Tag Archives: antique shopping

A Weekend at San Simeon: Day 3

Our weekend of Enchantment and dreams by the sea culminated with a lovely early morning beach watch. October is an especially beautiful time of year on the California coast and we drank in all its charms.

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For a finale we were treated to brunch with a spell-binding presentation by Victoria Kastner. Complete with historic photographs and dramatic monologues of the voice of W.R. Hearst speaking through his letters to his mother as to why she should support his desire to purchase wonderful European sculptures and other decorative arts now available throughout Europe following WWI. He was very persuasive with his impassioned quest to collect the finest objects, architectural fragments and tapestries.

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Victoria has been working with the Hearst’s for over 30 years and is the author of three books on all things relating to Hearst Castle.  This lecture by Ms. Kastner was a sneak preview of the book,” Hearst Ranch: Family, Land, and Legacy,” before its actual release on November 26 of this year. $(KGrHqZHJEkFHU165PC4BR6bS7CiRw~~_7[1]

Driving home to Sacramento, Ashlee Richardson and I had spirited discussions of what we had seen and learned from our special tour of San Simeon which was hosted by the ICAA ( Institute of Classical Art and Architecture).  We were delighted by the interesting professionals we had met from northern and southern California.  Our interior design project for California State University Sacramento was enhanced by the details we had gleaned from studying the Castle’s interior furnishings.  In general, our appreciation for Mr. Hearst, the collector and his relationship with Julia Morgan was heightened.  We came away from the weekend enchanted with the Hearst Castle and truly inspired.

We hope you will come along on our next adventure with Classical Architecture as our muse.

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A Weekend at San Simeon: Day 1

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A privileged few participants were indulged in a weekend immersed in the Hearst Castle legend, experiencing the magic of the California coast in beautiful October weather. Ashlee, my mentee who recently graduated from the Interior Architecture program at CSUS, was overjoyed that because of someone’s cancellation she was able to attend all the activities and tours of the weekend. She was by far the youngest person around in the group.

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We checked into our seaside lodging and visited the beach delighting in putting our feet into the  refreshing Pacific salt water.

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Our first tours gave us a flavor of the small coastal jewel of a town, Cambria. An artist and her  husband, a talented mason, shared their home and incredible secret garden with us. Around every turn of the enchanted oasis was a assemblage of beauty. This unique couple has collected fine antiques and sentimental items to divide their garden and home into intimate spaces with incomparable charm.

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Our next stop was a home constructed with no 90 degree angles in the woods. The home was designed by Warren Leopold who proudly presented himself as “NALA”- not a licensed architect. The large open main space included the kitchen and living room as well as views of a floating staircase leading to a mezzanine.

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We then drove to downtown Cambria to a social gathering in Evans and Gearst Antiques, a beautiful newly finished spaces where only the floors and ceilings were original,  its charming volume filled with the most beautiful and rare antiques. This antiquarian deals by appointment only and began his long career in the Hearst warehouse among the huge collection of the titan publisher. Our host Jim Evans of “Evans and Gearst Antiques”, brought along his girlfriend and companion, Margaret Mondavi. She was so elegant, this lovely lady of a certain age!

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We ended the night by walking just around corner and down the street to Robin’s Restaurant. We sat on the back terrace of the restaurant enclosed with windows and crowned with a ceiling of ivy and twinkle light. We had a wonderful special four course menu to order from. Our group of thirty or so was split into three tables, allowing us to get to know the people seated around us. Filled with architectural and design inspiration we returned to our hotel to rest before day 2 of our enchanted weekend began.

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Creating 1920’s style in the 21st Century

With iconic period inspired movies like the Great Gatsby opening in theaters today it’s easy to find 1920’s style in modern day interior furnishings and finishes. Abstract, ethnic and geometric patterns calling back to the motifs of Art Deco and modernism have become a renewed focus in our time. Simple black, white, ivory, and metallic finishes are being worked into Interior Design as it once was in the 1920’s.

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Ann Sacks Andy Fleishman Diamond in Camel

This Andy Fleishman tile by Ann Sacks clearly displays the way 1920’s  motif are being reworked into modern and even green design. This tile is part of Ann Sack’s Eco-Thinking line. The Andy Fleishman tile is made of concrete, the materials for which are sourced  within 500 miles of where the tile is manufactured in Durham, North Carolina. The tile comes in 17 different patterns and two different shapes. Pictured here is the diamond pattern in camel with a suede like finish gives the tile the opulent characteristic of the 1920’s.

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Colefax and Fowler Veryan Collection Lasalle in Leaf drapery installation

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Colefax and Fowler Veryan Collection Lasalle in Leaf

This luxurious silk fabric from Colefax and Fowler’s new Veryan collection called Lasalle brings the floral motifs and geometric patterning that was characteristic to the 1920’s. The history of Colefax and Fowler which dates back to the early 20th century cements their expertise in 1920 design. This silk  and viscose fabric is to be used on draperies which are sure to bring the glamour of the 1920’s to any interior.

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Urban Electric Co. 10th Anniversary Carnegie

This strikingly Art Deco Inspired pendant from Urban Electric Co.’s 10 year anniversary collection has the insightful name of Carnegie. This piece designed by Amanda Nisbet has an almost unlimited variety of finishes for each aspect of the piece. The glass alone can be finished in nine colors including etched and antique mirrored glass. The geometric pattern on the glass enclosed by the simple metal structure gives the piece a true 1920’s feeling.

I hope these products show you the beauty in 1920’s design and inspiration and encourage you to place some 1920’s style into your home!

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Cerused Oak

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On my most recent trip to San Francisco, I was able to take some time to walk through the Galleria in search of materials for a returning client. I always make a stop at Wroolie and Company who are known for their high end furniture and lighting which range from custom reproductions, original designs, to contemporary. I was delighted to see several cerused oak side tables near the front window of the showroom. I’ve been fond of this finish for years and am very pleased to see that it is being used in new and interesting ways. These pieces by Mario Grimaldi International were in a variety of rich stains and finished with a high gloss finish.

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With my interest piqued, I did a bit of research on cerused oak and learned a few interesting facts. The technique of cerused oak, known as limed oak in Britain, began back in the 16th century.  Carpenters rubbed a material containing lime into the grain of the wood to fill it, then the wood was stained and finished giving you a two toned effect. Cerused oak became popular again in the age of Art Deco and is having a  comeback in our decade as well.

Mario Grimaldi International London Dining Table

Mario Grimaldi International London Dining Table

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East Coast comes to El Dorado Hills

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What could be better than a visit to the East Coast – roaming through New York up the Hudson River Valley and down to the Hamptons – to confirm my love for our wonderful American classical style?  This crisp, simple design style began in the early days of our country’s history and has been revived many times since.  You can see many elements of this style are understated, reflecting balance and proportion. 

This hand painted mural makes a beautiful statement in the Entry Hall.

The Blue Room

 Most West Coast homeowners have not readily embraced American Classical style, but Tony & Jenifer Russo knew it would work perfectly for the home they were constructing in El Dorado Hills.  As East Coast “wannabes,” this two-career political couple quickly seized the opportunity to distinguish their home from many of their contemporaries who were selecting a French Country style.

For their entry hall, we collaborated on a primitive mural painted to imitate the work of itinerant artists of colonial America in the 18thcentury.  Across from the dining room, the drawing room is dubbed “the Blue Room,” as the one in the White House.   When the Sierra foothills get winter snowfall, you can easily believe you’ve been transported to the heart of New England! 

Wintertime in the Sierra Foothills.

 

 

 

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Windows on the World (and Home)

Recently I enjoyed an unusual, solitary experience on a day in San Francisco when shops were closed because of a holiday.  This allowed me to wander undisturbed down one of my favorite streets in Pacific Heights.  The area is predominantly residential with many beautiful Victorians and some modern lofts perched above the occasional boutique.  A neighborhood most of us can only aspire to, the shops cater to the most sophisticated and high-ticket clients.

An antique tobacco rack makes a wonderful contemporary window dressing

When but on a day like this could I peek and peer to my heart’s content without anyone thinking me strange?  I could easily take photographs as well, which on busy days could rouse a shop owner to become suspicious of my motives!

Repetition of the same type of item – like these wood utensils – makes a bold design statement

I was looking for MARCH, which reopened last year in a new incarnation focusing on kitchen, pantry, table, and open plan living.  The windows display rustic, yet elegant and minimalist pieces.  (My favorite “glimpse” was an oversized, hanging, tobacco drying rack.) It feels very contemporary but with large scale, hand-hewn items like butcher-block tables, and classics like a huge AGA cooker.  The interior space is light and bright, with white subway tile and woodwork creating a clean, minimal canvas to display the fabulous items here – practically like visiting an art gallery!  The furniture and accessories seem to float in space.

The ordinary, everyday kitchen objects are not only functional, but exquisite.  And they seem to resonate with historical significance.  I particularly loved the display of wooden utensils hanging along one wall.  MARCH also boasts a “Pantry” section with a signature line of jams, vinegars, and spices.

Sam Hamilton, the owner of MARCH who once interned at Chez Panisse, wanted to use her shop to highlight San Francisco’s contribution to food culture — slow food, locally sourced – and to draw attention to the independent, stylish shopping of Sacramento Street.  Mission accomplished… this is sophisticated design right in the heart of San Francisco!

At ANTHEM, a family owned shop with a whole team of design professionals, founder Janelle Loevner has created a wonderful gallery of eclectic items gleaned from all over the globe.  There is something here to inspire the designer in everyone!

ANTHEM facade offers its own design inspiration

Based on its façade, ANTHEM feels very neoclassical, but with clever twists on old classics.  It, too, had a bright white interior — a backdrop that allows the impact of the antiques, furniture, and accessories housed within to shine. The emphasis here is on neutrals, natural materials, and layered metallics.  Loevner has added exotic details to contemporary design and displays items ranging from African kudu horns to Spanish hand-woven textiles.

   Next trip I’ll definitely poke around inside these stores to explore more thoroughly, but as I suspected, even window shopping at unique and trend-setting boutiques offers its own design inspiration!

 

 

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The San Francisco Fall Antique Show – A Don’t Miss in Northern California

Each year when summer turns to autumn the design community in Northern California is a buzz because it’s time for some of the top antique dealers from across the country to gather by the bay for the San Francisco Fall Antique Show.

It is an event not to be missed and I encourage you to attend next year’s show at Fort Mason (on the Embarcadero).  Aside from looking for items to purchase, one of the benefits of attending this annual event is experiencing and educating yourself about the hundreds of authentic pieces you will see from the past.  Though not everyone can afford this level of collecting, studying the real thing brings an appreciation and an eye for quality that can only be cultivated by such exposure.

From traditional folk art and antique wicker to furniture from the 17th and 18th centuries and 20th century Danish design, there were so many fabulous items to see including this amazing display of Americana.

We spent the day exploring a plethora of wonderful pieces.  And we spoke to several knowledgeable dealers who shared stories about their items and many of them provided a history lesson on how and where some of the items were used.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the history of the items and I saw how the meaning we attach to designs and motifs is not only repeated over and over again throughout time and across cultures, but how it is reinterpreted and applied to modern-day home furnishings.

Here are some noteworthy treasures from my visit.  Can you see how these influence tastes and trends in design today?

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