Thursday, April 30, 2015

Design in Detail- A Dramatic Before and After

Spring has been an exciting time for me between my travels, work projects and to have the opportunity to participate again in the 2015 DC Design House. This was my third time Ive designed a room for the Design House and it was a first to be in McLean, Virginia this year. The house was inspired by local farmhouses in the area and was thoughtfully designed and executed by Artisan Builders

When I first went to look at the house to select a room I didn't have to look any further then the library located in a sunny corner of the house next to the living room and terminating a long gallery- hallway at the rear of the house facing the gardens. I was immediately drawn to the intimate scale of the space and adore designing libraries so it was a no brainer for me. 

I thought it would be fun to share the before and after photos and also my I took for the design.

Here is the library in its very raw state on the first day I saw it. The walls are covered with plywood but I could already get a sense of what the room could be. 









For the paneling and built in bookcases I knew I wanted the room to have a more relaxed and less formal feel, which I felt respected the farmhouse architecture of the house. So I chose a quarter sawn oak with beautiful and consistent graining. Here is the oak paneling in its raw and unfinished state. It was a great experience and process to work with Artisan Builders on the design. 



I worked closely with the finisher to achieve a lighter color for the stain. I did not want the room to become too dark or masculine. I also wanted it to coordinate with the reclaimed wood mantle in the adjacent living room as well as the field stone walls and rustic beams on the other side of the house. Creating a connection and consistency between both sides. The junction boxes for the wall sconces and picture lights have yet to be installed. 


Here is the first stage of installing the room with the gorgeous chinoiserie painted panel by John Rosselli. It was one of the first pieces I found for the room and knew it would be the perfect focal point. Knowing early on that I was going to use the painting I was able to have the recessed panel made to fit the painting perfectly. So you could say we literally built the room around it. The painting truly inspired the color palette and overall mood of the library. I wanted to use paler versions of coordinating greens throughout with punctuations of complementary reds as my accent color. 


The O Henry House sofa, also from John Rosselli, upholstered in a faux bois patterned fabric by Jed Johnson fit the space between the windows perfectly!


The installation continues with accessories, books, petite reading lamps and an amazing leather club chair from Minton Spidell. Its one of the most comfortable chairs I have sat in and it has a lovely bleached oak finish with a lightly distressed leather and gold tooling. It has a very "Jansen" feel to it. 


And ta da! Here is the finished room, photographed by Angie Seckinger. Flanking the sofa are a pair of bleached oak pedestals from my own collection, topped with a magnificent pair of bisque painted rooster jars from John Rosselli. I avoided the expected side tables with lamps and went for something more dramatic. The red in the jars, the tole chandelier and the chinoiserie console on the opposite side of the room were the perfect complementary accent color I was looking for. 


To take full advantage of the built in window seat I used a tilt top table from the Michael Smith "Jasper" collection and surrounded it with the most incredible klismos chairs (which are probably coming home with me!) I wanted to create another functional seating group where a group could amuse themselves with a card or board game and to also have an intimate dinner for four. 


All of the printed fabrics in the room including the curtains, London shade and most of the pillows were from the Elizabeth Hamilton Collection. A favorite source of mine for printed fabrics. Elizabeth's husband, Peter Fasano, made the hand screened ceiling paper, which resembles a refined grasscloth. I finished the edges of the ceiling with a nailhead trim from Samuel and Sons. The "Greek Key" benches are a part of the new collection I recently designed for Salvations Architectural Furnishings. I liked how the Greek key in the benches and John Rosselli, marble topped cocktail table  give a subtle nod to the Greek Revival details found throughout the house. 

I wanted the room to have a relaxed formality to it and for it to have a sense of history. As if the objects within had been collected over a long period of time. 


For the floor I chose a hand tufted Oushak rug from Galleria Floors and layered it with a diamond patterned sisal rug underneath. The pale blues and celadon greens coordinated beautifully with the fabrics and accessories. 


The six framed 18th century mezzotints of aloe plants from Susan Calloway Fine Arts in Georgetown were made by a German botanist and scientist. They have such a great graphic feel and the perfect punch of leafy greens. The Chinese parchment trunk underneath the Minton Spidell "Lyford"console is from my friend, Loi Thai's fabulous and inspiring shop, Tone on Tone Antiques, in Bethesda. 


A vignette showing the window seat, porcelain jars and the printed fabrics from the Elizabeth Hamilton Collection. If you haven't yet done so, please be sure to visit the 2015 DC Design House before it closes on May 10th. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Veere Grennay Collection

I have to admit that I have recently been a little obsessed with the work of London designer, Veere Grenney who was a former director for Colefax and Fowler before starting his own design office. I love how he has taken traditional English design and freshened it up, making it feel more modern. So while recently visiting the Schumacher showroom I was delighted to see that they are carrying his  collection of printed linens and wallpapers. All of the fabrics are printed on some of the finest linen I have ever felt, which would be perfect for curtains, upholstery and walls. The color palette consists of  my favorite pale pastels and warm neutrals and charming patterns ranging from small geometrics and checks to simplified damask and floral patterns. I will definitely be incorporating these beautiful fabrics into one of my future projects. 













































Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Arresting Interiors


The sober neoclassical facade of the police headquarters in Copenhagen provide little hints to the Art Deco splendor within. The Politigaard was begun in 1920 and completed in 1924. The initial architect was Hack Kampmann, who subsequently died before the laying of the foundation stones. The original design had been altered several times during construction, most notably from the architect, Aage Rafn, who was greatly influenced by the architecture of Classical antiquity and the Renaissance. Throughout the building, stripped Neoclassicism meets Art Deco with repetitions of many decorative art motifs, including the shell, the star, octagons, hexagons and the swastika. 


The entrance to one of the conference rooms with green and cream marble pilasters and surmounted by an impressive and highly stylized scallop shell. The fretwork patterned terrazzo floors are interrupted by thumbprint forms. 


Views of the internal courtyard with paired Doric columns evokes Charles V's palace in the Alhambra. 




Palace of Charles V - Alhambra de Granada

Photo from Wikipedia




A simple and elegantly detailed circular staircase illuminated by a round oculus skylight. The top of the stairs terminate gracefully with a half circle detail with stringers lined in marble. 




A coffered, barrel vaulted ceiling in one of the endless corridors in the Politigaard building. The octagonal forms of the coffering is one of the many motifs used throughout. 




The main square courtyard based on an ancient impluvium with an open ceiling, which is open to the sky and allows rainwater to drain through the center basin. A 4 meter high statue of a naked man, titled, Snake Killer, by Einar Utzon-Frank gives one a sense of the monumentality of the Doric columns. During World War II the Nazi's took over the Politigaard, while sending some 2000 Danish officers to the concentration camps. Because of the motifs used throughout, most obviously the swastika, the Nazi's fortunately refrained from damaging the building and its interiors. The only relic from their occupation is a small swastika incised into the tip of the statues genitalia. 


Swastika patterned fretwork adorns another curving staircase. The white of the fretwork creates a striking contrast to the green plastered walls. 


The octagonal motif is used again for the coffered ceiling in the conference room. A pair of Poul Henningsen chandeliers hang over the massive conference table. 

All photos from James Mortimer/ World of Interiors- January 2010


Friday, February 6, 2015

My Kind of Minimal

Among my pantheon of favorite designers, the work of Orlando Diaz-Azcuy, is near the top of my list. Ive enjoyed following the venerable design firms prolific work over the years, which has evolved from a more classical style to one that is more contemporary. Yet a love and respect for classicism is still rooted in all of their work. For his own New York apartment, Azcuy embraced the modernist shell of the apartment, while creating his own unique architectural foundation and framework for his collection of streamlined furniture and accessories. The apartment throughout is filled with beautiful compositions, which are one of the many hallmarks of Azcuy's projects. By designing a simplified, yet luxurious and exquisitely detailed backdrop it allows the sculptural qualities of the furniture and accessories to shine. Its my kind of minimal where warmth, comfort and luxury are not sacrificed for the spareness and austerity of the architecture. 




Beautifully crafted cabinets inspired by Adolf Loos add a graphic statement to the room, while  creating the perfect backdrop for displaying an assortment of sculptural accessories, including the Josef Hoffman serpentine coupes




A marble coffee table by Gae Alenti anchors the Living Room


The ottoman with the carved lion paw feet are a nod to Orlando Diaz Azcuy's classical roots. A curved lacquered desk perfectly occupies a corner of the Living Room. 




Concrete walls create a textural contrast from the white and perfectly smooth walls. 




A perfect composition




Rolling upholstered screens provide a faceted like architectural element to the Master Bedroom while providing privacy when needed



Photography- Melanie Acevedo for Veranda