Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Whatever your last year - neat, shaken, stirred, straight up or dirty- 
I am wishing you the very best in 2012.

Image, The Well Lived Life, from the editors of House and Garden, Assouline 2003, photography, Don Forbes.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Inspiration - Take It Where You Find It

Not all my inspiration for 2011 came from magazines.  The Wall Street Journal's Off Duty and Magazine have both provided loads of entertainment.  This particular piece by Timothy Corrigan inspired the ceiling color, Farrow and Ball Cream (No. 44), in Bill's den.  You can see the article here.

Richard Mishaan's Phillip-Jeffries paper at Kips Bay Show House sparked a project for the front hall.

And, I am obsessed with the Giacometti lamps in Frances Elkins's projects.  These in particular.  Obsessed.  Stephen Salny's book is available here.

Paris was a great influence, but the color of the limestone was very sticky; I can't shake it.

And, Mad Men, which I began watching this time last year (shut up in my room in the dark with my iPad for hours.)  What jumped?

Jon Hamm?  Too obvious.  Sterling Cooper's office door color.  Could not get enough.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 Top Ten - Six thru Ten

Veranda, July/August 2011, Lyford Cay home, design by Andrew Raquet,
photography Max Kim-Bee

As I said yesterday, don't over-think it.

Elle Decor September 2011, Lynn Nesbit's NY apartment, design by Coleman and Brockschmidt,
photography William Waldron

A little black and white.  A flash of gold.  Bare floors.

Veranda, October 2011, antique dealer Jean-Phillipe Demeyer's Belgian home of his own design,
 photography Miguel Flores-Vianna
Rich color.

Architectural Digest, January 2011, design by Windsor Smith,
photography Erhard Pfeiffer
Books.  A little Chinoiserie.

Elle Decor, December 2011, Fabrizio Rollo's apartment of his own design,
photography Eric Piasecki

Mirror.    And all that personal jumbly goodness that says someone lives here.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 Top Ten - One Thru Five

Elle Decor, December 2010/January 2011, Rusty and Mary Lynn Turner's Idaho home of her design,
photography Miguel Flores-Vianna
I have done year end lists now and again, though last year I did not.  (Did not stitch ornaments, did not send out holiday cards, did not, did not, did not.)

House Beautiful, May 2011, Atlanta designer, Stan Topol's office,
photography Thomas Loof

I don't mean to imply that these are better or worse than any other, but they meant something to me.

World of Interiors, May 2011, Eileen Gray's apartment, photography Roland Beaufre
It was a very structured and orderly process, if you consider sitting amidst a pile of magazines with a pad of sticky notes structured and orderly.

Architectural Digest, July 2011, Philadelphia townhouse design by Thomas Jayne,
photography Pieter Estersohn
Don't look too hard for a common theme.

House Beautiful, July/August 2011, Rebecca Phillips's Brooklyn apartment, design by Nick Olsen
photography Bjorn Wallander
They meant something to me.

Coincidentally there were ten rooms.  I've drawn specific inspiration from all of them, but they appeal in the big picture as well.  Six through ten tomorrow.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Hang Time

This has always been a jumbly stream of consciousness, so I am sure that you will understand that in the midst of cleaning up paper and breaking down boxes I stopped to look at Carrier and Company's portfolio.  You can't convince me that everyone doesn't do this sort of thing.

Loads of pretty things there, but I was charmed by these hangers on.  Quick and easy curtains - you could make them while your children are playing X Box (or Wii or PS3 or Chinese Checkers if there are still children who play such things) - two small knobs, a finished square and a couple of loops.  No fuss, no muss, but it has the same casual elegance as Astaire's handkerchief.

Images courtesy of Carrier and Company.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Twelve Days of Christmas

For heaven's sake, I had not intended to be gone so long.  Just as at your house, things are in full swing around here.  I finished the diamonds in the foyer (the pattern will eventually - hopefully by the end of Winter Break - go all the way down the hall) despite the amount of bother they have caused.  The doors are Farrow & Ball Dix Blue and the color is delicious.  Details on all of this after the holiday.

And, the lantern is in place.  The fabulous folks at the Light Shop in Kansas City helped me with the canopy.  Turns out that it is possible to order a light from Visual Comfort without the wiring.  I am pleased as punch.

The chairs are finished and the fabric is off to the upholsterers for the cushions.

And I WON A WATERWORKS FAUCET.  I so rarely enter giveaways.  Oddly, as a blogger, I feel like they aren't really for me, but I entered the Waterworks giveaway on Grant Gibson's blog (which is terrific, by the way) as I love their product.  Waterworks has introduced Studio, a new more moderately priced line and its Three Hole Cross Handle Faucet from the Flyte Collection is sitting snugly in a box in my basement waiting for installation.  (The boys were most delighted by this development.  "You WON a faucet?  How does someone win a faucet?"  It was a Christmas miracle.)

As I was going through all my magazines from 2011 to see if I could come up with a "favorite rooms" post, Elle Decor reached out to say, "Do you have a favorite room from 2011?"  I do, and you can find it here, along with other terrific picks.

Finally, (well, Christmas will be "finally" - this is nearly finally) we hosted twenty-five friends for dinner on Wednesday.  I spent yesterday getting ready and most of today cleaning up.  Parties are a gift; there is nearly nothing I enjoy more than having our friends in our home.  I loved every minute.

I hope your house is filled to overflowing with joy this season.  We are wishing you the best.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Year in Provence

Over Thanksgiving I started floating the idea of traveling for the holiday next year.

Mr. Blandings and the boys are neither stubborn nor unreasonable, but they get a little set in their ways.

Many things around here happen through the sheer force of my will, but I find new ideas are more easily adopted if I bring them up far in advance.  I grind away at their resistance and then work to fill the trough with my enthusiasm.  Admittedly, I wear them down.

As we made the long drive to California a couple of years ago, I pointed out to Bill that in ten years the boys would be finished with school and we could live anywhere, my voice and imagination filled with wonder.

"Where else would we want to live?"

"We could live in France."  "We could live in France."  "We could live in France."

All images, via the Wall Street Journal Magazine, the home of Betty and Francois Catroux in Provence.  The story, these images and images of their Paris apartment can be found here.  Photography, Francois Halard.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

DIY Hell

Did I mention that I've created a little DIY hell for myself over here?  Math.  Measuring.  And beyond that, I've bought my children no fewer than one hundred and fifty (give or take) rulers and the only one I can find is blue, with nearly illegible numbers and a three hole punch.

What's that?  Christmas?  Oh, heavens, there's plenty of time.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Help is on the Way

I am in the middle of a little DIY hell.  It involves math, which is never good, but this "quick" project is taking a little longer than expected.  In the meantime, a few readers asked the name of the wonderful stuff mentioned in yesterday's post.  I am pretty sure that it was Omorovicza Complexion Brightener.  I can attest that the back of my hand resembled the inside of a fine porcelain cup.  Several stores carry it, but I'm giving my pitch to Bergdorf's as they provided the introduction.  $140/oz.  Here.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dim Sum

In New York to attend the celebration of the New AD100, I found myself with a pretty swell dress and pretty tired stockings so I cut a quick path to Bergdorf's.

Descending the escalator, I was dropped into cosmetics where I felt like an unsuspecting tourist in a 19th century opium den.  I tried to keep my head up and avoid eye contact, but my naked lips advertised my naiveté and the calls for "make-up freshen" and "free gift" came fast and furious.

A bolder soul stepped directly in my path.  "I need to show you something," she said as she grasped my right hand. She never broke eye contact as she held my fingers in hers, eased some elixer from a bottle and rubbed it on the back of my hand.  My bare lips forgotten, I stared at the raised veins and sunspots of my long and well-baked skin. She swirled the creamy substance in circles, pausing only briefly to hold her fingers just under my nose, "See,"she reassured, "there's no scent.  And see?" she coaxed," the redness is gone, the spots are gone. It's like porcelain. You wouldn't even need foundation.  Now, let's step over here..." she lured.  

Unable to break her gaze, I carefully extracted my now flawless paw from her grasp.   Anything this wonderful, I knew would be dear; worse, it could be addictive.  Forty dollars for tights suddenly seemed reasonable and I stuck with a vice I knew.  

I backed away, apologized profusely and made a clean escape.  And hoped for dim lighting at the event.

The January issue of AD is on newsstands now.  Pick it up to see beautiful rooms by: Bunny Williams, top, photography by Pieter Estersohn, produced by Howard Christian; Stephen Sills, next, photography by Francois Halard, produced by Robert Rufino; and, Daniel Romualdez, photography by Roger Davies, produced by Carolina Irving, styled by Robert Rufino.  The New AD100 list can also be found here.

Images from the event at the Guggenheim of the Maurizio Cattelan installation and Architectural Digest Editor-in-Chief, Margaret Russell, courtesy of Lee Mindel.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Shopping the Show with Charlotte

Sketch by Raymond Espinasse, Soloman Suchard Antiques and Fine Art, Shaker Heights, OH.

In September, I attended the Lauritzen Garden Antique Show in Omaha, Nebraska.  The fundraiser was founded by Mary Seina and the late Kim Lauritzen.  "It was partly thanks to John Roselli.  We were in his shop [Treillage in New York] and he said, 'You should go to the Brooklyn Show,'" remembers Seina.

Tortoise Dressing Mirror, Sallea Antiques, New Canaan, CT.

After visiting the New York Botanical Garden's Antique Garden Furniture Show, Seina and Lauritzen decided that they needed to something similar in Omaha, a city long on interest, resources and taste, but short on antique shops.

Tiffany Bamboo Tea Service, Atlanta Silver and Antiques

Aiming to attract top national dealers, the pair figured the best way to get the dealers' attention was to buy from them.

Cane Folding Garden Chairs, Linda Pearce, Kansas City, MO.

"It turned out to be an expensive project," notes Seina.  But it worked.

Leeds Pottery Horse, Earle Vandekar, Maryknoll, NY.
These were some of my favorite pieces.

Pair of Venetian mirrors, Anthony Armand Scornavacco, Minneapolis MN

Click over to Architectural Digest to see some of the things that Charlotte Moss pointed out and pick up some tips on shopping antique shows.

All images my own except the last which is via AD from Lauritzen Gardens.