interior design

12 Black + White Pendants to Knock Your Socks Off

Ah . . . the almighty pendant. Strong on its own, marvelous in a group, it plays well with others, serving its own purpose and distinction in a space already offering recessed or spot-lit sconce lighting. A single pendant in a bathroom can be surprisingly stunning, a series of pendants down a hallway is a solid middle finger to the tradition of modest, subtle flush-mount lighting, announcing “more is more, babe. live with it.” And because we’ve had a few clients over the years wonder about the vernacular of “pendant” versus ”chandelier,” here are the general contrasts between the two: while a pendant is a singular fixture hanging from a rod, cord, or chain, chandeliers are oftentimes hanging by a chain with a central body and varying branches extended from the main body; pendants can provide wonderful task lighting while chandeliers impart a more romantic glow (otherwise known as “mood lighting” rendering everyone’s skin flawless); there’s also a fairly strong price disparity between pendants and chandeliers, with pendants typically being less costly versus the larger dimensions, more expensive materials, and the cost of professional installation a big-ass, ornate chandelier can require.

Here’s a handful of pendant “rules” to play by:

1) In an entryway, a pendant should be hung approximately 7’ from the floor. (We’re not big fans of the word “should” in most contexts, but when you don’t want people walking into the bottom of a pendant light upon entering your home, I think “should” is appropriately used in guiding decision-making). Of course, if you’ve got a 30’ ceiling in your two-story foyer, the suggested 7’ guideline wouldn’t apply - in the grandiose, sweeping foyer scenario, we recommend splitting the vertical space into thirds and hanging the pendant 2/3 from the ground floor.

2) Over a dining table, the standard drop is anywhere from 28” - 36” between the bottom of the pendant and the dining table itself. Most common and a fairly safe guideline is to go with 30 inches. But if your ceilings are taller than 8 feet, you can easily keep 36” - 40” of space between the dining table and pendant and no one will rudely comment or quietly think you’re a weirdo.

3) Hanging multiple pendants over a kitchen island or dining table is a fabulous way to bring needed light into your space while also making a conscious design statement by way of the scale, shape, color, material, and style. Typically, they ought to be hung 24” - 30” apart from one another, so use that as a guideline to determine the number of pendants you’ll be hanging! ****For example, if your kitchen island is five feet long, two medium pendants (approximately 12”-16” diameter or thereabouts) should suffice. Find the island’s center point of 36” and hang the two beauts equidistant from one another (so let’s just say 15”- 18” each off the center point, depending upon if you want 30 or 36 inches of space between the pendants). Yes, it’s a bit of math, but mostly it’s math plus instinct (which I realize is more math) - the pendants need to relate to one another while not leaving too much unlit island on either side and not seeming mashed together like a codependent couple. Got it?

4) ALWAYS have dimmers connected to your pendants (and any hard-wired lighting in your kitchen, den, living room, TV room, library, or lounge, for that matter). It’s beyond worth the necessary additional costs during installation. Even if you want to save those extra bucks and you’re nearing your budget’s high-end or are over budget and having a meltdown, HAVE THOSE DIMMERS INSTALLED IN YOUR HOME’S COMMON AREAS. Not only will their addition monumentally improve the quality of your own life residing there, but dimmers increase the heck out of your home’s value, so it positively impacts your potential resale down the line. (You can thank us later.)

For awhile, it seemed like everyone and their second cousin twice removed had this IKEA pendant and I wouldn’t blame IKEA for never ever discontinuing the design because it’s GOOD (and less than $70, for heaven’s sake). We saw this dang pendant EVERYWHERE in Los Angeles and its common placement in restaurants, for example, belied its insanely low price point. The range of pendant designs is incredibly broad, from mid-century modern to bohemian to traditional, and the pricing is equally all over the place. The excellent news is this - you can get a DAMN FINE, sizable, beautiful pendant for less than $500 (and you don’t have to join the IKEA legions to do so).

More than half of the black and white pendants we’ve pulled together here fit that under-$500 niche - one is inspired by Japanese teapots, another inspired by an overturned water vessel, another made from two delicate tiers of bent bamboo slats (!!). In the realm of pendants, there’s certainly no shortage of Tom Dixon knock-offs, but we’re pretty much purists when it comes to George Nelson, and the older the better! For the purposes of this post, we’ve specifically opted for black and white pendants, but I’m 100% confident we can devote a future post to our favorite rattan, glass, and brass pendants, so stay tuned for a future pendant-love post!


Finding beauty + pursuing happiness

welp, 2017 was one heck of a year, wasn't it? Overbrimming with joy, angst, triumphs, setbacks, struggles, empowerment, excitement, rancor, compassion, creativity, unity. . . and throughout it all, LOTS + LOTS of beauty to be found. As 2018 launches itself into orbit, we're promising to bring more beauty into every day. Whether it's adoring the shape of one of our dog's snouts or seriously digging that first sip of an almond milk latte at the local coffee shop, donating more money or time to a cause we care about deeply or visiting an art gallery to expose our peepers and imagination to ever-new shapes, colors, and concepts...we're determined to find the beauty, people! (collage below is an assemblage of some of our work from last year, not always professionally photographed, so please forgive ;), but it was super fun to see a bit of our handiwork all cobbled together into an itty bitty square, and if you can't discern from the rooms shown, we ain't afraid of color)


With regards to Lily Spindle and what we do, as well as how it relates to our own personal lives, Deb and I feel that beauty is an integral and vital part of a happy existence. It matters. It feeds the soul in ineffable ways. It inspires happiness. And beauty begets beauty, so the more we/you make, the more there can be in this world. Read this short TED Talk on the importance of beauty!

Speaking of beauty and power, it's been a whole dang year since the Women's March. And here we are again, thousands of us, sneakers on and signs in-hand, ready to gather together in unity, stand up and shout in defense of what's right, and rage against what's wrong. Assembling with solidarity gives us strength and bolsters our vehemence and makes our collective voice LOUD AS HELL. But it also makes us trust one another in a very unique and palpable way and, well, truly give a shit about each other. Last year's march felt like an awesome, energized convergence of 350,000 awesome, energized people. We had each others' backs, watched out for each other, and respected our fellow humans and their unquestionably valid worries, fears, indignations, and desire to pursue happiness, not just for one's own self, but for the happiness of humanity ...and if we all did more of that, imagine what kind of spectacular planet this would be? 

xx - Rebecca

Dogs + design forever

SO MANY THANKS to Jennifer Herrera, the ingenius founder of shopdogshopcat for featuring us during her Interiors week! Says Jennifer, "It's tempting to love LA-based design duo Lily Spindle simply because they're dog lovers.  Even if you don't hear about them through the rescue community (like we did) - it doesn't take much research to notice their penchant for the four legged kind. BUT - to love them simply because they love dogs is to entirely miss all the other things that make them special."

Click the link to read the rest of her kind words and check out some of our past projects, one of which features a pretty adorable little custom A-frame dog house and mid-century modern slat fence we created for a client and their blind chihuahua Annie last year.

Why do we go to such great lengths to make life for our furry friends so seamlessly and stylishly merged with our own and, in turn, for our clients? Because they are, without question, family. They make our lives better. Happier. Richer. Fuller. Sweeter. As Andrew Tuck writes in The Monocle Guide to Cosy Homes (a gorgeous and excellent book, btw), "Dogs make a house a home; make it cosy. They add vitality. They add humour, kindness, comedy, and mischief. And they can be budding geniuses, too." 

Miss Bella the rescue pup being beautiful in "her" (um, her parents') newly Lily Spindled bedroom. 

Miss Bella the rescue pup being beautiful in "her" (um, her parents') newly Lily Spindled bedroom. 

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?

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

In need of an original painting?

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 

The House Protects the Dreamer

In the interest of full disclosure, I read Gaston Bachelard's "The Poetics of Space" solely because my boyfriend at that time was studying Surrealism in his grad school program and, together,we were absolute literature and poetry nerds, so much so that we held bi-monthly workshops of our work and assigned one another writers and novels to study. And in that uber nerdy time, I tackled "The Poetics of Space," a book written in French in 1957, translated to English seven years later, lauded by most, loathed by others, and perplexing to more than a few.

Bachelard, as a phenomenologist, believed there exists a direct relationship between the human mind and imagination and its surroundings, specifically the domestic house as intimate architecture and all of the home's hidden corners, attics, basements, secret doors and well-loved rooms. So says Bachelard: "A house that has been experienced is not an inert box. Inhabited space transcends geometrical space."

There is something magical about our homes. No matter how far we travel, how incredible our experiences may be, no matter how much we adore the open road and its unexpected offerings, there is an intimate and ineffable relationship we have with HOME. This profound connectivity we have with our homes makes it of paramount importance, in my opinion, to take a holistic, overall perspective on our domiciles and create a space where the emotion of walking through your front door, down your halls, and into your rooms is joyful, harmonious, and steeped in beauty and balance. This isn't to say surprising elements cannot coexist, as they most definitely can and do, but there is a balance within the wonderfully unforeseen, as well. As Bachelard says, "the dream house must possess every virtue."

Oh, and since the idea for this post germinated in a Jane Austen quote, I thought it might be fun to include a short + varied list of literary quotes concerning home, from Steinbeck to Faulkner and a handful in between the two.

Enjoy and happy Sunday!

Where a man feels at home, outside of where he's born, is where he's meant to go.
- Ernest Hemingway, Green Hills of Africa

“A home filled with nothing but yourself. It's heavy, that lightness. It's crushing, that emptiness.”
- Margaret Atwood, The Tent

 Home is where one starts from.
- T. S. Eliot

'Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration.'
- Charles Dickens

 “The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”
- Maya Angelou, All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes

“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.”
- Jean Cocteau

'How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”
- William Faulkner

“The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

  “A house without books is like a room without windows.”
-  Horace Mann

'Your house shall be not an anchor but a mast
It shall not be a glistening film that covers a wound, but an eyelid that guards the eye.”
- Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

'The house was clean, scrubbed and immaculate, curtains washed, windows polished, but all as a man does it - the ironed curtains did not hang quite straight and there were streaks on the windows and a square showed on the table when a book was moved.”
- John Steinbeck, East of Eden

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


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!


Okay, so the famous Roman amphitheatre doesn't actually need a makeover from Lily Spindle. It's been doing fine (with several archaelogical excavations and transformations from the 16th to the 19th centuries) since its inception in A.D. 80, whereupon it commingled reality and illusion, cinema and cruelty, storytelling and slaughter for five centuries. But being in this labyrinthine structure, imagining where 50,000 Romans sat to witness reenactments meant to honor and extol the Roman empire (and thusly kill some thousands of bear, ostriches, lions, giraffes, hippos, elk, and cranes, among others), was pretty overwhelming. The architecture is awe-inspiring and mind-boggling in its intricacy and you can feel the history of the place underneath your feet. Even with all those sweaty tourists surrounding you and the ubiquitous "selfie stick" being utilized at every turn.

We were lucky enough to spend the last couple of weeks in Rome, Naples, and Capri, with a day trip to Sorrento. Our escapades involved art, shopping, and, of course, eating until we could barely stand ourselves. But hey, that's what Italy's all about, right? We'll be sharing some shots from our two-week sojourn in the next handful of blog posts, so stay tuned! Ciao!