Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Home of a Designer

As I was perusing the real estate listings in Atlanta (one of my favorite Saturday morning activities), I came across a listing that proclaimed to be the home of one of 'Atlanta's top designers'. The house and its decor are beautiful, and I remember that it had been on the market last year. The house is in the the prime area of Atlanta, and the price is very good for the area - $1,350,000. The price reflects the fact that the home is on less than 1/3 of an acre, and is on a busy road.After a little bit of research, I found that the home is owned by Carole Weaks, Southeastern Designer of the year 2002 (a prestigious award - Suzanne Kasler was the Southeastern Designer of the year in 2003). Her work has been featured in Southern Accents, and she frequently participates in the top showhouses in Atlanta. Her work can be characterized as classic with a twist, and she is known mixing traditional furnishings with wonderful contemporary art. Unfortunately, she does not have a website, but there are some great pictures of her home on the real estate listing.

She must entertain a lot - lots of seating in this room!

I love this scene - the antique chest with the vase of flowers and the contemporary art. Interestingly, the room that you can see beyond looks like it might be the dining room, but the room below could also be a dining room.

I love the blue on the walls of this bedroom, the interesting arrangement of art, and the chest used as a sidetable.

Another beautiful room scene with toile covered chairs, sisal rug, and a French console covered with interesting objects.

What I see of her home does not really reflect what I have seen of her work over the past few years.  Perhaps she is selling her home to make a fresh start on her own interiors.  I wish her the best of luck in selling her home, as the market is a bit soft here in Atlanta, and there are so many houses on the market right now.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Silver and Gold

Frontgate catalog

I have always had a strong preference for silver or platinum when it comes to jewelry. In fact, when I got engaged (when I was in college, believe it or not), I was the only one of my peers with a platinum engagement ring (and after my wedding, a platinum wedding band). Now, silver/platinum seems to be the norm, but in the early 90s most people were still doing the gold wedding sets and thought I was very old-fashioned.

In my home decor, I have a less defined stance. In the living areas, I like the warmth of gold. In my bedroom, I like the elegant and cool tones of silver. To make things more complicated, I prefer the look of a warm cream tone natural stone in my bathroom (gold?), and a cool white marble with gray for the kitchen (silver?). I think it comes down to warm versus cool. The right color depends on the character of the room, the quality of light.

I think of silver as being light, cool, gray, or blue. Interestingly, many of the pictures in my computer files meet this description.

House Beautiful, February 2008. Design by Ashley Whittaker. This room is SO beautiful. The sources does not list where the chaise is from, but if anyone know who makes a similar one, please let me know! The blue translates as cool, and silvery to me.

Interior design by Barbara Barry, via Studio Annetta

This beautiful gray room is so elegant. Interiors by S.R. Gambrel, via Patricia Gray.

This room translates as silvery to me, perhaps because of the mirrored console and the crystal lamps. Coddington Design.

This is a sophisticated holiday setting Martha Stewart, seen in Laura Loves. Definitely strikes me as a silvery scene!

Mariette Himes Gomez for Hickory Chair. The silver table looks perfect with these colors, and look at the ottoman - a silvery gray!

La Terraza del Casino, designed by Jaime Hayon, as seen on Me, Myself, and I

Ironies Rain Mirror

Niermann Weeks Caronia Floor Lamp. I love this lamp!

I think of gold as being warm, and I also think of it as being yellow.

Jan Showers, Western Interiors Magazine, via Katiedid. This is such a warm, rich room.

David Hicks tablescape, from Peak of Chic

Jan Showers, from Western Interiors Magazine, via Katiedid. This is the same house as the yellow living room.

Antique Italian sunburst mirror. I bought this after months of longing for it, and it makes me happy every time I see it!

Niermann Weeks Montaigne lamp. I love this lamp, it is on my 'top 5' list.

From a Houston real estate listing, via Cote de Texas. This is my dream bathroom. I love the warm tones of the marble. To me, this translates as a 'gold' bathroom (although the fixtures look like a brushed nickel).

This is from Bayou Contessa's latest post - it is amazing - attributed to Southern Accents. I love the warm parchment tones of the walls, the gold of the mirror, the warm color of the wood floors.

So, what about you? Are you a silver or gold fan? Or perhaps you are in the middle - gilver.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Jean Royere and Gossip Girl

I have posted several times on my obsession with sconces....specifically, on my obsession with 'the Gossip Girl Sconce'. This is the sconce that is featured in the apartment of Blair, one of the main characters on the show. The apartment is elegant and chic, both classic and contemporary, which is a mixture I love. I think this sconce reflects those qualities beautifully.

When looking through the inspiration file on my laptop, I came across this picture. I am sorry to say, I did not note whose blog is came from, but I remember it was a post on the beautiful flowery branch arrangements that add so much textural interest to a room. I appreciate the beauty of the branches, but what I focused on was the beautiful sconce above the demilune table. So substantial and archictectural is this sconce, that it is not even flanking the mirror; it is centered on the wall, a focal point in its own right. The text on this picture says that the sconce is attributed to Jean Royere. It certainly has the look and feel that I love, and reminds me a bit of the design of the Gossip Girl sconce.

I wanted to learn more about Jean Royere. One of the first things that came up on Google was 1st Dibs, the online treasure trove of fine antiques. It looks like Royere was quite the prolific designer, as there are dozens of Royere items listed. There is even a Royere chandelier listed right now by a dealer in Paris, asking price $31,500.

Finding out biographical information on Royere was no easy task. There is a blog entry about him, but it is in French, so I used the google translator to read it. The translation was a bit choppy, but I learned that Royere was self-taught and did not start interior and furniture design until he was 29. Finally, I came across a small biography that was translated to English, on the Vintage and Modern website. This looks like a 1st Dibs like site that has antiques and vintage pieces listed by dealers across the country.

Here is the write up on Jean Royere (translated from French by Denis Griesmar):
In 1931, aged 29, Jean Royère resigned from a comfortable position in the import-export trade in order to set up business as an interior designer. He learned his new trade in the cabinetmaking workshops of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine in Paris. In 1934, he signed the new layout of the Brasserie Carlton on the Champs Elysées and found immediate success. This was the beginning of an international career which was to last until the beginning of the 1970s. A key figure of the Avant-garde in the 1950s, Royère tackled all kinds ofdecoration work and opened branches in the Near East and Latin America. Among his patrons: King Farouk, King Hussein of Jordan, the Shah of Iran, who were captivated by his freedom of creation and his elegance and entrusted him with the layout of their palaces. Royère pioneered an original style combining bright colors, organic forms and precious materials within a wide range of imaginative accomplishments. In 1980, he left France for the United States, where he lived until his death.

Although Royere has a large catalog of designs, it is the lighting that appeals most to me. Here is another Royere sconce, part of a pair, that was listed last year on an antique dealer website. The price: a mere $29,500! It had been created for one of the palaces of the Shah of Persia. The wonderful blogger Jane from Ill Seen, Ill Said notified me about this, as she knew that I had been looking for a sconce like the one on the Gossip Girl set. This one definitely has the look and feel of the Gossip Girl sconce, on a much larger scale. Alas, well out of my budget! (Edit: big thanks to Jane, who spent much time and effort looking through all of her sources for sconces simialr to those in the Gossip Girl show! She is the one who led me to Royere. I never would have found his work without her!)

Circa Lighting Normandy Chandelier

Circa Lighting has a chandelier that has a similar look and feel to the Royere chandelier, at a much more budget friendly price (relative to the originals!). This one is called the Normandy chandelier.(above). Circa Lighting also makes a Normandy sconce (below) which comes in two or three arm versions. Unfortunately, the Normandy products only come in the three finishes, none of which I like.

Circa Lighting Normandy Sconce

I definitely see some Royere influence in these sconces, don't you?

Update: 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.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Calligraphic Inspiration, Part II

When I was a child, I loved to draw, and I saw writing as another means of creating art on paper. Learning about calligraphy was a natural extension of my interest in beautiful writing; after all, the word calligraphy comes from two Greek words which roughly translate to 'artistic beauty' and 'writing' or 'drawing'.

My love for calligraphy inspired a post in November on Barbara Barry and her calligraphic inspiration. One of my readers speculated that the painting in the image below was created by Elliott Puckette. I am not so sure....

Here is the McGuire furniture ad, featuring the Barbara Barry line. Is this painting a Puckette?

This is a work by Elliott Puckette, called Untitled I, from the Danzinger Projects

One of the characters from the new show Cashmere Mafia (ABC, Wednesdays at 10 pm) has a beautiful painting similar to the one in the McGuire ads. Perhaps a Puckette, yet it does not look like any of the Puckette works I have been able to find online. Puckette's work has a free feel, like it is inspired by the techniques of calligraphy, yet goes in an unconstrained direction. The painting in the McGuire ad and on the Cashmere Mafia set have a more formal, structured technique. Regardless, as soon as I saw this painting on Cashmere Mafia, I knew that I had to write another post on calligraphic inspiration.

Since I created the post on Barbara Barry, my interest in calligraphy has increased. Specifically, my interest in the ornamentation that graces the work of the most inspired and skillful calligraphers. I purchased a wonderful copyright free book on calligraphic ornamentation, which is full of beautiful scrolls and flourishes.

A few of my favorites:

Below is a picture from a recent Saks Fifth Avenue in store vignette. I thought this was so beautiful, both original and classic, yet modern at the same time (with such a typically American motto: Want It!).

The Peak of Chic posted this elegant Christmas greeting on her blog (below), and in doing so, introduced me to an amazing calligrapher: Bernard Maisner. Maisner is also a stationer, and creates exquisite cards with the most elaborate of ornamentation.

I particularly enjoy initials inspired by originals from illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages. In fact, many of the ornamental flourishes have their origin with the style in which the initial letter of a page or chapter was drawn with great flourishes and decoration. Ornamented initials are truly little works of art.

Although I have not practiced the art of calligraphy in a long time (I burned myself out by addressing hundreds of wedding invitations for friends and family), I am tempted to pull out my old calligraphy pens and see what happens.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Chandeliers on my mind

Thank you to the Washington Post for including this post in your Blog Watch on January 17, 2008!

I have a ceiling fan in the family room. Yes, I know that most people immediately remove the ceiling fans from their homes, but this one has stayed. It doesn't really bother me, even though I never use it. What bothers me is that the room is so dim that I can't even read in the room, even in the day (there is a screened porch off of my family room, which filters the light). I know that indirect light is fashionable, but it does not work in this room. Three lamps and a reading light do not help matters. I need overhead lighting. I do not really want a ceiling fan with lights, since I really would prefer to have a chandelier.

A picture from an Atlanta real estate listing. A very large and tall chandelier, but the ceiling looks like it is a bit vaulted in the middle.

This chandelier looks like it is low, but because it over the ottoman, and not in a path of traffic, it works.

So, I am going to get a reasonably priced chandelier that I like, and that can stay with the house when we sell in a few years. In my ideal world, I would be buying a gorgeous chandelier from Julie Neill Lighting, or a lovely Niermann Weeks chandelier. In my next home, this is what I will be doing. Both of these companies make unique, hand-crafted lighting that is incredibly beautiful. However, I know that if I buy one of these for my family room, I will never want to part with it, and the buyer of my home will feel the same way (because the buyer of my home is going to have great taste, of course).

I like this chandelier (below), and it is very reasonably priced. It reminds me of the NiermannWeeks Italian chandelier, but much less expensive! This chandelier is 27" wide by 33" high in the small size, and 31" wide by 36" high for the large size.

I am concerned that this might be a bit tall for a family room that has a ceiling of 9 1/2 feet high. The chandelier will be partially, but not entirely, over a coffee table; the chandelier will be centered on the room, but the coffee table is centered on the armoire (which is not centered on the wall because there is a door to the left of the armoire).

This is a family room from an Atlanta real estate listing. The ceilings are higher than mine, but you can see how this chandelier is not quite centered over the coffee table because the entertainment center is not quite centered on the wall.

I also really like this turned wood chandelier from Julie Neill Designs (below). The dimensions are 27"h, 26" wide, but it can be custom made to any specification. The height might be better for the room, although the width might be a little small for the room.

The Mollie chandelier, Julie Neill Designs

This one is quite nice too (below), not as nice as the custom Mollie because this one is mass produced and not custom made, but it looks good in person. The dimensions are 41" wide, 29" high.
The small Mansion chandelier (above), found in just about every home furnishings store in Atlanta!

I did some of research on recommended heights and widths for chandeliers in non-dining room spaces. One source had a calculation based on the size of a room: add the length and width of the room (in feet), and use this number translated as inches to get a good proportion for the width of the chandelier. My family room is 16' x 18.5', which means that a 34.5" wide is a good proportion for the room. However, given that the room focus is off center, and there is quite a bit of furniture (armoire, chest, sofa, chair and a half, coffee table, two side chairs and a skirted table), I think the smaller size chandelier might work fine.

But what about the height? If the chandelier is 33" high, and allowing room for one link and the hookup (4"), this leaves 77", which is 6'5". Is this enough? Some sources say it must be at least 7 feet off the ground, but only 5 1/2 feet if it is over a table.

Should I just look for a different chandelier that is not so high?

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Egg Obsession

I must admit, I love the look of eggs. Even before they started popping up everywhere in the Atlanta showhouses, I collected antique egg prints from ebay and Scotts Antique Market (a monthly antique market in Atlanta).

This is an example of an egg print.

I prefer the eggs from A Natural History of the Eggs and Nests of British Birds, by the Reverend F.O. Morris (1810-1893). He published several volumes of these works, all of which utilized woodblock engravings of intricately drawn eggs and nests. The engraver was Benjamin Fawcett, one of the most accomplished British woodblock printers of the 19th century. The illustrator was Alexander Francis Lyndon, who captured the minute detail of the eggs and nests of many species on the British Isles. Each engraving was hand colored by a team of women colorists who were closely supervised by Fawcett.

This one is an egg and nest print. I love the look of these too. Some people prefer the look of the eggs alone, but I love the look of the nests in combination with the eggs just as much. I have a large collection of nests and egg prints waiting to be framed. I do not have the perfect place for them in my current house, so this project may wait awhile.

There were a number of editions published through the years, and the numbering system and format changed a bit from edition to edition. Typical of original pages from antique books, the background color can vary dramatically when prints are not from the same book, so the buyer must keep this in mind when purchasing antique prints. Sometimes prints have signs of bookworm or discoloration. When purchasing prints online or on ebay, the pictures usually reveal any imperfections, but the coloring of the paper is often hard to see. Whenever I bought a batch of these antique egg prints, I always expected that a few would not really be usable. Out of the 35 or so that I collected, only 12 were really suitable for framing.

The egg prints look beautiful when framed as a set. The eggs have a simple graphic quality that is quite modern, yet timeless at the same time.


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