Although Mario Buatta and I have a different design aesthetic, I agree with his views on the power of paint and the use of color, especially on ceilings. I’ve said this before and Mario Buatta says it again in a recent issue of Elle Decor ” The ceiling is the forgotten surface. Paint it a color, or cover it with wallpaper……….” I haven’t , voluntarily, left a white ceiling in any of my interiors in over 20 years. When I walk into a space with a white ceiling it is so jarring and distracting to me! Of course in an all white room with a white on white color scheme you might leave the ceiling white but I would probably paint it a different tone than the walls; maybe pale gray or soft camel, depending on the rest of the elements of the room. I recently covered a tray ceiling in a model home with cork wall covering and it looked spectacular!
So remember the power of paint when designing your rooms and do something with that ceiling!! For example, pale blue brings in the sky and a pale yellow replicates sunshine; be creative and experiment! Rules were made to be broken!
I painted the ceiling in the space at right in terracotta to match the walls and floors; imagine this room with a white ceiling……………………………………..
Chintz originated in India where it was wood block printed, stained or painted on calico fabric. It was imported by Protugese sailors to Europe in the 1600s. Style consious English women of the 1600s and 1700s re-imagined it and used it for clothing and home decor. It was extremely expensive and rare but over time found its way throughout Europe and America and has remained a perennial favorite since. Google chintz and see the Wikipedia difination- very interesing!
I drag my tired self (sleepless night- weird dreams about clients/projects!)
out of bed at 5:30 A.M.
-Coffee,news, check e-mail, more coffee.
-Feed the fish and Rusty Kat
-Peruse design magazines ( I subscribe/buy a dozen or more!) for inspiration and information.
-Breakfast; a toasted bagel with peanut butter.
-Shower, etc. Ready to face the day!
-Spend an hour or so reviewing/approving selection sheet for large residential project.
-Respond to e-mails; I have Twittered, blogged, Facebooked and pinned on Pintrest!
-Work on furnishings selections for 6,000 sq. ft. home.
-Continue work on article for my blog regarding antebellum home interiors and specifically how they incorporated faux finishes.
-Prepare outline for proposed ” Economic Stimulus Art and Design Expo” that we are attending.
make notes of possible committee members and participants.
-Recieve new e-mail ( does anyone talk on the phone anymore??); Client needs to finalize lighting selecions for home under construction. We work on that via. e-mail and get it done!
-Lunch; I try to be good, but——-! Still need to lose that 10 to 15 lbs. Sigh!
-Getting a burst of creative energy, I decide to work on some small paintings that have been marinating in my head for some time. I paint for a while and leave them to start the drying process; at different stages of drying, I will manipulate the paint- these are done intuitively with a wet in wet technique and have a landscape/beachscape quality. Neutral palette; sienna, umber, black and white and touches of turquoise tones.
-Shuffle notes around ( again!) for cookbook I’m writing and writing and writing!! Will I ever get it done?? You can see excerpts on my web site www.claystephens.com
-Follow up call to vendor for quote on fireplace surround.
-Prepare space plan/furniture layout for pool side patio and e-mail to client. Looking for furnishings options.
-Back to painting- looking good!
-Schedule yearly check up appt. for our Rusty kat.
-Sig. other is home and it’s 5:15; our martini time!!!(three blue cheese stuffed olives and please make it dirty!) He gets up early to go to the gym, so we don’t get to visit much in the A.M. Now is our time to sit, sip martinis and discuss our day; watch some news and prepare dinner. He critiques my new paintings- he likes!! Of course, I will continue to adjust/”pick at” them for a few days more. I never know when to quit!
-Dinner and more conversation about world and local events, art, design, work and possible future travel plans/dreams.
-A little more T.V.; Travel and science channels maybe a sitcom to lighten the mood.
-Final check of e-mail and early to bed—I’m tired, tired! Start it all again tomorrow!
Cultivated since around 371 to 287 BC, the artichoke is believed to be native to the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands. The part we eat is the flower bud of the plant that opens to a beautiful violet-blue thistle flower.
Aegean legend says that Zeus seduced a beautiful young mortal woman and was so smitten with her that he made her a goddess so she could stay close to him at his home on Olympia. Becoming homesick, she made a secret visit back to the world of mortals to see her mother. When she returned to Olympia, Zeus was so enraged by her un-goddess like behavior that he hurled her back to earth in the form of a thistle plant, what we now know as an artichoke.
1 can artichoke hearts, quartered
1 large tomato( home grown or farmer’s market,of course!) cut into chunks.
1/2 cup fried corn kernels; these are so good!
1/2 cup sliced black olives
A good splash Balsamic vinegar
2 0r 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Garlic powder to taste
Salt, if you like.
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of Italian herb blend
A good sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese
Fabulous and healthy flavors of the Mediterranean! I hope you have enjoyed the legend of the artichoke and my recipe! Stay tuned for more!
Pineapple motifs have been a popular interior design theme for centuries. Christopher Columbus discovered the pineapple in the Caribbean Islands and transported it to Europe where it was grown in hot houses. From there it made its way to the American Colonies and on to Hawaii, where it was cultivared on large plantations. Florida also had many Pineapple plantations at one time. The Europeans gave it the name pineapple because the outside resembled a pine cone and the inside fruit was sweet like an apple.
Hostesses in the American Colonies would rent them from produce grocers for their special dinners and then return them to be sold to the wealthy for consumption! Because of pineapple’s great popularity for entertaining, it soon became the symbol of hospitality and friendship and the motif was incorporated by artisans into many decorative carvings used as interior design elements above doorways, as finials on gate posts and other areas of the home. Today we still see the motif in dishes, platters , bedpost finials and many more home accents used for interior design projects including decorative pillows, upholstery fabrics and drapery.
If you are southern born, like me, you are probably familiar with the practice of painting porch ceilings the color “haint blue”. The ancient African tradition, brought to the south by the slaves, of painting window and door trim, shutters and porch ceilings a watery shade of blue to ward off haints or evil spirits, has become part of the cultural fiber of southern towns like Charleston, Savannah and New Orleans. It was believed that haints could not cross water so this water-like color tricked the spirits into believing that they couldn’t enter, therefore protecting the dwellers from misfortune. Visit the Sherwin Williams web site and see color SW6944 Pool Blue shown at right ;this is a haint blue tint. Haint blue can range from sky blue to aqua shades and graces many porch ceilings in the old south.
Did you know? The chaise lounge (spelled longue, in French), or “long chair” as translated from the French, is a cross between a chair and a day bed and can be used for sitting or reclining and the correct pronunciation is sheyz long. Almost all cultures including the Romans, Egyptians and Chinese developed some form of the chaise lounge. It became considered a “must have” for the stylish home during the reign of King Louis X
I am incorporating this one into a client’s master bedroom design. This Chaise is from Kravet and is so chic covered in an Alligator patterned, off white chenille fabric!
Leopard prints are hot in the design world today; every color imaginable seen on the fashion runway, furniture, accessories, pillows, wall coverings, napkin rings, dinner plates and, yes, even a car!!
1965 Mustang convertible and I painted the top in Leopard print—
it was amazing and got a lot of attention, as you can imagine!
INTERIOR DESIGN COLOR TRENDS SNAPSHOT for 2013 / 2014:
Combinations of ocean inspired blue and green tones with touches of exotic purple, coral and sunny yellow create a tropical vibe. Think the Caribbean Islands!
Instead of the currently popular cool gray ( which I have just begun to cozy up to ) as a base neutral , we will see warm browns come back into play as we move into 2014. Warm brown tones mix beautifully with tones of pink, coral, aqua , orange and of course black and/or white. I am always comfortable in a predominately brown interior and especially love a brown and white combination with touches of metallic silver; Timeless and elegant!
Exotic interiors with a Global Vibe ( a favorite design direction of mine) look great dressed in earth tones touched with spice colors; reds , oranges and yellows———–add touches of coral, purple and pink to kick it up a notch! Think Moroccan spice and flower markets!
Colors appeal to everyone in different ways and the combinations you choose should make you feel comfortable, relaxed, joyous and at home! Be bold and creative and design your own unique color palette to reflect your lifestyle!
I hope you have enjoyed this interior design color trends snapshot for 2013/ 2014.
Stay tuned for more!
Since Dennis and I really love shopping on-line we decided that it was time for us to open our own on-line shop! We have put together many fabulous accessories for your inspiration and enjoyment!
Please visit today and see our beautiful offerings at everyday competitive prices. We look forward to your participation and feedback!
Clay and Dennis
Outdoor living and dining is at its best with nature inspired color palettes that enhance your oasis of peace and comfort. Beautifully designed garden rooms with soothing water features and stylish, comfortable furnishings create the perfect ambiance for gathering and relaxing with those dear to you. Patios, balconies, verandas, boat docks and poolside decks are just a few candidates for planning your own special place of serenity and enchantment for alfresco dining and entertaining! Scented candles, wind chimes, Moroccan lanterns and floating candles in a garden pond scattered with flower petals imbue the balmy evenings with a sense of ease and well-being. You can even add the magic of fireflies; check out http://www.fireflymagic.com I used them in the plants and shrubs surrounding my outdoor living area.
Dress out your special retreat with accents and accessories that reflect the colors of spring. Shades of green, Chartreuse, pink, purple, sea inspired blues and orange are a few good choices. The combinations are limited only by your imagination and daring; let nature inspire you to be your creative best!
You can click on each photo to enlarge it for better viewing.
So have some fun with this glorious season of hope and new beginnings and create a fabulous outdoor living and dining space for you and your family and friends to enjoy !
Stay tuned for more to come! Clay
Did you know that the fabulous color , Chartreuse, was named after the wonderful French liqueur Chartreuse? The liqueur was introduced in 1764. This yellow/green color mixes beautifully with purples, pinks, maroon, brown, blue and almost any color you can imagine! I really love the kick it adds to most color palettes and it is a classic and always in style.
These two painting I did a few years ago both show shades of Chartreuse combined with purple, red, yellow and blue.
Use a lot or use a little, Chartreuse (the color) is a fabulous color!
Our Eau Gallie Arts District hosts the First Friday Art Walk this Friday, March the first,
from 5:00 till 8:30 P.M. featuring fantastic art, fun and festivities.
All of the shops are open until 8:30 , including us, and we would love to see you there! We have many new and beautiful objects and art for your pleasure and will be serving refreshments during the evening.
Come hang out with us!!
Clay and Dennis
The Color Orange is hot for 2013 interiors and has a history and symbolism that dates back centuries. Orange is the color of fire and the sun; it symbolizes endurance and strength. Orange energizes and promotes a sense of fun! In Buddhism, orange symbolizes illumination and the highest state of perfection. Many cultures have used orange in their religious ceremonies and dress for centuries.
The color orange is experiencing a renaissance in the interior design world and is fabulous and fun when paired with hot pink and lime!
Dennis and I invite you to visit our newly opened showroom of eclectic furnishings and fine art; we represent central Florida and local artists and have many fabulous, colorful paintings, art glass and pottery for your pleasure.
Also, we just received a new shipment of wonderful accessories; we have had so much fun unpacking them and placing them in our showroom!
Stop in and visit us soon and experience our colorful array of art and accessories; including , of course, The Color Orange!!
Clay Stephens Lifestyles —
1399 Highland Av., The Eau Gallie Arts District in Melbourne.
Clay and Dennis
In a recent article published in Elle Decor, Rose Tarlow, a well-known deisgner in California said ” Anyone who becomes a decorator has to be obsessed with beauty. That’s a gift, but it can also make you crazy.”
I agree with her and recently tweeted that “you have to be just the least bit crazy”to be an interior designer; and it really is true. You have to be totally obsessed with it to be good at it! I grew up with a keen interest in art and design and even at 8 ro 9 years old, while visiting relatives, would re-arrange their living room furniture; I have wondered since if they were happy to see me arrive or happy to see me leave!
Here is my Interior design color trend snapshot for 2012:
pink/rose – not for everyone.
Cyan/ turquoise tones- soothing water colors.
Milk chocolate- yummy combined with cream tones!
Putty beige/peach shades
Seafoam is making a comeback!
Pantone likes Terracotta for 2012; so do I!
Peacock green and Peacock motifs are popular.
This beautiful painting by Todd Hunter incorporates many of the colors in my snapshot.
I hope you have enjoyed this brief snapshot of interior design color trends for 2012.
I have always been a fan of Timeless, neutral interior color schemes and when left to my own devices will alway treat my interiors this way. I have photos of interiors that I have done as long as 20 years ago and because I used neutrals and clean, simple lines in my furnishings, they still look current today.
I have included a photo of an interior I did within the last several years. Can you tell what year it was designed and in what city?
I have always loved to have live orchids and bromeliads, and sometimes fresh-cut flowers as a part of my everyday home decor. I believe, and there is research that shows, that being close to nature lifts the spirits, energizes the soul and creates a sense of joy. Having fresh flowers and/or live blooming plants in my home decor, for sure, gives me a sense of well-being and happiness and chases away the blues and depression that we all occasionally experience. My philosophy on interior design has always been that the home should be a place that embraces and nurtures you and brings you joy and happiness; Feng Shui at it’s finest!
These new abstract seascapes, shown here in my studio, are the start of a series based on my lifetime love affair with beaches and islands. With much time spent on beaches and islands in Nova Scotia, the coast of Maine and on down to the Caribbean Islands and beyond, I can think of nothing that does more to restore my spirit and invigorate my soul than a long walk on a beach!
These abstract seascapes recall and depict those impressions and feelings . I am looking forward to the process of exploration in acrylics on canvas and the process of progression in this series. Stay tuned for more!
Olive oil a shallow roasting pan ( I used a glass one)
Put in the pan- 1 can of baby artichoke hearts; 2 quartered, large, tomatoes; 1 thinly sliced large onion; 1 small jar of sliced pimento with juice; add sliced turkey pepperoni; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, cumin and freshly ground black pepper ( and salt, if desired). Toss all together and bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and serve on a bed of romaine salad; drizzle with Caesar salad dressing( I buy the refrigerated kind in the produce section of the grocery store).
Delicious!!! Easy too!
Next time I’m going to add some sliced black olives———should be fab!
For the 4th of July we really wanted the traditional hamburgers and hotdogs but we had to get creative since we’re on a low carb diet. I came up with Bunless Burger Stackers ! Here’s how-
Cook your burger patties to the desired doneness.
Top with a sautéed onion slice and smear some mayo on top.
Salt and Pepper to taste at this point.
Next layer is a thick slice of tomato(hopefully home-grown and not refrigerated) topped with some ketchup , mustard and dill pickle slices or pickle relish.
Place a slice of your choice of cheese and melt under the broiler.
Top with sliced avocado.
Serve on a crisp bed of lettuce.
Voila! Bunless burger stackers! So wonderful and you are still on your low carb diet!
Nova Scotia in the fall is one of the most beautiful and scenic places I’ve ever had the good fortune to visit! As we drove the Cabot Trail with breathtaking views of oceans and bays, mountains, forests and waterfalls, we sampled exquisite local seafood dishes at every opportunity!
Searching out the most rustic and unassuming restaurants, our contest to see which prepared the best seafood chowder resulted in finding a very charming eatery (unfortunately, I can’t remember the name and have lost my notes from that trip) housed in an old log cabin. They served large bowls of chowder MOUNDED with shrimp, scallops, fish and lobster! The mountain of seafood, surrounded by a tomato-garlic based sauce, towered at least 6 inches above the rim of the bowls! We couldn’t believe our eyes and it was, and still is, the best and freshest seafood chowder I have ever tasted anywhere!
Following is my recipe for bouillabaisse with flavors reminiscent of that restaurant in Nova Scotia, on the Cabot Trail. If you have never driven the Cabot Trail it is a treat not to miss!
I started making this in 1984 and have served it, with some tweaks along the way over the years, to my dearest friends and family with rave reviews!
This is somewhat time-consuming and requires constant attention but is well worth the effort, not to mention the expense!
Bouillabaisse for Eight
2 lbs. grouper filet, or other white fish, cut in small portions
Fresh mussels, at least 4 or 5 per person
40 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 lbs. cooked lobster meat, big chunks please!
4 slices lemon
4 slices orange
pinch of cinnamon
A healthy pinch of saffron or 1 tsp. turmeric
1 red bell pepper, chopped
Fresh garlic, to taste , chopped
Freshly ground black pepper. I use a lot!
Salt to taste; to me, the seafood and tomatoes have enough natural salt but you may want more.
Small sprinkle of cloves
2 large sweet onions, chunked up
2 large tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup tomato sauce or ketchup
Handful chopped parsley for garnish
In a large pot , saute onion in olive oil till transparent. Add the chopped pepper and garlic and cook for a few minutes, till you smell garlic strongly. be careful not to burn the garlic, it will be bitter if you do.
Add all other ingredients, except seafood and simmer on low until all flavors are nicely blended and you can smell the orange slices, maybe 10 to 15 minutes. *If at this point you feel you need more liquid, add more broth but remember this is not a soup and should have more seafood than sauce.
Add grouper and cook for 5 minutes
add shrimp and mussels and cook, covered, 5 minutes or until the mussels have opened. Be careful not to over cook! Nothing worse than overcooked seafood!
Add lobster meat and briefly heat through.
Remove orange and lemon slices and serve topped with some of the parsley along with some dense, crusty bread and the rest of that white wine.
As my aunt Mary would say,”It’s so good, it’ll make your tongue slap your back teeth out!”. Now that’s good!
I hope you will enjoy this taste of Nova Scotia and the Cabot Trail !
AAhhh………..dining alfresco! One of summer’s great pleasures and a great way to enjoy the soothing sights and sounds of nature. Communing with nature always gives my spirits a lift and what better way than dining in an outdoor setting; on a boat dock, under a large tree, in a secluded garden, on the loggia or a poolside deck.
For dinner at dusk, my friend Suzanne used to set a formal table under a large oak in her Alabama backyard complete with a beautiful tablecloth, fine china and silverware, crystal goblets and silver candlesticks. She would hang an old candle chandelier from a tree branch to complete the setting. It was a very special and unforgettable experience!
Food just seems to taste better alfresco and I always have so much fun coming up with creative and unique table settings. Mix and match china, flatware and unexpected object d’ art to create exotic, whimsical, formal or country casual themes. Fresh flowers are a must and of course candles for those special evening dinners.
So give your imagination some free rein and create your own enchanted space for dining alfresco!
I have a vision! You know how much I like the juxtaposition of ancient and organic architecture with modern and clean lined furnishings; like the 12th century oil mill recently featured in Freshome magazine—–love it!
Wouldn’t it be fabulous to build a modern glass house into an ancient Roman temple ruin? Inspired by a trip to Tunisia, where spectacular Roman ruins are plentiful, I created in the side yard of my Cocoa Beach home, a meditation garden using a Corinthian column that I chipped up with a hammer and faux painted to look like an ancient ruined Roman column. I added a classic three-tier water fountain, an iron Mediterranean style garden gate, large old olive urns, lots of Bougainvillea and comfortable garden seating. It was my favorite place to sit with a martini and unwind after a hard day’s work!
Expanding on that idea, I had planned to build a moat around the front of the house with more “ruined columns and a bridge to the entry.
These ideas have evolved to the concept of the modern glass house integrated into a “ruin”. Of course you could never build on a historic ruin, but you could construct a “ruin” with crumbling stone walls, “ancient” columns and “ruined”Mosaic floors topped with a modern glass house like architect Phillip Johnson’s famous glass house in Connecticut.
Can you see my vision? Wouldn’t it be spectacular to live in?Can we start construction right now?
I would love to hear your ideas on this concept. I look forward to your comments!
Syrie Maugham designed her first all white room in 1927, near the end of the Victorian era when rooms were small, dark and cluttered. She cleaned up the clutter , used all white colors with mirrored folding screens, shagreen covered tables, pickled woods, crackled and lacquered finishes; she revolutionized interior decorating and defined the glamour and luxury of the 1030′s.
She was one of the first decorators to strip down and re-finish charming antique furniture pieces, that had little value, in pickled , painted and lacquered finishes giving them a lighter more modern appeal.
Syrie had a penchant for geometric patterned area rugs that she used to ground her rooms and add another layer of texture. As you know, playing texture against texture is so important in a tone on tone interior ; she was a master at this.
Bushy moss fringe, plaster work floor lamps in the shape of palm trees, Dolphin table bases, fur carpets, white leather dining chairs and white velum covered books are just a few of the hallmarks that define the glamour of the Syrie Maugham white on white rooms.
She has had a lasting influence on many designers since that time including one of my favorites, the notable California designer, Michael Taylor. I look at rooms he designed decades ago and they still look current and timeless today! His rooms combined neutral tone on tone colors with fabulous organic shapes and materials; exotic, glamorous, luxurious and most importantly, comfortable! Syrie-ous glamour indeed!
Wow! This combination of fuchsia and orange is so exotic and lush! You know how I love exotic architecture and interiors. As featured in the latest edition of Object International magazine,Casa Torre, in Mexico, was designed by architect Diego Villasignor in the “palapa” style using chromatic earth tones with touches of Luis Barragan styling and colors. A palapa is a thatched-roof, open sided building or “tiki hut” like structure that offers sanctuary from the hot tropical sun.
Luis Barragan is considered the most important Mexican architects of the 20th century and designed some of the most spectacular modernist homes and buildings in Mexico. His use of earth and spectacular sunset colors is fabulous and awe-inspiring. I want to study more about this exceptional, self-taught architect and his use of exotic and earthy colors.
I hope you have enjoyed this brief story on modern architecture in Mexico.
Ten days of relaxed bliss, crystalline turquoise waters, soft white sand beaches and that wonderful, salty sea air———ahhhh, the Abacos! My late partner Bill and I stayed in an old wooden house on the ocean that gave you a whole new respect for the term”rustic”! It was riddled with Woodpecker holes ( we didn’t know this until we arrived late on a Sunday night—too late!). Sugar ants wondered what we were doing in their house, so any groceries had to be kept in the minuscule refrigerator or hung in bags from the rafters.
Noisy Woodpecker visits during the afternoon nap in the back bedroom were a little disconcerting, but harmless after the first scare!
Our visit was great fun, though, with long walks on the beach in search of shells and beach glass to add to our collections. Curly tail lizards, very curious and almost tame, always kept us company while lounging on the deck with our evening martinis. Bill was petrified of them, so naturally, they wanted to give him special love and attention! I thought they were cute and enjoyed trying to feed them leftover bits of food.
We first sampled peas and rice, a staple of that culture, on one of our many excursions via golf cart ( pretty much the only means of transport!) into Hope Town proper. A friendly native lady was cooking peas and rice in a ramshackle clapboard hut and convinced us , easily, that we needed to have some for lunch. It was savory, creamy and delicious!
Here’s my take on Bahamian Peas and Rice with a southern spin and reminiscent of Hoppin’ John eaten by all self-respecting southerners on New Year’s day to bring good luck and prosperity! The flavors of the Abacos and Georgia come together, rich and luscious!
The original recipe uses Pigeon Peas and brown rice and has as many variations as there are cooks! Try your own!
You will need:
Olive oil; 1 sweet onion, chunked up; 1 medium jar chopped pimento, drained; 8 or more ounces cooked pork, cut into bite sized pieces; 4 tbsp ketchup; 1 tomato, chopped; 2 cups fresh or frozen black eye peas, cooked with salt and pepper and some of the pork for flavor , than drained; Garlic powder to taste, 2 sprigs fresh thyme( you can use dried); salt to taste; lots of freshly ground black pepper; a 10 oz. can coconut milk; 3 cups water; 3 cups chicken stock; 2 tsp browning sauce; 3 cups uncooked long grain white rice; Worcestershire sauce.
Heat oil in large pot and saute pork briefly to get some of the flavors into the oil, remove pork and cook onion till transparent.
Add Pork back to the pot along with ketchup, tomato, peas, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper.
Stir in coconut milk, water, broth and browning sauce; bring to a boil and add rice. Simmer covered on low heat for 45 minutes.
Serve in bowls with a splash of Worcestershire sauce on each serving along with some Bahamian sweet bread. This is and a wonderful and nutritious one dish meal!
I hope you will enjoy this story and taste of Hope Town!
I am always inspired by travel and the culture, art and artists of other countries. A few years ago, I was blessed to be able to participate in a 12 day art and architectural tour of Tunisia in North Africa. It is a country of great contrasts from a most rustic way of life on the Algerian border to the modern Hotels and casinos on the Lybian border.
One of the most interesting visits was to Village Ken in Sidi-Khlifa. I have never seen so much creativity, and dedication to the arts, in one place; it was truly amazing and inspiring! This village ,or city of the arts ,was the dream of Tunisian artist Nejib Belkhodja and architect Slah Samaoui built it according to the artist’s drawings. Ken in Arabic means ” Once upon a time” and this school is dedicated to re-teaching the disappearing ancient crafts and all techniques and art forms that express the Mediterranean, Arab-Muslim and African cultural heritage. Nejib Belkhodja introduced abstract art to Africa and was tireless in promoting the arts there.
“Artistic creation is what links the multiple fibres of a …….cultural personality. This is a place (that) restores our faith in humanity. Love, friendship, art and architecture flow through this village like water.” anonymous
Glorious masses of Bougainvillea cover the pristine white stuccoed walls which are constructed with only “local materials and ancestral know how”. Music, textile weaving, architecture, pottery, furniture making and the fine and performing arts are just a few of the creative genres taught here with an emphasis on old, traditional methods.
Village Ken remains one of the most inspiring and uplifting experiences of my life and I hope to visit again some day and perhaps spend some time studying the arts there.
I absolutely love creating fabulous garden living rooms! This is an area where you can be boldly creative with plants, furnishings and accessories. Summer is the time for easy living, enjoying the outdoors and the soothing sights and sounds of nature! Garden living rooms provide the perfect place to celebrate the season with family and friends.
An enchanted, secluded outdoor room becomes a peaceful retreat with water features, wind chimes and the magic of fireflies twinkling in the dusk.( See solar-powered firefly lights at www.fireflymagic.com)
All weather furnishings are available to create garden rooms for living, dining, entertaining and even sleeping. No longer the old boring outdoor fabric fare of the past, now we have a banquet of new weather proof fabrics in colors and styles that define Traditional, Exotic, Zen, Modern and just about any combination you can dream up! You are limited only by your daring and imagination, so get started and create your own fabulous garden living rooms!
I will be speaking on this topic in more detail soon, so check back often. If you have questions about garden living rooms please contact me through my site http://www.claystephens.com
During a tour of Antebellum plantations ( I have had a long love affair with old, historical houses!) in Mississippi and Louisiana we were told by the tour guides that bowls of lemons were placed throughout antebellum mansions for their beauty as decoration as well as their wonderful fragrance. This was also considered a sign of wealth in those days because only the wealthy could afford to buy lemons.
Lemons, as far as research can tell, were first cultivated in China or India and South Asia. From there they made their way to the Arabic countries and lemons, or “Persian Apples”, as the Romans called them, were brought to Italy by Christopher Columbus ( he was responsible for importing so many things back to Italy, including pineapples!). He traveled to Hispaniola and introduced them to the Caribbean Islands. During the Spanish conquest of the New World, lemons were introduced to the Americas.
Lemons, in many cultures are the symbol of longevity, purification, love and friendship. In Christianity they symbolize fidelity in love. The Tibetan Buddha, Jambhala is associated with the lemon because of its symbolization of longevity.
I hope this has been interesting and that this brief history of lemons will come to mind the next time you see lemons used for decoration, in art, for fabric designs or other interior design motifs. I do love to have a bowl of lemons on display in my kitchen.
“Design is about enriching lives…………” So says Angelo Surmelis and I couldn’t agree more! I have said before that great design enhances lives and experiences. If you have ever been in a space (private home, hotel room or lobby, museum, etc.) that uplifted your spirits, or gave you a special feeling about being in the moment, you can more than likely thank a designer or team of designers that put a tremendous amount of thought and planning into that space to achieve the result you felt. Nothing gives me more pleasure than having a client tell me that I have enhanced their lives in some way. That is a very special feeling and the reason I love my job as an interior designer!
I had the pleasure , several years ago , to visit the Waverly Plantation Mansion in West Point , MS. My first impression of this stately example of Antebellum Greek Revival architecture still remains strong in my mind today; it was a breathtaking two-story structure built around a third story octagonal shaped cupola. All of the rooms in the house opened on the central area and created a natural air conditioning effect with the hot air rising up, as in a chimney, and escaping through the open windows in the top floor cupola. But the thing that so impressed me was the extensive use of faux painting techniques in the interiors. The pine doors ( pine was the most plentiful wood available in the area) were faux painted in wood grained Mahogany, Walnut or Birdseye Maple finishes and wood baseboards were painted to replicate marble. Until that visit I had not given much thought to the history of faux painting and had assumed it was a contemporary art; now I know that the art dates back millennia to the first cave paintings but the faux finishes in the decorative arts began 5000 years ago in Mesopotamia.
For Yacht interiors, this yacht is unbelievable and the exterior design boggles the mind. A floating island; what a concept, and the beautifully executed minimalist interiors are so soothing; live tree and all! Wally Yachts and Hermes partnered to create this $160,000,000.00 dream. Go to http://www.why-yachts.com then click on “WHY” at upper left and then the different spaces. I think I really need one!!
Ceilings are one of the most over looked and forgotten opportunities for design applications in a home or commercial space. I haven’t done a white ceiling, by choice, in over 20 years. Such an expansive space shouldn’t be just painted white and ignored in the design process, but I see it all the time. Even in an all white room, I will add some color or other details to the ceiling design.
Moldings, panels, beams, coffers, medallions, textures, trompe l’oeil and faux painting add so much depth and wonderfull detail to your rooms.
At the very least, paint the ceiling a color;wheather bold or just a subtle tint, the results are dramatic and finish the design of the space.
Any one studying design, or with an interest in design, should visit the John and Mable Ringling home in Sarasota;the fabulous interiors and exquisite ceiling designs are so spectacular! Inspired by a trip to Venice, John Ringling imported Venetian craftsmen to create many of the design details for walls and ceilings. It is worth the drive to Sarasota just to tour this grand mansion not to mention all the other art venues in that area.
For a preview go to http://www.ringling.org/cadmansion.aspx
John and Mable Ringling named the home Ca d’Zan which means “House of John”; a great place to study the many varied applications of ceiling design and details; beams, coffers, handpainted, trompe l’oeil and more!
One of my favorite designers of all time, Michael Taylor, was mentioned in the May/June issue of Veranda magazine(one of my favorite magazines!!) His work speaks to me on so many levels. I too enjoy mixing organic materials with clean, open spaces. Ancient meets modern! I would love to work with a client that appreciates this design direction and is open to new ideas! Modern furniture shapes mixed with artifacts, original abstract art, and lots of textural play with fabrics and materials;All in a light filled,open space that brings the outdoors in. Ancient Meets Modern– so many posibilities!!!