(My blog from The Nantucket Inquirer & Mirror)
Think Paris. Think style. Last week I discovered a bit of Parisian style in Palm Beach. Nantucketers who vacation in Florida fall into two camps. It’s a matter of East versus West Coasts: Naples, Sarasota or Sanibel for some, Palm Beach social life for others. And then there’s Key West – the funkiest of all. . Last year, Nantucket gallery owner, Janis Aldridge, opened a shop/gallery in Palm Beach. She’s displaying some of my decoupage plates and I wanted to see the shop and have a reunion with some old childhood friends from Connecticut. Flying from Key West to Palm Beach – now there’s a culture shock. Like two different planets! We all know someone born with good taste. That’s Janis. Her botanical prints in ornate chunky frames exude “important” and the lamps make a statement. These are the accessories that matter.. Scrimp on other stuff, if you must, but make the artwork interesting and the lighting perfect. No one will know the side table doesn’t have pedigree, but a really good, well-designed antique lamp speaks volumes. AND elevates the table! To say that Worth Avenue as well-manicured is an understatement. It’s kind of awesome with its.stately palm trees perfectly spaced along this boulevard of top designer names. Janis’s shop is one block over on Peruvian Way. The location gives it joie d’vivre because you really have to look for it. When you spot the green and white striped awnings and the bistro-style furniture on the front patio Paris comes to mind. The shop is made up of small intimate rooms and the whole thing is like a very cool antique shop on the left bank of Paris. I filed “large potted plants” in my unconscious list of good ideas for a Nantucket deck. Palm Beach reeks of high maintenance, but potted plants? Dramatic and low maintenance. Of course no Palm trees, but hydrangea bushes might work. If you pay attention, shops like this are filled with great ideas like “outsider art” grouped on one wall, little tabletop arrangements, shapes and sizes on one table in one color Inspiration overload! I love everything in this room. Orchids in interesting pottery like the gray and white bowl on the table. Chandeliers are coming back big time. Lean paintings against the wall for a “work in progress” feeling; offsets formal with an infusion of casual. Note, every item on the round table is a round shape.Even the pottery under the table! See what I mean about the lamps. Lighting is such an important element in a room. I’ve got that subject planned for another blog. While visiting a friend I got so upset over the harsh lighting in every room that I adjusted every dimmer switch in the house then taped over the switches so she couldn’t change the lighting. When the lighting is all wrong (too harsh or too dim) in a room it drives me nuts. The latest craze (not really new but popping up again) in artwork is outsider art. It’s crude and when framed beautifully demands attention. Outsider Art? What’s that? It’s literally art created by people outside the system. The artists have no formal training. Many are uneducated, some can’t read, but they have raw talent. The work is often described as primitive, charmingly naïve. Think children, prisoners, peasants, isolated ones, or anyone cut off by location or situation. If you stumble on it, be bold. Trust your instinct. If you like it buy it! Flash – There’s an Outsider Art Fair May 8-11 in New York City at Center 548 W. 22nd St. (between 10th and 11th St.) Or in Paris October 23-26 at Hotel LeA 4 Rue D’.Artois. I’m going to the exhibit in New York and will report back in May.