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Q & A

Q & A

Q & A with J. Keith White

If you’re like us, the only reason we would be sitting in front of the television on New Year’s Day would be to watch the Tournament of Roses Parade which takes place every year in Pasadena, California.  We are always amazed at the floral fantasy of the floats and little did we know that J. Keith White AIFD, Creative Director of one of our best silk flower sources, is also the talent behind the FTD VIP Car Designs.

J. Keith White

J. Keith White

Keith is a visionary of flowers, known for his extraordinary sense of color and texture and his combination of the modern with the traditional.  As a designer and member of a number of floral organizations including AIFD, the California Cut Flower Commission and the FTD Education Design Team, Keith travels the world participating in various projects and programs. 

TOR - Close-up of Hall of Fame Car

TOR - Close-up of Hall of Fame Car

TOR - Mayor's Car

TOR - Mayor's Car

TOR - Close-up of Mayor's Car

TOR - Close-up of Mayor's Car

TOR - Grand Marshal "Sully" Sullenberger Car

TOR - Grand Marshal "Sully" Sullenberger Car

TOR - President's Car

TOR - President's Car

Along with decorating the VIP cars for the Tournament of Roses, Keith has recently collaborated on a book with Florists’ Review on wedding bouquets and will be representing the United States in the 2010 Interflora World Cup, a prestigious floristry and floral art competition, in Shanghai, China this March.

Keith White's New Weave Wedding Bouquet

Keith White's New Weave Wedding Bouquet

While Keith loves our designs in silk, we have to say the admiration is mutual and we are so pleased that he collaborated on this Q & A.

1.   What did you want to be when you were a child?
Actor or Doctor…  guess I have the best of both now.  Presenting beautiful designs around the world with a surgeon’s precision.

2.   What is your necessary luxury?
Mmmm…  Chocolate.

3.   What is your favorite decorating accessory?
Chinese Antiques – small tables and artifacts – vases, bowls and statues.

4.   Where do you window shop?
Planet Earth…  it is a small planet and so much to see.  There is so much to take in for inspiration.

5.   What makes a house a home?
Personal treasured items that have a story behind them…  and of course, flowers!

6.   What is the most enjoyable part of your day?
At home, bedtime…  surrounded by peace and quiet on my ranch.  When traveling, waking up to a new adventure.

7.   What is your favorite flower?
My life is flowers…  so always what is in my hand as I’m designing.

8.   If you were a cocktail, what would you be?
Scotch Martini…  to the point – pure and simple!

9.   If your life were made into a movie, what would be the title and who would play your part?
“Million Stems”, starring Pierce Brosnan.

10.  Name one thing from your “Bucket List”.
A home in Paris.

Thank you, Keith, for your beautiful fresh (and silk!) creations.  To see more of Keith’s fabulous flowers, click here for video highlights of the 2009 Tournament of Roses Parade.

Photos from J. Keith White and Florists’ Review

Q & A

Q & A with Kim Seybert

When it comes to entertaining, a table isn’t properly dressed unless it is wearing Kim Seybert’s often fanciful, always fashionable accessories.  Kim’s background in fashion and love of rich color and texture are evident in the intricate patterns and jeweled touches that make her creations so unique. 

Kim Seybert with Sophie

Kim Seybert with Sophie

From beautiful place mats and napkins, to colorful beaded napkin rings and gilded wine glasses, her designs are supremely stylish yet surprisingly functional.  Whether serving dinner on the terrace, or outfitting your favorite picnic basket, Kim’s accessories turn the everyday into a special occasion.

Holiday Tabletop

Holiday Tabletop

Holly Bow Runner

Holly Bow Runner

Holiday Spray Napkin Ring

Holiday Spray Napkin Ring

Gold Vertical Stemware

Gold Vertical Stemware

With the holidays just around the corner, we thought it would be fun to subject one of our favorite tabletop designers (and a very good friend!) to our Q & A. 

1.   What did you want to be when you were a child?
I always wanted to be a Fashion Designer.

2.   What is your necessary luxury?
A relaxing lavender bubble bath before I go to bed.

3.   What is your favorite decorating accessory?
Diane James flowers, of course!

4.   Where do you window shop?
At the Tibet market in New Delhi.  I am always inspired when I spend time there.

5.   What makes a house a home?
Pets and children.

6.   What is the most enjoyable part of your day?
A yoga class whenever I can fit it into my day… morning, lunchtime or after work.

7.   What is your favorite flower?
Peonies.  Best colors…  sunset, coral or plum.

8.   If you were a cocktail, what would you be?
A brandy milk punch.  They remind me of a sultry Sunday brunch in New Orleans.

9.   If your life were made into a movie, what would be the title and who would play your part?
“To Kill a Mockingbird” and I would be Scout.

10.  Name one thing from your “Bucket List”.
I would visit the houseboats in Kashmir.

As Kim loves to say, “Life is a banquet” and we so agree!  To see Kim’s tabletop collections and shop online, please visit her website, KimSeybert.com.

Q & A

Q & A with Schuyler Samperton

No one captures the essence of California cool mixed with worldly flair quite like LA-based designer Schuyler Samperton.  The daughter of an award-winning architect and a fashionista, Schuyler seems to have inherited a true sense of the eccletic tempered by English colonial elegance.  And while she looks like a quintessential West Coast beauty, Schuyler is actually from Washington, DC!

Schuyler with Tricky and her favorite Suzani pillow

Schuyler launched her interior design career with Michael Smith after six years as a publicist for the Fox Broadcasting Company.  In 2003 she went on her own and by 2006 was named one of “Today’s Tastemakers” by Vogue Living in its inaugural issue.

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We will always remember the April 2007 Domino magazine which featured Schuyler’s home, loving every aspect of her “bohemian rhapsody” style.  Needless to say, we were thrilled when she called us last year to help on a project in Greece and even more so when she agreed to our Q & A!

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1.   What did you want to be when you were a child?
My father is an architect, so I actually grew up playing interior decorator with a bunch of Knoll swatches I grabbed from his office.  My first clients were my Tibetan terriers, Hector and Teddy.

2.   What is your necessary luxury?
Henry Beguelin boots

3.   What is your favorite decorating accessory?
I love working with antique textiles – I use them as throws, pillows, headboards and furniture upholstery – you name it!

4.   Where do you window shop?
Montecito, CA is a completely gorgeous, local get-away spot with fantastic stores

5.   What makes a house of home?
Books and dogs

6.   What is the most enjoyable part of your day?
Taking my dog Tricky for a nice long walk at the end of the day

7.   What is your favorite flower?
Peonies

8.   If you were a cocktail, what would you be?
Believe it or not, I’ve never has a drink in mylife!  It’s not very thrilling, but I guess I’d have to be a sparkling lemonade.

9.   If your life were made into a movie, what would be the title and who would play your part?
“Relentlessly Optimistic”, and I’d want Catherine Keener to play my part.  She’d made me seem a lot cooler and funnier than I actually am.

10. Name one thing from your “Bucket List”
To drive across the country, and really take my time

Thank you, Schuyler, for your fabulous style and beautiful interiors!  You can read more about Schuyler and see her gorgeous work on her website Schuyler Samperton Interior Design.

Q & A

Q & A with Jonathan Sloane

Since seeing is believeing when it comes to our silk floral designs, photography is one of the most important investments we make on a seasonal basis.  Not only do the pictures appear on our website but also in printed catalogs that we send to our retail and design clients.  Our photography is so well edited that even shelter magazines don’t hesitate to use the images in their editorials.  And we are grateful to Norwalk-based photographer Jonathan Sloane for helping our designs look “un-real”!

On Set with Jonathan

On Set with Jonathan

For over 25 years, Jonathan has provided clients both big and small with beautiful and occasionally startling images.  Whether he is photographing million dollar diamonds, a simple glass of water or Olympic athletes, Jonathan brings his own unique creative vision to the project.  We love how he captures the beauty and delicate essense of flowers, whether fresh or faux and we are happy to profile his beautiful work!

Coneflower

Coneflower

Phalaenopsis Orchid

Phalaenopsis Orchid

Cluster Cymbidium

Cluster Cymbidium

Lady Slipper Orchid

Lady Slipper Orchid

Cornflower

Cornflower

1.   What did you want to be when you were a child?
A beachcomber

2.   What is your necessary luxury?
Kona coffee from Hawaii

3.   What is your favorite decorating accessory?
Framed photographs!

4.   Where do you window shop?
Ferro’s Jewelery Store (estate jewelry)

5.   What makes a house of home?
Cats

6.   What is the most enjoyable part of your day?
Readind a good book, usually at night

7.   What is your favorite flower?
Orchids all the way!

8.   If you were a cocktail, what would you be?
Delicious!

9.   If your life were made into a movie, what would be the title and who would play your part?
“A Photographer’s Story”, Robert Duvall 20 years ago

10. Name one thing from your “Bucket List”
Travel!  New Zealand, Himalayas, Alaska, Peru, Kenya – not necessarily in that order

If you would like to see more of Jonathan’s wonderful pictures, visit his website Jonathan Sloane Photography.

Fabulous Finds, Q & A

Q & A with Frances Palmer

Who did The New York Times turn to for advice on shopping for pitchers last month?  Frances Palmer, of course!  We met Frances last year as she was getting ready to show in Atlanta and wanted to have realistic flowers grace her beautiful pottery.  Having read so much about this Weston, Connecticut based artist over the years (she really is a darling of the press!), we were honored and thrilled to help.

Frances Palmer

Frances Palmer

Frances’ passion is to create one-of-a-kind, irreverently shaped white tableware and accessories (her words, not ours!) and all of her pieces are beautiful yet functional.

Log Vase

Log Vase

Squash Vase

Squash Vase

Wide Mouth Urn

Wide Mouth Urn

Along with her high-end, hand-thrown designs, Frances also launched a collection that is manufactured in upstate New York.  Each of the pieces in the Pearl Collection is pressed from molds taken from her hand thrown samples so each retains the whimsical irregularities that is her signature.

Frances Palmer Pearl Collection

Frances Palmer Pearl Collection

Whether you’re setting a casual breakfast table on the terrace or throwing a festive holiday party, a France Palmer design will add elegance and life to any event.  We love Frances and her work so we were excited when she agreed to our Q & A.

 

1.   What did you want to be when you were a child?
       An artist

2.   What is your necessary luxury?
       Bruno Cucinelli cashmere

3.   What is your favorite decorating accessory?
       Flowers in my vases

4.   Where do you window shop?
       Hermes

5.   What makes a house of home?
       Children

6.   What is the most enjoyable part of your day?
       Early morning (6 a.m.) with coffee and the newspaper

7.   What is your favorite flower?
       The dahlia – I am known as the Dahlia Lama

8.   If you were a cocktail, what would you be?
       I don’t usually drink cocktails but I would be a glass of Montrachet

9.   If your life were made into a movie, what would be the title and who would play your part?
       “The Potter Muse” and I would love to be played by Ingrid Bergman

10. Name one thing from your “Bucket List”
       Travel to places I have not been, such as India and Africa

Frances is a true 21st century American artist and we’re happy to call her a wonderful friend! 

P.S.  Frances is a terrific cook and each month she posts a great recipe on her website, www.francespalmerpottery.com.  You can shop online, too!

Scalloped Bowl

Scalloped Bowl

All photos from Frances Palmer

Q & A

Q & A with Sharyn Blond

“There have always been those special people for who the ordinary holds no charm… those are the people to whom Sharyn Blond Linens are dedicated.” 

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For the past 15 years, Sharyn has been carrying on the legacy of internationally-known designer Constance Leiter in her Kansas City store.  By producing many of Constance’s wonderful hand-embroidered designs and creating gorgeous motifs of her own, Sharyn can customize linens to fit any decor.  Sharyn also carries many exclusive lines of elegant china, unusual pottery, hand wrought silver and sparkling crystal – and of course, Diane James!  Whether you are looking for the perfect wedding gift, or appointing the bedroom of your dreams, you’ll find a beautiful bounty for the table, bed and bath at Sharyn Blond Linens.

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Given her fabulous sense of style and design, we were happy that Sharyn would participate in this month’s Q & A!

1.   What did you want to be when you were a child?
       A ballerina

2.   What is your necessary luxury?
       Wonderful linens – what else?

3.   What is your favorite decorating accessory?
       Flowers

4.   Where do you window shop?
       Madison Avenue

5.   What makes a house of home?
       Photos of family and friends, and stack and stack of books

6.   What is the most enjoyable part of your day?
       I love all day everyday

7.   What is your favorite flower?
       Hydrangea

8.   If you were a cocktail, what would you be?
       Something pretty and sweet!

9.   If your life were made into a movie, what would be the title and who would play your part?
       I don’t know anything about movies or movie stars

10. Name one thing from your “Bucket List”
       A safari

Photos from Sharyn Blond

Q & A

Q & A with Diane James

Known for designing silk floral bouquets that are so close to nature, one has to touch the flowers to make sure they’re not real, Diane James brings “faux fleurs” to life for the likes of Michael Smith, Mario Buatta and Barbara Barry.

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Since childhood, Diane has had a passion for flowers – from playing in the gardens her mother tended and taking classes with Kenneth Turner at Pulbrook & Gould in London, to creating the first high-end collection of silk floral designs to be sold at Bergdorf Goodman in New York.  It’s no wonder that given their natural beauty and elegance, Diane’s designs have quite a following and have caught the eye of editors at House Beautiful, Town & Country, Harper’s Bazaar and the New York Times.

Harper's Bazaar - February 2008

Harper's Bazaar - February 2008

House Beautiful - November 2008

Having celebrated Mother’s Day this month , we thought it only fitting that we celebrate our mother in May!

1.  What did you want to be when you were a child?
     An opera singer

2.  What is your necessary luxury?
     Flowers

3.  What is your favorite decorating accessory?
     Flowers

4.  Where do you window shop?
     Madison Avenue

5.  What makes a house a home?
     Love

6.  What is the most enjoyable part of your day?
     Being with my daughters at the office and my husband at home

7.  What is your favorite flower?
     There are so many that I can’t choose just one

8.  If you were a cocktail, what would you be?
     Champagne

9.  If your life were made into a movie, what would be the title and who would play your part?
     “Transformation” and Angelina Jolie (in my younger years!)

10.  Name one thing from you “Bucket List”
      A Mercedes 300S

While many compare Diane James to mother nature, we’re lucky enough to call her Mom!

Q & A

Q & A with Sandra Morgan

We first met the elegant and vivacious Sandra Morgan at the New York International Gift Fair several years ago and were immediately taken by her warmth and charm.  Having seen her beautiful interiors in the pages of House Beautiful and Connecticut Cottages & Gardens, we were thrilled that she would take the time to see us.

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Sandra’s passion for design began with positions on the editorial staffs of House & Garden and Mademoiselle (where she created a column Chez Mlle devoted to stylish decorating for young women-on-the-go) and has developed into a career as a leading designer and art collector.  We were excited when she opened her retail showroom, SM Home, in Greenwich last June and even more so when she chose our flowers to complement her gorgeous Swedish style.

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We think Sandra Morgan is a divine designer and we hope you do too!

1.   What did you want to be when you were a child?
      A trapeze artist – I fantasized about being the girl flying through the air high
      in the big tent

2.   What is your necessary luxury?
      My little Shih Tzu, Tiger

3.   What is your favorite decorating accessory?
      Flowers

4.   Where do you window shop?
      SM Home, 70 Arch Street, Greenwich

5.   What makes a house a home?
      Love

6.   What is the most enjoyable part of your day?
      Sunday morning breakfast at home with The New York Times and a cappuccino

7.   What is your favorite flower?
      Peony

8.   If you were a cocktail, what would you be?
      A Bellini

9.   If your life were made into a movie, what would be the title and who would play
      your part?
      “Don’t Look Back” – Sophia Loren

10.   Name one thing from your “Bucket List”
        See the Serengeti at sunset

Photos from Sandra Morgan Interiors and SM Home

Q & A

Q & A with Harry Heissmann

Anyone who has met Harry Heissmann is enchanted by his ready smile, European charm and sparkling wit.  And anyone who has seen his work loves him for his warm and inviting interiors which combine elegance and practicality with a sense of joie de vivre.

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For over a decade, Harry has been developing his unique style with some of the best designers in New York including Jeffrey Bilhuber, Juan Pablo Molyneux and of course, Albert Hadley.  His rooms have graced the pages of The New York Times, Metropolitan Home and most recently, House Beautiful

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When we decided to write a monthly column featuring some of our favorite designers, Harry immediately came to mind (and he was a willing subject, no less!)  We hope you enjoy this first of many installments!

1.  What did you want to be when you were a child?
      A marine biologist

2.  What is your necessary luxury?
      Quiet and peace

3.  What is your favorite decorating accessory?
      Color

4.  Where do you window shop?
      Everywhere

5.  What makes a house a home?
      The people in it

6.  What is the most enjoyable part of your day?
      5:15 am at the gym

7.  What is you favorite flower?
      Pink lily of the valley

8.  If you were a cocktail, what would you be?
      A Negroni

9.  If your life were made into a movie, what would be the title and who would play your part?
     “Selling Smiles, Beauty and Positive Energy” and my clone would play me

10.  Name one thing from your “Bucket List”
        Owning a cottage by the sea

Thank you, Harry, for your inspirational designs and wonderful sense of humor!

Photos from Harry Heissmann and Christopher Baker for House Beautiful.