Sunday, July 31, 2011

Of Nifty at House of Fifty


Some of my fair readers may already be avid fans of design blogger and DIY-er extraordinaire, Jeanell Beals, of Isabella & Max Rooms fame. Those who follow her transformative exploits may also be hip to the fact that Janell is the founding editor of a new online publication boldly named House of Fifty. It is a soothing and stylish read that covers a variety of visually appealing topics in a way most charming and pleasant. 
The second issue hits the web today and ensconced in its virtual pages is a piece by none-other than Christine Dovey, the glam Canadian doyenne also known by her Bijou and Boheme blog moniker, who is currently enduring what may very well be the single most glamorous kitchen renovation of all time. Christine doles out some stylin' dish on how to build an eclectic space and among the fab fodder, perched up left on the page, a slice of Nero's mantelpiece makes a brief cameo under the section on injecting a bit of fun and whimsy, natch. 
Some may recognize Nero's stifled crystal point and stuffed feathered friend, who narrowly escaped becoming a crispy critter at the hands of the Deyrolle inferno. Why that almost makes living under a glass cloche in Texas sound like a breath of fresh air, doesn't it? But all jesting aside, taking part in these creative endeavors by fellow bloggers always leaves one feeling warm and fuzzy, so go ahead, I urge you, head on over to House of Fifty, folks.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Here's to a Sugar-Coated Weekend

May yours be Laffy Taffy, fair readers.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Have you Rue'd?

Just in time for the midsummer lull -- Rue's new. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Of Fuzzy Photos and 'Pit Progress

The return of the Pharaoh has ushered in some fuzzy photos of the desert fold. Definite progress has been made though things are far from finished. A deep cleaning and de-sanding, followed by caulking, paint touch-ups and in some cases, lighting and hardware installation, will take place next time we visit. One of the most important lessons learned in this venture, and one Nero would reiterate over and over to anyone embarking on a similar project, would be to use the best quality natural materials when available. Because in these cases of construction managed from afar, there are often glitches that take place -- execution and installation snafus that are somehow more forgivable when committed in stone or marble or wood, rather than ceramic or laminate. In fact, at this point, the Nero Trio's almost becoming endeared to the imperfections -- we've dubbed them happy accidents, an early exercise in patina production. 



Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Refresher Course on L'Art du Zhush


There seems to be an endless debate abuzz in the design world -- a sort of underlying, ongoing prattle -- about whether or not design is a truly serious, academic pursuit or a fun, frivolous hobby. Anyone who's ever tried to rearrange a room to render it more comfortable or functional or pleasing to the senses will agree that while not rocket science, interior design, or on a scale more twee, décor, is certainly a multi-layered language which requires, like most relationships of space and time and pattern, some foresight, some thought and even a pinch of talent.
This week over at the WSJ, several top-notch designers bandy up tips on updating a space on a budget -- a refresher course on l'art du zhush -- the design equivalent to smoothing one's 'do and pinching cheeks before opening the front door to greet a date. 
From the serious, didactic tone each decorator takes, one would swear it was the ten commandments being doled out, though a couple of the suggestions would seem to contradict each other. At any rate, whether one reads these sorts of things as scripture or takes them with a grain of salt, there are surely some tidy tidbits to be gleaned. 
To get a grip on what Kara Mann calls "Zsa-Zsa-ing," be prepared to toss all your trip souvenirs and fond family memories into a tightly-edited Hermès tray this way

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hands on a Hard Copy


Fair readers, for those of you who still collect real DVDs and geek out over misty moors, breathy exchanges and meticulously manicured sideburns, the wait is almost over. Jane Eyre comes out on disc on August 16th. So I'll just cut to the chase and cop to it -- Nero's already pre-ordered her hard copy.  

Friday, July 22, 2011

Vendredi ou la Vie Sauvage

It's a Barnum & Bailey world, fair Nerophytes, and this week has been a blur of circus-going, waterpark-splashing, hop-scotching, fearsome face-painting and generalized freestylin', as the kiddo and I have stoically held down the fort sans the Pharaoh. What a fine dueling duo we make, and yet it's high time the Nero Trio regrouped. By Friday, Nero's all but surrendered, surveying the damage while feeling warm and fuzzy, sitting prickly in the park. 



Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Powder Room, Groomed

At times Nero harbors certain reservations about the powder-room-as-conversation-piece concept. That said, the guest pissoir is the one space in a home where humor and bravado can be employed with reckless abandon and sometimes to best effect. 
It isn't often that Villa Nero pops up on this blog's radar. Mainly because at this particular juncture, there simply aren't many stratospheric shifts going on in our home's design scheme. Yes, things have been pleasantly dormant for awhile around here, and while we do have a wall-to-wall carpet situation slowly festering upstairs, there is little new to disclose. 
Over the past few months, however, Nero's been tweaking and cheeking out our downstairs powder room at a leisurely pace. No renovations involved, pure cosmetica -- a lunchtime peel in the form of a few new accessories and a slip of edgy Piero Fornasetti malachite wallpaper, care of Cole & Son, which now hovers over the crime scene. The space remained a high-ceilinged, white-walled wind tunnel for our first four years here, but finally Nero strapped on a pair, slapped up a muddy gray care of Restoration Hardware's "Slate," and the rest is, well, piss-tory. 
Due to tricky lighting and a finnicky iPhone cam, the color tones appear varied in every snap below, though the reality trends towards the darker, sootier shots. The malachite wallpaper sucked Nero in at first sight, as the trippy pattern is at once sophisticated but also reminiscent of adolescent scribble-dribble, like doodles deployed with a Sharpie in algebra class -- the grudging graffiti of the disgruntled. The mood is meant to be gritty and playful, Parisian and street, always irreverent and just a touch sleek. So go ahead, take a leak peek.




Welcome

Urban flâneuse, armchair observer, absent-minded scribbler, occasional epicure and carpool line cultural attaché, my nom de plume is Nero. Join me as I catalog a compilation of earthly delights and stuff that I dig. Alcira Molina-Ali

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