May 25, 2011

Aesthetics | From Blogger to Architect

Images from Little Augury blog

I was taking part in my first tweet-chat hosted by @DesignTVchat on Twitter the other day, and we were asked which design blogs inspire us. There are many good blogs that I read regularly [see blog-roll on the right], but the blog Little Augury instantly came to mind. It's author [and decorator] Patricia Gaye Tapp touches on subjects that truly inspire—art, fashion, literature, décor and a pantheon of cultural/style icons; I cannot be inspired by one without the other. And, this is why Little Augury hits the mark in interior design blogs. For me, design inspiration comes from all things that are rooted aesthetically and return to the basics—light, color, texture, shape and scale. And, this is what matters to me in interior design.

I was recently reminded of these basic elements of design while reading  Benjamin Baldwin: An Autobiography in Design. Benjamin Baldwin [who died in 1993] is the type of designer who inspires me. Louis Kahn called him the dean of "American interior designers." He studied architecture at Princeton then painting with Hans Hofmann—eventually returning to Princeton for a masters degree in Fine Arts—and then, on to the Cranbrook Academy of Art where he met and collaborated with Pei, Kahn and Saarinen. Brilliant!

Baldwin [at left] designed residential and office interiors, furniture and textiles, and beautiful gardens. He felt that gardens represented the ultimate form of creativity. In his concept-house of the future, Baldwin imagined... "floors would be friendly to bare-feet and sandals, furniture would be nondescript and inexpensive." As much as I love interiors that are full of lush, tactile beauty, the foundation of my design principles are aligned with Baldwin's philosophy.

Photographs [above] from Benjamin Baldwin: An Autobiography in Design, W.W. Norton

The spaces Baldwin created seem timeless because they are rooted in an architectural aesthetic of good taste and practical judgement. I find much the same sensibility in the work of my favorite American decorator, Tom Scheerer.

Scheerer [shown above in bare-feet with Saarinen table!] also has a degree in architecture. Tom carries on the tradition of a studied yet relaxed modernism by creating civilized and beautiful, yet unpretentious spaces. I am a huge fan. I can spend more time studying a Scheerer-designed room because of its foundation in design and abundance of aesthetics, and cozy common sense.

Tom Scheerer photos top: Paris Townhouse, Lyford Cay Club by Pieter Estersohn
photos bottom: by William Waldron

So, the circle of my wonderful tweet-chat brought me back to thinking about the fundamental elements and principles of good design and what inspires me—whether found in the architecture of an inspiring blog or a simple American interior.

Visit Little Augury here.
See my previous interview with Tom Scheerer here.
Learn about another student of Hans Hofmann here.
Visit @DesignTVchat on twitter.Read about my grandfather, the architect here.


  1. love your style
    really great!!!! congratulations honey!
    xxx =D

  2. ALWAYS agree with you of course!! LOVE little augury - Gaye is just so creative, intelligent (as opposed to smart), and stylish, in the true sense of the word. And Baldwin is indeed the "dean". I also, not surprisingly, love Tom Scheerer - both those shots in the top row are favorites - in fact, I was so in love with that wallpaper, I almost used it!! And how fabulous was his redo at Lyford Key (it was Lyford right?). Just a fabulous post!!

  3. I hope you can endure compliments from an amateur; this entry is an elegant blend of very attractive sentiment and congenial argument, resulting in a persuasive perspective on the living designer. But possibly you had me with bare feet.

  4. Hi Laurent, Thank you so much for your comment and for reading. Yes, there's nothing quite like bare feet. I enjoy your blog and brilliant discussions, and I think you are way beyond an amateur. ; )

  5. I would have loved to have spent a few hours just listening and observing Mr. Baldwin. His education alone tells you he was a fascinating man but yes, oh so talented. Scheerer's designs are stunners. His San Remo apt. project is one of my favorites. I have to agree 100% that Little Augury is a blog that educates, entertains, and admired. Gaye is one of those very talented people. Wonderful post B, not sure how I ever missed this? xx

  6. Wow, your post is really very useful thanks for sharing about Architectural Visualization Studio. It's really informative. keep sharing more with us.


I love reading your comments. And, I thank you so much for visiting!