Wednesday, July 9, 2014

My Curmudgeonly Side

I love so many various design styles - as you have heard me say before, I need five houses just to satisfy them all.  But, there are also certain styles and design practices I don't like at all, in fact perhaps even hate - I know a strong word, but I have been holding all this emotion in for a long time.  It will feel so good to vent.  Feel free to disagree with me or to vent your own curmudgeonliness.

I have never been a fan of the Victorian style - too overdone, too impractical, too somehow gloomy.  The homes below are done very well but ....  You decide, I already have.

Victorian homes have too many peaks and cornices and frou-frou - in my humble opinion that is.

And talk about frou-frou, ruffles should be banned from the universe.  The table skirt below is burlap, a really good thing, but so over-done with ruffles.  And impractical - how could anyone ever pull themselves up to this table to dine or take off those boots without a potential disaster occurring.

Ditto the table below which does not even have burlap to redeem its existence.

I'll bet these chair cushions will continually slip off these chairs and the bows will eventually tear.  I see gloom and doom in their future.  And they are pink - more about that later.

I actually like the kitchen below a lot, especially the stove, hood and ceiling, but those silly chair cushions should be given to the salvation army.

I am simply not a fan of pink - "too little-girly".

Also not a fan of blue.  I know there are a lot of blue fans out there, I'm just not one.

Now, I am a fan of all the neutral colors below, but not of the skirt subbing as a door.  Skirt substitutes seem to look a bit sloppy, attract dirt, and always need arranging.

Especially in the kitchen.  This is a great kitchen but why not just continue with the cabinet doors?  Is it to soften the lack of curtains on the window?  I love curtain-less windows and these look great.

What a bright mudroom or garden room!  But that curtain-door, whether in a mudroom or garden room, is going to attract nothing but mud.  Was it too difficult to add another great door like those on the right?

Speaking of impractical, would a paneled door really work as an island for food prep or dining?  Is it just me, or is this another disaster waiting to happen?  Cool idea, but good thing that container of flowers is placed squarely on a center panel.

Another thing that drives me crazy is all the fabric on outdoor furniture.  Does it ever rain in these places?  I know these are purported to be rain-resistent fabrics, but they never shed water completely.  Someone is going to have to drag these cushions in out of the rain.  And where is in - the kitchen, the living room, the garage?  These are big cushions.  I really do love the way they look but so, so impractical.

So inviting but only on dry days.

Really, really beautiful, but really too far from the dryness of the building in the rear.

A bit more practical than the ones above because of it's partial roof, but we just had a driving rain here yesterday.  I really would have hated to rush out and rescue all these cushions, wouldn't you?

My next curmudgeonly complaint is unmade beds.  Who wants to see a bed someone just climbed out of - rumpled sheets, pillows all askew?  We all know that's what beds look like when we arise every morning, but do we want a picture of it as an example of good design.  No, make your bed!!

I like all of these bedrooms, except the last which has no redeeming qualities at all, but do not like the unmade beds in any of them.  Is this really a style the reader is supposed to emulate??  As you can tell, I am a bit anal about bed-making.  I was telling a friend about my not being able to leave the house unless my bed is made, and, if for some desperate reason I had to, I'd make it before climbing into it that night,  and he told me his story.  He has a duvet and many pillows all arranged beautifully on his bed, and he would fluff everything when making it each morning.  One evening he came home late, knew he had to leave early the next morning and would not have time for his ritual bed-making, so he slept on the floor that night rather than leave it unmade in the morning.  Now, I'm not that bad, but would never leave home leaving my bedroom looking like those above.  

Here's another extreme.  How neat does this loft bedroom look!  But, have you ever tried to make a platform bed like this one.  My daughter has one, and every time I visit and make the bed, I bump my legs.  It is worth it though - beds take a little effort but like the one below look beautiful when done well.

Sick of all of my negativity yet?  Here's my last complaint and it could be a result of years of Catholic education.  I am very uncomfortable with nude paintings in any room.  Where is one to look?  If you look at it to closely, you feel like a pervert.  If you ignore it, the owners think you have no taste at all.
For example, I love the neutrals in this room, and love the spare colors in the painting, but would feel uncomfortable looking at it too much.  "I just cannot stop looking at that great painting," would not be a comment I could honestly make.

Love everything about this powder room, the overhead lights, the mirrors, the double sinks, the black countertop, the beige towels and the way they are folded, the storage bins, the neutral colors of the drawing/painting - I especially like that we are viewing its subject matter from behind.  Really, I love this room, but the artwork makes me a bit uncomfortable.  At least no one else would know that in the powder room.

So ends all my negativity for now.  It is all just a matter of taste anyway.  I can just hear my husband's comment, "Who made you the arbiter of all that is beautiful and perfect??"  I do not claim perfect taste, but I do claim to know what I love when I see it.  And what I do not.

I certainly hope I've offended no one with this post.  Venting is actually fun sometimes and I had fun today.  Next time, it's on to Axel Vervoordt whose work is always beautiful and perfect.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

After Too Long a Hiatus

Blame it on summer gardening, blame it on Vermont, blame it on Tumblr.  Whatever the reason - I know this post is long overdue.  Today ends my Walda Pairon series - with images of her office/storage room and her spheres, which I love and have even tried to emulate somewhat.  I begin with Walda, add a few images of my own home, and end with a visit to Vermont.

Glass and stone spheres on Walda's office table.  (I have to thank Greet Lefevre for many of these photos.  I have saved all her photos taken at Walda's Open Days in the spring and winter and Greet graciously allowed me to use them.  Thank you, my friend.)

The sphere right below the window appears to be one she made with her collection of beautiful buttons.

Even her storage room is beautiful, even if sphere-less.

And her divine fabrics just casually lying atop a table near a wooden bowl.

Stone spheres below - small and very large.

Serenity in this view of her office with great windows and glass doors.

Here, color replaces serenity.  Walda does either flawlessly.

Sphere on the right appears to be one of her creations.

Outside spheres.

Moss and silver spheres.
Several of her books have examples of spheres she has made with beautiful buttons.  Wish I could show them here, but fear the copyright "rules and regs".

I stumbled upon the photos below from Wim Pauwels Country Homes.  This is a home Walda designed for a client. The kitchen includes a Moleni stove and a sweet sphere all alone on small table to the left.

In another room, the simplicity reminds me of Axel Vervoordt's work (to be the subject of future posts).

Now to my own spheres.  I am no Walda Pairon only inspired by her.  So think kind thoughts.  Below are a group of concrete spheres I collected to quietly accent the pool.  When we open the pool in the spring, and I place the spheres back in their summer home, my son always quips, "Can't forget the sphere family."

The ones on the front steps were purchased from Lunform - a shop doing great things with concrete in Ellsworth, Maine.

My Christmas sphere.  Actually, I never finished the bottom because I always place it in a bowl.  Took forever to do and I store it in a cooler till Christmas.  I know all this effort may seem a little strange, but spheres speak to me somehow.

My "concrete family" on the kitchen's eating area window seat.

A shell sphere which only comes out in summer.  I purchased this one at a favorite garden store and the stone bowl it rests in was purchased from Simon Pearce one visit.

Have made dozens of grapevine spheres.  We have lots of wild grapevine in our woods unfortunately, but it works great for spheres.

A most recent rope sphere inspired by this year's visit to Simon Pearce.  More about that visit below.

And my painting room - looks nothing like Walda's workrooms, but it's where I work.  Wish I had some beautiful fabrics lying about.

The following are all photos from my Vermont excursion last week.  Couldn't resist these families of geese out for an early morning swim.

Rapidly moving river in Middlebury.

Quintessential New England church in Middlebury.

A visit to Robert Frost's cabin in Ripton where he spent many summer days.

Frost bought the Noble farm, and two of his good friends, husband and wife, lived in the Noble farmhouse.   After his own wife died, Frost spent summers in his nearby cabin.  He would often return to the farmhouse for meals and the wife organized his papers.

Frost's cabin.

When not writing, exploring the flora and fauna, or working on his cabin's foundation, Frost could look at the beauty of the Green Mountains from his cabin's porch.

Close by in Ripton is the home of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, an extension of Middlebury College's English department.  Frost taught here many summers.  All the buildings and Adirondack chairs are painted this yellow color.  Below is just one of the dorms.

The next day we were less literary and visited Simon Pearce's mill in Quechee Falls, one of my favorite places.  His glassware, china, flatware, woodenware and linens are all so beautiful and the tablescapes and the mill itself enhance each other.  We always have lunch here where the tables are set with Simon Pearce crystal and china, and guests eat and drink from them - a very good idea that inspires purchases. I save many of my Simon Pearce catalogs from different seasons because they are so lovely.  Below are images from the 2010 spring catalog.

And the dining tables and displays really look like this.

Then finally on my last day, I bid adieu to friends and Vermont and the geese families.  Goslings look bigger already, don't they?

In reading over and editing this post, the disparity between images of Walda's design and my own is huge.  I know that and am showing images of my home only to note the inspiration Walda has given me and for which I am very grateful.  I remain her very humble admirer.

Now to end on a more literary note, I think one of Robert Frost's poems might be appropriate.  It's always been one of my favorites and reminds me of his Vermont. 

Till next time, stay cool.