Posts tagged ‘interior design’
(Continued…) They say if you don’t feel your grief, you won’t be able to feel all the other feelings that want to arise. Good feelings like joy, empathy, or passion. It’s like having a house decorated with only one color – but the color is grey. Margaret had been living in a grey house emotionally, and the grey was her grief. The grief was like a hand pressing down on her; she could barely breathe. And when Sam left, another hand descended.
But now it’s spring and Margaret, still residing in her bed-cave, is becoming aware of the light streaming in through the window. She notices the birds singing outside. The thought of a bird feeder floats through her mind. She feels the slight, oh-so-slight flutter of something stirring deep down inside.
Margaret props herself up on pillows and surfs the internet for pictures to add to her “vision” Pinterest board (set to “private”) and comes upon a DIY blog featuring before-and-after pictures of home remodels and design. Homes with drafty windows replaced by energy-efficient skylights ; Old mildewy bathrooms revitalized by moisture and stain-resistant grout (who knew grout could be so sexy!); drab kitchens remade with lime-green spacious counters and tile.
And then her eyes fell upon a blog post talking about grief.
Why is a design blog talking about grief?
It was on a site for sustainable living which featured pictures of homes with recycled rain-water systems, solar-paneled tree-houses, and affordable micro-dwellings. The post was by a trendy psychotherapist who did interior design. As in interior interior. The psychological interior. He believed that the interior was reflected by the exterior. Or “our outer world is but a mirror to our inner. Knock a wall down and let the sun in. Pull out the 70’s shag carpeting (old beliefs) and install new birch wood floors.” Margaret wasn’t sure what exactly birch floors represented (new beliefs? yoga studios?) but she liked it.
She liked it enough to get out of bed. To finally crack open the book about tidying that her mother gave her. But then the tidy book had to ruin it by admonishing her to “KEEP YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER.” The hostility of it! A gong reverberates throughout the room. It’s her phone alarm telling her it’s time to stop meditating. Oh right, I’m meditating. She breathes. I am not my thoughts. I am not my stuff. I am…. What am I again?
Margaret’s friend Toni once told her that you have to ask the universe good questions. The universe loves answering questions but if you ask, ‘what’s wrong with me?’ it will delight in showing you. “And that,” says Toni, “is a rough road. But if you ask ‘what’s right with me?’ you’re gonna take a much better trip.’
Margaret sits quietly. She listens for her question. Her arm itches. A dog barks. “Will the universe answer her? Is the universe friendly? Who or what is the universe anyway? Should she give up gluten and dairy?” She giggles. Toni would not approve. Then a voice interrupts her. “What are the blessings all around me?” Say wha? “Blessings?” That. is. not. a. word. Margaret. uses.
Her breath stops for a moment. Her mother’s blue eyes flash open, then shut eternally. The smell of honeysuckle. Silence. Margaret realizes she has been sitting quietly for a good part of the afternoon. Maybe a good part of her life. She feels unsettled. Or is it calm? The sun is beginning to set outside the kitchen window. It used to be her mother’s window and now it’s hers.
Her eyes land on the opened box of Entenmann’s donuts next to the sink full of dishes. In remaking her home, what will she discard and what will she keep? And who will she become? A Rolling Stones song drifts through her mind, “I used to love her, but it’s all over now…” She grabs the donut box and throws it in the trash. Time to put her house in order.
This is the third installment in a weekly series about aspirational living. Micheline Auger is a New York-based writer who loves all things Modwalls.
We get asked this great question quite regularly:
“I LOVE my new tile, but I need some advice…What should I do with the electrical outlets that fall within the kitchen backsplash area?”
Good news! We’ve got several creative solutions for you – yay!!!
These little necessary items can possibly ruin your beautiful, and often pricey backsplash! We are confident that if you consider the locations ahead of time, you will improve the finished look of your kitchen or bathroom. :)
Details on outlets…
It’s required by law that you have electrical outlets within your kitchen – which is a good thing!
Your kitchen has many electrical needs: major appliances, small appliances, built-in appliances, lighting, exhaust fans, and basically anything you might want to plug in or switch on while you’re in there.
In regards to your kitchen or bathroom, the National Electric Code requires:
- Small appliance circuits feeding countertop receptacle outlets are required to be Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protected
- Any countertop wider than one foot requires a receptacle outlet
- Receptacle outlets must be installed every four linear feet at minimum – more is totally fine too
- Countertops separated by range cook top, refrigerators, or sinks are considered separate countertop spaces
Are you in the planning phase of your new kitchen or bath remodel?
If you are planning your kitchen or bath remodel, congrats(!), you are thinking ahead! Here are some helpful questions you can ask yourself and discuss with your electrician regarding your kitchen or bath’s electrical needs:
- What fixed/portable appliances do you plan to install/have in your kitchen? What are the locations and their power requirements?
- What kind of lighting do you want/need: Ceiling? Under cabinet? Toe kick? Pendant or chandelier? Recessed? Surface Mount? Ceiling fan?
- What kind of lighting controls do you need?
- Where do you want your light switches and appliance outlets?
- What materials/installation practices do you need to comply with National Electric Code requirements? Hint: ask your electrician
- Do you have special requirements due to disabilities and/or the Americans with Disabilities Act?
- What are the brand specification of all fixtures you want? Have your electrician check these out too.
After you discuss your electrical needs with your electrician and have a final layout in mind, the electrical outlets and switches can be located and installed. Don’t worry if you already have your outlets in place, it’s really easy to move them around and make adjustments before the installation of your backsplash.
There are several different ways to approach this without ruining your backsplash with a bunch of ugly, poorly placed outlets and switches. Here are some creative solutions as to how you can address the outlets & switches within your backsplash.
Implementing Creative Solutions…
#1 – Flip your outlets horizontally to coordinate with the pattern of your backsplash (but if your backsplash has a vertical pattern to it, keep you outlets vertical too)
#3 – Install the outlets or switches on or within your cabinets…(some additional planning involved).
#4 – Install your outlets where you know you’ll need them!
#5 – Install custom pop-up grommet outlets where you know you’ll need them!
#6 – Specify outlet and switch plate covers to coordinate with your material selections: making them a design element instead of an eyesore!
#7 – [Bathroom specific] – Install the outlets or switches within your bathroom mirror and trim with a mirrored cover…some additional planning involved. Look closely for them!
Q: Have some other creative outlet and switch solutions? Share them with us and we’ll add it to this blog!
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“Are you the artist Janet Bennett?” Bennett is a striking and elegant woman who looks quite at home in the colorful surroundings of Robert, the restaurant housed within the Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan. But perhaps the question should have been, “are you the artist who designed the iconic tile murals in the Los Angeles Airport?”
The murals have been widely attributed to Charles Kratka who was Bennett’s immediate supervisor. “When I found out about the obituary for him in the L.A. Times which said that Charles Kratka was the designer of the LAX murals, I freaked out.” By her own admission, she’d never claimed credit for the murals which were installed in 1961, when she was working for the architectural firm of Pereira & Luckman.
Her assignment, given to her by Kratka, was to design a mural that would distract people from how long the tunnels were. The 2007 L.A. Times obituary mentions that Kratka told his children that the changing colors of the mural were to reflect the changing seasons, but Bennett said that actually her concept was to express the changing terrain as seen from a transcontinental flight, “from ocean to ocean.”
“I started with blue on one side, then green, then into earth colors, then,
in the middle, I had one red element; then the colors reverse. My idea was that you’d see the same colors going from the ocean to the middle of the country, over the prairie, then back to the ocean.” The mural has been featured in both film and TV, from The Graduate to Mad Men. “It’s been used as a vehicle to show people coming in and out of Los Angles; it’s an ideal background because of the procession of colors.” Overall, Bennett created mosaic designs for five terminal buildings found in the airport.
Bennett grew up in Detroit; her father was a painter. He discouraged her from becoming an artist due to concerns about making a living. “He had been successful as a painter, but there came a time when he had to think about money, so he went into automobile design. For him, (designing for automobiles) was like interior design for me. He was okay at it, but he didn’t have a passion for it because he was a painter, as I was a sculptor, and am now a painter.”
Bennett studied at the Cranbrook Academy of Art which is known as one of America’s leading architecture and design schools, with its graduates and faculty being described by the New York Times as having a “profound effect on the physical environment of this country.” Bennett majored in sculpting and upon graduating, came to New York City to work on commissions, one of which was a bronze sculpture for the department store B. Altman & Co. Once completed, she was called to Madrid for further study before finding herself back in the states, working in architecture.
“It was an ideal job for someone like me.” Her work took her to Los Angeles, San Salvador, “I love anything Spanish,” San Francisco, Honolulu, and back to New York. “My sculpture commissions were always in different mediums, using different materials – whether it was steel, or
plastic, or wood – I really had to learn as I was doing. I’ve gone to a couple shows at this museum (The Museum of Art and Design) and I’ve thought, ‘I’ve done that once, but this artist has made a whole career out of it.’ If I had stayed with one thing, people could look at it and say, ‘that’s a Janet Bennett.’”
In addition to the LAX murals, Bennett was one of the contributors to San
Francisco’s BART stations in the late 60’s and early 70’s when a panel of art professionals commissioned murals and other art for nearly all of the then newly designed stations.“The tiles for the San Francisco murals were ceramic, as opposed to the Italian glass used at the airport.” When she wasn’t doing mural work or designing decorative art, she worked in interior design. “That’s where I ran into some restrictions. When I was doing the commissioned artwork, I pretty much had full reign. With the murals, there were no influences other than driven by theme.”
At 83, Bennett is now working in acrylics. “I like things that are malleable. That’s what I like about oils. Mixing them; they’re nice and squishy.” She works both in New York City and “on the Island” (Long Island) and finds inspiration everywhere.
“Artists are much more observant. I walk my dog in the park and things are happening. A big crane is taking something down, a people thing is happening, and no one is looking. I’m always looking. If you have an artistic temperament, you’re sort of a voyeur.”
I ask her if she’s tried to contact the airport about receiving credit for the LAX murals. ”Anytime I try to follow up, they say, ‘can you document it?’ It was so many years ago; I’ve lived in so many places, thrown out files, or books, or photographs. Everyone I worked with was older than I, and they’re not around anymore.”
Bennett is quick to point out that she wouldn’t have minded if the architecture firm had been credited. “Working for an architectural firm is like working for a fashion house – you can design it, but it goes out under the name of the firm.” The discomfort that Bennett feels is in having another person receive credit for a design she conceived. She sighs, “I never thought about publicity. I remember a magazine contacting me (after creating the mural) but I was busy with something else.”
Bennett has been creating art for over sixty years and is still evolving, still exploring design, color and texture. Perhaps, if you find yourself passing through the midcentury mosaic tunnels in LAX, you’ll find yourself thinking, “I know what that is. That’s a Bennett.”
Micheline Auger is a playwright and freelance writer living in New York who loves art, color, and all things Modwalls.
“If I am truly living my color, I am viewing my life as an abundant opportunity and wishing to share that with the world.”
Artist Dove Drury is a painter, muralist and ceramicist who speaks about color metaphorically, passionately, and personally.
“Color has spiritual and emotional resonations. I wear a lot of strong colors and vibrant patterns – which I feel is a way of really living and interacting with color. The celebration of color is the celebration of my life. Color really means for me a connection to higher forces and to the universe and to God and to flowers and the natural and mystical and ferocious world around us. I have a tendency toward bright colors, and have a joyful connection to red, yellow and blue.”
Drury describes his ceramics as a “way of making colors stand up.” His says his aesthetic tends towards assemblage, found objects, bric-a-brac, and sentimentality. They are “disregarded things – torn and rough around the edges – that one cannot throw away, coming from a place of love, and caring and repair.”
His current ceramic work was born from an unexpected and displeasing discovery. He opened his kiln and found that the object he had fired had broken into many bits. Not wanting to throw the pieces away, he mused on their hidden potential or “potential in any form.”
“I had experiences in my prior kiln firings where pieces would accidentally touch and fuse together. I thought about the connection of assemblage and utilizing this process for my benefit to create new objects, with a kind of found composition and spontaneous form.”
TO PAINT IS TO DANCE IS TO PAINT
Drury comes from a creative family. His mother is a dancer and a painter and he describes his painting process akin to dance. Some of the murals he has painted were done by hanging off a ladder and jumping across the walls. “I would fill a broom up with paint and then smack it against the wall to create a dynamic energy and spontaneous mark.”
He describes his creative process both internally and externally. “One has to practice the routes of inner attunement so as to really listen. I go on long walks for hours winding through the city.”
DOING THE WORK
In contrast to the internal world of urban wanderings is the focused and diligent hours of solitary studio sessions which focuses his creative process. “I’ll sit in my studio and tinker with my tools and toys. It’s a routine that creates an energy that embodies a pathway of working – getting your gears rolling and being in that fluid space, and it’s not always possible or predictable when it happens, but at least it’s good to set up the conditions so as to stimulate those situations.”
His murals have been commissioned by private clients for their homes and Drury brings a keen sensitivity to place and function. “When I’m working on a commission, I pay attention to the aesthetic and intention of their space – so maybe a huge, red, energetic flower wouldn’t be that soothing in your meditation nook. Creating a certain emotional tone or atmospheric quality that compliments or mindfully contradicts and cohesively heightens the space is key.”
The word love is often expressed by Drury when he talks about his work, materials, process and community.
“I have this love affair with nearly everything – or nearly everything with a certain vibration. I like to collect things that are joyful. I love things that I can pick up and touch, and remember my family and my friends and the life we are building together.”
He adds, “I would say to live one’s color is to live one’s life with acute and compassionate honesty. If I am truly living my color, I am viewing my life as an abundant opportunity, and wishing to share that with the world.”
To contact Dove Drury, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and see more work and information at dovedruryhornbuckle.com