The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.
– Pablo Picasso
Carol Benson-Cobb has a singular ability to trigger memories of place and time that stir emotions in all who view her paintings. Now, her work is being featured on several contemporary furniture designs. The artist’s abstract perspectives of sea, sand and sky are beautifully displayed under glass.
The contemporary style of the credenzas, cocktail and nesting tables are perfect statement pieces for the modern home. The soothing, neutral tones of the collection will compliment many design styles seen on the coast, in the mountains or within a city apartment. The work of Carol Benson-Cobb can be seen in the homes of many film, sports and entertainment stars and is a favorite of many celebrated interior designers.
Austin A. James was born in Putnam, CT but has lived most of his life since 1973 in Houston, TX. Austin began his art career in 1994 as a poet. His love for playing with words and phrases and his love for color naturally led him to experimenting with paint and motion. He started painting in 1996 and exhibiting as a professional artist in 1997. Austin believes that art is energy. Each human being has his or her own unique form of energy. An artist is the one who is capable of translating this energy into art.
Austin’s pieces focus on organic shapes, color and the natural flow of matter and motion. His MFA from Naropa University in Poetry has infused a lyrical sensibility into Austin’s work. Austin’s formal education also includes a BA from Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX, and an MBA from the University of Dallas. Austin lives in Houston, Texas with his children Granger and Baylies.
We asked Mary Neff Stewart, Senior Wall Art Designer for John-Richard, her thoughts about the artist. “Austin’s work has this amazing fluidity to it. The end result is incredibly peaceful – though when he talks about the creative process, it sounds so energetic!,” she adds, “His aesthetic suits so many spaces and styles. I am thrilled we are working with him, and I look forward to building our collection.”
You are a poet as well as an artist, are there commonalities between both forms of creative expression? Yes, it is not uncommon to find a poet and a visual artist in the same person. A poet loves to play with words. Words are pigments that define space. A visual artist enjoys the use of color and shapes to create a sense of feeling.
Art is most successful when it strikes two feeling chords at once. The piece that makes one feel happy and sad, angry and joyful. That is art.
Are there any places or settings that are inspiring you right now?
I love the Gulf Coast.
How has your time in Texas molded you into the artist you are today? I discovered I was a rascal in Texas. I am a child of the 1970’s. Children did as they pleased, and so did our parents; these parents were raised in the 1950’s and became young adults during the Vietnam war. No one was minding the store or the rules.
Do you have a personal favorite color palette?
Neutral: whites, soft grays, robin’s egg blues, celadons. I believe it is easier to feel through the subtleties of a soft, tranquil palete.
What are you currently working on?
A new series called “Carpe Grace”. It is a gentle piece with this faint touch of gold blending through the center of the piece. The gold appears as a fog. Carpe Grace involves a solid 10-15 layers in order to accomplish the feeling of “floating in grace”.
Can you speak about your new relationship with John-Richard?
I wanted to work with John-Richard because their aesthetic and scope compliment and represent the south. The company has a keen eye for strength mixed with subtleties. I see myself in a similar fashion. I look forward to a steady relationship with John-Richard that develops step-by-step through the years.
For more details on the Austin Allen James art carried by John-Richard, click on the link below:
This famous tag line from the Blackglama ad campaign resonates with home design trends as well. The Legend Collection by Mark McDowell, debuting at High Point Market this April, will be remembered for how it melds modern opulence and exceptional design. The high-contrast pieces in black and gold have clean lines, luxurious hardware and lustrous finishes.
The combination of black and gold has been woven into beautiful images in fashion, film and history. Even in ancient times, the Pharoahs of Egypt made powerful style statements with strong uses of black and gold. Inspirational whispers of art deco style, Hollywood set design and haute couture are also infused into the Legend Collection.
Long Jingchuang, who is known by the name Teng Fei in the art world, received a degree in Fine Arts from the Jiuyi College in 1995. In 1998, Teng Fei began his career as a professional artist in Shanghai. During his stay in Shanghai, he studied both traditional Chinese and Western-style art and techniques. The artist continues to meld history and cultural elements into his contemporary concepts, thus forming his own unique style of painting.
Teng Fei transports us to a dreamlike space where we see polo ponies in a myriad of colors, feel charmed among golden butterflies, walk among the citizens of a European city, or simply enjoy the clouds or silver tones of tree branches reflected. What joy there is to be found in his paintings!
The work of Teng Fei has been included in prestigious collections both in Hong Kong and Singapore and his spectacular art has been purchased by collectors worldwide. John-Richard offers an extensive selection of the artist’s paintings in many genres.
“Teng Fei creates some of the most diverse and beautiful pieces for John-Richard. The use of color, texture and media, including varieties of metal leaves, results in stunning works of art for our customer,” enthuses MaryNeff Stewart, Senior Wall Art Designer for John-Richard.
The id 810 Design Group, a boutique firm specializing in residential design, was founded by two dynamic designers; Virginia Toledo and Jessica Geller. Their projects, including pre-war Park Avenue residences, Westchester homes and Hoboken row houses, showcase these designer’s mastery of the construction process. This unique talent is evident in the firm’s major renovations and allows them to design, manage and fully execute homes that withstand trends and time. Whether designing for families, NYC singles, or couples preparing to retire, the spaces that id 810 design group transforms are rich with personal meaning and are unique spatial solutions that reflect the lifestyles of each individual owner.
We met up with Virginia and Jessica at the recently held Lightovation Show in the Dallas Market Center. We asked them to share with us some design insights and to describe their signature style.
1. You have some beautifully designed interiors that have a neutral palette. What elements do you incorporate to make these rooms stand out?
When designing rooms that are neutral in palette, we pay close attention to varying textures and the incorporation of tonal pattern and rich metals to keep the room from falling flat. This means setting off a leather sofa with a sumptuous velvet pillow and using a wool wallcovering as the backdrop. It would also mean adding an interesting piping or fringe on a pillow, all within the same color palette. In addition to that, we find it important to incorporate pieces with interesting shapes and silhouettes. These pieces tend to create beautiful shadows that add depth and visual interest without using color. Lastly, the use of metals both on furniture frames, hardware and fixtures allow us to add another layer of interest ‘sans’ color. Depending on the scheme, we might go with burnished brass to add some warmth.
2. How would you describe your design style?
Our design style is often described as fresh. We take a lot of care in making sure we get the bones right in whatever space we are working on. That means shifting walls, addressing trim work and designing built-in cabinetry when necessary. Lighting, both natural and artificial, is also thoroughly evaluated. Like many of our contemporaries, we infuse a mix of new and antique pieces because it’s the only way to achieve a look that transcends periods and the genres of modern, traditional and transitional. Nothing in design is quite new but it’s important for us to at least make it feel as if it is. It might mean using the fabric on the bias on an oddly shaped ottoman or trimming the drapery in an unexpected accent color to achieve a space that is stylish, comfortable and fresh.
3. What are your different considerations when designing a Park Avenue apartment or a country home?
As with all of the homes we design, we have our clients answer a slew of questions about their lifestyle, how they want to live, what’s on their wish list etc… Our selections of fabrics and finishes and our furniture plans are strongly connected to the answers we uncover during the interview process. However, if one had to make an assumption on how a Park Avenue apartment will be lived in as compared to a country home, there are certainly different considerations. It’s likely that the Park Avenue apartment will be the venue for cocktail parties so a certain level of luxuriousness and accommodations for formal entertaining must be considered. That may mean a high level of finishes that require a bit of maintenance and care like horn tables and lacquered walls.
In contrast, one could assume that the inhabitants of a country home might be dragging fishing poles or ski equipment through the house and the entertaining is done in a much more casual way. Finishes should be able to withstand the abuse or at least age well during the process. Reclaimed wood floors and washable fabrics would be in order so that coasters are dispensable.
Here are some snapshots of the series highlights. Please note that the last screenshot has a video snippet below that can be viewed. To enjoy the full version and to see the other ”Designers Shorts’ segments, please click here.
Mary Neff Stewart has been defining her career for 15 years as a designer and art teacher and now as the Senior Wall Art Designer at John-Richard. Her appreciation of fine art and love of creating mixed media pieces at the University of Mississippi and the University of Memphis has been parlayed into sourcing and creating art for John-Richard.
Mary Neff has lived in various places across the Mid-South and now resides in Greenwood with her husband and their son. She finds inspiration through color and home design. She also serves as the Homes Editor for Mississippi Magazine, writing on the spectacular homes and art throughout the state. We were able to spend some time with the designer to hear her view on trends and the current collections.
We were able to spend some time with the designer and hear her thoughts on trends and the new John-Richard introductions.
What trends are you seeing in the market right now?
I’m seeing a lot of unique objects being used in framed art. People love a curated look in their homes, and we are trying to source and create unique styles. With our genuine butterfly collections and our framed botanicals, we are really creating one of a kind art for a distinctive home. Color is still extremely important, as that is sometimes the only “pop” in an otherwise neutral space. We have some really stunning canvases that would work in a variety of designs.
What unique techniques are being used this season?
Obviously, I was feeling very floral this collection! I loved playing with the John Richard botanical department and using their new and exciting pieces. They are creating some really fabulous things by preserving and dying real blooms and greenery. We also hand painted and applied resin to a variety of silk stems.
What inspires you with this season?
All of our artists inspire me each and every season. I am in love with William Goodman’s vibrant color as well as Jason Lott’s moody hues. Mary Hong completely went outside her box for this collection with Intergalactic.
What appeals to you personally and professionally in the art offerings?
Personally, I am drawn to loud, brilliant colors. Professionally, I seem to focus more on subdued hues and classic whites, creams and grays. The April collection has a great mix of both. We are still seeing a lot of cool aqua. It truly seems to be a color that is sticking around in the design world. Yellow seems to be a new hue that we are showing off in our original oil collection also.
Is there a buzz word that reflects what is new and interesting in John-Richard wall art?
Texture is always important! Especially with our use of lots of natural objects this past market, texture- whether real or implied- helps to make a piece more exciting. I’m a very tactile person. I always like to touch the art!
To see more offering in art and wall decor, click here.
Held at the Mayflower Grace, the Day of Design brings together architects, interior designers, stylists and writers to tell their stories and inspire those who love design.
“It is just as disastrous to have the wrong accessories in your room as it is to wear sport shoes with an evening dress.” — Dorothy Draper
Most of us know to strap on the heels with evening wear but falter when it comes to the styling and decorating of our own home. The big questions….what to add, what to take away and how it will all work together are endless. Day of Design’s experts will share secrets about revealing beauty through simplicity, embracing cultural references, making statements with objects and how to integrate the interior with the outdoors. All these discussions will take place on Saturday, June 18th in a charming shingled tea house where participants and panelists can arrange themselves on comfortable sofas and armchairs.
The first morning panel is entitled The Beauty of the Undone: Discovering Simplicity in Design and pairs interior designer Michael De Perno and Andrew Fry with Kyle Hopener, Editor in Chief of New England Home Magazine. De Perno and Fry are the owners of the latest design shop destination in New Preston, Plain Goods. Both De Perno’s portfolio of work and the interior of Plain Goods are perfect examples of this aesthetic. This will be followed by The Allure of the South: How the Region tells its Narrative through Design headlining an authentic group of Southern style arbiters including Elizabeth Ralls, Editor in Chief of Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles as well as designer duo Michael Mitchell and Tyler Hill who hail from Charleston, SC. They will be joined by Washington’s own Kathryn McCarver Root, originally from Memphis, TN, and the owner of the fine art photography gallery KMR Arts.
Lunch is al fresco, overlooking the Shakespeare Garden, on a patio with round tables shaded by white umbrellas. A day at this iconic New England Inn is a time for these design professionals to relax, share resources, make connections and discuss the subtleties of interior design with the attendees. When asked what he found special about the event, Robert Couturier aptly said, “Maybe, because in such an idyllic and calm atmosphere it is easier to think, we don’t have to go anywhere, there is no time pressure and it is always enriching to find out how the others think and to discuss how differently we all work. I love doing it!!”
Kicking off the afternoon is a discussion with design maven and author Susanna Salk about the subject of her latest Rizzoli published book, It’s the Little Things: Creating Big Moments in Your Home with the Stylish Small Stuff. Joining her on the panel are Stacy Kunstel, stylist and co-owner of Dunes and Duchess (with her partner, photographer Michael Partenio) and Kati Curtis, an interior designer who has been getting rave reviews for her room at the Kips Bay Decorator Show House.
This will be followed by a panel with the world renowned architect and interior designer, Robert Couturier and the talented Washington-based architect Harold Tittmann. This panel, Architecture: Connecting Interiors with the Landscape, is certainly an apropos subject for one of the most popular counties for country homes. Moderator for this panel, as well as Allure of the South panel, is the insightful Stacey Bewkes of the premier design blog Quintessence.
After the panels, there will be a Meet the Designer cocktail party on the porch of the Tap Room, as well as a book signing coordinated by the Hickory Stick Book Shop. Designing Paradises by Robert Couturier as well as a selection of Susanna Salk’s books will be available for purchase.
John-Richard is thrilled to be the presenting sponsor. The media partner for Day of Design is New England Home, one of the very best design publications in the country. For the third straight year, the 5 Star Relais & Chateaux property, The Mayflower Grace will be the host of the event.
Saturday, June 18th Program starts at 10:00 am
The Mayflower Grace 118 Woodbury Road Washington, CT 06793
The High Point Market Style Spotters are design industry trendsetters who highlight the top new styles of each Market. As they tour High Point’s showrooms, the Style Spotters select their favorite pieces and share their discoveries on social media. Each design expert has their own unique perspective as they all hail from different regions of the United States and in the case of Canadian-born Laura Bielecki, Dubai.
“The Style Spotters program, launched during the October 2011 Market, features home fashion pace setters that showcase their favorite products and top trends from High Point Market exhibitors via Pinterest, the at-Market Style Spotters LIVE! event, a biannual Style Report and various media interviews. These home fashion gurus are the authoritative trend voice of High Point Market, tasked with finding the hottest must-have items each Market and then translating their picks into today’s top trends,” enthuses Ashley Grigg, Communications Manager for the High Point Market Authority.
Michelle Jennings Wiebe, Style Spotter Emeritus, chose two John-Richard pieces as her pre-market ‘Must Haves’: the Toledo Cabinet designed by Mark McDowell and the Agate Mirror. The cabinet is art deco inspired with etched panels made more luminous with a gold wash. The mirror features a striking blue, black and white agate design which is reverse hand painted under glass. Michelle is the founder and principal designer for Studio M, a top Florida firm based in Tampa, Florida, which specializes in luxury residential new construction with projects in several states.
We were thrilled to introduce five style spotters to the showroom, the first of whom was Malene B, a vibrant, Brooklyn-based designer of bespoke carpets, fine art wall coverings and artisan tiles. On the night before she visited John-Richard, the designer had won the Elevate award for best in floor coverings! Malene certainly has an eye for texture and pattern and was drawn to the craftsmanship of the Andes Cabinet. Each pair of angled tiles are in contrasting veneers of white and amara ebony and set into a figured, smoked eucalyptus cabinet.
Laura Umansky is the principal designer at Laura U Interior Design, a firm known for its bold aesthetic and polished, livable interiors. Prior to launching Laura U Design, Laura studied art and architecture and gained professional experience designing destination interiors. Laura immediately had her eye on the beautifully scaled Anzu Cabinet, designed by Mark McDowell for John-Richard. The show-stopper of this piece is the large agate hardware that has a glamorous edge of gold leaf.
Laura Bielecki is a professional Interior Designer in Dubai, UAE, currently at GAJ (Godwin Austen Johnson). She has completed top Interior Design projects all around the world for some of the most affluent families in various countries including the following cities: Montreal, New York, Miami, Las Vegas, Dubai, Mumbai, Doha Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Calgary, and Edmonton. Her modern, sleek and elegant aesthetic is evident in her style spotted piece, the Dante Credenza. In beluga white and raised on a brushed stainless steel stand, the doors of this piece are faced with tiza gesso with recessed, spun stainless steel handles. This exquisite piece can be seen in the featured photo at the beginning of this post.
Erika Ward is the founder and principal designer of Erika Ward Interiors based in Atlanta, GA. Her work has been featured in numerous local and national publications and she has been awarded by the Atlanta Tribune for having one of the top design firms for two consecutive years. Erika was attracted to two pieces: the Celestite Blooms and the Budding Crystal Floor Lamp. Both these pieces reference nature in a luminous and luxurious way.
Esteemed Interior Designer Scot Meacham Wood, originally from Mississippi, is now settled in the historic San Francisco Design District. His firm’s, Scot Meacham Wood Design, signature style is a true reflection of its clients’ personal aesthetics, while highlighting European and Southern sensibilities, sartorial influences, and bold prints. Scot chose a piece that would be a perfect accent in any of his interiors, our Ottoman with Branch Styled Base.
We are so thrilled to have had the opportunity to spend time with these talented interior designers whose passion for design is only matched by their enthusiasm, energy and charm!