Design & Architecture

With over 3,500 images to sort thru this turned out to be a much more difficult task than I had originally imagined. There are well over 300 “favorite ” images including building exteriors, landscapes, stairs, lighting, paneling, floors, etc. (And this doesn’t include the food/restaurant pics…) Some of these images serve a practical purpose as I see a detail I feel I can learn something from. Others record a “Holy Cow! that is incredible!!!” moment.

I’ll start with this one – a happy accident. Taken in the Louvre, I took a picture of the crown molding detail of a museum display case. It wasn’t until later, going thru the images when Sally and I returned to Salem that I saw what was in the background. I guess I was hyper focused… (We designers can be like that…)

From the Louvre as well. Note – the marble on left is faux. Sally and I saw this frequently and were in awe of it’s beauty.

 

I’m quite sure I took this at Versailles. Several important things here. The use of crystal to reflect and reflect light, increasing/enhancing the candle light from the chandelier. How the adjacent room is connected visually thru the use of light. And as I as to began to see and understand as our visit went on, as ornate as the crown and wall/panel trim were, they were based on the same classical orders and forms as later less orange periods/styles. There was great continuity as one style evolved and morphed into the next over several centuries.

And this was simply overwhelming… The lantern in foyers and foyer-like spaces was an element we saw repeatedly.

 

Fontainebleau yielded a few gems. The scale of this chandelier was massive!

It was interesting to see how Napoleon adapted rooms to his taste and style. This is the ceiling in his bedchamber, formerly the king’s reception chamber.

Vaux Le Vicomte was my favorite chateau and the predecessor to Louis XIV‘s Versailles.  Let’s start with a ceiling detail in the foyer. Spectacularly classical and ahead of it’s time.

These next two images display unbelievable faux painting/finish work. The sheer number of talented artisans employed to complete/finish buildings such as this boggles my imagination.

When Louis XIV had his finance minister, Nicholas Fouquet arrested, he stripped Vaux Le Vicomte of many of it’s valuable features, including tapestries. I believe the fabric panels and frieze indicate where tapestries originally hung. Note again, the extent of faux painting.

A ceiling detail of Fouquet’s bed chamber.  The image speaks for itself…

The bed chamber… No wonder a young Louis XIV was jealous, had him arrested and put in prison for life!

 

And I conclude with an image from the Carnavalet Museum, whose purpose is to preserve the history of the city of Paris. While the museum was described to us as a collection of historical artifacts, it was so very much more – especially the rooms that they have salvaged and preserved as the grand “Hotels” of Paris were demolished years ago.

And an image I need to figure out where it was taken… My guess is Versailles or the Louvre.

 

Hope you’ve had a mini-vacation as we slide into the month of December and the Holiday Season.

Cheers,

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Like many of you, I will spend much of my day in the kitchen helping Sally prepare our Thanksgiving day meal.  (Probably part of today as well if I am honest with myself…)  These past few days I found myself looking at different kitchens and saying to myself, yes, I could prepare our meal in that kitchen. I was surprised to note that many different styles appealed to me. Their common thread was their minimalism – lask of over ornamentation and detail, wonderful use of materials and finishes and pure functionality.

 

Let’s start with a kitchen that seems to bridge between modern and traditional. I say that because of the echoes of previous generations and cooking, when kitchens were not showpieces. Rather they were lean and functional, tucked away in the basement or a separate building. Yet this is clearly a kitchen of today – integrated into our modern lifestyle. it is stylish, elegant. The walls and ceiling, are finished in modern way using traditional materials.

 

In contrast, this Belgian kitchen is very contemporary.  Recessed adjustable down lights in the ceiling, very chandelier like in their location. Minimalist detailing of the cabinetry, etc. Yet … the plank like effect of the cabinetry recalls construction techniques of 100 or more years ago, as does the stone floor. Don’t you love the tiny window behind the stove? I do!

 

Then we move to entirely modern… Concealed hinges, No cabinet pulls. It’a all about materials expressing shape and form. Rigorous symmetry. I love the suggestion of the traditional chandelier over the table using very contemporary lighting. How it snuck in there.

 

I fell in love with this traditionally styled kitchen, designed by Belgian designer Evelyn Moreels. I know it’s all new construction. But the soft antique finish on the cabinets draw me in. The French oak in the island calls to me, as does the irregular layout of the stone on the floor. Lighting is where you need it. it feels like everything will fall readily to hand in a few steps. the crown molding repeats classical form and profiles. The panel details echo classic French paneling. Fabulous!

 

Have a wonderful weekend with family and friends!

 

Cheers,

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When Sally and I went to the Louvre, we were looking forward to seeing the fabulous art – you know, the Mona Lisa, etc., But I had another agenda. I wanted to get up close and personal with the wood paneling, door casings, over mantels and crown molding – to study profiles and proportion, take pictures and record my observations.

Arriving via the Metro was pretty cool.

 

And while seeing the classical order of the building’s exterior was exciting, I was ready to dig in.

 

Visually it was overwhelming – ranging from rooms and spaces that were so over the top with gilding they glowed to rooms that were rather simple and unadorned by comparison.

 

What was interesting was once you cut thru the gilt and overstimulation, common threads began to reveal themselves…  Stylistically, as the interior architecture simplified and evolved toward Neoclassicism, certain forms and patterns remained. How coves and crowns at the ceiling were expressed. How wall surfaces were trimmed and articulated. How soft sensuous door jamb profiles grew out of ornamentation. It was breath taking and validating. I have been telling my clients who want French style/trim profiles, you can’t find it or buy it in the catalogues. And I was right!

I can’t tell you how many times I was told, “Don’t touch!”

 

This was where I figured out the panorama mode on my phone… Loved being able to talk in a room in it’s totality!

 

But… The real treat of the day was dessert at Angelina’s! Fresh raspberry sorbet and whipped cream! Heaven!

Next post, artsy images…

 

Cheers,

To visit our website, click here.

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If you would like our assistance on your design project, contact us here