herman miller

Is your house holiday-ready?

It's barely Halloween and while the Fright Night masks are still on the shelves, retailers are stocking their spaces with holiday baubles, garlands, glass ornaments, and fake wreaths. It may seem crazy to launch the countdown to the holiday festivities so soon, but the celebrating, cooking, and partying of the the last few months of the year begins pretty much NOW and there's nothing like the occasion of entertaining friends and family (and co-workers, in-laws, neighbors, et al) to make you wonder aloud, perhaps gripped with a wave of coinciding panic, "IS MY HOUSE HOLIDAY-READY?"

Never fear, my dears!

Deb and I were talking the other day about how often we operate under tight deadlines with clients for one reason or another - surprise birthday party, cast and crew party, fundraising event, and the list goes on. We LOVE helping people get their homes together to not only feel like a place THEY love to be, but also a place they're proud to share with others. And sometimes all it takes is an outside well-practiced, creative perspective to bring your space to a more gorgeous place -- whether it involves additions or omissions or shifting the awesome things you already own (usually a combination of all three!), we Lily Spindle ladies thrive in the art of reinvigorating everything from a teeny room to an entire home. 

Case in point, for many months our friend Heather had been hunting for a rug to bring together her living room. So after a few conversations with her, Deb and I immediately hopped to it and scored her an awesome deep pink and apricot striped Turkish 5' x 8' rug (having told her we thought that Amalfi/Venetian pink was the right vibe).  The rug arrived within five days, she got herself the rug pad, and Heather was entirely stoked with the result. This is what she had to say about our work: "You two birds helped me conquer my carpet block within 24 hours! Your expert eyes quickly honed in on just the right textures and colors and I love my joyous living room even more now." Check it out below...

Heather's Noguchi coffee table and Eames molded plywood chairs are now fabulously moored by the colorful Turkish rug we discovered..

Heather's Noguchi coffee table and Eames molded plywood chairs are now fabulously moored by the colorful Turkish rug we discovered..


This Franklin Hills patio with an incredible view was staged and ready to roll for our client's cast and crew party and, come evening, the summer air and flickering candlelight completed the cozy scene. 

This Franklin Hills patio with an incredible view was staged and ready to roll for our client's cast and crew party and, come evening, the summer air and flickering candlelight completed the cozy scene. 


We also just wrapped up a project that took three and a half weeks from start to finish. Lily Spindle outfitted our client for an entirely new space, starting 100% from scratch and sourcing every single thing for his pied a terre from doormats to dining chairs and pretty much every conceivable thing in between! *Not-so-great iPhone snaps shown below! 


And so, DON'T FRET ABOUT THE IMMINENT HOLIDAY PARTIES + DINNERS, ok? Lily Spindle is at your service with our years of design experience. 

Need a new sofa?
Done.

Need an oversized vintage mirror in the alcove?
Copy that.

In need of an original painting?
Check.

Not even quite sure what it is that you need?
No worries! We'll sort it for you/with you/on your behalf. 

xx ~ Rebecca + Deb 

Take your pleasure seriously

Last week, us Lily Spindle ladies were fortunate enough, thanks to the magnificent Lisa Chester Schroeder (read our SHAPERS profile on Lisa right here!), to get an extremely special, private, nitty gritty, anecodote-laden tour of the iconic Eames House and Studio in the Palisades. We began our day in Los Feliz doing a speedy outdoor patio installation, spent the afternoon shopping and eating in West Hollywood (Lawson Fenning and AMMO, respectively), and then drove up the respendent Pacific Coast Highway in the early hours of the evening to meet with Lisa and our wonderful guide, Catherine. Set on a bluff surrounded by eucalyptus trees, Case Study House No. 8 is an ingenious merging of work and life, as well as a brilliant collection of oddities, furniture, textiles, intimate ephemera, art, and books guaranteed to inspire you in unexpected and magical ways.

Among other tales, Catherine shared with us the story of the fragile and fantastic tumbleweed hanging from the ceiling by a string: when Ray and Charles were married in Chicago in 1941, their honeymoon-on-a-major-budget was a road trip to California to start anew. Somewhere in the Southwest, they came across this beautiful tumbleweed and popped it in the back of the car, later hanging it from the ceiling of the Case Study House No. 8, where it has remained and decayed bit by bit over time. Eventually, it will be replaced by another tumbleweed, chosen by the surviving Eames' generations and hung once again in that same place, continuing the tradition. 

The Eames House, as photographed by Julius Shulman in 1950. Photo: J. Paul Getty Trust. Julius Shulman Photography Archive, Research Library at the Getty Research Institute

The Eames House, as photographed by Julius Shulman in 1950. Photo: J. Paul Getty Trust. Julius Shulman Photography Archive, Research Library at the Getty Research Institute

While we were gazing upon the gorgeousness of the home's interior, we discussed the design trends of today, the impatience of our culture, the unfortunate myopia so often present when it comes to architecture and its relation to the natural environment. Deb commented on the books within the case, everything from high literature to "Where the Wild Things Are" and "The Little Prince," and we applauded their freedom in displaying whichever books they happened to love and revere, rather than those intended to intimidate or impress. Catherine laughed and brought us around the backside of the bookcase, where rows upon rows of Charles's softcover science fiction books were arranged. These beloved books were decidedly not given the esteemed placement of "forefront." As all couples do in shared spaces, in order to continue sharing a space, you compromise.

Interior photographs are forbidden during tours, so I'd like to defend myself in announcing this is not in fact my own photograph. Rather, it's one I've borrowed from the internet. The house and studio, including the kitchen and living room's interior furnishings and details, are shown today as they existed upon Ray's death in 1988. Uncanny fact: Ray died exactly ten years to the day following Charles's death.

Interior photographs are forbidden during tours, so I'd like to defend myself in announcing this is not in fact my own photograph. Rather, it's one I've borrowed from the internet. The house and studio, including the kitchen and living room's interior furnishings and details, are shown today as they existed upon Ray's death in 1988. Uncanny fact: Ray died exactly ten years to the day following Charles's death.

You can read about the history of the home/studio on the Eames Foundation site, but here's an excerpt: The Eames House, Case Study House #8, was one of roughly two dozen homes built as part of The Case Study House Program. Begun in the mid-1940s and continuing through the early 1960s, the program was spearheaded by John Entenza, the publisher of Arts and Architecture magazine . . . Charles and Ray proposed that the home they designed would be for a married couple working in design and graphic arts, whose children were no longer living at home. They wanted a home that would make no demands for itself, and would serve as a background for, as Charles would say, “life in work” and with nature as a “shock absorber."

Charles and Ray moved into the House on Christmas Eve, 1949, and lived there for the rest of their lives.  The interior, its objects and its collections remain very much the way they were in Charles and Ray’s lifetimes.  The house they created offered them a space where work, play, life, and nature co-existed.

We cannot recommend a personal visit to the mystical, gorgeous Eames house more vigorously! Take a picnic with you, sit on the grounds, and experience the enchantment and quiet power of this space. I promise you it's life-altering and absolutely worth it.

xx ~ Rebecca
 

Many, many, many thanks to Lisa for arranging this private tour for us! And huge gratitude to Catherine for spending the last hours of her work week with us and starting our weekend immersed in inspiration and beauty.

Many, many, many thanks to Lisa for arranging this private tour for us! And huge gratitude to Catherine for spending the last hours of her work week with us and starting our weekend immersed in inspiration and beauty.

There's much about this maxim that galvanizes me - turning your passion into something relevant and meaningful. And it's nearly as good as this other Eames gem: "Any time one or more things are consciously put together in a way that they can accomplish something better than they could have accomplished individually, this is an act of design." Hallelujah!  (sidenote: our visit did inspire a conversation about feminism - its current version, as well as the challenges that Ray no doubt faced as a five-foot-tall woman in a predominantly male world. This is another story, however, for another blog post!)

There's much about this maxim that galvanizes me - turning your passion into something relevant and meaningful. And it's nearly as good as this other Eames gem: "Any time one or more things are consciously put together in a way that they can accomplish something better than they could have accomplished individually, this is an act of design." Hallelujah!

(sidenote: our visit did inspire a conversation about feminism - its current version, as well as the challenges that Ray no doubt faced as a five-foot-tall woman in a predominantly male world. This is another story, however, for another blog post!)

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

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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.