Thursday, January 29, 2009

Veranda! You Have Outdone Yourself!

All Show House Photos by Peter Vitale

I think most of you have heard about the recent demise of our beloved Domino Magazine this week. The cries were heard far and wide throughout the design blog universe. A good cry and a box of tissues spirits were raised when the latest Veranda Magazine made it's appearance through my mail slot yesterday.

And what an issue it is! Veranda has really stepped up the Designer Show House game with it's third Show House at the Greystone Estate in Beverly Hills. Those involved in making this event happen read like the Who's Who of the Design World: Ann Getty acted as Honorary Chairperson with Nathan Turner and Mary McDonald as Co-Chairs. So for those of you who were not fortunate enough to get to see the Show House in person (like moi), Veranda has provided a stunning feature here with pictures of every room.

Designers include such greats as Waldo Fernandez, Richard Shapiro, David Phoenix and Rose Tarlow, Suzanne Rheinstein, Peter Dunham, Windsor Smith and Kathryn Ireland. These are just a few of the many fabulously prolific designers featured in this Show House.

Those of you who subscribe to Veranda will want to hold on to this issue for years to come. and for those of you who do not subscribe, I highly recommend picking up this issue.

I don't want to spoil all of the delicious surprises in store for you in room after room, but I had to show a few to whet your appetite! One of my favorite spaces was the courtyard outside Greystone where the opening Gala was held. Mary McDonald and Nathan Turner orchestrated the transformation using a palette of green and white, and utilizing mid century Barcelona chairs and ottomans as a foil for the English Gothic Revival Manor.

Completed in 1928, Greystone has been seen often in movies like The Witches of Eastwick, The Holiday, and There Will Be Blood. Designed by Gordon Kaufmann for oil tycoon Edward L. Doheney the mansion is the largest family estate ever built in Beverly Hills. For much more information about Greystone and visitation of the grounds, click here.

Here are just a few of the rooms by some of our favorites:

Family Room by Nathan Turner

Gentleman's Study by Peter Dunham

Lady's Bedroom by Mary McDonald

Master Bedroom by Windsor Smith

This Show House feature is enough in and of itself the buy the issue.

But wait.... Veranda gives us MORE! One of my Design Crushes graces the pages with yet another beautiful design project. Eric Cohler transforms a stately Charleston home with his magic. Just one photo teaser for you! This article is very long and comprehensive with many a gorgeous photo. Thanks Veranda!

Late 19th-c. console. Painting by Larry Charles. John Saladino Lamps. Photo by Jeff McNamara. are just too kind. We are also treated to another home, that of Houston based designer Michael Dale. Just another little tease for you:

The beautiful hall showing Dale's collection of Burmese figures on Mexican pedestals. Photo by Peter Vitale.

I can tell I am going to be spending at least few hours this weekend sitting on my porch in the sun enjoying this issue of Veranda.

What are you going to be doing?

Talent: Alicia Bock

The Date

I was browsing around Etsy this morning while waiting for a furniture website to come back up so I could email some dining chairs to a client.....and found these. What luck!

These glorious photos are by Alicia Bock and can be purchased here for between $30 and $35 for 8.5"x12" approx. size signed originals.

The Break

Everything That Is Good

Sunlight To Grow


This Is A Memory

These were just a few of my very favorites. Many more to see. They just take you away from the daily grind for a moment, don't they? Blissful.

P.S. Alicia has a lovely blog too! Bloom, Grow, Love

Stop by and say "hi"! You'll be very happy you did. Tell her katiedid sent you!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

NOOOOooooooooo! Domino Magazine?!?! Not Domino!

This release was just put out:


January 28, 2009


New York, NY, January 28, 2009 -- Domino magazine will cease publication, it was announced today by Charles H. Townsend, President and CEO of Conde Nast. The final issue will be published in March2009.

"This decision to cease publication of the magazine and its website is driven entirely by the economy," Mr. Townsend said. "Although readership and advertising response was encouraging in the early years, we have concluded that this economic market will not support our business expectations."

More to come.... "

I could just cry. This is just so upsetting. When is this going to end?!?!

I was just corresponding with Marisa over at Stylebeat Blog about her wonderful blog, and learned about this. There were rumors in the wind, but it's now official. I am sure Marisa, former style editor for House Beautiful and O at Home will have more info before I do stop on over for the latest here.

I wanted to tell you all about Marisa's beautiful blog...and how she will probably have all the latest and greatest news form NYC....but for now, I think I have to go find a tissue.

Goodbye Domino! You will be missed.

I will leave you with some photos that Marisa took at the latest Gift Show in NYC:

You'll just have to visit Stylebeat for all of the information.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bathroom Analysis: Kara Mann

Metropolitan Home March 2009, Photo by Nathan Kirkman

Kara Mann, the Chicago based designer that has taken the design world by storm, has a spread in the latest Metropolitan Home. Ever since I saw her own home in Metropolitan home's May '07 issue, I have been a huge fan.

The home she designed for a young couple who bought a house in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago, is full of her edgy urban sensibility....but I have to say the Master Bath is what really caught my eye.

So what is it exactly about this space that is so "good"? I have been thinking about it, and have come up with a list:

  1. The use of a neutral color palette with high contrasts creates a much more dynamic space than shades of all one color. Examples here are the black fabric on the stool, the dark wood mirror and iron table used against a very light back round of white marble and very pale walls.
  2. The classic style of all elements and the contrasting use of contemporary or traditional pieces will transcend "trends" and help this bathroom keep it's style for many years. Examples here are the never "out" use of white marble, chrome plumbing fixtures, traditional moldings used in a very clean way, and white sink and tub. Even though the sink is very contemporary, it is also very simple and clean. This will help keep it current, unlike the typical vessel sinks that have been the trend through the early '00's.
  3. Mann's attention to detail is really wonderful. She has lined up the height of the counter perfectly with the wainscot. She has also hung the mirror at the same height as the cabinet to the left of the sink. There is a very nice balance of positive and negative space on the sink wall. This attention creates a sense of harmony without one even realizing why.
  4. Mann has also not tried to match every finish. She has used different metals and wood finishes to create a much more interesting space. I don't think one has to match everything...and much prefer the "unmatched" quality here. The faucet is chrome or polished nickel , as are the sconces. She has also introduced an antique brass metal on the stool and the cabinet hardware. And then there is the oil rubbed bronze or steel on the table. And there are two wood finishes as well: the cerused oak cabinets and the dark wood mirror frame. A much more interesting mix!
  5. I like the cleanliness of no window treatment in a bath. It seems so much more soothing with Mann's use of obscure glass for window privacy, which she echoes in the milk glass in the wall cabinet.
  6. Speaking of the wall is a very nice alternative to the typical medicine cabinet. The glass gives a feeling of more spaciousness, while hiding toiletries away neatly.
  7. Mann's adds interesting accents like the stool, the crystal vase and other black accessories on the table next to the bath, and little perfume tray and the variegated plant, all a bit unusual and very nicely contrasted.
  8. The light fixtures are very well done as well. The sconces are clean and classic: a modern take on a traditional form. The fixture above the bath is white and adds to the light neutral back round while adding needed texture.
  9. Then there is always the white marble. It is always beautiful!

That is my take on the "why" this bathroom appeals so much. Kara Mann continues to turn out great design every time. Be sure to checkout the latest issue of Met Home to see the rest of the house. You will not be sorry! I would love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, January 26, 2009

$35,000 Toilet?!?!?!

"Dagobert" Wooden Throne by Herbeau. Constructed entirely of solid ash and decorated with hand painted Moustier Polychrome designs. The musical chime "Le Bon Roi Dagobert" begins playing as the lid is raised. MSRP: $14,123 plus shipping.

It seems there has been a bit of confusion about a $35,000 "commode" that found it's way into the office decor of one notorious Mr. John Thain, (ousted Merrill Lynch CEO) via the talents of recently announced White House decorator Michael S. Smith. For an excellent and comprehensive article about the scandal, visit Joni at Cote de Texas for her fascinating report.

Now, back to the now infamous "commode". Yes, a "commode" can be defined as a "toilet". And there are many toilets out there that come close to, and even far exceed the $35,000 price tag. And even though the "commode" in Mr. Thain's office is NOT a toilet, but instead a low chest of drawers, as illustrated in Joni's article, it is amusing to speculate as to what a $35,000 toilet might look like.

The "Isis" toilet by Jemal Wright Bath Designs has been decked out with 50,000 Swarovski crystals and retails for about $75,000

The "most expensive toilet in the world" this 24carat gold and be-jeweled toilet can be found in a Hong Kong jewelry store and has become quite a tourist attraction. Estimated to be worth $7.5 million.

Mr. Thain might be interested to know that, now that he might be looking for a job, he can still get his very own "throne" here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Green....Gotta Get Some

Western Interiors, February, March 2009, Photo by Roger Davies

Color me green with envy. As soon as I saw this living room designed by Helene Aumont for a house in Santa Barbara, I started I just have to start all over? There is alot to love in the latest Western Interiors this month, but this room is "it" for me. Helene painted the oak paneled walls with this beautiful shade of limey green with a umber glaze that just brings the room to life. She refers to it as "avocado puree". I refer to it as perfection. The formality is tempered with a pair of Cappellini chairs with woven rush seats and the natural jute rug. (Helene if you are reading this, please correct me if I'm wrong!) The white upholstery (Rose Tarlow) and tangerine drapery fabric ( Cowtan and Tout) add even more freshness. Another thing: the careful editing is a strong suit for Ms. Aumont!

Photo by Tim Street-Porter

Speaking of Rose know....the white upholstery above....I was flipping through her book, The Private House, yesterday and came across this photo. Love. I will have to wait until kids and black dog are out of the house before I could even think of white upholstery....but one can dream. The touches of green in this room are just "right". Having all one pillow style creates a more modern feel, along with the art and sculptural qualities of the individual objects. Again...I think I am drawn to the casual, yet very sophisticated quality of this space. If you do not yet have this book, I highly recommend it. The variety of high and low, formal and casual, modern and traditional are all captured beautifully in full bleed color pages.

Western Interiors, February,March 2009, Photo by Roger Davies

Back to Helene Aumont's design for the house in Santa Barbara. This outdoor "room" is the perfect place to hang out. I just wanted to draw your attention to the beautiful green mosaic table. Couldn't you just spend a whole day longer.

I am sure many of you have seen this room in the latest Domino. The Dining Room of Mary McDonald's Guesthouse is a beautiful balance of color. The dashes of green in the vases, lamp and obelisks add that needed spice to the dark grey walls. I love her attention to detail with the addition of the green fabric hiding the chandelier chain as well. I am not a big shirred fabric on the chain kinda person....but in this case the vivid color takes the seriousness out of the formal chandelier....and I like that.

There is a pattern here. Green, with white or ivory and dark woods or dark neutral colors like the grey in McDonald's dining room, work together very well.

Domino, February 2009, Photo by Ditte Isager

Another image from the latest Domino is from the Hollywood home of filmmaker, Maria Maggenti. Again we are seeing the green of the chairs with white and the darkness of the wood floors. This clean edited space still packs a style wallop. Very do-able for us all: Table, chairs, and sideboard from IKEA, art by Maggenti, candlesticks from the 99 cent store!

House Beautiful, January 2009, Photo by Victoria Pearson

This "room" from House Beautiful draws it's decoration from all of the beautiful and varied "greens" in nature. Again I like that contrast of the green, ivory and the dark bronze details in the windows, doors and light fixture. This space was designed by Chris Barrett for KAA Design Group (which incidentally designs websites for some of the top design stars you all know and love!)

Just a very cool tile pattern from a book I received or Christmas this year: Morocco Modern by Herbert Ypma. Well worth taking a look at. Beautiful images in this book!

So, if you are all ready for a little green to come your way...I thought I would help you out and get the ball rolling. Here are a few things that might appeal:

I just saw this today on Eddie Ross' blog. It is not a plate, but a customizable (is that a word?) piece of art from Artaissance's Biltmore Collection. So check it out on Eddie's blog for lots more info and check out Artaissance for lots more art!

I caught this on Ebay today. Just search for "Green Glazed French Pottery" and it will pop up along with alot of other green glazed goodness.

Mars Vase from Oly Studio. Other-worldly!

One-of-a-kind Limited Edition Antique French botanicals from Wisteria...."Limited", so when they are gone, they are gone. 4 for $999. Lovely!

Suela Porcelain Lamp from Arteriors Home

And so ends my little jolly green jaunt. Hope you enjoyed!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Family's Room

Many of you have seen my kitchen remodel project...and if you haven't, you can check it out here, and here....but I hadn't shown the Family Room before, which is adjacent to the kitchen. There was always something or other that I was waiting for, or looking for. And it is still not completely "done". (Is it ever?). I would still like to get some bamboo shades up, and hang a couple of things on the walls.
But I thought...I had cleaned it for that Progressive Dinner Party the other night...and it looked pretty pictures were in order.

I always say that a room is not your own til you have added something one-of-a-kind to it. Whether it is your Great Aunt's Chinese Porcelain cache pots, or a Garage Sale rattan table, or the Flea Market Art Deco Throw....find something you love that no one else has. Even better if it tells a story. Like the time when you went to France in your 20's and successfully managed to get the two little polka-dotted pitchers home from a Flea Market in Provence wrapped carefully in the socks in your suitcase without breaking them. Or the time when you meticulously ordered a custom rug from Tibet with a wave motif on the edge to remind you of the ocean with a navy blue field color, waited twice the time promised...and then when it comes in you are horrified to see it is forest green. One has to really love a rug to wait all over again for the blue rug to come.
But things come as they come. It is the room we use the most often. We sit and watch movies, do homework, munch on popcorn and cookies, drink wine with friends. It really has all of the important stuff. But I still think to myself what does the room still need? I guess that is why I do what I do.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dear Mr. and Mrs. President

This is what I hope for you. I hope you find moments like these often. Because there is alot of work to do, and I hope you don't forget to enjoy it together. Don't forget these little things. Don't forget to sleep, and eat and stay hydrated. You will need all of your strength and all of your faculties. You will feel responsible for the nation....but please hold on to this as well. Because it is what makes us human after all.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Neighbors and Daughters

Dining Table at our house Last Saturday

I feel regretful that I didn't capture all of the wonderful moments I had this last weekend. I was just too busy enjoying to pick up the camera. But I will try to regale you with description. For those of you who are tightening their belts this year, like we are, I wanted to let you in on an idea that is perfect in so many ways. Let me count them:

1)You get to meet neighbors previously not met, and actually get to know them beyond the distant wave across the street.

2) You get to see into your neighbors houses without peeking in the are actually invited in!

3) You get to eat a five course meal and share it with 20-30 people without paying for more than dessert.

4) You get to drink lots of wine...lots...and only contribute one bottle yourself. Unless the evening goes really well and then you can always break out more.

My husband and I participated in a Progressive Dinner Party last Saturday which was just a blast. The organizer of the event, Mark, referred to it as barely controlled chaos, but it went off without a hitch. There were about 12 couples organized into teams of two to three couples. One couple prepared the meal, one couple provided the wine, the last couple hosted the course (at least that is what our team did).

We started at one house for appetizers. My favorite had to have been a caramelized onion and dried cherry Crostini concoction that was out of this world! Can you just imagine my excitement to be eating fabulous food prepared by a bunch of foodies AND get to see their homes as well? My little bit of heaven.

At the next house we had a soup "tasting". It began with a green tomato and mango ( I think) gazpacho, then a lobster bisque, then a butternut squash soup topped with sage and a french bread crouton, and ending with a red pepper and tomato soup. All you could hear were sipping noises and mmmm,mmmm against the sounds of Adele's Chasing Pavement in the background. Music was generously provided by Steve, who made CD's for all with his favorite songs from 2008. Steve and I are simpatico on the music front! Could you just kill me for forgetting my camera?

The salad course was at a house which has been one of my long-time favorites in the neighborhood. A dutch colonial style, it has out buildings that have been added over the years, and we were lucky to get to see the "playroom" above furniture making studio of the multitalented woman who lives there. The space is a large open room with a huge fireplace that has a hammered copper hood. The exposed wood ceiling has trusses with custom craftsman style lanterns hanging from them. The owners had set up tables with white linen table cloths with bunches of carnations in silver Derby cups. Salads: romaine and Mandarin oranges, and spinach with walnuts and dried cherries. Mmmm.

On to the next house for the main course of angle hair pasta with Chicken Marsala. This house was so pretty, but the main attraction for me (cuz I love cats and can't have one since Tim is allergic) was the two cats that were the life of the party. Most cats would high-tail it out of a mass of people, but these two were the comic relief. Hanging from their kitty-condo, they commanded the room. Fantastic meal here too!

Then on to our house for dessert....I might be biased, but I think we had the best team. C'mon guys! Admit it....the desserts were amazing! A perfect lemon tart, and a chocolate tart with sea salt and pistachio brittle...and the chocolate cake with raspberry sauce and whipped cream....and the strawberries with brown sugar. Oh, and don't forget the Port! Dessert is my favorite food group. Thank you Joe and Mike for the delicious tarts, and Rocky and Janet for the decadent cake! You are welcome at my house house anytime (as is everyone else!).

The only picture I caught was a bit of the Dining Room Table above, but I received alot more than that. I have made new friends and strengthened other neighborhood ties. I am so lucky to be in a place where this kind of thing happens more often than not. Thank you to all!

This is a recession proof way to entertain, and develop a system of support right next door. I urge you all to try it.

I also have some pretty amazing talent in my own kitchen. I had to take a picture of a dessert made by my oldest daughter, with a bit of help from the younger. This is what we had for dessert on Friday night:

From the latest In Style Magazine,February 2009, Orange and Bourbon Chocolate Cake from the Spotted Pig in NYC. Amazing.....just like my girls.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Garage Sale at 1st Dibs?

African Beaded Club Chairs from Mary Ann Jones. The pair is offered at $2,500, down from $3,600. I love the character and unique whimsical quality.

Yard Sales and Garage Sales in the middle of Winter? 1st Dibs has gotten a jump on the season with a new Saturday Sale which started first thing this morning. My first thought was, yeah...but can I really afford even the sale prices? It looks like the answer is YES! I was really amazed at some of the discounts, some more than half off. And perhaps the prices were a bit inflated to begin with. But there are some truly wonderful things that are much more in the realm of possibility here. These are but a few things that tickled my fancy:

1940's French Iron 2 Arm Sconces in the style of Royere from Orange. $500 down from $1500. Nice!

19th Century Chinese Incense Burners from Thomas Jolly Antiques. I am seeing this color green coming on in a major way.

Faux Bois Table from Balsamo. $1.950 down from $3,800.

I cannot resist Faux Bois. This one looks like it comes with it's own moss garden. A Beauty.

Oval Sunburst Mirror from 145 Antiques. $400 down from $1,800.

I like not so expected shape. 145 Antiques seems to have some of the best deals. I would check them out pronto.

Pagoda Style Ceramic Lamps from Prime Gallery LLC. $750 down from $1,400.

Not so "pagoda" that they are obviously trendy, and the black color would suit almost any space.

French Provincial Pottery from 145 Antiques. $150 down from $450.

Need I say more about 145 Antiques?

Faux Tortoise Tall Chests from Home and Antiques. $1,200 each down from $1900.

I suggest a quick look over at 1st dibs this morning before all the good stuff is snapped up by those annoying little early birds. And if you are a bit late to this sale, do not despair. You can catch the next 1st Dibs Saturday Sale next weekend! Maybe I'll see you there haggling over that cute Faux Bamboo Yellow Lamp from Andrew Spindler Antiques: