Sunday - August 3, 2014

Karl Kipfmueller’s Brooklyn Townhouse

The furniture restorer by profession establishes the fact that faded, worn and creased is comfortable and unique.

Elle Decor’s story on Karl Kipfmueller’s townhouse in Brooklyn, amidst the high rises and new development going on, depicts a time gone by quality. Be in the mindset of a craftsman a hundred years ago and this home will lead you to ask why things can’t be done the same way today or why many don’t stop to admire this standard.

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Can you tell the hundred year plus beams in the kitchen ceiling photo above? Compare that with the beams we see in new condos today ? The rough and hand hewn characteristic is a detail that you should not miss in old houses.

 

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The hand stenciled walls in the hallway in very traditional Italianate colors is a brave move in a small space that can look overdone with personal art work. It is eye catching.

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A bust such as this gives you a little national park feature in your own backyard.

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And then to use an attic as a bright, airy studio is a witty counterpoint to all the old world madness that is happening underneath it.

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I experienced this in my own home and today, while I appreciate clean and modern lines, I don’t think I will ever want to be surrounded with things younger than me.

The opposite is true with people though. I like conversations with the young mind but my design eye is always tugged by the aged.

Photgraphy by William Abranowicz

Courtesy of Elle Decor.

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Tuesday - July 29, 2014

Jeans turn 80 today

 

I knew denim is rooted in years but not that it is even older than my mom who turned 78 this year.

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Lately I have been fixated by patched denim garments and then I saw this article from Lucky magazine August 2014.

It totally shows the picture of how denim is so personal and unique and how it wears down so elegantly and confidently.

Denim to me, is how most everyone feels about black. It can be dressed up or down.

The only thing I can’t do is the skinny trend. I am very much into dressing for comfort (and with denim it never falls short of style).

 

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Sunday - July 20, 2014

You Can (Wall) Hang Just About Anything

Filed in: Frames, Wall Decor

Yes, tennis rackets, hats, umbrellas (even towels) can cohabit your wall interspersed with more standard paintings and art.

 

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Frames can go over to areas where wall sconces are- you’ll be surprised they look quite right with each other.

 

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And throw in a TV in between all that for good measure…

 

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Yes, there are a multitude of ways. If you don’t have windows but have walls instead, you can make them just as beautiful and just as functional.

 

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Photographs from Designers at Home by Ronda Rice Carman. Published by Rizzoli.

From Top to Bottom : Homes of Eric Hughes and Nathan Turner, Robert Passal, and  Brian Patrick Flynn.

 

 

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Thursday - July 17, 2014

What is it about Tangier ?

An article in the NY Times magazine last April 11, 2014 featured 10 foreigners who came to visit to stay a while and decided it was the place to stay. Since then have made the city their home and let the years go by.

Morocco has always titillated me and long been on my travel wish list. This article describes vividly where my curiosity lie. It begins with the definition of AESTHETE.

aesthete |ˈesˌTHēt(also esthete)nouna person who has or affects to have a special appreciation of art and beauty.

 

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Article by Andrew O’ Hagan

Photographs by Will Sanders

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Sunday - July 13, 2014

Dark Painted Ladies

I live in an Edwardian 100 year old house, not a Victorian. But living amidst these “painted ladies” or the Victorian houses that you must have come across at some postcard buying chore on a visit to my city,  compels me to have an opinion on the latest dark color trend that seems to sweep the city.

I want to share an article in last month’s San Francisco magazine entitled “The Dark Art of the Painted Lady” .

 

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The concept of a dark colored Victorian is novel and fresh. Yes it is radical but give it a few years when people have grown accustomed to seeing darker colors and soon the trend would revert to light again.

Last week, when my mom and aunt were visiting, I did get my fair share of driving around town and taking more notice of these Victorians, Edwardians and turn of the century homes in the older neighborhoods of San Francisco. It made me recall our decision on colors when we painted our building. The mid-tone neutral for the base with a darker or lighter contrast color for the trim, and the darkest or lightest color for the window frames and sashes. Shutters were usually the same color as the trim. Solid white buildings were a rarity and even if modernity scorns on gingerbread pastel color combinations, these still prevail. In fact, it is what is expected when the term “Painted Lady Victorians” are mentioned.

 

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The book, Victorian Exterior Decoration: How to Paint Your Nineteenth Century American House Historically by Roger W. Moss and Gail Caskey Winkler is a resource, not only for Victorian fanciers but for any design student and enthusiast. Even the big paint companies have ready palettes that honor traditional colors for Victorians: Benjamin Moore has its Historical Colors series and Sherwin Williams has their Preservation series.

As an residential designer, I abide by no rules when it comes to color. I explore possibilities but more than that, I opt for the practical option: if the current paint is light, I would most probably go with only a tone lighter or shade darker, lest the need for multiple coats of paint that can impact a remodel budget. I would also consider the orientation of the house and how much sun exposure it gets. But above all, like choosing an item of clothing, color is very personal (a shade or tone lighter or darker is very personal) and in the end, what pleases the owners’ eye is what counts. Preservationists and historical buffs may scoff at your choice. But in design, it is impossible to please everyone.  I remember that each time I pass my neighbor’s cement colored, lifeless facade as I walk into one that has my version of the perfect shade of green.

Article from San Francisco magazine, June 2014.

Photographs courtesy of Terry Way and Kathryn Mann.

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Wednesday - June 18, 2014

Bette Midler’s Manhattan Penthouse Apartment

A penthouse, in Manhattan belonging to Bette Midler but unlike most Hollywood celebrity homes, hers is restrained with details carefully chosen.

It is a true testament to the adage that a lifestyle dictates the design. When that is achieved, it is the mark of good design.

 

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All photographs courtesy of Architectural Digest, June 2014 issue.

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Thursday - June 5, 2014

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Filed in: Art, Personality

On a Memorial Day weekend trip to D.C., I introduced myself to the artist ERNST LUDWIG KIRCHNER and some of his work at the National Gallery of Art.

Kirchner is an Expressionist.

Expressionism is a style in which the artist seeks to depict not objective reality but rather one’s subjective responses.  This is accomplished through distortion, exaggeration and fantasy. In a broader sense Expressionism is one of the main currents of art in the later 19th and the 20th centuries, and its qualities of highly subjective, personal, spontaneous self-expression are typical of a wide range of modern artists and art movements. Expressionism can also be seen as a permanent tendency in Germanic and Nordic art from at least the European Middle Ages, particularly in times of social change or spiritual crisis. The roots of Expressionism were laid by the likes of Van Gogh and Edward Munch. It was about 1905 when a group of German artists led by Kirchner formed a loose association called Die Brucke (The Bridge)  with Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and Fritz Bleyl.

These painters were in revolt against what they saw as the superficial naturalism of the Impressionists.

This work is titled “Bather”. I was attracted to the study-like quality of the sketch but with some colored strokes, it looked complete.

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“Nude Girl Lying on Sofa” (using wood cut ) reminds me of Matisse’s many nude sketches in solid black marker.

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And here are more of his work from KIRCHNER by Norbert Wold, that I thought showed his breadth and style.

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