Shades of Red

Shades of Red

Roses are red . . . We’ve all heard that little ditty numerous times. But have you ever wondered what makes red such a powerful color? Why does red make a bold fashion statement? Why does it look great as a feature wall in your home? Why does red pop on a book cover?

Amy Butler Greenfield’s fascinating book, A Perfect Red, traces the history and cultural impact of the color red. And guess what? It all began with a little red bug called cochineal. Vast fortunes were created and international intrigue bloomed as countries battled to figure out how to beat Spain’s hold on the trade of a red dye. So valuable – it was traded on commodity exchanges in the 17th century.

And of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how much I love red as an artist and painter. I often weave red into my paintings, like the one shown here.

 

And if you’re curious – here are some other fun facts about red:

Threads of Wisdom 36×36 Oil Ingis Claus

Clever red fingernail polish names: Red Abandon, Little Red Wagon, Don’t know . . . Beets me, Wanted . . . Red or Alive. Life is a Cabernet, An Affair in Red Square, and Breakfast in Red.

Remember Dorothy’s beautiful, magical silver slippers from The Wizard of Oz? Not silver, you say? Well they started out as silver in the novel but when the new Technicolor process was used in the film version, the moviemakers wanted a color that popped—so, of course, they chose red. Ruby red.

Charles and Ray (Bernice Alexandra) Eames: Together the husband and wife duo created some of the 20th century’s most enduring designs. Charles and Ray Eames are known for their classic modern furniture and for their pioneering work with materials such as molded plywood, which they created by pressing sheets of wood veneer against a heated mold. Through this work, in the 1940s the couple developed their iconic LCW (Lounge Chair, Wood), which has been called the best design of the 20th century. The Eames Molded Plywood Lounge Chair Wood Base, currently sold by Herman Miller, is striking in red. Today, the chair sells for north of a thousand dollars and is made in the United States.

While writing my 2019 published Unforgettable Miss Baldwin, I saw red everywhere. My heroine has red hair, she blushes a pretty shade of red, her lips are full and red . . . Red has seeped into our language: seeing red, caught red-handed, down to my last red cent, red herring, a red-letter day, like red to a bull, red tape, go beet red, in the red,  red-blooded, red-carpet treatment, red-light district . . . well—you know. And of course, my sweet Tom and I love to paint the town red.

I’m currently writing an essay based on my memoirs and how red integrated my life.

What’s your favorite red—either in your home/office or in your personal life?

Used with permission, © 2014, Icon Magazine American Society of Interior Designers.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

Spring Has Sprung

Spring Has Sprung

It’s that time of year – Spring Cleaning. Tom and I have been busy re-organizing our home. Our focus this year is my library, a room that I adore. We have about 2,002 books (2 are tom’s) in my professional library. WOW is right. This year we made the decision to scale it back.

So far we’ve packed up 5 boxes of books (about 100 books in total) and donated them to a local charity, Silvermine School of Art. These are all art books – of course. Even though it’s hard getting rid of things we love, it’s important for our peace of mind. Why? Because we need “white space” in our lives. That extra space where we can reflect and relax. Clutter can lead to anxiety and after the heaviness of winter, it’s time to let go.

So if you’re pondering the clutter in your own home, think about how liberating it will be when you let go, and give yourself the gift of “space”.

Love, Gail.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

A work of art

 

 

Valentine’s Day Fun

Valentine’s Day Fun

Happy Valentine’s Day from our hearts to yours.

Tom and I have been married for many years, so we don’t need to do the “typical” thing to celebrate Valentine’s Day. This year, our special present to ourselves was a trip to the furniture store for a new sofa. Yep! It’s time for our 24-year-old sofa to move out. We’ll be donating it to charity along with a few other things around the house. So on the advice of my dear friend Lorraine Davis, a talented interior designer who is still working at the age of 90, we went to Jordan’s Furniture. And boy did we have fun! Not only did we get terrific service, we bought a beautiful sectional with built-in recliners. Those recliners will come in handy for watching our favorite Hallmark movies and when I need to put my feet up while I’m writing. So Happy Valentine’s Day and remember it’s the time you spend with your sweetheart that matters most.

 

I ordered this gorgeous sectional in “Classic Sahara”.

And here is my “Valentine” to Jordan’s Furniture:

The experience purchasing our new sofa from you was awesome. It’s obvious that you have a handle on the market, the product, delivery and warranties and philosophy of Jordan’s Furniture. We are confident that the sectional four recliner leather sofa and console table is the expected fine quality and will serve our lifestyle perfectly. The leather upholstery has an amazing hand (Feels soft, pliable, stable and aniline dyed). The pricing fair and expected for our purchase.

Of course, this first time visit was a most pleasant experience, walking in from the handsome exterior to the welcome music at the entrance, (Felt like Disney/Epcot) to the visuals stepping into the showroom, and the salespeople’s smiling faces and greetings, both coming and going, we can’t wait to visit again, maybe make another purchase. I must add that the unexpected brief treat of the pizza snack and ice cream was tops. It was a smidge late to snack at the hour of 8:30 pm, but by the time we left, we could not wipe the smiles off our faces, but we did get that ice cream sundae caramel syrup off. Thank you Cary B, and thank you Jordan’s Furniture.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

 

White Space is the Write Space by Gail Ingis

White Space is the Write Space by Gail Ingis

Allie Baldwin – a beautiful display of white space

There is something that I am paying attention to as I work on The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin, the first book in The Baldwin Family Series set in New York in the late 1800s. This is something that authors don’t pay that much attention to, unless they are self-published and do their own formatting or hire a formatter. What I”m talking about is “spacing”.  Especially the “white space” around the words and paragraphs.

Whitespace is a fundamental building block of good design. It’s the first design aspect that any visual designer is taught. What is whitespace? Let me say that it’s not always white. This space may be a color or texture. For authors, white space is the space between blocks of text. Author reviews often mention that the book had lots of white space and they loved that, it gives the reader an enjoyable journey through the story. In this post I explain why whitespace matters. Design, a critically important element authors often overlook. Words on the page need balance, structure and white space. Maria Connor, Published Author and Author Assistant

IMPROVED LEGIBILITY:

The most obvious benefit of whitespace is that it increases legibility. You only need to compare the examples shown in Mark Boulton’s superb article on whitespace to see how a good use of whitespace can make an enormous difference to legibility.

HIGHER COMPRENSION:

Believe it or not whitespace between paragraphs and around blocks of text actually helps people better understand what they are reading. According to research in 2004, this kind of whitespace increases comprehension by almost 20%.

Before corrected with whitespace

After corrected with whitespace

 

 

 

 

Negative space fresh and open

CREATES THE RIGHT TONE:

Finally the use of whitespace can be a powerful way to communicate elegance, openness and freshness. Obviously this isn’t always the design look and feel you wish to communicate. However when it is, you can’t do better than having loads of whitespace.

For the visual arts, the phrase refers to negative space.  In my work, I have found the old adage, “Less is more,” to be true. A phrase used by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1947 as a precept for Minimalist design and architecture. The phrase has been used in other applications by the design community over the years. I use it in designing and painting all the time. It is part of my philosophy. The negative is as important as the positive.

Extra Whitespace Information: Did you know that your business card should have  at least one whitespace the size of a quarter?And the backside should have a flat finish so the recipient can write who, where and when.

Not everyone thinks whitespace is important. As the volume of content on the web grows, how do you stand out from the noise? Website owners find whitespace to be a waste, they fill every open spot on the page. Websites have become a way to market and promote product with lots of noise. Website owners demand that every space say something. I never know where to look and cannot find anything on those busy websites.

Whitespace . . . Is this about two profiles in black silhouette or a goblet in white?

Starbucks clever use of good graphic design with lots of whitespace

Thanks to Paul Boag, click whitespace to see his blog and be sure to click Mark Boulton’s article on whitespace.

How about you? What do you think about whitespace?

 

Indigo Sky is available on Amazon.
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HIGH ABOVE ORLANDO

HIGH ABOVE ORLANDO

Front entry

Orange County Convention Center

Design. A crucial element of architecture. On a recent visit to Orlando, I discovered the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC). The building inspired me to step back into my training as an architecture and design critic. Hence, today’s blog!

Sunset

Sunset

Disney’s happy, fantasyland  permeates Orlando.  So many buildings reminded me of Disney, with arches, pyramids, turrets, moving walkways, and gorgeous, glowing sunsets draped over buildings. orange-county-center-1In particular, the OCCC. Locals call the twin-arched convention center, the “Center of Hospitality”. The convention center is one of the largest in the country, second only to McCormick Place in Chicago. Organizations like American Institute of Architects, AIA, and American Society of Interior Designers, ASID, secure spaces there for their conferences. Vendors exhibit the latest in building materials and design for architects and designers.

Arches culminating into a crown

Arches culminating into a crown

I fell for the elaborate designs of the convention center’s arches that spike above the building. Curiosity got the better of me, and I had to explore. The parts relate to each other. Smaller arches grow into the final crowning arches that tower over the building. Adjacent to these arches, there is a glass pyramid, similar to IM Pei’s pyramid at the Fontainebleau in Paris.

IM Pei

IM Pei

Solar World

Solar World

Yes, it’s GREEN! Orange County Government, who owns and operates the center must be proud of its place in power savings with solar panels on the roof on the South Concourse. On April 18, 2012, the Architect’s Florida Chapter placed the building on its list of Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places.IMG_3021

I-360 changing colors, all 420ft, it’s gorgeous. It can be seen from almost everywhere around Orlando!

For another thrill, there is the I-360. At first you think it’s a Ferris Wheel. It does move, but it takes 22 minutes from start to finish. Besides being a ride, you can hire the whole thing out for a party or wedding. The wheel changes colors, as shown here. I hear the view from the top is astounding day or night.

 

Indigo Sky

Indigo Sky

If you like to read, my book, Indigo Sky is waiting for you. I hope you will read it, and I hope you’ll adore it. I’m going to choose three of you from my newsletter list to win a gift of my book on March 1st. Dash over to Facebook and say hello, and you’ll be entered two times.

You can order the eBook on Amazon and read it on Kindle. Download the Kindle App for free from Amazon for your device.

Amazon Indigo Sky buy Link

GRAND STAND

GRAND STAND

Bauhaus Art by the group at the school

The Grand Stand of design happened in the early 20th century. The guilty? The Bauhaus. So, what came before? Gradual economic and social changes in the 18th and 19th century caused by the Industrial Revolution. Because of those events, the  Bauhaus, a school of different ways of thinking, changed how we viewed and developed art and technology. We are talking about, let’s say for an art example, a painting, and for technology, the Bauhaus balconies or a chair or a teapot and more stuff than you can imagine.

László Moholy-Nagy
‘Bauhaus Balconies’
1926
Silver gelatin photograph

The idea for the school was the gestalt of a learning atmosphere for all, the teacher, the student, and the creator. They all were involved with the process. Triggered by 19th century technological-industrial development, there was no gap between artistic conception and realization. It became easier to design and develop because everyone worked together.

Bauhaus "Wassily" Chair by Marcel Breuer

For example, another member of the staff at the Bauhaus, Marcel Breuer, looked at the tubular form of the bicycle handlebars and made a chair using the concept. No, it wasn’t a chair with pedals. It was a chair with tubular steel supports.

Wassily Chair
Designed by Marcel Breuer, produced by Knoll®
In spirit and stature, Marcel Breuer’s Wassily Chair (1925) from Knoll has few equals. Believed to be the first bent tubular steel chair design, the Wassily Chair distills the traditional club chair to a series of strong, spare lines, executed with dynamic material counterpoint. The gleaming chrome-finished tubular steel frame, inspired by the graceful, curving handlebars of the Adler bicycle, is seamless in its assemblage. Thick cowhide leather slings create the design’s seating surfaces, which maintain their crisp tautness for decades. Named for Wassily Kandinsky, the father of abstract painting and a colleague of Breuer’s at the Bauhaus, the Wassily Chair is a symbol of the industrial heroism and engineering invention of the early 20th century. Made in Italy, each piece is stamped with the KnollStudio logo and the designer’s signature. The Wassily Chair is a registered trademark of Knoll, Inc., manufactured by Knoll according to the original and exacting specifications of the designer. The outcome of the grand stand school of design, the Bauhaus.
MAGIC OF CHANGE

MAGIC OF CHANGE

Architect Mies van de Rohe Barcelona Chair 1929, leather & stainless steel

Nothing exists in a vacuum. There is no future without the past.  But truth is truth. So much for cliche’s. I would never run out of the endless parade of chairs, I could go on and on and on. How did we get all those differences in the mere chair? The past here is about a school in Germany that changed the future of chairs, architecture and design forever.

The early twentieth century was the beginning of a new era envisioning how we live, work and play. A few who influenced our design decisions from the early centuries to now were the innovative, the thinkers, modern men of the day.  We lived through, and in this order, da Vinci, Michelangelo, Palladio, Downing, Gaudi, Mackintosh, Gropius, van de Rohe, Graves and Gehry. Are you bored yet? Plug any of those names into your Google and read about their magic. The magic of change. The magic of changing lives. We love magic. But do we love change?

Bauhaus Signage

The talented architect, Walter Gropius developed the idea of the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany in 1919, a school to teach design differently, to create change. Finally settling in a new building in Dessau in1926, the Bauhaus is one of the world’s most fascinating schools. It changed how we view and philosophize design. Design in art, furnishings, buildings, even fabric for fashion.

The Barcelona chair, above left, was designed during the Bauhaus era.

I suppose a few weeks might be worthwhile to spend on this history of change of the world. But today, I want to give you some more chair fun.

Take a look at this one. Robert Cohen’s bentwood rocker. This is Robert’s design of a chair made from one single piece of wood. Robert, a modern man who is an innovative thinker, is my architect and friend. He designed a fabulous new studio for me with twelve feet of north light windows. Perfect light, especially for an artist who paints. I paint soft realism. www.gailingis.com

Architect Robert Cohen, AIA, Bentwood Rocker 1986

After he saw last week’s blog with the chair from the book “397 Chairs” he sent me an email. He wrote that a chair he designed was in the book. “Really? It is a small world after all.” I exclaimed. I looked in my book and there it was, #258. So, at a business meeting recently this was the conversation between me and Robert.

Gail: “What inspired you to design this chair?”

Robert: “Well, I actually designed it for a chair competition to be exhibited in “The Chair Fair, Furniture of the 20th Century” at the lntemational Design Center in Long Island City.” While investigating the design idea, I noticed chairs were made with several parts that had to be assembled. I thought it would be interesting to design a chair out of one piece of wood. We used hard maple that could be stained in ebony, cherry, or natural. It also could have been made with Dupont Corian.”

Gail: “Congratulations on your design being chosen for the exhibition. Was the chair ever manufactured?”

Robert: “We made a prototype. And we added an optional loose cushion. But I discovered shipping a chair in one piece would be quite costly and inconvenient. Beyond the prototype, it was not offered for sale, but I still have the rocker.”

Gail: “Thanks Robert. I appreciate your skills and innovative spirit.” www.robertcohenarcitect.com.

Come back next week for more surprises………………

What do you think about changes? In your life what changes have you experienced making a difference in the way you live, work or play? Do you love change? Or only magic?

 

Styles, Shape, Spaces

Styles, Shape, Spaces

Styles, shapes, space. What did folks do to fit into a space, fit into a chair, fit on a throne. Our daily lives are so crowded with news, stories, headlines,  we have become aware of the space around us.  How do we find enough space? What is enough space? Did you know that space is calculated based on job type and position?

Did you read in Yahoo News on Monday September 12, 2011, White Castle is being sued by a stocky stock broker for not being able to fit his 290lb frame into the chain’s stationary booths? According to the customer, White Castle is in violation of the American with Disabilities Act. “I just want to sit down like a normal person,” he says. He compares himself to a pregnant woman and the handicapped.

Look at England’s Henri VIII, a really big guy. He would never fit into a White Castle booth. You can be sure his throne and furniture, of the 16th century Tudor period, was massive. Oak was the wood of the day, hard wood, hard to carve, hard to shape, but strong enough to accommodate a big person like Henri VIII.

Good space is premium. How much do we need to live and work and play? At work you may have a cubicle or a private office. At home you may enjoy a cozy, small, warm room with human scale ceilings (8′) or a large room with cathedral ceilings (13′ or higher). But the seating has to give the comfort you seek in your place of refuge.

Space in a chair, how big should it be? Chairs in the home, chairs in the office, chairs in your favorite restaurant. A place like White Castle, MacDonald’s and Burger King are people movers. They want you to eat and leave. Make the diners too comfortable, folks hang to visit with friends. Go where you pay a pretty price for a meal they better give you good seating. Then maybe, just maybe, you’ll stay for dessert.

So folks, have a seat. Try them out before you bring them to your home or office. How do you decide? Each have a purpose. With chair types and styles. Even Thoreau, in 1845, in his small cabin on the banks of Walden Pond, where he built a 10′ by 15′ house  furnished with a bed, a table, a small desk and lamp, and three chairs — He wrote about his chairs, “one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.” Today we have special chairs for every activity from  watching games on television to working at the computer.

Office chairs need to be what is called “ergonomic.”  It has to be adjustable, adjustable height, adjustable arms, adjustable pitch. A chair that gives you all those choices will cost a little more, but it is worth the price. Be sure the fabric is cleanable and durable. Leather is always great, but costly. Today, some imitation leathers are close to the real thing, just ask the seller if it is durable. Be sure to buy from a reliable source. Fabrics gather dust, especially black, but there are great fabrics that look good and are practical. Ask the seller to advise you. The image above is a “Herman Millerhard mesh type, a material that does well. You don’t need comfort in the office, you need body support.

At home you need comfort. Your feet need to touch the floor, the seat should be sized to fit your body, the back should have the pitch that allows your feet to touch the floor. A standard chair has a seat height of 17-18 inches.

This chair is called a Fauteuil, French traditional (country) classic upholstered open armchair. It has allthree attributes, roomy seat, good pitch, and for most, your feet should touch the floor.

This is the “Barcelona Chair.” A contemporary classic design by Mies van der Rohe, designed in 1929. For most, because the seat is deep, your feet will not touch the floor. It is a beautiful design, found in most corporate offices to impress.

The image to the right is a 1925 Marcel Breuer contemporary classic. The “Cesca” chair is well-designed, functional, comfortable and practical. Do you recognize this popular chair? Have you owned one?

 

Remember the “Mitt chair” made by Stendig? You tell me,  can we really tell White Castle to build bigger booths? Do you have chairs you love, do they give you comfort, do they give you the space you need to function, do they support your body?

 

WHAT DOESN’T VICTORIANA LOOK LIKE?

WHAT DOESN’T VICTORIANA LOOK LIKE?

Phlip Johnson

Philip Johnson Glass House Contemporary Interior, New Canaan, CT

 

 

 

 

Please note the clean, contemporary, organized space in the Philip Johnson Glass House.

All images are from Victoria Lyon Interiors www.victorianlyoninteriors.com.

This week’s blog is about space, order and design and has nothing to do with taste. Taste is ambiguous and personal. You can apply your taste to any of the basic concepts discussed.

The images above are vignettes of traditional design.

Old world elegance mixes with modern colors and textures to create the master bath/dressing area for the lady with very discriminating tastes. Designer Victoria Lyon says her space “evokes the casual elegance of an English country house,” but also brings in modern touches that “let us know that the lady of this manor definitely belongs to the 21st century“.

The dressing area features sweeping curtains, a feminine skirted dressing table and a plush chaise. Old world fixtures, a free standing burnished metal tub and a sparkling marble shower create a bathroom with character and class.

The image below “Traditional Country” is an uncluttered, well-organized, well-designed space. The soft, warm color on the vertical planes (walls) is comforting and pleasing. Warm deep colors have vibrations, move forward into the room and take up visual space.

traditional country

Traditional Country www.victorialyoninteriors.com

Crowding can cause conflict in a life, in a mate, in a child. All this talk about beauty, function, good design, what does it mean? If you like lots of stuff around you, okay. But how is it arranged? Is there order? Is there negative space, meaning quiet space? A place of peace?

Function … what in the world? Clocks have a function, cars have a function, computers have a function. So what has function got to do with space? Space has to provide a place for you to stand up, lie down, sleep, wake.  And all the activities in-between. Where do you write your checks, where do you write your stories, where do you play? If you have any, where are the kids, where do they snack, where do they do homework, where do they play?

Here are a few examples of functional items. Clocks, clocks tell time, what would we do without time? Cars are constructed to take you from point a to point b, computers output and input information. If we take a look at the world around us, everything we need is organized in some way.

You may like contemporary, you may like traditional, you may like the American style (mixture of both), it doesn’t matter. The images above are well-designed, well-organized, functional spaces.

Nineteenth century Victoriana had no specific order. The more stuff squeezed into a space, the more it supposedly displayed great wealth.

Order is important for our well-being.

Thank you to Victoria Lyon interiors for her gracious participation in this blog. www.victorialyoninteriors.com.

Come back next week for more Victoriana surprises. Remember to post your comments. I especially enjoy your inquiries and challenges.

What about you, your home, your office, your play space? You love clutter. OK! But is it organized?

 

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