Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stuart Membery Blog

Well, we can all now keep up with my friend Stuart Membery as he has just started a blog! How exciting. Oh and our latest container of Stuart's furniture is now in store at Black & Spiro....just in time for Christmas. There are some lovely new pieces so make sure you pop in for a visit before it is all gone again!!



Sunday, November 28, 2010

Winter Exhibition Axel Vervoordt

Twice a year I am visiting the Castle of Axel Vervoordt. In Summer time for the Summer Exhibition and in Winter for the Winter Exhibition.

Yesterday my sister and I visited the Castle and Kanaal.

We started our visit at the Castle of ‘s Gravenwezel. The weather was fine, it was rather cold, but sunny!



Me at the entrance gate of the castle.



My sister walking in the garden.



Here and there we noticed some Christmas decoration.

As you can see here at the background, the green festoon at the gate.



And as this lovely but simple Christmas entrance fence! Very inspiring. It is not difficult at all to make one yourself!



I am so sorry I can’t show you pictures of the inside of the castle, because we are not allowed to take pictures.

But I can tell you that I discovered a lot of Wabi-influences inside the castle.

If you want to read more about the Wabi-inspirations of Axel Vervoordt, you can read my blogpost about it HERE.


Afterwords we went for a visit to ‘Kanaal’ in Wijnegem only a few kilometers from the castle. This is the place where a lot of activities (Art & Antiques, Home Collection, Interior design,..) are based.



The Kanaal is a former malting plant which consists of industrial warehouses and adjoining grain silos.




The Column hall that houses the private collection art of Axel Vervoordt.



Home collection seats.


In the corridor of the warehouse, next to the entrance of the workshop, we noticed this beautiful huge chandelier ‘sac à perles’ hanging!

It immediately brings you into the right Christmas mood!



The corridor of the warehouse.


For more information please visit the Axel Vervoordt website www.axel-vervoordt.com



I wish you all a wonderful Sunday!



Saturday, November 27, 2010

Parties Flowers & Installations

I think that summer wind may have swept me away last week. I just realised that I haven't posted since last Monday. It is amazing how time flies. This week has seen the installation of a few gorgeous pre-Christmas jobs, Harry's school Christmas pageant, a friends surprise 40th Birthday party and a summer garden dinner party which Brad and I hosted at our home last night with a few of my lovely clients and friends.

I filled the house with fresh flowers including my first Peonies for the season.

The garden looked so lovely and green. I'm so glad the drought is over here for now.

I also filled the house and verandahs with lots of candles. I must thank my friend Stuart Membery for organsing a rush delivery of the oval rattan placemats from Indonesia and also to Brad's dad for painting them for me in that pretty green which I chose to go with the napkins and cushions on the chairs. We had such a lovely night. I think it was the beginning of the festive/party season as Brad and I have a few more exciting parties to attend this week...Christmas really is such a wonderful time of year!!

PS. I promise I won't let that summer wind sweep me away this week!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving 2010 from Palm Springs & Los Angeles


I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  This Thanksgiving, I am
spending it on vacation with the other half in Palm Springs and Los Angeles.
It is my first time to Palm Springs and it has been many years since I've been
in the City of Angels as a tourist.  Staying in Santa Monica next to the pier
and promenade and dragging the other half on a tour of star homes :)  I've
been to Los Angeles so many times but I never went on the tour.  Secretly, I
just want to ogle all of those neighborhoods of gorgeous homes...

As many of you know, I'm a midcentury modern architecture nut and
 I thought this vintage illustration of Turkey day is very appropriate.

This is probably one of the most iconic midcentury house in Los Angeles.  Case
Study House #2 (the Stahl house) by Pierre Koenig.  The house has been owned
by the same family since the house was built (the Stahl family.)  Julius Schulman
the beloved and famous architectural photographer made the two houses in this
post iconic with his photos.  I had no idea the house is now open on specific
weekends for showings.  If you're ever in the LA area and would like to see the
house, check out their website:  The Stahl House

Isn't the house just wildly amazing?  It has been in many films and advertisements.
Who could resist such as setting, view and wonderful architecture?

The second house is in Palm Springs and was designed by famed midcentury
architect Richard Neutra (Viennese born architect) in 1946.  The photo is
 also by Julius Schulman.  Architectural historian Beth Edwards Harris and
her then-husband purchased the home for $1.5 million in 1992 and hired
 the L.A. architecture firm Marmol Radziner & Associates to
meticulously restore the house to the original design by Neutra.

Another iconic photo of the same house by Slim Aarons who
captured the beautiful, bold and jet setting rich and famous in
their native environents.

A photo of the Kaufmann house by Neutra after the renovation.
It is called the Kaufmann house becuase Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr.
hired Neutrato design the house for the family.  Kaufmann was a
Pittsburgh department store tycoon. The interesting thing is that a
decade earlier, Kaufmann had commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright
to build Fallingwater in Pennsylvania which is probably the most
 famous residential houses that Frank Lloyd Wright ever built. 
Wright was not happy that Kaufmann had hired Neutra instead of
 him to build his desertgetaway.  It seems that Kaufmann had quite
an eye for architectural talent having comissioned not one, but two
of the most iconic midcentury homes every built.

My book pick of the week of you that liked the photo by
Slim Aarons above.  Slim Aaron's photography makes for
really great art on the wall.  I would definitely check his
books out - they make gorgeous coffee table books as well
as have collections of his photos in conveniently bound

Thoughts on midcentury houses, architects and designers?
Favorite things in Palm Springs or LA?

Photos from Google Images & Julius Schulman

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving !

I want to wish all of you a HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Here in Belgium, we are not used to celebrate Thanksgiving day, but blogging for a year now, made me feel so connected with all of you and that is why I wanted to wish you a warm and peaceful Thanksgiving !

And for those who are still on a doubt for a Thanksgiving gift, or a Christmas gift, I have some good news!

This week a wonderful, gorgeous new Belgian book is released, titled QUIET LIVING.

The author, Piet Swimberghe who is an art historian and the photographer, Jan Verlinde work for numerous magazines, as ‘Elle Living’, ‘Côté Quest’, ‘MTC’, ‘Weekend Knack’.

They were granted permission to have a look inside the houses of numerous designers, artists and collectors!

‘Personal Rural Interiors’. All of them warm and charming European houses.

Jan Verlinde has taken the most wonderful pictures! Top quality !

The book is a ‘must have’!!!


Oh yes! I also have to tell you this! One of the houses in this book, is the house of Céline Chollet, a blogger colleague of the blog CELINE CHOLLET AQUARELLES. Céline and her family live in Auxerre in France. She is an aquarellist, specialized in watercolour paintings of old buildings, often ruines, and interiors! If you don’t know Céline or her beautiful blog yet, please visit Céline HERE !

Foto 004 Céline at work!

You can order the book HERE or HERE.

I am sure that you and the one who has received the book as a gift, will so enjoy it!!!




Monday, November 22, 2010

Stockholm apartment

Artist Blacksmiths – The Artisanal Forge Dujardyn Artconcept from Belgium


The art of the Artist Blacksmith is based on the ancient principles of hot forging iron and steel, working with a fire, a hammer and an anvil. Forging provides a means of shaping and joining metal that invests it with a special quality and character, far removed from the mechanical qualities of cut and weld fabrication. But blacksmiths today do more than simply hammering. It is part of their business to visit clients, survey sites, discuss design ideas, provide individual design proposals and make drawings, in addition to making, finishing and installing the work. New methods like computer aided design, sophisticated welding and cutting systems, and power hammers have added to the capabilities of modern blacksmiths, but not compromised the hand skills that lie at the heart of the craft.

OK! But where to find these skilled artist blacksmiths, working in the traditional style???

Today I want you to meet the brothers Steven and Brecht Dujardyn of the company DUJARDYN ARTCONCEPT, based in Oostrozebeke, Belgium.

These people are real artisans!! They continue the work of their blacksmith ancestors, the smiths of the village Oostrozebeke, West-Flanders, already evoked since the 17th century.



Steven (left) and Brecht at work.


The smithcraft was already structured since the 12th-13th century. The crafts were professional organisations that guaranteed the perfect quality of their fellow’s handiworks. There was the organisation of the copper-smiths, brass-founders, iron and tin artisans, lock-smiths, bell and gun founders and even goldsmiths.



The industrial revolution of 1750 saw to it that most of the rural smiths “modernized” and that new agricultural tools in metal, such as the ploughshares, were manufactured. The horses were still shod of course, but the wheels of the farmer’s carts possessed henceforth their iron fitting too.



Brecht in the ‘heat’ of the fight!


From the 2nd half of the 18th century on was noble ironwork essentially considered as being purely constructive and functional.

During the last decades, the number of smiths was strongly decreased since the potential market in the constructive and the functional (we might say utilitarian) has also decreased because of the disappearance of more and more farmers. So suddenly we resorted again to the aesthetic, artistic and decorative function of ironwork.



Steven at work.


One of the frustrations of the brothers consists in the fact that they realize that actually, professional secrets died with entire generations of smiths. They assure that they have to ‘reinvent’ many things. Not any master-smith of the Middle Ages of Late Middle Ages has ever written a “Manual of Ironwork”, or this one would have been lost over the centuries. The craft was transmitted from the ancient to the young, while forging.

Both, Steven and Brecht aren’t afraid of picking up inspiration by the last ancient smiths. Each little bit of transmitted science is for them a welcome piece of the puzzle.

“We are a little autodidacts”, they say, “and the one practising a craft of art like us, keeps on learning his entire life”.



The brothers working on a railing.


After Steven and Brecht had attented all possible trainings in Belgium, each in his scope, they had a few years ago the unique fortune to improve their knowledge at the prestigious ECOLE INTERNATIONALE DE LA FERRONNERIE FRANCAISE in Muizon, near Reims. A unique opportunity for our two Flemings, to know that the “school” only admits ten pupils a year, among which two strangers! Brecht could attend there the practical course and Steven the theory.


The work of blacksmiths covers an extraordinary range, both in scale and application. Blacksmiths today are making gates, railings and staircases; sculpture for city centres, private homes and gardens; chairs and tables, doorknockers, light fittings and hinges; bowls, bottle openers; jewellery etc.




Isn’t this staircase that Steven and Brecht made just gorgeous?!



4 A canopy.


14 A balcony.




9Detail of a gate.


18 Starting from a drawing.


13Gate with fence.


10 Detail of the gate.




34 An ‘Art Nouveau’ styled staircase.


39 Wine cellar door.


28 A beautiful front door.


32 Base of a coffee table.


17MetaalsculptuurA decorative garden ornament.


27Fire place equipment.


19An escutcheon. 


37A trade-sign.




30 A most wonderful detail!


31 Wine cellar sconce.


21 A chandelier with Swarovski crystal.



Steven and Brecht show us on their website also a lot of beautiful hardware as doorknobs, hinges, locks and keys,…





I might think that so far, you will have a good idea of what our artisans are capable to! Isn’t it stunning!


In 2006, Steven and Brecht attended the 6ième Symposium de la forge Européenne’ in France. They were given lessons by blacksmiths of different nationalities. And they were asked to make a window bar in the tradition of the 16th century.

The Dujardyn brothers are also member of the BABA ( British Artist Blacksmiths Association), an organisation that aims to share the knowledge, experience and fellowship that is neccesary to maintain and forward the decorative art of the blacksmith.


Congratulations to you, Steven and Brecht! We are proud of having such an artisans amongst us, Belgians!

Keep on practising this wonderful art!

If you want to know more about Dujardyn Artconcept, please visit their website www.dujardyn.com. Don’t hesitate to contact Steven and Brecht, they will be pleased to help you with your project.

Dujardyn Artconcept

O.L. Vrouwstraat 3

8780 Oostrozebeke


Tel . 0032 (0) 56 66 23 61



I wish you a wonderful week!



Images and text source : the Dujardyn Artconcept website & the Baba website