Vicente Wolf published a book sometime back called ‘Learning to See’. I have always thought that was such a meaningful title. Seeing (and looking, fundamentally) is at the heart of a creative person. What drives artistic and design-minded individuals is a desire to seek out and study what’s interesting, beautiful and/or weird about the stuff of the world.
I’m no exception; I never stop culling the visual data around me. And I have no shame when it comes to capturing what I see on film. I’ll lie down on the sidewalk or crawl in the dirt if I see something worth photographing. Inspiration for my designs can be found in all kinds of places: museums, parks or city streets. It doesn’t matter if I’m looking at a Rodin sculpture or the bark of a tree. Cultivating one’s oeuvre (i.e. learning to see) means looking EVERYWHERE, even in the most unlikely of places.
– 3 unique versions of texture –
Left to right: DIY lattice on a courtyard door in LA; Crepe Myrtle bark in my neighborhood; a broken plate art installation at the 2016 AD Design Show.
Masterfully carved tassels and lace details on a marble statue at the National Gallery of Art.
– a sophisticated collection of swirls and curlicues –
Clockwise from top left: A frozen puddle in West Virginia; an antique carved marble table top at the State Department; an Art Deco planter on a Kansas City sidewalk; an ornamental fabric necklace in a London shop; a felt jewelry display at Anthropologie.
Left: Faux finish inspiration discovered at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Right: A sample of Japanning at the Geffrye Museum in London.
A large mineral sample on display at a mining museum in Creede, Colorado.
So many photos and so little time. This post could have been a mile long, so instead, you can expect a Part II, Part III and maybe even a Part IV of Whatchu Lookin At? Until next time — look, see and soak it all up!
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** all photos in this blog post are my own : )
The Edgemoor sunroom has been installed! Installation days are such a highlight for interior designers. They represent the culmination of months of hard work, careful planning and patience. Considering this project started in the summer of 2015, we were thrilled to see the room finally come to life. So it is with great delight that we report that the room is even more beautiful than we expected. We always have an idea of how an interior will look, but we can’t necessarily anticipate how it will feel. Being in a space where the architecture, the decor and the surroundings truly sing makes all the trials and tribulations of the previous months disappear. We’re thrilled and our clients are thrilled. Santa couldn’t have brought us a better present for the holidays. Enjoy!
|| Pre-Install Site Review ||
We scoped out the site the day before to ensure that there were no surprises on install day. Thanks to the contractor, all of the construction debris had been removed and the floors and glass were clean. This is a small, but important detail when delivering a room full of fresh, new [and valuable] furnishings. And with a blank slate before us, we were finally able to appreciate all of the beautiful architectural lines and the gracious volume of space.
|| Design is [not] glamorous ||
Installations requires a mix of muscle, troubleshooting and finesse. Pillows get fluffed, furniture placement tweaked, and motorized curtains programmed and dressed. One of the trickier exercises of the day was hanging the porcelain Fenella Elms artwork. Both delicate and heavy — and weighing in at well over 100 lbs — it took four men and two very nerve-wracking attempts to hang it on the wall. Needless to say, we all gave a cheer and a generous sigh of relief once it was in place.
|| A Beautiful Finish ||
Just as we were finishing the installation, the sun came out and cast an ethereal light into the room giving it a magical sparkle. The shadows danced off the porcelain artwork, the plaster walls, and the mother of pearl inlay on the pedestal table top. Simultaneously, the light saturated the drapery with warmth and illuminated the dramatic skylight overhead. Enveloped by so much natural beauty, it’s easy to envision spending hours in this space lounging, reading, socializing or napping.
|| Taking Care ||
Our work here is done! Well, almost. Installations require guidance regarding the care and maintenance of the space. We strive to ensure our client’s satisfaction by giving them the tools they need to enjoy their homes for years to come. Our care packages vary depending on the scope of a project and specific needs of the client. However, they generally include care and maintenance instructions, mechanical specifications and a paint+finish schedule. In this particular case, we also included a separate artwork care package. The art we installed is fragile and valuable, so we provided our clients with handling instructions along with extra porcelain pieces. And of course, we packaged it beautifully in a Huntley & Co. box with ribbon – something befitting the showstopper art piece itself.
We hope you enjoyed following our Edgemoor series. In case you missed anything, check out each phase here, here, here and here. We will be signing off for the next few weeks to enjoy some R&R. We will post again in 2017 with new installations, discoveries and our behind-the-scenes adventures. Until then, Huntley & Co. — and our mascot Nina — wish you and yours the happiest of holidays!
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Developing a thorough drawing set is critical to the success of all Huntley & Co. projects. It’s the technical backbone of the design, ensuring precision and accuracy. The Edgemoor sunroom features two expansive nano walls, a seamlessly integrated reflecting pool and a dramatic skylight. With fenestrations composing 90% of the room, it was important to consider the furniture and its arrangement carefully. We worked through an endless stream of floorplans to maximize circulation, engage the views and allow for both conversation and lounging. And we selected pieces that spoke to a luxurious “camp” style (think Out of Africa or Lawrence of Arabia). An abundance of comfort promises a room that is open, yet absolutely intimate.
— The Floorplan —
It always starts with the floorplan; a birds-eye view provides a wealth of knowledge. Drawing everything (walls, windows, doors, floor vents, etc.) to the exact measurement is critical. Because an inch can be the difference between a flawless installation and a costly mistake.
As shown in the floorplan above, pulling the furniture into the center of the room creates circulation space.
— The Study of Furniture & Lighting —
Each and every piece that goes into our projects is vetted for size and scale. We collaborate with our vendors to verify, and sometimes adjust, dimensions down to the 1/16″ — ensuring the best possible function and fit.
Drawings above include the custom console and sofas, pedestal table and the Huntley sconce from Urban Electric Co.
— The Perspective Drawing —
Perspectives are exciting because they allow us to “pull a design up” and study the relationship between architecture and décor. The Edgemoor sunroom is visually complex – from the dramatic skylight to all those windows – so it was important to implement décor that would complement, not compete with the envelope. A neutral palette, low slung furnishings and layers of softness add the right amount of quiet.
Our perspective drawing illustrates how open the sunroom becomes when the nano doors are retracted. The layered rugs and sheer drapery panels at the perimeter help create intimacy.
A room like this is, without a doubt, a design challenge. Generating meticulous drawings allowed us to tackle the project in an informed, confident manner. With that, seeing our drawings “go vertical” during the construction process is when the real fun begins. Well, typically. Our next post will include on-site progress photos replete with a little unexpected drama. Stay tuned!
xo, Huntley & Co.
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Our Edgemoor clients are long-time residents of Bethesda, a neighborhood of beautiful homes, large backyards, and gracious sidewalks. A variety of architectural vernaculars decorate each tree-lined street thereby giving us license to explore a pastiche of design styles. We devoted countless hours and many team meetings to perfecting the architectural and decorative intentions of their sunroom in order to craft a space with the perfect blend of traditional and modern styling. It was especially relevant for us to carefully study how the new sunroom would meet and interact with the landscape, establishing a strong indoor/outdoor feel.
— NEIGHBORHOOD VERNACULAR & INSPIRATION —
The sunroom addition is quite modern and acts as a counterpoint to the traditional envelope of the house. Because of the room’s strong geometry and metalwork, it was key that our interior selections complement and soften the space.
— FABRICS & FINISHES —
Textured linens, verdigrised metal, hand-molded porcelain and mother-of-pearl inlay are layered into the space. Plaster walls, cerused oak, and embroidered trims also add to the tactile, warm design.
This project has seen seasons come and go and reminds us that projects, especially of this caliber, take time. Dozens of hands, ours included, have touched this space. From architects and builders, landscape designers and decorative finishers, to a variety of workrooms and the clients themselves — the phrase “it takes a village” has become especially relevant. We look forward to sharing more with you next week as we get one step closer to the big reveal!
xo, Huntley & Co.
* * *
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November is filled with anticipation as the holidays quickly approach and designers clamour to wrap up design projects. At Huntley & Co., we have labored long and hard for one Bethesda client in particular and are eager to put the finishing touches on their remarkable sunroom renovation. Our goal was to create a sculptural, textural space that elegantly captures the spirit of indoor/outdoor living. We will be featuring work product and site photos for this sunroom-cum-lounge in the next several posts. And we’ll reveal the installation around Thanksgiving, so just a little more patience! To give you an idea of the inspiration behind our design, we’ve shared the Edgemoor Sunroom concept board below. Wrap yourself up in the luxe imagery and escape.
xo, Huntley & Co.
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I was in LA recently. It’s the perfect getaway and has everything my heart desires — a warm climate, a cool vibe, a lush and luxurious urban landscape and all the shopping a girl could want. It’s not called the “city of angels” for nothin’ people. For designers, the LA scene offers gorgeous settings, lovely laidback staff and some of the best furnishings in the US. Key streets are Highland, Beverly Blvd, La Cienega, Melrose Ave and Melrose Place. Head to Blackman Cruz, JF Chen, The Window, Harbinger, Hollyhock, Nicky Kehoe, Kelly Wearstler, Galerie Half, Garde, Lief … to name just a few. The east coast is unseasonably cold and Legends of La Cienega is on the horizon, so book your ticket for tinseltown today!
And, of course, a little R&R is in store after pounding the pavement all day. One night I met up with a pair of stylish LA friends at Estrella on Sunset to cocktail, nosh and chat about east coast vs. west coast life, business and girlpower. The night ended with an impromptu manager-guided tour through the speakeasy-esque lounges and private screening room. Fabulous.
Another night was spent at Wally’s in Beverly Hills reminiscing with a beloved sorority sister. A chic, casual yet elegant vibe with a stellar wine list, amazing menu and, of course, the occasional short-skirted, silicone-injected woman in the corner snapping selfies. Only in LA.
There are so many gorgeous hotels in LA. But for this trip, I wanted to stay in the heart of West Hollywood. The London was a fantastic choice. Nestled at the corner of Sunset and San Vicente; it’s the perfect urbanite location with beautiful décor and superb service and amenities to boot.
London West Hollywood
OTHER LUXE & LUCID FAVES TO ADD TO YOUR LIST
HOTELS: Hollywood Roosevelt, Chamberlain, Huntley Hotel, Palihouse, Hotel Bel Air
DINING: Lucques, Fig & Olive, Joan’s on Third, Son of a Gun, Norah (a must!)
COFFEE: Alfred and Urrth in WH, Nespresso in BH
HIKES: Runyon Canyon Loop, Topanga State Park
GALLERIES: Honor Fraser, Blum & Poe
CULTURAL: Huntington Botanical Gardens, Getty Center & Gardens, The Getty Villa
Halloween always inspires me. I relish the drama and suspense of the holiday, not to mention the excuse to go a little goth and watch scary movies. It’s always good to embrace one’s darker side, especially if you lean a little type A. So with all my clean and tailored design tendencies comes a need for what I call “dark and inky”. If you’ve worked with me or for me, you’ve heard me use this term. I am always on the quest for the perfect murky green, garnet or ebonized-blue (and of course black). Whether it’s a lacquered leather chair, a kick-ass pair of aubergine boots or a smokey eye for evening – it just doesn’t get any sexier than dark and inky.
Links and sources for these images and others can be found on the Luxe & Lucid Pinterest board. Happy Halloween!
Breaking Bread, Breaking News, Breaking Ground, Breaking Bad.
Breakthrough, Breakup, Breakdown, Breakaway.
Tough Break, Flat Broke, Broken Hearted, Goin’ for Broke.
I thought I would have a little fun exploring all the ways we use the word “break” and its derivatives in our daily speak. This because I took a bit of a spill and broke my arm two weeks ago. I was mountain biking in Virginia and had a pretty nasty wreck – flying over the handlebars of a bike was never on my bucket list. However, what I clearly lacked in skills, I made up for in fortitude. I’m proud to say I finished the ride and made it all the way down the mountain, break and all. I’ve hung up my helmet for now (and possibly forever) to refocus my attention on safer and surer things. However, in honor of my epic tumble, I’ve decided to find the beauty in broken.
Sea Breeze light sculpture, Deborah Thomas 2013 | still from The Sixth Sense
a geode split open reveals the magic inside | broken boulders in New Zealand
abandoned villa by Eva van Oosten | modern faceted mirror | glamorous rubble by Esther Watson
Pompeiian wall crumbling in 2014 | a Greek wedding tradition
“When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by
filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered
damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful.” Billie Mobayed
Hmmm, January. This can be a challenging month. The holiday sparkle has worn off, a little too much winter lies ahead and we’re all a whiter shade of pale. I agree it’s tough to feel motivated when it’s cold and dreary outside and happiness is Haagen-Dazs and a Snuggie on Friday night. However, I’m a January baby and a Capricorn which means I believe from problems come opportunities and there is still reason to celebrate a month as gloomy as this. January can actually offer inspiration. Not in an obvious way, but beneath the surface and outside the box. As with so many things worthwhile, in January you have to dig a little deeper and work a little harder to get to the good stuff.
January’s birthstone is like no other. The deep crimson is at once sophisticated and sultry. It has undeniable glamour, yet totally lacks pretention.
Garnet jewelry is always dramatic.
Modern earrings by Caprichosa, antique Victorian brooch, Islamic ring,
This look from Gucci is all about the lips. I have been saving this photo since fall with the intentions of replicating it for a glamorous night.
My current garnet pedicure.
A stunning garnet velvet I used alongside pastel fabrics in a Virginia living room.
And speaking of fabric …
The gorgeous drape of Zac Posen on Naomi Watts at the Golden Globes. She is always red carpet perfection.
January is the month of Janus, the Roman god of gates and doorways. As a designer and architecture buff, I photograph a lot of gates and doorways … actually more than I realized once I began combing through my files.
– all photos from my life and travels except central image –
row 1: Munich, Los Angeles, Hempel Hotel
row 2: Georgetown, Melbourne residence (via est Magazine), Italy
row 3: Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Dubuque church, Dumbarton Oaks
Although January 19 ended Capricorn’s (i.e. the goat’s) reign, it’s never too late to have fun with die ziege.
We found these darling little guys in Montreux.
If there’s one thing most of us like to do in January, it’s eat. And Lord knows, I love me my cheese … thank you goats! Clearly a girl who takes photos of cheese and cheese shops (as seen here) has a thing for chevre.
Goatskin (often referred to as vellum or parchment) is a preferred material of designers and furniture makers both contemporary and past. I gravitate to it myself and have selected several furniture pieces for projects over the years. Like wood or marble, its beauty is innate and born from nature; it can’t be faked.
Furnishings for DC, Switzerland and London Huntley & Co. projects respectively.
WHITES, GREYS & PALES
The colors of winter may seem a bit solemn, but they translate beautifully.
White, grey and pale works in a stark, ethereal European bedroom or in a bar/restaurant on Mallorca.
Moonstone and black onyx rings by Mathilde Danglade.
The concept of black and white in art stretches beyond the medium of photography.
A painting by Picasso, a photo study of a golf swing and a neon installation by Glenn Ligon.
Perhaps the only thing that could entice me to spend an afternoon in subzero temperatures – beautiful, beguiling and utterly happy sled dogs.
Happy January. Hopefully your new year is off to a good start!
I made a long overdue trip to the nail salon this weekend for a mani/pedi. And while scanning the assortment of possible nail colors from which to choose, I stumbled upon a stunning shade of peacock blue. It’s one of my favorite colors in general – rich, complex, almost regal – so the thought of it on my fingertips was titillating. Sure enough, I love it. Not only do I think the shade of blue is absolutely stunning, but in a strange way, I think it complements my skin tone. It’s funny then that some of the conservative loved ones in my life don’t share my enthusiasm. Don’t they see what I see? What’s not to like? Some people think pretty is synonymous with conventional. But I think some of the prettiest things are those that are actually unconventional. I’m not talking about anything bizarre or distasteful. I mean looking beyond labels and stereotypes and thinking about what makes something beautiful … the confidence with which a man carries himself, the complex ideas behind an abstract painting, the texture of an unusual plant. Of course, what’s stunning will always catch our eye, but sometimes beauty and substance wear an unexpected guise.
My peacock blue manicure.
A study for “Woman Pulling Up Her Stocking” and “Salon in the Rue Des Moulins”.
Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec found inspiration in bars and brothels. Unseemly venues perhaps, but the artist found warmth and vivid color in these unlikely spectacles.
Felicity Brown’s 2010 collection was inspired by Toulouse-Lautrec’s work.
Tilda Swinton is a chameleon on and off-screen. She can look ethereal, severe or aristocratic.
Some people don’t like modern art or furniture. It’s hard to understand with gorgeous, sculptural shapes likes these.
Who needs gold or diamonds? Dahlia Kloss’ necklace is a showstopper without precious metals or stones.
Although two of the world’s deadliest snakes, the Rosy Boa and Malayan Coral Snake are also two of the most beautiful.
John Hawkes, Mick Jagger & Adrian Brody.
The talent and swagger of these men makes their unconventional looks incredibly sexy.