Every now and then we’ll chat via email. When he’s at home, conversations are about summer & winter, gardening & grandchildren, Windsor & Newton, Labradors & life on the lake.
His Cultivated Garden.
His Labrador named Flanelle.
When he’s traveling, conversations vary from market day in St-Rémy-de-Provence to his preference of Châteauneuf du Pape over champagne and he’ll always include a beautiful sketch or a snapshot.
“Here is proof I've been working hard in Paris for the past two weeks. Claude A”
This one, most likely taken by his muse, his beautiful wife Huguette, at a café where he recently spent his days sketching the beauty of the city. He wrote,
“No Eiffel towers, I promise!”
In the Spring of 2011, his beautiful new book arrived at my doorstep. I was flattered by the expression of such a kind gesture, and at the same time humbled by the sincerity of the handwritten note inside. Thank you, Claude.
The book, titled Inspiration is an observation of life guided by the heart, seen through the eyes, and painted by the hand of Claude A. Simard.
A delightful foreword by Alan Klinkhoff and illustrated with 125 color plates, this collection of paintings & tales of travel are both elegant and charming!
Huguette in Blue | Claude A. Simard
Acrylic on canvas 2001, 30 x 36’’
Barberino | Claude A. Simard
Ink and watercolor on paper 2007, carnet d’Italie
His paintings borrow the soft lavender of the countryside. Shades from buff to whitish-gray are reflected in the architecture.
Roadside House | Claude A. Simard
Watercolor on paper 2010, 8 x 11’’
The rich ochre of an ancient farmhouse atop a beautiful hill overlooking vineyards under a big blue cerulean sky.
En marchant avec Rosalina dans le vignoble de Montalpruno | Claude A. Simard
Ink and watercolor on paper 2002, carnet d’Italie
Mr. Simard’s Inspiration animates his vision and gives the reader much more than a casual glance at his subjects. This man is also quite the raconteur. His lively stories of sojourns with family and friends & his charming character had me sitting at his table and ordering another glass of Châteauneuf du Pape!
Claude and I became acquainted a couple of years ago when he emailed to say, “Happy Holidays!” and tell me that he was a new reader! I clicked the link to his website & instantly fell in love with his work! I was thrilled when he agreed to sit down for a visit with TLPC so that we could learn more! You can read my in-depth interview with this most charming man here.
Thank you again, Claude, for continuing to inspire us all!
Last week I had my eye on three beautiful green bookcases in the lovely Vermont home of Phyllis Trevor Higgerson of Henhurst Interiors. I was also admiring this incredible green library by designer Charles Spada. I seem to be crazy for green lately!
This morning I was visiting Michele Ginnerty of My Notting Hill where she was posting on the 2012 Richmond Show House. I saw these custom shelves, painted in Pickle No. 37, and I about fell over! You must see her gem of a post.
I also popped in to see Renee Finberg where she ‘TELLS ALL’ in her blog of her Adventures in Design and had to sit down. Her post today on benches started with this gorgeous lacquered entry!
Love this amazing combination of greens pulled together by the darling Blair Eadie. In fact, I love everything she pulls together! Stop by and visit her at her personal fashion blog, Atlantic-Pacific. She’s got terrific style & I hear she is so nice!
You’ll want to raid her closet!
This would make for a speedy get-away don’t you think?
Guaranteed to fill the house with the scent of a freshly trimmed privet in the dead of winter!
Hope you have a wonderful weekend.
It’s finally Fall, my friends. I hope the cooler temps find you in a sweater & sipping your favorite latte. This weekend I look forward to curling up, wrapping up, and reading. I have a couple of books I’ve been looking forward to diving in to. I’ll also be reading my favorite blogs. Bloggers are such an interesting group & very well-read I must say!
Speaking of reading – I’m curious as to how you’re reading these days? Virtual or real or both?
When it comes to magazines I enjoy both as per my virtual Magazine Rack along my sidebar. A bookcase in my home studio holds issues of AD, Traditional Home, Southern Accents & more dating back to 1991. I left my earlier issues in California - What was I thinking!
When it comes to reading a novel or memoir I personally am a fan of soft faded covers. I’m also a fan of this amazing book art by Thomas Allen.
We have books stacked everywhere & in every room of the house! Books are on our bedside tables, coffee tables, library tables, and floor – Rare editions, literary classics, modern fiction, and more! Topics include history & mystery, biography & poetry, design, gardening, art & antiques.
A genuine book always seems to have a soul of its own. Not only does it tell us a story, it in itself is a story. Passed down through generations, these books can be a teacher, a guide, and even a best friend!
I can crack open a paperback from the summer of 72’ get a faint whiff of cocoa butter & find sand in the curled up pages. Our collection of childhood books are treasures not only for the stories they tell but for the crayoned personalization added by both of my children. You just don’t get that when you curl up with a Kindle and an iBook wouldn’t think of taking on such a patina!
Literary types are happy to tell you that in the sleek smooth swiping world of e-readers, there’s still a desire to physically turn the pages of a fresh new novel or musky leather-bound tome! Rare-books dealer Donald Heald says his 40-year-old company, based in New York, has seen a huge uptick in clients in their 30s of late. "If you want to own a great atlas of London from the 18th century, that when you hold it in your hands you're transported, there is no app for that," Mr. Heald says.
Homeowners are buying quality books in quantity to amass collections for private personal libraries. Thank goodness architects, builders and designers are keeping this in mind because the home library is on the rise.
And good news, a home library doesn’t necessarily mean over-stuffed leather chairs, dark wall to wall paneling and floor to ceiling shelves. A beautiful example below by designer Phyllis Trevor Higgerson of Henhurst Interiors proves my point! I inquired with her yesterday about the lovely green pieces and she was so nice to add - “The bookcases are family pieces, I am the fifth generation owner. They were designed by Ogden Codman for a family house in Rhode Island built in the 1890s.
To make them work in my Vermont country house everything else is very neutral - nothing competes with their color or painted finish. They are neoclassical in style so I have mixed them with reproduction Gustavian pieces (which have the same design features but are painted pale colors) and contemporary upholstery with very clean lines.
I think the finished look is elegant but comfortable. I have teenage daughters and two Labs so nothing is too precious or off-limits.” I knew I would like her – Lab lovers think alike! The pretty sconces add thoughtful lighting to make for a relaxed reading area or gathering place for family & friends. Thank you so much, Phyllis, for sharing!
Surround yourself with books and instantly create a place for contemplation or philosophical musings. Whether you like a book for its content or for its cover, know that the books that you choose tell others what you think and know and believe.
If you want to gain great knowledge, be sure to actually read them.
Thatcher Wine believes there is nothing wrong with choosing books by their covers.His company, Juniper Books designs and prints custom book jackets & book covers in many different styles. His bespoke services also include handpicked book collections and customized book installations for interior designers, architects, visual merchandisers, set designers, hotels, restaurants, and private clients. This all started in Boulder, Colorado where he sold some of the rare and second-hand books he had collected over the years to keep the roof over his head. “I started selling off some of my own books. When I ran out, I started buying books. One thing led to another, and I sort of found myself as a bookseller,” says Mr. Wine.
If the desired color or binding style doesn’t exist, Thatcher will create it! “Sometimes when we come across a beautiful old book cover design on a book nobody reads anymore and virtually no one has ever heard of, we feel obligated it to honor it by putting the design to work on something new and useful.” This elegant image comes from a 1901 book – They’ve placed the image across the spines of four re-purposed law books!
To open a book is to open a door to anyplace, anytime, or anything. "Part of the desire [to create libraries] is for people to look smart and well-read, and part of it is the quest for some great knowledge in this electronic age," says Wine.
Some of his collections are specific & designed to enhance a home's setting in a particular way. What Wine calls a "beach house mix" might have a smattering of literary classics, along with books about maritime history and ecology, along with a good selection of light summer reading. I’d love that collection! Whatever your needs, Juniper Books offers a complete experience for the book-lover!
Not quite there yet?
Over at Etsy, I found Jamie Birkholz creating thoughtful libraries large & small. You’ll find her at JaysWorld where her delightful color-coordinated collections are by the author, subject & just plain old personality. What a great gift!
Do you own way too many books? In The New York Times I ran across an article titled, Books You Can Live Without where The Editors asked six authors & the owner of The Strand, a secondhand bookstore, “How do we decide what to cull and what to keep?” I found it interesting that only one author actually mentions giving books away. My mother's book club actually started a library for a women’s shelter by weeding out their own collections. Had to include this for the ladies in Scottsdale!
When Book Clubs Go Bad
Where are you finding all your great reads? Do you have a favorite bookstore? In my post, Reading Is Fundamental, I take you down 3 well-paved roads to finding a good page-turner.
Remember, the more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go!
Have a wonderful Fall weekend!