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concept, restoration & replication

behind the scenes in historic newport

Bringing a significant Newport Historic District residence into the modern day with upgraded systems while retaining its architectural integrity is an exciting assignment.  And a challenging one.  There are countless moments in the project when we—the architect and the builder—are faced with the now familiar question: how much do we invest in restoring an original element vs. creating a replica that carries the same story and delivers a more stable element able to endure the next 100 years?

The truth is, you have to pick and choose.  Carefully.

Too much replacement, however exact the replica may be, risks looking too new and inauthentic.  Too much rehabilitation to original elements can begin to spiral the project out of cost control.  The answer lies in carefully selecting those elements to restore, that provide high-touch/high-value to the project.  Restoring original details like the hardwood floor, windows and millwork features such as fireplaces, ensures the home retains its position as a historic home.

But what about interior doors, for example?  Should they be saved?  (I should mention – they are 1 3/4″ thick with a unique raised panel/chamfer detail and mortised hardware.  Every element is done right.) The truth is, we tried and found that so much modification to the doors the past 100 years left them patched, shaved at the bottom and so unique in sizing that they no longer fit our new plumb and true rough openings. The answer was to create exact replicas of the doors and refinish and reuse the original hardware.

These decisions require supreme collaboration amongst all project partners and we’re fortunate to be working with the A team on this one – Parker Construction Company and Patrick Ahearn Architect.  Not to mention fantastic, respectful clients who trust we’ve got their mission to balance restoration with modernization top of mind, every step of the way.

And as we make our way through stripping back and rebuilding this historic gem, we have the privilege of seeing these original details up close and personal and replicating to a tee.  A nice assignment, indeed.

Scroll through images below for a peek at our conceptual design and progress shots during construction.  We’ll share photos throughout our progress this winter/next spring as we deliver this home back to its family next summer, ready for the next 100 years of Newport life.

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

Exterior Details, During Construction:

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Interior Details, During Construction :

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Our Interiors Concept:

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New Meets Old:

 

In Progress:

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join us at linger & learn — this thursday!

featuring art talk with Tracy Glover & special guest Alyn Carlson

 

Be sure to attend our 2nd of three linger & learn events this Thursday, 6/28 from 6pm – 8pm.  Last month’s event was a warm gathering marked with gallerist Candita Clayton sharing her insights on the benefits of collecting handmade objects.  Candita’s encouragement to engage and collaborate with an artist, instead of just buying from afar, is the topic of our July and August linger & learn events.

On Thursday evening, artist Tracy Glover will share how she engages with designers and homeowners to select from her artisan lighting fixtures and objects to complement a home.  (Her talk will begin at 6:45 pm, so be sure to time your arrival.  You won’t want to miss it.)

Tracy regularly welcomes clients and designers into her Pawtucket studio to understand her process, see work in progress and be inspired by the possibilities of her glass lighting and objects.  We’ll recreate a small version of Tracy’s studio at taste, enabling her to share with our guests an experience similar to visiting her in Pawtucket.  She’ll provide examples of her work and taste designers will chime in with case studies of interiors we’ve designed that incorporate Tracy’s work.

As a special bonus, artist Alyn Carlson will also contribute to the dialog and share how she and Tracy are collaborating on a special project.  Alyn’s work is in the gallery at taste this summer and her relationship with fellow artist Tracy is a wonderful view into the way artists work together in our small state of abundant talent.

And if that’s not enough to tempt you to join us, we’ll welcome back Vanessa Piche to the gallery at taste with new work and introduce artist Kate Wilson’s brilliant works in photography as well.

The red front door opens at 6pm and Tracy’s talk will start at 6:45 pm.  Join us for what I expect to be a lovely, inspirational evening.

(To tempt you even more, work from Tracy, Vanessa and Kate follows below.)

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

Scenes from last month’s linger & learn event featuring gallerist Candita Clayton with work by Kelly Milukas, Susan Freda and Alyn Carlson.

 

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Kate Wilson joins us with her joy-filled works that are “lovingly dye-sublimated onto aluminum”.  We’re thrilled to have the energy and positivity of her work in our midst.

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Tracy Glover’s pendants, light fixtures and glass objects are works of art we regularly incorporate into our client homes because of their timeless qualities.  Never overly trendy or kitschy, Tracy’s work brings the quality of craft to an interior for years of come.

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Dear friend and coastal artist Vanessa Piche can be seen on the beach and in the marsh capturing the color, light and scenes of our seaside towns.  Ever working and always vibrant, we love having Vanessa around us and with us each summer.Vanessa Piche 20180430-17Vanessa Piche Hiking with Friends HR

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announcing taste’s linger & learn summer series

join us!

We hear from many of you that you look forward to our open studio events every summer for connection and inspiration. We’re so glad. Since 2015, we’ve opened our red front door for three Thursday evenings in the summer to welcome friends, neighbors and favorite artists to our gallery.

This summer we’re expanding to include an art & design learning opportunity each evening. I’m bubbling over with excitement and pride about our guest speaker and artist line-up. (I met with artist Susan Freda this week to select her work that we’ll debut at the gallery at taste later this month and I’m over the moon excited. She is an extraordinary artist creating work from the heart that speaks to so many people.)

Our first Linger & Learn event happens Thursday evening, May 31st from 6pm – 8pm at our Jamestown Studio. Join us then for a cocktail and a nibble to absorb art wisdom from friend and gallerist Candita Clayton and take in the work of Susan Freda, Kelly Milukas and Alyn Carlson.

Here’s why you should attend…

At twenty-one years old, Candita started collecting art with $125 she’d scraped together after college to buy a small print that spoke to her. Since then, she’s added to her own collection, edited friends’ and clients’ collections and demystified art buying along the way.  Today, that print still hangs in her living room and symbolizes her buy-what-you-love philosophy to acquiring handmade objects.

Candita will share her approach to buying original art (at any price point – even $125), including:

  • How to start thinking about filling that empty space on your wall(s);
  • When to buy art, and when not to buy art. (Hint: vacation art-buying often doesn’t pan out in the long run);
  • How to engage with an artist to add meaning to the art you acquire;
  • When to support an emerging artist and what to consider;
  • Making a financial investment in art and what kind of return you should expect.

The red front door opens at 6pm and Candita’s talk will start at 6:45 pm-ish. Join us for what I expect to be a lovely, inspirational evening.

(To tempt you even more, work from Susan, Kelly and Alyn follows below.)

Only the best,

 

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

P.S.  Mark your calendars for all the Linger & Learn events this summer…

Thursday, May 31st with gallerist Candita Clayton

Thursday, June 28th with glass artist Tracy Glover

Thursday, August 2nd with textile artist Melinda Cox

 

 

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Sue Freda – Kozo Dress

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Kelly Milukas – Spinal – 18 x 10 inches

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Sue Freda – Abaca Dress

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Alyn Carlson – Aqua Linea 1316

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Kelly Milukas – Oxygen – 6 x 6 inches

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Sue Freda – Collagraph 2

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Kelly Milukas – Done at Dawn Bandwidth

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Sue Freda – Collagraph 5

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Kelly Milukas – Drench Gaia

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Sue Freda – Filasidus

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Kelly Milukas – Oceanic – 10 x 10 inches

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Sue Freda – Hyacinth Vitroll

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keeping craft alive: spotlight on urban electric

the urban electric co. of charleston, south carolina

We have long relied on Urban Electric Co. for exceptionally crafted lighting fixtures – all bench made to order and to our specifications.  Seeing their company featured in a recent article in Business of Home and learning more about their dedication to nurturing the next generation of artisans makes our support of their company that much stronger.

With thoughtfulness and intention, they recruit artisans from diverse backgrounds and engage them in a 12-18 month apprenticeship program to become craftspeople.  (Currently, half of the 40 craftspeople working in the shop are women.)  Based on their contributions and craft, there’s a clear path to become senior craftspeople and eventually master craftspeople with the company.

This is exactly the approach we need to keep craft alive in our field, and in our country.  We couldn’t be more proud to support Urban Electric and other artisans dedicated to the revitalization of craft.  Join us!

Only the best,

Patti-Signature-Top-Bottom-Margin-WEB

Urban Electric Co. featured in Business of Home:UE article taste

 UE zoom in of article

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Urban Electric Co.’s Yolanda, at our client’s home overseeing the installation of their fixtures.

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Urban Electric Co.’s fixtures featured in just a few of our many client homes:

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before & after…

a welcoming kitchen, and baths for all

 

 

 

 

before & after:

a welcoming kitchen, and baths for all

 

Even masterfully architected homes need a facelift eventually.  Last year, we helped our clients see the potential in their circa 1980 Jim Estes designed home and transformed their spaces for more comfortable gathering and weekend entertaining.

The galley Kitchen, Powder Room and Pantry were reappointed while honoring the original architecture and strong lines of the space.  And, we reworked the lower level space plan to increase the baths from one to three — so no more sharing bathrooms with weekend guests.  (And if you’ve ever reworked a lower level space plan, you know its a challenge to work around structural and mechanical requirements to reimagine a space.)

While challenges were plentiful, the plan worked and the waiting list for summer weekend visits is already growing.  An Estes home, proudly enhanced by taste.

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

 

A coffee and beverage bar welcomes guests into the Kitchen, day or night.

 

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Terracotta tile was replaced with the warmth and character of hickory floors – set at a diagonal to complement the architectural character of the home – offering visual contrast to the honed Calacatta marble countertops and white cabinetry.

 

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A lighter and brighter Kitchen.

 

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The teeniest of Powder Rooms gains visual space with a cantilevered sink base in walnut.

 

 

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The hosts are equally as comfortable as their guests in their Master Bath, complete with large shower and private water closet.

 

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The once laundry was moved to create a guest bath, and an efficient laundry space created from an unused walk-in closet.

 

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After Photography: Kyle Caldwell

 

taste at work, part 1

busy in the studio, busy in the field

 

 

 

Team taste designers are at it again, fulfilling projects in all phases of the design/construction process as we enter into a busy late fall & winter season.  We’re so appreciative of New England’s seasonality and the added focus that comes this time of year in our coastal, summer community.  As we say goodbye to snowbird clients until next Spring, our heads are down in the studio and our boots are on in the field — preparing homes for the next summer season and for many, the next chapter of their lives with their families.

As always, we aren’t alone in our commitment to creating well-considered, well-crafted homes for our clients.  We are side by side with accomplished architects, builders and craftspeople all working together, with the same ethos.  When the days get dim and the temperatures dip, its these relationships that brighten our work and deliver a laugh – together.

Snapshots follow below from the studio and the field.  Check back next week for a peek at a few more projects underway and all benefiting from our hunkered-down focus this fall.

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

 

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Kevin    Kevin’s leading the renovation of a classic Jamestown cottage, bringing together historic design details with energy efficient, advanced building practices.  Our designs started with perspective views of the interior and exterior prepared in Sketch-up, coupled with detailed drawings produced in CAD.  The trades are on-site now, roughing in plumbing and electrical in preparation for insulation in a few weeks.  Walls will be plastered in another month, providing a warm environment for interior finishes this winter and completion in the Spring.

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Candy    There are deadlines and then there are yacht design deadlines.  Candy’s working alongside The Fontaine Group on a refit of a classic yacht in time to set sail in early December.  (A yacht is a bit different from a residence – when it sets sail, its gone.  There’s no returning to the house in a few weeks to add a piece or two that’s been delayed!).  Furnishings are in production, the pewter bar top is being crafted, joinery is in the finishing stages and the art has arrived.  We will make the deadline, beautifully.

 

 

 

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Wendi    Wendi’s recently back from a well-deserved vacation in France with her husband, Peter.  (They are the most high energy, spirited empty-nesters you’ll ever meet!).  After trekking through the streets of Nice and Paris on bikes and mopeds, Wendi returned inspired and ready to infuse her projects with European quality and timelessness.  Coincidentally, we’ve started working with a client to renovate their new/old French-inspired home, providing the perfect opportunity for a palette of limestone, weathered wood, brick, iron and aged brass.

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julia-staff-photo-smallJulia  If you’ve bumped into Julia recently, you’ll know she’s expecting baby #2 in February — although you wouldn’t know that from her energy level.  More than ever, she’s bringing her high-spirited, love of design to her client projects, including a new construction home Patrick Ahearn home in Weekapaug, Rhode Island.  We love our client’s self-described affinity for ‘spritely’ fabrics and colors.  Julia’s sense of style and ability to artfully compose a scheme is delivering just the right amount of spirited sprite to this coastal home.

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Patti    As for me, I’m re-energized by recent design industry events that have given me a renewed focus on improving our design deliverables and ultimately, the client experience.  Let’s face it, a renovation or new build project is an intense experience for our clients.  They don’t do it everyday as we do.  More than ever, I’m dedicated to bringing the best talent, tools and project management to our clients so that they may find joy in the process of creating their home.  And, leave the worries to us.

Most importantly, I’m practicing this recommitment everyday while I lead projects ranging from the completion new construction coastal homes, to the renovation of a Normandy-inspired family home to the rework of a Kitchen for fellow designers I admire.  It doesn’t get much better than this.

 

Coastal Home in the Final Finish…

 

 

 

 

Family Home in Concept Design…

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Historic Home Ready for Construction Start…

Radesca Residence Proposed Family Room

Radesca Residence Sitting Room

Radesca Residence Stairs

Kitchen Renovation for Special People…

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Block Island Family Compound, In the Making…

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helping out in houston

team taste lends a hand

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We’re all too aware of the devastation that Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma have caused the past several weeks.  After endless images and news stories, we’re all feeling heartache for the families impacted and the urge to do something meaningful to help if we can.

Like so many, we have friends, family and associates in the Houston area and throughout Florida.  In the days during Harvey, I reached out to collaborator and cabinetmaker Jonathon Dahl, whose home is in the Houston area. He shared with me images of the flood waters as it creeped closer and closer to his house – home to him, his wife and children.

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Luckily, the water began to recede, leaving the Dahl family home untouched. Jonathon’s workshop (and therefore, livelihood) sustained flood damage, but with positivity and hard work, he was up and running again in a few days.  Then his phone began to ring…

At least 10 of Jonathon’s customers lost everything in the flood. And the last several days have been filled with Jonathon and his crew helping to clean out houses he reports as heart wrenching work.

To lend a hand to the families Jonathon is helping to recover, taste will be donating 100 design hours in the coming weeks to design cabinetry, select flooring and fixtures and create color palettes for new interiors.  Our collaboration with Jonathon Dahl is something I hope will alleviate a fraction of the stress the families will face as they rebuild their homes and their lives.  And, provide a bit of joy.

Let us know if you’d like to help out with a donation of funds to help the families Jonathon is serving in the Houston area.  We can all lend a hand.

In gratitude,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

 

Team taste is ready to help. This photo was taken in a Rhode Island home finished with Jonathon this summer.

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a home for the next chapter

snapshots from last week’s installation in Narragansett, Rhode Island

We were at it again last week, finishing a custom residence and welcoming clients to their new home by the sea.  This move-in was especially gratifying for us after working for the past two years alongside Horan Building Company on this Alec Tesa designed home.

In addition to designing the interior millwork, cabinetry and hard finishes throughout the home, we selected – and in several rooms – designed custom pieces specifically for our truly special clients.  Be sure to pause on the curved sofas with exposed hardwood frames in the Living Room and the Dining Room chandelier, to mention just a few of the pieces designed by taste and brought to life by local craftspeople and artisans, to whom we’re most grateful.

As gratifying as it was to see the finishing touches on this project come together exactly two years after we started, those moments paled in comparison to our clients’ reaction to their new home.  Their embrace of each other on Friday evening as they watched the final elements installed said it all.  To quote them, its their ‘home for the next chapter of their lives’.  We’re so honored to have been involved in this important, life-shifting project.

As always, finish photos to follow in the coming months.  Enjoy the snapshots in the meantime.

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

 

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beach house envy

snapshots from this week’s installation in charlestown, rhode island

It was delightful to watch the details come together this week as we did our first of two installations this month at our client’s new Charlestown (that’s Quonnie, for you Rhode Islander’s) beach house.  Custom details abound in this house and we were thrilled to work with clients who appreciate creativity and fine craftsmanship.

As a result, we poured it on in this sweet home architected by George Penniman and built by master craftsmen at Gardner Woodwrights.  More snapshots to follow throughout the summer as we add more layers of color, graphics and art that capture our client family’s spirited attitude and endless love of summer.

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

 

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reflections on summer: new work by Dora Atwater Millikin & Susan Strauss

 

 

 

Our fresh coat of paint has dried and we’ve refreshed the gallery at taste, complete with new work brimming with images of warm days and nights.  Dora Atwater Millikin and Susan Strauss return to the gallery with bold and lively new work, just in time for summer.  Be sure to stop by the gallery at taste, Monday through Friday from 9am to 5 pm, to view Dora’s and Susan’s new selection of paintings.

About Dora…

Though not unfamiliar to our walls, we are pleased to show new work by the Massachusetts artist Dora Atwater Millikin. Known for her roadways, summer camper series and the geometry found in everyday life, we’re pleased to present a new series of early morning, evening and coastal scenes.

Dora Atwater Millikin Artist“Ordinary, mundane objects are featured, not omitted, and the works are meant to engage scenes of contemporary life that transcends the everyday. My urban subjects depict objects associated with a more leisurely life and are in direct contrast to nature.  Their titles such as “No Parking” or “Parking this side only” allude to the complicated network of rules and privileges installed to maintain order in an overly congested world.
As site specific as the places in my paintings may be, hopefully, anyone can relate to the universal nature of their activity.  What is my message?  My message is to find the rhythm and beauty in the world around me and to give an interpretation of life in my time as seen through my eyes.”

Also no stranger to the gallery at taste is Susan Strauss. Her loose, dynamic style captures the essence of the scene. Strauss brings a new set of small works featuring spring and summer hued landscapes to our gallery along with several large pieces that demand the center of attention.

susan-strauss-with-art-at-taste-grand-opening“Each new painting is fresh, open to risk and growth. I paint from direct observation of both inner and outer landscape.

Simply put, I am painting to make visible both seen and non-visual experiences, to explore their interconnection and to reveal their universality. 

My goal is to be present in my life and my paintings.”

In other gallery news… summer Gallery Nights will be back on July 20th and August 17th. Mark your calendars!

Thursday, July 20th :: 5 – 8 pm

On July 20th, we’ll feature the layering, textural artist Coral Bourgeois and her mosaic collaged pieces, Kelly Jo Shows’s unique Portrait of an Artist shoe paintings, local artist Christian Potter Drury’s playful, eclectic story pieces, and Jessica Pisano, whom you may recall is a sought after seascape artist. Jessica’s new series features birds in flight in her highly crafted and articulated oil techniques.

 

 

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Thursday, August 17th :: 5 – 8 pm

August 17th brings Debby Krim and The Colors of White photography study featuring the relationship between positive and negative space, Rhode Island artist Vanessa Piche who has added the Summer Tides and Gannett Summer boating series to her ever-popular shorelines and marsh paintings, Wendy Wahl’s 3D pieces made from unbound pages of discarded encyclopedias, and Tiffany Adams’ organic ceramic sculptures inspired by nature.

 

 

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Enjoy this glimpse of our current show with Dora Atwater Millikin and Susan Strauss or drop in anytime Monday – Friday between 9am – 5pm to view these stunning pieces in person. And as always, take advantage and “try before you buy” to view pieces in your home or office.

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

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Dora Atwater Millikin – 8pm – oil on linen – 20 x 48 inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin – Door, Drum – oil on linen – 28 x 20 inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin – Night – oil on linen – 36 x 20 inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin – Street Light – oil on linen – 30 x 20 i inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin  First Thing  – oil on linen – 24 x 36 inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin – Morning – oil on linen – 36 x 20 inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin – Night Driving – oil on linen – 20 x 28 inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin –  Vortex – oil on linen – 48 x 72 inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin – Summer Place – oil on linen – 24 x 30 inches

 

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Dora Atwater Millikin – Bellow Docks – oil on linen – 28 x 16 inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin – Beach Street – oil on linen – 28 x 20 inches

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Susan Strauss –  Sky or Reflection? – oil on panel – 28 x 36 inches

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Susan Strauss – Exceptional Summer Moments – oil on panel – 12 x 16 inches

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Susan Strauss –  Pardon Gray Trees (left)  – oil on panel – 11.5 x 5 inches

Susan Strauss –  Pardon Gray Trees (right)  – oil on panel – 11.5 x 5 inches

Strauss---The-Speed-of-Summer---OP-36-x-40-03900

Susan Strauss – The Speed of Summer – oil on panel – 36 x 40 inches

Strauss---Wonderful-Place---OP---12-x-12-0500

Susan Strauss –  Wonderful Place – oil on panel – 12 x 12 inches

Strauss-Iconic---OP---12-x-18-0350

Susan Strauss –  Iconic – oil on panel – 12 x 18 inches

054A - Susan Strauss - Early July - 14 x 11 - oil on panel - 600

Susan Strauss – Early July – oil on panel – 11 x 14 inches

057A - Susan Strauss - Entrance - 12 x 16 - oil on panel - 700

Susan Strauss – Entrance  – oil on panel – 12 x 16 inches

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