Friday, July 31, 2009

Scout Design - NYC

Much ado has been made over this green chair, by Haskell Harris here, and by Courtney here.

Scout partners, Callie and Nicki

In fact, you may have read recently at stylecourt about the NYC satellite office of Charleston event planner, Soiree. The new office, decorated by Scout designers, Callie Jenschke and Nicki Clendening, is fresh, colorful and modern.

Soiree office photos by Liz Banfield

Better yet, this duo was able to do their magic on a modest budget. So, enough about the wonderful green chair! Now it is time to make a fuss about the talent behind it!

Callie is an old friend of mine and I am so excited to feature Scout at Hill Country House. You see, Callie grew up in the hill country, left the small town life for college and has established herself in NYC as a very talented young designer.

Callie was in high school when we first moved to Fredericksburg and it has been such fun to watch her become such a sharp and creative young woman. I interviewed Callie via email to get the story behind the great work shown here. Featured is her partner, Nicki's, apartment, a perfect example of their combined great eye and very good taste. I hope you enjoy the photos while getting the full scoop from Callie!

Tell me a little about your background - how you came to live in NYC and what you have been doing there.

I am, as you know, from Fredericksburg, Texas. (Confession–I babysat for Ann's girls Emma and Hannah from almost the first day they all moved to Fredericksburg until they were young ladies!) I went to the University of Texas at Austin and received my degree in journalism and minored in visual design. I have always been a design magazine junkie. I cut my teeth working at Austin Monthly and interning at Texas Monthly during school. I had always dreamed about working for a magazine in NYC so, I moved here right out of school. For almost 4 years, I have worked on and off at Metropolitan Home magazine as well as a short stint at Martha Stewart's Blueprint magazine. I covered the home market as well as produced and styled photo shoot for both magazines and others like Harper's Bazaar, InStyle, Everyday with Rachel Ray, O at Home and many more.

Have you always wanted to be in interior design or is this a fairly new interest?

I have always had an interest in design. With a father and a grandfather that are builders, I grew up on job sites and was influenced by my mother who loves to renovate old homes. After cultivating my design eye at Met Home, where I was also mentored by the venerable Linda O'Keeffe, I realized that interior design was definitely a field I wanted to be in.

How did you and Nicki meet and how did you decide to go into business together?

Nicki and I met last year while working on the Greenwich Hotel, a new boutique hotel in Tribeca. I was hired to help buy for all of the rooms, and Nicki was supplying books. It was design kismet! We instantly became fast friends and realized that we loved working on interior spaces together. Our shared sense of aesthetics got us talking about starting a company. After the New Year, we dove right in and just went for it.

When did you form Scout?

Scout was formed right after the New Year. And, we officially began work on our first project–the Soirée office in New York City in late March.

What makes Scout unique?

We're interested in helping people create their ideal environment, be it at their home or their office. We want to create spaces that people walk into and immediately feel at ease, inspired, happy, comfortable, welcome, and inspired. We offer a total soup to nuts approach to design. From the sheets you sleep in, to the glass you drink your juice out of every morning, to the art on your walls, every detail is important to creating a lifestyle for each client. Our ultimate goal is to create spaces that feel like they can grow and evolve with a person's life.

What are your favorite sources?

We are flea market devotees! You can find us every Saturday and sometimes even Sunday mornings scouring the fleas in the city and in Brooklyn searching for the next one of a kind piece.

Is there anything in particular that is your inspiration?

NIcki and I both love traveling and experiencing other cultures and art. Countless museum visits and culture club outings inspire us on a daily basis.

What are your favorite jobs and do you have a typical client?

We love working with individuals, and love developing the creative collaboration between us and the client. Each one has been so different but, the majority of our clients are very successful people who know what they want...when we show it to them.

Nicki's apartment photos by Imogen Brown.

Thanks so much to Callie for sharing Scout's story with us. She and Nicki have a refreshing approach and great design talent.

Scout is definitely a design team to watch and I hope to feature more of their exciting projects in the future!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

More Great Texas Modern

Just a few more great looking Texas houses.

I do not know these houses personally. They are designed by McKinney Architects in Austin.

Besides being a shelter magazine addict, I also scour architectural websites when I have time.

If you live in Texas, you know how nice this pool would feel right now!

To learn more about this firm and their work go here.

All photos courtesy of McKinney Architects website.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Texas Architecture Favorites

I have had this image in my files for years. It is still a dream - a classic Texas modern house built around a courtyard with a simple, rectangular pool.

Another favorite, kept for inspiration..............

A San Antonio courtyard it. All images from Lake/Flato architects in San Antonio, Texas. More to come on Texas architecture. Stay tuned.....................

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

My time in Boston is winding down so today's post will be brief. I have got to get out there and soak up all I can with what time I have left. I feel as if what I have seen and learned in the past few weeks is just the tip of the iceberg in this interesting, vibrant city!

Yesterday's outing was to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, an absolutely exquisite building housing an amazing art collection. The home was built to evoke a 15th century Venetian palace.

Isabella Stewart (1840 - 1924) was born in New York and married Bostonian John Lowell Gardner, Jr. in 1860. Their wide travels inspired a passion for art that became a passion for collecting in 1891 when Isabella's father left her his fortune. Isabella and her husband gathered over 2500 objects of art. They initially amassed their collection to decorate their home. The collection includes paintings, sculpture, furniture, textiles, drawings, ceramics, photographs........the list goes on. The collection is from Rome, Medieval Europe, Renaissance Italy, the Islamic world, and 19th century France and America.

Isabella Gardner Stewart painted by John Singer Sargent in 1888

"Years ago I decided that the greatest need in our Country was Art… We were a very young country and had very few opportunities of seeing beautiful things, works of art… So, I determined to make it my life's work if I could." - Isabella Stewart Gardner, on the creation of her Museum, 1917

I so wish I had been able to take photographs of the collection. This was one of my favorite rooms. The walls are entirely adorned with Spanish gilded and painted leather panels.

The house is built around a courtyard with beautiful flower beds and seasonal plantings. It is covered with glass above the four story building, so one has the feeling of being in a huge greenhouse.
Beautiful decorative arts are scattered throughout the museum - I loved these chairs. There were 4 of them, each with different details.

For more information (and much better pictures) visit the website for the museum here.

All photos and information courtesy of the museum website and guest brochure.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fascinating Inspiration - RISD Edna Lawrence Museum

My new friend Nikki, over at Acquire in Boston's North End, posted this video today. It is am amazing place and I can't wait to visit someday.We all get our inspiration from different places!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I am so happy to tell you of an award given to three of my favorite shops in Fredericksburg. In a vote by customers these three shops have been determined 3 of the 45 best stores in Texas!

One of my first posts was about my friend, Carolyn, and the amazing shop she manages , red, in Fredericksburg. See that story here.

I also did a story about Something Different II, here.

Not too long ago, I posted about my friend, Cassell, who owns Root and did an amazing auction using decorated Toms to benefit the charity work of Toms. Read that story here!

All three locally owned shops are either owned or managed by incredibly creative and hard working women. I want to congratulate them and say how proud I am to call them my friends!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Exquisite Glass Flowers at Harvard MNH

Image from the Harvard Museum of Natural History Website

Everyone we talked to about what museums to visit during our stay here in Boston said it - "You must see the glass flower exhibit." " You HAVE to see the glass flower exhibit." "You cannot leave Boston if you haven't see the glass flowers!"

Sunday we went to see the glass flowers. Housed in the Harvard Museum of Natural History, the famous flowers are indeed spectacular and actually kind of hard to really, really believe. As I walked along the aisles, peering into the cases full of glass specimens, I kept thinking, "These are glass........... not wax or some other composition that looks so authentic? How did they do that!?"

This collection of over 3,000 glass models was made by glass artist Leopold Blaschka and his son, Rudolph. The 19th century glass artisans, who perfected their family craft, were commissioned in 1886 to create models for teaching purposes. The father and son team lived in Germany and continued to create these incredible flowers for over 5 decades, from 1886 until 1936. Their studio was near Dresden, Germany and it is believed that the desk shown above was one of the work spaces for the duo.

The life size models are crafted entirely of glass using wire internally for support.The models are life size and include anatomical sections and enlarged flower parts for study.

Visitors examine row after row of realistic specimens . One can appreciate the flowers from a beauty perspective or study for hours for a scientific knowledge.

I loved both - the presentation for study, as well as the absolute beauty of each and every one of the flowers.

Can you even imagine that this is not a real cactus, but in fact a model made ENTIRELY of fine colored glass?

I loved this one - so, so pretty and so many delicate parts.

Although we went to see the glass flowers exhibit, the museum is an amazing place to see and learn so much about all aspects of the natural world. It is easy to navigate and chock full of examples of all kinds of animals, birds, fish, bugs, you name it ; if it is part of our world and natural history, it is there. One could spend days here, and it is a wonderful place for families with kids. For more information on the museum, go here.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Antiques, Fashion, and Great Design - What's not to Love?

Wandering into the North End neighborhood of Boston, I knew the shop I was looking for. I had read about it in the Improper Bostonian in their Best of Boston issue, and I added it to my "must see" list for my time here. The streets are narrow and one has to make a point to look up to see the names of some shops and restaurants. I was determined to find Acquire and had called to get directions from the shop owner, the charming Nikki Dalrymple.

Nikki was happy to give me directions and most friendly upon my arrival. Here it is! Tucked in a small space that was once a candy shop, Acquire did not disappoint!

When I know a shop is going to be good, really good, I have to stop when I first walk in and just take it all in - the visual experience thrills me and I don't want to miss one thing.

Nikki has blended the best of contemporary design with unique vintage items that are guaranteed to make one smile. She includes some lovely vintage jewelry as well as some men's accessories in her stock.

I've been wishing I could be in Brimfield right now for all the great antique shows, and I discovered the next best thing - Nikki had just been there and brought back some great finds!

I fell in love with this old circus mallet - the kind one would use to hit the platform with all her might to see how high the meter go! What fun!

Nikki carries great industrial furniture, wonderful barware, and an assortment of old seltzer, champagne and wine bottles.

Vintage paintings and reproduction prints, along with some beautiful contemporary photography by local artist, Melanie Thornton, fill the store.

An incredible find from Brimfield - an old case used by a magician who also a ventriloquist as well. Wonder who was Harold and who was Harlow? So, so charming.

The sweet paper mache snuff box from the Victorian age makes a nice vignette with the scrimshaw piece and the cute little toothpick holder, whose inscription says "Take your pick". Too cute.
This photo, taken from Nikki's blog, shows how industrial objects can take an artistic form when displayed like this. This is a grouping of old factory molds from a foundry in Maine. I love the shapes as well as the three dimensional quality.

Another photo, courtesy of Acquire, is an example of reproduction Audobon studies printed on museum archival paper and affixed to hand distressed wood blocks. Wouldn't a grouping of these be lovely anywhere!
I noticed these wonderful paperweights while in the shop, and then forgot ( or was so distracted by ALL the goods!) to ask Niki about them. They have a vintage feel, but can be custom ordered with a monogram. There are some wonderful ones without monograms as well.

What a treat it was to visit Acquire. Besides having a fantastic eye and style, Nikki's warmth and personality make everyone who visits feel welcome. I look forward to my next visit!

The chic and trendy shop Shake the Tree sits just a few doors down from Acquire.

Again, upon entry, I stop, thoroughly enjoying the view. I have walked into yet another great little independent shop full of more great finds!

Although I take in the full scan of the shop, my eye takes me back to the red Orla Kiely bag in the window. I love all of her prints, but this one...............oh, this one is really nice.

Shake the Tree is filled to the brim with items carefully chosen to tempt anyone. I started thinking about Christmas shopping while I was here. There are tons of sweet items that would make perfect gifts for my girls.

Home accessories, clothing, jewelry, very unique greeting cards........................

and a wall full of my current favorite - fabulous Tano bags - made me smile as I explored this ultra cool shop.

As in most of my experiences here in Boston, the shopkeepers had such a friendly manner and seemed quite interested in what my impressions of their city are. We had a great conversation and I thoroughly enjoyed my visit at Shake the Tree!

I think living in Fredericksburg, a town attracting loads of tourists, I am extra sensitive to how people are treated when they visit a business - whether shop, gallery or restaurant - and I have to say, Bostonians have been very welcoming. I have one more week and am loving every minute of my visit here!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Boston Museum of Fine Arts to Beacon Hill

The Boston Museum of Fine Arts sits proudly on Huntington Avenue.

Upon arrival, I was immediately taken with the huge sculpture of the American Indian entitled "Appeal to the Great Spirit" created by Cyrus Edwin Dallin in 1909.

The museum as it appears today, a neo - classical design by architect Guy Lowell, hired in 1907 by the museum trustees......................and the museum

as it was in July of 1876 when it opened in Copley Square. The building was created in Gothic revival style and was constructed of red bricks with terra cotta decoration. This museum was expanded several times and eventually closed in 1909 when a new museum was opened on Huntington Avenue. The Copley Plaza Hotel now occupies the site of the old museum.

The current exhibit is an amazing collection of paintings by three Italian Renaissance artists whose work reveals the intense competition that formed the Venetian style. The history of three artists, how they worked and how their lives overlapped over four decades, is fascinating. To learn more, go here

Another exhibit that I so enjoyed features the work of twentieth century Mexican print makers, Rufino Tamayo, and the three well known muralists, Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros . These artists expressed them selves politically as well as creating some more intimate images such as self portraits and female nudes and this exhibition features their work between 1926 and 1932.
In the next gallery I found the exhibit about Edward Weston and his contemporaries, a companion photography exhibit to the Mexican printmakers show. "Viva Mexico!" features about 35 rare works by Weston taken in the 1920s as well as some taken by his contemporaries. During that time a vibrant photography movement in Mexico was centered on Weston and his Italian born lover, Tina Modotti, and continued into the 1930s with focus on other talented photographers.

Della Robia's Virgin and Child with Lilies - photo from MFA website

I couldn't leave the museum without a stroll through the gallery of Italian Renaissance art, containing sculpture, majolica, a few paintings and exquisite pieces of furniture. The colors, textures, and style of everything in this gallery made my heart skip a beat - loved it!

Images courtesy of Boston MFA website

Last, but not least by any means, I was so delighted to see this painting by Texas artist David Bates hanging in the museum. It is called "Magnolia" and is oil on canvas painted in 1993. David is one of my favorite contemporary artists and is represented by Dunn And Brown Contemporary in Dallas.

(With the exception of a few photos, thanks to the MFA of Boston website for the photos used in this post.)

So, after a full morning at the museum, I was ready to get on with the day. A quick subway ride and a walk down Arlington by the Boston Public Gardens................

....................a turn on Beacon Street and look, there is the bar where Cheers was filmed............

and on to my next destination, Charles Street, a charming area of Beacon Hill, with shops and restaurants up and down the street. First stop, Koo de Kir. Located at 65 Chestnut Street, just a few steps off of Charles Street. Manager, Susan Mendrala was most friendly and allowed me to wander and touch and snap photos and just completely enjoy this intimate retail shop.

The shop is small and full of great accessories for the home and body.....wonderful little place cards and stands, horn spoons, delicate glassware, great wooden bowls......all kinds of small details that make a house a home for each of us.

The name, Koo de Kir, is a phonetic translation for the French expression, "coup de coeur", which, loosely translated, means " a strike to the heart" . (Note: I am not that smart - I got that info straight off of the Koo de Kir website!) I love learning that expression - I feel it so often when the design or color or texture of something just strikes me - I feel "coup de coeur"!

The style of the shop is fresh and urban, but not too trendy - even the most traditional shopper could find pleasures here. The space is full of well designed accessories to create a warm and interesting environment in any one's home.

There is a wonderful sense of style here and I was tempted by more than one item. I got lots and lots of great gift ideas, too.

Click on the photos for closer looks and do visit the website for a ton of information about the shop, their merchandise and design services.

Unfortunately, not everyone allows photos to be taken inside their shops, so I was only able to get a few outside pictures of the wonderful little shop, "good". As before, there are reflections in the window as I do not claim to be a great photographer. If you click on the photos, though, you will be able to see the wonderful displays, giving you an idea of what is found on the inside.

Fabulous and unusual jewelry , John Derian accessories, some antiques and other beautiful home goods..........

lots of shells and driftwood, and more wonderful jewelry from PatchNYC.

Stop in for a visit - you won't be disappointed, or check out the website for good - another great Boston shop!
In another window down the street, I fell in love with this tiered basket full of shells. Unfortunately the shop was closed. There is a hand made postcard tucked into the shells and if I get back over, I will be sure to take a closer shot so we can read what it says! Ahh! this basket of shells gave me "coup de coeur"!!


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