A hub for all things to do with design, furniture painting, photography, style, event planning [and some foodie bits for good measure].  

Classic Lines with Modern Style: French Provincial Dresser in Gray

FOIL   foil/  noun

noun: foil; plural noun: foils

  1. a person or thing that contrasts with and so emphasizes and enhances the qualities of another.

    "the earthy taste of grilled vegetables is a perfect foil for the tart bite of creamy goat cheese"

    synonyms: contrast, complement, antithesis, relief

    "Abbott was the perfect foil to Costello"

French Provincial furniture is one of those styles that's instantly recognizable.  Their curves and delicate hardware make them feel eternally vintage and feminine. Sometimes I'll paint them in a more modern shade to spice things up, but for this piece I went with a timeless combination. I mixed a few shades of Annie Sloan chalk paint to create this cool, light gray. Depending on how the light hits it, it also reads in shades of a faint blue. I love when furniture changes color in the light. It's in a constant state of evolution, adapting to its surroundings ever so gracefully. When I paint something in a seemingly traditional color, I like to go in the other direction when it comes to styling it. If I have a piece with so many delicate curves, I like to counter those curves with modern and linear objects. Much in the same way "Abbot was the perfect foil to Costello," French Provincial can be the perfect foil for modern style. Creating that contrast in your style gives a space this underlying sense of balance that's subtle and palpable, if barely so.  It brings this sense of relief to the eye you might not have picked up on. I love working in subtleties and I think it shows with this shoot.

For this vignette, my jumping off point was a take on modern botanicals: a cactus print from Society 6 [a fantastic resource for affordable art], a small abstract done by my aunt, a larger impressionist style piece [also painted by my talented aunt!], my Rifle Paper Co. calendar [because it's Rifle and the colors and that quote, my God Emily Dickinson you've got it right!], a couple plants I'd just potted in modern concrete planters, a few stacked vintage books [because who would I be if there weren't vintage books in there?!] my number one ride or die lamp [never change Target, never change], a little piece of pottery from an unknown source [but I do think it's from the Philippines], and finally my Archie's Press Atlanta map. Layering all these objects together; stacking them, hanging them, leaning them, arranging them just so, it's a bit of an art in of itself.  Sometimes I get so lost in the styling, I end up losing my natural light [golden hour, why are you so brief?], and have to postpone photographing for the following day.   The next time you're looking to add a little style to your space, consider pairing your classics with your moderns or vice versa.  Play with the ages, and you'll come out with an eclectic, effortless style all your own.

PS- anyone else here seriously craving goat cheese after reading the definition for foil? Just me? Ok cool cool :)

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Color Inspiration: Chasing the Sunrise at Grand Teton National Park

*Okay so I'm cheating a little...I wrote this post for my personal website, States of Reverie, since that's where I share my posts on food and travel and all the etc. of my life. But I have to say, my trip out west to Wyoming and Montana was inspirational both in my personal and professional life. That being said, I'm sharing my little reflection on my first morning out west, along with a few other posts on my trip that I'll share in the coming weeks. On a furniture related note, I'm currently painting a piece inspired by the deep corals found in the sunrise seen below!

I began my week out west with a sunrise. I ended it with a sunset. Befitting imagery to be sure, but imagery that upon further reflection has created a sense of longing, a heartache for something more. These photos were taken on the road heading from Jackson Hole, Wyoming toward Grand Teton National Park. Whenever I'm visiting someplace scenic, someplace expansive, someplace where the ocean meets the sky, where the mountains carve out the horizon, I am compelled to watch the sunrise, even if just once. It takes some planning [I am a morning person, but I wouldn't call myself an early riser by any means], and almost certainly a mad dash out the door [since surely I'll snooze that pre 5am alarm one too many times], but once I set out on the road and begin to spot those first warm brush strokes, the groggy fog over my head lifts. I'm wide-eyed and treated to the most perfect ephemeral show.

As we drove in the darkness through Jackson Hole's empty town center, the blinking street lights may as well have been runway lights, only these were guiding me toward the still, misty horizon. As predicted, I was rushed. I had a rapidly diminishing window to reach my target: the barns on Mormon Row. I knew that at just the right time, the sun would throw the most incredible alpenglow over the Grand Tetons, and the view of this impressive mountain range was postcard perfect from my carefully planned spot.  

I was determined to make it out there in time. What I hadn't planned for was the awe inspiring drive to my destination.  As we drove, the sky progressed from a muted blue-gray to a capricious kaleidoscope of orange and ochre and peach and coral and pink and violet, revealing new colors at every turn.

These photos weren't composed or planned. The view I was aimed toward was still further in the distance. We simply stuck the camera out the window while en route, as I openly gasped at the expansive sky before me, all the while checking there were no rogue animals making their way across the road. A fast shutter speed and half decent aim provided us with photos that bring a palpable warmth to my heart and a lasting memory of my first morning out west. I didn't get to stop and soak in this twilight hour between dusk and sunrise [don't worry, I had plenty of time to take it all in once I made it to Mormon Row, but more on that another time!].

So often I rush through life with my eyes aimed toward a fixed point on the horizon.  I'm so appreciative of these photos, since for me they capture the beauty found along the way, the beauty found in the wandering.  I only managed one drive towards the sunrise during this trip [you try getting yourself out of bed before dawn when you're in a tent that's a cool 40 degrees fahrenheit!]. It was my only sunrise, so it carries more weight and feels all the more significant. 

This singular twilight drive reminds me the sunrise is both infinite and finite. The sun works its way over the horizon each day, and it's never the same. The cloud configurations change, the painted colors change, the vantage point changes. It's a dynamic, boundless, breathtaking display.  There are only so many sunrises in my lifetime.  I don't wake up each day to chase it. But I can try. I may fail [in fact, I'm guaranteed to fail more often than not...sunrise is early!]. But maybe it's somewhere in the trying where I'll discover something more. 

Beautiful Places: New York Public Library

I find design inspiration in all sorts of places. Anytime I travel, my eyes are immediately drawn to two things: nature and architecture.  On my recent visit to New York, it's pretty clear which of the two made more of an impact. [though I did have a nice stroll through Central Park for my nature fix!] 

New York is a stunning combination of history and modernity. 

One moment I was in the heart of the financial district, surrounded by gleaming new buildings, glass and steel reflecting and refracting in every direction.

As much as I appreciate the new, where I feel most at home is surrounded by the old. 

Walking into the 5th Avenue branch of the New York Public Library felt like I was traveling back in time.   

It's a timeless piece of architecture that's teeming with information and history.  

I loved it so much, we stopped there twice on our trip! When New York comes to mind, most of us first think of all the skyscrapers, but for me, the library is so emblematic of this city. 

Libraries have always been a sacred space for me.  

I was a voracious reader as a child, and spent many days in my local public library in Queens, and most Saturdays at the Central Library in Brooklyn.  

I could easily fill a book with all my commentary about my life in libraries, along with my visit to the 5th Avenue branch. 

The best way to experience it is through the photos I took [this was a moment I HIGHLY regretted not bringing my DSLR camera, since the iPhone just didn't do this place justice!].  

But really, anyone who appreciates architecture, design, history, literature, or just wants to discover some of the best places in New York, I insist you spend some time at the New York Public Library. 

Mountain Modern Style: Plaid Headboards [+DIY your own!]

It's the holidays, so I want everything to feel warm and cozy and plaid and log cabin-y. I want to envision myself in a gorgeous ski chalet, nestled up to the fireplace [preferably with a plaid flannel wearing man..!].  Then again, I live in Atlanta, where it's not exactly snowy, and there are no nearby ski chalets for me.  But maybe, just maybe I could make my house feel a bit more like a mountain house, with a modern feel. I was sifting through one of my favorite sites to shop on for clients, Lulu & Georgia, and saw the glory that is this black and white plaid bed [pictured below]. I want. I need. I have to have you in my life.  

But alas, this bed is pushing $1000 [though they do have a great discount on the entire site that ends today, so do check out their site for holiday gifts!]. I own a very lovely bed as it is, and I can't ever picture that bed leaving my second floor. There's also the very likely possibility that though I'm craving all things plaid right now, I may get tired of plaid-palooza after a few months. The solution? Get this look for less, and recreate so it doesn't have to be a permanently plaid fixture in your home!

The nice thing about having an upholstered headboard is it can be fairly easy to recover it in a different fabric.  Amazon and other sites sell headboard rather inexpensively [I believe the upholstered one I have in my guest room was under $200]. Buy a blanket large enough to cover your headboard [doesn't have to cover the back, but should be enough to at least wrap around.  For a casual, quick restyle, you can simply drape the blanket over the back of the headboard and affix it with some safety pins.  If you're wanting a more fitted, semi-permanent effect, pick up an industrial stapler, hole the fabric taught, starting from one end and working your way around until you cover the entire piece.  Here's a post I did transforming my bright chevron headboard into a much more subdued, beachy look! There are endless plaid blankets out there, but I really liked the print on this one from Orvis.  I prefer a larger block pattern when it comes to plaid, but choose any plaid you like! It also looks to be a nice thickness, and is large enough to cover any size headboard [again just measure your headboard to double check!].  

Studio Progress Update: The Home Stretch!

It's unbelievable how much progress can happen in just three weeks! The construction crew has worked tirelessly to get the studio done, and I'm constantly hearing from friends how shocked they are at how fast the studio has come together.  Having any renovation or new build move efficiently is solely based on the crew you hire and the amount of work you're willing to devote to the project.  Being a furniture painter and designer, I've naturally got a great deal invested in my own personal spaces!

I wanted the kitchen and really the studio as a whole to be a testament to my work as a painter and designer.  I opted to paint the kitchen and bathroom cabinets myself, along with the sliding barn door. The color choices in the main space are entirely neutral, but in contrasting shades and textures, allowing everything to coordinate while still providing a 'blank slate' for the changing pieces of furniture that will make their way through the doors each week. On the exterior, the path leading to the studio is currently being finished. It's probably the most important part of the construction process, since I can't really bring any furniture or clients in until the path is complete.

Tomorrow a cleaning crew is coming in to ready the studio and on Monday our 'finisher' guy will make all the final touch ups to the walls, adjust a few items on my punch list and paint a final coat or two on the floors.  The very last item to go in is the shower door this Tuesday morning, but I can guarantee I'll be moving in immediately after! I've still got work to do on the space, but until I start moving in, there are still a few design choices up in the air. I'll FINALLY start having consistent time to work on my blog again, take on new design clients and get the furniture business back into full swing.  It's such an exciting time here, and I hope to continue sharing the entire process with you! Here are a few more photos I just took this morning, to give you a sense of what the current state of affairs looks like [and it's not looking too shabby if I do say so myself!]  Happy Friday friends! -Jo