Come Visit Me at the New Site!

July 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

Hi folks! I moved! Please check out www.tennysontippy.com/blog to view past, current and future musings on art, design, decorative history and beautiful things. Thank you for visiting!

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Eggplant and Champagne. A perfect match.

February 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

neighborhoodWhile enjoying a lovely pre-spring walk, I snapped a photo of a favorite home in my neighborhood. Years ago, when I first saw the house, I thought the colors a bit (too) daring. Maybe even garish. But after many evening walks, these paint colors have warmed their way into my heart. I now see their combination as strong, inviting, and livable. Far from the acidic yellow and candy coated purple on the color chart, these complimentary colors truly do compliment each other.

The Eggplant and Champagne combination (and it’s variations)  is timeless, provocative, and in it’s own way, quiet.

courtesy of atlanta-homes-lifestyles

courtesy of atlanta-homes-lifestyles

collectorsprints.com

Photo © Matthew Millman; Jute Interior Design

Photo © Matthew Millman; Jute Interior Design

Map It! My top picks for Map Wallpapers

February 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

LONDONLONDON by Thibaut

I love a good map wallpaper. In general, transforming something typically viewed at a small scale into something oversized makes for some pretty interesting and fun wall surfaces (like this one!)

Maps, often seen at arms length, become magnificent illustrations when seen at 20x their normal size. Map wallpapers make wonderful feature walls, often requiring little additional styling.

__auto_tile_2628__084576full Ferdinand by Sandberg

I love a good map wallpaper. In general, transforming something typically viewed at a small scale into something oversized makes for some pretty interesting and fun wall surfaces (like this one!)

Maps, typically seen at arms length, become magnificent illustrations when seen at 20x their normal size. Map wallpapers make wonderful feature walls, often requiring little additional styling.

london-z (design) London -by Zoffany

Map wallpaper can take on many styles, from a studious masculine look, to modern nautical, there are maps for any mood.

LCW22213WGreat Harbor-Ralph Lauren Home

LWP60735W Desert Map by Ralph Lauren Home

New-Revised#6 1889 Map of Paris

Little Serow: Big Design in a Small Space

October 15, 2012 § 1 Comment

During our honeymoon, we traveled through D.C. and ate at the most lovely restaurant, “Little Serow“, near Dupont Circle. The incredible basement space, formerly a Dunkin Donuts, looks and feels like you’ve walked into someone’s home in Northern Thailand. The color and texture of the space felt so reminiscent of the room I rented while living in Guatemala, I had to include a photo (see below)Image

Chef Johnny Monis and his wife, Anne Marler, inspired during their travels to Southeast Asia, developed the restaurant concept as well as designed the space. The aqua teal walls feel pitch perfect, as does the corrugated tin ceiling. No computers are visible (the serving staff pulls out the point-of-sale computer to process payments from a drawer), and they don’t have a phone. The no reservations, no substitutions, no frills, 28 seat dining space works (and tastes) wonderfully.

Pattern and softer textures missing from the interior finishes are incorporated into the delightful plateware and vintage dresses worn by the serving staff. The cool green walls help diners feel relaxed and calm while eating the deliciously spicy food, while the small touches of floral pattern help you to feel even more relaxed and at-home in the bustling little restaurant.

Elixr Cafe: Wallpaper, Any Way You Like It

September 21, 2012 § 1 Comment

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Many thanks to the talented team at Greensaw Design & Build who invited me to consult on the beautiful new Elixr space.  I designed the wall treatments, which add a warm touch to the rustic, industrial-style cafe. I love how even a small amount of wallpaper can either dramatically, or subtly transform a space. For example, I chose a more delicate, lattice-style floral paper for use behind the coffee station, which beautifully blends in with the brick, wood, and coffee merchandise. However, on the entry wall, I wanted a bright, dramatic pattern to make a statement and set the tone for the space. Wallpaper can often be much more durable than paint, so it’s helpful to remember that it doesn’t always have to be noisy and colorful, it can be more quiet and subtle.

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In the bathroom, I hand applied a geometric pattern using warm tones to create a homey, welcoming atmosphere without it feeling too decorated or dramatic. The pattern fades in and out of sight, which adds to it’s character and subtle complexity.

Brilliant Design in at The Louvre in Paris

September 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

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I didn’t think I could love Paris any more than I already do (see me practicing my French smile at a cafe in the Marais), but the new galleries for the Islamic arts at the Louvre just might put me over the edge. The new Galleries, designed by the Italian architect Mario Bellini and the local Frenchman, Rudy Ricciotti, feature a striking contemporary glass pavilion on two levels, covered by an undulating steel roof, reminiscent of a scarf, or perhaps a floating carpet.

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The galleries, which appear to float within the Louvre’s neo-Classical courtyard, required ten years of design, development and construction to complete. I’m enamored with the roof, which, at first glance appears light and delicate, but actually weighs 150 tons and has been painstakingly fashioned from almost 9,000 steel tubes that form an interior web, over which are a layers of glass and golden steel.

I love the geometric quality of the roof, so well-suited in both form and function to display some of the most beautiful geometric art humanity has ever produced. See some of my favorite examples below.

I can hardly wait for my next trip to Paris so I can visit the galleries in person.

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Philippe Ruault

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Par Avion: Air Mail Patterns

September 14, 2012 § 1 Comment

Humans love both the art of flying, and the joy of receiving letters. One of our first known air-mail deliveries occurred by balloon on January 9, 1793, traveling from Philadelphia to New Jersey, carrying a personal letter from George Washington!  Air mail officially began in the United States in 1918 and while it’s now considered obsolete (in 1995, the Postal Service began transporting all First Class long distance intercity mail by air), beautiful air mail letters continue to be produced.

I purchased the classic half-chevron/rhombus bordered envelopes  in Guatemala several years ago, (see below) and continue to use them for fun whenever I send a letter to a distant location. Now I’m dreaming up ways to create patterns inspired by these classic shapes.

In researching the subject, I was delighted, but not surprised to learn that the rhombus blue and red framing is just a modern simplification of myriad former air mail designs. While air mail envelopes were almost universally printed with red or blue ink, their outside framing (and of course, stamps) varied widely. Popular motifs include airplanes and balloons, stripes, stars, arrows, and occasionally more eclectic shapes like firecrackers or shields.

See some examples below, from a collection curated by R. Howard Courtney

I’m delighted! And off to develop some modern classic takes on these designs. As always, it’s great to be in good company. Designer, & Kathleen developed a great invitation based on a classic airmail pattern here, which I love. Now off to the races!

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