My first post on Stephen Saint-Onge was so much fun thanks to all of you! I loved the excitement that I could feel in your comments, and of course having Stephen himself jump in to comment and offer autographed copies of his book was amazing! And there were those of you who emailed me to tell me that you are now crushing on my dream guy. Too funny! I am afraid today’s post is not going to help you any in that department. In fact, it is probably going to make your crush worse. Sorry…
We all know he designs rooms that are comfortable… livable… beautiful (like that cheerful dining room above.) And you know that I adore his philosophy on making the home the best place possible to live out an inspired life – really live it out . He is well grounded in the importance of the home as a haven for family and friends. But today I don’t want to talk about the rooms in a home (gasp!). (Something is definitely wrong with Kelly if she doesn’t want to talk about rooms!) I want to, instead, talk about Stephen Saint-Onge the person – not the designer. He is so much more than a gifted designer.
First, he loves cooking. You will find recipes and ideas for dishes on his blog, and when he writes about cooking, he often includes it with posts about entertaining. Take for example, his Thanksgiving post that included the recipe for this carrot souffle.
And he is confident enough in the kitchen to experiment with ingredients. Anyone for a peach, prosciutto, mozzarella, and basil sandwich? … Perhaps we should grill those peaches?
So when he designs a kitchen or dining space, he is actually fully aware of how that space will be used. (You knew I couldn’t totally stay away from room design, didn’t you? :))
And there is even more to him than his love for cooking.
I grew up in a home with art. My mother does oil paintings, and they are everywhere in my parents’ home. Stephen Saint-Onge is also a talented artist. I was amazed by all of his work – watercolors and photography. (There may have been works done in oil, too, but I am not sure.) Art is such a personal thing. You either make a connection to a piece or you don’t. This particular piece of his – High Tide – spoke to me . It reminded me so much of our trip to Maine and Cabot Cove where we stayed. Art does that. It calls up our memories and emotions.
Many of his works have red in them, and as a lover of that color, they make me smile.
But I have a confession to make. As much as I love looking at art, and as much as I was surrounded by it growing up, I cannot commit to it for my own home. I am too fickle with my color changes in the rooms. In fact there are several very nice pieces of artwork hanging in our attic. I know… terrible. So what works in our home, for a number of reasons, is black and white photography. I love that we can capture candid moments of our family and display it for all to enjoy around here. It celebrates our life. That is why you see soooo much of it in our home.
And black and white photography speaks to me. Perhaps it is because it makes you truly focus on the scene, and not on all the colors. Stephen Saint-Onge does beautiful black and white photography. (See again why he is my dream guy? :)) I loved this work of his called An Early Snow.
Now let me show you why that piece spoke to me. Last year my husband and I stayed at a bed and breakfast in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and this is a photograph that I took….not nearly as good as Stephen’s, but I thought it was funny that both of us zoned in on the chairs in our scenes…like they are characters talking with one another under the tree.
I have a thing for photographs of trees. Here is another one I took at that same bed and breakfast in the mountains.
I tell you this because here is a photograph that Stephen took. This one is gorgeous to me…that tree!
And here is one I took last summer, below. We both seem to have an appreciation for the beauty of trees. Wouldn’t you agree? His piece has an older, more vintage look than mine .
You can see the hay in the field in my scene above. And I love this next photograph that Stephen did of the hay in a winter field. It is called Winter Begins. This scene just takes my breath away.
But believe or not, my absolute favorite of all of his work is not in black and white. It is this sepia toned photograph, Apple Ladder. There is such a dreamy quality to it.
Now the wonderful thing about all of his artwork is that it is available for purchase. Click on any of the links above, and you will be taken to the site where you may purchase them as wrapped canvas prints…and some of these are quite large. (Mickey, you asked about the Farm to Table print in your comment. It is available on the site.)
Stephen’s art collection came about, he said, because he was frustrated with being unable to find affordable art for rooms he was designing. So he decided to make his own. Here is a video that introduces the collection, and I think you will enjoy watching it and hearing him explain his thinking behind the art (and yes, nerd girl here loves it. :))
So my dream guy can design rooms, cook, and make beautiful art. Anything else? Well actually, yes. There is one more thing – and it’s the biggie. It really sums up all that I have written in these last two posts. You see, he has this passion for living life to its fullest by enjoying the little things, and he shares this with his readers through his writing – whether it is a good meal, an idea for entertaining, a beautiful house from a movie, a piece of art that stirs a memory, gorgeous comfortable rooms, or even music that inspires.
So you see, he is not writing just about room decor. He is writing about living a life – a life that is within reach. And that, my friends is what I love.
No Place Like Home: Tips & techniques for real family-friendly home design
And I will close this post by reminding you that we have a giveaway going on! (Not that you probably even need reminding, right?) There are three personally autographed copies of Stephen’s book No Place Like Home to be given away in a random drawing. (Thank you Stephen!) Just leave your comment(s) by midnight June 16, 2013 on the previous post, this one, and/or the one that I hope to have out Saturday night. You may comment on all three, but only once per post please.
In other news…our daughter is having four impacted wisdom teeth removed today, so I really look forward to reading your comments as we go through this weekend with mashed potatoes, jello, and soup. Wish us luck!
Let’s talk art for our talk about question today…
Do you have a favorite among Stephen’s pieces of art in today’s post?
What type of art do you have in your home?
Looking forward to your comments!
*** Giveaway closed. Winners announced 6/19/2013.***