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A Gentleman in Moscow - Part Nine

"Cathedral Square," within the Kremlin walls, is a cluster of several Russian Orthodox churches from the 14th, 15th and 16th Centuries. Though similarly whitewashed and topped with gold-leafed domes, each has a unique history and purpose. The Cathedral of the Assumption (1479) is the traditional site for royal coronations and the burial of church metropolitans and patriarchs. The Cathedral of the Archangel (1508) is the traditional burial place for Russia's princes and tsars, including Tsarevich Ivan Ivanovitch who was killed at 27 by his father, Tsar Ivan IV (the Terrible). The royal remains are enclosed in stone sarcophagi which are placed within bronze and glass receptacles—right on the main floor of the church. The Cathedral of the Annunciation (1489) includes a "porch...

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A Gentleman in Moscow - Part Eight

Amongst the most elegant of Moscow buildings is the Great Kremlin Palace,  built within the Kremlin's walls and completed in 1849. It was commissioned by Tsar Nicholas I in 1837 as the new Moscow residence for the royal family (when visiting from the capital, Saint Petersburg). His instructions to architect Konstantin Thon was "to emphasize the greatness of Russian autocracy."  The handsome marigold and white building conjoins and expands-upon the earlier royal residences—the Terem Palace (1637) and the Faceted Palace (1491)—and is attached to some of the nine cathedrals in the Kremlin. It has five sumptuously-appointed ball rooms, two of which were conjoined to form a large council chamber for the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. In recent years, the two...

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A Gentleman in Moscow - Part Seven

I am a sucker for Late Nineteenth Century "Gothic Revival" terra-cotta buildings like Saint Pancras Station in London or the Potter Building in downtown Manhattan. Their aesthetics please me, yes; but, what really excites me, is the idea of using mass production methods to crank-out tasteful, well-designed and beautifully made component parts which could be assembled to create a handsome whole. As long as one starts with a beautifully-crafted prototype (and insists upon quality manufacturing), mass production can be a wonderful way of bringing good taste to the public in an affordable manner. So it's not surprising that I spent more than a few minutes inspecting, photographing and appreciating this building in Revolution Square, which now houses the "Museum of the Patriotic...

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A Gentleman in Moscow - Part Six

Russia's love of classical music is well known, both the music they made and the music they played. Chopin was very popular—revered even—in Russia after the 1830's. Tchaikovsky, for one, was quite familiar with the Polish composer and Chopin may have influenced the Russian's work yet to come. It is no surprise, then, that the Polish maestro would be commemorated at the Muzeon Park of Arts, an attractive sculpture garden sited along the Moskva River's Southbank. Chopin, on the other hand, had a more complicated feeling about the Russians (or "Moskali" as they were known in Poland). The Invasion of Warsaw (sometimes called "The Uprising") ended the Polish-Russian War of 1830 - 1831. During the two day siege, Poland collapsed and evacuated...

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A Gentleman in Moscow - Part Five

My travels in Moscow have been confined to the central area—including long walking distances from The Hotel Metropol and Bolshoi Theatre area. Today I took an extended walk to Gorky Park which I couldn't resist visiting, so famous was the novel and film of that name in my teen years. There wasn't much to the park—at least in the winter, when many of the flower beds and decorative trees had already been wrapped-up in plastic sheeting. But I did see many interesting sights (modest and grand) along the way. And I purposely took different routes in both directions. Moscow, or the limited part that I saw, was a blend of handsome buildings from the 16th Century through the present. Nineteenth...

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A Gentleman in Moscow - Part Four

Reigning over the Moskva River, at the Northern foot of the Patriarshiy Bridge (and not far from the Kremlin), stands the regal white marble Cathedral of Christ the Savior. It looks like it's stood here for a century—but has it? Actually, no.  The Cathedral was commissioned in 1812 by Tsar Alexander I to commemorate Napoleon's empty-handed retreat from Moscow.  It was to be an expression of "our gratitude to Divine Providence for protecting Russia" and a memorial to those who died in the war. After a change of site, change of architect, change of design and a change of tsar (to Nicholas I), construction finally began in 1839.  Interestingly, in 1882, Tchaikovsky premiered his brand new 1812 Overture at the...

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A Gentleman in Moscow - Part Three

My biggest reason for visiting Moscow was to attend the premiere of the Bolshoi Ballet's new Giselle which opened tonight. My partner, Robert Perdziola, designed the evening's sets and costumes, inspired by multiple earlier Giselle productions by the Russian designer-artist Alexandre Benois (1870 -1960). Choreographer Alexei Ratmansky re-created the steps of an earlier production by Marius Petipa (1818 - 1910)—embellishing the dance with long-lost gestures and other conventions that have been abandoned over the past century. The project aimed to revive and present (to a modern ballet audience) the look and sensibility of the ground-breaking ballet master, Petipa, 200 years after his birth. Giselle is based on a German folk tale about a young peasant girl who is pursued by...

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A Gentleman in Moscow - Part Two

Let's start with a bang: Saint Basil's Cathedral at the South end of Red Square. Standing like an illustrated children's fairytale—or any fanciful stage production of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker—this Sixteenth Century cathedral is the undisputed star of Moscow's rectangular Red Square. It was commissioned by Tsar Ivan IV (known as "Ivan the Terrible") in 1552 to commemorate his capture of the city of Kazan, a Mongol territory 500 miles east of Moscow. Despite Ivan's deservedly ruthless reputation (he massacred much of the Kazan population, destroyed the mosques and forcibly Christianized the populace), 8,000 Russian slaves were freed after the invasion, bringing an end to slavery within Ivan's empire (70 years before African slavery began in America). The cathedral, finished in 1561,...

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A Gentleman in Moscow - Part One

While checking-in to The Hotel Metropol in Moscow, I could not help but think of the protagonist, The Count, in Amor Towles's best-selling novel, A Gentleman in Moscow. I had locked-up my home door behind me some 26 hours earlier—and I was more than a little fried from the very long journey (on three cramped airplanes, through four bustling airports). Nevertheless, I was invigorated by the historic hotel's warm Art Nouveau interior—and fell in love with the original period brass chandeliers which hovered over the storied lobby. In my mind's eye, I could picture The Count, seated in the corner of that very lobby (partially hidden by a potted palm), silently observing the object of his desire, the film star Anna Urbanova, as...

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Russian Off

As you read this, I will be landing at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport for a weeklong holiday. My partner, a stage designer, has designed the new Giselle for the Bolshoi Ballet, and it premiers this week. I am not sure if I will find many appropriate (or affordable) antiques while in Russia—and I am not even certain if I am allowed to remove them from the country. I will be taking plenty of pictures, however, and I will share them with you in the coming days.  Keep checking this Journal and monitor my visit. By the way, the Bolshoi will be broadcasting worldwide a performance of this Giselle on 26 January 2020. Click this link to find-out if this broadcast will be shown...

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Once a Year Day!

After I closed the LEO Design shop in Greenwich Village, I moved to Pittsburgh, re-vamped the on-lline store (and website), opened a modest showroom (by private appointment only) and set-up small spaces in two local antique centers.  One of these antique centers, in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District," is called Mahla & Company—and today is their once-a-year Open House Celebration. Not only is the antique center open on a Sunday (which it is otherwise not), but everything in-store is 20% off! The date was carefully chosen: there is no Steelers football game today (which, I'm told, is an important consideration in these parts). If you are in Western Pennsylvania, please come down to Mahla!  You may put a dent in your Holiday shopping...

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Resting-in-Style - part V

We've just added an interesting collection of Victorian English knife rests to our on-line shop. Before the 1950's, doing the laundry was a tedious, difficult and time-consuming task—and people developed strategies to extend a linen's usefulness between launderings. One such tactic was the use of a knife rest to keep a dirty knife off the tablecloth. Today they can be used for knives, chopsticks or to display-in-style any number of precious possessions. For a few days this week, we'll share some of these new additions. We end our parade of Victorian English knife rests right where we started—with a design in the manner of Dr. Christopher Dresser. Dresser was born in Glasgow Scotland (1834) to English parents. His boldly inventive—indeed...

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Resting-in-Style - part IV

We've just added an interesting collection of Victorian English knife rests to our on-line shop. Before the 1950's, doing the laundry was a tedious, difficult and time-consuming task—and people developed strategies to extend a linen's usefulness between launderings. One such tactic was the use of a knife rest to keep a dirty knife off the tablecloth. Today they can be used for knives, chopsticks or to display-in-style any number of precious possessions. For a few days this week, we'll share some of these new additions. Long before Fernando Botero (or Jeff Koons) was born, an anonymous Victorian English designer conceived these striking knife rests. A "rusticated" horn shaft is suspended between (somberly whimsical) "cluster ball" supports, turgid and silver-plated. They have a...

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Resting-in-Style - part III

We've just added an interesting collection of Victorian English knife rests to our on-line shop. Before the 1950's, doing the laundry was a tedious, difficult and time-consuming task—and people developed strategies to extend a linen's usefulness between launderings. One such tactic was the use of a knife rest to keep a dirty knife off the tablecloth. Today they can be used for knives, chopsticks or to display-in-style any number of precious possessions. For a few days this week, we'll share some of these new additions. X marks the spot with this trio of Victorian silver-plated knife rests, made in the 1880's. X-form struts support a heavily-ribbed shaft. Ball feet complete the Early Modernist look. Please click on the photo above...

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Resting-in-Style - part II

We've just added an interesting collection of Victorian English knife rests to our on-line shop. Before the 1950's, doing the laundry was a tedious, difficult and time-consuming task—and people developed strategies to extend a linen's usefulness between launderings. One such tactic was the use of a knife rest to keep a dirty knife off the tablecloth. Today they can be used for knives, chopsticks or to display-in-style any number of precious possessions. For a few days this week, we'll share some of these new additions. With just a touch of Jules Verne Industrialism, this pair of Victorian English silver-plated knife rests will add a bit of crisp punctuation to your dining table. Stepped bases support a "spooled" shaft—with each piece...

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Resting-in-Style - part I

We've just added an interesting collection of Victorian English knife rests to our on-line shop. Before the 1950's, doing the laundry was a tedious, difficult and time-consuming task—and people developed strategies to extend a linen's usefulness between launderings. One such tactic was the use of a knife rest to keep a dirty knife off the tablecloth. Today they can be used for knives, chopsticks or to display-in-style any number of precious possessions. For a few days this week, we'll share some of these new additions. In the late Nineteenth Century, the Western World was enchanted with Asian culture—or, at least, their romanticized conception of it. Asian-inspired themes and motifs would be incorporated into both precious and everyday objects, like the...

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Eleventh Hour, Day & Month

Several years ago, I found myself on a November buying trip to London. I was in the Safeway supermarket in Bloomsbury, of all places, probably hunting for exotic and delicious biscuits to take back to my nearby hotel room.  Unexpectedly, the voice of the shop's assistant manager came over the loudspeaker: "We will now observe a two-minute silence."  I was not familiar with the custom, but stood patiently, imitating the (mostly) homemakers standing at their carts, their heads bent in remembrance.  It was the Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month—celebrated in England as "Remembrance Day." Before it was renamed Remembrance Day, it was known as Armistice Day. On 11 November 1918, at 11:00 am, a signed...

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Shopping in Style

(Medium) At the Turn-of-the-Century, Country Stores were filled with canisters such as these. Heavy use and careless customers have ensured that not many of them still exist, some 120 years later. But we have two of them, one which I call "Medium" (above) and one which I call "Large" (below). They may have sat on shelves behind the counter—holding loose tea, spices or some other commodity—or they may have sat on the counter itself, holding candy for eager little hands. Today, they look right at home in a country-style kitchen or in a sophisticated urban loft. They could also be used for supplies in the bathroom or cookies and candy on an office desk. Please click on the photo above...

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Pop the Cork - part VI

Just listed to our on-line store: a collection of handsome French and English Corkscrews. Over several days, we'll share some of them with you. Any of them would make a wonderful Holiday gift or stocking-stuffer. To end our procession of corkscrews, here's something from Mid-Century Post War England. The very tip of a white stag antler is fashioned into the textured handle of the wine pull. An ombré brown adds another visual dimension. 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...

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Pop the Cork - part V

Just listed to our on-line store: a collection of handsome French and English Corkscrews. Over several days, we'll share some of them with you. Any of them would make a wonderful Holiday gift or stocking-stuffer. Another rustic choice, here a French steel corkscrew with a dark stag's horn handle. Made in the 1930's, it has a masculine, natural aesthetic. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. Another handsome corkscrew 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...

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Pop the Cork - part IV

Just listed to our on-line store: a collection of handsome French and English Corkscrews. Over several days, we'll share some of them with you. Any of them would make a wonderful Holiday gift or stocking-stuffer. Here's something a little different.  It's a French "Shepherd's" corkscrew made of brass and steel. Meant to fit in a pocket, this little necessity (for a shepherd, I guess) has a decidedly rustic industrial sensibility. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. Another handsome corkscrew 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...

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Pop the Cork - part III

Just listed to our on-line store: a collection of handsome French and English Corkscrews. Over several days, we'll share some of them with you. Any of them would make a wonderful Holiday gift or stocking-stuffer. Here's a nice example of "rustic elegance": a French steel corkscrew with a nicely-turned blond wood handle. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.  Another handsome corkscrew 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...

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Pop the Cork - part II

Just listed to our on-line store: a collection of handsome French and English Corkscrews. Over several days, we'll share some of them with you. Any of them would make a wonderful Holiday gift or stocking-stuffer. This English Mid-Century Modernist corkscrew is topped with a hefty chunk of chamfered and polished bakelite—its substantial handle. Swirls of rich amber and rust give the bakelite a sophisticated and organic appearance and you can learn more about it by clicking on the photo above. Another handsome corkscrew 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...

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Pop the Cork - part I

Just listed to our on-line store: a collection of handsome French and English Corkscrews. Over several days, we'll share some of them with you. Any of them would make a wonderful Holiday gift or stocking-stuffer. This corkscrew, made in the 1940's in France, uses a white "stag's horn tip" as its handle.  It is at once handsome and rustic—and would make a nice addition to your country cabin or Manhattan bar cart. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it. Another handsome corkscrew 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...

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Greek Key

In my opinion, the "Greek Key" is the handsomest of decorative motifs. It is sometimes called a "Meander" (from "Maiandros") or a "Greek Fret," and it's formed by a continuous line formed into a repeating "wave" of right angles. Its unending line has come to symbolize eternity or infinity—as well as everlasting love, friendship and devotion. It was commonly used in Greek and Roman art (starting in the Greek "Geometric Period" around 900-700 BC), including architectural friezes (especially in temples), painted ceramics, stone sidewalks and tile or mosaic work in private villa interiors. It can also be found in Chinese design much earlier, during the Shang Dynasty (2000-1000 BC). The Maiandros or Meander River was in the Ancient Greek city...

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Pearls

At one time pearls, which represent purity, innocence and humility, were the most precious of jewels.  Egyptian aristocrats were buried with their pearls.  The Greeks thought pearls were the tears of the gods. The Bible tells of the wise merchant who would sell all his stock to buy one perfect pearl and “pearls before swine” is the classic metaphor for wasting something wonderful on someone who cannot understand or appreciate it.  Even the gates of heaven are described as being pearls—”The Pearly Gates.”  The famous American gemologist, George Frederick Kunz called the pearl “a gift of nature on which man cannot improve.” The Cartier Building, at 651 Fifth Avenue, has an interesting history involving a beautiful double-strand of natural pearls....

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Welcome, November!

Welcome, November, and your birthstone the Citrine. The Citrine is a pale yellow variety of quartz. Its sunny color is thanks to the iron content within the chemical structure of the gemstone. And Citrine's sunniness was not lost on Greeks—who first used the stone around 300 BC—who believed that the gemstone could help alleviate depression. At the time, Citrine was very rare, thus expensive, opulent and luxurious. As larger deposits were later discovered and mined (notably in Brazil), the gemstone became more common and fell within reach of more and more admirers.  New Age practitioners believe that Citrines will clean the blood and detoxify the body. Besides counteracting depression, Citrines are believed to have a healthful effect on the kidneys...

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Boo!

Wishing you a spooky eve—and lots of chocolate in your candy basket.  Happy Halloween!   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

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Rustic Manhattan - part III

Let's end our tour of "Rustic Manhattan" with this streamlined beauty—perfect for a Saturday night out in jeans. Two side pockets sandwich a central slot, giving you plenty of room for a license, credit card or two and, maybe, a couple of Twenties. You'll have everything you need for a fun night out and, yet, it's not so bulky in your front pocket. It is hand-stitched (and edge waxed) of vegetable-dyed leather from Chicago, although it was crafted in NYC. The orange-ish color will darken—turn browner—and develop a soft lustre with use and handling. 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!...

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Rustic Manhattan - part II

Here's a versatile and interesting piece: a small leather portfolio (perfect for notes, receipts or travel documents) which will also accommodate a mini iPad. It is hand-stitched in NYC of vegetable-dyed leather and the seams are finished with hand-waxing. A brass stud closure keeps everything secure. Click on the photo to learn more about it.   This piece, just a little larger, is a sleeve for a full-sized iPad. Like the case above, it is made of hand-stitched and waxed vegetable-dyed leather, crafted in NYC. Please click on the picture to learn more about it. More "Rustic Manhattan" tomorrow.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store...

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Rustic Manhattan - part I

New York never ceases to amaze me. Some time ago, a professional thirty-something came into the shop. He seemed to be at a career turning-point and asked if I'd look at his new line of leather goods—which he was handcrafting in his Upper West Side apartment. He explained that the leather was all vegetable-dyed in Chicago and that the pieces would develop a rich lustre with use and handling.  He showed me the neatness of his hand-stitching, and how he waxed the raw edges (by hand) to give a finished appearance to the seams. His designs had an urban take on rustic practicality. Of course, I placed an order!  Over the next couple of days, I'll share a few of...

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If You Must - part IV

While I have never smoked—and would never encourage smoking—I must admit that I have befriended many a smoker. And I really like the accoutrements of lighting-up. So, if you must, please do it in style (until you quit, that is).  For a few days, I will share some of our Spanish smoking accessories—all now on-line at LEO Design. We end our parade of smoking accoutrements with this large Spanish humidor, made to accommodate between 50 and 70 cigars. It is wrapped in black calfskin and lined with Spanish Cedar. It also includes a Credo Humidity Regulator and and Electronic Thermo Hygrometer. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design...

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If You Must - part III

While I have never smoked—and would never encourage smoking—I must admit that I have befriended many a smoker. And I really like the accoutrements of lighting-up. So, if you must, please do it in style (until you quit, that is).  For a few days, I will share some of our Spanish smoking accessories—all now on-line at LEO Design. For those who really want to take-along that coveted stogie, maybe this handsome Spanish cigar case will prove practical and stylish. Made of hand-stitched black calfskin, it telescopes to hold a cigar of varying lengths (and is the right diameter for a Corona). Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design...

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If You Must - part II

While I have never smoked—and would never encourage smoking—I must admit that I have befriended many a smoker. And I really like the accoutrements of lighting-up. So, if you must, please do it in style (until you quit, that is).  For a few days, I will share some of our Spanish smoking accessories—all now on-line at LEO Design. This handsome telescoping leather "case" is intended to dress-up a pack of cigarettes with élan. Made in Spain, of textured black calfskin, it can also be used as a unique business card case or wallet of sorts—holding credit cards, licenses and a collection of business cards kept safe for reference. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store...

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If You Must - part I

While I have never smoked—and would never encourage smoking—I must admit that I have befriended many a smoker. And I really like the accoutrements of lighting-up. So, if you must, please do it in style (until you quit, that is).  For a few days, I will share some of our Spanish smoking accessories—all now on-line at LEO Design. Shown here is a Spanish calfskin cigar humidor, lined in Spanish Cedar.  It will hold 12 to 18 cigars (depending on their sizes) and is fitted with handsome chrome hinges. It also includes a Credo Humidity Regulator. 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!...

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A Little More Cheer

Here's a nice gift for your favorite gentleman sportsman or the groomsmen in your Autumn wedding party: a six ounce hip flask by CC Filson.  Made in the US, the stainless steel flask is wrapped in stitched bridal leather and is fitted with an attached screw-down cap. And the vessel has a gentle curve to it, making it a nice fit in a breast or hip pocket. 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....

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Cheers, Mate!

Autumn is nigh, and there's a foreboding snap in the air. Why let the chill keep you from your favorite outdoor sport (or sporting event)? Take along a little warming nip—in this stylish Art Deco inspired stainless steel hip flask.  It has a gentle curved surface, ideal for a ride in your hip or breast pocket. It holds six ounces which remain well contained beneath the effective screw-down cap. 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...

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Key to Style - II

Here's another Japanese key wallet, this time wrapped in a bold red and navy blue repp stripe. It's lined in leather and fitted with brass rings and a closure snap. 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

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Key to Style - I

  Key wallets, such as the example shown above, are popular in Japan, where this one was made. They've wrapped it in a Royal Blue repp stripe, lined it in leather, and added brass key rings and a closure snap. 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

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Shaving in Style - part VI

Another classic (and long carried) vendor at LEO Design is D.R. Harris from London. Founded in 1790—when barbering and medicine were nearly one and the same—D.R. Harris has been serving stylish Londoners for over two centuries. For the next few days we will show a sampling of our D.R. Harris range. Let's end this little parade of shaving accoutrements with this clever "Travel Shave Brush" by D.R. Harris.  Made of "Best Badger" hair set into an Ivorine handle, it also comes with a heavy plastic tube for travel. 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...

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Shaving in Style - part V

Another classic (and long carried) vendor at LEO Design is D.R. Harris from London. Founded in 1790—when barbering and medicine were nearly one and the same—D.R. Harris has been serving stylish Londoners for over two centuries. For the next few days we will show a sampling of our D.R. Harris range. As previously noted, a good badger shave brush should last a man most of his shaving lifetime—as long as the instrument is stored bristles down (for proper drainage). This modest Ivorine shave brush holder will store and protect your shaving brush.  It will stand on a flat surface or can be attached to the wall with foam tape. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it....

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Shaving in Style - part IV

Another classic (and long carried) vendor at LEO Design is D.R. Harris from London. Founded in 1790—when barbering and medicine were nearly one and the same—D.R. Harris has been serving stylish Londoners for over two centuries. For the next few days we will show a sampling of our D.R. Harris range. A good badger shave brush should last a man most of his shaving lifetime. But it's essential that the brush be properly stored—which means bristles down. When stored this way, any liquid within the handle will drain out, thus protecting the hand-knotted badger hairs from rotting. Shown above, a handsome solution to this storage requirement. Made of chrome and Ivorine, it will keep your sink area tidy and your...

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Shaving in Style - part III

Another classic (and long carried) vendor at LEO Design is D.R. Harris from London. Founded in 1790—when barbering and medicine were nearly one and the same—D.R. Harris has been serving stylish Londoners for over two centuries. For the next few days we will show a sampling of our D.R. Harris range. Like yesterday's journal entry, today we feature a chrome and Ivorine shaver—this time for Gillette "Mach 3" blades. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it. More D.R. Harris products 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...

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Shaving in Style - part II

Another classic (and long carried) vendor at LEO Design is D.R. Harris from London. Founded in 1790—when barbering and medicine were nearly one and the same—D.R. Harris has been serving stylish Londoners for over two centuries. For the next few days we will show a sampling of our D.R. Harris range. Bring a bit of the Old Time Barbershop to your bath with this chrome and Ivorine shaver, designed for Gillette "Sensor" blades. It can be used alone or with the handsome matching Shave Stand, sold separately in the LEO Design on-line store. Click on the photo to learn more about it. More D.R. Harris products tomorrow.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still...

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Shaving in Style - part I

Another classic (and long carried) vendor at LEO Design is D.R. Harris from London. Founded in 1790—when barbering and medicine were nearly one and the same—D.R. Harris has been serving stylish Londoners for over two centuries. For the next few days we will show a sampling of our D.R. Harris range. This English shave brush is made of select badger hairs which are hand-knotted and set into an Ivorine plastic brush handle. The hairs fluff-up the shaving lather, whether in a shaving bowl, cup or in the hand. And, while applying the froth, one's beard is lifted for a closer, easier shave. D.R. Harris sources its non-endangered badger hair from sustainable farms and they monitor the animal welfare practices of...

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Saint John Cardinal Newman

This morning, 13 October in Rome, Pope Francis canonized Saint John Cardinal Newman—Oxford educator, Anglican priest, writer, philosopher, and towering intellectual.  As a clergyman in the Church of England, he developed and lead “The Oxford Movement” which encouraged the return of his church to the Latin rites and theology used by the Roman church.  In 1845, Newman converted to Roman Catholicism and, eventually, was elevated to cardinal. In 2010, he was beatified (at which point he was called “blessed”) which was the final step before canonization to full sainthood.  In 1888, the first Newman Club was established at Oxford, inspired by the writings of Cardinal Newman.  Today there are Newman Centers found around the world—Catholic student centers at otherwise secular universities.  Newman...

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English Leather - part IX

For several days we are sharing selections from our collection of Bill Amberg leather goods from London. We've been selling Bill's designs for over twenty years—and still admire the quality of his craftsmanship and materials. Most of the items are stitched in vegetable-dyed English bridal leather and will develop a rich patina with use. Even if all night raves are well in your past, a little flash of "The Clash" might give you a frisson of those glory days. Bill Amberg's black bridal leather wallet is secured with a silvery zip—exuding just the right balance of tailored elegance and countercultural remembrance. It definitely projects a sophisticated urban simplicity—all while providing good storage for your credit cards, coins and cash. Click on...

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English Leather - part VIII

For several days we are sharing selections from our collection of Bill Amberg leather goods from London. We've been selling Bill's designs for over twenty years—and still admire the quality of his craftsmanship and materials. Most of the items are stitched in vegetable-dyed English bridal leather and will develop a rich patina with use. If it's Saturday night and you're heading-out on the town, sometimes this modest credit card sleeve is the perfect companion for your jeans. It has three pockets and will accommodate a license, a credit card and maybe a Twenty or two. And its slim profile means it will fit into your front pocket or shirt pocket with ease. Click on the photo above to learn more...

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English Leather - part VII

For several days we are sharing selections from our collection of Bill Amberg leather goods from London. We've been selling Bill's designs for over twenty years—and still admire the quality of his craftsmanship and materials. Most of the items are stitched in vegetable-dyed English bridal leather and will develop a rich patina with use. Like the other Bill Amberg items shown this week, this Zippered Wallet is vegetable-dyed—but it is not bridal leather. It is stitched of "pebbled" leather. Pebbled leather is mechanically wrinkled (usually in a tumbler) or imprinted with a pattern (through rollers). It allows the tanner to utilize mature hides—perhaps with light scarring or marks—which are otherwise of high quality. The pebbling also creates a finished skin...

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English Leather - part VI

For several days we are sharing selections from our collection of Bill Amberg leather goods from London. We've been selling Bill's designs for over twenty years—and still admire the quality of his craftsmanship and materials. Most of the items are stitched in vegetable-dyed English bridal leather and will develop a rich patina with use. Like yesterday's Journal entry, this Bill Amberg wallet can be used as either a Dress Wallet or a Checkbook Wallet.  This option, shown here in black, holds only seven credit cards, however, making for a slightly slimmer profile (a consideration if you plan to insert a checkbook and a register booklet). The black vegetable-dyed bridal leather will develop an elegant lustre with use.  Click on the...

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English Leather - part V

For several days we are sharing selections from our collection of Bill Amberg leather goods from London. We've been selling Bill's designs for over twenty years—and still admire the quality of his craftsmanship and materials. Most of the items are stitched in vegetable-dyed English bridal leather and will develop a rich patina with use. A "Dress Wallet" hearkens back to the days of Double-Breasted Suits and Homburgs. Imagine Paul Henreid stepping-up to the reception desk of an elegant, tropical hotel lobby. Meant to ride in a suit breast pocket, it could also be carried in a handbag or attaché case. This model holds 14 credit cards and has multiple slots for currency bills—or it can hold a standard checkbook. (See...

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English Leather - part IV

For several days we are sharing selections from our collection of Bill Amberg leather goods from London. We've been selling Bill's designs for over twenty years—and still admire the quality of his craftsmanship and materials. Most of the items are stitched in vegetable-dyed English bridal leather and will develop a rich patina with use. "British Tan" is a wonderful, classic leather color.  But (with the best leather goods) the color "evolves" with use and wear—it is not fully-realized on Day One. Bill Amberg uses vegetable dyes which develop a rich patina when handled over time. The change is most dramatic in the British Tan color—which loses its orange tone and becomes tanner (browner) with age. The leather surface will also...

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English Leather - part III

For several days we are sharing selections from our collection of Bill Amberg leather goods from London. We've been selling Bill's designs for over twenty years—and still admire the quality of his craftsmanship and materials. Most of the items are stitched in vegetable-dyed English bridal leather and will develop a rich patina with use. Here's something you don't see much anymore: an elegant leather "Travel Wallet." It's longer than a traditional checkbook and was designed to hold documents and cards for one's journey.  There are slots for eight credit (or identification) cards, three pockets for different currencies, and a slot for conveniently accessing a ticket or boarding pass. Keep it in your briefcase, handbag or breast pocket—and set-off in organized...

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English Leather - part II

For several days we are sharing selections from our collection of Bill Amberg leather goods from London. We've been selling Bill's designs for over twenty years—and still admire the quality of his craftsmanship and materials. Most of the items are stitched in vegetable-dyed English bridal leather and will develop a rich patina with use. Looking for something a little less bulky than a traditional wallet?  This bi-fold credit card wallet is slim, and has four slots to hold a couple of credit cards and a driver's license.  You might also fold a couple of Twenties into one sleeve, just in case. The vegetable-dyed British Tan leather will darken handsomely with use, becoming browner, less orange. Click on the photo above...

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English Leather - part I

For several days we are sharing selections from our collection of Bill Amberg leather goods from London. We've been selling Bill's designs for over twenty years—and still admire the quality of his craftsmanship and materials. Most of the items are stitched in vegetable-dyed English bridal leather and will develop a rich patina with use. The zip wallet, shown above, is our most popular Bill Amberg offering. The zippered closure helps keep things neat, tidy and secure. And the interior coin pocket—a concession to British Pound coins—is a handy place to keep-safe a small, precious possession. This chocolate brown leather is especially nice with use—developing a rich lustre with years of use. Click on the photo above to learn more about...

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National Best Boyfriends Awards

According to the fine people at Wikipedia, today is National Best Boyfriends Awards Day. So how about a fun prize for your fun guy?  (A fun prize other than you, of course).  Perhaps a pair of enameled cufflinks proclaiming "Guinness is good for you."  Made in England the 1930’s, they’ll remind your special guy that he is a special guy, indeed. You might also remind him that the beer is made in Ireland!  Please click on the photo above to learn more about them.

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A Platinum Ring

Is it too early to think about New Year's Eve? Perhaps these quality crystal champagne coupes will put you into the mood. The set of five glasses are rimmed with platinum—which provides a stylish punctuation and helps to preserve the rims from chipping. And the bowls stand atop elegantly hand-faceted stems which give just a little extra pop of light. Click on the photo above to learn more about the coupes.   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...

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Welcome, October!

Help us welcome October—a month with two gemstones: the Tourmaline and the Opal. Tourmalines were first mined in Ceylon (now called Sri Lanka) and brought to Europe by the Dutch East India Company in the 17th and 18th Centuries. At the time, they were considered an expensive and exotic luxury. Since then, they also have been discovered and mined in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Africa and Brazil. Tourmalines come in a wide variety of colors including black or multi-colored specimens—like the “Watermelon Tourmaline” which is pink at one end and green at the other. New Age practitioners claim that the semi-precious stone will detoxify the human body, reduce stress, and have a beneficial effect on the nervous system. Jewelers promote the sales of tourmalines...

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Sundays Have Never Been the Same Since

On this day in 1939, NBC broadcast the first American Football game ever—to a total of 1000 television sets. The game pitted the Fordham University Rams (in the Bronx) against the Waynesburg University Yellow Jackets (near Pittsburgh, PA). The game was played at (and televised from) the Triborough Stadium on Randall's Island, New York City. One camera and one announcer covered the match, won by Fordham (34 to 7). The Japanese crystal football, shown above, was made by Sasaki in the 1980's. It bears no team name or other branding and would make a nice paperweight or "conversation piece" on your desk or bookshelf. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village...

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World Heart Day

Today is World Heart Day—a day when we should stop to consider how important our hearts are and to learn how we can better care for them. Heart diseases are the leading cause of death in America and Worldwide. And how can we pamper our hearts? See your doctor. Participate in vigorous activity (commensurate with your age and fitness level). Eat healthy foods (especially fruits and vegetables). Don't smoke or vape. Lose weight. Simple, yes (though not easy). The hearts above are cast of pewter and finished with a brassy finish. They are "punched and ringed" to be used as a keying. Perhaps it would be a nice "love token" to one's beloved. Or a reminder to care for our hearts—which...

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Good Night, Sweet Prince - part V

Frogs and toads don't hold the copyright on being mis-judged. At least one swan baby (a "cygnet") has been bullied—and called "an ugly duckling." And we all know how that story ends. This little swan, cast in bronze, is well-past his awkward age. Let him skim the surface of your desk—or sit atop a stack of papers. Click on the photo above to learn more about him.   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...

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Good Night, Sweet Prince - part IV

This solid bronze tree frog is beautifully sculpted. His feet and finish suggest a clammy viscosity on this climber's clinging surfaces. He'd make an intriguing paperweight on your desk or credenza—or a clever accent in your planter pot. Click on the photo above to learn more about him. Another "hidden prince" 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

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Good Night, Sweet Prince - part III

This resolute little toad seems to be "over it." Perhaps he struggled to climb upon his rock? He's cast in brass and finished with a verdigris bronze patina. He would abide an outdoor location, though his finish will age and weather much more quickly. Click on the photo above to learn more about him.  Another "hidden prince" 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...

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Good Night, Sweet Prince - part II

This "Prince-in-Waiting"—warts and all—is, indeed, rather handsome. He is silver-plated and plays "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." Though intended as a baby gift, he will be just as popular sitting on an adult's desk. Click on the photo above to learn more about him. Another "hidden prince" 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

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Good Night, Sweet Prince - part I

Literature is replete with stories of beautiful creatures hidden behind an ugly mask. Toads are often cast in this role; a spell-bound prince is trapped in the warty skin of a repulsive toad—and he only needs a kiss to break the spell. This toad—admittedly more repugnant than charming—was made of cast iron in Japan. I promise he'll make a loyal companion on your desk; I cannot ensure that he'll turn into a charming prince. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. Another "hidden prince" 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...

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Welcome, Fall!

Early this morning—at 3:50 am Eastern Time—the Earth will experience the "Autumnal Equinox" which marks the first day of Fall.  "Equinox" means "equal night" and it refers to the moment when the center of the sun is right over the Earth's Equator. All around the world, night and day will be approximately equal in length. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, going forward, the nights will begin to be longer than the day. In the Southern Hemisphere, days will begin to be longer than the nights. The golden leaf, shown above, is a little plate, sculpted in the form of a maple leaf. It is finished with a brassy wash and would make a perfect place for you to...

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Heavy Hearted

This is a heavy heart—in the best sense of those words. Rustically modeled and cast in pewter, it is a sculptural paperweight or a substantial token to the object of one's affection. It is also available in a brassy finish. Please click 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

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Run for the Roses

All the long, lazy mornings In pastures of green The sun on your withers The wind in your mane Could never prepare youFor what lies ahead The run for the roses so red.                                        -Dan Fogelberg A handsome pair of horses—one "winning by a nose"—feature on each of this pair of bookends, made in the 1920's or 1930's. Crisply modeled and cast in iron, each pair is framed by a horseshoe. Is there any animal more noble than a horse? Made by Bradley & Hubbard, they would make a wonderful gift for your favorite equestrian (or bookie). Please click on the photo...

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Amber Deco

The highlight of these American Art Deco cufflinks from the 1930's is the handsome amber-colored glass enameling which rests over radiant guilloché etching. They are finished with gold-plated backs, a nice attention to detail. Although the enamel is amber-colored, it does not contain the actual gemstone. But these cufflinks do bring-to-mind, however, the beauty and geological fascination of amber which has fascinated humans for over 10,000 years.  Amber is the fossilized remains of tree (usually pine) sap which was buried and transformed into the gemstone under heat and pressure. Away from sunlight, rain, microbes and extreme temperatures, the sap hardens over the course of millions of years. While some amber has been dated to 370 million years ago, it is believed that 2 to...

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Puppy Eyes

Who can resist a pair of "Puppy Eyes"? This little fella will be picked-up a lot—delighting the curious with his wind-up musicality. This little spaniel pup plays "Brahms's Lullaby" and looks adorable while playing it. Though a baby gift, adults seem helpless under his spell. Click on the photo above to learn more about him.   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...

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Pre-Easter Parade - part III

Easter is about seven months away—yet our collection of cuddly bunnies already are awaiting their cue. Let's end our three day parade of rabbits and hares—all ready to hop your way—with this adorable little creature. Our precious silver-plated baby bunny is actually a wind-up music box which plays "Rock-a-Bye Baby." Though intended as a baby gift, he is better left in the hands of a careful adult. But his classic tune may help a little one drift-off at bedtime. He'd also be a favorite plaything on an executive desk or coffee table. Click on the photo above to learn more about him.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit...

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Pre-Easter Parade - part II

Easter is about seven months away—yet our collection of cuddly bunnies already are awaiting their cue. We're in the middle of our three-day parade of rabbits and hares—all ready to hop your way. The brass hare, shown above, is finished with a verdigris bronze patina which gives him an aged, outdoorsy look.  In fact, he can stand living out-of-doors—although it will expedite his weathered look. His sculptor captured the tentative energy and slightly skittish nature of a watchful rabbit, ready-to-flee. Learn more about him by clicking on the photo above. Another rabbit 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). ...

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Pre-Easter Parade - part I

Easter is about seven months away—yet our collection of cuddly bunnies already are awaiting their cue. Over the next three days, we'll share a trio of rabbits and hares, all ready to hop your way. Shown above, a heavy solid-bronze standing rabbit. He was made in Canada and his modest size belies his hefty weight. Let him keep you company on your desk (as a paperweight) or watch over the proceedings from your windowsill. Click on the photo above to learn more about him. More rabbits in 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...

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Bear on a Bottle

This little hand-carved bear was born in the Blackforest of Germany in the 1950's. He sits atop a cork, giving your unfinished wine bottle a bit of rustic Olde World charm. Click on the photo above to learn more about him.   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

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Addio, il Sommo Poeta - part II

On this day in 1321 (or was it yesterday?), Italy's greatest writer, Dante Alighieri, died in-exile in Ravenna, Italy. Dante, born in Florence, found himself on the losing side of a political battle, after which he was banished from his beloved hometown on pain of death. He settled in Ravenna, some 65 miles away. It was here that he wrote his greatest work, the Divine Comedy.  Ravenna, at first glance, is a somewhat modest town. But the city's plain appearance belies the glorious Early Christian (5th & 6th Century) mosaics which encrust the interiors of many churches and tombs. I sometimes imagine Dante standing before (or under) them—they were already 800 years old when Dante lived in Ravenna—gaining inspiration for his...

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Addio, il Sommo Poeta - part I

On this day in 1321 (or was it tomorrow?), Italy's greatest writer, Dante Alighieri, died in-exile in Ravenna, Italy. Banished from his beloved Florence, il Sommo Poeta ("The Supreme Poet") perished—but not before changing the history of Western literature. Before Dante, serious Italian literature was written in Latin, a language accessible only to the educated elite. Dante wrote in the vulgate, Italian, using the local Tuscan dialect of his home town, Florence. Additionally, Dante's depiction of the afterlife in his signature work, the Divine Comedy, affected artists' portrayals of Heaven, Purgatory and Hell for centuries to come. Of course, those of us who have looked at that artwork have been affected by Dante, too. Even future writers have credited Dante with...

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What's a "Page Turner"?

Once the printing press caught-on—and books became affordable for the middle class—there was a boom in mass publishing, bookbinding and book selling. One method of bookbinding was to print longs "strips" of paper (composed of numerous pages printed side-by-side on both sides) which would then be folded (accordion style) to form a "signature" or "gathering" (a single portion or segment of the larger book). Many signatures would be printed, folded and stitched-together to form the complete book. The last step was to "cut open" the pages which gave the book's edge a classic "deckled" texture. On occasion, a reader might discover that a page had been missed by the cutter. In order to progress, the reader would have to cut-open the...

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Eighteen Years On

I remember 11 September like it was yesterday. I was heading to the gym before opening the shop. It was a beautiful, crisp Tuesday morning—an election day. New York days don't get better than this . . . (or so I thought). Since then, eighteen years have flown by. And what can happen in eighteen years?  A child born on that fateful day would be an adult today. We'd see Americans pull together—only to sharply divide some time later. And we'd see the best and worst in American leadership. Perhaps eighteen years isn't so many years after all? I was born in the Sixties and, yet, World War Two (which always seemed like ages ago) ended only eighteen years before my...

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To the Letter - part VI

For several days, we will be sharing some of our newly-acquired letterknives—some antique, some contemporary. Please check our website—under "Desk Accessories"—to see the full collection. We end our parade of letterknives with this contemporary beauty, also made in a Rhode Island jewelry workshop. The knife is cast in pewter, plated in 24 karat gold, enameled with a seductive olive green, and decorated with hand-set Swarovski Austrian crystals. It would make a handsome and useful addition to any desk—at home or at the office. 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). ...

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To the Letter - part V

For several days, we will be sharing some of our newly-acquired letterknives—some antique, some contemporary. Please check our website—under "Desk Accessories"—to see the full collection. There's something about British Thirties design that really intrigues me. Perhaps it is the understated simplicity—the result of difficult economic times—combined with a small dash of style, an optimistic stretch towards better times ahead. This polished brass letterknife is a perfect example of British restraint and refinement—just a hint of style which will not interfere with getting the job done. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. More newly-acquired letterknives tomorrow.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where...

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To the Letter - part IV

For several days, we will be sharing some of our newly-acquired letterknives—some antique, some contemporary. Please check our website—under "Desk Accessories"—to see the full collection.  Made by a Rhode Island jeweler, this contemporary letterknife is a joy to hold and use. First it is finely-cast in pewter, then treated to a 24 karat gold plating. Finally, the handle is punctuated with hand-set Swarovski crystals from Austria. I usually do not like to buy items which too closely resemble true antique pieces. In this case, however, I could not bear to pass on the letterknife's handsome design and exceptional quality. It is made to the very high standards one might have bought new 120 years ago. Please click on the photo...

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To the Letter - part III

For several days, we will be sharing some of our newly-acquired letterknives—some antique, some contemporary. Please check our website—under "Desk Accessories"—to see the full collection. This understated beauty is perfect in its modest dimensions. Brass sheeting is cut, folded and riveted before being sharpened and polished. It's a bit of functional English Arts & Crafts simplicity—handsome and useful. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it. More newly-acquired letterknives 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...

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To the Letter - part II

For several days, we will be sharing some of our newly-acquired letterknives—some antique, some contemporary. Please check our website—under "Desk Accessories"—to see the full collection. Shown above, a contemporary Italian pewter letterknife—understated, handsome, functional. The polished pewter blade is topped with a stag's horn finial. It's the perfect combination of urban sophistication and countryside chic. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it. More newly-acquired letterknives 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...

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To the Letter - part I

For several days, we will be sharing some of our newly-acquired letterknives—some antique, some contemporary. Please check our website—under "Desk Accessories"—to see the full collection. We start with an English brass letterknife, executed in the Rococo Revival style. The original Rococo Movement was developed in France and Italy before moving North to Germany and Russia from about 1730 to 1780. It was typified by its theatrically exuberant style, often using asymmetrical scrolling, shells, flowers and other botanical elements. Curving lines, over-the-top decoration and the illusion of motion and drama aimed to cause the first-time viewer to be overwhelmed with surprise and awe. Critics of the Rococo considered it vulgar and in the following decades it was replaced by the Neoclassical...

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Winter "On the Ice"

Up North, we're enjoying these last, gentle days of Summer—and beginning to brace ourselves for the cold season to come. Down "on the ice," in Antarctica, it's still winter. Penguins huddle against the cold, keeping eggs warm in very harsh conditions. This little penguin, made in Japan, seems to be a little more carefree. He's cast in bronze—so finely, in fact, that one can see his feathers!—and then cold-painted in the tradition of the best Viennese bronzes. He's perky, winning and a very nice companion on your desk or bookshelf. Click on the photo above to learn more about him.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line...

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Happy Birthday, Brad!

Brad Soucy composes the perfect shot—through LEO Design's Greenwich Village door. Once or twice in a lifetime, an extra-special person will enter one's life. For me, Brad Soucy comes immediately to mind. A recent Chicago Art Institute graduate and new to New York City, Brad walked-into my shop on Bleecker Street, looking for a temporary job while he got his art career up-and-running. I hired him on the spot; Brad was smart, creative, friendly, handsome and—most importantly—kind. I knew that customers would come to like him. Little did I know, fourteen years later, I would still have a working connection with him. Brad was born on this day in 1981. It was a Thursday which means I was probably sitting...

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Celebrating America's Workers

Today we pause to thank those who have made America great by the sweat, muscle and strain of their bodies. Labor Day reminds us that the country was built-up with labor—and that laborers should be built-up by their country. The working man, shown above, is a Danish blacksmith sculpture by Axel Thilson Locher for Bing & Grøndahl. He was made in the 1950's or 1960's.  Learn more about him by clicking on the photo above.   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...

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Welcome, September!

September begins, with it's most-elegant of birthstones, the sapphire.  The sapphire is a variety of the mineral corundum.  Most people think of sapphires as blue although they also can come in shades of green,  yellow, orange, or purple—but not red (for then it would be a ruby).  Some sapphires display more than one color and others have inclusions which create radiant, six-pointed “stars” which glow from within the stone. The studio vase, shown above, is not made of sapphires—but it does display a wonderful crystalline sapphire glaze. It was made by Wendelin Stahl in the 1950's or 1960's. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is...

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Ready for the Bell - part 6

Little "Billiken"—"the god of things as they ought to be"—would be a good luck charm wherever one goes to school.  It's most effective, however, at Saint Louis University in Saint Louis, Missouri. Created by Florence Pretz in 1908, this little bank was made of cast iron in the 1910's or 1920's. Click on the photo above to learn more about him.   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...

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Ready for the Bell - part 5

Two British poets—a Scotsman and an Englishman—will bookend the growing library of your favorite British Literature scholar. Made by Bradley & Hubbard in the 1930's, they celebrate words, wisdom and knowledge. 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

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Ready for the Bell - part 4

When your desk is in your dorm room—packed tight with two roommates—neatness and organization go a long way. This Edwardian English stationery stand will help you keep note cards, papers and important printed items at-hand. It was made around 1910 of quarter sawn oak. It is handsome, useful and will serve a student for many years to come. 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...

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Ready for the Bell - part 3

What to give that Italian Classics major? She'd love this pair of stately bookends from the Twenties! Dante Alighieri, seated upon his chair of knowledge, leans forward, eager to hear every word. They are bronze-clad, patinated with an aged brass finish, and hand-painted in sections to give them a handsome "pop." And, while they will certainly supply inspiration during the school years, they will be a welcomed companion for decades to come—holding-up books and lending a classic air to any office, library or bookshelf. 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...

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Ready for the Bell - part 2

Off to school? College freshmen may be leaving the home for the first time. Help him sort himself—financially, at least—with this classic black calfskin billfold. It has two currency pockets (perfect for that semester abroad!) and room for plenty of credit, identification and meal cards. 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...

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Ready for the Bell - part 1

Listen for that school bell—any minute now—for class will soon be in-session! And what a way to start: with this handsome (and loud) English Aesthetic Movement bell with turned ebonywood tip.  It was made around 1880 of polished cast bronze. You'd be teacher's pet, for sure, if you gave her (or him) this lovely gift on your first day. 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...

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Two Lords A'Leaping

Not really "Lords A'Leaping." Not Donner or Blitzen, either. But we are four months from Christmas Day!  A good time to start shopping! Perhaps these Art Deco cast iron "Leaping Gazelle" bookends will do the trick. They're handsome, useful and very stylish—not to mention the ultimate "green gift." 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...

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Apple Time

Autumn is right around the corner and soon we'll feel a snap in the air. A snap in the air means the snap of apples cannot be far behind. This Arts & Crafts vase, made in England in the 1920's or 1930's, has a gourd-form shape and is finished with two dappled glazes: apple green and tree bark brown. It's part of a new shipment, just received from England. 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 &...

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Dog Days of Summer - part VII

While we sweat through The Dog Days of Summer, let's not forget: the Fall will be upon us shortly. Here are a few handsome canines—now in-stock at LEO Design—which will bring a little cool for the next few weeks. Let's end our "Dog Days" parade with this happy chap, a "Slouchy Puppy" sculpture cast in brass and finished with a verdigris bronze patina. Large enough for a bookend or doorstop, he's the perfect combination of physical relaxation and attentive energy. Please click on the photo above to learn more about him.   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...

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Dog Days of Summer - part VI

While we sweat through The Dog Days of Summer, let's not forget: the Fall will be upon us shortly. Here are a few handsome canines—now in-stock at LEO Design—which will bring a little cool for the next few weeks. Whether you remember Donny Osmond or not ("Someone help me!—help me!—help me p-l-e-a-s-e!"), you probably remember your first Puppy Love. And this delightful little chap will help soothe the memory. He's made of cast bronze, sculpted and crafted in California, and he bears the letters L, O, V & E on each of his four paws. A lovely gift for your Puppy Love—right now or from years ago. Click on the photo to learn more about him. To hear the song,...

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Dog Days of Summer - part V

While we sweat through The Dog Days of Summer, let's not forget: the Fall will be upon us shortly. Here are a few handsome canines—now in-stock at LEO Design—which will bring a little cool for the next few weeks. This pampered pooch is rendered beautifully in cast brass, made in England in the 1920's or 1930's. He'd make a perfect gift for the Pekingese lover in your life—and bring a little touch of Imperial Grandeur to your office, den or bookshelf. Please click on the photo above to learn more about them. More "Dogs of Summer" 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...

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Dog Days of Summer - part IV

While we sweat through The Dog Days of Summer, let's not forget: the Fall will be upon us shortly. Here are a few handsome canines—now in-stock at LEO Design—which will bring a little cool for the next few weeks. This sculpted brass "Slouchy Puppy" captures the relaxed—yet attentive—energy of a handsome and beloved pup. He'll loyally await your time and attention, never getting older nor chewing your favorite Italian leather shoes. Click on the photo above to learn more about him. And look for his larger sibling, also on-line in the LEO Design store. More "Dogs of Summer" tomorrow.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store...

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