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DIGEST DESIGN VI: Vignettes by Vicas

July 21, 2019

Storied still life. Curated. Whimsical. Personal. 

Alcoves are always difficult to furnish. We took a limestone table and styled it with art books, cherished objects and a lamp and plant. (Photo by: M.S Vicas Interiors) Alcoves are always difficult to furnish. We took a limestone table and styled it with art books, cherished objects and a lamp and plant.

Foyer table, fireplace mantle, bookcase, dresser, countertop, coffee table, credenza or end table. A vignette is a cluster of decorative objects on any flat surface, large or small, in your home.

A collection of antique photographs calls for simple accents on the chest. A statue in a similar color adds a sculptural element while a glass lamp anchors the other side of the space. (Photo by: M.S. Vicas Interiors) A collection of antique photographs calls for simple accents on the chest. A statue in a similar color adds a sculptural element while a glass lamp anchors the other side of the space.

With the help of a good designer, accessories you love are turned into stylish, meaningful arrangements. 

Restrained elegant boxes with rivets have enough presence to stand up to the orange velvet sofa. (Photo by: M.S. Vicas Interiors) Restrained elegant boxes with rivets have enough presence to stand up to the orange velvet sofa.

Martha Vicas shares her approach to curating her clients’ collections.

A dark bookshelf is styled with all white objects of different shapes, sizes and textures. (Photo by: M.S. Vicas Interiors) A dark bookshelf is styled with all white objects of different shapes, sizes and textures.

Design principles apply here. Harmony of textures and shapes. Height and depth. Empty space. Symmetry and asymmetry. Balance. Texture. Lighting. Edit, edit again.

What better way to style this prosciutto slicer in a restaurant van with food and dishes? (Photo by: M.S. Vicas Interiors) What better way to style this prosciutto slicer in a restaurant van with food and dishes?

When the surface is backed by a wall, the wall directly behind the display becomes part of the background. Framed art, clocks, and mirrors enhance or anchor your arrangement.

A limestone foyer table with a practical mirror and lamp, while a restrained grouping of favorite objects completes the vignette. (Photo by: M.S. Vicas Interiors) A limestone foyer table with a practical mirror and lamp, while a restrained grouping of favorite objects completes the vignette.

Think in all three dimensions for the most visual interest when creating a vignette on furniture in the middle of the room.

Colorful brightly colored books turn a neutral office into a whimsical, fun area. (Photo by: M.S. Vicas Interiors) Colorful brightly colored books turn a neutral office into a whimsical, fun area.

A well-designed vignette shares a harmonious aesthetic that reflects your personality or lifestyle.

Antique chest simply styled with dressy lamps and a vase with branches. (Photo by: M.S. Vicas Interiors) Antique chest simply styled with dressy lamps and a vase with branches.


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Let Them Eat Ice Cream!

July 17, 2019

To those of us of a certain age, the melodic chimes signaling an ice cream truck was rounding the corner is one of our earliest, fondest Pavlovian memories. And 31 flavors from Baskin-Robbins. If you grew up in this area, it was Gifford’s you went for special occasions.

 

Thank President Ronald Reagan for designating the third Sunday of July as National Ice Cream Day and July as National Ice Cream Month.

Jack & Jill Ice Cream Truck (Photo by: David Levinson in Kentlands, Maryland, wikipedia.org ) Jack & Jill Ice Cream Truck

Insomnia Cookies at 3204 O Street in Georgetown is celebrating with a free scoop of ice cream with any purchase, in-store only all day, July 21st.

 

Ever wonder when and where it all started? 

 

Ancient Persia and China had it.

 

In the 5th century BC, ancient Greeks ate snow mixed with honey and fruit in the markets of Athens. Hippocrates encouraged his patients to eat ice "as it livens the life-juices and increases the well-being.”

 

During the Roman Empire, Nero Claudius Caesar (A.D. 54-86) frequently sent runners into the mountains for snow, which was then flavored with fruits and juices.

 

A thousand years later, Marco Polo returned to Italy from the Far East with a sherbet-like recipe. 

 

France was introduced to frozen desserts in 1553 by the Italian Catherine de Medici when she became the wife of Henry II of France. 

 

In 1660 ice cream was made available to the general public. The Sicilian Procopio introduced a recipe blending milk, cream, butter and eggs at Café Procope, the first café in Paris.

Thomas Jefferson's ice cream recipe (Photo by: Library of Congress) Thomas Jefferson's ice cream recipe

 

The first official account of ice cream in the New World comes from a letter written in 1744 by a guest of Maryland Governor William Bladen. 

 

The first advertisement for ice cream in the U.S. appeared in the New York Gazette on May 12, 1777, when confectioner Philip Lenzi announced that ice cream was available "almost every day." 

 

President George Washington spent approximately $200 for ice cream during the summer of 1790. Inventory records of Mount Vernon taken after Washington's death revealed "two pewter ice cream pots." 

 

Passionate gourmet, President Thomas Jefferson, was said to have a favorite 18-step recipe for an ice cream delicacy that resembled a modern-day Baked Alaska with his own recipe for Savoy cookies to accompany the dessert. 

 

Until 1800, ice cream remained a rare and exotic dessert enjoyed mostly by the elite. Around 1800, insulated ice houses were invented. 

 

Manufacturing ice cream was pioneered in 1851 by a Baltimore milk dealer named Jacob Fussell. 

 

In 1874, the American soda fountain shop and the profession of the "soda jerk" emerged with the invention of the ice cream soda. 

 

In response to religious criticism for eating "sinfully" rich ice cream sodas on Sundays, ice cream merchants left out the carbonated water and invented the ice cream "Sunday" in the late 1890's. The name was eventually changed to "sundae" to remove any connection with the Sabbath.

 

From the 1940s through the ‘70s, ice cream production was relatively constant until more prepackaged ice cream made its way into supermarkets. 

 

Ice cream parlors and soda fountains soon started to disappear. 

 

Georgetown recently lost Ben & Jerry’s but we’ve still got Thomas Sweet

Scoop up!


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EXCLUSIVE: Hugh Newell Jacobsen on Designing Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' Martha's Vineyard Estate

July 1, 2019

“Forty years ago, my mother fell in love with Martha’s Vineyard. When she found Red Gate Farm, it was a perfect expression of her romantic and adventurous spirit,” Caroline Kennedy said in a release. 

 

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s 340-acre Martha’s Vineyard estate is being marketed globally by Christie's International Real Estate for $65 million.

Drawings of the original scheme of the property (Photo by: Hugh Newell Jacobsen) Drawings of the original scheme of the property

The main house and a two-story guest house in traditional Cape Cod-style, were designed by Hugh Newell Jacobsen.

 

Hugh’s granddaughter Gigi Jacobsen sat down with the architect to give The Georgetown Dish exclusive details about the iconic property he designed over 40 years ago and share never before published photos from the Jacobsen Architecture archives.

 

DISH: How were you selected for this project? 

 

HNJ: Mrs. Mellon, from Pittsburgh. A wealthy family that made Jackie look poor compared to what she owned. Jackie was a close friend to Mrs. Mellon who had nine houses, and I worked on every one of them. It could have been a broom closet, a whole addition, remodeling, putting a bedroom upstairs, anything you can do to make a house bigger without expanding its shell. I worked for the Mellons but Jackie and Bunny Mellon were very close friends; they talked every day on the phone, just gossip. I was one of those gossip items.

Red Gate Farm design (Photo by: Hugh Newell Jacobsen) Red Gate Farm design

DISH: Did Jackie, who bought Red Gate Farm in 1979, have any special requests? 

 

HNJ: Well, there are certain things architects don’t do. As you may know, I have an ego the size of all the outdoors, therefore, I am going to sell my architecture to my client by saying the only way you can build that house is to build it the way I designed it. So, that’s why the house looks the way it does. Because I said, “If you don't like my design, then you will have to do it yourself. I’d like to see you get past the architectural review board.” 

 

She wanted it to look like Nantucket. Nantucket is filled with 19th century architecture, so she wanted a modern house that looked like a 19th century house. The plan got passed the board after nine attempts, “Oh he’s back again,” they got tired of my showing up, I got tired of paying the airfare and staying overnight on Main Street. 

Red Gate Farm design (Photo by: Hugh Newell Jacobsen) Red Gate Farm design

DISH: Given that there was only a small hunting cabin on the property when you started, how did you approach designing the main house and two-story guest house?

 

HNJ: Well, they have an architectural review board up there, and they want everything to have shingles and be built like little salt boxes with one story in the front and two in the back. I followed these rules laid out by the board so we could get the building permit. They don't like modern architecture up there and that’s what I am. I rather like modern architecture, so, I did made a plan and I did it about nine times before it passed that board. “No, no, no Mr. Jacobsen, won't you listen to anything we say?” No. 

 

DISH: If you were designing the houses now, would you do anything differently with the hindsight of 40 years of experience? 

 

HNJ: Well, that’s like asking ‘“What did you do yesterday and would you like to do it again?” I’d like to do it better than I did last time. I’ve certainly learned some since then. Architects have to listen to their client, they'd never believe it, but if they want three bedrooms then I have to give them three bedrooms. If they want great big bedrooms, then I tell them they need more money. There’s nothing specifically that I would change. I just gave her what she wanted.

Red Gate Farm design (Photo by: Hugh Newell Jacobsen) Red Gate Farm design

The 6,456-square-foot house that Jacobsen designed was completed in 1981. 


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