Archive for December, 2011

New Years Eve always makes me think of excess, in dress, food and drink, so why not interiors? Before leaving town this holiday season I was searching back issues of shelter magazines and came across the folded down corner on Jennifer Nicholson’s quirky and charming California home in an old House and Garden. Firmly printed in my memory for years were the blue and white porcelain and all the shells, but I had forgotten she had a crystal ship chandelier too. Like some of the photos I wanted for my previous post, I left the issue on the “to be scanned” pile, but never got to it, so luckily for me Moodboard has put them all in – thanks!

As 2011 closes, the post I’ve Been Missing Muriel Brandolini has become one of my most popular interior design posts. Interest in her continues to be at an all time high, but I secretly believe the hook that keeps everyone coming back over and over again is her precious crystal ship chandelier. To see it over the years, in multiple spots in her house, click on over to the post – I am sure you’ll agree with me.

Over the years, there have been others saved in my design files, including the one featured in Nanette Lepore’s Jonathan Adler designed apartment.

Katie Leede used one to add whimsy to an overly serious NYC dining room.

And this soft blue and grey room has been floating around blogland a lot too.

One place I have routinely seen them over the years is along the Dixie Highway antiquing strip in West Palm Beach. I thought I’d get out to do some live antiquing while in Florida for a few days, but looks like family commitments (can anyone say Harry Potter World?) may keep me from getting there for the first time in years, so I may have to be satisfied with some theoretical browsing.

As usual, 1stdibs has had some amazing examples, but in particular, this art deco one from Jonathan Burden has really caught my eye. Such a fresh and different feel from the others we are used to seeing.

A number of dealers are selling this classic Bagues example, at wildly different prices.

For those of you really looking to accessorize in the New Year, a pair of earrings?

That pair too glitzy for you? What about these simpler and older ones from Kevin Stone?

For even more glamour, marry a hot air balloon to a galleon. I am not sure what to call this combo from Linda Horn, but it would certainly make a statement!

And if it is just the ship, but not the crystal you are after, there are quite a few choices out there too.

Like the key to any good outfit, adding just the right amount of bling is key…

Related Posts:
I’ve Been Missing Muriel Brandolini
Colorful Stair Risers, June Magazines and Muriel Brandolini
Image credits: 1. House & Garden August 2006, photo credit: Paul Costello, via Moodboard, 2. House & Garden October 1997, photo credit: Francois Hallard, 3. Elle Decor September 2008 photo credit: William Waldron, 4. Katie Leede via CocoCozy, 5. Lili Diallo via Apartment Therapy, 6-13. via 1stdibs

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Of course the photo I want is sitting in a “to be scanned” pile back in Tokyo, while I am sitting in a relatively warm and sunny Florida, so I’ll have to settle for the dining room of Mari Ann and Michael Maher’s Llewellyn Park home, but I wish I could have the kitchen too. Their house, featured in the July 2007 Elle Decor remains my touchstone of the perfect family home, and I have shown the living room here before. I wish the Elle Decor online photos were as complete as the magazine – they lack the exterior in addition to the kitchen and perhaps a few others. The house is beautifully historical, gorgeously but comfortably furnished, with a feeling that every space is used and used well. I can think of no better spot than this dining room for Christmas dinner. But what I really want to focus on is that collection of transferware straight back in the cabinet against the wall. I know the photo of the kitchen has some hanging on the walls too, so it may be irresistible to add it when I get back to Tokyo after the New Year.

English Staffordshire dishes, routinely called transferware, have been on my mind a lot lately. To basically quote myself,  “transfer printing was invented in England in 1756 and developed as an inexpensive way to recreate the characteristics of the hand painted underglaze blue ceramics of China and Japan. Ironically, transfer printing does not become popular in Japan until the late 19th century, but modern-day markets abound with transfer printed pieces that show it eventually did.” These Japanese transfer printed pieces, referred to as inban, are one of the absolute bargains to be found at almost any shrine sale or antique show.

English transferware was predominantly blue and white, but red, brown, black, yellow, purple and green were also made, particularly for export as well as much brown in the later 19th century aesthetic pieces.

In Japan, 90% of the printed inban is blue and white, and easily mixed and matched. I often push clients towards them as an alternative to the modern inexpensive dishes found at those large discount outlets. But much rarer than the blue and white, thus making them more fun to collect, are the green and white pieces, perfect for Christmas dining tables right now, but also for everyday use. Already having an extensive lavender and white English transferware collection, carefully brought with me to Japan, I have forced myself to limit my green and white collection to photos only, but find it increasingly hard not to buy. So for a little holiday season cheer, I’ll share my collection and let you all imagine how you might have added these items to your tables, hutches, cabinets or displays.

I think I’ll start with this one, just because the pattern reminds me of a snowflake and seems that much more seasonal.

Butterflies are pretty and a bit special.

Casual chrysanthemum laid over a karakusa background.

A little sho-chiku-bai (pine-bamboo-plum), our classic three friends of winter.

Sakura, or cherry blossom is common…

…as you can see, along with its sister ume (plum). Confused about bai and ume being the same thing? They are the same kanji, just different readings. Remember me mentioning I needed to work on my kanji – that is why I don’t make any progress!

There is a bit of every pattern hidden in these plates. And be sure to remember this bird and flower motif for the very end of the post.

You could think of these as tiny little Christmas trees.

I know there has to be a full story behind this plate – Chinese zodiac maybe? – but I am too lazy to look closely at it right now.

Some basho (banana leaves) in a star-like shape and goldfish swimming in the river.

When you consider how influenced late 19th century English transferware was by Japanese design, it is fun to think about mixing the two! Look closely at the border of the Cashmere pattern platter below from Merlin Antiques and compare the small stylized patterns to those in the Japanese pieces above. Then compare the bird and floral images with those in the plates a few photos above…

Happy Holidays to all!!!!

Related Posts:
Shop Talk…A Great Eye at Les Yeux Noirs
Sho-Chiku-Bai…The Three Friends of Winter: Pine, Bamboo and Plum

Image credits: 1. Elle Decor July 2007, photo credit: William Abranowicz, 2-3 Martha Stewart Living November 1995, last photo via Merlin Antiques, all additional photos by me.

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Finally sat down to enjoy the raved about December/January issue of House Beautiful. I’ll have a lot to say about it in a coming post, but as I turned to the final pages I came to this and my chin hit the ground!

Is there anything that needs to be said about the perfection of Barbara Sallick‘s bathroom after reading what I wrote yesterday? Even the space around the sink/door placement is almost identical to my layout. So hopefully, this is my bathroom’s future one day, just not in the short term. But I continue to solicit ideas on temporary prettiness in the meantime, so keep the comments, all much appreciated, coming! Mary, I love the beadboard idea and could even do a rough rip out of the tile myself if I am putting beadboard over it anyway. Alisha, it is definitely time to get out the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and have a go at that vanity!

But for now I am going to sigh and sigh…

Image credit: House Beautiful December/January 2012, photo credit: Miki Duisterhof

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