JOURNAL RSS



Buongiorno, Roma!

This year's travel plans have been supplanted with overdue home projects—including the hanging and cataloging of all my pictures.  In lieu of an overseas getaway, I gazed wistfully at framed pictures of some of my favorite places.  Let me share a few of them with you.  Alas, this shall be the extent of my romantic journeys for Summer 2020. Rome is one of my favorite places!  I could happily visit The Eternal City every year.  And no Roman sojourn is complete without a visit to Saint Peter's Basilica—the crown jewel in the tiara of the Catholic Church.  In this place, so many of my favorite things come together! First: my faith.  As a Catholic, I am overwhelmed by the importance of the...

Continue reading



Good Morning, LEO!

It's a new day for this LEO.  I am marking my 57th birthday with a fresh start! Enough with my personal Covid-19 (pounds, not virus!). Thus, I started the morning with a brisk run.  It wasn't a long run, I admit, but it was a run.  I kept moving!  And each day (or each week—or each month) I intend to add just a little more speed, hills, or length to my exertions. As much as I've always hated running, all I can do is shout, "Nineteen: be gone!" I usually reserve my resolutions for the First of January. Oh, how I started-out 2020 with such hope and resolve! Who'd have anticipated the collective diversions we'd endure? But I still hope...

Continue reading



Summer Afternoon

"Summer afternoon— summer afternoon; to me those have always been  the two most beautiful words in the English language."   -  Henry James   Is there anything more soul-satisfying than a gentle summer afternoon? The light, the color, the smell of freshly-mown grass, the breeze!  For just a moment, the calendar stops its forward march; life is suspended—if only for a short while. Summer begins today, 20 June; it is also the longest day of the year. This Art Deco vase, made in England by Pilkington Royal Lancastrian, carries with it a perpetual summer mien. The underglaze bas relief—Art Deco graphic diamonds—shows through the jade-speckled turquoise glazing. Made in the Thirties, you can learn more about it by clicking on...

Continue reading



Happy Mother's Day

Loving thoughts, a special blessing and loads of appreciation to all our mothers—and all those who have "mothered" us in the past. Few roles in life have the potential to be so important as a mom. And few roles in life are simultaneously as difficult, worrying and, ultimately, rewarding.  Thanks to all the mothers who have nurtured us, nourished us and sculpted our lives.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to...

Continue reading



Welcome, May

May's birthstone is the regal Emerald—one of the world's "Cardinal Gemstones" alongside the diamond, ruby, sapphire and amethyst (that is until large deposits of amethysts were discovered in Brazil in the Nineteenth Century, contributing to the loss of their rarity and high value). Emeralds are a variety of the mineral gemstone "Beryl," which, when pure, is clear (which is why beryl was used as the lenses in the first eyeglasses in the 13th Century). When beryl is "contaminated" with other minerals, it changes color. Emeralds are the variety of beryl which have Chromium in them. Other varieties in the beryl family include Aquamarine, Heliodor (Golden Beryl), Goshenite (clear), Morganite (Rose Beryl) and Bixbite (Red Beryl). Emeralds were first mined in...

Continue reading



A Golden Spring - Part VII

Let's end our procession of "Golden Spring" objets with this very handsome and impressive Arts & Crafts brass tray, made in Turn-of-the-Century England. It comprises a William Morris-like symphony of hand-tooled scrolling botanicals, repeated in four corners of this clipped rectangular tray. Functional, yes; but truly worthy of hanging as a featured element in a well-appointed period room. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane...

Continue reading



A Golden Spring - Part VI

I'm seeing—and hearing—the comforting activity of honeybees already buzzing around my yet-undeveloped Early Spring garden. Their return is a sure sign of Spring; and I hope that they are reassurance that things are working as they should. These handsome Art Deco cufflinks—yellow and black striping over scrolling guilloché engraving—remind me of my lively garden helpers. Click on the photo above to learn more about them.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to...

Continue reading



A Golden Spring - Part V

Though the winter sun never goes away completely, come Spring, we relish its increasing proximity. Things warm up. To me, a beautiful Spring day is the best the weather will ever be.  This hand-tooled brass tray was made in Egypt in the 1920's. In its way, it resembles a warm (but gentle) sun—whether it's presiding from the wall of a living room or sitting regally atop a dining table. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co....

Continue reading



A Golden Spring - Part IV

We continue our "Golden Spring" presentation with this handsome French Art Deco "Citrine Glass" ice bucket, made in the 1930's. Its pale sunny—and sophisticated—coloration certainly reminds one of early Spring. And its shape might suggest (stay wth me!) the softly-folded "cup" of a Spring daffodil. Click on the photo to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248

Continue reading



A Golden Spring - Part III

The Spring Season is the Tulip Season. While they are not the first flowers to emerge through the cold, they are arguably the most stately. No blossoms put-on quite the show as an abundant chorus of tulips—tightly packed and swaying gently in a chilly breeze. And, while an artful gardener can create a sophisticated palette of shades, they are also wonderful when presented as a bold, luxuriant statement in one perfectly-selected color. The trio of plates, shown above, repeat the stylized motif of tulips—blossoms and leaves. They were hand hammered in Scotland (c. 1900) and, like the flowers themselves, they know that there is power in quantity. To learn more about this trio, please click on the photo above.   Though...

Continue reading



A Golden Spring - Part II

Florentine bookbinders would "marbleize" the edges and endpapers of their tomes—laying their papers upon a swirling melange of colorful enamels which float upon water in a basin. It was a handsome and distinctive touch which brought elegance and good taste to their craft. These glasses—a set of four Double Old Fashioned Rocks Glasses—are "wrapped" in just such a Florentine marbling pattern (which includes 22 karat gold). These glasses add a measure of golden radiance to a Spring-in-process. Click upon the photo above to learn more about them.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found...

Continue reading



A Golden Spring - Part I

  "I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high, o'er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils." - William Wordsworth, 1807   Nothing says "Spring" quite like daffodils. And no one says "daffodils" quite like William Wordsworth!  Admittedly, my assortment of daffodil-themed merchandise is scant. But Wordsworth's poem does more than depict a field of daffodils, quivering in a Spring breeze; they capture the warming optimism of Spring days—and the golden happiness one feels with the turn of the season. Thus, I will share a few "golden" items whose lustre reflects the flourishing radiance of the Spring. This tray, made somewhere in North Africa or the Middle East during...

Continue reading



World Book Day

23 April is World Book Day—a day devoted to the promotion of reading, publishing, book collecting and copyright protection.   This date was first marked by Catalan booksellers who, in 1923, wanted a way to commemorate the burial date of national literary giant Miguel de Cervantes.  Interestingly, William Shakespeare also died on 23 April (according […]

Continue reading



An Orange Breeze

A fresh grove of fruited orange trees encircles this English Art Deco platter designed by Norman Keates for Crown Ducal. Handsomely hand-decorated, it will bring a breeze of Spring fresh to your breakfast or luncheon table. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248

Continue reading



As Clean as Possible

Though I (very much) dislike smoking, I love the accoutrements of lighting-up. So, when I came across it, I just had to grab this English Art Deco ashtray made by Keith Murray for Wedgwood. Employing his signature ribbing, Murray has lifted a commonplace item into the sublime. And it's perfectly finished with a satiny white glaze. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to...

Continue reading



Certain Sunshine

With sunny days before us, what could be more appropriate than this hand-painted "Harlequin" pitcher?  Perfect for maple syrup or a little milk for one's tea, this cheery little jug was made by Übelacker (West Germany) in the 1950's. It really provides a bit of sunshine on an otherwise grey day. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh...

Continue reading



The Birds Are Back - Part VI

This pair of sculpted sparrows seems to express a curiously alert demeanor. Made of cast brass and finished with a verdigris brass patina, they will happily roost on your bookshelf, coffee table or mantelpiece. Click on the photo above to learn more about them.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248

Continue reading



The Birds Are Back - Part V

This little warbler—made of cast bronze—is wondering what to do next. Is it too early to eat again? Learn more about him by clicking on the picture above. More Spring birds tomorrow.    Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248

Continue reading



The Birds Are Back - Part IV

This fat little baby—to young and too heavy to fly—will sit contentedly on your desk, windowsill or bookshelf. Please click on the photo above to learn more about him. More Spring birds tomorrow.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248

Continue reading



The Birds Are Back - Part III

From Japan, a cast iron paperweight—from which a curious owl gazes out. He'll add a measure of scholarly bona fides to your library, office or den, not to mention a dose of serene tranquility. Click on the photo above to learn more about him More Spring birds tomorrow.    Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248

Continue reading



The Birds Are Back - Part II

A long, pointed beak—plus a dynamic forward-thrust—are two signs that the bird you're watching is a Nuthatch. This fellow, made of cast bronze, is perfect as a paperweight, bonsai decoration, or just left to hang around. Learn more about him by clicking on the photo above. More Spring birds tomorrow.    Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248

Continue reading



The Birds Are Back - Part I

Spring in in the air—and the birds are back!  Our garden is a riot of activity: cardinals, blue jays, robins and countless varieties of brown, sparrow-like birds. Over the next few days, we'll be sharing some our our favorite bird sculptures, currently in-stock in the LEO Design on-line store. Here's a fluffy little guy. Whether he is simply conserving his heat or otherwise has had his feathers ruffled, he does have the look of annoyance in his eyes. Learn more about him by clicking on the photo above. More Spring birds tomorrow.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). ...

Continue reading



Easter Monday

Today is Easter Monday, also called "Bright Monday" in Eastern Orthodox (and Byzantine Rite Catholic) churches. It marks the second day of Eastertide and, for some religious groups, the start of a week's worth of special liturgies. Many countries celebrate the day as a national holiday, usually those with a large Christian population and history. In some countries, the day takes-on a unique spin, like in Germany where families head for the fields and hold Easter egg races. In Egypt, people have outdoor picnics where they eat fermented mullet. And in Ireland, on Easter Monday the people commemorate the beginning of the Easter Rising of 1916 when Irish revolutionaries stood-up to their British colonizers in a suppressed attempt to achieve...

Continue reading



Easter Wishes

Today, Easter Sunday, is such an important day in my life. As a Catholic, Easter is the highpoint of the Christian calendar and the pinnacle of my year. It was on Easter Sunday—thirty years ago today!—that my partner (now my husband) and I became a couple. And it was seven years ago today that we brought home our delightful little pup, Benji, who has been a constant joy in our lives (shown here in my shop on Hudson Street, NYC). The current shut-in and shut-down has been such a challenge—physically, economically, spiritually—and I long for our return to (close to) normal. Yet I realize that, so far, I've been one of the luckier ones and I remain grateful that I have...

Continue reading



Springtime Fresh

Spring is all around us. Trees are budding; Tulips are in their glory; Daffodils are completing their pioneering course. Is there a more beautiful—or hopeful—time of the year? These Art Deco cufflinks from the 1930's, made of enameled sterling silver in in England, provide a dash of Springtime Fresh: lime green and crisp white. Click on the photo above to learn more about them.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to...

Continue reading



Good Friday

Good Friday is the most somber day in the Christian Calendar—the day when Jesus was condemned, tortured and executed in Jerusalem. On this day, Christians commemorate the "Passion" of the Lord, the brutal sequence of events during His last hours of life. Yet, as solemn as Good Friday is, it is also rooted in a profound joy—the realization that, without a Good Friday, there would be no Easter Sunday. On Good Friday, Christians contemplate the unmeasurable sacrifice that was made to redeem the world—and endeavor to be worthy of that redemption.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We...

Continue reading



Holy Thursday

Today is Holy Thursday, the first day of "The Sacred Triduum"—the three day period before Easter which includes Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. On the evening of Holy Thursday, also known as Maundy Thursday, Christians celebrate The Mass of the Lord's Supper which commemorates Christ's final Passover Seder in Jerusalem at which he institutes the celebration of the Eucharist. He also establishes the Christian Priesthood and, while washing his disciples' feet, imposes his Novum Mandatum ("New Commandment"): to love and serve one another as Christ loves them. Easter is the holiest of events for Christians; the Triduum, which begins tonight, is the period of deepest reflection and preparation before that joyful day—that darkest period before the dawn.   Though our Greenwich Village...

Continue reading



Chag Sameach!

Tonight we mark the start of Passover, known as Pesach in Hebrew. In the Book of Exodus, the Jews—who were then enslaved in Egypt—were instructed to paint their door posts and lintel with the blood of a spring lamb. This would designate the homes of God's faithful and he would spare them as he "passed-over" the land that night, killing the first born male of every human family and animal in Egypt. This event, the last of the Ten Plagues that afflicted Egypt, was part of God's terrifying plan to demonstrate his power to the Egyptian unbelievers—and to break the chains of the Israelites' enslavement, allowing them to escape Egypt. At Passover Seder dinners tonight, Jews around the world will...

Continue reading



Just Whistle

This little guy—streetwise beyond his years—would be happy to find a home. Maybe your desk, office or bookshelf would do? Made of cast iron around 1930, these bookends are finished with a brass patina. Crafted in Connecticut by Bradley & Hubbard. Please click on the photo above to learn more about them.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248

Continue reading



Dreaming of Spring Skiing

This handsomely-carved wooden dresser box was made in 1937 in the Ukrainian "spa town" of Vorokhta , nestled in the beautiful Carpathian Mountains. Since the mid Nineteenth Century, the village has been a popular retreat for tourists and patients with respiratory problems (who benefitted from the clean, crisp air). In the late 1800's, train service increased the ease of reaching the spa and it became even more popular with visitors. Today, the region attracts skiers and ski-jumpers—though the town is popular year 'round. This box is delicately hand-carved and stained a rich ambered-honey. Notice the little glass beads, intricately hand-set into the wood. Learn more about this box by clicking on the photo above.   Though our Greenwich Village store...

Continue reading



Palm Sunday

Today is Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, when Christians commemorate Jesus's entry into Jerusalem—followed by His Passion and His death. It is an important day for Christian believers and marks the start of "Holy Week" which includes the "Triduum" (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday) followed by Easter Sunday.  At Palm Sunday services, congregants hold-aloft blessed palms (fronds or branches) which demonstrate one of the ironies of the day. In ancient times, palms represented victory or triumph as well as peace and everlasting life. Palm branches were laid before Jesus as he rode (a donkey) into the the Holy City. He was greeted as the Messiah, only to be disowned, rejected, and killed a few days later. Even his...

Continue reading



Keeping the Home Fires Burning

Most of us have been "keeping the home fires burning"—and may be doing so for some time to come. What's a more iconic symbol of comfort-at-home than a fireplace? This pair of heavy cast iron bookends were made by Bradley & Hubbard (in Connecticut) in the 1930's. Sure to be appreciated by anyone who loves his or her fireplace—or as a gift to someone who aspires to have a fireplace some day. Click on the photo above to learn more about them.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District"...

Continue reading



Heartfelt Thanks

A sincere and heartfelt thank you to all the customers who have remembered LEO Design over the last couple of weeks. This is such a difficult time. Everyone is affected in some way; some are being crushed. My heart breaks for my fellow brick-and-mortar merchants (and restaurateurs)—some of whom were just getting-by as it was—whose livelihoods may succumb to the pandemic. And, of course, there are too many who will be physically harmed as well. It is against this fraught background that I express my gratitude to the customers who have continued to support us. In an abundance of caution, I have suspended adding any new merchandise to my collection. Everything that is now in-stock (to be shipped) has been "quarantined" under my protection since...

Continue reading



Mirror, Mirror

While cloistered, I've been doing a lot of Spring Cleaning. The full treatment. Removing every little object from every shelf, table and mantelpiece. Removing Venetian blinds for cleaning. And Windexing every mirror and glazed picture. It's exhausting but it does help me sleep well at night. This bevelled mirror, made in England in the 1910's, looks great without a frame. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of...

Continue reading



Billiards Are Back

This morning, 1 April 2020, the First Lady's spokeswoman, Ann LeHay, announced that Melania Trump would be overseeing a major redecorating effort of the White House Library throughout the summer and early autumn months. The contractor overseeing the project, William Taylor, is promising a mid-October completion date—giving the First Family sufficient time to celebrate Ivanka Trump Kushner's 39th birthday, the day before Halloween, in the newly decorated space.   What surprised many architectural design historians is that the administration will be converting the room into a Billiards Parlor. Says the spokeswoman, "The books will be transferred to the Library of Congress and stored there safely until further decisions are made about their future." When asked why the library is being converted into...

Continue reading



Spring Fresh - part XI

Let's close-out our procession of "Spring Fresh" offerings with this boldly-handsome, yet simple, pair of hand-tooled copper bookends. They were made by Roycroft in East Aurora, New York, to accompany their Little Journeys booklets. In 1894, social reformer, Arts & Crafts proponent and all-around Renaissance Man Elbert G. Hubbard began publishing a monthly subscription he called Little Journeys into the Homes of the Great. Each month he sent-out a new edition, beautifully printed on a letter-press with handsome graphic decoration. Each edition comprised a short biographical study of a famous and accomplished man or woman of letters, an artist, orator, statesman, teacher, businessman, philosopher or other worthy and interesting role models. These little booklets could be collected between these copper bookends. When...

Continue reading



Spring Fresh - part X

I've been spending my time—cloistered indoors—doing a lot of Spring cleaning and (finally!) attacking a handful of projects which have been lying dormant since my move to Pittsburgh three years ago. Top of the list was to build bookshelves in my office and set-up my desk. I've got a number of letter racks on my desk, similar to the one shown above. They are handy for holding blank stationery and envelopes, things to-get-to, or paid bills, awaiting mailing. This letter rack was made in Edwardian England, circa 1910. Mounted to an oak base, the brasswork includes a looping handle and exuberant panels of scrolling botanicals. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village...

Continue reading



Spring Fresh - part IX

A garland of Spring blooms encircle this pewter frame, cast of pewter in New York City. This example holds a 2" by 3" photo; other sizes are also available by special order. Click on the photo above to learn more about it—and please peruse the many other options available in our on-line store.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248

Continue reading



Spring Fresh - part VIII

In the Northeastern United States, we typically do not see many butterflies until the late Spring or early Summer. Depending on the species, during the early Spring, butterflies are getting ready to migrate in search of food, a place to breed and a spot to lay their eggs before dying. Most butterflies live short lives in the "winged" form; two weeks to twelve months is the short extent of the fleetingly beautiful butterfly. In symbology, however, butterflies are quite important in the Springtime. For Christians, who celebrate Easter in March or April, the butterfly is a symbol or rebirth or resurrection. After being sealed in a "tomb" of spun silk, the hibernating caterpillar emerges as a beautiful, winged creature—taking flight...

Continue reading



Spring Fresh - part VII

One of the most distinctive artists of the Art Nouveau period was the Czech artist, Alfons Maria Mucha (1860-1939). He was born in Ivančice, at the time part of the enormous Austro-Hungarian Empire (now part of Southern Czech Republic). After studying in Munich and Paris, Mucha experienced a fortuitous "stroke of luck." The great French actress, Sarah Bernhardt, happened to call her Parisian printer on the day after Christmas 1894; she wanted a new poster designed (immediately!) for her hit play Gismonda, which was being extended due to popular demand. All of the printer's regular "house artists" were away for the holidays—but the young Alfons happened to be in the workshop at the time, inspecting another artist's proofs as a favor....

Continue reading



Spring Fresh - part VI

And now a shout-out to those brave bird souls who do not leave for the winter—the Chickadee! They nest in the early Spring, it's true, but they've been huddling here in the cold, all Winter long, waiting for the warmth to return. And a big thank you to all the kind people who put-out sunflower seeds for them during the chill. In Winter, chickadees search out high-fat meals during the day, increasing their weight by 10% by sunset, only to burn it off keeping warm through the night. This bronze bell, topped by a chickadee on a branch, was made and hand-finished in Canada. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store...

Continue reading



Spring Fresh - part V

I love this color. Neither a pastel nor a jewel tone, it occupies a sweet spot in my recollection of the sublime Art Deco color palette. This vase was made by Stangl (Flemington, NJ) in the 1930's. Its voluptuous Art Deco shape is dressed in the soothing aqueous color. While this color appears pleasingly decorative, it was also used in more-industrial applications. I've seen tool cabinets and machine shop equipment (from the Thirties) finished in this hue. I also recall that my boyhood dentist (in the Mid-Sixties) had steel cabinets (and a matching chair/lamp/spitoon unit) in this deep aqua. Its fresh confidence certainly reminds me of Spring. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich...

Continue reading



Spring Fresh - part IV

Green tulip leaves are pushing their way through the mulch of our flower beds. Though we're still a few weeks away from flowers, the promise of Spring is with us. These American Arts & Crafts candlesticks have stylized "tulip-form" cups. A segmented shaft is also reminiscent of the tulip stems. The candlesticks are also hammered and silver-plated to complete the Art Nouveau aesthetic. Please click on the photo above to learn more about them.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at...

Continue reading



Spring Fresh - part III

The Robins are already back!  And, before long, they will be laying their beautiful blue eggs—another sign that Spring is here. This vase, hand-thrown by Edward Thomas Radford for Pilkington Royal Lancastrian, is dressed in a handsome Robin's Egg Blue glaze. Made in England in the 1920's or 1930's, it will bring the promise of new life into your home. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of...

Continue reading



Spring Fresh - part II

Here's more of our promising Spring green hue. Soft green always reminds me of newly unfurled leaves—delicate, supple and ready for a full life to come. These cufflinks are dressed in just such a shade. Spring green enameling lies over machine-turned guilloché work on a pair of Art Deco sterling silver cufflinks. Click on the photo to learn more about them.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh...

Continue reading



Spring Fresh - part I

These days, when I venture out of the house—either to pull some weeds in my garden or walk little Benji around the block—I am reminded that Spring is already here. It gets warmer every day. The twilight is a little later. The daffodils have blossomed and the rose leaves are beginning to bud. Let's try to forget The Virus for a few moments and take a little pleasure in the fact that renewal, rebirth, rejuvenation is happening all around us. This West German vase by Bay is a step in a happy direction. With its dappled, apple green glazing, it reminds me of a fresh, crisp Granny Smith apple. And what is more promising than anything in soft green? Like the...

Continue reading



Another Virus Besieges

Hardly a day goes by that I do not pine for my little shop in Greenwich Village—or, at least, wistfully remember being a part of the bloodstream of that wonderful neighborhood. Yet, knowing the hardship that New York's (and every other city's) merchants are enduring right now, I consider myself blessed to be disentangled from the long tally of monthly expenses that a brick-and-mortar shopkeeper must shoulder: rent, payroll, utilities, insurance, banking fees, repairs.  And—oh!—let's not forget the cost of acquiring new merchandise. With most small businesses (in the best of times) barely held-together with the "glue" of the owner's free labor, coming-out of this dormancy will be very difficult for most mom and pop merchants. And this sector is only...

Continue reading



Welcome, Spring

We welcome the Spring with this sunny vase, hand-crafted and hand-painted in France in the 1920's or 1930's. It was made by the small French pottery workshop "Lachanal" which is best known for it's Persian-inspired turquoise blue glazes. This vase is aesthetically atypical and is marked "Piece Unique" (and signed by the artist, whom I have not identified). It seems to be a "one-off" experimental creation. The body of the vase is reminiscent of the shape, texture and color of a lemon (which, wistfully, reminds me of a trip to Sorrento last Spring). Over the yellow lies an intriguing, hand-painted "caramel" glaze—a spiky grid which (in a leap) reminds me of the longitude and latitude lines of the Earth. Today...

Continue reading



Just A Wee Bit More...

From the windswept—and ethereally beautiful—West Coast of Ireland lies the region of Connemara, which the Irish writer Oscar Wilde noted for its "savage beauty." Then name "Connemara" is derived from the Irish for "Inlets for the Sea." It is also the home of Connemara Marble—perhaps the rarest marble in the world. It is mostly green in color (naturally), and sometimes includes streaks of brown or grey and flecks of black. Connemara marble is formed when limestone is heated, under pressure. Some veins are 600 million years old. Although ancient objects (like 4000 year old ax heads) were made of the stone, it was not commercially quarried until 1822. Though Saint Patrick's Day was yesterday, I wanted to squeeze-in this precious...

Continue reading



Éirinn go Brách!

"Ireland Forever!"  Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Saint Patrick—spelled Pádraig in Irish—was born to a Christian family in "Roman Britain" in 387 AD. At the time, the island of Britain was nearly-totally occupied by Roman forces. Though his father was a deacon, Patrick was not religious or particularly faithful. As he wrote in his autobiographical Confessio, as a young teenager he was abducted by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland. He was made a shepherd and had plenty of time alone (with the sheep) to pray and contemplate his faith. He grew in his love of God, despite Ireland's hostility to the Christian faith (which was populated with Druids and Pagans). At the age of 20, he had a dream that...

Continue reading



Bacchus Day

Bacchus is the Roman name of the demi-god, also known as “Dionysus” by the Greeks.  His father was Zeus and his mother was the human female, Semele. Bacchus was the god of wine-making, theatre and merriment, but also of sexual frenzy, ecstasy and extravagance. He would be accompanied on his wild, “Bacchanalian” benders by The […]

Continue reading



Pewter Perfect - part X

Time's up. So let's end our presentation of pewter items with a real conversation piece: an Italian pewter sandglass. It measures five minutes—more or less. Like so many things Italian, it may not be timely (or precise) but it always exhibits la bella figura!  Please click upon the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248...

Continue reading



Pewter Perfect - part IX

One of the hallmarks of Arts & Crafts design—regardless of the particular country from which it originates—is the "revival" of earlier design elements, the use of important cultural motifs, or the promotion of historical (or fictional) folklore and mythology. The English Arts & Crafts movement, during which these oak and pewter candlesticks were made, was known to reference Medieval literary themes, Gothic design elements, and the furniture or architectural aesthetic of earlier periods. These candlesticks, have oak Jacobean "Barley Twist" shafts, mounted upon Gothic hand-hammered pewter bases. It's a handsome and unusual combination—and you can learn more about them by clicking on the photo above.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and...

Continue reading



Pewter Perfect - part VIII

Boyfriends, husbands, sons—they all need the occasional help developing good organizational skills. Why not help them do it in style? This Italian "pocket caddy" is made of pewter ("Peltro"—in lingua italiana). It is fitted with a leather pad and can easily corral the contents of a pocket or two. Near the front door, it can hold one's wallet, keys and mobile phone. At bedside, it will keep one's watch, cufflinks and rings. It can also be used on the desk to keep business cards, notes and lists of things-to-do. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store...

Continue reading



Pewter Perfect - part VII

Shown here, pewter displays its rustic side. It's a two piece German Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) desk set—a box and a business card holder. Aesthetically, it channels the Gothic, a common Arts & Crafts feature, with its rows of diamond-shaped bosses—reminiscent of the protective iron studding in a castle's large wooden door. By the way, in German, pewter is called "Zinn." Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of...

Continue reading



Pewter Perfect - part VI

In the old days, pewter often contained lead. Adding lead was a cheap way to give heft and a rich color to the alloy. Unfortunately, lead is poisonous when ingested. But it does give antique pewter items a beautiful deep velvety-grey patina. Modern pewter rarely includes lead, especially items which might be used for foodservice. Because pewter items tend to command moderate-to-high prices, there is little reason for modern pewterers to "cut" their alloys with the cheap and heavy toxic metal. Still, because there is no hard and fast date after which lead was banned, it is best to be cautious about feeding children directly from an antique pewter item. The English pewter tray, above, is referred to as "transitional" as it...

Continue reading



Pewter Perfect - part V

These handsome Italian candlesticks are sand-cast pewter and, as a result, have the little pocks, blemishes and idiosyncrasies that such a primitive casting method allows. Because sand-casting is such an old method of metalwork (used since the Bronze Age, 3000 BC), it imbues an "antique sensibility" to these candlesticks. And since pewter can be polished-up or left to darken, one has the choice of how to maintain them. Personally, I would give them an ultra-light annual buff-up (just before Thanksgiving) with only a kiss of polish—to leave them clean but not shiny. Click on the photo above to learn more about them.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit...

Continue reading



Pewter Perfect - part IV

One of the nice things about pewter is that it can be cast and finished in multiple ways. Earlier this week, we saw "sand-cast" pewter which exhibits charming flaws, character and idiosyncrasies. Old pewter, often containing lead, develops a rich, dark, velvety patina. And pewter can also be highly polished, like the handsome notepaper holder, shown above. It was conceived by Danish designer Erik Magnussen (1940-2014) and crafted by Royal Selangor, one of the world's top pewterers. Erik Magnussen is a legend amongst Post-War Modernist designers. Trained as a ceramicist, he worked in many materials and had collaborative relationships with many large scale gift and decorative art manufacturers. Royal Selangor was founded in 1885 by a Malaysian Chinese pewterer. His original wares...

Continue reading



Pewter Perfect - part III

The earliest known pewter pieces, from the Near East and Egypt, were mostly decorative in nature. The Romans brought pewter-making back to Europe and, as its use spread through that continent, it became very popular as a food service material—plates, bowls, jugs, and some spoons. For much of the European and English Medieval period, pewter was the most common material for serving food. Most people who could afford a living space, however modest, could also afford a few pewter plates or bowls. In the 1600's, as Europeans learned how to produce utilitarian pottery at commercial scale, there was a mass transfer from pewter to ceramic tableware items. Ceramic plates and bowls were less expensive than pewter, easier to clean, and more...

Continue reading



Pewter Perfect - part II

This Italian photo frame was made of sand-cast pewter in Tuscany. "Sand-casting" is an ancient process by which the object to be duplicated is pressed into sticky sand, carefully removed (leaving an impression in the sand), and molten pewter is poured into the resulting depression. It is the original method of metal casting, utilized since the Bronze Age (3000 BC). Because this casting method is rather primitive (and imprecise), cast pieces are close approximations of the original, not exact duplicates. Little flaws and idiosyncrasies in the casting should be seen as imbuing "character and style" to the object. The frame above is but one of many different sizes and styles available in the LEO Design on-line store. Click on the photo...

Continue reading



Pewter Perfect - part I

Pewter is an "alloy" (that is, a metallic combination) of the soft metal tin (approximately 95%), mixed and "hardened" with antimony, copper, bismuth and (sometimes) silver. Pewter was first crafted in the Early Bronze Age, around 3000 BC, in the Near East (modern day Turkey and Egypt). The oldest known pewter objects were found in Egypt. This "Mama Bear" sculpture was cast in Italy. She will sit on your desk, bookshelf or mantelpiece—lending an air of sophisticated yet rustic elegance. Click on the photo above to learn more about her.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also...

Continue reading



March Forth!

I've always liked the sound of today's date: March Fourth (or "March Forth!"). It has a strong, determined resonance—full of possibility and brimming with opportunity. These bookends depict a knight, lance in-hand, atop his twisting (almost Mannerist) steed. They are bronze-clad and treated to a hand-painted "polychrome" finish. Click on the photo above to learn more about them.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private...

Continue reading



Hurry-Up and Wait!

Pennsylvania Democrats are Rarin' to Go!"  Alas, we will have to wait another EIGHT WEEKS (!) before the presidential primary gets to the Keystone State. By that time, will anyone be left on the ballot? In the meantime, I guess I'll keep my eye on the bucking donkey, shown kicking on this set of four "Pennsylvania Democrat" tumblers from the 1950's. Click on the photo above to learn more about them.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of...

Continue reading



Shine On

A few nights ago, walking home in the dark, I looked-up and saw the most beautiful sight: a slender Crescent Moon—hanging in an inky dark blue sky. In all of nature, is there anything so elegant, beautiful and sublime? Inspired by that mysterious celestial body is this handsome "Crescent Moon" bottle opener—handcrafted of brass in Japan. Practical and beautiful, it's a bottle opener one will not want to hide from sight. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at...

Continue reading



In Like a Lion...

The old adage informs us, "When March comes-in like a lion, it will go-out like a lamb." Today's forecast calls for 50º weather and lots of sunshine. If the weatherman is correct, it looks like we'll have a cold and stormy end-of-month. The lions above—shown in crisp bas relief on this pair of bookends by Bradley & Hubbard—are made of cast iron and face each other in a mirrored fashion. This was a more costly and time-consuming way of designing and producing bookends. First, two different moulds were required to complete a pair. Then, throughout the casting, finishing and packing, a true pair had to be monitored and intentionally kept together (which required more effort from the shop workers). These...

Continue reading



Leap Day

Every school child knows that it takes 365 days for the Earth to orbit around the Sun. Or does it? Since the Second Century BC, Greek mathematician and astronomer, Hipparchus, had (accurately) calculated the precise number of days of an Earthly orbit:  365 days + 1/4 of a day - 1/300 of a day. Unfortunately, when the Julian Calendar was instituted in 45 BC, the extra 1/300 was ignored and a single leap day was added every fourth year. After a few centuries, however, the seasons and equinoxes were becoming mis-aligned with the annual calendar. When the Gregorian Calendar was introduced in 1582, the "extra" allotted leap days (since 45 BC) were "taken back" and a new pattern was instituted: add...

Continue reading



What's Old is New

Although the New Year (and its resolutions) are weeks old, we are still legitimately  within only the second month of the annum. So here's a late-breaking idea to help with your sincerest organizational intentions. It's a French steel wall-pocket, enameled in white, and bursting with possibilities for upping your organization. I am guessing that it was originally used in the kitchen as a place to hold "spills" or small tapering candles (used to transfer fire from one part of the kitchen to another). Today it could be used to hold a wallet, keys and a mobile phone. Or, perhaps, letters to be mailed. Or, it could hold little bottles and tubes in the bathroom. Finally, consider it a place to hold...

Continue reading



Spring Thaw

Spring begins in 30 days! Soon it will be time to resume those favorite outdoor activities: planting, painting, washing the car. For those who prefer long hikes in the woods, these pups are ready to join you! Made of cast iron in the 1920's, these bookends will add a bit of "countryside chic"—whether Maine Woods or Downton Abbey—to your office, den or mantelpiece. Click on the photo above to learn more about them.

Continue reading



Ashes to Ashes...

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Lent is the Christian season of abstinence, almsgiving and prayerful reflection—forty days of preparation before the most-important Christian celebration, Easter Sunday. On Ash Wednesday, the faithful are marked on the forehead with black ashes and instructed, "Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return."  The Cathédrale de Notre-Dame de Paris is amongst the most famous houses of worship in the world. Last year, on 15 April—the day after Palm Sunday—the 850 year old Cathedral suffered heartbreaking damage in a great fire.  Ashes to ashes, indeed. For me, the heartache contains a personal resonance. I once attended Mass in Notre-Dame on a Palm Sunday, some years ago. The Mass was...

Continue reading



Fat Tuesday!

It's Mardi Gras! Fat Tuesday! And, NO, I am not implying that these buxom beauties are fat! On the contrary, they represent the artistically-idealized female figure for most of the last four thousand years. These "Satyresses" (female Satyrs) convey the (extreme) Bacchanalian character of the last day before Lent. In Catholic households, Mardi Gras is the opportunity to eat-up and get rid of all meat, fats, sweets, alcohol and other gustatory indulgences before the proscribed Lenten abstemiousness begins the next day (Ash Wednesday).

Continue reading



Copper Frames - Part Two

Here's another English copper frame, this time Arts & Crafts, c. 1900. Hand-hammered "bosses" surround the image and a curling mustache presides at the top. A handsome and nicely-crafted gift, perhaps for Mother's Day. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.

Continue reading



Copper Frames - Part One

While brass "chain link" photo frames were popular during the English Victorian period, copper chain frames were much less common. This one, made around 1890, is a handsome twist on the more plentiful brass option. It might make a nice Mother's Day gift on 10 May. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only)....

Continue reading



Caucus in the Silver State

Today is the Democratic Primary Caucus in Nevada, "The Silver State." Nevada's nickname hearkens back to the 1800's when silver mining drew many westward to find fortune. Today—considering the caucus—it's worth noting that most of the top candidates are "Silver" themselves: in their Seventies (and some close to their Eighties). I find it interesting that so many Millennials—who wouldn't hire a colleague in her Fifties—have amassed behind an "Almost Octogenarian."  But there are Democrats in the race. And, if you support one, you may like this little bronze donkey, handmade in California. On the bottom of each hoof you'll find the letters spelling K-I-C-K ("Kick Ass"). Click on the photo above to learn more about him.   Though our Greenwich...

Continue reading



Back To "My Roots" - Part Three

I have always loved artistic metalwork—and the brawnier, the better. While in New York, I made note of (and photographed) two different types of sculptural foundry work, both artistic, which I admire and like. First, there's the "high end, fine art" type, usually crafted as a precious, one-off piece and sometimes used to adorn architectural exteriors or interiors. The second type of casting—and potentially just as impressive—are those metal architectural elements which are beautifully modeled and then reproduced by the dozens, hundreds or thousands. The stainless steel bas relief sculpture, shown above, is to be found at 50 Rockefeller Plaza (near the site of the Center's Christmas tree). It is a great example of important, bespoke fine art metalwork. It was commissioned...

Continue reading



Back To "My Roots" - Part Two

When I first moved to New York, I lived for four years in the West Fifties. This was before I opened LEO Design and, thus, still enjoyed days off on the weekend. Central Park became my backyard. Many hours were spent relaxing in Sheep's Meadow (photo below). On this trip, it was far too cold for sunbathing! But I did reminisce as I crossed the 15 acre "pasture"—enroute to visit an elderly friend on the Eastside. I tried a new route across Central Park, clutching a bag of Chinese food in one hand and my cameraphone in the other. I came upon the Carousel—which I had never seen before—entranced by its hauntingly jolly Wurlitzer tune. The merry-go-round itself was built in 1908 and...

Continue reading



Back To "My Roots" - Part One

  A confluence of circumstances prompted a late winter's trip to Manhattan—where LEO Design began 25 years ago: a customer delivery (hurrah!), a dental check-up (meh) and our annual visit to the tax accountant (TBD).  And it was thirty years ago, this month, that I first moved to New York City. Since then, in many ways, the city has changed substantially in color and character. In other ways, the pulse of the city is (more or less) just as it's always been. On this visit, I hit the sidewalk with the same rush of energy and sense of potential as I did when I was a 26 year old boy—invigorated by the bustle and purpose of the New Yorkers surrounding...

Continue reading



The Season of Increasing Light - part IV

The fourth and last of our "lamp show" is this "Laced & Studded" beauty. It will bring a sculptural dimension to your room, thanks to the hand-fitted embellishments. It also has a wonderful custom-sculpted finial. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248

Continue reading



The Season of Increasing Light - part III

Even when turned-off, this lamp seems to radiate light and warmth. The ceramic lamp, dressed in a highly-textured orange glaze, screams Mid-Century Modern. It was made in the 1960's or 1970's and you can learn more about it by clicking on the photo above. More lighting tomorrow.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248

Continue reading



The Season of Increasing Light - part II

Though slender, this lamp still packs an aesthetic punch! And don't let its willowy silhouette belie its substantial weight and gravitas. One such lamp will fit the trickiest of small spaces. Two (or more) of them make a strong statement on a sideboard or at bedside. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. More lighting in the days to come.    Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh...

Continue reading



The Season of Increasing Light - part I

It's been about eight weeks that our days have been getting longer. And now's the time when we fully begin to recognize and appreciate the extended light. In celebration of "The Season of Increasing Light," we'll be sharing a small collection of light fixtures, now available on-line at LEO Design. This handsome and substantial lamp is in the form of a heavy column, with a "turned" base and capital. It really makes a statement—with its strong lines and considerable "visual weight." Click on the photo above to learn more about it. And always feel welcome to give us a call if you have questions about this lamp (or any other piece). More lighting in the days to come.   Though...

Continue reading



Saint Valentine's Day

I remember Valentine's Day since the Second Grade. Miss Lum had us all bring-in valentines—one for every classmate, both boys and girls. My mother bought me a box of valentines for 19¢. They weren't proper, folding "greeting cards" but, rather, cheerfully illustrated die-cut hearts, flowers, puppies and mailboxes. They came connected on a large, printed sheet and I spent the night before Valentine's Day punching-out the pieces and writing upon them the names of each classmate. I don't recall there being any envelopes, just the two-dimensional, flat "greetings," each with a "To" and "From" line on the backside. The next morning in class, we were instructed to come forward and deposit our valentines into a cardboard "mailbox" which the teacher had...

Continue reading



Countdown to Valentines - part VIII

Let's end our little parade of Valentine's Day gift ideas with this special beauty, a Gouda Dutch vase from the Twenties or Thirties, hand-painted with a bold black, red, white and gold folk art graphic. Reminiscent of embroidery or a Northern European textile pattern, it would make a thoughtful and handsome gift for any Valentine with great taste. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com)....

Continue reading



Countdown to Valentines - part VII

In the Thirties and Forties, when "V" stood for "Victory," these English Art Deco cufflinks would have communicated an undeniable message: "We're going to win!" Today, the "V" could mean "Valentine"—which makes these cufflinks a great gift for one's beau. To learn more about these cufflinks, made in England in the 1930's, please click on the photo above.  More Valentine's Day gift ideas tomorrow.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to...

Continue reading



Countdown to Valentines - part VI

A crusty, matte red glaze clings to the tapered form of this European Modernist vase, made in the 1960's or 1970's. Beautiful as part of a collection, or equally handsome standing on its own on your bookshelf, coffee table or mantelpiece. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. More Valentine's Day gift ideas tomorrow. Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only)....

Continue reading



Countdown to Valentines - part V

A little something to remember your loved one. This rustically-sculpted pewter heart—finished in a brassy wash—is pierced and swings from a brass key ring. It's a small token, but a happy reminder of the one who loves you. Find out more by clicking on the photo above. More Valentine's Day gift ideas tomorrow.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248

Continue reading



Countdown to Valentines - part IV

Looking for a nice Valentine's Day gift for your Beau? These English Art Deco cufflinks, adorned with bold red enamel striping, will become a sartorial favorite—and a frequent reminder, throughout the day, of your love and steadfast affection. Vaguely reminiscent of rugby stripes and rugby balls, they are simultaneously handsome, classic, strong and sporty. Click on the photo above to learn more about them. More Valentine's Day gift ideas tomorrow.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of...

Continue reading



Countdown to Valentines - part III

Looking for something beautiful and practical—and with a little token of affection, to boot? This late English Arts & Crafts copper tray was made in the southwest of England (Cornwall). Hand-tooled hearts and whiplash graphics surround the hand-planished center of the tray and a raised "piecrust" gallery forms the outer edge.  Cornish office clerk, Charles Thomas Eustace, returned to work after a long illness to discover that his position had been given to another person.  The 59 year old father of 13 children needed to do something—and quick!  He and his brother, John, opened a small copper crafts workshop in Hayle, Cornwall, their hometown.  Although he knew nothing of metalsmithing, he learned the craft quickly, becoming quite proficient.  Eustace admired the Keswick...

Continue reading



Countdown to Valentines - part II

Boy, there is nothing like red when it's done right! And this red is superb! The red "color family" runs along a rather long spectrum—from an orangish "Chinese Red" (or Vermillion) on one end of the range to a deep "Italian Red" which one might find on a sports car or firetruck. Lighter reds tend to have more yellow in them while richer reds contain a lot of blue. This vessel, a Hoy Hey German Modernist pitcher from the 1960's or 1970's, has a red clay body dressed in a deep and satisfying red glaze. Furthermore, the highly-textured, hand-applied color gives additional richness to the piece. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. More Valentine's Day gift...

Continue reading



Countdown to Valentines - part I

We're on the run-up to Valentine's Day. If you haven't found your sweetie a little something, yet, maybe we can help with some ideas over the next few days. Here's a sculpted pewter heart, handmade in San Francisco. It's just the right size: big enough to function as a paperweight, but small enough to be a love token in the hand. Its rustic casting—lightly pocked and perfectly imperfect—is not unlike the human heart, well-worn and tried by love. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. More Valentine's Day gift ideas tomorrow.    Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell...

Continue reading



Eternal Classics

The foundations of Western poetry and literature rest on the shoulders of two giants, who lived 2,000 years apart: Dante Alighieri (Medieval Florence, 1265-1321) and Homer (Ancient Greece, c. 700 BC). Although many great writers have come since them, many of the great Western scribes have credited these two—and their harrowing tales of travel and adventure (throughout the Ancient World and down to the Underworld).   Historians are divided over whether "Homer" was a single person or, perhaps, a group of writers (over time) who formed, re-formed and penned the Odyssey and the Iliad. On the other hand, Dante's authorship is undisputed. After supporting the losing side of a political war in Florence, he was banished from his beloved home city and took up residence in...

Continue reading



Perhaps I've Changed?

Back in 1995—when I was still young and naive—a customer walked into my newly-opened store and looked-around approvingly.   "I really like your taste" she said.  "Do you have a yellow vase?"   "No," I replied, "but I could find one for you." "Yes, please do!" she exclaimed.   I asked her to describe the style of vase she would like.  "Oh, I don't know. I don't have something particular in mind. Anything is fine. I just want a nice yellow vase to put into my kitchen. I leave it up to you. I like the other things you have here; use your judgement." Well, that should be easy! I took her name and number and committed to finding her a...

Continue reading



Oh, Those STEM Subjects!

Buck-up, STEM scholars! We're told that those of you who study Science, Technology, Engineering and Math will be well-employed in the future—and best-able to pay off those mountains of student debt. In the meantime, try to keep your eyes open during those late nights of studying. These studious monks seem to be drifting-off. But let's give them a break: they're nearly 100 years old.  These heavy cast iron "Science & Study" bookends were made by Bradley & Hubbard (in Connecticut) in the 1920's. Perhaps they'll quietly motivate your favorite STEM scholar-at-work or commemorate her graduation with a useful "trophy" to keep for a lifetime. Click on the photo to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is...

Continue reading



American Football's Big Night

Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about American Football (not much!).  I much prefer "The Beautiful Game" and believe that "A Football is Round" (and kicked with the feet). To my eye, "soccer" (as some call it!) allows the player's personality, fitness and (sometimes) good looks to shine through. American Football players are buried beneath mounds of plastic padding and nylon mesh. They also stop running and stand around a lot! Nevertheless, I love finding handsome, vintage gifts—like this Japanese Crystal (American) Football. It was made in Japan in the 1970's or 1980's. Perhaps they were usually etched with a particular team's logo? If so, this one was left unblemished. It would make a wonderful paperweight or conversation piece...

Continue reading



Welcome, February

Welcome, February, and your birthstone, the amethyst! According to ancient Greek mythology, Dionysus—the god of wine—pursued a beautiful maiden by the name of Amethystos.  Her prayers to remain chaste were answered by the gods: she was turned into a beautiful white stone.  Dionysus, in his grief, poured wine over the white stone, turning it violet.  And, thus, the first amethyst was created.  The stone’s name comes from the Greek word “Methustos” which means “intoxicated.”  Amethysts have long been believed to protect its wearer from the inebriating effects of alcohol—in fact, ancient Greek and Roman drinking cups and bowls were sometimes crafted of turned amethyst.  During the Middle Ages, amethysts (and the color purple) were associated with (and reserved for) royalty—and...

Continue reading



Hand-Raised Copper - part VIII

Let's end our parade of copper vessels with this modest option, a hand-hammered "club-form" vase.  It would look great holding a small number of stems—as it looks good standing empty and alone. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248

Continue reading



Hand-Raised Copper - part VII

Western artists, designers and craftsmen have often tapped classic Asian design for its artistic inspiration. During the late Nineteenth Century (and at many other times in history), Westerners were enchanted by "The Exotic East." Sometimes these penchants became embarrassing and demeaning fetishes. But, at other times, such an appropriation was simply the recognition that classic Asian designers did beautiful work—and imitation is recognized as the sincerest form of flattery. The piece above takes the form of a classic "ginger jar"—the Chinese covered vessel originally intended to hold spices, oils and other valuable foodstuffs. Many centuries ago, Western merchants began to ship them back home to a hungry European population which used such ginger jars in their collecting and home decorating....

Continue reading



Hand-Raised Copper - part VI

The "freeform" hand-hammering of these vessels, each from a single ingot of copper, requires a great deal of patience, precision and skill. The tools are minimal: an anvil, tongs and a small assortment of hammers (depending on the type of hammering needed at any particular point). Not only must the artisan get the shape right (and evenly balanced) but he must keep the walls of uniform thickness. He also wants to leave a pleasant hammering effect. On this piece, shown above, the craftsman has the additional task of applying a surface treatment—in this case evenly-spaced ribbing. Learn more about this vase by clicking on the photo above.   More hand-hammered copper items in the days to come.    Though our Greenwich...

Continue reading



Hand-Raised Copper - part V

Compressed, sensual, pendulous. These are three words which help to describe this hand-raised copper vase, shown above. It is a squat gourd-form vessel with a narrow-ish neck—which will gather your flower stems to a controlled point. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. Shown below is a highly sculptural offering. It's perfect for a low setting—upon a table or sideboard—where one may see it from above and appreciate the closed top of the vase (rather than look down into an open vessel). Click upon either photo to learn more about either vase.    More hand-hammered copper items in the days to come.    Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and...

Continue reading



Hand-Raised Copper - part IV

Master architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, was known for his handsome, unusual and avant-garde buildings. And his work was not confined to the design of building structures alone. Indeed, he often designed his projects right down to the interior furnishings—rugs, furniture, decorative objets. One of his favorite vase forms was called a "weed holder"—and is the inspiration for the piece shown above. It stands just under 12 inches tall and will hold a large handful of dried grasses, rushes or twigs. It would also look great with long-stemmed fresh flowers, like gladiolas, irises or lilies. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   More hand-hammered copper items in the days to come.    Though our Greenwich Village store...

Continue reading



Hand-Raised Copper - part III

Here's something a little different: a "Lotus Bowl" with nicely-scalloped sides. Raised from a single ingot of copper—just like the vases we've shown—it was made "freeform" with just a pair of tongs, hammers and an anvil. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   More hand-hammered copper items in the days to come.     Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only)....

Continue reading