An Imagination Run Wild

Saturday, October 30, 2010

"At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since." -- Salvador Dali
Catalan artist Salvador Dali is best known for his pioneering Surrealist paintings – paired with his colorful and wild  behavior. While in Barcelona I paid a visit to the Real Circulo Artistico, which houses over 700 paintings, sculptures and photographs of the artists works. While I find Dali’s work very interesting, I certainly would not count them among my favorites, however I loved this particular show for its focus on the creative process of Dali. As opposed to his precise, completed paintings, the drawings, watercolors, and prepatory sketches on exhibit gave so much insight into his process behind the scenes. I was so inspired by his pure creativity! He clearly marched to his own drummer and his quotes and images remind me to have courage, self conviction and imagination! I bet a dinner party with Dali would have been quite an event!

Influenced by the work of Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein, Dali painted perhaps his most famous work –The Persistance Of Memory in 1931.

A dramatic photograph taken by Carl Van Vechten in 1939 -  love the tiger cape!
A display of Dali's watercolor works, I was struck by how free and unstructured these were! and by the beautiful earthy colors he chose. 

So in the end, eccentricity might breed creativity! Don't be afraid to run a little wild!
Happy Weekend! 

La Belle France!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Yes . . . this is the key to our new home in France for the next two months! I know a key is usually not super exciting but everything here in Fontainebleau and France in general is so beautiful, I am a bit overwhelmed! Our little cottage might be freezing cold but its so French, I don't even care! Much more to come . . . 

Road Trip!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Well, Sadly we are leaving Singapore for a few months... the great news is we are headed for two months living in France! With a stop-over in Barcelona and a quick road trip through the Basque country ending in Paris. Posts will be spotty for a bit but expect lots of great Catalan and French art and design once I get settled in Fontainebleau! 

Bon Voyage for Now!

Bali Chic . . . Part Trois

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ok, I promise this will be the last of the Bali posts (at least for a while!). Here is a collection of images and pieces which I particularly loved and thought embodied the ultimate Bali Chic

A scene in Bali from the film Eat Pray Love with Julia Roberts . . . I could not resist! A great example of the traditional fabrics and offerings. The photo is by Francois Duhamel via Elle Decor.
A woven rattan outdoor lantern, these were all over in varying sizes, it reminds me of a fisherman's basket. The villas, hotels, and restaurants in Bali do a beautiful job with soft outdoor lighting! 

A teak root sculpture, Canton whitewashed bookcase, and Hullet solid wood side table - all by Lio Collection, a few of my favorites! 

 The whitewashed interior of Cafe Bali in Seminyak - not only was the food wonderful here but I loved the white, breezy decor with colonial and antique touches. A lovely combination of East and West {photos via Haute Habits}

Nusa Dua batik fabric in shell and gold. Traditional batiks are generally more brightly colored but they are also making some more modern versions like this one. It would be stunning pillows and reminded me a bit of Fortuny's timeless fabrics.

108 white Japa Mala buddhist prayer beads strung on orange thread. I am already kicking myself I did not bring some of these back with me!

A Balinese carved stone wall mural, I love the organic flow of it! 

Bali Chic . . . Part Deux

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

For me, one of the defining characteristics of Bali Chic is the graceful juxtaposition between the ornamental and the plain. Bali has a wonderful tradition of wood and stone carving but has also managed to embrace some modernist restraint and clean lines. This play of elaborate and simple spaces is shown particularly well in the new architecture in Bali. I call it a type of organic modernism! We were lucky enough to stay in a house, Villa Double N, for the weekend (Please don’t hate me, but it was amazing! And shockingly affordable in the off-season for sure!) I hope to return to Villa Double N again soon! 

 Villa Double N at night . . .  Beautiful! The architect was Jeghier Architecture, with offices in Bali and Malaysia, 

The intricately carved wood and limestone gate marking the entrance to Villa Double N! What a welcome! (photos by Noe Rebull!)

 Close up of the wooden doors with decorative brass studs . . . 

Outdoor lounge furnished with bamboo shades and Balinese day beds. I especially love the sea green and soft peach they used for the upholstery. The small tables are also perfect!
A traditionally carved stone planter filled with water lilies on the grounds of the villa.

 View of the rice paddies from the top floor! 

The History of Bali Chic

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

After a weekend with friends in beautiful Bali, I have decided that the term Bali Chic could not be more true! I was so taken with the creative spirit and energy the Balinese devote to everything they do. The island is full of inspired and unique furniture, stone sculpture, architecture, accessories, fashion, restaurants, artist studios and galleries. Bali is one of the thousands of islands which make up Indonesia and since the 1920’s it has been a has been a haven for western tourists seeking to explore its distinct culture. The international attention began with the arrival of many western artists in the 1920’s, and Bali became an artist colony of sorts, the most notable being German painter Walter Spies and Dutch artist Rudolf Bonnet. In the 1930’s a stream of fashionable and famous visitors such as Charlie Chaplin and anthropologist Margaret Mead encouraged the artistic development of the island.
Artist Walter Spies in Bali in the 1950s with Gela Forster, the photo was taken by Rudolf Bonnet! Very dramatic!  

Bali Life by Rudolf Bonnet, dated 1950, done in pastels on paper. The piece was sold in 2007 at Christie's Hong Kong.

The majority of the population practices Balinese Hinduism which is a unique combination of local beliefs Hindu influences. The island is dotted with thousands of puras or temples and personal shrines, which adorn almost every home and business. They are all beautifully decorated with intricately folded palm leafs, traditional black and white fabric, flowers and small offerings of fruits and cookies. I snapped a few photos of ones I passed!

While all this sounds very official and serious, the spirit and vivacity of the culture is felt in all the design and art here! It’s a kind of effortless, breezy, inspired chic . . . Bali Chic!
I will post more inspirations from my time in Bali in the days to come! 

Please note: wikipedia,, were referenced for this post! The photograph of Walter Spies is from the collection of the Tropenmuseum in Holland.

Sweet Dreams

Monday, October 11, 2010

If you are faced with a plain, awkward, or tiny bedroom space  - you may not need to call the contractor after all! Headboards and bed frames are a fantastic way to add character and interest to a room without a major investment. The right headboard can lend architectural interest and life to a room. To me bedrooms should feel a bit special – a private and cozy place to relax. I think the ones below are just that! 
This soothing petal pink and white bedroom is by designer Gary McBournie - the iron bed gives the room height and drama but thanks to the white cotton voile fabric, it still looks light and airy! 

Master styler Jonathan Adler used curtain rods, attached directly to the ceiling, and hung with nautical style draperies to give character - a great cost saving solution too since no actual frame or headboard is needed! 

John Willey designed these extra tall twin headboards, which make this tiny room feel more cozy than cramped. The matching custom bedskirts give the beds a grounded feel without taking up the extra space which footboards would. I also love the treatment he used on the ceiling, with crossed decorative beams and a contrasting paint color to make the low ceiling feel charming instead.

Lastly, is this fantastic, oversized headboard by designer Tom Sheerer, featured in House Beautiful. It simply floats on the wall behind the bed. The great printed linen by Quadrille supplies the visual interest and the three large upholstered panels would be great to lean up against while reading in bed! 

Sweet Dreams!

Warm Whites

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Now, as a lover of all things color, I usually shy away from rooms dominated by white. Its often cold and modern and to be honest, just impractical. However, we are in a rented condo in Singapore – one which is very stark and white and I realize there is a lot to like. Color and textures are beautifully highlighted when in a sea of white. Its easy to breath in the space and While I might not be totally sold I do see the merits of all-white when it can be cozy, personal and even welcoming. I love the rooms below for use that – their use of white in a warm and comfortable way! 
A master bedroom in white by Lindsay Bond. Bond updated this 1950's cottage with a white backdrop and eclectic furniture pieces. The living room above is from the same home.

Another view of Bond's master bedroom.... beautiful use of the antiqued mirror too! 

White rustic bedroom by designer Myra Hoefer. I love how the small antique rug adds so much life with so little effort. 

The all white kitchen of cookbook editor and Editor-in-Chief of Food & Wine, Carole Lalli, featured in House Beautiful in February 2009. You can't beat a crisp white kitchen and this one has warmth and personality with handmade subway tiles and neural toned floors!  

I Heart Hable Construction

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The textile design company was founded by sisters Katharine and Susan Hable in 1998 and is named after their great-grandfather's road construction business. Hable's textile designs are graphic, bold, organic and done in beautiful bright tones. They sell fabric to the trade only but they also have a great line of pillows and storage pieces available on-line. Hable textiles crafts colorful hand-printed canvas and cotton/linen patterned fabrics using traditional techniques in an old New England factory.

Now, pillows are one of my great obsessions. I just can't find another item which can so quickly breath life and personality into a space. They are easy to change and a fantastic way to add color! These pillows come in 16” x 16”, 14” x 18” and 20” x 20”. Here are a few of my favorites….

In addition to the pillows, they offer stylish and functional storage - a rare combo! The bushel has a sturdy steel frame to hold everything from toys to firewood, recycling, laundry, and towels. The canvas storage boxes are also a cherry way to corral magazines, files, hats and gloves or anything else!

Hable has so many more great patterns than I was able to show… 

Visit their site! 

The American Wing at the Met

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

In May, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York reopened its American Wing galleries after two years of renovations and updates. The event was complete with a ribbon cutting ceremony by the First Lady. If you have not been to the new galleries or never at all I really suggest you go - especially to see the decorative arts! As you may know, I have a masters in the History of Decorative Arts, so I might be a bit biased but honestly the Met’s collection of Americana is beautiful! It is so interesting to see the objects of daily life from the past. To me decorative arts, (which includes furniture, silver, glass, textiles, and ceramics) are an amazing way to capture the past. They are a fusion of history and art and can really represent the current events, social values, and popular culture of their time. I love painting and sculpture as well but decorative arts are too often overlooked! Well enough of that – I don’t want to bore you but do enjoy these three beautiful side chairs from the Met’s collection for now. I am sure you will hear much more from me on this in the future. . .

1794-99 attributed to Samuel McIntire, Salem Massachusetts. Look at the amazing nail head pattern they used – it would be great today on a simple upholstered dining chair!

1815-20 attributed to John and Hugh Finlay, Baltimore Maryland. A fantastic painted klismos chair in vibrant yellow and green.

 1877-79 attributed to the Herter Brothers, New York City. Such beautiful inlaid floral marquetry pattern on the back!  

I do hope you'll go and enjoy the American Wing at the Met! 
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