Thursday, January 31, 2013

An Addition to the Menagerie by John Matthew Moore

I gushed about artist John Matthew Moore yesterday and a painting I saw at the 2012 DC Design House that I loved. Today, I'm continuing the story.

That painting hadn't been photographed at the Design House, but I knew it would show up on Matthew's website. Once I found it, I showed it to my husband and now I'm sharing it with you.

Meet Bell:

Bell by John Matthew Moore

The digital image obviously doesn't show all the detail, but visiting it in the online gallery made me happy.

Skip to Christmas morning. Marc's gift to me was an envelope.

The message inside said that I was getting the first print of Bell. My reaction had Marc laughing.

Yep, I was so touched that I cried a little bit. Marc had contacted Matthew to make the arrangements.

A few weeks later, I met Matthew at A & D Custom Framing in McLean one morning to see the Bell print and talk about framing options. The last time I was at A & D was when my other John Matthew Moore print, Olivia, was being framed. As promised, my print is #1.

Picking out a frame for Olivia didn't take me long years ago and I found picking a frame for Bell pretty straightforward.  Of course, it helps when the artist himself is pulling the options to consider.

 In the end, we decided that she'd sit on an ivory mat that would match the color on her forehead (the mat in the image above is more creamy and isn't being used).  Matthew has developed his own line of frames and I felt like the options were perfect. Bell's a farm animal, so we decided the more rustic frame above made sense for her. Matthew is going to paint that frame to look similar in color to the frame with the black rosette on it.

Color wise, the finished product will look similar to this next picture, but the frame will be the lower profile frame above.

So the 785 square foot condo is getting another fairly substantial piece of art. I think we have the smallest home of any of Matthew's clients. His work is on more walls of estates in Potomac and Middleburg than on the walls of little condos.

How do you like the newest addition to our menagerie?
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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

On Art, Design Houses, and John Matthew Moore

Four years ago, I wrote about falling in love with a painting I saw at the DC Design House. I walked into a room that Marjory Segal designed and was stopped dead in my tracks. Marjory was in the room that day and I feel badly that the only thing I managed to ask was for the name of the artist who made the painting.  His name was John Matthew Moore.

Room designed by Marjory Segal / Photo from DC Spaces

If you're a long time reader, you know that I was able to eventually able to bring Olivia the sheep home as a print and she's lived happily on my living room wall for years.

Over the years, I've seen John Matthew Moore's work here and there. I don't think a year has gone by that I didn't see his work (or Matthew himself) at the DC Design House. Two years ago, Lauren Liess used an amazing piece of Matthew's in her room at the house. You might have seen this room featured in Better Homes & Gardens last year.

This past year, Matthew took over a space of his own in the design house. When I heard this, I assumed he'd do some sort of gallery space. Nope. He took over the foyer...and a couple stories of stairwells and hallways that connected to it. Check out these before images by Charlottesville's Robert Radifera:

I remember thinking "good luck with that!" But the end result was pretty amazing.

 Super wow.

The light fixture was amazing. Check out the before and after:

What happened to me when I saw Olivia the first time happened again. I saw something that delighted me so much that I had to have it. The thing is that it didn't get photographed! It was hanging at the top of some stairs in one of those hallways that Matthew took on in addition to the foyer. I'm scoured the web and even sent a message to Robert Radifera trying to track her down. If the Design House volunteers hadn't been so militant this year, I might have had just an iphone photo to share.

I knew she had to show up on Matthew's website eventually...

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Monday, January 28, 2013

The Menagerie Grows!

Last week, I showed you around Sisters Unique, a great home store in Newport News, VA. Among the many things I admired during my last visit were some ceramic deer head vases.  Some of the vases mounted on the wall and others were for the table top.  I thought the wall mount ones were kind of funny, especially with twigs coming out of their holes as antlers.

 It turns out that while I was wandering around the store taking pictures, my mother-in-law was buying one of the deer heads for me. Her office was nearby, so she must have made arrangements to pick it up another day.

Right after Christmas, Cookie Doe (I know a doe doesn't have antlers, but Marc came up with that name and it stuck) went up on the wall over our TV.

Even though it was after Christmas, I decided to deck Cookie out with some ornaments.

I thought a little color might look nice, so I added the ornament wreath I made a few years ago using Eddie Ross' tutorial.

 Cookie's back to just having twig antlers right now. Marc's already asking if I'm going to do something to her for every holiday, though. I have a few ideas in the works.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

How Small Would You Live? Making Room in NYC

How big is your current home?  How small do you think you could live?

My local NBC affiliate picked this piece up from WNBC last night and I had to share it. Last July, NYC major Michael Bloomburg announced a competition to design "micro-housing" called adAPT. Construction on the winning design will begin in Kipps Bay later this year.

A legal apartment in New York is 400 square feet. These micro-houses are 250-370 square feet and aren't legal, but per the reporter, that will be changed. The Museum of the City of New York has a demo of a unit on display right now and this WNYC reporter toured it:

View more videos at:

If you're seeing this in a reader, you might not be able to see the video. Click through to check it out. 

Here are some still shots from the demo unit. In the living space, a murphy bed comes out of the wall over the sofa and the TV wall slides open to reveal more storage.  The orange boxes on the right after filing cabinets and next to them is a desk that swings down from the storage unit.  More seating is nested inside the ottomon.

There's a small closet with a bar that swings down to a comfortable height.  The kitchen has a folding table that rolls out of the way.

The bathroom would be considered a nice one for almost any size apartment.

Want to see more?  Check out these pictures of the demo with people in it and this article about the adAPT competition. This article also shows some micro-housing in other cities.

Here's a fantastic (and long) piece about housing in NYC an why the "Making Room" exhibit is important.

How small would you go?

All photos by John Halpern
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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Shop Tour: Sisters Unique

One of my favorite stops when visiting Marc's mother at the beach is a fantastic store called Sisters Unique. The ladies at Sisters Unique always put together great vignettes around their store and I couldn't help but snap a few pictures the last time I was there. 

The holiday items you see here are now gone, but I thought the "place cards" on ornaments were so cute that I had to share them.

I loved the porcelain deer with twigs for antlers.  

The walls are always chock full of bold prints in pretty frames.

The middle of the store has jewelry and small items that are perfect for hostess gifts.

I was so looking forward to taking a few pictures of the huge gallery area, but they were doing some editing while I was there.  Use your imagination...

I wish I lived closer!

City Center at Oyster Point
701 Mariners Row
Newport News, VA
(757) 595-9355

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Framing Something Important the Frame Shop Guy's Way

When I first moved to Charlottesville, I stumbled upon a shop called The Great Frame Up when I was looking for someone to cut a custom sized mat for something I wanted to frame.  I don't remember what I was framing, but it was a odd shape and none of the standard mats sold at Michael's would work. The Michael's framing department said they'd cut the custom mat, but I'd have to wait several days.  They obviously didn't do the work in-house.

The person who helped me at The Great Frame Up was so nice that I keep going back.  Though I only buy mats there, they always treat me like a valued customer.

The space where they have been for years was empty the last time I drove my and I was relieved to find them in an even more convenient location for me, a little shopping center called Rio Hill.  The new space is brighter and more open than the old one.

Let me stop for a second and say that I've gone into this place a lot, but always alone. On this occasion, my husband came with me. I should have known that he'd know someone in the shop. As soon as we walked in, the guy behind the counter greeting us like we were old friends...and it wasn't because I've had a bunch of mats made here.

Back to the task at hand. I had an inexpensive Ikea Ribba frame and a standard sized enlargement of my wedding bouquet to be framed. Ikea frames come with funky-sized Ikea mats. With some photos, the Ikea mat works just fine, but my image needed a custom mat.

We laid out some options. Marc and I have a dumb shtick we do when it comes to different shades of white. I know he can't tell the difference, but I ask "which one do you like?" anyway. He answers "the white one."  Lame, I know.

There's a particular mat that looks great with white, Ikea frames. I don't know if mat labeling is universal, but at The Great Frame Up, the mat is C13xx (I don't remember the last two digits). Even when I walk in thinking I'm going to do something different, I wind up with C13.

Though I make an effort to buy custom mats, I tend to do a pretty slacker job on framing. I tape the photo to the back of the mat and slap everything together. My sloppiness once caused me to ruin a treasured photo from my childhood, so I've learned to use Kyle the frame guy's method instead.

1.  Put on special photo handling gloves. Just kidding. I don't do that. I appreciate that Kyle does.
2.  Position photo on the backing with the mat over it. Hold the photo down and take the mat off. This seems so lame, but if you don't hold the photo down pretty hard, it's going to shift, even if you think you're pulling an Indiana Jones move.

 3. Using photo safe tape (found at craft and office supply stores), attach a couple strips of tape to the photo, sticky side up.

4. Now tape the photo to the backing by laying strips of tape across the tape you just placed.  You're almost making a T with the base of the T going behind your photo.

That's it. I couldn't believe I never knew this little method. My old, lazy way of framing sometimes led to photos that slipped or shifted in the frame.

Kyle taped my photo right to the back of the Ikea frame. He said it really wasn't all that necessary to use some sort of liner.


I almost didn't blog about this because I assumed I was the last person to learn that this is how to frame something. Is this new to anyone else?

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