Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Winter We Didn't Have

How about a winter treat? 

Because we in the U.S. are experiencing a winter that is really more winspring, it's not been possible to fill the slightly sunken area in the backyard with water and watch it freeze into a mini ice rink. Was that a sport of yesteryear? 

However, as my Dutch husband pointed out, this year Holland (and much of Eastern Europe) has been on the cold side and their ponds and lakes and canals have frozen over to provide ice skating galore.

Pieter relates to me that when he was growing up, it was just what you did when you were three or four- your parents strapped on the ice blades, brought you out to the canal with a small chair and you began to learn:

Of course, when you were too tired, you'd rest!

Apparently, it was very unusual not to know how to skate. And because they get very little snow, with the land being so flat, the ice becomes like glass.

What a wonderful custom! 
And so beautiful.

Do you remember those days of being a child and playing outdoors (and not in front of a computer screen)?


Monday, January 30, 2012

Vintage Modern

For those who wish to transport themselves elsewhere while remaining in their own home, check out this collection of vintage modern wallpapers created by British design team, Young & Battaglia. Their collection can be found at Mineheart.

Loving this Black Wrought Iron Panel wallpaper...

White Panelling wallpaper

White Cast Iron Lace wallpaper for the French inspired room?

Inspired by the Chesterfield sofas...Deep Buttoned Chesterfield wallpaper

And my favorite, for obvious reasons. Since I am not a muralist, I could definitely see "settling" for this if I can't have a summer villa in Italia.

Stone Angels wallpaper

Closeup of Stone Angels

Which is your favorite?


Sunday, January 29, 2012

French Twists

One hundred twenty-five years ago, the Eiffel Tower was begun. Imagine how big the festivities will be on May 15, 2014 for the 125th celebration of its opening at the 1889 World Fair in Paris.

For a fascinating read on the construction of the Eiffel Tower, visit here.

Did you know that the Eiffel Tower "was painted in Barbados bronze, a reddish brown color, which was applied in progressively lighter shades from bottom to top in the hopes of making the tower look even taller"?  I didn't either.

It has to be the most recognizable building in the world!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Wow Factor

No subtlety here. 
And that amazing wall of Azzurro Onda Marina granite definitely qualifies for a Wow!

It is perfectly set off by the white and black in the rest of the bathroom, designed by Juan Montoya,
wouldn't you say?

Here the floor and steps quietly compliment the rest of the foyer, but when you look closer at the onyx, the beauty of the pattern draws you in with its drama.

Mish Tworkowski's recently opened New York City store also provides major drama in the reception room with its hand-painted, faux bois walls.  Mark Uriu Studios did a gorgeous, gorgeous job.

Definitely the Wow Factor!


Friday, January 27, 2012

Natural Wonders

Conservation International recently revealed more than 46 new species that were discovered in southwest Suriname during a study aptly named "An Armored Catfish, a 'Cowboy Frog', and a Rainbow of Colorful Critters discovered in Southwest Suriname". We need turn no farther than Mother Nature for our inspirations and color combinations!

Even a gilded leaf beetle! 

To see the full story, click here.

I don't know about you, but our location in northern Ohio was totally covered by thick clouds for most of this week, so we missed any hope to see the extra special Aurora Borealis of 2012, special because of the sun's extraordinary activity.

Here are some photos taken in Alaska and the northern countries of Norway and Finland of those extraordinary skies.

Did any of you manage to see the Northern Lights?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Marble You Say?

On the heels of Fooling the Eye, I present you two classic designs with an unexpected twist.
The first: a marble chair. 
Ouch- a tad hard, but an interesting concept.

Created by Haute Couture designer Maurizio Galante, in 
partnership with trend forecaster Tal Lancman, (who run the design and consultancy service company INTERWARE), the marble chair is a wingback chair, yes, but with the latest in
print technology- a 100% silk cover finished with a digitally  reproduced carrara marble pattern. The chair's framework is plywood structure with polyurethane foam, designed for the Italian manufacturer, Cerruti Baleri. 

The pattern is amazingly accurate. So cool.

Louis XV Goes to Sparta chair

There are two other patterns.

Portasanta marble pattern

Grande Antico marble pattern

The second: Marbelous Wood by Danish designer Pernille Snedker Hansen

Pernille beautifully combines the old marbling technique, similar to the marbling of papers, with lengths of pure pine wood to create her marbled floors. The result is a vibrant pattern in harmony with the wood's natural grain, giving the wood an organic, colorful look.The colors and patterns can be customized to fit the decor.

Pernille Snedker Hansen has an excellent video presenting the creating of Marbelous Wood, which you can see here. A few excerpts follow below.

After she has established the colors and patterns that she likes, each piece of raw pine is dipped into the bath to obtain its coloring.

Clever and so beautiful!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fooling the Eye

It is described as fooling the eye. 
Trompe l'oeil is the art of illusion and if you are going to visit Paris in 2012, be sure to stop by the Musées des Arts Décoratifs, where they are holding an exhibit of over 400 items from their extensive archives. The exhibit, Trompe-l’œil. Imitations, pastiches et autres illusion, is opening on February 2, 2012 through November 15, 2013. The exhibit will feature never seen before works from their storerooms, including wallpapers, floorboards, paintings and jewelery.

Armoire Surrealiste by Jean Marcel, 1941

From the sublime to the ridiculous...

An illusionistic canvas depicting a false dome by Andrea Pozzo (1702) in Arezzo, Italy

 Man sitting on a cafe terrasse Gunnar Larsen, 1973

A great book, which occasionally surfaces in used bookstores and websites, is La Peinture en Trompe-L'oeil by Henri Cadiou and Pierre Gilou. Below is a taste of the steps required while painting trompe l'oeil. I find the art quite amazing and way beyond my reach!

 Mouchoir Pendu by Pierre Gilou, 1989

The Trompe L'oeil exhibit will also focus on the works of Owen Jones and his famous The Grammar of Ornament, as well as Albert Racinet’s L’Ornement Polychrome,  which not only provided medieval and Moorish motifs for 19th-century creators, but still continue to today. I treasure my copies and look to them for inspiration often.

Les Arts Décoratifs 107, rue de Rivoli 75001 Paris 
tél. : 01 44 55 57 50 

P.S. Kelly Wearstler has some fab trompe l'oeil photos up on her website...


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