Monday, July 25, 2011

::Surroundings:: digital magazine - latest issue on Outdoor Living!

The latest issue of my digital magazine is all about outdoor living. A big thanks to photographer Michael J. Lee for once again shooting a beautiful cover shot!  If you haven't checked out Michael's portfolio, you should!

Also, a big thanks to Peter Levis, owner of BG Galleries (BG = Beyond Gorgeosity) in Hingham, MA for working with Michael and I to produce our cover shot. Peter's shop is at the Hingham Shipyard and we thought the location was perfect for capturing an outdoor "moment". While the "Spinnaker" chair is not usually considered outdoor furniture, it certainly captures the essence of taking a moment to relax and unwind. Check out Page 2 of the magazine for more about BG Galleries (and their amazing mid-century finds!) and the photoshoot.

Here are some behind the camera shots. The vignette was set up right at the edge of the dock, beyond the safety fence. Below is Michael filling the beer glass as I nervously looked on. All I could imagine was the beer sloshing on 1) Michael's iPhone also on the table and 2) the beautiful white leather of the Spinnaker chair! Luckily, he has a steady hand!

This is Peter Levis' shot of Michael shooting the vignette. It was a hot but beautiful late afternoon at the Shipyard!

If you want to view the magazine as a PDF, or print it, go here  and click the print button (see below).

I've been a bit awol from the blog recently and I apologize for the lack of posts, and more for not visiting and commenting on some of my favorite blogs!  I've been swamped with design work (yay!) and have been trying to get everything done.  I've been busy setting business goals as well and working to improve my productivity. I'm currently looking at different office spaces and will be looking for a part time assistant, which would be heaven! I just bought a new iMac computer last week that has a 21" screen (the laptop was getting a bit much) and a fast processor. Working at the speed of light. 

So, now that the magazine is out the door, I can (hopefully) get back to more regular blogging. Meanwhile, big client meeting tomorrow (there's a sneak peak in the magazine on this exciting project). So, am off to prepare. 

Have a great day!

If you would like my help on your design project, I would love to chat with you! Please email me. Thanks!
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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Million Dollar Decorators: Chatting with Nathan Turner

On BravoTV's Million Dollar Decorators, we're treated to the ins and outs of the top echelons of LA's design scene featuring some larger than life "personalities". This isn't "Housewives of the blah blah blah", however. The MDD cast are people who are friends and colleagues who respect one another and often go to each other for advice. In truth, their design styles and personalities are all so entirely different (excellent casting) that it makes for a lot of fun television watching, especially for interior design professionals. We see these "design stars" whose work appears in major magazines and in books dealing with all the same issues we do - clients not listening, nerves about how the client will like a plan or the final outcome, keeping within a budget. While they may suggest that these are no budget, do what you want type decorators, they all still have to work within certain parameters.

Nestled among the bold personalities is the one quiet one - Nathan Turner. Unfortunately, he hasn't gotten the screen time that the others have, which is typical of reality tv. Nathan has a quiet, laid back demeanor that is easily overlooked what with Kathryn flashing her boobs, Ross flipping his hair, Mary tossing off the witty bon mots, Jeffrey's sneering and Martyn's name dropping. I do hope that there will be more screen time in the last few episodes for Nathan. 

Meanwhile, he was kind enough to sit down for an interview where we talked about his career, the show and what he would, and would not do, for the cameras. Enjoy! [Unfortunately, the sound quality was not fantastic, so I apologize in advance!]


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Monday, July 04, 2011

Arts in the Berkshires

As I wrote last week, I was heading off to the Berkshires at the end of the week for a couple of days away and to hear James Taylor and the Boston Pops at Tanglewood. It was such a fun couple of days out of town. I went with a group of about 8 people and we rented a house in Stockbridge, which I would totally recommend if you're traveling with family or a group of friends. The main part of the house dates to the 1840's and featured original wide pine floors and a beautiful paneled living room.

This was a small window seat area that I took over as I still had a writing assignment due when I got there, plus was scheduling meetings with clients for this upcoming week.  The house had a new kitchen that had all the utensils and dishes you could possibly imagine. It had 5 bedrooms,plus pullout couches and can sleep up to twelve, all at great rates. It wasn't ready for a magazine spread or decorator house tour, but it was comfortable and perfect for our needs.

A little vignette on the front porch. 
I went out to the Berkshires a couple of years ago and visited Edith Wharton's home The Mount, which was amazing. I took a ton of photos and did several blog posts on the home and gardens, which you can read here if you'd like.

On this trip, I visited the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown and the Frelinghuysen Morris House in Lenox.

The Clark Art Institute is renowned for its Impressionist art collection, particularly its Renoirs. When we arrived, we were treated to a series of mannequins scattered throughout the grounds in "worker" vignettes which were explained during the visit.

The current exhibition "Pissarro's People"  is a showing of the works of French Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro (1830-1903).  Pissarro was on the forefront of the Impressionist movement and worked in oils, watercolors, gouache and print making. Pissarro's politics played a big factor in his art. As a devoted anarchist, he held a vision of a "Utopian" future where everyone lived and worked together as farmers in an agrarian economy. The "workers" were celebrated and artists likened themselves to workers in the field or factory.

The paintings were undeniably beautiful, however, it was hard to overlook a few facts about the politics. The field workers were depicted as healthy and happy to be doing their work but when Pissarro painted his own family, they were depicted reading, painting or doing hand sewing - decidedly less laborious pursuits. He himself did much of his work in the relative comfort of his studio and not out amongst the people.  His work was about his "vision" of society, not about the actual facts of society.  That said, his works depicting the illness and eventual death of a beloved young daughter were heart rending.

Also on exhibit was a collection called "Spaces" which is the large scale photography of Candida Höfer and Thomas Struth. Loved it!

The next stop on the museum tour was the Frelinghuysen Morris Museum in Lexox. Suzy Frelinghuysen and George Morris were both children of wealthy, powerful families and had the means to pursue their vast artistic pursuits. Suzy was a classically trained singer and pianist and performed to good reviews at the New York City Opera. George was a trained artist who was on the forefront of the Cubist movement in the US. George's parents owned a Georgian style mansion in Lenox, where he spent his summers out in the countryside. As his interest in Cubist art progressed, he looked to hang some of his works in the house. Mamma was not so interested in this turn of events and refused to let him hang the paintings. He asked for, and was given, 47 acres of adjacent land to build a studio.

The image above is mine taken the other day. The image below is the original studio, located in sight of the original mansion.

Interestingly, and related to the Pissarro exhibit above, the Morris' original studio was a copy of a studio in France (I forget whose) that was designed to emulate a factory, because of the artists vision of "artist as worker". Once again, I'll say that a warm, spacious studio is hardly a sweat shop. The studio did have spectacular light and you could certainly imagine feeling creative in such an environment.

When George married Suzy in 1935, they designed the rest of the house together in the manner of the Bauhaus International style.

The foyer featured 24x24 gray and white marbled floor with a spiral stair case, designed to highlight Morris' fresco on the wall. His sculpture at the base of the stairs was designed to reflect the finishes seen throughout the home and to direct the eye upward.

The stairs originally had no banister, but safety concerns won out and the wrought iron banister was added to complement the fresco.

The living room featured two frescos flanking the fireplace. The bas relief piece over the mantle was originally going to be a fresco like the other two, but Suzy decided it was "too busy" for the space and suggested something that was more textural, yet simpler. The floors were a gorgeous leather block. The seating is set around in a circle formation to enhance conversation. The amazing glass and mirror table is original.

This image does not do the dining room justice.

While I don't love Cubist art, I do now have a much higher appreciation and understanding of it. The Lenox house was one of three homes that George and Suzy shared, including a Park Avenue apartment and one in Paris. Upon George's untimely death, Suzy spent most of the last years of her life in the Berkshires amongst the art they created together as well as their collections, which includes two (I think) Picasso's.

How was your Forth of July weekend?

If you would like my help on your design project, I would love to chat with you! Please email me. Thanks!
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