“Cable Doe” and “Gray Stage”

The other day, while searching for what I thought would be the piece de resistance for Oliver’s Boreal Forest Room: a stag bust or antler hooks, I came across the work of artist Rachel Denny.

Cosy woolen sweaters stretched over foam animals busts, Rachel’s work explores “the seductive beauty of our natural world and the imprint that human intervention has made on its flora and fauna.” I see it also as a commentary on our tendency to anthropomorphize animals. Dressing these elegant creatures in our own image, we view them according to our anthropocentric lens, either as cute, cuddly pets, or conversely, as trophies of our own dominance over nature.

But then again, in Denny’s sculptures there is a softer side. By putting her animals in sweaters – knit from the very fibers of their coats, in a slow process that mimics the organic rhythms of the natural world – Rachel is also attempting to bridge the gap. Reminding us that we are guardians as well as hunters. Or even that though our civilized advancements may separate us from our natural state, we and these beasts are indeed cut from the same cloth.


“Bear Cub”


Thank God I work for a design blog, otherwise I fear I would never get anything done on my house. As it is I actually find myself volunteering for Remodelista deadlines, just to force my hand.

My latest project – stenciling Oliver’s room – however was a bit too much. Not because the stenciling was hard – actually it was much easier than Solvi’s room – but because I decided to couple the paint job with a total room makeover, including buying, assembling and painting Ikea furniture, all before I left for Paris. Crazy making.

But that’s all behind me now, and with just a few finishing touches and brightening accents left, I’m going to sit back and enjoy the results.

Even as “before” shots go these, from when we were moving in, are unfair. But in my excitement to finally cover up the pale lemon yellow walls, I forgot to take shots of the room as it was. Alas, these are the only ones I have.

For the project, I chose a Scandi-inspired Taiga stencil from StenCilit. One of Oliver’s favorite books is about the Taiga or Boreal Forest, so the theme seemed pretty appropriate.

base coat = Benjamin Moore Decorators White. I think I might choose something a tad bit warmer next time.

the gray for the trees, left over from a bathroom job (coming as soon as I get new sconces) = Benjamin Moore Thunder

The steps are pretty obvious from the photos, but you can visit Remodelista for the full tutorial.

Finished, more or less. I think I’ll add some more trees up top.

Also, I inherited the sconces, seen here, with the house. I’m considering minimal, industrial lamps like these to add a more masculine and modern, but still warm, touch.


anniversary get away

by Justine on March 4, 2014

in life/family,my photography

Centre Pompidou

Where I was last week: Paris, France and Bern, Switzerland. A perfect combination of relaxation, inspiration and reconnection.

Anne Frank Garden, Paris

National Archives, Paris

Notre Dame, exterior

Notre Dame interior

candles at Notre Dame


Eiffel Tower from Sacre Coeur

Louvre, night

Swiss breakfast at our friend’s house

A house in Bern



a walk with friends

field in Bern


a valentine

by Justine on February 19, 2014

in my photography,textiles

An unexpected gift arrived from England just in time for Valentine’s Day,
One of Alessandra’s exquisite hot pads.
I put it in a quiet corner where I could admire its simple loveliness.
A persimmon clementine seemed the perfect complement.
Eventually, I will move it to a more functional place,
The kitchen, no doubt.
But for now it’s on a pedestal.
A personal object.
A connection.


my office, night

by Justine on February 19, 2014

in my photography

 featuring Angela’s and Xenia’s mobiles.


Exquisite flowers brought to you by Boston’s premier florist, Winston Flowers and the very talented photographer, Michael Piazza. See more on my feature on Gardenista today.

Wishing you a great day filled with beauty and love.


latest member of the family

by Justine on February 13, 2014

in life/family,my photography


BMIX pure mold lamps

by Justine on February 11, 2014

in lighting

Over the past few years, our urge to pay homage to the inherent beauty and elemental nature of objects has resulted in a fair number of simple lamps, where nothing more than the bulb and base take center stage. One of my favorite examples of this trend are the pure mold lamps by the Korean design firm BMIX.

With nothing more than a concrete base, in either white or gray, and varying bulbs, BMIX lamps are electric lighting in its most minimal form. Yet these lamps are not just utilitarian and cold. Rather, by stripping the form of any distracting “fluff” that seduces the eye but neglects the other senses, the designers at BMIX are able to engage you in a more subtle and intimate way – enticing you to touch the textured concrete base and feel the warmth of delicate filament. The effect is somewhat similar to that of a single white candle: not flashy, but much more pure and personal.


camellias in bloom

by Justine on February 5, 2014

in flora,historic new england,my photography

Recently, I went back to the Lyman Estate to shoot some images from their Camellia Blooming Season. Visit in person this February and March, or see more pictures and learn more about this antique collection at Gardenista today.


My friends at Maven Collective are hosting a stunning photo exhibition this month, Overgrowth, featuring the work of floral designer Riley Messina and photographer Parker Fitzgerald. If you’re lucky enough to be in Portland, OR, you can check it out in person. Or you can enjoy the images here.

Overgrowth is described as an “expression of the multifaceted relationship of between mankind and nature.” If you ask me, Nature seems to be winning. Through their vivid imagery, Messina and Fitzgerald play with how people use pretty florals and benign blooms to adorn themselves and beautify their environment. So long have we cultivated and reaped, made hybrids to suit our pleasure, that we have forgotten that our gardens once belonged to the wilderness. We invite this jungle into our homes, thinking it a tamed beast, and when special occasion calls, we even entwine its tendrils in our hair and on our bodies.

But somewhere along the way Seymour seems to have developed a mind of his own. Or perhaps we just left nature unattended too long, left it unpruned, unpicked. Now it begins to usurp, taking us unawares. No longer the master, we are now subservient, or worse, the host upon which it feeds. We are over grown, obscured.

Or maybe, even unconsciously, we let it happen. When we realized there was greater freedom and harmony in not ruling the world.

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