Jun 172014

Gods and Heroes There is an amazing exhibit at the Oklahoma Museum of Art, “Gods and Heroes” which offers masterpieces from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, with approximately 140 paintings, sculptures and works on paper dating from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries.  The part of the exhibition I consider so relevant is the focus on the legacy of one of the finest institutions for the instruction of art, the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. According to Art Curator Jennifer Klos, “(It’s) not just for Francophiles. This is really a look at almost the history of Western art.”  The exhibition offers insight into the development of an aesthetic ideology that fostered some of western art’s most magnificent achievements.

Auguste-Dominque Ingres, 1801  Achilles Receiving the Ambassadors of Agamemnon

“The legacy of the École des Beaux-Arts cannot be overstated,” said Oklahoma City Museum of Art President and CEO E. Michael Whittington in an email. “Until World War II, Paris was the center of the art world, and generations of American artists made their pilgrimage to study at the École. To have this great collection with its star-studded cast of artists now coming to the United States is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the people of Oklahoma.”

Jean Honore Fragonard Jeroboam Sacrificing to the Idols

Fragonard’s Jeroboam Sacrificing to the Idols (1752)

The Exhibition’s focus will be on epic themes such as courage, sacrifice, and death, as well as the ways that changing political and philosophical systems affected the choice and execution of these subjects.  Their ideology was rooted in the study of the idealized human form as envisioned in classical art.

The Exhibition features artists such as Jacques-Louis David, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, François Boucher, Nicolas Poussin, Albrecht Dürer, and Rembrandt van Rijn. Most of the works have never been shown outside of the school, which continues to train artists. While the earliest painting dates from 1648 and the exhibit spans two centuries, it also includes two classical Greek sculptures used as a teaching tools. The show’s title, Gods and Heroes, comes from the epic stories in the Bible, Homer and other classical sources that the student artists were assigned to depict in their paintings. “It’s not only the epic nature of the stories, but it’s also how really the school itself became epic, with its influence on the history of Western art. In a way, all the artists at the Ecole become gods and heroes themselves. They become these sort of figures that represent and reflect the prestige and the genius of the school,” Art Director Jennifer Klos said. “France was so influential and set such a high standard for this rigorous academic training that it really established the profession of being an artist.” “There will be a wide variety of art, but we’re not only looking at the art. We’re looking at this idea of what was it really like to be a student at the Ecole.”
There are some great photographs of the school itself and artists, and you get to see this camaraderie and you get to understand a little bit more about the architecture and the surroundings of the school. We really want our visitors to be able to kind of put themselves in the shoes of the artists.” “With this exhibition, there will be an emphasis on the academic curriculum of the Ecole … and drawing truly was the cornerstone of their academic study at the school. To master drawing, you really had to master the human body, particularly the nude male body,” Klos said. “You will be able to tell how they studied movement, how they studied musculature, the body in different settings, to master not only these parts of the curriculum but elements that also became competitions.” By the 19th century, École students were competing in various contests like the painted torso and expressive head competitions, which pushed the aspiring artists to master aspects of anatomy, perspective and landscape compositions. The contests prepared them for the most prestigious of all: the Prix de Rome, whose winners were awarded a scholarship to study the ancient and Renaissance masters in the Villa Medici in Rome for as long as five years.

Exhibition itinerary: Oklahoma City Museum of Art (June 19-September 14, 2014); Albuquerque Museum of Art and History (October 12, 2014–January 4, 2015); Artis—Naples, The Baker Museum (February 19–May 17, 2015); Portland Art Museum, (June 13–September 13, 2015).

Pierre-Charles Jombert’s (French, 1748-1825) 1772 oil painting “Apollo and Diana Killing the Children of Niobe” is among the more than 140 paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings featured in the traveling exhibition “Gods and Heroes: Masterpieces From the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris,” opening Saturday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Photo provided by the American Federation of Arts

Pierre-Charles Jombert’s (French, 1748-1825) 1772 oil painting “Apollo and Diana Killing the Children of Niobe” is among the more than 140 paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings featured in the traveling exhibition “Gods and Heroes: Masterpieces From the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris,” opening Saturday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Photo provided by the American Federation of Arts

Putting yourself in the shoes of the artist is a great idea for this exhibition and it’s legacy for today’s artists.

The Ecole des Beaux-Arts

Ecole des  Beaux-Arts

Ecole des Beaux-Arts

The Ecole des Beaux-Arts was founded in 1648 by Cardinal Mazarin with studies in architecture, drawing, painting, sculpture, engraving, modeling, and gem cutting. The school was born out of the legendary Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, founded in 1648 under King Louis XIV.   The École des Beaux-Arts was a competitive, government-run school that trained artists to meet the needs of royal, state, and church patrons from the late 17th through the mid-19th centuries,  to guarantee a pool of artists available to decorate the palaces and paint the Royalty.   It was made independent by Napoléon III in 1863. At the École, learning how to construct persuasive and powerful paintings from carefully delineated anatomy, expressive faces, and convincing architectural and landscape settings was understood by aspiring artists to be the route to success and recognition.

At that time the Paris art-world was made up of a triangle:

  • The Ecole des Beaux-Arts
  • The Independent Ateliers
  • The Annual Paris Salon

and in the middle was always the Cafe life.





The second point in this triangle was the small independent ateliers where students learned directly under the tutelage of an established “Master” who were not part of the Ecole. Students not in the Ecole trained in these ateliers with the hopes of passing the entrance exam, as well as students already in the Ecole wanting to get recognized by their association with a known “practicing Master”. 

Today’s artists train at Ateliers as well.  The International Decorative Artists League is an umbrella organization for many of the independent ateliers and practicing artists.

A very fine example of today’s atelier of talented craftsmen is Grand Illusions Decorative Painting.  Creating masterpieces and educating the next generation of artists.  Pierre Finkelstein is the owner and creative force behind this excellent atelier.  He has written a bible for decorative finishes.

door header






The third point in the triangle was the annual Paris Salon, the show everyone wanted to succeed at, and from which the public often commissioned their favorite artists.  It was the place to be seen, and get known.  Paintings shown at the Salon often posted not only the artist who did the work, but what atelier they came from and whom they studied under. It was the Paris Salon that was the culmination of a full years worth of work, both at the Ecole and the ateliers.  Not every painting was accepted. You had to submit to a jury to get the paintings shown. Over the summer break, the Masters, teachers, and students were almost all expected to leave the city, travel and paint in plein air. Every year they gather at Salon to share skills and paint together.

Charles X Distributing Awards to Artists Exhibiting at the Salon of 1824 at the Louvre Heim, Francois-Joseph (French Painter, 1787-1865) 1827

Charles X Distributing Awards to Artists Exhibiting at the Salon of 1824 at the Louvre Heim, Francois-Joseph (French Painter, 1787-1865) 1827


Artists still gather together at the annual Salon, which is hosted by a different sponsor each year in a different location.    Here is a wonderful blog about this years Salon in Seattle by Pierre Finkelstein.


The painting Pierre completed at Salon.

Pierre Finklestein artwork

He is the master of faux marble.  Recognize the pilaster from the Helmsley.  Pierre can reproduce that gorgeous agate.


Salon participants work.



Wholly aside from the discipline of painting, was the discipline of Architecture and was one of the most important studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and would  influence a whole school of thought. From America came some of the best students to study and it would the Beaux-Arts that buildings such as the Boston Public Library, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Grand Central Station, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and many of the Great public buildings in America of the late 1800′s through the 1930′s were built.

Today, the Ecole still exists although the Architectural school was split off after the student riots of 1968. 

Boston Public Library

Boston Public Library




A fabulous Beaux-Arts architectural firm, Robertson Partners is committed to excellence in architecture and design and has executed a host of projects in various historic revival styles. Most projects are high-end and range from private estate residences and other residential building types to master-planned towns and urban village centers. The firm’s motivation is to create a sense of place by responding to the site so that, by using specific architectural icons that are timeless in their meaning, the newly built environment will become a cherished part of the heritage of the community.

robertson partners-aviarad

Our company name Beaux-Artesreflects that classical style, philosophy and legacy.  We love offering classically designed solutions to modern intrusions such as the industrial louvered grilles for heating and air conditioning and recessed lights.  Why not make them as attractive as all the other details of the space.

recessed light trims with crystals



 June 17, 2014  Posted by at 12:07 pm Architecture, Art, Artisan and Craftsman, Interior Design No Responses »
Jun 092014

My favorite show house was the Mansion in May, at  Blairsden Mansion in Peapack-Gladstone, New Jersey.   It was designed and constructed between 1897 and 1903 for C. Ledyard Blair, a New York financier and grandson of self-made multimillionaire, John Isley Blair, who made his fortune in mining and building much of America’s railroad system.  Hailed as one of the finest examples of Beaux-Arts architecture in the United States.  Yes there was a line.   The reflecting pool was just completed.  You can see the fresh sod.   It is the seventh largest home in the US.

Blairsden Mansion Reflecting Pool

Blairsden Mansion

It is the masterpiece of Carrere and Hastings.  They also designed the iconic New York Public Library and the Frick Mansion.

New  York Public Library

New York Public Library


Frick Atrium

Frick Museum

The Mansion is undergoing massive restoration and rennovation.  There were 52 wonderful  spaces.  Photography was permitted so I have lots of great pictures and trends from some great designers working with architecturally embellished rooms and how they made them work as a fabulous mansion for today.

Blairsden Mansion

A Grand Front Door.


The Entrance with limestone walls throughout the first floor hallways and fabulous marble door surrounds.

entrance foyer

blairsden marble detail


This is the entrance foyer hallway prior to the renovation.

Blairsden Entrance Hallway

The room today.  Looks like the relief over the fireplace is gone.  Is it better?  The relief was quite massive.    Everything in the rooms is for sale, which explains all the accessories.    Otherwise, the mantle has too much stuff on it.


Another view of the hallway before.





The first room, “A Room of Her Own” by Timothy and Associates Interior Design was lovely and had a magnificent peacock embroidered window fabric that was $600 a yard.  Notice the beautiful glaze on the egg and dart moulding.

embroidered fabric

Trend Alert Peacocks.  Peacocks were in several other rooms.  We thought maybe Peapack, New Jersey was known for peacocks??  There was a peacock in the Kips Bay Show House as well.

white peacock

Not many bathrooms were done but this one was my favorite.  The marble floor tile was designed for the mansion by Van Cleef  Tile.  Love it.

powder room

tile closeup


A wall unit which slides to either side revealing a television.


tv cabinet

Almost every room had a beautiful fireplace.




This fireplace was faux finished.  Peacock painting.




Trend Alert - Using Mineral Specimens.




Trend Alert - Mother of Pearl accents


Mother of Pearl Mirror

Trend Alert - Inlaid Bone





Dining Room Before



Dining Room After – The ceiling paintings have been painted over along with the ornament which has been very painstakingly repainted.


I really like the white and gold.




Love the cabinet door finish ‘Blairsden Blue’  just for the Mansion.  The custom leaded mirrored refrigerator door is wonderful.

refrigerator door












 June 9, 2014  Posted by at 6:11 am Interior Design No Responses »
May 202014

This years Kips Bay Show House is in the Villard Mansion at 457 Madison Avenue.  When I  visited in 1987 it was The Helmsley Palace Hotel.  A lot has changed since then.

villard mansion


In 1882, Henry Villard, a well-known railroad financier, hired McKim, Mead, and White to create six private brownstone townhouses surrounding a courtyard on Madison Avenue. The prominent architectural firm created the houses in the neo-Italian Renaissance tradition, after the Palazzo della Cancellaria in Rome.

villard mansion

In the spring of 1974, the developer Harry Helmsley proposed a 55-story hotel for the site of the Villard Houses called The Helmsley Palace Hotel. To construct his hotel tower, Helmsley hired Emery Roth & Sons, who created its design of dark bronze reflective glass and anodized aluminum to blend with the Villard Houses and Manhattan’s surrounding skyline. The Helmsley Palace Hotel opened in 1981 and was operated by Helmsley until 1992, when the hotel came under the management of a private New York limited partnership, changing its name to The New York Palace.

During Helmsley’s ownership his wife,  Leona Helmsley,  maintained a strict and intolerant management style which involved her firing staff members for trivial mistakes, an act which gave her the nickname, “Queen of Mean.” The hotel reverted to its bond holders from Leona Helmsley and was ultimately purchased by The Sultan of Brunei with the concurrence of the US Bankruptcy Court. The Sultan of Brunei, through its development company, Amedeo Limited, hired Lee Jablin of Harman Jablin Architects for the complete renovation of the hotel and Villard Houses.

Northwood Investors bought the hotel from the Sultan of Brunei in 2011.

The Kips Bay Show House is in the townhouse on the left of the courtyard.  I was disappointed with the townhouse and the interior decoration with the exception of a few rooms.  No photography was permitted, but I had seen two of the rooms in Habitually Chic, which I loved.  They were the best rooms.

Love this paneled sitting room by Carrier and Company with custom gilt wallpaper.  It is quite a small room, but the furnishings and design gave it a spacious while intimate feeling.

gilt marblelized custom paper

Sitting Room

Alexa Hampton’s Sitting Room also had fabulous panels and custom printed wallcovering from Duggal.  The large tile pattern is wonderful.  The smaller version below the chair rail not so much.  Duggal is a wonderful source for digitized media.  Trend alert - Utilize digital images for unique patterns, large format photography and lenticular holographic imagery.

panels with tile pattern wall paper

The kitchen done by Matthew Quinn was excellent.  The Dacor refrigerator doors in stainless and brass were amazing.  The Helix Silestone countertops in a suede finish were perfect with the stainless and gray color palette.  The designer said the view of St. Patricks through the kitchen window was his inspiration for the lights (incense burners) and window treatment (organ pipes).

kitchen by Matthew Quinn

kitchen Matthew Quinn

St. Patricks

I had really chosen to see this years Kips Bay Show House because of the location.  I fell in love with the Gold Tea Room in the Helmsley, the grand lobby with beautiful marble and all the architectural features.  The show house rooms really did not have a backdrop of grand features I expected to see.  Some designers even chose to cover some grand features.  Over the years, the changes that have been made to the Villard in my view are not all improvements.

Lobby Before.

Villard Lobby Before

  Architectural features and columns were eliminated. Marble panels were painted. The lighting updated.  Getting rid of the yellow gold on the walls was a good idea. New floors look great.  The marble panels could have remained since they repeated the stone for the focal point fireplace.  Not all bad but……
Villard Lobby today

The New York Palace Hotel Michel Richard Bistro.  Amazing room with fabulous stone columns, pilasters, niches and crown.

Villard Michel Richard Bistro



villard restaurant

Today the restaurant has this huge wine display.

villard restaurant with wine display

villard restaurant



The Tea Room which I looked forward to seeing again is now a restaurant with huge images propped against the walls covering really beautiful artistry.  The ceiling is still beautiful.

gold room ceiling

The common areas are still original.    Check out the marble balustrades.  There are several different designs.

marble balustrades


villard stairway

marble walls


Banquet Room

New York Palace Hotel Banquet Room

Ceiling Detail

Ceiling Corner

Strapwork ceiling design

More to follow.  Next we visited the Mansion in May Show House,  The Blairsden Mansion,  in Peapack, New Jersey.  The seventh largest home in the US.  An impressive Beaux Arts style home.


Reminder to submit your ugly grille image to Beaux-Artes’ Second Annual Ugliest Grille Contest.  All you have to do is send a picture of the grille you would like to replace with one of Beaux-Artes decorative grilles, to [email protected]  Deadline for submissions is May 30th, 2014.  The winners will be announced June 4th, 2014.   Visit here for contest details.




May 072014

This year a minimum of 5 and maximum of 10 winners will receive one of Beaux-Artes decorative grilles to replace their ugly grille.  All you have to do is submit a photo of your ugly grille.  If selected, we will send you  a  free replacement decorative grille in your choice of style  and finish , and we receive an ‘After’ picture of your installed decorative grille.  The winners’  Before and After pictures will be shown in our Decorative Grille Product Slideshow.

Here is last year’s winner.



The seams around the grille are terrible.  It has years of grime, some of the louvers are bent and you can see the unpainted galvanized steel duct work behind.  The owner chose our Arts and Crafts 12″x20″ grille in our Antique Gold finish.

The Before pictures will be judged by Beaux-Artes management. We are looking for some great Before and After photos of our products installed for our online store.  The combination of Before and After pictures demonstrate the impact of replacing functional louvered grilles with our decorative grilles.


Contest Instructions:

  1. Send us an email to:  [email protected]  with a digital photo of your ugliest grille before Friday, May 30th.  The grille can be in your home, office or restaurant.
  2. Include your name, shipping address, phone number and the grille measurements in inches.
  3. Select your replacement grille here and choose your finish here.  Include the style number and finish in your email.
  4. International participation is welcome.  (Winner will have to pay half the cost of international shipping.)  Shipping is free to US participants.
  5. We will choose a minimum of 5 and maximum of 10 submissions.  Winners Before and After photos will be shown on our website Decorative Grille Slideshow
  6. Submissions are due no later than May 30th, 2014.
  7. Winners will be announced June 4th, 2014.

Get inspired. Replace your modern intrusion heating and air conditioning eyesore with our classically designed solution.  Enjoy this collection of interiors with decorative grilles.

decorative grille cabinet

decorative grille

decorative grille


decorative grille

decorative rope grille


Not sure about this one.  I think you can see too much of the radiator.  A different pattern and spray the radiator black.


This is a a no relief laser cut pattern.  Personally I prefer 3D designs but it is still lovely.

decorative grille

Decorative grilles provide design solutions.

decorative grille

decorative grille

decorative grille

This could qualify as an ugly grille since everything else in the room is lovely.

decorative grille

decorative grille

I have shown this grille before but I include it as a great idea for unusable high areas.

decorative grille

decorative grille

They need decorative grilles.

decorative grille









 May 7, 2014  Posted by at 7:29 am Interior Design 3 Responses »
Apr 302014

I love this quote from Questroyal Fine Art, “Very few things are purchased for a lifetime.  Art is.”  Rooms as art are investments for a lifetime as well.

One component of creating a remarkable room as an art investment, are wall panel installations.  An inspiration for this post on artistically valuable rooms came from Veranda’s March-April 2014 issue, “Life of the Party”  piece on Susan Gutfreund.  She used 18th Century hand painted wallpaper installed in panels.  The room is fabulous.

hand painted wallpaper-panels

Love the door panels in her home as well.


18th Century Wallpaper Designs

Love the background color for this classic paper from the UK decorative arts company, Iksel.    I wouldn’t cover up this paper with other artwork in my room.  I would paint the walls in the background color for the paper and hang the paper in large white ornamented panels.

What do you think?  An entire room papered or the paper in wall panels.

wall art


Like this Louis XIV Double Head Set Panel for $299.

louis xiv wall panel











de Gournay Wallpaper 

The entire room papered.   The wallpaper seams are very noticeable behind the sconces.



Beaux-Artes Classical Wall Panel Set is $199 for 4 corners and 16′ of molding framing the de Gournay paper.  Picture the above walls with a center panel at least 36″ w x 72″H  and narrow panels for the sconces 24″ W x 72″H.  With the ceiling height double panel frames would look great.classical-wall-panel-paper-art
beaux-artes-garland-french-ren-panel-set-de-gourney-paperThis fabulous paper from de Gournay,  is framed with a Garland Panel Set in an Aged Gold finish $199.









Another great wallpaper from de Gournay.

de gourney wallpaper

Antique wallpaper which is limited in quantity would be perfect.  Here are some offerings from 1st Dibs.



Wallpaper is a great choice for the inside of panels.  How about some very contemporary handpainted wallpaper with classical panels like this design from Timorous Beasties?

louis XIV panel timorous-beastie wallpaper

Here is that same paper installed as wallpaper.


I think I prefer the large scale contemporary patterns in wall panels.  Timorous Beasties is based in Glasgow.  Very interesting take on Toile.






Panel Art

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 8.41.17 PM

The work of Iksel


The Chinese Bedroom with one of the mid c18th Chinese mirror paintings with a Rococo style at Saltram, Devon


Musee Camondo

musee camondo paris habituallychic 402

musee camondo paris habituallychic 408

neoclassical still life

Alan Carroll




The work of Feau & Cie is to preserve truly important rooms.  Here is a wonderful blog post from one of my favorite artist blogs Surface Fragments on this one of a kind company.



 April 30, 2014  Posted by at 3:18 pm Art, Interior Design, Wall Treatments No Responses »
Apr 162014

“…Ceilings afford great scope for decoration, yet it seems a strange defect in our modern method of decoration, that in many mansions the walls of the principal rooms are highly decorated with expensive papers, to be afterwards partly or wholly covered with pictures, looking-glasses, and bric-a-brac, and the floor is covered with carpets, to say nothing of furniture; but the ceiling spreads its broad blank waste of white above us, expressionless and inartistic to a great degree.  The ceiling being the crowning glory of a room, and the part most seen, should be decorated with form and colour.”  William Millar, London, circa 1890.

William Millar would be amazed that in 2014 our modern ceiling decoration has continued to be ignored.  So, here are some great ceilings.  Who knows you might decide that dressing the ceiling makes such an impact that you add it to your must have it list.

Their are two basic approaches to ornamentation design for ceilings.

The Frame – Use the ornamentation to frame the ceiling with four corners attached with decorative running linears or add corners, linears and side ornament.

Catherine Kwong, San Francisco

1. catherine kwong san francisco

2. catherine kwong san francisco ceiling

4. catherine kwong san francisco

5. catherine kwong san francisco


Love our Beaux-Artes’ handpainted Louis XV corners connected with S curves.  This one is in a premium finish which means we will paint it with a maximum of nine colors chosen for your color palette.  This style also looks so elegant with semi-precious gems  and/or crystals added to cover installation screws and for embellishment.


Louis XV hand painted ceiling corner

This is a lovely ceiling frame design.  No crown coming down on the walls which would interfere with the window.

ceiling design frame

Another  great design.




Add a center to the frame design which will work with or without a chandelier.

ceiling medallion

Or just add a center by itself.

ceiling medallions


finished medalion


ceiling ornamentation corners running linears

ceiling medallion, ceiling corners and running linears

ceiling medallion, ceiling center

This is still my favorite ceiling center.

Ceiling Shell Center

Expand the impact by adding corners, side ornaments, crown and molding.

ceiling ornamentation-center,side ornaments, molding

ceiling design

ceiling design with molding,center and side ornaments


ceiling design

ceiling design

Add ceiling coffers.

ceiling coffers

ceiling coffers

11. malene birger palma mallora

ceiling coffers

ceiling coffers

ceiling coffers

This lovely ceiling created with Modello adhesive backed stencils.

ceiling design with stencils

What do you think of how they repeated the pattern in the rug?

ceiling design with coffers

ceiling design coffers

A Focal Point – Start with the center decorative ornament and design out.   This approach works well for irregular and unsymmetrical spaces.

plaster 2

Ceiling  designs using molding or beams in combination with ornamentation.

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design with molding

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design


ceiling design with beams

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design


ceiling design

ceiling design


Ceiling Tile

ceiling tilesceiling tile

ceiling tile

ceiling tile

ceiling tile

Everything in full color.

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

Burley on the Hill, England

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

In a class by themselves.

ceiling design

ceiling design




 April 16, 2014  Posted by at 11:35 am Ceilings, Interior Design 1 Response »
Apr 082014


I am in the process of designing a parterre for our front yard.  It is the perfect solution to replace our lawn.  We live next to a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay and have had little success growing a lawn here without using chemicals.  A parterre is a formal garden constructed on a level surface, consisting of planting beds, typically in symmetrical patterns, separated and connected by gravel pathways. The beds may be edged in stone or tightly clipped hedging and may not contain flowers.

The gravel beds will be great for drainage.  Maryland has a ‘rain tax’.  The concept behind the tax is to help control the runoff into the Chesapeake Bay.  The tax is assessed on the percentage of your lot which is impervious to absorb rain.

French parterres originated in the 15th-century, often taking the form of knot gardens.  Knot gardens were first established in England in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

800px-Knot_garden_St_FagansLater, during the 17th century Baroque era, they became more elaborate and more stylized. The French parterre reached its highest development at Versailles which inspired many other similar parterres throughout Europe.  According to Wikipedia, “The parterre was developed in France by Claude Mollet, the founder of a dynasty of nurserymen-designers that lasted deep into the 18th century. His inspiration in developing the 16th-century patterned compartimens—simple interlaces formed of herbs, either open and infilled with sand or closed and filled with flowers—was the painter Etienne du Pérac, who returned from Italy to the château of Anet, where he and Mollet were working. About 1595 Mollet introduced compartment-patterned parterres to royal gardens at Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Fontainebleau; the fully developed scrolling embroidery-like parterres en broderie appear for the first time in Alexandre Francini’s engraved views of the revised planting plans at Fontainebleau and Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1614.”

Versailles Knot Garden


Parterres are the low embellishments of gardens, which have great grace, especially when seen from an elevated position: they are made of borders of several shrubs and sub-shrubs of various colours, fashioned in different manners, as compartments, foliage, embroideries (passements), moresques, arabesques, grotesques, guilloches, rosettes, sunbursts (gloires), escutcheons, coats-of-arms, monograms and emblems (devises)

Traité du iardinage selon les raisons de la nature et de l’art, pp 81–82 (quoted by Laird)




Summer Garden, St. Petersburg


Lake Maggiore, Italy



A knot garden is a garden of very formal design in a square frame, consisting of a variety of aromatic plants and culinary herbs including germander, marjoram, thyme, southernwood, lemon balm, hyssop, acanthus, mallow, chamomile, rosemary, Calendulas, Violas and Santolina. Most knot gardens now have edges made from boxwoods whose leaves have a sweet smell when bruised. The paths in between are usually laid with fine gravel. However, the original designs of knot gardens did not have the low box hedges, and knot gardens with such hedges might more accurately be called parterres.

So I am not sure if I have a preference on the height of my boxwood hedges.  I will have 2 knot gardens/parterres 21 feet square.  I came upon this similar knot garden design online which were my measurements.





18. memorial day weekend summer

This is so amazing.





Love the combination of blue green and yellow green.












This looks like a wondeful book.






The Great Gatsby




 April 8, 2014  Posted by at 3:17 pm Gardens, Fountains, Sculpture 1 Response »
Mar 312014

Designing with ornamentation seems to be a lost art, but we at Beaux-Artes believe there is a revival occurring.  Some of the most beautiful published rooms have architectural details and ornamentation.  Rooms that are beautiful without any furnishings.



5. lonny hotel du marc france

A trend we see is adding ornamentation to the ‘room’.  To transform a fireplace by adding ornamentation.



To transform large expanses of drywall with wall panels.

A 2208


To create one of a kind doors.



A client has asked me to create a door design which will be used on her bedroom doors.  It has been an interesting design process which I thought would benefit our readers.  When we began, our design inspiration was this gorgeous door.  I researched ornament possibilities on the Decorators Supply website.  Note the relief of the ornament on this door.  By the time I did a number of designs my client realized she wanted heavy ornament.


The website has pictures for most of their ornament which can be saved and used to layout your ornamentation design.  You do not need CAD software to create a scaled design layout.  For a quick idea how the ornament will look in your design,  Publisher has easy tools to create a scaled drawing.

Step 1.  Do a scaled drawing of the door in Publisher.   I use a scale of 1/16″ = 1″.   I am using the dimensions of the door closed to determine my ornamentation design since the door opens into the room.  I have added very simple molding around my door design which I will add ornament to.  The ceiling is 8′; but there is a 12″ crown molding which leaves me with 3-1/2″ over the door for my door header ornamentation.  I am also putting rosettes on the blocks.

Door-Publisher Drawing

This picture shows the door header with the old paneled door still in place.  The ornamentation will be added to a new flat panel door.  Rebecca is gold leafing the crown molding and door molding.  The small header over the door is also being gilded.


Step 2.  Draw in the basic size of your door design.  My inspiration picture requires a border of running ornament around a 2-panel design.  I have not found the ornament which appears in the inspiration but I thought this ornament would work for the repeating S-curve that is in the outer border.  It also gives me a small rosette to cover the ends.

Decorators Supply 890F - 8-1/4″ x 4-3/4″ You can crop, rotate and copy the image in Publisher.  890f

Instead of a running floral design I chose this running ornament 2928F.  This ornament was not online so I scanned it and used Publisher to remove the dark background.


Here is a screen shot of the ornament showing the scaled ornament in the upper left corner using the 1/16″=1″ scale.


During the research and development of this design it became clear that the time involved in applying all of this individual composition ornament to six doors was going to be labor intensive and the design just wasn’t developing into a great design.  So, I began researching other design possibilities.

This Design is based on using most  of the inside panel of Decorators Supply Wall Panel 9894.


My client did not want a shell as the center feature so I used this beautiful floral center 11627.  Now I had to figure out a C curve that would compliment the curve of the inner panel.  My client also wants a different feature on each door to represent whose room it is.



This single panel design did not have enough beautiful ornament and the molding for the panel was not interesting enough.  Here is my design for a two panel door.  We decided the corners on the top panel with S curves to form an arch would be a good design.  For this design I chose this beautiful Rococo Rose corner 9804.


The Center 11564 for the bottom panel




This design lacks beauty on the bottom of the panels.  Here is yet another design adding corners to the bottom of the panels.  With each design I record the ornament style, size and cost with a picture of the ornament.

Rococo Corners 9800




This design is still not there.  The next design I am going to work on will be a 3-panel layout with heavy molding.




Feb 132014

Classical Addiction has showcased many blogs on the great beauty that is in Russia; from the Amber Room, Alexander Palace Catherine Palace  and  The Hermitage.  I was unfamiliar with Sochi and am really enjoying all aspects of this beautiful location for the Winter Olympics in Sochi.


View of  Sochi with its 90 miles of waterfront on the Black Sea.  It is geographically located entirely within European Russia with the Caucasus Mountains falling on the Asian side.


Sochi has a humid subtropical climate with mild winter temperatures of 52 degrees in the day and 39 degrees at night from December through March.  It is a beautiful location for the Winter Olympics.





Luge - Winter Olympics Day 5

The Opening Ceremony was very impressive.  Here are some memorable pictures.





The scale was enormous.  It must have been quite an experience to be in this venue which was created just for the opening and closing ceremonies.


Like the Chinese Opening Ceremony they had images projected on the floor and the latest technology using a computer operated gantry system to move these huge light sculptures through the space.  Multi-Dimensional painting is most certainly the theater experience of the future.


They have the fabulous onion domes which added a surreal portrayal to the unfolding of Russian history.








Their Peace Dove was my absolute favorite.





Beautiful Sochi

Sochi National Park Waterfall


Sochi Arboretum



St. Vladimir Church



Soichi Russia 1

Summer Theater















 February 13, 2014  Posted by at 12:20 pm Architecture, Beauty Cult, Travel No Responses »
Feb 032014

It has been awhile since I have blogged.  We have been working on our new E-store which I am happy to announce is now online .   We are still tweaking things, but overall we are very happy with our new look.   It is  a rather gray day and time of year for those of us who live in the East.  So here are just some beautiful images.   Beauty is a big inspiration and  focus for this blog and as stated by Oscar Wilde,  “All Beautiful  things belong to the same age.” Beauty is a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, esp. the sight.


Palace of Fine Arts
San Francisco

There are some things of beauty that appeal universally, such as a gorgeous sunrise or sunset.   Here is one of my sky paintings.




The Beauty of Nature.










The Beauty created by humans  is a never ending source of  joy, pleasure and inspiration.  Enjoy….


tumblr_mknuqovaMB1qk9hrqo1_1280Building Before


Building After



















 February 3, 2014  Posted by at 2:41 pm Architecture, Art, Interior Design 2 Responses »