The Why’s Have It

People – you know, friends, relatives, acquaintances, you, if you know me, ask, tell, or inquire, in a somewhat perplexed, searching for understanding kind of way, why I do what I do. I’m glad for the curiosity. I want you to know why I buy, and sell, pack, move, repeat, live in sawdust, out of suitcases, and a seemingly endless state of chaos. Aside from the somewhat contradictory truth, that I am a control freak, and all that disruption can appear to the casual bystander, as a cataclysmic mayhem, it is designed to bring just the opposite. That’s right, it’s designed to bring me control, in a world that is largely out of my control.

A little piece of the South of France, this modest painting, picked up in Nice at the Flea Market is one of my favorite pieces. Paired with an antique dresser, Kate Spade Lamp, and set against Ben Moore’s Bridal Rose it really pops. Photography @curtona

Sure things happen along the way that I hadn’t counted on (also known as things out of my control), but each time I learn something new, file away a truth about real estate, which to my mind, it the realest, most sure investment you can make, and in so doing, I take back a little more of the control, I thought I had lost, but probably never possessed in the first place. Have I confused you yet? Action is agency, and agency is all about exerting power. When I am drowning in self-doubt over how I got myself into one mess or another, I remind myself, that it can be figured out, that I am not the first person to encounter water spraying in through a conduit, into my tiny bedroom, like a fire house let loose on a three alarm inferno. No, if fact, someone else out there has done it, solved it, and lived to tell about it, and when I find that person, or the dozens of others that have had similar experiences, and bow to their infinite wisdom, with desperation and reverence, I am almost always granted the benefit of their experience.

Worried that you won’t be able to incorporate it into your City apartment – don’t be. See it done with effectiveness and flare above.

To most people my confession that desperation is what compels me, feels like a comedic line I’ve honed to illicit a laugh. While I am never afraid to employ a little self-deprecation into a tale I am weaving, I can assure you, this is a bold-faced truth. My survival instinct is incredibly strong, it is in fact this desperate need for security that keeps me moving through some of the less comfortable moments of my existence, but there are secondary and even tertiary reasons I do what I do. I’m complex, and am still working on figuring myself out, so you’ll have to forgive me.

This pastel brushed beauty above the bed was found at a second Nice Flea Market and depicts of all things, pigeons. I adore it.

Design and travel – I’m not sure in which order I place them, are compelling reasons for my constant motion. All this moving and flipping has afforded me the opportunity to do both, and for that, I would argue, the sawdust in my shoe, and other unmentionable places, is worth it.

Louis XVI Side Chairs.

On this Sunday, I don’t know when I will be able to travel again, but it has me thinking about one of my favorite European destinations, the South of France, where for me, inspiration abounds. The pace is slower, languid, indulgent, and bright with promise.

Provence . Tile . Available on Chairish.

The dusty heat rises up off the fields that are littered with purveyors of antiques – cast away by a generation more interested in modern wares, than Louis XIV commodes, and Bergere chairs. Paintings, silver, tile – broken and chipped but in the most beautiful blue hue you can imagine, transport me to a white washed, sun soaked veranda over looking a pool. Can you see it?, the interior rim, edged in this sublime ancient key fret design….drop on in, the water is warm.

19 Century French Wood Painted Mirror.

The Art of Achieving: the imperfect pilgrimage of one person’s journey

I love beauty as much as the next person. I fawn over the craftsmanship of a painstakingly thought out detail, the intersection of a structural beam that kisses the wall and disappears into the great unknown somewhere above the hard ceiling, the paint job whose lines are militant in their precision, the window whose somebody’s forethought so carefully frames out the view in the backyard of the barn with its codfish topped cupola.

Courtney Barton . Twin Throw Dohar . Ector Eggplant $195.

Instagram and social media, magazines, photo shoots, and Hollywood are all staged, and air brushed, to make you believe they were born of the imagination of such satirical thrillers as The Stepford Wives, which is to say, they are robotic in their image of near perfection. Life however isn’t perfect, unless your view is perfectly messy – then you are on the right side of reality.

Maison Balzac . Pink Carafe and Glass $74.99

I have no idea what the point of this particular rant (also known as a blog post) is about today. Maybe its a recognition that doing something well is really hard. Maybe it’s a thank you note and expression of gratitude for all the long hours, dedication, and obsessive tinkering that lead all these creators that I profile, to produce things of beauty. Maybe I am trying to cut myself some slack, at the start of this new decade, which has not been at all easy.

Look at that happy little planter of stars. Star Finished Brass Fire Place Screen. $2,395.

I’m going to work under the assumption that even if it looks effortless to me from the outside, that it likely wasn’t. Perhaps the little flaw was strategically hidden from the camera’s capturing eye, or the maker, made hundreds of that special thing that they make, before one was even close to camera ready. Putting the effort into getting good at something takes time – even if you have a propensity to do it well, and if you don’t – well then, you need to be so stubbornly determined that no collection of failures will deter you from your heart’s desire.

I love a good story. The best have a moral, a lesson, a way of turning the leaf over in your palm and viewing it through an entirely different lens. Perfection is boring you see, and whether I know the real story or not, my version is always going to be interesting. It’s always going to include a little challenge, a little strife, and an underdog that prevails.

Chairish . Lauren Jane Lounging Lady $621.

Happy Saturday.

REEDing Between the Lines

While rattan always strikes me as a decorative accent best showcased somewhere down south, I find I long for it when the weather even hints (as it does here in New England, in fits and starts) of becoming warmer. It feels right that furnishings should get a little lighter, allow a warm breeze to pass through them – even if they are indoors.

Mario Lopez Torres . Parrot Toucan Monkey Chandelier . Chairish . $6800.

Now if you have begun to conjure images of the Golden Girls in their Florida condo, let me stop you right there. This isn’t bamboo and peach palm fronds that I’m talking about. Rattan can be sophisticated, elegant even, and I am here to prove it.

Rattan is derived from the Maylay – Rotan, which consists of an old world species of climbing palms, which in turn, belong to a sub-family known as Calamoldizae, which is Greek for reed. Now we are getting somewhere, so stick with me here. Those reeds are woven into cords, which are wrapped around a wire frame, allowing the decorative object or piece of furniture to take shape. It’s an art, and oh boy, are there ever some designers that elevate the form.

Draped like a cloth tossed on top of a table. Beautiful lines. Chairish.

Mario Lopez Torrez is perhaps my favorite for his cheeky use of monkey’s. A Mexican Artist known for his mid-century creations – though it is believed he still produces pieces today in his village – Ihuatizo. If a visual examination of the intricacies of his designs don’t convince you of his status, perhaps the price points at which his pieces sell will.

City or seaside, north or south, I have a hankering for rattan.

Evergreen: The Manly Bedroom

Bedgreen 6

West Elm . Sherwin-Williams – leaning toward the green.

Kermit said:  “It’s not easy being green.” Oh Kermie, I think green is beautiful.  It’s the color of nature, and new beginnings.  Of money and survival, of going for it.  It’s rough and rustic, delicate and beautiful.  It’s shades span the muddy and the pure.  It’s a color that could work in all seasons, and for a man or a women, a little girl or a tiny baby boy.

Not long ago I had a visitor to my apartment and she declared it the ultimate Bachelorette Pad.  I laughed, and have to say with No. 4, I’m guilty as charged.  Still it made me think about what my place might look like if I designed my place with a man in mind – not just any man, but a manly man – one that likes the outdoors.   A city place with an ode to the outdoors.

Left:  Worldmarket . Falkland Elsie Upholstered Headboard . $479.  Right:  Ballard Designs Burlap Fringe Curtains $49.00

Bedgreen1

Since it just occurred to me, and I am not actually going to change the design of my beloved No. 4, I chose to consider just the bedroom.  I like mossy greens, and evergreens, textures that evoke the outdoors, and of course something that would actually grow there.

BedGreen Chairish

Chairish . 22″ Spanish Moss Green Panel Linen Pillows . Pair $219.

The big question is …. is it manly enough for your man.

BedGreen2

Rosemary with a little violet.  Don’t men like a little color?

It Takes heART

The last few weeks of summer always have me out of sorts.  I’m still longing for a lazy day on the beach with a good book, a glass of rose in the afternoon on the deck, an outdoor shower before dinner…throw in a yoga class, repeat, replay, it doesn’t get old for me.

Art Chair 2

Chairish . Closer $1450.

I do love fall, but I am not ready for the traffic, the school buses, and normally I can get very excited about fall fashion, but I am trying to refrain from spending my hard earned dollars on a fantastically outrageous pair of high fashion pants, that I would likely wear twice, have absolutely no room for weight gain or loss, and would be wildly out of style the following year.  Can you say $1400. down the drain?  I’m trying to, but what I hear is, come get me, you’ll be the envy of the IIDA Fashion Show.  Oh lord, sometimes I am too much to handle.

Art Chair1

Chairish . Passionate Heart $810.

So I am turning a blind eye to the fabulous fashions that are racked and waiting, and am in need of some inspiration. ART and NATURE.  I find that they gently tug me through tough political and economic climates, bad break-ups, low moments in construction when the project seems as if it will never come to an end, and I’ll be covered in dust forever!

Art Esty 4

Etsy . Carl Thomas Gallery . Beginnings $400.

Of course you can go to a gallery and see some amazing masters, but I like to scroll through the pages on Etsy, and Chairish.  There are so many unknown artists that have incredible talent.  So much of what Etsy has to offer is incredibly affordable too.  Like the names given to nail polish I find it fascinating and illuminating to read the titles of paintings.  They open my imagination to so much more than the image alone and allow me to craft a story – make it my own.

Art Etsy 1

Etsy . Make Believe . $150.

One of my favorite paintings I loved before I knew the title, but when I learned it was called:  Time After Doubt, I fell in love with it.  I have collected a lot of art while on this flipping adventure of mine.  My most recent acquisition was the inspiration for the color palette in No. 4, and is prominently displayed in the living room.  I adore it, and expect it will make a reappearence before I reach No. 10, but it is Time After Doubt that once published, you will see in every single flip – all ten chapters of My Life in Sawdust.

Art Etsy 2

Etsy . Landscape No. 8 $89.

To finding a little inspiration in this time in-between.

Art Etsy 3

Etsy . Linda Monmori . Visitors $360.