Country in the City

Country Living magazine has a feature each month or so called "Country in the City" and I remember years ago as a CL subscriber, always looking forward to that feature to see typical city dwellings decorated with softly patterned fabrics, large pieces of wood furniture and plates hung on the wall.

These photos have nothing to do with Country Living magazine directly, but the phrase "Country in the City" popped to mind upon seeing these images. The home is an apartment on New York's 3rd Avenue designed by Heiberg Cummings, whom I've posted about before.

There is something about the juxtaposition of antiques with slightly contemporary touches that gets my attention every time, even though I don't like contemporary design.

But, I can say that I admire a skillful contrast of textures, styles and finishes that make not only a beautiful, but also interesting room.
Calla lilies always seem like a contemporary style of flower to me, if there can be such a thing. I always pass them by in the store. They look even more austere paired with this antique silver candle stick.
Maybe I'll give the lilies a try one of these days. I certainly have a few silver (plated!) candlesticks around the house.

The Portrait of a Lady (or two)

I am always intrigued by interiors that feature dramatic portraits from the nineteenth or eighteenth century, with dark backgrounds and serious, dignified looking ladies. I cannot get enough of theses in museums and upon seeing a portrait I have to get up close and see the brush strokes, the thickness of paint, the blending of colors and wonder how the artist was able to paint such realistic flesh tones and capture the richness in the fabrics of the women's dresses.

Lady with a Fan, Francisco De Goya (1746 - 1828)

So, it's only natural that I have started to long for a portrait of my own to hang in my home. Although, I look at some of them and wonder if I could tolerate a pair of inanimate eyes looking at me from all angles of the room. Would this bother me, get on my nerves just a little.....?

Girl with Racket and Shuttlecock, c. 1740, Jean-Baptiste Chardin

......a slight scowl on her face making me uncomfortable, seeming to chastise me for sitting on the couch, eating ice cream and watching TV instead of emptying the dishwasher or vacuuming?

Hanna Voss, Kittery, Maine c. 1795, John Brewster

Or, would I just get accustomed to her and appreciate the chance to look at a beautiful painting everyday.

Portrait of Emily Rush, James Peale

Mind you, our family has no ancestral portraits lying around, being handed down from generation to generation--just the usual collection of old black and white family photos with names and dates scribbled on the back in pencil and a few with no names and dates at all.

Portrait of Madame Regnault De Saint-Jean D'Angely (1775 - 1857), Francois Gerard

Which means I'd have to buy a reproduction portrait (okay, fake) within my budget of a complete stranger to hang in my home. Although, if doing so gives me the chance to appreciate beautiful art, why not?

Please leave a comment with your opinion of buying reproduction art. I'm curious as to what the consensus is out there!

All images

Antique Vanities in the Bathroom

Although we all know that trends come and go, one of the few that I will never tire of is antique chests and bureaus turned into bathroom vanities. They add warmth to what can be a cold, hard space and even though fitting the sink requires the loss of the top drawer, the remaining drawers provide ample storage space.
Orrick & Company
This vanity is one of my favorites, featured with an antique gilt mirror and sconces. Something like this could turn a boring bathroom in a new home into a pretty room.
Southern Accents
I recently discovered this photo in an old issue of Southern Accents magazine (January-February 2001) and it still looks fresh. It's featured in a home designed by Amelia Handegan.

Sarah Richardson Design
The round somewhat contemporary mirror provides contrast to this antique vanity.

Sarah Richardson Design

A close-up of a mahogany chest of drawers. This style is common in both antiques and reproductions. I've seen many in antique and second-hand shops over the years and the reproductions are fairly inexpensive.

Sarah Richardson Design
A long sideboard topped with a marble counter top plus crystal sconces, crystal chandlier and Farrow & Ball wallpaper add elegance to this bathroom.

Orrick & Company
A country pine dresser is topped by a driftwood mirror. Obviously, you don't need me to tell you that this would be fun in a beach or summer house, but I've said it anyway!