Mixing – Classic meets Contemporary

Your home is a collection….a layered timeline of your experiences, interests, and points of view. Your life isn’t one dimensional, why should your home be? Fill your home with objects that reflect your passions.

Mixing textures, colors, styles, weights.

This Paris apartment was recently featured in one of my favorite design blogs –  Habitually Chic Blogspot.  It’s a fantastic example of mixing – the more traditional gold leaf and ornate moldings with the pop of color and clean lines injected by the contemporay art piece.  This color “pop” literally pulls your eye from the painting on the left,,,across the contemporary surfboard table with colorful ceramic vases,,,over to the turquoise clear glass on the right.  This room has fabulous movement,  color movement, textural interest, light play provided by the mirror and window.

Suzanne Kasler tablescape
A Suzanne Kasler tablescape

Here’s mixing on a smaller scale. A tablescape by Suzanne Kasler, an Atlanta based interior designer. A tablescape is a vignette, a lifestyle shot. A brief, but powerful scene that leaves you wanting more. Here she combines the modern textural metal pieces with a more traditional painting, and honestly, what’s more classic than Leonardo da Vinci?  The colors and textures play beautifully here.

Whether mixing an entire room, or just a vignette the result is well balanced, shows depth, and it a piece of art in it’s own right.

Classic meets Contemporary
Classic meets Contemporary from Veranda J/F ’16

Here’s a simple, but very impactful example. Antique chairs with the contemporary art piece above.  The linear chair backs “frame” the art above.

Included below are other wonderful examples.

Modern and Antique
Modern art with antique silver pieces
Classic meets Contemporary
My favorite Suzanne Kasler vignette

This theme can also be carried outdoors.

Fontana di Trevi in Rome is a stunning combination of the original Baroque architecture by Nicola Salvi and scupltor Peitro Bracci.  Built in 1762, the fountain was recently upgraded and restored (thanks to Fendi!), adding state-of-the-art LED lighting giving a bit of dramatic sparkle.

Rome's Fontana di Trevi
Classic meets Contemporary
A 1762 fountain gets LED lighting
Lis Bustamiante
Classic meets Contemporary outdoors!

Here, Luis Bustamante, a Madrid  interior designer added colorful contemporary art on top of a stairway framed with antique stone urns

New Construction Homes – Bedford & Lexington MA


Any Bedford resident has noticed the growth in new construction. Every neighborhood has someone building something!

In the past 12 months, 20 new construction homes sold in Bedford! That’s a 54% INCREASE over 2014.
The average new construction home price increased 8%,from $1,140,100 to $1,233,000.
These homes also sold about 2 weeks quicker in 2015! Bedford existing home sales were up 5%, with the ASP barely increasing.

BEDFORD – All Single family sales 2015
Total units sold – 156 units +20%
Total Days on Market – 66 +3%
Average Sales Price – $785,700 +11%

In contrast, Lexington’s more mature new construction market,was basically flat. With 74 new home sales in both 2014 and 2015 and an ASP of $1,620,000 for both years. The only bright spot was homes sold on average 30 days faster.
Backing out new construction sales, Lexington existing home sales were up 5% to 313 units, selling 4% higher.

LEXINGTON – All Single family activity 2015
Total units sold – 387 units +5%
Total Days on Market – 70 +4%
Average Sales Price – $1,149,000 +3%

Both towns benefit from top ranked schools, proximity to major highways & downtown Boston. Bedford has done some tightening on building regulations recently. We’ll see 2016 new construction slow down a bit.
Interest rates should remain affordable however so we project the strong housing market will continue!

My Top 5 Interior Design Books

Interior Design Book
Suzanne Kasler , Timeless Style

Suzanne Kasler: Timeless Style

Her second book.  I LOVE her!! She has such a high spirited, classic style.  Her homes would be so fun to live in, tons of bright energy, extremely liveable. Rooms are uncluttered yet impactful with well-chosen pieces. Just the right amount of Patina, Sparkle, & Texture.  Excellent focal points in her rooms.  Another high point:  Kasler does an incredible, creative job with artwork placement. On colors:  Page 76,,,,”Champagne, blue-gray, and a touch of raspberry”. Stunning!

Simply SereneThomas Pheasant: Simply Serene

“There is nothing more luxurious than space to breathe”.  When you get his book, actually READ it.  His homes are beautiful, uncluttered.That about says it… Love the black & white photos, complimented with the Silver pages.


He starts by defining the space than layers in

  • A truly beautiful room is beautiful before it’s ever decorated.



Jennifer Boles, In With the OldJennifer Boles: In with the New

Jennifer is creator of one of the top interior design/lifestyle blogs, the Peak of Chic.

She takes us alphabetically through vintage objects, maybe you’ve seen these in old movies, at your grandmother’s home, or on a trip to a museum.  Incredible design, but dated?  Jennifer shows us – absolutely not!  Think “modern transitions.”  Next time you’re strolling your favorite antique store, or inherit a piece that reminds you “when”, grab this book and recreate it.  You’ll look at everything with a fresh eye.  This is an amazing book, she writes so well.  You can see why her blog has been around since 2006!


Rhonda Rice Carmen, Designers at HomeRhonda Rice Carmen, Designers at Home

Popular lifestyle blog “All the Best

Tour designers homes and provide insights on they design their personal spaces.

New look at interior design books.


Interior Design Book
The Art of Classic Details, Theory, Design, and Craftsmanship

Phillip James DoddThe Art of Classic Details: Theory, Design, and Craftsmanship

OMG – This book made me cry, it’s so beautiful. Every… single… page.  The Forward, by David Easton is perfect:  “Journey through the Art of Classical Detail with a nod to our past and a keen eye to our future.”  Dodd, with a Masters for Architecture from Notre Dame and accolades decades long, does a magnificent job putting this tomb together.

This work is divided into two sections:

The Essays: Written by top architects, scholars and craftsman, it illustrates classical design detailing and artisanship. Lots of references to the Villas of Renaissance architect and builder Andrea Palladio.

The Projects: Presents an intimate look at 25 classically-designed homes in Great Britian and the United States. It details the interior design and detailing as well as the impressive classically influenced home exteriors and gardens.

For any remodeling project, this book is a fabulous reference.

My FAVE PAGE here is #106.  Chesney’s Georgian Marble mantle with charcoal walls and a crystal chandelier.  WOW.



The Architectural Columns of UVA

On a recent college tour, we visited the University of Virginia. I was stunned at the amazing architecture the campus presents.   Columns graced almost every building with stunning capitals, from Corinthian to Doric.  Each building seemed to have its own unique columns. The variety was inspiring and ephemeral as if I’d walked into the architectural courtyard of a museum.  Amazing and not by chance….Why?  I needed to find out more……

Corinthian Column – one of the 10 Pavilions that grace UVA’s Lawn

Behind the famous Rotunda, Thomas Jefferson (founder of UVA) designed 10 pavilions surrounding the”Academical Village”, or what is now known as the “Lawn.”  Each pavilion characterized by  a different façade; displaying a different set of classical details “so as to serve as specimens for architectural lectures.”  Each also has its own walled garden separated by Serpentine brick walls offering private space ideal for student respite.  Frank E. Grizzard, Jr., a former University of Virginia scholar, has written THE book on the original academic buildings at UVA.  You can read an excerpt at: http://etext.virginia.edu/jefferson/grizzard/chap01.html

So this topic begs a little more research on Architectural Columns –

There are three basic column styles with origins from ancient Greek architecture, stemming from the three systems of Classic Architecture.

The Doric column is the oldest and simplest Greek style—the Parthenon in Athens is the most famous surviving example of the Doric order. This column features fluted (grooved) sides, a smooth rounded top, or capital, and no separate base, being placed directly on the pavement or floor.  Doric columns are sturdy and elegant.  They were created as early as 600 BCE.  This architectural style reflects the rules of harmony.  Current architecture may substitute a plain column for a sleeker look ( Tuscan, more on this later).

Ionic columns are more complex and delicate than Doric and are identified by the scroll-shaped ornaments at the capital (volute) resembling ram’s horns.  Ionic architecture is straight and slender with softer, curved lines.  It was more common in eastern Greece and the Coastal Islands, originating in Ionia, Greece. The Ionic column rests on a rounded base.

UVA Pavilion
This Ionic example is one of the 10 pavilions framing UVA’s Lawn. This is very similar to those at the American Museum of National History on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Marble Ionic Column Capital
This second Ionic Column can be found at Minor Hall, Currently housing UVA’s College of Arts and Sciences













Notre Dame - Corinthian columns with a Gothic influence
Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has its own version of Corinthian columns found in the Nave Arcade. The Arcade is a series of arches supported by columns, these with a late Gothic influence.

Corinthian columns show  Egyptian influence and are typically quite elaborate, decorated with Olive, Laurel, or Acanthus leaves.  The Corinthian order of architecture, the last of the three Greek styles, did not become fully developed until the 4th century BC.   You’ll find them more often in Roman temples.  The second picture is taken at UVA’s Clark Library.  Please notice the serpentine detail on the fleurette.


Clark Library - Corinthian Capital
Elaborate Corinthian Capital

In modern times, features of the three styles are often mixed.
Although Greek-influenced columns are by the far the most widely used in modern architecture, other column styles also occur.

Egyptian columns are thought to be modeled after the shape of the lotus flower indigenous to the Nile. These columns taper out at the top and are often ornamented with palm-like leaves near the capital. One can often find other features including horizontal rings about one-quarter and three-quarters of the way up the shaft. Variations on these columns appeared in Egyptian Revival homes built during the mid-1800s.

Romanesque – These columns were often used by American architect Henry Hobson Richardson in the mid-1800s to support the large scaled Roman arches in his Romanesque Revival homes. These thick, heavy columns often rest on large trapezoid-shaped bases. Romanesque columns are known for their floral or decorative capitals. Simpler pier columns, with wider bottoms than tops, are also common in Craftsman and Mission homes.

Tuscan Columns are the least ornate and viewed as the most strong and masculine.  They are similar to Doric (however  smooth columns) but with proportions similar to Ionic.  Many historians feel the Tuscan order predated Doric and Ionic, following the architectural practice of Tuscany.  Tuscan columns are often used in military and utilitarian architecture.  Tuscan columns are uncomplicated and can support the feel of Georgian and Greek Revival homes.

You’ll also see Greek-influenced columns frequently found in Greek Revival, Neoclassic, and Southern Colonial homes.  Later Neoclassic versions (beginning in late 1800s and early 1900s)  were used and often thinner, without fluting.

Of course architects, past and present,  have put their own personal variations on columns.  But wherever they’re found, they immediately layer interest and class!  How stunning are these?

Columns at the Cloister of Basilica de San Giovanni

The Distinctive Homes of Carmel

, Step into a fairytale




On a recent trip to Carmel, I was inspired by the uniqueness of the homes there. Between Ocean Avenue and Carmel Bay are some of the most intriguing homes I’ve seen! I loved the interesting roofs, from terracotta tiles to wood shingles.  Carmel is embedded in wine country, has fabulous restaurants,  great shopping, and some of the best pounding surf this Easterner has seen in a while!

Definitely worth exploring, you might even see Clint!