Thursday, March 29, 2012

Light Boxing

I must start making some decisions.  I've had the same pile of tear sheets and memos sitting on my desk for months.  One pressing issue is two lamps for the back wall of the living room.  Joni at Cote de Texas pointed out these really lovely Ballard Design Small Gourd Lamps by Suzanne Kasler.  Lovely.  Also, $139 each, which, let's face it, is dreamy.


But there are a few others rattling around like this gal with her hands on hips from Vaughn (technically, Ceramic Vase with Curly Handles) that I like better.  At four times the price.  And I keep wondering if later, say fifteen minutes after I plug them in, I won't really see the difference anymore.  That the perfectly lovely gourd lamps will leave a little room for the purchase of something that might be really terrific.  Thoughts?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Meet Me at the Fair


We are just over a couple of weeks out from the opening of Inventing the Modern World; Decorative Arts at the World's Fairs, 1851-1939 at the Nelson.


Perhaps you've seen or heard a little something about the exhibit as it is getting a nice amount of national press.  The exhibit comprises over 180 pieces, including dozens of international loans, some of which have never been seen in the United States.


It may be hard for some of us to keep in perspective the significance of World's Fairs, but they were in every way a meeting of the minds.  Long before ideas, innovation and technology was unlocked with a click of a mouse, these fairs provided the opportunity to showcase and exchange all that was the cutting edge.  These Lobmeyr bowls, designed by Marianne Rath, were exhibited in Paris in 1925.  The inclusion of different earths, such as uranium, allows the glass to change color under different lights.  I had the opportunity to see this transformation a few weeks ago and it is stunning.  The display case at the exhibit includes a light box so visitors can witness this themselves.

For more information on the exhibit, which runs in Kansas City April 14th through August 19th, visit the Nelson-Akins here.

All images courtesy of the Nelson, the image, center, is of the moving sidewalks in Paris in 1925.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I Love Magazines


I bought a painting from Christopher Filley a few months ago - before the holidays - and it sort of brought into focus what I'd like to see happen in the family room.  A little grasscloth, a little Peter Dunham textile, a dhurrie rug and an ottoman instead of a coffee table that digs into the back of your heel when you put your feet on it.  So far I have the painting.

But I didn't know how to frame it.  Then, flipping through March's Elle Decor, there it was.


It just drops in your lap sometimes, you know?  You're not thinking about framing at all, in fact, you're thinking about how you've messed up the Spring Break flights and your husband is going to be furious (he wasn't) and there it is.  The answer.

I didn't want anything lighter around the painting and I wanted the frame to have the same linear, blocky feel.  And I am very, very fortunate to have Dolphin Gallery nearby as Scott and John tinkered happily until we were all satisfied.

Now I just have to order the grasscloth and the fabric and the rug and the ottoman.

Special thanks to designer Steven Johankneckt for unknowingly providing the inspiration, image top,  in Elle Decor, March 2012, photography William Abranowicz; produced by Anita Sarsidi.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hello, My Name Is...


We met a couple of weeks ago.  We were both at the River Market Antique Mall and I passed her idling in a booth at the top of the stair on the second floor.  We said "hello," though I was in a rush and moved on without exchanging pleasantries.  

She made an impression.  Well-built, stable, but a little wobbly under pressure, I thought we might have  a few things in common.  When I returned home from vacation I went back and asked her if she'd like to stay with us for a while.  She said yes; she has an adventurous spirit.  I paid her back rent, twenty-four dollars, and brought her home to meet the boys.  They think she is swell.

Ready for a fresh start, wanting to put her past behind her, she's looking for a new name.  We are open to suggestions.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Out of Office Reply


We arrived in Florida late on undesirable flights due to a mix-up I had made with dates.  Because of the mix-up and its late discovery, we stayed the first night in a hotel in Sarasota that resembled a Quentin Tarantino movie set less the contrived lighting.

It's a short drive to Boca Grande from Sarasota.  Driving on Florida highways always makes me wonder where people live.  Real people.  The people who are accountants and bankers and not fishing guides and small shop owners.  I have a skewed perception of coastal highways that open up to beach towns with nothing in between.

The last few years we have arrived around the same time and driven straight to a favorite haunt for lunch.  This year, as the waitress began to hand us our menus Bill said, "I think we pretty much know what we want."  "How many years in Boca?"  We both turned to look at our oldest and said, "Fifteen.  Give or take a few in the middle."  And I wondered, "Don't you know us?  Don't we look familiar to you?  We belong here."

We spent the day at the beach.  When the boys grew hungry and headed back to eat I stayed to finish Middlemarch, George Eliot treating me better than Austen ever has.  At the house I showered with different soap and towels that smelled wrong and blew my hair with a dryer without enough heat.  All of these things would be unforgivable at home, vexing and bothersome.  At home these details are reminders of shortcomings, of things undone, errands not run.  They are reminders of an imperfect life.  On vacation they are negligible.  Nuance.  Insignificant compared to the sun and the release.

I have learned small things about myself on vacation.  I like to walk to town for the paper and coffee and bread. That fresh blueberries are delicious.  That having music on during the day is delightful.  Being away is wonderful in its own right, but the best of it is coming back better.

Heavens, I did not mean to be away so long.  A couple of projects kept me before we left and then I tried to unplug as much as possible while we were gone.  My apologies to Iris and anyone who noticed my absence and was concerned.  All is well, if somewhat messy and unorganized.  I should be back on track next week.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Oh, To Be She

“Why do a house in just one style? Being narrow-minded is not the message you want to pass on to your children.”
I owe a lot to the esteemed Aesthete (Mr. Lament to some) not the least of which was an introduction to Isabel Lopez-Quesada.  At the time he mentioned her to me I could hardly find an image of her work on-line.  Fortunately for blogland, her site has been up for a while and is a treasure trove of beautiful work.  Her home in Madrid appears in Architectural Digest this month.  You can find it on-line here.  She does this really great thing, this combination of old and new and neutral and color and symmetry and not, and it leaves me, well, as the blogger himself would say, "gobsmacked."  I hope this is just the beginning of what we see on our pages stateside.

Do pick up the issue if you haven't as it focuses on designers' own homes which tend to be my favorites.  Suzanne Kasler in Atlanta.  David Easton, a long-time favorite, in Tulsa, my hometown.  The issue would only have been better had it come wrapped in a red bow.

Image, Architectural Digest, April 2012, produced by Howard Christian; photography Simon Watson.

By the way, AD pays me for what I do there, but not for what I do here.  What I do here is of my own accord.  In case you were wondering.

Monday, March 5, 2012

To the Point


"People sacrifice for the iPhone.  But does anyone think, 'I'm going to take my whole budget and buy a Lobmeyr glass and drink my orange juice every day from rock crystal so I feel nuanced and privileged - and my guests can sit on the floor.'?"  Murray Moss in the WSJ here.

Image via Moss.  This glass is Lobmeyr, though not a juice glass, obviously.  I like to pitch traffic to the source of inspiration when I can and this was the best glass there for here.  Also, it's name is Patrician, which seemed appropriate, and it is a beer glass and there was a time when beer and I hung out together quite a bit.