29 June 2009

Safe, and Now Lovely & Green Too: Before & After's of the CORA Project

Welcome to a special tour of a very special home...the CORA safe home I have been remodeling and refurbishing is almost ready to provide refuge for women fleeing abusive partners {see "What is the Color of Safety?"}. My friend, architect Roger Hagman invited me to work with him on this project.

I think you will love the transformation! First, the happy AFTER pictures. You can compare these with the BEFORE at the end of the post.


Three Original Paintings for Safe House Living Room
by Kit Golson and Camilla Calder

A Welcoming Mural in Soft Colors in the Hallway
Which is Now a Play Area for Children

The View From the Front Door

A Comfortable "Mother's Chair" Awaits
in One of the Bedrooms

A Completely Remodeled Kitchen with New Appliances,
Cabinets, Bamboo Flooring, Bottlestone Countertop and Backsplash

Additional Storage in the Large Bedroom

A Sunny, Cheerful & Restful Bedroom

A Former Eyesore Center Hall Turned Into
Children's Play Area

A View Towards the Front Door

A Redesigned Dining SpaceIncludes
Sub Zero Refrigerator and Study Area for Teens

A lot of the design plans... transluscent 3-Form cabinet doors on painted green kitchen cabinets, for example, had to be abandoned because of costs. Likewise the art was not donated; an intrepid artist friend visiting from France, Camilla Calder, stepped up to do two of the paintings with me.

I think we've created a lovely, feminine, upbeat and soothing place for these women to call home while they are transforming their own lives. Especially when you consider the BEFORE pictures, below, of the shelter before we began our work.



A Dreary Dining Area

The View From the Front Door

A Smaller Bedroom...Where's a Mother to Sit and Relax?

A Center Hallway Used for
Closet Storage with Curtain Doors

A Cramped and Dreary Large Bedroom

Storage in the Largest Bedroom

The home is being furnished with donations from kind people in the community, with the help of Agnes Moser, a designer and friend. {If you would like to donate towards nice new furnishings, please do!}

I am very proud of our local community. The amazing bamboo flooring, Neopolitan by Plyboo Strand was donated by Smith & Fong of San Francisco. All the tile and the amazing blue Bottlestone countertops were donated by Fireclay Tile in San Jose. The General Electric kitchen appliances were also donated. These donations were secured by the untiring efforts of great designers and friends, Annie Cronin, Lilley Yee and Peggy Deras.

I like to think this home will uplift the battered spirits of the women and children who will live there. What do you think?

elegant sustainable pragmatic
Chic Provence Design

23 June 2009

Creating a Luxurious Sense of Spaciousness

If The Luscious Palettes of Chic Provence left you feeling inspired but more than a little...bereft in this economic downturn, today I am beginning some posts on how to embrace style and elegance while keeping grounded in our recessionist reality. Because the Chic Provence spirit embodies simplicity, spareness and elegance, and thrift is at it's heart.

Space = Luxury

White Floors and Walls Create an Airy Atmosphere and Show Off
the Great Lines of the Bed...Note the Absence of a Bedskirt
Bed designed by Asli Tunca, Photo Courtesy of the amazing Patricia Gray blog

Create empty space. Edit your rooms. Take a strong hard look at what you have, and pare down to the bare essentials. Take another strong look, and pare down even further.

Paint your walls a elegant, light shade of gray, taupe or cream, and use paint with a slight sheen. This will reflect light into the room instead of absorbing it into a flat velvety finish. Ground the room with soubaissements, a different shade or tone of wall color below chair rail height. This will make the room feel larger.

The Spare Monastic Look of Jacqueline Morabito's
Home Near St. Paul de Vence in South of France
Photo Courtesy of my friend Christelle at Interiors blog

Lighten your floors. Stain wood floors with transparent white wash. If at all possible, paint floorboards in the same light, complementary shades as the walls, using a high gloss paint. If you can't paint the floors, find carpeting in these shades. Make a canvas floor covering you paint in these soft, light shades. Or use sisal rugs.

Keeping the Floors and Walls Light Lets this
Chaise in Taupe Linen be the Inviting Star of Le Chambre

Paint your wood furniture in similar shades of light gray, taupe or cream color. Have your upholstered pieces done in linen, or even canvas. This will make the furniture look like it floats against walls and floors in similar shades, creating a light, airy feeling. Avoid pure, stark white in furniture as that will make the piece jump out visually. Make sure to exclude heavy fabrics and skirted furniture from your rooms to enhance the feeling of spaciousness.

Limed Oak Floors, Light Walls. Mirrors and Crystals
Invite Lots of Light Inside
Photo Courtesy of my friend Christelle at Interiors blog

Use lots of mirrors in the room to reflect light and double the visual space. While you're at it, find a great chandelier with crystal drops, and place lots of candles in your room to create layers of light.

Chalky White Floors and Walls With Soubassements in Ochre
Create a Feeling of Openness

Isn't it nice to know that the less you have, in fact the more you have. Of space, light and free time.

A deliciously poignant paradox.


Kit Golson Design

for elegant, sustainable and pragmatic

Chic Provence Interior Design

18 June 2009

You Can Take the Girl Out of the South...

I just can't help it. When it's sunny out (always the case here south of San Francisco:-), I love to hang the towels and bed linens out to dry. 

How green is that? Not to mention the very vintage Sheridan (remember them?) bedsheets circa 1990 that I am still using!

And, yes, that's wisteria and ivy, that's an old branch, there's an Easter Egg Tree tucked in there, that's trelliswork, those are picnic tables and a cake stand on one.

Just waiting for a new guest so I can hand him/her a mint julep and a mess of grits & grillades!


Kit Golson Design 

for elegant, sustainable and pragmatic

 Chic Provence Interior Design

12 June 2009

Rudolf Stingel: Staggering Art From Building Materials

Stairway at the Grand Palais Exhibition, Fall 2008

As an interior designer, it was with great interest that I spotted a silvered insulation panel hanging on the walls of the Biennale des Antiquaires at the Grand Palais in Paris in fall 2008.   

At first glance, I thought it had been an embarrassing oversight on the part of the Facilities Management, but on closer inspection, I found some scrawling across its surface, thus revealing itself as....art. Jarringly incongruous with the usual Bonnards, Bougereaux, and Breugels at this show, I was captivated with this piece. 

2007 Installation at the Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC 
of Silver Insulation Brilliantly Lighted by a Chandelier, 
and Where Visitors Wrote on the Celotex Insulation Boards

1991 Installation of Orange Carpeting as Art in NYC Gallery 

If you ever doubted the ability of color to reflect in your rooms, 
believe it or not, these are white walls 

I wasn't the only person curious at the Paris show in Fall 2008

Further research revealed that its creator, the slightly subversive Rudolf Stingel, has a penchant for using the prosaic everyday tools of my trade...carpeting, insulation, chandeliers....to create stunning, unforgettable and brilliant installations that engage and enrapture his audience, if not baffle them. 

Is this that royal man parading down the street sans clothing....;-)....? 

There are lessons for us interior designers to be found in studying Stingel's art:

  • never underestimate the powerful impact of a single element when used in large amounts
  •  use what you already have on hand
  • invite others to give their input
  • light your work exquisitely
  •  hire a great publicist
  •  reflected color counts....a lot

The 225 cm x 210 cm piece I saw in Paris?    700,000 euros.   That's  $1,036,000

An emperor could buy a lot of new clothes with that!

photos courtesy of the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery

New York and Art or Idiocy?'s photostream


Kit Golson Design 

for elegant, sustainable and pragmatic

 Chic Provence Interior Design

09 June 2009

The Evocative Images of Teo Jasmin

Sometimes you just want to evoke another time and place. When our own time and place are getting just a little...tiresome...we long for something a little exotic that can transport us to another era in a faraway land.

If you love old, hand-colored  photography as much as I do, and have a fascination for the Meiji Era in Japan, these graphics from Teo Jasmin in Paris will not disappoint. If you find DaVinci's work as inspiring today as it was in the 15th C., invite him into your home. If you yearn to connect with the tribal people whose lives could not be more dissimilar to yours, bring these images, larger than life, into your rooms.

Asian Bride and Groom 

The Mona Lisa and One of Her Contemporaries


Meiji Era Tea Ceremony

Nothing conveys immediacy like a photograph. And rarely will you find such appealing designs as these at great, affordable prices. 

So what if you can't make that trip to the Olduvai Gorge this summer?   Now you don't have to. 


Kit Golson Design 

for elegant, sustainable and pragmatic

 Chic Provence Interior Design


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