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George Nelson

I remember as a child visiting my cousin Anna's "modern" home in New Jersey with its "modern furniture" and thinking why doesn't Anna's mother buy a new sofa, something comfortable with lots of pillows?

What I didn't know was that the furniture was designed by George Nelson and it is now considered mid-century classic modern.

A recent retrospective of George Nelson's work at the Bellevue Art Museum near Seattle brought that memory back. What is genuinely new at first looks very odd.

George Nelson (1908-1986) is considered one of the founders of American Modernism. He was a Yale graduate in architecture, became the director of design for Herman Miller, and owned his own studio, George Nelson Associates, Inc.

Several George Nelson designs are still in production today, including the George Nelson Bubble Lamp, the Platform Bench, the Coconut Chair, the Marshmallow Sofa and the Swag Leg Armchair.

My personal favorite George Nelson is the Ball Clock, which he created in 1950. Its design is a disarmingly simple and an instantly recognizable icon of mid-century design.

If you don't own any George Nelson products, you may be more familiar with his work than you think. He also is co-creator of what today is known as the office cubicle.

Recommended Reading

New American Table - Marcus Samuelsson, 2009
Simply Scandinavian - Sara Norrman, 2010
Inspired Interiors - Suzanne Kasler, 2009

Ten Things I Can't Live Without (right now)

  1. Lavender "Triple-Milled Soap" from France (Trader Joe's)
  2. Marimekko Paper Napkins (Pirrko, Seattle)
  3. "14 Hands" Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009 and "Hot to Trot" Red Blend, 2009
  4. "Archaeology Candles" (Nordstrom's Rack)
  5. Red Wine Glasses (Tiffanys & Co)
  6. "Sylt Lingon" Lingonberry Preserves (Ikea)
  7. French Tulips (From the Pike Place Market)
  8. Seattle Art Museum Sculpture Park (on the Waterfront)
  9. Starbuck's Tribute Roast and Via Packs
  10. Great friends and a great support network

Favorite Shopping Sites

I love the modern, bold, colorful designs and simple furnishings.

One of the best shopping sites for luxury goods at bargain prices. Just a word of advice – don't wait to buy, the product moves quickly.

Specialty teas with unique flavors and tastes.

Quality women's clothing, home furnishings and fine Scandinavian fabric from Marimekko.

Great home furnishings and seasonal items.

A spectacular Italian grocer with all the bells and whistles you'd expect.

Enjoy your shopping experiences!


Dining Nordic Style

When I arrived in Copenhagen I was excited about many things. The jewel of the Baltic, the cultural capital of Scandinavia, greeted me. Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Danish Modern architecture stood before me. This is a city with style.

I stayed in Central Copenhagen, near Tivoli Gardens and close by the Central Station, and I strolled the Strøget, Europe's largest pedestrian shopping street, which hosts a quarter million shoppers a day during the summer months.

I arrived in Copenhagen In January, dark cold January. Yes, why go to Scandinavia in the cold dark? Well, I live in Seattle and the Northwest weather is quite similar (though a tad milder) and much of Seattle shares Scandinavian heritage. Copenhagen is not overwhelmed with tourists in the winter, lodging is readily available, and you can get a seat at a restaurant without a wait or a reservation.

Ah, the food you find. When people think of Danish cuisine, they may well think of pickled herring and smoked fish, along with pork and pickled beets, and cold plates for breakfast.

Yes I had to try all of those Danish delights and then I ventured outside of the box. Don't think the only option you have is traditional Danish fare. International choices abound in this magnificent world city.

I was walking from a gallery and stumbled upon a local Japanese noodle house. The smells of cilantro and fresh ginger tickled my nose and before I knew it I had a huge bowl of soba noodles in front of me.

The next day I'm coming out of the Dansk Museum anticipating a warm lunch out on a cold, foggy day, too dark even at noon for outdoor photography. I walk a few blocks and notice this very clean minimalist restaurant (painted entirely white inside and outside) with only one piece of art hung in the entire place. I approached the window to read the menu and to my surprise it was Greek cuisine. So why not? The Avgolemono (lemon rice soup) was super and I moved on to a grilled salmon entrée with brown butter and capers. Absolutely divine.

Another great find was Salt in north Copenhagen, housed in a late 18th century granary. The pistachio baked Norwegian haddock lingers in my memory.

I found the food and dining in Copenhagen extremely fresh, clean, organic, and whole. Of course I came home to duplicate what I experienced and I think I came very close. You learn from your travels and you apply that new learning when you get back home.

Dining in Copenhagen is fun and adventurous and you never know what jewel you'll find around the next corner. Just watch out for the bicycles when you step out into the street.