Creativity Takes Courage

Creativity Takes Courage

Henri Matisse -“Creativity Takes Courage”

After last week’s attack in Nice, France I thought we could take a look at some of the great art that has been painted of the city.   The art of Henri Matisse and Raoul Dufy. Both men painted in Nice while one Matisse was a noted impressionist artist, the other Dufy was more commercially oriented.

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Elevate Your Garden Style

Elevate Your Garden Style

9 easy ways to elevate your garden style with Efex Moldings

It doesn’t matter if your garden style is herbs in your kitchen, or a full vegetable patch outside. Big or small, using Efex bendable moldings and a little paint can elevate your garden’s style. You can even use our moldings for flower vases, to add a little unique touch to your planting table, or flower display.

You can use any old pot, terracotta, plaster, fiberglass, plastic, all work for a redo. It’s a bonus when the pot is big and you’re still able to lift it!

Here are 9 great examples we’ve seen over the years on how to Efex your outside world.

When we first began distributing Efex, we did a series of small clay pots, and then the windows boxes in front of the store.

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We followed up a few weeks later on the clay pots and they were still in great shape. I am happy to report that two years on they are still in great shape. Our T36 trim is just perfect for the window boxes.

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Down under our Australian and New Zealand distributor did the same thing in her garden with a stunning effect. They have lived outside full time through a raining New Zealand winter and are still perfect. The one on the right has shells from the Coastal Collection and the one on the left has just one simple T30.

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And speaking of down under, we can not forget these stunning elegant planters from New Zealand using P15 and D4s.

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My friend Margret Wolley has had this pot outside in the New Zeland weather for about 5 maybe six years and it’s still going strong. She used elements from the Country Collection for a layered look.

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Back here in the USA our good friend Matthew Mead has done some great outdoor work with Efex.

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From this fun Adirondack chair,

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to these fabulous pots. Matthew always adds style to every project he touches.

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This lavender pot was a great success. Using a fine stone additive and then painting, she really added to the total authenticity of this project. It really did look like an old clay pot when it was done. One simple T9 made all the difference in the world.

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One of our all time favorites is from our recent mention in This Old House magazine.

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This project which recreated federal flower boxes using R39, D8, and SW21 was just terrific.

Which one is your favorite? We would love to hear your comments, or if you like share on Pinterest.

To find an Efex style for your garden pot just download our new catalog today by signing up below!

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Five Tips from French Accents : At Home with Parisian Objects and Detail

Five Tips from French Accents : At Home with Parisian Objects and Detail

The book is an illuminating tour of French interiors and a how-to resource for attaining that Gallic flair.

This delightful book by Erin Swift can really help you get that special French flair no matter what your starting point is.  Join us on a literary tour and take your rooms and furniture to French finishing school.

Broken into five perfect sections it’s not just a pretty picture book. Nor is it a historic tome. Rather it is a delightful style book. No surprise Ms. Swift is a stage set designer and stylist as well as a world class writer.

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Her five main elements (chapters) say it all.

1 – Starting with Color – Both neutrals and deep and striking colors have a place in French flair. Similar to French fashion, the neutrals get accessories with pops of color, while the bold color statements are paired with neutrals and softened with antiques like this kitchen below.th-1

2 –  Art and Furniture – It’s not just about buying expensive art and antique furniture. Swift showcases two important points. Mixing modern with antiques is more than acceptable, it’s a necessity for this style.

Antiques are not just for living rooms, as highlighted by this lovely photo from the book of this amoire in a bath room.

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3 – Objects and Accents – is not about your typical mass produced French accents. The idea behind this section is to take the normal and make it special. Objects can be frames or flowers or anthing you want.

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She delves into the idea of layering and speaks to collecting, not objects that everyone has, but object that reflect your life.

4 – Structure – the heart of book and the highlight of structure is the molding. Of course we were smitten!

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5 – Texture – the final chic dressing on a home, including textiles and floors and flooring. A great way to add interest if much of the room is plain or neutral.

Will you be rushing to the bookstore to grab this French style bible?

Weekend In The Country

Weekend In The Country

The Westover Plantation

The Westover Plantation was built by William Byrd II the founder of Richmond Virginia. Located between, Richmond and Williamsburg it is one of the grandest and most beautiful of the colonial Virginia plantations.

Considered possibly the best example of Georgian architecture in America, the house is elegant yet extremely simple  with perfect proportions. The elaborate doorway, which continues to be recognized as “the Westover doorway” despite its adaptation to many other buildings and homes. th

Filled with secret passages, magnificent gardens, and architectural details the lawn offers a commanding view of the James River and majestic eagles soaring overhead.

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And here is the real history lesson from Westover.

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The entry is the famous Westover gates, with Byrd’s initials incorporated in the delicate ironwork. The lead eagles on the http://www.westover-plantation.com/photos.htm#gateposts are a play on the name “Byrd.” The wrought-iron fence has supporting columns topped by unusual stone finials cut to resemble an acorn for perseverance (from little acorns great oaks grow); a pineapple for hospitality, a Greek Key to the World for knowledge; a cornucopia, or horn of plenty: a beehive for industry; and an urn of flowers for beauty.

If you want Westover is open for weddings and event. Really a perfect place for a weekend retreat.

xoxo Lydia

All pictures from westover.com

Weekend In The Country – Russbourough House

Weekend In The Country – Russbourough House

Russbourough House

Russbourgh House is this weekends trip to the country.. Ok, so it is only in our dreams but… what a lovely idea, a weekend at the country house.

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This home has some of the most extraordinary stucco and decorative plaster work found anywhere in the world.

Russbourough House

This grand palladian mansion in Wicklow Ireland, was built in 1740 for beer magnet Joseph Lesson, later to become the first earl of Milltown. When he commissioned the building the plaster and stucco work was done by the stuccadores the Lafranchini brothers of Italy. (Bet you didn’t know the word stuccadores until now!)

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The fine plasterwork of the ceiling in the dining room as well as the library, saloon, and music rooms are all of  “grand quality from the Larfanchini’s.”

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Ironically it turns out that the in the grand staircase hall (above) there is  a riot of plasterwork of less fine quality, doubtless by apprentices and pupils. The late Dr. Curran, the expert on Irish plasterwork, described it as the work of an Irishman, and a lunatic at that!

Mixed with garlands are the masks of hounds and other trophies of the chase, and in a rectangular plaster frame on the left of the door from the front hall is a caricature of the first EarI of Milltown, for whom Russborough was built.”

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The house is also filled with one  of the most notable art collections and is currently owned by the National Gallery of Ireland. Today the house which is a museum is also filled with an array of local artist from Ireland who work and display on the estate.

 It all seems so delightful, Yes please, I’d love to spend a weekend here. I bet I’d love seeing the plaster work of the ” Irish Lunitics”  Smile!

xoxo  Lydia

Relaxed French Style Guest Room

Relaxed French Style Guest Room

Even though we have lived in our home for two years now, for some reason we have never gotten around to really finishing the guest rooms upstairs. That may be because they were always full of guests!

Last fall we finally completed a full revamp on this guest room using many of our Efex Mouldings.

The walls in the room were Benjamin Moore Navaho White, and the floors were washed in Annie Sloan Old White with a matte lacquer finish.  The floors are soft pine and have held up perfectly over the last couple of years.

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When we were working on how to style and set up this room, we wanted a sort of informal elegance.  First we took the mirror that was our very first Efex project and paired it with a flip top table. The mirror is an antique that was purchased and first painted by my mother over 50 years ago. I very much enjoyed revamping it to make it go with out home. Next we used the tilt top table that had been in the study. It was the perfect size to fit in between the beds.

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The twin beds went from failing veneer to shabby chic with the addition of our B1 and B19 bows, and SW3 swags.  Samantha even did a video on how to get the look for the bed refresh. We added linen bed covers and Maine Blankets for some texture.

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The French wrought iron day bed is dressed with an antique french quilt. It is now officially the “bear’s bed” home to our (my) collection of teddy bears.

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The wall was a last minuet inspiration. About 6AM the day these photos were taken, I decided that we needed more color and texture against the beds. So I grabbed some French Linen Chalk Paint, mixed it with some glaze medium and went to work with a quick frottage technique. This wall from start to finish only took 1 hour.

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To finish out the French look we added this wonderful chippy milk painted dresser and French chair.

The major accessory in the room besides the teddy bears is a lovely blue vase done by my friend Ingrid Flynn. We have a collection of her work, all very Scandinavian modern pottery, that always fits with any table top design. For art we added to original primitive oil painting.

Voila… simple French make over.