Style Court

Nine Years of Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes


Handsome and Likes Kids

It's rare for me to see a chair and not secretly fantasize about making it over, but if these twins were mine I would love them just the way they are.

The editors of Vogue's Book of Etiquette might even describe them as well-mannered and warm because the barrel-back chairs tend to put people at ease.

In fact, when they showed up in a previous post, some of you wanted to know more about them. They were found by the owner while browsing antique shops in Augusta, Georgia. She has a thing for olive green, so the time-worn leather upholstery attracted her. Not too big and not too small, the chairs also have classic style elements that have endured since the ancient era: back legs shaped like sabers and front legs reminiscent of an animal's form.

Above all, they are inviting. "Even men with long legs can sit in the chairs comfortably and the kids actually love to sit in them and read while they wait for carpool in the morning," says the owner.

In my experience leather -- and antiques -- can be very kid-friendly so I wanted to share these pictures that show the chairs in action. I also received a question about the paint color in the background. It's Benjamin Moore's "Nantucket Gray," which the homeowner says reads as green, at least in her living room.


Following Up: Art in Coastal Living's Idea Cottage

A few weeks ago when Charleston-based Angie Hranowsky shared with us her enthusiasm for one of her latest projects, Coastal Living's 2009 Idea Cottage in I'On, she was especially excited about the regional talent showcased in the house.

Idea Cottage visitors will notice original art -- both large-scale pieces and small works -- skillfully displayed throughout the rooms. Some of the artists represented include Molly B. Right, Sally Benedict, Amanda Talley and Kate Long Stevenson.

Angie opted to hang a large work by Amanda Talley in a guest bedroom. [Photo by Julia Lynn.]

[Click painting to enlarge.]

If you find yourself in South Carolina during September or October, be sure to stop by and see Angie's modern coastal triumph. (Note the zig-zag fabric in the reading nook: historically chevron stripes have represented waves.) The house closes on October 11th, so click here for ticket information. Partial proceeds benefit East Cooper Habitat for Humanity and East Cooper Montessori Charter School.

For those who can't travel to see it in person, the project will be featured in Coastal Living's October issue. (Kudos to Lindsay Bierman, Angie, and the entire team!)

Images two and four, above, are via the Idea Cottage blog; bookshelves photos via HobNob Charleston. Shown at top is I'On village.

Speaking of Charleston and art, here is a great fall happening for local children: The Gibbes Museum of Art offers Painting the Masters classes for youth in grades First through Fourth. The art history-based painting series emphasizes the Gibbes’ collection and encompasses acrylic painting and sketching.

Session I: Tuesdays, 4:15 - 5:15 p.m., September 15, 22, 29 and October 6, 13, 20.

Session II: Tuesdays 4:15 - 5:15 p.m., October 27, November 3, 10, 17, and December 1, 8. Cost is $115 for all six classes, including all supplies.

For details or to register, contact Rebecca Williams at (843) 722 - 2706 x 41 or

Related past posts:


More from Parlor Textiles

Later we can talk about the design influences, but for now I want to leave you with another peek at North Carolina-based Parlor Textiles' new collection. Hopefully you can see the lovely border on "Indian Deco Floral," below. In person, the details, earthy shades and textures are especially appealing.

This handprinted fabric is 55% hemp and 45% certified organic cotton. In the fall the fabrics shown here, as well as other prints, are expected to be available for retail purchase through (Please click the pictures for a better view.)

Dahlias and More Gallery Walls

I had hoped to start a little dahlia mania at the end of the summer (like peony mania last spring) but the flowers aren't popping up at any of the markets near me.

[Hannah Borger Overbeck, Dahlias, circa 1915, watercolor and ink on paper, LACMA collection]

The only dahlia in my house right now is the one on a pillow cover that I bought a while ago from John Robshaw.

On the gallery wall front, though, I like to think I'm making progress. Words from tastemakers inspire: Frances MacDougall once said -- if my memory is correct -- that personal art keeps a bedroom from feeling like a hotel room, and Rose Tarlow opined that a successfully pulled together bedroom is one in which you could be content if forced to camp out there for a week or two.

On one wall I hung a large Mark Starnes photograph and surrounded it with smaller pieces by Stacey Bradley, Amanda Gordon Miller, Heather Leigh Young and Kelly Robson.

This weekend I plan to spend more time looking back at the fun "Twin Tastes" house tours recently posted by Amanda Talley. In addition to Amanda's work, be on the lookout for some Buccis.

In the collage at top, the dahlia close-up is via dziobak on Flickr. The last two images in this post are courtesy Amanda Talley.

As an afterthought, I wanted to share the low hanging work of art on the right in Boomama's classic house. It is placed well below eye level, but it works because it relates to the nearby furniture and the mantle. It's not floating in space. (And, yes, you are looking at a Mad Men party in Atlanta.)


The Midnight Train to Georgia

The other day I attempted to help a friend compile music for a disc that might be given to guests at the end of a long weekend event in Georgia. For the CD cover art I had some thoughts on finding non-copyrighted work inspired by Southern trees (photocopying fabric was another option) but in terms of the actual playlist, I think my only good contribution was "Midnight Train to Georgia."

Of course, Gladys and the Pips did the ne plus ultra recording, but so many artists have done great covers. If you're in the mood for something calming try Indigo Girls. Cissy Houston reportedly recorded the song before Gladys, and Joan Osborne released a version in 2007.

For the record, Atlanta does have a noteworthy train station that has not fallen victim to demolition. Neel Reid (1885-1926) designed the Italian Renaissance-inspired Peachtree Southern Railway in 1918. Today it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is known as the Brookwood Station located at 1688 Peachtree St. Click here to learn more about the architecture.

Train station photos are via xpkranger on Flickr. The art shown at top, just for experimental purposes, is courtesy Annie Butrus and she holds the copyright. iPod image is via Target.

Click here to listen to the songs in iTunes.

Coming Soon: Parlor Textiles

Here's something else to look forward to this fall: Textile designer Angela Clinton's launch of North Carolina-based Parlor Textiles. Inspired by traditional Eastern design motifs and vintage fabric, Angela has spent the past few years learning the craft of surface design. These influences are taking form in her debut collection which is expected to feature eleven designs printed in the United States on eco-friendly fabric. Above is a tiny sneak peek. I'll share more in the next few weeks. Yardage will be sold to the general public through the Parlor Textiles website. (One yard minimum purchase.)

Click the images to better see the details.


Maybe a Road Trip to See Picasso at Duke?

[Photo by Jerome Carpenter for WRAL News]

[Click here to view highlights of the Nasher Museum of Art exhibition, Picasso and the Allure of Language, from "Tar Heel Traveler," WRAL-TV’s Scott Mason]

Remember when I mentioned Picasso and the Allure of Language? The exhibition explores the artist's relationship with writers as well as the impact of language on his work, and it just opened a few days ago at Duke University's Nasher Museum of Art. As noted in July, the Nasher has put together a great website to accompany the show, but here are a few more links that might entice you to venture to North Carolina this fall and see in person Picasso's works alongside related books, letters, photographs, and manuscripts.

Nasher blogs
News coverage by WRAL-TV’s Scott Mason
Nasher Museum of Art on Flickr

For those of you who are in the area, the museum will host a panel discussion, August 27 at 7 p.m., featuring curator Susan Greenberg Fisher of Yale University Art Gallery and Patricia Leighten, professor in Duke's Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies. Reservations are encouraged.

The exhibition continues through January 3, 2010.

North Carolinian Little Augury has seen the exhibit and shares a review here. Past post of interest: Self Portrait.


Indian Florals

In July the V & A published a new series of budget-friendly pocket-sized resource books for designers, artists, and all who love pattern. Rosemary Crill's Indian Florals is part of the collection and is scheduled to be released in the U.S. the first week of September. Apart from the great price (about $12 at most retailers), the terrific thing about this volume is the accompanying CD of of the book's images. Designers can redraw or rework these.

Crill, senior curator in the V & A's Asian Department, is an authority on Indian textiles and her book, Chintz: Indian Textiles for the West, is another beautifully illustrated resource.

Related past post: The Garrick Bed.

Click here for the Maiwa "Cotton Road" podcast with Rosemary Crill.

Last April for the The Lenox Hill Neighborhood House benefit, designer Thu Do layered a beautiful table using John Robshaw's Kahili red ginger tablecloth and Peacock note cards. I love how the Kahili print is reminiscent of antique Indian patterns. Images courtesy the Robshaw blog.


Act Natural

Natural beauties, shown at top and middle left: Sara Cole's mixed-media work deals with transformation and regeneration using nature as a reference point. Middle right: Billy Reid's handmade Savannah wingtips juxtaposed with tattered upholstery and an old rug followed by Anthropologie's library-inspired wood and brass tape dispenser. Last, vintage bookcloth. Books on the left are via Emily Lynch (sold).

Sara Cole is represented in Atlanta by Emily Amy Gallery.

Coming in September to Fernbank is the exhibition, GOLD, a show that will look at the natural properties of the geological specimen and, according to curators, will reveal that there's more to gold than prestige. Jewelry above via J. Crew.

Leather sample via Moore & Giles.


Thursday Inspiration

[Meeting Street Windows, 2000 ©Sharon Dowell]

Although Sharon Dowell's painting of Meeting Street windows has sold, I wanted to share it now as one more example of her work. (It should have been included in the original Rhythmic Layers post.)

[Shadow, 2000 ©Jennifer Shaw]

If you aren't yet acquainted with photographer Jennifer Shaw, surf over to her site when you have a chance. I think you will be charmed and intrigued by her work. As mentioned in the earlier post about John Folsom, Charleston gallerist Rebekah Jacob represents an array of photographers whose work captures the American South and Shaw is one of them. Shaw is also represented by Kevin Longino and by Meter Gallery.

[The Chase ©Pam Moxley]

Birmingham's Jennifer Hunt Gallery is also worth exploring. Hunt represents acclaimed photographer Richard Sexton and Georgia-based Pam Moxley, just to name two. (In Atlanta, Moxley is represented by Mason Murer.)

Color theory was integral to Wellesley alum Annie Butrus' Peach Tree Trail series, and she continues to study the subject. The other day she shared with me a book tip: Color and Culture: Practice and Meaning from Antiquity to Abstraction by John Gage.
I'm curious about chapters including, The Peacock's Tail and Color-Language, Color-Symbols.