Sunday, February 28, 2010

Planning for Oscars Night

I’m sure many of us are looking forward to watching the Oscars next week- all the movie stars, fashion, glitz and glamour. In addition, I usually look forward to seeing the stage for the production.

In set design, the stage is the focal point, the background for a production. Setting the scene usually involves creating a visual ambience that is appropriate for the event, for maximum audience enjoyment, and perhaps a magical atmosphere.

Production designer David Rockwell from Rockwell Group was chosen as the set designer for this year’s Oscars. According to official site of The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ site:

“Light and movement, the most basic components of movie making, will be integrated into this year’s sets to create an immersive, transformative environment. Rockwell Group has reprised one of the most dazzling elements of the 81st Academy Awards design – the Swarovski Crystal Curtain – but with new and unexpected features for an even greater theatrical effect. The overall design is intended to evoke a classic but modern glamour, with white, platinum, topaz and smoky bronze hues.”

Enjoy Rockwell’s presentation.

Photo, Audrey Hepburn,Time and Life pictures
Video via You Tube

Friday, February 26, 2010

Dark Sophistication

Distributing colors in interiors can be a tricky thing. Warm colors such as red, yellow and orange have the ability to advance, while cool colors like blue and green tend to recede. The amount of light in the space also affects your color choices.

There are different methods of color application in interiors. One of them is to put darker colors in the backgrounds such as walls and floors, and use more subtle, neutral colors for furniture, with the added accents of color. It all depends on what you want to emphasize.

Black and brown walls usually add drama and richness to the space. I love it in interiors, and I 'm tempted to find the perfect space to try it! how about you?

High gloss lacquer walls add light reflection to this living room designed by Mario Buatta

Mark Hampton used dark walls & light colored bookcase to give a warm feeling in the winter and a cool feeling in the summer

Kelly Wearstler used white and yellow to create contrast in the space

The classic look by Dan Carithers at the 2008 Southern Accents Show House at Regents Park in Atlanta
Strong wall color was used to highlight the painting and the antiques in this gallery

Gold and grey colors were used as an accent

Photo 1 courtesy of Architectural Digest's site, designer Mario Buatta, photography Derry Moore
Photo 2 courtesy of House Beautiful, designer Mark Hampton, photography Lizzie Himmel
Photo 3 designer Kelly Wearstler, photography Grey Crawford
Photo 4 courtesy of Southern Accents, designer Dan Carithers, photography Erica George Dines
Photo 5 Genevieve Weaver gallery, photography Von Der Schulenburg
Photo 6 Southern Accents on Color, photography William Waldren

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

An American Design Legend: Mark Hampton

The late decorator and artist Mark Hampton was among the New York’s elite interior designers whose influence will never be forgotten. Hampton’s philosophy in design was to follow the classics with an added touch of the modern.

Mark Hampton came from a small town in Indiana. As a child, he was passionate about drawing, in particular drawing pictures of houses. He earned his masters degree from the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University. His education and talents helped him train with notable designers David Hicks, Sister Parish, and later with Mc Millen Inc. before starting his own firm in 1976.

Silver- leafed walls, I wish I could see the glow in this foyer...
In the early eighties Mark Hampton and Mario Buatta were selected to redecorate Blair House, the presidential guest house in Washington D.C. Hampton continued to do work for the White House in later years.

The Lincoln bedroom at Blair House
Blair House The White House' sitting room designed for the former First Lady Barbra Bush
Aside from working on many projects, he was an author who wrote books and a decorating column for House & Garden and House Beautiful. Hampton also designed a line of furniture for Hickory Chair, which is now under the direction of his daughter, interior designer Alexa Hampton, who carries on his legacy.

A new book titled Mark Hampton: An American Decorator written by his wife Duane Hampton is expected to be released this April. The book will include sketches, watercolors, and other examples of his work. I can hardly wait to buy it.

Photo 1 courtesy of Design Times
Photo 2 photography Jed Johnson Associates
Photo 3 photography John Hall
Photo 4 photography Keith Scott Morton
Photo 5, 6 photography Walter Smalling, JR
Photo 7 Mark Hampton: The Art of Friendship
Photo 8 courtesy of House &Garden photography William Waldron

Monday, February 22, 2010

Distinctive Books

This amazing building displaying a beautiful row of books is the Kansas City Public Library’s parking garage in Kansas City, MO. The building was built in 2004, and the local residents voted on which books would be displayed on the facade. One of the books is the biography of President Harry S. Truman, who was a Missouri native.

Photography by Jonathan Moreau via Flickr

Saturday, February 20, 2010

House of Barbie

The memories of playing with Barbie dolls when I was a little girl are wonderful. She had a fantastic, colorful wardrobe full of glamorous outfits, shoes, and accessories. All that engaged my imagination in a positive way, despite her unrealistic figure measurements!

Ruth Handler introduced the concept of Barbie in 1959 at a toy fair in New York City. The doll was named after Handler’s daughter Barbara. In 2009, the world celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Barbie doll. As a part of this celebration, a multi-million dollar retail establishment opened in Shanghai: House of Barbie. The project was designed by Slade Architecture, and recently recognized by Interior Design magazine as among the best projects in retail design.

The pink escalator tunnel to the upper floors

The spiral staircase surrounded by Barbie dolls

In the United States, designer Jonathan Adler celebrated Barbie’s 50th anniversary by designing Barbie Malibu Dream House. His shop sells a variety of Barbie themed accessories. Enjoy his tour.
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Photos courtesy of Slade Architecture's site

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Soft Cocoon

Bed hangings and canopy beds may seem old fashioned, but many current designers are still creating bedrooms with full or partial canopies, some traditional and others with a modern twist. In the early days, canopies and four- poster beds were created out of necessity. They were used to add warmth and insulation. Beds with slide curtains used to provide privacy at a time when there were no hallways in interiors. Wealthy families used to give elaborate canopy beds as a wedding gift since it was considered an important piece of furniture to own. Bedrooms with canopies certainly have presence, and speak to comfort, envelopment, and tranquility.

Do you like canopy beds?

Photo 1 Directoire style canopy bed via 1stdibsPhoto 2 designer David Hicks
Photo 3 designer Stephen Mallory
Photo 4 courtesy of Architectural Digest designer Mario Buatta, photography Derry Moore
Photo 5 designer Charlotte Moss, Design Inspirations
Photo 6 courtesy of Veranda, designers Richard Hallburg & Barbara Wiseley, photography Victoria Pearson
Photo 7 The Wrightsman Gallery (The MET), photography Picture of Elegance
Photo 8 courtesy of designer Mary Mc Donald’s site
Photo 9 designer Stephanie Stokes, photography Nancy E. Hill
Photo 10 courtesy of House & Garden
Photo 11 courtesy of House Beautiful, designer Windsor Smith
Photo 12 Designer Benn Theodore, photography Keith Scott Morton
Photo 13 designer Stephen Ryan, photography Fritz Von Der Schulenburg

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Art in Design

When it comes to collecting art, each one of us has a different point of view, and art usually reflects the interest of the owner. The images could include classical or modern and range from landscapes to elevations and architectural facades.

I consider art as a form of communication. Personally, I like to collect botanical prints, landscapes, and, in particular, drawings of interiors and images of elevations with architectural facades. I tend to appreciate images that are hand-drawn (v. computer-generated), as it allows the artist to have a deeper connection with the drawing.

Some people consider collecting architectural drawings as masculine, and thus should be displayed in certain rooms, such as the study. I disagree; I think it’s neither feminine nor masculine, and architectural images could be displayed in any room of the house or business, as a collection or mixed with other genres.
Do you collect architectural drawings?
A monument print of a monumental scale by John Saladino

Photo 1 photography by  Amal for Picture of Elegance Blog
Photo 2 designer John Saladino, photography Dominique Vorillon
Photo 3, 4 designer Anthony Hail, photography Alan Weintraub
Photo 5 photography Michael Hoppen
Photo 6 photography Fritz Von Der Schulenburg

Monday, February 15, 2010

The President’s Desk

The President’s desk, also known as the Resolute desk, was built from timbers of a British exploration ship named HMS Resolute. The desk was a gift from Queen Victoria to President Rutherford Hayes in 1879. According to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston:

“The ship was purchased, fitted out and sent to England as a gift to HER MAJESTY QUEEN VICTORIA by the PRESIDENT AND PEOPLE of the UNITED STATES as a token of goodwill & friendship. This table was made from her timbers when she was broken up, and is presented by the QUEEN OF GREAT BRITAIN & IRELAND to the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES as a memorial of the courtesy and loving kindness which dictated the offer of the gift of the RESOLUTE.”

Many American Presidents have used this desk in the White House’ Oval Office, including Presidents Kennedy, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and President Obama.

The famous photo of President Kennedy and his son John Jr. at the Oval Office

All fabrics by Scalamandré

President's Clinton mementos on a table behind the Resolute desk

Photo 1 courtesy of LIFE, Remembering Jackie
Photo 2, 3 courtesy of House Beautiful March 1994, photography Oberto Gili

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Love Letter

In this hurried digital age, with BlackBerry phones, texting, and emails, the art of writing letters got lost somehow.

Nothing can replace the ritual of opening a love letter, from noticing the beautiful penmanship of the writer and reading the heartfelt words to keeping the treasured letter in a safe place. That is why many of the old masters sought to express and capture this moment in paintings.

Today I’ll leave you with various romantic portraits titled The Love Letter.
Wishing you a wonderful Valentine’s Day with your loved ones.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pierre Frey 2010

The French luxury design house Pierre Frey is a company that has been well recognized for seventy-five years for its quality and elegance. Pierre Frey is famous for its luxury collection of fabrics and wallpaper, in addition to its furniture, tableware, lamps and home accessories. It caters to different tastes, both traditional and modern.
Pierre Frey recently introduced the remarkable spring 2010 fabric collection. Enjoy.

Pierre Frey Spring Collection 2010 from Pierre FREY on Vimeo.

Image courtesy of Pierre Frey's site

Monday, February 8, 2010

Isn’t It Romantic

When I think of romantic interiors, pretty rooms and gentle colors come to mind. Some people love subtle colors; others think of warmer colors such as a warm red and green.

Interpretation of romance differs with each person, but each interpretation has one thing in common and that is the uniqueness and the feel that it gives, whether it’s through flowers, lace, candles, patterned fabrics, painted ceilings, or classic furniture.

Scandinavians are well known for their soft painted furniture. Scandinavian cabinetmakers were influenced by French and English style, but they put their stamp on it by creating soft curved furniture made of soft woods such as pine, which led to lightly colored furniture. Aside from using mostly painted furniture, to combat their long dark hours of winter, they also used mirrored sconces to add reflection to their interiors.

Romantic Swedish interiors

Diane Burn design who's famous for her romantic rooms

The grand style of Jacques Garcia

The four poster bed, sheer fabrics, floral carpet,and antique furniture,all create a romantic bedroom  
Photo 1, 2 courtesy of House Beautiful, designers Kartin Cargill & Carol Glasser
Photo 3 courtesy of Architectural Digest, designer Diane Burn
Photo 4 designer Jacques Garcia, photography Andreas Von Einsiedel
Photo 5, 8 Simply Romantic Decorating,photography by Rory Earnshaw
Photo 6 courtesy of House Beautiful, designer Erin Martin, photography Dominique Volliron
Photo 7, 9 Romantic Style


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