Wednesday, January 30, 2013

House Romantics: Courtney Barnes

I read a Charles Kingsley quote the other day that I loved: 

"We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about."


It's a defining personality trait I share with my friend Courtney Barnes (pictured below), who founded one of my favorite design blogs, Stylecourt, in Atlanta six years ago.  My enthusiasm for beautiful things is sometimes high spirited in a knock-you-down-to-show-you-something-cool sort of way. Barnes is more measured but equally as passionate about what's happening and what's happened in the style world: she is insatiably curious about art, textiles, people, and history. 

And since her house in Georgia is always evolving, I was curious about some of the things in it at the moment that are inspiring Barnes. She graciously filled me in on her faves below. Enjoy!

An antique rug. "Every year, Sharian, the family owned and operated rug showroom that's been on the scene in Atlanta for eight decades, has a big tent sale. In 2012 I initially had my eye on an old Persian, so, with the rug bookmarked on my iPad, I headed over to their Art Deco building in downtown Decatur. Bedros Sharian helped locate the Persian but also unrolled a beautiful little antique Turkish rug with this wonderful, timeworn palette of heathery lavenders, olive greens, gray, and citrus shades. Apart from the colors, I was immediately drawn to the pattern—it can skew modern or old world. Although I didn't find the rug globe-trekking through Turkey, it was still great to support and be part of a local institution."

Her "Dad" projects. "My Dad is incredibly patient and game to try pretty much any project I come up with," Barnes says. "He built me bookcases that are probably a hundred times more nicely crafted than anything I could go out and buy (photo below), a linen-covered trunk, and a custom sawhorse desk, just to mention a few examples."

"Anyone who gives up his Saturday to tackle precisely-spaced nail heads has to be special, right? One of my favorite elements on the linen trunk he made is the pair of handles I found at Horton Brasses (photo below). Specializing in hardware, they've been around since the thirties and still employ a team of craftsmen and craftswomen too. Several of their metal smiths live and work in West Virginia and Kentucky."

Her art. "Nearly all of my art is small and some sort of work on paper," Barnes says. "They're more affordable and easier to shift around! Because of the research I do for my blog, I've become better acquainted with so many other fascinating regional artists, including: Anne Butrus (pictured below, at right), Andrew Bucci, Stacey Bradley, Hayley Gaberlavage and more. Of course, the hazardous side of all this is that I want to buy their stuff."

"Design junkies will appreciate Vicky Molinelli's watercolor of LouLou de la Falaise's Paris apartment. Years ago Ruthie Sommers introduced me to Vicki and I was thrilled to be able to help spread the word about her amazing work. Soon after, not wanting to miss my window before she became famous, I decided to give myself an early Christmas present, the apartment picture (below). That was in 2008. She's gone on to do illustrations for Charlotte Moss and other design luminaries."

"Blogging also led me to photographer Janet Blyberg," Barnes says. "She's become a close friend, so I really cherish the green leaves (shown below in the chunky frame in the foreground). Lastly, the spare print of the musician (shown below at right) was done by my Aunt when she was just out of art school."

An antique lamp. "I can't get enough of pierced, white ceramics. My Mom and I found this thirties lamp base at Mandarin Antiques in Atlanta. It's another family-owned, local business and I've spent many fun Saturday afternoons there exploring the place."

A tableau. "My friend Cameron gave me the little box (pictured below). It's Herend's Chinese Bouquet in rust. Although it looks precious, it holds really humble things like safety pins. So it's put into service literally everyday. Underneath is one of my favorite books from 2012: "Doris Duke's Shangri La". Duke's suzani collection was one of the first things I ever blogged about, so I'm excited that the big exhibition about her art collection and house in Hawaii is traveling to the Southeast in 2013."

(all photos courtesy of Barnes)


Style Court said...

Haskell -- LOVE the Kingsley quote and how you wove this together. I get so much inspiration from you. It's very cool to be included here as a House Romantic. Thanks for the invitation!

Haskell Harris said...

Thought you would like the quote because we both like those too ha ha! And you are so welcome. Thanks for participating. I knew you'd have great stories!

Nicki Clendening said...

Loved reading about your treasures and inspirations Courtney! Great job as usual Haskell. said...

Courtney is a weaver - of threads and stories between and among sometimes disparate things - and her eye is amazing. How lovely to see some of her favorite things at home.

Style Court said...

Jacqueline -- thank you!

Nicki -- totally agree, Hakell has a magic touch! Fun to bump into you over here :)