Coup de Foudre: Paris awaits

Even though this French expression suggests the sudden striking of emotion – a thunderbolt of love – I struck anew by its power, every time I visit Paris.  Wednesday I get to sneak away in the night and awake in the warm embrace of the City of Lights.

paris flee

Marche aux Puce . Paris

It’s been three years since my last visit.  I’ve been warned by my friends and family NOT to visit Marche aux Puce again.  For those of you that have just started following, this is the flee market at which I purchased the infamous Italian, Mid-Century-Modern, Chandelier.  There were a number of indignities associated with this purchase, not the least of which was the fact that the vendor sent me a chandelier – but not the chandelier that I bought when I was at the market.  It was close, but a little worse for the wear.  I paid a fortune to have it rewired, have my ceiling reinforced, and hung, not once, but three times.  A story for another day.

Paris 1st

I submit here in advance my apologies to all – I will be going to Marche aux, and I make no promises that I won’t return with another monumental light fixture.  What fun would a trip to Paris be without the dream of a magical find at the market?  A trip that I wouldn’t be interested in taking – that’s the kind.

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Frank Gehry designed Foundation Louis Vuitton

I’ll be staying in the 1st – which I haven’t stayed in before.  I’ve stayed in the 3rd, the 6th, 7th and 8th.  I love La Belle Juliette in the 8th Arrondissement, on Rue Cherche Midi, but I like to try new things, and the hot, hip boutique style hotels that have been popping up in the 1st caught my attention.  Hotel Therese is where I will be for my super fast 3 day trip.

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1948 Couture Dior . need I say more?

Here’s what I plan to do because its what I love almost more than anything else…eat, drink, and shop – for clothing and furnishing, fixtures, and materials.  Les Arts Decoratifs has an exhibit, that for me, is a must see.  The House of Dior opened its doors 70 years ago – that’s 1947, I know because my company, Elaine Construction is also celebrating its 70th anniversary.  How cool is that.  Over 300 couture dresses are on display, so it goes without saying – I have purchased the tickets to this exhibit already.

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Grand Coeur . 41 Rue du Temple . Paris

Foundation Louis Vuitton, designed by Frank Gehry is an architectural wonder.  It has been on my list, and this trip I will get to see it in person.  The texture and the light, pattern, and materials are amazing sources of inspiration and awe for me.  I can’t wait to see this building, and by the way, I hear the exhibits aren’t bad either.

I can’t wait to tell you all about it.  Happy Saturday.

Fruit Punch: Flirt with a little fun

The weekends are too short, and summer in New England is the shortest of the short . shorts.  With no spring to speak of, one really feels the need to make the most of the good weather, when said good weather finally arrives.  Sun, sand, ocean, and fantastically fresh food.  To bite into a juicy peach, savor a sweet chunk of pineapple, smack your lips as you sip a tart and tasty lemonade – that’s summer.  It got me thinking about the roll of fruit in interior design, naturally.

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Etsy is an amazing source for original art work.  This gracefully executed watercolor, brings a little of that fun fruit to an Urban or Suburban setting.  Etsy . Tina Vu Studio $45.

I’m not thinking dark paneled walls, velvet curtains, and Peter Paul’s Rubeneque beauties lying naked in heaps of grapes.  I’m thinking a little more playful, a bit of young at heart, more daylight than dark, more laughter than tears.  Fruit motifs span the gamut from sophisticated to childish, and it’s perfectly ok to mix the two, why not, no law.

 

Pineapple lamp

The traditional motif symbolizing “welcome” – posh doesn’t have to cost a pretty penny.  PB Teen $119.

City

For city surroundings I do recommend you lean toward the sophisticated palette.  Potted fruit plants, faux and real, can bring a little of that summer indoors, and remind you that the world is not all hardscape.  (Try Ballard Design for some realistic looking faux plants) Sculptural elements like china or metallic pineapples, sitting serenely on the shelf of an étagère, the spire on top of your skyscraper of interiors books, glinting and beckoning at that 5 o’clock hour from it’s outpost on the bar cart, pineapples are indeed welcoming.  Wall coverings that blur and obscure the fruit feel polished and fresh, and are perhaps just the right splash of irreverence for a powder room or guest bed.

Flavor Paper Sweet Pototo

Flavor Paper . Fruits of Design . Sweet Potato Mica Clay Coated.

Summer Escape

Summer rightfully brings out the kid in us all.  By my account there is far too much seriousness going around these days.  I’m not condoning irresponsibility, just suggesting that buying a Crew Cuts tee shirt from the kids department that has glittery cherry’s on it, is perfectly acceptable, and frankly much more economically responsible than buying it from J. Crew Woman’s.   Just saying…I did it, and you feel free to judge.  I am also suggesting that a sequined watermelon throw pillow, could really make rolling from Sunday into Monday, just a little bit happier, and if you woke up in these delightfully chipper cherry sheets from Serena and Lily, who’s to say you wouldn’t have the best day ever?

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PB Teen . Tutti Fruity Pillow Covers. 16″ Square – $12.99 each.

To making the most of your summer weekends, and not allowing yourself to turn Sunday into an extension of Monday.

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Serena and Lily . Cherry Sheet Set. $128. – $228.

 

 

 

Sm.ART Move

IMG_8008When I went to the opening of BostonArt’s newly renovated space, courtesy of my firm Elaine Construction, on Thursday night, I was struck by the breadth of their offerings.  Located at 21 Drydock Ave in the Seaport, part of the attraction of the space for me is always going to be its ocean view.  To gaze out at the water, even when it’s gray and stormy, grounds me.  Reminds me of who I am, and where I came from.  Not our origin, though we all emerged from salt water, but rather geographically, from my Cape Cod seaside upbringing.  So it’s true that this view, for me, is one of the most beautiful canvases a person could set eyes upon.  Having said that, BostonArt gives you cause to be distracted.

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It “artfully” accomplishes many missions, showcasing the artwork as a museum might, storing, restoring, framing and making new again, while all the while workers sit in perimeter offices – presumably doing the hard work of branding, selling, selecting, and advising their clients on just the right pieces and installations for their spaces.  How they manage to remain focused between the view out the expansive industrial windows, and the paintings and photographs that line the walls and are meant to showcase the offerings, but frankly serve as the inhabitants personal collection – is beyond me.  It’s stunning.  It’s fun, bright, subdued, fine, graphic and photographic, art, and sculpture.

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Room with a view.

To my delight I spied a painting by my good friend John Jay Vinton in one of the offices and thought, hum, I wouldn’t have imagined his work in an office setting, which got me thinking, is that all they do?  The answer is of course no!  How uninformed can a gal get.  In addition to procuring art for hospitals, and corporate offices they do large scale residential, and wait for it….small scale urban apartments too!  Now we’re getting somewhere.  I stumbled upon this service a few years back, but truthfully thought that I must first have important art, and second, a good deal of it, in order to hire the likes of a consultant.  BostonArt may be my solution.  I saw one piece in particular that I really loved, hanging around, just waiting to be discovered, no doubt, by me.  It would be pretty cool to have them come and assess my “collection”, and make recommendations on how to fill in the gaps, re-frame, group, and all those things they do so well that makes a normal space say – At last…my art has come around.

 

Freeze Frame: heART stopping collections

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Just the way I style . single pieces that match the decor.

For the longest time I owned very little art that could be considered worthy of collection.  Some of my very first pieces, a pair of black and white photos I took on a barge trip down the Canal du Midi in France, a small original abstract painted in oil by a friend, I took care in framing.  I made these disparate pieces come together by using the same thick mat, its bevel at a sharp angle to draw the eye in, and the use of matching black frames.  I still love these pieces, but they often end up stowed in the back of a closet in their moving boxes.  Why?  My own inability to combine them with newer works of art I have collected along the way.

Living in the South End allows my voyeuristic tendencies to be satisfied without the police getting involved.  As I wonder the streets at night, homes are lit and visual access abounds.  There is one home on the corner of Union Park and Tremont that has a wall of artwork that leaves bare only small pockets of space between pieces.  When I dine at Aquitaine I can see it’s not a single wall, it’s a least two, I suspect the whole room is littered with artwork.  This displays a fearlessness that I do not possess, but admire.

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OKL . The use of architectural moldings to frame pictures within frames.

I dated a guy recently that subscribed to the same aesthetic philosophy – every square inch was spoken for with his photographs and rock band posters.  While the remainder of his place could have used a redesign, he got the art work right, well at least that which he hung on his wall.  I was the most precious piece of art he was likely to come across, and his curatorial instincts passed right over this little gem.  A story for another time.

OKL . left: artwork hung on walls  and rested on furniture.  Right:  black frames pull together different media.

As a flipper I often draw inspiration from a new single piece of artwork.  I want this piece to take center stage, but I don’t want to make all my other artwork feel unloved.  It got me thinking about what the experts would do.  I offer up this advice to you all, but respectfully ask you to forgive me for not deploying all the techniques.   I need to protect my investment and spare myself a hole filling expedition prior to handing over the keys.

OKL . Left the use of gold frames and similar color ways tie these pieces together. Right:  Keeping it simple, matching hues.

Grouping Art:  thematic art (nature, seascapes, portraits, etc. can be the theme that ties a display together)  similar colors, the same or similar media – oil, watercolor, black and white photography, magazine covers, etc.) can help pull together pieces that otherwise don’t have a direct relationship.

Framing:  in matching or complimentary frames, pieces that otherwise have no apparent relationship look like two peas in a pod, likewise, bringing a color palette together through the use of matting works nicely, using wall moldings to act as a frame for several pieces can bring them together in a non-traditional way, and bring organization within those borders.

Scale:  While everything need not be the same size, if that is your visual preference, mat and frame smaller pieces to match larger, hanging a smaller piece of artwork directly next to a larger one, and at eye level can invite the viewer in for a closer look.

Layering and Stacking:  hang it on the wall or not.  Desks, bureaus, mantels, counters and other surfaces offer opportunities to display art, playing with scale and size, largest pieces in the back, smallest toward the front, ensures all will be seen.

House Beautiful . Left:  Boldly using wall space – black and gold frames tie pieces together, but it looks professionally hung.  Right:  Birds and butterflies tie this rooms art together, while the black painted wall acts as one large mat.

I am not at that stage in my life where I would consider hiring an Art Consultant.  Maybe when my quest is complete.  Having said that, I call on my artist friend, John Vinton from whom I have purchased a number of abstract seascape of my native Cape Cod.  John is a wonderful talent, and a generous man.  He comes and helps me hang my most sacred pieces at the completion of each renovation.  He makes me smile.  If you don’t know John, and live in the Boston area, you could try these folks:

Jacquline Becker . Fine Arts Consulting Services . www.beckerfinearts.com . 617.527.6169 or Haley & Steel . www.haleyandsteel.com . 617.536.6339.

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OKL . Layered for interest . keeping it eye level.

While I am not the type of person that has the patience to nudge and mark and measure and remeasure, if you are attempting to do this on your own, I recommend laying it out on the floor, or creating templates.  This is particularly important if you are selecting a pattern that is complex, or asymmetrical.  Better safe than sorry.  Happy Hanging.