27 October 2014

Liz got married...

I'm so happy to share my niece Elizabeth's October 4th wedding with readers. She and her now husband, ADAM, traveled from their home in California, to their once homes in Tennessee in the last days of September to organize the final details of their wedding that took place at Frozen Head State Park. Their families are in Tennessee, and North Carolina, so the pair accommodated them by planning a cross country wedding event. Liz had a firm spreadsheet to keep them organized, as they did all of the planning-and executing, with some help from friends and family.

Liz is definitely a child of summer, she was born on the summer solstice-June 21st, so an early fall wedding was the best she could do in order to work everyone's scheduling out. The pair previewed the park in July. Their wedding day was beautiful, clear, after a day of rain, sometimes torrential, and yes-it was cold. It was easy to guess the "locals," dressed in coats, lots of good looking parkas, scarves-gloves even, and one fur coat that I spotted (the official photographer). Though the sun was out, it was struggling to reach through the dense canopy of leaves-for the most part still green. (temp about 47 degrees)

I was impressed. Liz, who often walks around in sweaters year round, walked down the path to the park amphitheatre where the ceremony was held in her sleeveless dress. Though I'd suggested a sleeve earlier in the planning, she was firm about her choice, and braved the cold.

The bride wore a simple lace sheath dress made in Italy with an antique overskirt of muslin, circa 1850 (the something Old, something New). The dress was accessorized with a custom made diamond necklace- a graduation present from me & my brother (her father), and Carelle diamond earrings (the something Borrowed from me). The Blue came in the form of a brilliant blue silk velvet Edwardian era jacket of mine with lots of ruching & padding, later it was a gift to the bride!

Liz's talented neighbor where she grew up made a beautiful wedding cake, vanilla creme icing, and carrot cake.

The groom's cake made by another friend of the bride & groom-
a Buche de Noelle cake- smothered in meringue mushrooms

I did all the flowers for the day, including the bride's bouquet. 
Other than adding some blue, a request from the bride, all of the flowers were white.

 Lamb's Ear and Stock

bridesmaid's bouquets 
white Roses, blue Delphiniums, Stock, and Baby's Breath

the bride's bouquet 
white Roses, white Ranunculus, blue Delphiniums, Queen Anne's Lace, Baby's Breath

Flower arrangements of Roses, Lamb's Ear, and Baby's Breath for the tables were interspersed with sprays of Rosemary, Poet's Laurel, Passion Flower Vine, and Salal.

Flowers in large pine cone urns at the end of the bridal path were made of Erynguim, Queen Anne's Lace, Feverfew, Bupleurum, and Mistflower. I traveled up to Tennessee with a virtual garden in the rear view mirror. All of the Poet's Laurel, Rosemary, Lamb's Ear, Passion Flower Vine, and Mistflower came from my garden.

Four large arrangements in pine cone urns, and rusted iron urns for bridal paths and amphitheatre stage where the ceremony was held.

(note the rustic tree branch propping up the rustic pine cone urn)

tokens from the bride & groom.

A Straight Line is not Always the Shortest Distance between Two Points:

"We met sometime around 2001, we think. Always being in the same place at the same time, around the same friends, we don't actually remember the precise moment we met. However, the first thing that Liz remembers Adam actually saying to her is: "I have a sister in Chattanooga, who I think you would really get along with." He was right. 
We really didn't become what you'd call truly close friends until we began to play music together, about eight years ago.
Over the years, no matter if living in different cities, we stayed close friends, and began dating in the fall of 2012. And only good things have followed.  Over the past year and a half, adventures have been one of our primary focuses in life. We have tried to see most corners of California, including the far edges of Nevada and Oregon." (from the wedding site written by the bride & groom)


 the groom hand-printed their invitations on a Vandercook 4 Letterpress at San Francisco Center for the Book.

 the bride making some repairs to her antique overskirt

the harvest of flowers before the wedding

(the website devoted to their travels, here )

Liz and Adam are both graphic designers living and working in Oakland & San Francisco

When Elizabeth and I first discussed plans for what they wanted, she mentioned (having always loved the hymn,) Simple Gifts, that she wanted her wedding to reflect these sentiments . The song was first written in 1848 by Shaker elder, Joseph Brackett. In so many ways this expresses their own belief in what is best & enduring in Life.
Aaron Copland took the melody from the hymn for his Appalachian Spring scored for Martha Graham's ballet by the same name. Nothing is more beautiful than to hear this tune & ponder the depth and simplicity of Brackett's words. Copland's last passage of the melody is one of his finest to hear...
'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come 'round right

15 October 2014

Robert Couturier "Designing Paradises"

 In the Living Room, the perfect perch for man or beast, looks out over North Spectacle Lake in Kent Connecticut

One of the best interior design books of the season has me fantasizing about who I would have  design rooms for me, IF, and Robert Couturier is one of those few I imagine creating my ideal room. Just one of the sort he has created for himself in his Kent Connecticut home as well as worldwide for his clients. Many are published in his new book  Robert Couturier:Designing Paradises ,written by Couturier and Tim McKeough.

“No matter how big the project, I always aim to bring a sense of levity to the design process. I value lasting friendships and crackling conversations far above any ostentatious displays of wealth.”(RC) This philosophy epitomizes his work and success.

His home's living room with seventeen foot ceilings, epitomizes Couturier's mastery at bringing a melange of periods together with relaxed quiet.

"There's one element from my childhood homes that I tried to re-create here- 
the smell of dust, humid ashes, and old-fashioned perfume." Robert Couturier, Designing Paradises

a spot on the landing in Couturier's home

Couturier's childhood reads like lost chapters in Saint-Exupéry's Le Petit Prince: "In every room of my childhood homes, I had favorite hiding places where I soaked up the atmosphere...I developed personal relationships with three-drawer commodes tombeaux, graceful Louis XV fauteuils en cabriolet...I could retrace the provenance of each piece from its creation to its current state."

The book's cover showcases what makes Robert Couturier such a favorite of mine. George Jacob armchairs, a Louis XV table, and a salvaged verdigris mirror reflecting a 7th century Cambodian sculpture of Harihara, reveals Couturier's consummate & discerning eye. A hybrid deity, Harihara, is the embodiment of both the Hindu gods Shiva & Vishnu. Little differentiation of the two gods appear in this uniquely 7th century Cambodian hybrid. (According to the Metropolitan, "the Khmer conception of Harihara differentiated the two deities only in the partition of the headdress into a combined jatamukuta-miter and in the provision of half of a third eye on Shiva’s side.")  The subtle differences in the gods' depiction are lost in Couturier's fragmented sculpture, much like his design aesthetic.

His genius is in melding quite distinctly different design periods, reimagining them together in paradisaical harmony. He does so impeccably.

 In Connecticut, a distinctly Early American bedroom, in fact, holds a bergere, & Herve Van der Straeten goatskin bench.

A client's Fifth Avenue apartment, another hybrid, makes clear Couturier's adroitness. The chandelier evinces the 18th century, but upon close observation it is a very modern take on the like by Herve Van der Straeten. Its organic form entwines irregular diamond shaped crystals terminating in a knot of bronze. A Claude Lalanne Croco console & Vosges sconces impose their 20th century elan on the 18th century styled boiseries and parquet de Versailles floors.
It's a heady mix.

Caroline Weber, friend & client, borrows from Baudelaire in defining Couturier's discerning interiors- "luxe, calme et volupte" (luxury, tranquility, sensuous delight). In contrast Baudelaire also writes " "tout ce qui plaît a une raison de plaire,"(everything that gives pleasure has its reason.)  Robert Couturier manages both in "designing paradises.": "Homes should reflect the way a homeowner wants to live every day, not serve as a showcase to impress guests. My job is to help people dream, to make those dreams a reality, and to transform abstract ideas into concrete creations." (RC)

Robert Couturier: Designing Paradises, Principal photography by Tim Street-Porter.
Rizzoli Publishers kindly gave me a copy of this book.


09 October 2014

autumn interlude

after a week spent in the mountains of TN preparing for my niece's wedding, I believe... 
painting by British artist, Charles Nash, "Berkshire Downs," 1922.

24 September 2014

Goodbye to all that

"Autumn has caught us in our summer wear." - Philip Larkin

 Carol McCarlson on the beach in St. Augustine, Florida,
by Frances McLaughlin-Gill for American Vogue, 1948.

  the autumnal equinox brings the fall season to the Northern Hemisphere September 22 at 10:29 P.M. EDT. 


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