Sunday, December 30, 2007

Resort Season

It's time to obsess over exotic locations and lithe bodies clad in maillots and caftans (as I polish off the last of the Christmas truffles).  Since I do most of my journeying in the off-season to avoid the crowds and rate hikes (i.e., October), January generally signals the beginning of a dry travel spell for moi. Fortunately, we have the magazines to show us how resort is done while I rest between home improvement projects.

Bazaar lets us peek through the lattice of the Mustique home of Lawrence and Claire-Anne Stroll (photographed by her pool in Michael Kors).

Lightly-hued, Moorish architecture contrasts subtly with accessories in shades of the caribbean. Christina Onassis's ex-husband Sergei Kausov is responsible for commissioning the inlay and lattice-work when he originally built the estate in the 1990's.

More of Kors's resort fashions are modeled in the outdoor seating area overlooking the exclusive beach. Love that green backgammon set!

For the complete 2008 Resort Collection for Michael Kors and all the others, click here.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Inspiring Films and Pretty Linens

Yesterday, I went to see one of Habitually Chic's movie recommendations, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Based on Jean-Dominique Bauby's memoir, this tragic, beautiful, inspirational and funny film proves worthy of all its critical acclaim.

In addition to having an excruciating, but elevating story, the movie maintains the chic aesthetic that would presumably surround an editor of French Elle, even in his darkest days in the aftermath of a paralytic stroke. Bauby's narrative is gorgeously translated by director Julian Schnabel to create one of the most enlightening and moving films I have seen.

One of the small roles as Bauby's speech therapist is played by Schnabel's striking wife, Olatz López Garmendia (above left with Marie Josee Croze), whom some of you may know better from her line of bed linens and sleepwear, Olatz. While I know it is a tough segue from debilitating stroke to luxury linens, the point of Bauby's story rings clear: beauty and imagination can rise above even the most desperate circumstances.

Julian Schnabel on set with wife Olatz in pajamas of her design. Schnabel won Best Director for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly at the Cannes Film Festival and is nominated for a Golden Globe.

The need for custom sheets to fit her husband's raw steel beds (along with his penchant for wearing pajamas in public) eventually led Olatz to create her own line. Influences come from locations like Havana, where the couple has worked together on set, and her native Spain.

Olatz Royal Collection, monogram appliqués are hand-sewn in Madeira, Portugal.

The Olatz shop is located in New York City. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is in theaters now.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas

Happy weekend and Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Things That Inspire

The London art studio of John Singer Sargent, first leased in 1885.

For a regular dose of art, design and architectural history, I love to visit fellow blogger, Things That Inspire. Her posts are always well researched and supported by multiple illustrated examples. Sometimes she reignites my interest in forgotten motifs, sometimes she introduces me to something totally new. Either way, it's like attending a favorite class in design school. Last week, her post on the artist studio of John Singer Sargent left such an impression that I immediately recognized the same large window when flipping through January's W Magazine.

Now owned by Sir Evelyn and Lady de Rothschild, Sargent's former studio space has been transformed into a modern living room, with certain classic elements preserved (like the pilasters flanking the window) and others updated. Designed by David Mlinaric, a minimalist approach was taken to compliment the impressive art collection, which includes Luc Tyman (above the fireplace), Cy Twombly, Barbara Hepworth and Sargent himself.

A John Singer Sargent drawing of Sir Evelyn's grandmother, Mrs. Leopold de Rothschild.

Of the state-of-the-art renovation and the decision to keep interiors muted, Sir Evelyn compares this home to those more traditionally English. "When you inherit, you're very lucky to have a wonderful backdrop of art. But sometimes you want to add to it, and you can't because it's complete and there's nothing you can really do except preserve it."

For more on the newly renovated space, see W Magazine. For more on John Singer Sargent and his former work space, see Things That Inspire.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Office Notes

Even though there are miles to go before my little office is complete, I am fairly pleased with the progress I made over the weekend, considering my next-to-nothing budget. The basement-find table is freshly painted, my books are somewhat organized despite lack of shelving, and the Carolyn Carr painting is hung by the window with care (relocated from elsewhere in the house). The Hable Construction pillow is split from a pair bought at Pieces earlier this year. (Reminder: Pieces is having an excellent holiday sale going on now).

Next on deck for refurbishment is this naugahyde number, another freebie. I know orange is all the rage these days, but I am more of a neutral girl when it comes to upholstery. I am thinking of a nubby, dark brown fabric with matching nailheads on the back. However, suggestions are welcome.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Who Wore it Best?

Aerin Lauder and Mariah Carey in Oscar de la Renta (from Harper's Bazaar and Glamour Magazine).

Sorry--couldn't resist. I promise this is the last time I mention Mariah Carey or Aerin Lauder and their respective closets for the rest of 2007.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Card Tree

I thought this was a clever way to store your Christmas cards, presented by designer David Stark on O's Website. One question: did they not get any green and red cards this year?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Desk Set

Last week, visions of Aerin Lauder's closet/office danced through my head, but reality is setting in and I need a place to work. Now. Until all of my my holiday shopping is done and I inherit a billion dollar cosmetics corporation, I am operating on a next-to-nothing decorating budget.

Instead of staring wistfully at an empty room for the rest of the year, I fished this computer table, circa 1982, out of my parents' basement to use as my temporary desk. I am hoping to hide it under a coat of white paint for the time being.

Perhaps I could keep the base and add a Lucite plank a la Kelly Wearstler, photographed in her office. (From Glamour Magazine).

Of course, a modern take on the sawhorse table in this office by Ruthie Sommers is hard to beat. (As seen on Pink Wallpaper).

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Atonement and Stokesay Court

Atonement was not my favorite film of the year, but it was definitely one of the most visually fetching. Filmed at the Victorian estate Stokesay Court in Shropshire, Sarah Greenwood's set design and Joe Wright's stylish direction combine for a painterly view of pre-war, English country life, as enjoyed by the new upper class (for the first half of the film, at least).

Amazingly enough, much of the faded, floral, interior is original to the house, which was completed in 1892. Very little of Stokesay Court was changed for the film, including the bedrooms, drawing room, dining room, and servant quarters.

Says Greenwood of the decision to use Stokesay Court, "Initially, I was attracted by the gardens. But, when I got there, I was struck by the interior. I like that dark, gloomy hall at the centre of the house because there is a dark heart to the entire story."

The biggest alteration to Stokesay Court was the removal of a exterior wing in post-production (seen intact in this photo). Ian McEwan's novel called for the family home to be in the fashion of the nouveau-riche, but even Stokesay Court was too ostentatious for the script.

If chintzy, English interiors are your cup of tea, then this is the film to see. Otherwise, Gosford Park remains as my favorite of the genre. The director's commentary on the DVD is especially enlightening.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Party Dresses

A woodland-themed, holiday party, photographed for Departures Magazine in 2005.

'Tis the season for the party dress. For me, getting dressed up for a social event usually invokes a panic episode. Next time, I will try to channel the confidence of Dorian Leigh, photographed above in Paris, 1949. (From The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London, 1947-1957).

More inspiration comes from a new book, The Party Dress, Alexandra Black's follow up to 2004's, The Evening Dress. Both celebrate the history of the festive frock from the 18th century to present day.

Friday, December 7, 2007

New York in Lights

Here are a few of my photos from New York, taken earlier this week.

The tree at Rockefeller Center

View from our hotel room, overlooking St. Patrick's Cathedral

The Charlotte Moss Townhouse, decorated for Christmas

Snowflakes outside of Saks Fifth Avenue

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

A Room of my Own!

Christmas has come early this year. Since my favorite husband generously combined his two work spaces, I am free to take over his former office as my own. Now I just have to make this look like this. So far, I have the four walls and the computer.

Photograph of Aerin Lauder's office/dressing room by Anders Overgaard for Harper's Bazaar.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fantasy Bar

Tory Burch's luxe, lacquered and mirrored bar puts me in the mood for a Harvey Wallbanger on the rocks and a little Chuck Mangione playing on the hi-fi.  (Photograph from Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People).

What better to add to the fantasy than lighting a few of Burch's own votives, made of bamboo extract, fresh citrus, water jasmine, dewy greens, osmanthus, sandalwood, white musk and amber.

For a similar vibe at a fraction of the price, try West Elm's Red Currant candle. I have this one myself and it smells divine (at $6.00).

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Reindeer Games

On Oprah last month, Ivanka Trump professed her love for competitive board games, like Clue and Cranium. And while I would love to own a beautiful, leather backgammon table from Asprey, similar to the one above, there are plenty of versions out there for less than $10.

Since games make great gifts and enliven the forced family fun around the holidays, I thought I would list a few that have been getting good press this year.

Jack Spade Travel Scrabble from Neiman Marcus is a bit pricier than the original, but handsome and portable with convenient snap-in tiles.

The Fabric Swatch Memory Game from Design Within Reach would make a great gift for budding designers.

Half the fun of Monopoly is playing with all of that paper money, but for those in a hurry, Monopoly's new Electronic Banking Edition speeds up one of the world's slowest games.

Table Topics: Family Edition spark things up once the conversation runs dry.

Mexican Dominoes have been all the rage in various shelter mags of late. The colorful tiles may have something to do with that.

Play nice!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Shoe Subscriptions

Looking for a gift for the girl who has everything? Enter J.Crew's "Shoe of the Month Club" at a mere $1800.

"Each month, our designers will handpick their favorite shoes and send them straight to the doorstep of someone who has been very good this year."

A nice idea, but I have a hard enough time waiting for my Domino Magazine to arrive each month. Shoes, like shelter mags, are best when available for instant gratification.  Happy Cyber Monday!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Space that Launched 1,000 Blogs

Or just mine, at least. It's my 100th post and I have Ivanka Trump to thank! About a year ago, I fell for her fresh, colorful, and sophisticated, New York apartment in InStyle Magazine. On a google hunt for a garden stool in Atlanta (like the one pictured above), I stumbled into the amazing (and addictive) world of design blogs. How appropriate that my 100th post should fall right before Thanksgiving, as I want to say thank you to all of the bloggers for their artistic inspiration, humorous insight and the much needed creative outlet.

So much has been said about this super cute apartment already, that I refer anyone seeking more, to Style Court's original coverage of the Emma Jane Pilkington designed space. All The Best also did an interesting Profile on Ivanka Trump earlier this month. Instead, I will leave you with a clip of Ivanka sporting her best I-am-so-much-smarter-than-you attitude in this behind-the-scenes interview at the InStyle photo shoot.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


A stately Buckhead mansion, photographed by Imke Lass

I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but Atlanta's own Buckhead Community has made the New York Times Travel Magazine.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

West Elm

I have had some hits and misses from West Elm over the years. While their quality can be a bit spotty, I am still a fan of the instant gratification they provide when it comes to affordable, trendy furniture and accessories.

This month, Nylon Magazine introduces us to the woman behind-the-trends, West Elm's design director, Aimee Miller. The decorating concept for her own Brooklyn apartment is similar to the one she employs at work--clean lines, mid-century style furnishings and a sculptural approach to storage.

Photographed by Cydney Puro.