Monday, November 5, 2012

Why the Goodwill?  Why St. Vinnies?  And who the heck is Paul Smith?  Or when would I ever buy a $1000.00 sportcoat much less two? All good questions.  On this typical grey and wet November weekend, at first glance, the Goodwill or St. Vinnie's can look a little drab and may not be most people's first choice to lift them out of the emotional downturn that this time of year often brings, but if you spend some time and look a little deeper it may prove to be just the thing or you may find just the thing you didn't know you were looking for.

We love the Goodwill because it is so expansive.  Not that it is so big, but it expands us.  It expands our vision of ourselves.  It gathers the best from all over and lays it out for us.  One could also, say it gathers the worst from all over and lays that out for you too.  And that is true, but what is so beautiful about it is the best and the worst are offered at the same price.  It is up to you to decide which is best for you.  There is no advertising and no glitz it is all presented equally.  If you are a man that is set on Dockers, then you can walk in there find your Dockers and be on your way.  But if you enter with curiosity, you will find an opportunity to develop your own style and you will probably find, like I have, that quality sells itself.  Which brings me to Paul Smith.

Our good friend and builder Chris Russell, (remodeled our kitchen above) who has a great eye for style and fashion has, after a rare trip to Barney's of New York, mentioned Paul Smith and his great scarves or socks.  Chris is very into socks.  But that was about all I knew of Paul Smith, until this Saturday, when I was perusing the sportcoat aisle at Goodwill.  The other great thing about the Goodwill is you don't have to look at everything, just the nice things.  So, as I was working my way through the jackets, one jumped out at me with a little better fabric, a much nicer lining and fit me like a glove.  Paul Smith of London.

The jacket is in perfect condition.  I was thrilled to buy it for $9.99.  It is the Byard jacket and Barneys sells it for $1000.00.   With coordinating pants it sells for $1600 so the next day I figured I had better go find the pants.  No luck with the pants, but I found another jacket, also Paul Smith, but a slightly different style.  Another $1000.00 jacket for $9.99.  Paul Smith, I learned is a fantastic clothing designer, that never finished high school .  His father made him take a menial job at a clothing manufacturer in London.  He took evening classes for Tailoring.  A few years later, 1970, he opened his own shop with his girlfriend, now wife, and by 1976 he had his first fashion show in Paris. The stripes on the lining of this jacket are his trademark.

I did not know Paul Smith and I did not know his clothes would fit so well.  Thinking I would have to pay $1000.00 for a jacket I would probably not even try one on, but at the Goodwill and St. Vinnies anything is possible.

Which brings me to C.R. and our kitchen.  Chris Russell loves socks, he also is one heck of a builder with a great knack for maddeningly fine work.  The shoestringabundance of this project was salvaging the floors from under ancient linoleum, keeping the original cupboards and painting them in ultra high gloss marine epoxy.
In old houses like ours, there is usually an awkward cabinet that used to hold an ironing board.  Chris ingeniously turned ours into a spice cupboard with a sliding chalkboard door.   The shelving is mahogany plank from Edensaw woods of Port Townsend.

                     Our kitchen is not large, but Chris helped us maximize every inch of space.                                                              

The kitchen counter top is Black Laurent marble from France, our favorite, but actually one of the least expensive marbles available.  The tile is from Subway Ceramics through Norberry tile in Seattle.  Hands down the best subway tile on the market.  The kitchen nook table is from a second hand store.  We couldn't resist its great patina.  The marble slab is a remnant piece of Calcutta marble that is usually very expensive, we were lucky to find it locally for about a quarter of the regular price.
 Fashion forward Chris Russell swung by to replace our bathtub fixtures.  We had to snap this great photo that illustrates that no matter what the task he does it with great panache, always a nice scarf and usually, although not pictured, fancy socks.           Thanks CR.  We love our kitchen!

Other happenings this weekend was transferring a Crate and Barrel love seat to sister Heidi's.
            Heidi's style is so distinct and so completely her, it is a joy to contribute to her home.
Of course, we also occasionally take away.  Traded Heidi another chair for this one and just got it back from Heintz the Incredible of European Upholstery.
                                                             We really do love chairs!


  1. Great pictures....say, if you see another sports coat... Gary

  2. This posting makes me drool...with admiration and inspiration! I LOVE the jacket stories - am going to forward the link via fb to David - and the kitchen is EXQUISITE. Of course, I love your furniture - always! Bless you two - you are really gifted, and excellent teachers.

    1. Thank you Karen. Would love to have you over soon.