November 5, 2011

If you’re planning to do some decorating, you really need to live in a house awhile to get the feel of it–light, shape, structure. Its flow depends on how you use each room. And how often. Only then can you make good decisions about what it needs.

Once we had our furniture in the living room (transitioned from my Tampa house), we saw a big space at the back of the living room. It needed something. It was too small for a seating area, too big for one set of shelves. Over time we came to see that it needed shelves that turned the corner, but not evenly. One section of the “L” would have to be smaller because we knew that eventually we’d get more substantial furniture and we didn’t want the shelves to be in the way. We found a custom cabinetmaker and here’s the outcome.

All of the books and objets on the shelves have meaning to me or to us.

Back in 2003, I bought a Peter Max painting. Yes, the real thing. Not one of his iconic 1960s themes, but something I liked better. Plenty of color and wild shapes. It was called Spring and I loved it. At first we hung it over the living room fireplace. It’s really an eye-catching piece and it became the room’s focal point We knew the scale was wrong–it was too small–but we knew eventually we’d replace it.

Of course, I much prefer original art, but when I looked at what I wanted for the house, original art fell lower on my priority list. Would I rather have a kitchen island or art? The island. Landscaping vs. art? Landscaping.

A few months ago I saw the exhibit of Gertrude Stein and family’s art and fell in love with a Matisse: The Joy of Spring. But of course, who could afford a Matisse? Perhaps if we traded the entire house for it. Upon exiting the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, I saw a matted and framed archival print. I sent the link to M and we bought it for far less than a piece of original art. Last week we hung it over the fireplace. I like it. And we moved Peter Max to another wall.

Some might consider it tacky to get a wall hanging at TJMaxx, but I saw this and had to have it for a small wall between the living room and the foyer. I love when people stand a while and read it.

No question that I have mementos from trips and one of my best trips ever was one I made to Italy in 2005. There, in Frascati, I bought this ceramic figure of a three-breasted woman. It’s a copy of a familiar local cookie (which, by the way, is hard as a rock.) She’s got several names, including Pupazza Frascatana, and is supposed to be a local goddess of abundance. Above our dining room, she assures guests of the bounty they’ll be served at dinner. Too bad she’s so high up most don’t notice she has three breasts. But when I look at her, I smile, remembering my visit to Lazio and the walk in Frascati during which I found Pupazza.

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