Tuesday, June 3, 2014

How To: Buy Art

When Ann and I first got the gallery up and running eight years ago (it’s amazing how time flies), we were both surprised when our clients would come to us and say “I’m not quite sure how to buy art or start a collection” or “I really love this painting, but I’m afraid it won’t go with the sofa/chairs/paint color” or “Help!”  Since we both adore art and both love to write, we came up with a little series on art “how-to’s” that we printed and offered to our clients.

The gallery.  (Photo by Blayne Beauchamp.)
The gallery. (Photo by Blayne Beachamp.)

Since then, we’ve all grown up a little bit and have graduated from paper copies to a series of blogs on our site about collecting, hanging, framing and even making sure your marriage survives choosing art.  And, even after all this time, there’s rarely a day that goes by without one of us refering back to our How To’s.

It’s a simple formula.  We think that when it comes to art, you just have to remember that there are no shoulds, shouldn’ts, musts or must-nots.  It’s all about following your heart and trusting your eye:

Start with your heart:  Art is so personal and unique, that we believe the only magic formula for collecting art is to start with your heart.  And what someone else loves - your husband, your mother, your friends – may not be what gets your heart racing.  That’s okay.  And it’s also okay to love lots of different artists, styles and mediums.  Variety adds soul, gravitas and even humor to a collection.

Complex and mesmerizing abstracts might be your thing.  Who wouldn't love a Mark Rothko?  Mark Rothko, Untitled. From Wikiart.com
 Complex and mesmerizing abstracts might be your thing. Who wouldn’t love a Mark Rothko? Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1961. From Wikiart.com

Or maybe this priceless and totally atmospheric piece by William Turner, one of the Huffingtons very, very favorite artist.  This piece feels mysterious, enigmatic and as if it could have been painted yesterday. If Mr. Turner approached us for representation, we'd probably say "oh okay, Bill."....William Turner, Going to the Ball, San Martino. From Wikiart.com
Or maybe this priceless and totally atmospheric piece by William Turner, one of the Huffingtons very, very favorite artist. This piece feels mysterious, enigmatic and as if it could have been painted yesterday. If Mr. Turner approached us for representation, we’d probably say “oh okay, Bill.”….William Turner, Going to the Ball, San Martino, 1846. From Wikiart.com.

One Day at a Time:  Don’t look at the whole room and think, I’ve got to fill all these walls with art – now!  Wait to find what you really love.  You’ll be happier with blank walls than hanging something you don’t love to fill a void.  And most important: don’t settle for anything less than original.

Blank is better than nothing. Just don't settle.
Blank is better.  Take your time and don’t settle . From Pinterest.

Get Smart:  Visit art galleries, museums, art shows, artists’ open studios and art fairs.  Savor the process and ask lots of questions.  The more you see, the more you’ll come to refine your own taste preferences and be able to recognize what you love.

One of our favorite museums in Paris: the small and intimate l'Orangerie.  Jacquelyn Poussot Photography.
One of our favorite museums in Paris: the small and intimate l’Orangerie. Jacquelyn Poussot Photography.

Match the sofa:  What?? That’s right. It’s natural that when you buy what you love, your taste will be drawn to what works together. But here’s the kicker:  Don’t buy it to match the sofa; buy it because you love it.  And then watch it work with the sofa – every time.

This painting is bold and exciting and so much fun.  And it just happens to look great with that sofa.  Have a good time with your art.  From Helen Green, London.
This painting is bold and exciting and so much fun. And it just happens to look great with that sofa. From Helen Green, London.

Know when to pounce:  When you feel your heart being tugged, and you love it but don’t know where to put it, you probably should buy it. Art is one of a kind and you won’t find it again, and for that reason, you don’t want it to get away. Trust us!

Buy Something Old:  As you build your collection, no matter what your taste in art, give it some depth and soul by adding a few wonderful old pieces, perhaps something you’ve inherited. Mix it with contemporary art and see how one makes the other sing.

Girl with a Pearl Earring. Johannes Vermeer.
Girl with a Pearl Earring. Johannes Vermeer.

We love the idea of a gorgeous old piece (okay, so maybe Aunt Helen didn't leave you a Vermeer, but don't discount the old farm scene she did leave you.
We love the idea of a gorgeous old piece (okay, so maybe Aunt Helen didn’t leave you a Vermeer, but don’t discount the old farm scene she did leave you) paired with something new, abstract and loaded with color and texture, like this piece from Melissa Payne Baker.  Old and new, abstract and representational…it’s all about the mix.

Doyenne of design, Suzanne Kasler nails it everytime. This energetic abstract piece makes the room but works hand-in-hand with the pretty French settee.
Doyenne of design, Suzanne Kasler nails it everytime. This mix of old, new and abstract just makes us so happy.

Stretch yourself:  Just like you don’t want to know everything about a person when you first meet them, think of modern art as a wonderful challenge, that you will get to know over time.  Let it unfold slowly, and watch your love grow for it over time.

If you're just now learning to love abstracts, give yourself some time to fall madly in love.  Here's a tip: it's all about being objective.
If you’re just now learning to love abstracts, give yourself some time to fall madly in love. Here’s a tip: it’s all about being objective. Power Play by Christina Doelling.

Something Blue: Art, like fashion and design, has certain styles that go in and out of popularity.  Be aware of the trends but don’t become a victim of them. Will you be happy with this over time? Whenever in doubt, let your own heart be your guide.

Black and white. Trendy? We don't think so. Dawne Raulet's sweet portrait of a duck will definitely stand the test of time.
Black and white. Trendy? We don’t think so. Dawne Raulet’s sweet portrait of a duck will definitely stand the test of time.

Calm and serene blue is hot right now but this will work forever.
Calm and serene blue is hot right now but this will work forever.  Helen Green, London.

Something Tried:  Try it, live with it and hopefully love it.  But if your love wanes, reframe it, move it, or hang it with something different.  It will either come back to life or need to go away for a while or it will be time to pass it on, and that’s OK.

Ann's probably moved these pieces all over her chic Buckhead condo but they always look wonderful wherever they end.  Most important, she'd never part with them.
Ann’s probably moved these pieces all over her chic Buckhead condo but they always look wonderful wherever they end. Most important, she’d never part with them.  From the AJC.

Something True: It all comes down to this: Love. Listen to that little voice that tugs at your heart and try to hear what it’s saying. If you buy what you love, it will it will work.

Nancy Franke's Dance a Thousand Miles, 40 x 30, oil on canvas.

Nancy Franke’s Dance a Thousand Miles, 40 x 30, oil on canvas.

Ta ta – and happy collecting.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Favorite Summer Reads

Just in time for Memorial Day, we’ve had fun compiling our favorite reads. In fact, our book table is positively groaning with new arrivals and it’s not uncommon for us to find a Huffington happily tucked into a corner soaking up some fun new reads.

Speaking of reading nooks, we’d love to curl up with a good book in any of these little spots:

Pure perfection for soaking up a new novel.
Pure perfection for soaking up a new novel. From  Pinterest.

A great spot to relax with a book after a busy day of taking in the Paris sights.
A Paris perch. From Pinterest.

Serene, quite and quite a view.
From Pinterest.

White and serene.  From Veranda.
White and serene. From Veranda.

From Pinterest.
From Pinterest.

This reminds us of a perfect reading spot - a la Francais.
This reminds us of a perfect reading spot – a la Francais.

And, here are some of our favorite reads we’re taking to the beach, pool, lake and mountains (click on the images for info on each book):

Our adorable and talented friend Emily Giffin just released her seventh book and we can't wait to dive in.
Our adorable and talented friend Emily Giffin just released her seventh book and we can’t wait to dive in.

 This gorgeous new release has a peek into the Provence home of our favorite fashion and style icon, Edith Mezard.
This gorgeous new release has a peek into the Provence home of our favorite fashion and style icon, Edith Mezard.

We've got this on our own Huff Harrington best-seller list: plenty of drool-worthy inspiration from the doyenne of design, Suzanne Kasler.
We’ve got this on our own Huff Harrington best-seller list: plenty of drool-worthy inspiration from the doyenne of design, Suzanne Kasler.

Also on the list for our fave gents, this gem from the editors of Garden and Gun.
Also on the list for our fave gents, this gem from the editors of Garden and Gun.

We think this looks like divine browsing.
We think this looks like divine browsing.

This is a great novel about a woman who follows her husband into battle during the Civil War.
This is a great page turner about a woman who follows her husband into battle during the Civil War.

No-one entertains like James T. Farmer and we instantly fell in love with his wonderful ideas and beautiful imagery.
No-one entertains in the South like James T. Farmer and we instantly fell in love with his wonderful ideas and beautiful imagery.

We couldn't put this one down. Poignant and moving.
We couldn’t put this one down. Poignant and moving.

Say no more.

How could we resist this one?  We love David Lebovitz's smart narrative and of course the recipes and photography aren't too bad either.
How could we resist this one? We love David Lebovitz’s smart narrative and of course the recipes and photography aren’t too bad either.

What’s on your reading list this summer? Let us know…

Ta ta.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

How To: Pretty Up Your Porch

Late spring in Atlanta is just about the prettiest time of year anywhere.  Everything is blooming like crazy, the air is balmy (without the blast of humidity that’s right around the corner) and toute le monde heads outside.  Restaurants with outdoor seating are packed and best of all, porches, patios and loggias get dusted off and put back into action.  And here – with a little help from our designing divas, Sam and Colleen – is how we’re envisioning our pretty porches:

Porch perfection. 
Porch perfection.  From Pinterest.

Clean is pristine: get the hose, the blower, the broom and the dust rag and go to work on your porch.  Cleaning out the cobwebs means a nice, fresh start for your porch perch.

Make it count double-duty: there’s nothing better than a porch that’s designed for living, dining, snoozing and even watching tv.

Multiple spaces make this porch a true living space.  From Traditional Home.
 Multiple spaces make this porch a true living space. From Traditional Home.

This fab screened porch was recently featured in Atlanta Homes and Lifestyle feature.  No wonder.   
This fab screened porch was recently featured in an Atlanta Homes and Lifestyle feature. No wonder.

We'd all kill to sleep in this darling little porch. From Pinterest. 
We’d all kill to sleep in this darling little porch. From Pinterest.

We love the cozy, rustic ambiance here. 
Speaking of snoozing:  we love the cozy, rustic ambiance here.

If we HAD to have a TV on the porch, this wouldn't be bad...from House Beautiful.
If we couldn’t live without a TV on the porch, this wouldn’t be bad…from House Beautiful.

Could there be anything better?  An open serving bar on the porch.  From House Beautiful.
Could there be anything better? An open serving bar on the porch. From House Beautiful.

Make it comfy and cozy: there’s so much wonderful outdoor furniture and accessories out there.  Try slipcovers in water resistant fabrics and plenty of plump and smoothy down pillows for pretty accents.  Don’t forget cute drinks tables for icy beverages and a coffee table to anchor the space.  Have a mantle? Dress it up with something unique and architectural.

The outdoor living room.  From Architectural Digest.
The outdoor living room. Upholstered seating and a nice rustic-y coffee table to balance it all.  From Architectural Digest.

We love the living room vibe of this beautiful loggia. From Better Homes and Gardens.
We love the living room vibe of this beautiful loggia. From Better Homes and Gardens.

We were definitely thinking porch living when we decided to try this reclaimed wood coffee table at Huff Harrington.
We were definitely thinking porch living when we decided to try this reclaimed wood coffee table at Huff Harrington. $965.00.

Ooooh and aaaah.
Ooooh and aaaah.  From Pinterest.

Another take on the outdoor living room.  This is pretty fabulous. From Apartment Therapy.
Another take on the outdoor living room. This is pretty fabulous. From Apartment Therapy.

Soften the edges:  we love the idea of floaty panels diffusing the late summer rays or crisp and tailored curtains jazzing up outdoor spaces.

Chic shade from House Beautiful.
Chic shade from House Beautiful.

 Warm sun filtering through the curtains.  Looks like a good reading or nap spot.  From DesignChic.
Warm sun filtering through the curtains. Looks like a good reading or nap spot. From DesignChic.

Beautiful boxwoods soften this oh so pretty entrance.  From Everything I Love. 
 Beautiful boxwoods soften this oh so pretty entrance. From Everything I Love.

Lighting is key:  there’s nothing better than late evenings outside during the summer.  We like a little rose, a little music (what’s your favorite Pandora station?) and plenty of nice lighting.

Good outdoor lighting is key.     If all else fails, just use candlelight.
Good outdoor lighting is key. If all else fails, just use candlelight.

outdoor lighting flair for design

Love your garden:

 Frenchy pots and pale pink tulips.  Yummy.  From Exquisite Serenity.
Frenchy pots and pale pink tulips. Yummy. From Pinterest.

 Move dining into the garden.  From Southern Living.
Move dining into the garden. From Southern Living.

Antique garden furniture, potted boxwoods and pea gravel.  From Pinterest.
Antique garden furniture, potted boxwoods and pea gravel. From Pinterest.

 We found these authentic French bistro chairs in Provence. Wouldn't they be perfect on the porch?
We found these authentic French bistro chairs in Provence. Wouldn’t they be perfect on the porch?

Enjoy the view: no matter what it is…

 Parisian building and tulips? Now that's a view we could love.  From Elizabeth Ashleigh.
Parisian buildings and geraniums? Now that’s a view we could love.

This view's not so bad either. And we like the swing bed.  From Pinterest.
This view’s not so bad either. And we like the swing bed. From Pinterest.

We adore New York and can't think of a better way to be outside than right here.  From Pinterest.
We adore New York and can’t think of a better way to be outside than right here. From Pinterest.

What are you doing to pretty up your porch? Let us know….and in the meantime, you know where you can find us.
 
Ta ta.
 
Suzanne Kasler's to die for loggia.
Suzanne Kasler’s to die for loggia.  From Architectural Digest.