Another Must See: The Chihuly Exhibit at The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Girls’ Day

     Some of the posse finally met at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to tour the Chihuly exhibit that continues until February 10, 2013.  Ever since our Fine Arts and Flowers visit when we spied Chihuly’s stunning blue and gold chandelier hanging at the main window of the Museum, Ellegram and I have been anticipating our return.

Chihuly hallway chandelier

I have recurring visions of this divine glass confection, which weighs about 3,000 pounds, consists of about 2,000 pieces and took a small army of workers and volunteers four days to install.

     The exhibition exceeded expectations.  In addition to the chandelier (which the Museum’s board would be crazy not to acquire and leave right here facing the Boulevard forever) and the outdoor red reeds in the water garden adjoining the Best Cafe, Dale Chihuly’s works are spread throughout seven display rooms that each contain completely unique and jaw-dropping glass works.

Chihuly Finland

Ikebana Float

When you get downstairs to the exhibit rooms, you have got to purchase the audio tour.  Don’t be a cheapskate:  for $5 you will hear Mr. Chihuly describe the inspiration for and execution of these larger than life creations.  The background information enhances the whole breathtaking experience.

Chihuly water garden

After having our minds blown open by this colorful art form and filled with wonder as to its actual installation, our Girls’ Day included a stop in the wonderful VMFA gift shop and concluded with lunch up on the Third Floor at Amuse, the members-only restaurant that creates its own locally-sourced and constantly changing culinary masterpieces.


The Chihuly at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Exhibit Book

Family Holiday Adventure

     I am only including a few iPhone snapshots to pique your interest and because my photos cannot convey the beauty of this exhibition, which you do not have to limit to touring only with your girlfriends.  This presentation is so accessible that the whole family will enjoy it.  With only seven rooms to visit, the tour itself goes very fast.

I wish this were my Christmas tree, don't you? Maybe next year.

I wish this were my Christmas tree, don’t you?  Maybe next year.

The kids will not be bored, and in this season of light and wonder, a visit to Chihuly should prove the perfect complement to your family’s festivities.


Looking for Holiday Greens in Richmond?

Find beautiful arrangements plus unique greenery for your own creations at

Holiday Gifts & Greens Market "Inspired by Nature"

     The ladies of The Boxwood Garden Club create fabulous wreaths and table arrangements for you to purchase at the Holiday Gifts & Greens Market at Grace Baptist Church in Windsor Farms.  The key to scoring something wonderful for your holiday home is to get there when the doors open. The outstanding designs sell out very quickly.

     I bought these two topiaries last year and put them in the large metal cachepots.  Though the boxwood and magnolias were live and green when purchased, I have let them dry throughout the year, and they still look beautiful to me.

Holiday topiaries at the fireplace78

     A lot of the arrangements that you will find at the sale look similar to these greenery arrangements gracing the pages of Pinterest.

In addition to arrangements and a small selection of curated vendors selling Christmas presents, you can also purchase fresh and often hard-to-find greenery to create your own holiday designs.

     Put December 7, 2012 on your smartphone calendar and be at Grace Baptist Church in Windsor Farms by 10 a.m.  This is one shopping event that you really will not want to miss.

Welcome to Richmond, Brocante Home!

Thanks for bringing Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint to the Capitol City

     You have been reading about Annie Sloane’s chalk paint for awhile now as I have been freshening up the old brown furniture around our abode.  My source for the paint has been the fabulous French shop in Irvington, Brocante Home.  Though it’s a bit of a hike from the West End, every time I head to the Rivah with friends, we make a point of stopping in and leaving with at least one new can of paint.

     The owner of Brocante Home, Rachel Pugliese, loves to teach her customers about the wonders of this paint.  In fact, most Thursdays you can find her in the store paintbrush in hand transforming an old piece into something wonderful.  She is always full of tips and has started offering two-hour workshops to help her customers get comfortable with this easy and clean medium for transformation.  She has even named the workshops “Paintbrush and Pearls” to further her point.

     One of the posse and I decided to try the workshop the other week, and sure enough Rachel was wearing her pearls as she took us through different finishing techniques to use with the chalk paint and waxes.  Of all of her pearls of wisdom gathered from experience, the most valuable to me was the importance of buffing after waxing and sanding.  A really good going over with 800 grit sandpaper makes all the difference to the final look and feel of the piece.

     The other information that we picked up during our workshop was that Brocante Home has just opened a small outpost in DéCOR, the design center in Carytown!  For now, Brocante’s floorspace is mostly Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint, but the shop has plans to expand as room becomes available in this wonderful design haven.  Several local designers have set up small shops within these walls, and Brocante Home is the perfect addition.  Rachel also plans to be on-site on Wednesdays so that she can answer customers’ questions about the chalk paint.

     Now you have no excuse to postpone your own furniture transformations.  The paints are nearby, as is the expertise.  Plus the paints are so easy to use that you can just set up a workshop in your living room just like this Avad Fan.

     Happy Painting!

Tablescapes from the 2012 Children’s Hospital Foundation Ball

Through the Eyes of a Child

     Under the leadership of Cameron Cummings and Martha Bowden, the talented Junior Board of Richmond’s Children’s Hospital Foundation once again transformed The Country Club of Virginia into a fantasy world.  Take a look at these pictures that I snapped yesterday afternoon before the evening’s festivities got underway.  Hope you can appreciate all of the little details that the Tables, Flowers and Decorations committees included to make “Through the Eyes of a Child” come to life in each of the rooms of the Westhampton Clubhouse.

Royal Palace set in the Main Ballroom

The crown is filled with red roses.

Which patrons ended up in the throne chairs?

The hanging lanterns were lit before the Ball began.

Underwater World in the Big Tent

The shimmery blue table toppers covered by fishing net highlight these elaborate coral creations.

Members of the Tables committee fashioned coral branches from tree twigs.

Fairy Land in Ollie’s Bar

The lucky diners in this room found the sweetest nosegays at their plates.

Such a darling fairy house.

Do you see the butterflies?

Where the Wild Things Are in Ollie’s Dining Room

The moss crowns are straight out of this favorite children’s book.

Truly a wild room

A Boy’s Treehouse in the Westhampton Room

Aren’t those stump vases fabulous?

How many little boy trinkets can you spot?

Look at that rope bridge in this amazing room.

Candy Land and Sweet Treats in the Windsor Room

A confectioner’s delight

that must have thrilled the dentists, too.

The Nutcracker Ballet in the West Ballroom

See the snakes on the plates referencing the snake charmer in the ballet?

Love the Children’s Hospital Foundation nutcrackers made locally here in Richmond.

This amazing tree was created from corrugated box.

The window inserts were painted by Junior Board members under the guidance of local artist, Liz Kellinger.

The Carousel in the West Porch

Meadow flowers reflected in the mirrored candelabra

This curved room feels like a carousel come to life.

     Like the Bal du Bois, the Children’s Hospital Foundation Ball is always one of the social highlights of the year in Richmond.  This seated dinner for 700 followed by hours of dancing raises important capital funds to help improve the lives of children who come from near and far.  As a former member of the Board, I am so fortunate to be invited back annually to help with the flowers that enhance each year’s unique theme.

     Cheers to another fabulous Ball!

All photos by Avad Fan from my iPhone.

Fine Arts & Flowers at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art

Get there this weekend.

     You will not regret one moment spent viewing the floral interpretations of 75 works of art in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts‘s permanent collection.  This spectacular event created by members of the Garden Club of Virginia in conjunction with the Museum provides an amazing opportunity to view the works and floral design in such a unique way.  Some of my favorite designs, which I found on the VMFA’s Facebook page, include

Ritual crown with floral design by Elizabeth Burgess,

Renoir’s “The Artist’s Son” with floral design by Liz Savage Goffigon, Traci Jones and Susan Henderson,

“Chi-wara Headress” with floral design by Jean Fender and Vivian Gulden,

Arman’s “Torso” with floral design by Caroline Parrish,

Carpeaux’s “Neopolitan Fisher Boy” with floral design by Darlene Halvorsen, Ann Brown and Barrett Tharrington,

Hassam’s “Isle of Shoals” with floral design by Doris Morris and Lesley Dobson, and

Pollack’s “Number 15” with floral design by Kathy Klein.

     In anticipation of the dreary weather forecast this weekend, a visit to Fine Arts & Flowers provides the perfect family opportunity to enjoy nature indoors.  Its almost scavenger-like format will have you visiting galleries and artwork that you may not have ever seen or at least not in a long time.  I am already anticipating the next Fine Arts & Flowers in two years.

Mark Your Calendars for this Fall’s Edition of The Ivy Market

     The Ivy Market returns next week, October 9th and 10th, at the University of Richmond’s Jepson Alumni Center.

     It looks like a couple of new vendors have been added to the line-up of unique boutiques.  Collard Greens is an eco-friendly but preppy mostly men’s clothing line.

I wonder if anyone on my shopping list would love this pig bowtie as much as I do?

     Lindsay Cowles is one of my favorite local artists.

A St. Catherine’s graduate, Lindsay is always such a delight to talk to whenever I see her showing her captivating work.   Dubbed a “Design Genius” by popular design blog Sadie + Stella, Lindsay and her nature-inspired oils will be a wonderful addition to The Ivy Market.

     I am also looking forward to seeing some of my favorite vendors’ latest offerings.

Lori Daniel Rowland‘s new wrap bracelets with rhinestone button closures look fabulous.  The Ivy Market is definitely the place to update your look with some new accessories.

     With donations being accepted at the door for ASK, The Ivy Market provides the perfect combination:  great shopping for an even greater cause.  Make plans to put on your cute shoes, and get your holiday shopping started next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Take Time to Travel Over the River and Through Some Woods to the Richmond Symphony Designer House

     To all of my West End friends:  you only have one week left to set your g.p.s. and venture across the River and a couple of miles down Huguenot Road to visit the 2012 Richmond Symphony Orchestra League (RSOL) Designer House at Pinifer Park at 3312 Robious Crossing Drive, Midlothian, Virginia.  Don’t worry that you’ve got to go all the way to the Southside.  The unusual setting really is not very far, and if you have any interest in seeing local design talent, you will be so glad that you went.

     Pinifer Park is a stately early 20th century home now set at the back of a 1970’s era subdivision.  Once you reach the property, you feel as though you could be in the back of Windsor Farms.  The former home of the Laird family, the current owner/developer has shrewdly partnered with the RSOL to present this home and land which he plans to subdivide into several building lots to sell along with the original home and its immediately adjoining 3 acres.

     Showhouses like Pinifer Park provide a unique opportunity for designers to exhibit their talents free of the constraints of client preferences and budgets.  The delightful and savvy Tobi Fairley mentioned in her lunchtime IFDA talk before we toured Pinifer Park that participating in designer showhouses has catapulted this Arkansas girl into the spotlight in national magazines like Traditional Home, House Beautiful and Southern Living.  Twenty-two of the region’s finest designers have pulled out all of the stops throughout the different areas of this detail-rich home.  The result is a series of “wow” rooms that may not relate to each other, but all celebrate and enhance the discreet areas.

     Pinifer Park’s unique floorplan is relatable to today’s transitional home spaces.  Guests enter through a covered porch that wraps-around three sides of the house and into a two-story entry and “great room” with central fireplace.  The remainder of the rooms in the house are on the cozy side, and while I really appreciate the designs in all of them, a few of the rooms really stand out to me.

Dining Room

     My absolute favorite room is the dining room, which I immediately knew was designed by Kat Liebschwager of Ruth & Ollie the moment that I entered.  This rendering does not fully show the fabulous eating and sitting area, but you can get a flavor for the bold yellow, pink and white color scheme with a Greek key flair.  The original floors in the great room and dining room feature Greek key detailing, and I love how Kat played up that theme in this glamorous space.

First-Floor Sitting Room

     I also correctly guessed that one of my other most favorite spaces, the first-floor sitting room, has been designed by Kevin Malone, along with Jamie Coffey, at Williams and Sherrill.  I have become a huge fan of Kevin’s since seeing the William’s home in the Summer 2012 issue of R Home magazine and hearing him speak at the recent Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Designed for a Cure event.  In this cozy sitting space which features three walls of tall windows, Kevin plays up the ceiling’s height with artwork and perfect editing to create a space that is comfortable for both men and women.

Great Room

     Jennifer Stoner of her eponymous interiors business (as well as the organizer of the IFDA luncheon) took on the challenge of the great room with great success.  Jennifer has really played up the dark wood beams, railings and moldings in this large area while managing to make it feel timeless yet fresh.  Though the whole blue and brown color trend seems so “done”, the aqua blue walls lighten the space, while the vibrant Rodulph fabric curtains inject some youthful energy into the home.

Master Bedroom

     The master suite has been designed by Moyanne Harding of Lynchburg.  Though unfamiliar with her work, the posse who joined me for the IFDA lunch were all immediately impressed by how she has complemented many of the original features in the master bath and the bedroom with absolutely gorgeous and detailed linen fabrics, along with European lighting and mirrors.  The result is a serene and sensuous space.

Second-Floor Bedroom

     The second-floor bedroom created by Helen O’Ferrall of H.P. Grace and Company is also a serene stand-out.  She had canvases hand-painted to hang like wallpaper within the wall moldings.  The lightly colored fabrics provide a clean palette that lends a modern feel to the vintage pieces used throughout the room.  One new piece of note, though, is the dressing table that Ms. O’Ferrall commissioned.  The top of thick poured concrete with organic curves contrasts to stunning effect with the voluminous skirt made of silk burlap so that it will be soft to the legs while primping.

     Unfortunately I have no pictures of this amazing dressing table nor any of the other wonderful pieces on display at the RSOL Designer House because pictures are not supposed to be taken in the house.  The designers’ renderings above from the RSOL program were made in advance and do not feature all of the wonderful details that they have included in their final stylizations.  To see them, you’ve got to take the tour, and you’d better hurry as the Designer House closes on Monday, October 8.  I promise that it will be a brief journey that will delight and have your design juices churning for a long time.