Thursday, January 16, 2014

This 'n That Thursdays: Gingko Leaf-Inspired Dining Room

From Better Vitamin

When I was a child growing up in a suburb of Pittsburgh, I was selected by my grade school art teacher for the very special privilege of attending the Tam O'Shanter art classes at the Carnegie Museum of Art.  Except for the summer, every Saturday morning for several years I would be driven downtown by my father and dropped off at the museum to be taught about art by the inimitable Mr. Kirkpatrick.  Quite honestly, I was not as talented as a lot of the other students, or even my sister, who was also selected to attend.  Also, I did not appreciate the privilege quite as much as I should have.  It was hard, after all, to give up the freedom of a Saturday morning for more schooling, and as my father was working and my mother did not drive, I was obliged after classes ended to sit in the lounge of the museum's overheated ladies' room for over an hour, then make my way to the bus stop to await the bus which would take me back home.  The bus ride itself lasted over an hour, and it was well past lunch time before I arrived back at our house.

Nonetheless, I do remember a number of enjoyable aspects about the classes.  We students were often taken into the museum to sketch, which was quite fun.  I eventually met another girl from a neighborhood near mine and we became good friends.  She and I shared the same slightly irreverent attitude toward our classes, and more often than not would spend our sketching time drawing silly cartoons rather than faithful renderings of precious art objects such as classical marble busts in the museum.  Mr. Kirkpatrick could be very entertaining during his lectures, but he would probably have been outraged if he had discovered our secret!  Once I was actually selected as part of the weekly group of students chosen to recreate our previous week's work on a large easel onstage with Mr. Kirkpatrick as he lectured.  I still remember two favorite pieces of artwork I created -- a scene of a horse kicking up fall leaves (the one I recreated onstage), and one of our beagle mix dog confronting an angry crayfish (which really did happen).  Even then I was a serious animal lover!

I have always loved to read, and got a library card for the adjacent Carnegie Library.  I checked out numerous books, mostly mystery novels and books about horses which were my overwhelming interests at the time (I became quite good at drawing horse anatomy thanks to those books).  And when the weather was nice I would walk through the park outside of the museum and admire the gardens.  The spring tulips were especially lovely.  I remember there was a man who always sold candy apples in the park.  I was too shy to buy one, but they too were quite pretty.  Most especially I can recall the gingko trees, whose leaves turned a beautiful golden yellow in the fall.  To this day I have a special fondness for gingkos, despite the fact that they are also known as "stinkbomb trees", and for good reason!

All of this leads me to today's post.  I mentioned the latest Grandin Road catalog last week.  In addition to all of the colorful home furnishings, I was also attracted to a gorgeous triptych of gingko leaves:

When I discovered that they also had a gingko leaf rug, I knew I had to create a style board based on this design theme.  I chose to do a dining room, and this is the result:

Clockwise from top left: Modern Stump Dining Table from Mecox; Rebecca Leather Swivel Chair in Textured Citrine from Grandin Road; Set of Three Gingko Artwork from Grandin Road; Gingko Round Tray from J. Fleet Designs; Robert Abbey Apple Glazed Ceramic Lamp from; Camber Sideboard in White from Dwell (no longer available); Gold Biloba Sculpture from Plantation; Center background: Monterey Indoor Area Rug in Lagoon from Grandin Road;  Background top: Mahandi Wallcovering in Darjeeling from Carolyn Ray Inc.; Background bottom: Earthly Elements Oak Flooring in Ebony from Mannington.

The chair is a rather unconventional choice for a dining room, but the Rebecca chair is a favorite of mine (I have always been a fan of swivel chairs), so I just had to go with it!  Metallics are very popular right now, and while I rarely use gold it does seem to be the ideal choice for this room.  The gingko leaf motif works quite well in the dining room, in my opinion, and would also be a great choice for just about any other room in the house.  Could this be the start of a new design trend?  Probably not, but I will always be fond of these uniquely shaped leaves and the memories they evoke!

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