Archive for March, 2011

dining room chairs

It is official! The four dining rooms chairs I purchased well over a year ago are finally finished! They hail from the 1940s and were in need of a COMPLETE overhaul…the original paint color was “avocado green” with matching vinyl upholstery, (not a good look!) but I loved the shape and the idea of giving them a new life…so here they are, a year later, stripped, sanded, painted and upholstered in a mohair fabric I chose to compliment the golden hue of the grasscloth…I couldn’t be happier with the results! Oh, and extremely comfortable! In fact, I’m sitting on one as I write this post…

I hope the next time you see a neglected piece of furniture, you’ll stop and think, I wonder what it could be…

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Yesterday, something quite unexpected and wonderful happened, I received a most uplifting comment from a fellow blogger! Tricia Huntley of Luxe & Lucid, mentioned “a thoughtful eye” as one of her “favorite resources” for providing inspiration! Thank you Tricia! I immediately explored her website & blog and WOW…original, expressive, and absolutely beautiful…I was instantly taken with her artful palette and thoughtful compositions…for me, her interiors are true works of art…in fact, I’m reminded of a lovely quote from John Saladino, “I don’t regard interior design as an applied art but as a fine art and in that respect we look upon the interior as participating in art, it is art that you sit in rather than art that you look at…”

I’m thrilled to be able to share with you these incredible images from Huntley & Co. Thank you Tricia for your kindness and for inspiring me with your thoughtful eye…

“Huntley & Co. Interior Design was founded by Tricia Huntley in 2006 following ten years of work in the field. Tricia’s aesthetic has been described as “American Luxe” and articulates her passion for creating environments that are beautiful, interesting and comfortable to live in. Huntley & Co. is located in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington and is currently active with projects in the DC metropolitan area, South Carolina, Arizona and Switzerland.” ~ from Huntley & Co.

Be sure to check out Tricia’s blog Luxe & Lucid! What a wonderful new discovery!

photos from Huntley & Co.

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Today’s post features a magnificent spread from Elle Decor July/August 2010. At first glance, I couldn’t help but notice the porcupine-quill mirrors and thought to myself, could these be the same mirrors that I adore from Sunday’s post, the 1863 Italianate gem? Sure enough, this home is owned and designed by John Dransfield and Geoffrey Ross! Like with their Hamptons home, this New Jersey masterpiece has an incredible story…here is an excerpt from the Elle Decor article describing their most remarkable journey (I thought about condensing the story, but it’s narrated so well, I just had to share it with you! To learn more about the interiors and resources, click on the Elle Decor link above)

” A few years ago, John Dransfield and Geoffrey Ross found the home they had been searching for—a grand Georgian Revival estate named Cherryfields—a short distance from where they were living in New Jersey’s Somerset County. The only problem was that the house was already occupied. “We were obsessed,” Dransfield says. “We’d drive by in the morning to see if anybody was up, and drive by at night to see if the lights were on.” The owner, a recent widow in her 80s, had lived in the house for nearly half a century and wanted to move to a smaller home. “You must meet her,” a friend told them. “She’s just outrageous.” A 9 A.M. appointment was made. “She walked out in full regalia,” Dransfield recalls, “wearing a fabulous suit, a jeweled bib necklace, a big hat. She extended her hand and said, ‘Hi! I’m Nancy Pyne . . . but you can call me Princess.” They made a deal on the spot, but before they could complete the transaction Princess had to find a new home. She searched for months, leaving Ross and Dransfield on pins and needles. “Finally,” Dransfield says, “she asked us, ‘What kind of house do you have?’” Princess toured their 1806 farmhouse and fell in love. In the end, they simply swapped homes. “She has become our Auntie Mame,” Ross says. “She still has full rein of Cherryfields. She comes over when we’re out and leaves little notes that say things like, ‘Love the new chair in the library.’ Cherryfields is in what Dransfield describes as New Jersey’s horse country. (Princess’s sister introduced John F. Kennedy to Jacqueline Bouvier, who rode on the adjacent property; the late Mrs. Onassis’s quarter horse still lives next door.) The house was formed in 1929 when two sisters commissioned the architect A. Musgrave Hyde, who designed some of the district’s palatial homes, to unite the 1840s caretaker’s and chauffeur’s cottages of a nearby estate.”

How rare it is, to be moved by the story behind the interior…in both cases, (the Hamptons home from Sunday’s post and Cherryfields from today’s post), I was deeply moved by the history and the spirit of each home…of course, both are masterful environments re-imagined by artistic and passionate designers but what I find most memorable, and what I will always cherish, are the personal stories behind these extraordinary homes…

photos and resources from Elle Decor

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a sliver of light

a sliver of light made its way into my morning routine…what a wonderful gift on a monday…a minute earlier or later and I would have missed this unique moment…

photos by danielle boudrot, 3/28/11

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It’s amazing how time flies! Here we are, already at part ten of my Sunday tradition! I have been saving this post for spring as it is one of my all time favorite summer homes…I didn’t think it would be fair to tempt you with this home until we had turned the corner from winter to spring…with longer days and bright sunshine, we can start to dream about summer…long walks, soft breezes, salt air and the smell of freshly cut grass…for me, this home embodies the spirit of summer…many of you might remember this beautiful spread from Elle Decor, if so, I hope it brings back some fond memories…if this is your first time, then please enjoy this remarkable home located between the main street of Amagansett, Long Island, and the dunes…

Partners in life and in Dransfield and Ross, the home goods company the couple created more than a decade ago, John Dransfield and Geoffrey Ross fell in love with the original Italianate details of the exterior and the “architecturally pure” interiors of this 1863 gem. Drenched in history, the couple also fell in love with the stories from previous owner Constance C. Willis. According to Ross, “In the 1950s, her dear friends Jackson Pollack and William de Kooning would spend boozy evenings across the street at the Elm Tree Inn, and when the barstools were put up for the night, the painters would saunter over to her kitchen to play poker into the morning.” I  have always loved that story! How wonderful to have this little gem to tell their guests and who knows, maybe they are carrying on the tradition of late night poker in the kitchen!

The first two photos (above) are of the library…I love everything about this room…the porcupine-quill mirrors, the 1920s biscuit-tufted chairs, the soft soothing wall and trim colors, the 1960s wood sculptures…it all speaks to me…this room has been a “go to” favorite for years and years and I’m certain it will continue to inspire me…

photos and resources from Elle Decor

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silver salt and pepper

photo by me, 3/26/11

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Simply titled “Molyneux”, this book explores more than a dozen projects ranging from a Beaux Arts mansion in the heart of Buenos Aires to a Park Ave penthouse. Complete with Molyneux’s personal insights and strategies, this book is definitely going on my list of must haves. My favorite, the cover! It is a photograph of the Palladian Dog House Molyneux designed for a Kips Bay Showhouse. His client? Max, his beloved Scottie dog! At just 3 feet square, it is complete with real marble floors, artful tromp l’oeil painting (notice the scottie dogs!), a portico in front with Corinthian columns and a pediment. I better not show this to Mimi and Bella! They will want their own Italian Greyhound palace! (come to think of it, they are quite happy with a simple gaze out the back window!)

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

photo of mimi and bella by me

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Today’s post features the magnificent Paris home of Mr. and Mrs. Juan Pablo Molyneux. Located in the Marais, the Hotel (in this case “hotel” means townhouse)  Claude Passart was built in 1618 and boasts the glorious opulence of the 17th-century. The extensive renovation was a pure labor of love as Molyneux explains in a 2004 interview with AD, ” I went totally out of control doing this place. It expresses the sum total of my knowledge. Everything I love is here; a historic setting; modern paintings; the most sophisticated Russian, Chinese, French and Italian furniture. This is the way I live-with a 52 inch plasma TV, the biggest I could find, hung against 16th-century boiseries. Listening to Louis Armstrong in a nearly 400-year-old listed building in Paris-it’s fantastic. Whoever walks into this house knows me. This is me.” The passion with which he speaks about his home and his life is truly inspiring…for me, it’s so tangible, I can feel the respect, appreciation and pure joy he has for his craft…please enjoy this masterpiece

above and below, photos from Juan Pablo Molyneux

below, Molyneux conceived the dining room as a singerie, with himself as a singe, or monkey. The wall canvases trace the designer’s education and conclude with him escorting his wife Pilar, also a monkey, to a ball.

below, photos from Architectural Digest

below, photos by Jeff Hirsch for New York Social Diary ~ Guests enjoy an intimate dinner in the Chinese lacquer hall

below, Guests in the library

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I’m not exactly sure when I fell in love with French history and culture…the seed may have been planted in third grade when I began studying French, in fact I can remember learning words in French before ever hearing them in English! Or could it be the two memorable trips to Paris? The romance of Versailles, the charming boutiques and restaurants of the left back, the artistry and energy of Montmartre…no matter the reason, I am 100% smitten with all things French, an official Francophile, so when I came upon this historic French Chateau with interiors designed by the one and only Juan Pablo Molyneux, I knew I had to share this discovery with you…

Known for creating interiors “rooted in history without being historical recreations,” Juan Pablo Molyneux lives and breathes architecture and interior design. With offices in New York City, Paris and Moscow, his residential, commercial and historic restoration projects take him all over the world. For nearly four decades, he’s been creating exquisite interiors that reflect his passion for all things beautiful.

So let us begin our exploration of Juan Pablo Molyneux with the Chateau du Marais. Completed in 1779 by Jean-Benoit-Vincent Barre, it is located on the bank of the Remarde river. Somehow, amid the moats and swans, the interiors still feel human and current…Molyneux finds a way to embrace history while creating truly livable environments…I find that to be a remarkable achievement…genius!

Please enjoy this lovely trip to the French countryside…

“The Chateau du Marais is a rare example of Louis XVI architecture whose magnificent structure is mirrored in the large reflecting pool and the surrounding moats. Anna Gould, who became the Duchess of Talleyrand in 1908, bought the castle in 1899 and began is restoration. In 1961, her daughter Violette de Talleyrand opened the park to the public; in its outbuildings she established a museum dedicated to her great granduncle, the famous diplomat Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand. Today her children, Anna de Bagneux and Charles-Maurice de Pourtales, carry on the restoration work begun by their mother and grandmother.” ~ Juan Pablo Molyneux detailing the history of Chateau du Marais

“My work is so much a part of my life that it has become a constant in my thoughts and actions” ~ Juan Pablo Molyneux

photos from Juan Pablo Molyneux

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I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:–
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

photo by me

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