Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Now This Is What I'm Talking About

There are certain magazine articles that instantly speak to who you are, or what you are trying to be. The current issue of Veranda (March 2009) is talking to me. Especially the editorial called "Charleston Single House New Attitude" restoration and interior design by Eric Cohler, photos by Jeff McMara, text by Elizabeth Gaynor.

Eric's family is from Chicago, and he grew up in New York, and he now boasts, "I claim Charleston as home."
A traditionalist with an appreciation for contemporary design, Cohler refers to his interiors as a "classical veneer with a modern core." He notes that all design was once "contemporary" and startling for its period. In this spirit, he believes good work from all "contemporary" periods can marry with tradition.

This is the kind of decorating that I aspire to. A mix of things old and new done up with a New York edge. I too have claimed a southern city as my own, mildly restoring an old house, and doing its interiors. But I never lose my edge ha ha.

The key element in making Eric's interiors so fresh, and NOT a theme park look dedicated to Swedish style or French style, is his brilliant use of modern art. Juxtaposing contemporary paintings with old furniture is a formula that excites me.

My humble version of this look book

Though I don't have the breadth and depth and budget for really good pieces of art, I manage to eke out the look I love. The Will Barnett print (entitled "The Young Couple") is modern art and "real" and valuable (and will be more so as Mr. Barnett is well into his 90's if you know what I mean). I found it discarded in the corner at the dregs hour of a tag sale, leaning in a corner with its glass broken, and a price tag of $10. At first I thought it was just a cheap but good looking replica, but when I got it home and took the glass off, I discovered that I had a treasure (now auction valued around $2000.). I would also love to have a painting by an artist I love, and I am saving up for the day I can purchase one.

Flat weave geometric pattern rug in my living room,
something else used in this look book

Ah Marilyn! Anyone who loves modern art has to have a Warhol Marilyn. New Yorkers are especially fond of using Warhol, as he was one of ours and added so much to our dreary little lives. I also love these chairs.

Now stop that howling at this past horror that was my living room. This is my little Marilyn done for me by local artist Mario Ortiz for $20. Right now it's languishing in a closet, unframed and unloved, a victim of a revamp of another restless episode. Seeing this Veranda story has shamed me, and I am taking her out of the closet directly to the framer.

You can see why I love Eric's chairs! I had my rickety salon chairs from Spain recovered in white faux leather with nail head trim. I had the nail heads spaced a little apart to give the chairs a more modern version of the traditional nail head spacing. Yes dear reader, welcome to the sick mind of the decorator's attention to details.

The chandelier over the table looks very much like Julie Neill's design she calls "Savannah" - though no credit is given for the one in Veranda. I'd love a JN chandelier for sure!

The pattern rugs throughout also resonate with me, as does the glass coffee table and the symmetrical furniture arrangement, as well as the brown and white color palette.

White furniture, glass table, flat weave rug, symmetry, antique pieces, brown & white...
My edge is the saturated color walls instead of the pale ones of the look book
I'm always learning and revamping

Erato coffee table would be perfect for this look

More great art, a coastal reference, an oversize lantern, painted furniture, sea grass rugs, touches of hides and animal print - well it all speaks to this girl. Do buy this issue of Veranda. It's a good one, and there are some more pictures of this Eric Cohler home. They look so much better on the large page, and nothing can replace the pleasure of holding a book or magazine in one's hands.

Another decorator, the great New Orleans talent Gerrie Bremmerman, uses modern art to great effect with antiques and traditional furniture. It is a great design lesson to use especially when you live in an old house and need to honor it, but not live in a Civil War reenactment.
Here she uses the painting of young artist Amanda Talley, someone we all love here in New Orleans. Read all about her in a great post by Julie Neill HERE.

I chose a few pieces of art to share with you, ones I think would be perfect for this look book.

I would love to have this Amanda Talley work on paper. It's pretty fab isn't it?

Julie Neill supports young artist in a major way by featuring them in her shop, and by buying their work for her personal collection in her home. I think since Julie was a Fine Arts gal herself, and a painter long before she became a powerhouse business woman, she has a sensitivity for introducing living New Orleans artists to the world. In her shop and in her weekly listings on Bond and Bowery (search in Fine Art), you can find artists Michelle Tullis, Jonathan Shaw, and Kent Walsh, and a surprise artist. The prices are not cheap, but they are fair and affordable, and terms of payment plans can be broached.

Michelle Tullis at Julie Neill's shop and on Bond and Bowery

Jonthan Shaw at Julie Neill's shop and at Bond and Bowery

Kent Walsh at Julie Neill's shop and at Bond and Bowery

And Surprise!
A painting by Julie Neill that I would love to own!
For sale at her shop and at Bond and Bowery

So here's the formula for this fab look book:

  • Modern art
  • Antique furniture, especially a settee or daybed
  • Nail head trim on a white chair
  • Geometric pattern lightweight flat weave rugs (and sea grass)
  • Glass tables
  • Symmetry
  • Painted furniture
  • Large lanterns and chandeliers
  • Honoring the tradition and architecture of a house
  • New York edge
  • Edited and interesting collections
  • Edited zebra print


Beaux Mondes Designs said...

Great post Valerie! You've definitely captured the fab look.

Linda/ RMS "Mom..." said...

*****What a THOROUGHLY enjoyable AND interesting read, let alone some FAB pics of a variety of "classic pretties"! I'm getting more & more convinced we live in the wrong state (AZ) ~~~ I MUST "get out more" (Grins!)... Thanks again! Linda/ RMS "Mom of a German Shorthair" *****

beachbungalow8 said...

wow. great, comprehensive post. i do so love your chairs.

Pigtown-Design said...

ya killin me!

you're incredible.

vicki archer said...

This fab look is fab - love your summary, so perfect and spot on, xv.

Jan said...

You with a dreary little life V ?
I think not!
But yes, one has to love Andy.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE THIS POST. Yes, yes. The old and new mix I crave. The brown and white. I know what I'm missing now: the New York Edge you referred to. And with my muse, Mo, in KC. What's a girl from Bakersfield to do? How will I get that New York edge to add to my olds & news? I look and look and clip and clip and create big files for when there's "time and money." Well, maybe your end-of-post recipe will help.

Anonymous said...

Oooo! I love the art you posted!

Anonymous said...

Ooo, wait! I have an idea for a future post, unless it's an old post before my time that I need to go and find. New York apartments. I drooled over them in the movies all through my growing up years. The vintage ones, the rich ones, the modest ones, the chic ones, and even the 70's ones in Woody Allen flicks. Above is the recipe for the Veranda house, but what are the ingredients of the New York edge for an Ellie May like me who didn't REALLY start coming up for air until her late 30's.

Renae said...

Valorie....fantastic post...I enjoyed every bit of it!

Visual Vamp said...

Hey Carey,
Would you consider guest writing the New York idea you have?
I think you'd be fantastic, and I'd be proud to publish it.
We could do photo research together..
xo xo

Visual Vamp said...

Hey guys,
Thanks for hanging out with me today.
Amanda Talley sent me an e-mail which I will share with you now:

"Valorie! Thank you!
I tried to write a comment but forgot my blogger password so I'll just tell you--
Your pillows on your canape are
H O T! Love it--your room is scrumptious!
You need to come by and have cocktails with me on my balcony sometime. I'm across from the St. James Cheese Co. Its tres bohemian. I make a mean cocktail! Where did you get your Dhurrie rug? If thats even right--I thought it was but can't remember what they are called.
Phil and Don send Kisses!
Especially PHil!1

Thanks Amanda! You are so sweet to me!
I'll be sippin' on that balcony as soon as it warms up a bit.
The rug is just a plain old cotton rug I got on clearence from Pottery Barn, but it does a damn fine Madeline Weinrib imitation ha ha
xo xo
and xo xo for Phil

Anonymous said...

Anything for you, Ms. Valorie! I'll do the donkey work, and you supply the mysterious New York Edge. Hee Haw!

Paloma {La Dolce Vita} said...

This is phenomenal! I love what Eric did in this home. He is so talented. You are definitely right about the key being the ability to blend different styles together successfully.

Your home looks gorgeous, too! I love your setee, rug, pillows, and clock. You did such a great job with the Spanish chairs, too.

Anonymous said...

Good feature! Italian Contemporary Furniture looks fantastic.

pve design said...

love the monogram on the back of the chair.
wonderfully chic way to live, with a personal flair ~

Visual Vamp said...

Yes Patricia I love it too!
Maybe one day you'll come and visit, and paint one on my chair backs ha ha.
xo xo