When you're adding global or ethnic touches to your decor, as many are wont to do, it's always nice if the pieces have an air of authenticity. Antique pieces often have a lot of personality, but new pieces can also bring great style to a space. Noted interior designer Sara Bengur recently debuted her newest products, which are inspired by her Turkish background and upbringing, as well as her extensive travels.
Sara has been in business nearly 20 years; her eponymous firm is located in New York. After hearing her name and seeing some of her work in publications for years, I finally had a chance to meet her at the gift show last month and she couldn't have been lovelier.
A lot of times when you ask designers what prompted them to create their own product line, the answer is that they couldn't find something they were looking for to use in their projects. "I often design custom pieces for my clients that have been inspired by either my Turkish roots or the location of the house I am working on at the time," she says. After increasing demand that she create her own line of products, she finally has.
Sara has spent a great deal of time studying and immersing herself in Ottoman designs. "The patterns have an organic quality and I love the idea of giving a new life to them in a different scale, form, and texture." Most of the products are made in Turkey, though the stoneware comes from nearby Malta. The collection features plenty of color because Sara believes rooms don't have to be neutral to be serene and cozy and she tries to encourage clients to follow suit.
Check out more of the new products:
Sara's favorite products are the peshtamals, more commonly known as hammam towels. "I call it my favorite travel accessory. You can use it as a shawl, scarf, towel, pareo, or blanket on the beach!" The peshtamals are woven by an all-women's cooperative in Southern Turkey.
My personal favorites are the covered bonbon dishes—love the scalloped edges—and the kilim runners shown at the top. A larger area rug incorporating the runners' designs is coming soon. Sara and I both share the opinion that the details and the layering of accessories are crucial to making a home more personal.
"My passion has always been to create the unexpected in interiors, something nobody has seen before. My hope is that through this line, people feel they own something unique and made just for them," Sara says.
images via sara bengur
Hope everyone is staying warm and lifting with their knees when they shovel, it's crazy out there lately. I drove down to New York last Friday to attend NYNOW, formerly NYIGF, the gift show at the Javits Center. In two and a half days—and 2700+ pictures later—I walked every single aisle of the show and saw some great products.
Mostly, I was really excited to be back in New York and to see a lot of the vendors I haven't seen in a while, since I missed the last three shows (not sure how that time flew so quickly). It was great to catch up with people and this was my first time experiencing the show since they changed the format and rebranded. I think it worked out well to have all the home companies under one roof, though as I walked the show, I realized there were several brands that I didn't see. I'm hoping they'll be there in August.
At any rate, I'm looking forward to sharing the things that I saw over the next weeks and months. In addition to new and interesting products, the booths themselves are often styled creatively. Here are just a few fun things I noticed:
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend! We had a great time with immediate and extended family celebrating Thanksgiving (several times) and my birthday (also several times!), which was yesterday. I don't put a ton of stock in horoscopes, but I am a pretty true-to-form Sagittarius.
I've always been interested in the imagery of the bow and arrow. When I was younger, I had a necklace with an arrow on it, and now I have a pierced brass cuff bracelet with the Sagittarius constellation. When I turned 30 a couple years ago, I stamped an arrow on the little favor bags full of silly things like candy and fake glasses with noses and mustaches attached. I've even used a modified arrow design for the back of my freelance business cards.
I don't seem to be the only one interested in the graphic shape of the arrow, either. Check out these sharp finds:
This seemed like a very long week to me (though I'm thrilled to report the baby slept through the night again, so I'm not as tired as yesterday).
On Sunday we'll be attending the local Parade of Homes, which is like a showhouse tour to promote area builders. Local interior designers, stagers, and sometimes the builders themselves decorate the houses, so I'll be looking for new ideas and inspiration. I'm looking forward to it, as I do every year, but more so this year because there is finally (finally!) going to be a contemporary style model, as in one that is not Colonial or Craftsman. I'm hoping to see enough good design to be able to write about it for Monday.
But first, some under $50 fun! Nothing spooky for Friday the 13th. I'll wait for Halloween, my favorite holiday of all.
How pretty are these delicate wood bottle stoppers ($22 each) from Leif?
80s kids and mix tape lovers, this cookie cutter ($16) from Annie's Blue Ribbon General Store has you covered. Now you just have to decide what angsty name to frost on each cookie.
A bright set of letterpress coasters by Thimblepress ($8 for set of 5; green pattern not pictured) from Brika. The set is usually $10, but is currently discounted because it just launched on the site.
Adorable paperclip holder ($14.75) from Maxiga. I love how it looks like he's in tall grass! They also have a deer, polar bear, and swan. (paperclips not included)
Balloons and so-cute clowns and circus folk adorn this kids' pillow ($42.80 with cushion filler) from Zara Home.
Missed last week's under $50 picks? Click each image for details.
I'm in awe of people—especially young people—who charge out into the world and try to truly enact change for the better. And I'm equally, if not more so, in awe of people who are in extremely disadvantaged positions and fight to be agents of change for their families and their communities. All the women behind Mercado Global are such people.
Founder Ruth DeGolia began the company as a college student in 2004 after spending time in Guatemala and seeing the abject poverty and lack of opportunities. Over the last nine years, with her heart and business savvy, she and her team have built a nonprofit fair trade organization dedicated to alleviating poverty and developing an infrastructure for female artisans to support themselves. More than 400 skilled women in 30-plus cooperatives across Guatemala craft by hand jewelry, pillows, and bags to be sold in North and Latin America. Mercado Global partners with the indigenous women to educate and empower artisans, and to connect them to the literal global market in order to create the opportunities needed to break the cycle of poverty and to provide education and nutritious food, among other needs, for themselves and their children.
Their chic new handcrafted bags, now available at Red Envelope, directly support the process.
all images via red envelope
One of the best things about summer is that it's peach season. Here are some sweet goodies, inspired by the colors of my favorite fruit.
all product images via vendors
interior via apartments i like
mom, wife, market editor, crazy person.
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