It’s a Jungle Out There

Birds of Paradise

Birds of Paradise

Does it feel a little daring to consider the use of animals or animal motifs in your design?  Does the thought of a cheetah print send shivers up your spine?  Does it all seem just a little too divine?  It need not be.  From the traditional to the contemporary.  The use of actual animals, albeit stuffed, to the broad interpretation of one.  The hint of a leopard spot, the inferred texture of a gator, lizard, giraffe, or other tactile delight, could be just the eroticism for which your home design has been on the hunt.

Purrrr.fect

Purrrr.fect

Not one to collect a wall of porcelain figurines or insist that every room, shoe, or bag be adorned with a signature animal print, I like all that the animal kingdom has to offer none-the-less.  I am surprised be the use of color in turning that scary to playful, and the prissy to refined.  While I would never consider my style old world traditional there is something so attractive to me about a chinoiserie a la Aunt Prudence’s house that I simply can’t deny, and why should I?

Monkey See

Monkey See

The beauty of this motif is that there really is something for everyone here.  From the baby’s room, to the living room, the hunting lodge to the powder room, I recommend inviting a little pet from the wild adorn the walls, floor, or at the very least a unobtrusive objet d’art.  Unleash your wild.

It’s a jungle out there

Belle of the Ball . A good feeling

La Belle Juliette 1

I’ve been raving about that little boutique beauty, La Belle Juliette, and yet I am not quite finished.  There is something about great design that just feels right.  If you analyze it too much you can always come up with a number of decisions that you wouldn’t have made.  The red laquered chair, the cherubs that have a little too much of that Victorian Age feel for your liking, the hallways that are a little too dark – don’t do it.  There is brilliance in the whole.  The whole person, the whole place, a whole idea.  Everything and everyone has imperfections.  It adds to the intrigue, eradicates sterility, and increases our overall comfort, for we know that we can live up to it, and in a place like that.  When everything is in order, we feel that something is off, a sensation that we are not welcome, that we don’t belong.  Great design makes you feel like you are coming home, even if its to a place that you have never been to before.  A calm washes over you, it delights and surprises, and makes you want to return again and again.  Such was the experience at La Belle Juliette for me.

Belle of the Ball No. 2

Belle of the Ball No. 2

The color selection included a variety of greys, which it is no secret I adore, a series of pastel hues; pink, violet, pale greens, aquas, and tiffany blues, metalic accents, and the interesting decision to include bold red furnishings.  No room that I had access to utilzed less than three or four paint colors in a single space.  Sometimes subtle differences, others not.  Color can be hard to get right, particularly in these dangersous quantities, which is why we see so many interior designers stick to a very neutral palette.  It’s safe, it’s clean, it’s unopinionated.  It’s boring.  There – I said it.  I find it very boring.  To my eye, La Belle mostly got it right.  I know this because I can see in my minds eye the lovely color combinations they visioned, and a warm happiness spreads through me.

Belle of the Ball No. 3

Belle of the Ball No. 3

I realize the appeal won’t be there for everyone.  No worries.  There are thousands of hotels from which to choose in Paris.  I hope that your next visit takes you, and that you experience the same childlike delight, that La Belle J. gave me.  Wherever you find yourself, don’t miss out on a visit to La Spa de La Belle Juliette.  www.spa-belle-juliette.com.  The very best masage I have ever had, with absolutely not a single qualification.  Simply the best.

City of Light: Paris disappoints not

Paris 2015

Paris 2015

I may have had to leave the City of Light to return home.  Though calling this nomadic existence of mine home seems a bit of a stretch, 5 months and 23 days into this little experiment of mine.  Back to Boston I had to return, none-the-less, and I brought more than a little light with me.  Technically I had it shipped.  I went intent on finding that perfect chandelier for my new space, and the Marche aux Puces did not disappoint.

Warm Reception at La Belle Juliette

Warm Reception at La Belle Juliette

I rolled out of bed in my beautiful boutique of a hotel, La Belle Juliette, you exceeded all my expectations, you were the design inspiration I didn’t even know I was lacking, you were the perfect gracious hostess, in a city that I grow more fond of with every visit, you were the breath of fresh air I needed to get across the finish line.  Is it wrong to want to stay in your hotel when that sublime chaos of a Paris day awaits just outdoors.  Oh don’t worry, I left to explore the markets, covered in Euro and praying I wouldn’t be robbed blind by some skilled pick-pocket.  All risk taking aside, when I had scoured the Varnaison Market for the better part of the morning, purchased only one small pendant, and hadn’t laid my eyes on anything I thought I couldn’t live without, I was a tad disappointed, but just then, as we prepared to head to the next big section, Paul-Bert, I locked eyes on it.  I ran in, inquired about the price – Comment ca cout?, and nearly choked back my tears.  How could it possibly be that much?  I was covered in a lot of Euro and still, the Euro I was covered in, wouldn’t cover it.  I shuffled out with head hung low, visited another stall with jaw dropping mirrors, the likes of which all the Louis would have found ostentatious enough to out due the King that came before, and which were a mere fraction of the price of the chandelier I coveted.  I was sick to my stomach over it, and it had only been a few short minutes that we were separated.  What’s a girl to do.  I just admitted to myself that I wasn’t leaving without it, and went back to launch a fierce negotiation with the owner, trying desperately to remember anything of use from that book I read – Getting to Yes.  I’m not sure if the book helped,  but he did lower the price by 1400. Euro and that was a price in which I could say YES.

Sputnik

Regis Royant Gallery – www.regisroyantgallery.com

I opened a Fed Ex Account, wired the cash I didn’t have on me, got that incredibly heavy box in the mail a few days later, sweet talked a few gents into getting it into my car, drove it on over to Fun Antiques in Cambridge to be re-wired, and now I just need that place to be mine so that I can proudly display this masterpiece.  Just 10 more days.  I can do anything for ten days.  Though I did get an offer to purchase the property yesterday.  I know that I don’t own it yet, but still, the very moment that I do they want to buy it.  Whatever would I do with that chandelier if I sold it?  It’s enormous and needs a home.  Everything has a price, if it was the right one, my precious sculpture could take up residence with me at the Four Seasons.  We’d survive.

Fall Color Palette

This palette is on fire.

This palette is on fire.

This morning I woke to 29 degree weather.  Burr….the fall color palette is so rich, and cozy, the change is just what’s called for.  A few of my favorites in this post.

Blues and Oranges

Blues and Oranges

As I prepare to start splashing my walls with dark navy blue fall has never felt better.  Final countdown is on.  Just 15 days until I show up on my doorstep, key in hand, suitcases in tow.  I’ll be sleeping on the floor for the first week, but there isn’t a fiber of my being that cares.  It will be mine at last.

Burgandy

Burgandy

Fall In for Tartan

FALL IN LINE

FALL IN LINE

If tartan had a season I think it would be fall.  I can’t seem to peg myself down to a single season.  Perhaps that’s why I enjoy New England so much.  It doesn’t discriminate, though I wish it would pay a little more  mind to spring, and be a whole lot more willing to say good-bye to winter.  Like a boyfriend that is loved,  with one or two tiring traits to be disdained, plucking out only that which we deem perfect, is not an option.  Besides the perfectly messy and chaotic can lead to some pretty great things too.  So, all four seasons it is for me, and it’s this one that’s got me thinking about the rich, warm, woven wonderfulness that is tartan.

Kathryngreeleydesigns.com Too Much Tartan?

Kathryngreeleydesigns.com
Too Much Tartan?

If it isn’t already obvious to you, I like variety.  I have to wonder, if this subjecting myself to constant upheaval, solely for the opportunity to re-decorate, could be considered a treatable condition.  Until they label it, and I’m forced to find my newly minted condition debilitating, I plan to up heave hoe away.  If I become really exhausted from the effort I could always resort to staying put, and undertaking seasonal make-overs to quell my desire.  Plenty of options out there.

Tartan’s heritage can be traced back to Gaelic and Scottish roots.  Warriors, Royals, Punk Rockers, and Fashionistas have all taken a turn identifing with it, revering it, mocking it, and riffing on it.  It superceded the limits of woolen fabric ages ago and plaids can be found on every conceivable material covering and object d’art found one would choose to have in a home.  While some decorators seem to go a bit far, papering the walls, upholstering sofas and chairs, littering a room with pillows in a rainbow of tartan colors, I subscribe to the little goes a long way philosophy.  A room can say: “see you next summer” with the change of a pillow, a beautiful throw, or a small upholstered foot stool.  I love stools.  I think I’m going to have to built a closet to store them all in.  I hate the idea of giving them up.

Fall in Love with this season.

Fall in Love with this season.

Today I plan to wrap myself in a plaid blanket, sit out on the porch in the sun, read, study my french, eat a crisp juicy red apple, gaze at the magical folliage and soak in this fall day in all its glory.  It only lasts a few short weeks before winter will be upon us.  I can’t think of a better reason to sit back, relax and enjoy it.

Mirror . Mirror on the Wall

Or the ceiling, as a backsplash, a decorative element on furnishings or built-ins, or resting on the floor to ensure you don’t exit the house without a head to toe appraisal and confirmation that nothing has gone amiss with your outfit.  This last use, a brutal lesson I wish I had not learned the hard way.  So it goes.  Even though I am in total support of the skinny mirror and similar illusions that build ones confidence and send you off in the world with your best foot forward, one must never look unkempt.  I could delve deep into this self-reflective rant, but this blog is all about home, so we’ll reflect on that instead.

reflective surfaces

The use of mirrors or “looking glasses” can be traced back all the way to the BC’s – that’s Before Christ so it was obviously a super long time ago.  In addition to providing a surface in which to gaze at a close approximation of you, an approximation because plaine mirrors provide a laterally inverted image, thus the term “mirror image”, they have speical powers.  Among these powers they can create the illusion of space, cast light in dramatic and wonderful ways, and add a little sparkle to an otherwise drab room.  The expansive nature of a wall that is mirrored is fascinating to me.

Trina Turk . Palm Springs . Kelly Wearstler Design

Trina Turk . Palm Springs . Kelly Wearstler Design

From the strictly decorative to the highly practical, no home should be without.  And when I say be without, I mean without either type.  Tuck that utalitarian looking glass on the interior of a closet door or make it decorative by incorporating it into the panel on the exterior, back of the bedroom door, on the floor, wherever you can find a suitable place to make sure you don’t exit and later face disgrace, get that mirror in there.  That taken care of the decorative applications can unfold in a way that suits your personality best.  A few of my favorties are captured here in this post.

Mirror mirror

Who would you say is the farest of them all?

Flea Market Finds

Marche Aux Puces

Marche Aux Puces

What an odd name.  I don’t know about you but I don’t love fleas.  The name certainly conjures the right side of seedy underbelly that the markets can be traced back to, but not the allure and charm of antique treasures, mid-century finds, uncommon goods, and/or battered brick-a-brack in need of a little attention and creativity to give it a second life.  Known to by many other names – Trash and Treasure in Australia, Swap Meet in some English speaking countries, Flomart in Germany, and Marche Aux Puces in Quebec and France.

Russell Carrell is credited for bringing it to prominence here in the states.  An East Coast antique show organizer, Russell thought an outdoor antique market might have success, similar to outdoor auctions that he held.  The prohibitive cost of insurance meant that no tent could cover the vendors wares, but didn’t deter enthusiasts from engaging in the hunt.

The history of Paris’ Flea Market extends back a little further in time than that of America, to the 1800’s.  Rag and Bone Men also known as “pecheurs de lune” – night fishermen, were vagabonds that lived on the outskirts of Paris near the Port de Clignancourt (now the site of one of these flea markets).  They would scour the streets at night looking for objects left on the street – or sometimes a little less legally, liberate owners of ojbects they wanted.  They would display their finds on the ground for sale to those travelors making their way from Paris to the Port and destinations unknown.

Marche Jules Valles

Marche Jules Valles

Les Marche aux Puces is now the world’s largest Flea Market.  Open Saturday’s, Sunday’s and some vendors on Monday.  The Paris Saint-Ouen Flea Market spans 17 acres, and in 2001 was designated an Architecture Heritage Site.  The market is held both indoors and out, with the less precious items, tee shirts, posters, videos, and a whole host of what I consider junk is closest to the metro.  Beware, this is where tourists come in droves, and pick pockets will relieve you of wallets and cash faster than you say “bargain”.  There are guides that can help you navigate through this section to the real finds, and help you ship your treasures back home.  They are not inexpensive, but if furnishings are what you are after, you’ll need to buy-into a crate that makes its way back to the states via boat.  Managing the logistics of that is better left to an expert, particularly if you don’t speak the language.  The Paris Apartment – www.parisapartment.com is a wonderful resource for finding just such a guide.

If you find yourself lucky enough to visit adhere to the following:

No fancy clothes or flashing jewelry – No big purse – carry your money close to the vest and don’t flash it around – Only one ATM on site and almost all the vendors will not accept credit cards – cash only.

Map of Saint-Ouen Marche

Map of Saint-Ouen Marche

While you are reading this, I will be up to my elbows in antiques.  Follow me on Instagram @jackiefalla to see up to the moment finds.  Bon Voyage a moi!

House and Garden

Adapted for film by various studios - E.L. Shephard's original illustration for Winnie the Pooh

Adapted for film by various studios – E.L. Shephard’s original illustration for Winnie the Pooh

I loved Winnie the Pooh growing up.  Ironically I did not like reading because I was dyslexic.  No one knew at the time.  It wasn’t until years later they diagnosed the challenge.  My Winnie crush resulted in a fierce determination to read the book myself.  Funny that now reading is one of my very favortie things to do.  No little thanks do to Winnie the Pooh.

Nelson Treehouse

That Hundred Acre Wood;  Owl’s Treehouse, Christopher Robin’s, Piglet’s – they all seemed pretty great.  A whole little world, alone – together in the forest.  It’s magical, to be surrounded by nature, to be part of the flora and fauna, but to find shelter from it too.  It’s no wonder architects and builders, enthusiasts of the great outdoors, and those that appreciate something unique and special over a McMansion, are creating treehouses for actual living.  Not the kind of story books, and stolen escapes.  They dangle like tealights in the branches of trees, and that part of me that isn’t city living at all longs to be perched up there nesting among the birds.

Whether you head to Home Depot to gather the materials, find them in your neighborhood, or higher the World’s Premier Design/Builder of Treehouses – Nelson Treehouse and Supply – www.nelsontreehouseandsupply.com there is something enchanting about living from that vantage point.  While I feel right at home in tiny places, and love the good old outdoors, at night when it’s time to rest my tired head, I long for a soft pillow and a warm bed and most importantly indoor plumbing.  Don’t fret dear friend, these homes can be constructed with all the modern amentities money can buy.

Blue Forest Tree Houses - www.blueforest.com

Blue Forest Tree Houses – www.blueforest.com

Fairy Tale?  I think not.

Hob “Knobbing” with the Brass

And other precious metals.  Brass is lovely and I’m still convinced that all that glitters is gold – at least this season, but if my mind could be swayed in an alternate direction, the recent trend in knob design just might do it.  These treasures are the crowning moment amid a box full of costume jewelry.  I’m wide-eyed!

Brass Act

My summer vacation already seems a distant memory.  The temperature has dipped on the thermostat, a hurricane looms off the coast, and I think it’s safe to say that we’ve seen the last of the 90’s until next summer.  No worries, I love the fall and am happy to stumble across something that triggers a memory of my time on Nantucket.

Patina . 23 Center St. Nantucket

Patina . 23 Center St. Nantucket

I think my fascination with the knob was sparked when I wondered into Patina, a jewelry store on Center Street in Nantucket.  The owner has selected very refined and beautiful pieces – her brother I believe is Ted Mueling, one of the jewelry designers.  I took note right away of the egg shaped knobs in Robins Egg Blue on the display cases.  I asked the sales gal, knowing the answer before the words slipped past my lips, wherever did you find them?  Ted made them, one of a kind, for the store, and sadly not for sale.  Isn’t that just the way.  They would be so great, bringing some run of the mill kitchen to delicate promise with that happy pop of color.  Sadly, take them I could not.

Last week I was allowed a second glimpse into my home to be.  I’m really wracking up the minutes.  I think I’ve spent all of 48 there now.  What I discovered on this latest trip was a sad situation indeed.  The kitchen pulls are of indistinguishable origin, a gold that is a little too gold, and lacks the refinement and heft of quality.  They’ll have to go.  I’ve been on the hunt for some suitable replacements and am incredibly excited to have found a selection that are beyond glamorous from Anthropology. Won’t my cabinets just be the talk of the town?