Sunday, June 14, 2009

Social Networking and Six Degrees of Separation – Sort Of!

I have been an avid fan of an interior design blog site called Cote de Texas for over a year now. It is an informative as well as humorous missive about an interior designer from Houston named Joni, and her wonderful connections, discoveries, trials & tribulations. To say that I am addicted to reading it daily is at best. . . a kind comment. Joni is a truly dedicated blogger (unlike me) who has even been know to sit in her car during hurricanes so she can plug in her laptop for power and blog away! Now that’s real dedication!

To my delight, her post over the week-end was regarding her attendance at an event in Houston where she met the world renowned designer, Bunny Williams. It seems Bunny was in town during a launch of her newest line of furniture - BeeLine Home. Joni’s accounting of this lovely event was really adorable and funny - especially the saga of her “stalker” buddies and the ever popular – must have – ginormous handbag (I can relate to this myself)!

A portion of Joni’s blog showcased a very unusual accessory from the BeeLine Home that immediately sent off whistles and bells for me. Bunny’s adaptation is called a “Vanity Tower”. The function, as explained by Joni, is to secret away rolls of toilet paper. Here is where the six degrees of separation begins.

Early in my interior design career in the Boston area, I had a shop called Necessities which carried an assortment of home furnishings, gifts and antiques. One of the most endearing and prized objects I purchased during this time, was an adorable pair of reeded antique columns with charming little scalloped shelves. They were a pretty shade of green and just the right height to display all the dainty little Limoges boxes we carried. Naturally, I have no memory of the provenance of these little columns but, suffice to say, they looked as though they were handmade and were quite old. When I decided to move my design office to Newbury Street and close up the shop years later, I sadly parted with the little columns and they found a new home.

During the time I had the shop, I was asked to participate in a fund raising event at the Ritz Carlton (the original one across from the Public Gardens – since sold and now known as The Taj) for the Boys & Girls Club of Boston. The theme of the event was “The Power of Style”. Each designer was paired up with a “style icon” and was asked to produce a tablescape honoring them. I was chosen to create a table as a tribute to Sister Parish (ostensibly know as the doyenne of American decorating) due in part to my “no fear” use of colors.

Since Sister Parish was widely known for not only her brave use of colors as well as all things cozy and comfortable (including her penchant for inserting floral print fabrics and American hand made quilts into many designs), I decided that my table would be named “Lunch at Dark Harbor”. Dark Harbor was the name of the house Sister Parish owned in Islesboro, Maine and where she had passed away the previous year.

My tribute to Sister Parish consisted of a luscious floral linen tablecloth from Brunschwig & Fils and of course the ever present quilt. Additionally, a grouping of charming little handmade ceramic houses created the centerpiece and handmade (by me!) grass and garden critters encrusted chargers complimented the colorful majolica oyster plates.

Years later when my design office was securely ensconced on Newbury Street, I decided to do a massive renovation to our home in Andover. Those little antique reeded columns were still on my mind and I really cursed myself for letting someone else adopt them! Clearly, I could not call up the buyer and ask to purchase them back so. . . I did the next best thing. Completely from memory and old photos of my shop, I had the little columns reproduced and installed as a design element in my gorgeous new kitchen. I was a very happy camper.

After suffering through the massive renovation for over 6 months, I thought I was finally going to able to enjoy the fruits of my labor and hubby was hoping for some long awaited home cooked meals! The paint had barely dried on the walls when we found out we were being transferred to Arizona! Rats! Foiled again. . .someone else would now be enjoying my gorgeous home including my charming little column shelves!

Now here is the irony - I once had a pair of antique reeded columns that appeared to be a handmade – one of a kind pair – purchased in Maine. I was chosen to create a tablescape tribute to Sister Parish’s Dark Harbour home. Bunny’s connection to Sister Parish was as her employee. I was astonished when I saw the charming little columns (so similar to the original antiques) reproduced by Bunny’s Williams BeeLine Home while reading Joni’s Cote de Texas blog.

Gee, maybe I should ask the buyer of the antique columns if I can purchase them from her again. . .who knows. . .maybe, just maybe, they actually came from the Sister Parish estate (not so far from Boston)!


Cote de Texas said...

now THAT is weird! I wonder if Bunny bought the column from that antique dealer and then copied them for her line?

very interesting indeed! wow!

and thank you so much for your sweet story mentioning me. I'm going to add it to my Interesting Blog Story - on the left column of my blog! thank you again so much!!!

Karen said...

I wonder if Sister Parish utilized the little reeded columns regularly as she was prone to do with the floral fabrics and quilts. Perhaps Bunny remembered them from her time with Sister Parish.

Thank you so much for posting this story on your Interesting Blog Stories. I just adore you blog and always find your stories entertaining and educational.