FOURTH FLOOR WALK UP

Brooklyn based lifestyle blog by Lauren L Caron

Apartment

CREATE | 10 Tips On Building A Personalized Art Collection

CREATE, SPACES, VINTAGELauren Caron2 Comments
Gallery wall in our living room - Photography by Lauren L Caron © 2015

Gallery wall in our living room - Photography by Lauren L Caron © 2015

One of the most common questions I am asked on Houzz.com is how did I build my art collection and where did I find my artwork. Unfortunately, there isn't an easy answer to that question, 1. Because my number one resource would have to be my mom. And 2. She did not find all the artwork in one place, but through being a collector for many years. However, all is not lost, because I can suggest the best place to start, and what to look for, and what to be thinking about when you're trying to build a collection of artwork that is unique, personal to you, and elevated in style. Below is my top ten list:

1

START WITH ETCHINGS AND PRINTS

Many of the pieces that I and my mother have are prints and etchings, which are much easier to come by than original paintings or drawings. Many of them were pulled from old books and sell for considerably lower prices than singular works of art. I have a favorite Zebra etching that I purchased at Brimfield for less than $20. I framed and matted it, and it looks much more expensive than you'd ever expect (see below, it fits quite well in my entry).

The Zebra etching, framed in our entryway - photography by Lauren L Caron

The Zebra etching, framed in our entryway - photography by Lauren L Caron

2

INVEST IN ORIGINAL PAINTINGS AND DRAWINGS

Nice, original, and quality paintings and drawings are hard to come by, and most often are an investment. My mother has a few gorgeous portraits, these were works of art that she invested in - nothing like a Picasso, but something that took a thoughtful considered decision, not an impulsive one, to make the purchase. If you want a gorgeous painting, you're really going to have to love it! You can sometimes find good prices, but no one is completely naive these days, quality is valuable. 

Image from Elle Decor - William Frawley's Manhattan Apartment

Image from Elle Decor - William Frawley's Manhattan Apartment

3

MIX IN MIRRORS

Mirrors are a beautiful way to fill space and add another layer to your art collections. They're frames alone can be works of art.  Frames even have the ability to change the mood and direction of a collection. The mirror inset is added light and glamour. Another positive, you can find mirrors at a range of prices, sizes and shapes.

Image from Domino   -  photography by WILLIAM ABRANOWICZ

Image from Dominophotography by WILLIAM ABRANOWICZ

4

LOOK FOR UNKNOWN ARTISTS

Budding or unknown artists are often going to sell artwork at a better or more affordable price. There are several new companies starting up, aiming to educated us of these new artists. A perfect example is a friend of mine, Katie Armor who recently started Buddy Editions. Buddy Editions is limited-edition fine art prints, many of which, start at $50.

Abstract No. 4 by Natalia Roman - Buddy Editions

Abstract No. 4 by Natalia Roman - Buddy Editions

5

SHOP & LOOK IN UNNEXPECTED PLACES

If you're on the road and see a shanty thrift or antique store, stop in. You never know what you'll find. Look for yard sales or estate sales that are near you to visit on the weekends. And if you live in the city, keep your eyes peeled on the sidewalk. You truly never know what you'll find. I actually picked up an original, limited edition, signed Shepard Fairy, Noam Chomsky print on the sidewalk waiting to be trashed. The print isn't worth thousands but it is worth hundreds (thanks to the 2008 Election, Hope prints that Fairy designed).

6

MIX & MATCH NEW WITH OLD

You don't have to spend 20 years of your life scouring fleas and antique stores or auctions to call your collection complete. First of all, a collection is never complete, but secondly, you can also think about mixing in some new pieces in with your old finds. As I mentioned before, there are several companies that sell new artwork that is very reasonable. The mix adds a little style and builds a more personalized collection.

Image from From The Right Bank

Image from From The Right Bank

7

COLLECT WHAT YOU LIKE - NOT WHAT'S COOL

Remember when the Keep Calm & Carry On posters were all the rage? Did you buy one because everyone else had them? Do you still have it up? Just make sure, when you purchase something that is massively shown in all of the blogs and magazines, it is not something that you've just grown to like due to popular decision. A way to tell if you truly love a very popular piece of artwork, is to think will you still love this even when it's on the uncool list? Because if it's on trend, it will most definitely be off trend at some point. If the answer is yes, then no holds bar. 

Also, have friends or family members ever sent you a beautiful greeting card or post card? Taken an amazing photograph on Instagram? These types of images are also considered works of art, especially if they're something that you find beauty or value in viewing. Frame them. They're yours, they are a part of your personal style. You do not need an art critic to tell they're good. 

Design by Roman & Williams

Design by Roman & Williams

8

BUY FRAMES SEPARATELY & ALWAYS BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR GOOD ONES

My mother taught me to look for frames whenever I'm at a thrift store or antique store - the trick is to look beyond the empty frames, at the ones that are holding ugly or bad artwork. Often, stores will mark up the cost of an empty frame considerably over an awful piece of artwork that is framed. 

9

FIND A FAVORITE FRAMER AND BUILD A RELATIONSHIP

If you make a great relationship with a framer not only will they support and help you in your matting and framing decisions, they also may be a source for future art purchases. If they know what you like, they can be on the look out for you. I mean what they do all day and everyday is frame artwork, some of those pieces that walk in the door will be getting framed to be sold. Also, if you have a great framer, you can buy printed copies of your favorite works and have them matted and framed to meet your personal aesthetic. This way, the artwork will be original because it has been interpreted according to your tastes for your home. 

10

NEVER STOP LOOKING

There isn't one answer on where to find artwork. The best single suggestion I can offer is to never stop looking. My mother has been collecting artwork for over 50 years and she is continuously looking at artwork whenever she enters an antique store, flea market or shops online. Some of my favorite shopping destinations, where I've had the best luck are: Housing Works, Brimfield, The Chelsea Flea Market, Estate sales, Etsy.com and several antique stores in North East Connecticut (where I grew up). Other friends of mine have found gorgeous portrait paintings on Ebay as well.  

Max on the couch - Photography by Lauren L Caron © 2015

Max on the couch - Photography by Lauren L Caron © 2015


I hope this list has been helpful and will aid you in building your wall art collections. Do you have another suggestion or favorite places to dig? Ever had an amazing dumpster dive experience? I'd love to hear about it!

TREND | Coveting Copper & Kitchen Updates

TREND, SPACESLauren Caron4 Comments

I've recently had several discussions with friends and acquaintances about how the rosy metal finish of copper is creeping into event design and interiors (mostly in seen kitchens and decorative accessories). Copper pots have long been a standby but the once too rustic or country finish is making a comeback in a more sophisticated and appealing approach. I would credit some of this comfort of the finish to the recent love of brass that came about over the past few years. With the quick turnaround of trends recently, people are clammering for the next best thing, which in turn leaves us to pine for something different. But when you really think about it, there are only so many metal finishes, and most importantly there are really only two tones - warm or cool. Luckily, going forward, I don't think any can be entirely out of fashion as we once projected. My mother loves to use the example of how, when they moved into their house in 1987, Stainless steel was so OUT and looking back over the last 10 years, Stainless Steel appliances were EVERYTHING. I think now it's about a mix. It's not necessarily in fashion to go with all one or the other but to create a smart mix of materials that pair well together. Adding subtle accents of copper will add an extra layer of warmth to your existing cool toned stainless steel appliances, or a touch of romance to table setting at parties and events. 

COPPER.jpg

KITCHEN UPDATE TEASER

My Kitchen - The new tea kettle and mills. Photography by Lauren L Caron © 2015

My Kitchen - The new tea kettle and mills. Photography by Lauren L Caron © 2015

My Kitchen - The recent update of my kitchen, with the almost finished backsplash, and the new copper accessories to bring in a touch of warmth. Photography by Lauren L Caron © 2015

My Kitchen - The recent update of my kitchen, with the almost finished backsplash, and the new copper accessories to bring in a touch of warmth. Photography by Lauren L Caron © 2015

As I'm slowly finishing my kitchen (if you follow any of my social media platforms you've seen that I'm unapologetically obsessed with my 35 sq. ft marble backsplash that was installed last month - still not finished, the grout is awaiting it's set) I've also started to slowly invest in 'over 30' accessories, which include an English Simplex copper tea kettle & brass and copper mills (happy finds on Amazon). I'm really excited about how the progress of this space, the back splash gives it a more sophisticated look and the copper accents are warming up all the stainless steel, grays and whites. it's taking an especially long time, I know. I am more eager than anyone to finish it!

Additionally, I'm dreaming of the day when I can finally invest in a new oven and range. I'm not quite sure what that will be, but there are some dreamy options that are not all one finish of stainless steel, black or white. I especially am loving the Lacanche ranges that pair brass knobs, stainless details with a solid colored cooker (I'd go with white, black or anthracite for my kitchen).  Hopefully soon I can do a full kitchen reveal but for now you'll have to enjoy the above teaser.


Want to see the before photos of the apartment, follow this link to what it looked like when we purchased this apartment. 

Or these links of kitchen updates over the years...

Kitchen To Do List

Kitchen Updates: New Microwave 

Kitchen Updates: New Direction 

Kitchen Plans

SPACES | Kitchen To Do List

SPACESLauren Caron1 Comment

I've gone off on a tailspin recently focusing on major projects at work, making sure the store is as it's best. At home I have several projects started that still need finishing. The number one thing on my To Do List... my kitchen. It's a very slow and steady transformation. If you're sick of reading about it, you can be sure I'm sick of talking about it. All the while, I'm remaining positive and hoping I can finish before winter is here!

Kitchen Rendering

Kitchen Rendering

Kitchen Rendering

Kitchen Rendering

On that list are:

Tile - Purchase tiling accessories & tile Back Splash

Floors - Finalize Design, purchase paint & paint

Wallpaper - Purchase & Install

Hardware - Purchase & Install

Mirror for Cabinet Doors - Purchase & Install

Wallpaper Back of Mirrors in Cabinet Doors

Walls - Paint remaining

Shelves - Make, Mount & Paint

Dishwasher - Purchase & Install

Refrigerator - Purchase & Install

Ceiling Light Fixture - Purchase & Install

Accessorize

As you can see, there's still a lot more to do.

Thanks for reading.

Apartment Updates: It's been too long

CREATE, SPACESLauren Caron1 Comment

Wow it's been such a long time since I've checked in on the progress of my apartment! To no surprise that means I haven't been really doing much. Between life at work and friends I've been very busy with putting my energy towards other things. I did manage to, but never wrote about: 1. painted my bedroom an off white color called Bone China, 2. hung the large Chinoiserie screen my mother gave me up behind our bed, and 3. mounted those ceramic birds I bought at Brimfield [here] on the wall in my bedroom. This all happened a few months ago, just this weekend I photographed the progress!

They're looking pretty sophisticated, aren't they! On the left side (my side of the bed) I have the dressing table, which doubles as a night stand and on Jack's side, which is the view you see from the living room I chose to display pictures and artwork related to our wedding and honeymoon. The top oval image is a photograph of me on my wedding day, the octagonal framed piece is a Sailor's Valentine created by a friend, Lynda Susan Hennigan as wedding gift, the gold frame an old photograph of Venice (where we spent part of our honeymoon) given to us by my mother, and below that is a wedding card given to us by my godmother Gail that is cut out card, also of Venice, and lastly the framed black and white photo on the table is of us on our wedding day. Although these are all sentimental and very personal, I think they're conceptual enough that they display nicely in the bedroom. Sadly, our night stand is starting to sway to the left, I have no idea why or how, fingers crossed it doesn't collapse someday! Moving on. . .

For the month of July I am setting goals and focusing on moving closer to accomplishing them. It amazes me how many projects I accomplish on a weekly basis at work, but how little gets done at home.
To Do List:
1. Porter Chair
2. Kitchen tiles
3. Coat Closet
4. Wallpaper dressing room

On the top of my to do list is to get going on my Porter chair - I bought that about 9 months ago. The latest updates I've made to it include puling the existing fabric off, sanding down the horrid spray paint finish and starting to paint the under layer a dark navy.  The inspiration for the final design came from the Instagram account of Erica Cook (ecmothdesign) of Moth Design. She posted this couch months ago and there it was my answer to my dream chair. Dark velvet with gold leaf finish. In the time between I've settled on two different choices from Kravet. One 100% cotton velvet that is slightly warmer in tone and is about $20 more yard than the other that is a poly blend.

Instagram Image from ECMOTHDESIGN

In this extended time I've learned how to gold leaf. With one at home and two at work projects under my belt, I'm ready to get to working on my chair. So I guess the time hasn't been completely wasted.

On another note, I really would like to have my kitchen to finish before September. I was going to try to accomplish the tiling this long weekend with my father, but he was unavailable.

Another project that's been creeping along is the coat closet at the end of the book shelves. Jack cut all the pieces last fall, but we have yet to construct the final unit. I'm hoping that I can convince him to finish the project this month, then finally I can show that very messy corner in the living room that's I've been hiding all along.

Lastly, I want to wallpaper my dressing room. It's a tiny space and I'm sure it will take no time to finish. Just need to do it! Stay tuned…

My Best

Houzz Ideabook: Pink Crush

TREND, SPACESLauren Caron1 Comment

My Bedroom Vanity Lately I’ve been smitten with adding elements of pink into interiors. I know many often associate pink with little girl’s bedrooms or midcentury kitchens, but pink has been reinvented. Now it’s making appearances in the finest homes and the most mature spaces, energizing rooms with its warmth and brightness. To bring joy to your home, add the unexpected pink pillow to your couch, rug to your living room or taper candles to your next dinner party. For my latest Ideabook on Houzz and further commentary on my picks, click [here] or on the sidebar link to the right.

Crushing On PinkProducts: 1. Double Diamond Rug | 2. Gold Trim Agate Coasters | 3. Pink File Cabinet | 4. Robert Abbey Delta Schiaparelli Table Lamp | 5. Taper Candles | 6. Gratz Bench

 

Thanks for reading.

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