Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Carnation Centerpiece

I'm absolutely smitten with how my Christmas table setting and carnation centerpiece turned out!  This is definitely a project I will keep in mind for future dinner parties - it took about  30 minutes to make and still looks beautiful 5 days later.  Inspired by a Martha Stewart centerpiece I posted about last week, I purchased a white compote from Home Goods for $15 then filled it with floral oasis and 60 red carnations.   The large mound of red in the center of the table made for the perfect pop of color.  What do you think?  I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!  I'm truly enjoying my week without work.  Cheers!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dream Office

Above is a rendering of my dream office (well a few things would be different but I couldn't draw them).  What do you think?  Work wouldn't be so bad if I could open my french doors and smell fresh flowers or kick back and eat lunch by the fire.  Ahh, someday, right? 

Presents & Pinkie

Christmas is right around the corner - the rest of my week will be spent listening to the Glee: The Christmas Album (I highly you download it if you need a little somethin' to get you through the week) and wrapping Christmas presents.  Luckily, today is my last day of work until January!  Woohoo!  I can't wait to hang out with Ms. Pinkie and check things off my "to do" list.  

Monday, December 20, 2010

Aerin Lauder's Holiday Chic

Sadly, the December 2007 issue of House & Garden was the 100-year-old magazine's last issue ever.  As a teenager I loved flipping through my mom's copies but I realize now more than ever that the magazine always had a timeless quality.  This spread, featuring Aerin Lauder's Greek Revival home, is no exception.  Lauder’s weekend retreat, which she inherited a decade ago from her legendary grandmother Estée Lauder, features beautiful blue-and-white Chinese porcelain in several rooms, and many of those rooms remain exactly as her grandmother and decorator Mark Hampton left them. 
Lauder honors Estée's love of blue and white with an unexpected and modern twist. The dining room is a lively shade of Donald Kaufman china-blue edged in white trim; a crystal chandelier outfitted with azure candles repeats the motif. That striking color combination appears again, vividly, in what was Estée’s bedroom and another guest room, in fabrics used for curtains, bedding, upholstery, and even on the walls. Lauder describes her style as "heritage with a twist". I think her description is dead on - the home is a lovely example of how you can tweak tradition to create a young, fresh space. Equally beautiful pictures of the East Hamptons home have been published in Elle Decor but there is something about Christmas decorations and a fire burning that really makes a house feel like a home. I'm smitten!
(Images via Habitually Chic and unknown)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Carnation Comeback

Every year I help my mom create a Christmas centerpiece.  Talks about the Christmas table setting usually start around Thanksgiving.  This year, after much deliberation, we've decided to construct our centerpiece with fresh flowers, namely, the carnation.  In recent years carnations have gotten a bad rap.  It wasn't always so.  For centuries the carnation was a dignified, sought-after flower, adorning everything from royal weddings to Oscar Wilde's lapel.  In fact, D. Porthault's famous Carnations linens were commissioned by the Duchess of Windsor. So, I figure if Oscar de la Renta can send the frilly flower down the Spring 2011 runway, I can use it front and center on my table.  

Individually, carnations are nothing special.  However, when grouped together they form beautiful mounds of strong, vibrant color.  To construct our centerpiece we are going to buy several bouquets of carnations in shades of red then cut them down to form low, tight arrangements.  I'm thinking we'll arrange them  in various mint julep cups or one large urn.  Who knows, we may even get crazy and make a topiary or two.  Above are a few centerpiece suggestions found on the Martha Stewart website.  I'll share our final creation soon...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Smitten | Mark Shaw Photography

Haute couture meets decor.  Mark Shaw's fashion photographs have been popping up everywhere.  Three of my favorite designers, Windsor Smith, Mary McDonald and Nate Berkus, featured Shaw's iconic images in the rooms pictured above.  As the family photographer for the Kennedy's and a longtime photojournalist for Life Magazine, Shaw had access to the most beautiful models, celebrities and interiors of his day.  Wouldn't it be amazing to own such a glamorous piece of history?  Any one of Shaw's photographs would be enough to glamify almost any modern-day apartment.  The limited edition photographs, pictured above, are available at Svenska Mobler in Chicago.

(images via House Beautiful, Veranda , Elle Decor and Svenska Mobler)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Blue & Redd Christmas

I've been obsessed with this glamorous hall, as shot by Miguel Flores-Vianna, ever since it was published in the December 2009 issue of Elle Decor.  The covered plaster hall with a Greek Key ceiling border is the center of a 30-foot gallery that is flanked with antique-mirrored vestibules.  Isn't it chic?  Miles Redd designed the room and incorporated his signature laquered walls in Yves Klien blue, blue and white porcelain, red lamp shades and upholstered doors. 
I couldn't help but post photos of the rest of the house below.  The bathroom papered in red Zebra wallpaper by Scalamandre makes my heart sing.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Kennedy Christmas

I just about died when I discovered this painting of the White House Christmas tree.  In the early 60s First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy captured the efforts of her historic White House renovation by painting the Blue Room's whimsically decorated Balsam fir. It's said that Jackie began the tradition of selecting a theme for the White House Christmas tree by decorating the 1961 Blue Room tree with toys, birds, candy canes and angels modeled after Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker.  I'd love to find a print of Jackie's painting to hang on my gallery wall every Christmas.....her style reminds me of the watercolor paintings by French artist Jacqueline Duheme .

My how times have changed.  In 2009 the Obamas chose Simon Doonan, the creative director of Barney's New York, to decorate the White House Christmas tree.  Doonan, known for his extreme design choices, featured ornaments like the oh-so-festive Chairman Mao.  What a difference a few decades make, uh?  This year, since my childhood Christmas ornaments are at my parent's house, my tree will be filled with peacocks aplenty!  I'll share the results soon :)
(images via Style Court and  Kennedy Library)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Divine Dressing Room

On February 23, 1961, Jacqueline Kennedy launched the most recognized and celebrated redecoration of the White House in its history. In her quest to build a visual collection representative of the past, present and future of America, Mrs. Kennedy enlisted Stephane Boudin president of the French design house Jansen.  Founded in 1880 by Jean-Henri Jansen, the firm was known for bringing colorful, quasi-historical swank to the homes of C. Z. Guest, Nancy Lancaster, Coco Chanel and the Duchess of Windsor.

A true expression of Boudin's style was the decoration of Jackie's dressing room. Stepping away from Sister Parish's design for the room, which was less than two years old, the design of the dressing room, pictured above, conveyed a sense of sophistication, luxury and warmth. From this small corner room the Frenchman removed all traces of Parish's casual aesthetic, replacing them with French antiques, a leopard skin throw, and elaborate silk draperies trimmed with tassel fringe.  Even though it was designed circa 1962 this room has a timelessness about it - I love it all, especially the personal photos tucked in the frame of Jackie's vanity mirror.

Perhaps the most stunning feature in the room was the trompe l'oeil painting on the doors of the First Lady's wardrobe.  The doors, painted by Parisian-based artist Pierre-Marie Rudelle, featured a collection Mrs. Kennedy's favorite objects.  Items duplicated in the artist's painting included John F. Kennedy's Pulitzer-winning Profiles in Courage and a portrait of Caroline Kennedy as an infant.  Check out a detail of the doors below.

 You can see the evolution of this divine dressing room here

(Images Architectural Digest, JFK Library)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Everywhere I Look: Serpent Style

The Serpent has always been a popular decorative motif dating back to ancient Egypt.  It is said that the Greeks and Romans regarded them as guardians of sacred places, houses, and tombs.  Lately, everywhere I look I seem to spot something with a winding serpent on it.  Though snakes generally creep me out, these curling interpretation are completely chic.  So, here is a roundup of beautiful snake-inspired objects.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Old Dogs, New Tricks

Donna Wilson, a British designer, has given Staffordshire ceramic dogs - popular in the 19th century, and still collectible today - a contemporary face-lift.  According to the New York Times, Wilson works with traditional forms from a factory in Stoke-on-Trent, in Staffordshire, and paints a patterned Fair Isle-style sweater and gold fur on each dog by hand. Her objective is to bring an old design back to life.  The dogs, above, which come in pairs (for $400), can be bought through the Future Perfect .  Swoon!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hugo Guinness

I love the simplicity and contrast of  artist Hugo Guinness' large botanical linocut prints. Unfortunately, the prints sold at John Derian are out of my price range. 

Since I can't really afford the real deal I was thrilled to discover that the Conde Nast store is selling limited edition Guinness prints at $160 each.  One of these may just find their way onto the top of my Christmas list.

(Images via The Selby, John Derian)

Wishbone Wishes

I've been on the search for Nick Olsen's gold wishbone ever since NYSD published his apartment in October.  Two months later and my wishbone wishes have come true.  The lovely wishbone pictured above can be bought at Jayson Home and Garden for a mere $48!


Albert Hadley once said that there should be at least one red accent in every room. I couldn't agree with him more. Red is such a powerful color that can instantly add energy and drama to a room.  It feels daring and bold, while at the same time warm and intimate.  Red walls add spice while red furniture catches your eye. While in a neutral environment red can be used through accent pieces like a lamp, a cashmere throw, or a bunch of red roses.  It works well with other colors, particularly yellows and blues ( I love it with cadet blue, like the curtains above). For interiors, some use the color proudly, such as Nick Olsen, while others use it in a more subtle way. However you choose to use it, perhaps you might find some inspiration in the photos above.  On the left is a monochromatic red outfit from the Céline fall 2010 lookbook and on the right, Andy and Kate Spade's cozy, red den.  To me, this room is supremely chic, the red is perfect and the canary yellow chair sings to me!