24 June 2010

[Re]creating a Masterpiece

I was recently rummaging through some old papers from my studies in France and came across a picture of a beloved painting I first spotted in the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.   (Gustave Caillebotte, Toits sous la neige [Rooftops under snow], Paris 1878)

I haven't thought about this work in months and was happy to see it and dive into it just for a couple minutes to escape and reminisce.  I imagined myself bundled and blowing steamy breath, walking the snowy streets of Montmartre on a somber Parisian evening.  I would round the corner and spot the glow of candlelight coming from a small cafe on an empty avenue.  Inside I would take a seat in a corner near the window, order a glass of wine, light up a smoke and make up stories about the couple sitting next to me.  But back to reality.  My thermometer is registering 111 degrees and I dare not venture outside today.  So for now I will continue to dream inside and use this painting as inspiration to create an entire (imaginary) room. 
When first I thought of using this as design inspiration, I immediately came to a space designed by Sara Scaglione and featured in House Beautiful.

It is absolutely one of my favorite all time bedrooms and if you scroll back to one of my first posts, you will see it serves as the original inspiration for my own boudoir.  It is so sophisticated and very french, but relaxing enough to sink into and take an afternoon nap.  Unfortunately, the more I look at it, the less I think it resembles the painting.  This room is about comfort and luxury and,  however lovely and deliberate the painting might be, there is just nothing luxurious about it.  So, back to the drawing board in search of something grittier.  The room would need to be a little colder, not uninviting, but less plush, more industrial.  I think a metal bed is in order, like this one featured in Pine Cone Hill.

But we might need to paint it cloud white or a misty blue... or maybe gray?  The floors would be painted white and the walls, Farrow & Ball's Drawing Room (the color on the walls below).   The bed linens would of course be french and white with putty colored linen draperies and unfinished wood hardware.  Yumm... I can vision it all already complete with 12 foot ceilings, an old marble fireplace and all the french architectural fixins' complete with cracks and chips for character.

I would accessorize with ferns potted in old terra cotta, used books, and beautiful found objects like Anthropologie's Ameoba Bowl. 

The bed would be adorned with dusky orange and faded violet pillows and a vintage throw made by someones grand-mere.  An antiqued mirrored dresser (Anthropologie) is an obvious necessity and a desk would be in order for executing various tasks and important projects.  A side chair equipped with a place to rest your feet is needed for casual reading and reflection...  et voila!  I'm ready to move in.

(Draperies: Restoration Hardware, Terra cotta pots: Smith and Hawken, Hanging light: Anthropologie, Bed and linens: Pine Cone Hill, Paint sample: Farrow and Ball, Fabric swatches: F. Schumacher, Chest of drawers: Anthropologie, Spindle table: Wisteria, Marais char: Design Within Reach, Chair and ottoman: Serena and Lily)

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