LCDQ Legends 2013: Susanna Salk on C.Z. Guest

Last week I was able to go to the La Cienega Design Quarter (LCDQ) in West Hollywood for their annual Legends event. I had been once before, a couple years ago, and had a great time. This year I sat in on some great presentations and discussions, on topics including how to use social networking to help brand your design business, and the state of the interior design business today.

958521_10100479713991355_1221646400_o (1)

On Thursday I sat in on a presentation by author Susanna Salk, who recently finished book all about C.Z. Guest. I’ll admit I didn’t know much about C.Z. before but Susanna had some fantastic tid bits on her very interesting life.

C.Z. Guest was a high society debutante from Boston who is most known for her all-American sense of style, both in fashion and design. Susanna described C.Z. as having a mischievous desire to be kicked off the social register. She was friends with the likes of Truman Capote, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and Joan Rivers, to name a few. She once accompanied Joan Rivers to an interview with John Gotti in prison, mainly because she was curious and thought it would be interesting.

Rather than having a traditional wedding as would have been expected, she and her husband we married at Ernest Hemingway’s home in Cuba, with Hemingway as the best man. This was quite a departure from high society expectations!

Many people know that she commissioned Salvador Dali to paint a portrait of her. What less people know is that she also had traveled to Mexico to pose in the nude for Diego Rivera. This was quite scandalous at the time, especially for a debutante of the her stature. The resulting portrait hung over a bar in her and her husband’s home until, it’s rumored, her mother ordered it burned. To this day no one can be certain whether it was burned or simply hides in an attic somewhere.

Susanna Salk’s book on C.Z. Guest is called “C.Z. Guest: An American Style Icon” and includes some incredible photos that have never been seen before. It was a pleasure hearing about her process of collecting these images and some of the storied she collected from the people she interviewed in her efforts to know C.Z. more intimately.


Style and Support: Solutions for your Spinal Freedom

I have had desk chairs on the mind lately… well, really my back has been on my mind.

Whenever I start a new job, one of my first orders of business is to get myself all set up as ergonomically as possible. The funny thing is that when I started sitting day in and day out at my desk at home, it took quite a while for this to cross my mind. Because being at home feels like home not work, there was a part of me that didn’t want to mess with the “home” look of home. Well, in the end, my back and my lack of comfort have been screaming at me to do the right thing.

So often, when trolling through design blogs, magazines, and catalogs, we see adorable home offices set up with cozy and stylish chairs that usually come from the “dining” category of furniture. That’s all well and good when you only sit at your computer for a few minutes at a time to check your email or do a little online shopping. But for sitting hours at a time, your body requires something much more supportive.

Parsons Desk with Drawers - White

West Elm – Parsons Desk

Pottery Barn – Phoenix 72″ Work Table

View in Room

Crate and Barrel – Ava Metal Desk

So after sitting in this chair for the past two and a half months, and spending the past two weeks writhing in discomfort, trying everything, from pillows behind my back to swapping out different chairs from around the house, to relieve the pressure on my lower back, I have finally given in.


This is what I ended up with. And I love it.


Our office is a corner of our living room, and so I was really concerned about messing with the style I’ve been so carefully crafting only to add a bog ugly office store desk chair to it, and eye sore I did not want to have to embrace. So I searched high and low for a stylish chair that would also have raise/lower capabilities (so I could plant my feet firmly on the ground… I’m not very tall at all, so this was an issue with the old chair), tilt adjustment, and lumbar support. Oh, and I’m  on a pretty tight budget, which makes this task all the more challenging! Thankfully, I found the CB2 bubble chair on sample sale. Woo hoo!

CB2 – Bubble Camel Leather Chair

If you’re less concerned about budget, there are actually a lot of great stylish and supportive options out there. Design Within Reach had the most variety. Here are some of my favorites that I came across during my search for spinal freedom. I was looking for adjust-ability, lumbar support, and style.

Crate and Barrel – Haworth Very Charcoal Task Chair


CB2 – Studio Office Chair

Freedom® Task Chair with Headrest in Prima Leather

Design Within Reach – Freedom Task Chair

Egoa Task Chair Soft Wheels - Wood

Design Within Reach – Egoa Task Chair

Cherner® Task Chair

Design Within Reach – Cherner Task Chair

Eames® Aluminum Management Pneumatic - Vicenza

Design Within Reach – Eames Aluminum Management Chair

Have you struggled to find a balance between comfort and style in your office? What was your solution?