Sep. 15


FRAMING YOUR ART: Six Tips from J.Pocker, an Industry Expert

by Lynn Byrne

Patrick Byrne with his beautifully framed painting by J.Pocker, and detail shot of same.

Patrick Byrne with his beautifully framed painting by J.Pocker, and detail shot of same.

As my regular readers must know by now, my oldest son Patrick is an art major in college.  His loving mother makes *many* trips to the framer.  So you can imagine my delight when New York’s premier source for the finest custom framing, J. Pocker gave me an inside peek into the framing industry to show me how it is done with panache.  To demonstrate, company owner, Robyn Pocker offered to frame two works of my choosing.

J.Pocker has been in business since 1926 making Robyn the third generation to run the business.

Historical photos of early J.Pocker storefronts

Historical photos of early J.Pocker storefronts from their website

With that history,  I thought it might be fun to give Robyn a challenge.  For my two works of art, I chose a piece by Patrick and one by  his girlfriend Hannah, also an art major. Both works of art were school assignments.  Neither reflected Pat’s or Hannah’s preferred medium or style.   The art students didn’t even like these pieces.  Still, to paraphrase House Beautiful, I knew that a great frame could transform anything.  Of course, Robyn did not let me down.

Robyn Pocker (left) with Patrick's abstact painting and Hannah's print

Robyn Pocker (left) with Patrick’s abstact painting and Hannah’s print


Along the way,  Robyn divulged some great tips to keep in mind when you are selecting a frame. 

1.  Think UV protection and don’t skimp on quality glazing.  Preventing fading as much as possible is a good investment for the future.  Once a signature is faded, it is gone forever.

2. Be open to ideas that you have never used before.  There is more to framing than thin black.  Lucite, for example, can be used to frame a photo so it appears to be floating in glass.  Similarly, consider finishes you  never knew existed.  For example, if you want black,  think  black with the grain showing through, black with an American carved panel, black plexi or black powder coated.  There are so many options.

A small peek at the vast amount of framing options at J. Pocker

A small peek at the vast amount of framing options at J. Pocker

3.  Avoid too narrow a mat.  The right size will add interest.  When a mat is the correct color it won’t stand out but will draw your attention to the art.

4. Gather all of those items you have been meaning to frame and create a salon wall.  A bit of this and that, framed each in their own style will create a really personal wall.  (I have done this in my own home.)

5. Go to your framer when you need a mirror.  They can help you fashion the perfect style and size.

Foyer in the 2012 Holiday House designed by John Call, mirrors framed by J. Pocker

Foyer in the 2012 Holiday House designed by John Call, mirrors framed by J. Pocker, photographed by Barbara Viteri


6. And most important of all, ask the experts.  You want a framer that has more ideas than you do.  It takes years of experience to know the techniques of good framing and nothing replaces the expert advice of an experienced sales person. 

Of course this all means that if you are in the New York metro area, you should be going to J.Pocker for all of your custom framing needs!  They have locations in NYC, Bronxville, Greenwich and Westport.

So how did Robyn address my pieces?  She suggested a white frame for each but in very different styles.

For Hannah’s print, she immediately removed a poor quality  mat that did nothing to enhance the work. Robyn chose the perfect shade of white for a new mat in just the right scale.  She also created thickness, with a box-like frame to add stature to the artwork.  Hannah was planning on giving the piece to her mother (Us moms love it all, *wink*), but Patrick tells me that Hannah was so pleased, she kept it to hang in her sorority house bedroom.

Trying out different framing options for Hannah's print

Trying out different framing options for Hannah’s print

Print by Hannah Herbert framed beautifully by J. Pocker

Print by Hannah Hebert framed beautifully by J. Pocker

As you can see in the first photo, Patrick’s abstract was framed in a thin, white frame which contrasts marvelously with the predominately darker tones in his painting.  I grabbed it for the Montauk house–it’s moody blue/green palette is perfect for the beach!  I haven’t decided where to hang it yet–I wish I could bring Robyn Pocker to Montauk for that!

Thanks so much to Robyn and J.Pocker!

This post is in collaboration with  J.Pocker. Holiday House foyer image from Viteri Style Management blog. Images not otherwise identified are by me.




Sep. 13


FOODIE FRIDAY: Pasta Sauce with Raw Tomatoes and Mozzarella

by Lynn Byrne


Hurry up and try this recipe!  It is a cinch and delish--but only if you use garden fresh tomatoes.  Hopefully you still have some in your garden.  If not, grab them at the farmers’ market.

Whatever you do, don’t attempt this recipe in January, with pasty supermarket tomatoes. Blah.  The recipe depends on the real deal.  Additionally, although I only had my standard cooking olive oil, if you have some of the extra good stuff on hand, by all means use it.

Here is where I want to be cooking this dish.  Actually, cooking is an overstatement.  All that is required is chopping and boiling water for the pasta.

 But I do love this kitchen.  For my future city apartment, I am currently dreaming of a kitchen that pairs black and white cabinetry.  I want a crisp white subway tile with prominent grout.  And I must have brass accents.  When I do brass, I insist that it not be lacquered.  I want a natural patina to develop.

This kitchen looks perfect–at least this week while I have been crushing on a modern, yet vintage, vibe.  Yes of course I realize that few NYC kitchens can accommodate 2 sinks.  That is fine with me.  I manage perfectly with one in the suburbs.  That is a mere detail–we are talking general  look here. And for today, at least, this is what I want.


Now, on to the recipe, especially because you can only prepare it for a week or two until next year.



ingredients raw tomatoes

(Makes enough sauce for one pound of pasta. Shells or Orcchiette are both good choices)

1 garlic clove, halved.

3-4 large garden fresh tomatoes, chopped

3/4 lb fresh mozzarella, cut or torn into 1/2 inch pieces

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil (note: I happened to have purple basil on hand, but regular green basil is fine)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 

sea salt and  freshly ground pepper to taste


raw tomato sauce

Rub the inside of your serving bowl with the garlic and then discard.  Mix the remaining ingredients together and  let marinate at room temperature for at least 1/2  hour.  

Add the cooked pasta to the bowl. Toss to combine.  Tomato mixture can be made several hours in advance.   I never refrigerate my tomatoes (horrors), but if you do, you must let the tomato mixture return to room temperature before adding the pasta. 

raw tomato sauce done


raw tomato sauce and pasta in bowl

Food photos my own. Kitchen from Elle Decor.  Recipe, my own.

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