Monday, June 1

June is in the details through decorating with accessories

seashell accent on antique mirror over our fireplace

A happy home starts with one that is rich in detail, 
divulging the passions of the dwellers, bit by bit. 
Nest by Tamara blog's philosophy 
on decorating and living in a happy home by looking
at the accessories...
To me, it does not matter how much money or resources goes into the design of a home, but if the little accoutrements fall flat, the whole experience is lost. To take this idea a bit further, I hope that these accessories have come to rest on our sofas, in our cabinets, on our walls, and on our tables, slowly over time rather than in one splash of a single shopping spree. Let me indulge in a little decorating philosophy for a moment--our home is our safe haven where we live the life of who we truly are, or better yet, who we aspire to be...the us on a sunny, spring day. The details of our lives should unfold gradually, over time, through our interests and memories. We can hire high-end designers to find the special fabric to put on our designer sofa, or we can simply buy the store-made budget version ourselves, but either way, to retain value from it, we must somehow make all of this design an extension of our personal self. The details in our home, whether a plate, an antique candlestick, a trim on a pillow we adore, or simply a picture frame with one of our favorite travel moments, helps affirm who we are, where we came from and who we continue to be.

I’m dedicating this post to the decorative arts, and since that title can assume a large group of design, let me refer to the dictionary description of the word – The decorative arts are traditionally defined as ornamental and functional works in ceramicwoodglassmetaltextile. The field includes ceramicsglasswarefurniture, furnishings, interior design, and architecture.

I have been an avid collector of American pottery, Blue Willow porcelain, 1940’s tea sets, vintage table linens, and anything shell-inspired. I love old items, stuff with a past, because I can relish in the little plate, thinking about the history. This same theory is true of all of us, no matter how much or little we collect. Some find serenity in an austere, clutter-free environment-a carefully edited palate of a home. No matter your personal style, if we surround ourselves with the items we love, and create a home we want to spend time in, we will,walk through this big world a happy person.

I am focusing on the smaller decorative items, not big pieces of furniture. These are items we often acquire, make or inherit, and that with which we adorn our spaces-the finishing touches. These are the items that can bring us joy with a single look; reminding us of a special vacation, a grandparent, or a nostalgic time in our childhood. While at Parsons School of Design, I took a couple of courses in decorative arts. I had a passionate teacher, Elizabeth Boudreau, who carted us enthusiastically through the Metropolitan Museum of Arts regularly with a sing-song chant about parquetry, marquetry and ormolu, which were all the ways they adorned furniture in the 18th and 19th centuries. Elizabeth helped to instill in me a sense of appreciation for anything handmade or made with care. We studied the porcelains (soft-paste versus hard-paste), the various English and French styles of furniture, rugs, framing and other decorative arts. 

Sign of the Times

During these economically difficult times, we have the opportunity to value the quality versus quantity in life. Over the past decade, we seem to have become a nation of acquiring experts-it had to be expensive and we had to have lots of it. Maybe now we can take a lesson from our ancestors, focus again on the beauty of a single item, and relish in that. We need to start fresh. How about we acquire only what resonates with us, or comb through our collection of acquisitions and bring forward the belongings that bring us joy because of their artisanship or the fond memories they provoke. Dispense with some of the trendy, disposable stuff that will be passé in a few months. If we truly live life in this manner, we may not feel the need to renovate our homes as often, but learn to live with our stuff, with their imperfections and all.

Every city has a group of design buildings or area that is devoted to the interior design trade. In New York, this extends across many neighborhoods and buildings, however, many designers spend a great deal of their time in the Design & Decoration building at 979 Third Avenue. There are literally thousands of fabrics and wallpapers (not to mention furniture, lighting, antiques, rugs) to choose from in the various showrooms in the building, but here is a little snippet of some of my favorite lines of fabric.

Happy Nesting
XO Tamara
shell mirror; Beall & Bell Antiques-Greenport, NY; Roman shade-Hinson Fabric; bench converted from antique spindle bed
pillow fabrics from Pierre Frey; lamp from Ruby Beets Antiques - Sag Harbor, NY; hot pink trim- Houles; 1950s plate Bridgehampton antique show
framed bugs and vintage Gien plate - Piccadilly Square, London

pillow fabric Scalamandre, trim-Houles

Left - Cowtan & Tout showroom, 10th floor; 
Right - Blue & White urns at Hinson, 7th floor

Manuel Canoval Large Prints

Cowtan & Tout animal wallpaperCowtan & Tout
My favorite traditional fabric showroom. They carry five very distinct brands of fabrics, each with their own signature style - Jane Churchill, Larsen, Manuel Canovas, Colefax & Fowler, and Cowtan & Tout. The showroom is very professionally run. 
Great look in Veranda magazine -utilizing Cowtan & Tout fabric 
QUADRILLE FABRICS Quadrille China Seas fabric– Quadrille brand encompasses China Seas, Alan Campbell and Quadrille fabrics. China Seas has great beach-style batiks and low-key fabrics with style. I love many of Quadrille's fabrics for their classic, graphic appeal and fresh colored-toiles. F.SCHUMACHER FABRICS F. Schumacher – This traditional, chintz showroom has kicked it up a notch by carrying a fresh new line of indoor/outdoor fabrics designed by fashion designer, Trina Turk.HINSON & COMPANY
Hinson madagascar grass cloth
Hinson & Co.– great textures and prints. I love their handscreened wallcoverings. They also have great looking and durable seagrass wallcoverings-some are vinyl-backed and can be used in bathrooms and kitchens. Mrs. McDougal's unique furniture, lighting and accessories are classic and-love the chinese urns.
Some of my favorite pillows, trim, fabric... pillow -India; Tassel - Houles; yellow fabric -Brunschwig &Fils w/green textured trim-Houles; palm tree fabric Clarence House w/green pillow from Takashimaya
key tassel- Houles; tufted chair; hot pink floral Manuel Canovas w/figured texture fabric as background, Cowtan & Tout; small french pleated curtains & rod - Houles
from the SEA I often take my cue from the ocean, marine life, and nautical rumblings of summer as I approach decorating. There is nothing more encouraging that a small detail of summer in a home to brighten your day. I do not always save these accessories for houses by the sea, and have been known to pepper these details in a city apartment as a reminder of the ocean's treasures.

stone mermaid for a garden
Blue Willow plate, American pottery shell vase, antique dolphin porcelain compote, wooden captains' table & ginger jar lamp little whale found at a flea market lifesaver pillow with real rope trim, Carnival Glass seashell bowl from 1940s, real coral resting on books, and brass lobster keeping watch over cocktail napkins vintage cachepots 1950s w/shell motif - Blue Willow plate - Brunschwig & Fils red toile on searsucker backdrop vintage ship plate, shell bowl 1930s
french blue country toile - Brunschwig & Fils; linen curtain panels from a Parisian market; pillow fabric - Osborne & Little floral w/Scalamandre coral back; Hinson chintz stripe on spear rod; pillow - Schumacher coral chintz & white pique backing w/real shell enclosure A VERMONT GIRL and HER DREAMS Jan at her wheel, throwing clay

A Sunday night tradition - Jan's homebaked bread (cooling on the counter); Cottie Gorham getting air; Jan's pottery w/ friend's home-tapped Vermont maple syrup; a lovely outdoor placesetting utilizing Jan's pottery designsI am dedicating June’s blog on decorative arts to my friend, Janice Lally Gorham. Jan is a creative woman who is following her dream. When you visit Jan in her home, you bask in the warmth of the homemade care she puts into her life. Years ago, Jan, her husband, and their three boys lived in a suburban area just outside of Boston. As avid skiers, they bought and refurbished an old farmhouse in Vermont to enjoy their weekends. As their children grew a little older, and their family morphed, they came to see the importance their active weekend life had on their family. They took a risk, uprooted their lives and moved full-time to Stowe, Vermont. Now, several years later, the boys have excelled at skiing, and regularly attend competitions all over the country. In the process, Jan discovered a new love of spinning a potter's wheel. After many courses to fine-tune this craft, she produces a beautiful line of handmade, glazed, Vermont pottery. As they turned their once tired farmhouse into a warm year-round home, they dedicated a whole room to Jan’s new passion. Jan and her husband, David, have settled nicely into the mountainous state of Vermont, and they enjoy both cross country and downhill skiing during the winter months, and biking through the beautiful terrain in the summer. Her unique pottery, with its beautiful colors and lovely, twisted handles have made a splash in the area. The Gorhams have never looked back and relish in their cool, rural lifestyle of outdoor athletics, casual entertaining and family gatherings-congratulations to living your dream Jan! Saturday night Sushi party-guests helping to prepare the meal; Jan with Maks Gorham; Alex Gorham jumping; Maks getting a snowmobile lift to the top at Simon Dumont Open proud father, Dave talks with Maks after finishing the Simon Dumont Open @ Sunday River, Maine; Jan's pottery for sale; Dave on the mountain
I like these Interior Design videos for their fresh perspectives Home Portraitist at Aaron, photographer for NYTimes, has shot pictures of buildings by the world's most prominent architects.
Also, check out the new book,
by Elizabeth Mayhew
Cool step by step video on her website on transforming a room.

for ideas and thoughts
on casual, summer entertaining!
Happy Nesting
XO Tamara


Anonymous said...

I enjoy your blog and look forward to the new month of July. June is rich in detail, and especially enjoy the sources you added.

Anonymous said...

May was great with all the floral photos, but June was even more elaborate.

maybelline said...

Thank you for a beautiful June post and I certainly agree with your philosophy in decorative arts. I took after my Mother who collects objects from various memories and also creates her own crafts. I appreciate your posting the photos of my favorite shells!

Kerry Ann Dame said...

Thanks for the follow - your blog is beautifully written! In the past 15 years of being a designer I have always tried to teach my clients the pleasure to be derived from items that have intrinsic personal and emotional value, as well as beauty. I follow my own style regardless of trends, nice to see another designer do the same. You appear to be one of true substance and sharp intellect... I'll be following!

Richard said...

love the pottery - so talented. looking forward to some ideas for a party in july. keep coming with great ideas, thoughts and pictures. love it!!!

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