Monday, August 31, 2009


Everybody loves a good Showhouse, right? We are used to seeing them in the Spring and maybe there are a few during the holiday season. But our craving is usually put on hold in the Fall.

Well, we are in luck, because this Fall, starting the weekend of September 12, Metropolitan Home's second annual Showtime House is slated to open to the public. Met Home and Showtime are partnering for a second season bringing their cutting edge cable TV hits to life with the design talents of some of the country's most notable designers.
The event takes place in New York at the Tribeca Summit: "a collection of elegant loft residences created from an historic former warehouse." To learn more about the building (pictured above), click here.
Let's cut to the chase here. So, what shows are providing the inspiration and who are the designers? That's what was formost in my list of questions.
Each designer has been assigned a room and a Showtime Series:

Can you just imagine?
And the designer lineup:

1) Marie Aiello, Dexter Foyer, Living and Dining Room, Kitchen, and Terrace
2) Matthew Berman and Andrew Kotchen, Nurse Jackie Waiting Room Lounge and Triage Garden
3) James Biber, Weeds Dining Room
4)) Christopher Coleman and Angelo Sanchez, Nurse Jackie Master Bedroom

5) Markus Dochantschi, Californication Master Bedroom
6) Susannah C. Drake, Californication Outdoor Living Room
7) Francine Gardner, United States of Tara Duplex Apartment
8) Joannah Kornak for Holly Hunt, Californication Master Bedroom and Balcony

9) Paul Latham, Weeds Lounge
10) Piero Lissoni with Nicoletta Canesi, Lissoni Associati, Tudors Dining Room and Exterior

11) James Lord, Roderick Wyllie, and Geoff di Girolamo, United States of Tara and Weeds Outdoor Rooms
12) Kara Mann, United States of Tara Multiple Personality Room

13) Richard Mishaan, The Tudors Small Study and Sitting Room
For more info on the fab fourteen above click here.
If you are like me and just can't wait til September, here's a bit of a sneak peak.
And for those of you who can't keep away, you can find out more info on tickets and such here.
And just for a bit of fun......

Kirsten Brant's Cafe/Lounge from Metropolitan Home's Showtime House 2008

Click here for the sizzling slideshow of last year's event!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

AD: Remembering Senator Kennedy

Very sad news, the passing of Senator Edward Kennedy.

Architectural Digest's online publication has just published a tribute article in honor of Senator Edward Kennedy.

You can access it here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Seek and Ye Shall Find: Quixote

A little bit off the beaten path, in the Napa Valley, off the Silverado Trail in a place called Stag's Leap Palisades, you will find a place that looks a bit different: Quixote.

It has golden domes, roofs of grasses and mosaic columns...and there is not a single straight wall to be found.

It is a fairytale of a place created by men with a vision and a philosophy: "With Cervantes’ Don Quixote as our muse, let us all explore the difference between appearances and reality and engage in the noble pursuits of a knight errant."

With this in mind, wine maker Carl Domaini of Stag's Leap fame began plans for another winery with a man from Vienna. A man who was perhaps ahead of his time. Artist, architect, philosopher and environmentalist, Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928-2000) was perhaps one of the most well known Viennese artists of the 20th century, but was not mainstream by any means. Calling straight lines "the devil's tools" and advocating for environmental sensitivity way before is became fashionable, Hundertwasser was a man apart.

His ideals are evidenced in this magical winery that specializes in Petite Syrah. We found our way here and were lucky to find that the "by appointment only" visitation was not in effect. We were led to a very beautiful patio, which we had all to ourselves.

The mosaic work was stunning. All white and blue, the garden planting echoed the color theme with only blue flowering plants in sight. We found out that the craftsmen were at first non-plussed about the free form design of the mosaic. but were soon convinced this was how it should be done. I understand they were more proud of this project than any other, once it was completed.

We sat in the patio, and thoroughly enjoyed our tasting of wines. We felt pampered and it was so very pleasant, we did not want to leave.

Perhaps it was the perfect weather, or the brilliant surroundings.

Perhaps it was the charm of our knowledgeable wine expert, Rene Haug. His Swiss accent and generous pours certainly captured our spirits.

Or perhaps it was the very good wine.

Quixote wines have a history of producing exceptional wines that have scored typically in the mid 90's from Wine Spectator. We now know why.

We did not leave without purchasing quite a bit.

I hope you don't leave without clicking over to Quixote to learn more about it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Just Add a Lampshade.....

And Voila.....Puppy Lamp.
This is why we are trying out a new "Zen" look at the moment.
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Monday, August 24, 2009

Creating An Indoor Picnic for Book Group

Once a year, I pick a book and host a Book Group party at my house. Our Book Group is a bit unusual as far as Book Groups go...or so I have heard. Pretty much the same group has been together for about eight years now. We have only had two friends leave and two friends join in all that time.

Last Friday was my night to host. The book I chose was The Help by Kathryn Stockett:

Set in Mississippi in 1962 during the civil rights movement, the story chronicles the lives of three women, one white and two black, and how they came together to write a book about how "the help" coexisted with their well-to-do white employers.

Truthful and thoughtful, funny and heartbreaking, the story is one that I, and the rest of my group thought was one of our favorites in our eight years together.(If you would like more information and editorial reviews click here.)

I decided that since the weather was on the hot side, that I would create in indoor picnic for our get together. I started with a burlap table cloth I had made a few years back. Burlap is very inexpensive (about 3 or 4 dollars per yard) and holds up for a very long time! I placed grass place mats on top and added a row of potted plants down the center. The plants I chose were a citron green "Lamium Golden" and an eggplant hued "Sweet Potato Vine". I loved the color contrast! I got them at Target along with some brown terracotta pots. The pot color went so well with the burlap. And after the party I am putting the plants in my garden! I love a dual purpose purchase.

I experimented with some of my mercury glass candlestick holders: very pretty, but a bit too formal for a "picnic":

So I decided to go with these simple votive holders, again, very inexpensive from Michael's. I think they were 50 cents apiece.

A couple in between each pot. Simple and clean.

I added my "Great White Plates" from Pottery Barn. ( Now you can have them monogrammed!)I think a white plate shows off food so well. And for the meal I had planned, they were the perfect size: big!

I wanted something that looked like a picnic tablecloth for the napkins and found the perfect thing at IKEA. These rolls have four cloths, each one a different white and blue pattern for $2.49 per roll! That is 62 cents per napkin. I like that. And again, dual purpose!

Placed in the middle of each plate, the "napkins" are a nice big size for my picnic.

I added simple wine glasses, again from IKEA, and a bottle of Pellegrino at each place instead of a water glass to finish it off. Now on to the food!

For a little snacking before dinner, I laid out cheeses, fig jam, some Kalamata olives and olive tapenade, a bit of Hummus and a few French Plums. I iced the wine, beer and waters in a galvanized bucket.

When we were ready we sat down to an evening picnic:

I had prepared a buffet of salads: Heirloom tomatoes from the garden with basil and mozzarella, Ina Garner's potato salad with lots of fresh dill, my version of the Bottega snap pea and white corn salad with a citrus dressing, my green salad with pine nuts and avocado, and a fruit salad. A bit of French bread with Gruyere and olives, and we were very happy.( Oh yes, the platters I had just found at the last Sacramento Antique Faire . LOVE them!!)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Napa: Eat Here

If any of you watch Bravo's Top Chef, you will also know about Top Chef Masters. Some of the worlds greatest chefs have been competing to win dollars for their favorite charities. One of my favorite competitors has been Chef Michael Chiarello, founder of NapaStyle, that yummy catalog of cooking essentials. You may have also seen him on his Food Network show: "Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello".

During our weekend of stuffing ourselves in Napa, we made it to Chef Michael's latest venture: Bottega. This Italian based restaurant is located in the town of Yountville in the Napa Valley on the historic Vintage Estates Property, one of the oldest wineries in the valley.

OK...enough of the backstory....on with the food! (And the restaurant of course...this is an interiors blog after all.)

We walked in to see a beautiful interior that was warm and comfortable, and perhaps most importantly, set up to be more about the food, less about the "decorating". Farm house style tables, worn leather chairs and terracotta pavers created that casual but sophisticated atmosphere which embodies the spirit of Napa. We were all smiling at once.

We decided to eat outside on the patio which was covered with awnings which created a warm glow. (Very flattering to the complexion, but I will have to apologize for the color quality of the food photos.) This is the patio next to the entrance where drinks and appetizers are served:

We had a wonderful meal, and I have to admit there were forks flying all over the place while we shared bites. I had a delicious pot of polenta with sauteed mushrooms for my appetizer. Served with a small pitcher of warm balsamic. I just loved this presentation:

Tim had the chicken, flavored with fennel and served with sweet corn, fava beans, onions and good! The plates looked perfect with the logo on the edge.

I also had the Tuscan Tomato and Bread soup, very hearty and very yummy! I could not get a get a good shot however. But I highly recommend it. Perhaps my favorite item at our table was my friend Nicki's salad of snap peas, sweet corn and delicate onions in a citrus refreshing and very tasty. (I am going to try and recreate it for my book group this Friday....wish me luck!)

And at the end of our meal, I felt very pampered when I dabbed my lips with the Frette napkins!

Bottega is well worth a visit if you are planning that Napa getaway. Great food and ambiance. And for all of those shoppers out there, it is right across the path from the NapaStyle Store!

Bon Appetit!