Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Wall in a Hall

I was intrigued by this wall when I saw it in the Elle Decor Modern Life Concept House. Venetian plaster? Lacquered wall? Was this a hall or a room?

It reminded me of this gorgeous paneled wall in a French chateau, with the soft color and gilded molding.

Upon closer  inspection, it became evident that it was Venetian plaster in a lovely soft blue gray,

in the hall leading to the study designed by Sara Story (as seen here) and created by the talented Judy Mulligan.

 I though it a clever way of adding interest to an otherwise boring space used constantly. Why keep it just as a pass through area? The smooth Venetian plaster begs to be touched and the painted gold trompe l'oeil moldings really made it special.  

Extraordinary sheen!
What have you done in your hallways to take them out of the ordinary?


Monday, May 30, 2011

Glass Wings

Happy Memorial Day to our USA friends!

We'll be planting and generally enjoying the sunshine along with the rest of the garden's inhabitants.

What are you doing today?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Green and Grand

As seen in Interior Design, April 2011      Photo by Richard Powers

Working on a wedding today that promises to be beautiful.

Wouldn't it be enchanting to be a guest and enter the reception by strolling through this 80 foot long trellis tunnel with twinkling lights peaking through the ivy?

This is the entrance to New York's Mondrian SoHo, designed by Barry Rice Architect and interior designer Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz. It is composed of an oxidized steel frame with polycarbonate panels: the ultimate grand entrance.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Softly Bold Colors of Mr. Vicente

I don't know how I had not seen the work of Esteban Vicente before, but when I did, it immediately resonated with me. I think it is his combination of colors. They have a certain softness about them.

Esteban Vicente was born in 1903 in a small Spanish town named Turegano. His father was an army officer whose passion was art. He took his children (who dreaded those trips) every Sunday afternoon to the Museo del Prado,  where they were exposed to some of the finest European works of art. Vicente began to draw when he was sixteen, entered the army as expected, but only lasted three months there. After studying sculpture at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando for three years, he went out on his own. For the next twelve years, he practiced his craft in Madrid, Paris and Barcelona before moving to New York in 1936.

He lived in New York for the rest of his long life. He was included in the New York School of Abstract Expressionism, along with De Kooning, Pollock, Rothko and Newman, and was chosen to participate in the significant exhibitions of their works. Vicente also spent a good deal of time teaching at prestigious art institutions in the U.S..

His works can be found in important collections of museums all over the world. He also has a museum devoted to his own works of art, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Esteban Vicente, located in Segovia, Spain.

Who is your favorite contemporary artist?


Friday, May 27, 2011

In Lavender and Pink

One of the reasons I like tree peonies so much is their color.
Their color range is much larger than that of the herbaceous peonies (which I also love). 

Just look at this lavender!

The darker area on the inner petals read as burgundy black- striking against the yellow stamens.

This particular plant is over six feet tall and just as wide. It receives afternoon partial sun.

Can you detect the two "regular" (herbaceous) peony buds in front of the tree?

 You can see here that the stamens are starting to release the pollen, which is the yellow dust gathering under the stamens. This is one way to tell how old the blooms are.

Isn't this pink peony's coloring angelic?

Here you can see that this bloom is just opening up- the stamens look very fresh and full.

For those worried about bringing in ants with their peonies (don't be), check this out for a full explanation.

Happy Friday!
Happy 3rd Pink Saturday party- visit here!
Linking up to Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home

Thursday, May 26, 2011

An Intermission in Green

Sometimes you just need to step away from color.
One of my favorite looks is to go green and natural. Go outdoors and start choosing- lots of different textures are key here. Be it from your yard, your neighbor's (shhh...) or your family's, you don't need to spend a lot of money to create a pretty design.

While these parrot tulips were obviously purchased, limiting their colors to just white with touches of green makes for a clean and elegant look.

One of the reasons we grow lots of different hostas at home is to use them in arrangements. The lacy alchemilla flowers offer a nice contrast to the bold leaves of the hostas.

Even green veggies and fruits can combine to create a pretty tablescape.

Continuing the theme in the powder room...

What are some of your favorites to cut from the garden?


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tree Peonies, Part One

Early Monday morning I went to get something out of the refrigerator and found this:

The tree peonies were in full bloom, but there was a storm warning and my husband wanted to save some blooms. The door's bottom shelf became our "flower cooler."
Do you know tree peonies?
There are peonies and then there are peonies. 
Specifically, those known as Chinese tree peonies.

I had never heard of a tree peony eight years ago. I was introduced to them by a friend who convinced me to try growing a plant. I did and I was hooked. We still grow the herbaceous peonies (the peony that most will recognize), but the tree peonies have really captured our hearts.

Hardy in most of the U.S. (zones 4-9), as you can see, tree peonies need a bit of space. They will grow large when happy, reaching the size of a shrub or even larger. The plant below is only four years old. We have a lavender tree peony that is over six feet tall. 

They prefer sun, but not a whole day of it. To keep the blooms the longest amount of time, dappled shade would be perfect. They should not be planted close to a tree as the tree would rob the generous root system of its needed nutrients.

Most blooms open up to 6"-10" saucers. Besides their gorgeous colors, they also smell delightful.

Here is a yellow tree peony bloom; isn't it unusual to see a yellow peony?

One of my favorites is the white tree peony.

It has Attitude!

Do you grow any tree peonies?

Coming up, I'll introduce you to its other stunning colors...

Linking up to White Wednesday over at Faded Charm

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gold on Glass

Glass + Gold = Stunning. 
A gorgeous example of verre eglomisé, a technique that involves applying gold leaf (or other precious metals, such as palladium leaf) on the back side of the glass, is presently being presented in the study of the Elle Decor Modern Life Concept House. I featured the same room, designed by Sara Story, last week here, but focused on the lustrous Venetian plaster and gilded peacock door.

Miriam Ellner, the undisputed master of verré eglomise in the United States, is the artist who created the serene glass scrim, which measures 55" x 90" . It is transparent, allowing light to filter through while still providing the illusion of privacy. Gold leaf and paint were applied using an ikat pattern.

At the Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse 2011, which closes May 26th, Miriam worked with interior designer, Celerie Kemble, to create a
verre eglomisé "Sky" ceiling. The glass panels measure 15' x 17' and are not only a thing of beauty, but also must have been an amazing feat to install! It consists of 22-karat gold leaf, lemon gold leaf, palladium leaf, micas and paint applied to the reverse side of the glass in chinoiserie manner.


Corner close-ups:

Here are a few of the many projects that Miriam has done:

Love the herringbone pattern on the right!

Miriam occasionally teaches verre eglomisé classes for the Society of Gilders. You can bet I will be there!



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