June 19, 2010

DvH 2010 10 Oahu, Hawai'i

Air Apparent-

Open spaces was a good choice for this small house.  It was easy to update the basics were built in. Lots of big windows for light and breathtaking views, long lines of sight between rooms and down hallways, and peaked ceilings emphasizing height.

I trusted my instincts when I said that a few alterations would stretch the open feel of the house: A wall between dining room and living room, typical of the house’s era, cut up the floor plan. Removing this wall achieved a sense of flow, and the d├ęcor that followed enhanced the open space.

June 6, 2010

DvH 2010 12 Venice, Italy

"Many moon ago the dollar was 870 lire and I was thirty-two. The globe, too, was lighter by two billion souls, and the bar at the stazione where I arrived on that cold December night was empty"…

So begins Joseph Brodsky’s “Watermark”, his curious, quirky, and brilliant account of his enthrallment by the physical and metaphysical life of the city Venice. His meditation on the relation between water and land, light and dark, present and past, stone and flesh, desire and fulfillment, coupled with Venice’s architectural and atmospheric character speaks to all of us who have fallen under that spell.

When I first visited Venice, I was so overawed by its beauty that my fleeting visit stirred me out of an adolescent chrysalis. Venice has a strange stimulus that seems to pass directly into emotion, bypassing the usual thought processes. To wander around her, to drift or push through her, is as natural and as sensuous as a caress.

Henry James wrote of Venice: ‘There is notoriously nothing more to be said on the subject’

Venice has its rewards and its purgatory: it takes the patience of Job to infiltrate and survive the grueling treadmill of bureaucracy, followed by the passing of the many tests needed to enter into an elitist and secret society.

Following then, is my view of the inside of the oyster shell by a grain of sand that has managed to lie beside the pearl.

June 1, 2010

DvH 2010 13 Paris, France

May it inspire Romy Schneider to come and sashay.

When I ask Clive, my godson, how he envisioned his apartment. He said, “create a mood so I can imagine Romy Schneider sashaying through the place”.

Yet, he has rejected, what I thought to be a very Romy inspired bed.
A welcoming bedroom is an important part in a well-lived-in-house.

I understand that in my godson’s concentration on simple, modern design, the voluptuous bed that has been forever with the apartment is not to his taste (I wonder how Romy would feel about this?).

It belonged to our friend Brigitte.

The bed is big and curvy, and made of beautiful wood. It dominated the master bedroom throughout our five decades of friendship, and played a central role in all our lives. Brigitte was born in this bed. And, when Mona contracted German measles at the beginning of a school holiday, she spent her entire time in it. We always felt “at home” in that oh-so-safe bed. Such happy memories of four friends, together, engaged in long rap sessions on lazy holiday mornings.

Clive wants a sophisticated upholstered bed. Ergo, he shall get one, and we will put the family bed into the guestroom, so Mona and I can spend many more times climbing into the bed that made such a long journey through France’s history and was part of “our” French girl.