Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Todd Alexander Romano

I'm excited to report that Todd Romano now has a website! I have long admired Romano's interior design prowess. His "look" is what I consider to be updated traditional. He mixes traditional furnishings with contemporary ones, giving a youthful vibe to a room, and the decorative accessories that he uses are always unique and appropriate. I think that where Romano really excels, though, is in his use of color. Bold, clear colors can be found in his interiors, either on the walls as a backdrop or in his choice of upholstery and accessories.

In addition to his interior design business, Romano owns an eponymous shop on Lexington Ave. which is filled with wonderful antiques and decorative accessories. This is also the place to go if you are looking for Christopher Spitzmiller lamps and de Gournay wallcovering.

Here are a few photos of his portfolio that I got from his website ( And the next time you're in NYC, go to his shop. You won't be disappointed!

(All photos courtesy of Todd Romano Home)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Spectacular Beds

I adore glamorous beds. I'm not just talking about the linens but the bed itself. It seems like the ultimate luxury. While I do agree that one's bedroom should be an escape from the world, a "cocoon" so to speak, most of us tend to be quite practical and focus our energy (and funds) on the "public" rooms of one's house. This certainly makes sense as guests rarely make it past the kitchen, dining room, or living room. I thought I would share some fantasy beds that would truly be the showstopper of any bedroom.

Who does a bedroom better than Miles Redd? This iron bed has been seen in a few of his clients' bedrooms. I like the sculptural aspect of it.

This has to be my all-time favorite bed. Doris Duke bought this bed from Gimbel's, and it was part of the Doris Duke Collection auction at Christie's a few years ago. The Chinoiserie top is simply perfection!

This bed was in a McMillen room from many years ago. Although the bed is quite ornate, it is the canopy that once again makes this bed stunning.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Claus Porto Soaps

There are so many lines of soaps on the market today that the array is dizzying. How many soaps, however, are wrapped in such gorgeous packages that one hates to throw them away? That's the way I feel about Claus Porto soaps. One of the premier soap makers in the world, Claus Porto of Portugal has been making soaps since 1887. It is the soaps' wrappers, though, that I treasure (although the soaps do smell divine). The Art Deco-looking designs are originals from Claus Porto's archives. The soaps come in bar sizes, pastille sizes (perfect for one's powder room), and now in liquid soap pumps. The pumps would be a stylish addition to one's kitchen. They also make candles, but unfortunately the candle votives are not quite as decorative as the box it comes in!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Design Your Wall

The new issue of Domino refers to a website called This online wallpaper site sells a wide variety of traditional and contemporary wallcoverings. It appears to be a great source for moderately priced wallpaper. I've found a few patterns that are reminiscent of those of some higher-end lines. Of course the proof is in the pudding, and I haven't seen any of their papers in person. You can, however, order samples which would be highly advisable if you're ready to take the plunge.

Yesterday's New York Times mentioned that flocked wallpaper is making a comeback. Personally, I'm not crazy about flocked wallpaper, but this site has many options, such as this black damask on silver background paper.

This purple Royal Damask Wallpaper is a digital design wallpaper designed by David Wien of Vermont. It comes in purple, green, red, and white colorways.

For a little bit of David Hicks style, this Honeycomb wallpaper just might do the trick.

This Blue Bird wallpaper is a little reminiscent of that great de Gournay wallcovering, don't you think?

Bamboo prints might be ubiquitous (although I adore them), but here's one that's silver mylar on a white background. A little disco chinoiserie?

(All photos courtesy of

Thursday, February 22, 2007

WASP Chic: C.Z. Guest

I have found an upcoming book release that has piqued my interest: Privileged Life: Celebrating Wasp Style by Susanna Salk (Assouline; February 28, 2007). Although I can find very little on the Internet about this book, I am hoping that it will focus on the colorful, traditional, and comfortable style of certain privileged Americans. Perhaps there will be photos of rooms by Sister Parish and McMillen?

In the spirit of WASP chic, I thought I would post some photos of the home of the ultimate WASP style icon- C.Z. Guest. Guest's estate on Long Island, Templeton, was designed by famed architects Carrere & Hastings. After a short time living in the manor house, the Guests moved to a "smaller" home on the property. This house, along with the manor house, were both decorated by Stephane Boudin of Maison Jansen. Guest, like so many other stylish individuals, did not continuously redecorate her home. She stuck with Boudin's work, only refreshing it over the years. The home was certainly stylish, but it was also quite warm and inviting. (Of course, if you were C.Z. Guest, you too could get away with thread-bare carpet and orchids sitting around in green plastic pots.)

(Photos from House & Garden, June 2004)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Jeremiah Goodman: A Romantic Vision

Living Room of Elsa Schiaparelli, Paris, 2002

A while back I posted on Jeremiah Goodman who is one of the premier interior illustrators of our time (see my post from Dec. 12). I have been anxiously anticipating the new anthology of his work Jeremiah: A Romantic Vision, and I'm happy to report that it has finally been released. Although I am still waiting for my copy, I was able to find some images of Goodman's work on his book publisher's website, powerHouse books. Enjoy!

Apartment foyer of Baron Jay de Leval, Mexico City, 1978

Living Room of Betsy Bloomingdale, Bel-Air, 2000

Living Room of Cecil Beaton, Redditch House, Broadchalice, Wiltshire, England, 2005

Living Room of Ivor Novello, 1949

(All photos courtesy of powerHouse Books)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Woodgrain China

Have you ever heard the saying "you can never be too rich, too thin, or have enough china"? OK, so I made this up, but I know I'm not alone in my love for china. There are so many beautiful patterns that it is very tempting to keep adding pieces to one's collection. My current favorite pattern is faux woodgrain. The faux-bois trend has been popular in furniture and garden urns for a few years now, and we are now seeing trompe l'oeil woodgrain show up on tabletop accessories.

What is interesting is that this design motif has been around for centuries. Moss carries a Nymphenburg porcelain breakfast set and platter (above) in a woodgrain pattern that was designed in 1796. The woodgrain serves as a backdrop to a trompe l'oeil etching that looks as if it has been tacked to the wood background. There is even a small "rip" at the bottom of the etching. I love how this rustic design pattern seems so sophisticated here.

For something more casual, Gump's has these hand-painted woodgrain ceramic plates.

And for outdoor entertaining, how about these melamine plates at Bongenre? The Texquite pattern is a modern-day, rustic interpretation of the Nymphenburg pattern!

Friday, February 16, 2007

"My Favorite Things" with Miles Redd

For those of us who are passionate about design (and I think that's most of us who read design-oriented blogs), it seems that we can't consume enough information about interior decoration, decorative arts, and most especially interior designers. That said, I am introducing a new feature today that I hope to bring to you from time to time. I've chosen to call it "My Favorite Things", and the idea is to have an interior designer list his or her ten favorite things. The "favorite things" can range from something decorative to one of life's little pleasures.

For the first featured designer, I chose Miles Redd, a decorator (and fellow native Atlantan!) who is taking the design world by storm. Miles' interiors are always chic and glamorous, yet they are also very comfortable. Miles (with the assistance of Nick Olsen) was kind enough to provide us with his ten favorite things, and as you can imagine, it's a stylish and inspiring list! Here it is, and I hope you enjoy it!

Miles Redd: My Favorite Things

1) Ice tinkling in a heavy crystal glass

2) Odd colored lacquered lamp shades, like Yves Klein blue and emerald green

3) Beginning a day with a BATH

4) TiVo

5) Sleeping in on a snowy Sunday

6) The documentary "Signe Chanel"

7) Low upholstery and beds for sexy slink

8) The photographs of Bruce Weber and Richard Avedon

9) Furniture covered in sheets of mother of pearl

10) Painted patterned floors

(Photo above courtesy of New York Social Diary)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Interior Design in Film

A few months ago, House and Garden featured a list of the most striking interiors of cinema. Many of the movies that were mentioned were favorites of mine, while others I was not familiar with. I adore old movies for many reasons: the suave actors and glamorous actresses, the gorgeous costumes, and of course the scintillating dialogue. But what I love most about movies are the interiors. Many times I catch myself focusing on a character's home rather than on the plot.

I thought I would make a mini-list of some of my favorites as my complete list would be far too long. I tend to gravitate towards the movie sets from the 1930s and 40s. I love the glamour of it all. What would really be interesting, though, is to hear from others- what are your favorite movie interiors??

(And please forgive me for the quality of the photos- it is very hard to find decent film stills of interiors!)

"Dinner at Eight" (1934). This comedy with a cast of characters that included Jean Harlow, the Barrymores, and Wallace Beery has fantastic Art Deco interiors. Jean Harlow's bedroom is so over the top, but it's perfect for her character. Art Direction was by Hobe Erwin and Fred Hope.

"The Thin Man" (1936). The Art Director was the legendary Cedric Gibbons. I adore Nick and Nora's apartment in this movie. It's quintessential Manhattan of the 1930s.

"Top Hat" (1935). What list could not include a Fred Astaire movie? It was actually hard for me to pick one Astaire/Rogers movie, but this one is fun to watch. Art Direction by Van Nest Polglase.

"My Man Godfrey" (1936). Yet another screwball comedy, this time with William Powell and Carole Lombard. Fun (and a bit theatrical) art deco/ Hollywood regency interiors.

"Rope" (1948). This is one of my favorite Hitchcock movies, and the plot was so creepy that I actually had trouble concentrating on the set. The entire movie takes place in a bachelor's Manhattan apartment, and although the apartment is very elegant, sinister things occur!

"A Perfect Murder" (1998). Ok, so I'm the only person who seemed to like this Gwyneth Paltrow movie. I loved her Fifth Ave. penthouse- quiet chic!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Beautiful Embroidery

Embroidery is becoming a lost art, but fortunately Jean-Francois Lesage is continuing his family's tradition of fine needlework. The House of Lesage has been the preeminent French embroiderer for much of the past century. Lesage is best known for its work for France's leading couture houses- Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Christian Lacroix, to name a few.

Jean-Francois has chosen to focus on embroidery for interiors rather than for couture. His main workshop is in Madras, India, where skilled craftsmen work with such fabrics as silk, wool, leather, and velvet. The embroidered fabric can then be used for upholstery, curtains, bed linen, or anywhere else one might want to use the stunning fabric. For a more affordable piece of Lesage's work, Vivre is carrying silk fuchsia pillows with a copper-thread embroidered lizard on them. C'est magnifique!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Billy Baldwin: The Master

Billy Baldwin. What more do I need to say? Very few decorators can hold a candle to this master of interior design. His style could be quite contemporary, but he was just as comfortable with the traditional idiom. Many of his interiors were masterful displays of bold color, while others were outfitted in chic beige. I think the greatest compliment that can be given to Baldwin, though, is that his rooms were timeless.

I consistently leaf through "Billy Baldwin Decorates" for inspiration. I can see myself living in so many of the interiors, especially those that still seem so fresh today. Part of me leans toward his colorful interiors, such as the rooms of the legendary La Fiorentina or the pink living room of Mollie Parnis Livingston. My minimal side is drawn to the quite chic of Mrs. Gilbert Miller's living room. And what about drama? Well, Baldwin accomplished that too in the living room of Mr. and Mrs. Lee Eastman. Is it any wonder why Billy Baldwin is still so au courant today?

Blue and White Living Room at "La Fiorentina"

Snappy pink and white living room of Mrs. Mollie Parnis Livingston

Chic, chic, chic living room of Mrs. Gilbert Miller (my favorite!)

Deep, dark drama in the living room of Mr. and Mrs. Lee Eastman