Monday, July 28, 2008

House Voyeur: Ethnic and Eclectic in Daytona Beach

More Ways to Waste Time reader Ginger Rivera recently sent in a few snapshots of her home in Daytona Beach, Florida, and I was immediately taken with its eclecticism and lightness. I really like Ginger's mix of new and secondhand furnishings, the interesting objects that she highlights, and the way that her home is filled with art and other items that Ginger and her family have created.

Here, Ginger gives us a virtual tour:

"I share my home with my husband, Joe; our son, Paolo, grew up here, but moved to Brooklyn to work as an artist after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design. [Editor's note: How totally cute is he?!] My own degree is in apparel design, and today I experiment with printing, embroidering, texturizing, embellishing, and otherwise manipulating silk and cotton fabrics, which end up on pillows, apparel, and in juried fiber art exhibits.

Our house, built in 1974, is an ‘imitation’ Colonial. When I moved in 31 years ago (Joe was already here), I lived for more than a year with green-and-yellow-plaid wallpaper in the kitchen, yellow floral wallpaper in the bathrooms, a harvest gold tub, toilet, and appliances, avocado green carpeting, and heavy, emerald green drapes. At the time, we had no money for even secondhand furniture, but we could always afford a gallon of paint, and the kitchen and bath colors were changed often! Right now, our front door is bright orange. The house numbers are from Weston.

I used to dream about living in an old Mediterranean-style house, but once I accepted that this was my home, I approached it as I would designing a dress for a client: A slim 5’10” redhead can wear a voluminous skirt with an oversized floral print, while a 5’4” curvy brunette cannot. The petite brunette, however, can be equally stunning when her coloring and proportion are taken into consideration. And that’s what I try to do with our home.

We live in a Florida beach town, but visitors have described our place as more ‘city apartment.’ I prefer solid fabrics for upholstery, and add color with pillows and artwork. I also tend to prefer neutrals, either darks or lights, with interesting textures. My favorite thing about our home is the light, which now reflects off my new, satin-finish maple engineered floors (best for humid Florida). The raw steel table is from Room & Board.

When I opened my custom framing business, which we sold a few years ago, I wasn’t very sophisticated, but I learned from my clients. I quickly moved from poring through poster books for the perfect lilac landscape to scouring thrift shops and art shows for paintings and prints. I learned that true limited editions (silkscreens, wood-block prints, and etchings) were an affordable way to collect beautiful art.

And as I visited clients’ homes, I discovered a myriad of decorating styles. The most interesting homes had artwork on every wall -- purchased pieces, family heirlooms, childrens’ work. One of my favorite homes was designed by a man who loved Scandinavian teak furniture and collected colorful ceramic vases. From all of these influences, my style evolved and I created a space where furniture doesn’t dominate and the eye travels around the room to record the comfortable proportions. The painting over the sofa is by Pegge Fritch.

‘Eclectic’ is an overused term, but our art collection includes representational pencil drawings, moody charcoal landscapes, bright expressionistic acrylic paintings, life drawing studies, student photographs, comic book illustrations painted in oils, hard-edged linear abstracts, folk art, antique etchings and engravings, silkscreens, and fabulous ’80s posters featuring the work of Jean-Michel Folon (which you can find on eBay) and Joan Miró. On the flat file: Kenny Walton glass vases and our son Paolo's artwork and comic art. I picked up the naval aluminum slat-back armchair for $10. While researching it online, I discovered that it's valued at $750!

My own fabric mono prints are organic and tribal, and feature soft, metallic inks on silk. I slash and quilt, and sometimes scan the fabric piece, then play with it in Photoshop, where it exits as a print on paper. On the table in the photo on the right is some of Paolo's childhood artwork; the carved crab is from Oaxaca, Mexico.

Textiles and art inspire me; nature inspires me. I have collections of pine cones, jagged river rocks from New Mexico, fossils from a geologist’s estate sale, odd stones from D-Day beaches, smooth gray contemplation stones from Acadia National Park, and twigs, limbs, driftwood, and weathered, oddly shaped seashells. The carvings, found at an estate sale, are from Ivory Coast. On the bottom right is a fiber-art piece called Ziggurat by Lynne Richards. It looks as if it grew, spontaneously and magically, from a basket of tangled coppery thread.

On the floor: I framed the leftover laser-cut boards from our collection of 3D dinosaur kits.

Artwork left to right: Batik by Pegge Fritch; student work by our son, Paolo Rivera; silkscreens by Gail Bruce. The dining table is from Smith & Hawken.

Clockwise from top left: The painted figure is from Oaxaca; wooden artists' models; a creature from Where the Wild Things Are in front of a piece by Akiko Sugiyama; Jack Skellington guards the glasses.

Our biggest challenge has been making the house seem wider than it is (only about 30 feet). One way I accomplished that was to sand and spray all the interior doors white and add stainless doorknobs. I leave the doors open at all times to give the house the landscape ‘stretch’ that it needs. One-inch white wood blinds (from the Shade Store) also reflect sunlight, and they’re not bulky or suffocating in the way drapes can be. Given the time and money, I’d take the ceiling up to the rafters and create a passageway between the kitchen and living/dining room space. I don’t even want to think of the construction debris!

My first vintage purchase was the 1930s or '40s Hoosier cabinet above, which we spray-painted white. I’m big on white when it’s a beautiful, sprayed finish -- it makes any piece of furniture look expensive. The cabinet now houses our extra glasses and dinnerware.

The sun room serves as my home office. Joe built the maple desk, bookcase, and work table.

I got the 3D birch dinosaur at a museum shop years ago, but you can find similar ones here. The storage drawers are from IKEA. The crafting lamp is by Ott-Lite.

My husband, Joe, did the graphite drawing at top when he was 21 or 22. Mystique figurine (bottom left) by Paolo Rivera.

When Paolo was at RISD, it was exciting to go to the student shows, receive gifts of his friends' work, and borrow some of their energy and creativity. One roommate, for instance, picked up a rubber band pierced round-about with twigs, and it’s that unexpected juxtaposition of elements that I search for daily. Vase by Susan Maslowski from Mud River Pottery; skull and watercolor by Paolo Rivera; Dave Jones turned maple pieces; small airplane by RISD grad Ann P. Smith.

I have several vintage rattan pieces (very Florida!) that I paid very little for at local secondhand shops. I made these colorful pillows from molas that I found at craft fairs and ethnic shops, but hired someone to tackle the welted cushions because I knew how time-consuming and frustrating that can be.

Paolo’s old room now has a sofa bed and serves as my sewing and crafting space. The two-tone wall color was created using Ralph Lauren's Picket Fence White on the top half of the wall, and a custom-mixed pale green on the bottom.

The shelves once overflowing with Ninja turtles, sketchbooks, fire trucks, water guns, microscopes, and required reading are now quiet with folded silks and linens. The painting above the sewing machine is by Jane Kim.

We found the vintage Lebus bedside tables at a secondhand store. They were painted white, but we stripped them to reveal the beautiful oak, then added raw steel pulls from Room & Board.

We also found a great Huntley bedroom set secondhand. That's a Degas print hanging over the dresser. The two framed pieces to the left of the tallboy are by my husband, Joe Rivera.

My decorating advice: Look at magazines and design and art books, visit museums, and tour your friends’ and family’s homes and make note of what you like. Create an inspiration book of furniture styles, paint chips, textures, fabric, and interesting photos. If you see something online that really grabs you, bookmark it immediately, and back up your list often. Don’t be a snob about provenance. Your taste will evolve with age, exposure to other cultures, and travel.

When you tire of something, hang onto it for a year, then give it away to someone who’s just starting out. I had a bunch of mismatched wine glasses and unused dishes, for instance, that I gave to a young woman who’d just moved into her first apartment. She was thrilled. I realized early on that hanging onto too many things clutters your mind, as well as the garage!"

Thanks so much for offering us a look inside your wonderfully colorful and creative home, Ginger!

P.S. Want to see more? Click here for a peek inside other readers' homes.

7 comments:

20 Something Superhero said...

Love this home!! Looks comfortable, and chic. I love seeing home like this, created on a realistic budget!!

debra said...

this house is so lovely. i grew up in florida and can vouch for the rarity of "city style" there - it's so much fun to see how she made it all come together. i love the infusion of art made by their family into the decor.

Freshly Found said...

What a lovely tour around Ginger's home! I too love combining old and new in a fresh way, so found her home inspiring.

Norma said...

What a lovely home. We usually rent a villa when we holiday in Florida and I've always wanted to see a proper Florida home. The customised second hand pieces and artwork make it a really unique home. Quite lovely.

Norma

Joan Zatorski said...

Ginger, your home is lovely and inspirational! As a new sewer trying to create a sewing room that doesn't look like a Pennsylvania-Dutch-Crafts-Festival, your sewing room showed me that it IS possible to sew within a mid-century-modern aesthetic! Thank you for sharing this!!! Happy beginner seamstress in Tucson, AZ, Joan Zatorski

virginia said...

thank you joan...if you are a DIY person, this is a source for hairpin legs (stainless and raw steel) AND he will make custom leg shapes. he also creates formica topped plywood surfaces to pair with the legs.

http://www.ianmaclean.com/
and below is a source for other table tops:

http://www.roomandboard.com/rnb/collection.do?method=get&id=377662&cat=54

i'm going to create my own case study type bed using his hardware, and i plan to create an additional cutting table with custom length legs.
i love tucson, and grew up in NM.

Anonymous said...

I love Ginger's advice and comment about hanging onto to too many things. Just what I needed to hear! (I have way too much stuff!)

 

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