24 September 2008

Harrison and Me!

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A mosaic of four watercolors from Harrison Howard's Chinoiserie series.

Remember this? In August, after a long series of dreamy beach houses, I planned a virtual beach house for myself - with two different decorative schemes - because as everyone knows - I'm terribly conflicted between the two: the first scheme, "The Cluttered Beach House" was perfect for the Hamptons or perhaps Nantucket in a gray shingled house. The second virtual scheme "The Uncluttered Beach House" was more restrained, slightly Swedish in feel and perfect for a house in Seaside, Florida. In both houses, I featured a series of watercolors from the uber talented artist Harrison Howard. The Chinoiserie series, above, was for the Hamptons beach house while, the Shell series below would be wonderful in the aqua-colored beach house in Seaside. Ah, to dream!

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A mosaic of four water colors from Howard's Shell series.

In truth, Mr. Howard and I are email buddies, who like to champion each other's careers, when we aren't talking about our children. Harrison's only child is a son who is the same age as my only child, Elisabeth. When I was designing the virtual beach houses, I was thrilled to finally have a chance to showcase my friend's wonderful art. The first time I ever heard of Harrison was when the blogger The Peak of Chic featured him here, and then, the artist Annechovie followed up with an interview of Harrison on her blog. Ever since my initial visit to Harrison's web site, I've been lusting after his Chinoiserie series and wishing they were mine. Many visits to the web site later, I knew that at some point, I was going to buy a watercolor, or two, or maybe even four!! After much discussion back and forth, it was settled that I would get the four from the Chinoiserie series that I so loved. While I initially wanted the original work of art, Harrison assured me that I would never be able to tell the difference between the original and the print, except, that is, in my bank statement - and true to his word, I can't. So, he packed up the four prints I chose, with extra special care I might add, and home to Houston they came. When the prints arrived I was taken aback by how much more beautiful they were in real life as opposed to the computer screen! They were so vibrant and colorful - the details so perfectly executed by an artist with exceptional skills. In short, they were amazing. What I adore the most about the paintings is the subtle humor found within each image. Imagine a crab portrayed as an artist's canvas, or a beekeeper living a Sponge Bob Square Pants underwater existence!! After a couple of days of just enjoying the prints, they went to the framers (which can actually get quite expensive if you aren't careful) and a few weeks later, I have them back - where they are now hanging in my bedroom. The corals and pinks from the watercolors blend perfectly with my pink Fortuny print fabric, while the deep oranges and Chinese yellows are matched to the suzani on my bed. The various greens meld in with my very seafoam room. As I told Harrison last night, I couldn't wait to share his watercolors with you! Enjoy!

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Walking into my bedroom, the first thing you see is the bed against the back wall. A white linen bedspread and an antique suzani cover the bed. Blue and white porcelain vases were made into lamps. The sunburst mirror plays into the symmetry of the vignette. Seagrass, of course, covers the hardwoods, and while linen slipcovers are on the love seat.

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Turning to the left, is the large antique armoire which hides our T.V. On each side, I placed two of the watercolors. The colors in the my suzani at the end of my bed and the fabric on the chairs and bench are all found in the watercolors. Because the room is not very deep, it's difficult to get a shot of all four watercolors at the same time, but I tried! Also, unfortunately, the camera is picking up the glare in the frames' glass. You'll just have to come to Houston to see how good they look in person!

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A close up of the frames I chose. They are reeded gold in a matte finish, not shiny in the least. Harrison suggests a bamboo frame for his Chinoiserie series, but I couldn't resist these! The mat is creamy white with an inner mat in Chinese yellow. The lighting in these pictures is terrible - the yellow mat is actually quite vibrant.

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The view from the bed - all four together! The chairs underneath the paintings are lacquered chinoiseries, upholstered in the pink Fortuny fabric. I thought the black oriental styled chairs were a perfect foil for Howard's Chinoiserie series.

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On the other side of the room is my desk with a mirror and sconces. Notice that my bathroom door is painted black - actually all the doors in my house are painted black. I think its a great look and a very inexpensive way to make a cheap, builder grade, hollow-core, paneled door look impressive, if that is at all possible.

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A close up of the desk and chair which are hand-me-downs from my mother, Betty Rae. If you haven't read her tribute, please do so here! It's a portrait of my design mentor and the story of how I came to be a lover of French antiques.

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Next to the sofa is a chinoiserie mirror that came with the pair of black chairs. The set is actually my sister-in-law's. She has visiting rights, only. The curtain and headboard fabrics are two different sized checks from Chelsea Editions.

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My collection of blue opaline. To learn more about this French glass, go here.

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One last glimpse of the four as you leave the room, out the door to the left.

Thanks Harrison! The three of us love them - and they look fabulous!

Be sure to visit Harrison Howard's web site at www.harrisonhoward.com to learn more about the artist and to peruse his portfolio.

71 comments:

  1. the prints are delightful! and your opaline ain't bad either!

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  2. Hello !!
    I've been reading your blog for some time now....and must say I absolutely adore it !!
    All of it !!
    You have so much style and taste...and everything you show is so beatiful !!!
    Thanks for so much inspiration !!!
    I'm swedish , but live in Rome since 18 years , love the French-Swedish-style....and You do it perfectly !!!
    Thanks,
    Monica....Rome

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  3. Love the prints and love the bedroom even more! They add to an already beautiful room! Would you mind sharing the name of the checked fabric and paint color?

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  4. Love the bedroom! I bet is so much like you; classy and functional at the same time!

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  5. :::swooooon::: What a beautiful room, I love everything about it. The watercolors are perfection!

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  6. Beautiful room, Joni! The prints are perfect.

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  7. What beautiful art he creates! Really love the shell prints!

    What beautiful art you create, too, Joni! That linen bed cover and the suanni and the gray mirror over your desk...well..just all of it!

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  8. Great job to Harrison for the beautiful artwork and to Joni for knowing how to make it shine!

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  9. Oh I don't think I would ever leave this bedroom. It is beautiful. Harrison's prints are spellbinding. I could look at them for hours. It's all perfection!

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  10. I'll be boring and join everyone else by saying how BEAUTIFUL your bedroom was! A strong personality and history come through, which is so important - but it looks comfortable too! The prints look FANTASTIC, this may sound mundane but I'm surprised to see they're bigger than I expected!

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  11. Harrison's prints are beautiful and vibrant! Your room..cozy and elegant! I would get out of bed, and then go curl back up on the sofa and read the paper!! The armoire is divine! yummy room!

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  12. Joni,

    If I were you, I would never want to get out of bed with those fabulous prints to ogle! WOW!

    Love every single detail about this room, and I am particularly in love with (aside from the prints whose frames alone are glorious) those chinoiserie chairs dresssed in the Fortuny fabric! The whole room is a visual feast for the eyes. It's comfortable, it's elegant, it's just perfectly designed and appointed.

    Thanks so much for sharing,

    Sheila

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  13. I just loved the tour of your bedroom...how gorgeous it is! Those new prints really are perfect for either side of the armoire. Your home is just like looking at a good magazine.

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  14. In a word -- lovely. Just lovely! Your whole bedroom is so pretty and serene. I love those prints, and though I can see how bamboo frames would be pretty with them, I can see why you chose the ones you did.

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  15. My Dear Francophile,

    I am lusting after your barley twist oak gateleg table in the corner. Should you ever decide to "part ways" for some other item of French design, remember me, your Anglophile friend, who has more in that same family and would open her arms to another "child" in her home".

    Affectionately,

    Ms. Edwardian

    P.S. I will hire you next time I redo my bedroom. England and France ARE just across the Channel from each other, afterall. Such CLOSE neighbors!! We shall be very happy together.

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  16. What a serene, peaceful, beautiful bedroom....a fantastic idea...black doors!

    My heart went out to you all during the time of the hurricane. I'm so thankful loss of life was small but each life is precious.

    This was my first visit with you but I'll pop in again....Betty

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  17. Love the Suzani. And teh blue opaline. Really fabulous

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  18. Very nice! Like it all, but especially love your armoire! Beautiful mirror & sconces too!
    Thanks for sharing!

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  19. What a beautiful series of prints. This is definitely collection worthy. I'm loving how the pinks in the prints are working so well with the fabric of the chairs. Just fabulous - oh, and the suzani on the bed [[LOVE IT!]].

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  20. What a lovely room, and the prints are absolutely perfect for it! -Julia

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  21. Lovely, so lovely. The room and Mr. Howard's watercolors.

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  22. What is the name of the paint color in your bedroom? It looks like a serene blue/gray?

    Stunning, stunning bedroom! When can we all move in?

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  23. I love these joni!! they're gorge. And I always love seeing your beautiful bedroom.

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  24. Gorgeous!! -- How lovely to be able see these wonderful artworks as you sit propped up in your beautiful bed with delicious coffee and divine chocolates! Your bedroom is truly a masterpiece of design -- balanced, calm and serene -- a place of peace and beauty! As always -- both a lesson in design and a visual gift to your readers!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

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  25. Oh oh, such devine blue opaline!!! And needless to say, this is a bedroom LOVE!!!!

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  26. OMG...I'm overwhelmed. Your room is absolutely lovely. You are good, very, very good. And so much fun.

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  27. Just beautiful! Love that antique suzani - it's gorgeous!

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  28. Those prints look perfect there...

    I saw your article in my BHG...thanks to a heads up from Rhoda. Very nice !

    Kathy :)

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  29. Those prints look perfect there...

    I saw your article in my BHG...thanks to a heads up from Rhoda. Very nice !

    Kathy :)

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  30. Another beautiful room in Chez Joni! You just have a talent that shines every time. OH! And I got my BH&G magazine and poured through til I found you. Big Congrats Joni!!!!!! And isn't Harrison Howard the nicest person? I am so glad to see his work in your house! And I agree with M21...nice opaline!!!!

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  31. Hi thanks everyone!!!
    the paint color is a Ralph Lauren. I just don't remember the name though - I think it was maybe windowbox? Gosh - I'm so sorry!!!!!

    Joni

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  32. Lets see I'll try to come up with a word that hasn't been used....hmmm...WOW if guess will have to do. Love your MBR and the black door. To borrow a term from HGTV,the prints just make your room "pop". I want that very pillow thats on your bed. Reminds me of the French boutique hotels.
    Also is that your summer bed dressing or year round. I change mine or layer in with the first cold front and wondered what you did? of course I want to copy.LOL
    Ok to digress to previous post. A group of Cote de Texas blogettes going to Menerbes for cooking classses and shopping is not out of the realm of reason. Talk it up Joni, and count me in.
    TEXAS FRANCOPHILE

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  33. Hey Joni! I have an award for you at my blog. I had to share with someone - and I picked you! That means even though you probably don't want to, you have to come and pick it up! LOL! ;)

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  34. Really beautiful, Joni! I spent a lot of time on Mr Howard's website when you first featured him, lusting after those very same chinoiseries and, especially, the flower head people. Love your prints, love the whole room.--Tracy

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  35. Beautiful and serene~your bedroom is quite fab! Love the chinoiserie prints, lacquered chairs, gateleg table, suzani, etc...too much to mention:)

    Lately, I've started to notice the return of bedspreads. Almost every design mag I read has featured a bedroom with a bedspread (love the look). Am I seeing the start of a trend? Would love to know your thoughts...

    -Inspired Living

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  36. What is the paint color on the walls of your bedroon?

    PoshProvocateur

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  37. Joni, I am sure you are enjoying your beautiful bedroom and those stunning prints a whole lot more now that your power's back on--Haha! Seriously, lovely work by two talented artists :-) And now if you excuse me, I'm off to visit Mr. Howard's website.

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  38. To Anons going to Menerbes: You have to leave an email for me to answer you!!! just sign up with a fake name - it's no big deal - or email me at mrballbox329@aol.com

    thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  39. It's all rather swoon worthy.Seeing your prints has reset my lust for some of Mr Harrison's work, for me.I agree that they do seem larger in scale than I expected...great impact.If this room is a reflection of you Joni, you must have some interesting layers of your own.

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  40. Great eye Joni! I'm also big lover of Chinoiserie and Mr. Harrison's work is truly artistic both in the images and the colors. Oh, and you picked the perfect room to showcase them. Such a beautiful and relaxing cocoon. I would like to visit Mr. Harrison's site to see more but I get a "page not found" when I click on your hyperlink. Can you please confirm that link address again. Thanks again for the enlightment and keep up the great work.

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  41. Joni,
    The Shell Prints are fabulous! I can see these in so many areas..... Kitchen, Bath, Foyer, Guest Room!

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  42. Gorgeous! The new prints look perfect on each side of your armoire....and what a beautiful piece that is!!! Love your entire bedroom...very serene and beautiful :o)
    ~Des

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  43. The prints are beautiful and your home is, too. What a wonderfully serene, relaxing bedroom!

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  44. I remember that room from the post on the turquoise glass. I think the prints definitely add energy to what was already elegant.

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  45. Now, what I really want to know is...where's the stuff? You know, the clutter, the things daily life brings in?

    It's a lovely room, Joni--just as we knew it would be.

    Love the Harrison's too--I wouldn't mind a grouping of those in my abode!

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  46. Dear Joni,

    I love everything about this room--it is divine. The armoire, throw, opaline, seagrass--it all just comes together without looking too "studied."

    I forget how I stumbled across your blog months ago, but I've been following it devotedly since. One day perhaps I will have the budget to implement some of your ideas into my own decor!!

    Do you mind sharing the source of your bedspread??!

    Anna C.

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  47. Anon: the bedspread source? moi! haha!!!!

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  48. I love your watercolors ! Your bedroom looks perfect.Your french armoire is a great piece

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  49. Oh my, what a lovely way to start my day this morning! I'd could spend a week in this room and love every minute of it. The prints and the framing are perfection.

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  50. Joni your bedroom looks amazing with those prints! I just LOVE the frames you picked out for them as well!

    This is exactly what I need for over the bookshelves in my living room on either side of the fireplace...I'm going to do some shopping now, thanks again for the inspiration!!

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  51. Your room is now complete!
    Dee

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  52. The most perfect additions to the most perfect bedroom! Well done!

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  53. Asian infulenced accessories are not one of favorites, but these prints are lovely! The colors are wonderful and they look smashing in your bedroom! (Which, in it's self is smashing!)

    Read the tribute to your Mom, how nice. If she wants two more adopted daughters, just let us know! (We love passed down furniture!)

    Karla & Karrie

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  54. It is truly art perfected! I do like your choice of the muted gold frames. I notice that your blue opaline is also picked up in the artwork's color palette~ gorgeous.

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  55. Joni,

    Your bedroom is gorgeous. I adore those prints!!

    Quick question: do you have framer you recommend in Houston?

    Amy
    amykc411@hotmail.com

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  56. Joni, such a treat to see your gorgeous bedroom AND Harrison's amazing work. He is such a talent and an incredibly humble and kind person as well, as are you! I love the way you chose to have them framed and they are a perfect complement to your soothing decorative scheme.

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  57. How beautiful Joni! I saw your feature in BHG today and love it. Your work is sumptuous!

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  58. Ummm, if those prints suddenly disappear, it's not me, I swear to God... LOL

    Love your bedroom, especially that beautiful suzani, gorgeous opaline, and those luscious chairs. I'm definitely getting some inspiration for my bedroom makeover. :)
    xoxo,
    Mary

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  59. Mr. Howard's prints are so beautiful and unique. They look great in your bedroom. And that armoire is pretty special too!!

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  60. wow I nearly fell off my chair when I saw your bed, mine is very simple but I've been thinking of foofing it up...now I'm certainly gonna do it

    great inspiration!

    Sarah

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  61. Love the pix, Joni! We have the same bedroom curtains!

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  62. Joni, Joni, Joni, you slay me!
    I went back into your archive and read all about Betty Rae. It brought tears to my eyes.
    Your bedroom is so lady like and lovely. (I almost had a bedspread like that made for my bed too!!!).
    The prints are divine!
    It's so funny, but since you did that beach posting, those Harrison Howard water colors have been haunting me! I have been trying to find a way to fit in the coral ones into my living room! Of course I could not afford the watercolors, but now that I know there are prints to be had! Ha!
    Anyhoo, as ever, you're the best, and I love seeing photos of your home.
    xo xo

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  63. PS A practical question: Do you use real sisal, or wool? How do you clean real, natural sisal? I find it gets dirty fast, and is hard to clean.
    Also, how often to you wash your slipcovers, or do you dry clean them? They always look so fresh and pressed. DO yo have a French laundress to go along with all the beautiful French decor?
    xo xo

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  64. OK.....You are TOO FABULOUS !!
    You know I love it !!!

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  65. I love your bedroom, and the watercolors are the perfect touch. You must love to spend time in there.

    OK, question about framing, you said that framing can cost too much unless you are careful. How can you be careful? I am in the process of getting quotes on framing, and it is SO expensive (even wholesale)!

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  66. Ooh I love the blue opaline, so pretty and lively!

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  67. NANCY - the fabric is Chelsea Editions and the paint is Ralph Lauren but I don't remember the name- maybe windowbox???? sorry!!!!!

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  68. Joni,

    Thank you for inviting us into your home. Your bedroom looks wonderful as does Harrison's prints!! Harrison is a wonderful artis and such a nice person. I must say your blue opaline collection is also stunning. I'm a bit of a magpie about glass and shiny objects:)

    Karen

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