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Showing posts from August, 2011

Visual Treats (forallofmydesign-obsessed peeps) Vintage Remix for the End of Summer

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Peeps,


Atlanta's Nancy Braithwaite has almost single-handedly redefined the design vernacular of Georgia, the Carolinas, and parts of Virginia.  She makes no attempt to replicate fantasies of Tara, or recreate pastiches of French and English royal estates; instead she delivers well-edited and thoughtfully conceived interiors which are just right for their locale.  Nancy's expansive portfolio offers evidence of consistently achieving that 'timeless' factor.  Today's featured interior is quite striking it its simplicity:  a cozy seating arrangement comprised of two linen covered bergeres facing a slip-covered love-seat.  (Note: here a custom tailored slip-cover fits taut and is self-piped with hems just barely grazing the floor.)  Instead of a coffee-table which I frequently find to be too low/bulky/casual, Nancy employs a beautiful tea-table with wonderfully cabriole legs, and then repeats the shape of the legs in twin tables flanking the love-seat.  On the tables si…

Visual treats for all of my Design-obsessed Peeps (Sunday Evening Remix)

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Peeps.


Thomas O'Brien, cofounder of AERO, and designer of carpets for SAFAVIEH, furniture for HICKORY CHAIR, fabrics for LEE JOFA, and assorted (if somewhat over-priced) bric-a-brac for TARGET, cleverly utilizes his NYC loft as both impromptu design studio and private retreat.  Although this pre-war residence boasts an 18ft high ceiling, the only bedroom was tiny, had a low ceiling, and connected to the living area by a dark, narrow hallway, so the owner opted to move his bed, bedroom furniture, and personal effects into the open, airy, light-filled salon.  Borrowing from the page of tricks and visual illusions of other designers who prefer small-space living, O'Brien hangs art right up to the rafters, and wrapped his entire space in a soft-grey color upon which everything appears to float.  As master of the 'vintage modern' trend in decorating, this highly successful designer mixes updated creations from his licensed lines with vintage pieces.  Georgian-period antiques…

Visual treats for all of my Design-obsessed Peeps (After the Storm Vintage Remix)

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Peeps,


You all know that I have always found the color pink to be one of the most versatile colors available, and one which I use frequently in bedrooms and living rooms.  When grounded by classical elements, it is quite sophisticated and elegant as demonstrated in this interior by the fabulous and talented Mary McDonald.  Balanced symmetry of slipper chairs with centre table, chinoiserie elements such as the wall mirror and blue/white vases adds visual zip, a zebra skin on the dark floor introduces the naturally exotic, and the arrangement of exquisite little plates all contribute to this striking composition.  Truly, a wonderful and dramatic entry!!


Enjoy,
Shane


PS:  When Diana Vreeland famously said, "Pink is the navy-blue of India," could she have foreseen its easy assimilation into every aspect of design within these shores?



Visual Treats for all of my Design-obsessed Peeps (Falling Rain/Relax/Frankie Goes to Hollywood)

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Peeps, 


The rain keeps falling outside as the storm rages, and my underground lair rocks with the sound of 'Relax' by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.  Who could ever forget the excitement this song generated on and off the dance-floor.  Who thought of leaving the club with this vibe remixed/respun/revved/k-grooved??  Not I!  There is much to be said for passion and the singular vision of musicians and artists.  Coming across this image in our vault of past postings, I was still struck by the interior's unconventional beauty and the skill of pairing these vibrant colors.  I wish more folks would embrace change (in all aspects of one's life) as the world around spins even more rapidly, the sun seemingly leans closer, and the time of prophecy draws near.  Whose words are prophetic and which are pathetic at this time remains undecided and unclear.  


Sincerely,
Shane


PS:  Shout-out to David da Silva Cornell, for being a great point-man.



For all of my Design-Obsessed Peeps -- Weekend Treat/Vintage Remix

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Peeps,


This charming old kitchen reminds me of my childhood home.  In my mind's eye I can still clearly see the yellow-painted wall of my mother's kitchen which had two windows--one with a long wooden counter beneath it, on which all of the rolling of pastry dough was done, and under the other window sat the double sink, drain-board, and a white rubber-coated drain rack for holding glasses, plates, silverware and such.  If the person who had wash-up duty that particular evening could manage to do so, then the frying pan and heavy dark skillets were carefully balanced on top of all the clean dishes and cups and saucers, in order to avoid having to hand-dry with a cotton tea-towel.  


This was a special place to grow up; it was light years before the avalanche of product catalogues, life-style magazines, and HGTV shows convinced some of my friends and acquaintances that heaven on earth must entail a Viking 60-inch custom sealed burner range, smudge-proof French doors on the fridge,…

For All of My Design-obsessed Peeps (Hurricane Vintage Remix)

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Peeps,


Today my thoughts turned to Mexico after hearing about the re-enactment of the Crucifixion  in the Mexican suburb of Ixtapalapa, which has has been held yearly since 1843 and one of the premiere performances of faith in this deeply religious country.  Many residents hope that this event will act as a catalyst, a miracle of sorts capable of galvanizing social reform at a time of severe economic duress coupled with the continued risk of personal safety as drug gangs compete in deadly battle over territory and shipping routes.
Mexico is a country of long and deeply held traditions; concurrently it is a place of creative and artistic innovation in the visual, performing, and decorative arts, as well as the applied sciences.  It has produced so many stellar artists of vision and imagination that my head spins at the sheer number. I am forever and hopelessly indebted to Octavio Paz, Frida Kahlo, Carlos Fuentes, Tomas Segovia, Diego Rivera and so many others who skillfully initiated, nu…

For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps (Summer Victory Remix)

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Peeps,

The thought of endless falling rain (in today’s forecast we expect it tomorrow evening and thru Sat) fills me with delicious anticipation.  Here at home in Arlington, just outside the nation’s capital, things have been quite pleasant.  The weather has been cooler and less humid than expected; even yesterday’s mild earthquake played second fiddle to the news of our fellow peep’s win at the primaries.  With Adam at the helm, I feel a little more confident that pragmatism, honesty, and clarity still prevails--as well as representation in Congress for the remainder of the populace not contained within the ruling minority.  Do you think he fully realizes the upcoming fight against the antics of the ‘The Coiffure’ and the Wicked Witch of the 2C (M. Bachmann)?  Should Adam call on ‘The Situation’ to help them ready for 2012?
I received many numerous emails in response to the previous blog posting in which I discussed the probable design inspiration for the ‘Belgian Look’ carried by man…

Visual Treats for Recent Peeps/Weekend Mix (Diamond-Baratta)

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Peeps,
This past week unusual objects popped up on grassy knolls, perched in street-boxes and at the center of round-abouts, as well as fastened to lamp-posts and utility poles.Brightly colored, graphic and designed for quick and easy reading, the signs announcing the Democratic primaries in our districts of Arlington, Alexandria, and parts of Fairfax, seemed to multiply overnight;similarly prolific, teams of polite and earnest young canvassersappeared more frequently in the neighborhood streets at about 5 or 6.While I may not show it when hidden beneath a oversized straw-hat and the armor provided by multiple applications of OFF, I heartily applaud their efforts to get the apathetic, the undecided, and the ambiguous down to the voting stations.Likewise, I applaud noteworthy candidates such as Jaime Ariega-Soto, Walter Tejada, and Adam Ebbin who have pledged to advocate for better funding of public schools and our teachers, comprehensive plans for even smarter growth, and a more balanc…

For All of My Design-obsessed Peeps/WEEKEND REMIX

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Weekend Visual Treat --Summer Remix

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Peeps,


This week, feelings of uncertainty, hesitancy, and worry seem to have become the norm for many Americans. Even a year or two ago, summer was about getting the family and pooch all packed in the station-wagon for a fun-filled fortnight at the beach; the absence of workers meant less time spent on the highways during morning and evening rush-hour commute; summer barbecues extended far into the evening as frothy concoctions proved more potent than anticipated.DJ’s, producers, and musicians all jockey to capture the zeitgeist of these precious weeks before Labor Day and the end of summer; this week the retro grooves on Horse Meat Disco’s double CD perfectly captures the sensual euphoria of the discoteque just before 1 or 2 when it seemed that a rhythmic nirvana was magically present—and the dancers responded in sustained adoration until closing time at 4 or 5.


Today I had the opportunity to visit Old Town Alexandria, a place of quaint shops, side-walk cafes, and historic homes enhanc…

Weekend Visual Treat with Guest Writer Iris White (on the launch of IWI)

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Blog readers and friends,
We have a natural and constant drive to take better care of ourselves. We look for ways to eat healthier, live greener, work-out, meditate, practice yoga, and so forth - it seems that it is part of our DNA to enhance our lives. Yet one area that we often overlook is our home. Much research has been conducted and published on the effects of good design in work settings and healthcare facilities; articles which dealt with the residential sphere proved more scarce. Why is this, I wondered; we spend over half our lives in our homes, so the omission of information in trade publications and other journals was troubling. The benefits to our psyche which can be attained through good residential design are numerous.
Fortunately, bringing smart design into our homes can be easily done, and does not have to cost a fortune. Working with both individual and families, I make sure that I fully understand the priorities and interests of my clients in creating a home that refle…

For all of my Design-Obsessed Peeps -- Weekend Treat/CONTEMPORARY ART

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Peeps,

Nothing compares to the luxury of sleeping undisturbed save for the lucid dreams of sailing through falling rains towards open seas, or flying weightlessly over ancient cities of fog-obscured piazzas and towering gold-tipped spires.  For between dusk and dawn, the realm of endless possibilities and infinite probabilities becomes reality; Everyman and super-hero intertwine and coexist, and the absence of a totem precludes that jarring dissolution much favored by Dom Cobb.  Inception to the sound of endless waves, the taste of salty kisses, and the fecund smell of a new eternity seems a construct most appealing to my receptive mind. 
Upon my return this morning, I had the opportunity to examine the contents of an art portfolio holding papers and prints destined for the frame-shop.  A surprise came in rediscovering several drawings by artist Tim Beard.  The works were riveting, lyrical, and entirely relevant.  A close friend, upon viewing them, gasped that, “they are so beautiful.”…

Visual Treats for Recent Peeps/Weekend Mix--Stone(d) In the Garden

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Peeps,

As a devoted reader of Shane’s blog for quite some time, I was both pleased and apprehensive at his invitation to contribute an article during his absence.  During our many chats, I was encouraged to write about subjects I enjoyed most.  Unfortunately, and under the advice of my attorneys, such incriminations would serve me poorly!!  Subsequently I have selected hardscaping; specifically, the enhancement of texture in the garden through the appropriate use of stone materials.
In my view, the two basic components of any garden is the softscape—plant material, and the hardscape-inanimate materials.  Hardscape materials range from pink flamingos to drainage systems.  There are three basic types of stone materials to select from:  First, surface stone(s) which are any stone(s) harvested from an exposed vantage.  Commonly referred to as weathered stone, this type of stone is ideal for wall materials, as well as steppers.  Often this stone can be found with both moss beds and lichen gr…