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    Category: Interior Decorator


    That Ugly Fireplace Isnt as Bad as You Think – The New York Times - December 10, 2019 by admin

    The fireplace must be the focus of every rational scheme of arrangement, Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman Jr. wrote in their 1897 design classic, The Decoration of Houses.

    Not much has changed since then. Fireplaces are usually the dominant element in rooms lucky enough to have them, and the anchor around which furnishings are organized. In fact, most fireplaces refuse to be ignored, whether theyre beautiful or ugly. And therein lies the problem: What if your fireplace is clad in dated tile or discolored brick, or your mantel looks out of proportion or out of place?

    Giving a fireplace a new look may seem daunting, but its not as hard as it sounds.

    Its an architectural ornament thats changeable, said Thomas Jayne, an interior designer in New York and the author of Classical Principles for Modern Design, a book on applying Wharton and Codmans ideas to contemporary interiors.

    Transforming the appearance of a fireplace is usually well worth the time and expense, he said, because if you like your fireplace, youll like your whole room a lot better.

    We asked Mr. Jayne and other designers for advice on how to deal with a problematic fireplace.

    Its easy to write off old mantels and surrounds as unappealing when theyre damaged from years of abuse or covered in layers of soot, grime or caked paint.

    But dont automatically assume that you need to rip out or cover up what youve got. Instead, try to imagine what your fireplace would look like if it were restored.

    In a lot of projects, we start with ugly-looking fireplaces that are actually beautiful underneath, said Andrea Fisk, who founded the Brooklyn-based architecture firm Shapeless Studio with Jess Thomas Hinshaw.

    A lot of them have just been painted over and over and over, Ms. Thomas Hinshaw said, so that theyve lost a lot of the detailing and character.

    When Ms. Fisk and her life partner bought a rundown townhouse of their own in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, it had a dreary-looking living room fireplace covered in dirty cream-colored paint. But rather than immediately removing the mantel, Ms. Fisk performed a careful investigation.

    We really had no idea what was under there, she said. They couldnt even tell whether the mantel was stone or wood. With a chemical paint remover, she stripped away layers of paint and was astonished by what she found: a stunning mantel of green and gray slate with hints of pink and carved floral details.

    That was a wonderful surprise, she said.

    Not only did she keep it after removing every trace of the old paint, of course she also based the color palette of the room on it.

    Theres a reason old mantels are often thick with layers of paint: Its one of the easiest and least expensive ways to change the look of a fireplace. When done well, with an appropriate amount of paint not gobs, which can clump, drip and look unsightly painting can be surprisingly effective.

    Susana Simonpietri, owner and creative director of the Brooklyn-based design firm Chango & Co., occasionally paints brick fireplaces white for a crisp, fresh look. Recently, she did so while renovating a 1970s house in East Hampton, N.Y., which had a two-sided fireplace between the living and dining rooms made from orangy brick that neither she nor her clients liked.

    We painted the outside white and the inside of the fireplace black, for a lot of contrast, she said.

    It was as simple as covering the brick with a sealing primer, she said, and then applying several coats of Decorators White paint from Benjamin Moore. The priming is very important, she said. If you dont prime, the color from the bricks will bleed through.

    Almost any type of paint can be used on the outside of a fireplace, Ms. Simonpietri said, though she prefers an exterior-grade paint for durability. But inside the firebox, its important to use a special high-temperature paint that can withstand the heat.

    A painted brick fireplace is easy to maintain, she said, even when its white: All you have to do is hit it with another coat of paint when it gets dirty, over time, from the smoke.

    Replacing an existing mantel or chimney piece, or adding one where there was previously none, can immediately change the character of a fireplace.

    A traditional fireplace can be made to look modern with the addition of a mantel composed of simple marble slabs, and a contemporary fireplace can be given a sense of age with a traditional wood mantel that has classical details.

    Changing the mantel itself is not that big a deal, Ms. Simonpietri said, noting that they can usually be pried off the wall like trim. Essentially, you are left with walls that need to be healed. If youre a handy person, its a do-it-yourself project.

    Replacement mantels are widely available at a range of prices, from home improvement stores like the Home Depot to specialty manufacturers like Chesneys. And reclaimed mantels can be found at architectural salvage stores like Big Reuse, Olde Good Things and Demolition Depot and Irreplaceable Artifacts.

    You can also build a custom mantel, like Vincent DiSalvo, a principal of DiSalvo Contracting in New York, frequently does for his clients.

    Installing a new mantel is fairly straightforward, Mr. DiSalvo said, as long as you work within the parameters of code requirements, and size it properly to fit the existing opening. Combustible materials like a wood mantel must be at least six inches back from the sides of a wood-burning firebox, he said, and the horizontal piece that runs across the top of the firebox should be around 12 inches above the opening, depending on how far the mantel projects off the wall.

    The resulting gap between the firebox and mantel creates another design opportunity, he noted, and can be finished with distinctive ceramic tile or stone.

    Of course, not every fireplace needs to be finished with a conventional mantel. There are countless creative alternatives.

    When Mr. Jayne renovated a house for clients in Oyster Bay, N.Y., he designed a tall box clad in Delft tiles to surround the fireplace.

    Rather than just having a fireplace with a row of Delft tiles and a pretty 19th-century wood molding around it, we tried to modernize it and make it more contemporary, he said.

    Sometimes, Mr. Jayne eliminates a ledge or shelf above the fireplace altogether, as he did in the library of an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. There, he removed the existing pseudo Georgian Revival mantel and clad the wall around the fireplace in colorful mosaic tile a design loosely inspired by a fireplace in a dining room designed by Stanford White at Kingscote, a 19th-century house in Newport, R.I.

    For a more monolithic appearance, a fireplace can be resurfaced in concrete or natural stone in the same way. If you use natural stone, though, choose a dark one, like slate, rather than a light one, like white marble, Mr. DiSalvo advised: You want to select a stone that isnt easily stained by soot. A darker-colored stone holds up better over time.

    Attacking the mantel or the area immediately around the fireplace sometimes isnt enough. In that case, the whole wall that houses the fireplace may need attention.

    When Shapeless Studio renovated a Brooklyn apartment that had an especially unappealing brick wall with a fireplace, they built a new wall with drywall in front of it, floor to ceiling, to conceal the entire expanse.

    That slightly reduced the footprint of the living room, but it created a cleaner look and the opportunity to add a beefy custom limestone mantel. The architects also used the thickness of the new wall to create recessed storage nooks on either side of the fireplace.

    Linc Thelen, a Chicago-based designer, used a similar strategy to conceal a dated-looking rubble-stone feature wall with a fireplace when he renovated a house in rural Indiana.

    We had to reframe it, he said, because there was no other reasonable way to remove or conceal the stone. After adding cement board to the framing for a smooth surface, he installed a linear arrangement of buff-colored manufactured stone veneer from Eldorado Stone on top.

    I wanted something that was minimal, but also warm and modern, he said.

    Building a second wall may seem somewhat extreme, but transforming the appearance of an unloved fireplace can pay big dividends. The fireplace can help tie the whole house together, Mr. Thelen said. And it can say a lot about the personality of the person.

    There are also family traditions to consider, he added: You can have Santa Claus coming down a stylish chimney.

    For weekly email updates on residential real estate news, sign up here. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.

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    That Ugly Fireplace Isnt as Bad as You Think - The New York Times

    The Decorous Surfaces and Fraught Subtexts of Alice Adamss Life and Work – The New York Times - December 10, 2019 by admin

    Return Trips is a typical exercise in perambulating free association, opening with the narrators tryst (in Yugoslavia yet) with a sweet-natured youth named Paul who will shortly die of a congenital heart defect; for the rest of the long story were reminded of Paul, here and there, as a kind of idealized alternative to the other men in the narrators life before and after circling back to the ur-trauma, long ago in Hilton, when she was walking home with a boy and spotted her father kissing a strange woman in their wood-paneled Chrysler: I hate him is what I thought.

    The perspective of the Fitzgeraldian hero simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life is most resonantly expressed in the pursuit of love, but one of the men with whom Adams pursued it, Saul Bellow, considered this a limitation of her first novel, Careless Love: Women like your heroine do seem to live completely in relationships and think of very little apart from their own feminine happiness, he wrote her. Such a formulation applied less and less to Adamss mature work, whose heroines are certainly concerned with their own happiness, romantic and otherwise, but tend to be unhappy each in her own lonely way. Ardis Bascombe, in Beautiful Girl, is a North Carolina tobacco heiress and former beauty queen who spends her days, in San Francisco, getting drunk in her kitchen and mooning about the past. Lest one think this a simple matter of lost youth and looks, we learn via a passing thought of Ardiss daughter (Adams has a nice touch with narrative point of view) that her mother used to be so much fun in a way that might explain why Ardis moved to San Francisco: I sincerely hope that both my daughters marry them, she once remarked to a Winston-Salem real-estate woman who wanted to keep blacks out of the neighborhood. I understand those guys are really great. Not, unfortunately, from personal experience.

    Carol Sklenicka is a lucid, scrupulous writer, as readers of her acclaimed biography of Raymond Carver will attest. Her description of, say, a late-life surgical procedure that Adams endured the ghastly degloving of her face to remove a tumor from her nasal cavity would pass muster in a neurosurgeons how-to guide. Such a conscientious and (it must be said) rather humorless sensibility works well with inherently dramatic material, and so is perhaps better suited for a redemptive fable about the colossal alcoholic Carver, who somehow kicked both booze and the worst predations of his machete-wielding editor, Gordon Lish. By comparison, most of Adamss life had a fairly decorous surface (Never a harsh word) whose fraught subtext needs teasing out by a subtle fiction artist. Consider: At Myrtle Wilsons party in The Great Gatsby, Tom Buchanan breaks Myrtles nose, while, in Sklenickas first biography, a drunken Carver (Bad Ray) smashes a bottle upside the head of his long-suffering first wife, Maryann. Both are powerful scenes and yet: In the first case what we remember most (among a mlange of other nuances) is Myrtles story about the way her drab husband had to borrow the suit he married her in. In Alice Adams, however, the prosaic remains decidedly prosaic. The evidence of Adamss letters, fiction and later notebooks suggests that Alice probably did not go all the way with any of those Madison boys, writes the meticulous Sklenicka, who sometimes injects gravitas into these early pages the disturbing news from Europe, and so on in ways that seem tangential, at best, to the immediate concerns of her teenage subject. Such historical digressions go on for a page or a paragraph, or else are woven into a single sentence like a discolored skin graft: Back in Cambridge in the spring of 1945, as the Russians and Western Allies conquered Germany and revealed Nazi concentration camps to the world, Alice joined another short-story class with less satisfactory results.

    Once Adamss professional career takes off, references to the wider world are largely obviated by discussions of her work, her book tours (and other travels) and her impressive royalty advances. Of her 11 novels, her most successful was Superior Women (1984), an all but explicit homage to Mary McCarthys The Group, which gives a portrait of the authors generation via the stories of a few friends from Vassar; in Adamss novel, the friends are from Radcliffe. Fawcett Crest bought the paperback rights for a whopping $635,000 perhaps the most noteworthy moment from that particular era in Adamss life, as Sklenicka readily concedes: As a result of her successful move into full-time authorship, the fiction she produced almost overshadows the biographical facts of her life in the early 1980s. Almost. Another piquant aspect of the story is the way Adamss life came to mirror that of her parents: Her oldest friend pointed out how Alice was beginning to look like Agatha her homely, unhappy mother at a time when she lived with a handsome interior decorator, Bob McNie, who drank and was probably bipolar like Adamss father. After the relationship ended, belatedly, Adams cast doubt on the mans reputation as the only heterosexual decorator in San Francisco with a novel, Almost Perfect (1993), that shed provisionally titled her Book of Bob. (We can be fairly certain that Alice did not invent the bisexual theme, Sklenicka certifies, pointing out that McNies children found a large cache of gay pornography after his death.)

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    The Decorous Surfaces and Fraught Subtexts of Alice Adamss Life and Work - The New York Times

    David Netto on a life in design – Business of Home - December 10, 2019 by admin

    David Netto has always balanced a love of tradition with a pinch of iconoclasm. He grew up on the Upper East Side and went to the venerable boys private school Buckleybut hated it (they wanted him to be a jock, he wasnt). Later he went to Harvard for a masters in architecturethen dropped out. Now hes a respected interior designer working out of Los Angelesbut he spends half his time writing (books, and a column for Town & Country).

    In this weeks episode of the Business of Home podcast (sponsored by Chairish and Google), Netto speaks with host Dennis Scullyanother Buckley graduatein front of a live audience at the New York School of Interior Design. They cover a wide range of topics, from the effect of the AIDS on the design community to the wit of Dorothy Draper.

    Below, listen to the episode and check out a few takeaways. If you like what you hear, subscribe to the podcast (free of charge!) and a new episode will be delivered to you every week.

    Go BoldSurprise: Media is in trouble. But there are silver linings, according to Netto. For one, the rise of digital media has made certain print mediumsbooks, specificallymore desirable. Magazines occupy a dangerous middle ground, and Netto says its time for something new. The time when youre on your ass, and theres no end in sight, no backstop to the adversitythats not the time to try and be a people-pleaser; I think thats the time to lead, because you actually have nothing to lose, he says. I think terrible mistakes are being made at certain magazines that I love, because the leadership is not really invested in anything but trying to keep it alive. Its the time for bold new points of view. Maybe none of it will work, but if you dont stand for quality, I really dont see that youre doing anything but looking at your watch and trying to pay your kids college tuition before it all goes away in a couple of years.

    Watch for happy accidentsWhat does a 1936 Bugatti coupe have to do with great design? Everything, says Netto. When they made the prototype of the car, they were using a lightweight aluminum that couldnt be welded ... so they riveted the prototype together in two pieces. When they used the actual car, they didnt need to use the riveted spine, but by then everyone had realized that this detail was the whole soul of the car. Its a lesson in keeping your eyes open and embracing mistakes, he says.

    Tell a StoryIn addition to his design projects all over the U.S., Netto writes a regular column for Town & Country, and has written for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal in addition to authoring several books. He finds that theres a lot in common between both halves of his career: A good decorator is a storyteller. Ive met great decorators that couldnt write or draw anything, but they tell a story.

    Homepage photo by Marc Hom

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    David Netto on a life in design - Business of Home

    Inside the New Manhattan Apartment of Decorating Legend Bunny Williams – Architectural Digest - December 10, 2019 by admin

    New digs, same belongings, different take. I brought so much stuff up here, says interior decorator Bunny Williamsfirst named to the AD100 in 1995 and elevated to its Hall of Fame three years agoof the Manhattan apartment that she shares with her husband, John Rosselli, the legendary antiques dealer and home-furnishings maestro. It was just fun to rehang all the pictures, add some new things, and change it up, she adds. I can spend hours playing house.

    Located on an upper floor of the palatial 1920s French Gothic Revival pile that Williams has called home for decades, the two-bedroom flat fell into her expert hands in 2018, right at the time she and Rosselli began craving something different. We wanted a little bit more space, and I wanted more light, she explains. Rosselli, stepping into the library to join the chat, chimes in, At ten minutes after nine, the sun starts to turn, and this whole section of the building just brightens up.

    Solar desires answered, a swift, smart, inspiring renovation followed. Moldings now ennoble the formerly detail-free walls, an aristocratic marble mantel went into the living room, down went eye-catching carpets old and new (I didnt want to do sisal again, the decorator says), and up went the art, from 19th-century Orientalist paintings (Rossellis passion since boyhood) to colorful canvases that only look important. People say, Oh, your art is so wonderful, Williams explains with a delicious laugh. And Im like, I think I paid $200 for that in a junk shop. You dont have to have a lot of money to have a very chic house.

    Link:
    Inside the New Manhattan Apartment of Decorating Legend Bunny Williams - Architectural Digest

    Reviewing the 2019 Hallmark Holiday Movies: No Watching Necessary – Houston Press - December 10, 2019 by admin

    The holidays represent many things to many people. For some, it is a joyous time of year with festive gatherings and the warmth of loved ones. For others, it's a time for reflection. But, then there are those who crave the trappings: the shopping, the controversial Starbuck's coffee cups (with they have Satan on them this year?), the tear-jerking and sometimes really freaking creepy TV commercials. Those folks fill their stockings with glitter and and candy canes and so much merry, it makes you want to barf egg nog (and not after drinking it all night like the rest of us).

    They also want something else. They want holiday movies. And not just ANY films. They want the annual oh-my-God-everything-is-perfect films that only Hallmark can create. Yes, that's right, the Hallmark Holiday extravaganza is back with 24 movies that will make you sing Joy to the World until your eyes bleed.

    And we are reviewing each and every one of them...without watching a single second. Nothing against them, but, yeah, no. We've already had enough sugar plum-covered happiness to last us 12 Christmases and we're not even out of the first week of December.

    So, buckle into that sleigh, holiday freaks, it's time to get jolly AF.

    Christmas Wishes & Mistletoe Kisses

    "...andsnowflakes and moonbeams and whiskers on kittens..."That line is from the Ghost of Christmas Past in Scrooged played brilliantly by Carol Kane right before she punches Bill Murray's character in the face. It also feels like the run-on sentence version of this title which could easily stretch into William Faulkner-esque paragraphs-long prose if the folks at Hallmark weren't so stingy with words in the title. Anyway, single mom turned interior designer (there are LOTS of designers in these flicks) hired by business big wig for Christmas decorating...blah, blah...love ensues. Donna Mills, Soap Opera Digest Award winner for Outstanding Villainess three times, plays the mother-in-law, which, now long past her Knots Landing days, feels a bit like typecasting, but whatevs.

    Merry & Bright

    Let's get this out there now: There are a lot of ridiculous job titles in these movies. None are as batshit nuts, however, as this one where Jodie Sweeten (the first, but absolutely not the last, appearance of a Full House alum this year) is the CEO of Merry & Bright Candy Cane Company. Her potential beau is from Empire Corporate Recovery and wants to take a close look at Sweeten's books...if you know what we mean. Seriously though, does a candy cane company need a CEO? And who would hire a company to look into said candy cane company's books and for what nefarious reasons? You'll just have to tune in to find out.

    Christmas Scavenger Hunt

    Combining those two hallmarks of a Hallmark holiday blockbuster, exes and small town traditions, Belinda and Dustin are "forced" to team up in the town's annual Christmas scavenger hunt. If you think that includes a selfie with Santa, oh, you'd be on point there, Kris Kringle. Our question is simple: forced? Is this some sort of Hunger Games scenario where the victors dine on the flesh of the vanquished? Or is Santa some kind of perv that forces the two former lovers into his red room of torture and pleasure? Then again, it might just be an overzealous copywriter trying to gin up the description using grandiose verbosity without actual unmitigated prevarication. Ahem.

    Picture a Perfect ChristmasA quote-extreme-sports-photographer-unquote comes home to tend to granny, but a neighbor with nephew troubles is also in need. First, what exactly is an extreme sports photographer? Does she (yes, she...you thought it wasn't a man, didn't you, sexist?) photograph extreme sports or does she take pictures while doing crazy skateboard tricks? We may never know. Second, neighbor with a nephew that needs help? What kind of bizarre meet cute is this? The whole damn thing sounds confusing as hell.

    The Mistletoe SecretKelly Pickler in our first country singer-tinged acting performance is a woman hoping to revitalize her little town with a write up from a travel writer. But the travel ghost writer gasp! is a stone cold hottie. At least we hope that she isn't torn (as it says in the description) betweenPatrick Duffy (yes, from Dallas, Patrick Duffy)and the ghost writer. Look, Bobby was a hot stud muffin in the Dallas days when he spun around in that shower a full season after he died on the show because fans complained so much the writers had to turn that season into Pam's dream sequence (yes, that really happened), but he's got to be like 90 or something by now. Gross.

    Christmas Under the StarsThis one has EVERYTHING (insert Stephon voice): a fired investment banker, a plucky small town astronomy teacher (astronomy?), a Christmas tree lot on the verge of bankruptcy, Desperate Housewives hunk Jesse Metcalfe. Heis on the scene as the self-centered big city jerk who gets his comeuppance and a slice of homespun wisdom while working at a widower's tree lot. The widower is played by Clarke Peters, aka Lester Freamon from The Wire. We're not even sure he and McNulty could save this disaster.

    Write Before ChristmasThe premise seems sweet, but we worry about the execution. Woman (single woman, of course), wanting to intensify her Christmas spirit (or something), sends letters to the people that influenced her life including her aunt (wide and old, we assume, though it is Lolita Davidovich from Blaze, so what do we know?), some pop star who must be down on his luck and the letter rescues him from his depression otherwise why would he be in this? a music teacher, her brother in the military, and the always honest best friend (she calls her on her shit!). That's a lot of letters. We have trouble getting our Christmas cards out on time with that generic letter about how great your year was. We have no idea where the love happens here. We really have no idea about anything except the letter and the stupid pop star trope because, come on.

    Christmas at Graceland: Home for the HolidaysWe were really hoping this would a Bachelorette-like theme but at Graceland and all the all the would-be suitors are Elvis impersonators, but no such luck. Instead, this Memphis-set romance includes a wealthy widower (there are a lot of these in Hallmark land) and a nanny trying to break Scrooge out of his business-first selfishness. We've seen this theme many times, the best of which included Jackie Gleason as the grumpy (vaguely racist) old man and Richard Pryor as the nanny to a spoiled brat. (Insert Master Bates jokes here.) Our hopes would be higher if it was the Elvis thing.

    Cherished Memories: A Gift to Remember 2"A year after Darcy ran over Aiden, his amnesia is gone but not their love." This is an actual quote from the description. Part one apparently happened in 2017. Darcy put Aiden (those names!) in a coma when she hit him on her bicycle. Really?We honestly can't adequately describe how cringeworthy this movie sounds. Let's just set the premise. She bought Aiden a copy of the book Found in the Street because she FOUND HIM IN THE STREET. Yes. He is hand carving a replica of her home town (her father did the same for her mother, which makes us wonder why they need two of these things), but the rec center Darcy loves (also in the crazy carved wood lunacy) is in danger of closing. It's as if the writers of this were like, "Let's take every really bad Hallmark movie theme and cram them into a greatest hits of schmaltz!"

    A Christmas DuetHallmark, like Salt Lake City, is mostly populated by Caucasians. Sure, there are smaller roles for actors of color but there are a few movies each year where they attempt to inject some real diversity into the mix. This year's offering (yes, just one this year) is A Christmas Duet, with a pair of black co-stars, formerly a singing duo. One, Averie, has retired to the woods to become a philanthropist. Wait, sorry, that's the game Life. But, she did go to Vermont and open a lodge, so same diff. Jesse, on the other hand, continues to live the dream of a singer, but it's tough sledding without his chanteuse. Could they rekindle their love (and love of music) at the annual Yuletide Festival in time for the travel writer visiting the lodgeto see them belt one out like Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack?

    Check Inn to ChristmasA pair of rival inns in a small Rocky Mountain town is the setting for this Hatfields versus McCoys romp. Julia, a city slicker attorney, comes home only to find love in Ryan, a member of the family that owns the other inn in town. The Cinemax version might find them consummating their illicit affair in the dining room before guests come down for breakfast. On Hallmark, the closest they'll come to hooking up is touching hands by accident when they both reach for the cute little snowman figurine at the quaint old antique store. Perhaps we can hope for gunplay between the rival families. Fingers crossed.

    The Christmas ClubBrought together by the power of forensic accounting, Olivia and Edward (total strangers) assist a sweet old lady in recovering her Christmas savings. We don't know for sure if they used banking magic or just dug around in the woman's attic until they gave up and decided to hand her a wad of cash and tell her it was a Christmas miracle, but in the end, does it really matter?

    Christmas at the PlazaNow, here's something special. It's a Hallmark holiday film set in, wait for it, the Plaza Hotel in New York City. No snowy village or quaint hamlet. No adorable bed and breakfast or cozy lodge. This is the goddamn Plaza in the freaking Big Apple. And, surprise surprise, this has some realistic rom-com themes: She a historian hired to set up a historical display for the holidays; and he a decorator doing the Christmas decor. She's even in a loveless relationship. We're left to wonder why this wasn't pitched to a Hollywood studio with Ann Hathaway and Ryan Reynolds as leads.

    Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of JoyWe're back in Evergreen, you guys! Last year, the whole plot revolved around a 25-year-old Christmas letter. This time, it's the fevered hunt for a time capsule that may or may not exist. It's like Scooby and the Mystery Machine show up in Evergreen every year around Christmas solving mysteries and looking for g-g-g-ghosts. (Hint: the old man running the abandoned theme park did it). To add to the intrigue, a skeptical writer shows up to find out if the town's reputation for Christmas spirit is real or #FakeNews.

    Christmas in RomeHoly crap, y'all! Can you say on location in Rome? This budget buster features Lacey Chabert as a recently fired American tour guide who lands a gig shuttling around a rich American executive trying to buy a ceramics company. What, you thought she'd find love with some swarthy Italian lothario who teaches her how to extrude pasta and savor the sauce of life? Forget it, man. This is a wealthy American getting his eat, pray, love on while making boatloads of cash and finding love in the offing. Ho ho holiday capitalism, baby.

    Christmas TownCandace Cameron Bure (another former Full House-r) and some dude who looks like one of the Property Brothers after joining a boy band star in this tale of love and fate. Bure is looking for a new life and career when she finds a picture of her father on the wall of a cafe in a small town. Pretty soon, she has a new family of her own. And in an unexpected twist, the guy is actually in a boy band and he and Bure tour the world in a coke and heroin-fueled dystopian nightmare of depravity until they both wind up dead in their own filth. We're joking, of course, but we bet it would be more fun than whatever this is.

    A Christmas Love StoryIn an annual tradition, Hallmark pulls out the big guns (well, medium sized guns anyway) for one Hallmark Hall of Fame film that features, let's call them, B-list celebs instead of their usual fare of D, M and Y-listers. In this case, it's Kristin Chenoweth (girl, the money better have been good) and Scott Wolf (like Chabert, a former Party of Five cast member) in some Glee-centric plot nonsense. Wolf, a widower (natch), finds out his son can really croon when he joins Chenoweth's youth choir when she is trying to write a magical number for the Christmas show. And then they sing...the end.

    Christmas at DollywoodListen, we aren't saying a single sarcastic word about Ms. Parton. This will be the best Christmas movie ever. End of story.

    Holiday DateOk, so here's a real unique spin on the "I hired a guy to pretend to be my boyfriend and, oops, we fell in love" romantic comedy narrative. In this case, Brooke takes an actor home as the boyfriend she has described as Mr. Christmas. Oh, boy, though, Joel it seems is Jewish. The pair plays along until Joel is discovered. And in yet another completely unrealistic twist, the family accepts him and even adopts some of his religious holiday traditions. Yeah, because in 2019, your racist grandfather isn't going to call your boyfriend a hippie for wearing an earring. Instead, he'll accept it and they'll get matching Santa tattoos.

    A Cheerful ChristmasBefore we dig in, we'd like to point out that if this is the best they could do for a promo photo two women smelling their respective index fingers we are very concerned for what is to come. With that out of the way, these two women start a company as Christmas coaches, teaching people how to be jolly or something. We love how people always seem to choose careers that are good for like three months out of the year and pay, at most, $20 per hour. Anyway, a royal family moves into town with, you guessed it, an actual prince. Need we say anything else?

    Double HolidayAnd just like that, we have our second Jewish-themed premise. This time, Rebecca, an ambitious woman has her Hanukah plans nearly thwarted by her boss. Asked to plan the company Christmas party with her annoying co-worker, Chris, she does it because, well, she's a damn career woman and that's what ladies do to climb the corporate ladder insert eye roll. Anyhoo, the lively competitiveness between Rebecca and Chris only fuel their passion for one another or whatever. Mazel tov you crazy kids.

    Its Beginning to Look a Lot Like ChristmasAll we can think about when we read this description is it stars Daniel(Eric Mabius)from Ugly Betty and Cylon Number Six (Tricia Helfer) in the Battlestar Galactica reboot. After that, the whole thing is a blur. The two play mayors at rival towns and there's a decorating contest and the Cylons invade, but Daniel doesn't see it because he's too superficial even though we know, deep down, he isn't. It's all very confusing.

    When Calls the Heart: Home for ChristmasWe honestly don't know much about the plot for this year's Christmas episode of the beloved Hallmark period series, but we do know one thing. Lori Laughlin ain't in it.

    A New Years Resolution And finally, the traditional New Year's film, this time starring Aimee Teegarden (known first as Julie Taylor in NBC's Friday Night Lights). Teegarden is a morning show producer a la Rachel McAdams in Morning Glory, only Teegarden doesn't get Dianne Keaton and Harrison Ford to bounce things off of. She wants to say yes more often and she meets a classic yes man. That's literally the plot. We could make a digital short film about that and carve out the whole narrative in approximately three minutes. Hallmark gets two hours. But, hey, Happy New Year!

    Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.

    Read more:
    Reviewing the 2019 Hallmark Holiday Movies: No Watching Necessary - Houston Press

    Gift Guide 2019: Geppettoz Primitive Workshop – Lynchburg News and Advance - December 10, 2019 by admin

    Owners: Rich and Mary Michealsen

    Products: One-of-a-kind birdhouses and home and garden dcor

    Price: The birdhouses range from $69 to $199, and home and garden dcor from $22 to $300

    Whats in a name: Our children came up with the name Geppetto just because [Rich] has always been a carpenter and has the ability to make anything out of wood. Our daughter Kristen added the Primitive Workshop because we like to make everything with a primitive style and use mostly reclaimed materials.

    The tagline for Geppettoz Primitive Workshop, the business run by Rich and Mary Michealsen, is OLD is the new NEW, a nod to the couples knack for turning reclaimed materials into one-of-a-kind pieces.

    The Bedford couple specializes in birdhouses, as well as home and garden dcor. They prefer vintage materials to new ones, they say, because [it lets] you imagine the history or memories attached to each item.

    The birdhouses come in several shapes and sizes and often are embellished with old sink faucets, shutters or dresser knobs and legs.

    They gather their supplies at yard sales, estate sales and auctions, then collaborate on the designs together. Rich, who has a background in the building industry, handles the carpentry and assembly, while Mary, an interior decorator, takes care of the old hardware, handles, knobs and other finishing touches, as well as the paint or stain.

    In the past, theyve used barn siding, oak and pine flooring and tin ceilings in their creations; theyve also turned old chicken coops into coffee tables and vintage window sashes into curio cabinets.

    Geppettoz isnt the couples first time working together so closely. Originally from Northport, New York, they ran a construction business there for more than 20 years, building custom homes and renovating existing ones.

    In 1989, the Michealsens moved to Smith Mountain Lake, bringing their business with them. It was there that their interest in older homes was piqued.

    It wasnt long before [our] hobby became restoring furniture and creating gifts out of barn siding and other reclaimed materials, they wrote in an email Q&A, listing off some of their materials: metal roofs, vintage window sashes and cabinet doors.

    They relocated to Bedford in 2015, moving in next door to their daughter Kristen, whose barn became the home for Geppettoz.

    We have always made gifts for friends and family, its just part of who we are, they wrote. When those homemade items were admired, it wasnt long before people were placing orders for custom items. It slowly evolved, and our clients through the years got excited when we retired and could dedicate more time to creating one-of-a-kind items. We love working together and seeing customers love what we do.

    View post:
    Gift Guide 2019: Geppettoz Primitive Workshop - Lynchburg News and Advance

    Secrets of set design for Succession, Billions and Big Little Lies – The Times - December 10, 2019 by admin

    Meet the set designers who are the real stars of some of the biggest TV dramas

    One of the biggest challenges for Michael Shaw, the production designer of the hit TV show Billions, was how to convey the lives of the ultra-rich: the rarefied world of the 1 per cent of the 1 per cent. Everyone has a sense of what rich looks like, but a TV show called Billions it needed to go beyond that. It had to contain elements which were extreme: landing a helicopter on your front lawn or impulsively purchasing a $70 million beach home.

    The result is a voyeuristic romp through the high-powered life of Bobby Axelrod, or Axe, the Manhattan hedge-fund phenomenon played by Damian Lewis. It is a world that exudes the bleached monotone of wealth, visible in the monastic feel of Axes

    Want to read more?

    Subscribe now and get unlimited digital access on web and our smartphone and tablet apps, free for your first month.

    Read the original here:
    Secrets of set design for Succession, Billions and Big Little Lies - The Times

    The Addams Family with Oscar Isaac voicing Gomez is adorably twee, not spooky – The Canberra Times - December 10, 2019 by admin

    whats-on, music-theatre-arts, The Addams Family, film review

    The Addams Family (PG) 3 stars For 80 years, The Addams Family have been a pop culture phenomenon, beginning with cartoonist Charles Addams' single-panel comics in The New Yorker magazine in 1938, inspiring the iconic television series from 1964, and then a number of cartoon and feature film reimaginings. This is both a cartoon and a feature film, a new animated feature that owes more to the original comic panels and with some major talent providing the voices. The Addams Family must have been brilliantly anti-establishment in the middle of the last century, however, it is something of a victim of its own success. The family members from the cartoons are delightfully dark, with the boys in the family playing with dynamite for fun, walking their pet octopus, enjoying a charging in the family electric chair. The family butler may or may not be the monster from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Mother Morticia dead-heads roses for the aesthetic pleasure and in one panel reveals a mane of Medusa-like snakes at the hair salon, while children Pugsley and Wednesday send their dolls to an adorable nursery guillotine. Which is to say this is dark, macabre humour. However, from the 1960s TV series onwards, this family has helped slowly warp much contemporary humour and society in its image. Every wannabe Goth, every teen angst over-application of eyeliner owes a debt to Wednesday Addams, from Winona Ryder's Beetlejuice character, to Aubrey Plaza's April Ludgate in Parks and Recreation, to whatever lippy thing your own children said to you last week. Whether they knew it or not, that sneer needs to tip its hat to the Addams Family. I'm getting to a point and it is this - The Addams Family have changed our culture to such a point that being true to its source material, as the new feature by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon is, feels slim and insufficient. They've helped take contemporary comedy to a much darker place, so that this new film version feels adorably twee. Perfectly fine for a pre-teen discovering the material for the first time, not so much for the grown-up driving them to the movies to see it. Something of an origin story, the film meets Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (Charlize Theron) before they first arrive in the US. Back in "The old country," they are chased from their wedding ceremony by a posse of angry villagers with lit torches. They flee to the safety of suburban New Jersey, to a former insane asylum with walls that drip blood. Some years later, their son Pugsley (Finn Wolfard from Stranger Things) is studying for a macabre family coming-of-age ceremony. Meanwhile, daughter Wednesday (Chloe Grace Moretz) questions their isolation from the surrounding community. The family might be living in secure suburban America, but the neighbours still have their lit torches. Here it is self-serving reality TV star and interior decorator Margaux (Allison Janney) and her campaign against the Addams' resistance to a real estate property values-driven neighbourhood beautification program. Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon made the oddly unfunny gross-out adult animation Sausage Party and they do a fine if uninspired job here crafting a cutesy family film. Everybody feels a little isolated, wondering at their difference from those around them, which makes us all side with the Addams Family against normalcy, against the drivel of everyday life. So every attempt to inject a little Addams in our lives should be rewarded.

    https://nnimgt-a.akamaihd.net/transform/v1/crop/frm/fdcx/doc788n4salg8jzxcxwbkd.jpg/r152_0_4347_2370_w1200_h678_fmax.jpg

    REVIEW

    December 7 2019 - 5:00AM

    For 80 years, The Addams Family have been a pop culture phenomenon, beginning with cartoonist Charles Addams' single-panel comics in The New Yorker magazine in 1938, inspiring the iconic television series from 1964, and then a number of cartoon and feature film reimaginings.

    From left, Charlize Theron voices Morticia Addams, Chlo Grace Moretz voices Wednesday Addams, Oscar Isaac voices Gomez Addams, Finn Wolfhard voices Pugsley, and Nick Kroll voices Uncle Fester. Picture: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.

    This is both a cartoon and a feature film, a new animated feature that owes more to the original comic panels and with some major talent providing the voices.

    The Addams Family must have been brilliantly anti-establishment in the middle of the last century, however, it is something of a victim of its own success.

    The family members from the cartoons are delightfully dark, with the boys in the family playing with dynamite for fun, walking their pet octopus, enjoying a charging in the family electric chair.

    The family butler may or may not be the monster from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

    Mother Morticia dead-heads roses for the aesthetic pleasure and in one panel reveals a mane of Medusa-like snakes at the hair salon, while children Pugsley and Wednesday send their dolls to an adorable nursery guillotine. Which is to say this is dark, macabre humour.

    However, from the 1960s TV series onwards, this family has helped slowly warp much contemporary humour and society in its image. Every wannabe Goth, every teen angst over-application of eyeliner owes a debt to Wednesday Addams, from Winona Ryder's Beetlejuice character, to Aubrey Plaza's April Ludgate in Parks and Recreation, to whatever lippy thing your own children said to you last week. Whether they knew it or not, that sneer needs to tip its hat to the Addams Family.

    I'm getting to a point and it is this - The Addams Family have changed our culture to such a point that being true to its source material, as the new feature by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon is, feels slim and insufficient.

    They've helped take contemporary comedy to a much darker place, so that this new film version feels adorably twee. Perfectly fine for a pre-teen discovering the material for the first time, not so much for the grown-up driving them to the movies to see it.

    From left, Morticia Addams (voiced by Charlize Theron), Oscar Isaac ( Gomez Addams) and Allison Janney (Margaux Needler) in The Addams Family. Picture: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.

    Something of an origin story, the film meets Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (Charlize Theron) before they first arrive in the US.

    Back in "The old country," they are chased from their wedding ceremony by a posse of angry villagers with lit torches.

    They flee to the safety of suburban New Jersey, to a former insane asylum with walls that drip blood.

    Some years later, their son Pugsley (Finn Wolfard from Stranger Things) is studying for a macabre family coming-of-age ceremony.

    Meanwhile, daughter Wednesday (Chloe Grace Moretz) questions their isolation from the surrounding community.

    The family might be living in secure suburban America, but the neighbours still have their lit torches.

    Here it is self-serving reality TV star and interior decorator Margaux (Allison Janney) and her campaign against the Addams' resistance to a real estate property values-driven neighbourhood beautification program.

    Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon made the oddly unfunny gross-out adult animation Sausage Party and they do a fine if uninspired job here crafting a cutesy family film.

    Everybody feels a little isolated, wondering at their difference from those around them, which makes us all side with the Addams Family against normalcy, against the drivel of everyday life.

    So every attempt to inject a little Addams in our lives should be rewarded.

    Read more from the original source:
    The Addams Family with Oscar Isaac voicing Gomez is adorably twee, not spooky - The Canberra Times

    Carleton Varney reflects on a colorful career – Business of Home - November 25, 2019 by admin

    Carleton Varney was, of all things, a teacher before he became an interior decorator. But his first career didnt last long. After landing a job working for Dorothy Draper (he eventually took over her firm), Varney was off and running, bringing his bright, joyous palette to a client list that includes everyone from Jimmy Carter to Joan Crawford. To say nothing of his 37 books, newspaper columns, TV shows, product lines and a project hes been working on forwait for it53 years: The Greenbrier hotel in West Virginia.

    In this episode of the Business of Home podcast (sponsored by Chairish and Google), Varney shares stories of working with some of his most famous clients, his philosophy on color, and why, at 82, hes as busy as hes ever been. (Clint Eastwood is 88, Varney points out with a laugh.)

    Listen, and check out a few takeaways below. If you like what you hear, subscribe to the podcast (free of charge!) on Apple Podcasts, and every week a new show will be delivered to your smartphone.

    ADVICE FROM JOANThough hes had more than a few iconic clients, one of Varneys most famous was Joan Crawford. She also gave him one of the best pieces of advice he ever received. Joan told me one thing Ill always remember and was the key to a lot of things I did in my career, says Varney. She said: Look at me, Carleton I wanna tell you one thing: I invented me, and you can do the same. I always remembered that. The challenge was to concentrate. Im not a person who ever wasted time. If Im on an airplane, I dont watch movies, I work on my new book or my newspaper column.

    BRING BACK THE RAINBOWVarney generally sees the good in everythingbut he draws a line at greige. I look at some of the design magazines, they show so much white and beige and colorless rooms, that Im afraid that the next generation will do even less color, he says. When you walk through a pretty garden that has colorful flowers: yellows, greens, pinks and blues, everybody loves it. Then they turn around and walk back inside and forget that exists, and go back into neutral.

    LIFE GOES ONVarney is a huge admirer of legendary Architectural Digest editor in chief Paige Rense, and was an early supporter when she took over the magazine in the 1970s. The fact that he published a project in House Beautiful, leading to his banishment from AD (Rense famously wanted designers to stay exclusive to her publication), didnt cause any hard feelings. Nothing in this world is dependent on only one person, says Varney. Sure, it was a blow, but, it wasnt the only magazine.

    Read this article:
    Carleton Varney reflects on a colorful career - Business of Home

    Corrections: Nov. 24, 2019 – The New York Times - November 25, 2019 by admin

    TRAVEL

    An article on Nov. 10 about ancient Puebloan civilization in the American Southwest misspelled part of the name of a mission church in New Mexico. It is San Estevan del Rey Mission Church, not San Estaban del Rey Mission Church.

    The cover story last Sunday, about recreating a home interior for the TV show Almost Family, incorrectly described Susan Ogus role on the set. She is the set decorator, not the set director.

    The Whats Selling Now article last Sunday, using incorrect information provided by a real estate broker, misidentified the listing broker for 68 Mountain Road, in Irvington, N.Y. The listing broker is Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, not Houlihan Lawrence.

    An essay on Nov. 3 about Edith Whartons novel The Age of Innocence misstated the given name of one character. He is Julius Beaufort, not Julian.

    The War Stories column on Nov. 10 misstated Ash Carters place among President Barack Obamas defense secretaries. He was the fourth defense secretary to serve under Obama, not the third.

    A review on Nov. 10 about the picture book The Perfect Seat misspelled the authors surname. He is Minh Le, not Li.

    A review on Nov. 10 about the graphic novel White Bird, by R.J. Palacio, misidentified a character who has polio. He is Julien, not Vincent (Juliens antagonist).

    Errors are corrected during the press run whenever possible, so some errors noted here may not have appeared in all editions.

    To contact the newsroom regarding correction requests, complaints or other comments about our coverage, please email nytnews@nytimes.com or call 1-844-NYT-NEWS (1-844-698-6397).

    Here is the original post:
    Corrections: Nov. 24, 2019 - The New York Times

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