NOW AND THEN: Frances Elkins and Me

Frances Elkins

Frances Elkins

I didn't know how to come back......

I am acutely aware that I haven't posted on this blog since July--the absolute longest hiatus since I began blogging in 2009.  Of course there is a story, and I will get to it, but I didn't want my first post in ages to be all about me.

I wanted this first post to have something in it that gives my small readership what they come to me for:  a bit of education, a hint of design history, a touch of art.  If I have any readers left, I think that's why you take the time.

Plus I have some inside info.....

Frances Elkins

So before I get to the personal, let's have a look at a recent sighting of the work of "Great Lady Decorator" Frances Elkins. You may know Frances Elkins from her iconic loop chair (which is actually a knock off from Chippendale).  She is considered one of the finest interior designers of the 20th century, championing the work of such icons as Giacometti and Jean-Michel Frank.  Indeed the extraordinary foyer in the first photo is her work still intact from 1937 with a console by Frank.

My inside scoop is that Elkins also designed this granny chic bathroom in the same residence with Stueben glass accents, although Elkins was not credited in Architectural Digest.  How do I know this?  I now work with Tiffany Vassilakis, the interior designer who recently decorated other rooms in the residence. How funny is that cat litter bag sculpture?  Tiffany said her clients were delightful.

Frances Elkins

Frances Elkins


Which brings me to the personal part.....

Although I considered myself a "stay-at home" mom (my kids have since flown the coop), I always have had a little something, something going on the side.  First I ran a successful design business for 7 years and then I turned to blogging and freelance writing. I try to evolve as demanded by my life circumstances.

When I started blogging, I knew no one in the design industry, but that rapidly changed as invitations to design events rolled in.  I made many friends who I now cherish.  I loved going to the events.

In the past year, however, I became aware of subtle changes, the biggest being that fewer and fewer people where reading and writing blogs.   I don't know if anyone is even going to see this post.

Also, my new friends stopped going to design events, most turning their attention to their increasingly busy design businesses.  And then the number of events started to peter out....

So I began to struggle.  Should I keep penning a blog that no one reads?? Plus, I missed seeing people!  

I wondered what I should do with my life. My kids are all adults, my husband has a super demanding job, and I was feeling very much alone.


When I had the chance to discuss my situation with the hubs, I mentioned that one possible avenue would be to return to the high-end art and antiques market, as I loved being employed at Sotheby's years ago.  Then one day I spotted an online advertisement for a position at WYETH.  (Thank you Editor-at-Large!)

For those who don't know, WYETH is one of the United States premier galleries specializing in furniture, lighting, art and objects primarily from the 20th century, as well as offering an exclusive line of furniture and lighting designed and handcrafted in Brooklyn.  It sounded perfect and I quickly texted some friends to see if anyone knew anyone to put in a word for me.

No one knew a soul. Still I figured what the heck, and I promptly uploaded my resume and cover letter to the online listing.

Never expecting to even hear back, you can imagine my surprise when I got the job.  Not surprisingly, adjusting to working for someone else after 20 years took a huge chunk of my focus these last couple of months.

I do love my new job, however.  Most of my time is still spent writing.  I pen most all of WYETH'S copy--for an example, have a look at WYETH's first show on Artsy, where I have drafted a little micro-blog on each object.



I also manage WYETH's Instagram (we are up over 300 followers since I took over, and I would be over the moon if you would follow too, @wyethnyc.).  In addition, the owner John Birch is training me as I catalog new inventory, and generally clean-up their inventory management system.  Finally, I occasionally work on the showroom floor with the rest of the sales staff.  Please do say hello if you ever stop in. We have just moved to a new showroom location in NYC on Canal Street between Greenwich and Washington.



Decor Arts Now

What does this mean for Decor Arts Now and my related writing??

Turns out I don't want to give that up.  My plan is to write one post a week, starting now, just for the love of it.  I am still open to (*the right*) collaborations, and I intend to return to that book proposal that I was quietly working on....

I see so many interesting objects at WYETH, plus I am learning a great deal about 20th century design.  I am confident that my new job will only help enrich my blog content.

Now would be a good time to hear from someone (anyone!) that you are interested in reading what I write here.  And if you have any particular topics that you would like me to continue covering, please share.

Phew! I am back.  And it feels good.