Monday, October 22, 2012

Miles To Go

I can go on, do gush, and fail to force myself to slow the heck down on some occasions.  I can be what I'd like to define as "passionate," but others may see as undone.

I was, to say the least, excited to see Miles Redd's new book, The Big Book of Chic.  It helped that it does not have a whiff of some wistful reverie of home, though that's something I tend to fall into around here every now and again, and is a big, fat fit of fabulousness.

Indeed, both the title and the book announce their intent, which is to bring us something fantastic, as Miles tends to do.  When I read the opening letter, the only real text in the book, I could hear the designer's voice, which is something I like. ("It sounds as if you just sat down and scratched it out in your notebook," I said to Mr. Redd.  "I basically did," was his response and I was happy to hear it.)  If the rest is a stream of consciousness monologue on creativity and inspiration, I'm ever so glad to be along for the ride.

The images are a compilation of the references that have stuck in the designer's mind and the rooms they influenced.  Scattered about are quotes from Mitford, Waugh, Fitzgerald and other favorites.  "They are things that caught my mind," he told me and I asked him if he wrote in his books, something I still cannot do because of some misguided sense of reverence.    He does not.  "I remembered them and then had to go back and try to find."

I like that they have played around with the combination of color and black-and-white photography, the later not being used in solely the vintage images, but sometimes echoing Redd's rooms that are featured in full-on color.  It helps to see the structure.
As we chatted, we wandered the garden path of luxury and style and inspiration.  "We're all influencing each other," he said, "You can just tap something and up it pops."  Still, "Luxury can walk hand-in-hand with the hard to get.  It's terrific to have accessibility, but it makes you aware of how fun it is to walk into a shop and have someone say, 'I have something great for you,' as they are pulling it from the back room."

Don't mess around here.  You can buy the book now or be bidding the rent for it on ebay someday.

All images courtesy of Assouline.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Out and About - Christopher Filley, Again

Sometimes I want to keep all the good stuff to myself (you should see the things I don't mention here) but did want to let you know that Christopher Filley has just returned from the home of one of his dear friends and is providing foster care for some of her things.  (You see Faith and Charity above - Hope must be springing eternally somewhere else.)

A full-size chinoiserie bed being one of my favorites.

Hmmm...headboard, footboard and painted rails, too.  "Wouldn't it be great if you could float it in the room?" asked Christopher when I was there.  Indeed.

A pair.

The top.  I mean, really.

And this window, which did not come from the estate, is fantastic.  I've seen its sibling at the home of one of my favorite local designers, backed with mirror, adding depth and sparkle to her patio.  Who couldn't use a little more depth and sparkle?

Christopher Filley
45th and State Line

Monday, October 15, 2012

Watch This Space

I do think good energy attracts good energy (and bad brings bad like a big ugly magnet, but that's another story for another day.)

Crestwood Shops is home to some of the best merchants in town - no chain gangs here - and now they have a couple new kids on the block.

A particular favorite is O'Home, a labor of love from local designer Natalie O'Shaughnessy.

Chic and beautiful herself, it's no surprise that her shop fits right in.  An absolute don't miss.

Still, don't skip the mainstays.  Rumor has it that Pear Tree's shipment may be in as early as next weekend; I'll be getting my coffee at Aixois and keeping a close eye out.  For those of you not in town, you can check out their site here.

I'm sure they'd all just love it if you'd stop by and wish them a Happy Anniversary on Thursday, October 25th from 5:30 - 8:30.  55th and Brookside Boulevard.  Where the chic meet.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Great American House

"Mom, can you do me a favor?"

"What's that?"

"Can you pour the milk right into the center of the cereal?"  I looked up, standing in my pajamas and slippers, the simple white bowl filled with still-crunchy cornflakes, rested on the marble counter.  He looked back at me with blue-eyed earnestness.

"Does it matter?"

"A lot.  Don't worry, Dad does it wrong, too."

And try as I might, it was difficult to be annoyed because his needs were so exacting. That intolerance for the just-not-quite-right is not a latent gene, but a product of both nature and nurture.

This attention to detail and devotion to exactness are shared by architect Gil Schafer.  My files are filled with tear-sheets of Mr. Schafer's work and I am happy to have many of these images captured handily in his new book, The Great American House; Tradition for the Way We Live Now.

The book holds not only pictures of the gracious buildings themselves, but the interiors by noted designers such as Miles Redd, Michael Smith and David Netto.  For the true devotee, elevations and drawings of both floor plans and garden plans are plenty.  In addition, Schafer offers candid perspective on renovating and building; this advice would be handy for anyone looking to start from scratch no matter the aesthetic.

This is a remarkably good book season; plan accordingly (some birds large, medium and small have mentioned to me that there is a gift-giving holiday just around the corner.)  The Great American House, available here, should be on your list.

All images courtesy of Rizzoli, New York; from top photography Paul Costello; design, Schafer in collaboration with Miles Redd, photography John M. Hall; photography Carter Berg; design, David Netto, photography Jonathan Wallen; landscape design Deborah Nevins, photography, Schafer.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Hi/Lo New York Minute

In New York a couple of weeks ago, I spied Nate Berkus across the room.  I did not accost him as I've promised myself not to wrangle an introduction only to offer, "I love your work," but I'm happy to report that he is just as cute in person as he is on film.  (Tape.  TV.  Or iwhatever it is you are using.)

I did, however, have the opportunity to visit with him recently about his new line for Target.  You can see what he had to say at here.  (Not just cute to look at, he is charming as well.)  While you're there check out his renovation of his New York duplex.   If I'd seen the layout before I'd seen him I fear I would not have been able to restrain myself from elbowing through the crowd.

Image, Nate Berkus's living room, Architectural Digest November 2012; photography Pieter Estersohn, produced by Robert Rufino