Feeds:
Posts
Comments

I was once asked to describe “New England Style” to a person from the Midwest. I got to thinking about all the influences that create that very distinctive North Eastern architectural and interior design style, and being rooted in history is obviously what first comes to mind. Colonial, and then later Shaker influences shape the foundation of New England Style. A minimalism, or an austerity was born from the idea that form follows function, however form was to be derived from the English architectural ideals of proportion and scale. The other component is superior craftsmanship. Historically, New England’s seaport towns were home to the finest boat builders in the world. Skilled craftsmen abounded and this was seen in everything from sea captain’s homes to fine furniture and cabinetry. As the modern world has demanded a more comfortable lifestyle, the strictness and severity of a historical New England style has softened, and a warmer more inviting way of living has been incorporated into classic design. What has not changed however is an appreciation for superior craftsmanship. The premier cabinetmakers, custom furniture makers and builders in the country still hail from New England, and there is a standard of quality that is very rarely seen anywhere else.

dining

dining

custom furniture using reclaimed lumber

custom furniture using reclaimed lumber

solid cherry, custom shaker style bed
solid cherry custom shaker style bed

NewEngland stained glass artisan
New England stained glass artisan

solid cherry custom kitchen cabinetry with local NewEngand hewn granite.

One of the things that this campaign season has done for many us, is it has gotten us to pay attention to what we think and what we believe in. No matter what side of the fence you are on, I’ll bet you have tuned into your value system in the recent months with a more self-examining eye. Being mindful about what we are choosing as consumers has never been more important certainly, and we are challenged daily to find value in all of our goods and services. Gone are the days of oblivious frivolity! Even if you have the means, it is totally passé.  What is “HAPPENING” now is to be clear and focused and articulate about what we want our lives to be and that means cleaning out what is no longer working, and replacing it with precise, effective and innovative solutions. This way of thinking completely applies to everything in our lives, from how we vote to how we decorate. Being mindful visually will helps us discern, not only what we like but what is important to us.

back to italy

 

entrance to a garden

entrance to a garden

inside courtyard

inside courtyard

simplicity

simplicity

garden on the ceiling

garden on the ceiling

bathroom
bathroom
bathroom

bathroom

view of a courtyard

view of a courtyard

I have been fortunate enough this year to have traveled to the Italian countryside twice with one of my favorite clients. When you are on location with a local production company in the region that you are shooting in, you very often have access to places that tourists and quite frankly some locals never get to see. This was the case when we got to shoot at a Popes summer residence in Frascati. Frascati, known as an affluent weekend retreat for nobles and wealthy Romans, is about 45 min. outside of Rome. The quaint little square is flanked by gorgeous palazzos’s. At the very center of the village, at the top of the hill is the summer residence of the Pope. It has been a Popes residence since 1680 and is maintained by the Borghese family. 

 

There were Carravagios, Bernini’s and Botticelli paintings hanging on the walls. The gardens were overgrown and exquisite, with pots full of ivy and flowers. There is this amazing quality when things, and gardens and architecture get old and patina sets in. We are so often trying to achieve that look of decaying oppulence.It is so elusive visually. One of the things that was apparent was that there was rich, deep, vibrant color that had mellowed and faded. The sense that there was a monochromatic color palette was an illusion. Infact the unification of the palette came solely from aging, and like a good wine, or soup the blend is perfect. Italian style, which is a style that is so complex has always facinated me. Even in the most ornate and decorative examples of architecture and art, there is a simplicity in form and underlying structure. It truly is classicism at its finest. Square rooms, center doorways with symetrically placed windows, usually dressed with paneled shutters are what you find in classic Italianate design. Even in gardens, there are center entrances, and a uniformity in the arrangement of pots and benches. And a symetry in the planting of trees and flowers as well . 

this wallpaper is from 1800, and it is tooled leather

this wallpaper is from 1800, and it is tooled leather

neutral tones

The neutral color palate and clean, simple lines of this room make it comfortable and inviting.

serenity

Inviting. Restful. Peaceful. And, it is pure serenity. It’s the perfect place to relax, and recharge and reinvigorate yourself. As my friend Tara said when she saw this photo, “I’d live there.” This is one end of a wonderful bedroom, where you just want to curl up with a book and a nice warm beverage––it would be easy to spend the whole day here. Christine and I shot this in her farmhouse in upstate NY, and below are some of the elements of the room de-constructed. It gives an idea of the way Christine uses objects and textures to define the look and feel of a space and give it a style of it’s own.

loft living

Loft Living has long been a way of life in many cities.

NewYork City is without question the most known for its loft lifestyle. Lofts were first renovated into residential living spaces in the early 70’s by artists who were looking for big, inexpensive spaces with good light . Soho and Tibeca, which were basically no mans land in downtown manhattan, were industrial neighborhoods with spaces that at one time housed sweatshops, printing houses and button factories. These spaces had high, usually tin, ceilings, giant windows, fir floors, and exquisite cast iron facades.

These spaces became very desirable in part because the unobstructed expanse of space could easily be built out without structural restrictions. You could put a wall anywhere! Lofts became customized to the individual and people got pretty creative with the interiors. Although lofts have been criticized for erring on the cold, austere side, that is no longer true! Lofts can be warm, homey and still feel airy and luxurious!

So, I was at my country house this weekend and it was full blown peak foliage! Columbia County NY is

spectacular with its vistas and rolling hills. I love to use seasonal nature whenever possible to decorate with.

The fall is such an abundant time of interesting organic shapes and color! I chose to keep things simple when I brought my gourds and pumpkins back from the Berry Farm––the most fabulous little organic farm stand in Chatham NY. Check it out

yesterday i was shooting at a farm outside of gallipoli italy. they have been an operating family farm since 1400. they have olive groves and persimmon trees, but mostly they make cheese. it was the most perfect ricotta! the farm was in a typical 15th century italianate style.

my friend henders

who is a technological genius, has figured out how i can post my blog from my iphone. this will make it fun 

and easy from the road! thanks henders

Creamware

amazing!