Nov. 11



by Lynn Byrne

You may have missed this in Time Magazine, what with Sandy, the election, the cliff etc.

How cool is it that artist Berndnaut Smilde can make a cloud appear inside a room?  He requires a precise temperature, humidity and lighting.  When he has that all set, Berndnaut produces the cloud with a fog machine.  Click on the link to see a video of the process:  Berndnaut Smilde Makes Clouds Appear in a Room

I agree with Time.  It definitely reminds me of Magritte, but with a classic Old Masters twist.


René Magritte, Les valeurs personnelles (Personal Values), 1952; painting; oil on canvas, 31 1/2 in. x 39 3/8 in. (80.01 cm x 100.01 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Purchase through a gift of Phyllis Wattis; © Charly Herscovici, Brussels / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Source: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

First image from here.

Nov. 06


The 2012 Junior League of Boston Show House: Fantasy Conservatory and Library

by Lynn Byrne

I am blogging when and where I can these days.  I’m still without power, heat, hot water, cable and internet in Pelham, but we returned from Montauk so the boys could go back to school.  I hope you need the distraction as much as I do.

I continue to be a very lucky girl however.  Today’s blogging location, the old school library at the New York Athletic Club, has inspired me to start my coverage of the 2012 Junior League of Boston Show House.

The library at the New York Athletic Club

There really is nothing quite so romantic as an old fashioned library.  Built-in mahogany bookshelves, a large detailed fireplace, stained and leaded glass windows, cozy nooks to curl up and read.  Sigh.  Put another log on the fire —I am ready to sink in.

The library at the Junior League of Boston Show House, however, out does this fantasy. It is attached to a lovely conservatory, where enjoyment of music is the focus.

Although the library and conservatory were designed by different firms, they work perfectly together, even though the designers did not consult one another.  Each reflects a classic sensibility coupled with clean-lined, modern updates.  They are so harmonious that I wanted you to experience them together.

The library was designed by the Theo and Isabella Design Group, who are known for their love of historic and period homes.  Their stated goal for the room was “to create a warm yet sophisticated gentleman’s library that harks back to an era when one’s extensive reading collection required a separate room as opposed to a handheld device.”

The Conservatory was designed by the Gerald Pomeroy Design Group, who said that the inspiration for the room was nature, due to the abundance of light and mature trees and fields seen from the room.  It’s centerpiece is a Steinway baby grand so one can enjoy music the old fashioned way, without a dock or ear buds.

So alright already, please take me back to that earlier era!  I’m ready especially after this past week.  Can’t the library be for the ladies too??

First, the conservatory–a meandering room that curves around a bend, and then opens up to a lovely sitting area.

Note to self: start of collection of intaglios seen framed on the console below.

Here is a before shot of the conservatory.  You can just make out a large globe pendant in the black and white photo which was painted gold and retained in the finished room.

Here is the same area after renovation.

From the conservatory, you enter into the library through the french doors seen in the before picture facing a center table and the fireplace wall.

Beautiful detail on the fireplace elevation

Here is the room looking back towards the conservatory, which gives you a glimpse of the several seating areas and the lovely paneled ceiling in the library.

The library is filled with nooks and crannies where you can settle in for a good long read.  The stained glass windows are said to represent the 4 children of the original owner.  Love the 17th century style English Knole sofa in the first shot and how it is paired with the contemporary, but classic, saber legged ottoman.

Both the conservatory and the library have such a gracious, Downton Abbey feel.  How lovely to have entire rooms dedicated to books and music.  Just what the doctor ordered after a crazy, crazy week.


It’s hard to believe that it was only a little over  a week ago that I hopped on the #designercaravan with Jennifer, Sarah and Michelle to support our blogging buddies Laurie, Elizabeth, Kristen and Mally, who each did a beautiful room in the Junior League of Boston Show House.  Just look at those smiling faces.  Amazing how much has happened since then.

I will slowly but surely get to everyone’s room.  The Junior League of Boston Show House was simply gorgeous.  Held in a home known as the Potter Estate and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the house has wonderful architectural detail on all 3 floors–not just that stunning library and conservatory.

Built in 1862, the Potter Estate is a fine example of an American Victorian home with characteristics of the Second Empire.  It is now owned by the Sisters of St.Joseph of Boston who reached out to the Junior League to collaborate.  Once the Show House is over, the Sisters will get a beautifully restored house to occupy.

The Show House is open until November 18 and, as their largest fundraiser, it supports the mission and charitable works of the Boston Junior League.  It is well worth a visit.  Click here for details.


Except for the photo I am in, all photographs by me.


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