FOURTH FLOOR WALK UP

Brooklyn based lifestyle blog by Lauren L Caron

CREATE

CREATE | Artfully Crafted Gifts

CREATELauren CaronComment
 Watercolor painting by Traci Page. 

Watercolor painting by Traci Page. 

For the giving season this year I'm all about giving art. Art is something that can cost pennies to thousands of dollars, but whatever it may be, it's going to be personal and meaningful. More so than the next sweater or electronic.

Recently, a friend of mine, gave me one of her original paintings. I was so touched by the gift, especially after thinking about how she spent time creating this piece with me in mind. I had mentioned that I was interested in purchasing a similar one that she had created and was shocked when she made a new one for me to have?! I was so excited about the gift and the idea of hanging in on my wall, that on my way home from lunch I popped into a local framer. In less than two weeks I'll have it home with me.

In the past year I've met and began following several wonderful artists that I'd love to share with you. As well as a few new framing companies that take all the stress and effort out of having your own work printed, framed or both. 

ARTISTS TO FOLLOW

JungleWild_1000px.jpg

TRACI PAGE

Traci began her career in advertising, then fashion specializing in product development, and most recently jewelry. Traci typically paints with watercolors and often journals her travels and experiences through the palette. Taking account her career path, Traci has a great eye for details and a passion for luxury, which lends itself well to my favorite series of her's, The Lines + Facets collection that include saturated, slightly abstracted jewels. She also accepts commissions on pet portraits, paints foliage and food studies. You can follow Traci on IG through @PageTraciWatercolor.  

DANI SCHAFER

Dani's abstract paintings are beautiful and boundless with expressive brush strokes. She combines strokes of opaque saturation with sheer shimmery metallics perfectly marrying masculine and feminine palettes within each piece. The love the abstraction of her work, and how you can see the movement and the freedom within her hands. She also partnered up with Design Love Fest for free computer wallpaper downloads [here]. I have one on my own desktop and love how it makes my computer look as though it's a part of the gallery wall that is hung behind it. Every few months I change up the image but it's always something similar. On my wish list is a canvas painting of hers, I'd love to have it framed in a white frame with a large matte to give the painting space to breath, hang it on a wall with a mix of modern and vintage artwork... I can see it now. Dani's IG account is @DANISCHAFER

I DREAM OF JEANNE

Jeanne has also recently shifted careers, moving away from PR and Marketing in fashion to illustration and painting. She chronicals her swoon worthy travels through watercolor along with translating instagram shots from her A-List of friends and bloggers. Her work can be found at Kennedy Waston in Seattle and online [here]. She also accepts commissions through her website. Jeanne's IG account is @IDREAMOFJEANNE.

DONALD ROBERTSON

If you haven't already heard of Donald Robertson, then you should definitely take to following his instagram feed. He is what the world is calling an Instagram sensation, having blown up within the past year. I first heard of him through Alessandra Branca, when we collaborated on the Branca hall at Bergdorf Goodman. She commissioned him to paint a vignette for an Architectural Digest feature. Within a year, I was telling my boss and boss's boss about him and trying to convince them to collaborate. Not long after I left, he did a collaborative window installation and just this past weekend had a holiday pop-up shop at the store. I can't say that I was the reason for his collaboration with BG but I can pat myself on the back for putting the bug in Linda's ear. His work is definitely up there in price, but if you're a fashion lover like myself, then you have to at least grab his book that was published this year or an ornament at the BG holiday shop. You can follow Donald @DRAWBERTSON.

INSLEE BY DESIGN

Inslee is an illustrator who has been commissioned by both private clients as well as major brands and retailers. She has collaborated with several companies to bring her original whimsical designs to print on phone cases, calendars, napkins (embroidered) and more. A few of my favorites include the French chic vibe paintings... the croissants, topless sunbather and the Time Out (print). You can find her here @INSLEE.

 Gallery wall with new print, framed and printed by Framebridge. 

Gallery wall with new print, framed and printed by Framebridge. 

CREATE YOUR OWN

If you're thinking, none of these artists meet your taste or style, there are so many others out there selling gift worthy work. A different path would be to have some of your own personal work printed and framed. I decided to do just that for my family this year, with a series of personal photographs that I had printed into a calendar using Artifact Uprising. Parabo Press also sells custom printed calendars.  

Another company that prints, and has a ton of frame options is Framebridge. They offer free shipping of your goods both ways, that means if you have an original or print of something that you want to have framed they cover the shipping fees to have your artwork shipped to them, and back when it's framed. They also print photographs that you can upload direct to their site. 

I decided to print and frame a few of my favorite photos that were shot on my phone. Half expecting the quality to be meh, they ended up turning out beautifully. I chose one from our vacation to France when we road the Camargue ponies, I snapped it while on horseback - one of my favorite places to be on earth. The other is of our dog Max, chilling on the sofa. I love his coy expression because he's actually not allowed on the sofa.

As for the frames, I purchased one simple, modern black for the Camarague image and for the framed picture of Max, an antique silver leafed frame. Both frames are a nice quality. 

One more place that has a number of favorite go to frames is West Elm. they carry polished, and brushed brass and silver toned frames that come with mats. For a recent Union Adorn commercial project, we bought several of these and framed various look book prints within them. 

FRAMEBRIDGE

ARTIFACT UPRISING

PARABO PRESS

I hope I gave you some ideas for gifts, that are a little out of the ordinary. I think it's so important to celebrate people's talents, and this is an easy way to do so! Happy Gifting! 


 

All images are from the artist's website, or taken by myself.

CREATE | UNION ADORN - Big News!

LIFE, CREATELauren Caron1 Comment

For those who don't know, I somewhat recently moved on from my visual manager position at Bergdorf Goodman. I have dropped hints over the last few months and my close friends and family have known my plans, but it wasn't right until now that it truly seemed the right time to formally announce my next endeavor. This spring, I launched a design company called Union Adorn. We specialize in interior design, retail design for visual merchandising and creative services, event design, and styling. 

Using the skills I've gained over the years at Bergdorfs, Tiffany's, and my earlier years freelancing at Ralph Lauren, Macy's, Brooks Brothers. I wanted to build a boutique design company that is strongly focused on representing exceptional taste while remaining grounded in the fundamentals of refined design, particularly catered to each client. While our main clientele is smaller independent brands and personal clients, we have also been collaborating with larger brands on special projects. 

There are plans to grow the business into a design collective, with hopes to bring on at least two more lead designers in addition to my silent partner. We will be working towards building a brand that will capitalize on each other's taste, diverse skills sets and styles. I've always had a strong affinity to beauty and anything that I create has to maintain a sense of elegance, so it was only natural that the company's mission is to respect beauty and everything it envelops. Together we are united in beauty. 

Please feel free to introduce yourself to the brand via our website [www.unionadorn.com] and social media platforms [Twitter, Instagram + Pinterest - @unionadorn] where we plan to document current and upcoming projects. 

IMG_0342.JPG

I'm truly excited about the work that I've been doing under this brand, and am so excited to be able to eventually share these projects in depth A few projects that I can only hint to have dealings with hotel design, residential design, major renovation of an incredible store, presentation upgrades for a boutique jewelry company, and an opening of a sought-after tattoo artist's shop. So please stay tuned for more eye candy. I hope you can follow along on this endeavor and be there as we grow, through the gains and pains of small business!

Any questions or further interest please feel free to contact us at hello@unionadorn.com


SPACES | Feeling Nostalgic

CREATE, LIFE, SPACESLauren Caron1 Comment
FFWU_WillPerkins

I recently purchased a new computer and have been slightly lazy about moving all of my photos over to the new. So today as I started the process, I stumbled onto a few albums that made me feel really nostalgic. One in particular was from trip we took to visit a dear family friend who was an amazingly talented artist. These pictures were taken as Will casually showed us around his beautiful home on the Northshore of Massachusetts. Although you would never know, this property is new only built about 15 years ago, the house was constructed from original parts and pieces of dismantles homes that Will had purchased. 

Will was a student of Pratt in the 70s, where he learned the art of restoration. He made his living bringing old houses back to their authentic selves and transformed new to feel old. He painted numerous murals though out the Northeast, some of which can be seen in Old Sturbridge Village. Side note: he also painted the floors of my parent's entry hall - a faux tiled marble. Aside from painting, he created sculptures, that were life like fantastical creatures, as well as people that he would place in his home, the gardens or even on the front lawn. The Victorian lady was made of miscellaneous cloths and textiles he had gathered, she was weatherized to live outside - to walk aimlessly throughout the property, set wherever to fit Will's whim. 

He was the one to push me and inspire me to move to New York and pursue my passions. Making me forever grateful of our relationship. It's people like Will that make our lives so special and memorable. They're eccentric, imaginative and wonderful. Treasure them. 

FFWU_WillPerkins
  The Victorian lady's face was cast from the above bust. 

The Victorian lady's face was cast from the above bust. 

Will taking us through the gardens...and his home. His art studio was a beautiful mess.

FFWU_WillPerkins
  My mother and Will bought the same wallpaper - my Mom's is in her bedroom. 

My mother and Will bought the same wallpaper - my Mom's is in her bedroom. 

These pictures are from rooms throughout his home... not styled, just as it was.

 

All photographs were taken by Lauren L Caron © 2015

CREATE | Display Your Business Cards

CREATELauren CaronComment
  Sea Urchin or Wallflower Business Card Holder | Photography By Lauren L Caron | Fourth Floor Walk Up © 2015

Sea Urchin or Wallflower Business Card Holder | Photography By Lauren L Caron | Fourth Floor Walk Up © 2015

I recently toured and wrote about Emily's apartment on the blog, if you missed it you can go [here] to have a look. Emily's home, in addition to being beautifully sophisticated in design, is filled with a bunch of great space saving ideas and tricks. There are a few ideas in particular that I had to file for the future. One of those is repurposing a brass wallflower into a business card holder. I think it's brilliant, because one thing I love to do is to display collections and objects, even to the extent of thinking up creative ways to display my stored items for objects like business cards.

Business cards are one of those things (especially when you work from home) that always seem to pile up. I will every so often go through the stack and place them into my booklets or better yet, add them to my ongoing excel resource files on my computer - but that takes a little time and energy. Often I just need a place to shove them until I get around to filing them. This little storage and display idea is the perfect solution. Emily granted me permission to snag this idea for my home, and I actually took it a step further by mounting the flower back onto the wall. That way my desk top area is kept as clear as possible. 

  Sea Urchin or Wallflower Business Card Holder as Seen in Emily's Apartment | Photography By Lauren L Caron | Fourth Floor Walk Up © 2015

Sea Urchin or Wallflower Business Card Holder as Seen in Emily's Apartment | Photography By Lauren L Caron | Fourth Floor Walk Up © 2015

  Sea Urchin or Wallflower Business Card Holder as Seen in Emily's Apartment | Photography By Lauren L Caron | Fourth Floor Walk Up © 2015

Sea Urchin or Wallflower Business Card Holder as Seen in Emily's Apartment | Photography By Lauren L Caron | Fourth Floor Walk Up © 2015

Understandably, I've already been asked, how will you search for cards when you need them, this way. It's easy, to remove the it from the wall and to thumb through them. Doesn't really take any longer than thumbing through a rolodex (remember those?!)

The wallflowers can be found on ebay or speciality stores. Target is carrying a version of them - they're called Wall Urchins for $19.99 [here].

Wayfair is selling the Two's Company brand ones as Wallflowers [here] they're sold as a set for just under $73. Emily and I both have the ones by Two's Company. 

Have any creative solutions for things like this? Send them my way, I'd love to see and possibly feature them. 

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!