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29 Mar

Pillow Inspirations

DIY No Comments by Peggy Pardo

From the keypad of Peggy Pardo…

Hello Everyone!

Lately I’ve been really loving all the burlap pillows with stenciled lettering that I’ve been seeing everywhere. It’s such a simple look, but adds so much interest and style to a room. The other day I was checking out some of these pillows at one of my favorite sources for decorative items, Home Decorators Collection.

Here are my favorites…

Postmarked PillowPostmark Pillow

Belle Jardiniere PillowBelle Jardiniere Pillow

Burlap No. 85 WreathBurlap No. 85 Wreath

Burlap Floral Bouquet PillowBurlap Floral Bouquet Pillow

Cafe PillowCafe Pillow

Louvre Square CushionLouvre Square Cushion

In the next couple of weeks Regina and I will be creating a burlap lampshade using a stencil. Don’t you think these pillows would be a nice accompaniment? Perhaps this could be a future project…hmmm…..I wonder…..

Cheers to all,
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28 Mar

The Drawings on the Wall

I once heard an anecdote about Picasso.  Apparently, he was at a bar and a lady recognized him.  (I like the idea of artists being as recognizable as rock stars. But, I digress.)  She said “Oh, Pablo – can you draw me a little something on this bar napkin?”  And so he did, in no time at all.  As he handed it to her, he mentioned the charge for such a drawing to her.  She gasped and said “But this only took you a few seconds!” and he said “No, ma’am. It’s taken me a lifetime.”

Now, I don’t know if it’s true or not (I’m sure I could Google it…) but it helps to illustrate the point that it takes a lifetime to make artistry appear simple to do.  Everytime I look at a drawing, I think of that anecdote.  I’ve had the following quirky and eclectic image collection of drawings in my online folders for a bit and thought they might inspire…

Charlize Theron was featured in InStyle for Dior’s Fashion Night Out but my eyes are on the figures behind her.  (BTW, how cool does Snow White & the Huntsman look?)

An ad for Sotheby’s Realty that says “The perfect home is a means of self expression”.

The “License to Dream” campaign from Brizo has always been a fave of mine. They use watercolor drawings to wonderful effect.  Here’s Brizo’s very pretty video interpretation.

Architectural drawings on chalk — so very cool. Via House of Chic and Penoche.

Staying small is hardly de rigueur.  Here, a studio gets a blast of creativity and it doesn’t even need color. (Though I would be sorely, sorely tempted.) I shared this on our Fauxology Facebook page and it was a healthy debate on whether to color it in.

If you’d really like to see something incredible, please do check out the drawings by UK artist Charlotte Mann.  On this one, she makes a complete story out of a blank slate.

Hope you were drawn to today’s post.  Have a great day! :)

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26 Mar

Living in Cuba

Narrow Streets of the Old Quarter.

When I worked for a Latin record label, I almost visited Cuba.  There where several Cuban artists on the roster and a team was sent for a photoshoot for the album artwork for an influential band called Los Van Van. I was thisclose to going but was ultimately not sent with the crew.  (The album, Llego Van Van, later won a well-deserved Grammy.)  Growing up in Miami, I was also exposed to both the beauty and politics of Cuba.  It’s a country that has always fascinated me.

I visited my Mother recently and found a gorgeous book she had bought called Living in Cuba written by Alexandra Black and photographed by Simon McBride.  I eagerly picked it up and she told me “Oh, you’re going to love the architecture!”.   She is a generous soul and graciously gave me the book.  (You can protest, but it will get you nowhere.)  So, I am sharing it with you.

Stairway in Old Havana

A blue panelled salon.

Ms. Black traveled from coast to coast to fully capture the flavor and magic of Cuba.  She writes on all aspects of Cuba — the livelihoods, the cities, the architecture, the design and the artistry.  Mr. McBride complimented her writings with gorgeous photographs. This is truly just a sampling.

A Moorish arch with Italianate fresco artistry. Here’s a closeup of the art. Lovely.

Do click on the images above to enlarge.  On the left is the 17th century Casa de la Obra Pia and on the right, a 19th century indoor courtyard.

Green is a popular color in Cuba because it is easy on the eye and helps reduce the glare of the sunlight.

Azulejos - Spanish ornamental tiles. Love the colors and design!

(above) Fresco artists came to Cuba in the 1500s with the Spanish conquistadors.  The Spanish had learned the craft from the Italians but most chose to use less figurative work and more dainty designs with the bold colors.

Exuberant colors in a colonial doorway.

Spying Art Nouveau details as ballerinas rehearse.

It is said that upon seeing Cuba, Christopher Columbus declared it the most beautiful land that was ever seen – and promptly claimed it for Spain.  It’s a beautiful mix of sandy shores, colors and an exotic atmosphere.  It also showcases various design styles including Art Deco, Art Nouveau and Baroque.  I do hope to visit one day.  You?

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23 Mar

A Day in Washington, D.C.

Last year, we visited Washington, D.C. and while there, saw the National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden.  The Hubs and I were on a double date for the day with two of our favorite friends, Sharon and Chad.  Sharon really wanted to see The Hope Diamond and so we started off at the Smithsonian National Museum of History.

The most famous diamond in the world -- and apparently, only the Mona Visa draws more visitors.

At the Natural History Museum, it was a bit surreal to also see one of the Easter Island statues.  (The Hubs had an altogether different reaction. He thought Dum Dum might want some Gum Gum. Sigh.)  It was the National Gallery after that.  It houses one of the finest collections in the world with paintings, sculptures and decorative arts from artists such as Raphael, Lippi, Pollock and Rothko to name a few.  They also have a gorgeous wide atrium with columns that’s quite a site to see.  Unfortunately, a few of my photographs came out shaky (no tripods and this was before my new anti-shake camera) but here are a few gems.

The frame and a bit of a Lippi masterpiece.

The only Leonardo da Vinci in America. It is entitled "Ginevra de' Benci" and unfortunately, was reduced in size at one point in its history.

This is "Naiad" by Antonio Canova. She is exquisite.

Close-up of a gorgeous William Turner named “Mortlake Terrace”.  Here is the full view.

Beautiful faux woodgrain to hide the unmentionables. Love to spy those!

Speaking of wood, this is a sculpture made out of one full piece.  It is of Saint John of the Cross and it is polychromed, gilded and attributed to Francisco Antonio Gijón.

At the Sculpture Garden, there are many incredible works of art ranging from the headless and disquieting (above, Puellae (Girls) by Magdalena Abakanowicz) to the whimsical (below, Thinker on a Rock by Barry Flanagan).

We ended up at the Smithsonian Castle.

Within it was what was once the Children’s Room.  In 1899, Grace Lincoln Temple was commissioned to design it and it was a beautiful place for children for nearly 45 years.  After that, it was painted over and used for sorely needed storage space and remained that way until it was restored in 1985.  Here you can see Smithsonian conservator Ron Cunningham uncovering the original ceiling mural.  You can see the restoration below.

Close-up of the stencil border.

The original idea for the ceiling was to re-create a fresco by Correggio in Parma, Italy, in which “playful cherubs peered down at the viewer through a leafy arbor”. It was cost-prohibitive and so an inspired variation was designed.  Ms. Temple’s design encompassed a fanciful trellis with grapevines and birds perched against an blue sky.  Do click here to read more of the fascinating story and see here for a pic of Ms. Temple and an artist at work.

I must go and take more complete pics with the new camera! hope you’ve enjoyed this day tour.  D.C. has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to museums, decorative arts and interesting places to visit and eat.  I love visiting at least once per year.  I have covered both the Library of Congress (Part One and Part Two) as well as the U.S. Capitol before.  I do have more D.C. jewels coming up — including Whistler’s Peacock Room.  Have a fantastic weekend!

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22 Mar

Creative Ceramics

I’ll tell you a secret. My Mom and I have a running joke that even though I can handle 20′ walls with ease, she’s the master off all things small. She’s a very creative artist with small boxes, paper projects, picture frames — even when painting rocks with my 8-year old nephew. Whereas me? Eh. Not so much. We took a handcrafted jewelry class together and she took to it like fish to water. The teacher came by and said “Silvia, that’s incredible! I love your choice in stones and colors!” and then she looked over at my hot mess and after a pitying look helpfully said, “Regina…(sigh)…what you might want you to keep in mind is…”. So, yeah. Not my finest moment.

My Mom recently suggested we take a ceramic class together and after squelching the initial mini panic attack, I agreed.  She is, after all, a seriously fun person to take an art class with.  Plus, it comes so easily to her and I love seeing her happy.  Coincidentally, I then spied this in an Anthropologie catalog…

How cute is this?  It’s an allover pattern in bright, fresh colors on a coffee mug with an initial painted right over it.  I totally have that technique down so I’m feeling so much better about the ceramics class.  Here’s a close-up…

The lovely artistry is done for Anthropologie by Samantha Robinson.  She is based out of Australia and creates beautiful porcelain objects.  Then, I spied the following in the Design Inspiration blog by The Stencil Library.  They were showcasing a Painting on China How-To using stencils and ceramic paints.

Helen Morris, owner of The Stencil Library, says the rose stencil is "a sweet, two layer design based on the traditional folk art roses found on canal barges and boats". I'm also enjoying the lettering in both the interior and exterior.

Have any of you tried the process?  It looks great and I’m now really looking forward to the class.  I’m sure it does take a bit to perfect the artistry (I mean, there’s a reason ceramicists spend a lifetime perfecting their craft) but I do have hope that I will not receive a pitying look this time.  Have a great day, gorgeous ones!

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21 Mar

Hidden Inspiration: From a Fresco to a Room

From the keypad of Peggy Pardo…

Art is my favorite source of inspiration for a room’s design. I’m always on the lookout for pieces that I feel I can build a room around – which is pretty much most pieces. As I was “art hunting”, I came across a beautiful fresco that captured my attention. I found my inspiration piece!

The artist is Pietro Lorenzetti. Created in 1320, it’s called Entry into Jerusalem and can be found at the Basilica, San Francesco d’Assisi in Assisi, Italy…

Fresco: Entry Into Jerusalem

Paint Selections: Sherwin Williams

And here is the design board that I created…

Design Board

Sources: Atelier Chesterfield Sofa – Anthropologie,
Siamu Vases  and Petrella Lamp – Uttermost,
“Pheasant” Host Chair – Horchow,
Iridescent Plumage Pillow – Anthropologie,
Chelo Small Chest – Uttermost

If you truly love a piece of art, the colors and mood speak to you, then half of the work has been done for you! You now have the direction you need to make the room all that you want it to be. Sometimes it may be necessary to have a little help with the translation from artwork to a finished room; that’s where designers, decorators and very creative friends come in handy. But make sure whatever is done, it’s what YOU want. Billy Baldwin said it best, “Be faithful to your own taste because nothing you really like is ever out of style.”

Cheers to all,
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20 Mar

Tented Ceilings

A few years ago, we painted a tented ceiling and ever since then, I’ve loved seeing different variations.  Traditionally, the tents have been created with fabric but it also works beautifully to just paint them.  (I’m sure that’s probably the safer route, too.)

The architects and interior designers for Napoleon’s first wife, Josephine, were Charles Percier and Pierre François Léonard Fontaine.  They designed her chateau of Malmaison and, drawing inspiration from the textiles and tents of Rome’s Golden Age, proceeded to drape several rooms with sumptuous fabrics.  The idea was possibly to recreate and pay homage to, in an elegant a manner as possible, the military tents her husband was used to and his prowess on the field.  It was incredible work and, of course, the designs were copied throughout Europe and the Americas.

Let’s take a look at a few beauties…

Designed by Miles Redd

Featured in Architectural Digest, this beauty is by Jayne Design Studio.

Designed by Timothy Corrigan, photographed by Firooz Zahedi and featured in Elle Decor.  Love the fantastic use of the primary colors.

An inspired dressing room for a man designed by Mario Buatta.

(left) Beautiful kid’s bath idea from Pottery Barn Kids and (right) a cheery, more adult version on House Beautiful.

Gorgeous handpainted ceiling by New Jersey artist Charlotte Sullivan. The design was inspired by one of the Newport Mansions.

The Deering Bathroom in Vizcaya.

Residence featured in Sköna Hem.

Here is our version…

Via Garay Artisans

We enjoyed the opportunity to create a tented ceiling. One thing I can say is that the work is better done with a team!  If you’d like to check out other great posts with tented ceilings, please do take a look at Habitually Chic and Apartment Therapy.  Do you have a project you’ve done with this design?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!  Hope you enjoyed the post — have a fantastic day!

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