art : the conscious use of skill and creative imagination…

This season’s CS Interiors has opened my eyes to the fascinating work of Windy City-based knitter-photographer-artist, Michelle Litvin, who epitomizes the definition above in her “Mindscrim” creations.  Her one of a kind vision begins with meditiation and weaves intuitive intricacy… Litvin tells CS “I go into these meditative states and then I start knitting… There’s no predetermined design in mind, and I make up stitches as I go.”

Enjoy these compelling images and swing by Caste to experience Litvin’s sculptures and accompanying photographic collection live.

Mindscrim 1

Mindscrim 2

Mindscrim 4


Mindscrim 6

Mindscrim 8

What I love most about art and design is that inspiration is everywhere… Michelle Litvin found a muse in kneedle and thread… What will inspire you today?

Heads Up!

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Oct 28, 2009 | 3 Comments | Category: Color, Design Bloggers, Design Inspiration, Paint

This fall, Chicago Home + Garden raises the expectation for color. Too often we overlook ceilings, but shouldn’t it be the other way around?! Check out these spaces along with a couple of inspirations I pulled from Domino.
I’m loving this vibrant addition and the way it escalates energy and intimacy…bravo on the bold!
Ceiling 1
Dimension and definition achieved.
Ceiling 2
Playful and unexpected.. Even babies deserve a little eye candy.
Ceiling 3
Heightened serenity.
Ceiling 4
Is it just me or is color so very uplifting? This month’s Chicago Home + Garden also features our vibrant vignette from the International Antiques Fair… take a peek and tell us what you think!

There’s something oh so enchanting and alluring about rustic elements mingling with sleek, luxurious design. I absolutely adore this Wyoming haven and secretly wonder if it’s available for a weekend home swap…

 Ahhh, a girl can dream…
This red cedar entrance hall exudes “Welcome Home”.
Wyoming 1

Could this delicate Ochre fixture be a more lovely topping  for this handsome walnut Hudson Furniture table?

Wyoming 3

Texture, texture, texture! What I wouldn’t give to curl up and indulge in this fireside nook… I am loving the Alison Berger sconces and pendant lighting, not to mention the bronze vintage table by Philip and Kelvin LaVerne.

Wyoming 2

Well done, Madeline Stuart…well done.

Check out the full spread in the November Issue of Elle Decor.

Buckinghamshire 1As my ancestry calls me….I am a Buckingham by birth, and seem to be drawn to all things English with an amazing regularity.  I have been told that to design a castle might be my dream job (who would not call that a dream job?!).  But without a doubt I can recall early images of my Irish mother announcing that all things “English” were dreamily elegant and ultimately oozed glamour and style.  This leads me to West Wycombe Park located in Buckinghamshire, UK….

Buckinghamshire 2The house- a sumptuous Palladian Villa- is a part of the National Trust, although it remains firmly in the hands- and is the family home of Sir Edward Dashwood and his family…all 5,000 acres of it.  This Blue Drawing Room embraces all things English with examples of statuary, furniture and fine paintings.

Buckinghamshire 4 x 2The Music Temple- on an island in the lake and reachable only by boat- is another family favourite: “We use it for drinks parties and picnics.”  Oh so English sounding…I just had to use their spelling of the word favorite.  It DOES sound more elegant, doesn’t it?

Buckinghamshire 6Film-makers also find West Wycombe irrestible.  “Little Dorrit”, “Daniel Deronda”, “Cranford” and “The Duchess”- have all been made here.  “Colin Firth and Rupert Everett must have been here many times”  says Edward Dashford. With its yellow-stone exteriors and pale blue doors, this is a house without an obvious front or back; although the west portico- the Dashwoods (pictured above in almost their entirety) front door- built by Nicholas Revett in 1771 is stunning, the earlier south-facing double colonnade, by architect John Donowell, is grander.  In the summer, the family eats outside under the pillars, overlooked by a row of busts and the prostrate sculpture of a naked woman.  I knew that I loved all things English.  I am still in the market for designing the spaces within a castle…..

All images courtesy of House & Garden Magazine October issue.

Seeing Art As It Should Be Seen….

Posted By Julia-Chicago | Oct 12, 2009 | 2 Comments | Category: Art

Picture 9

I have recently been introduced to a Chicago artist named, Joe Boudreau.  His work is featured at the amazing Andersonville Las Manos Gallery.

Joe Boudreau (born George Joseph Boudreau, November 2, 1960) is an American artist.  Boudreau went to Pratt Institute until 1981 and later to the Maryland Institute of Art through the late 1980’s.  He currently lives and works in Uptown, Chicago.

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His work resonates with me and I know that he will be a part of my design aesthetic with future clients.  For sure.

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The colors, the texture.

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The life that each piece breathes can fill a huge space in any environment.

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The neutral negative space grabs the color and embraces the black outlines.

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Or just the opposite.  The black emphasis is in the center and is floating amidst the color….

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I love it all……what a local treasure.  Not sure if he will be considered “local” for long!