Hi, I'm Julie Warner, author of Kitchen and Home Appliance Blog (creative title, eh?) for my family's appliance company, Warners' Stellian.
I strong-armed the keys to Paul's blog away from him before he left for the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Chicago. Thankfully, his readers have the best sense of humor of any of the design blogs I follow. So please, humor me as I -- an appliance blogger, not a designer -- attempt to fill his shoes.
I visited Europe for the first time for two weeks in late March, traveling to Portugal, France and Italy during my stay. Friends encouraged me to take pictures, but I'm not much of a chronicler; I don't even own a digital camera.
However, the Palace of Versailles blew me away enough with its scale and extravagance to make me turn on my cell phone and snap some (rare) pictures. They're not spectacular nor comprehensive, but anything that gets me to take a picture on vacation is worth highlighting.
I can't exactly remember which rooms are which -- there are so many -- but I believe this was either a king's bedroom or dressing room. There was so much to look at, from the artwork to the wallpaper, to the molding -- which was often gilded -- to the chandeliers to...
...the chairs. I took a picture of this chair because I could actually see it in a future house of my own. I think it's so beautiful.
This wallpaper is outrageous, in a good way, I think. If I commissioned paintings of myself, this is precisely how I'd display them -- marble and all.
No stone left unturned? More like no spot left bare. There are gold clocks on top of gold mirrors on hand-painted walls with intricate, gold-dipped moldings behind crystal chandeliers...
I covet the detail on the interior of this fireplace. Again, no space left undecorated.
OK, this couch simply reminded me of my mother, who collects antiques. I absolutely loved it.
At this point, my friends were judging me for getting excited about wallpaper and furniture. And we needed to leave.
Next stop? What a 180: Pompidou Centre, home to the National Museum of Modern Art -- and some pretty fantastic architecture.
I also snapped this picture with my phone. We're at the top level of the structure, after climbing many stories up the clear tube-encased escalator. It looks like it goes on forever, doesn't it?
This exhibit caught my eye, for obvious reasons, while visiting the female artist-focused exhibit, elles@centrepompidou. (Watch a clip of Martha Rosler's feminist video, Semiotics of the Kitchen.)
The kitchen has been historically decided to be "the woman's space." And despite the existence of female home designers, the exhibit said, "(translated by Google) Particularly in France, the access of women designers in the industry is still limited."
Thanks for letting me share my two favorite places I visited in France with you. I'd love to hear if you agree if people just see Versailles' decoration as gaudy or if they were inspired like I was. The Pompidou challenged my thinking -- always a good thing. But I'm not afraid to admit that some of the stuff in there was just plain WEIRD.