Monday, June 20, 2016

Private tour of John Derian's Cape Cod garden

I spent my birthday on Cape Cod 2 weeks ago and made my yearly pilgrimage to artist John Derian's shop in Provincetown. His summer shop is in the garage behind his house, as many people know, and has been published many times. See the charming interiors here at Martha Stewart Living, My Domaine,  and PopSugar. I never leave without buying SOMETHING.
As luck would have it his garden was open for  tours to benefit the local garden association. I jumped at the chance!
 Most of the properties in town are rather small so I was surprised his  large house right in the center of town had an ample lot. Lets go inside.
 Off the main street one enters the garden through a white picket fence and along a path of ferns.
This charming lower porch is where he and his guests spend all of their mealtimes and lounging. Notice all of the lanterns suspended above the table for romantic nighttime lighting.
The porch is well hidden from the street and this large lilac shields the rest of the garden. Privacy is all important in a small town with the houses cheek by jowl!
 A lovely table to arrange flowers stands guard by the kitchen door.
 And under the stairs to the 2nd story porch is a chaise perfect for catching up on the latest news.
 I loved the use of ground cover in the base of this potted tree.
 Looking back towards the street. Charming right?
 From the porch the path continues past an outdoor shower.
This is a beach town so an outdoor shower is important to keep sand out of the house! I love how here he's used antique shutters to close and open the shower as needed. A great use of space.  The large flagstone becomes the shower floor.
 Even the shower head and fixtures are vintage naturally!
 One last look at the porch.
 Heading back behind the house through another picket fence and through a topiary gateway.
 This part of the backyard is kept relatively private from peering eyes but is also the (car)parking for the house.   A large gravel court is perfect for parties and where all of his housemates park their bikes. The gravel is ringed with planting beds full of peonies, herbs, daises and other pretty plants.
Early June is the perfect time in Cape Cod to catch both peonies and other spring flowers as well as the early roses and summer plants.
 Behind the gravel court is what could be a very formal space - an outdoor 'room' with planted walls at least 10' high. Had these hedges been clipped and groomed it would not look out of place at a French Chateaux. However John has lent his relaxed spirit and things are kept charmingly natural.
The center of the 'room' is a large raised planting bed with a central birdbath. I could spend all day here!
These sunchairs are the perfect private place to catch a tan.  I hope you enjoyed this brief tour of John Derian's gardens as much as me!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Classic Cars of DC

Memorial day weekend I stopped down on the national mall to check out the Paul Mellon exhibit at the National Gallery of art (Spectacular, please do yourself a favor and see it before it closes in September 18, 2016).
As I was leaving the national gallery I was in time to see the start of the national memorial day parade.
 A number of classic cars were assembled to drive some Vets as the head of the parade.
I had to stop to take some pictures of these beauties and talk to their proud owners (many of them vets themselves!).
I posted a number on Instagram and they proved so popular I thought I would share some on the blog as well.
 The cars were popular and despite the weather there were a lot of gawkers checking them out.
 I wish cars today had as much thought put into the details. The hood ornaments were fantastic.
 Packards, Cadillacs, all of the most popular American cars of the day were represented.
 All were immaculately restored, inside and out.
 The interiors had gorgeous leathers, shiny metals, and real wood trim.
And a reminder of why we call the storage compartment a trunk; cars as late as the 40s still had actual trunk racks!
 This hood ornament was all about speed.
I may not be a car fanatic (I don't even own one as a city dweller) but I am a self-professed design addict!
 Love the setting : classical architecture on the national mall. Below is the John Russell Pope designed National Gallery of art.
 The garden behind the yellow stunner below is the National Gallery of Art's sculpture garden.
 This car brought a trunk along!
 Even this handle was the product of great design.
 And why not monogram your own car? Go for it ESW!
Hope you enjoyed these classic cars!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Cranbrook Academy of Art tour

Cranbrook Academy was the brainchild of philanthropist (and newspaper man) George Booth. Sited on his property in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, in the suburbs of Detroit the 319 acre lot has been filled over the years with an art academy, a boys school, a girls school, art laboratories, a world class science and history museum, as well as an art museum.
Booth brought on renowned Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen to help him not only develop the campus architecturally but the mission of the multi-faceted academy with a seemingly endless budget. See my previous tour of Saarinen's house on campus HERE.
Sculptures by Carl Milles dot the lush gardens and many water features. Milles had moved from Sweden in 1931 to be sculptor-in-residence at Cranbrook and remained until returning to Sweden in 1951.
The campus came at an intriguing time in architectural history. It started as rather arts and crafts in the 1920s, played with Art Deco in the 30s, and the later buildings from the 40s and 50s are a precursor of the International movement.
Artists are still in residence in the Saarinen properties.
Fragments of antique sculpture are embedded into the brickwork on the older buildings.
The different areas of the campus each have defined portals or gateways like this arch into the boys and girls schools (a middle school run by Episcopal diocese).  The inscription wisely reads "A life without beauty is only half lived".
No 2 details are alike.  Have you seen such interesting Ionic capitals before; the art-deco influence at work.
Notice that each bracketed capital is completely different!
I loved this cloistered garden off the infirmary.
The ironwork found throughout the campus on multiple gates and fences are incredible.
While there are many disparate styles and ages to the buildings they all work together.
Around each corner is a surprise: a sculpture or fountain.
The Boys and Girl's campus have this lovely stone pergola.  Imagine it with roses or wisteria!
As you can see in my snapshots we had unusual weather ranging between hail, flurries, and sunshine.
The tower seen above was really intriguing and could be seen throughout the campus but I don't know what purpose it served.
The building on the right which looks like a chapel had these intriguing paneled stone entries.
Another beautiful sculpture and water feature.
Many of the buildings are connected with covered walkways. This one was intriguing with little domes inserted into the poured concrete surface.
More amazing ironwork.  Everything was done on site by artisans living on campus.
These doors led to what appeared to be a chapel but is actually the dining hall. Check out those lamp posts!
Place of worship of food.
This shot above sort of connects all of the previous pictures of the kid's campus area so you can get a sense of how they relate to one another.
Another 'entrance' from what was originally intended to be the public entrance (but was never used) is this lovely telescoping arched breezeway which leads to the arts academy.
The telescoping of the breezeway makes it look much deeper than it actually is by forcing the perspective. The brickwork is really lovely, a sort of herringbone ceiling pattern.
And like I said the details are everywhere.  A pair of centaurs led down to somewhat forgotten water garden.
These were intended to be the main gates at the public entrance leading to the museums but proved too difficult to monitor people coming and going off campus.
This 2nd century roman capital lies in a courtyard where Ray and Charles Eames had their workshop designing much of their famous furniture we all enjoy today.
The art museum was hosting a graduate exhibit with some really interesting projects. I was all eyes for the architecture however and loved these travertine stairs -notice the integrated handrail detail.
I did love this student project.  The tent was painted with scenes of the forest and a speaker played sounds of crickets.
Another project by an architecture student was an outdoor pavilion with intriguing plays of light and color through a skylight playing on sheer curtains.
Another great detail in the basement of the art museum was this curved metal barn door; not from Saarinen I don't believe but a modern addition.
Antique stained glass in the lobby had wonderful views of the garden.
The site is constantly changing.  It's a living, breathing arts campus and not stuck in time.  Buildings have modern but sympathetic additions and modern sculpture dots the landscape along with the original artwork.
This addition behind the museum was particularly successful I thought in being of today but melding nicely with the old.
And not to fear, the modern buildings also have thoughtful details like this rainchain instead of a downspout.  Notice the lovely patinated copper gutter.
If you're ever in the Detroit area I highly recommend a visit to the Cranbrook  Academy of Art, you won't regret it!