Art. A word that describes a diverse range of activities. Visual art – painting, sculpture, photography, film etc. Interactive art – music, theatre, dance, literature etc. Sometimes it is the simplest things in life that is art. Last year while shopping in NYC I saw this store display of all white mannequins dressed in all white clothing. (I don’t even remember what store; there were lots!) It was the layering of white that the stylist had assembled with pops of colour which made me stop and admire. Art – and it was not in one of the many NYC galleries either. I took a photo and loved the result. Reminds me of a room with all the furniture slipcovered in white and the beautiful azure blue ocean just outside the window.
Photo #1 – Modmissy, Photo #2 Houzz.com
Luxury is often associated with royalty. But must we be royalty to indulge in royal living? This weekend marks the 1st anniversary of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton. To commemorate the first year of marriage, tradition calls for gifts of paper or in the UK, cotton to be exchanged. How sweet. Instead I thought you would rather have a glimpse into royal luxury where details like original, hand carved, gilded come to mind. And silk, velvets and hand-woven damasks are the norm. Soaring ceilings, grand staircases, opulent drawing rooms are everyday.
The 1st photo is of the Grand Staircase of Buckingham Palace. Notice the magnificent gilt-bronze balustrade with detailed scroll work which is duplicated in the gilt-plaster on the walls. And the larger-than life family portraits are grand in size too.
The next photo is the White Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace. The word ‘opulence’ comes to mind here. Large gilded mirrors, yellow silk, massive crystal chandeliers. Notice the doorway and the detail of the trim. Beautiful!
This is the Crimson Room of Windsor Castle. Is the colour combination of crimson and gold not totally stunning!? Once again, massive crystal chandeliers, gorgeous silks and an area carpet that is probably larger than the square footage of my entire home!
This is the Waterloo Chamber of Windsor Castle. Notice the length and shine of the very, very long table. Like all the above photos, it is the soaring ceiling heights that have me mesmerized.
We can’t all live in Buckingham or Windsor Castle but our home/condo/apartment is our castle. This weekend in honour of the anniversary indulge and pamper yourself with life’s luxuries. Soak in a bath with scented soap and a stack of fluffy towels. Drink tea out of a china tea cup and nibble on ‘petit fours’ served on silver. Toss some silk cushions on your sofa. Sit back and be served! Enjoy.
When we purchased our home the basement was finished. Although many different definitions of ‘finished’ abound! The house is ~100 years old so a century ago the ‘cellar’ was never meant to live in. The basement was cold as insulation was not a factor in the home’s original construction. The previous owners tried to rectify this problem by installing a fireplace. A corner fireplace. Often considered to be the bane of designers! They also had a Santa Fe décor (note the purple wall colour) I believe to emulate warmth!? Due to the room’s layout the only place for the television was above the fireplace – terrible neck strain! Also, that meant that our sofa/sitting area was in the most narrow part of the room while the rest of the space was unused. We rectified this by flipping everything around. We got rid of the [ugly] corner fireplace and our solution to the cold factor was…..wait for it….insulation! In the process of figuring out the best solution as to how the room could be used we moved everything into different positions and lived with it for a while. After a long and dirty (we found out where at one time the furnace coal used to be stored) we now have a fabulous new ‘media’ room.
All images via Modmissy
In the sidebar of my blog I have the ‘Modmissy Wish List’; the location where I place the item I am ‘wanting’ (not needing!) at the moment. My current obsession – Martha Sturdy resin bowls. www.marthasturdy.com. Actually I have been enamored by Martha Sturdy resin bowls for some time. I would love to have a large resin bowl on my dining table. For over 30 years at her studio in Vancouver, British Columbia, Martha has been creating statements in resin. Each resin design is exclusive to itself; having its own colouration, air bubbles, irregularities and textures. The unique quality of each handmade piece makes it a true original piece of functional art. (Functioning as a salad bowl?? – never!!) With an international reputation in art, sculpture and design, Martha Sturdy is known for her distinctive style that is sophisticated, minimal and bold. Martha also creates in steel, brass and aluminum. Her three-dimensional sculptures are made from resin and hand cut hot rolled steel. Architectural by nature Martha designs the artwork with cutouts to capture light and form drawing people in and asking them to interact with it; touch it, feel it.
Martha Sturdy Resin Bowl in Shimmer Red
Resin Bowl in Soft Grey Marble – looks like real marble
Resin Bowl in Plum
Martha Sturdy Brass Trays
Three Dimensional Sculpture “Marmalade” – resin and steel
This past week has been a little grey outside and the weekend is calling for rain. Therefore I believe that the upcoming ‘colour’ forecast calls for some cheery yellow. Add a splash of yellow in your life like this Pantone Yellow M colour chip.
If you are brave enough paint a feature wall in a guest bedroom, the inside of a cabinet or a small piece of furniture. If that’s too much how about listening to soothing sounds from a Tivoli radio. www.tivoliaudio.com
How about pumping up the energy of a neutral kitchen with the Jake chair from Room and Board www.roomandboard.com . Takes tea time to a whole new level.
This contemporary yellow sofa from www.bebitalia.it would definitely create a statement.
So wherever you find yourself this weekend I hope it is a cheery one. And remember – smile!!
Taking advantage of the nice weather yesterday I decided to get some exercise while the sun was still shining. As I passed by this home now vacant and under major renovation the words of Forrest Gump played in my head, “You can tell a lot about a person by their shoes”.
Well there were no shoes lying about or construction boots either but the tell-tale signs were still present – the blue shutters. The house had been sold and the previous owners are gone but the shutters still tell the story of who used to live there. The shutters shade of blue was a paint colour very popular in the 1960’s and unless the previous owners were a young couple with a penchant for retro colours (which I highly doubt) this was the home where Grandma and Grandpa had lived for decades. Colours have history. In 1961 the Dulux® paint colour guide included Summer Blue, the same shade as these blue shutters. Dulux no longer includes Summer Blue in their colour palette. It’s dated. (Just like clothing with huge shoulder pads that scream 1980!)
Blue is still a popular colour but it is the shade and hue that has changed to make it more current and up-to-date. In the midst of all this renovation one can still tell that this home had been greatly loved and meticulously taken care of and I am sure the new owners will do the same but the blue shutters will be gone and replaced with colour that is more 2012-like.
This spring I have had a real desire to decorate with colour – especially pink. I have never been a ‘pink’ person but I have been imagining my décor with hits of this bright hue. It could be that the neutral colours of winter have me wanting anything but taupe, linen and grey. I have been imagining how fun it would be to have something like this bright pink sofa from www.jamesstuartduncan.com and decorate a room around it with other hits of colours like juicy orange, sunshine yellow and chartreuse green.
So this past weekend I went shopping…..but for clothing/shoes/accessories. Something I love to do! A session of retail therapy always works wonders. Of course a change of season is always a good excuse to go shopping too! My subconscious mind must have been preprogrammed because the first thing that I found was a pink (actually raspberry) patent purse from www.badgleymischka.com. I realized that my desire for colour had transferred over to my wardrobe. It was way over my budget but I had to have it so I justified it by the fact that it cost a lot less than the pink sofa.
This purse became the ‘springboard’ for the shopping adventure that followed. Those who know me will agree that generally I dress in black and white not bright colours so this shopping spree was a departure from the norm. My eyes scanned the racks of clothing looking only for pinks, oranges, purples and chartreuses.
So this is what I came home with.
Whereas had I gone furniture shopping I would likely have come home with this – same colours, different pieces Funny how that works!
Sofa and Chair: www.jonathanadler.com Bouquet Chair: www.moroso.it Lacquered Trays: www.westelm.com Striped Pillow: www.roomandboard.com Chartreuse Pillow: www.westelm.com
My backyard is both my sanctuary and my little ‘green space’ in the city. I look forward to being able to return to my summer hangout. But until the warm weather is here I can patiently only watch spring’s progress in my backyard. From my kitchen window, which is elevated above the backyard, I have a bird’s eye view to observe all the activity going on. The buds on the trees are just starting to come out and some of the perennials are beginning to poke up out of the soil. And the birds are so busy at this time of year. Blue Jays, robins and cardinals are constantly flying about; looking for mates and starting to nest. But here is the thing – I have a garden mirror that hangs on a wall in the backyard. The mirror tucked in behind some greenery gives the appearance of creating visual space where none exists. My yard is small so this ‘trompe l’oeil’ (French for ‘fool the eye’) is perfect for tricking one into believing that my backyard is spacious. Same tactic as when a mirror is used inside a home. But each spring I have to cover the mirror over with a plastic sheet to prevent birds from hurting themselves. The birds, mostly robins, upon seeing their reflection in the mirror believe it to be another bird that is in their territory. The bird fights itself to such a length that I have noticed blood on the mirror. Not nice for the bird! So I thought I would pass this info on to anyone who may have a garden mirror. Cover over the mirror during springtime until the birds are finished mating.
A photo of a robin in spring – let’s protect him.
My garden mirror in spring before plant foilage covers over.
My garden mirror in summer somewhat hidden from surrounding foilage.
All images via Modmissy
On a trip to Chicago I visited the Shedd Aquarium. Considered to be one of Chicago’s no. 1 cultural attractions where visitors can make ‘inSheddible’ connections with over 30,000 animals, from snails to whales. Initially I thought, boring…., but I was actually quite captivated. Along with seeing beautiful fish and lots of creeping and slithering animals I was amazed at the amazing kaleidoscope of colours. Design takes its inspiration from nature and the colours at the Shedd definitely showcased this. So I thought I would share some of my Shedd photos and parallel them to furniture pieces from Moroso www.moroso.it
All animal images via Modmissy. All furniture images via Moroso.it
I recently wrote about the dining set I inherited from my parents. http://modmissy.com/2012/02/23/the-dinette-table/. The table, 6 chairs and buffet are mahogany with a French polish finish. My mother steadfastly protected the beautiful sheen of that table and buffet. i.e. “Get your sticky fingers off that table!” (I heard that a lot growing up!) Along with the china and silver, the buffet was the place where my mother stored her ‘important papers’. So when I inherited the mahogany dining set I also inherited my mother’s decorating history. Underneath the drawer liners were the receipts and invoices of many of the furniture pieces my parents had purchased over the years. My mother took her interior decorating seriously. She did a lot of research and inquiry before making any purchase. In the late-1960’s my mother decided that what the living room needed was 2 occasional chairs. So she began her research. That research took her to The Thornton-Smith Company; Furnishers ·Decorators· Designers located on Yorkville Avenue in downtown Toronto. Thornton-Smith was a legendary Toronto design influence that helped to single-handedly define Toronto interiors for nearly a century. Thornton-Smith sold custom furniture, fabrics, rugs, drapery; decorated the Royal Alexander Theatre, parts of Massey Hall, the former Walker House Hotel, the Senate Chamber in Ottawa and painted stencil decoration for many Ontario churches. For my mother Thornton-Smith provided her with 2 bergere-style chairs. But this was the late 1960’s, long before technology, so before my mother purchased her chairs her initial inquiries, received via Canada Post, were artist sketches of the different chair designs. From these various sketches my mother decided on 2 of the chair styles. The first chair she chose was the chair I wrote about last April http://modmissy.com/2011/04/15/my-purple-chair/ . I have recovered and re-stained the chair but the style is the same. The 2nd chair I also still have. I like to think that I not only inherited 2 nice chairs but a piece of Toronto decorating history.
Here is the original envelope my mother received. Note the date stamp – Nov. 18, 1968.
Here are the artist sketches of the various chairs my mother received. The first photo is the original sketch of my purple chair. The 2nd photo is the original sketch of my other chair my mother purchased.
All images via Modmissy