Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bien dans sa peau

"Comfortable in one's skin"

She wanders out the kitchen and swings open her lovely
French gates, the squeakiness, familiar music to her ears.
She breathes deeply the air of the season, slowly enjoying
the moment. Another day she greets with gratitude.
Can pieces from another time actually give her lessons in life?
There is a certain "je ne sais quoi" that her surroundings
give her.
She calmly tinkers a bit with her potted flowers picking
the dried leaves and throwing them to the wind.
She smiles as she admires the beauty of the flower.
She likes the traces of moss that cling to the
bareness of the stone altar piece.
She walks away, knowing there is a purpose to it all.
Like the dead leaves in the wind, she leaves behind
her unwanted thoughts, ready to begin another day.

Philippe Starck's interpertation of an altar. Designed for L'hotel Meurice
Philippe Starck, probably the world's most famous
designer, included this rendition of an altar in the
lobby of the luxury hotel L'hotel Meurice, during a
recent renovation.
I think I would be correct in making the assumption that
he is comfortable in his skin.
Don't you think it reveals something about him?

The restoration of the altar took six months. Photo courtesy Maisons & Decors
The famous Belgium sculptor, René Julien has this altar
in his chateau that he is restoring. A bit flamboyant,
perhaps, but wouldn't you love to go to dinner with him?

I first saw this kitchen in 2004 when I bought Mary Emmerling's book "Romantic Country".
This kitchen is in the home of Donna Temple Brown, an Antiquarian who owns

The Gray Door in Houston.
This is reminiscent of a true Country French kitchen.
I know I would be safe in saying that her surroundings
reflect who she is and have influenced, who she has become.
Other than being a great design, don't you feel something
below the surface?
I've never met her, but she goes on my
"Want to have Dinner with" list too!
I would say too, she is comfortable in her skin.
Altar from Fluminalis, dealer of religious artifacts in the Netherlands
Decorative cartouches, traces of polychrome and gilt.
I can imagine this piece being a focal point in a kitchen or bath.
To see more from Fluminalis, click here.

Photo courtesy Smart Design
Most certainly the inspiration here came from an altar.

Another altar in a living room

One thing about the French, they are great bricoleurs. Bricoleurs are creative, imaginative people who develop new and original uses for things. Whether in fashion or in their interior design, there is an individuality to them. They are comfortable in their skin. As I age, I am becoming more comfortable in my skin. The French have helped me achieve that. I am a student of French people, French places and French pieces. I learn from all and I am learning "joie de vivre".
I just sold this French altar. It will be converted to a
bathroom vanity. The client is une brocoleuse!
Morale of the post.... If you have unwanted thoughts go buy an altar and leave them there. If you have wanted thoughts, please leave a comment.
And by the way, to all my blogging friends.....
You are on my "Want to go to dinner with" list too!
Somehow I get the feeling..........
You are comfortable in your skin!


LiLi M. said...

Yes I am!
Great post again!

lily-g said...

The most gorgeous images ever!!I'm sitting in my hotel sneaking a quick peak on your gorgeous blog love it all, I'm so one day going to visit your store
Judy x

Millie said...

Shawn it is so lovely to see such beautiful images! We are a relatively young country (220yrs.)so I just delight in seeing pieces with such history, as we just don't see pieces like that here.

I have spent far too much time this morning musing over all the Masses said, marriages blessed, babies christened, lives farewelled in front of these altars. A fabulous post, merci beaucoup!
Millie ^_^

Donna O. said...

Yep, comfortable in my own skin but I'd be MORE comfortable in that kitchen!!!
Maybe we could have dinner there!

ColonialEast said...

Lovely pictures! love the coloured glass and the "steel-cage-cabinet" in the kitchen is fantastic!!

My Mélange said...

I am with you...the older I get...the more comfortable I am.

Love all the photos :)

Buffie said...


Kathleen Ellis said...

Ohhh...another breathtaking and thought provoking post! Lovely, Shawn! So inspiring!
Dinner? Yes!!! and we'll eat dessert first!
I agree, while I've always been pretty comfortable in my own skin, it is somehow more "complete" the older I get!

Have a beautiful weekend!

Barb said...

Stunning, stunning, stunning!

Magnolia Street Style said...

So absolutley lovely. European design is so far more sophistacated than American design. There is only a few thousand years of experience between. Your photos inspire me as a mere mortal to be me and yes I am much more comfortable in my skin. Thank you for being you and sharing with us.

villa_vintage said...

Beautiful,,,,,,,Merci beaucoup!!!!

Garden Antqs Vintage said...

What beautiful blogs, thanks for sharing. Hope you have a great Saturday, T

The enchanted home said...

Love this post..OMG I am in heaven..just so beautiful. So happy to have wandered across your blog too! Please visit mine, about the buildng of our new home and my love for design/decor plus doing a great giveaway. I am a subscriber now.