May 27, 2015

Taking Pictures

I have an iPhone 5 and have been super-impressed with the pictures that it takes. In fact, it’s been literally months since I’ve used my “real” camera. This spring in Baltimore has been just stunning. We finally got some really warm weather at the end of May, which meant that the spring flowers lasted for weeks and weeks.

For more than ten years, I’ve carried a camera with me everywhere. First it was my small pocket-sized digital camera and now it’s my phone. Everywhere you look, there are possibilities for beautiful pictures. In fact, today, my Bosom Buddy Andrea and I were poking around an old store, cluttered with LOADS of fun things, and when we left, I spotted some flowers in the parking lot.  The scent of the honeysuckle drew us in,
and then we spotted the brilliant purple sweet-pea.

Over the long weekend, I had the chance to go out to the country garden, and as the sun was sinking into the western sky, I took this shot.

As I headed up to New York last week, the soft morning light blurred the lines between the river and the sky.

Carrying a camera/phone with you and using it will help hone your eye. You will constantly be observing, looking for interesting details, checking the skies,lining up angles and sight lines, seeing how colours interact with each other, finding patterns and repetitions.

I try and make a point of taking at least one picture every day, and most days, I take many more than one. Tell me about your picture-taking practices and habits.

May 25, 2015

Kips Bay Show House 2015

The main reason I went to NYC last week was to attend the launch party for Steven Stolman’s newest book, 40 Years of Fabulous, about the Kips Bay Show House, which is actually celebrating 43 years in 2015. Of course, I couldn’t do that without also going to see this year’s house.

The book party was held at the venerable John Rosselli Antiques on 61st Street, and as good hosts do, both John Rosselli and Bunny Williams were there to greet each and every guest. And of course, there were rooms and rooms of stunning pieces to check out. nyc rosselli (14)One of the first people I spotted was the author himself, and before the hoards arrived, I had the chance to say a few words to Steven Stolman, who is one of the most positive and delightful people I’ve ever met. It was also fun to see some of my NYC buddies, including the talented Emily Evans Eerdmans, and the famous Boy Fenwick, of Reggie Darling fame. nyc rosselli (5)

The book is beautiful with more than 200 pages of pictures, each more gorgeous than the next. It is fun to see which rooms have endured, and which are dated.
IMG_1751 IMG_1752

On Thursday, my friend Jonathan and I met at the Show House, this year in the Arthur Sachs Mansion on 66th Street. We got there at the strike of 11:00, right when the house opens, and I was so glad we did. The house filled up quickly. Although the guides suggested we start at the top and work out way back down, after looking at the stairs, we decided to work our way up!Kips Bay (46)

The entry hall, by Jamie Drake, features an interesting sculpture which looks like clouds reflected against an inky sky. Kips Bay (71)

Beyond that was the huge stair hall, soaring up five floors. Kips Bay (11)

We headed up to see the room everyone’s talking about – the red room by Mark D. Sikes. Kips Bay (1)Kips Bay (2)Kips Bay (4)

The red room I liked even more was Alessandra Branca’s with its red and white ticking on the walls, as opposed to Mark’s checks.
Kips Bay (5) Kips Bay (7)

The detail was really lovely, too.Kips Bay (6)

The next room I loved was the master bedroom. It’s very masculine, but there was a softness to it, perhaps from the beautiful Cowtan & Tout grey plaid on the walls. The room was Designed by David Pheonix.
Kips Bay (15) Kips Bay (17)

I just loved the marble mantle and the alabaster urns. Kips Bay (19)

To give you an idea of the scale of this room, Jonathan’s about six feet tall and the closet door towers over him. I love this image. Kips Bay (24)

I almost liked the library shelves, but I am such a purist that it makes me cringe a bit to see books used solely for decoration, with no regard to their contents. Kips Bay (14)

The details in this room were just stunning. Kips Bay (21)

There were two garden spaces, one which I liked and the other which I didn’t. One made great use of space through curtains and mirrors. Kips Bay (51)

The other was a lot of mosaics and art. Kips Bay (54)

Another room I liked was more simple than many of the others. It was by Cathy Kincaid, and featured the most gorgeous inlaid bone bed. Kips Bay (37)

Here’s a little of the detail. Kips Bay (39)

I loved the calmness of the room, and it didn’t seem like it was trying too hard.
Kips Bay (36) Kips Bay (35)

The five-story staircase had everyone talking! Because the elevator “didn’t work”, people were trooping up and down this staircase all day long. It’s lined with art works, hung over a beautiful grisaille wallpaper, which I thought would have been enough on its own.Kips Bay (10)Kips Bay (12)

The kitchen, which was on the ground floor, was pretty amazing, although totally impractical. We counted that it was 22 steps from the stove to the fridge and back! This backsplash is all inlaid mosaic marble tiles. Certainly not your standard subway tile!Kips Bay (70)

And this juxtaposition of the rough edge of the wood and the smooth marble was interesting. Kips Bay (68)

Here are some more images, which I can’t credit, since I can’t figure out which is which! Sorry!Kips Bay (28)Kips Bay (31)Kips Bay (40)Kips Bay (49)

All in all, lots of fun, lots of stunningly beautiful pieces, and a great few days away!

May 21, 2015

Scenes from New York

I took tons of pictures over the past few days in New York, including almost 100 at the Kips Bay Showhouse! But I need to sort and edit them, so I will do that over the long weekend. But I thought I’d share a few favourite, unedited images from my trip. Enjoy!

I am fascinated with the range of signs in each of the subway stations. IMG_1376NYC Wednesday (19)

The trains are pretty cool, too!NYC Wednesday (18)

And there’s nothing more interesting than the characters you see walking along the streets, like this gentleman.NYC Wednesday (2)

A love these curved windows.NYC Tuesday (5)

The New York State Supreme Court Building. The ornamentation on this building was terrific!NYC Wednesday (12)NYC Wednesday (6)NYC Wednesday (7)NYC Wednesday (8)

I love the juxtaposition of the old and new.NYC Thursday (1)

Love these cheery colours! The one on the left is very British.

NYC Thursday (2) NYC Thursday (3)

Can’t disagree with this!NYC Tuesday (7)

From the low-brow H&M NYC Wednesday (14)

to the high-brow John Rossellinyc rosselli (14)

with some detail…nyc rosselli (12)

Chinoiserie desk at Philip Colleck, Ltd.NYC Tuesday (11)

Staffordshire and Foo dogs (which the computer wants to correct as food dogs)NYC Tuesday (8)NYC Tuesday (14)

A little peek at my favourite space at Kips Bay.Kips Bay (19)

Stay tuned for a big post about the 2015 Kips Bay Showhouse!