Sunday, February 7, 2010

Desert Project

We have just returned from two months in the CA desert, a welcome diversion from our usual New England winter existence. We were working on an Italian style house which looks out over a flat valley floor, seemingly growing from the side of one of the many skyward reaching mountains. Designed by Architect Kristi Hanson and built by Easton Builders, it seems to be built of materials from the landscape around it. The house's reclaimed beams, dark inlaid wood floors, worked stone walls, and carved mantles mark it as a piece of the desert. The designer, Andree Jessup, the home owner and Lena settled on using reference from a 15th century wood inlaid ceiling, Studiolo di Gubbio, commissioned by the Duke of Montefeltro. This masterpiece was brought in its entirety from the Ducal Palace to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1996. Because reproducing this in paint would be both time consuming and cost prohibitive and our necks could not take more ceiling work we decided to paint a single "cell" and create digital wallpaper. The result saved time, money and our necks, a win-win-win for all and it looks striking.

In the "casita" we were asked to create a ceiling that was graphic and inexpensive. We opted for a laser cut stencil applied in two colors on a deep base. The result, while fast, is effective.

The ceiling in the dining room needed accentuation. Lena and Brooke chose to use yet another 15th century Italian fresco design as the inspiration.

The homeowners wanted a mural in the entry to the master suite. Lena thought it needed to be decorative and a juxtaposition to everything Italian. They based the mural on early panoramic wallpapers printed by Joseph Dufour from around 1804. He was the first to produce "decor in continuity" the true precursor of panoramiques.

We also glazed the master bath with a finish Lena created while mimicking silk for the base of some date palm panels for a client in Jamaica.

The outstanding lighting was created by Susan Huey Oster of LIT. A fair amount of time was spent making sure all light trims, plug and switch covers match their background.

And finally, Doug came up with a Marmorino plaster finish which works well with the all the stone, wood and tile, covering thousands of square feet in the great room, bar and kitchen.

When we work on location we are able to accomplish so much more than local jobs because there is rarely any commuting involved and we have little to do but work. The Palm Springs area was fantastic to work in because whenever we took time off we found wonderful hikes such as "Carey's Castle" in Joshua Tree and "North America's Largest Palm Oasis" in Palm Canyon. We really loved doing this job. ;)

America's Largest Palm Oasis

Looking up towards "Carey's Castle"

"Carey's Castle"

Looking down from "Carey's Castle"