Of the many things I am drawn to, in love with, can’t get enough of, chinoiserie has to be one of the most potent. Chinoiserie, pronounced SHēnˌwäz(ə)ˈrē,ˌSHēnˈwäzərē, is the imitation and interpretation of Chinese motifs and techniques in Western art, furniture, and architecture, especially in the 18th-19th century. The sheer volume of information about the style defies belief, and I’ve found that you either love it like crazy or you don’t.
I have an obsession with animal-footed furnishings. I don’t even know when that started or why my world won’t be complete without them, but I know I need them in my life. Brass hooved and animal-footed pieces have been around for hundreds of years and have lived in the most luxurious homes – gracing castles, English country estates, and posh dining rooms the world over. In these very serious spaces they brought a touch of whimsy and mystery. In today’s homes, animal-footed furnishings play nicely with everything from traditional settings to ultra-modern surroundings.
While I am decidedly devoted to the vintage-mixed-with-modern decorating ethos, I think a room amounts to little without a curated assortment of art and accessories. The tone and feel of a space are made more solid through personalized touches.
All art is subjective. I may not love velvet Elvis tapestries that much – but there are thousands that do. The same impulse that drives someone to purchase a print of the Eiffel tower from Target is the same impulse that drives me to buy a vintage print of the Virgin Mary.
I heart previously loved furniture and objects that had a life previous to Apartment 46. I am attracted to things with a soul. The idea of returning something to its “original” condition bothers me.
Flipping through the latest issue of Elle Decor I came across the new Restoration Hardware ad campaign. They’ve taken a new direction and that’s good, however, I think someone drank too much of the Kool-Aid with respect to the “industrial” bent of the room styling.
Like anyone in a service related industry, I don’t often do for myself what I do for others – as in, the shoemaker’s children have no shoes. In fact, my own home and garden are more like aesthetic laboratories than bastions of great design. I’m fascinated by magazine articles featuring designer’s homes if for no other reason than I can’t believe they actually finished their homes.
The other day I had a heavenly Caligula moment. I was indulging myself in anything and everything involving design. I went to the local bookstore and filled my arms with every imaginable publication – from designing southern style mansions to decorating tiny big city apartments. Flipping through the pages it’s easy for me to decide which ones are worth taking home. If even one picture deeply inspires me, I buy it.
Along with millions of other Americans I am addicted to HGTV and its amazing home makeover shows. While I have always been an advocate of doing it yourself, I also know when to draw the line and hire an expert – i.e., plumbing, upholstery, electrical, structural changes…
First, I want to thank all of my wonderful customers for continuing to support and love Apartment 46. For those of you that don’t get the eNewsletter, I had to take a full time job to keep afloat during these unsteady times. The desire to provide a beautiful, comfortable and interesting shop is so important to me that I’ll do what it takes to keep the doors open. Valentine’s Day was outstanding! I was caught up in such a flurry of bouquet-making that I didn’t actually have time to photograph the flowers!