Anyone who has seen The September Issue will agree that if Anna Wintour is the brains behind Vogue, Grace Coddington has to be one of her greatest creative assets. Her unmistakeable style, developed over 40 years in fashion editing at British and American Vogue, stands out in every issue. From a 17th century picnic featuring haute-couture from Christian Lacroix in 1998 to Drew Barrymore as the Beauty in 2005 and Natalia Vodianova as Little Red Riding Hood in this month’s issue, each spread is more beautiful than the next. As Grace said while gazing out of a car window in Paris: “You must keep your eyes open… Everything you see is a source of inspiration.” Since we are inspired by nature, we especially love how Grace uses the outdoors to showcase gorgeous fashion.
Archive for September, 2009
Last night, we participated in the “Living Better at Home“ evening in Greenwich with a trunk show at one of our favorite stores, SM Home (see our Q & A post on April 28). Along with showcasing designs from our new Fall/Winter 2009 collection, Sandy also invited a number of wonderful artists whose works she represents. We were thrilled to meet Patricia van Essche (we’re huge fans of her blog!), Elizabeth Belliveau and Penny Putnam, all women who like us are living their “second lives”. While Patricia and Elizabeth left careers in fashion at Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein to persue their own creative paths, Penny retired after 20 years as a graphic designer in the city to paint her masterpieces. We love how these women followed their passions to create beautiful works of art – the world is a much prettier place because they did!
Thank you, Sandy, for including us in this wonderful evening!
In Autumn when the trees are brown
The little leaves come tumbling down
They do not make the slightest sound
But lie so quietly on the ground
Until the wind comes puffing by
And blows them off towards the sky.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you,
and the storms their energy,
while cares will drop away from you
like the leaves of Autumn.
John Muir (1838 – 1914)
Photo by Jonathan Sloane
The 20th anniversary issue of Elle Decor just arrived and it is gorgeous! A beautiful Malibu home designed by Michael Smith (one of our favorite designers and clients!) graces the cover and pages, and the wonderful retrospective of two decades of timeless rooms is not to be missed. We love the new elledecor.com feature “Quote of the Week”, a compilation of simple truths from top decorators, architects and “savvy” homeowners and thought we would include some here.
“If you love something, it will work. That’s the only real rule.” – Bunny Williams
“Buy the best and you only cry once.” – Miles Redd
“Color is the greatest way to convey personality.” – Steven Gambrel
“Matchy-matchy is not for me. I don’t want things to be too perfect.” – Peter Som
Several years ago, we met Madaline Sparks, a contributing editor at Real Simple magazine, who fell in love with our florals (which is quite a compliment given that she is landscape designer and horticulturalist!). Amazed at the realistic nature of our bouquets, Madaline decided to pitch a story on “faux fleurs” and how “real simple” it is to decorate with them. We soon put her in touch with our great friend and client, Mario Buatta, who contributed to the story… and as they say, the rest is “a story” in Real Simple’s October 2009 issue!
We were in Chicago this past weekend and came across Nakamol, a fabulous jewelry store just opposite the Art Institute on South Michigan Avenue. With a moto that beauty doesn’t always have to come at a high price, this native of Thailand has a passion for gemstones and their range of unique colors and textures. More than just jewelry, each piece that Nakamol designs is a beautiful work of (affordable!) art.
All photos from Nakamol
“It’s a well-known fact that we Southerners embrace the eccentric, the idiosyncratic, and celebrate, or at least tolerate, unusual forms of public self-expression. We possess a passion for individualism in its many manifestations and most of us can tell you a story about a neighborhood ‘character’ whose eccentric actions or obsessive qualities gave our community a bit of local color, a unique sense of place.”
Pearl Fryar: A Cut Above (excerpted from a book proposal by Polly Lafitte)
When you’ve run through your list of must-see movies this fall, we highly recommend an inspirational documentary about Pearl Fryar and his extraordinary topiary garden, aptly titled A Man Named Pearl. Since 1984 Fryar has been turning unassuming scrubs like boxwood and compacted holly into works of art. While he started with a couple of bushes by his front door on the outskirts of Bishopville, SC (he set out to win the “Yard of the Month” from the city’s garden club), Fryar was soon asked to create topiaries in his neighbors’ yards, too. As word of this man’s message of peace, love and goodwill spread, the cul-de-sac Fryar lived on was expanded so that tour buses carrying visitors could turn around. His garden, “a fantastical world of trimmed and twisted trees, a sort of Dr. Seuss meets Edward Scissorhands” put Bishopville on the map and captured the imagination of the world.
We don’t know when, or if, we will ever make it down to Pearl Fryar’s Garden but we do know that this charming movie has inspired us to reach for our creative potential!
For more information on Pearl Fryar, please visit his website www.pearlfryar.com.
Since we often work with clients on custom commissions, we have the opportunity to see many different styles of interiors, some completely designed by a professional while others seemingly so but not. Nicole Shumpert’s charming home in Bloomfield, New Jersey is just one example of how an enterprising design aficianado can find amazing resources with a little time and lots of patience. Today, we are launching a new series about real people with a passion for design and how they have transformed everyday spaces into beautiful rooms. A big thanks to Nicole for sharing her home, her insights and her words for our very first “Real People, Real Design” post!
“A lot of people are intimidated by decorating and aren’t sure where to begin. I think it’s important to find a design style that appeals to you (Traditional, Contemporary, or in my case, Hollywood Regency) and then use that as a guide when figuring out what to do in the space. Our house was built in 1938 and that was my inspiration for the decor. I love the idea of transforming this 70 year old house into my vision of the era in which it was built.
The prints that flank the fireplace are vintage posters that I had custom framed in antique silver leaf. On the left side, an advertisement for the 1939 Cannes Film Festival and on the right, iconic actress Grace Kelly in an ad for Tattinger Champagne. I kept the wall colors fairly neutral because I wanted the furniture and accessories to be the focal point. It was crucial to me to have a color story in each room and make sure that it was complementary with the color stories in any of the adjoining rooms. In the case of the living room, the large elements are either white, ivory or chocolate brown, which allowed me to introduce color in such a way that if I ever get bored with the orange accents, I don’t have to buy lots of new things, just change up some accessories. Seating is alway an issue in any living room and I was able to maximize the space at hand by adding the settee. Aesthetic aside, comfort and function are equally important to us because we utilize every square foot of our house and I wanted the decor to reflect that.
The cabinets on either side of the fireplace are from Home Decorators Collection and were incredibly inexpensive. We use them to house the electronics equipment, remotes, DVDs and photo albums. I would have loved to do built-ins but our current budget wouldn’t allow it. This is a great example of modifying what you want/need to suit the budget at hand. The fireplace was an absolute eyesore – it was old red brick with a boring chestnut mantel. Instead of demolishing the fireplace and starting from scratch, we found a company called Mantels Direct that constructed a custom shell that fit over our existing fireplace, as well as marble facing for the fireplace and hearth. We picked the style and colors we wanted and sent them the measurements. Our contractor glued the perfectly cut marble facade to the existing brick, popped the new mantel right over it and voila – brand new fireplace without the huge price tag!
For the sofa pillows, I originally wanted to use the fabric that is on the settee but Pottery Barn wouldn’t sell it to me in fabric or pillow form (even after several phone calls to their corporate offices in San Francisco.) Since my hopes were dashed, I labored over finding the right throw pillows. I bought and returned several versions before I ultimately decided to make my own (sort of!) I found the fabric online, ordered 1 1/8 yards for every two pillows, bought inserts at a craft store and headed off to my dry cleaner for assembly. $10 per pillow in labor later, I had the perfect accessories for my sofa. And if I ever want to change them, I can simply unzip the covers and zip on new ones.
In this economy, creating the luxe look for less is key. My friend’s mother was over at my house this summer and asked if most of my furniture was from William Sonoma Home. ”Actually none of it is,” I told her. ”My sofas and rug are from Pottery Barn (people have no idea how fashion forward PB has become in the last few years!), tables are from Crate and Barrel and the lead crystal lamp on the end table is from Restoration Hardware.” The buffet lamps on the console are from Target but you would never know unless you tried to pick them up!”
Check in again soon for more from Nicole!
Sofa, chairs, settee, rug, floor lamp and drapes: Pottery Barn
Cabinets: Home Decorators Collection
Mirror and foyer table: Ballard Designs
Mother of pearl lamp and floral panels: Horchow
Inspirations / Muses: Kelly Wearstler, Dorothy Draper, Billy Haines, Candice Olson and Jonathan Adler
Favorite Magazines: Elle Decor, Metropolitan Home, Architectural Digest and Traditional Home
Favorite Pastime: watching anything one HGTV
Favorite Stores: Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Neiman Marcus, Target
Favorite Online Stores: Horchow.com, zgallerie.com, wellappointehouse.com, insideavenue.com, moodfabrics.com, gracehomefurnishings.com, ballarddesigns.com, wshome.com and frontgate.com
All photos from Nicole Shumpert
Every time we walk through Grand Central Station, we have to stop by the Pylones(pronounces pee-lone) shop to see what’s new. We discovered this whimsical store when living in Paris and often shopped for groovy gifts on Rue du Bac.
Since 1985, this French company has redesigned the everyday object adding a colorful twist, innovative shapes and a sense of humor. Who knew that desk accessories and kitchen gadgets could be so fun! This September, add a little Pylones to your day and go back to school in style…
Photos from Pylones
With the kids back in school and a slight nip in the air, it’s time to think of our fall wardrobes and accessories. Tempted as we all are to continue to “shop in our closets and cupboards”, here are some of our favorite “must-haves” that won’t break the bank, yet give you maximum style.