Wednesday, March 24, 2010

They Don't Make Em' Like This Anymore

Pin It Four years ago today, my husband and I decided to go against the grain, buck tradition and elope. While not a decision that is for everyone, it was a decision that for us, made all the sense in the world. It resonated with our personalities which are fairly private, we are no frills folk and we tend not to make a big deal out of most things like holidays, birthdays etc. We'd rather celebrate just us two, quietly, privately and without all the pomp and circumstance. All of those things are great, of course, but not necessarily for us, so we went ahead, booked our flight, filed for a marriage certificate and had an absolutely incredible day filled with laughter, tears, smiles, bloopers and enough Veuve Clicquot to make a french woman fat ;)

I've been in love with San Francisco since I was a child, and when I found the website to San Francisco City Hall, I knew at that second it's where I wanted to be wed. Everything about it screamed elegance and history, so I immediately beckoned for Mr. Hotpiece to come into the room and check out my findings. He fell in love, I was in love and we knew that's where we were going to exchange our vows.

The most common response we received was "City Hall?" said with a wide eyed stare and look of disappointment "WHY would they want to get married at City Hall......???"

What few were realizing is that this isn't any ordinary City Hall where we would go in our Sunday best, a faux-floral bouquet and call it a day. This is a grand building drenched in marble, granite, bronze and gilt with the most marvelous and awe inspiring craftsmanship this side of The Louvre.

Completed in 1915 by the revered architect, Arthur Brown (SF City Hall, Coit Tower, SF War Memorial Opera House), the current City Hall replaces a former which was destroyed by the earthquake of 1906. Since Beaux-Arts (one of my personal faves b/c of the classical proportion and ornamentation) was de rigeur at the time, Mr. Brown set out to create a masterpiece of only the finest materials around. It is said that he commanded full control of the project, having a say in everything right down to the signage. (My kind of guy!)

Look at the massive scale of the building!! Impressive, isn't it?

Photo Courtesy of Thomas Hawk Photography

Fortunately for us, we were able to be married in the coveted rotunda, straight up from the stairs, beyond the 1st set of columns. There were no guarantees that we would have been able to have that space, and in the case where we wouldn't, we would have been relegated to the paltry staircase to be married in tandem with several other couples who didn't 'make the cut.' But alas, luck was on our side and we said our I do's as privately as we could up there in the intimate rotunda.

     Photo Courtesy of Harold Davis Photography

Doesn't this blow your mind? I always like to think I could take my creativity to this level, but most of the time, I am just awe-struck by the sheer magnitude of talent and brains of the designers that are capable of this level of skill. Not to mention the brilliant artisans that are so committed to their craft and complete works of beauty as such. This is not easy, folks!

A few little snaps of us on the day of. What a day. I mean, we truly had a blast, and I can, without hesitation, say that this was the best day of my life. I married way up! 

**Also: There aren't many pictures of SF City hall on the interwebz so, you'll have to deal with my vulgar display of self-indulgent pictures ;)

Incredible and massive sheaths of sandstone comprise the interior, as well as impressive detailed marble floors, most of which the marble and granite were sourced in US of A. That is almost unimaginable nowadays. 

At every turn the lighting details were breathtaking. Even these simple sconces and pendants were in cast bronze and reeded glass....they looked so timeless and sophisticated. 

These 'lamp posts" were dotted the whole 1st story of the building...absolutely gorgeous. Possibly 
10-11ft tall and made of gilt bronze or bronze d'ore, whichever tickles your fancy. They were truly breathtaking.

Just to give you an idea of scale, do you see us next to the urn? Phenomenal!

If you are ever in San Francisco, City Hall is a must see on your list. I highly recommend it, and I literally cannot wait to visit the fair city again, perhaps for our 5 year anniversary next year?? Maybe so! 


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Chance Meeting and Creative Inspiration For The Day

Pin It Today is a gorgeous day! Crisp, sunny, cool, and believe me we need it b/c our weather has been nasty lately. This pretty day got my creativity riled up and while looking for lighting inspiration for a project I am working on, my ADD kicked in and I couldn't help but pull together a room based on my mood. The *real* work can wait, I suppose ;)

I've been wanting to introduce everyone to Erin Chance Fenstermaker, a truly gifted up and coming artist in Lafayette. She's absolutely adorable, demure, and playful. Her artwork certainly exudes her vibrant persona, yet at the same time her pieces have a quiet contemplative quality to them, which I love.  

Comfortable working within abstract and figurative, she does a wonderful job parlaying her point of view in a way that I feel many can appreciate and admire. The color composition she chooses is what really does it for me; not afraid of color one bit, she uses chroma in an approach that rouses a harmonious interplay between many strong hues, and the final product is just breathtaking! 

Starting with this modern interpretation of a buillotte chandelier, I quickly layered a room that would make me happy to be in it, knowing all the while that I wanted to incorporate a painting of Erin's. I feel that her pieces work well within traditional, contemporary, eclectic, anything. My personal taste is more classically-eclectic if that makes sense. I wouldn't call it funky, per se, more streamlined and tailored with the unxepected thrown in for good measure. In fact, this is what I'd love for my living room to look like! Trust fund? Anyone? Bueller? 

Enjoy, and be sure to check out Erin's website! She's a doll! 

**My ADD is really bad today. I realized I should have added more paintings from her website to illustrate how talented she is! Forgive me if you came, saw, left and now I added more! 

Aren't these colors incredible?

I want this one! 

Would you ever know that this is a marsh scene? I love that about her work!


I'm feeling this lately

Pin It Not the guys in drag. The Michelle Shocked song. I love her anthem about embracing growing older. Most of us (myself included) cringe at the thought of aging, but here, she approaches maturation as something to be revered, to be cherished and basked in. And you know what? That's exactly how I'm going to change my tune about it all.

And a very, very special shout out to my grandmother, Margaret, who turned 85 on Friday! She's so incredible that two years ago, she decided she wanted to change her life, so she sold her house and moved cross country to 'retire' to Florida with my mom. At age 83, she took up painting and is creating beautiful watercolors and acrylics which she sends to my sister and I every chance she gets.  Can we say inspiration? Indeed!   She taught me how to sew, how to cook, and has made countless handwritten cookbooks for me. She's just so wonderful and I am so fortunate to have her in my life! Love you MawMaw!!!!