Friday, January 28, 2011

The Red Cross Designers' Showhouse 2011

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Red Cross Designers' Showhouse, located in a Mediterranean home on the intracoastal of West Palm Beach, at 3000 North Flagler Drive. Last year, the designers were challenged to work in smaller-scale spaces in the four City-Place condominiums used for the Showhouse. This year, they've got an 8,000 square-foot home to work with! 15 designers were given free reign to transform their assigned spaces within the house, yet the spaces ended up relating to each other with some degree of cohesion. Last year, White House designer-elect Michael Smith was the honorary chair of the Red Cross Showhouse. This time, Editor-in-chief of Traditional Home magazine, Ann Omvig Maine, gave the opening day lecture on the subject of 'Signature Style.'
Here's a look at the exterior of the house, and several of the interior spaces:
{Classic new-construction Mediterranean-style West Palm exterior. Photo via the Sun-Sentinel.}

 {The cool, traditional blue and white family room, designed by Lisa Erdmann.}

{Shells on display in the family room bring in the intracoastal setting on view out the window.}

{Mimi Masri chose the punchy chartreuse sofa for her living room seating area. Designing an intimate space in a room with 28-foot ceilings is quite a challenge!}

{The library was designed by Joseph Pubillones, who incidentally designed my dentist's office. You'd never know the same person had created both spaces! My dentist's office is art deco-sleek while this room is an eclectic mix of contemporary and classical art accented by vibrant colors.}

{The decor on the first-floor loggia, with its spectacular views, was designed by Michael Powers}

 {Designer Michael Powers in the crisp-yet-soft loggia. Image credit here.}

{Jennifer Garrigues created this colorful seating area on the second floor landing.}

{Detail from the vignette above. Almost no matter where you find it, vibrant Hermes orange adds a welcome dash of richness and warmth!}

{A restrained, cool palette with textural interest provided by lucite, metallic lamps, lush upholstery and grass flooring define the guest bedroom. Katherine Shenaman is the designer.}

 {The loggia on the second floor has a romantic, island feel with lush plants, rustic wood, soft curtains, and pops of citrus. Designed by Veronica Volani-Inza.}

(Stephen Mooney designed this lounge area in the master bedroom. The soft colors are very soothing.}

{Designer Joseph Pubillanos created a very DIY side table with these stacked books. Someone's been studying his Kelly Wearstler!}

{This serene green and beige upstairs seating area has a view of the intracoastal. Designed by Joseph Cortes.}

{A Zen accessory supports the calm feel created in parts of the showhouse.}

 {Here's the pool area, with a view of the upper and lower loggias. The perfect spot for a party.}

{Sleek wood poolside recliners}

The showhouse runs from January 20th - February 20th, Monday through Saturday, 10 am-5 pm. Tickets are $30 per person, with all proceeds benefiting the American Red Cross.

All images except where noted were taken by Ray Graham for the Palm Beach Post.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Romantic at Heart

I love John Saladino's work. For me, the feeling he creates in his rooms evokes something close to rustic winters in New England, summers in Italy, and a romantic sense of ancient Rome. (Minus the gladiators, torture devices, lack of proper plumbing, etc.)

{John Saladino, architect and interior designer.}

It's rare to find a designer who creates spaces that are very romantic and yet pared down. A soft, romantic room is often synonymous with billowy curtains, frills, and too many pillows with too many patterns, but not in Saladino's world. He transforms the surfaces in a space such that the quality of light resonates like a painting. Saladino has been quoted as saying, "I think of interiors as a walk-in still life, not unlike a painter who gathers objects on a table to paint, but more precisely chosen and arranged. Therefore, I see the spaces in between and consequently, I am also concerned with that which you leave out." His painterly approach is quite evident in these photographs.

{Who but Saladino can make rustic columns look so great, and not at all forced? Image via here}

 {Yes, a famous room, but worth yet another posting. Image via here}

{That pale celadon paint in the foyer adds just the right amount of color. Image via here}

{His classic color palette in full glory. Image via here}

 {Yes, the table has a voluptuous skirt, but it's done to perfection. Image via here}

 {One of Saladino's signatures is creating seating areas with table-height "coffee tables." They definitely add character, and--on a purely practical note--are very dog friendly. Unless you have a Great Dane, I suppose. Then the table might be a bit too dog friendly.}

{I love the inviting outdoor seating areas he creates. They're at once lived in and beautiful.}

 {Saladino's style evokes old world charm so fully that it's hard to imagine how he'd create a contemporary kitchen. The floors here add rustic appeal while all the finishes blend together in his signature calming, muted style.}

{Saladino's attention to detail around walls and edges elevate his work to a high level. Image credit here}

{Saladino is an architect, too, after all. So let's not forget his fantastic exteriors! Patricia Gray posted a nice profile of Saladino's architecture and garden design. Click here to see it.}

{This space is from Saladino's own home, a restored ruin in Montecito, CA, which he carefully worked on over a period of five years. His book, Villa, traces his process.}

 {Another image from Saladino's home, from the book, Villa.}

{This is an interior shot from Saladino's apartment. Purple seems to be his favorite accent color. Image via Cote de Texas}

{Saladino's Montecito villa kitchen. Rustic meets cutting edge. Image via here}

{Another shot of Saladino's villa. Image via here}

In 2009, Saladino was asked to create a space inspired by a film. He chose director Peter Webber's The Girl With The Pearl Earring, which explores the life of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. There's a wonderful post about it over at A Thoughtful Eye blog, which really demonstrates Saladino's painterly approach to interior design. You can read about it here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Orchid season has begun in South Florida. And by that I mean you can find gorgeous specimens for sale all over the place. It's not unusual to see crazy roadside deals along the lines of 4 or 5 for $20. This means almost anyone can turn their home into an orchid paradise! (Just imagine all the orchids your Starbucks allowance can buy! And the buzz lasts longer, too!) True orchid hobbyists will want to collect a variety of specimens such that an orchid will be in bloom at all times of year in their home, but I'm just thrilled to have gorgeous, long-blooming plants around the house. (Blooms can last up to 3 months or so, with proper care! Take THAT ridiculously over-priced, short-lived floral bouquets!)

{The stunning, classic Phalaenopsis orchid}

The question is, once the luscious blooms have faded, how do you encourage the orchid to bloom again? (No, I'm not using marriage therapy metaphors here. It's just plant-talk.)

{Hello, magenta!}

On the one hand, I know from experience that if you leave your orchid alone after it blooms and take good care of it (which includes regular fertilizing), it will likely bloom again, eventually. (Although I do live in South Florida, a.k.a the Tropics, which might give me an advantage in the orchid-care arena.) In my case, it took about a year for my orchids to bloom again. But like most Americans, I'm impatient, so I decided to do a bit of research to find out if I could make my orchids bloom sooner. According to the experts, if you cut the stem of the orchid an inch above the second joint (or bract) above the base after its blooms have faded, it might produce a new shoot and bloom again (with smaller flowers).

{This is a node or bract. Cut the stem about 1" above the 2nd bract from the base, after the blooms have faded. With any luck, your orchid will bloom again.}

Here's a video explaining how, when, and where to cut your orchid stem, depending on the plant's appearance and needs:

Few accessories are as lovely by a bedside or on an end table as an orchid in bloom. Some interior designers, like Hutton Wilkinson, will only use orchids in their interiors, relegating all other plants to the landscaping.

 {A blooming orchid ratchets up the glamour quotient when placed bedside the bed.}

I must admit, as much as I love my orchids, I do feel a bit demanding asking them to bloom even MORE than a few months a year, but I'll be giving the ol' stem-trim a whirl once the flowers on my lovelies have faded. I'll keep you posted.

E-how has a lot of helpful information about caring for orchids. Check it out here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Art Palm Beach 2011

 My fiance and I zipped over to the Palm Beach Convention Center today to check out this year's Art Palm Beach art fair, and I must say, I think it was even better than last year's show. 75 prestigious art galleries showcased the work of artists from around the world, with a predominant emphasis on contemporary material. The exhibit included painting, sculpture, photography, video installations, art glass, and fine jewelry. The show is smaller and much more manageable than Art Basel, in terms of trying to take it all in in one visit, and the "attitude" quotient wasn't quite as omnipresent, either, despite the event having record-breaking attendance. Here's some of what we saw:

{Detail from a stunning photograph by Nick Brandt.}

 {From the Beach Series by photographer James Sparshatt}

We had the opportunity to meet James Sparshatt at Blue Leaf Gallery's booth where his work was on display. He's a very friendly British artist whose work has been widely exhibited and used in prominent advertising campaigns as well as being featured in magazines like Elle, GQ, and Tatler. He explained to us that his intention behind this particular series, the Beach Series, was to capture the euphoria of childhood, when the distance between strangers beside you at the beach would dissolve in the shared bonding over the thrill of the waves. Sparshatt typically celebrates positive human interaction and emotion in his work, and has photographed Latin America and Cuba extensively.

 {From the Beach Series by photographer James Sparshatt}

  {From the Beach Series by photographer James Sparshatt}

 {"Mid Mouse," Red Grooms. My mother loves Red Grooms' work, so I had to include this one.}

 {"Vincent," Alex Katz}

 {This was live art, created by Marc Quinn}

 {Marc Quinn}

 {This was a sizeable installation at the heart of the show, entitled, "Extension and Half Sphere," by Jesus Soto.}

 {"Camille Claudel Series III," Piet van den Boog}

{"The Diamond One," Robert Indiana}

{"Strong Love," Robert Longo}

{"Yellow in Blue Vessel Display," Dante Marioni}

 {"Blue Head Gear" from the Boxing Series, Jerome Lagarrigue}

 {This is a very surreal painting by Roberto Fabelo. I didn't catch the name of it, but it appears to be a pot full of mermaids!}

 {One of photographer Jean Francois Rauzier's images. This is really engrossing in person--much detail is lost through my reproduction, but I recommend checking out his work if you like this kind of thing. I felt like I could walk into this grand, strange theater and enter another world!}

 {Painting by Oswaldo Vigas}

{Another Oswaldo Vigas painting}

 {Here's my fiance standing next to a taxidermy piece: a two headed goose with the body of a deer or some such creature!}

{"Three Black Horses," Steven Pace}

{Painting by Claudia Alvarez. I really like her work, and apparently she's a rising star in the art world, with many of her pieces having sold quickly at Art Miami.}

 {Another Claudia Alvarez painting}

{Creepy-compelling child sculpture by Claudia Alvarez. Apparently, she draws greatly from childhood experiences and reinterprets her adult friends by envisioning in them as children with very human fears and traits.}

 {This is a funny David Kramer piece. According to his rep, he doesn't have a great sense of humor, and he knows when one of his pieces is finished when he's able to stand back from it and burst out laughing. I think his stuff is fantastic.}

 {David Kramer again}

 {David Kramer}

{Lord Russ sneaking a lick from a giant popsicle, of course. Artist unknown}

Art Palm Beach was full-to-bursting this year, and I really enjoyed talking to several artists who filled us in on the backstory behind their work. There were many compelling pieces of art that I didn't photograph, either because they were difficult to capture, or due to the crowd. I'll be researching some of the artists I discovered today, and I'll cover some of them in greater depth in my Artist of the Week feature. I only wish we didn't have to wait until next year for another big dose of international contemporary art!