Friday, October 22, 2010

Clustering Paintings

Visually, there is a lot going in our living room (zig-zag sofa, donut painting, cheerful yellow walls, “spider” chandelier). Consequently we decided to only hang pictures on one additional wall in the room (besides the donut painting wall).

I clipped these images from Vogue eons ago—they are designer Kate Spade’s Park Avenue apartment. I love how Kate mixes artwork of different mediums and framing styles on one wall. It is such a great way to display your treasured pieces.

Kate Spade's guest bedroom.

Kate Spade's sitting room.
I also recently read an article on NY Times about a professional art installer, David Kassel, who helped a woman display an extensive photography collection in an 800-square foot apartment. His client said, “I have such an eclectic mix of stuff — flea market pictures, fine art photographs and old mirrors. If I put it up in the wrong way or don’t group it well, it would be a mess.” I thought he did an inspiring job.

David Kassel and his client, in her 800 sf Jersey City apartment.
Because I do watercolor and oil paintings, and also have a soft spot for collecting artwork, Dean and I decided to attempt something similar. We had seen an HGTV episode of “The Antonio Treatment” where Antonio organized his framed artwork on a giant piece of butcher paper on the floor, just as he would like them to hang on the wall. Then he traced the frames, taped the paper to the wall, and knew exactly where to drive all of the nails. This seems like a very precise and proper way to hang pictures. Knowing that this was the best way to do it, Dean and I threw method to the wind and just eyeballed it!

And it turned out beautifully! Over time we may add one or two more pieces to our art wall, which gives us room to collect (my fav activity). Because the art wall is very representative of my artwork and my “finds”, I was happy to have a little room for Dean to add to it when he finds something that strikes his fancy.
Our clustered paintings wall.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Welcome Home, Mr. Eero Saarinen

Being an architect, Dean appreciates modern designers and their product. So he is thrilled to have one of Eero Saarinen’s vintage pieces in our home!  This week I scored a 1960s Saarinen tulip side table on craigslist for $350, with the original Knoll sticker on the bottom.

The marble top has both gray and tan marbelized lines. Which makes it easy to match to stuff. Ignore
the unfinished loveseat!
It has a sturdy iron base and weighs about 50 lbs. The marble top and lines of the base give it a floating sensation. It is so pretty that I am hesitant to put anything on it. Maybe that is why the modernists have clutter-less interiors—their furniture is too beautiful to cover with books and lamps and miniature dog figurines.  

Also note our new Ikea nesting coffee tables: KLUBBO. $69.99.
Eero was a mid-century Finnish American designer known for his “machine-like rationalism,” according to Wikipedia.  Like Dean, Eero grew up in Michigan.  Unlike Dean, Eero hung out with kids like Ray and Charles Eames and Florence Knoll.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Meet Our Garden

Mark Twain famously said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” It’s true—the summers are foooogggy, and the tourists all look miserable on their double-decker buses. But the fall is glorious. This week it has been around 75 degrees and sunny every day.

This weather is thrilling because about a month ago I decided to do a second planting of vegetables in our garden, hoping to harvest by early November. We planted radishes, turnips, butter lettuce, red leaf lettuce, kale, spinach, and more carrots.

Last time we planted seedlings I unwittingly confused many of the sprouts for weeds and yanked them. So this time I drew a garden map for our plot, which is about 4 by 15 feet.
The turnips and butter lettuce are coming up rapidly, as is the kale. Stay tuned to see how those turn out. Tonight Dean made homemade mint chip ice cream (his specialty) with mint from our garden. We will eat it this weekend when we have friends over to enjoy it with us.

Giant chard! Though we are not huge chard fans we have figured out how to make chard & sausage fritatta,
halibut fillets wrapped in chard, and chard risotto.

Dean really wanted to try growing corn. All in all, the stalks produced two very sweet ears of corn.
Yummy, but not a big yield in the foggy Inner Richmond.

Our baby kale is sprouting! Notice the summer broccoli behind it, which has been picked and sauteed
already, with some red pepper flakes and olive oil.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Color Schemes for Victorians

The paint on our building is chipping and old. Unfortunately there are 14 different paint colors on our building, and estimates range from $60,000 - $100,000 to repaint! Who knew it was so expensive?

Our building. There are greens, purples, blues, whites, creams, golds. It all adds up to 14 colors.
Luckily there are four apartment owners, so we get to split the cost four ways. Consensus is that if we are going to drop $100K, we might as well pick a color that we like. One of my neighbors identifies the current color as “blue-green-gray” and another said we need to “bring the building color out of the early 90s.” Dean and I agree.

Because Victorian homes have so many colors, and painting is so expensive, it behooves everyone involved to hire a color consultant. These people help pick your color palette and painting plan, preventing a $100,000 disaster. I have heard that color consultants charge a one-time fee of about $500. Seems like a bargain, but I guess we will find out!

A few weekends ago Dean and I took a walk in our neighborhood to look at other Victorians and see how they are painted. We identified some that we like.
This home is a simple seafoam green with white trim and gold accents. I like.
A light gray house with lots of white and ivory trim, and a navy blue crown. Very tasteful.
Simple whites and creams. A timeless way to go.
Yellow with coral accents is so cheerful. But I worry that I would grow tired of it. Maybe in lighter shades
it would have more longevity?
Navy blue seems to be the only dark color I gravitate toward.
Everyone likes light blue.
Tan, red, brown and white is attractive. But this is the road to 14 colors on your home!
What colors do you like on ornate Victorian homes? If you have pictures, send them our way!