Wednesday, September 29

It is raining here...

and while I love the cooler temperatures and rain I sure am wishing I had a fire. Since I am rendered incapable of stringing full sentences together by the misty onslaught of fall, here are some pictures instead. I want cozy rooms like these.

Friday, September 24

Chinese Chippendale

Don't worry. I have not forgotten that I skipped your history lesson last week.  I am here to remedy the situation.

I know all of you out there know what a traditional Chippendale chair looks like...carved cabriole leg, intricate backsplat. In fact, many of you (Mom) have Chippendale chairs around your dining room table.  Some variations are shown below.
Enter the Chinese Chippendale. I found an article from House Beautiful that does a wonderful job describing the Chinese Chippendale:
Chinese Chippendale, that gorgeous by-product of a 1741 travel book, was "invented" by English furniture designer Thomas Chippendale (the first nonmonarch to have a style named for him). The craze it created in mid-18th-century England prompted an aggrieved critic to write: "So universally has it spread, that every gate to a cow-yard is in T's and Z's." And while Chinese Chippendale is just a frothy side trip on the long march of decor, its pagodas and fretwork, bamboo and bells live on in our own chairs (and beds, and mirrors, and wallpaper, and tables) today. We love it on anything. If only we still kept cows.
Was Chinese Chippendale furniture actually made in China? And what's the difference between it and regular Chippendale?
Thomas Chippendale was already famous for his elegant mahogany furniture when he applied the newly popular chinoiserie to his quintessentially English wares. And while, for economy's sake, he might have preferred to have them made in the Far East, in 1750s London, little but lacquer and porcelain "smalls" were being shipped from China.
What's the difference between Chinese and Chinese Chippendale furniture?
Early Chinese furniture is austere, boldly linear with not much carving. Chinese Chippendale designs are madly rococo, embellished with all sorts of architectural details from temples, palaces, and pavilions. Some are more successful than others. All of it is "busy."
But some of the things I see in stores look fairly restrained.
Mid-18th-century furnishings were so fancy and ubiquitous that in 1756, one waspish observer wrote, "Every chair in an apartment, the frames of [looking] glasses and tables must be Chinese: the walls covered with Chinese paper filled with figures which resemble nothing in God's creation, and which a prudent nation would prohibit for the sake of pregnant women." The more restrained designs you're seeing are generally later takes on the whimsical furnishings of the Brighton Pavilion, an exotic early-19th-century palace built for the Prince of Wales.
Is Chinese Chippendale more expensive than plain furniture?
Usually. Every step added to the furniture-making process makes the finished product more expensive. A pagoda pediment on a mirror, tiny bells dangling on corners, carved herons, or lots of latticework make any piece — old or new — pricier.
  • Older reproductions, manufactured from the 1870s on. More recent pieces, especially those without labels, can be painted — with removable paints, since we ought to think of future generations!
  • Early-19th-century Brighton Pavilion pieces incorporating brilliantly lacquered faux-bamboo elements, lotus-like designs, or palm tree motifs. These are usually quite costly.
  • Lots of detail and plenty of bells and whistles. All things being equal, armchairs will be more expensive than side chairs.
  • Those dazzlingly hued (chartreuse, orange, stark white) reproductions from the 1960s, which were popular in resort areas.

  • Damaged lacquer — a really difficult repair — and badly chipped paint.
  • Clumsily executed carvings.
  • Missing elements of fretwork or carving.
  • Repainted anything.

A fancy chair for your fancy pants

Most Hitchcock or "fancy chairs" were painted black or dark green and were decorated by a process using stencils and rubbing a bronzing powder into a tacky finish coat. The result was a lustrous design that came to signify Hitchcock’s work. Pin striping was done with paint, though never in gold. Striping was of yellow ocher. Gold was reserved for the banding, which went only half way around the turns in the legs. The chairs have rush or cane seats and sometimes an identifying stencil located on the back edge of the seat.
A bit of history...In 1818, Connecticut born Lambert Hitchcock went to work in a local sawmill after an apprenticeship under a woodworker. During his apprenticeship Hitchcock had been influenced by Eli Terry (a clockmaker who used an assembly line process to make cheaper wooden parts for clocks to replace expensive brass parts, this allowed him to reach a wider market). In a small shed connected to the sawmill, Hitchcock began making unfinished individual chair components which he sold to mercantile stores as replacements for broken chairs. 

By 1820 Hitchcock began manufacturing entire chairs using the assembly line. Painted dark (instead of using dark polished woods) and stenciled (instead of carved or inlaid), they were fancy chairs for ordinary people. 
In spring of this year the Hitchcock Chair Company opened its doors with the intent of crafting new fancy chairs for us all. 

Thursday, September 23

Dutch boy? check. Dutch door? ...

Apartment Therapy
via Hooked on Houses
via Eddie Ross

I would love to put a beautiful dutch door on the lakehouse... of course just one more thing on my wish list. And the dutch boy thing? Nate's family is very Dutch, and very proud of their Dutch-ness. But hey, I'll take him, especially if he comes with a door of his heritage.

I have found two vendors of Dutch doors: Jeld-wen, and Vintage Doors by YesterYear's .
Anyone out there ever bought a new dutch door? Let me know from where and what you think!

Wednesday, September 22

If you give a mouse a cookie...

He's going to ask for a glass of milk. (Anyone else out there know this book??)  That's what our family uses to describe the snowball effect that inevitably comes with decorating, renovation or just life in general. And so, with the great-lake-reno just beginning to break ground, several other projects are also beginning at the McElveen casa. To avoid mental and visual overload I will just introduce them as they come.

First up is the office/bedroom switcheroo. I will take some pictures this weekend when we head down there to give you some real life context. But in short, we are converting my mom's office (which used to be my little brother's bedroom) back to a bedroom and moving her office to the "play room" which currently houses the pool table, foosball table, and family Apple comp. Sorry for nothing truly tantalizing as far as before/after's go in this post, but they will come soon enough! All switches/alterations to the McElveen casa have be completed by Thanksgiving!

Until then here are some offices to inspire us to work.
dens/libraries/offices - turquoise blue cane Hollywood Regency chair black vintage desk silver lamp bamboo roman shade blue coral framed art vertical art gallery sand beige grasscloth wallpaper
via House of Turquoise
dens/libraries/offices - glossy blue lacquer Hollywood Regency desk shade seafoam green grasscloth wallpaper white beadboard branch chandelier den office

Let us put order to this chaos...

Forgive me as I use this as a dumping ground for the images that inspire me the most for our lake house. I hope you can enjoy them too!
Mark Maresca
a life's design
A CUP OF JO: Home Inspiration: Coziness
via A Cup of Jo
via A Life's Design
rustic bathroom
via Katy Elliot (love the map wallpaper)
Elle Decor
rustic bath
vis Remodelista
via Pure Style
Sean McPherson (sigh...)
via Remodelista

Monday, September 20

Back to basics: metal, leather, wood

Birch Napkin Rings by Michael Michaud Table Art
Handmade Leather Messenger Bag by Hippo Leather

Isn't it grand in San Francisco?

I was MIA last week in preparation of our whirlwind tour of San Francisco. After getting Nate packed and out the door on Monday, I proceeded to pack up Reacher and Max and myself and sent them off with my mom to Greenville (after a fun-filled day of shopping and eating here in Charlotte). They love going to summer camp in Greenville. Thursday night Alli and I flew to SF and met the guys. Our first night there we ended up at a piano bar called Foley's where they had dueling pianos. This was among everyone's favorite night!
We visited Haight St.
Fisherman's Wharf.
Everyone's other favorite part of SF was the market at the Ferry Building. Fresh food, wine, cheese, bread, olive oil...mmm I could have stayed there all day. Not to mention the beautifully renovated Ferry Building. Sorry no pics? Eech. Moving on...
We did most of the standard SF sites and LOVED the cool misty weather, just got us all ready for fall!
Dad, what is this plant with the purple flowers?
I just loved this building/house.  Look at those copper gutters!
The view from Coit Tower...finally the sun came out as we were leaving!
Our last stop in SF was Chinatown...we stopped a guy on the street and asked him where the best place to eat was...I will get a picture of what they ate but the name will tell you pretty much all you need to know. They ordered a dish called Explosive Chili Pepper Chicken...the sweet lady said it was not too spicy. Ha. We were convinced they had us on candid camera after that one.

Last night we had a red-eye flight and got home this morning around 7 am (Nate actually had a pretty rough trip and got home at noon) so forgive this space cadet post, but I had to at least post a few pictures or I would never get to it!

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