From the many comments I received in response to this week's peep-show devoted to homegrown talent (Washington D.C. Designers), it seems that many blog readers were surprised at the outstanding portfolios of our featured designers. Many expressed amazement and delight at the sophistication and skill displayed, as well as the artistic vision(s) presented by our local talent. I will admit that a large amount of work published in the national magazines may belong to designers in New York, California, and Florida, yet beautiful interiors are created everywhere and a more careful reading of Verandah, Southern Accents, any of the regional glossies published under the Modern Luxury Media group, Virginia Living Magazine, Garden & Gun, and countless design blogs proves as such. Many wonderfully talented designers toil in relative obscurity until the chance 'discovery' by a regional editor, a feature article in a local newspaper, exposure to the general public through participation in a Designer's Show-house event, or neighborhood house tour(s), an event this is highly popular in the spring and during the holiday season. I am always quite happy when new talent is discovered, nurtured, and rewarded (by commissions and projects).
In a profile on Jose Solis Betancourt, Architectural Digest wrote: To Jose Solis Betancourt, designing a residence is like designing a set for an opera. " You create this amazing backdrop where clients can perform their lives," he says. " A space is like a procession of acts in a client's libretto. " And, as with opera, he adds, " there are so many layers to it." The first and, to Solis Betancourt, the most important layer is the interior architecture. " If you have a room with no furniture, no art-work--nothing, " it should still be beautiful, " he maintains. " Otherwise you end up hiding things with decoration." From this solid foundation, the next layers -- the draperies, the furnishings, the art-- " flow naturally."
Over the years, I have keenly followed Solis' work, and must commend him (and partner Paul Sherrill) for achieving sophistication, elegance and drama combined with warmth and comfort. Recent projects allude to the hybridization of other influences; namely, his mentorship under John Saladino, yet now entirely his own singular vision; and traces of the incomparable style of modernist Juan Montoya, albeit a softer touch. Jose Solis Betancourt's book entitled Essential Elegance: The Interiors of Solis Betancourt, can be purchased at your local book-store.
Please enjoy today's visual treat, and thanks for all your comments and suggestions.