Saturday, May 5, 2012


There was always one kid back in seventh grade who fancied himself the class comic. You'd be walking down the hall between classes when there'd be a big shove from behind and with that dumb and dumber look on his face you'd hear the class doofus say, "Hey Melahn, what's black and white and read all over?" You'd give the answer you'd heard since third grade, "Duh, a newspaper". Then the smartass would come back with a donkey laugh hee-hawing, "No ass-wipe, a dead nun", and off he'd go his shoulders bouncing in amusement at his pre-teen cleverness. So this week it's black, white and red that I'm going to take a look at. Some of these interiors are clever, some might have a dash of humor but none of these are sophomoric. 
There's no dead nun here, only that enigmatic Mona Lisa recreated in an Andy Warholesque image taking prominence over this sleek living room. There's a blending of the gothic and the contemporary. If they had only added a rug this interior would have been perfect.
We just did stripes. Had I seen this image back then it would have used it to show scale. The size of these stripes was a very risky move but one that paid off. There's nothing spectacular about the furniture or flooring choices but the stripes save this vignette. The touch of red with the lampshade was the perfect bit of color to sweeten up this window treatment.
Speaking of stripes this dining setting is so enticing I can smell the pan au chocolat, I can taste the confit de canard and I can feel that cool springtime Parisian breeze blowing a single lost blossom across those black and white tiles. I can hear the conversation, part English and part French. The streetlights have to be gas so as the sun sets there's an amber flicker that dances over the stripes jumping from black to white. Who would want to decline an invitation for a seat in one of those red chairs?
I'd have to hide all the erasers and wet washcloths if this chalkboard were in my dining room. If you got an invitation to dine here, you might need to be prepared to be frisked for any device that could wipe out this piece of chalk art. I want to know who out there can hand-write a novelette and have it come out justified both left and right? For that touch of red add a red square and suspend a couple of pendants from some red cord and you have a perfect setting for breakfast with the family or a Friday night fish fry if you happen to live in Wisconsin don't ya know.
I know the focus of this blog is black, white and red and this room fits the criteria but what I love most about this room is the inset glass "rug". I'm not sure how practical this might be but I'm always impressed when someone has surprised me with a new way of using a material. There's a big connection between glass and water. You have to believe that if there was audio included with this image it would be the sound of waves 
Franz Uyterlinden, stylist for VT Woven, designed this showcase home to have that chic dichotomy of industrial grit paired with contemporary sleekness. The painting of that huge red-cross on the wall commands attention. It draws focus and pulls you down the hall. Even the off-center placement continues the magnetic draw making you want to turn the corner to see what that off-white wall hides.
I have no idea of what the lady in the photograph is holding and I'm not sure I want to know. I do know that it adds to the robotic futuristic appeal of this room. The mechanical arm on the lamp might have belonged to the bionic man and the that thing in her hand could have been what the scarecrow was looking for as he followed the yellow brick road to Oz. 
Barn red comes to the forefront in this country dining room. From the red chairs to the striped pillows to the curtain fabric this room is read all over without being red all over. The vintage industrial lamp infuses more red into the room thanks to Mother Nature and affects of rust. It's the perfect vintage touch to this country setting.
It's not only the interiors that read in black and white. This painted exterior on an Eastern European home demands attention for its incredible playfulness and high graphic quality. Why not but a pot of red flowers in the window?

I've been trying to come up with one other thing to add to this week's post. I like to have more than one segment not counting the gallery segment. It makes me feel a little less like a one trick pony. It's not unusual for this to come down to the eleventh hour, and then just like that, I get an email from our best friends, JoHannah and Adam King. They abandoned us years ago for San Francisco. JoHannah is a producer for Jack Morton Productions Worldwide and Adam is an architect. Both of them are brilliant at what they do. Both of them would modestly decline this accolade but I strive for the truth here. They've lived in the hills of San Francisco for longer than any of us would care to admit, in a charming bungalow. There style has always been an amalgamation of bohemian chic, arts and crafts and English hominess. Their home has always been beautiful to look at but it goes way beyond beauty into a comfort quality that warms you with a plumped up throw, a cup of Earl Grey and a big huge dog curled around your feet. The last time we visited the hydrangeas were in bloom and their entire front yard was a sea of magenta and blue. Unlike my description, and just like the two of them, it wasn't showy its was merely welcoming.
About a year ago they decided it was time to redo their kitchen. Their kitchen, like the shoemakers shoeless children, had been patiently waiting Adams pencil and attention to turn g it into a more functional and updated version what a 21st century kitchen should be. 
In his final design Adam transformed the Boho aspects in the kitchen to a more Beacon Hill appearance but still maintained the charm of the rest of the house. Even though the homes in the San Francisco hills are considered detached, they are so packed in that there is little room from side to side for anything more than the littlest ray of sun to squeeze its way down into the rooms of its citizenry. This meant whatever light you could get you hoarded. This kitchen was designed to take advantage of all the light it could muster. From the French doors and side windows to opening the ceiling to the floor and the light it collected from its skylights, this kitchen was a wash in natural light.
Adam's sense of detail appears everywhere in this kitchen.. You can see it in the detailing around the stove with the hidden overhead lighting and exhaust venting and with the handling of the molding details and island legs. I have no verification on this but I'd bet the pendants lights are Adams own design and manufacturing and if they aren't they should be.
A room should reflect its inhabitants. This kitchen is Johannah and Adam from its open shelves and handmade fixtures to its meticulous craftsmanship. This is a black and white kitchen everyone interested in food should read about, and that's as close to red as I'm going to get.

Photographer, Unknown

1 comment:

  1. So right about the Mona Lisa room needing a rug. And that chalkboard kitchen may be my favorite R/W/Blk room ever. But then there's that great red cross. Too many visual treats!