Saturday, June 19, 2010

Filoli dining room

This short post is in honor of the lovely Janet for whom I took the above photo. The dining room at Filoli is beautiful but relatively unremarkable. However, this embroidered screen done by the tuesday stitchers group of the Assistance League of San Mateo County is really breathtaking. Depicting the house and gardens as well as a crop of outbuildings, I took this picture expressly for Janet. It really captures the heart of the estate. The embroidery replaces an old french tapestry from the screen which hid access to the dining room from the butler's pantry.The room is paneled in oak and contains many pieces original to the house such as the Bourn's dining table. The painting over the bolection style fireplace is one of the treasures of the collection and is a still life by Jan Weenix.Whats a post on the dining room without some information on the kitchens? Pictured above and below is the incredibly spacious butler's pantry with 17' tall ceilings. This is larger than most city apartments and it's not even the kitchen, folks!As in most other rooms of the house, fresh flowers are introduced, connecting the indoors to the gardens. I really loved these pretty purple flowers in the green ceramic vase. You can never go wrong with white subway tile: clean and timeless, then and now. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Filoli Ballroom

The ballroom at Filoli was one which I instantly recognized, do you? It's the home gym of Warren Beatty in Heaven Can Wait! The space was restored for the movie along with other parts of the house and impresses everyone who enters it, as it should!The flowers, seen best in the picture at top, were probably the most beautiful in the house. Not an easy feat as each room has a gorgeous bouquet fresh from the garden. The mixture of bright colors in the pale green room with gilded accents was really striking. Forget the Bagues chandeliers modeled on the ones from the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, everyone on the tour noticed the flowers first.The murals are the core of the room. They were completed in 1921 by Ernest Peixotto for the original owner Mr. Bourn after he suffered from a stroke and was unable to leave the house. The murals depict his daughter's beloved castle in Ireland he had gifted to her (Muckross, seen below) which he was unable to visit during his illness.
The maguette or model seen below of the Ballroom was gifted to Filoli after the artist's nephew saw the movie Heaven Can Wait and recognized his family's dollhouse! This scale model of the room was created so that Peixotto could work from his studio in the city and plan out the large scale canvases.
I hope you are looking forward to more of Filoli! Read more about the ballroom's murals on their website; click on 'ballroom' towards the bottom of the page.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

SPACES Kansas City

Many thanks to David Jimenez for including me in his article on color stories in the June/July 2010 issue of Spaces Kansas City Magazine. Not only is David a talented designer (see his beautiful portfolio here), he is a VP at Hallmark Cards, Inc and in his spare time writes for a magazine; Wow, now I feel lazy!The article is really useful for anyone who is thinking about painting a room with tips from practical application to color options. In the 2nd half of the article, he asks some bloggers we all know and love for their opinions (cleverly typed out in the very colors we recommend!).I recommended the use of a lovely warm French gray.
"A paint color I have used in three separate projects now (including my last apartment) and really love is the absolute perfect French gray color: Scroll Beige by Glidden. It's color that changes throughout the day but remains crisp and architectural - the perfect neutral. Pair it with white moldings and you have an amazing space."
Many thanks to David and SPACES for including me!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Filoli: part 1

The greatest surprise of my trip to California was my visit to breath-taking Filoli. While renowned for its' appearances on screen (most notably the movie 'Heaven can wait' and the Dynasty series) and gardens, I was most taken with the house itself.Filoli was built as a country estate 25 miles south of San Francisco between 1915 and 1917 for William Bowers Bourn II and his wife Agnes Moody. Designed by Willis Polk in a Neo-Georgian style, the house normally fades discretely into the background for most guests, shown up by its' spectacular gardens.However, in a lot of ways, this is the perfect house in my mind: Elegant with a nice rational flow, generously sized rooms which are not too large, open to the beautiful outdoors and most important of all, comfortable to be in. It's a large mansion that feels like a home. The house doesn't bowl you over with showiness but rather impresses you with intelligence and simplicity.You can see the floorplan of the first floor HERE. I'll share some of the house and gardens in the next few posts as there is much to see. Trust me when I say the house deserves a visit in person and I'm only showing a tiny fraction of its charms!
We begin in the reception room, just inside the house from the small entry hall. Probably the most formal room in the house, special details such as this overdoor below would impress any guest who made the trek from the city. Only a few of the furnishings are original to the Bourns, such as the tapestry above the fireplace. Others were part of the Roths' collection (the 2nd and last private owners of the estate who gifted it in 1975 to the National Trust) but primariliy the furnishings you see were only put into place 10 years ago by a very generous collector, Melvin Martin; Previously the house was shown nearly bare.
2 barrel vaulted hallways move off of the central reception room which are wide enough to be partially furnished. The tall ceilings throughout the house help to naturally cool the space, as do the 4 feet thick exterior walls.
The most disappointing part of the visit is that guests are not allowed to see the upstairs! Wouldn't you love to walk up this staircase? I couldn't get enough.
More interiors later this week, but I thought I would share the back which opens up to the italianate gardens. The house forms a U in plan with the entry centered on the heavily planted courtyard.
If I were to build my dream house, it would be very similar to Filoli, albeit on a less grand scale! I love the elegant Georgian simplicity and rational with a touch of California breeziness. Look for more interiors here soon!