Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Portrait of a Lady

Yesterday morning I was presented with this gorgeous surprise via email.
It's my house and it was created for me by blogger/artiste extraordinaire Patricia Von Essche of PVE Design. (Check out her profile photo. It's Rembrandt meets Avedon.) To say I was beside myself grossly understates my reaction.

Readers, she has captured its very soul. As all of you know, every home has a distinct personality. Whether you live in an achingly hip loft in Manhattan, a mews house in London or an English Tudor in Ohio, all you have to do is look and listen and its nature will be revealed. 

(As an example, my uncle Otto lives on the coast of Norway in a funny little peaked-roof cottage built centuries ago by a very short sea captain -- as evidenced by the forehead-bruising thresholds. Over the years, the floorboards have warped so that walking from room to room feels like a rough sea crossing. Coincidence? I think not.)

I've only lived in my house for a mere 18 months, but that's been more than enough to get to know its singular persona. 

Here are the stats: 

1. Undeniably female. Matronly. 
2. Short and plump (she prefers the term "well-nourished").
3. Overly fond of candied marzipan, princess cake and Dubonnet (not in that order).
4. Keen bridge player.
5. Prone to splurging on peonies.
5. Treasures her privacy.
6. Enjoys light gossip,  theosophy lectures and a good Easter parade.

I see all of this when I look at Patricia's artwork. I really do. Thank you, Patricia, for your shining talent and your generosity of spirit. I shall smile every time I gaze at it.

Now that you know about my dwelling, I should very much like to know about yours.  Come on, don't be shy.


Sesame Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lee said...

My home is a sweet little ageing Edwardian aunty, frayed around the edges, prone to wearing a bit too much make up at times, and she loves taking a 5 o'clock sherry. Due to her eccentricities, he is much loved by her family.

pve design said...

I shall try to find an old Irish Poem about a home....
It takes a heap o livin to make a house a home.
My parents still reside in the home I was raised and many things that most might want to renovate or change, they say money can't buy that. I love that the years show, gracefully.
My home port, she is tough, built to weather any storm and meet many ships, hungry pirates, and monsters- feeding the savage beast with victuals and drink.
Thanks for your kind post, she is quite the lady -your home.
(van Essche)

Unknown said...

What a beautiful treat! So gorgeous!

Ree Childs / Realtor / Shop owner said...

What a lovely rendering of your home - how special. And, how sweet and thoughtful of Patricia to present this to you. Two of my favorite blogs.....
I'm so loving this blogging. Could spend hours and hours reading and searching - actually I do!
I have taken some new photos of my home and perhaps next week I will get them uploaded and sorted. (Still learning how to design my blog)
You are so right, every home has it's own personality and it's up to the owner to find it's soul and to bring out that personality. I always love to refer to the "bones" of a home for it's strength. For years I was a Realtor and saw many homes that needed their personality brought to life -
My husband says I have taken the personality of our beach condo and turned it into a Chateau like our house! Of course he is exaggerating.........It told me it didn't want to look like all the other beach condos and wanted a personality of it's own - so I gave it one.......It's an eclectic mix of French, beach, etc. But, I absolutely love it and enjoy it every weekend.....It will be posted as well at a later date.

Laura said...

Well I certainly can't blame her for the princess cake and peonies...those are two of my most serious weaknesses! I think my Manhattan apartment is one of those hip older women who lament about the days when New York was gritty, but who, along with the City, has become quite yuppie-fied herself.

Kate F. said...

I love you. Every entry you write resonates with me, it's the weirdest thing. I laughed reading this because there is a house near our apartment (I can see it from my office in the winter, when the leaves are down) that we call the Matron Aunt house. It is clearly wearing a little lacy cap (made of creamy gingerbread trim, draped just so)and trying to decide whether to scold you for parking so badly out front or offer you some cookies. Nearby there is Spinster Aunt house that only scolds; she is very upright and stern and hates it if you talk too loudly.

I love knowing other people think this way, too.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Our house is happy, old and much loved. The fifth member of our family, really. We have added rooms, and wings, throughout the years and we've been told on various occasions by various visitors that it feels like a lot of love is in the walls. Which, I believe, there is.

You can see it here:

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Sorry, I don't think it got it all.

Try this:

home before dark said...

I have been haunted for years about the story of a house. My husband's mother was an only child and the adored niece of her uncle. His name was George and his wife's name, Georgie. So of course, the house was Georgian. It is the story of Jay Gatsby of fortune created and a dream built with stables, massive gardens, beautiful home and things not so lovely inside a marriage. The house has been moved. The land turned into a shopping center. But ghosts remain. The pergola that had been by the pool is now a place where shoppers can stop by for a rest. The horse farm remains. And so does the fact that George and Georgie's tombstones are in the cemetery above the hill facing directly toward where their home used to be. We have a few pieces of furniture from the home. They make sounds to me and sigh. Funny. My word verification is cryir

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


Such a warm-hearted and generous post.

Perhaps a new post on 'paintings of houses' and all the contemporary artists who do it well...

Your painting of your lovely house is wonderful--fresh and frisky and insightful. How truly brilliant.

Clarity said...

What a lovely gift. Patricia is as generous as she is talented.

I like your house's personality, can your house and my house have a playdate?

I guess my home is a work in progress, world traveller with a warm heart and aromatic belly (meaning kitchen). My house is allergic to dust, or so it says. We humour it with a regular once-over.

Lily said...

A red and green West Indian cottage, with proper English sideboards & heavy Spanish mirrors pitted with age & old ruined sea chests spilling books. Not grandly cursed like Manderlay but vaguely haunted by the far off echo of centuries old laughter and a glimpse of a trailing skirt at the far end of the hall. A very old and stately magnolia keeps watch in the courtyard. It's voodoo & fairytales & tea parties & watching summer thunderstorms through rippled panes of glass... and it's our lovely house in Savannah.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

To everyone: I am relishing the descriptions of your houses. They all sound lovely and totally idiosyncratic. And such personalities! :)

Unknown said...

Just this afternoon on my deck enjoying the rare sun rays tickling my face I thought to myself 'I love this house, she lies like a ship in the harbour, the garden so lush from all that rain and even though she is older and the siding needs painting, she's a dear thing to me'. She never has been really a beauty, but a warmhearted mama who takes all her chicks under her wings. She has quite the life inside...

Melinda Browning said...

My house is the former studio of Alexander Girard, who seems to have gained more notoriety in death than he enjoyed in life. His actual home was across our very narrow street, but he often stayed here when bickering with his wife. Georgia O'Keefe was a frequent guest--staying here when she was in from Abiquiu. Because I am an interior designer, I keep hoping he'll come to me in my dreams. My husband and I always say "if these walls could talk..." It's Santa Fe meets mid-century. I love it, and knew it was *my* house when I was two feet into the foyer. Sadly, as my boys (twins-age 5) get bigger, we are growing out of it. I am determined to love it as long as I can, and then bid it a bittersweet farewell...like a lover with whom you know there is no future...

sophiedahydesigns said...

Our house was built in the twenties and is one of the oldest in our neighborhood. We have lived here over 30 years, raised three children , four dogs, and now have two grandchildren who love being part of it. It is a large house, and periodically I feel it is too much for us, but we can't imagine living anywhere else. This is home.

Glenda said...

My home is a 1980's townhome, that I am trying my best to make it look older with furniture and paint. But my greatest wish, it to live in an older home, either a farmhouse or bungalow.


Anonymous said...

The description of your home is wonderful. Our house is 1960's townhouse, made for swinging London. Tall and skinny, very Twiggy! She has recently had a fabulous face lift and is looking just wonderful.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

To all of you, Part Two: Loving all your descriptions sooo much. I want to visit them all! From Alexander Girard's studio to George and Georgie's Georgian to the West Indian cottage to the Twiggy townhouse, and ALL the ones in between, don't be surprised if one day I come a'knockin'! Thank you, thank you for giving me such lovely and evocative images. :)

Blue said...

Anyone that puts candied marzipan and Dubonnet in the same sentence has got real class - this from a house where Dubonnet figures large in all decor decisions.

Blue said...

Oh, by the way, my house is a peppy forty-year old, high in the sky, well-read, curmudgeonly happy simpleton.

Style Court said...

Patricia VE has done it again. Her ability to capture the essence of places and people is remarkable.

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