Monday, March 31, 2008

Evil Spawn

Bewildered Rosie stands on what has revealed itself to be carpet. 

I mentioned in a previous post that it's possible that children's rooms are rarely photographed because it's too much trouble to clean them up.  I might have been projecting.

The vintage prints were my idea.  The sports posters were not.

A local company is coming today to shoot an ad in the Dream House.  When the scouts arrived, the downstairs was pristine.  "Did our contact tell you we'd love to see the boys' rooms?"  Um, no.  But that was fine.  Only they were messy.  I mean really messy.  Boy messy beyond anything you can imagine.

I had the background of the valance painted after I found the prints....

As they were snapping away and I could literally hear my mother spinning in her grave, one of the scouts said, "Oh, it's so real!"

then decoupaged color copies to create a similar scene.  My creativity often flows from my limited budget.

I have a personal "no lie" policy.  I'm crafty with words and can almost always come up with something, like, "It's always great to try something new, isn't it?"  So, I knew what she was doing.

Number 2's side looks slightly better, except all - all - of those animals are usually in his bed.

I spent a good part of the weekend trying to eliminate some of the "realness."  It's never a good idea to go sifting through people's things; you always discover things about them that you would rather not know.  I'm continually conflicted about my children's rooms.  I had a very territorial feeling about mine.  I was confused about why it needed to be tidy if I didn't mind it.

The house is unusual in that the room, with this dressing area attached, is almost as large as the master.  I wonder when they were customizing the floor plan if the owners were thinking "Lego Museum" in the built-in?

But as I was lugging out the three, big, bags of garbage (not rotting carcases, just broken or obsolete toys) I realized that maybe my mother was just trying to dodge Family and Children's Services.  
I had to photograph it yesterday.  It might never look like this again.  It's still plenty real.  And if they need any more, all they need to do is open the closet. 


Friday, March 28, 2008

Having a Ball

The cover of Charlotte Moss's soon to be released book.

Oh, I do love a white blouse.  In almost any setting.  With jeans, a pencil skirt or a ball gown.

Mary McDonald, image courtesy of StyleCourt.

Clearly, I'm not alone.  While this seems to be a designer go-to favorite, I don't really see it that much around town.

Windsor Smith, image courtesy of, um,  StyleCourt. (Thanks, Courtney, you're an easy mark.)

Sleeves rolled up is definitely the way to go.  (Easy and Elegant, am I on your turf?  Please weigh in.)

So, I have a little fete this summer which calls for a ball gown.  It is a nice change, after all, from my regular uniform of denim and black.

This image, and the one above, Carolina Herrera, courtesy of The Peak of Chic.

And, while I wouldn't put myself in the same category as Charlotte, Mary, Windsor and Carolina, I think I could carry it off.

This just caught my eye at Brooks Brothers.  Yes, Brooks Brothers.  Sleeves rolled up, neck open a bit more (nothing scandalous) turquoise beads, maybe?  Oh, how I'm shamelessly dreaming of June.

Soccer Mom

Speaking of 1st dibs, wouldn't these polo stools be the most fabulous accessory for the Blandings boy's sport spectator?

Chic and stylish, I can just picture one swinging from the crook of my elbow. Much better than the nylon and plastic folding contraption. Why do I think Hollister has one of these already? What? You haven't met Hollister Hovey? Also in the category of chic and fabulous, and, guess what, she has a Kansas City connection. Naturally.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

See Michael Run

This is Michael Bruno. Michael runs 1st dibs, a jazzy internet resource for antiques, objets and all things fabulous. Oh, and in his spare time (well, I do know he has a little help) he created one of the best on-line magazines around.

A few months ago, a pesky blogger ("A what?" "A blogger, you know like web log?" "I thought that was only for kids.") started pestering Michael to come to Kansas City. Our dealers, she claimed, are top notch. Dibs-worthy. You must.
In an effort to get her off his back, Michael e:mailed and said, "How 'bout we profile you on the site?" That seemed scary. But Jennifer had gone first, and it looked great, and I learned new things about her which was fun.

All they needed was a little information, and a head shot. A head shot? Um, I'm a Midwestern housewife, as a species we are lacking in the head shot department. But my fabulous editor at Spaces, Zim Loy, stepped in to save the day. She helped locate a photographer (the lovely and patient Aaron Leimkuehler), and made a surprise visit the day of the shoot.

I think it went well, don't you. OK, you're right, that's Barbara Barry. I wish I looked that relaxed. I don't. Zim assured me, "Everyone hates to get their picture taken." Clearly, except Barbara Barry - she looks fabulous.

Jump on over to 1st dibs and check out the blogosphere feature. Then keep checking, I happen to know they have some great ones planned. Besides bloggers, there are great features on designers, shop owners and tastemakers.

I'm so flattered, you can't imagine. Many thanks to Marcia Sherrill and Patricia Dobashi, wonderful writers and women, both, for walking me through it. And, Michael? I'm forever grateful. I'll tell you all about it when you come to Kansas City.

The Tudors

In the current issue of Spaces, there is a wonderful "Tanner Tudor." This is shorthand in "our town" for one of the homes designed by architect Edward Tanner, who also designed the majority of the Country Club Plaza shopping district.

Tanner's Tudors are particularly lovely, and the owner of this one has done a careful renovation, keeping the style and feel of the home where overhauls were necessary.

The architecture of the house, it's good bones and lovely finishings are allowed to glow.

It's a particularly good issue.  If you don't subscribe (what? you don't?) rush to the news stand today.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Diamond in the Rough

I do not own this book. I know, I need to, but I don't. Bloggers refer to it a lot. One thing that has always intrigued me about this book is the cover. And that rug.

Bunny Williams, Point of View

I'm naturally drawn to the graphic white and brown, and I've always had a bit of a weakness for the diamond pattern.

Ad, Doris Leslie Blau.

Plus, after all the seagrass and sisal, don't these look cozy? Soft and plush, without being goofy like flotaki?

But I didn't know what they were or from where they came. Enter the wonder of the internet.

These rugs are Moroccan and are created by the Beni Ouarain, a coalition of semi-nomadic tribes hailing from the Mid-Atlas mountains. They tend an ancient breed of small sheep and use their wool to produce these carpets.

This image, and the one above, are Michael Smith for Cindy Crawford in Elle Decor, March, 2006. Note that in the bottom picture, he has layered two different rugs.

The patterns are unique and rarely have a border; those rugs with a border are generally the result of outside influences.

Ad, F J Hakimian.

The pieces are actually not designed as rugs, but rather beds and bed coverings. They are, apparently, quiet pliable.

Again, Smith for Crawford, ED, 3-06.

They have been getting a quite a bit of play in the shelter magazines, as you can see.

Jesse Carrier for Rachael Weisz, Vogue Living, Spring/Summer, 2008. Rugs through Madeline Weinrib at ABC Carpet & Home.

And, as all good things need to be peddled to the masses, there are now look-alikes at William-Sonoma Home and, egads, Pottery Barn.

Williams-Sonoma Home.

If you are interested, there is detailed information on the Blazek web site. To find sources for the rugs, you can Google Moroccan or Beni Ouarain rugs and quite a few sources, including the ones featured in this post, will appear. I certainly don't have anything against WSH or PB, but the real deal is not outrageously expensive. And, no doubt, it would have a deeper soul.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Courtney had a reader who was looking for a rug. I thought it might be a Rug Company rug, but it wasn't. She has had some leads as well, and, by the way, neither one of us is on commission, it's just,when someone finds something they like, and you like it too, well, you'd like to know where it came from.

So when I saw the ad for Carini Lang Handwoven Carpets, I thought, "Maybe this is it." And, I still don't think it is, but, hold onto your hat.

If you were my youngest, you would say, "That is totally awesome." (Except he reserves this distinction for things primarily Star Wars.)

I could happily find a home for most of these, but the florals made me gasp when I saw them.

Dramatic and powerful.

Happy and pretty. Absolutely, statement pieces.

How much?

Another favorite quote of my youngest is "blah, blah, blah." For him, it signifies irrelavance. As in, "I don't like broccoli, so blah, blah, blah."

I don't care how much they cost. Blah, blah, blah.

Just to be Clear

I would just like to take a moment to clarify a little something. I made a point, when I started this little voluntary endeavor, to keep things positive. I know, I've taken a couple of swipes here and there, but, primarily, I don't dish. I thought this would keep everyone within the lines of, "If you don't have something nice to say..." Sometimes my naivete outweighs my years.

So, when the nastiness began, I was conflicted. I was a journalism major. My dad covered civil rights marches; he was arrested going under a barricade at a nuclear protest. I cut my teeth on the first amendment. I don't like censorship.

But, I will not publish comments that are unkind to others. You can say whatever unpleasant thing you have to say about me. Criticize my taste, loathe my style, correct my spelling (please) and I will publish your comment, but if you make a hateful comment about someone else, I will reject it. For the most part, the products and work posted here are of my choosing (which is part of the fun for control-freak me) but it does not seem fair to provide a forum to bash someone or something who showed up here arbitrarily.

I've given this some thought. I've considered not accepting anonymous comments, but the first comment I made was anonymous (can you guess which one?), and I participated in the community for a while that way. So, bring it on. I can take it, but lay a finger on one of my designers and I'll take you out. Just to be clear.

Illustration by Janice Nadeau, Town & Country, April 2008, Social Graces column by Willow Bay

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Truly Grande

Mr. Blandings claimed he had sand in his eyes.

The Blandings have returned from the beach.  We had wonderful weather, great sand castle architecture, dolphin sightings, lizard catching and no internet access, which might have been a blessing.  We have been going to Boca Grande, Florida for the past eleven years, save the ones when we had newborns 2 and 3.  It's a lovely spot on Gasparilla Island.  Not too crowded, just enough to do, and a few good friends from home.

A lot of information that you will find on Boca Grande declares that is has maintained the feeling of "old Florida."  I don't claim to be an expert on the subject, but the town is charming.  Not fancy.  No designer nonsense.  Boca Grande owes its development to the discovery of phosphate and the subsequent mining there of, at the turn of the (last) century.

Rail transportation soon followed, as did wealthy Northerners looking to escape their wintery homes.  The Gasparilla Inn was built to accommodate these visitors and stands today.

This is not where the Blandings stay on their visits, but I love to haunt the shops and the lobby. 

The island is also home to one of the du Pont estates.  Henry du Pont vacationed there, and it is my understanding that the home is still in the family.

I tried to convince one of my friends to wander in (it is a thing of wonder from the street with gazebos and painted grottos and palm trees) and profess dismay that it is not "open" as Winterthur is.  She demurred.

We could have easily stayed another week, except my heart was aching for Rosie.  She didn't even do me the courtesy of being aloof to the house sitter when we returned.  Mr. Blandings and I spend a good little bit of our time on the beach designing the dream beach house.  Maybe by the time we get the boys through school, the du Pont family will want to shed one of the gazebos.

All photos Gasparilla Inn.