Thursday, June 12, 2008

Meissen flowers

I'll be in Boston for a few days, but one last post before I go. This is probably my most valuable piece of china - a Meissen handpainted teacup with some beautiful spring flowers. The photo doesn't do it justice - the shape of the porcelain is really beautiful and delicately curved like a flower itself. The painted flowers are exquisite and you can read every little petal and brushstroke; Each one is different! It's really a work of art :-)trademarks over the years
Meissen porcelain was perfected in 1708 and was the first 'hard-paste' porcelain factory in Europe. The factory is outside of Dresden in a small town called Meissen. In 1710 the factory opened for business and attracted some of the most talented artists from around Europe and sold to the aristocracy all over the world. Meissen was the first company to use a trademark to protect their designs -their logo is of 2 crossed swords. And so ends your history lesson for the day :-)

I don't normally like jewelry.....

But this DIAMOND CORSAGE ORNAMENT just may change my mind about that! Recently this was sold at Christie's in London for only $355,794. Just to be clear -this is a lot more than my CONDO cost.......for a pin.......a BEAUTIFUL pin........I suppose at these prices it's a brooch.

At a much more reasonable price of $24,538 we have this Cartier Pendant watch from 1930 - isn't this delightful? Not a word I would normally use, but it fits - DELIGHTFUL! This is why I love Cartier! I think I could find a way to wear this myself.....on the lapel of a jacket -maybe not?? Ok -I guess it is really not a good idea..... but sooo pretty
And last but not least, this art deco platinum diamond & emerald bracelet. I just love emeralds - and bracelets! Girls -wear more bracelets! $77,833 seems like a steal for this (not that I have that much, but this is definitely WORTH that much)

See the entire offerings from last week's jewelry auction HERE at Christies.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

New favorite quote

"In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." Coco Chanel How important in this generic, mass-produced world we live in.......
I couldn't resist posting this photo


a thomas o'brian kitchen

I'm currently in 'new backsplash' mode. My current backsplash is only 1 1/2 years old (same as the apartment) but it's stainless steel and it makes for a lot of BLAHness with the stainless appliances PLUS it's hard to keep clean and there were some scratches in it from when it was installed. I've noticed recently that a lot of designers are using mirror for a backsplash. This seems like a good idea to me; it amplifies the light and space, it's easy to clean (windex) and it adds a touch of glamour to the space. an example from HGTV

My favorite interior designer, Miles Redd, even has a mirrored countertop (and bathroom, but thats another story). the mirrored backsplash and counter above and below in Miles' apartment

Miles' famous vintage mirrored bathroom

So what do we think of mirrored backsplashes? I've included a picture of my kitchen (yes, I know it's small, but it's a small apartment in the city!). Yes, No??
my rather lackluster kitchen -mirror, yes?

I know the clutter on top of the cabinets is annoying, but I have nowhere else to put it and tried my best to make it aesthetically pleasing!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Restaurant details

I was emailing my new friend Decor Fellow about his post yesterday about small things in restaurants making big differences. Well, Sunday I went to the Inn at Little Washington, AGAIN ( see the other complete post HERE ) to celebrate my birthday. This is a place where they get the details RIGHT and it shows!'night and day'

This time we were seated in the greenhouse room off the garden which we faced, on a cozy loveseat facing the french doors and a beautiful patio with koi pond and flowers. I took a few pictures and hopefully you can see what I'm talking about. The ambience here is perfect. The couple you see here in the picture below actually became engaged DURING dinner -big excitement! I thought for a brief moment he was having a heart attack when he was down on the floor and she was crying and let out a scream -but it was a more happy moment than that :-)
the silhouettes of the happy couple at the end of the room - BEAUTIFUL flowers everywhere - this room is 'tented' in striped fabric with tassels at the edge.

The little details continue; when you leave the restaurant, you are given a small picnic basket with cookies and little treats. The basket has a butterly 'flying' above it on a wire and a little china plaque that says 'the inn at little washington'; such a nice keepsake and such DELICIOUS little cookies ( I only ate the candied orange peel so far ). the goody basket at home -an open and shut case

2 desserts -sorry for the poor lighting -the first is mint ice cream with WILD chocolate 'streamers' and the 2nd is their most famous dessert - the '7 deadly sins' which is 7 of their featured desserts -YUMMY - a taste of everything - my favorite was the apple tart on the lower left hand corner or maybe the key lime pie on the lower right hand corner, or maybe the mint ice cream in the center bottom with the chocolate ganache..... or maybe the lightest cheesecake in the WORLD on the upper right hand corner -ok they were all my favorites....

Monday, June 9, 2008

Villa Rotunda

Villa Rotunda, formally called Villa Almerico-Capra is a Renaissance villa just outside Vicenza in northern Italy and was designed by Andrea Palladio starting in 1566-1571 for the canon Paolo Almerico as his retirement home. Its intensely symetrical facade AND plan is focused on the center of a large hill outside of Vicenza - a sort of suburban mansion instead of the usual palacial country farmhouses Palladio is known for. Smartly, the house is oriented 45 degrees to the south -so all 4 facades receive direct daylight! The house, because of it's siting, is meant to take in the views from the hilltop and in Palladio's own words, he wrote in his book Quatro Libri del'Architectura:
"The place is nicely situated and one of the loveliest and most charming that one could hope to find; for it lies on the slopes of a hill, which is very easy to reach. The loveliest hills are arranged around it, which afford a view into an immense theatre. . .; because one takes pleasure in the beautiful view on all four sides, loggias were built on all four facades."
2 pictures inside the domed center

One of my favorite 'treasures' is a cookie jar (yes, you read that right) in creamware of the villa rotunda. You'll never know my excitement when I found this at...of all places....TJMAXX - here it is in its glory- one of my prized posessions!

the home has a lot of beautiful statuary

Palladio went on to become one of the most influential architects of all time, and Villa Rotunda in particular went on to be the basis of many building copies over time; most famously a host of english country homes such as Chiswick House, Mereworth castle and Henbury Hall and many others. Chiswick House
Mereworth Castle
Read more about Villa Rotunda, its history and significance online at Wikipedia, the official Palladian architecture SITE, Ville Inews and great buildings online.