Sunday, February 2, 2014

Being an observer...

My concept for our living room design was to welcome our guests to linger. As if the room itself provides a warm hug. I intentionally chose a very neutral sepia tone palate and created interest with a tactile look and feel. It is all about sensory textures in our living room and the nuances of mood and drama they create.
Mongolian lamb dances with linen and leather, the warmth of Asian wooden statues and African stools that with every year of their ancient past added richness in their patina of a life before our time as caretakers.

We don't think of these pieces as decorative but as soulful collected treasures adding to our living space as our 34 years in our home evolve. Our house was built in 1934 and we purchased it the same year we were married in 1979.
Olive jars appear on our first floor rooms suggesting the fruits of many plentiful harvest yields from France and Turkey of olive production in the countryside.

When the leaning mirror was delivered years ago from Crate and Barrel, Max and Simon for awhile thought it was a magical portal to another room or placement! I understand the cognitive science of the mirror self awareness test. Yet they both were very aware of the mirror reflection and also very curious. Both investigating behind the mirror, eventually they loss interest in the new mysterious portal.
I consider observation a precious trait as I mature. Also my motivating reason for writing poetry.
I think of myself as an artisan with a curator's aesthetic in a lifelong journey of observation.

"To acquire knowledge, one must study, but to acquire wisdom one must observe."
-Marilyn Vos Savant-

Around two decades ago I embarked on a spiritual journey of knowledge in understanding of beliefs and cultures. I remain the same religion (Catholic) I was born, but I still seek further understanding. I found a kinship and peacefulness in Buddhism. Although I am not a Buddhist, I meditate daily and have put into my lifestyle many of the lessons I have learned. Both logical and conceptual from the philosophy of Buddhism. 
I started collecting antique Buddhas around 17 years ago. I remember standing in front of a Buddha in an antique store and feeling the sheer energy of good karma the statue emitted. I was enamored and that very day purchased my first of many buddha's in our home.
My floor Tibetan buddha is from as told to me a Tibetan monastery. Hundreds of years old it faces the front door and greats everyone who enters into our home.

The legacy as I know is that he was one of a pair that flanked the doors of an inner covered pavilion. His position facing the door is perfect Feng Shui because of his hand gestures. The hand that extends upward with facing palm you can feel the energy of protection, meant as a sense of deep inner security. The hand on his lap, palm up and open is like a blessing and welcome to all. John and I purchased a slab of Uba Tuba granite to elevate him and we placed brushed nickel legs underneath. The necklace he wears was my Moms, she passed in 2010. It is a W14K with gorgeous crystals from the 1940's. On special occasions I will borrow it from buddha and wear it on a special evening out. The "Loved" crown was created by my friend Doré Callaway of Burlap Luxe.

I also collect many vintage and antique pieces that are displayed in our living room. Having a neutral sepia toned background allows the faded colors to be center stage and pop. The painting technique is called Polychrome and it was invented in the early 1800's. The hand carved wooden Artifacts on the ledges are from left to right - Alter folk art cave buddha from Laos, a buddha from Thailand, Burmese buddha from Burma/Myanmar, Indonesian woman statue from Indonesia and a relic of a mounted puppet head form Indonesia.

This ledge has from left to right an - Indonesian statue, Bird from Africa, a Burmese monk from Burma/Myanmar, an elephant from India and a Nandi Bull from India.

I accumulated this collection slowly and enjoy the carving and tactile feel of each unique piece.

The Black and White photography enhanced with a tad bit of amber was taken by John (left photo) and the right by me. They are photographs of our beloved French vintage 1972 Citroën DS. These photos were taken a few years ago of the Kenwood Cherry Blossoms in Bethesda MD. They have around 1200 mature Yoshimo cherry trees that are also along the Tidal Basin. 

Along the 21 foot of expanse of wall we ran a steel cable. We have also installed a steel cable in our sitting/reading room. It makes for a changeable art gallery wall. All art is printed on canvas attached to foamcore for display. Hooks are placed on the backside and hung with monofilament.

In our house we go through rolls of canvas like paper towels!

The steel cable is attached to the wall on both sides with a turnbuckle.

John and I wanted an industrial touch to our living room with a coffee table made from a railroad factory cart used for transporting trunks used in the furniture factories transporting large pieces of furniture around. It was important to us that we purchased one in original condition around 100 years old that still had the legacy type on it.

Ours is a Lineberry railroad cart. Manufactured by the Lineberry Foundy and machine company in Wilkesboro, NC. We liked the one from Restoration Hardware, but it didn't have any ghosting of the original name and the glass size was too big for our needs. So we found a cart on eBay in original condition and purchased our own 3/4 inch glass top.

I lightly sanded it to get the real roughness off it. Then I applied 4 coats of bri-wax. Every now and then when it appears the wood needs a moisture drink I use Formby's Lemon oil treatment on it.

We love seeing the actual mechanics of the cart and also shows off the cowhide and sisal beneath.

Our sofa is from around 3 years ago. It is a flax colored linen we ordered from Anthropologie named Jayne. It is no longer available

Our Lion Gargoyle has proudly hung in our living room protecting us since John exposed the brick wall in 1981.

I had John drill through this large French olive jar and put in an accent light. Thankfully he was successful.

These sit on our window sill.

The zinc B on the wall is from Anthropologie.

Aww there's Max!

This is a Sapien bookcase from Design Within Reach.

15 years ago we purchased this amazing car garage from the 1950's found in Paris, France.
But we purchased it at a 50's boutique/gallery in Philadelphia. The owner Mike also owns a vintage Citroën. 

John and I have most of our 1:43 scale car models housed in the garage. John installed lighting in it and he seems to enjoy that while we are relaxing our service garage is always open and at work!

Below is the reason why I write, hope you enjoy my poem.

Being an observer

I'm an observer of life, collecting words to express the nature of an idea or thing.
Intrinsically words gather and flutter in my mind and writing allows my heart to sing.

Inspiration arrives to me in a state of abstraction, like visionary ideas meant for me to ponder.
Where my mind can meander a guiding creative thought to leisurely enjoy and wander.

Some poems may be expressed words of my own learned life lessons that I try to teach.
Ideally each poem is meant to be felt emotionally in your heart, which I hope to reach.

My journey of observations have led me to this moment of time and to this place,
to hopefully entertain and inspire you with my gathered words of love and grace.

Observations have become my daily muse, a mission with enthusiasm and my purpose in life.
Inspirational poetry sure beats time spent reflecting on a struggle over times of strife.

© Vera


  1. Dear Vera,
    Your poetry is reflective of your state of mind, which I believe is filled with all emotions, but what I feel here is a sense of calm.. Your written words are full of life, I hope you continue to express yourself. Your poem is beautiful Vera.
    Your home is indeed warm and inviting... It is, without a doubt an extension of you.. Simply beautiful!
    Keeping you in my thoughts.

  2. Oh my gosh, Vera....your home needs to be featured in a magazine, girl! It's sooo serene and interesting and unique! The textures and colors and play of shadow and light are just amazing! You have truly created a beautiful place to nest while being surrounded by sweet memories. :)

    xoox laurie

  3. observations . . .
    . . . brick walls - my favorites though we have none - maybe I should decorate the exposed brick in the attic . . . texture - I would move about the room rubbing my hands over everything for bumps, grooves, smoothness . . . Buddha - who believed that many of our problems come from wanting things we really do not need . . . the people scattered through the room - artists, poets, dreamers, thinkers - sharing thoughts, laughter, concerns . . .

    I would one day love to sit in your living room.

  4. Your living room tour is like walking quietly through a museum or gallery. I admire your collections, your use of texture, depth of thought, and heart behind creating your space a home. I love how your walls give such warmth. Your home makes me feel like I am in another country...I like that. You do not know but my college degree is in Nutrition, my minor ethnic studies(African emphesis). My last year of college I applied for the Peace Corps. My husband and I were stationed to go to the Ghana area. But four months prior to leaving I found out that I was expecting our first child, so we did not go. We lived very unattached to our place here because we thought we were still going to go to Africa and live in a hut(or South America) husband would build and I would help mama's and children with health. So I appreciate culture and see that in your home.

    And your poetry says it all.

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart and home with us.
    xxo Kerrie

  5. Vera, well hère you go girl with posting what I always imagined you to take part in. I hope you have come to realize you have so much more then poetry to share with us? You have the beauty and history that surrounds you and your love in a home to love.
    That car garage is so charming, I so remember my brother having one similar when he was just a very small child, it was so close to how yours looks and has touched my heart with memories. I adore your car collection, my aunt is a big cast metal car collector as well, she displays them in all her shelving she has throughout her home.

    Poetry queen you have done it again. Your words touch is with inspiring thoughts to start writing poetry ?

    Vera, love your font room, like Kerrie stated! It looks like a museum, I would have to agree! It's truly a place to love

    Beautiful Love your way, a beautiful February to you.

    Keep inspiring yours homes with your amazin


  6. Words are definitely your special way of expressing yourself.......mine is playing the piano. It's gratifying to find your own special way. Amazing house.

  7. Good morning Vera,

    It is a great thing to have something constructive and that makes BEAUTY as hobbies or a profession. And I believe it all starts in the home. You have shaped for yourselves a fantastic place to admire the art of others (almost like a museum in the most sterling sense of the word!) and a place to observe, to muse. Then to use words to express what it all means to you? This is what I call living at home.

    I love your coffee table and that car garage! A neighbor had one of those when I was a kid and all I wanted to do was play with that thing! You attention to detail and sensitivity to the spiritual mood is wisdom; to not just study, but to observe, indeed.

    I had such a happy weekend; I wrote a new poem to share tomorrow night at our poetry meeting we hold every other Tuesday at our house. My home is my writing space, and I LOVE IT!

    Sending you greetings of friendship! Anita

  8. How sweet of you to leave such a kind note for my wee mice... Thank you so much for your most welcome visit.
    Enjoy your day Vera.

  9. It is indeed a warm and welcoming room, Vera! I love your worldly collection of objects. Thanks for the tour of your living room - enjoyed it! Cheers, Loi

  10. Vera,
    I love your room. I love that you surround yourself with things you love and give you fond memories of all the places you have been. Love that coffee table my favorite piece in your room. Your poems are always so beautiful so thank you for another great piece. Have a wonderful start to your week.

  11. You have created just that Vera...a place to linger and I felt the hug here in New England! The layers of items you love all came together just beautifully like the words in your poem!

  12. First, sweet of you to visit my blog! It's fun to go into a different place with just just a click! I think your collections are beautiful, You must enjoy finding such unique pieces, for me it's the thrill of something special too!
    A beautiful February to you and come by for some California sunshine any time!

  13. Your palette is beautiful, and very inviting. Love your poem. Thanks for dropping by and leaving such a nice comment.xoxo

  14. Good morning dear friend! Thank you for coming by to visit last night. I am so grateful that after all is said and done, tried and lost, hoped and dreamed for, that LOVE remains. CRAZY, isn't it?

  15. What a great tour of your space! I really love all the industrial touches! (We have a factory cart as our coffee table, too :)
    And I enjoyed your poem.

  16. Fée long better aftershave your email my dear, and as for really how I feel not so good. I did do a meal in the slow cooker and rest all day, then I decided to use up the photos I took last week of Laura's plates. Laying and sunlight shinning in the room prompt me to post a blog so I could ignor doing one for about a week or so. Plenty of time to recuperate, rest, and lightly move around.

    I am feeling that sore throat thing now, still plugged ears, ringing, vertigo feeling but yes dizziness, and not sure how I will feel this week, I am shooting for better though, I cannot handle sickness at all.

    Vera, how are you feeling? Are you starting to feel this H1N1 ending its time evading your life! Eeeeh, gads! Life.
    It's really encouraging to me to see how you pull through, and push on, you are my hero :)

    Well off to relax,
    Talk to you soon :)


  17. It is all so beautiful, Vera your home and your poem. Just love the grasscloth wallpaper and the wonderful cowhide rug - all so warm and inviting!!

  18. I'm coming over from Greige because I love the comment you left for Christina.
    I'm following too.

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