Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I'm Hyperventilating...

(Charleston House, Lewes, England)

( -- worth the click!)

Two of my favorite entities, Charleston House and Farrow and Ball, have joined forces to create a new color called "Bloomsbury Blue Gray." (How did I not know this until now?) The exclusive color has been painstakingly matched to the original woodwork and was used to restore the exterior of the house this past spring. I'll have to call the Melrose store and see if it's out yet. I feel sure I can find something in my house that desperately needs a coat of "Bloomsbury Blue Gray." 

To commemorate their collaboration, Farrow and Ball are sponsoring two public events at Charleston House that I would give my eyeteeth to attend. The first one is a Screen Painting Workshop on July 18-19th in which you use Farrow and Ball paints to make original stencils inspired by the many beautiful decorative screens in the house. Please, someone out there attend and report back!

In the second workshop (to be held on 13 October), a Farrow and Ball international color consultant is giving color tips on how to  create the interior of your dreams, use color to change the shape of a room and much more. Charleston House's curator, Dr. Wendy Hitchmough will also discuss the unique color palette of the house. 

I visited the house in 2007 and was absolutely besotted by its wayward charm. I'm sure that pale gray blue on the window frame must be the color in question, don't you think? It's almost luminous against those taupey hues of the wall.

And of course those errant lashings of green around the windows only add to its appeal.

When it comes to design and my love of sweet disorder, I hew closely to the poet Robert Herrick (1591-1674) and his insistence that a bit of carelessness and neglect and wild civility "...Do more bewitch me than when Art is too precise in every part." 

Anyone with me on that?


Jane said...

Yes I am with you on that. As much as I love modernism and clean white glassy things, you need a bit of messiness, some casual corner cutting and some strewn-ness (although sadly not a word.) We need more Vanessa and Duncan colour inspiration in the world.
Jane @

pve design said...

You have captured it all so perfectly. All that imperfection allows for creative error. I would much prefer to work at making mistakes that getting everything perfectly. Anne Lamott writes so often about this in "Bird by Bird" - Have you read that?

I adore this post and envisioning you hyperventilating over this just makes me positively giddy!

JMW said...

Such beauty in that house. I need to learn to embrace some of the messiness rather than lament over what I cannot contain. Thanks for the lovely post. :)

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Jane: So well put...can't wait to check out your blog.

PvE: I read "Bird by Bird" about 10 years ago, but now that you have mentioned it, I think it's high time I read it again. She is one incredible writer (and woman). Thank you once again, my dear!

JMW: Long live artful disorder!

Style Court said...

I can't wait to see what receives the BBG treatment at your house! What a perfect discovery for you.

Gigi Thibodeau said...

This is fabulous news! Charleston House has long been one of my biggest design influences, so I'm sure I'll have to find something to paint in this new color, too! I'm so sad to hear about the dates of those workshops because I'll be in England for most of August--smack dab between the workshop dates! Sigh. My husband, who is a Bloomsbury scholar, and I are going to visit Berwick Church to see the paintings that Duncan, Vanessa, and Quentin did there. Have you been to it? I'm so excited to see it!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Style Court: I'll be sure to let you know. :)

Gigi: What? Do my ears hear me correctly? Your husband is a Bloomsbury scholar?! Now I'm double-hyperventilating...!

But oh, I'm sorry that you won't be there for those workshop dates. I haven't been to Berwick Church -- unfortunately we were trying to catch the ferry to Calais that day and were on a severe time crunch -- but I have a little book on it and it looks absolutely AMAZING. All those murals. Two years ago, I bought the entire library of a life-long Bloomsbury collector on Ebay -- about 50 books, including little-known ones like "With Duncan Grant in Southern Turkey" by Paul Roche and bios of Strachey, Carrington, Fry and more. Mostly first editions. I'm sure your husband has all of them... I would love to pick his brain sometime!

Have a wonderful trip!

Gigi Thibodeau said...

What a wonderful collection to have found, and mostly first editions! How fantastic. I am always amazed by how much those folks produced. When he was in grad school at Indiana University, my husband, Todd Avery, curated an exhibition on Bloomsbury at the Lily Library (they have a nice collection of Bloomsbury letters and papers). He also published a monograph at the time with the Lily on Desmond and Molly McCarthy. Since then, he has published a book with Ashgate Press called Radio Modernism. It focuses on the early years of the BBC, including radio talks by Virginia, Lytton Strachey, and others. Right now he's working on an edited edition of several of Strachey's as-yet unpublished essays. The Strachey Trust has been amazingly supportive of the project, and he's having a ball working on it. Bloomsbury is a big part of our lives, so it's always exciting to discover other folks with a similar passion.
Oh, I just mentioned to Todd as I was typing this that you bought a big stash of Bloomsbury books on EBay, and I think he turned a little green with envy. He is always on the lookout for first editions!
I'm loving your blog, and will keep coming back to visit.

pixelimpress said...

yes, to me a little imperfection makes for perfection. love jane's word strewn-ness. and love that blue-grey shade. i've got a lighter version in my bedroom and find it's the best for sleeping.

Rebecca said...

Gracious house - lovely color - I too wish I could be there for either event. I just love the English way with homes. A lot of different styles but some many that are so comfortable to look at inside and out.
With family in Australia we will not be traveling to England again anytime soon.

Angela said...

That house is beautiful. Thanks for sharing the pictures of it.

Laura said...

Completely...god that stenciling workshop sounds like fun!

Clarity said...

I've always wanted to visit, ever since I was twelve. From the bookshop to the walled garden it must be riveting. Pity it's in Lewes, that stencil attack sounds a treat.

You bought an entire collection? and of first editions?? I need to get on ebay - books tend to add a touch of chaos to my organised artistry.

Flo said...

What a wonderful post. I was at Charleston last month and took a picture of the blue painted windows as I loved them, had no idea that Farrow and Ball have actually produced the colour! I think a trip to the paint shop is in order...

Jane AMH said...

Have you seen the film "Carrington" with Emma Thompson in the title role? Besides being a very compelling and well written story, it features some lovely interior and exterior scenes that reminded me of our visit to Charleston.

StuckInABook said...

I am desperate to visit Charleston... a friend went yesterday, but I had to work. Doh. One day soon!

helen tilston said...

Farrow and Ball colours are so fabulous - I particularly love Parma Gray, which is very similar to this colour used at Charleston Do you know that F&B produce hand made wall papers that will give you goose bumps - it is possible to order 8.1/2 x 11 samples on F&B website.

Helen Tilston

Vanya Wilkinson said...

I visited Charleston this year and was captivated by it, the overwhelming charm and atmosphere, I wanted to move straight in!

I blogged about it too :)

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