Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Chinese bridge

The bridge I am referring to is not the one in this antique export china but rather the role Chinoiserie elements can play in bridging traditional and modern elements in a room.

Jaimie Meares
Look how the blue and white lamps with their pagoda shades work with the funky wall covering and classic mid-century sunburst mirror. My point is that the lamps could have been in Grandma's house but the inherent whimsy in Chinoiserie helps the newer, sleeker and funkier items come together with the traditional ones to form "the mix" that is so popular.

Melanie Turner
In the example above the country farmhouse style table is paired with Chinese Chippendale chairs and a very mod color palette of white, apple green, and gray. The wicker pendant, side chair fabric and lacquered Parson's tables are more modern than traditional but it all slides together effortlessly.

The toile is an updated Chinoiserie element and smacks of uber-femininity as does the bed. The spare lines of the mid-century lamp and graphic bedding are the modern twist that somehow manages not to clash.

These examples should help anyone wondering exactly how to mix styles of furniture without it looking dumb. Simple, pick some stuff you love and throw in a handful of Chinoiserie to taste.

Stir gently.

and Voila! Chinoiserie fixes it all.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Its a mod, mod, mod, mod world

This room really reminds me of early 1970s mod style. 
There are a few telltale giveaways to see that it is not a vintage room. The technology is one but the wallpaper, room divider, and color scheme make me expect Anita Bryant to step out and offer me a glass of orange juice.
I have been noticing these more lately because I am craving a little more mid-century groove in my mostly traditional house.
What do you call retro, futuristic style, besides a contradiction?

Mexican. Who knew?

So, I did not have a blog post idea for today and I stared at Pinterest for a long time with more on the screen than was in my brain at 6 am. Then a thought! I'll search for something, I thought, but what? More blank. A chair... a Louis chair?... no....Swedish, French, weird... not right.... I know... Mexican chair! I bet I won't find anything.

I thought I knew a lot about mid century furniture but this is new to me. This was designed in Mexico in the 1950s. I could not find info on the original designer but it is now made by Carlos Ochos workshop.

side note: I find this room kind of awesome

The frame is iron and the seat is made with flexible vinyl cords. I'd love to know if it is comfortable. It comes in kid sizes too.

And a Rocker, who knew?
Have you seen this before?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Painting the bath

Warning this is not a post about design or art... exactly..sorry.

I have a busy week ahead and a sick baby, again. It was the darn birthday parties. She needs a hazmat suit to go to the next one.
Anyway, yesterday she wanted to paint but her tiny little stuffed up nose and not so tiny cough warranted a bath.
We did both. I mixed equal parts tempera paint and baby bath liquid soap and plopped her in our big soaking tub full (not full) of warm water with a paintbrush and a little cup of this paint. She spent a long time painting the walls and her toes and clearing the congestion.
I have a confession to make... I hate it when kids paint. I know, how awful of me. Its that the mess hating part of me nearly has heart failure when the little ones fling it about but they love it so much. This was the perfect solution. The mess was contained and rinsed or wiped off with little effort.
Back to design tomorrow.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

2 new paintings

 24 x 20 untitled abstract on clear primed cotton using gouache, acrylic and chalk pastel.
I have been wanting to paint on clear primed cotton for awhile and was waiting to get the clear gesso that I ordered online. In minutes I was stretching a canvas and priming like a kid on Christmas morning.
I think I will try to get a better photo in bright sunlight, the colors are not so muted.

16 x 20 acrylic on Canson board
This nude is listed on my portfolio page as commission work but it was for my mother and I don't think she likes it so it may end up on Etsy at some point in the future.

What do you think?  Go ahead be brutally honest. I won't take it personally or hate you if you say something negative.
Oh, and one more thing. I had to write an artist's statement because this...
  was accepted in a Regional juried show. Yay. I must say I felt really silly, and I mean really silly, writing an artist's statement but here it is.
Kerry Steele is a mostly self-taught artist and former interior designer. Her art professor Grandmother was an instructive and inspiring influence. Using mainly acrylics, oil pastels and graphite, she prefers to paint abstracts and nude figure studies in unusual colors. The unnaturally colored figures allow for exploration of shapes and shadow and abstractions of line. Her abstracts exhibit a strongly feminine feel and the palettes are inspired by current trends in interior design and women's fashion.
Whether fully abstract or figure painting, the tension as a composition unfolds and ultimate exhilaration when the final brushstroke has been made, keeps her playing with paint.

Have at it, folks.

Thrifty Thursday High/Low

Horchow's Moroccan Garden seat is listed at $455 HERE

West Elm has a white alternative
$129 HERE

Horchow aslo has this wooden garden seat

$455 HERE

West Elm to the rescue again
$199 HERE

Horchow's Antique Garden Stool is a staggering $760 HERE

Wisteria  has a fine substitute for $279 HERE

I really have nothing against Horchow so let's see what we could get by shopping low.
If you bought all three accent tables at Horchow the bill would be $1670.
If you chose the West Elm and Wisteria versions that total would be $607.
The savings of $1063 would buy both of these fabulous mirrors at Horchow. YAY!

$495 HERE

Also $495 HERE

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Chair Envy

Every yard sale, antique store and furniture store holds at least one chair that catches my eye. I have been forbidden to buy any more chairs. 
Love my Brno chairs.

The Corbu chair by architect Le Corbusier is a post modern icon and blends well with most decorating styles.
The Barcelona chair designed by architect Mies ver der Rohe is another mid-century must have. Most people that know me would be surprised to see that I chose this chair as a favorite, being a bit of a traditionalist and the fact that I don't own any...yet. They are especially pleasing in pairs.
This one from is Anthropologie . Traditional design paired with anything unexpected really speaks to me.
This one from Downtown was just too groovy to be left out.
This is an example of a crapaud. Its funny name, pronounced crapo, means frog in French. There are other chairs with similar lines and the same name.


 I almost bought one of those two from CB2 for my family room but my husband hates armless chairs.

A real favorite is this antique French child's chair that has been enjoyed by four generations of children in my family and no one knows how many others.
Here are a few more of mine.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Finance 101

 I picked up these tulips for $3 and displayed them in a vintage tortoiseshell tumbler from the set I picked up on Etsy a few weeks ago.
I don't often buy flowers for myself because I'm uh... well, kinda cheap.

Not at all miserly but in order to maintain our debt free lifestyle, sacrifices must be made. There are certain luxuries that I don't indulge in, one is fresh flowers on a regular basis.

We don't ever buy new cars but we live in a very nice neighborhood and our foodie nature insures we eat well. We do shop according to grocery sales though. My children wear brand name clothes but you won't find me at Starbucks. I have coffee at home.

I admit that I love fine things and have my share of them  (I collect original art for chrissakes!) but I enjoy being a bit thrifty.

I am slightly embarrassed to tell you that this Christmas centerpiece was born out of my thriftiness. I felt guilty buying fresh flowers so I bought fruit. We ate the pineapple, I juiced the key limes and froze the juice (I missed out on the lemons before they went bad) and the greens were from my yard.
Now that's cheap!

It makes a person feel smarter, like the world/marketplace hasn't fooled them and of course it keeps us out of financial hot water.

I grew up in the South but my Yankee husband has cheap in his blood. I never knew so many people up north kept their heat uncomfortably low in the winter, opting for heavy sweaters indoors instead of high heat bills. We still haven't settled this one!

 I'll probably always be like this and overjoyed every Valentine's, Mother's day, and birthday that I get flowers. I will occasionally sneak a few extra blooms like the tulips though!