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.

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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.

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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.

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Luge - Winter Olympics Day 5

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

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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.

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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.

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

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Their Peace Dove was my absolute favorite.

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Beautiful Sochi

Sochi National Park Waterfall

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Sochi Arboretum

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St. Vladimir Church

 

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Soichi Russia 1

Summer Theater

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 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.

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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.

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The Beauty of Nature.

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Queen-Red-Lime-Zinnia

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

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 February 3, 2014  Posted by at 2:41 pm Architecture, Art, Interior Design 2 Responses »
Jan 082014
 

Happy New Year.  After a much needed vacation and wonderful holiday I am excited to be back with this blog showcasing the work of some of the top architects and designers at the forefront of global design today that are in Architectural Digest’s AD100.

Their work  is based on classically inspired details, proportions and principles of scale and harmony with 21st century comfort and style.  You will see a lot of bold colors, eye catching art, beautiful wall panels, craftsmanship and artistry.  Enjoy.

Alberto Pinto

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This firm specializes in Orientalism.

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Brian McCarthy

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Bunny Williams

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gottwald, richmond, virginia

gottwald, richmond, virginia

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gottwald, richmond, virginia

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David Kleinberg Design Associates

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Dec 092013
 

Just bought a great book on the Empire Period Empire by Madeleine Deschamps. Here is some food for thought from the Introduction.   “The end of the eighteenth century was a tumultuous and remarkably rich period that laid the foundations of modern times.”  This can be said of our times,  the end of the twentieth century laying the foundations of the new age.   “In the course of the century the philosophy of Enlightenment had opened minds to realities veiled until then, and it had awakened hopes of social and political change in many lands.”  Once again, this can be said of our times with the expansion of knowledge, technology and physics all contributing to powers we could not have imagined just 30 years ago.  “In France this new consciousness culminated in a major cultural rupture, the Revolution.  The fall of the Bastille in 1789 and the death of Louis XVI in 1793 marked the end of a monarchy that had shaped France, its society, and its economy for ten centuries.”

It goes on to establish that the Revolution did not immediately find a language to express the social order they were striving to establish.  So there was no real break in the styles and art forms that characterized the reign of Louis XVI and the subsequent Directoire, Consulat and Empire Styles. The Empire style was a natural development of the neoclassical art born in the preceding decades, which explains why Empire also includes styles that predate the coronation of Napoleon.  “Despite a strong connection to its stylistic preedecessors, the Empire style was highly influenced by the personality of one man, Napoleon Bonaparte.napoleon Once in power he not only wished to dominate European countries but also to control their trade. “He also wished to give grandeur and splendor to his reign, a purpose best served by the arts. Thus the short years of his rule were a period of extraordinary development for arts and crafts in France and in the countries he controlled.”

What will be said of this time in terms of the development of the arts and crafts.  The decorative arts business had products and technologies which will enable today’s artists, artisans, architects and designers to surpass anything that has been created.  Hopefully there will always be patrons to support today’s masterpieces and with the advantage of technology the middle class will be able to create interiors rich with artistry.

“When Napoleon came to power he found a country that had been torn apart by civil war and lay in partial ruin. He also inherited royal residences that had been stripped bare by the Revolution.  Today’s interiors are in a sense are stripped bare with large expanses of drywall.  In his ten years as emperor he not only refurbished palaces and chateaux throughout France and Europe but also gave France one of its most superb collections of decorative arts. To accomplish this he provided massive help to workshops and nascent industries, encouraged and publicized technical inventions, and instituted schools, competitions and prizes. No one since Louis XIV’s minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert had been so concerned with the economic status of France and the international image of its arts and crafts.  Just as Napoleon knew how to surround himself with the best political and military counselors, so too did he call some of the best artists in Europe to his service.”

Let’s look at the glory of the Empire Period and dream about our expression of the decorative arts in the 21st Century.

The Chateau de Malmaison, Paris is a country house in the city of Rueil-Malmaison about 12 km from Paris. It was formerly the residence of Joséphine de Beauharnais, and with the Tuileries, was from 1800 to 1802 the headquarters of the French government.

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Mythological Frieze, Chateau de Malmaison

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Josephine’s  Bedroom

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Today’s Mansion - The Enchanted Home

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Hotel de Beauharnais, Paris

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Salon of the Four Seasons – The paintings of the four seasons were formerly attributed to Pierre-Paul Prud’hon and now to Anne-Louis Girodet, who painted works on the same theme for the Platinum Study in the Casa del Labrador in Aranjuez, Spain.

Salon of The Four Seasons

Salon of The Four Seasons

 

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Bathroom at Hotel de Beauharmais

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The Turkish bath in the Hotel de Beauharnais

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Beaux-Artes designed and executed this Powder Room using technology to create the pietre dure design on the vanity and reproduce it below the chair rail with venetian plaster.

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Inspiration vanity.

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Empire has a section on wallpaper since it was becoming a convenient and attractive way to decorate an interior.  Manufacturers as Jacquemart et Benard, Dufour and Zuber made papers of great artistic and technical quality in lavish colors.  It was a young industry when the Revolution broke out.  Wallpaper answered the demand of a clientele that could not afford expensive silks for decorating the home.  The extension of the Empire opened Europe to their production.

Great article by Barbara Clark in Artisphere Online showcasing the work of Alan Carroll

“My old business partner, Mark Kusek, really opened my eyes to the digital world. Without him I never would have embraced computers as a tool for decorative artists in the same way. More importantly, he taught me that you can be true to the same creative spirit that flowed through the old guys while at the same time embracing new technology.

You don’t have to be mired in the past, trying to copy stuff that was done way better hundreds of years ago. ”

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“Imagine you have a piece of artwork on your computer. You’ve either painted and scanned it, or created it directly on the computer. Want to make fabric? Wallpaper? Flooring? ceiling murals? Area rugs? verre eglomisé? You can do all those and tons more from the same piece of artwork now by combining the power of digital printing with traditional skills. We are only beginning to touch on the possibilities.”

“We even developed a way to print gold size. You could get a sheet of ebony veneer for example, and literally print from any design you have on your computer screen in gold size right onto the wood – no masking/stencilling necessary – then gild it. The computer is used just to expedite the hand-done finish, not to supplant it. It’s still a hand-gilded product.

Or forget about printing the size. What about printing the ‘painted’ image on the reverse of glass before you gild it? Mark is now in the middle of printing verre eglomisé polychrome designs right onto glass from ornamental panels that I painted using a Wacom tablet and some computer software. This is groundbreaking stuff. Print the image onto the reverse of the glass, and then gild it. He even printed the patina onto the sheet of glass before gilding it. Time savings are huge, and that’s just with this one thing!

“I think that’ll be my theme for the future: exploring how to expand and truly incorporate digital technology into the decorative artist’s toolkit. I don’t mean simply painting something by hand, then selling prints. But how about this other experiment we did with the Glass department of OSU in Ohio: We printed our gold size directly onto paper in super-detailed ornate designs. then we simply applied leaf, and dusted off the design. The gold only sticks to the areas we printed. Then we took these gold leaf designs on paper to the glass furnace. The guy blows a vase out of molten glass, then rolls it carefully across our design. The paper burns off completely, and the gold design is instantly transferred to the glass. Never been done before, but we just came up with it by experimenting.

It’s not just about coming up with ways that save time over traditional methods. It’s also about creating new hybrid techniques that could not be conceived of any other way. That’s the future.”

Josephine and her Entourage at Lake Garda, 1805-6 by Hippolyte Lecomte.  Available as a 12″ x 15″ print for $181.

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Chateau de Compiegne

 

Chateau de Compiegne

Chateau de Compiegne

 

The Ballroom

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Empress Marie-Louise’s Second Salon later called the Salon of Flowers.  Would love to do a variation of the panel art in this room.  The Book Empire has a wonderful closeup of the panels.

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Hotel de Charost

Hotel de Charost

Hotel de Charost

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The Sala di Marte near Naples

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Sala di Marte

Beaux-Artes Arabesque Panel

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Casita del Principe, El Escorial, Spain

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Platinum study in the Casa del Labrador, Aranjuez, Spain

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Charlottenburg Castle, Berlin

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Queen Luise’s Bedroomcharlottenburg-castle-queen-luise-bedroom

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Dec 032013
 

I love Old Town. I bought my first condominium on the fringe of Old Town behind the Masonic Temple. That was almost 40 years ago now and the expansion and development of the area between the heart of Old Town which borders on the Potomac River and the Masonic Temple is a great example of planned development and an architectural vision.  Photo by David Zanzinger. masonic-temple

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 They have joined the historic look of the Old Town Waterfront with shopping, offices, hotels and apartments.

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Wyndham Hotel

Hampton Inn

Hampton Inn

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Morrison House Hotel

I have eaten at the Morrison House and it is excellent.

Old Town has  blocks and blocks of a great collection of boutiques and favorite chain stores like Anthropologie.  Old Town was ‘comfortably’  bustling with shoppers for Small Business Saturday.

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shops

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It is a healthy walk from the Masonic Temple to the waterfront.  We hopped on a Trolley and got off at M and M Fine Art and Antiques who were advertising a clearance sale to make room for new inventory.  A great collection of beauty in a very small typical townhouse style shop.  Here are some outstanding pieces that were hard to photograph because there were things in front of them and on top of them.

Italian Pietre Dure table 46″ diameter.

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Mixed Metals Table with Cherubs.  I am purchasing this beauty tomorrow.

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Lovely mahogany inlaid end table with a center drawer.

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Empire fainting couch.

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MandM-sculpture

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Fabulous……………

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Next Stop Random Harvest.  Antique accents, comfortable upholstery, contemporary lighting and accents.

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Love this side chair with the lovely painting on the back.

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Topiaries are a favorite holiday, anytime accent.

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The best bow of the season so far $12.

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old-town-waterfront2We had lunch at a new sandwich, salad and sushi restaurant, The Waterfront Market.  My salmon and kale quinoa salad was delicious.  View of the waterfront.

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The Torpedo Factory ‘Aethenium’ – A combination artists working studios,  stores, and galleries.

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City Hall

City Hall

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Old Town is a great place to shop, eat and visit.   I am fortunate to have it near me and I am so excited about my fabulous purchase.   The wall design for room the table will be in;  mirrors, aluminum leaf with shellac, verre eglomise, and of course ornament.

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Nov 212013
 

Winner of Fifth Avenue Style by Howard Slatkin is Lisa McMillen.  Lisa please email me your mailing address.  You are going to love this book, congratulations.

The focus for this post is on antique and stone fireplaces as our inspiration.  Decorative artists and today’s wonderful faux products make it possible to get the look without the price tag of the real thing.

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Via-Rinfret-Ltd.

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Tartaruga - Love the simplicity and the wonderful cartouche.

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Daryl Carter

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This is so fabulous.

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2. Manolo-Blahnik-at-home

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Totally over the top, Villa Stibbert, Florence

Villa Stibbert Dining Room

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 November 21, 2013  Posted by at 12:33 pm Fireplaces, Interior Design Tagged with: , ,  3 Responses »
Nov 192013
 

Even though we are having 60 degree temperatures, fireplace weather is just around the corner.  I have an amazing collection of great fireplaces.  Too many for one blog post.  Whatever the season a fireplace is a focal point for the room and all of these images have outstanding fireplaces.  Whatever your decor I am sure you will find plenty of inspiration.

This one is very unusual with the over mantle built out the same depth as the fireplace.  Love the cornice on the top.

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For a less formal fireplace this design has interesting proportions.

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Decorators Supply has a wonderful fireplace piece very similar to this.

#27092 Flemish Plaster Shield 35-1/2″ x 12-5/8″ $223.37

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Simple panel above a gorgeous fireplace.  Effective use of wall color with the furnishings.

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The mirror, fireplace screen and candelabras really make this fireplace stunning.

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The Fireplace and Mirror combination offers endless possibilities.

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Paris Apartment Thomas Pheasant

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Maurice Fatio

If you have a plain fireplace, adding swags is a great addition.

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This is a fireplace and cabinet makeover we did using composition ornament.

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More swags.

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I love the fireplace but the over mantle treatment doesn’t work for me.

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8. bill blass new preston ct

7. champeau and wilde paris

3. studio ko paris

Lonny Hotel

2. lonny hotel du marc france

Champagne and Wilde, Paris

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Benjamin Dhong

Living Room

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In my next post I will continue great fireplace inspirations Part 2 with stone and antiques that have some great ideas for adding ornament and faux finishes to existing fireplaces.  In the meantime, Thursday, November 21st is the last day to qualify for my book giveaway of Howard Slatkin’s wonderful Fifth Avenue Style.  Here is a link to comment and like it.

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 November 19, 2013  Posted by at 7:37 am Fireplaces, Interior Design Tagged with:  7 Responses »
Nov 152013
 

slatkin-5AS-cover It is a pleasure to review and offer a free book to one of my readers of Interior Designer, Howard Slatkin’s New York apartment Fifth Avenue Style.   Not only is it filled with creativity, artistry and craftsmanship, but practical ideas for organizing the working parts of a home.  According to Howard, “This interest in the inner workings of a home is the genesis of the book in your hands, and perhaps an integral part of the success I have been fortunate to have had as an interior designer. A home doesn’t run smoothly and effortlessly unless all these service areas are well planned.”

It is a visually beautiful book.  Tria Giovan’s excellent photography captures the exquisite details, and lighting which is Howard’s obsession. Another purpose of the book is to show the inspiration for the rooms and the choices, decisions and what he would do differently today, hoping that the reader will benefit from his process and be inspired to follow your dream for your home. I so enjoyed that aspect of the book.  His design philosophy “is that rooms should be deeply personal; make yourself comfortable in them, and others will be too.”  Another reason for the book was to create a record of what was done and most importantly what a group of superbly talented artisans achieved.  That there are craftsmen today who are committed to beauty and quality with the skills and talent to create it.  He is a patron for all those in the field of the decorative arts.

I love the organization of the book.  It is like a personal tour beginning with getting off the elevator into the Elevator Vestibule with panels made from an eighteenth-century Chinese black lacquer screen that had serious water damage.  A visit to  Monplaisir, Peter the Great’s summer palace in Peterhof, where an amazing Chinese-style room with gilt-decorated black lacquer panels inset in moldings was his inspiration of his vestibule.  He refers to sources of inspiration as a point of departure (POD) which gets him going on the design for the space.  The floor is incredible.  It was inspired by the floor in Empress Maria Feodorovna’s bedroom at Pavlovsk outside of St. Perersburg.  It was done by Alexander (Sasha) Solodukho.
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Chinese Room in Monplaisir

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Empress Bedroom Pavlovsk Palace

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From the Vestibule you enter the Gallery.  One of my favorite rooms.

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His POD for the design was the early-nineteenth-century French scenic wallpaper panels that he found at a Paris antique dealer.  The book has many beautiful photographs of this space along with background information about all the details that went into creating it.  The apartment had no ornamentation or architectural details.  Everything was designed and created by Howard and his team of artists and craftsmen.  This also included all the fabrics most of which were also embroidered.

The ornament used to create this space is beautiful.  As an inspiration for us,  here is a similar ornament  from Decorators Supply which is on the doors.

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The Living Room, which was quite small in the original apartment, was combined with an adjoining sitting room to create a light filled room overlooking Central Park.  However, it resulted in a long, narrow room which he remedied with  painting  the eighteenth-century oak parquet wood floor he found in Paris a color similar to the boiserie paneling.   The floor was installed upside down because he did not want to destroy the original honey-colored finish and he preferred “the unfinished underside’s rougher, more textural surface”.

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The living room niche was another remedy for the ‘bowling alley’ feeling of the long room.

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The Library has embossed leather panels with  horizontal and vertical strapwork borders which  he commissioned.  The book has great closeups of the walls.  Love the Louis XIV style pilasters inset with patinated mirrors.

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The Dining Room’s POD was Raphael’s Loggia at the Vatican which was copied at the Hermitage and also the interior of his favorite restaurant, Le Grand Vefour in Paris.

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Here is his inspiration,  Le Grand Vefour, which  is said to have the most beautiful, romantic dining room in Paris.

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To enter the drawing for this wonderful book please like this blog post on Facebook and send me a comment  by Thursday, November 21.

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 November 15, 2013  Posted by at 12:56 pm Art, Artisan and Craftsman, Interior Design 3 Responses »
Nov 062013
 

I attended a luncheon and Presentation entitled “Like It, Love It, Cherish It”  which was hosted by the Washington Metropolitan area’s ultimate hardware store, Union Hardware on Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda, Maryland.  The presentation focused on the Energy that results from your  feelings about your surroundings.  They said people are willing to spend up to three times their budget with an emotional connection.

Exterior Mural  by David Gordon using personal collection of hardware

union-hardware-mural“Like It, Love It, Cherish It” is an interesting approach to understand the motivation to reach for the best.   Union Hardware incorporates this brilliant idea to feature artists, designers,  innovation and the best products in their industry along with a philosophy that encourages the pursuit of your highest desire.     Certainly peaked my curiosity with our related niche of providing solutions to necessary but  nonetheless modern intrusions.   Union Hardware sells decorative plumbing solutions, Beaux-Artes sells and manufactures  decorative solutions for heating and air conditioning ventsdrywall and recessed lighting .  So what is the deciding factor in the choices made for  these areas.  For us it is attention to detail.  I always notice and wonder why a beautifully done interior has an industrial louver instead of a decorative grille.  That white louvered grille is very noticeable.

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So here is their observation.  Like it would be the best choice from a big box store.   Love It would not be available at big box stores but at finer retailers and online.  Union Hardware is filled with lots to love.

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Artwork, I love the water splash of this gown.

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 Then their is a Cherish It choice where every time you see and use it you are affected by the item, and Cherish It, as perfect in every way.  This is an item such as this amazing Baccarat faucet.

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 The Showroom has won their industries, Showroom of the Year Award which I imagine there was little competition with their sophisticated presentation of modern necessities, bathroom fixtures, door hardware and accessories.   Their approach is the result of careful thought about the need for artistry, quality, design and respect for the objects.  The Cherish It factor.  When I first walked in there was a beautiful wall display with Baccarat  and  Lalique.   Baccarat has just come out with a new book;   Baccarat: Two Hundred and Fifty Years. This book on my Christmas Wish List.   This gorgeous faucet would be a Cherish It purchase for sure.

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These knobs are stunning.

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In 1914, Union Hardware was an old fashioned hardware store serving DC residents. Company founders Abraham and Jennie Goldberg chose the name “Union” because of the growing strength of labor unions.

In 1954, their son Charles Goldberg expanded this traditional hammers and nails hardware store to include a small selection of decorative plumbing and hardware products. The demand for these products grew so fast that it wasn’t long before the decorative product took over the adjacent building. In 1970, a bold risk was taken to move from the city to the “outskirts” of Bethesda, MD.

Grandsons David and Barry serve as Vice Presidents of the company to make Union Hardware a third-generation, family-owned and operated business.

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Leather Door Handles – Fabulous

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I love this porcelain wainscoting.  As one designer pointed out it is much more elegant than tile.

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Lovely embossed panel.

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Just love the beautiful stone used in this sink and shower.

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Another beauty.

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Owner, David Goldberg and Jim Bartak offered some insights into interactions in the design process which led to Cherish It choices.  As a designer and artist those experiences of creating designs and objects to Cherish is the best.

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 November 6, 2013  Posted by at 2:09 pm Artisan and Craftsman, Great Products, Interior Design 1 Response »