LARS BOLANDER


Lars Bolander is a name synonymous with Swedish Style and upscale, sophisticated interiors.
Te Neues has just published a large coffee table volume illustrating his work. With over 174 gorgeous photos, it's a real visual feast. I loved it that the book covered more than just his work but also included photos of him as a young man, as well as some very fun personal photos with his beautiful wife, family and friends.
Personally, I like to get to know the person behind the work a little, too.  Far too many design books are just stuffy catalogues of a designer's work that, while featuring beautiful photos, may come off as slightly dry and boring.  This book is heavy on the visual and lighter on the text - just the way I like it!


In this book, Lars shares not only some of his own homes, but those of clients worldwide as well.


He introduces us to artists and craftspeople who have both inspired and influenced his work, such as master craftsman (and Royal Family member) David Linley.


Lars' work straddles the line between real sophistication and laid-back comfort. What strikes me is how his work is all about layered patina, varied elements and true warmth. There's nothing of the generic showroom, tasteless ostentatious glitz, or one-dimensional cookie cutter design that is so prevalent nowadays.


Swedish style is something Lars is well known for, but his work encompasses so much more than any single "look". Be sure to get your hands on this book, it will educate you and leave you with a great feeling and a lot of inspiration for your own decor! Find it here.
Wishing you all the very best in 2013. I hope and pray it will be a year of peace, joy and growth for all of us!
Happy New Year!!

COTTAGE COMFORT


Happy Wednesday! I have now recovered from some serious printing issues (read: unexpected passing of my printer) that had delayed my shop orders going out, but things have now been remedied by the arrival of my new printer and I am now caught up.  I apologize to my customers for a slight delay. Printers seem to go on the fritz when you have the most orders to send out! This time of year is my busiest, so I strive to get orders out in a timely manner while completing the commissions that my valued clients will be giving their peeps. I am skipping town after Christmas for a whole week away and I am looking forward to it!

On a design note, I just love this room and the casual elegance it exudes.
Antiques without the "dark and heavy".  I only wish I knew the source....if you can help me out, I'd be grateful. 

CATCH-UP


I hope that you had a good weekend! I am a little behind as I was out of town and am now trying to play catch-up with correspondence and work on a large scale commission that's due soon!
I love this room by designer Tracey Garet. the colors are great and that velvet sofa is calling me....looks to me like a perfect place to spend a few hours devouring some design books and my favorite magazines.

BE IT EVER SO HUMBLE......

The glamorous ideal (image via Elements of Style)

AND........ the way I actually live (I have got to paint those drab walls!)
What I do love: the plantation shutters, the desk from my mom's childhood I re purposed as a dressing table, and a mirror I bought in London years ago.

There is no place like home! I am sure most of you would agree with me, being the design and domestic aficionados you are. Nowadays, with so much available to us as far as design-related media goes, it's easy to look at the fabulous homes of others and, while being inspired, also feel twinges of design insecurity/inferiority. For me, design blogs and shelter magazines provide an endless source of eye candy and inspiration. But, at times, it's kind of like air-brushed photos of celebs, the homes look fabulous, but most have been styled to death, airbrushed and fine-tuned to excess. That can leave ordinary folks like me with "habitat-image" issues, not unlike self image issues that are exacerbated by "perfect" images of skinny, polished celebrities. Too much focus on design-perfect homes can leave people with thoughts like, "gosh, my kitchen cabinets look too much like cabinets and not furniture" or "my bed skirt looks like it is waiting for a flood". Have you ever felt nauseated when you look at clutter on your counter, or groaned with disgust at the dust you let build up on your lampshades? I have. (I hate dust, but hate dusting even more. I'll admit it, sometimes I skip the dusting.)

Truth is, nobody's space looks perfect all of the time. At least not mine. Like the rest of life, 99% of the time there is something of a gulf between people's ideals and how things actually are. If you're always bemoaning the imperfect, you don't have a chance to enjoy the better aspects of what really is. It's sort of like accepting your appearance. You see your flaws and, yeah, there are things you might like to change, but you don't run out and get a plastic surgeon to overhaul every inch of you. You make the most of what you have and make peace with the genes you've been "dealt", the good ones and the not-so-good ones.

One thing I appreciate about European design magazines, is that while I am sure they do their share of tweaking before photos, they seem better at letting things look natural and lived-in than us perfection-oriented Americans. I am not campaigning for a magazine that comes in and takes candid photos of mediocre interiors or anything akin to "just rolled out of bed" sloppiness. Nobody wants to aspire to that. What I am saying is that I think we should be able to enjoy our homes in process, even if we have absolutely no current plans to change anything. Home is dear purely because it's our private refuge and sanctuary. A space where we can find shelter, express ourselves and be "us". That is what makes people's homes truly beautiful and inviting, not when we are just following trends, trying to impress people or purchasing pieces much as someone buys a "statement handbag". I love to see it when someone decorates with things that mean something to them, whether it's been passed down, gathered on travels or made by someone special. To me, these are the things that truly give my space it's own unique personality, whether or not it wows other people. It needs to fit who YOU are and how you live! Don't listen to anyone who tries to sell you anything by way of intimidation tactics or subtle put-down manipulation. Like those hairdressers who ask first time customers in a snide tone"WHO cut your hair last time?!"or store clerks who use that annoying phrase to wind up your checkout experience,"Will this be ALL?". As if, by saying that, they are going to convince you that you are incredibly cheap and need to buy a heck of a lot more before you will be able to impress them. Not nice. Not smart.

Yeah, I am certainly all for new projects, or making the most of your space, but I don't think we should succumb to cookie-cutter peer pressure or always having to strive for "perfection" in our homes. As a wise person once said, "It's not the destination that matters, it's the journey". Take time to just live and enjoy what you do have. It's a blessing to just have a place to call home, be it grand or humble. It's more than a lot of people have.

MY WORK IN "NEW VIEWS" SHOW AT BENNETT GALLERIES

My "Aqua Interior" original painting is one of my pieces being featured for sale in the "New Views" exhibit at Nashville's Bennett Galleries from now until July.

Palm Beach Chair - Anne Harwell 2007
Many of my original paintings, as well as some prints, are for sale as part of this exhibit of new and emerging artist's work on paper at Bennettt Galleries. It is called "New Views:Photographs, Prints and Illustrations". The exhibit features the art of several different artists and runs from April through July. It is the first exhibit of this kind and will be a rotating exhibit that changes artists every 3 months. Bennett Galleries, a well established and upscale gallery in Nashville, TN specializes in contemporary fine art. It is family-owned and has been in business for over 30 years.

Boston Vase - gouache/ink on paper
This is another of the smaller original works being featured.

Ikat Cartoon - 2008 This original gouache/ink sketch is also in the show.

This original hand-cut paper collage is a new work I created for the show.

Bennett Galleries - hours are Monday-Friday 9:30-5:30 and Saturday 9:30-5:00

Bennett Galleries carries the work of many well-established as well as emerging artists. It's located at 2104 Crestmoor Road in Nashville, right in the heart of Green Hills.

I sent over 20 pieces for the show, so if you live in or near Nashville, please come by and check out "New Views" exhibit at Bennett Galleries.