Privilege Blog

Piece By Piece, Or, Saturday Morning at 8:03am

You may remember a while back I started repurposing my kids’ spaces. My son’s room became my “workroom” (in quotation marks because in fact I just keep stuff there and cart it out to my sofa for actual working); my daughter’s room became the guest room.

However, that was 2015, and in January of 2016 we began the process of moving my mother to memory care. My time and intent disappeared into the subsequent chaos. Now, with chaos at bay and the end of 2017 approaching, I’m slowly, slowly finishing up. Guest room, meet your chaise longue. I don’t expect much lounging, but the long chair makes great clothing storage for those who don’t fully unpack.

Once I regained mental capacity for things like furniture, I kept imagining dark teal upholstery, to complement the red and gold bedding. So when I discovered Interior Define on Emily Henderson’s blog and looked over their selections, I ordered excitedly. The modern flat upholstery contrasts with the old-style turned legs in a way I just love. (BTW, Emily did a chaise roundup this week, you can find it here.)

That throw is a silk shaw that belonged to my father’s mother. You will also see the bedside table we found on eBay to pair with the one from my mother’s mother. Yes, both grandmothers represented.

However, all this progress has confirmed my suspicions. This room does not get enough light to allow the Merida rug to shine, literally or figuratively. The relative darkness draws me to rich colors and fabrics, which aren’t working perfectly with the Merida’s low white weave. I love a clean look in our master bedroom, with its private double height windows and southern light. Not here, so much.

So I’m going to keep layering for lushness. Maybe a sheared sheepskin to go next to the bed? Invest in curtains and shades, maybe long and white and linen-ish with red trim? Too much? Add more metals? I don’t know. I’m thinking and open to suggestion.

Most of all I need art. Those walls cry out.

Luckily, I know a lot of artists and am discovering more. I have Laura’s photo in the workroom, Lily’s painting in the living room, Gitta’s photograph in the master bedroom. I wanted to buy one of Cara’s paintings but it sold too fast. I’m loving Kathy’s new still lifes. And now I’d like to introduce you to Ian Gallagher. Ian is my son’s boyfriend, but even without connection I’d find his work brilliant. For example, these animations. And, the paintings.

That’s the post card invitation to a Brooklyn group show he’s in. Opened last night. I highly recommend you stop by if you can. I keep wondering, as I do with talented people, how they manage to accomplish two seemingly contradictory things at once. How is that family above both so celebratory and so horrifying? I can’t look away.

I probably wouldn’t hang it in my guest room – I think it’s meant to be surrounded by brave conversation, in a dining room. But Ian’s got other works. I’m waiting patiently to be allowed to buy one maybe.

So have a wonderful weekend everyone. Layered or full of art.

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30 Responses

  1. Hello Lisa, You are reclaiming your kids’ old spaces, but I have the opposite situation. Each time I go back to Ohio, I seem to add more to my mother’s apartment. Most of it is in the storage closets, but last year I started putting up framed art in the back bedroom. (Including scenes of Yale, Harvard and University School, and my one ukiyo-e print. Don’t worry, I have some nice early Princeton material to add once it surfaces.)

    I love the Gallagher card. Like you, there is something about it I find mesmerizing.

    1. @Parnassus, Happy to know that Princeton is to be included;). I imagine your mother is happy to have your stuff, as it’s possibly a harbinger of your return. And mesmerizing is the exact word. I wondered if they were drowning or celebrating, someone on Instagram said “they are going to be rescued.” So much meaning all at once.

  2. Hi Lisa, just wanted to let you know I’m still enjoying your musings. You were one of the first blogs I followed. I don’t post any longer ,in fact I’m hoping you even remember me, but I still enjoy reading the good ones like you.

    1. @James Washburn, Yes, of course, the early blogger crowd! Thank you so much for continuing to read. I’m getting the hang of this once a week business, so I think I can keep going!

  3. I suspect your guests are keen to get out of their room and hang with you, but oh, that’s a great corner for lingering. . .
    I’d thank you for spelling “chaise longue” correctly (“chaise lounge” is one of my pet peeves) except that of course you do! You’re the one I learned “fuchsia” from ;-)
    Your son’s boyfriend’s painting is so compelling. Gets right at that tug between the familiar and the strange that makes the uncanny. That tension in the German word “unheimlich” that got Freud so interested. . .

    1. @Frances/Materfamilias, Oh I know! It’s a long chair! And spelling has always been my little fun thing. Although fuchsia, that I had to look up myself, truth be told.

      I didn’t know the term “unheimlich.” I love having learned readers, it is the best possible way to never stop learning myself.

  4. Investigate rug layering. New concept to me but my daughter did it brilliantly in her university apt: jute rug base with shearling over it. Apparently, it’s a thing.

  5. I do very much like the chaise lounge. And that embroidered throw is gorgeous. I agree about the rug too…you need something that “grounds” the room. But really good job on the chaise!

    1. @Susan B, Step by step;). And I’m thinking that essentially I need the same degree of detail and shading at every level, so just as the bed has a pattern and a couple of hues, the chaise too, the floor needs some extra and so do the walls. I’m now thinking a couple of sheepskins – or small woven rugs in shades of ivory and cream.

  6. Hi Lisa, I wonder if you have heard of Abigail Ahern, and English decorator , who has a blog. I really think you might like her, she is very quirky but practical and widely successful. In the Christmas edition of Verandah there is an article on
    a decorator called Alidad home in London, completely over the top but I love it Pat

    1. @Pat Hoar, I hadn’t heard of Abigail, but I am going to subscribe to her blog. Thank you very much! I think I am leaving the lower hills in my house and heading towards the top;).

  7. I love Ian’s art – the painting on the invitation is so compelling and strong. Thank you for the lovely mention as well.

    1. @KSL, You are more than welcome! And I am happy that Ian’s art resonates with you, your still lifes and his family pieces feel similar to me in a way I can’t articulate.

  8. Lisa- Thank you for the wonderful mention, wish you could’ve been here for the opening. It was a great help to have P help me hang the show. Would love for you to have a piece, something that will complement the lovely decor. All the best.

    1. @Ian Gallagher, You are so welcome! You know I think your stuff is brilliant. And I really wish I could have been there, I’d have helped you and P with the hanging. Let’s talk. I don’t want to take one of your pieces if you are still grouping them for shows, but, otherwise I can’t wait to hang one here.

  9. I think your color palette in the guest room is gorgeous, Lisa. So enjoyed this post. “…keep layering for lushness.” I like! Words to live by, I think! :-) -Linda

    1. @Linda, Thank you so much! Lushness is new to me, High WASPs prefer austere usually, but I am learning! My mom was great at disciplined lushness, I hope to emulate.

  10. I absolutely LOVE the painting by “Kathy” (Kathryn Leeds) that shows up when you click her name above (in your post). Given the richness of those amazing colors she’s using, maybe she is the friend to turn to for suggestions on where to go next in your guest room (re)furbishment. (That painting itself many give you an idea or two…)

    And I like the notion of one of your readers above that “layering area rugs” might be the way to go floor-covering-wise. Just be sure to put a rug pad between the top rug and the white bottom one, so the colors on top won’t bleed down. (Written by one who learned the hard way!)

    1. @Victoire, Kathy’s colors in that painting are indeed gorgeous. She was in fact an interior designer in a former life – definitely someone to learn from. As are you, clearly, I will definitely watch for color bleeding!

    2. Thank you so much Victoire! Such a lovely compliment. Also Lisa, she’s correct about the rug pad and I’m not sure that sheepskin will do anything to pull the room together. I think you need something with color to sort of anchor the room.

    3. @Victoire, That awesome painting by Kathy contains a bunch of color information to finish out that room, short of buying the painting itself and hanging it on the wall [which is not a bad idea at all!]. The only 2 colors of hers you haven’t used yet are her rich mustards, and her leafy greens. Once you incorporate those additional colors, I predict the romm will get the lift off it wants. xo

  11. Your chaise longue and the throw are beautiful- such lovely colours and textures
    You only have to spend some more time in the room and,I’m sure,it will “tell” you everything you need to know-your taste is impeccable
    I love Ian’s painting-it also speaks a lot-colours,expresions,emotions……some of them hidden,some visible

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