Jessie Davidson Interiors

Thicket by Jessie Davidson Interiors

Archive by Year: 2014

Around The House

Murals Add Depth & Interest

Designers have been using murals for decades to spark interest and add illusion in dining rooms, grand entrance halls, even powder rooms. Familiar companies who have been creating hand painted papers for murals are Graciede Gournay, and Zuber to mention just a few. Gracie, founded in 1898 by Charles R. Gracie, remains today a family run business, an example of their craft is above. And, de Gournay makes fabulous artisan-created papers as well as elegant porcelain, custom furniture, and mirrors that are truly custom works of art. Enjoy this video segment from Zuber et Cie, it will give you an idea of how labor intensive creating these murals can be! 

I love watching the addition of pigment to a medium.  It’s a bit like cooking!

We recently approached a client’s entrance and stair hall with the idea of installing a wallpapered mural, but found that the space could be overwhelmed by the visual denseness of most murals.  Instead we commissioned a local artist, Julie Lawrence, to create a hand painted, garden inspired mural throughout the narrow space.  We were able to control the number of visual elements, their placement on the walls, and deliver specific plant material that the client loves.  It has become such a refreshing and open area, transitioning to the main living spaces of the home.  We’re all thrilled with the results!

March 14, 2014 by Jessie Davidson

In The Garden

Growing Season

Given the harsh winter we have had in so many parts of the country, it is difficult to think about what is happening in the garden except hibernation!  So it was quite the gift this week to be able to see inside the growing greenhouses at the Chicago Botanic Garden. There are horticulturalists (botanic curators) for every garden and, by plan, they have plants growing throughout the year in preparation for filling display gardens. In these images you’ll see thousands of orchids, pansies, little geraniums, and hundreds of tiny vegetable starts that will soon be transplanted into the fruit and vegetable garden outside. 

This was inspiration for my eyes, yet the smell of damp earth may have been the best treat of all!  If winter has you down, find a greenhouse or conservatory and spend some time there.  Inhale!  And have faith that Spring IS coming sooner or later.

If you are in the Chicago area, don't miss the upcoming Antiques & Garden Fair at the Chicago Botanic Garden from April 11th - 13th, 10 am - 5 pm, daily. It is such a lovely and important show!

March 14, 2014 by Jessie Davidson

What We're Loving

March 2014

1.) Churlish Green No. 251 (paint) by Farrow & Ball - Use this color as an accent or paint the entire room.  It will make you smile every time you see it! 

2.) French Vintage Washtub (new) by Pennoyer Newman - If you are creating a new garden or just adding pots and containers, look at the historically inclined designs of Pennoyer Newman. They will be with you for decades, looking classic and stylish throughout all four seasons. 

3.) Leather Clad Parson’s Tables by Edelman - A Parson’s table is such a simple and classic design….taken to a higher level when clad in Edelman leather. 

4.) David Sutherland’s Louis Soleil Chair - You just have to love this elegant chair.  It is equally comfortable out on the terrace as it is on a screen porch or in a conservatory. Very roomy with a well-sprung seat.

5.) Cynthia Bag in Orange/Melon by Michael Kors - Well, I cannot resist Persimmon, or Melon, or Orange….. and these colors are certainly de rigueur this season. This smaller Cynthia bag is a nice size too. 

6.) Bizet in Chocolate (embroidered linen) by Colefax & Fowler - Chocolate and red have always been wonderful compliments.  This embroidered fabric – new from Colefax & Fowler – employs warm and cool reds which makes it all the more delicious. 

7.) No Life Without Water – CMCA’s ArtLab collaboration with the children of Poland and South Sudan - The Center for Maine Contemporary Art  has created a collaboration between the children of Maine, Poland, and South Sudan.  This short video focuses on the importance of water in our lives and it serves to remind us to save energy and reduce pollution.  

If you are interested in any of the featured ideas or products to help create a home you love, contact me - I am happy to help! Jessie, Jessie Davidson Interiors 

All images from linked sites; Cecil Beaton photograph from here.

March 14, 2014 by Jessie Davidson

Musings of a Design Maven

It Will Be a Good Year

Bonne Annee!

Directly translated “good year”… ambitious salutation….as if to say, “It will be a good year!”  And, so, I pass that thought on to you in January, 2014. 

I always look forward to the beginning of a new year because it represents an open book, ripe with fresh ideas, inspired projects; and, of course, resolutions.  Last year at this time I took up the challenge of enrolling in the Master Gardener Course at Chicago’s Botanic Garden.  Yes, I passed and I now know just how little I know and how much there is to continue learning about gardening!  The course also lead me to the Green Youth Farm in Waukegan where I spent Spring through Fall working and playing with a very inspired group of high school students.  Through that process I learned a little bit about farming and a lot about group motivation.  I stepped outside of my workaholic-book-every-minute self and cleared space for education and volunteerism.  And, yes, I plan to be back at the farm this summer!

As always, I hope you enjoy wandering through Thicket, our journal of ideas that inspire.

Just one of the thoughts that follow, Ubuntu, is explained in a spirited Ted Talk by the charming Boyd Varty.  He, like I, is a great fan of Nelson Mandela.  In fact, Boyd knew and was a friend of Mr. Mandela…!

Many thanks to you, my treasured clients, for your confidence and support over the more than two decades that I have been creating interiors for you.  And, special thanks to all the people in design showrooms and workrooms, and those on-the-job in client’s homes.  I certainly could not do what I do without your amazing and special talents.

May 2014 be overflowing with inspiration, love, great work, and abundance!  May it be a good year.

All the best,


January 09, 2014 by Jessie Davidson

Around The House

Light Animates

Have you ever noticed how happy a space becomes when the sun is streaming though the windows and the sky above is a shockingly vivid blue?  Have you noticed how warm and inviting a room becomes at night with appropriately placed, varying levels of artificial light?  Or, have you ever experienced a home or garden by candlelight alone?

Lighting, when placed properly, creates texture and animates interiors in such a wonderful way.  The days of the six inch can-light, reducing an average ceiling to rows of unsightly holes, are (thankfully) gone.  In a small living area, say 14 feet square, eight sources of light are needed to create texture, ambiance, and animation.  Table and floor lamps provide task lighting.  Wall sconces provide soft illumination in the periphery areas.  A wall-washer to two – small low voltage halogen cans - spotlight artwork.  And, a chandelier may provide general illumination.  Within this room the areas of light and low light make the space more interesting and eminently approachable. I pulled a few images from my portfolio, above and below, as a taste of these lighting concepts.

When summer arrives, try lighting your garden or terrace areas with candles alone.  I realized, after joining an evening candlelight garden walk in Charleston, that the light of candles provides the most beautiful and compelling way to experience an evening outdoors.

I can’t resist the opportunity to feature some of my favorite companies that create superb light fixtures…Enjoy!

1.) Charles Edwards – Peter Pan Lantern

2.) Charles Edwards – Montpellier Lantern

3.) Soane – Owl Lantern 

4.) Collier Webb – Scallop Light Sconce 

5.) Richard Scofield Lighting – English Box Sconce 

6.) Urban Electric Co. – Lucien Ceiling Light 

7.) Soane - Reading Wall Light with Swivel 

*Images from Jessie Davidson Interiors and the above listed lighting craftsmen.

January 09, 2014 by Jessie Davidson

In The Garden

Winter White And An Island Garden

Have we had enough snow yet!? 

Honestly though, I think in so many ways we are really, really lucky because it is absolutely beautiful!

Go for a walk at night or first thing in the morning, before any cars are out on the roads.  With a little moonlight, the whiteness of the snow reflects the light of the moon and makes everything sparkle.  And, walking on a new blanket of snow is so reverently silent, save the crunch of your steps.  I love that.

Snow accentuates the bones of a garden, be it a fence, boxwood hedge, furniture left out for the winter, even the most mundane bird-feeder.  This is when winter is at its best….when snow and the garden create a sculptural landscape, the beauty of which is impossible to ignore.

Think about this as you enjoy your garden next summer and remember not to forget the “bones” of your outdoor spaces.

And for a bit of spring and summer color to offer a contrast to all the winter white, Alcatraz Island. How can such a harsh place be so beautiful and hospitable today?  Over ten years ago the Garden Conservancy, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and the National Parks Service began a collaborative effort to renew and tend the long-abandoned gardens on the island. 

I have put this on my list of places to see in 2014!  In the meantime, their site and the images above will give you a glimpse of the history of the island, the people who inhabited it, and the fabulous gardens that are there for all of us to enjoy today.

January 09, 2014 by Jessie Davidson

What We're Loving

January 2014

1.) Classic….that sums up the Louis Ghost chair by Philippe Starck .  It seems equally comfortable in the living room, dining room, or dressing room.  And what a perfect solution to seating when your visual or physical space is limited?! Find it here and here.

2.) Bobby McFerrin’s new CD, Spirit You All, is one I just keep listening to over and over again.  He has the most amazing range, in voice, lyrics, and collaborations with other artists.  According to the CD jacket, “Bobby McFerrin re-imagines Americana with beloved spirituals and original songs raising the roof with joyful grooves.”  I don’t think it gets much better than that! Enjoy listening to the magic of his music here.

3.) Boyd Varty, of Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa, is a marvelous storyteller and has an important message about Ubuntu (human kindness) told through his relationship with Nelson Mandela. 

4.) A bit last minute, but there are two distinctly American exhibits to see in New York and Chicago that are closing later this month. I saw Art & Appetite:  American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine  at the Chicago Art Institute twice because it is so rich and yummy, I just couldn’t get enough!  Try to make it before its close on January 27th

5.) Equally enticing, American Modern:  Hopper to O’Keeffe at the Museum of Modern Art in New York looks wonderful.

6.) Sugata Mitra relays compelling thoughts about Designing a Future for Learning – A School in the Cloud.  His vision is all about education for every child in the world, not just the privileged, and it is fascinating. 

Enjoy listening and hearing, seeing, and pondering this month!

Photo Credits: , , 

January 09, 2014 by Jessie Davidson

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