I have always been fascinated by the marriage of art and domesticity. Whether we realize it or not, each one of us is in the process of creating a work of art by the way we choose to live. Colourful or bland, eccentric or traditional - it is up to us and us alone. The joy in my design work through the years was found in aiding my clients in the translation of their true selves into their surroundings. I gently urged them whenever I could to adorn their homes in ways that truthfully represented who they were and what they loved thereby creating a dwelling that could become a nest, a sanctuary, a home.
It was a thrill to find the ghosts of kindred spirits inside the charming rooms of Charleston House when I was there in May. The farmhouse of artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant in Sussex is well-documented in stacks of art books on the Bloomsbury period, but to wander through it alone on a late Spring afternoon is a delight unparalleled. Vanessa and Duncan painted every surface, from doors, to floors, to fireplaces. They designed the china, the fabrics, the lamps. One feels their presence, even now, in every room and down every hallway.
Here at The House of Edward, we live in much the same way. There are whimsical and, some would say, eccentric, touches everywhere one looks, all representing various bits and bobs of ourselves. The result is that we are incredibly happy at home. The bonus of course, is that our guests seem to be incredibly happy here as well. In the creation of all this, I do have a secret weapon of sorts. Whenever I get another brain wave for something I’d like to add to our home, I know to call Kevin. Kevin Nichols is an artist I met many years ago and who is now like part of the family. Amazingly talented, he has never once flinched at any of my ideas, happily recreating the painting of James Stewart and his life-sized rabbit from the movie, Harvey, for me ... replacing Stewart’s head with The Songwriter’s. He had transformed desks and ceilings, claw-foot tubs and door frames. He has painted my portrait in a green velvet dress. (In fact, many of you wrote to ask me about the painted doors that could be glimpsed in a posting a few weeks back. You can see that post HERE. They are a fairly new addition and both The Songwriter and I adore them. The five doors are old, two-paneled, and they provided the perfect canvas for Kevin to create evocative, pastoral scenes that manage to be both subtle and dramatic at once. The bottom panels feature places we’ve stayed on our travels and are a sweet reminder of lovely days. We’re crazy about them.)
Imagine my delight when I received a gift from Kevin a few weeks ago. Shown above, it is a wonderful painting of Edward and Apple as those intrepid detectives of old, Holmes and Watson. Knowing my love of all things British, Sherlock among them, as well as my devotion to both my dogs, he fashioned this painting just for me. Isn’t it the best?
I’m so happy to let everyone know that Kevin is now doing some of these wonderful animal portraits by commission. Working from photographs that you send him, he’ll have you fill out a questionnaire of sorts to find out your own personal interests and marry them with the personalities of your pets. Then he’ll place your dog or cat, or horse or ferret, in a setting most reflective of you both. ( You can read a bit about the process of creating Edward and Apple’s painting at his website, HERE.)
Visit Kevin for yourself, HERE.