Thursday, May 22, 2008

Under the Sea

Summer is almost here, and I am constantly battling my seaside daydreams to try and focus on work. But sometimes a girl just has to get away.

Dreamweaver Barry Dixon put together an underwater fantasy for a couple in Palm Beach modeling the motif after the Italian baroque love of seashell and grotto designs. The details are everywhere: the custom chandelier, Barry likens to an octopus; in the Living Room he used a cornice cast from real shells; there is seaweed-like fabric on the chair; the aqua and green color scheme echoes the colors of the sea.

I have to say I was pleased, yet again, to see that Metropolitan Home was thinking outside the glass box when they included this home in their June issue. While there are many contemporary elements to this Neptune's Palace, such as the bare terrazzo floors, there is also an abundance of traditional and whimsical luxury.

Can you just see Ariel sitting here cooling her flippers while sipping a Blue Hawaiian at the bar?

The Master Bedroom is a bit more subtle, yet still contributes to the overall undersea effect.

The Master Bath has just that right mix of antique and contemporary, high and low, that makes it perfect in my eyes. (The lantern is only $29!)

All photos above by Colleen Duffley

Artisan Cathy Jarman was let loose in the Powder Room and created a true grotto effect.

Oh, BTW, Barry Dixon has a new book scheduled to be released this fall. For Info, click here.

Photo by William Waldron

Elle Decor featured another Palm Beach house in their June issue. Owner Jack Staub just threw this little shell mirror together. Just another little weekend DIY project. Seriously, he has to be one talented guy. When describing the house, partner Renny Reynolds says: "Have you ever seen so many Buddhas? It's not exactly Zen austere." My kind of guy.

Photo from "Tony Duquette" by Wendy Goodman and Hutton Wilkinson

So just who started all of this shell underwater cool craziness anyway? Was it Tony Duquette with his over the top fabulous creations like the chandelier above? You'd have to go back a bit farther back than that. This tradition of creating beautiful objects out of shells dates at least as far back as the Renaissance. Rich merchants and scholars across the European continent were collecting and trading shells in the 1500's. Rooms were encrusted with shells, mirrors and boxes and furniture as well. Some wonderful examples:

A La Ronde, a late 18th century English house, shells were displayed in a fireplace. House and Garden November 1992.

Festoons of Shells at Walton, c. 1748, House and Garden November 1992.

Frederick the Great's grotto hall at Sanssouci, November 1763-70. House and Garden November 1992

Bonnet House in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 1932.

A few objects of interest to feed that seaside obsession:

Early 20th century shell table from Linda Horn through 1st dibs.

Seashell sculpture, Late 18th century Italy, JRM International through 1st dibs.

OK....I just included this cuz it is so .....well...crazy bizarre fabulous. Dolce antiques, 1st dibs.

There is alot to choose from in the way of sea shell decor. Here are a few of my favorites:

Oly Studio Neptune Mirror

Oly Studio Jenny Chandelier. Designer Emma Jane Pilkington used this for a home in the latest Elle Decor.

Oly Studio Wellfleet Sconce

Looking for that big clamshell? Oly Studio has one: Lombok Ornament, Caste Resin Clamshell

Sweet shell creamer and sugar available through jettmodern.

OK...enough. I am ready to go back to work now.


Social Network Web Design said...

Wow Barry Dixon is one talented designer. I love the underwater theme because of its calming effect but I especially love the master bath.

annechovie said...

Absolutely LOVED this post, Katie. I am a shell fanatic and have never seen most of these images - such beautiful and imaginative interiors. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Katie, your readers might also want to consider the following to feed that seaside obsession.

Jennifer said...

Barry Dixon is so over-the-top, I love it!

love that Oly chandelier too!

katiedid said...

Thanks for the visit! I liked that Master Bath too. It's funny...a coworker and I were looking at it more closely and could not figure out why they have a tub filler in the shower. Any thoughts?

katiedid said...

Hi Anne!
I really enjoyed it too. And to see it in Met Home was really fun. I never thought of Barry Dixon as a Met Home guy. Glad to see it.

katiedid said...

Thanks! I think I will add those images to the post! And I love the resource. :)

Leslie (Reclaiming Miss Havisham) said...

haha crab table! I think coco and kelley had that up once. It's always nice to see it pop up where you least expect it!

Thanks for the link, katie!


SimplyGrove said...

I love that first chandelier so much!!! Beautiful post Katie!!

muranogirl said...

Be still my heart! Love the sublime green chandelier: )

erika - urban grace interiors said...

I flagged this in my Met Home last night- I LOVE IT! The tub filler in the shower is genius... for SAND! I live at the beach and would kill for a tub filler in every shower- the water pressure is higher... works wonders. Not sure if this is why they did it - but they are in Palm Beach, so maybe? Another indication that this might be the reasoning is that there is not a handshower in the shower... a typical 'cleaning sand off plumbing necessity'? Not sure... just a stab at it. I love it all! It was a brilliant issue of Met Home - always love their Design 100- plan to post some highlights next week - will link to this... you are a scanning queen- I lack the patience and would have hit only a few highlights- way to cover it all!
happy memorial day weekend!

katiedid said...

Hi Erika!
I loved it too.
I had not thought of the sand issue. But that makes sense. Why they didn't put in a hand-held I don't know either. They are sooo handy. Having spent every summer at the beach, we had our sand cleaning spray nozzles outside so the sand didn't make it as far as the indoor bathroom. We even had an outdoor shower, which I had a love hate realtionship with. Only cold water. Brr! But with two families sharing the house with 7 kids, outdoor showers were probably a God send for our parents. Ha!

Cote de Texas said...

I luff this!!!! I'm a shell girl, like an Obama girl. We collect shells all summer long at the beach. Once after a huge storm I found FIVE sand dollars within about 10 minutes - Ben was so jealous.

Hubert said...

Great post. These are some of the best examples of seashell mirror and furniture I've seen. Very elegant. The design effects are striking, not your ususal sea shell cottage look. I've found one store in Charleston SC that makes custom desigend shell mirrors and furniture that are of this quality. Check them out at Great work!

Hubert Hopkins

katiedid said...

Hi Joni! I luv sand dollars! You are so lucky to get to go to beach in the summer! I grew up summering in Balboa/Newport Beach and sand dollars were everywhere back then. Not so much anymore. Sigh. I miss how it was back then.

katiedid said...

Hello Hubert, and thanks for the visit. And Thanks, too, for the tip!

Pigtown-Design said...

I love the little cowrie cream and sugar!

All Things Bright and Beautiful... said...

This is one fabulous sea filled post!! I have a shell chandelier picture floating around in a magazine somewhere - I must send it to you!!

Gaj said...

Katie, thanks for this post too! Somehow have missed this work in Palm Beach, unforgiveable of course, but have come to depend, very recently, on your eyes and radar.
Am now scanning your archives!