I love beautiful things…and TAIGAN is a distillery of the most wonderful home furnishings, menswear and quirky objects. When shopping for myself, my design clients or even my store, I hone in on form, quality and material……cherry-picking the best items one at a time!
Spring is the proverbial ‘new beginning’ – and for my partner Billy and me that prompts wardrobe re-thinking (especially after cold-weather sluggishness), house evaluation in daylight (thanks to savings time), and even re-merchandising REVIVAL (our home furnishings store) after winter sales have emptied the showrooms a bit.
In the season’s brighter days, elements sometimes appear worn, sleepy, or just tiredly boring!
Instead of starting from scratch every time, items are cherry-picked for replacement….keeping the best of the past while looking boldly into the warm days ahead.
What a great resource TAIGAN proves when seeking these great components to make our lives fresher for the new season! From TAIGAN’s ever-changing chattel, I’ve cherry-picked a “favorites collection” to crash into existing wardrobes, interiors, terraces, and even client design projects.
Spring forward on TAIGAN.
Rodney’s 20 Favorite Things
FAVORITE ITEM No. 1: Quirky Florist Stands
How oddly primitive FOUND’s French metal florist stands seem in all turn-of-the-last-century angles. While I’d fill each branch with flowers, greens, or petit bouquet for festive parties, I adore the simple, hauntingly sculptural quality. To be honest, I lust after every curatorial find at FOUND!
FAVORITE ITEM No. 2: Boot Leather Bag
What guy (or gal) doesn’t covet an authentic, hand-crafted carry-all made of well-oiled boot leather? When reading WALTZING MATILDA’s description, I started salivating over the artisanal leather-strapped bag — knowing that it’ll look even better after 30+ years of wear when my nephew inherits the piece. Cool.
FAVORITE ITEM No. 3: Buttoned Pocket Square
Stylistas are a different lot than fashionistas. We tend to gather, collect, and wear great core pieces — making them our own with the odd shoe, the turned-and-frayed cuff, or the perfect kerchief. ARMSTRONG & WILSON’s collection of fantastic linen pocket squares serves this purpose beautifully! And who can resist each square’s name? Shot of Whiskey, In the Wild, and Egg White!
FAVORITE ITEM No. 4: “Out of Africa” Cowhide Cuff
The best warm day style seems always to nod to colonial Africa! MOLLY JANE DESIGNS’ natural agate slab (edged in metallic band) adorns an adjustable zebra-printed hair-on cowhide cuff. It’s a perfect gift for the women in my life – whether the hand-made accessory is crashed against a classic white-blouse-and-jeans or layered with linens and cottons in a sort of “summer safari” update.
FAVORITE ITEM No. 5: Breezy Cotton Scarf
With summer’s heat paring down wardrobe options, this little “Malibu” cotton scarf from KRICKETTE is perfect to kick a simple jean-and-jacket into high style. What could be more perfect for men or women than a simple white scarf? (I love how it’s tipped in khaki!)
FAVORITE ITEM No. 6: Suede Driving Moccasins
100% CAPRI has must-have basic wardrobe components — always with a twist of luxury and color! I have dozens of ever-comfortable moccasins in suede, glazed, pebble-grain, and even alligator leather. This creamy tan suede “Moccasino” is perfect for my mono-chromatic summer whites!
FAVORITE ITEM No. 7: Satyr Drinks Table
Every well-dressed home should have a perch for drinks within reach of every seat! (Think: Martinis. Cellphones. Petite espresso cups). IRIS & COMPANY’s mirror-topped hand-finished “Satyr” table is a perfect attendant to sofa, chair, and even bathtub! And it is wonderful to know it’s made-to-order in America. Gorgeous!
FAVORITE ITEM No. 8: Antique Painted Armoire
How much storage can be had in AND GEORGE’s antique French Provencal armoire, circa 1800? Although large antique casegoods have been lately abandoned as a homes’ electronics storage, I embrace them for clothing, household linens, and myriad other items that need to be secreted away.
FAVORITE ITEM No. 9: Art of the House
I have been waiting with baited breath (along with legions of other design hounds) for the Spring 2014 arrival of Bobby McAlpine and Susan Ferrier’s book, Art of the House: Reflections on Design. This highly-anticipated follow-up to McAlpine’s first book poetically reflects upon the alchemy of architecture, interiors, art and color in which this design duo excels. You’ll be able to get your own copy from REVIVAL on Taigan in April!
FAVORITE ITEM No. 10: Antique Lead Roof Finial
Architectural fragments are a personal design favorite often re-imagined as sculpture, tables, and even lighting into my store’s chattel or my design firm’s interiors. AND GEORGE’s lead roof ornament is particularly gorgeous — perfect to create a still-life atop an entry chest or on an outside dining terrace.
FAVORITE ITEM No. 11: Gathered Mercury Glass
MAISON & Co.’s collection of 19th century French mercury glass bottle is intoxicating. Coated on the bottle inside with silver nitrate, these bottles can fill an entrance hall sideboard, scatter among quirky library shelves, or march along your party table with a bit of rustic-but-shiny glamour. How about a single overblown white peony in each bottle for a bit of spring garden?
FAVORITE ITEM No. 12: Antique Alligator Card Case
Antique English men’s furnishings are vestigial reminders of my days working for Ralph Lauren Menswear…..dapper accessories crafted of alligator and sterling silver. PETER ELLIOTT’s alligator card case is a sweet find that can double as a wallet!
FAVORITE ITEM No. 13: Antique Sunburst Mirror
A little giltwood flash is a favorite design gesture — even if crashed against a rustic wall, industrial loft, or unexpected spot. AND GEORGE’s antique Italian sunburst mirror would be especially perfect layered atop another grander mirror.
FAVORITE ITEM No. 14: Shapely Antique Fauteuil
Having an antique and home furnishings store of my own, I am continually drawn to pieces that work from cabin to castle. FOUND’s antique French oak chair fits the bill perfectly — especially wearing its fresh Belgian linen and nailhead. This 19th century chair mixes as easily with traditional Continental casegoods as it does with contemporary upholstery.
FAVORITE ITEM No. 15: Belgian Linen Napkins
I have stacks of humble Belgian linen napkins within reach of my home’s tables and counters. HUDDLESON LINENS’ gorgeous natural flax-coloured linen napkin is just begging to come to my house!
HINT: The more the linen napkins are used, the more luxurious they look!
FAVORITE ITEM No. 16: “Willy Guhl” Swiss Vessel
The mid-2oth century Swiss charm of Willie Guhl’s “Handkerchief” planters, circa 1950, are a sculptural favorite in my store and design studio. I am so excited to find another vintage one at IRIS & CO! Even empty, these vessels are beautiful.
FAVORITE ITEM No. 17 : Cast Serpent Andirons
MAISON & CO.’s cast iron “Serpent” andirons are just plain fun.
FAVORITE ITEM No. 18: “To Halston, Love Billy”
If you don’t know who Billy Baldwin was, you’re missing a key part of American mid-20th century interior design. Oh, how I covet owning any of Baldwin’s books, but to have one personally signed in 1972 to legendary American fashion designer Halston is an amazing treasure! NICK HARVILL LIBRARIES is the TAIGAN go-to source for out-of-print and rare books.
FAVORITE ITEM No. 19: Hand-Sculpted Porcelain Flora
The delicate hand-sculpted porcelain flowers found at FAR 4 are breathtakingly wonderful. I especially want the white matte porcelain dahlias and poppies to perch atop books and boxes for Spring!
FAVORITE ITEM No. 20: Diptyque Baies Grand Candle
Of course, my TAIGAN FAVORITES list would be incomplete without something from my own REVIVAL! For more than a decade, my store has proffered the lush French candles and parfum d’ambiance from DIPTYQUE. Baies is our best-seller, commingling essential oils of black currant and Bulgarian rose.
Nothing is better than finishing my day with the heady fragrance of Paris hanging in the air.
ABOUT Rodney Simmons
With a career rooted in retail and buying, Rodney Simmons’ journey has taken him through the New York fashion business for nearly 10 years into home furnishings and luxury gifts.Working as Director of Retail Development for JJ. Farmer, Montreal, and then more recently as a Director of Presentation for Polo Ralph Lauren Menswear, NY, Rodney has immersed himself with the best talents in fashion, interiors and presentation.
A culmination of that sojourn can be experienced at R E V I V A L, an antiques and luxury gift store located in Chattanooga’s Warehouse Row.
“It’s more than an antique gallery. We have uncommon goods encompassing centuries of beauty, ranging from a 14th century carved wooden Gothic sculpture to mid-20th century modern chairs,” expresses Rodney. “Some people are intimidated by living with antiques. It’s wonderful to show our clients how to crash the ancient with the modern.”
Indeed, alongside R E V I V A L’s antiquities, Rodney and his partner Billy Woodall carefully discipline the mix of upholstery, casegoods, lighting, and an assemblage of today’s finest luxury gifts:
- Simon Pearce hand-blown glass
- Diptyque candles and parfum d’ambiance
- Match hand-burnished Italian pewter
- Cire Trudon candles
- Juliska glass hand-crafted glass and ceramics
- Astier de Villatte hand-made terracotta
When opening its new store at Warehouse Row, R E V I V A L was noted by Garden & Gun magazine as among “the best new shops in the South,” May 2010. Even noted architect and interior designer Bobby McAlpine [McAlpine Tankersley Architecture and McAlpine Booth & Ferrier] noted in the pages of Architectural Digest that “The savviest, prettiest, loveliest design store in America is
R E V I V A L in Chattanooga, Tennessee. You might as well back your truck up to it,” January 2013.
Most recently, R E V I V A L has evolved a separate design form, Revival Interiors – visit www.revivalinteriors.net.