“Our surroundings should function like a work of art, appealing to our emotions, swathing us in security as we cross the threshold.”
– Christian Liagre
Inspiration is a powerful force, and we always look for a jumping off point when we begin the design for a project. Of course function, the way a family lives and naturally moves within their home, is of upmost importance. However, along with function, the form provides the colorful story, the beautiful frame for how the function unfolds in a space.
Every project is different based on the personalities of each client. This variety is just one of the reasons we love creating bespoke spaces for our clients. Naturally, the inspiration for each project comes to us in a myriad of ways. Outside of the given inspirational elements such as the architecture of the home, the location–city, town, or country – and the culture of both the family and environment, we search for other sources to serve as a muse. These creative stimuli direct the design and inspire the specific use of colors, textures, art, and light.
Over the past 18 months we have been working on a renovation for a family located in Virginia. Our clients came to us ready to put their fingerprints on their home after having lived in the house for some time. Our clients are a dear family of four who enjoy traveling to introduce their young daughters to other cultures and are self-proclaimed Francophiles and lovers of art. Our goal was to create a home that reflected all of these characteristics but also adding an intangible feel of a beautiful, comfortable, and curated home that can only happen over time.
The inspiration for this project came from a painting by Amedeo Modigliani that we discovered during the design phase. Only after including a copy of the painting in the design presentation did we learn that Modigliani was one of the client’s favorite painters. Artwork not only has a powerful tangible quality through its particular use of color, shape, and subject-matter, but art can create an effusive mood or emotion that cannot be put into words. This particular painting by Modigliani, entitled “Portrait of Marie Vassilieff” encapsulated the look and feel of what we were trying to interpret for our client. It became the creative touchstone as we began to source textiles, finishes, lighting, and develop the architectural changes that culminated into a flowing visual narrative.
Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920) was an Italian painter, sculptor and close friend of Pablo Picasso. He worked mainly in France and was influenced early on by the impressionist artists Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Paul Cézanne. You can see both of these artists’ influence in Modigliani’s own unique style through the his affinity for portraiture and impressionistic style seen in Lautrec’s works, and the freedom of his brushstrokes similar to the painting technique of Cezanne’s own works.
In particular, his portrait of Marie Vassilieff contains a relaxed, fanciful air but grounded with a sophisticated palette of muted colors and a wash of patina. It is cheerful and warm, yet has a refined, cultured and elegant quality. The artwork itself captured our clients’ personality, needs and desires all in one artifact.
Using Modigliani’s masterpiece as the foundation and guide to the overall design,we used a limited color palette of navy blue, rusty orange, deep green paired with more neutral colors of griege and taupe. Allowing the color of the textiles to take center stage in each room, we focused on texture by using linen, mohair, leather and wool. When selecting the finishes we leaned toward a neutral canvas to allow the colors, textures and architectural details to be the focus by using limestone, copper, wood, and antiqued mirror. A healthy dose of antiques were sourced for each room to add a sense of timelessness, collectedness and patina to each environment.
We are nearing the end of the renovation and are looking forward to installing all the furnishings we have carefully selected over the last year. However, similar to a painting, a house is never really done, but we are excited to provide a beautiful beginning to our clients.