Friday’s Photo: Tiny dining space with pizzazz!

A tiny space carved out for dining and made special with a statement art piece.

 ID Creations/Linda Holt Photo


Holiday House Hamptons/Linda Holt Photo

Who said downsizing has to be boring?  If it’s just the one or two of you isn’t this really all you need? A little table, a few chairs and a fabulous piece of art?

Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

Art inspiration: why didn’t I think of that?

Every now and again I see something in a magazine or on Pinterest and think, “that is so clever, why didn’t I think of that“?

Recently I saw some fabulous art work that was made up of something I have right in my garage, antique print trays. These are so common and can be found at almost any flea market or antique store for around ten bucks a piece.

Antique print trays

Antique print trays

I bought six of these trays (many years ago) and at the time I had some fabulous creative ideas about what I would do with them. Well whatever my brilliant ideas were at the time have long since been forgotten because five of them sit in a corner in the garage covered in dust and spider webs. I did make use of one of them to display some shells. Okay, not all that creative, but it served a purpose at the time and looked good in our “coastal inspired”  bathroom.

shell tray

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago and look what I saw while touring the Hampton Holiday House Watch Case Factory. Dozens of print trays fastened together, sprayed matte black and then embellished with some wood cut outs.  What a great and affordable way to add texture and visual interest to that huge wall as well as reference the history of the factory. I love it!!! Genius…why didn’t I think of that?

printing traysWM

Huniford Design Studio

Just wondering if my husband will freak out if I bring home another dozen or so of these trays. On the other hand, we ARE trying to downsize so maybe I better pass. Anyone need five dusty print trays?

3 Top trends from Kips Bay Showhouse

Day 2 of my recent trip to Kravet Blogfest began with a private tour for all the bloggers of the famed Kips Bay Show house.  I’m  not going to write about the rooms because there have already been dozens of blogs and articles written about the house, the designers and the decor. Instead, I would like to share what I saw as the top 3 trends.

1. Lacquered walls, ceilings and furniture. Lacquered furniture has been popular for awhile now but the show house featured several rooms with lacquered walls and ceilings. Many of the colors were deep jewel tones and although beautiful, a note of caution; best to use a professional if you want this look in your own home. This is definitely not a D.I.Y. painting project.

The dining room had lacquered dark teal  walls with a gold leafed ceiling.

Dining Room photo via A.D.

I loved this bathroom with turquoise lacquered walls, moldings and vanity. It felt like being inside a jewelry box. I also loved the giant round gold mirror that took up the entire wall.

Turquoise lacquered bathroom A.D. photo

This purple lacquered ceiling was certainly the focal point of this room.

2. Large scale art. Almost every room featured LARGE  scale art work. I especially liked the triptych photographs of  pond reflections that was hanging in the second floor hallway. Large scaled photography is certainly something you can create for your own home as long as you have a decent digital camera (10-12 megapixels). I also found several online sources that will make large canvas sized prints from your images that won’t break the bank. One that I just recently looked into for myself is Modern Digital Canvas.

The “lounge suite” created by Louis Garcia-Maldonado had two of my favorite pieces; a large photo of Kate Moss

and this wall sized painting of a woman floating in a pool.

3. Wallpaper. If the show house walls weren’t lacquered they were wallpapered. Personally, I have very mixed feelings about wallpaper. The house I grew up in had wallpaper in every room so I have some good memories of it, but I have also spent countless hours removing it from 2 different houses we’ve owned. I do appreciate the look though, especially for powder rooms, bed rooms and entrance ways. I found “La Petite Writing Room” so peaceful and soothing. Can’t you just imagine curled up in that chair writing lovely notes to all your lovely friends?

 The “Modern Family Room” had very graphic black and white wallpaper along with black lacquered trim and moldings as well as a light purple lacquered ceiling.

The sitting room below incorporated all three trends; large scale art, gold lacquered ceiling and wallpaper.

My favorite wallpaper in the show house also made the biggest statement. It is a new Fornasetti design of fish from Cole and Son. Obviously this would not be for everyone and I would probably tire of it in a year or two but I thought it was so fun in this sitting room.

here is a close up of the fish…so detailed.

 After the show house tour it was off to the Hearst building and an HGTV sponsored lunch. The inspiration and fun just kept on coming!

What’s your favorite trend from Kips Bay? Do you have any of them in your house?

The Hot New Art Trend You Can Create Yourself

One of the hottest trends in interiors today is super large art photography. Even though I no longer make my living taking photos, this is a trend that really excites me.

I’m not talking about the 16″ x 20″ wedding photo hanging in your bedroom. I’m referring to HUGE photos that make a powerful statement and become the focal point of the room. Since not all photos  look great super big I thought I would share a few tips for creating your own wall worthy photos.

Look at interesting shapes and forms. I snapped the photo below with my cell phone while getting off a plane in Charlotte, NC.  The sun was just going down and created a beautiful back drop for the shape of the plane and the abstract view of the city of Charlotte way in the background.

Click on any photo to enlarge

I designed a room my photo might look good in…maybe a down town loft space or a bachelor pad.

Photos that tell a Color story make great art photos. Color is one of the most import decisions when decorating a room and the photos below create a wonderful color study of green and purple.

Here is the fun room I chose to put these in.

Take photos from different angels. Rather than always taking your pictures straight on, think about different angels you can use.

Flip your images to Black and White. Yes I know, black and white photography is so “old school” but in my opinion even mediocre images look better in black and white.

joes pond VT

While I was visiting the Boston Design Center last week I couldn’t help but notice this window vignette.

and then today this image was on Mrs. Howard’s blog…very coincidental don’t you think?

Mrs. Howard

Mrs. Howard

yup.. definitely one hot trend.

What do you think of large art photography?  Have you considered using it in your home?

Art For the Love Of Dogs

This past Labor Day weekend we made a visit to a very special Chapel that I have heard about for years.

If you have ever loved a dog and especially if you have ever loved and lost a dog, you must pay a visit to the Dog Chapel in St. Johnsbury VT. Located high on a hill called Dog Mountain the Chapel was the final masterpiece of artist Stephen Huneck.

dog chapel 1

My husband and I own two prints by Huneck and actually met him many years back when he owned a gallery on Nantucket. His artwork was centered around dogs and the chapel was a culmination of his art and his lasting tribute to all dogs everywhere. Built completely by hand starting back in 1977 Huneck completed his dream and opened the Chapel in 2000. The Chapel resembles a 19th-century New England church from the outside, apart from the steeple topped by a winged Labrador.

Stephen Huneck Dog Chapel

Situated on 150 scenic acres Dog Mountain is a paradise for a dogs (and their human’s) with walking trails, a dog play ground and plenty of free doggie treats. There is even a swimming hole that is clearly marked “swimming for dogs only”.

Stephen Huneck Dog mountain

When you approach the Chapel you are greeted by a medley of dog breeds and a sign that proclaims: “Welcome: All Creeds, All Breeds. No Dogmas Allowed.”

Stephen Huneck Dog Chapel

Once inside, prepare to have a very moving experience. Soft spiritual music plays and visitors are encouraged to leave notes honoring their dogs that have passed. As you can see every wall is covered with photos, notes, stories and memories of loved and lost dogs.

Stephen Huneck Dog Chapel

The pews are supported by Huneck’s iconic Black and Yellow Labs.

Stephen Huneck Dog Chapel

The stained glass windows were my favorite part of the Chapel and I love Huneck’s color combinations. Each window features dogs doing what they love: eating a bone,

Stephen Huneck Dog Chapel

sharing ice cream cones,

and getting lots of love.

Stephen Huneck Dog Chapel

Reading some of the moving tributes to the dogs was difficult for me as our current dog Tucker is over 13 years old and we lost our 12 year old dog Maddy to Cancer just over 3 years ago.

Stephen Huneck Dog Chapel

We pinned a note to the wall honoring Maddy and attempted to introduce our Weimaraner Tucker to Huneck’s Weimaraner but he wasn’t too interested.

Huneck dog chapel

He was actually spooked by the whole experience and just wanted to go back outside…or go eat some more treats.

As moving and beautiful as the Chapel is there is a very sad story associated with it. In 2010 after some serious financial struggles Stephen Huneck took his own life. His wife Gwen is doing her best to keep the chapel open but without her husband to keep his art going she currently owes thousands in unpaid taxes. The State of Vermont is threatening to close the Chapel and sell off the land in an auction. We did our part by making a small donation and buying a “Good Dog Bad Dog” reversible bandanna.

After such a moving experience we did cheer ourselves up by taking photos in front of the World’s Largest Maple Syrup can. How happy is that!

How about you are you a dog lover like me? Have you ever heard of Dog Mountain and the Chapel that Huneck built?

 

If you would like help decorating your house or choosing color give me a call.

Through The Looking Glass

I spent a wonderful afternoon last week checking out American glass artist Dale Chihuly. The MFA in Boston is showcasing his work with a new show called Through The Looking Glass. I first saw Chihuly’s amazing talent at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas several years ago.  Over two thousand flowers are lit from above and hang over your head at check in. Although they are called “flowers”, I thought they looked more like a kaleidoscope of colorful jellyfish gliding  over head.

Chihuly Bellagio lobby

It’s a huge draw for tourists and although you can’t see it in the photo all the guests stand in line to check in looking stright up the whole time. It’s quite comical. Here is another closer look at the ceiling.

Ceiling detail at the Bellagio Hotel

 

The Boston show also featured a fabulous glass ceiling. The room was dark and the ceiling was lit from above so it was just like you were underwater.

 

 

How beautiful!

Since I am always curious as to what inspires artists (like in this post) for Chihuly it is Native American textiles.

Here is a photo of his collection which was on display.

 

Chiluly's textile collection at MFA

 

Chihuly’s glass pieces are just a feast for the eyes, beautiful colors and shapes.

 

 

 

The real show stopper for me  however was an entire room filled with Chandeliers. Chihuly says his Chandeliers are his most complex constructions, and I can only imagine how much time and patience go into creating them.

Here are two of my favorites: I love this turquoise snake looking one.

 

and this green one reminds me of filled water balloons.

 

 

 

Here is a close up of the green one…just look at the detail!

 

 

When I got home I did a little additional research on his Chandeliers. It seems you can buy one to put in your own home.  I assume to handle one of Chihuly’s  Chandeliers your home would have to be something like this one in Beverley Hills   (currently on the market for 12.5 Million).

 

Mueller Designs

 

But what about the “average” non multi-multi-million dollar home. It goes without saying you would have to have tall ceilings and a very large lighting budget. Also, don’t even THINK of having, or ever having, children.  Can’t you just imagine an errant ball whizzing by and a little voice saying, “oh, oh…”

 

A little more research and I was able to find a few photos of (more average) homes that do indeed have one of Chihuly’s Chandelier masterpieces.

 

I think the one below looks great in this beach house since the chandelier looks a little like something that washed up on the beach…plus, is the only thing really happening in the room.

 

 

 

 

I am not loving this look below. The dining room looks very traditional and the Chandelier is screaming… WOO HOO… Look at me!

 

 

I think it works better in this tall staircase below, but how do you clean it? or change a bulb?… Maybe Chihuly has a staff that goes around dusting and cleaning.

 

 

One last thought, is it just me or do they look a little dangerous to have inside your home?  They are so pointy and sharpe that I fear I would be constantly looking up, concerned that it might fall.

 

Now those gorgeous glass ceilings?…sign me up!!

 

I would love to hear what you think? Would you hang one in your home?

 

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