Blog Archives

The New Home Beete Boudoir

May 15, 2010
Silver Spring, Maryland

I’ve been working on converting my “junk” closet into a walk-in clothes closet. Surprisngly simply changing which closet I hang my clothes in has made a huge difference in me actually hanging them up (as opposed to piling them on the bed for weeks and weeks as the sleeping space grows smaller and smaller. . . but I digress).

I bought this poster years ago on EBay—before I’d even been to Au Bon Marche for real—and had it mounted “billboard-style.” I almost gave it away as it’s been in storage for a few years, but I’m glad I never got around to it.  The letterpress print is by Dylan Fareed courtesy of 20×200.com in a giltwod thrifted frame. I’m also rebuilding my milk glass collection, which sorta disappeared somewhere between Takoma Park and Silver Spring.

This was my weekend project. This is one side of a triptych of framed screen that was made for hanging jewelry. I think it works better as a one-sie myself. (The ceramic tile is also thrifted—I bought it because it reminded me of how much I loved visiting New Mexico.)

The screen on this panel was ripped, so I just tore it all off and jerry-rigged something from strips of fancy yarn and hookeye screws.  I had actually seen something similar on one of the blogs I follow—an empty photo frame with the earrings hung from wire stretched across the back.—and I’d been dying to try it. (BTW, the middle section, which also has five pegs for necklaces, is currently under the coffee table awaiting its final upcycling.)

As you can tell I sorta buy green earrings obsessively. Seeing them all hanging in a row every time I walk by the closet (both earring frames are on the outside walls of the closet) is making me very happy indeed.

Look! (NYC version)

Can fish be jolie laide?

Synneve: Why are you taking a picture of this window?

Me: Cause it’s cool.

Synneve: (unconvinced) Oh.

Uhm Synneve, did I mention that I take pictures of everything these days?

At the opening for the new Hot Shots show at Jen Bekman gallery: “I know, I google-stalked you.”

View from Taxi #1

View from Taxi, #2

I think they’re missing the point . . .

Dans le vitrine (which I hope means “in the window”)

Here kitty kitty . . .

Whatchu looking at?

Beautiful  ladies (who made me smile when I stopped to  chat with them and buy a photograph—from the lady on the left—while strolling down Fifth Avenue, around the 40s . .  )

Look! (2/21/10)

“1 + 1” (Bedroom, Sligo Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland)

Here’s my Dylan Fareed letterpress print from 20×200.com in a frame I bought at the Grace Episcopal thrift store yesterday for $1.00. I like how the baroque frame both contrasts with and complements the unadorned but rounded font of the text. You can’t tell from this picture, but the frame is gilded wood, which  makes me think of the actual wooden blocks used for handprinting. I was fortunate enough to speak with Dylan on Friday (for work), and I learned that his art practice is primarily about collaboration. So not only is it quite rare to have a piece for which he is both artist and printer, but the sentiment speaks very much to who he is as an artist (though, I think it was actually inspired by a love affair). It’s also a good reminder to me that sometimes I need to ask for help and stop going it alone all the time. Practice makes perfect (or something close), right?

Hitting the Links (2/1/10)

“Through the Snow at Dusk” (Charlotte, North Carolina, January 29, 2010)

Pretty as a Postcard. I love this series of street scenes by illustrator Lehel Kovacs. Each view is based on a Google Map street view. The colors remind me of hand-colored vintage postcards, and the lettering has a mid-century feel to me. It doesn’t look like any of the street views are for sale, but you can check out buyable prints—like the cheeky (pun intended) beach volleyball diptych—in his online shop. (via Cool Hunting)

Flower Power. I’m loving these paintings by Australian artist John Baird. His use of color and pattern feels both formalized and “visionary”  to me. Sort of like when someone writes a sonnet that hues more to vernacular than heightened language. By which I mean, buy me one, okay? Preferably Elsie, Flora, or Gertrude. (via dear ada)

Get it Together. I’ve been really enjoying this collection-a-day blog by the artist Lisa Congdon. I love that she’s documenting her collections both real and imaginary. It’s interesting not just to see Lisa’s trove of treasures, but also to see how people react to them. Today’s grouping of owls, for example, reminded me of watching Mr. Rogers. It also made me start to ponder why owls have had such resonance for me lately. A search for wisdom perhaps? As a side note, Lisa also had a folk-arty/60s-ish print on 20 x 200.com the other day.

Tea Off. Just because the kitchen is a place of eminent practicality, it doesn’t mean it can’t be pretty too. I love these graphic tea towels by studiopatro. They’re a little pricy, until you consider that they might just help put a smile on your face when you have to tackle a sink full of dishes or wipe down the counter after a near-fatal food processor accident. Not to mention they make a heckuva housewarming giftie.  I’m partial to the Fig/Fern and Facade patterns myself. (via Fine Little Day)

Great Scots! I love this sneak peek into the home of Rosie Brown, mother of Verity Belle (sweet!) and proprietrix of Papa Stour, one of my wish list stores. I love all the commissioned artisan work in their house, especially the driftwood shelf and the backsplash behind the sink in the bathroom. Anyone up for a quick jaunt to Scotland with me in August? (via design*sponge)

For the Heart of Art. I’m loving these abstract-ish paintings by Tyson Anthony Roberts. They feel like a contemporary take on paint-by-numbers, in which each shape is broken into color blocks. I also love the elongated ovals that Roberts uses as “building blocks.” They remind me of the wee plug-in lites from the Lite Brite sets of my  kidhood. (And yes, now the jingle is stuck in my head: Lite Brite, making things with liiiggghte, Lite Brite . . . ). Lucky for you, Messr. Roberts also has been a featured artist on 20×200.com recently so you can spend some pennies on “The Garden,” which I read as a riff on Seurat’s “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.” (via Aesthetic Outburst)

Art Works. As both artist and collector, it warms my cockles to know just how many visual artists are selling editions to raise money for the relief efforts in Haiti. Here’s a link to an auction on Flickr that’ll be taking place until February 14th. With more than 155 images up for grabs to date, you’re sure to find something that can grace your walls as well as advance grace to Haiti. And if you’re a photographer—amateur or otherwise—consider joining the group pool. You’ve got nothing to lose and the potential to give a whole lot. (via 20×200 blog)

A Picture a Day (1/23/10)

“Still Life with Afghan” (Silver Spring, Maryland)

I bought this afgham for a few dollars at a thrift shop at University and Piney Branch. I sewed the pillow in the middle from a vintage scarf, and the Eiffel Tower pillow from a tea towel. The butterfly pillow is from Now & Then. You can’t really see the lamp, but I inherited it from Cate and found the celluloid lamp shade at Moonshadow Antiques. A lot of the art on the wall is from 20 x 200.com. The center picture is the first fine art piece I ever bought. It’s of the Green Mill during the day, and I agonized about spending $100 for it. I was shocked when I went to pick it up, and all they handed me was the unframed photo. I’m feeling very Eggleston-esque.

A blog, a bookstore, and a boy who draws things

rsz_womanwaiting5182008_artworkimage_1“Woman Waiting” by Jason Polan from Every Person in New York (Image courtesy of 20×200.com)

I’m fresh out of raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, but not to worry, I’ve still got a few of my favorite things to rave about. . .

The Blog: I discovered Orangette a few days ago by way of a can’t-wait-for-it-to-be-yummy-in-my-tummy  recipe for salsa verde and potatoes. (Editors Note: I made and took pix of the recipe this weekend. Expect a post soon, by which I mean, whenever I get around to downloading the pix.) Molly Wizenberg is a Seattle-based home chef-foodwriter turned home chef-food writer-restauranteur. I love her voice and the pix she takes and generally if I lived in Seattle, I’d be pining for her to be my best friend. (And I”m not just saying that because she’s also got a thing for poetry and has spent oodles of time in Paris and now owns a pizzeria.)

The Bookstore: I’m ashamed to admit that I can’t remember who introduced me to The Little Bookroom, but thank you whoever you are. These gorgeous little travel books are worth buying even if you never quite make it out of the armchair and onto the aeroplane.  Whether your want a catalog of all the shops in Paris selling handmade items or you want to eat your way through Tuscany or if you’ve a hankering to find out where to get the best cocktails in Buenos Aires, The Little Bookroom has a guide for you. Not to mention journals for capturing every detail and literary essays—such as E.B. White’s ever-fresh Here is New York—to keep you company on the plane ride. And by the by, they’re having a sale now so you can score bonus points for being ye olde thrifty shopper.

The Boy: Jason Polan likes to draw things. A lot of things. Like giraffes. And every piece of art in New York’s Museum of Modern Art. I first discovered Jason through 20×200.com when the $20 featured offering was photocopies of his hands. I especially loved that particular artwork because for weeks it made me debate whether or not that was art. I then spent the next few weeks kicking myself because I missed out on one of the 20×200 lower-priced editions of his “Every Person in New York” series. Since then, I’ve spent an awful lot of time wishing drawing could be my super power. Lucky for me, it’s Jason’s. And I’m hoping to snag one of his “10 Things of Mine and One of Yours” portfolios in the near future. So now you know all about Jason Polan. You’re welcome. (p.s. Click here to browse the Jason Polan editions on 20×200.com.)

No animals were harmed in the writing of this post

TordBoontje

Buona sera, bon soir, and hola.

So, I’ve been toying with the idea of sending a Home Beete! questionnaire to some friends with groovy pads. I thought perhaps I’d take a test run and be my own guinea pig. Feel free to chime in on which questions you wish I’d ask–instead of, in addition to, which ones are a big yawn, and which ones floated your boat, revved your engine, and did other good stuff.

(Editor’s note: Wow, reading these questions and knowing I have to answer them just made me quite anxious. Sigh . . . )

Viewfromfrontdoor

THB: Where do you live?

Paulette: I live in Silver Spring, Maryland in a one-bedroom apartment with loads of closet space. Yes, I am boasting.

THB: What’s your favorite room and why?

Paulette: The living room. I have comfy couches, art I enjoy looking at, my gorgeous Gee’s Bend cotton rugs (bought majorly on sale), and a new TV with cable. It’s the first room I’ve put together that made me think I just might have some decent interior design instincts.

THB: What’s your favorite piece of art or memento or plain old thing in your home?

Paulette: That’s a hard one since my place is somewhat things-central. One of my favorites is my 20×200.com print of Sarah McKenzie’s “Lift.” (Not pictured below, sorry.)  It’s a painting of a crane–the industrial kind–in bright colors, and it makes me ridiculously happy every time I see it.

Art

THB: Describe your aesthetic in three words.

Paulette: Paris apartment Bloomsbury-style

THB: What’s the best piece of decorating advice you ever got?

Paulette: Learn to edit. You don’t have to have everything  you love out all at the same time. It’s okay to swap things in and out. It’s also okay to periodically rearrange your rooms until they feel Goldilocks-right.

THB: What’s on your home wish list?

Paulette: I’d love to have another Tord Boontje chandelier. I’d also love to have ceiling space to put another Tord Boontje chandelier.

Chandeliercloseup

THB: What do you do at home?

Paulette: Read, write, dream, putter. What don’t I do nearly enough–dust/vacuum/straighten up. I am, however, pretty good about washing the dishes!

THB: What one item that you can’t bring yourself to part with should really go to the Salvation Army or freecycle or the trash?

Paulette: I’ve actually been on a clearing-out kick, and I’m both horrified and fascinated that after three or four trips to the thrift store, I still haven’t run out of things to give away. I probably should get rid of the broken vintage clock I have that I bought when I decided to give into my genetic predisposition for clock fancying.

Mirrorscloseup

THB: Got color?

Paulette: I live in a rental, so everything’s kinda beige. If I was motivated, I’d either repaint everything Benjamin Moore’s Decorator White, which is great for backgrounding art and won’t piss off a landlord, or I’d commit to picking a color–Paris gray? turquoise?–and painting some accent walls.

THB: Any last words?

Paulette: What I love best about my apartment is that it “looks” like me.

You had me at “Wednesday greetings collectors”

So you know how I said I’d probably mention 20×200.com at least a billion times over the life of this blog, well, you can start counting.

Wednesday’s one of my favorite days because that’s when the 20×200 photography edition arrives. Today featured a double edition from Chinese photographer Shen Wei, and it was love at first sight for the first photo in the pair, “Blessing over the Rice Machine, Guiyang, Guizhou Province.” (The second half of the pair is gorgeous too, it just didn’t –to paraphrase Emily Dickinson–blow the top of my head off.)

I’ve been very drawn to industrial stuff lately, especially scenes that have a certain air of neglect, or maybe I’m responding to a sense of age, of staying power despite or in spite of. . . . In this particular photograph I think it’s especially  the luminous colors that draw me in, that pop of green in the lower right, the earthy paper of the blessing. Maybe I like the idea that there is aesthetic satisfaction to be found in even the most seemingly unaesthetic settings . Something about the composition feels almost postcard-like to me, in the sense that there’s a whole story waiting to be unpacked within the borders of the frame. This is one of those images that I could be lost in for a long long time.

I think I’m going to mosy over to 20×200.com and see if there’re still any $20 editions left to order. I encourage you to do the same (but not if you’re getting the last one and leaving me heartbroken . . . )

More later, since I still have to report back on my finds at this weekend’s Handmade Mart in my hood.

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