It is hard to believe this is the closing weekend of the Southeastern Showhouse & Gardens presented by Atlanta Home and Lifestyles Magazine. Many thanks to all who have come to see the showhouse filled with so much amazing talent. I will be at the house tomorrow from 1-4 for the final day for anyone who wants to pop in to say hello!
I have had many inquiries about items available in our space. Showhouses provide an amazing source to get incredible high end pieces, custom furniture, art and antiques…many of which are priced well below what they would sell for on the showroom floor. So, if you see something that catches your eye, make sure to look at the price list in each room to see what is still available. You might find the perfect Mother’s Day gift!
We are delighted to be participating in the Southeastern Designer Showhouse & Gardens which opens this week! Not only am I glad to have a reason to spend more time in my hometown, but I am also beyond excited to spend time with so many other favorite design friends that are also designing spaces in this year’s showhouse. Atlanta is at her finest during April and May. When I first began contemplating the design scheme for our rooms, I wanted to incorporate the glorious spring shades that reveal themselves each week a new flower or tree begins to bloom. For the past several weeks, we have been feverishly working to pull together our bedroom, bathroom, and hallway that all began with this spring palette…
I wanted to create a fantasy bedroom where I would look forward to waking up each morning surrounded by everything I love. I am a colorist at heart…color energizes me, comforts me, and evokes joy for me. The palette was inspired by some of my fondest travel memories of the past year. I kept coming back to certain images I had taken where the indescribable colors stayed with me. I was continually drawn to the combination of spring green with shades of lilac and orchid.
Last weekend we were delighted to participate in the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival’s “Designer Diner” sponsored by the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center and Atlanta Home magazine. This year’s theme was how Southerners do brunch in five different cities…Atlanta, Birmingham, Charleston, Charlotte and Nashville. Whether it be in a French bistro, a mom and pop diner or in your own mother’s kitchen, the story of the South’s food and drink traditions would be incomplete without paying homage to these local spots. The Designer Diner concept tells the story of this favorite meal in five Southern hubs, and the changing patterns in how Southerners eat, live and interact while also showcasing the South’s design aesthetic with five city-inspired designer vignettes.
We were thrilled to be representing the Queen City alongside award-winning chefs from favorite restaurants Barrington’s and Reid’s Fine Foods with fabulous mixologist Amanda Britton of 204 North Kitchen and Cocktails.
There were so many amazing new introductions at DecoOff that it is hard to know where to begin! One of the most whimsical and charming collections was “Ardmore” by Cole & Son based on Ardmore Ceramic Art celebrating African traditions and culture. Cole & Son describes the collection:
“Drawing inspiration from Ardmore’s colorful and quirky ceramics the collection explores Africa’s exotic flora and majestic fauna: from rare birds to big cats, elephants, rhinos and mischievous monkeys; as well as the beautiful patterns of Zulu beadwork and woven basket ware.Color palettes are drawn from the natural landscape: from the chalky, ochred desert plains and sun-bleached shimmering outcrops to the vibrant fresh greens of water-kissed rain forests and exotic coloring’s of native flora and fauna. The result, a strikingly sophisticated collection of wallpapers that includes soft and subtle explorations of the majestic landscape as well as colorful creations capturing the vibrancy of traditional African culture.”
Cole & Son always does an incredible job teaching the designer about the inspiration behind each of their creations. Every paper tells a story. In addition to their fabulous story telling skills, they also do a fabulous job showcasing their papers in a variety of interiors from traditional to contemporary and the varied methods in which their papers can be applied.
The New Gallery of Modern Art is celebrating their fifth anniversary this evening with a champagne reception, exhibition, and book signing by the one and only Hunt Slonem. I literally fell down the rabbit hole with his latest book on his beloved bunnies. Hopping from page to page in the book, the bunnies each have their own persona with delightful names such as Serge, Tatiana, Goldie, Harvey and Ted. His fascination with these creatures began at a Chinese restaurant when he discovered he was born in the Year of the Rabbit. He identified with the compassionate nature of the creatures, and uses them as subjects for his morning “warm-ups,” an exercise that was inspired by abstract expressionist Hans Hoffman. Hoffman would begin each day by doing a series of small paintings. Hoffman painted abstractions, Slonem paint rabbits. He often repeats imagery in this series, as he finds the act to be similar to spiritual meditation. Slonem believes that “repetition is very important” and begins each day painting, treating each moment as one of profound meditation and channeling of God or a higher consciousness. To date, his bunny paintings remain a part of his morning ritual, as well as a pivotal theme in his artwork.
Slonem’s work has been compared to the likes of Willem DeKooning, Franz Kline and Brice Marden. In his essay Quantum Lepus, curator Bruce Helander writes,” The humble pleasure offered by these minimal but accurate portrayals of a hare to a harem is that they are lovely to look at. The initial development and completion of a characteristic Slonem bunny is really quite basic, and is the secret to their spontaneity and ultimate success; his instinctive painting can be connected to the lyrical brushstrokes of de Kooning and the black and white compositions of Franz Kline, or the soft, connective, geometric lines of Brice Marden.”
The artists’ love of creatures is not limited just to bunnies. He often works with a bird or two perched on his shoulder. Exotic birds also greatly inspire the artist’s work; he has a personal aviary, in which he keeps anywhere from 30 to 100 birds of various species at his Brooklyn-based studio.
Hunt Slonem was born in Kittery, Maine in 1951; the eldest of four children. His father was a navy officer, while his mother was a homemaker who spent much of her time doing volunteer work. As a result of his father’s military career, Slonem spent much of his childhood on different military bases; living in Hawaii, Virginia, Louisiana, Connecticut, California and Washington. After completing school, which included living in Nicaragua as an exchange student at the age of 16, Slonem began his undergraduate studies at Vanderbilt University. He then spent six months of his sophomore year at the University of the Americas in San Andres Colula, Puebla, Mexico, eventually graduating with a Bachelors of Art in Painting and Art History from Tulane University in New Orleans.
During his collegiate years, Slonem attended the prestigious Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, where he was exposed to influential artists from the New York area including Alex Katz, Alice Neel, Richard Estes, Jack Levine, Louise Nevelson and Al Held. This exposure played a pivotal role in Slonem’s artistic career, as it aided in his decision to move to New York in 1973. Three years after his arrival, Slonem received a painting grant from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation in Montreal, Canada and began painting extensively. However, it was his time spent in Nicaragua that Slonem credits with most influencing and inspiring his work. The country’s tropical landscape has informed not only Slonem’s process, but also his need to be surrounded by the nature he paints. As Slonem’s career progressed, he became an active participant in Manhattan’s burgeoning art scene, lauded not only for his artistic talent, but for his vibrant fashion sense. He was introduced to and befriended prominent figures within the artistic community including Sylvia Miles, Truman Capote, Liza Minelli, Monique van Vooren and Andy Warhol.
Slonem’s work is deeply rooted in the act of painting. His jarring color choices, spontaneous mark making and scratched hatch marks are the result of his ongoing fascination with the manipulation and implementation of paint. His paintings are layered with thick brushstrokes of vivid color, often cut into a cross-hatched pattern that adds texture to the overall surface of the painting. This surface patterning combines with the rich colors and recognizable subject matter to create paintings that are physically and aesthetically rich.
Slonem’s work can be found in the permanent collections of 250 museums, galleries, institutions and corporations worldwide. In 2015, Slonem moved to a new 35,000 square foot studio in Sunset Park, Brooklyn where he continues to work. He lives in Manhattan, but travels frequently to his other homes in Louisiana, upstate New York and Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he is undertaking the transformation of the historic 150,000 square foot Watres Armory into a multidisciplinary showcase for his own work, as well as for his extensive collections of art and antique furniture.
And if you cannot create your own wall of original bunnies seen above, you can always consider using his “Bunny Wallpaper” through Groundworks for Lee Jofa.
The creative force also has an innate talent and passion for refurbishing homes. Considering this part of his art form, Slonem has rescued, refurbished and meticulously restored a number of estates including the historic Cordts Mansion in Upstate New York and his two Southern mansions in Louisiana; Albania and Lakeside. Enhancing them with his transcendent, light infused décor, Slonem paired vintage furniture with contemporary art, including many of his own works in addition to pieces by Alex Katz and Andy Warhol. Beyond its majestic beauty, The Lakeside Plantation captured Slonem’s fascination for history. Listed in the National Register of History Places in Louisiana, it was once owned by Marquis de La Fayette whose close relationship with lifelong friends such as Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Monroe, John Adams, and Robert Livingston played a pivotal role in the Louisiana Purchase. In a show of gratitude, the United States gave La Fayette the land, which is now known as Lakeside Plantation. When Slonem was young, he learned that Picasso collected chateaus, and since then always dreamed of doing something similar. Having reached that goal with these historic homes, Slonem would like for them to become part of his legacy, one day serving as study centers that can educate and inspire new generations of artists.
Slonem’s homes were the subject of an extraordinary 300 page, photography-based volume, When Art Meets Design (Assouline, 2014) A truly magical showcase of Slonem’s ability to create spectacular spaces, the book features vivid and expansive interior photography that reveals how he combines antiques, fabrics and artworks.
The A-Ha moment is one of clarity. It is a defining moment when you gain real wisdom that can be used to change your life. This moment can be inspiring, surprising, original, deeply personal and worth sharing. It often arises when there is an obstacle that needs to be turned into an opportunity.
Last week at Blogfest 2012, the editors from House Beautiful encouraged us to share an A-Ha moment from our design work. Up and coming designers Michael Herold, Jill Goldberg, and John Call shared their A-Ha moments with the group and challenged us to do the same.
My A-Ha moment came while working on the Pink House, a unique respite for breast cancer survivors and the Carolina Breast Friends organization. The Pink House serves breast cancer survivors in numerous ways: Wellness Education, Library and Computer Research Center, Fitness and Nutrition Centers, Self-Image Services, Arts & Crafts Workshops, and Counseling Services.
When I first saw the house, it was a beautiful historic home that had recently been renovated, but there were no funds to furnish the interior. What seemed like an insurmountable obstacle at the time turned into the most wonderful and fulfilling opportunity.
|The Living Room
Upholstery from Charles Stewart
|The Living Room
Accessories donated by Circa Interiors and Antiques
The organization wanted us to create a sophisticated, calming and feminine atmosphere. This was a haven where women would come together for fellowship, support and inspiration.
|The Living Room
Re-upholstery donated by Design Services, Inc.
Albert Hadley said, “Decorating is not about making stage sets,…it’s really about creating a quality of life, a beauty that nourishes the soul.” We wanted the survivors that entered this space to feel like their spirits had been lifted and their souls nourished.
|Painting donated by Kate Long Stevenson
in honor of her friend Neil Maddux Miller
We found several pieces at local flea markets and tag sales. With some refinishing, new paint and re- upholstery, we were able to turn others people’s cast off furnishings into beautiful pieces for the Pink House.
Window Treatments donated by
Custom Window Treatments
|The Sun Room
Carpet donated by Stark
When we first began this project, I honestly did not know if we would be able to pull it together. We had several different rooms that needed to flow together along with random assortment of found items and upholstery that needed some unifying element. I finally understood the expression “making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear!” Fortunately, we ended up with our A-Ha moment and we were all thrilled with the final product.
Renovations donated by J.E. Dunn Construction
|Yours truly with Newell Turner, Editor in Chief of House Beautiful
and Beth Greene, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Branding
for Kravet, Lee Jofa and Brusnchwig & Fils
Our second day of Blogfest begins with breakfast at the stunning Hearst Tower…
High up the the 44th floor, we will hear Veranda‘s elegant Editor in Chief Dara Caponigro discuss the evolution of the May/June issue.
We then get another dose of extraordinary talent from House Beautiful. The charismatic Editor in Chief Newell Turner will share his insights onto what it takes to get published. House Beautiful’s Next Wave Designers, Jon Call, Jill Goldberg and Michael Harold will reveal their secrets on how to take an interior design career to the next level.
After our inspirational morning, we will head to the Elle Decor Modern Life Concept House to meet with the dashing Editor in Chief Michael Boodroo.
The show house is being held at the Dillon in one of their nine townhouses. Eight international designers have created original contemporary spaces in conjunction with modern furniture, fabric and accessory lines.
Next we are off to the D&D building to the Lee Jofa showroom for lunch with Macrae furniture designer Robert Brown and Keith Granet, author of Business of Design. After lunch, we will join Traditional Home Editor in Chief Anne Maine at the Kravet showroom for an interview with the charming and talented Alexa Hampton.
The ladies will define and discuss what the term “traditional” means today and how the design industry has acclimated to keep up with the new “traditional.”
If that were not enough for one day of design, we then head to see a sneak preview of the new Baccarat showroom to meet designer extraordinaire Vincent Wolf.
The topic of Mr. Wolf’s lecture is “Finding New Direction: How People Want to Live in the Contemporary World.”
Thank goodness there is no After Party tonight! Stay tuned for Day 3 tomorrow…
Next week design blogs will be blowing up with editorial commentary from Blogfest 2012. The event has been organized specifically for interior design bloggers by host sponsors Kravet, Lee Jofa, and Brunschwig and Fils. The fabric houses have partnered with the industry’s top design magazines to plan 3 days of programs in stunning settings with today’s interior design icons.
Architectural Digest’s Editor in Chief Margaret Russell welcomes the designers to Blogfest at the Kips Bay Decorator Show house. I do not know if I am more excited to see the show house or to meet the charming Ms. Russell! I became a huge fan of hers during her early days at Elle Decor and more so watching her as a judge on Bravo’s Top Design with Kelly Wearstler and Johnathan Adler.
This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the show house which benefits the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club. Typically the show house takes place in a townhouse or brownstone. The 2011 show house will be in two 6000 plus square foot penthouse units above the Penn Station rail yards at the Aldyn overlooking the Hudson. The designers have been faced with the monumental task to turn these empty rooms with little architectural detailing and massive windows into aesthetically pleasing and breathtaking spaces. In today’s New York Times, Bunny Williams, the show house chair and design guru, comments that visitors come to see the show house, “for the fantasy, the playfulness, and the flair of artistry.” Guests can escape the reality of everyday life and appreciate the time and talent these designers have donated all to raise money for a wonderful cause.
After the kick off event at the Aldyn, we will then head to SoHo to Savant to have cocktails with the dashing Thom Filicia. Thom designed their massive showroom which integrates Apple based technology into beautiful room settings as seen below. As a self diagnosed I-Phone and I-Pad junkie, I cannot wait to see how this technology can streamline everything in the home from the lights and thermostat to becoming a personal media player and sound system.
|Courtesy of Lilly Pulitzer|
|Lovely Ladies in Lilly, circa 1964
Photo by Slim Aarons
The Lilly label happened somewhat accidentally and everyone fell in love with the shift dress that was comfortable, fun and flirty, just like Lilly herself. When her classmate Jackie Kennedy appeared in Life magazine wearing one of Lilly’s creations, the brand become more popular than ever.
In the book Essentially Lilly, she is described as “loved by all, not for whom she is, but how she lives-with gusto, generosity and a never-ending sense of fun.”
In honor of this delightful spirit , the Mint Museum Auxiliary is continuing the Room to Bloom tradition by celebrating all things Palm Beach. The festivities begin on Wednesday, April 25th and continue through Friday, May 18th. All proceeds from the fundraiser enable the Mint Museum to enhance its educational programs and acquire new works of art for the permanent collection.
One of the highlights of this year’s Room to Bloom Celebration is Evening Under the Palms. The committee has teamed up with Presenting Sponsors Belk,Inc and Lilly Pulitzer to create a magical Palm-Beach inspired event. See the invitation below for more details of the evening…
|Please join us!
For reservations, email email@example.com.
|Guests are encouraged to dress
LILLY OR LOUDER!
Photo by Slim Aarons/ Getty Images
|Photo by Slim Aarons/ Getty Images|
|Vogue Magazine Ad
| The evening includes cocktails, dinner, and dancing to the sounds of Hot Sauce
Painting by a Lilly artist
|The Lilly Jeep|
|Lilly Pulitzer has donated their new
Mariposa Fabric for the Decor
|Lilly artists will be on hand to create a painting
to be donated to the Mint Museum
|Guests will receive a complimentary raffle ticket to win
this Lilly Pulitzer beach cruiser
In quintessential Lilly style, the brand has now expanded to include everything from tabletop and stationary to designer fabrics, high end furniture and upholstery. It is easy to understand why the Lilly brand is so attractive. She elevated the art of living well and made it accessible to everyone. The way Lilly described her clothes applies to all of her products; “These clothes make people happy. You feel happy wearing a bright color. It makes you smile. And who does not want to smile a little bit more these days?”
|Photo from Lee Jofa|
I would have loved to have lived in Palm Beach during the 1960s and attended some of Lilly’s legendary parties. They were known for their eclectic guests, lively music, fabulous food (prepared by the hostess herself!), and dancing everywhere-in the kitchen, by the pool, on the beach, on the cocktail table, wherever the party ended up.
I cannot wait to grab my vintage Lilly shift, put my husband in some patchwork Lilly pants and dance the night away at Evening Under the Palms all for a wonderful charity….I think Lilly would definitely approve!
|Renovations donated by J.E. Dunn Construction|
Last September, a dear friend invited me to visit the Pink House, a unique respite for breast cancer survivors and the Carolina Breast Friends organization. Inspired by CBF founder Kristy Adams-Ebel, this vision became the passion of more than 200 Charlotte women who are breast cancer survivors and members. The Pink House serves breast cancer survivors in numerous ways by providing Wellness Education, a Library and Computer Research Center, Fitness Center, Nutrition Center, Self-Image Services, Arts & Crafts Workshops, and Counseling Services. When I saw the Pink House for the first time, they were in the midst of the renovation that had been donated by J.E. Dunn Construction. They had done a magnificent job renovating this beautiful historic home, but had no funds to furnish the interior. We held a ladies only “Pink Party” in November to raise money for the interior. The generosity of the Charlotte community was incredible. In one evening, we raised enough to furnish the first floor of the house. From there, we approached several vendors and workrooms to see if they would donate their time and talent to help with the cause. Thanks to the donations of the design community, we were able to complete the entire house which opened its doors in May of the this year. We held another “Pink Party” this spring to celebrate the opening and raise funds to help CBF hire an executive director. We were completely humbled by everyone’s kindness and generosity. Not a single person we asked declined to help.
|Painting donated by Kate Long Stevenson|
We approached Kate Long Stevenson to see if she would be willing to do a painting in memory of a friend she had lost to breast cancer. Kate created the most beautiful abstract work and dedicated it to “memory of my extraordinary friend, Neil Maddux Miller. May her vibrancy, grace, and incredible resilience continue to inspire us all. “ The painting resides above the mantel that is now the focal point of the living room where Carolina Breast Friends will hold their monthly meetings. Neil’s law firm donated her office furniture for use in the Executive Office which was designed by local designer Lee Cooney. To see more of Kate’s work go to www.studiokate.net.
|Upholstery donated by Design Services, Inc.
Discounted fabrics provided by Cowtan and Tout, Schumacher, Lee Jofa, Kravet and Karen Saks.
Mike and Sabrina Polly of Design Services of Charlotte agreed to donate all of the labor for re-upholstery. We found several pieces at local flea markets and tag sales (such as the Mint to be Yours Tag Sale last fall). I had worked with Mike for years, but did not know that his wife was also a breast cancer survivor. It was incredible to see how his workshop turned other people’s cast off furniture into beautiful pieces for the Pink House.
|Drapery donated by Custom Window Treatments
New upholstery from Charles Stewart through Darnell and Company
Sharon Coppede of Custom Window Treatments is a breast cancer survivor herself. She agreed to donate all of the labor, lining, and inner lining for all of the window treatments in the house. The ladies that work in her design studio all donated their time to make the beautiful drapery in the above image. Sharon has joined Carolina Breast Friends and has started mentoring ladies who have recently been diagnosed.
|Lampshades donated by Lux Lampshades
Accessories donated by Circa Interiors and Antiques
|Needlepoint Rug donated by Stark Carpet
Blinds through Fine Designs, Inc.
|Orchids donated by Pamela Lovett|
For more information on the Pink House and Carolina Breast Friends, please go to www.carolinabreastfriends.org.