Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A lovely studio

Wouldn't this be a enchanting place to dream and create?

Art and Decoration   Photo by Alexandre Rety

Art and Decoration   Photo by Alexandre Rety

This is the studio of Belgian Laurence Hannoun

Mine is almost nothing like this. We can dream!

Monday, August 30, 2010

A wreath and a recipe

Looking for a tasty side dish for the Labor Day barbecue? Try Orzo with Roasted Vegetables:

You can use whatever veggies you have, especially those you just harvested from the garden. Roast them on the grill to cut down on the kitchen heat and they'll be even tastier. You can also roast the pine nuts on the grill.

The basil adds the punch it needs. I garnished with it, as well.

For those who were curious to see the giveaway hydrangea wreath that was won by Leigha Oaks, of the elle oh blog, here it is. I used an assortment of hydrangeas, all from my yard, and added a little bittersweet which is perfect right now. The hydrangea petals will eventually fade over time and the bittersweet will still burst open from its yellow pod.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Such potential!

When I first saw these ceramic pigment samples on decorative artist Lynne Rutter's website, I was intrigued. These were samples made in 1773 by Josiah Wedgwood I during his quest to create a new ceramic material that would be compatible with the delicate shades of the interiors of the day. These ceramics later became known as Jasperware.

There is something about the process of creating samples that holds so much potential. It tries your patience when you cannot quite get to where you want to be. The recording of this journey is very important to the process. It is in looking at your work and studying your mistakes that allows you to take the next steps... hopefully to success.

In Josiah Wedgwood's case, it took five years and nearly 3,000 samples to achieve his goal. These colors are just so vivid and rich. If I had permission, I would recreate this sample board below and hang it for inspiration! 

This trial tray was Wedgwood's documentation of his potential cameos and intaglios for the Jasperware.

For the homeowner as well as the artisan, it is necessary for success to record your paint samples.  Choosing the paint color can't be done in the paint store! It is best to display the choices with a large swatch in the room you are choosing for. It does not need to be actually on the wall; painting a standard piece of paper and hanging it in the room is adequate for deciding. You can also move it around the room to look at the various levels of light on each wall.

 The artist often creates a sample board of various colors before beginning a painting or project.

This is a sampling of metallic plasters on canvas that I made when I first received the products to see how they looked when dry.

I used this sample board to eventually get to the finish I wanted on a commercial job. Here is the final finish.

Often, it is the process that is most interesting!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fall garden glance

The temperatures mercifully fell into the 70's this week and our fall garden also went whew! A short lived treat, though- we head back into the upper 80's for the next 5 days.

Enjoy the color in the garden with me!

The chard stalks are an incredible red...

The figs are in full production...

The castor bean has almost reached the phone lines...

and is visited on a regular basis by the insects...

and also has an incredible red / burgundy green combination...

This darling flowering weed proves that weeds are not all "bad"...

The perennial periwinkle is also blooming now...

and the porcelain berry vines have lots of purple and blue berries...


Lastly, the datura topiary is in its third cycle of blooms this summer...

which means our evenings are filled with a delightful scent.

Happy Weekend!

Thank you, Cindy, at My Romantic Home, for Show & Tell Friday.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The brush strokes of Faux Bois and The Winner!

The art of faux bois is the art of replicating wood. It can be done in the strictest sense, attempting to create an identical reproduction, or can be artistically interpreted to give the basic appearance of wood. It can be a rather daunting task to be given the request that this door needs to match another door standing right next to it. 

The woodgraining masters in North America include Mike MacNeil, Nicola Vigini and Pierre Finkelstein. However, there are also many decorative artists who do beautiful woodgraining. Pat Ganino, of Creative Evolution in Durham, Connecticut, produced the beautiful "wood" niche above, as well as the fireplace and column faux bois below.

Isn't the detail amazing?

I never would have guessed that this column started out white!

Check out Pat's restaurant counter. Yes, it IS faux bois!


When I moved into my studio, I was given pressed wood doors and walls to greet my clients. Obviously, this needed to be changed! I chose this door as my inspiration. I wanted the door to be "old" to fit in with the style of the old warehouse it resided in. I love the wood's patina.

Source Unknown

Here was my lovely start.

I first had to fill in the awful texture and make it somewhat presentable. A paint basecoat was added and then I began the graining process. It looks a bit odd right now, but every other "board" was done and allowed to dry before I filled in the other boards.

Ta Da!  The finished door. After the woodgraining was done, several layers of tinted wax were applied to tone the color and add the dirt and grime.

A closer look...

These kitchen cabinets were woodgrained by Judy Mulligan, a decorative artist in New Jersey who works with the fab interior designer, Marshall Watson. Look for an upcoming post on Judy's gorgeous work.

House Beautiful July / August 2010  Photo by Roger Davies  Artist: Judy Mulligan with Marshall Watson

This library cabinetry was also woodgrained.

Designers Here and There      Photo by Grey Crawford

Artist Tina Wainwright added her woodgraining touch to these living room panels.

Traditional Home May 2010  Photo by Werner Straube Artist: Tina Wainwright

Traditional Home May 2010  Photo by Werner Straube Artist: Tina Wainwright

An artist in Kentucky took a creative approach to creating this "wood" door by first applying gold foil to the white door and graining with acrylic stains by Faux Effects.

This accent wall shows off hip faux bois panels in a new, contemporary home. 

Wood is always a classic. It fits in anywhere. If you cannot hire Greet ( of the Belgian Pearls blog) Lefevre's company, Lefevre Interiors,  to install beautiful wood panelling, consider calling a decorative artist to create it for you!

And now, I am happy to announce the winner of my 100th post giveaway hydrangea wreath!

The winner is  Leigha Oaks of the elle oh blog. Congratulations, Leigha! As soon as I finish the wreath, I'll post its photograph before shipping it over to Portland.

A big thank you to all of you who entered! The response was exciting!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

An intimate wedding

There are some weddings that get to you. The large ones are very impressive, but it is difficult to create the atmosphere that each guest is very special and that, without their presence, it wouldn't be the same. When the wedding takes place at your home, with only your very best friends and family in attendance, each guest is treasured and pampered. Such was the case with the wedding we had the pleasure of working on this week.

The home was built at the end of the last century on a tree lined street bordering Lake Erie. Just beyond the trellis in the back of the property, where the ceremony was to have taken place, is a view of the Rocky River emptying into the lake. I say was to have taken place because the (welcomed) rain prevented that from happening 30 minutes before the guests arrived. Much scurrying about by the catering and decor staffs enabled the ceremony to take place on the front veranda. The guests' chairs were a tight squeeze, but the setting was just as beautiful and very cozy. To respect the client's privacy, I did not take photos of the ceremony or guests. The setting was "created" at the last moment, preventing any opportunity to record it without guests present.

Cocktails were served in the foyer, living room and dining room. Guests were invited to the third floor for the dinner and dance portion of the evening. The Ballroom has always been a part of the home, with many parties held there over the years.The next three photos were taken 2 weeks before the wedding.

Wonderful transience Art Nouveau windows!

Aren't these delightfully elegant little fixtures?

This was the guests' first glimpse as they ascended the staircase.

This ceiling floral sculpture was created with a frame of sycamore maple branches and a new mini chandelier that matched the other light fixtures perfectly (lucky find). The flowers included three varieties of hydrangea, fresh bittersweet vines, garden roses, astilbe, date palms and my favorite, deep purple clematis.

The lighting in the room was actually like this- more ambient for a dinner party.

 Some closeups...

The date palms are the green pods on ochre stems.

Here are two room views. The tables were rectangular with a bronze undercloth and a hand-embroidered silk overlay. Cream linen napkins were folded on the gold beaded glass chargers.

The centerpieces were a variety of silver containers, silver candlesticks and silver leaf flecked votives placed "randomly" down the center. 

Some of the flowers featured were astrantia (the little purple and cream star-like flowers below), rose colored lisianthus (upper right) and echeveria succulents.

You can also see below the green lotus pods, berzillia (to the left of the lotus pods), dahlias, bittersweet and garden roses.

We really liked the caterer's food presentation in the tablescape.

Below you can see the delicate purple clematis. It is a ground clematis that does not vine and only has 4 petals in the flower instead of six.

I hope this gives you a few ideas for the next party that you host. How have you decorated your home for that special event? I would love to hear your ideas!

Don't forget- you have until midnight Monday night, August 23rd (I extended the deadline by one day), to enter my 100th post celebration giveaway for the hydrangea wreath. For further details, see here. I will announce the winner on Tuesday, August 24th. Comment often!

Special events decorator: Pieter Bouterse Studio