Friday, June 26, 2009

Marston Luce "Humble Elegance"

Photo from southern

The new issue of Southern Accents just came out and is, as usual, chock full of great houses. The story about Washington, D.C. shop owner and antique dealer, Marston Luce, and his to die for 18th century farmhouse in France, is my favorite.

I had the pleasure and the disappointment of finding his shop one day a few years back, while strolling down Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown. So happy to find it, only to peer into the windows longingly, as the shop was closed. The window shopping was good, though, really good.

While I would not claim to be a complete Francophile like some other popular bloggers, I do love antiques of many sorts. Visiting the Southern Accents website, I found it quite interesting that Mr. Luce likes to mix periods and styles . In the photo above, he mixes a Louis XV fauteuil, an 1800 Danish painted chest, a pigeon ornament from southern France, and a pair of Spanish candlesticks. This is a man after my heart.

I love too many things and often berate myself for not being more focused. At the end of the day, though, I live with what I love and it makes me happy.

Of course, it is affirming to read about someone like Marston Luce who , as he says, likes to create "humble elegance". There you go - that's what I like, too - I just didn't know what to call it!

"I like opposites. I am attracted to earthy, simple things, as well as elegant ones". Well said, Mr. Luce.

One thing I love is old paint. ( I mean old, as in original - not newly painted, scuffed up to look old, paint. ) I have three chests with the original paint still intact in my home and a variety of treasures sit upon each of them.

The one pictured is my favorite. It holds my stone book collection, a wooden lamb sitting on a wooden carved book from an old church in Iowa, a small painted stool from the Round Top antiques fair, a couple of old Mexican ceramic sheep, some painted shells from a shop in Seaside, Florida and a pair of reproduction candlesticks.

Hmmmm......... my own version of "humble elegance". I like it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Target - Ya Gotta Love It

While shopping for summer camp gear with my daughter yesterday, I stumbled upon these wonderful melamine dishes at Target. Say what you will about Suzanis and Suzani patterns being trendy or over done, but I am crazy for these! I picked up some dinner plates, some bowls and the serving platter shown under the dinner plate above.

They are not microwave safe , but they are dishwasher safe. I can't wait to serve sandwiches or barbecue on the porch soon!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Favorite Architect

From a Mexican hacienda to a quaint English cottage, I love architecture.......... I LOVE architecture. It's a passion I was born with, I think. Truly, for as long as I can remember, I have been interested in and drawn to certain styles of homes and buildings.

The style that I have loved and been attracted to my entire life, though - the style that feels like home and makes me smile from within - is that of Texas Modernism.

Texas Modernism refers to a style of design that not only uses materials native to Texas, but also to characteristics indigenous to the region, with roots from early Texas homes. These homes do not have excessive ornamentation, but while simple, are elegant in their design. Much thought is given to the orientation of these houses regarding ventilation and cross breezes, natural light and warmth, as well as cooling shade.

My friend, Jon Pankratz, AIA, comes from a long line of "descendants", if you will, of great Texas modernists. From one of the the most well known Texas architects, O'Neil Ford, to Jon's mentor and close friend, Frank Welch, to having some similarities to San Antonio architects, David Lake and Ted Flato, Jon has developed a style of his own that is both classic and unique.

Jon attended Texas A&M University for both undergraduate and graduate study, receiving his undergraduate degree in Environmental Design and Masters degree in Building Design. He worked for Frank Welch for 15 years before starting his own firm in Dallas in 1994.

I met Jon in 1994 when I drove by a great looking house in Dallas that was under construction - of course, being the house addict that I am, I had to stop and ask for details - and it happened to be his first project "on his own".

The rest is history. Not long after that day I began to refer to Jon as "my favorite architect" and to this day, he remains so.

Jon and his wife, Marilee, moved to Fredericksburg shortly after we did and have become dear friends over the years. I have loved following Jon's work and think it so appropriate to share here. This house is one of his most recent projects and perfectly exemplifies a Texas hill country modern house , built of native limestone and quietly embraced by the surrounding hills.

Although this home can be seen from a distance, it blends in beautifully with the landscape.

Jon's designs stretch from Dallas to Fredericksburg, and beyond into South Texas. His most recent works dot the Texas hill country. He has designed homes and weekend lake houses for friends and friends of friends. His best advertising is word of mouth. While his work is steeped in Texas modernism, it is always unique to each setting and the personality and needs of his clients. I quote the mother of the woman who shares this house with her family - "Jon got it perfect. Every square inch of that house is just right for Carol and her family " - Yep! that would be my favorite architect!

Native limestone, wide covered porches and standing seam metal roofs are classic characteristics of this style. The pool, crisp and clean in design, is a focal point for this home. Not only is it lovely aesthetically, but provides a cool relief from the Texas heat. (If you want to see greater detail, click on the photos. It is worth your time to see more of this stunning house.)

Open air pavilions and loggias are often designed to capture light and warmth from the sun during the winter, and to catch cool breezes and shade in the summer. Inside and outside become one with the use of porches, closely grouped buildings, and courtyards. Jon created a beautiful outdoor space for this family, whether they are enjoying the pool on a hot Texas day or sitting by a fire on a chilly evening.

One of the characteristics of many of Jon's designs are separate spaces that are attached to the main home, but function on their own. I love how the small building is part of the overall design, but distinctively separate from the main house.

Natural materials like brick and wood, and lots of natural light make this loggia classic to Jon's design aesthetic.

A beamed ceiling , more interior brick and hardwood floors make this house perfect for either traditional or contemporary furnishings.

I love the arches over the openings and the use of interior brick throughout the house.

The kitchen is warm and traditional in materials, but contemporary in it's clean lines.

If you are interested in seeing more of Jon's work, or want to contact him, please let me know in the comments section and I will send you his contact information. I do plan to feature more of his designs as well as those of other Texas modernists.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Beadboard UpCountry - More Great Design in Texas

When my daughter and I decided to make a quick road trip east (as in east of us in Texas, not east as in"east coast" - darn!) to visit a cousin we hadn't seen in a while, I knew I had to check out the charming Beadboard Up Country in Brenham, Texas.

I had heard about the shop before, first from Joni of Cote de Texas, and then from Annie of The Bunny Bungalow. We were only going to be in town on Sunday and when I called to ask if the shop might be open that day, I was pleasantly surprised and pleased to hear "Well, we are not usually open on Sundays, but we are going to give it a try tomorrow". Yippee! Music to my ears - obviously, it was meant to be that I visit this great shop.

View upon entering Beadboard UpCountry

Upon entering we were greeted by the shop's owner, the cute and friendly, Maryanne Flaherty. She was most engaging, and after telling her that I was the one who had called the day before and had wanted to visit her shop for a long time, I confessed that I am a blogger. Yes, I told her, I realized that she had been featured on several blogs already, but I would love to feature her on MY blog, too!

Great side or dining chair with wonderful bedding and bath goods in the background - love the legs and the linen on this chair

Agreeable and enthusiastic, she began to show me some things that were new in the shop since the last blog post. She clearly loves her work and her passion is contagious. I found myself wanting to shoot photos for my post, but at the same time, just wander aimlessly through the store, taking in every display, every texture, every color...........lots and lots of details.

antique armoire with glass doors and beautiful detail

Sometimes when I walk into a great shop or a good art gallery or antique show, I instinctively just stop at the entry and try to absorb the overall feeling, getting my bearings and deciding which way to go first. My anticipation is great and I don't want to miss a thing. I have been asked by various friends and family "What ARE you doing"? when they almost bump into me as I have stopped and blocked the door, mesmerized by the display ahead. So, I think I was a bit distracted as I visited with Maryanne , trying to take in all she had to share with me, looking at all of the beautiful things, and assuring my daughter that I would be "just a few more minutes". Sorry, I digress...........

So, I was not able to photograph every single thing I loved at Beadboard UpCountry - there were too many - but some of my favorites are here.

This particular piece, a wonderful blue painted chest, has quite an unusual story. Maryanne showed me two small metal plaques on the inside of the top drawer.One says John Widdicomb
Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. The company was the first American company to produce Louis XV designs in America and started the wave of French Provincial popularity in this country. The company is now operating as a division of Stickley.

The second plaque indicates that the chest was manufactured for Jac Lessman, a prominent hotel developer. Mr. Lessman planned the renovation of several large Manhattan hotels in the 1960s, including the Hampshire House, the St. Moritz, the Biltmore, the Lincoln,and the St. Regis. Besides having an interesting story, the chest is a beautiful blue and has a ton of charm. Can't you just see it in a penthouse suite at a luxury hotel? (or better yet, in my bedroom beside the bed)

Another favorite of mine in the shop is the pottery designed by Maureen Welton from Vancouver. The pieces I loved in particular were this wide vase shown above - I am crazy about the shape and the texture - and the large vase shown below.

The designs are based on the textures found on the beaches of the Pacific Northwest. Maryanne loves that one of these vases or bowls can be perfect in a minimal, contemporary setting, or placed against a heavy stone wall in a rustic ranch house. Being a person who craves texture and color, I absolutely love these pieces.

Beadboard UpCountry carries wonderful table ware and silver, as well as linens for the table and the bedroom. The Belgian linen line, Libeco Lagae, is one of the finest in the world. The quality is excellent and the linen comes in varying weights and a variety of sophisticated colors. Maryanne also carries cut yardage and will ship it to you. You can also find Peacock Alley linens here and soon, Papillon Linens.

I am a sucker for a box pleat and fine detail, so this club chair is just perfect as far as I can see! Custom slipcovers are available here, too, in a wonderful assortment of fabrics.

another great chest of drawers

........and yes, another perfect chair, this time with a full, full skirt - so pretty!

As if I wasn't already wanting everything in sight, Maryanne carries a wonderful line of jewelry called Obsidion Jewelry. Each piece is crafted with great stones and the prices are amazingly reasonable. I expected a much higher price tag on the pieces I looked at. She displays some pieces cleverly in a glass cake stand, which, of course, fits the lovely setting of the entire store.

Last but certainly not least, I love this amazing chest that would fit beautifully in a bedroom or an entry, or.............

in a study if you need a desk! Isn't it fabulous how it opens up to function as a secretary. It's a far cry from my kitchen desk, I can say that for sure. The top is onyx and is absolutely gorgeous.

Thank you , Maryanne, for such a warm welcome to your shop. I love visiting stores where the owner if present and engaged and friendly. Shops like Beadboard UpCountry are distinctly more special than your average home furnishing store.

Also, I would be remiss if I did not mention Mayanne's husband, Peter, whom she referred to several times. It is clear this couple loves what they do. When I asked her how they settled in Brenham, Texas, she said "Peter just tells people 'this is where the bus broke down'. Well, I am so glad the bus broke down where it did! It is certainly Brenham's gain!


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