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San Juan Capistrano

November 19th, 2007

Daniel Pontius

San Juan Capistrano is a charming stop on the train from San Diego to Los Angeles. There is a antiques place on the main road that a dealer friend of mine would describe as being full of brown antiques .
I did like these Italian tole sconces. As I stood there looking at them, I found them most agreeable. I would quite like to see them electrified with with bright acid yellow silk shades on either side of a mirror in a powder room. It seems that as design goes, most people are too concerned with being careful, trying to make the tasteful choice or doing what they think is right–but style, as they say, takes commitment.

My good friend Isabella got so bothered by the designers she worked with that she started leaving out Christmas ornaments in depression era bowls on sidetables all year round. As if she forgot to put all the decorations away. She left the oddly muted orange painted wall in her living room and her collection of mismatched jars and vases grew as well as her piles of books and book shelves. Her bedroom became her own little haven where she painted the walls mauve and left her bird’s cage sitting on top of a high bookshelf after he had gone as a memento. The last I saw it there was Victorian embroidered dressing screen shoved in the corner barely hiding a file cabinet with a pashmina draped over her desk. Her husband, an avid squash player, collected vintage rackets which were displayed down her meandering hallway on a blueish gray wall.
Designers design but not many create. Isabella’s contrary approach created something quite wonderful which was for her natural and well styled, but of course not for everyone, which is really the point.


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  1. November 26, 2007

    When I want to see beauty I log on to Thank you for making this world a prettier place!

  2. Anonymous #
    November 27, 2007

    That Isabella, whatta character. The irony … that surrounded by “perfect” taste forced her to create an environment riddled with eccentric choices.

    You have strange wonderful friends, Bibelots creator.

  3. Anonymous #
    November 28, 2007

    This Isabella sounds like a delightful character … how ironic that working for designers has pushed her into a more pure and eccentric (which is a good word) form of self-expression at home. Your comment “designers design but not many create” was most insightful. Bravo for being open to so much magic, whether “design” approved or not.

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