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Garden Feasts

July 31, 2013 11:00 AM

Selections opener.jpg

Photo by Joel Benjamin

The idea for July/August 2013’s Selections started with a simple question: How does one eat outside in style? It grew in stops and starts, tugging at our imaginations in the short five weeks from conception to final photography. (See our behind-the-scenes video in our digital edition). The outdoor dining season is short in New England and we wanted to capture the heady feeling of indulging in a picnic, a fancy garden dinner party, or a solo plein air lunch between chores while we had the chance. Whether it involves a blanket, fine china, or a paper sack, any meal, taken outside, is something to savor.


Newport Antiques show reflects maritime heritage

July 30, 2013 03:35 PM


Two powerhouses behind the show’s success are Show Chair Anne Hamilton (seated) and Show Manager Diana Bittel.

At the recent preview gala of The Newport Antiques Show, a sense of the sea was omnipresent in the objects on display — from folk art whales and shell-motif transferware to evocative marine paintings. Given that the annual late-July show is held at St. George’s School, just a few hundred feet from Sachuest Beach in Middletown, Rhode Island, the nautical notes were a crowd pleaser. Also pleasing is the fact that this show, now in its seventh year, has raised more than $1.4 million for The Newport Historical Society and The Boys & Girls Clubs of Newport County. The show’s success is due in large part to the combined efforts and enthusiasm of Show Chair Anne Hamilton, a summer resident of Newport, Rhode Island, and Show Manager Diana H. Bittel, an antiques dealer based in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. “I’ve been involved with antiques shows for many years,” says Hamilton, “and this one is unique in that there are two beneficiaries. We are so happy to be able to support them.” In addition to the 18th- through 20th-century offerings from more than 40 top primarily East Coast dealers, this year’s show included an exhibit by Historic New England called “Windows on the Past,” with such 18th- and 19th-century objects as a mantel clock, sewing box, bird cage, and silver candlesticks on loan from New England historic houses.


Designer Confidential

July 26, 2013 10:39 AM


Alexa Hampton was guest speaker at the Nantucket Historical Association’s Designer Luncheon at the Great Harbor Yacht Club, a preview event for the Antiques & Design Show opening with a gala party on August 1 at Bartlett Farm.

Alexa Hampton once traded in her Volkswagen Jetta for an upholstered chair. Her husband couldn’t relate. But I could. It made perfect sense that the convenience of a car couldn’t trump that feeling of contentment every time she saw that lovely, perfectly proportioned piece beckoning from her living room. It made her happy.


Design unfolds at Secret Cove

July 23, 2013 03:41 PM


A harpsichord from the Museums of Old York collection with a breathtaking pastoral scene painted inside its case lid was a showstopper at the museum’s 24th annual decorator show house open through August 15.

In the July/August issue of Design New England, we feature the cool blue living/dining/kitchen space that Boston interior designer Gerald Pomeroy transformed for last summer’s Museums of Old York Decorator Show House in York, Maine. It whetted our appetite for this year’s show house, which is being staged just down the road from York in Kittery Point, Maine, and is open now through August 15.

It always astounds us that the museums organization, which owns and maintains nine historic buildings and a remarkable collection of furnishings and offers educational programs to more that 3,800 children each year, has managed to stage a show house as one of its major fundraisers for 24 consecutive years. It is no small feat, as many other groups who have given up the show house ghost will attest.


Vintage beauty at Brimfield

July 18, 2013 01:45 PM


Another year, another fantastic Brimfield Antique and Collectibles Show. Brimfield is no doubt the place to search for things well-worn with history (as well as some really eccentric items only niche collectors could love). At last week’s July show, there was no shortage of beautiful home accessories and vintage furniture. It was hard to pick a favorite, but the wooden library card catalog cabinet above, a wildly popular item in home decor these days, is at the top of the list.

Here’s what else stood out at the outdoor antique extravaganza this summer.


Setting Sale

July 17, 2013 10:15 AM


The items on sale at Twelve Chairs in Boston range from vintage finds to fine furniture to trendy accessories.

As the Fourth of July fireworks fade to dust, we sometimes get the feeling that even though summer is just beginning, it’s almost over. One sure thing that helps us snap out of that spiral is the amazing local design deals available only in summer.

Twelve Chairs, the trendy furniture and interior design studio, is moving from its first store in Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood to the South End. To lighten the relocation load, the store is offering 20 percent off everything right up until the move in September. The inventory includes creative wall decor, unique sofas, bold pillows, and more. Don’t wait ‘til the moving truck is at the door. Head over to 319 A Street for the best selection now.


The life and art of Sol LeWitt

July 15, 2013 02:58 PM


Sol LeWitt in his Manhattan apartment in 1961.

Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine, has long been recognized for its important American art collection. However, of all the pieces on exhibit at last weekend’s opening of the new Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion (“Maine Event,” Design New England July/August 2013), it was Sol LeWitt’s three-story wall drawing that stole the show. Enshrined in the glass-enclosed stairwell of the minimalist pavilion, which now serves as the main entrance to the museum, the monumental drawing is visible from afar, a beacon guiding campus visitors with its mesmerizing playful swirls of color that stand in contrast to the stark and serious architecture of the new wing.

Wall Drawing #559 is just one of many of the artist’s pieces that, six years after his death, continue to be installed in galleries and exhibits across the country. The work is on long-term loan from the Estate of Sol LeWitt, and it took eight mural installers two months to complete the 12-inch-wide alternating bands of yellow, blue, and red. A video posted on the Colby College Museum of Art webpage shows how the installers mapped out the bands and applied paint in multiple coats to bring LeWitt’s work to life in the space.


American Bloomsbury portrayed

July 10, 2013 04:15 PM


Ray Salter’s portrait of writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe is featured at this summer’s Gateway Arts exhibition.

While interior designer Ingunn Joergensen was turning to the celebrated London Bloomsbury Group for inspiration to remake a stone potting shed featured in our May/June issue (“Bloomsbury Recalled,”), another creative mind was looking to the American equivalent of the informal think tank for his muse.

Artist Ray Salter’s recently mounted solo exhibition Portraits at Gateway Arts Gallery in Brookline, Massachusetts, is a collection of his expressive portrayals of the literati who were part of the American Bloomsbury Group. Like its British counterpart, the group was a loose collective of writers, intellectuals, and artists, who shared a passion for the exchange of creative ideas. Among them were some of the literary lights of the 19th century, including naturalist, author, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau, novelist Louisa May Alcott, and essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, all of whom are part of Salter’s series of portraits. But Salter moves beyond the “official” circle of the Concord, Massachusetts, based salon of Transcendental neighbors and friends to include other thinkers of the period such as Mark Twain and Edgar Allan Poe.


Feathering at Nest

July 8, 2013 04:12 PM


Nest in Dedham, Massachusetts, mixes new pieces with vintage classics in a well-edited display that includes handblocked pillows by JSC Designs, scarfs, still lifes, and vintage pieces such as dishes and andirons.

Nest, a carefully curated shop offering pretty housewares, textiles, vintage furniture and accessories, and handcrafted clothing, jewelry, and artwork in a storefront on High Street in the center of Dedham, Massachusetts, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. The store is a favorite of many professional interior designers such as Boston-based Kate Coughlin who often, and happily, finds just the thing from Nest’s inspired assemblage of goods. For Design New England’s July/August Selections, for example, Coughlin picked up a vintage birdcage and votives for her outdoor dining tableau.

Nest opened 10 years ago September, when five women, all Dedham residents, were one day discussing the available storefront space in town. They rented the shop and started collecting items they thought would sell in it.

About this blog

An insider's look at must-have products, fresh trends, and inspired spaces from the team at Design New England magazine.

Gail Ravgiala is editor of Design New England and a fan of both the region's historic architecture and its growing inventory of modern houses and public buildings.

Courtney Kasianowicz is associate editor of Design New England who scouts the area for new design, charming products, and local artisans both innovative and daring.

Jill Connors, Design New England's editor-at-large, is an antiques maven and design scout and will post about trends and discoveries in the field.

Bruce Irving, Design New England's contributing editor for architecture & building, is a renovation specialist who will share his insights on design and construction.

Estelle Bond Guralnick, Design New England's style & interiors editor, will post about interior design and interior designers and her favorite finds.

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