Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Glamorous Imbibing

To me, no home is complete without a fully stocked bar (perhaps this is a result of my days attending a university known for its partying!). For those of you who do not have the space for a built-in bar, why not try a bar cart? The ultimate cart for me would be of the antique chrome and glass variety. Until I have found "it", I'm thinking of purchasing one from Restoration Hardware. The Hanover Bar Cart is rather glamorous and looks quite similar to those I've seen in the auction catalogues. I might even consider replacing the clear glass with smoked glass.

For one's bar accoutrements, decanters are a must. While cut-crystal decanters are great, I am partial to rather plain ones; plain does not, however, mean boring. Moss, one of my favorite design stores in New York, has a beautiful crystal one made by Lobmeyr of Austria. Part of the Ambassador series, it was designed in 1925. It is very simple and very chic.

And for sterling silver bar tools, Tiffany & Co. is really the ultimate. The Century ice strainer and muddler would add just the right Deco touch to the whole setup.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Classic Room No. 1- Billy Baldwin

I had to share with you photos of one of my very favorite rooms- Billy Baldwin's living room.

I think the dark brown walls are so rich and are especially enhanced by the simple cream- colored slipcovers on the furniture. The Coromandel screen adds just the right dash of Chinoiserie flair. I am also a fan of the oil painting of the dogs which was displayed above his sofa (some of you may recall a spread that appeared in Elle Decor a few years back- it was the apartment of decorator James Andrew, who had bought this very same painting!). Of course, there are the classic Billy Baldwin brass bookshelves (first designed for Cole Porter, I believe) that, coupled with the right lighting, gave real warmth to the room. All in all, an example of decorating perfection!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Comfort Food Plaza Style

I recently read Deborah Davis' book Party of the Century- The Fabulous Story of Truman Capote and His Black and White Ball. Davis' novel is a look at Capote's famous 1966 ball which had all of NYC (and much of the rest of the country) atwitter. Invitations to the event were much coveted, and details of the party were covered in newspapers around the country.

I had always been under the impression that the party was quite lavish. This, however, was not the case. Elegant, yes, over the top, no. Decorations were rather simple. There was a midnight buffet which included eggs and biscuits, but Capote added two rather unorthodox dishes to the menu- chicken hash and spaghetti and meatballs. The chicken hash was a specialty of the Plaza and was one of Capote's favorite dishes.

I thought I would share the recipe for the chicken hash (courtesy of Davis' book), which might be perfect for a cold evening (dieting is suggested after consuming this rich dish!).

Plaza Chicken Hash
4 cups finely diced cooked chicken (white meat only)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup cream sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup dry Sherry
1/2 cup Hollandaise Sauce
Mix chicken, cream, Cream Sauce and seasonings in a heavy skillet. Cook over moderate heat, stirring often, for about 10 minutes.
When moisture is slightly reduced, place skillet in a moderate oven, 350 degrees, and bake 30 minutes.
Stir in Sherry and return to oven for 10 minutes. Lightly fold in Hollandaise Sauce and serve at once.
Makes 4-5 servings.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Let Them Eat Cake!

Much has been written about Sofia Coppola's new film "Marie Antoinette". Many reviewers have remarked about the bright pastel colors of the costumes and set design (reportedly inspired by the color of Laduree macaroons).

I recently saw a still photo from the film in which Marie Antoinette (played by Kirsten Dunst), is surrounded by lavish desserts and cakes. I immediately thought of the wonderful Pierre Frey fabric Gourmandise. The recently expanded line now includes tablecloths, china, trays, and pillows.

Does this not remind you of these yummy Laduree confections?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Carolyne Roehm- Fall 2006

Carolyne Roehm's new Fall 2006 entertaining and gift collections have just been added to her website. She has three new collections: Louis XVI, Tapestry, and Luxe. There are so many beautiful items that I'm adding to my Christmas wish list, most especially her new line of Chocolate Limoges china.

The rich chocolate color with gold is so elegant. I'm really crazy about the tureen. Or, if you would prefer a pop of color, you may be interested in the Brique Limoges line- the coffeepot and demitasse sets would like so pretty on a tray for after-dinner coffee.

If you're interested to see what Roehm's own home looks like, there is a new interview with her on newyorksocialdiary.com- this is the first in a series of interviews entitled "The Way They Live". There are numerous pictures of her very stately and elegant New York apartment. Also make sure to read the interviews with various New York decorators that were part of their New York Social Diary Decorator series. There is a recent interview with one of my favorite designers Miles Redd.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Stylish Sconces

I was just scanning the new additions to the 1st dibs website and was wowed by these sconces being sold at Chapman Radcliff.

While they may look a bit like theater props, I really like the feminine and whimsical design on the wooden background- a bit of Rococo! And the silver tole adds a splash of shine! They look like something that Dorothy Draper might have used in one of her early installations.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Sensational Entertaining

I never stop dreaming about throwing the perfect party. My favorite part of entertaining is planning the tablesetting. I don't think that my efforts could compete, however, with those of Los Angeles based decorator Mary McDonald.

In the December 05 issue of Town & Country, there was a spectacular spread of McDonald's festive Christmas party. Her tablesettings are absolutely stunning. The combination of the silver platters and trays, the dark wood table, and the touches of green (in the apples and the candles) creates a traditional and sophisticated setting. In my mind, there is no such thing as too much silver!

I especially like the dessert table. Once again, beautiful silver and porcelain decorate the table, which only enhances the yummy berry tarts and the croquembouche. I just wonder how McDonald will be able to top this at her next party!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Fall Book Releases

There are a slew of new entertaining and cooking related books this month, all of which should help us gear up for the holiday season.

My favorite cookbook author, Ina Garten, has just published her fifth book, Barefoot Contessa at Home: Everyday Recipes You'll Make Over and Over Again. In it, she includes such homey favorites as Cornbread Stuffed Cornish Game Hens and Pumpkin Mousse Parfait. Garten's recipes are usually winners and they have very rarely let me down.

If elaborate parties are more your thing, why not check out Carolyne Roehm's A Passion for Parties . While her books can be a bit over the top, Roehm does know how decorate and entertain beautifully.

Finally, if you need inspiration for your holiday table, then William Yeoward's new book Perfect Tables: Tabletop Secrets, Settings, and Centerpieces for Delicious Dining may just be the ticket. Yeoward has a knack for setting gorgeous tables, and this is one book I definitely do not want to miss!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Seeing Spots

Animal prints are a perennial fashion favorite and this season is no exception. Leopard spots and tiger stripes are a chic way to punch up both one's wardrobe and one's home.

Vivre has some super stylish leather trays that have a bold leopard lining. They would look great on a cocktail table, a bar, or a vanity.

Or, for something really audacious, what about some leopard sheets from Pottery Barn?

And for those of you who think that subtlety is for the birds, why not throw this wild tiger rug down in your entryway or in front of the fireplace? Definitely not for the faint of heart. (Available at Jacques Carcanagues Inc. )