Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Very Honored

I found out late Monday night that I won the Design Bloggers Hall of Fame award for Best Writing. The awards were handed out as part of the Design Bloggers Conference presented by Design Sherpa. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend this year's conference, but based on what I've seen on Twitter, a great time was had by all. I can't begin to tell you how honored I am to have received this award, especially considering the caliber of the other nominees including Style Court, Mrs. Blandings, Emily Evans Eerdmans, and Quintessence. Other Hall of Fame award winners include Tobi Fairley, Cassandra LaValle, and Meredith Heron.

A big thanks to all of you for your readership and your support over the last six years. Blogging wouldn't be nearly as much fun without such interesting, lively, and intelligent readers. And a special thank you to my pal Scot Meacham Wood for accepting the award on my behalf. Scot, you're the best!

A Kitchen Lunch in Paris

There are only two rooms in my home in which I'd have no problem going modern, and those would be the kitchen and the bathroom. I actually like kitchens that look clinical and a little antiseptic. Those 1930s kitchens that were white and chrome and spartan looking? I especially love those. But I'm starting to change my mind just a bit thanks to the photo above. It's a kitchen in Paris that was photographed in 1970. I think it's the most charming looking kitchen. This photo made me realize that I miss traditional, decorated kitchens.

The photo above, which showed the Paris kitchen of American-born Beatrice Howell Dabney, accompanied a magazine article on lunches served in one's kitchen. Dabney was quoted as saying, "I'm one of those who believe you must not take the food to the dining room but the dining room to the kitchen." While I personally don't think it's appropriate to host formal dinners or lunches in the kitchen, it's perfectly acceptable to serve a casual lunch or dinner there, especially if one's kitchen looks like that of Mrs. Dabney. That said, if you live in warm climates, you might want to nix dining in the kitchen unless you're serving a cold lunch or supper. The heat that the oven throws off might make kitchen dining a tad bit uncomfortable during the summer.

Mrs. Dabney liked to serve simple yet tasty meals, and she created the menu below for her kitchen lunch in Paris. This being the 1970s, her lunches were preceded by preprandial drinks including Champagne Cocktail (recipe below), Pernod on the rocks, or Dubonnet served either straight up or mixed with dry vermouth. I must say that the drinks also sound quite tasty, but if I were to indulge, a postprandial nap would be in order for me.

Mrs. Beatrice Dabney's Lunch in Paris

Finnan Haddie Souffle
Grilled Chicken Diable
Wine: Château du Nozet
Green Salad
Fromage Coulommiers

Grilled Chicken Diable
2 lb broiling chicken
4 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 cups fresh white bread crumbs

Split chicken in half lengthwise. Spread both sides with Dijon mustard, then pat bread crumbs into both sides. Preheat broiler. Place chicken, skin side up, on a grill over a roasting pan about 8 inches below the heat. Broil about 15 minutes, until skin side is fairly brown, turn, and broil 10-15 minutes longer, until chicken is cooked. Serves 2.

Champagne Cocktail
Soak 2 small sugar cubes, one in Benedictine, one in crème de cacao. Place them in the bottom of a champagne flute and fill with chilled Bollinger Brut or Extra Dry Champagne.

Recipes and photo from House & Garden, March 1970

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

R Hughes Showroom

I recently spent a morning at R Hughes, a boutique furniture, lighting, and fabric showroom located on Atlanta's West Side. Representing lines such as Ochre, Jiun Ho Collection, Helene Aumont, Chip and Company, and Jean de Merry, R Hughes provides a well-edited selection of furnishings that blur the line between contemporary and traditional. There are a lot of updated, clean-lined pieces that would make any die hard modernist happy, and yet the traditionalists like me have not been overlooked. Just look at that green leather wing chair above, part of the Coup Studio Collection by Coup d'Etat. I'm absolutely gaga for that chair.

There were three lines in particular that stood out to me. One was the aforementioned Coup Studio Collection that was recently introduced by San Francisco based Coup d'Etat. What struck me about the collection in particular was the seating. The sofas, chairs, and benches look more like custom pieces to me and are far more unique that much of the seating that is on the market today. Also catching my eye were two Southern lines: Avrett and Coleman Taylor Textiles. Take a look at all three collections below, but be sure to visit R Hughes as well. There is so much more than what my camera captured.

For more information on these lines, contact R Hughes at 404.607.8807 or

Coup Studio Collection's tufted Victorian Conversational is actually two separate pieces. Put them back to back or place each half against a wall.

A pair of Coup Collection's pony hair benches.

This version of Coup Collection's tufted sofa is covered in a pickle green velvet.

Coup's Regency style sofa is really sumptuous looking.

Based in Montgomery, Alabama, the Coleman Taylor Textiles line features neutral colored linen fabrics whose prints are hand painted in metallic paints. You can see the pattern colors that are available in the photo which shows the fabric swatch with painted birds. There are around 8 different patterns available which can be ordered as all over prints or as borders. Custom designs are also possible.

And finally, we have Avrett, a hand-crafted furniture, lighting, and accessories line out of Charleston. Avrett is especially noted for its metalwork. Just take a look at that Gothic style firescreen. If only I had a working fireplace!

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Ruthie Sommers Project For Sale

Although I have no plans to abandon Atlanta anytime soon, I do like to peruse Manhattan real estate listings from time to time. The other night while visiting the Stribling website, I found a listing for a townhouse that I recognized as having been decorated by Ruthie Sommers. You might remember it as the bachelor apartment that was featured in the November 2010 issue of Lonny.

As I recall, the Lonny article got a lot of positive coverage in the blogosphere as it was more masculine than many of Sommers' projects, a look that was obviously appropriate for her bachelor client. It was certainly no less attractive than Ruthie's other work, just different. You can see the interior photos below, some of which were featured in the Lonny article and some that I had not yet seen.

For more information on the listing, please click here.

All photos from the Stribling website.

Friday, February 24, 2012

John Galliher in his London Days

We started off the week with a very stylish figure, Tom Parr, so it seems appropriate to end the week with yet another: John Galliher.

I was a johnny-come-lately when it came to John Galliher. I remember seeing his photos in W back in the 1980s (back in the good old days when W was a broadsheet), but I knew very little about him. It wasn't until the advent of New York Social Diary that I learned what a figure he cut in New York society. But what really captured my attention was a 2001
William Norwich article on Galliher that appeared in the New York Times. The article profiled Galliher and his style of entertaining. He was noted for serving a dish called Chicken Mica as well as clearing dishes straight from the table to a plastic lined basket resting next to him. That way, the conversation could continue uninterrupted.

Though the American born Galliher spent his later years solely in New York, as a young man he also had flats in both Paris and London. Here, you can see Galliher's Belgravia flat as it appeared in the late 1960s. To learn more about him, click
here to visit New York Social Diary.

One end of Galliher's living room with a grouping of framed glass pieces by artist Michael Haynes.

The other end of the living room. Galliher was responsible for the decoration of his home.

The book from which the photos came clearly states that this bedroom was from a previous Belgravia home of Galliher's.

Though the book doesn't provide much information about the photo above and the one below, I can only assume that they also show his previous home.

A vignette in Galliher's London home that featured a painting by Aiki and an early 19th century chimneypiece.

The photo at top appeared on New York Social Diary, courtesy of James A. Douglas. All other photos from House & Garden Guide to Interior Decoration by Robert Harling.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dogs in Good Spirits

So, you've got your vodka, gin, bourbon, scotch, double old-fashioneds, bar pitcher, ice bucket, swizzle sticks, mixers, jiggers, and ice tongs raring to go on your drinks tray or bar cart. What else might you need to complete your bar set up? Well, if you're a dog lover, how about a dog shaped crystal or glass decanter? It's not something with which I was familiar until I stumbled across a photo of one on the internet recently.

While I'm usually not an advocate of cute things, I do think one of these decanters might add a little humor to your drinks tray. A bar or bar cart is one place where whimsy is generally deemed acceptable. Just beware of the vintage ceramic dog decanters that are in abundance on eBay. Now those aren't so cute.

Asprey glass dog decanter, c. 1937, available through Guinevere

C. 1910 English hand blown glass dog decanter that sold at auction around four years ago.

Antique Austrian dog decanter, c. 1900, from The Three Graces

An antique silver plated and crystal dog decanter from Nelson & Nelson Antiques

A collection of silver pieces, from the Estate of Queen Juliana of The Netherlands that was auctioned at Sotheby's last year. Included in the lot was a silver-plated dog spout and a sterling dog mount for a decanter.

Not quite a decanter, but rather a sterling tantalus modeled as a dog house that holds two decanters.

Cartoon at top from The New Yorker, August 11, 1997, by Leo Cullum

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Verdant Vistas

What a pitiful winter we've had here in Atlanta. With temperatures consistently in the 60s, I've worn my winter coat all of two times this season. Is it any wonder that this never ending warm snap has turned my thoughts to the outdoors? I'm already contemplating what I will plant on my terrace this Spring, although no decisions have been made as of yet. I'm considering buying both some tomato and Mara des Bois strawberry plants. Will this planting scheme turn out to be a folly? More than likely, yes. But let's not dwell on that. Instead, let's turn our attention to a different kind of folly, one that is far more attractive than any tomato plant. Here, a few follies and gardens scattered around Europe.

Image above: The Nymphaeum at Château de Wideville, Seine et Oise; c. 1635-40.

The ornamental and utility gardens at Château de Villandry, Indre et Loire.

Bosquet de l'Encelade, c. 1675-77, sculpted by Gaspard Marsy. Located in the gardens of Versailles

The Grand Cascade at Caserta, Naples, in the gardens of the royal residence. The gardens date to 1752-80.

The Bath of the Doves at Schwetzingen, Baden-Württemberg, in the gardens of the residence of Elector Palatine; c. 1753-80.

The Summerhouse in the gardens of the residence of the Bishop-Prince of Wurzburg, Veitschöchheim, Bavaria; c. 1763-91.

The Oriental summerhouse, also at Veitschöhheim, Bavaria. Designed in 1768 by Ferdinand Tietz.

All images from From Folly to Follies: Discovering the World of Gardening by Michel Saudan and Sylvia Saudan-Skira.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Klaus Enrique, The Arcimboldo Series

I was recently informed of a very interesting looking photography exhibit, Klaus Enrique, The Arcimboldo Series. To be held at New York's Robert Burge/ 20th Century Photographs, Ltd. from February 21 to April 13, the show will feature the photographic work of Klaus Enrique Gerdes. As mentioned in the title of the show, Klaus Enrique's photographs of his vividly detailed vegetable and floral compositions were inspired by the work of Italian painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Just look at Klaus Enrique's Autumn above. Isn't the detail amazing?

According to Robert Burge, Klaus Enrique endured a few hardships while creating his vegetal creations including dealing with swarms of fruit flies as well as petals rotting under hot lights. Ah, the life of an artist. For more information on the show, please visit
Robert Burge's website. And if you happen to be in Manhattan, I urge you to see the show for yourself.

Flora, 2011

Vegetable Gardener, 2011

Winter, 2011

Vertumnus, 2010

Primavera, 2010

All images courtesy of Robert Burge/ 20th Century Photographs, Ltd.