Friday, November 14, 2008

See You Over There

I am sharing all kinds of Christmas House details over on Style Court today.

I would like to thank Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles Editorial Director Clinton Smith for the amazing preview and Courtney for entrusting me with her readers. The Christmas House is a knock out--go see it!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bond on the Run

This Friday, James Bond is back with his passport full of exotic stamps. I am usually not an action movie goer, but 007 films with their beautifully shot destinations are the exception. Quantum of Solace lists seven different countries in the film location credits and will take place mainly in Europe and South America.

In the meantime, I will soothe my vicarious vacation lust with's list of James Bond's Greatest Travel Moments. Never mind that they forgot to include one of my favorites...

Daniel Craig as James Bond in the Bahamas for Casino Royale.

Monday, November 10, 2008


A play on the traditional Christmas wreath and stocking featured in Cottage Living, accented by the ubiquitous (but still lovely) Imperial Trellis.

In case a Leica isn't in the Christmas budget this year, here is an inexpensive alternative for the stocking--and quite possibly the best invention since TiVo.

The GoGo Gorillapod is a flexible, mini tripod that attaches to your camera and can cling to almost any surface. It's perfect for those situations when you want your entire group in the picture, but you don't want to bother a passerby or risk having a stranger run off with your camera. (Does that ever happen in real life, or just in the movies?) It can also be used as a stand for your iPhone.

Since we don't have Slim Aarons following us around, the mini tripod is how we took advantage of this photo op. (The result was our 2006 Christmas card).

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Holiday Green

The eco-friendly, live succulent wreath from Viva Terra.

With minimal water, this wreath made of succulent plants stays green year round. Why didn't Martha think of this? Oh wait--she did. Here are directions to make your own.

Another idea for a Thanksgiving hostess gift is to send potted succulents from an establishment like Succulent L.A.. The mission behind this "flora design" firm, conceived by actress Samantha Mathis and interior designer Ryann Davis, was to create a low-maintenance, environmentally responsible alternative to cut flowers. And trust me--these plants are idiot proof.

They also make pretty place holders (and take-home favors) for your dinner table.

(Potted echeverias from Martha Stewart Living, September '07).

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Anita O'Day

I'm off to see this movie.

Update: So the movie was terrific and sad and inspiring for the jazz lover. Even better was Anita's 1958 performance of Sweet Georgia Brown at the Newport Jazz Festival (and the crowd in attendance). It can be viewed here.

Good News: The movie is now out on DVD.

Viva La Top Design

Dining area designed by Top Design's Nathan Thomas.

I was at the Coldplay concert during the Top Design finale, but I finally had a chance to catch up with it on Tivo.

Now that all is said and done, I have to comment on what a VAST improvement this second season was over the initial run. The final contestants were bigger talents, the spaces were more challenging and the addition of India Hicks and Jeff Lewis was welcomed. But most notably, the ear-bleeding opening from Season One (complete with pillow fight) is gone. It's a miracle that anyone made it past the first 20 seconds of the last go round.

This season, I laughed, I cringed, and at times became so inspired that I would pause mid-show to start projects in my own house. I won't spoil the winner in case you are a late viewer like I was, but just wanted to say nice work Bravo! I am keeping my fingers crossed there will be a Season Three.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lush Life

"I'll live a lush life in some small dive" - Billy Strayhorn (1915-1967)

I am not sure if the owner of Atlanta's Lush Life Home and Garden had the lyrics to this jazz standard in mind when naming his store, but it is always what I am reminded of when visiting.

Lush Life is the type of shop Jeff Lewis would patronize (in the supportive definition) if he was a local. The aesthetic is masculine and modern, yet as lush and lively as the sign on the door suggests.

And it is the only house in Atlanta with two live palms in front--not an easy feat in our winter climate.

I look forward to seeing what Lush Life's Bill Hudgins plan is for the front porch and terrace of Atlanta's upcoming Christmas House. Above is an example of one of his simple and chic arrangements photographed for Christmas House sponsor, Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles.

And in case you are unfamiliar with the aforementioned tune, I suggest picking up a copy of John Coltrane's version, recorded in 1957. It would make a great stocking stuffer!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Dear America,

I am proud of you.

Happy Voting

I am so impressed with the creativity that has come out of this election season. So impressed, that I am ready to take a nice three year break from the crafty campaigning and get down to business.

I am off to the polls with a thought in mind from Liberty Post: "We will all awake on Wednesday knowing that our democracy is fair, wonderful and the best there is."

Happy voting!

Above: an AIGA poster designed by Bennett Holzworth, discovered via Paper Lily.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Joye Hirsch

I was so sad to learn that one of Atlanta's great interior designers, Joye Hirsch had recently passed away from ovarian cancer. Her neutral palette and edited design style helped set her apart from the crowd in a time when Atlanta was still clinging to chintz and chotzkes.

My time working with Joye was brief, but she was instrumental in reintroducing me to the Atlanta design world after my time in New York. Her appreciation for contemporary art was equal to her knowledge of American antiques and I credit her for acquainting me with the local galleries and the work of artists like Peter Garfield. Her basement studio was also where I got to know Lee Kleinhelter of Pieces when we were both working as Joye's design assistants years ago.

Joye Hirsch's work has been photographed for numerous magazines over the years, including the most recent issue of Southern Accents where a Hanukkah table she designed is featured.

We will miss you Joye.

(Photographs by Erica George Dines for Southern Accents, November/December 2008).

Sunday, November 2, 2008

On The Other Hand

There were a quite a few things I liked in the December Pottery Barn catalog (even if they are knock-offs)...

Banyan Leaf Bowls

Cloisonné Ornaments

Mercury-Glass Votives

Bulldog Bottle Opener (of course, this could just be a Georgia thing).

Leather-Bound Journals and Pencil Boxes

Oh, how I love catalog season. I must add that the HUGE new store at Lenox Square that opened this summer is worth a visit if you are in Atlanta.

All's Fair in Love and Design

Is it just me or is Pottery Barn looking vaguely Eddie Ross these days?

(Photos 1 and 3 = Eddie Ross, Photos 2 and 4 = Pottery Barn)

I know Eddie Ross did not invent the painted secretary or hutch crammed with creamware, but he has been a design star lately and I think we can credit him with reinvigorating the New England approach to decorating. Of course Pottery Barn is obviously lacking Eddie's personality and styling, but even the chair "artwork" in the catalog reminded me of one of his recent decoupage projects.

Pink Wallpaper did a great post back in January about the Pottery Barn designer knock-off phenomenon. What do you think--is Pottery Barn poaching off of the designers or just being inspired?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Jack-O-Antlern II

Inspired by my husband's original Jack-o-Antlern, I decided to give it a try myself this year. I did not have the energy to go all out on the face--carving pumpkins is exhausting!

While I doubt anyone would actually want to emulate this project, I thought I would mention that I bought these hunting antlers at a sporting goods store and spray painted them along with the pumpkin. (My apologies to the environment for having such an un-green pumpkin this year, but hopefully I am keeping one less deer from being lured to his untimely demise).

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Stick A Fork In Me, I'm Done

For the last ten years, I have been using my great-grandmother's sterling silver for everyday use. In the beginning, it made me feel special, elevating all of those takeout moments into something a little more highbrow. But this morning when I reached for a spoon, all I found was an unappetizing black film coating dull and lifeless metal. I know my silverware needs to be polished, but didn't I just labor over that chore a couple of weeks ago? I can't take it anymore. Today I broke down and ordered dishwasher safe, stainless steel flatware. Convenience winning out over style feels kind of like trading in the convertible for a minivan, but I am hoping that I can satisfy both the angel and devil sitting on my shoulder with this Kyoto Flatware from Crate and Barrel. I already had a few rogue pieces of this pattern floating around, and I like it for it's similarity to Tiffany and Co.'s 1961 sterling Bamboo pattern below. (The pattern is discontinued, but can be still be collected via Replacements).

The good news is that my old silver will be polished and ready the next time I need it. In the meantime, I may take a cue from the Asian motif and incorporate orchids into the holiday table as Cottage Living has done.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Peaks and Valleys

The way up and the way down are one and the same.

Schumacher's Zimba has really been growing on me lately. Perhaps I am finding beauty in a familiar pattern...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Park Avenue Bites

Tinsley Mortimer's quintessential Park Avenue dining room, via Jennifer Jane's Style Journal.

Last year...
Park Avenue Potluck.

This year...
The Park Avenue Diet.

Even though I need this year's version, I think I would enjoy last year's guide to Park Avenue eating more.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


For the past decade, Southern Accents has presented us with a pretty, but somewhat sleepy selection of pale blue and beige bedrooms. Imagine my surprise to turn the page and discover this high contrast, David Hicksian wonder by Atlanta designer Barbara Howard.

The bedroom was designed for the Showhouse at Reynolds Plantation, part of Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Georgia. I had to do a double take--this room belongs to a lake house in rural Georgia? The times are a-changin'.

The featured fabric pattern is "Zimba" by Schumacher. The rest of the home is more typically Southern and subtle in palette, but has a few quiet nods to 1970's design. Click here for the tour.

Even though Lake Oconee is only 1.5 hours east of Atlanta, I have yet to visit. One of these days, I am going to hop over for a day of pampering at The Ritz Carlton Lodge at Reynolds Plantation. For the time being however, I am staycation city.

Interiors photographed by Keith Scott Morton for Southern Accents, November/December 2008.

Monday, October 20, 2008

In The Mood

Do your weekend design projects (i.e. flipping through design books and hanging pictures) ever look as romantic than they do in the photographs of Joyce Lee?

Images are from Joyce Lee's "Home Reimagined" series, discovered via Red Thread.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Keeping it Real

Nice try, Bravo. I caught you trying to slip this classic Buckhead home into your montage of OTP McMansions the other night on The Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Maybe most of America won't notice this house is actually WITHIN the city limits--30 miles away from where your story was taking place. Of course this is of no bother to me, but perhaps our metro area cousins would not want this old house (without it's own bowling alley) being mistaken as one of their own.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What is Swanky?

How design fabulous was last week's "Jet Set" episode of Mad Men? I was lamenting the fact that there are no good photos of the Palm Springs interiors until I found a this delicious assortment on Hatch (posted by fellow Atlantan, The Bubb Report). I am seriously crying over the fact that there are only two more episodes to go until the season ends.

According to commenters, "The Jet Set" could have been filmed at Frank Sinatra's former Palm Springs home, Twin Palms. This could also be totally wrong, since mid-century modern architecture can start looking overly familiar to my untrained eye. Still, it is fun to imagine. Take a photo tour (or rent it for the weekend) here.

Poolside at the Twin Palms, then and now.

Update: The "Jet Set" house is not Twin Palms. It was designed by California architect Ed Niles and it was built in the late 1990's in Malibu. Whatever--it is still makes for an awesome backdrop.

In other Mad Men news, the show will be a featured category on one of my longtime TV favorites, Jeopardy, this Friday night. It will be a perfect storm for this television nerd.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tips from Emily Amy

Opening night at the Emily Amy Gallery

Favorite local gallery owner, Emily Amy (pronounced "ah me") has a new blog with some great tips on collecting contemporary art.  I had to borrow a few to share...
  • Emerging artists are not necessarily less talented than established artist, and they usually cost less too!
  • Go with your gut when you are choosing art.  Let it elicit an emotional response in you, and when it does, you will know it is right.
  • Works on paper are always a great option when a little money needs to go a long way.
  • Don't listen to the "rules," if you want to collect several pieces by the same artist, go ahead--it's your collection.
  • Start small: if you can't afford large paintings, then buy small ones.  They often have the same effect.
  • Buy local - Whether it is a local artist or a local gallery, you will likely feel more of a connection with the piece and you will be supporting your local talent!
More advice and art here.

One of my favorite examples of living with contemporary art: A Damien Hirst hangs above a French sofa in Johnson Hartig's living room. Photographed by Paul Costello for Domino Magazine September 2007.)

By the way, how gorgeous is that lucite table? It is available from The Paris Apartment.