Friday, November 30, 2007

Chair Make-over

I apologize in advance for the self-serving posts this week. As the Christmas season arrives, I always get focused on my home. Perhaps this is because most of the items on my wish list are home focused; perhaps it is because I am always extra critical of my home when I invite people over for holiday gatherings. This year, I am awaiting delivery of a chest that I ordered for the front hall, so I am thinking about the other things I would like to accomplish in that area. Here is the chest: Hickory Chair Murano, in this finish but with a light color stone top instead of a wood top:

Here is my chair (below). I actually have two of them, purchased at the Scott Antique Market in Atlanta, a once a month antique extravaganza that brings dealers from all over the Southeast. I purchased these chairs years ago, and they have spent most of the time since in my attic! I am now ready to have them rebuilt, reupholstered, and redone. I will probably only use one in the front hall is there is not room for both to flank the chest. Instead, it will be to the left of my front door, and the chest will be on the wall adjacent to the front door on the right.

This chair has seen better days!

I have decided to use a lovely Rogers & Goffigon linen on the chairs. The color will be determined by what I do with the wood. This is the point where I would love some opinions, as I know that my readers have excellent taste!

Option 1: have the brown stripped, and have the wood part of the chair painted in a weathered parchment type color. Perhaps with a green underlayer, with the parchment on top, and a bit of the green exposed. Or, just a weathered parchment. If I went this route, then I would upholster the chairs in a very very soft, muted green with a hint of blue; the color is called 'Artemnesia'. The pillows on the chair would be a 20" pillow made with Kravet's Lemondrop.

Kravet Couture: Lemondrop pattern

Option 2: get the chair repainted as described above (parchment) and do an off-white linen. Would need the green undertones so it does not look too tone on tone. Use the Lemondrop pillow.

Option 3: keep the brown of the chair, have the chair upholstered in an off-white linen, perhaps with welting in the soft green mentioned above. Do the pillow in the Kravet Lemondrop.

Option 4: put the chairs back in the attic and get the Victoria Hagan St. Simone chair, which is a whimsical and beautifully carved accent chair. I would probably use the soft green/blue Rogers & Goffigon linen. I could not use a pillow - this chair needs to be the center of attention!

Victoria Hagan St. Simone chair. It looks quite different with a lighter color fabric.

Next step: sconces! But, I am going to decide which chair style to do before I decide which sconces. Also, I am still holding out hope that I will find the Gossip Girl sconces mentioned in my previous post!!!!

Any input or opinions are gladly and gratefully welcomed. Thanks!

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sconces, Part I

Sconces are my current obsession. I always notice them when they are in a magazine photo, and I have a whole file full of photos that feature sconces. I think this fixation began when I started watching the TV show 'Gossip Girl' (one of my guilty pleasures). Gossip Girl features the lives of a group of ultra-privileged, ultra-spoiled teenagers on the Upper East Side of NYC. Yes, the plots of often juvenile, but the sets....oh, the sets are magnificent. In particular, I love the home of Blair. Well, specifically, I love the sconces in the home of Blair. I have tried to find out who makes these sconces, and have had no luck. Here are some pictures:

They are a bit hard to see, but it looks like they are gilded with a thin arm, and three lights. These sconces are all over Blair's apartment. I love the look; they are delicate and beautiful, not too modern, but not too traditional either. I wonder if I am the only one noticing the sconces on Gossip Girl? I am sure that the typical viewer is oblivious to these details.

I have not even really found anything close. These vintage sconces, found on 1st Dibs, have a similar look and feel:
They are attributed to Michael Taylor, circa 1970s. Sold by Antique & Art Exchange on 1st Dibs.

Here is one one that has a different kind of vibe to it, yet I like it. Urban Archaeology's Ruhlmann double arm sconce.

The Normandy sconce, sold through Circa Lighting, also has the feel. Unfortunately, they do not have a gilded finish. They only come in bronze, antique nickel, and antique brass. Is it possible to buy something and have it replated? Or, does gilded gold only work on wood? Anyone know?

But, more importantly, does anyone recognize the Gossip Girl sconces?


 I have worked with a custom lighting designer, and we have created a sconce that is inspired by the Gossip Girl Sconce:
Please email me at quatrefoildesign@gmail.com for ordering information.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Amy Howard Collection

A few years ago, I saw a chest of drawers from the Amy Howard Collection in a decorators showhouse. I was familiar with the company, as I had seen the ads in many of the design magazines, but I had never seen a piece in person. This is the piece that I saw:

This is the Serpentine Commode, one of Amy Howard's signature pieces. I frequently see this commode, often in the finish pictured (although there are dozens of finishes available), in the various design magazines that I subscribe to. In fact, this chest in one of the bedrooms featured in this month's House Beautiful.

Notice the Amy Howard Serpentine Chests used as side tables (House Beautiful, December 2007).

The Amy Howard Collection is a trade only furniture company that makes upscale hand-crafted, hand-painted interpretations of fine antiques, with a focus on classic 18th century French, Italian, Paris Moderne, and 30s Glamour. Their range of finishes is amazing, and reflects Amy Howard's background in decorative arts and mural painting. Her furniture collection now features over 300 pieces, and each piece reflects Amy's committment to quality and artistry. I noticed that the Amy Howard website has recently been redeveloped, and it is a great way to take a look at the many wonderful pieces of furniture in her collection.

Amy Howard Guinot console

Amy Howard's lovely home in Memphis has been featured in many design magazines. It is also featured on the website of the The French Mix, a McKinney, Texas store that features all sorts of lovely France sourced and France inspired items. The owner of the French Mix characterizes Amy Howard's furniture as on 'the leading edge of home decor, mixing classic French and Italian reproductions with modern pieces that work together to complete a new look of Modern European". According to the French Mix, "Old World is OUT. Modern European with a mix of classic is IN. It must be said that to blend classic style with contemporary is not an easy thing to do, but Amy Howard has taken the challenge and excelled in the task".

Charleston cocktail table, Amy Howard Collection

Here are a few pictures of Amy Howard's home, which beautifully illustrate the 'Modern European' look.

Family room of Amy Howard's Memphis home. I love the bold stripes of the window treatments contrasted with the graceful arms of the turned wood chandelier. Many of the furniture pieces in this room are from the Amy Howard Collection.

The library. I am normally not a big fan of dark libraries, but this one is gorgeous with the chocolate brown walls, the mirrored coffee table (from the Amy Howard Collection), and the green loveseat. The seagrass carpet, the mirrored surface, and the light green are a great counterbalance to the darkness of the walls.

The powder room off of the library. This is a very unique room, with the unusual sink and the lion head fountain for the water. It looks like the water is pumped with a foot pump. I love the grass on the side of the sink, but it seems like this would be very hard to maintain!

The kitchen dining area.

The 'friends entrance'; I assume this is the back entrance by the name, although this is such a balanced setting that it would be lovely at the front entrance!

View one of the salon. Look at that great chandelier. I remember seeing the floorplan for this house in a magazine last year. I recall that it has a long gallery across the front, which can be seen in this picture. The gothic lantern in the gallery mixes seamlessly with the more elaborate chandelier, doesn't it?

Salon, view two. A long room like this was probably hard to design, but the space is separated and defined by the round table in the middle.

Upstairs hall.

Upstairs loft. Look at the beautiful iron railings.

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Beautiful framed intaglios, available here:

Unique architectural renderings, available here:

Whimsical original crab and lobster paintings, as seen in House Beautiful, available here:


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I am away for Thanksgiving, and have very limited access to the internet this week, so the best I can do is pick a lovely picture from Martha's website and wish all of you a happy and wonderful Thankgiving!
I will be back next week, and look forward to catching up with everyone's blogs. Thank you for the inspiration, education, and support from all of you reading this blog! I can't believe that this time last year, I did not even know about the world of blogs.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Palladian Windows

Palladian window, Buffalo, NY

Quite often, when I see a house that I love, it has a Palladian window. Palladian windows are named for Andrea Palladio (1508-1580), the Italian Renaissance architect who invented them in the sixteenth century. They are identified by the arch on top and the narrow panels on both sides of the central window. The Palladian window is one of Palladio's most popular and widely imitated design motifs. So appealing and influential was the design of Palladio that his work continues to inspire architects to this day.

Palladianism became popular in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, and experienced a surge of popularity in North America later in the late 18th century. Most notably, Thomas Jefferson promoted Palladianism in many of his architectural designs. Jefferson's Monticello and the University of Virginia have many architectural features characteristic of Palladian style. In fact, Jefferson referred to Palladio's "I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura" as his 'bible'.

So pervasive was the Palladian influence, that features of Palladian style can be found in Beaux Arts Classicism, Colonial Revival, Classical Revival, Federal, Georgian Revival, Neoclassicism, Shingle, Queen Anne styles. However, with time, the term Palladianism has become largely misused to describe anything with classical motifs.

Architects usually put Palladian windows in front of staircases or atriums, in order to provide a lot of light to large halls. Historically, Palladian windows most often appear in public buildings and the homes of the wealthy because glass was expensive int he eighteenth century and Palladian windows require more glass than regular windows.

Independence Hall, Philadephia. Photo by Mirandala, Flickr.

Palladian window above the door, Buffalo, NY

Palladian window, London.

Detroit, by DecoJim on Flickr

An Atlanta home with a Palladian window.

A Yong Pak designed Tidewater Georgian, with a Palladian window.

A grand home in Alabama with a Palladian window.

500 Boylston Street, Boston. A post-modern use of the Palladian window design.

An extension of the Palladian window design...a Palladian door, Charleston, South Carolina

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Does anyone recognize these mystery items?

I have a strange little talent. I seem to have a photographic memory for furniture! If I see a piece of furniture (and to a lesser extent, fabric) once, then I can usually remember what it is, who makes it, and where you can find it. Because of this, I often recognize the furniture I see in magazines or on the blogs. However, when I see something I really like, and can't source it, something in me won't rest until I find it (same thing happens when I lose something...I search for hours until I find it).

I have not been able to identify two things recently, and was wondering whether any of my readers could help me figure out where they come from:

Interior design by Katie Ridder. I love the fabric on the pillows on the settee in front of the window. Does anyone recognize it?

Drake Design Associates. I love these garden stools, with their interwoven circle motif. Any idea where they come from?

Thank you!

Monday, November 12, 2007

A tale of two styles

I have decided that my taste in chandeliers is an accurate reflection of the dual nature of my taste in interior design. On the one hand, I am absolutely besotted by the Cascade Lumiere chandelier, part of the Kentfield Collection for Boyd Lighting, designed by Todd Rugee. This is a beautifully designed, soft modern chandlier that is truly like a work of art. It is a great modern interpretation of a chandelier....and this is something I love in design, a fresh interpretation of classic design.

Interior design by Shane Reilly. This is one of the most beautiful dining rooms in my inspiration file. The chandelier is, of course, a favorite, but I love the how the whole room is put together, with the soft colors, the console and contemporary art in the back of the room, the wonderful lamps on the console that repeat the shapes of the chandelier.

Traditional Home, May 2007. Design by Garry Mertins.

Interior design by Jamie Drake. It is interesting to see this chandelier in a living room setting. If you look closely, you can see the matching sconces by the fireplace.

On the other hand, I have a love for French and Swedish, with light woods, neutral window treatments and upholstery, often in linen and other natural materials. A clean, fresh, crisp take on French and Swedish. Take a look at Cote de Texas' blog (I must mention her blog several times a week!), and you will see some great examples of this French/Swedish style. Joni likes almost exclusively antiques, but I am not a stickler on this point. Give me a finely crafted reproduction and I will be happy (I had a bad experience with wood worm on one of my French antiques).

Although there are hundreds of chandeliers that would fit into this style of design, there is one in particular that catches my eye: the Niermann Weeks Swedish Chandelier. There is something so beautiful about the delicate and airy design of this chandelier. I have seen it in person, and it is breathtaking.

Niermann Weeks Swedish Chandelier.

This is an antique chandelier, but it has the look and feel of the one I love. (I do not have information on where this image is from).

Fortunately, I have a few years before I have to pick out a new dining room chandelier. Perhaps my taste will evolve by then, and it will be more clear which design fits best within the grand scheme of my home design. Perhaps I will find something else that captures my eye. Most of the fun for me is in the journey and the discovery of new things along the way.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The holidays are coming

I have a tradition in November. When the weather gets cold (which happens in Atlanta, believe it or not) I pull out my Narada Christmas CD and start listening to Christmas music. Today was the day that I chose to pull out the CD (the temperature was 29 degrees this morning), and it was a wonderful experience. Most of the songs on this CD are fairly new age/instrumental, and not really that Christmassy, but they are a good way for me to get into the holiday frame of mind. After all, if the stores can start decorating for Christmas in October, why can't I start listening to Christmas music in November? My favorite track is the first on the CD, 'Il Est Ne' by Michael Gettel. It is not necessarily the best on the CD, but it is always the first one that I hear, and I get that 'the holidays are just around the corner' happy feeling. Yes, it was a good day.

Another wonderful holiday tradition is lighting my Slatkin Holiday candle. I must admit, I started quite early this year...mid October! I discovered this amazing candle a few years ago in August (there is a store in Atlanta that stocks it year round), so holding out until October is not so bad. There is something about the scent of this candle that really appeals to me. The website says that it is infused with the scent of mandarin orange, cinnamon, cloves, pine and eucalyptus. It definitely has more of a fall/winter scent to it, as it is rich and warm.

The Slatkin Holiday candle can be purchased in Neiman Marcus, or online through a variety of outlets. I love the little velvet box that holds the candle.

Speaking of Slatkin candles, the beach cottage of the founder of the company, Harry Slatkin, was just in the October issue of House and Garden. You have probably seen Harry Slatkin all over the place recently, as he is featured in Zippo lighter ads.

Harry Slatkin in his East Hampton beach cottage (October H&G). I love the Picasso drawing above the sofa. (Sorry for the terrible scan. It looks like there is a basketweave superimposed on the image. I rarely scan because I hate my scanner. It is time for a new one).

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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Calligraphic inspiration

Barbara Barry is one of my favorite designers, in part because I love her design philosophy (which translates to very pleasing interiors to my eye). Barry says that she is inspired by the light, the colors of nature, the proportion of things around her. She calls herself an artist, and says that she "thinks of rooms as paintings, with the same requirements of composition, color, and clarity of line that creates a balanced whole".

Barbara Barry interior design, via Studio Annetta's blog

Last week, while perusing a lovely chair from Barbara Barry for Henredon, the salesperson told me that Barbara Barry's father was a calligrapher. I tried to confirm this by doing some web research, and did not find anything. However, it would make sense given her clear love for calligraphic ornamentation in her work.

Calligraphy has always been a source of inspiration to me, and used to be a serious hobby of mine. I have given many friends the gift of calligraphy as their wedding present. It seems like an art that is fading given the beauty of computer generated fonts (I can hardly tell the difference, and have been known to lick my finger and do the smear test to see if it is genuine calligraphy), so I love that Barry incorporates the beauty of calligraphy into some of her work.

Barbara Barry Tibetan wool rug 'Waltz' , Tufenkian Carpets.

Barbara Barry for McGuire. Note the artwork above the caned settee, with its calligraphic flourishes.

Note the scroll on the pillow cases. These are Barbara Barry sheets, sold at Bloomingdales.

Barbara Barry for McGuire 'Script' armchair

Barbara Barry for Henredon room scene. Note the calligraphic style of the art above the sofa.


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