FROM SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA
SCOTTSDALE, Dec 4, 2005 - This past week I finally got started in earnest on my interior decorating project. As I've pointed out in Chapter 1, this is the first time in over three decades that I am doing something like that for myself. And the first time ever that I can afford to turn my dreams and visions into reality.
So where do you start? Well, I started with an "instinctive feng shui" interior designer. After a month's "work" (for which I paid her in advance), she made her presentation to me on Dec. 1. It was a disappointment. It was short on instinct and long on expensive furniture (such as $2,500 chairs, for example). It made me wonder if this "feng shui" really stood for feigned chic? For, all this "feng shui" designer was basically trying to do is sell me some expensive mahogany furniture made by a manufacturer with which she has a relationship.
Okay. No biggie. Lesson learned. Scrap that idea. Back to doing it yourself.
But again, where to start? Well, I began on my living room wall [as opposed to "off the wall"...:-) ]. I figured that after my first major decision - to get a piano - I should stay with the big picture and choose some major art that would set the tone and the color scheme for the rest (including the furniture). So I spent countless hours, usually late at night, perusing thousands of tapestry designs. I discovered that they were all made in Belgium, even though there are tons of North American distributors reselling them (at higher prices, of course).
Louis XIV conquest of Lille (France)
Italianate garden (Flanders)
Eventually, I settled on the above two for the living room... setting the blue-gold color scheme for it.
I then did a rough sketch/photo mock-up trying to envisage these two tapestries on my living room walls (above).
Then I moved on to the adjacent family room. Since I already had a maroon red area rug in it that I had had shipped to Arizona from my Australian property (the Bolt Hole), I decided to make that room a red-gold color scheme.
Consequently, I chose the above Flanders wine-making scene tapestry. It seemed doubly appropriate, given that my Australian home was right in the middle of some of Australia's finest vineyards.
Then I did a computer mock-up of that image in my family room, and voila! (above). Yesterday, I ordered the three tapestries directly from Bruges, Belgium, "one of the most beautiful medieval towns in all of Europe," according to the tapestry maker who invited me to come for a visit (click here to see a map of Belgium).
And now the hard part... finding the furniture that satisfied my taste and style, fitted in with the mahogany piano, and matched the above color schemes.
After perusing a whole lot of furniture stores, I did not find anything I truly loved. But I did get a lot of ideas. And I did find an outlet that can custom-build the furniture for me (Bassett, a Washington state furniture maker that has just opened its first Arizona store near where I live). I picked the styles I wanted, and then their (very good!) interior designer came to my house. We chose together the fabrics and the colors that would go with my tapestries.
Bassett will also reupholster some of my antique chairs to fit our color scheme, as well as make custom bedspread etc. for the master bedroom to go with the rest. It will take 6-8 weeks for them to deliver the whole thing. But as I've said before, I am in no hurry. And this time around, I will not settle for anything short of perfect (for me).
My next project is to choose the silk curtains and/or sheers to go with the new furniture and tapestries. I've already picked out an outfit and another interior designer to help me with that. But I will wait for the tapestries to actually arrive from Belgium before proceeding with it.... just to make sure that the actual colors match those on the computer screen.
Meanwhile, I have been biking to the Club and back three to four times a week, working out, swimming laps and doing yoga in between the rides. Lately, I've discovered that biking along the golf cart trails on the two Grayhawk golf courses near which I live is not just fun, it's very scenic. So perhaps I'll take my camera with me the next time I do it and share some of that beauty with you. You'll just have to imagine the golf course scents and sounds. Till then...
Here are the three-tiered cacti in Mexican pots. I got them this weekend at a desert nursery near Carefree to go with the other Arizona cacti in my back yard. The turquoise-color stand and stools, that came from Manderly, seem to fit in perfectly into the new setting.
And that's my new life, so far...
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