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?