Tag Archives: Out and About

Legendary La Cienega

In the last ten days I’ve stepped, if not out of my comfort zone, a little out of my regular circle of friends.  I like my friends, but it was a conscious shift.  In doing so I’ve met a couple in their sixties who are hiking in Nepal in the next year, another couple who moved to town because they fell in love with a house and then let the rest of their lives fall in around it and yet another who is here for work, but plans to move when he retires in three years because they hate the weather.  Where are they going?  Back to Michigan, which should tell you something about our weather (especially of late.)  An old friend and a new friend joined us for dinner last weekend and he told tales of spending time on his grandfather’s ranch in California as a boy.  It is invigorating to put yourself someplace new.

Even better to put yourself someplace new and sunny.  I’m headed to Los Angeles next week for Legends of La Cienega.  Because it’s new.  And sunny.  And creative and fun and energizing.  I’ll be hanging out with my friend Megan Arquette, who I rarely get to see in real life and taking in all the great events (which you can find and sign up for here.)  My second largest geographical demographic of readers (horribly awkward phrasing – open to suggestions for revision) is in California, so if you see a middle-aged Midwesterner who you think might be me, it is.  Say “hi.”  Tell me your story.  I’d love to hear it.

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Block by Block

I was in New York last week to visit friends and, well, be in New York which I think is always a good idea.  I made a point this trip to build in time to see the exhibits that I wanted to see as well as stroll through the Winter Antique Show and fly through the gift show.
I am relentlessly curious about creative process and the Inventing Abstraction exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art scratched my itch.  I’ve noticed that in the ever-burgeoning world of blogging (a world that has been incredibly good to me) that sometimes people imply that visiting with designers is some kind of rare and remarkable feat, but my experience has been that decorators don’t see themselves as celebrities and are only too happy to talk with someone who is interested in their work.

Unfortunately, Picasso, Albers and Delaunay are not available for brain picking, but this exhibit explores their process and the evolution of the movement in a way that made me feel as if they were.

If you are in New York during the exhibit (through April 15th) I would recommend it.  Beyond that, you might want to take a moment to watch a few videos on the site, which, if you’re anything like me, will make you want to start your own salon.  Like, tomorrow.

Images, above, via moma.org.  The image top is a graphic of the artists’ connections; the next is Theo Van Doesburg’s evolving studies of a cow and one of the resulting paintings, Composition VIII, (The Cow), which made my head explode just a little bit right on the spot.

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Out and About – Christopher Filley, Again

Sometimes I want to keep all the good stuff to myself (you should see the things I don’t mention here) but did want to let you know that Christopher Filley has just returned from the home of one of his dear friends and is providing foster care for some of her things.  (You see Faith and Charity above – Hope must be springing eternally somewhere else.)

A full-size chinoiserie bed being one of my favorites.

Hmmm…headboard, footboard and painted rails, too.  “Wouldn’t it be great if you could float it in the room?” asked Christopher when I was there.  Indeed.

A pair.

The top.  I mean, really.

And this window, which did not come from the estate, is fantastic.  I’ve seen its sibling at the home of one of my favorite local designers, backed with mirror, adding depth and sparkle to her patio.  Who couldn’t use a little more depth and sparkle?

Christopher Filley
45th and State Line

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Enduring Landscape

I don’t think I’ve been shy about my indifference toward the outdoors.

But I did like being outside here.

The gardens at Philbrook (then Villa Philbrook) were designed by Kansas City landscape designers Hare and Hare, who planned a great deal of the Country Club District, the Plaza and much of our park systems here in town, as well as many national projects.

I climbed those steps and sat, looking back up at the house, both as a kid and again last week.

My mother did not bring me here, and if I visited with a school group I have no memory of it.  So often we do find what we need.

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Passionate Origins

I drove to Tulsa, my hometown, on Saturday.  I have fewer and fewer reasons to go, reunions and funerals mostly, but I had a couple of things to take care of so I made the four-hour drive there and back in a day.

“Why don’t you spend the night?  See some people?” encouraged Bill, assuring me that all would be well here.

“I don’t really have people there anymore.”

I drove through my old neighborhood, by the park where I did “Walk for Mankind” and by the house of the boy who gave me my first kiss.  (The last was coincidental, but the house was pretty terrific, which I did not appreciate at the time.)

And I went to Philbrook, which is one of Tulsa’s museums.  It was the old Phillip’s estate and I spent some time there in junior high and high school.   I didn’t take refuge there nearly as often as I do at the Nelson, but its cool, hushed halls and high ceilings sheltered me on several occasions.  I hadn’t realized it before, but the house, on twenty-three acres and with seventy-two rooms, was probably the first grand house that I ever saw and I wondered if it infected my spirit for good.

Villa Philbrook was designed by Kansas City architect Edward Beuhler Delk; the gardens were designed by the Kansas City firm Hare & Hare.  Funny, huh?  You can find a little more on the house itself here.

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