Archive for January, 2011

january 31, 1925

My dad would have been eighty six years old today…we lost him to cancer 14 years ago…I miss him everyday but he is always with me…last night during a rehearsal of Brahms Fourth Symphony, he was there with me while I played the heart wrenchingly beautiful flute solo in the last movement…this morning, when I photographed his painting of the purple iris’, he was there with me in the quiet morning sunlight…this post is for him…a thank you for all he has given me…a love of music, art, and a passion for life

Original oil painting of Purple Iris’ by Chester L. Geissler

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If you a newcomer to “a thoughtful eye,” my Sunday posts now feature timeless interiors I have lovingly filed away, oldies but goodies I have been longing to share with you! For today’s post, I chose a southern home whose mix of old and new deserves a round of applause! (a standing ovation for the plaster work in the living room!) New Orleans based architect and interior designer John Chrestia had his heart set on building a modern home but after visiting the sun drenched beauty of the Boulware/Bofinger house, he knew this magnificent piece of New Orleans history was his dream home. A complete restoration of the 1854 Victorian townhouse was in order so he quickly moved to the third floor and went to work. Fortunately, many of the original features were still intact including fourteen foot high ceilings, 12 foot high windows doubling as doors, and gorgeous intricate plaster work. Although the home is steeped in New Orleans history, Chrestia chose to make the interiors his own. By bleaching the floors, painting the walls a creamy white and opening up the layout, he successfully created a clean, neutral environment, perfect to house his eclectic collection of furniture and art. Please enjoy this thoughtful restoration…a piece of history re-imagined for today’s modern lifesytle

above, The double-parlor living room ~ classic French chairs share the room comfortably with a 1960s footed table by San Francisco interior designer John Dickenson and a floor lamp by Angelo Donghia.

below, A painting by Jim Richard hangs above a settee from the studio of Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann. The triptych in the entry is by Louisianan Mark Boudreaux.

below, The dining room beckons through original leaded glass doors and features a French-designed plaster of paris chandelier Chrestia picked up at a gallery in New York.

below, A painting by Louisiana artist Pat Trivigno hangs above the fireplace mantle in Chrestia’s bedroom. The chest of drawers is by Paul McCobb.

below, Chrestia’s vast collection of glass includes secondhand finds as well as pieces by artists like Gene Koss, who created the blue and gold vessels.

photos and resources from Met Home, November 2005

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A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream! —
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act, — act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

(photo by me)

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loire country home

Yesterday I posted images from San Francisco based interior designer Stephen Shubel‘s Paris pied-a-terre so I thought it fitting to follow up with his cozy country home in Loire Valley. It’s California casual meets French style in a way that only an expert eye could pull off. May these images offer you a quiet escape from the wild winter weather! Happy Friday!

photos from Stephen Shubel

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At only 400 square feet, interior designer Stephen Shubel‘s Paris flat has all the makings of the perfect Paris pied-a-terre. It is located in a 17th century hotel particular in the central Marais just around the corner from the stunning Place de Vosges. Although petite in size the apartment has great bones; three pairs of floor to ceiling windows bathe the space in natural light and the fourteen foot ceiling height allows the designer ample wall space for displaying his vast collection of framed drawings, prints, lithographs and antiques mirrors. He purposefully used no color or pattern allowing the furniture and art to take center stage. A pair of muslin covered Napoleon III chairs, golden sea grass flooring, an 18th century Italian painted pine armoire and roughly textured plaster statues live harmoniously together. A petite Paris flat, practically perfect in every way.

“I always wanted to experience the city like a real Parisian, not as a tourist passing through. Sure, sometimes I miss concierge service, but I sleep in my own bed, travel with my dog, and have a place I can keep my stuff….and everything you do here is an adventure.” ~ Stephen Shubel from an interview with Elle Decor

photos and resources from Elle Decor

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If yesterday’s post was the amuse-bouche, then today is the entree, full of gourmet flavors and colors that promise to satisfy your appetite. Well, that’s how I feel when I experience these images of Michael Coorengel and Jean Pierre Calvagrac‘s gorgeous Paris home; a spacious apartment located on the fifth floor of a 19th century Hausmann building overlooking the Place de la Bastille. “The moment you walk through the front door you feel cocooned in a blanket of comfort and warmth. It’s such a pleasure to wander from room to room soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the colors,” explains Michael. The entry hall is a striking shade of purple strategically followed by the oval drawing room’s white walls, purposefully cleansing the palette and resting the eye. Next, the salon boasts a glorious shade of blue followed by an intimate terra cotta sitting room and for the grand finale, their ultra chic and dramatic black bedroom. What a fulfilling journey for the senses. Their home is an extraordinary study in balance and harmony from their bold use of color to their exquisite furnishings and found objects. I’m so thrilled to share with you this inspiring home, filled with imagination and bursting with creativity.

above and below, House and Garden

“In each room the bold color of the walls gives the key, like a musical note, that holds together objects outlandishly disparate in their stories and shapes.” ~ G. Y. Dryansky for House and Garden

below, Romantic Homes magazine

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Destiny brought them together veiled under a different guise. Many years ago, Michael Coorengel and Jean Pierre Calvagrac met as law students but quickly discovered they had a mutual passion for interiors and all things beautiful. Their story is a heart warming happy ending; they now share a home in Paris and run a highly successful interior design business. Drawing inspiration from their diverse interests and life experiences, they create sophisticated interiors drenched in theatrical drama and romance. Every image gives me goosebumps…enjoy this intimate journey to Paris!

above and below, French home

“We have a funny background…Jean-Pierre grew up in big old houses with old French furniture. He never even sat on a sofa until he was 18, I think, and then he just dived into everything modern. But I was raised with everything white and modern and Danish, so when I got out I went for red and gold and velvet and baroque.” ~ Michael Coorengel, from an interview with House and Garden

below, Paris home

photos from Coorengel & Calvagrac

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