Feeling Blue: Chinoiserie Chic

Blue Chin 1

posted by:  Beth Connolly Labels:  Fireplace, styling

In the best possible way.  In the clean, fresh, bright, and brilliant blue that comes from this gorgeous china.

Blue Chin 2

posted by:  Beth Connolly Labels: fireplace, styling

I met a gal that recently found her way to the states – and more specifically the South End, where she bought her first condo – via Hong Kong.  She carted back a boat load of blue vases, urns, and dishes in the signature hue and asked if it was possible to create a design that incorporate her extensive art collection and her prized china.  I said yes of course.

The addition of orange brings a fresh pop of contrasting color to the scene.

While I love chinoiserie I do believe there is a line you can cross.  I think of it as the Mason Dixon Line.  A Boston city apartment shouldn’t feel like a Southern mansion dripping in excess – the challenge then is to use it to inform the design palette and theme, while keeping it sophisticated and chic.  Think pastel Paris with pops of blue and gold accents or a more muted backdrop of neutrals with orange accents.

Left:  Mark D. Sikes Loves blue and brings a sophistication with these muted tones.  Right:  French Country Cottage balances warm and cool for a cluster of cherubic perfection.

I adore white and blue but think that it feels more coastal than city. Softening the tones and introducing creams, warm violets, dusty greens, and gray blues will help give it a cozy chicness that will welcome and calm after a long day composing art schemes.

Top Left:  Gold Puddle Trays – One Kings Lane.  Top Right:  Spiked Accent Table – One Kings Lane.  Bottom Center:  Caracole Lena Accent Chair – One Kings Lane.

Galbraith + Paul Wallcoverings and Fabric.  Left:  Bellflower in Dolphin.  Right:  Southern Shades via Etsy.

Blue Chin 2

posted by Beth Connolly Labeled: fireplace, styling

What’s particularly great about this design challenge is that there is NO furniture that one must work into the equation.  Just artwork, and blue chin.  Awesome.

blue chin 12

Go a little bolder with Cole and Sons Hex Wallcovering and a high gloss painted door or vanity.

This post represents my preliminary picks.  I hope I’ve headed the ship from the China Seas to the Atlantic in the right direction.

blue chin 9

Galbraith + Paul . Reverse Monarch in Ruby.

 

 

World of Color Confusion: picking the palette take 2

So as predicted, Jo-Jo shot down the color selection I so carefully made with a NO!  Not even a kind, no, no et non.  Just NO!  I don’t want gray and Nantucket Red is too muted.  The only other hint of a direction she’s given me is she wants the navy blue whale wallpaper I found on Instagram over a year ago, and I can no longer track down.  Of course, she is adamant about that paper.  It was very cute.  She has a playful side – she likes a little tongue in cheek whimsy.  I’m not trying to deny it to her.  The Manse should be an expression of her personality…but for the life of me I can’t locate it.  I keep presenting alternatives, to which she responds…NO…I want the whale paper.  This may require divine intervention, or at  the very least inspiration.  Help!

In1

The Chronicles of Home always has such beautiful style.

The plastering is complete and now I really need to pick the colors.  I’ve turned to Instagram thinking I would find a clear direction, but while I many primary colors my natural inclination is to move toward softer hues. I fear if I mix it up too much, it will be a hot mess.  Some of the colors should remain in the rainbow, don’t you think?

Cory Connor Designs right – gets an A+ for painting the baseboard and the molding in hot pink.  One Kings Lane displays an array of colors that look beautiful together.

Left:  Schumacher wall covering is the color palette I typically gravitate toward.  Right:  Is Christopher Farr’s wall covering that I am dying for.

In6theeverygirl

The Every Girl . simply perfect uncomplicated beauty.

While I I still really love the kelly green, I have a feeling that it’s just a trend and my affection for it will pass.  While paint is the least expensive, and most impactful of your styling options, it still costs money and requires a fair amount of disruption to change it.  With that in mind, I’d like to get it right the first time.

In3mybellastoria

My Bella Storia . who doesn’t like a polka dot?

In my search for that dang whale wallpaper, I came across quite a lot of inspiration.  I only hope that one, or a combination of several of these will illicit a resounding YES – see, just like I told you…..

In4OKL.PNG

OKL . I LOVE PINK.

Happy Sunday.

 

 

 

Freeze Frame: heART stopping collections

art 1

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.

art 2

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.

art 8

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.

 

 

Garden Party

wp-restaurant

Hidden Garden . a restaurant with a story.

I wonder if it started with Winnie the Pooh and the Hundred Acre Wood, or The Secret Garden, perhaps too it could have been Lord & Taylor’s The Bird Cage Restaurant, which I have referenced before.  I loved it there, the chirping of the birds, the cafeteria trays, the enormous bird cages gathered in the center of the restaurant.  My sister Jo-Jo hated it.  The food, the noise, the fuss.  I’m a little fussy and I loved Raymond Lowey’s design, in just the same way I fell into step with Piglet and Pooh as they wondered the wood and snuggled into Pooh’s hollowed out tree for a pot of honey.  Maybe that’s the real origination of my love of tiny spaces and not boats at all.  They are cool.  They are magical. They are alluring.

wp-schumacher

Schumacher . sweet little bird . they got it right.

Whatever the reason, however the seed was planted, this season has not ended for me.  As the snow piles up all around, I long for a little umbrella fern to poke its kelly green finery stubbornly through the snow.  I don’t think umbrella ferns are actually indigenous to this region, but that is the image that is in my head nonetheless.

wp-de-gournay-1

deGournay . breathless from it’s beauty.

This longing for spring and other things floral, and chirpy, and secretly happy is expressing itself in my desire for a pair of One Kings Lane Chinoiserie pillows that are singing a sweet song of seduction to me.  I think I’ve fallen under their spell.  But it’s not just the pillows.  Truth be told, I am attracted to all manner of botanicals, chinoiserie’s, and garden leaves.  There’s an elegance to bringing nature in doors.  Of course on my own terms.  This is not an open invitation to have a mouse in my house.  I realize I am no match for Mother Nature, but we have an agreement with one another, and I plan to stick to my end of the bargain, and can only hope she is a woman of principle.

wp-bungalow-5

Bungalow5 Panels

Some of my very favorite’s come from Schumacher.  They do watery and bold, modern and old school Versailles in a way that elicits longing.  de Gournay is elegance and opulence and when I have a powder room again I think I’ll paper the walls in hand painted petal a la de Gournay… true artistry.

More deGournay….stunners.  Left is my favorite restaurant in the world, BG at Berdorf Goodman designed by Kelly Wearstler…my idol.

wp-okl-chinoiserie-bird-pillows

OKL . Chinoiserie . I’m hitting the buy button.

The pale mint green panels of Bungalow 5 a way to introduce just a little garden to your Parlor Level unit or any old place you call home.  If you’re shy when it comes to florals, this is as careful as someone controlled, and reserved is likely to get, while still tipping their toe into the bird bath.  A pillow will do too.

wp-ina

Irina Munoz Clares.  because nature knows has all the answers.

Finally, I fell in love with the bold and cheery designs of Josef Frank.  The South of France home featured in this month’s Architectural Digest, showcased a room papered in a print that’s so sooo, and not at all too much, and just the only place in the house I would want to spent my time.  To be frank, Frank – you did good.

wp-josef-frank

Josef Frank . Svenskt Tenn

 

Lights . Camera . Action: procurement matters

How did I get myself in the spotlight so quickly?  There will undoubtedly be delays on this project, and though I hate them, I’d rather they not be associated with me!  The biggest cost of project overruns is….the Client.  That’s you and me folks.  Our inability to make decisions costs us money.  Oy Vey.  And there are dozens and dozens of them to be made.  Though the project might sound simple when it’s all said and done, getting there will be anything but.  How much trouble could putting up one, none structural load bearing wall be?

Option 1 and 2 – Living Room:  Left:  OKL, Slant Cut Chandelier $1,155.  Right:  Kelly Wearstler, Utopia 5 Arm Chandelier $1,671.

Option 3 and 4 – Living Room:  Left:  OKL, Classic Star Arm Chandelier $4,999.  Right:  OKL, Ziti 8 Arm Chandelier $945.

Glad you asked.  It can be a lot trouble.  Let’s start this Sunday off with a bang.  In the end we will need a wing and a prayer to get through the project whole, or “holy” as the case may be.  That one wall will require the relocation of the door to the second bedroom inside the current bathroom entry.  The material on the floor will be impacted.  How would you like to address that?  New hardwood?  Would you like to keep the existing, hollow panel doors or replace?  Hardware?  What about the base?  Replace in kind?  New hardware on the doors, or re-use, and replace in kind?  If new, what, and how long?  And what of the closets that are going to be constructed in the bedrooms?  What material will they be built out of, plywood, MDF, Pine, something else entirely.  Think it doesn’t matter?, wait until it warps and won’t close, until the pine knots make an appearance when the sap seeps through your beautiful paint job.  Speaking of paint … is that how you’ll dress them?  And if beautiful really is on the inside, how will the interior be designed?  Hardware, interior lighting, configuration.  The decisions are overwhelmingly bountiful.

Option 1 and 2 Master Bed. Left:  Calais 34″ $3,139.  Right:  OKL, Lacy Drum $799.

Sometimes it feels like the really big decisions are the easier ones to make.  If the code requires an extension of the fire escape across the back of the building to accommodate the change from one bed to two, if it requires sprinkling both beds – well that will be costly, but the decision will be made.  No choice if I want to pursue that option.  I’ll find out the answer to that, and another really big one…will they allow me to install central air? Please, I am begging.  I can’t go through that again.  I’m considering offering the guy in the Garden Unit a 100 year land lease for the 15 SF I need for my condenser if they won’t allow me to hang it off the back of the building.  Trustees, I am trusting you’ll do right by me.  I promise to do the same by you and the building.

Options for Guest Bed:  Left:  Ro Sham Beaux, Malibu$1,998.  Right Top:  OKL, Pontil 6 Light $379.  Left Bottom:  OKL, Markus Hanging Shade $1,365.

I’ll find out those answers soon enough.  With just five days till close, I’ve got to take action on some of my material buys, or my builder won’t have anything to build.  Long-lead items are a drag.  For those of you less familiar with this terminology, it has to do with inventory, and shipping time frames.  That Kelly Wearstler Chandelier that I have been eyeing for the living room has a 8 – 14 week lead time.  Think it doesn’t matter?  I’ll be answering the door while brushing my teeth at 7am to let the electrician in to do the install he couldn’t do when he was in the unit to rewire in December.  I’ll be navigating around a maze of furniture I relocated the night before to make a path for him to get to the location of the install.  We’ll be just shy of locking down the first month of the new year.  Time…..to make a decision.  Will you help me?  Which would you choose?

 

 

Make Me Blush

Go ahead, make me.  I’ve had a fondness for pink for ages.  Long before this most recent obsession that has everyone from restaurants to upscale homes crushing on this pretty pastel.  I painted my bedroom pink in my second property and loved how it made me feel. The soft complimentary light, the calming effect it has after a dusty day that tried its darnedest to make you into a dull girl.  It brings a little rose to the cheek.  It makes your lips curl up just a bit at the edge.  Men don’t have to admit to liking it, but I know many do.

sketch-london

Sketch . London – 2 of those chairs arriving today in pale cream!

Today, my beyond fabulous painting that I purchased from Blue Print Store in Dallas will arrive here in Boston after its stopover in New Orleans.  Don’t ask, I just request they tell me when to be there to receive it.

shank

Blue Print Store . Dallas . TX – Stephanie Shank Artist

 

run-way-right-way

Runway . Right way.

Kid Gloves will be knocking on the door between 2 – 5pm and guess what colors they will be delivering?  Pink, and blue, and mint, and peach, and red, and black, and my steady and enduring lovely…gray.  This painting will be the centerpiece of my next project.  Tink (that’s my sister) told me in no uncertain terms I wasn’t to buy any new furniture for this one…I crossed my fingers when I promised I wouldn’t.  Really, aside from me going broke and having to live with her when I am old and gray, what could she possibly have in which to object?  She is the happy recipient of many of my cast offs.  The Surf Shack has my beautiful apple green lamps from One King’s Lane adorning the matching Bungalow 5 white dressers, and complimenting the organdy tray ceiling accent color and Designer’s Guild striped curtains.  Come to think of it my little Omph slipper chair from Charlestown is in that bedroom too.  I’ve been thinking about re-upholstering my 6 month old day bed from Restoration Hardware and making it a centerpiece of her living room – another project I am working on for her now.  I digress.

Saltie Girl . Back Bay . Boston – @christiano336

Back to the super hot topic of this really warm color.  Pink.  Is it dangerous to paint a living room in this hue.  I’ve been dying to…do just that.  I saw a sweet little property yesterday that I allowed my imagination to go wild with a redesign.  A good sign that I have a fondness for the place.  It’s been well loved over the years (read:  super warn and in need of some TLC).  Until I find a boyfriend, I have plenty to spare, and want to put it to good use.  An offer will go in.

domino-mag-petal-pink-and-white-room

Featured in Domino Mag – back in the day.

Seems like I am doing a lot of finger crossing these days.  If it chooses me, I just may have to engage in a “Blush with Danger”.  Would you do it?  Paint a living room pink?  Would you object if I did?  Please do tell.