Artist Profile: Tim Anderson – Chicago

For many years my husband and I have been really interested in, and have begun collecting painted portraits.  We’re starting a small collection which are lining our entryway and stairwell.  Most of the portraits are vintage and antique portraits, but we’re starting to mix in some new/contemporary works as well.

A friend of ours who also is our very talented website designer, Kyle from Knoed recently posted on facebook a request for friends to share their favorite Chicago fine artists.  It made us think about all the artists we’ve used for our interior design projects, and while some were Chicago-based, many were from other parts of the country.  But one of the artists suggested was Tim Anderson, whose work we’ve admired for a while, and is of course focused on portraits.  They’re somewhat abstract but not completely removed from reality.  And there’s great range – some are more ‘real’, while others push more abstract.  Below we’ve included a few of our favorites.

We think they’re just beautiful. Hope you enjoy them as well. Who knows, maybe we’ll have one of his works hanging in our hallway before too long…

AT 1417 Ajax Artist Profile: Tim Anderson   Chicago

AT 1416 Vulcan Artist Profile: Tim Anderson   Chicago

paloma Artist Profile: Tim Anderson   Chicago

AT%201410%20Prometheus Artist Profile: Tim Anderson   Chicago

AT%201406%20Homer Artist Profile: Tim Anderson   Chicago

AT1311%20Krenov detail Artist Profile: Tim Anderson   Chicago

Oh, and you can buy his work from Thomas Masters Gallery in Chicago

Who are some of your favorite living artists? 

Anyone from Chicago?

PinExt Artist Profile: Tim Anderson   Chicago

The smell of great interior design…

We’ve all had those times when we walked into a friend’s home and immediately notice a distinctly pleasant aroma.  Sometimes its fresh flowers, sometimes its baking cookies, and sometimes its a delicious candle.  In the winter, it just has that warm and enticing aroma that you’ll envy for your own home, and it somehow makes any space feel that much more inviting and comforting.  So I’m oftentimes looking for great looking, aesthetically pleasing ways to incorporate the sense of smell into my designs.  I burn candles in my home all winter long, and when I fall in love with a scent, I’ll take it in any form I can get.

Right now I’ve been really loving musk & amber smells.  I know that sounds unappealing, but trust me, when its 5 degrees outside this warm, rich aroma makes you feel cozy.  Think of a great aged wine or an 18-year scotch…it smells like neither (thankfully) but it feels historic, aged, and deep.  My husband is wearing Kiehl’s Musk eau de toilette for cologne, and I’m buying bath soaps, lotions, and candles that have the smell whenever I see them.

merz apothecary The smell of great interior design...

Merz Apothecary - Established 1875

This past fall I took a trip to Merz Apothecary here in Chicago – they have locations in the Palmer House Hilton as well as on Lincoln.  It’s just what you would imagine of an old fashioned, established in 1875 apothecary shop – tin ceiling, wood pharmacy bookcase walls covered in every scent imaginable, old fashioned shaving kids with straight razors & brushes with bone handles, and more.

l The smell of great interior design...

l The smell of great interior design...

And that’s where I first discovered Boticario de Havana, one of my favorite candle and scent makers – they’re both aesthetically pleasing (beautiful bottles) and smell amazing.  And of course I love their bath oil, lotions, etc too because they are in gorgeous bottles (so they look great in a bathroom), and they leave me smelling like my favorite scents all day long.

23315Lg The smell of great interior design...43351Lg The smell of great interior design...

 

This winter we received a great gift package from Archipalego that included some of my favorite scents.  Our whole office was celebrating!!  We loved the variety of products they had – Boticario de Havana as well as others – so you can get any scent that you’re searching for. Check em out at http://www.archipelago-usa.com/

And of course now I’m curious – what’s your favorite scent?

Or do you have a particular scent that you like in your home?

 

 

PinExt The smell of great interior design...

Buenos Aires Flea Market

As many of you know, I love to travel.  And when I travel, I oftentimes visit the flea markets of the cities I’m visiting.  Whether it’s Paris or Palm Beach, visiting the flea markets is always a fun way to see the history and culture of a city.  I’ve been to the flea markets in Russia, France, Argentina and several throughout the U.S.  This March I took a trip to Buenos Aires Argentina to visit one of the world’s largest flea markets as well as to enjoy some great food, local wine, and a unique blend of French and Italian inspired architecture.  But beyond the expected steaks and tango, I found a culture with passion for art and history and an eye for aesthetics that surprised and delighted me.

What I found surprising on my trip though was the contrast of old world formality contrasted with streamlined modernity -  rococo vs. graffiti, french settees vs. mid-century modern, taxidermy vs. industrial sleekness.  The contrast was quite amazing, and it is a similar sense of contrast that I often bring to the interior design projects at Summer Thornton Design where we blend new with old, antique with modern, and so on.   Of course as Buenos Aires was originally settled it had an influx of beautiful antiques from France and Italy, and we loved seeing those pieces at the flea markets.  Check out some of the antiques and photos that we took on our trip below…

IMG 0184 1024x682 Buenos Aires Flea Market

Recoletta Cemetery in Buenos Aires

IMG 0546 1024x682 Buenos Aires Flea Market

Graffiti Art Painted House in Buenos Aires

IMG 0293 1024x682 Buenos Aires Flea Market

Buenos Aires Flea Market

IMG 0668 1024x682 Buenos Aires Flea Market

Furniture at the Buenos Aires Flea Market

IMG 0032 682x1024 Buenos Aires Flea Market

Buenos Aires old world architecture contrasted with contemporary graffiti

 

PinExt Buenos Aires Flea Market

Summer Thornton’s Condo – SOLD in Lincoln Park

Update – Condo Is SOLD…

Not quite a true interior design ‘inspiration’ post, but thought we would let everyone know that I’m listing my condo for sale.  It’s definitely a bittersweet moment.  Josh and I have loved living there, but alas, it is time for a move to get a bit more space.  Sad to leave it, but hoping that someone will buy it who can enjoy it as much as we did.  It’s been such a fun place to live, and we’ve enjoyed seeing it published in so many blogs and magazines (House Beautiful, CS Interiors, Tribune Magazine, Apartment Therapy, and so many more).

If you’re curious, here are some of the things we’ve done to the place since we originally bought it back in 2007:

  • Renovated the Kitchen – custom cabinetry, high-end appliances (Bertazzoni range, F&P fridge, Bosch, etc), marble countertop and shelves, mirrored backsplash, Brass and gold fixtures
  • Installed new electrical and lighting in kitchen
  • Added built-in bookshelves in Living Room
  • Added in-unit washer and dryer (full size)
  • Renovated the bathroom – new custom vanity, herringbone ceramic wall tiles, new marble mosaic floor, polished nickel fixtures, updated plumbing to all new copper (both in-unit as well as risers from the basement)
  • Restored molding and trim to original condition
  • Installed new closed-combustion furnace system
  • And of course we decorated it…we’d even sell it furnished for the right price ;O)

LincolnPark b Summer Thorntons Condo   SOLD in Lincoln Park

LincolnPark a Summer Thorntons Condo   SOLD in Lincoln Park

LincolnPark i Summer Thorntons Condo   SOLD in Lincoln Park

LincolnPark m Summer Thorntons Condo   SOLD in Lincoln Park

  • More photos can be seen on our site here.
  • And of course the full real estate listing can be found here.

Can’t wait for someone else to enjoy this place as much as we have.  And the best news is, once we sell it we’ll have another project to share with you as I’ll be taking on a new home design.  So with that, if you’re in the market for a condo in lincoln park, or you know someone who is, feel free to pass it along…

PinExt Summer Thorntons Condo   SOLD in Lincoln Park

Artist Profile: Irving Penn – Photographer

Feminine, chic, glamorous, and intimate.  I’ve been loving photographs of Irving Penn’s for a long time, but recently I’ve been loving the depth and intimacy of his images.  I ran across a quote of Penn’s which speaks to the power of his images:

“Sensitive people faced with the prospect of a camera portrait put on a face they think is one they would like to show the world. …Very often what lies behind the facade is rare and more wonderful than the subject knows or dares to believe.”

- Irving Penn, 1975

That statement is so true and so insightful about our society.  We all put on our best face, a bit of a facade, but underneath that is something more interesting, beautiful, quirky, and original than the surface would show.  Which is why I love Penn’s images so much – in them we’re able to get to view the subject on a deeper level when they really become interesting.  It’s when you find out something about them that few others know, or you see a moment of weakness that they become real – and its in those intimate moments that you can connect with them.  And now for what may be a big leap – I hope that is what I can do through interior design – create spaces that while beautiful and glamorous are still intimate and are a peek into the quirks and interests of my clients.

Is anyone else a fan of Irvin Penn’s photography?  His ‘corner’ series which is always copied and never duplicated is one of my favorites…how about you?

Irving Penn Ballet Society Artist Profile: Irving Penn   Photographer

Irving Penn Photograph - "Ballet Society"

Irving Penn Duchess of Windsor Artist Profile: Irving Penn   Photographer

Irving Penn Corner Photograph - Duchess of Windsor

Irving Penn Igor Stravinsky photo Artist Profile: Irving Penn   Photographer

Irving Penn Photo - Igor Stravinsky

Irving Penn Photo Salvador Dali Artist Profile: Irving Penn   Photographer

Irving Penn Photograph - Salvador Dali

Irving Penn Photography Mrs William Rhinelander Stewart Artist Profile: Irving Penn   Photographer

Irving Penn Photo - Mrs William Rhinelander Stewart

I can only imagine a salon wall like the one I did in the Palmolive Building with Irvin Penn’s intimate images next to the more glorified/glamorous images of Slim Aarons.  Whose work do you prefer?  Or do you like them both but in different applications?

For more examples of Irving Penn’s photography, see Retronaut or for a list of Irving Penn’s books see the Irving Penn Foundation

PinExt Artist Profile: Irving Penn   Photographer

Artist Profile: Slim Aarons – Celebrity Photographer

Slim Aarons lived by the mantra “attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places.”

And it’s true, he photographed some of the world’s wealthiest celebrities, jet-setters, and royalty, but somehow with a feeling of approachability and closeness.  From his NYTimes obituary it seems as though Slim had become one of them.  He was actually close to these socialites and was able to photograph them freely in situations where other photographers (and the public) were not allowed: their Palm Beach estates, private parties, terrace pools in Greece, and so on.

I came to know Slim Aarons’ photographs this past year as one of my clients purchased some prints of his.  I can’t wait to finish the rooms that his photos will hang in.  They’re modern and moody, sophisticated but not overly stuffy.  I’ve read was that Slim never used a makeup artist or a stylist in any of his photos, and that’s why I think they feel more approachable, more real than many of today’s celebrity photographs.

What do you think – do Slim’s photos feel intimate despite his subject being so glamorous?

Poolside Gossip Palm Springs Artist Profile: Slim Aarons   Celebrity Photographer

"Poolside Gossip" in Palm Springs by Slim Aarons

Slim Aarons kaufman house Artist Profile: Slim Aarons   Celebrity Photographer

Slim Aarons - "Kaufman House"

Slim Aarons pop society Marianna Faithfull Desmond Guinness Mick Jagger Artist Profile: Slim Aarons   Celebrity Photographer

Slim Aarons - "Pop and Society" feat. Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithful, and Desmond Guinness

Slim Aarons eden roc pool HotelduCapFrance Artist Profile: Slim Aarons   Celebrity Photographer

Slim Aarons - Eden Roc Pool @ Hotel Du Cap France

Slim Aarons beauty and beast LadyDaphneCameron PB Artist Profile: Slim Aarons   Celebrity Photographer

Slim Aarons - "Beauty and the Beast"

nice pool VillaArtemis Palm Beach Artist Profile: Slim Aarons   Celebrity Photographer

Slim Aarons - "Nice Pool" in Palm Beach

Slim Aarons Leisure and fashion Poolside Fashion Show Palm Beach Artist Profile: Slim Aarons   Celebrity Photographer

Slim Aarons - "Leisure and Fashion" - at a poolside fashion show in Palm Beach

Slim Aarons jean serpieris TourLaReine Athens Artist Profile: Slim Aarons   Celebrity Photographer

Slim Aarons - "Jean Serpieris" - at Tour La Reine Athens

penthouse pool Athens Artist Profile: Slim Aarons   Celebrity Photographer

Slim Aarons - "Penthouse Pool" - in Athens

Slim Aarons fam chair descendantOf Flagler palm beach Founder Artist Profile: Slim Aarons   Celebrity Photographer

Slim Aarons - "Family Chair" - An heir sitting in HM Flagler's favorite chair in front of Flagler Museum, Palm Beach

Which is your favorite Slim Aarons photo?

If you’d like to see more, other writers’ thoughts, or even purchase his work, follow the links below:

Or if this put you in the Palm Beach mood – check out my post: Palm Beach Interior Design Style

PinExt Artist Profile: Slim Aarons   Celebrity Photographer

Interior Design Inspiration on Pinterest

Pinterest Inspiration Board 1024x605 Interior Design Inspiration on Pinterest

Pinterest Inspiration Board for Summer Thornton

Recently I’ve found a pretty phenomenal online mood board of sorts where I’ve been keeping a lot of my interior design inspiration for projects – its on Pinterest.  If you aren’t familiar, Pinterest is basically an online inspiration or mood board that you ‘pin’ photos to digitally.  And all your facebook/twitter friends can ‘pin’ theirs too, you can see each others pins, and so on.  I’ve really come to enjoy it because sometimes I’m looking for fresh new material – new fashion looks, new color combinations, interior design inspiration, etc and a lot of really active twitter users, bloggers, and aesthetically inclined folks have adopted to pinning their favorite things.  So rather than checking every single blog, I just check the pinterest board featuring all of my friends – it shows what they’ve been pinning recently.  So fun!

If you’re curious about what I’ve been pinning – check out http://pinterest.com/summerthornton/inspiration/ for my inspiration wall.  For me I’m focused on pulling creative looks that can be reinterpreted into interior design applications…and of course I’m already pinning interiors that I love.

If you aren’t a member yet, request an invite (it just takes a day or two for them to send you access), and then start pinning away.  You can segment by all sorts of different things – food, fashion, interiors, etc – I’ve just used it as a catch-all for inspiration so far.  And of course if you log-in via twitter or facebook you can see what your friends are pinning too.

So check it out and follow me on twitter at https://twitter.com/summerthornton so you can see what I’m pinning.

Oh…and if you see anything on my site that you find inspirational – whether in the inspiration blog or in one of my interior design projects – give it a pin so your friends (including me) can see!

http://pinterest.com/summerthornton/inspiration/

PinExt Interior Design Inspiration on Pinterest

Gold Gilt Details

IMG 5957 682x1024 Gold Gilt Details

Gold Gilt & Mirrored Ceiling at Hotel Savoy in Moscow

IMG 6096 1024x682 Gold Gilt Details

Gold Gilt Columns at The Hermitage - St. Petersburg, Russia

I was looking through some photos from our trip to Russia this past summer when I noticed these two photos of gold gilt details.  The first is gold gilding on moldings and the ceiling in the dining room at the Hotel Savoy in Moscow.  The second highlights gold gilded columns at The Hermitage in St. Petersburg.  In both cases they add the shine that puts the interior design into a different level of beauty.  Certainly it is borderline tacky, and can easily cross that line in today’s interiors, but if it can walk that fine line without crossing it, gold gilding can be a gorgeous statement…

What do you think – can you see an application for using gold gilding in an interior design that isn’t a palace?  Would you put it in your own home?

PinExt Gold Gilt Details

Design Do: Decorative Ceilings

IMG 1966 1024x682 Design Do: Decorative Ceilings

Decorative Ceiling at Versaille

IMG 1262 682x1024 Design Do: Decorative Ceilings
Exterior Ceiling at Sacre Coeur
IMG 2272 1024x682 Design Do: Decorative Ceilings

Ceiling at the Baccarat Crystal Museum - Paris

IMG 3035 1024x682 Design Do: Decorative Ceilings

Gold Ceiling at St. Mark's Cathedral, Venice

IMG 6049 1024x682 Design Do: Decorative Ceilings

Wood Library Ceiling at The Hermitage - St. Petersburg, Russia

IMG 3004 682x1024 Design Do: Decorative Ceilings

Ceiling at the Doge's Palace - Venice

IMG 2986 1024x682 Design Do: Decorative Ceilings

Ceiling at Doge's Palace (Venice)

Recently I’ve been noticing and admiring decorative ceilings – the photos above are from trips to Paris, Italy, and Russia where I saw a more notable use of decorating ceilings in these historic palace interiors.  So after admiring the interior design of these palaces, I’m determined to use decorative ceilings to create additional interest and intrigue in the rooms I design.  And I’m not talking about faux paintings of clouds – eek – I’m thinking of gold gilding, patterns, and wallpapers to draw your eye in a sophisticated way.

A couple months ago I completed an interior for a nursery where we wallpapered the ceiling – it took the design to a whole new level (photos to come before long).  After noticing all these beautiful ceilings it made me think, “Why are so many ceilings so boring!”  Out with the white, and in with the gold gilding and molding!  Hope you find these wild ceilings inspirational, and they push you to use all your surfaces as an opportunity to express yourself!  Personally, my favorites are the portrait-filled ceiling at the Doge’s palace in Venice and the pink and gold gild ceiling from Versaille.  What’s yours?

PinExt Design Do: Decorative Ceilings

Palm Beach Interior Design & Style

Palm Beach Chair Palm Beach Interior Design & Style

Palm Beach Chair

Pink Goatskin Mirror Console Palm Beach Interior Design & Style

Pink Goatskin/Parchment Mirror & Console

goatskin vanity Palm Beach Interior Design & Style

Goatskin Parchment Cabinet Dresser

Coral dressers Palm Beach Interior Design & Style

Coral dressers at Palm Beach Antique and Design Center

shell chandeliers Palm Beach Interior Design & Style

Shell Chandeliers @ Christa's South Antiques & Seashells

shell lamp Palm Beach Interior Design & Style

Shell Lamp from Christa's South Antiques & Seashells

Palm Beach Interior Design

Palm Beach…ahhh, where it is always 80 degrees, sunny, and the beach is never more than a few block away!  Plus, it has gorgeous gardens, great architecture, and some tasty restaurants too – all in one small island.  It’s no wonder why so many people flock there during the season – it has this distinct style that’s a blend of wealth, class, and glitz!

Last week, we took a trip ourselves for a little R&R, to do a little vintage and antique shopping, and to check out a few sources that we use for our interior design projects.  The interior design aesthetic here pushes the creative envelope with color and materials – I love it!  Mirror, goatskin, lacquer and shells – yes please!  But I also love mixing pieces from Palm Beach in to designs that aren’t all glitz – check out our Palmolive Building Interior Design or the Poolhouse we did – both include several pieces from Palm Beach.

Our leisure time was spent on the island where we laid by the pool at the Brazilian Court and rode bikes around to check out some of the houses on financial row.  Some of our favorite meals were at Buccan, Cafe L’Europe, Cafe Boulud, and Pizza al Fresco – all of which I would recommend – but Buccan was probably the best food and overall vibe for dinner while Pizza al Fresco was just great italian pizza for lunch in a cute little courtyard.  We also wanted to see a lot of the homes in the area, so we rode bikes around most of the town.  Check out the photos below to see some of the hedges that surround the homes – it’s a stunning scene and bikes are the perfect way to see it all.

As far as shopping goes, we didn’t spend much time on Worth Avenue – where the likes of Tiffany’s, Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, and so on have stores.  Instead since I’m an interior designer I spent most of our shopping time across the bridge at West Palm Beach Antiques Row on South Dixie Highway.  It’s the source of all things flashy – lacquer, goatskin, and lucite – oh my!  But if you’re in the market for something a little bit wild, there’s no better place to shop than West Palm Beach.  Where else could you find a fully mirrored grand piano (which we saw)?  So find a time during the season (winter), and head down for a visit to enjoy the weather, food, shopping and architecture.

And I’m more than glad to say that I’m taking interior design clients in Palm Beach!  Can’t wait to get back!

hedge archway Palm Beach Interior Design & Style

Hedge Archway Entry in Palm Beach

square hedges palm beach Palm Beach Interior Design & Style

Square Hedges in Palm Beach

Hedge lined street palm beach Palm Beach Interior Design & Style

Hedge Lined Street in Palm Beach

PinExt Palm Beach Interior Design & Style

Taxidermy – love or loathe?

IMG 0726 1024x682 Taxidermy   love or loathe?

Taxidermy at the St. Ouen Flea in Paris - Zebras, Ostrich and Monkey's oh my!

IMG 7838 1024x768 Taxidermy   love or loathe?

Taxidermy Birds

IMG 0354 1024x682 Taxidermy   love or loathe?

Taxidermy Museum in Paris - Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature

Taxidermy in Interior Design

One of the most visually arresting ways to add intrigue and character to a room is through the use of taxidermy.  It makes a statement as bold as the wildest wallpaper or furniture piece, as big as any super saturated color palette can do.  And what I find so interesting about taxidermy is that is can be done really well, or it can be done really poorly.  I think we’ve all seen cabins and hunting lodges that were just distastefully ‘rural’ in their design, but we’ve also seen taxidermy blended with modern twists to ensure a fresh feel.

On a recent trip to Paris we saw lots of Taxidermy.  We visited the St. Ouen Flea market where there was a vendor with tons of exotic, rare, and unusual taxidermy.  We also visited Deyrolle (a vast taxidermy shop) and Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature (which has a vast collection of exotic taxidermy from a private collection).  To the French, using taxidermy in interior design is quite chic and rarely has the resistance that it has here in the states.  You can see they have giraffe’s, zebras, and a whole slew of exotic and african taxidermy that would make the US border patrol and animal protection agencies cringe.  To the French, it is art, and a way to preserve the beauty that is nature and to showcase it within the home.  And broadly speaking, I tend to agree with them (with exceptions of course).  I can’t help but admire the beauty that is a zebra’s coat, or the wild swirling horns of a Kudu, or the unique ‘mask’ pattern that you find on a gemsbok.

And speaking of gemsboks (is that the plural of gemsbok), we just picked one up for a client, and we’re trying to talk him into a full size (entire body) piece of taxidermy as well.  Lets see if he goes for it.  Can’t wait to share the design with you all once we finish the project this winter/spring.  If you’re looking for a few other designs of ours with taxidermy, check out my home design which features two small pair of antlers, or the downtown Chicago interior design project which features some horn lamps in our portfolio.

So what’s your opinion – love or loathe the use of taxidermy in interior design?

For me taxidermy is a way to bring the beauty of the outdoors, indoors, so I have to say that when done right, I love it.

As an aside – I do want to reassure some anti-taxidermy folks that there are humane ways to acquire taxidermy.  I have a vendor who actually sources all their animals from Zoos where animals have died of natural causes.  And beyond that, I’ve actually seen a faux rhino that was so realistic I would have bet my life that it was the real thing, but in fact it was all made of plastics, clays, fiberglass, and makeup.  So if you love the look, but want to ensure no animals were harmed, that’s an option, for a certain price.

PinExt Taxidermy   love or loathe?

Eliseev Gastronome’s Interior Design – Moscow Grocery Store

IMG 5982 682x1024 Eliseev Gastronomes Interior Design   Moscow Grocery Store

Eliseev Gastronome - Ornate Interior Grocery Store In Moscow

IMG 5978 682x1024 Eliseev Gastronomes Interior Design   Moscow Grocery Store

Grocery Store with Chandeliers (Eliseev Gastronome)

IMG 5983 682x1024 Eliseev Gastronomes Interior Design   Moscow Grocery Store

Columns and Archways at Eliseev Gastronome in Moscow

IMG 1339 1024x768 Eliseev Gastronomes Interior Design   Moscow Grocery Store

Columns and Windows at Eliseev Gastronome in Moscow

This past summer we went on a tour of a few Moscow sites.  The oil tycoons and the nouveau riche of Russia have really changed the way luxury interiors in Moscow are designed.  Sure the palaces of Russian Czar’s were grand, but who would have thought that a grocery store could be this ornate.  In fact, growing up my dad used to crack jokes about things being as ‘barren as a russian grocery store’.  Needless to say, he hadn’t visited Eliseev Gastronome in Moscow.  Things have changed thanks to the Russian oligarchs, and this grocer makes Whole Foods look like a discount grocer.

My personal favorites are the chandeliers – they are just gorgeous.  Ornate without being too formal – they still have movement and whimsy.  They remind me of my post about chandeliers in the kitchen.  The rest of the decor isn’t my personal taste, but it was amazing to see.  Worth a visit if you’re in Moscow, and great inspiration if you’re designing a restaurant or boutique retail store.  While we had nothing that we needed to buy, the sheer atmosphere caused us to buy $20/person in random snacks.

While I wouldn’t have ever thought of designing a grocery store, if I had this type of creative license it could intrigue me.  What do you think – does the decor or the interior design of your grocery store influence your mood, cause you to visit a different store, and/or change how much you purchase?

PinExt Eliseev Gastronomes Interior Design   Moscow Grocery Store

Art in Unexpected Places

IMG 5998 1024x682 Art in Unexpected Places

Public Artwork in Moscow

IMG 5995 1024x682 Art in Unexpected Places

Art on exterior walls in Moscow

I’m a big fan of public artwork.  But in Chicago we usually see it in the forms of sculptures and installations.  While in Moscow this summer we ran across some installations of paintings placed atop building exteriors.  They took what was a simple cinder block building and gave it a punch of beauty.  They distracted from the burglar bars, the graffiti and the worn paint.  They gave it humanity, comfort, and almost a feeling that it was a well designed interior (instead of an exterior) – all of a sudden it felt intimate and personal.

But what I found most inspiring and interesting about the paintings was that none of the graffiti artists had defaced them.  The rest of the walls were well tagged, but the graffiti artists respected the painters enough to only tag the buildings and not the art.

Mutual artist respect – now that’s inspiring.

PinExt Art in Unexpected Places

Cubism – Historic Modern Interior Design

IMG 1798 1024x768 Cubism   Historic Modern Interior Design

Cubist Box by Pavel Janak

IMG 1806 1024x768 Cubism   Historic Modern Interior Design

Cubist Architecture - Building Exterior

IMG 1816 768x1024 Cubism   Historic Modern Interior Design

Cubist Interior Design at Grand Cafe Orient in Prague

As you know I’m a big fan of mixing styles and eras, but they’re rarely ‘uber-modern’.  Sure I’ll have modern touches here and there, but I’ve really come to appreciate a new (yet old) form of modernism called Cubism.  Oftentimes for me true modernism feels austere and cold, but cubism feels more visually stimulating, almost jarring, and maintains a lot of the aesthetic touches that I love.  It maintains the herringbone floors, the shine of brass and mirror, and it creates an over-abundance of pattern (which I love).  And yes, in case you were wondering, it was created during the 1910′s when Picasso developed cubist art.

This summer we were able to visit a cubist museum and dine in one of the most historic cubist restaurants in the world – the Grand Cafe Orient in Prague.  While it had plenty of straight lines, what really intrigued me was the use of beveling across many materials – window frames, wood encasements, and of course glass and mirrors.  And what I love about the beveling is that it gives greater depth, a more three dimensional feel to the space.  I took home the Cubist box by Pavel Janak, and my husband enjoyed a donut at the restaurant.  Of course the donut wasn’t round, but instead it was none other than shaped like a a cube.

 

PinExt Cubism   Historic Modern Interior Design

Design Do’s – Kitchen Chandeliers

IMG 6713 682x1024 Design Dos   Kitchen Chandeliers

Cafe Savoy's Kitchen - Prague

There’s nothing that makes a kitchen more romantic and alluring than a chandelier.  While in Prague this summer we visited Cafe Savoy for lunch.  If you head downstairs you can get a peek in the kitchen which is a beautiful blend of industrial & romantic touches.  It proves that a kitchen can be completely functional and chic at the same time.  And it also reinforces my love of the black and white harlequin floor!  Every home should have one – whether in the foyer, the kitchen, or a bathroom – it’s a must have!  And the same can be said for a gorgeous chandelier.  Put both in the same room, particularly a kitchen, and we’ll really turn up the style!

And since you’re probably curious about the rest of Cafe Savoy’s interior, we’ve included a photo below of the dining room.  It has a beautiful Art Nouveau interior throughout, and delicious food as well.

IMG 6712 682x1024 Design Dos   Kitchen Chandeliers

Cafe Savoy - Dining Room - Prague

PinExt Design Dos   Kitchen Chandeliers

Swan House – Historic Atlanta Interior Design & Architecture

IMG 4975 1024x682 Swan House   Historic Atlanta Interior Design & Architecture

Swan House Atlanta

IMG 4957 1024x682 Swan House   Historic Atlanta Interior Design & Architecture

Swan House - entrance from rear

IMG 0495 1024x768 Swan House   Historic Atlanta Interior Design & Architecture

Swan House - side garden

IMG 4953 1024x682 Swan House   Historic Atlanta Interior Design & Architecture

Ivy Wall at Swan House in Atlanta

IMG 4955 1024x682 Swan House   Historic Atlanta Interior Design & Architecture

Swan House - perfect mint green interior room

IMG 4954 682x1024 Swan House   Historic Atlanta Interior Design & Architecture

Mint Green Walls at Swan House in Atlanta

Earlier this year I was down in Atlanta for a project.  After we wrapped up the project, I wanted to enjoy the city for another day or so.  Besides shopping at Sid & Ann Mashburn, Pieces, and a handful of other shops, I went to one of Atlanta’s finest historic homes (or mansions) – Swan House.  It’s a fantastic example of 1920-1930 Architecture and life in the area.  I’ve included a couple of photos here, but you’ll have to go in-person to see the hand painted chinoiserie and floral wallpapered dining room, wood paneled library, and the incredibly adorable bright blue/green kitchen.  Truly a gorgeous home. Well worth a trip.

 

PinExt Swan House   Historic Atlanta Interior Design & Architecture

Artist Profile: Julie Blackmon

Julie Blackmon Portrait1 Artist Profile: Julie Blackmon

Julie Blackmon's "Portrait"

Julie Blackmon tinkertoys1 Artist Profile: Julie Blackmon

Julie Blackmon's "Tinkertoys"

About a year and a half ago while at Art Chicago I ran across a new artist’s work that I fell in love with. Every few months her work comes back to mind, oftentimes when visiting a client with young children.  It’s the perfect blend of beauty, aesthetic intrigue, and yes, the perfect amount of imperfection.  The chaos, the wildness, yet somehow peace and tranquility.  There’s something about the work that evokes this beautiful blend of reality and fantasy about the life of a family with children.

To see more of Julie’s work visit Julie Blackmon’s Website

Is there an artist whose work always inspires you?  Who is it?  Drop a link to some of their work in the comments…

 

PinExt Artist Profile: Julie Blackmon

Chicago Interior Designer Finds @ Design Harvest

This past weekend I visited a great annual design festival here in Chicago.  Design Harvest located down on Grand always reminds me of how much I love a couple of stores down in the west loop area that I oftentimes forget about.  My favorite is ‘the find‘ which always has the coolest accessories and furniture pieces.  I wish all their inventory were online, but then again, its so much better in-person that it is worth a visit.  I fell in love with so many pieces, but here are just a few that I have my eye on for client projects…

green glass box 1024x768 Chicago Interior Designer Finds @ Design Harvest

Green Glass Box

goatskin Chicago Interior Designer Finds @ Design Harvest

goatskin side table

lion rug Chicago Interior Designer Finds @ Design Harvest

Vintage Lion Rug

I also always enjoy SG Grand.  I picked up a vintage rug from them that I can’t wait to unroll, but I’m keeping this one for myself!  In person, it is the perfect shade of deep raspberry red with a touch of fuchsia – I’m sure you’ll see it in our portfolio down the road.

rug 768x1024 Chicago Interior Designer Finds @ Design Harvest

Vintage Raspberry Rug

And for the bargain shopper, you’ve gotta love The Painted Lady where I saw this oh so cute cane/wicker chair that was a total steal.  I didn’t have the right project for it, but I was oh so tempted…the price was unbeatable. Literally.

wicker chair 768x1024 Chicago Interior Designer Finds @ Design Harvest

Wicker Chair

Did you go to Chicago’s Design Harvest?  Did you run in to any local Chicago Interior Design celebs?  What did you think, and was there something that you were dying to go home with?

PinExt Chicago Interior Designer Finds @ Design Harvest

Hedge Gardens

 

IMG 2176 1024x682 Hedge Gardens

Hedges at Versaille

 

IMG 2009 1024x682 Hedge Gardens

"Hiding" at Versaille

 

IMG 0935 1024x682 Hedge Gardens

Parisian Formal Garden

 

While normally I’m a fan of wildflowers, the un-kept, and overgrowth in landscaping…I’m also a huge fan of the formal hedge garden.  Perfectly manicured, groomed, and without a single leaf out of place, they’re an ode to elegance and a staff of royal gardeners.

But what I really love, and what inspires me about hedge gardens are their contrast.  I’m not sure what it is, but there’s something about them that still feels whimsical and playful despite all their formality and rigidity.  If well designed, their shapes flow, they move, and they create a fantasy world for you to dive into, allowing you to let all of your restraint go, and causing your mind to wander.

Tranquil and formal. Whimsical yet refined. Stately and childish.

What do you think about the contrast of the hedge garden?  Do you find them oppressively strict or mentally freeing…or maybe a little of each?

 

PinExt Hedge Gardens

Malachite

IMG 0702 682x1024 Malachite

Malachite chair sitting on malachite desk at Paris St. Ouen Flea Market

IMG 6048 1024x682 Malachite

A malachite fireplace at the Hermitage (Winter Palace) in St. Petersburg

Hands down, my favorite stone is malachite. It’s the perfect shade of green, it has incredible movement, and of course it is insanely expensive and rare.  This past summer I traveled to Russia and had the opportunity to tour the Winter Palace (The Hermitage) in St. Petersburg.  It has a room dedicated to malachite…I guess the Czar was a bit obsessed with it too.  It was filled with large malachite urns, columns, fireplaces, tables and coupes all created in the early 1800s.

Maybe someday I’ll have a “malachite room” like they had at the Winter Palace, but I’m doubtful given that a czar of Russia had them…probably not something in my budget at the moment.  Regardless, its a stone that is so unique in its movement and patterns that I can’t help but dream of it.  Last year I completed a design for a show home here in Chicago where I included a malachite wallpaper.  Check out the DreamHome Foyer Interior Design for images, and I even use a malachite patterned paper (though not in vibrant green) in the Palmolive Interior Design project.

What do you all think – do you dream of having a malachite room someday?  And is anyone else as obsessed as I am with those malachite chairs from the Paris flea market?

PinExt Malachite