Monday, February 24, 2014

Jean Chaput battles the Red Baron

"Mobile" as a term applied to kinetic sculpture was suggested in 1931 by French artist, Marcel Duchamp to describe the mechanized creations of Alexander Calder. Mobile art suggests something to be enjoyed with the eye. 

Art can be enjoyed as a toy as well. 

Jean Chaput battles the Red Baron

Here Jean Chaput, French WWI ace, battles the Red Baron. Une touche du doigt, a touch of the finger sets these aviators to rocking back and forth in the skies above France. 


The Red Baron is Manfred von Richthofen, Germany’s best known war ace. 

Jean Chaput was a Parisian. With the beginning of World War I, he took to the skies flying a Nieuport. He was wounded and hospitalized on multiple occasions. By April of 1918, he had sixteen kills, including one over German Ace Lt. Erich Thomas. By now he was flying a SPAD. He was shot down and killed May 6th, 1918. Chaput was 24 years old.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Dining Room at the KC Designers' Symphony Showhouse

The second in a series of articles on the 45th Annual KC Symphony Designers' Showhouse. Like them on Facebook and watch as the designers get ready.

45th KC Symphony Designers' Showhouse
The challenge for designers Kathy Carter, Missy Dean, and Alex Young is to create a dining setting appropriate to the 45th KC Symphony Designers' Showhouse.

This year's showhouse is again located in the Country Club District of Kansas City, Missouri. This home, built in 1921, was designed by the architectural firm of Hoit, Price and Barnes. The Jacobean design is one, which originated in the early 1600's. It is known for its ornate elements and  extravagant silhouettes. This home's outstanding exterior features include the symmetrical construction of porches, the well-intentioned griffins perched on the porches, three front facing gables, and the widow's walk at the top of the third floor. The construction material is native Kansas limestone.


Designers at Traditions Furniture in Downtown Overland Park - Kathy, Missy, and Alex have chosen Stickley's Traditional Collection for the dining room.  This allows them to select near-period pieces and from styles that range from Queen Anne to Chippendale.

before dining room
The front door of the home leads to the foyer and a staircase that ascends to the second floor sleeping quarters. To the right of the foyer is the living area. To the left is the dining room. The exposure is southern, providing lighting throughout the day. One of the unique features of the home is the Jacobean style leaded glass windows throughout the home.

Landing area, windows and chandelier
Stickley's Traditional Collection offers several choices of breakfronts, tables and chairs. Graceful in design, the traditional breakfront or china, has intricate door mullions that match the pattern of the leaded glass of the home. The pediment top is optional. Choice of wood is mahogany and black cherry.

Stickley traditional china
A room should be balanced. And then, the addition of pieces should serve a function. Kathy, Missy and Alex suggest the addition of a sideboard an round table, the one piece as a server and the other as a gathering point, to leave a book, a phone, or just a place to rest. The Monroe sideboard can act as a server, if needed. It is also a focal point for a mirror or work of art. The small round table with brass lions feet is the perfect addition for a small space.

Monroe sideboard

Small round table

The table and chairs are without doubt the most important features of the room. The table is where we gather with family and friends to break bread and savor the life's better moments. The clipped corner dining table in solid mahogany extends to ten feet with four self-storing leaves. The Chippendale style chairs are comfortable and beautiful.

This year's designers' showhouse promises to be a great one with beautifully designed rooms from top to bottom. And don't miss the landscaped lawn and gardens. Join us and the Kansas City Symphony Alliance, and all the great designers this April and support a worthy cause, the Kansas City Symphony.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

45th Annual Kansas City Designers' Showhouse

"In the Spring a young man's thoughts lightly turn to thoughts of love." Alfred Tennyson
In Spring, a young man's thoughts may turn to love, but the Kansas City area designers turn their thoughts to the 45th annual showhouse. This is one of the longest-running fund raising events in Kansas City. It benefits a worthy cause, the Kansas City Symphony in its 42-week long season at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

45th Annual KC Designers' Showhouse
This year's showhouse is at 1246 W. 59th Street in the Country Club District of Kansas City, Missouri. The home was built in 1921 by the architectural firm of Hoit, Price and Barnes. Its design is Jacobean, which originated in the early 1600's, known for its ornate elements, extravagant silhouettes and dramatic style. The construction material is native Kansas limestone.

The front of the house has several interesting architectural features. There are the twin porches that frame the door. Perched atop each porch rests a stone gargoyle that protects the house from evil spirits. At the top of the house on the third floor is the widow's walk, a feature more customary to coastal areas where wives would watch to see if their husbands returned from the sea.

The history of the house is long and illustrative. It was originally designed for Fred Hoose, his wife Alice and their two children. Fred eventually left Kansas City for an acting career in Los Angeles. As a character actor, Hoose played the marshal in Lone Star Law Men (1941), judge in Riding the Sunset Trail (1941), and a beleaguered rancher in Where the Trails End (1942).

Read more history of the home, by Beverly Shaw, Symphony Alliance historian.

It is now February and ones sees the remnants of winter's snow. By April the 26th when the showhouse opens to the public, the rooms will be done, the trees and the grass will have turned green. The landscaping, done by By the Blade, will be a symphony of color.

In addition to the front view of the house there are the dramatic side and rear views. The home has been designed for the contours of the land. It nestles within the side of the hill and is surrounded by ancient trees.

Traditions Furniture is proud to again work on the Designers' Showhouse. This year we will be doing the dining room. The style is traditional 18th century Chippendale by Stickley. The designers this year are Kathy Carter, Missy Dean, and Alex Young.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Valentine's Day


It's not a great start to the week. It is a grey Monday morning and three more inches of snow have fallen on top of ten. The dogs shudder at the thought of going out. But the bird feeder is empty, so the dogs and I trudge though the soft white piles of driven snow to add sunflower seeds to the feeders.

Back inside, at work on the computer looking outside the window, I am rewarded with a colorful display of hungry red and grey cardinals and black-eyed juncos flitting about the feeder. It makes me happy, as I listen to Lindsey Ray sing "You make me happy." 

[You can be happy and listen to Lindsey Ray by clicking on the link.]

This is the week of Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day arrives this Friday, the 14th. So, what makes your Valentine happy? Is it a box of chocolates, a dozen roses, and a night at the movies? That is a start. 

But caring about someone and making them happy takes more than a wallet or a purse. Caring about someone is a simple thing. It is  sharing what matters in life - a walk in the park, a touch of the hand, a message written in chalk for all the world to see, even a smile on a grey cloudy day. Lindsey Ray suggests that it "a kiss on my cheek, always letting me know I'm the birds and the bees." Not a bad idea on a grey, cold Monday, or any day.

How do the birds stay warm?

If you are like me, then you are wondering how birds stay toasty warm when it is bitter cold. And how about those Mallard ducks and Canadian geese that float on an icy pond? Mon dieu, en hiver, il fait froid.

As Michael Stern reports in Living on Earth, it is because of an adaption called rete mirabile. This adaption, in a nutshell, is a wonderfully complex web of arteries and veins that exchange heat and so keep the warm blood flowing to and from the heart. That and a little feather puffing to insulate the birds from the frigid air.