Monday, November 28, 2011

Grisaille and Chinoiserie

My interior-designer friend suggested I install "grisal" panels on the sliding cabinet doors in my den. Not knowing what "grisal" was, I googled it and came up with the word "grisaille," a French term that refers to a painting technique in grey tones that was popular in the mid-1800s. 

A value sketch that really isn't because it should be done in pencil...

The grisaille technique is very similar to a "value drawing."  In art class, before committing paint to paper, we were encouraged to do a "value sketch" of what we intended to paint as a tool for composition. This way, one can easily identify the light, and dark areas and see how the light moves across the composition. I didn't realize it was a painting technique used long ago for various other reasons.

The American company, de Gournay, which is famous for its exquisite hand-painted Chinoiserie (shin-wah-seh-ree) wallpaper, kept popping up in my google search because it also creates grisaille panoramic murals.  I got sidetracked with all the beautiful chinoiserie that is timeless in interior design.

De Gournay, caters to a very high end market and their products are often seen in design books, magazines, and the internet. Their prices are also very high end.

Speaking of chinoiserie, my friend Pam and I went on a "design field trip" and visited the home of a good friend of hers last week. In this gorgeously designed apartment, the dining room had beautiful hand-painted chinoiserie walls.  Unfortunately I can't feature this home in my blog because the owner is a very private person. I'm just so thankful that she happily opened up her home to me.  Being here felt like I was in an apartment in Paris, instead of in the middle of Manila. It was nothing over-the-top, but Pam was right when she said her friend had refined and cultivated taste.

 Chinoiserie walls of the dining room

Meanwhile, at the home of another friend, Alicia, which we also visited that day, the hand-painted chinoiserie powder room made my heart skip a beat. Alicia is not an interior designer,  but her aesthetic sense is highly developed. What I find intriguing about her is that she always knows the names of designers that are popular for a particular design--and I'm not talking about the iconic ones like Mies, Eero, or Marcel. Let's just say she knows beautiful design, and she always knows the origin.

After oohing and aahing in her powder room, the name "de Gournay" came up, and I was able to talk about design at her level only because of my recent google search. With this chinoiserie all around me,  I felt that the design universe was giving me a sign.

But what is speaking to me right now are these incredible grisaille murals. I would love to have something like this in my home. My stairwell is just white as of now, and the family room...hmm...

In this decorative artist's blog, she shows us the process of one grisaille commission.  I'm sure with the number of talented artists here in Manila, I can find someone to do similar.

Hope you learned something new like I did. Just remember that it's grisaille as in Versailles or kampai, and not grisaille as in La Salle  or pandesal.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Zebra Stripes in Interiors

Here is the look I'm trying to achieve with the big mirror I'm looking for. Not only do I love a huge mirror, I also want some zebra stripes somewhere in living room, just like this. I don't need a full zebra displayed on the floor--just one or two accent ottomans (otttomen?)

Me and My Mac

My Mac and I are going through a rough time right now. A few nights ago, my Mac wouldn't go past the desktop display, and it wouldn't reboot either!  After calming down and forcing myself to put aside all fears of losing my data,  I found out that my internal hard drive was maxed out, mostly because of my iPhoto. I think it's about time I figure out how to manage my photo archives better.

My 320g hard drive was way up to capacity, and the only thing to do was to upgrade to a 500g hard drive. While I was at it. I also decided to upgrade my RAM from 4 to the maximum, 8g,  and upgrade to Lion and to iLife'11. Meanwhile my life is on hold.

Now my old HD,  with all my files,  is safely in a metal hard case and acts as my external drive, I now  have to wade through the clutter of old files and transfer only the most important ones. The most precious thing to me in the computer is my iPhoto so I just moved the whole thing over with 70k photos.

So now there's  a traffic jam of posts in my head. I hope to sort out this Mac stuff soon because I feel lost if my computer is acting up.  BRB.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Antonio's in Tagaytay

I haven't been to Antonio's in a few years so I was surprised to see it expanded and renovated when I finally went there one evening, a few months ago, for a very special wedding anniversary event.

I would've loved to see it during the day because I can imagine how beautiful it would look. The atmosphere at dinnertime is different too, specially when the guests are all dressed formally.

I love the look of monochromatic encaustic tiles.

The weather was pleasant and chilly.

It was quite dark, but I was able to shoot my salad. Everything else did not photograph well, but they were all very delicious.  In all the times I've been there, Antonio's has never disappointed.

I couldn't take pictures in the other parts of the restaurant because it was too dark. This big dining room was very dim, but my low-light camera could still capture some of the atmosphere.

Love this chair with the brass nailheads too.

The styling, flowers and giveaways were done by Tonette Rosal of Sophie's Mom Cakes and Confectionery.

On the way out, you'll come across this gallery wall of old photos.

I even bumped into a group of old friends who were also dining there that evening! What a coincidence.

I should make plans to have lunch there one day, so I can fully appreciate the interiors.

+63917 8992866
Purok 138, Barangay Neogan
Tagaytay City, Cavite

Monday, November 7, 2011

I Need a Mirror Badly

This is the type of mirror you'll find in one of those French or Russian palaces. But one mirror like this will probably just be like a tiny piece of a puzzle in a cavernous mirrored ballroom.

I remember first seeing huge framed mirrors in a restaurant in Makati more than ten years ago.  I don't even remember the name of the restaurant, but the interior space was deeper than it was wide and the very ingenious interior designer installed large horizontally framed mirrors on the wall, leaning down away from it--the way old portraits lean away from the wall. The imposing mirrors reflected the diners on both sides.

The Baroque frames were nicely gilded and they didn't look like tacky reproductions in shiny gold.  I also remember thinking, if ever this place closes, I would love to buy one of these mirrors.

The place eventually shut down, but I never found out who owned the place, much less what happened to those mirrors. I can't bear the thought of these mirrors languishing in someone's bodega.

 This is the size I need

Ever since that time, the image of a huge mirror has been embedded in my mind. And now, I have the perfect place for it at home!

When my husband asked me why I was so obsessed with a chandelier before, my lips just moved to what my soul dictated:  "I just need a chandelier in my life." Well, now it seems it needs a Rococo-inspired Louis Philippe mirror too. I especially like the one below on the right with the beading. At least my soul knows that it doesn't need a real antique. It's smarter (and more practical) than that.

This calls for a trip to Pampanga to see how I can get this carved up. I'm on a new quest!
If anyone has ideas or can recommend good suppliers, leave me a comment.

photocredits: None of these photos are mine. I collected them from the internet and can't remember the sources.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The W in Seminyak, Bali

Like most W hotels, the Seminyak property is modern and unique. It didn't fit my idea of what Bali should look like, which explains my initial discomfort regarding the interiors of the hotel. I've been to Bali twice before with family and we were enchanted by the peacefulness of the place and the rituals of the people. My image of Bali design is mostly of the tropical nature as I mentioned in this post--villas designed organically using natural materials, alfresco bales and outdoor showers.


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