Tuesday, September 28, 2010

An intaglio giveaway on Cote de Texas!

I am very excited to announce that Joni from Cote de Texas and I have teamed up to offer a great giveaway - your choice of a framed intaglio from my store, Quatrefoil Design.

We custom make every order, so we can make any design to your specifications and requirements.  We can mount on your own fabric, on any color matboard, in any design.  The possibilities are limitless - just ask!

A client of Quatrefoil Design recently ordered the Brookhaven and Buckhead groupings in the silver frame with medium gray inner mat, light gray outer mat.  Don't they look spectacular above the bed?

One of our most popular designs was named after Cote de Texas, after she custom designed it for a client.  It was the perfect design for a narrow hall where a piece of furniture did not fit, but needed something for visual interest.  Click here for the store item.

Also new in the store is a series of framed antique French documents.  They are so beautiful that I am tempted to keep them for myself!  Click here for the store item, or go to http://www.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com/product/18th-and-19th-century-antique-french-documents-framed.

We have a beautiful series of framed architectural renderings, created by architect Jonathan LaCrosse.  Click here for the architectural renderings in the Quatrefoil Design store, or go to http://www.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com/category/architectural.

We also have a new custom art section that is expanding every day.  Our newest addition are gestural figure drawings by Tina Steele Lindsey.  These are so new they are not framed yet, but can be custom framed in any of our frame selections and colors.  Click here to see the current offerings, or go to http://www.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com/category/art.

Come on over to the Cote de Texas intaglio giveaway by following this link - http://cotedetexas.blogspot.com/2010/09/cote-de-texas-giveaway.html

Good luck! The giveaway ends Friday 10/1 at 11:59 pm.

If you have any questions on the store items, feel free to email quatrefoildesign@gmail.com.  To visit the store, please visit www.quatrefoildesign.com. 

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Iron stair rails

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In the early 2000s, I remember going into a house for sale and noting that the house had an iron railing.  It was not a totally foreign concept to me; the contemporary house that I lived in as a teenager had an iron railing. However, at that time, wood railings seemed to be more common in the houses I was seeing. 

This is the real estate picture from that same house – I saved it to my files because I thought the stair rail had such a nice look to it.  I actually saved a lot of pictures from this home, because I thought that the layout was really wonderful.

Although I have certainly given a lot of input to my architect, including pictures of things I like and general ideas about the feel that I want in the new house, I never really mentioned anything about the railing for the stairs.  When we started to discuss the stairs and their design, my architect had an iron railing in the plans.  It just seems to fit best with the style of house that we are doing.

Once the design direction for the railing was set, I started to notice all sorts of beautiful iron railings used in homes that I admire.  This one in particular is quite stunning.  The handrail part seems quite thick (perhaps it is painted wood?), and I love the curly, calligraphy like details on the rails.   I also love a beautiful window on a landing, which we will also have in our stair design.  Architecture by Bill Litchfield, photo credit Tom Namey.

A beautiful iron stair rail in a home with interiors by Katie Stassi.  I love a nice curved stair, but they are more expensive to build. We are doing straight stair design with a curve in the turn.

Iron on stair rails can become a major design element, and a work of art unto itself.  There is something so beautiful and graphic about this design in a home by Richard Drummond Davis Associates, an architectural firm in Dallas (check out their website for more beautiful house pictures) . 

A Tudor style house from the Tracery Interiors portfolio carries the Gothic design element of the home into the beautiful railing on this stair.

Another window at the landing of the stairs, this one in a home by architect William Hefner.  The stair rail carries through the subtle art deco feel in some of the design elements of this home.

One of my favorite iron stair rails, in a home with architecture by Rodolfo Castro (project architect while working at Summerour & Associates). The design is clean lined and so beautiful.

Another one of my favorite pictures (there is the big window at the turn of the stairs again), with a detailed ironwork design in the stairs.

This is more like how we are doing our stairs (but not the railings – ours will be much simpler)– straight but with a curve at the turn.  These stairs appear to be made out of limestone, which is quite a luxurious touch (and definitely not in my budget!).  I featured this house on my blog last year – it is on the market, and was a Veranda cover home.  The front door is positioned between two floors, which can be clearly seen in this picture. Thanks to Trouvais for posting this on her blog.  Image from Veranda April 2006. Architecture by Pak-Heydt.

I am not sure where this image came from , but the stair design really caught my eye, as did the elaborate iron railing.  Note the stone stairs again.

This beautiful staircase appeared on Architect Design’s blog quite some time ago, and it has been in my ‘favorites file’ for some time now.  I love the delicate and unique design on the railing.

I came across this image from the December 2007 Architectural Digest featuring a home with interiors by Thomas Pheasant.  The dramatic iron stair rail adds such a bold graphic quality to the space (as does the statement lighting!).

Another exquisite iron railing, in Suzanne Kasler’s former home.

A clean lined and sculptural iron railing in a home designed by architect Stan Dixon.

Another glorious iron railing in a home designed by Stan Dixon.  I love the way the railing tapers off into a little outward facing curl.

I have seen this iron design in pictures of homes from 19th century France, such as this beautiful home seen on the Trouvais blog.

Jim Howard used a similar design in a home he recently designed in Sea Island, Georgia. The home was featured on the cover of House Beautiful earlier this year.

Recently, when trying to clean out a closet that contains about 200 magazines, I came across this beautiful, beautiful railing.  It is in that interesting design seen in the previous two pictures (which can be found in many late 19th century French designs), but appears to combine wood and iron together.  Architecture by Ken Tate.

A one of a kind stair rail design by Andrew Crawford,  an Atlanta based artist who creates masterful pieces in iron.   Check out his website for more inspiration.  This railing is from a home in Sea Island, and clearly pays homage to the sea grasses that abound in this coastal region.  

Another case of stair rail as art: there are 32 animals that are fully developed on both sides of the rail.  This exquisite rail took three people over six months to create.  Interestingly, there are no rodents, spiders, or snakes in the design because the owners did not want to frighten small children!  Iron rail crafted by Clare Yellin and Chris Tierney, from Traditional Home November 2002.

There is quite a sculptural beauty in an iron stair rail; this one is simple and elegant, and yet still has great impact.  John Minshaw Designs – via VT Interiors.

Readers, what is your preference? Do you like iron stair rails and railings, or are you a wood rail fan?

Things That Inspire Favorites: Cape Cod Metal Polishing Cloths

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Things That Inspire Favorites: Thera Breath Oral Rinse

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Friday, September 24, 2010

A house transformation

 I have always been a fan of houses, from the time I was a small child.  Pretty much any house can captivate my interest – there is always a story, whether it be a story of the house, the inhabitants, the architects, the designers, or the setting.  Now that I am in the process of building my own house, I have extended my love of houses into an absolute fascination (obsession) with the renovation or building of a house.  I specifically plan my dog walks so I can check on the houses that are under construction all over Atlanta.

This charming Atlanta house was on my favorite dog walk, and it was on the market for quite a while.  When it sold, I assumed that the new owners would move right in; after all, there is a classic beauty to the facade, and the inside was quite beautiful too (alas, I did not save the FMLS pictures). 

Not too long after the house sold, a Spitzmiller & Norris sign went up. Spitzmiller & Norris is one of the premier architectural firms in Atlanta, so I knew that something interesting and special was going to take place.  Luckily, it did not take too long until some significant changes became apparent.  The house was restored to the original brick cladding (not sure if the paint was removed from the original brick, or if it was entirely re-bricked), which somehow brought the house back to a more pure state - a blank slate in many ways.  It’s hard to believe that this is the same house!  The two story portico was removed (it was not original to the house), but the dormers were always part of the roofline, they were just hidden by the fretwork on the portico. 

A beautiful entrance to the motor court was added, as was a winding stair approach with bluestone treads.  The limestone finial on the entrance gate sets the tone for the elegance of the renovation.  This picture captures the beginning of the limewash that was applied to the house.  It seems as if quite a few Atlanta renovations, as well as new builds, are using a limewash instead of painting the brick, as it is a finish that ages beautifully and gives an instant feel of patina and age.

Another in progress picture – the addition of a limestone portico and limewash on the brick completely transform the facade of the house.  

A detail shot of the side entry to the house.  The beauty of the limewash detail can be seen quite clearly here. I love how they varied the effect on the brick arch and on the tops of the brick walls.  Update: after posting about this house, I learned that San Marco lime wash paint was used on the exterior.  Click here to go to the website for San Marco, which offers a full range of interior and exterior mineral based paints.

A quick iphone picture taken a few weeks ago; it looks like a shutter color decision was being made.  On the left, a deep tone that appears to be black or possibly a very deep green or gray.  On the right, a soft taupe that blends with the color of the limewash.  Which do you like better? (My photo)

And the winner: the tone on tone shutters, which only seem to be on the bottom windows.  The landscaping is slowly being installed (this picture was taken a few days ago), which always makes a house look and feel more finished.   The intent was to landscape during the cooler weather of September, but we have been in the grip of a heat wave with record breaking temperatures (plus, a strange caterpillar has invaded Atlanta and is has destoyed many of the beautiful lush lawns in Buckhead).  But, the look and feel of the house in its new setting is largely formed.  I love the retaining wall used in the front, which protects a grand magnolia tree.  My quick iphone picture in suboptimal light does not do the house justice. (My photo)

It has been fascinating to watch the progress on this house over the past year, and it really shows how an existing lot and house can be transformed under the direction of a talented team of architects and landscape designers.

For more information on Spitzmiller & Norris, please visit their website: http://spitzmillerandnorris.com.  They also have a facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spitzmiller-and-Norris-Inc/65106894098 (All images, except where noted, from the Spitzmiller & Norris Facebook page)

Things That Inspire Favorites: Cape Cod Metal Polishing Cloths

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Things That Inspire Favorites: Thera Breath Oral Rinse

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Victoria Hagan kitchen: the rest of the house

On a post from a few weeks ago, I asked whether any of my readers knew more about the house that contains the Victoria Hagan designed kitchen.  Sure enough, one of my readers knew the architect (Oscar Shamamian)…and after a few simple google searches, I discovered that this kitchen that has been featured so many times on my blog was actually part of a feature from Architectural Digest, October 2005.

It came as no surprise to learn that the house is in Nantucket – the clean crisp style of the kitchen, with its overall casual vibe, seems so appropriate for Nantucket.

A picture of the house from the architect’s website.  The AD article says that this house was designed to be about family and Nantucket and the goal with both the architecture and the decor was to be understated, elegant but informal.  The architectural firm that designed the house is Ferguson & Shamamian, who are known for their “rigorous Neoclassicism”.  The house is described as a “shingle style structure, with gambrel roofs”. (Source)

The AD article chose this view of the front facade of the house, which gives a good perspective on the front wings of the house.  I have seen quite a few new homes in Atlanta recently that have two front wings, making a courtyard, but the homes I have seen typically have a motor court in the front and the wings house garages on either side.

The rear of this house features magnificent views of the harbor.

There is also a pool, which I assume is tucked to the side.

This is an iconic Victoria Hagan picture, and is a beautiful representation of her style.   I had no idea that it came from the same house as ‘the kitchen’!

The other side of the room – interesting that this room was published in 2005 (so probably was decorated a few years before that), and we see a similar light fixture to what Restoration Hardware has recently started offering…5 years later.

Another view of the room.

I have a fondness for view that extend through multiple rooms. These doors aren’t perfectly lined up, but they give a good feel for the expanse of the house. Image via Ferguson & Shamaian.

One of the bedrooms, this one so perfectly coastal New England with the shiplap siding on the walls,  blue and white color scheme, and the starfish as a design element on the wall shelf. Image via Ferguson & Shamaian.

Another bedroom in the house, also decorated in calm and neutral grays and whites.  Note the lights on the ceiling, a charming alternative to can lights.  Image via Ferguson & Shamaian.

This vignette is wonderful – a dressing room with a closet attached, and full length mirrors flanking the door.  I love the dressers that are positioned under the window, and would love to see the rest of the room given that I have been researching closet configurations.

A small study.

A charming landing whose roofline conforms to the shape of the dormers.  I am fascinated by all of the paneling in this house, which normally I associate with a formal style of architecture, and yet is seems tailored but not overly formal in this setting. 

The dining room has the same tailored and crisp feel – the paneled walls are used here too, but the overall feel of the room is not formal.

I am a big fan of a well designed bathroom, and this one is quite beautiful.  It is clean and spare, airy and spacious.  I am intrigued by the cabinets built into the wall on either side of the tub.  Image via Architectural Digest. 

Victoria Hagan has a much anticipated book coming out on October 12, titled Interior Portraits.  It is the first book to capture her design history, and I am looking forward to seeing more of her work.  To pre-order the book, click here.

Things That Inspire Favorites: Cape Cod Metal Polishing Cloths

Things That Inspire Favorites: Oz Naturals Vitamin C Serum

Things That Inspire Favorites: Thera Breath Oral Rinse

To visit my store, Quatrefoil Design, click here.
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To see design, architecture, art, and decorative books that I recommend, please visit the Things That Inspire Amazon store.


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