Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday morning classics.

The Great Composers

Thank you for joining me once again for Sunday morning classics. I do enjoy being able to share a bit of my sunday morning routine and love of classical music. This week we have Schubert's - Piano Quintet in A Major "Trout".

Monday, February 21, 2011

Interior Design: The New Freedom.
Some time ago I came across a wonderful little television series called "Interior Design: The New Freedom." It was only on for a short time in 1981 and it was only on a local New York station (possibly public access, I'm not sure as it has shown to be very difficult to find any real information about the show). The show was hosted by Barbalee Diamonstein-Spielvogal, a well known champion of the arts.

Each episode, of which there are only eleven, Mrs. Diamonstein-Spielvogel interviews one prominent Interior Designer of the time. The beauty of the show is that you get a window, albeit only a thirty minute one, into the philosophical and creative process of some of the best designers around.

In my hope of sharing a bit of the inner workings and beauty of the Interior Design field with the greater world I decided to share this with everyone. Of the eleven episodes available I thought I would start with the interview with the amazing John Saladino. If you are unfamiliar with his work please check it out, you will not be disappointed. Other than his website I highly recommend either of his books, "Villa" and "Style by Saladino." The rest of the episodes will be posted periodically over the next month. I hope you enjoy this one, and the rest, as much as I do.

Best Regards,

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday morning classics.

The Great Composers

Welcome to the fourth installment of Sunday morning classics (its official, this is a series now). I do hope you have been enjoying the pieces so far...and continue to do so of course. For this weeks selection I present Debussy's - Claire de Lune.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

"Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, White."

One of my favourite movies has always been, and will forever be, "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House." Everything about this movie is brilliant, it is well written, funny and best of all stars the amazing Cary Grant and the stunning Myrna Loy. Please allow me a second to say that Cary Grant is one of the best actors ever and that I love, love, love Myrna Loy. If you don't know her work you are missing out, watch this movie immediately or check out any of the Thin Man movie series, which co-stars William Powell (also one of the best actors ever).

But I digress, I was watching Mr. Blandings earlier today and wanted to share one of my favourite scenes with everyone. As an interior designer seeing this always make me happy.

For anyone who knows the movie you should appreciate this (for those who have yet to see it you'll understand completely once you do), I was originally going to call this blog, and still may call another, "The Journals of Bunny Funkhouser." Partly because my nickname growing up was Bunny.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Affection & introduction to Pink.

Welcome back to my colour psychology series. "Back" because the first two in the series, Love & Hate...and introduction to Red and Here comes the sun...and introduction to Yellow, were written some months ago...and then abruptly forgotten about somehow. Wanting to restart the series it seemed like pink should be the perfect colour as Valentines day is upon us.

To me pink is one of the loveliest, simplest colours in existence (pale pinks especially). It can easily be paired with any colour, it is entirely unpretentious and can be a clean and refreshing addition to just about any interior design colour scheme. It may seem a bit odd but pink, to me, feels like the colour of polite society. It is the colour of "please" and "thank  you", it is the colour of holding a door for someone and of pulling out someones chair for them.

  • Stimulates energy
  • Encourages action and confidence
  • Calms emotional energies
  • Nurturing
  • Offers warmth and tenderness
Pink is a powerful colour, psychologically. It represents the feminine principle, the survival of the species; it is nurturing and physically soothing. It relates to unconditional love and understanding, and the giving and receiving of happiness. A combination of red and white, pink contains the need for action of red, helping it achieve a potential for success and insight which is offered by white (the next colour in this series). It is the passionate power of red tempered by the open purity of white. The deeper the pink the more energy it projects, the paler the pink the more pure it becomes.

Pink calms and reassures emotional energies, alleviating feelings of anger, aggression, resentment, abandonment and neglect. Studies have confirmed that exposure to large amounts of the colour can have a significant calming effect on the nerves and create physical weakness in people. Violent prisoners have been successfully calmed by placing them in a pink room for a specified amount of time. Some sports teams have used the same technique in their visitors' locker rooms to pacify the opposing team. Studies, however, have also shown that exposure for too long can have the direct opposite effect.

Interestingly, red is the only colour that has an entirely separate name for its tints i.e. pink. Tints of blue, green, yellow, etc. are simply called light blue, light green, etc.

Pink represents the childhood innocence within all of us. It is uncomplicated emotions, inexperience and naivete. It can also remind you of childhood memories associated with a mother or mother figure. A constant and exclusive use of pink can often lead one to immaturity, silliness and the abandoning of adult responsibilities. Beware of this if you know someone who constantly wear or decorates with the colour as it may indicate a need or possible desperation for acceptance, support and unconditional love and may indicate an overly emotional nature.

In interior design one must be mindful when using pink. Like many colours it is a balancing act, too much and a space can become too feminine, too little and you may not even notice it is there, too deep a shade and you run the risk of more energy in the space than you desire, etc. Combining pink with similar light colours can be quite relaxing and peaceful. Combining it with darker colours such as navy blue, hunter green, black or gray can add strength and sophistication to it.

As with any colour, if you are not sure about using it start out with an accent of two. If you like it move on to something a bit more substantial. In closing please allow me to share with you the one idea I personally apply to everything I do or design, quite simply put..."Be Mindful"

One beautiful pink focal point can bring a room together.

So relaxing, I could read in here for days.

A wonderful mix of femininity and strength.
An extremely charming space.
Pink complements wood perfectly.

Finally, the most famous pink thing ever.

P.S.  Be sure to check out my post about Pantone's colour for 2011, Honeysuckle (as it is basically a shade of pink)

Happy Valentine's Day.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday morning classics.

The Great Composers

Welcome to the third installment of my Sunday morning classics posts (one more and it will be an honest to goodness series). These posts are a chance for me to share a part of my Sunday morning ritual, listening to classical music while figuring out the week to come, and my love of said music. For this week I have selected Beethoven's - Cello Sonata No.4 2nd Movement. Please enjoy...this piece is quite beautiful.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The beauty in the merging.

I am not usually fond of contemporary design being placed in very traditional spaces. It is not that I don't like the look but rather that I feel it is very often done incorrectly. However, from time to time a project crosses my path that I find genuinely beautiful. The Casa Orlandi Guesthouse is one of those projects.

Done by b-arch studio, the guesthouse is an 18th century palazzo in Prato, Italy. It was completely renovated Sabrina Bignami, architect and founder of b-arch studio. The original frescoes are absolutely stunning, they had to be restored as a previous owner has painted over them. Honestly, it pains me just thinking about painting over those wonderful murals. The frescoes were painted by Luigi Catani, a famous painter during the "Granducato di Toscana" period in Italy in the 18th century.

The space is a great balance of the old and the new.  The two ideals are in perfect harmony, neither one overpowering the other. The trick with mixing design styles in this sort of situation is to minimize the elements of the new. Let the older traditional aspects of the space conduct what should, and what should not, be added. If you truly take your time and if you are mindful of what you are trying to create you can very easily combine the two styles.



Dining Room

The Green Suite

The Green Suite


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday morning classics.

The Great Composers

Welcome to the second installment of my Sunday morning classics series. As mentioned in the inaugural post these will be a series of posts were I share a part of my Sunday ritual, listening to classical music, and my love of said music. Please enjoy today's selection, Vivaldi's - Four Seasons (Winter).

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Brand spotlight: Farrow & Ball.

Farrow & Ball is one of those companies that nearly all interior designers love using, yours truly included. They are one of the premiere paint manufacturers in the world, they are even the paint suppliers to the Queen of England. Part of their appeal is their beautifully edited palette of 132 colour, compared to other paint manufacturers, at times overwhelming, palette of thousands. They just added 9 new colours to the collection on 1 feb. 2011 (which is what prompted this post). Farrow & Ball has been making paint in Dorset, England one batch at a time, since 1946 and remains one of only a few companies making a full range of traditional and modern paint finishes of the highest quality.

Many of the colours are redolent of the landed gentry, with names like Manor House Gray No. 265, Drawing Room Blue No.253 and Picture Gallery Red No.42. The company strives to keep their colours traditional yet modern. In the description of some of the colors they even describe the colours provenance i.e. India Yellow No.66 -First available in England in the 18th century this pigment was produced by reducing the bright yellow urine of cows fed on a special diet of mango leaves . My favorite part of the company is that they have worked with The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty in the U.K.

There are two caveats to be mindful of. First, their paints are thin and silky when applied, much unlike most paint brands. This takes a bit to get used to but once you see the marvelous outcome you will quickly put it out of your head. Secondly, Farrow & Ball paints are a touch on the pricier side ranging from $85 to $125 a gallon. If you are interested in using their paint, and who could blame you if you did, you may want to start with their sample pots which are just $7. This way you can be sure of the color you want. Alternately, if you are unsure of what color to choose and don't want to potentially waste hundreds, or thousands, of dollars on a colour that  does not suit your home you may want to bring in an interior designer for a colour consultation.

Below are a few of my favorite Farrow & Ball colours (the bottom two are from the new collection):

Lastly I hope you enjoy some spaces showcasing Farrow & Ball's stunning product:

(Room done in James White)

(Room done in Down Pipe)

(Room done in Lancaster Yellow)

(Room done in Middleton Pink)

(Room done in Minister Green)

(Room done in Drawing Room Blue)

P.S. Right, nearly forgot. They came out with a new book awhile back which I highly recommend. You should really check it out:

From the website: This inspirational book features exquisite photography of British houses and apartments and shows how colour can be used to create atmosphere, character and charm in any home using Farrow & Ball wallpaper and paint. Different chapters explore style and colour scheme ideas from City to Country House.
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