Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Southern Comfort at Home

If you love beautiful art and beautiful homes...this post is for you!
I've been blessed to call Lori Vrba my best friend for over 30 years. Our friendship is one of the most profound relationships of my life.  Our love affair began waaaay back in high school, cruising through our small town in our cruddy cars, singing loud with the windows down.  Not much has changed...we just both drive better cars.  In fact, we both drive the exact same car. My husband likes to say we're two people that share the same brain.
If I were to write the story of my life, Lori would be in almost every chapter, sharing my joy, my secrets, my pain, cheering me on, supporting me, laughing with me, teaching me, inspiring me. We also share a passion for creating homes that feel  unique and very personal by living with things that do more than fill a space in our homes...they inspire us and remind us who we are and what we love. 

Lori is a fine art film photographer with her very own  dark room in her basement. She lives in  Chapel Hill, NC, where she and her husband have created a beautiful home filled with warmth, friends, art, music, kids and dogs. On my most recent trip to Chapel Hill,  I took a few pictures of some of my favorite spaces in her house to show how this artist friend of mine lives with what she loves.




Above is Lori's former dining room, now called The Girl Room.  This is where we land to knit, talk, scheme, relax. It's a beautiful and serene space with a collection of black and white photography, vintage camera's and art books.


Below is the family room with beautiful slip-covered furniture by Quatrine.









Stella, who can usually be found perched on the back pillow of the sofa. 

Lori's home has three levels. She recently remodeled the basement area which is where her kids and their friends hang out. Her darkroom  and guest room are also on the lower level.  I call this space my vacation home. These stairs lead down to the basement.
Part of the remodeling included ripping the carpet off the stairs. The original builder wood stairs were sanded, caulked and painted white. Heavenly!


The basement is set up perfectly to accommodate three busy kids and gives them their own space to relax, play and do homework.  More Quatrine furniture, soft comfy pillows, art and beautiful lighting.





One of the best take away lessons from Lori's approach to decorating is seeing how almost any piece of furniture, accessory or art could easily be moved to use in another room of the house for an easy change to freshen things up.  Smart girl.


Below is Lori's office.  Part workshop, part mad scientist's lab, command central and art gallery. This is where it all comes together.  Here's how it looks most days:

Here's how it looks a couple of weeks before the opening of her latest solo show:


These stainless tables from Ikea hold some of the tools of the trade for creating new mixed media pieces.

 True story:   Lori says to me that she's tired of the linen chairs in her office.  They had been around for years and were starting to show their age and wear. This was during the last few days of preparing for her show and she didn't have time to stop and have chairs reupholstered.   I say "You could write on them with a big fat Sharpie."   So she did.  She used one of her favorite quotes, a passage from Martha Graham:


 "There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. ... No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others"


Lori's most recent solo show, Southern Comfort reflects her unique expression and speaks from the truest places of her heart through silver gelatlin prints, mixed media  and installation pieces .

























Lori with her oldest son, Aaron, opening night.

For a real treat, I want to share Lori's artist talk from opening night.  Her ability to express herself and talk about the beautiful art she makes is so inspiring and gives you a glimpse into her life and her heart.
Click here to watch it in it's entirety.

Here's a short video I made on my ipad at the gallery opening night:


After taking some time off from blogging, she's back on the world wide web writing in her unique and honest voice on her current blog The Year of Magical Thinking.

Finally, thank you dear friend for sharing your home and your art with all of us. Much love........









4 comments:

  1. Everything that is good and right about my life is because of you. You raise the bar for what it means to live well...home, mothering, relationships and art...you inspire the best in me. Thank you friend for this beautiful post. I'm still crying.

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  2. My breath has been stolen. Yes, robbed straight from my chest as my eyes feasted on these images of Lori's home and my mind devoured every word you wrote Becky . I knew I loved you two the moment I met each of you - before I saw this and I am glad of it. I might have liked you both first because I liked your style. I might have never been sure if it was because I loved your eyes for that style and your sense for placement composition and color that drew me into the friendships. I would have been jaundiced as what caused me to connect as if I'd known you both all my life. I am glad to have developed friendship first and known the sweet , kind, funny sincereness of spirits before I knew the deep darling delicious talent you both possess. Now that I do it just makes knowing you both all the greater and I wait in anticipation at what else you two may reveal!

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    1. Thank you for your sweet note, Ann. Every single time your name is mentioned by Lori, it's soon followed by "....God, I love that Ann George"....let's meet up in Chapel Hill and I will share my vacation home with you :)

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So happy to hear from you!