you can go for a simple, straightforward (and very cost-effective) walnut tray like this one at CB2. Candles are key, of course, and I think it's always important to remember that while your pleasure must be taken seriously, you must not take yourself too seriously. There's nothing wrong with irreverence and a bit of fun like fashion designer's Andrea Pompilio's inclusion of an alligator figurine in his Milan studio loo.

(image source: Homebunch, The Selby, Minted)

Go forth and sexy up that loo of yours! If you've got any tips of your own you'd like to impart, something we may have missed in our five-tip list, or you'd like to get in touch with us to talk about your loo-in-need, give us a shout at rebecca@lilyspindle.com or debra@lilyspindle.com.

With love,
Rebecca
 







Let's do this thing al fresco style

It's like your momma always said: buy your snowblower in May, your bikini in August, your chocolates after Valentine's Day, and your outdoor furniture in the midst of summer! Well, maybe your momma didn't share those bright and shiny pearls of wisdom. But WE are!

Here in Southern California we're lucky enough (er, sort of, given that this past January was the driest on record since such record-keeping actually began in 1895) to be able to dine al fresco pretty much all year 'round.  To make it easy, we've put together a grouping of some of Lily Spindle's top picks for super stylish and unbelievably affordable dining tables and dining chairs!

And, here you have it - a few simple + straightforward outdoor dining + designing tips ::

Don't forget the lighting! Just because you're outdoors doesn't mean the lighting isn't crucial. Candles, globes, hanging lanterns, chandeliers and string lights provide romantic, atmospheric lighting and, let's be honest, pretty much everyone looks gorgeous when bathed in the soft, warm glow of mood lighting.

Don't be afraid to bring the indoors out! Graphic, fun rugs outside are pretty wonderful when used in a lounge area and the New York Times' T Magazine recently featured an awesome selection of outdoor pillows ranging from Maharam to Missoni to Holly Hunt, so go for gold and be fearless

Do bring art into your outdoor space. As an extension of your home, your exterior design deserves as much consideration as your interior. And we promise you, art is not exclusive to the walls of your living room! 

Six words -- colorful pots. colorful pots. colorful pots.

Lily Spindle Top Outdoor Dining Tables
  1.  Devon Dining Table, Restoration Hardware. 96"L x 40"D x 29.5"H (teak); $1900
  2.   New York Reclaimed Teak Table, Teak Warehouse. 98"L x 39"D x H30"H;  $2795
  3.   Coronado Dining Table, Restoration Hardware. 96"L x 40"D x 29.5"H (teak); $2665
  4.   Manhattan Reclaimed Teak Table, Teak Warehouse. 98"L x 39"D x 30.5"H; $2295
  5.   Trestle Table (reclaimed teak), Teak Warehouse. 98"L x 39"D x 29"H; $2595
  6.   Crosby Teak Dining Table, Serena & Lily. 102"L x 39"D x 29"H; 2050
  7.   Somerset Teak Trestle Table, Teak Warehouse. 98"L x 39"D x 29"H; $3795
Lily Spindle Top Outdoor Dining Chair picks
  1. Kruger Dining Chair in Turkish Tile Blue, Crate + Barrel. $99/each
  2. Garvin Side Chair, Aeon Furniture Industrial Classics. All Modern. $140/set of 2
  3. Lisboa Dining Chair, DWR. $120/each
  4. Kruger Dining Chair in Ribbon Red, Crate + Barrel. $99/each
  5. Lyle Dining Chair, Crate + Barrel. $199/each

You and me and everydog we know

“A really companionable and indispensable dog is an accident of nature. You can’t get it by breeding for it, and you can’t buy it with money. It just happens along.”
- E.B. White

And that’s how all seven beloved Lily Spindle dogs came into our lives . . . they just happened along.  They crossed our paths at that perfect moment when our hearts wrestled brief control from our rational minds (always questioning if we really need another dog – UM, OF COURSE!) and in they came. Every stinky, silly, frustratingly perfect one of them!

So when this little painting happened along we immediately fell in love with it, too!  We delighted in the way the artist’s adept brushwork captured the sturdy alertness of a terrier (of which we each have many), while the solitary vulnerability of the wee pooch grabbed our heartstrings and tugged hard! The artist’s undeniable sensitivity to dogs brings a quiet emotion to her painting that we don’t often see in canine portraits.  And although a contemporary work of art, the beautiful luminosity of the color palette and the abstract approach to landscape recalls some of our favorite mid-century Bay Area Figurative painters like Bischoff and Diebenkorn.

Tiny terrier painting
Tiny Terrier detail

 

Fortunately, there need not be a struggle in your heart or mind about bringing this petite dog painting into your life and home. The framed 5” x 7” oil on canvas gem can be yours for $250 by emailing me at debra@lilyspindle.com.  Hurry before this pup painting goes up on our website!

And remember, ALWAYS ADOPT!

-- Debra

It's FLASH SALE FRIDAY, yo

Lily Spindle's Flash Sale Friday

For an as-of-yet-undetermined stretch of time, we're celebrating YOU and US and all things good + lovely by holding a FLASH SALE FRIDAY every, er, Friday. These flash sales will, to be fair, often be dog/animal desirables, but not always, and we'll be mixing it up weekly with accessories, pottery, and jewelry and maybe even some spectacular vintage books - basically, all of the things that are smaller than a breadbox that we also happen to cherish and adore. As of now, we don't anticipate have a FSF for a sofa, but who knows? Anything could happen.

AND so, let's get to it! For this week's FLASH SALE FRIDAY, we have a cast iron Irish Setter doorstop, made by Virginia Metalcrafters, circa 1960s. Measuring 9" long from nose to tail tip, 7.5" high, and the stand is 3" deep. Zero rust or wear. Spotted online and elsewhere for $80, but our Lily Spindle loves can get him for $25. Who doesn't love a stylish doorstop?

Oh, and if you haven't checked out our Instagram page and you want to be in the know about these sorts of things without fail, start following us! https://instagram.com/lilyspindlelosangeles/

Independence Day - Jasper Johns and Lost Pets

Jasper Johns, FLAG (1983). Encaustic on silk flag on canvas.

Jasper Johns, FLAG (1983). Encaustic on silk flag on canvas.

One night in 1954, Jasper Johns slept and while sleeping dreamed of the American flag and, according to legend, immediately set about to create his own version of this “pre-formed, conventional, de-personalized, factual, exterior element(s)" (Johns, quoted in 1965). Three decades later, he painted this particular Flag (1983), which sold at Sotheby's Contemporary Art auction in 2014 for $36 million. Of this iconic imagery, Johns has said, ". . . the painting of a flag is always about a flag, but it is no more about a flag than it is about a brush-stroke or about a color or about the physicality of the paint, I think.”

And on another Independence Day note, for all y'all animal lovers, this weekend of exploding fireworks and raucous revelry is extremely stressful for our pets! Animal control officers across the U.S. see a 30-60% increase of lost pets between July 4th and July 6th. And the 5th? That day is one of the busiest days of the year for our animal shelters, nationwide. And a crowded animal shelter means higher rates of euthanasia for already crowded shelters as they try to make room for the displaced animals found on the streets.. So, what can you do to help? Here are some top tips:

1 - Designate a safe place in your home for scared pups and cats to hang out while "bombs bursting in air." I feel like the bathroom tends to be a safe room for my pup, Lucie.
2 - Play loud music or watch a loud movie to overpower the sound of the fireworks.
3 - Distraction methods with treats (bully sticks, et cetera).
4 - Always make sure your animals are wearing collars with relevant name, address, phone number.
5 - Keep your animals indoors and make sure all windows and doors are closed and secure. Fear = darting and darting = lost pets.
6 - You could try a holistic/homeopathic anti-anxiety treatment, such as dog-calming pheromones or a Thundershirt. There are also myriad treats and chews with passionflower extract, valerian, L-theanine, lavender, or chamomile that can be super effective for stressful situations like fireworks (or traveling, going to the vets, etc).  Do your research first, though, and never give your animals anything without consulting a vet or animal healthcare expert.

Happy red, white, and blue! In the words of Jasper, "Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without it."

yours,
Rebecca
rebecca@lilyspindle.com