The most beautiful art you’ve never seen

For those of you who have been to Italy, you already know there is incredible beauty everywhere you look. Our Wine and Design travel group first spent time in Venice where the canals and architecture are picture postcard perfect. This image was taken at just about sunset after a day of rain while on my way to the hotel. I mean seriously…does it get any more beautiful than this?

Venice from the Grand Canal: Linda Holt Photo

Venice from the Grand Canal: Linda Holt Photo

Well yes, it does because then a few days later we traveled by bus to Verona and drove past miles and miles of lush green countryside and vineyards. This image was taken right out of the bus window while driving down the highway. Imagine my angst that we were driving by all these picturesque towns and I was on a moving bus shooting through a glass window. If only the window had opened I would have hung right over the side of the bus and risked my life to get a better shot.

Italy:Linda Holt Photo

Italy:Linda Holt Photo

Then of course there were the many vineyards we visited. Can I just say, this must be what heaven looks like.

Italy Vineyard:Linda Holt Photo

Italy Vineyard:Linda Holt Photo

So with all this scenic beauty I didn’t think there would be much else that would wow me…until we went to the Antolini Stone Yard. Oh…My… Goodness. If you think you’ve seen granite and marble, you haven’t seen anything unless you’ve visited the world’s largest stone yard. It was one of the highlights of the trip for many of us. The stones are sourced from all over the world and initially cut into 8′ blocks. I had never seen anything like it. The variety was endless and the stones were every color imaginable. They had the more common granites and marbles but it was the rare and semi precious stones that knocked my socks off.

Antolini Stone Yard:Linda Holt Photo

Antolini Stone Yard:Linda Holt Photo

As we were guided through the showroom it was the same feeling as if we were being guided through an art gallery.

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Linda Holt Photo

Every single slab was unique and every single stone was a masterpiece of nature created through time, pressure and elements. I took a couple geology classes in college and as our tour guide was giving us a little history of the stone and how it was formed I remembered how much I loved those classes.

orange marble

Linda Holt Photo

Many of the stones were very “busy” and would be statement pieces for sure. We were told many are used in commercial application such as for flooring or a focal wall in a lobby or as a bar top.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Our entire group was oohing and awing over each and every stone.

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Linda Holt Photo

This one below looks like cracked ice. Imagine how beautiful this would look as a bar top or used in a spa or bathroom.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

One of my favorites was this one below. It is from an ancient river bed in Brazil and is embedded with thousands of tiny sea fossils. We were shown a few “concept rooms” while on the tour and one of the rooms was a home bar that was made entirely out of this stone. It was the most beautiful application. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take any photos but imagine the counter top as well as the cabinets of the bar were all created out of this stone.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

This stone had fossilized nautilus shells embedded into it. It was hard to even comprehend how rare and special this stone is.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

The other thing that wowed our group is called bookmarking. This is a process where the stone is sliced from the block then “matched” to one another to create a mirrored or almost kaleidoscope effect. The slabs can be matched horizontally or vertically and in any number of pieces. The one below is matched horizontally. Doesn’t it look like a rug or a painting?

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Bookmarked marble: Linda Holt Photo

Here are a few members of our group standing in front of another bookmarked example. This is four slabs bookmarked together.

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Kyle Hoepner, Sherri Adair, Adam Japko, Jeremy Parzen

Can’t you just imaging this as the floor in an entrance?

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

I think this one below looks like a tribal rug but I can also imagine it as fabric. It has that “tie dye” look that is so on trend today. It also looks a little like some kind of stretched out fossilized animal.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

The other stones that were amazing to see were the semi precious stones. This one below is Rose Quartz. They make jewelry out of this so can you imagine having a counter top, floor or a wall made from this? CRAZY!

Rose Quartz:Linda Holt Photo

Rose Quartz:Linda Holt Photo

and this is Blue Lapis with gold.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

If that’s not impressive enough, the slab below is for the very high end client (most likely Middle Eastern we were told) who has the budget for this composite of sliced agates set into 18 Karat gold. This would most likely be used for a wall treatment or a bar top and then lit from behind. All I could think of when I saw this stone was that old Paul Simon song that goes, “she wears diamonds on the soles of her shoes”. It’s almost too much of a good thing but if you want to flaunt your wealth then this is the slab for you.

Agates set in gold:Linda Holt Photo

Agates set in gold:Linda Holt Photo

I know the photos don’t do the stones justice but I hope you get an idea of how much is out there besides carerra marble and the run of the mill granites we all see over and over….and over. If you live in New England you are very lucky because you can see many of these stones in “person”. Cumar Marble and Granite in Everett was one of the sponsors for our trip and they source many of their stones directly from Antolini. It is so worth a trip even if just for fun (or to take some amazing photos) to check it out. Be sure to ask for Dawn Carroll or Stephanie O’Brien who were also on the trip to give you a tour. They are both very knowledgeably and would love to show you around. I can’t wait to schedule a time myself.

Which stone is your favorite?

 

 

Friday’s Photo: Design trends from a 1900 showhouse

One of the great treasures of the city of Boston is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. You may have heard of the museum because it was the site of the most infamous US art heist of all time. The 1990 crime is still unsolved when thieves cut 81 world important works of art right out from the frames while leaving the frames still hanging on the wall. There have been all sorts of theories about the heist from it being mob related (Whitey Bulger) to it being an inside job.

As embarrassing as it is to admit, the last time I was at the museum was on a school field trip back in middle school. There really is no excuse but yesterday I finally made a return visit. Ironically, it was another field trip but this time it was lead by an artist from a local art school.

Isabella Stewart Gardner is a fascinating character in Boston’s history. She was a wealthy, attention seeking socialite and her unconventional behavior made her the Kim Kardashian of her times. After loosing both her children, one to pneumonia and the other in a miscarriage, she was told she could have no more children. Gardner decided her legacy would be to build an art filled museum for the city that would also function as her splendid home. She spent years traveling the world collecting and installing her collection according to her personal aesthetic. The eclectic gallery installations, paintings, sculpture, textiles, and furniture from different periods and cultures create a truly amazing visual delight.

Since her home and it’s spectacular collections was open to the public, it was like Boston’s first show house. One room really struck me because although it was done in 1900 it has design features that are just as on trend today.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

  1. Wallpaper: Large scale Damask wallpaper is very popular today. The “wallpaper” in Gardner’s room from 1900 is actually individual hand tooled leather panels embellished with 24 carat gold. Since the room was lit at night by candle light (no electric lights yet) the gold would sparkle on the walls from the flames of the candles.
  2. Unique wall embellishment: I love the way Gardner used the gold “rope” chair rail running across the wall to separate the upper and lower leather wall treatments. The round centers look like large nail heads and we all know how popular those are today.
  3. Gallery wall: Gardner broke all the rules when it came to hanging her treasures and she hung her art as she thought it looked best. That’s more or less today’s trend as well. There are rules but they are often broken.
  4. Multiple fabrics: Using two different fabrics on one settee must have been quite unusual back in the day but today it is right on trend. Also notice how the over scale checked fabric mimics the square leather panels as well as relates to the small framed paintings.
  5. Mixed metals:Using different colored metals in the same room is a huge trend today. Look how Gardner paired a silver vessel on the side table along with all that gold. The wood on the settee is also painted silver.

So even though this room was designed so many years ago, it’s still relevant today. It all goes back to the simple premise that good design never goes out of style.

 

 

 

 

High Point Market Design Blogger Tour

 

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In just a little over two weeks I will be headed to High Point Market along with nine other top bloggers to discover and report back on all the trends, colors and styles of Spring Market. I am so honored to be chosen and I honestly feel like a kid waiting for Christmas morning. Besides being like a design Disney World on steroids, High Point Market combines two of my absolute favorite things; design and photography. As soon as I walk into a show room I get so excited and I want to photograph and share everything. This year (for the first time) I think I am 100% prepared. I have two memory cards, two batteries and a brand new lens. Unlike the past two years, nothing is going to get in my way of shooting to my heart’s content.

I know several of the other blogger’s already and Amanda Gates and I were roomies at the Design Blogger’s Conference. It was such an unexpected coincidence when we found out we had both been chosen as High Point bloggers. (Although Amanda would probably say there is no such thing as coincidence). 

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Yes,I know I look NOTHING like my head shot but when I found out I was chosen I didn’t have time to get a new “baldish” head shot to the press office so the one posted here is pre-chemo.

The Design Blogger’s Tour is now in it’s second year and was developed in partnership with Esteem Media and these generous sponsors. Many of these brands I already use for my client projects so I am thrilled to be getting a first hand look at what’s new for 2016.

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So if you love design be sure to mark your calendar for April 16-20 and follow along live with all our posts and tweets by following the hashtag #designbloggerstour. 

 

Friday’s Photo: Tile trends

What’s trending in tiles? Texture! Here are two new introductions from tile company Walker Zanger. These tiles are from the Kaza Collection and are intended to create architectural features in both residential and commercial spaces.

Walker Zanger Tiles Linda Holt Photo

Walker Zanger Tiles Linda Holt Photo

Made of concrete they can be used either indoors or out. I think they would make a fabulous accent wall don’t you?

Have a great weekend everyone.

Friday’s Photo: Bespoke Global at ICFF

Even though BlogTourNYC was last May, I feel like it was just last month. Somehow, the time has just flown by.  Modenus and their sponsors have already taken another lucky group of bloggers to California (BlogTourCali) and as I write this post I’m sure another fabulous trip is already in the planning.

This photo, taken while touring the ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair) was from the Bespoke Global booth.  I love everything about this little vignette. The textures, the shapes and the different hues of neutrals. Also, what’s not to love about a Koi fish table?

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Koi table by Zelouf and Bell

Kawa Pendants by Souda

Feather wall by Abyu Lighting

Getting back to BlogTourNYC, I still have hundreds of images to go through and edit. Over the next few weeks I plan to dedicate my weekly Friday’s Photo to more fabulous products and design discovered while on the trip.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone. I will be in Providence Rhode Island taking an architectural color class with Teresa Tullio. As always, I’ll be sure to pass on any info that I think would be helpful to you my readers.

 

Friday’s Photo:Frank Lloyd Wright Taliesin West

One of the trips we made while in Scottsdale last week was a visit to the Frank Lloyd Wright House called Taliesin West. Here are two interesting factoids about the house I thought were worth sharing.

#1. There is not a single straight wall anywhere on the house. Wright wanted the house to appear as if it was part of the landscape so he took great pains to copy the exact angle of the surrounding mountains.

#2. While Wright was alive there was no glass in any of the windows. Again, he wanted the house to be organic and one with nature. After his passing his wife (who was probably sick and tired of daily sweeping out the desert sand and lizards) put in glass.

Frank Lloyd Wright House Taliesin West

Frank Lloyd Wright House Taliesin West

If you get a chance to visit I highly recommend it. Wright was quite an interesting fellow and the guided tour was quite enlightening.

have a great weekend!

 

Friday’s Photo:Christopher Guy

If you  ever get a chance to visit a Christopher Guy show room be sure to bring your camera. The products are beyond beautiful and the way they set up their show rooms is like visiting an art gallery.

Christopher Guy/Linda Holt Photo

Christopher Guy/Linda Holt Photo

When I spotted this silver mirror and two coral wall scones against the purpley-black wall I just about died! I would LOVE this in a powder room or dining room for a bit of glamour or even in the entryway.  A work of art don’t you think?

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

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