26 April 2009

Cocooning By the Sea

When the gods amuse themselves for a couple of weeks by hurling thunderbolts and firesticks your way, you need to retreat to rustic peace. For us, that means driving 15 miles due west, to the Pacific Ocean, to a hideaway where we love to pause and regroup. 

The Front Approach

A Welcoming Room

The Back Garden

Original Zoological Study Print, Plover Eggs, ca. 1840

Sea Urchins, ca. 1795

Japanese Amaryllis Print, ca. 1885

Wonderful German Woodblock Print

Inviting and Sheltering Yellow Linen Bed

We hike through the cypress forest on the bluffs high above the seal cove, we make a fire to chase away the coastal chill, we sip wine and listen to jazz/blues. We feast on local seafood. We murmur approvingly over the collection of original woodblock prints. We explore the lavender garden and feed the bunny rabbits. We zone out. 

Then before long, we lift our heads up, raise our fists to the skies. We are ready.

Bring on the thunderbolts....the gods are no match for us after a bit of coastal therapy! 


19 April 2009

*How Chic Was My Green* : FLOORS

If you have always yearned to be Green and Chic, but found the "natural oatmeal" look just a little too...woolly..., your time has come to shine. On the floor, that is.

Just LOOK at these delectable choices: bamboo, cork, carpet. No one would ever guess you were green down there! No, when your uber chic friends come over for a little soiree, they will approve and they won't even know just how sustainable you are. 

Neapolitan Bamboo  from Smith & Fong

Cork in Classically Cool Patterns from Globus Cork

"Hello Down There" from FLOR

"If There Be Thorns" from FLOR

Modern Mix in Cream/Beige from FLOR

Modern Mix in Greens from FLOR

"Wild Bamboo"

They will just know that you have that certain je ne sais quoi.  While they are ooohing and ahhing over your enviable and amazing elegance, you can duck into the kitchen and give yourself a little self-hug for being so kind to our Mother Earth. After all, she got you this far didn't she? 

Now her time has come to shine!


08 April 2009

On a Roll at Deyrolle

If you love the natural world as much as I do, but find that the things outside in your neighborhood are just a little...bland....come to Deyrolle in Paris. On the Rue du Bac tucked into the second floor of a venerable old building, you will enter a wondrous place, this designer's delight (the Prince Jardinier, Louis Albert de Broglie, has restored it beautifully from the devastating fire last year!)

If the Pottery Barn on steriods look just isn't cutting it for you anymore, and you want to inject excitement and wonder into your interiors, consider adding a little local color from Mother Nature. She will forgive you for lusting after her exquisite exotica and wanting to take it home.

But she will never forgive you if her treasures languish in your attic.

Kit Golson for Chic Provence
for chic, sustainable interior design solutions

07 April 2009

Les Barbotines....A Walk on the Wild Side

Along the sub-tropical Gulf Coast, I grew up with a gripping and visceral fear of snakes. O, the stories I could tell you.

When you are four years old and wake up from your summer hammock slumber on the screened porch of the beach cottage to see a rattle snake coiled in the branches of the scrub oak three feet away from your head, it stays with you. Yikes!

a platter by Palissy, 16th C

a plate by Palissy, 16th C

detail of Palissy platter, 16th C

So is it any wonder that I stare with fascinated horror at the captivating ceramics work of Bernard Palissy and those who have followed in his footsteps?

Leave it to the French to make snakes extremely glamorous. And leave it to a French woman to create an uber-uber chic salon at the juncture of Rue du Bac and Rue de l'Universite in Paris filled with just such barbotines as these.

My friend Laurence Vauclair and les barbotines are synonymous in France. Just around the corner from Deyrolle and Christian Liaigre, she occupies a spot in Paris dear to my designer's heart.

I can't think of Laurence without thinking about the Belle Epoque and Napoleon III eras in French ceramics. Think of those exotic birds, fish, crustaceans, fruit, flowers, vegetables and snakes in brilliant colors (to brighten le jardin d'hiver for the very rich who had low tolerance for Paris' grey winters) on platters, compotes, assiettes, vases, ewers.

taking snakes in a new direction, 16th C

a modern Palissy ware piece, just a snake for its own sake!

Think about how these excesses of handcrafting would look in our modern, sleek interiors. Unexpected? Yes, and deliciously shocking.



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