Monday, September 17, 2012

A Fall Vignette - Bringing Branches Inside


It's starting to feel a lot like Fall!

I spent the weekend outdoors adding Fall annuals to my urns and the beds next to the front walkway. I picked some of the last veggies from my garden and made homemade salsa. 

How did you spend your weekend?

I wanted to share with you some of my favorite tablescapes and vignettes featuring trees and branches. 

The crisp Fall air has me wanting to bring the outside in....


I love the color in this vignette and the fact that the leaves in the branch match the leaves in the black and white art.


I love the skirted table in this entry. 

The dressmaker details for the skirt are impeccable! 
Notice that the console is topped with a piece of limestone. 


I am a big fan of driftwood and love this table.

I would like to see more of this house after seeing this little snippet because I am loving the natural floors, banister and horizontal planking. I love the compact composition of this vignette.


In a more traditional setting, the branches give this room relief and provide a 'free form' in a room that is very structured.



There is a lot to love about this dark, rich dining room especially the color palette and of course, those incredible lanterns.


These are obviously spring flowering branches but they illustrate how easy it is to cut a branch and put it in a hurricane of water...it adds so much to this vignette and the cost is NOTHING!


This is a corner of John Derian's Sag Harbor living room. I have no idea what kind of branch this is but would love to know. I love the textures, especially the aged mirror.

The first day of Fall is this Saturday, September 22nd. I love the changing of the seasons and look forward to bringing the outside in at my own home.

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Friday, September 14, 2012

First Impressions: A Stylish Entry


This stylish vignette leaves me breathless. You?

It's actually not an entry but a lovely serving console in a chic dining room.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wabi-Sabi What?


I have heard the term Wabi-Sabi used to describe a certain bohemian design style but never really understood what the philosophy embraced. I was doing a little research on the photo above from Axel Vervoordt's farmhouse in the Swiss Alps and learned a view things that I found interesting.

Axel Vervoordt, based in Antwerp, Belgium, is respected the world over as an antiquarian and interior designer. He began collecting antiques as a teenager with money loaned to him by his father, a sophisticated man with sophisticated friends, all of whom influenced Axel from an early age. His well-honed eye is drawn to objects from all cultures, continents, and time periods. It’s the mix he is after, as well as authenticity.

I really never knew that wabi-sabi was part of my own philosophy until I read this:

"Pared down to its barest essence, wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. It’s simple, slow, and uncluttered – and it reveres authenticity above all. Wabi-sabi is flea markets, not warehouse stores; aged wood, not Pergo; rice paper, not glass. It celebrates cracks and crevices and all the other marks that time, weather, and loving use leave behind."
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I have noticed over the years that antique-lovers also seem to embrace the organic. I love the simple beauty found in nature and never really understood how the two passions were related....
 maybe the wabi-sabi philosophy explains a few things.



I actually don't know if I could live this simply but it has a certain 'je ne said quoi?' that attracts me.


Fall is barely making a presence here in the South yet I can't wait to build a fire.




This might be my favorite shot of all - I love those rustic shutters and the idea of having an al fresco meal, with wine of course, slope-side under the eaves.






This post must seen strange coming from me right on the heels of yesterday's post of modern, edited black and white spaces. The two posts actually have a lot in common. Wabi-sabi embraces living a simpler, more edited lifestyle. I think the black and white interiors from yesterday were the perfect backdrop to display timeworn antiques, rich with patina, from a well-loved life. It was that black and white, edited environment that turned those imperfections into art.




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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Timeless Aesthetic of Black & White



I have been away from my desk for the last few months, enjoying summer!

 I hope all of you have been enjoying your summers and have spent a lot of time outdoors, traveling, reading and, in general, recharging and relaxing. Thanks to all of you who have reached out to me over the summer. After my little break, I am bursting with inspiration and look forward to great blog conversations this Fall.



Let's talk about all the chic black and white interiors I keep seeing. Do you like them?

They remind me of the elegant, timeless look of Jackie Kennedy Onassis wearing a crisp white cotton blouse, skinny-leg black trousers and exceptional jewelry and accessories.

I am attracted to the chic simplicity of these spaces. I love seeing these spaces punctuated with a very edited collection of beautiful antiques.

The antiques take on a sculptural quality and the space takes on the feeling of a serene gallery.

It's that juxtaposition, of old and new, sleek and textured that has me intrigued.

My guess is that it takes a very sophisticated eye to create one of these beautiful spaces. Probably, a lot harder than decorating in color. 

Take a black and white photo of any room. You will know right away if your 'composition' is worthy. There is something about seeing a space in black and white that brings all the basic interior design principles - balance, scale, proportion, harmony, rhythm even color - into focus.



Two rooms decorated by the legendary Albert Hadley illustrate the timeless qualities of a black and white interior. French, English and American antiques mix easily. Although these spaces were put together many years ago, they still feel fresh and current. Notice the floors in the photo above are painted white and those below are painted black. 

I personally love the way the painted floors give these rooms a fresh, edited more modern aesthetic.


If you look closely at many of the images from Albert Hadley's own home, you may notice pieces of furniture that 'float' from one room to another. I am particularly fond of the little bench in the foreground. It is also featured in the first room, in front of the fireplace. In another picture, you will notice that it resides at the foot of a four-poster bed (below}.



I think that is one of the magical qualities of a house with a black and white palette...the rooms are united and form a serene yet modern backdrop where the furnishings can move from room to room and a desperate collection of personal treasures can live in harmony.

"While I like things that I own, I don't have anything that I could not live without. I am constantly moving things around, passing them on to friends - a sort of sharing - and when it is appropriate, using things I own in decorating schemes. When I use something that I have owned for many years in a project for a client, I don't think of it as getting rid of something. For me, it is like keeping things in the family."
~Albert Hadley




You can't pick up an issue of one of the latest magazines without noticing a signature home designed by Darryl Carter. A lawyer by education now a self-taught designer with a thoughtful eye and passion for antiques. He creates over-the-top gorgeous gallery-like spaces. Darryl Carter embraces white, in all its possible tones. One of his favorites -Benjamin Moore’s Moonlight White. In fact, he has just released a new collection of signature paint colors through Benjamin Moore.

Whether you embrace the black and white palette or not, you can learn a lot from Darryl Carter about creating edited spaces and incorporating antiques into modern interiors.



"By pairing classic, time-honored forms with unorthodox textiles. Many antique pieces have a striking simplicity when executed in an unexpected fabric. Typically, I juxtapose these pieces against modern art in a relatively monochrome palette."
~Darryl Carter 




“A room is complete when you are called to it for respite. If, while still stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on your drive home from a long workday, you see relief ahead in the form of a chair in a particular room, perhaps with a good book or a glass of wine, you have finished.” 
 ~Darryl Carter


"Part of creating interesting and unique environments is juxtaposing furniture pieces and objects that have no obvious relationship to one another but that simultaneously counterbalance one another.”   
~Darryl Carter


“When buying furniture, be thoughtful and disciplined. Choose fewer pieces of greater quality and interest. You should first go looking, not shopping. If something flirts with you, trust that you will later find something that seduces you; discover what uniformly appeals to you before making any purchases. While an object or a furniture piece may be beautiful standing alone, imagine it keeping company with other furniture pieces as you see the room evolving. You will discover that certain styles or periods appeal to you.”
~Darryl Carter


Designer Betsy Brown of Birmingham creates beautifully modern spaces that leave me breathless. 

I have been smitten with her elegant interiors from the first time I saw her chic, little bungalow featured in House Beautiful here. Her interiors are a study in contrasts. I absolutely love how she incorporates antiques and modern art into all the spaces she designed. "Modern" has always had the bad reputation for being "cold" and her interiors, although clean and edited, have a certain warmth to them.


"To me it just feels appropriate and comfortable. I love color, but I think it should either declare itself as the major player in a composition or quietly add the crucial notes that balance a room and make it intriguing. I usually opt for the latter."
~Betsy Brown 


"Betsy Brown teases classical and modern elements into elegant harmony." 
~House Beautiful 


"We expand upon the authentic and delete the superfluous. Modern sensibilities form the foundation while antiques inform and balance providing a delicate tension and subtle energy."
 Betsy Brown Interiors



Black and white photography can add a graphic punch and contrast in white spaces.

Designer Phoebe Howard unifies a collection of family photographs with matching black frames and crisp white matting creating an elegant and personal family stairway. I love the ebony stain on the floors and chic black lacquer railing.


Architect Bobby McAlpine and Interior Designer, Susan Ferrier create a dramatic and graphic passageway with an interesting palette of black and white and soft gray. The elegant gold sconces are a nice contrast to the modern aesthetic.


It's hard to play favorites with all the beautifully designed homes we see everyday 
but I fell in love with this house featured in Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles Magazine and find that I keep referring to it for inspiration. I love the texture and timeless quality these spaces have but also find myself falling for the contrast of the black & white palette. It feels modern and current and incorporates beautiful old materials and a warm collection of antiques.




This small kitchen is a perfect example of how simply elegant a black & white palette can be! It's timeless, chic, fresh, masculine, feminine and modern all at the same time.

Have you noticed all the black and white rooms popping up lately?


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