Valentine Expressions

February 11, 2017

You know…we designers design for our clients and ourselves around themes, we design around events, we design around seasons and of course we design around the trends…it all keeps the commerce of products and materials in motion.  And at this time of year, we see focus on wine clubs, pajama grams, stuffed teddy bears in enormous sizes, hearts, hearts, hearts…and roses natural red or gilded, it’s Valentine’s Day!!!

But it’s fair to note that all seasons have valid design consideration. Setting the scene, enhancing the moment – either for you, your family or a romantic encounter, the holidays and especially this one, evoke a desire to create a scene that conveys love and romance.

To that end , my blog is brief. Enjoy that which brings you joy. Revel in the happiness that presents itself. Create beauty where you can. And as we are wont to say….art and good design can almost always bring a better scene to anyone’s place on this precious planet.

So be it a candy heart with a common message of joy, a product acquired to create a scene, a piece of jewelry to promise, a token to send love, a greeting of friendship, a message to offer support, it is all about connecting.

I decided to paint a bowl for my sweetheart. Yes, I had passed this guy’s booth, encouraged others to partake, had appreciated his talent, but never ventured forth. This year, I enjoyed sitting alongside Victor in the shade, with the waves lapping the beach, and soft music wafting through the  air…allowing a moment of focus on an artistic expression, a blank canvas (my bowl) to say Happy Valentine’s Day to MY Valentine.

Here is the finished result.

Connecting. We at PATRICIAN DESIGN support local artists and hope that the next time that you need a gift, want to send a message, or desire a creative addition to your personal space, that you will consider local talent to fulfill that need. OR do it yourself DIY!!!

Wear ART – Shop Local – Support LOCAL artists –  Need we say more?

Ok…we provide the greatest FREE gift wrap to get you on your way!!!

XXX000 Happy Valentine’s Day – (it’s Tuesday – better get prepared!!!)

PATRICIAN DESIGN

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Art and architecture meet all the time. Sculptural forms, building models, buildings themselves, sketches…but at this time of year, the fanciful world of gingerbread houses takes the spotlight and, in this recent scene we encountered, offered a beautiful fund-raiser while at it!!!

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As we pulled away in the pre-dawn hours of the  morning…we felt the chill in the air and the glow over the mountain sending us on our way.

We traversed across the terminal and before cutting over left to the escalator, we spied—at the same time—a wondrously tall Christmas tree adorned with airplanes and ribbon…and surrounded by an amazing collection of ginger bread houses on display in some sort of fund-raiser fashion.

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Upon closer inspection, the fantasy became tangible. The individual structures took on a form of expressive life in their individual attention-getting style. Each one was quite unique incorporating rivers and ponds, vehicles and foliage of all manner.

It is a Christmas tradition to create a gingerbread house full of fantasy and fear, hope and salvation. From the simple joy of baking traditions for Christmas, to the many versions of fairy tales that save children from the wicked ones in the woods creating and story-telling surrounding these magical edifices makes gingerbread houses a staple of the winter holidays – all the while offering architectural design and  construction projects for all ages. Below, see the Hanukkah version of this adorable house.

I just read a great piece by Tori Avey in which she summarized the history of gingerbread. http://toriavey.com/?s=gingerbread

She references architectural design with the fact that: Elaborately decorated gingerbread became synonymous with all things fancy and elegant in England. The gold leaf that was often used to decorate gingerbread cookies led to the popular expression ‘to take the gilt off of gingerbread.’ The carved, white architectural details found on many colonial American seaside homes is sometimes referred to as ‘gingerbread work’.

Having been raised on the east coast, describing houses with ornate “gingerbread” detailing was part of our vocabulary. I now see it in Rocky Mountain Victorians and California seaside cottages. It always conveys a quaint, welcoming feeling.

Avey further states: Gingerbread houses originated in Germany during the 16th century. The elaborate cookie-walled houses, decorated with foil in addition to gold leaf, became associated with Christmas tradition. Their popularity rose when the Brothers Grimm wrote the story of Hansel and Gretel, in which the main characters stumble upon a house made entirely of treats deep in the forest. It is unclear whether or not gingerbread houses were a result of the popular fairy tale, or vice versa.

Recently the record for world’s largest gingerbread house was broken. The previous record was set by the Mall of America in 2006. The new winning gingerbread house, spanning nearly 40,000 cubic feet, was erected at Traditions Golf Club in Bryan, Texas.

Everything is bigger in Texas!!!

The house required a building permit and was built much like a traditional house. 4,000 gingerbread bricks were used during its construction. To put that in perspective, a recipe for a house this size would include 1,800 pounds of butter and 1,080 ounces of ground ginger. Sounds more like a gingerbread resort!

So as we walked around this wonderful display at the ABQ Sunport and marveled at the colorful creativity, I knew this was the story for today.

The cartoon in the paper that morning also found  humor in the subject.

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And to further galvanize that thought, we arrived in San Diego to find Keira proudly presenting their half-eaten, already picked apart gingerbread project in the center of the kitchen table. T’was the joy of gingerbread houses—post construction, eating them!!!

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When it’s time sensitive and just can’t wait – what do you get? A BONUS BLOG!!!  Yes! A mid-week blog for the holidays! It began beneath a brilliant blue sky yesterday as the air, with a teeny bit of a  chill, was contrasted by the then warm sunshine glistening through a deciduous denuded Honey Locust making it’s lonely leftover pods look like birds silhouetted against the sky.

Scattered all over the ground were the same fallen wonderfully twisted mahogany-colored pods writhing amidst the dried leaves.

The color was so rich and warm it was irresistible. As I bent over to inspect one, I was captured by the unique quality of each pod and the amazing contours of their graceful, elongated shapes.

Almost as though they were varnished, they had a semi-gloss that was naturally beautiful. This is art in nature. This is inspiration. I can see this as a magnificent drapery fabric – a grand wall of these intertwined ribbons of organic seed pods.

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However, on a more current and immediate note – I saw a centerpiece or multiple centerpieces as it turned out. I gathered the pods in my fist as though a wonderfully wild bouquet. I then needed a bag (thank you Becky) as I kept dropping them, in an effort to force the ever growing collection.

Here is the quickie result of the awesome autumnal centerpiece. I had a faux wreath of berries and leaves, tossed in a few recently harvested local apples, (thank you Vigils), some leaves gathered from the driveway as the Bradford Pear – which, a little late this year due to our unseasonably warm Indian Summer this fall, has only started to drop its gloriously radiant leaves. And Voila!

I stood back and looked over my shoulder and saw the collapsed plastic bag still spilling pods out over the counter-top.

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I was about to call all my friends and ask “Do you want a piece of this fabulous, festive, fall, focus of attention? And I quickly realized I could expand the joy for those of you with grand tables  needing a longer statement down the center.

So flanking glass vases provided the extension I needed. Now this was quick – adding gravel, sand or moss in the vases would add interest and depth, maybe pheasant feathers, other dried flower pods and grasses – this was just a start based upon an irresistible inspiration scattered before me.

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So keep your eyes peeled for opportunities when you least expect them and make something out of nothing. Save unnecessary expense when you find your design accessories for free!!! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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Given the opportunity to improve upon a recently completed taproom, we instantly realized that painting the entire interior would be the best quick-fix. But that instant gratification was not enough to give this needy/hungry interior some meat to get it off and running.

Atmosphere in interiors is so much a part of the brand, the identity, and the success of a business. Popularity is based upon a certain comfort level, the clientele who gravitate there and the product that they are effectively providing. Whether that is food or drink or both, the atmosphere, (including lively enjoyment by clientele), service and food/beverage – all contribute to a successful establishment.

This does not mean high-end, elegant, fancy or even simply hip – although the definition of hip can vary from spare unpretentious and un-self-conscious funky, to studied funky, to affected stylized, to trendy hip and happening,…but, it does NOT always have to represent expensive interior design.

Yet a strip center generally lacks pizzazz and to install a taproom into that generic scene takes some creativity. That does not mean money – it means just what I said, creativity.  And creative interior design is all about ingenuity and balance.

Balance in interior design is key. This interior was filled with hard, cold surfaces – concrete floors, silver-grey laminate table tops, brilliant silver table bases, grey chairs, polished white granite bar top, silver laminate bar face, silver metallic wall sconces, glistening silver under-scaled chandeliers, white walls with cobalt blue accent wall. Brrrrrrr….makes me chilly just recounting the scene. And this was summer! Imagine this setting with crisp cold wind blowing outside and snow blanketing the mountain – not the place you want to gather for a beer in the wintertime!!

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To instantly soften and add warmth, we painted all walls a dark taupe. The soft, mousy grey/brown color pulled from the existing slate wainscoting to tie the two wall parts into a unified “read.” It gave the silver elements (especially the sconces) a contrast – which results in “interest.”

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The back bar was bland even with the new paint color and to add dimension and animation we mirrored the rear center section. This illusion added depth and interest to carry the ceiling through and add a mirrored storefront and exterior reflection which created an illusion of space and character where there had been nothing.

But unlike most back-bars, this area was conspicuously naked. A couple of stainless shelves housing stemmed wine glasses, and growlers felt spare. Plus the right side of the back bar was closer to the bar and the patrons were a mere few feet from a plain, painted sheet-rock wall. Yes, there was a large format TV screen above, but straight ahead – it was just blank wall.

In the wee hours of the morning, as I tossed and turned for a variety of reasons, I jumped from thought to thought, project to project, and personal concerns pelting all the while in a seemingly endless stream of insomnia. Yet, it was during the angst that the idea of the taproom being named “Silver”…silver…beer cans are silver/aluminum…beer cans crushed and nailed to a wall…texture, silver (theme of the taproom) interest – maybe?- all converged into one of those light-bulb moments of revelation.

And yet you might say – “silver…aluminum…more cold and hard. Why would this be an asset to this interior?” I felt that the texture and dimension of the cans would add more interest than the perceived cold and hard of them. The pockets of folded shadows and the relief off from the wall, paired with the over-all massive full-wall of pattern, would all contribute a positive design element to the scene.

As I pictured the wall of circularly flattened aluminum cans in my in my  mind’s eye (a tool that I employ daily while envisioning concepts and finished products well in advance of their fruition), I furthered the concept to encompass possible bar games. Yes, derived from this perfect grid of circular aluminum discs, I began creating games in my head. A bar is often animated by bar games and this was just another opportunity to interact using this unique wall-scape. Since that initial concept, I have created 3 different versions of the animated interaction in the form of games, on this fantastic Can Wall.

So with great patience, Enrique planned the layout with literally laser precision in a perfect grid. We counted the expected number of cans vertically and horizontally aligning with the brilliant red light beams. The previously crushed cans were laid out on a table – well a handful of the 3,200 that we had prepared for the wall. It was determined that punching the nails into the cans prior to installation would expedite the process of affixing them to the Can Wall. Labor intensive from start to finish, this wall was a great accomplishment for a devoted few.

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As the cans were laid out on the table – initially upside down exposing the crinkly open side (devoid of tops), I instantly LOVED the complexity of the depth, texture and shadows. A tight, random application of them would have resulted in a fabulously complex matrix of design. But upon closer inspection, the “texture” was really raw, with sharp threatening edges that were not possibly reasonable within close contact with people brushing by. So, lacerating the staff was not an option – even for a really cool textural metallic wall treatment. Perhaps this application will surface in a more appropriate location away from human flesh in the not-too-distant-future!

Like hubcaps fastened to the broad side of a country barn at dusk, the reflective silver discs pop in the flanking darkness.

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The process is nearing completion and I will save for another blog sharing the fun and games emanating from the Can Wall,  and the entire finished project complete with new warm white pendant discs over the bar and soon-to-install enormous perforated drum light fixtures suspended from the ceiling, over-sized photo images of the brewery behind the scenes and tantalizing signature dishes in the unique category of the Nexus New Mexico Soul Food.

 

Meanwhile, the take-away here is…balance cold and rigid with warm and textural – along with all the other opposites that attract – when designing be balanced.

 

 

 

These observations have proven valuable and will be the subject of upcoming posts for the weekly blog…almost weekly blog. A compilation of themes prompted by real clients and personal answers & ideas for YOU from Doorstep Design Delivery by PATRICIAN DESIGN!!

  1. Use dimmer switches whenever possible.
  2. Do not be afraid of color.
  3. Treasure family heirlooms.
  4. Know why you are installing window treatments.
  5. Mirrors can be your friends.
  6. All leather is not alike.
  7. Layering adds dimension.
  8. Trends can be your downfall.
  9. Eclecticism is personality
  10. Odd numbers of elements make better groupings.
  11. Rugs are wonderful.
  12. Discover new ways to use existing pieces.
  13. Fresh flowers are joyful.
  14. Focal points speak volumes.
  15. Minor changes can make major differences.
  16. Ceilings are opportunities.
  17. Find alternate uses for common things.
  18. Collections can be cool.
  19. Treat yourself to statement pieces.
  20. Enjoy connecting interiors with the outdoors.
  21. Prioritize to plan effectively.
  22. Deconstructing parts can result in creative assemblies.
  23. Balance is key – opposites attract.
  24. Pillows are easy seasonal punctuations.
  25. Plants bring life.
  26. Mobiles and kinetic sculptures add animation.
  27. Even small water features can be soothing.
  28. Incorporate old with new schemes…conversely new with vintage interiors.
  29. Do not fear dark walls in small spaces.
  30. Everyone benefits from a bit of bling.
  31. Test samples do not always satisfy actual finished effect.
  32. Avoid stopping finishes mid-surface or on outside corners.
  33. Textures tantalize.
  34. Scale is critical.
  35. Faux fur has come a long way.
  36. Matching might be monotonous.
  37. Find treasures at second hand shops.
  38. Collect ideas – inspiration abounds.
  39. Zones matter regardless of size.
  40. Punch it up often.
  41. Music and sound are design elements.
  42. Masking unwanted sounds is an art.
  43. Form should follow function but sometimes they are simultaneous.
  44. Context is critical.
  45. When white is an intentional wall color.
  46. Appearance retention is key.
  47. Beware of light sources solely from above.
  48. Fish tanks relax – as art, architecture or furniture.
  49. Daylight vital – circadian rhythm count
  50. Wabi Sabi has value.

 

Good design enhances life. Consultations no longer are dependent upon personal interviews. Technology has facilitated communication between designers and clients.Custom solutions in the form of samples and sketches can be delivered to your doorstep! Doorstep Design Delivery from PATRICIAN DESIGN

Please contact us regarding cost-effective, quick fixes for your design dilemmas. email@patriciandesign.com or 505-242-7646

Visit our website http://www.patriciandesign.com

By total coincidence but perfectly timed for the segue from the  last couple of  week’s topics,  we attended a couple’s cocktails and canvas painting party last week.  Artistic expression and the fear of taking the leap has been facilitated by these social gatherings centered around painting and wine. You’ve heard of them, if not yet participated in one. This clever pairing has taken the country by storm. The model is to have an instructor teach a group of friends to copy a pre-selected subject and create their own interpretation on a canvas all the while losing inhibition by imbibing in a glass of wine or cocktail. Actually multiple glasses of wine and cocktails! The more the merrier! P1140371 - Copy

And merry it is. It’s fun and freeing. It’s creativity within boundaries but with enough encouragement and pretty much lack of judgment to produce some very successful finished products.  And this is where we found ourselves last Sunday afternoon. Operative word there, we. P1140384

Yes, I had attended several of these fun-filled events in the past – all women – always entertaining. But this was quite different as it was designed to be couples – husbands painting right alongside their more willing spouses were encouraged to let loose and copy the sunflowers.

Unlike other like-kinds of parties that I had attended, this gal started off each person’s canvas with a faint charcoal-transfer outline of the preliminary placement of the centers of the sunflowers. This was intended to get everyone started on the right track but also said loud and clear – this is what we are painting and deviating from the plan, changing the format or grouping was not encouraged. P1140376

That said, it was just fine that we all pursued the same clutch of gorgeously impressionistic floral explosions with bold brush strokes and colorful blotches of paint tying it all together for a happy theme. Most if not all of the men and perhaps a couple of the women had never tried their hand at painting. This might have been the first attempt at artistic expression that they had ever experienced. I know that was true for my husband!

The setting was fabulous in a private dining room of our local Greek restaurant with brilliant sunlight streaming in through the entire wall of west-facing windows illuminating large format photos of Grecian isles, ancient structures, classic white buildings with cascading brilliant pink bougainvillea set against the piercing blue sky and surrounding sea. A big screen TV mounted high in the far corner featured the very muddy Preakness followed by the Blues and San Jose dashing about on the ice. P1140374

But the attention soon turned to the canvases in front of each budding artist. Primed with cocktails, we donned aprons, selected our seats and set to work in front of our table-top easels. The paints are acrylic, water-based – easy to apply and also to clean-up during or after the session. . As the first splotches of color were applied, the comments began to fly around the room. From whining about how difficult it was to complaints about the blossoming results, the room became animated with commentary. P1140386

People began getting up and viewing others’ progress. Compliments and comparisons were a flurry as the instructor made her way around the room aiding those in duress and adding touches here and there. It was hysterical. Everyone was having a blast, creating their own interpretation of the offered subject and seeing it take shape before their very eyes by their very own hand and all the while amidst lively conversation and milling about the room. Seeing the finished products all so similar yet each very different is the marvel of this exercise.

One enthusiastic participant went out into the dining room and requested participation from restaurant patrons in the way of their leaving their tables and coming into the gallery of all of our redundant sunflowers and voting for their favorites – this added to the hysteria as they made their picks, voiced their critiques and the “artists” received their accolades. P1140402

Dinner followed taking this group of new-found friends to the dining room where everyone ordered from the menu and continued the convivial conversations into the evening. But I learned today that Don doesn’t care if he ever picks up a paintbrush again – he didn’t discover a hidden passion nor exceptional talent. He has no love for the process nor the results, but thoroughly enjoyed the party!!! Woo Hoo!! P1140406 - Copy

 

 

 

 

Where were YOU last Sunday morning? As the day dawned, the clouds over the mountain yawned – breaking open to expose various shades of sky beyond their shroud blanketing the morning. Soft grey waves curled over the crest and wrapped around the peaks on violent wind gusts thrashing the new green growth below.P1140149

Imagine…birds are chirping over the roar of Mariah in protest or defiance of this late blast of Mother Nature interrupting what had been spring’s warm welcome. Hooray hooray it’s the firsts of May and the forecast is a high of 50 degrees after overnight lows of a chilly 37 degree rain. This now after having seen record-breaking 70s in February and 80 degrees several days since.

Ah…the fluctuations of spring. With this awakening comes the want, on this Sunday morning, to climb back under the covers and hunker down.  P1140158 However, while the wind wildly whips our towering 30 foot plus blue spruce tree and all the other new green growth from tentacles of wisteria vines to our precious peach tree and fragile red buds, we ascend to the kitchen and talk about building a fire.

Yes, building a fire. With only one fireplace, I have not succumbed to the instant gratification of igniting fake logs or worse a digital image of a burning fire. Albeit I am not the one venturing out into the elements to retrieve the wood from the stack of fragrant local pinon on the side of the house. Nor am I the one shoveling the ashes to make way for a well-ventilated new pile perfectly placed to assure a good burn.

But I did painstakingly sit cross-legged in front of the fireplace for hours that turned into days breaking tiles in sturdy zip-lock freezer bags with a hammer and fit myriad shards into place creating this wild art-piece that is the focal point of our family room.

We didn’t have a mantle nor did we have a surround. We had found a tin mantle to affix to the wall at one point and later three resin plaques to mount beneath it on the painted sheetrock face creating an attempt at dressing that end of the room. But it never was quite right, never brought joy and every changing season resulted in compounded frustration for this unsatisfactory situation. The shoemaker who has not shoes was I, the designer with a sadly neglected fireplace with no design. P1080268

After more than 15 years, the day came when I enlisted Enrique Jimenez to finally make yet another of my dreams come true. With barely a breath of space on the window side of the fireplace protrusion available for a mantle return, he took the measurements and delivered a few days later a nearly fully assembled mantel and trim.20130731_181349

Once painted glossy white by dear John, the space surrounding the firebox opening begged for a finish material. I considered the usual suspects –  granite slab, harlequin glazed ceramic and glass mosaic when the whacky thought hit me – go nuts with fragments of color using treasured pieces I had collected over the years. From a shard I picked up off the street on Peace Valley Lane P1070814 the weekend of Matthew’s graduation from Stuart to little flowers and birds leftover from samples we commissioned for a donor wall at the Albuquerque Community Foundation by artist Meg Butler to chucks of Mexican Talavera and brilliant colors from other pieces and places the palette and random pattern began to take shape.

So the hours and days sitting cross-legged on the floor paid off as this multi-seasonal mosaic of color makes me happy and brings as much great joy in May as it does in December. It is a fireplace for all seasons and a happy finished product and satisfying solution to years’ old dilemma. 20160507_092036_resized

So here’s to the first day of May (last week) that came in with a chilly blast belying spring’s arrival giving us the opportunity to have a cozy Sunday by the  flames of a real fire flashing from the happy mosaic of our a bit frantic, but friendly, family room fireplace.