Monday, May 28, 2012

A Beautiful French Country House

I have a few photos I want to share with you of a friend's very beautiful French Country House. It has a wonderful flow from inside to out, and is the very definition of comfortable elegance.

A wonderful courtyard at the entrance warms up the front of the house, and functions more like a terrace, than a driveway.

My gardener friend worked with landscape architect ,Chip Callaway, of Callaway and Associates in Greensboro, North Carolina, to recreate the charm of the French countryside. Architect Gregory Koester  currently of  A Classical Studio in Atlanta, collaborated with the owner to achieve a new, old house. Lawrence Snively, of Acanthus Architecture in Winston Salem worked extensively on the interior and exterior architectural designs. I think you will agree that he demonstrates a stunning sense of scale, that is so often out of kilter in modern interpretations of traditional European style homes.

The scene is set using traditional stone in the entry way and artisanal wrought iron on a gracious, yet unimposing scale. Muted antique area carpets of different patterns contribute to the patina new houses require to feel like a home--consistency balanced with a subtle variety.  Perhaps the art of parenting applies to design.


The architectural integrity found in reclaimed timber floors and beams counterbalance the newness of the house, endowing the space with a sense of continuity so vital to home life. I love the harmony and comfort of these rooms. Slip covers cohabitate sensibly with a few precious pieces. 

It is a real space saver to combine the living and dining areas of house. In the end you get one airier, multi-tasking room that actually gets used.

The contrast of a rustic chair in a relaxed office brings the piece to life. When furniture is properly balanced between high and low, all the pieces are visible while seamlessly flowing together.

Nobody is arguing about the kitchen/ T.V. space. It is here to stay, and this pretty rendition complete with clean subway tile and wrought iron pot rack flows perfectly with the rest of the house.

As the house is united to the outdoors via terraces, double French doors and double hung windows, the covered porch areas on the rear of the house continue the transitions.

I am standing on one porch looking at the other, which extends from the master bedroom. My friend says the Japanese boxwood, new to me, has been a hardy evergreen choice for containers.

Use mirrors outdoors in your porch areas. They bring the lush greens and blues of the landscape back into perspective. They are also well positioned in the house opposite a window to draw the outside--in.

We will be photographing the garden as it progresses 
through the seasons. 

Don't forget to visit our online store or call for that certain, 
Je ne sais quoi! 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Shopping Brimfield with Photographer Bruce Barone

The girls and I were hoping to go Brimfield this year, but alas it was not to be. I was chatting with Bruce Barone about it, and he generously offered to take us on his tour. He writes a popular blog, which you should visit. After you've finished walking through this fantastical antique show, go by and say hello to him!

In geography class we learned
between Boston and the Berkshires
sits the small town named Brimfield;
35 square miles
first settled in 1706--
today its population is 4000
and the town is the site
of the largest antique show in New England,
some say the largest outdoor antique show
in the world, held since 1959
in Brimfield three times each year.
Thursday, May 10, found me on the fields of Brimfield
booked to dealer capacity
under a stormy sky.
Soon after my arrival
the clouds parted and I saw a sign.

Ahead of me the puddled path:

If I fell in the water
I would say "Save me friend.
 Throw me a life

I swam on and forward
taking me first to a woman
who I asked "May I photograph you?"
"Here's my card," I said, and she said
"How should I pose?"

Then I walked on
and I studied the signs:

I wondered why
they wrote this one
as it was so clear
what it was:

"Great for cooking"
I would have written but no
one asked me. Never-mind I said
as I turned a puddled corner and beheld:

I realized then abundant blessings
flow to me and through me.
I saw
the beautiful bottles

How lovely I thought
they would be in my garden
near a bird house:

this one nailed to the top
of an old pitch fork
contrasting with the recycled license plates:

Maine, I read,
Vermont, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania
In junior high school in
New Jersey
I played the drums:

Today I might play
a beat or two
with forks and spoons

Have I mentioned there is here
on the fields of Brimfield
a flea market atmosphere
what with Goofy and Mickey:

And Donald Duck:

Once I worked with a woman
named Tita:

In college I was
an art history major:

I thought of Cezanne when I saw
this painting and later Grandma Moses:

Ah, yes, over the river and through the woods
to grandmother's we go;
be sure to bring along the luggage dear:

I hope she serves us
tea or hot chocolate
in her beautiful cups:

And maybe we all will get
to play with those old toys:

Honk. Honk.
Watch out I am
heading out:

Where are you
going, Bruce,
to a fire?

I saw this old jug;
 I thought my friend
Scot Meacham Wood
 might like it:

And a frog for Susan;
my fiance, she collects
frogs for our gardens:

ever one to be shy
of color I loved
these chairs:

And this telephone chair and table:
Hello. Hello.

And I love these items
simply for the color:

Open the door,
pull out the gin
and lets make
a pitcher of martinis:

I could tell
by the hands
of the clock it was
getting near Tweet Time:

I walked first
to the great tent of Pandora--
Pandora de Balthazar
A MUST see:

Along the way
there were dolls
in an old police car:

There was this year's model
or was it last year's model:

 saw another sign
but alas I never saw
the advertised merchandise:

I had to get to the tent
the Tweet up
was starting

here my friend
Warren Bobrow
mixed me a delightfully thirst-quenching cocktail;
homemade lemonade, gin, and bitters--I think:

I chatted with
the friendly and fashionable
Anne Flanders
Managing Editor of Fashion Decor

I chatted with
the handsome and distinguished
Shane Inman

I chatted with
the charming and charitable
Cari Cucksey

And me?
You would have recognized me
by my green sweater
and hat

Let me end this update
with one last sign
I saw on the fields of Brimfield
which I believe
is a beautiful daily mantra;
because of the power of words
whatever we voice
we begin to attract:

Bruce Barone is a well-known and respected
portrait, nature, and documentary photographer.
He is also a published writer, art consultant, and gourmet cook.
He loves family get-togethers--and cats and dogs.
And red wine. 

Don't forget to visit our online store for one of a kind antiques!