Thursday, February 22, 2018

Birds Of A Feather

This gorgeous red toile canopy bed certainly has a French style and the pastoral fabric includes foxes, dogs and cherubs in addition to the darling little birds.  Source Unknown.

Gorgeous colors of toile featuring a peacock design.  Suzanne Tucker Collection.

As an interior designer and now as a jewelry designer, I have been enamored with birds for many years - everything from handsome pheasants to dainty little hummingbirds.  Birds are often included in one of my favorite categories of fabrics and wallpapers - toile.

I can only wish my sweet parakeets had a home as lovely as this Meissen cage.  Source Unknown

This fascination goes back to when I was a child and an eccentric neighbor I used to visit had a room full of parakeets and canaries.  I had a parakeet named “Pete” for a few years who slept in his covered cage in my bedroom.  Unbeknownst to my mother, I frequently let  him have free-flying lessons in the house when she was not at home.  The housekeeper would get furious because in order to keep my little secret, she had to clean up his free-flying poops before my mother arrived back at home.  

Even though these are both green parakeets, there are subtle differences - the main difference has to do with the fact - one is male and the other female!

When I was around 10 years old, we took a little vacation (probably to CA) and my married step-sister, who happened to be pregnant with her second child, agreed to take care of Pete while we were gone.  All went well until my sister also had to go out of town and decided to bring Pete over to my Aunt’s home.  Let’s just say. . . Pete escaped - the image of my pregnant sister chasing him around the neighborhood must have been a sight to see!  Knowing how much I loved Pete, she thought she could just purchase another parakeet and I would never be the wiser.  Well, that was a BIG miscalculation and I immediately knew this new bird was NOT Pete.  I grew to love RePete and had him for years and years until he most likely died of old age when I was in high school :-(  

Just a touch of toile overkill.  I don't think I would have chosen this as a wedding dress, but apparently Carolina Herrara's daughter felt it was perfect! 

Source Unknown.

Notice the sweet little birds in this toile wallpaper paper - but don't forget to look at the guest towels too.  Via 1stDibs.

Gorgeous blue & white bird sconces.  Via The Enchanted Home.

Birds in the South, where I grew up, were accepted as a fact of life and revered.  Friends, and even my own mother, had porcelain bisque birds displayed, birds on sofa fabrics and drapes and paintings of birds in their homes.  Naturally, I thought all of this was completely normal - because I did not know any better, nor had I been exposed to a more diverse culture.  When I moved to Boston in my 30’s and suggested a fabric or wallpaper with birds to my clients - I was met with a resistance of unknown proportion!  It seems as though almost every ethnic culture has some type of superstition regarding birds - none of them positive and almost all of them involved illness, death, or some type of misfortune.  To say I was bewildered that my beloved birds were seen as an adversity, is an understatement!

These necklaces are layered and featuring two doves/swallows.  The larger bird was actually a brooch converted to a pendant for this necklace. Saint Esprit II Necklace.   

Now I am fortunate to live in such a warm climate where birds are abundant - everything from morning doves to hawks and those precious little hummingbirds.  My fascination still continues, but as an adult, I have come to realize -  not only are birds meant to fly, but caged birds are messy beyond belief!  My most recent interest in birds are from the Victorian and Georgian Eras - Saint Esprit Doves and Swallows.
Another small Saint Esprit dove is the focal point of this multi-strand group of necklaces.  Saint Esprit Necklace

The Saint Esprit Dove can be traced back as far as the mid 1700’s in France and was a religious symbol, meaning “Holy Spirit”.  The dove itself is highly symbolic in many cultures and faiths, meaning peace, love or fidelity.

These sweet little antique Saint Esprit pendants are usually made of sterling silver with paste stones and look gorgeous mixed with rock crystal or white topaz and pearls.

As we move forward into the Victorian era, the doves or swallows found in the jewelry of that period represented safely returning home and/or faithfulness.  This connotation was taken from the legend that swallows lead ships home as they get closer to land - preventing the ships from being lost at sea.  

This sweet little Saint Esprit Dove is an example of the type holding a branch in their beak - symbolizing peace, friendship & hope.  Saint Esprit II Necklace.

Victorian French Saint Esprit Doves, descending from heaven with their wings spread, was a symbol of faith.  Birds holding a heart in their beak symbolized love and holding a branch signified peace, friendship and hope. The fact that swallows mate for life has made these coveted  romantic symbols endure - even hundreds of years later. 

As you can see, these precious little doves/swallows come in many stones - paste, diamonds, garnets and pearls, plus many others.  They also can be very ornate or very simple.  All of these birds are either antiques or made from antique molds.  The only exception is the diamond swallow flying left.

As you can see, I have collected a small grouping of these adorable birds, both reproductions from old molds as well as antiques.  I only recently made up a few of these bird designs and perhaps the tides are changing.  I am finding other bird lovers that have eschewed their cultural superstitions and are also collectors of these charming wonders of nature.





Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A Fantasy Coachella Project

Throngs of event participants, but you can clearly see the air-conditioned tents and even a luxe dinner table for VIP.

This past week, I was asked to contribute to a project on 1stDibs involving Coachella.  For those of you that are not familiar, Coachella is a music festival that has been held in the California desert for several years.  For those of you old enough to remember - think of a better organized Woodstock for the new millennium!  There are music venues, food and LOTS of people!  It would take a lot for me to attend any type of music festival since I am always fearful of large crowds and agitated by loud noise/music.  My only concession would be if I had a helicopter at my disposal (okay, that’s NOT happening) and VIP passes to make this a more luxe experience - air-conditioned tents, front row seats, catered food and “Fancy Nancy” powder rooms!  

In any event, Coachella attracts people from all stations in life - including (and especially) the Hollywood Glitterati.  As part of my contribution, I was asked to make up some jewelry designs that might appeal to the fashionistas that attend this event. My brain went right to the Bohemian style I had observed from past events, but with the more luxe styling I would prefer if I were planning to attend.

This Bohemian style parlor exhibits many of the popular elements of this style - busy groupings/collections on the wall, richly colored and trimmed upholstery, paisley and other layers of patterns.

Rich colors of emerald green painted panels, a deeply tufted and patterned sofa and a Cabinet of Curiosities collection are displayed on the table.

Notice the busy patterned fabric/wallpapered walls covered with a collection of art, dramatic benches and the bullion trimmed sofa - typical of the Bohemian style.

A bedroom that would give me a sleepless night with its highly patterned rug, deep tufted bed and so many little photos and collections.  Pretty certain I would worry where the spiders are hiding!

During research, the Bohemian style started the wheels turning and, because of my background - I ended up in interior design.  Bohemian style in interior design incorporates so many elements and styles - it is difficult to place a finger on the hallmark elements.  Bright intense colors, busy Moorish influenced patterns, Ikat/Suzani fabrics and wallpapers, collections of all sorts, bullion trims, the whimsy of a Cabinet of Curiosities and details... details... details!  It is an exhausting visual experience reminding one of an explosion of color and styles, or possibly even a bit like the home of an eccentric grandmother!

A pierced metal lantern is indicative of the Moorish influence in the Bohemian style, but used in such a small dose, this space is restful and interesting.

Tory Burch Office.  The details of the bullion trimmed sofa with Suzani pillows and a small collection of plates, seems a perfect balance of Bohemian influence for an American designer.

Love the Moorish influenced arched tub enclosure!

Playing nicely here - this Cabinet of Curiosities is rather tame when compared to the weirdness of others and the French cabinets are simply to die for!

Via Cote de Texas.  There are definitely some Bohemian influences here - the Nantes toile  shower curtain (similar to an Ikat style), highly decorative blue and white tiles and the metal lantern.  All of this looks gorgeous, when simplified. 

Bohemian is not my favorite style, but I do love some of the elements in a more simplified manner.  Taken in all together - it is a nightmare!  After studying some of these images, I realized, I do relate to some of the Bohemian style elements - not only in interior design, but in my jewelry designs. 

Lots of detail and a touch of dagger danger in this necklace, but the use of clear icy stones keeps a more modern Bohemian esthetic. Krystal Necklace. 

Richly colored tourmaline slices and the chandelier style are synonymous with Bohemian designs. Willow Earrings.

Turquoise is certainly a part of the Bohemian Chic experience.  The Byzantine style wrapped cross is perfect as a layering necklace - another staple of the Boho Chic look.  Cameron Cross Necklace.

This heart-shaped silver repousse scent bottle adds just the right touch of whimsy to become an effective long layering necklace partner.  Cressida Necklace.

Above are the four jewelry designs I created for my fantasy Boho Chic Luxe Coachella event.  Can you envision yourself wearing any of these designs? 




Saturday, January 20, 2018

A Sparkling Jewelbox Retreat

It has been many years since I attempted to write a blog post and much in my life has changed.  I think it is time for me to get back to doing my research and writing about the two things I love most - interior design and how it has inspired my jewelry designs.  With that being said - here goes!

Our Vision Board - Because My Hubby Cannot Visualize

Back in the summer of 2016, my husband and I embarked on a total renovation of our master bath and freshening up our master bedroom and another bath near my husband’s office.  I had done lots of research on what I felt I could live with, while simultaneously appealing to the local masses in the event we should want to sell our house and skip away to our retirement.  Arizona is a place where the culture is foreign to me - rustic, masculine and repetitive.  They are just beginning to snap out of a sea of brown and beige!  I on the other hand, I have had Calcutta marble and soft grey with pale aqua in the kitchen and family room for over seven years.

Old Bath With Curved Glass Block Shower Wall, Boxed Soaking Tub and Ginormous Soffits!

It was decided that the huge master bath should have the same white/gray Calcutta marble on the floors, shower and countertops.  A boxed in soaking tub would be removed and a free-standing tub would replace it.  The natural stained cabinets with enormous overhead soffits would be replaced with more classic white cabinets that included towers to accentuate the height of the ceiling and add storage.  The curved glass block shower wall would be removed, straightened and replaced with a glass shower door, adding a bench and dual shower heads (one stationary and the other hand-held).  The shower renovation would also remove the step-up/step-down portion of the floor so the generous shower could become wheelchair accessible, if ever needed.

Shower Mayhem With Curved Glass Block Wall Removed

All of this planning was done with the idea that our community seems to have many retired residents with various needs.  As we all know, aging in place has become the preferred option as we get older and studies have confirmed that the elderly do better when they can stay in their homes.  However, the interior designer in me still wanted to have the bathroom look beautiful for the present time, with small alterations that could be easily added, if needed in the future for another resident. 

Our Entire Living Room/Dining Room/Foyer Became A Storage Unit During This Renovation!

Why Did I Think I Could Leave The Crew Unattended For  Few Hours???  Pink"X" Tiles Were Removed

With all that in mind, we embarked on what was supposed to be a 6 week project, which realistically, I never thought would be finished in that time frame!  We encountered many bumps in the road because most trades people  here just really do not understand quality and/or proportions (resulting in a partial rip out of mismatched marble and redo of the upper cabinet towers because they were just too deep). 

Hours Were Spent With The Marble Installers In Order To Attempt To Match Up The Veining

So Much Better Without Those Ginormous Soffits.  Water Lines Were Moved To Add A Tub Filler Under The Window.  NOT A Good Plan For Cold Weather Climates... But We Live In AZ!

These Venetian Glass Mirrors Hung Over Plate Glass Require Detailed Planning.  Many Nerve Wracking Hours Of Repairing These Delicate Mirrors As They Arrived Slightly Damaged 

The Antique Armoire Replaced The Built In Linen Cabinet.  I Filled The Interior With Neatly Folded Linens And A Collection Of Blue Opaline Glass

Hubby Really Put Up A Fuss When I Informed Him I Had Called In Classy Closets.  Now He Thinks It Was A GREAT Idea!

The Glass Closet Doors Were Added To Help Keep Out Dust - My Mortal Enemy Living In Arizona!

All in all, this seven month project with all its delays and blips turned out more or less just as I had envisioned.  It had been about seven years since my last design project (my kitchen/family room) and it made me very happy to be able to get back in the trenches.  The last piece of the puzzle was put into place when the antique armoire was finally delivered (since the photo - painting completed) to replace the built in linen cabinet which was removed to enlarge the adjacent closet.  Would I tackle this project again - you bet?!  I am afraid I have been spoiled by the soft beauty of this bathroom and the enormous size. 

Madonna & Child Necklace

Cateline II Layering Necklace
Clementine Bracelet

Bree Aquamarine Necklace

Dara Diamond & Moonstone Earrings

Brooklyn Gray Moonstone Necklace

Through all of this turmoil I was still making jewelry that seemed to repeat the delicate colors of the new bath.  Many of those pieces have since sold, but the newest designs still have the gentle colors, which remain a favorite - white, dove gray, pale aqua blue and gold.