Visiting 10 Hindu temples in 10 days, all dedicated to the planets and deities, was a window into the concentrated energy and spiritual life of how Hindus may pray. I caught colorful glimpse of many of these folk carrying out their domestic lives as we drove through street after village street. In my 3+ week South India sojourn there was only one private house I entered into. It was a good one.
What is important to you? What is the transformation you are looking for? Know that your home is the fertile ground where your life takes root.
Allow me to understand what you would like from your home – functionality improvements, aesthetic upgrades – and help you envision it. Together we will make deliberate changes in your environment to enrich your life.
My home has become a laboratory for Biodynamic design.
Design and Art effect every aspect of our life. Day-to-day happiness springs from our environments and experiences being beautiful, rational, and making sense. Art isn’t only found sitting in a museum but all around us if we take the time to truly see what we are looking at.
Experiencing The Salon Art + Design at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City during this season is always a special treat. There, inspiring objects abound and are presented in a compelling and charming way. To have so many different, inspiring, and noteworthy galleries and objects brought together in unexpected contrast creates a feeling of wonder.
This season is busy with new projects. Sometimes, in recent past, I’m involved in one or two major apartment renovations at a time (think: ripping out entire floors and building new walls). Maybe with the changing of the seasons, the current real estate market or the success in my mission that we can all love where(ver) we live, I have a current crop of clients—who are renters—looking to inject some much-needed style and substance into a space they do not own. After all, living in New York, renting an apartment or owning, is an American Dream. Make it your own.
There is a visceral pleasure to return to simple, direct and instant gratification “fixes” presented by the limitations in renting. While demo-ing bathrooms, adding stairs, or changing an entire floor plans will give a space major upgrades in its feel and utility, here is an important reminder that the power of smaller updates to totally transform a space is real. You do not need to own your space in order to live well in it.
The biggest possible impact? Read More
Appreciate this detail of an Allegorical Figure holding up Home as if on a pedestal, painted by American artist Grant Wood in 1921-2.
Holding a model home aloft as a devotional object, this central figure is painted as a secular Madonna in this neoclassical allegory that draws on the visual language of Renaissance altarpieces.
Grant Wood was hired by local Cedar Rapids, Iowa realtor Henry Ely to paint this scene as an advertisement for the developer’s model homes.
100 years later I feel connected to both the realtor and artist who celebrated Home and immortalized it through art while also making a livelihood from our basic need to nest.
Grant Wood is most famous for his painting “American Gothic.”
Both of these two works, along with many more are currently on exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City until June 10, 2018.
Travel and beauty inspire us. Exploring new cities and towns, experiencing new design and connecting with a different vision of life opens our eyes, our hearts and minds. Wonder has room to wander and allows us to see the World anew. An opening shift in perspective will happen on its own.
How do we capture that prized shift and incorporate it into our consuming lives – before we are back again, numbed by the daily onslaught of life? I found an answer to that question myself when the sunlight of Tacchini’s salone in Padiglione 16 struck me with its warm, juicy, flattering pastel color palette. DiChirico-esque murals as the backdrop for Jonas Wagell’s new Julep Sofa being launched at the Fair.
The voluptuous curves in juicy corals, blush pinks and soft citrus were warm, sensual and a bit dramatic – especially welcomed in by my New York sensibility that has been bombarded with new construction of glass, steel, angles and aggressive neutrality! Imagine instead coming home in the evening to sun-kissed, vibrant softness. Yes, please. Quanto mi piace.
It seems kind to have a home filled with curves to embrace the space and us within it when there is much to take on in our occupying lives. New York City is a hard place. It can be a real grind.
Creating an environment that refreshes you and takes you back to that prized shift – one where you can simply slip into a sunset or a morning beginning in paradise – will refresh you day in and day out.
When I feel connected to such a pleasant and resonant environment I get curious. Wondering about its creators and where inspiration comes from. What Zephyr swooped low to blow in the first breaths of creation.
Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus. 1484-1486 The Uffizzi Galleries, Florence.
After the fair in Milan, I drove along the coast, meandering the serpentine coast of Liguria, south through Genova, Forte dei Marmi and onto Viareggio where I noticed repetition of this color combination abound. I imagined the same vibe in these places that the colors had for me.
Basking in the glow of this palette expressed now as painted palazzi, proudly nestled up in the bluffs and along the coast, facing out toward the sea. Remembering that life and art influence each in a rhythmic dance. Sun-drenched, still, warmly lit. You get the picture.
It is exciting to appreciate and connect to a region’s palette in this way. It felt so relevant after the Fair. I felt a unspoken understanding of the area and it was comfortable. And experienced a vibe of a warm, sunny get-away complete with aesthetic pleasure unfolding organically. This happens to me in Italy. BUT it doesn’t have to only happen in Italy.
As always, I’m reminded of the power of design and palette to bring a sense of place to the everyday, to channel the rich and stimulating pleasures of discovering new environments and exploring new ideas right into our own homes.
1. Take inventory on your belongings and decide which are functional, beautiful, and which are just stuff. Recycle, donate, or regift the superfluous!
2. Create fresh vignettes in eye-catching spots around your home. Group a treasured object, art books, and some greenery on an entry console.
3. Connect with loved ones. Invite family and friends over to enjoy your newly revived space.
All Roads Lead To Rome.
I am inspired anew by my love, bell’Italia. During a Fall visit to this magical land, I visited Palazzo Fendi to reconnect with old colleagues and toured the recently remodeled 17th century space. This chic, avante-garde room looks toward the future while maintaining historical roots, with its geometric lines and boiserie a deep teal. It exemplifies a design philosophy that our homes keep us grounded while giving us the space to thrive.