Friday, October 22, 2010

The Finial Touch

Just like a good man, a decent finial is hard to find. (Only teasing.) Seriously, though, don't you agree that there are a lot of ugly finials out there? Fortunately, designer Hillary Thomas has remedied the situation with her new line of chic finials- "The Finial Touch"- that are Chinese and African inspired. Hillary will be debuting the line as part of her OKL Tastemaker Tag Sale tomorrow (Suzanne Tucker is also having a sale tomorrow as well.) I believe that it's time for me to update some of my lamps. Here are a few finials that I'm considering:

(All images courtesy of Hillary Thomas Designs)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Master of the Mix

You know how there are those shops that are so comfortable, so chic, and so livable that you're ready to start forwarding your mail there? Well, Todd Romano's shop in New York has always been like that for me. There are fabrics and wallpapers, antique furniture, porcelain and pottery, Christopher Spitzmiller lamps, and a smattering of modern art. What more do you need?

Well, I for one do need more, which is why I'm thrilled that Todd recently hung out his shingle in Los Angeles- on La Cienega Blvd. no less. Boy, are you Angelenos lucky. Todd's L.A. outpost is much like the NYC shop in terms of "the mix". Todd understands how a Louis chair positively comes alive when placed next to a mid-20th c. cocktail table or against a wall bearing some colorful Pop Art print. There is life and liveliness in that mix. But the L.A. shop has a slightly different feel to it. That New York snappiness has gone glamorous- totally appropriate in L.A., don't you think? The glamour, though, is rooted in tradition. It's in the spirit of some of Los Angeles' great tastemakers- Edie Goetz, Jean Howard, George Cukor and Jennifer Jones-although Todd has freshened it up for our 2010 eyes. It's like the perfect combination of New York sophistication, Southern/Texan graciousness (Todd hails from San Antonio), and California spirit (Todd's father comes from Santa Barbara.) Todd totally gets it.

So Todd, what will it take for you to come to Atlanta?

How fabulous is that fretwork fireplace surround? I also like the antique mirror set against the antiqued mirror. Very clever. I'd love to host a dinner party here.

I don't know which area in this space I like best.

"The mix" at work.

I love the black columns in the corners, especially against those lacquered yellowy green walls.

This is styling at its best.

Black and white, blue and white, a little brass...the perfect vignette.

(All images courtesy of Todd Romano.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Timeless Elegance, The Houses of David Easton

The great Fall design books just keep coming, and one of my favorites so far has been Timeless Elegance: The Houses of David Easton. Easton has been in the interior design business for decades now, and what makes this book interesting is seeing how his style has changed over the years. Of course, Easton is a classicist at heart, but he has also kept up with the times, something which I'm sure has contributed to his longevity. Easton has such a solid design footing (perhaps thanks to his early years working with Edward Wormley and Parish-Hadley) that reading this book is like taking a master class in interior design. At least, that's the way it seemed to me when I was reading it.

For those of you who will be in Atlanta next Wednesday, October 27, you should consider attending David Easton's booksigning at Mrs. Howard (425 Peachtree Hills Ave) from 4 to 6pm. I'm so disappointed that I can't attend as I'll be out of town. If you go, send my greetings to Mr. Easton.

What a great way to start the day- with breakfast (with Lizzie) at Balthazar.

A dining room in Lake Forest, Illinois. Easton wanted to imbue the room with a sense of fantasy but keep it true to the Georgian look of the house. The door pediments, crown molding, and ceiling are truly unique.

A vignette in the former Upper East Side apartment of Easton. Easton noted that this home became his "homage to Regency style." He also wrote that this apartment was evocative of the 1980s and the era's "lavish, textured interiors."

An Upper East Side apartment. The entry floor (amazing!) was inspired by a design from Ostankino Palace, near Moscow.

A Nassau, Bahamas home. A sunburst motif, a favorite of Easton, graces the marble floor, while the unique lantern was based on one that Easton saw in Italy.

Another stunning dining room by Easton, this one located at Albemarle, the Kluge estate in Charlottesville, Virginia. The wall murals and mid-18th c. English mirror and fireplace surround were added in the mid-1990s.

(All images courtesy of Timeless Elegance: The Houses of David Easton by David Easton, Stewart, Tabori, & Chang publishers.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tastemaker Tag Sale- Stone Road Vintage

I know what I'll be doing tonight at 9pm (EST, by the way). I'll be logging onto One Kings Lane to shop the Tastemaker Tag Sale of Stone Road Vintage. Not familiar with that name? Well, it's a new venture launched by Tom Dolby and Drew Frist. I'm sure you remember them as well as their fantastic Hamptons house featured in Lonny a while back. And I know that you remember that fabulous bedroom with the Brunschwig & Fils covered walls and ceiling:

Thought so. Anyway, here is a sneak peek of a few of the vintage items that will be listed this evening. I think I need to get my trigger finger ready to do some fast shopping.

(Top two images from Lonny, June/July 2010 issue, Patrick Cline photographer)

A Visual- I Mean Virtual- Pantry

My thoughts have been turning to the pantry as of late. First, I was asked to provide House Beautiful with a list of pantry staples to have on hand for last-minute cocktail entertaining. (See the November issue for the list, but it does include my fave Mamie's Cheese Wafers, William Poll potato thins, and Hubs peanuts.) Then, I was reading True Prep: It's a Whole New Old World and read the section titled "The Preppy Pantry". The Southern pantry is a little different from the preppy pantry, but Triscuits do seem to be the common denominator. And finally, I was browsing my review copy of Suzanne Rheinstein's upcoming book, At Home: A Style for Today with Things from the Past (GREAT book, by the way), and was totally inspired by photos of beautiful pantries. So I was thinking, why not come up with a fantasy pantry? OK, so I chose most of these items for their packaging- no surprise there. But I can vouch for the taste of a few of them, and they're really good!

A few things you might find in my virtual pantry...and the real one too.

Fauchon mustard- a classic.

Cipriani Pasta. Truth be told, I'd have this in my pantry just because I love that logo.

Fortnum & Mason Rose Biscuits- "a sweet butter biscuit studded with almonds and scattered with French crystallized rose petals." I bet they taste pretty, too.

Fortnum's Relish- just because I adore Fortnum & Mason's signature shade of eau de nil.

Petrossian Caviar. Kevin Sharkey collects caviar tins. I understand why.

Meinl Coffee. When I visited Vienna a few years ago, I returned with paper napkins and coffee containers with that classic little coffee boy logo. The content of the can is actually tasty too.

Demel Chocolates are wrapped in the most beautiful packaging. I saved my wrapper from the Hazelnut bar, shown above. I haven't a clue what to do with it, though. It was too charming to throw away.

Duke's Mayonnaise. Because not everything has to be fancy. Bar none, the world's best prepared mayonnaise.

(Image at top from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten, Melanie Acevedo photographer.)

A Terrific Trunk Show

Of course, if you're going to serve caviar or cheese wafers or cookies, you'll more than likely accompany it with beverages. And if you're serving beverages, you'll need to use proper cocktail napkins. I've got quite a collection of napkins, but would like to add some Sharyn Blond linen to the bunch. I'm in luck because my friend Louise is hosting a trunk show of all kinds of stylish lines: Sharyn Blond, Quadrille Couture, Queen of Cashmere, and a few others. So you can wear your luxe monogrammed cashmere sweater or Quadrille jacket while proffering Sharyn Blond bedecked libations to your guests. Sounds pretty swell to me.

For all of you Atlanta people, the trunk show will take place at the Swan Coach House tomorrow and Thursday, October 20 and 21, from 10am to 4pm. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Hope to see you there. I'll be the one hovering over the linen.

Beautiful Sharyn Blond cocktail napkins.

Queen of Cashmere. We like our monograms.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Thrilla of a Villa

Let's ease into our work week, shall we? Perhaps a little sojourn to a villa in Northern Italy? Sounds nice, doesn't it?

Christine, a kind reader who divides her time between Milan and her husband's rice farm in the province of Pavia, Northern Italy (isn't that the life!), sent me
a link to an auction house that was selling off the contents of Villa Coardi di Carpeneto Mazza, an old patrician estate in Genestrello . Christine had the opportunity to visit the villa during the sale, and she said that what captivated her was the understated decoration of the house. The architecture is pretty stunning, but when you look at the furnishings, they're actually fairly quiet. After viewing the photos, I completely agree with Christine. Although, what also captivates me are all of the fabulous floors throughout the house. I'd love to replicate the look in my home, but I'm guessing that Lumber Liquidators won't be much help. Anyway, happy Monday to you.

(All images from Wannenes Art Auction catalogue.)