We are always happy to see our lights in there homes!
Hope you enjoy the article from Coastal Home.
Artist Judy Dibble painted the kitchen walls to look like grass cloth by using combs, which created a subtle plaid and a feeling of movement. She then painted blue fleur-de-lis, a favorite motif of the homeowners, on top. Bonny Vitali says it is her favorite room in the house.Photographed by Rob Karosis, Produced by Marsha Jusczak Channeling the Big Easy - Coastal Home Magazine
A business card and a chandelier were the two things that Kennebunkport, Maine, homeowners Louis and Bonny Vitali had before they broke ground on their new house.
The business card was that of southern Maine-based designer Anne Cowenhoven, whose work they had seen at a show house put on by the Museums of Old York. “They kept my card for years,” Cowenhoven says.
And a correction on that chandelier: they did not have the actual piece, just a photo and an order from a shop in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
Both Cowenhoven and the chandelier were about to change course and intersect, the designer exploring a style in which she had never worked, and the fixture barely escaping a storm that devastated an entire city.
When the Vitalis bought the property, which overlooks a four-acre, curving pond and groves of trees near the ocean, they were ready for something different. “They didn’t want anything from their previous house,” Cowenhoven says. “Just paintings and a few family antiques.” Amid a sea of New England homes that, well, reflect the sea, the couple this time took their inspiration not from the waves and dunes of the nearby coastline, but from the music and lifestyle of New Orleans, Louisiana, a city to which they felt connected.
“It really happened by accident,” Bonny says. “My husband went on a business trip to New Orleans and invited me to come along. We just fell in love with all that we saw—it’s just beautiful.”
The chandelier was part of that love story. “One night walking down Royal Street, we looked up and saw the chandelier at Royal Cameo Glass,” she says. “It just struck us. It was not the kind of chandelier you would normally expect for this home.” The chandelier, by artist Ulla Darni, is a finely detailed, multi-hued light with tones of yellow, blue, green, and pink; it became the inspiration behind the home’s design.
The piece, however, almost did not make it to Maine. “The Vitalis had ordered it right before [Hurricane] Katrina hit,” Cowenhoven says. “The store is in the French Quarter—we couldn’t communicate with anyone and weren’t sure that the chandelier had made it, but we found out it had shipped the day before. We were just sweating buckets because the whole house had been designed around it.” The chandelier’s safe presence in the house exists as a reminder of the storm and its consequences, since the store that sold it went out of business.
For Cowenhoven, the chandelier, which now hangs in the dining room, caused other troubles but was worth it in the end. “It was difficult to work around, but it was powerful, it was stunning,” she says. Cowenhoven used a French toile on the front of the dining room chairs to reflect the French influence in the home and the same plaid as that of the nearby swags to upholster the chair backs.
The architect “really spent a lot of time designing the house so every room has a beautiful view of the pond,” Bonny says. “He was able to design the house to follow the direction of the pond.” Channeling the Big Easy - Coastal Home Magazine
The chandelier, purchased in New Orleans, was the “complete inspiration piece for the dining room, and it mushroomed from there,” homeowner Bonny Vitali says. Its yellows and blues continue in the toile and plaid fabrics of the chairs and the matching plaid window treatment. Channeling the Big Easy - Coastal Home Magazine
The green glass tile framing the fireplace in the family room was handmade in California, while the blue and yellow ottoman was custom-made. Channeling the Big Easy - Coastal Home Magazine
Gas-fired lanterns adorn the outside of the French provincial home. The copper lanterns remain almost continually on. Channeling the Big Easy - Coastal Home Magazine
The chandelier hanging over the breakfast nook is also by Darni, who designed the dining room fixture, and contains similar decorative elements: the flowing, twisting metal and the wavy, etched glass. “We looked forever for a chandelier that would work” in there, Louis says. “We finally made the decision to custom make the chandelier.”
To reflect the inspiration of the dining room fixture, blues and yellows appear throughout the house and even outdoors, from custom-upholstered ottomans to complicated wall glazes to the flowers along the front walk. “It’s so colorful,” Cowenhoven says. “It was fun to do something a little brighter, a little funkier.”
Hopkinton, New Hampshire-based artist Judy Dibble of Brookwood Designs created some of the home’s most notable features—those hand-painted walls and hand-done glazes. Dibble credits designer Cowenhoven with the concepts behind the designs. “Anne is wonderful with ideas,” Dibble says. “Sometimes she has a technique in mind, and I will help figure out how to do it. I really collaborated with Anne and the homeowner to come up with a feel or a thought.”
On the kitchen walls, Dibble stenciled blue fleur-de-lis on a yellow background, itself created through a technique new to Dibble. “It’s a technique done with combs to give that kind of look—a grass cloth look with a very subtle plaid,” Dibble explains. “It’s fun to do—it’s got a very overall movement feel to it.” The blue fleur-de-lis helped to tie in surrounding blues; the kitchen cabinets are yellow and the island is blue, while two different granite countertops were chosen to compliment the color palette.
The family, dining, and living rooms were all done with glazes. Dibble used a strié technique in the family room with three different layers of color. “The idea of the glaze is that it’s translucent,” she says. “I think the homeowner said the family room feels like rain with the gray tones.” In the dining room, three layers of color—this time multiple blues—were again used. “It’s a very subtle color change appearance,” Dibble says. “It allows you that very soft movement.”
The living room walls were decorated using one color of glaze, applied with stipple brushes and then small combs to reveal metallic gold beneath. “The living room was a very complicated project,” says Cowenhoven, describing a scene in which Dibble perched on a ladder to reach the room’s high ceilings, then carefully passed a comb to a helper below to continue pulling out the stripes, all without going off course.
Dibble, for her part, noted the way Cowenhoven allowed colors to move around the house, from the soft blues of the living room to the neutral grays of the hallway to the bolder blues and warm yellows of the dining room. In many areas of the home, flat paints were used, which Dibble says allows a nice contrast with the movement of the glazes.
Yet the blues and yellows of the home’s shared areas do not extend everywhere. In the master bedroom, bath, and guest room, neutral, soft shades fill the spaces. “If you see the house, you’ll see a lot of color throughout,” Bonny says. “We wanted the bedroom to be a little calmer. It’s our quiet, calm place.” In the master, the only trace of yellow is found in the occasional bouquet of flowers; the surroundings are otherwise strictly creams and browns.
In the guest room, Cowenhoven says, the homeowners wanted “to do something that feels beachy.” The room contains two single beds and a nightstand all painted a robin’s egg blue, with soft yellows and tans completing the serene feel. Cowenhoven purchased the furniture from Maine Woodworks, a company in Saco that is a division of Creative Work Solutions. The latter company is a not-for-profit rehabilitation agency that provides employment and job training for people with disabilities. “It’s very reasonable furniture, and it’s a really nice company,” Cowenhoven says.
Amid the subdued shades of the guest room, the Vitalis say, their visitors describe having “the best night’s sleep.” Channeling the Big Easy - Coastal Home Magazine
Downstairs amid the soothing tan and cream hues of the master bath, Dibble painted sparsely leafed branches climbing the walls. The homeowners say they feel compelled to tell guests who see Dibble’s work that the walls are faux painted, not wallpapered. “She did such a wonderful job,” Bonny says.
In contrast to the master and guest rooms, the child’s room Cowenhoven designed was “really bright and wild,” she says. Furniture in the room is painted green, yellow, and blue, and surrounded by blue walls and carpet. Floral yellow and blue curtains frame a bay window, where a blue and yellow striped curtain and pillows offer a place to relax. “We wanted something unexpected, different in the house,” Bonny says. “When we moved in, our daughter was going into kindergarten, so we wanted the house to be comfortable and functional.”
The home, designed by architect Wayne Rawley, has a foyer mostly decorated in neutral tones, in part to emphasize the oversized, arched front doors. Cowenhoven used porcelain tile, which looks like limestone, along with glass-crystal tile inserts. “They sparkle because they have ground-up glass in them,” she says. The dark inserts also draw in the color of the wood floors in the rooms beyond. Together, Cowenhoven and Dibble also designed niches painted to resemble gray-blue, veined marble, tying into the blues of the adjacent rooms. “When you stand in the space those colors are reflected from the rooms around it,” Cowenhoven says. “It needed to be balanced.”
Cowenhoven says she reached from the Seacoast down to Boston to find most of the furniture. “I used the Boston Design Center a lot,” she says. “The Vitalis wanted their home to be more traditional looking with modern art mixed in.” A sofa and sectional came from American Traditions in Hampton Falls, as did the dining room table. In contrast to the New Orleans style of the home, the owners were determined to use mostly Maine artists for paintings.
The staircase has iron balusters, which create the feel of the Crescent City, and the upstairs-hall balcony incorporates ironwork railings. The fleur-de-lis, emblem of New Orleans and a favorite motif of the homeowners, appears on the kitchen walls, doorbells, and in the wallpaper of the study.
Gas lights outside the French provincial-styled home were purchased from Bevolo, a New Orleans company that has been making them since 1945. “Once you turn them on you should leave them on,” Louis says. “This one company is really known for these copper lanterns that are gas fired.” The Vitalis have been told they are one of only two houses in Maine to have them. The landscaping both in front of and behind the house echoes the indoor color scheme, with blue hydrangeas and red and yellow groundcovers. Landscape designer Ellen Mitchell, in conjunction with Piscataqua Landscaping, created the original landscape, and Paul Lorrain of Sunset Farm Organics added the hydrangeas and maintains the garden. Cowenhoven says, “I think the landscapers did a brilliant job working in the colors.”
For Cowenhoven, the home is a project that keeps on going. “We did everything from soup to nuts,” she says. “And we still have been adding artwork over the last few years.”
For a home design that began with a small piece of paper and a picture of a beautiful light fixture, the Vitali house has come a long way.
The spacious deck offers a view of the four-acre pond; blue cushions continue the colors of the home’s interior. Groundcovers add shades of yellow and red. Channeling the Big Easy - Coastal Home Magazine
This is starting out to be a great year in the making! We are excited about this invitation and will keep you updated on when and where!
Hi Gloria, that would be: Mikael Darni whose work is linked to your site. -LLTAMCI
Wonderful that you are in such support of your husband's art! Thanks Gloria! Looking forward..
New Year and new relationships!
Thanks for your support!
Ulla and Mikael Darni’s Kaleidoscope of Colors
Feb 15, 2007 | 347 views | 0 | 6 | |
Published on February 16, 2007
The illuminated glass pieces of Ulla Darni offer an eyeful of fabulous colors. Her painted chandeliers, lamps, sconces, lanterns and nightlights are created in a variety of shapes, sizes and designs that are functional and artistic at the same time.
Darni’s art, which is celebrated everyday at Lustre Gallery, will receive special attention on Feb. 19 and 20, noon-8 p.m., when the gallery will host a special showing of her work. As an added treat, Darni’s artist/son, Mikael, will be in attendance.
Mikael is senior artist and paint department manager for Darni’s studio in the Catskill Mountains in New York and has been a key factor in the rise in popularity of Darni’s Multiple Original patterns. Mikael will be on hand both days to discuss the many elements that must be perfectly balanced in order to produce this work.
Mikael is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts, New York City. His years of work in the advertising art profession include projects for French automakers Renault/Citroën, carpet manufacturers Karastan and Bigelow, Heineken Brewery and Webster’s Publishing. He has painted alongside his mother since 1996, assuming the duties of paint department manager in 1999.
Lustre Gallery owners Paul and Christine Reich have been exhibiting Darni’s work since they opened Lustre in 2005. “It was really the reason we opened the gallery,” said Christine. “We have several pieces in our home and felt they should be back in Telluride.” Darni’s work had previously been shown at the now defunct Apropos Gallery in Telluride. “We fell in love with her work,” said Christine.
Darni has been immersed in the arts since her early years in Denmark. With unbounded creativity, vision, courage and the willingness to trust her inner voice, Darni has reinvented herself many times, bringing color and design into new dimensions.
Darni trained and painted with Royal Copenhagen Porcelain and it was there that her disciplined brush strokes were born. This was followed by a seven-year film and theatre career that included a costarring role in The Duel, a Cannes Film Festival First Prize Winner.
Darni left Denmark and the entertainment world to raise her young family in New York City, and her creativity soon found expression in fashion design. Two “Ulla Darni of Denmark” boutiques successfully offered her unique, flowing dresses. The deeply planted seeds of painting called for growth and expression, and she continued her studies at the Art Student League of New York, as well as mentoring under several New York artists.
Darni was elected to both of New York City’s prestigious art clubs, the Salmagundi Club and the Pen and Brush Club.
A quirk of fate brought glass to Darni in 1989 when an antique dealer presented Darni an old Handel lamp blank and asked her to paint flowers on it. Darni’s inspired piece resulted in a handsome sale for the dealer and her new career was born. Darni began to design the forms of hand blown glass, the ironwork and the graceful flowers that take life on her pieces.
Darni began to paint floral arrangements on lamps, chandeliers and over the years added sconces, lanterns and nightlights. Over time her trademark floral bouquets have become more intricate and her color palette has intensified.
Success has followed success as royalty, museums, celebrities and private collectors acquired Darni’s work. In 1996, to address the demand for her work and extend her design work to additional collectors, Darni created her Multiple Originals. Darni selects the artists responsible for creating her designs on glass, and meticulously trains them in her techniques.