Villa Astor

Villa Astor

The subtitle of the beautiful new book on Villa Astor says it all – “Paradise Restored on the Amalfi Coast.” Part history, part social commentary, part architecture, interiors and gardens, this beautifully photographed and designed edition of this famous Italian landmark is as insightful as it is inspiring.

Following a foreword by William Waldorf Astor’s great-grandson, the story of Astor’s prominent career, disenchantment with American society and politics, move to England and eventual pilgrimage to Italy unfolds. Told by Boston-based architectural historian and authority on the British country house, Curt DiCamillo, it is a fascinating tale of passion, perfectionism and the power of memory. …

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Scenting the Summer House

Scenting the Summer House

There’s nothing much better than the sound and smells of ocean breezes, drifting off the water though open windows. Scent is an essential accessory to any home, especially a summer house on the water, where sometimes dampness leaves its mark in less idyllic ways. Like many Nantucket houses outside of town, originally meant for seasonal summer living, ours has no basement so I’m always looking for new ways to add a welcoming scent to augment nature’s best and mask the less appealing. I was excited to find an already favorite brand had a new solution. NEST Fragrances new Liquidless Diffuser is such an easy and effortless option.…

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Nantucket Friday Favorite Finds III

Nantucket Friday Favorite Finds III

It’s been busy on island and I’m a tad late with this week’s Nantucket Friday Favorite Finds but wanted to give you a peek before week’s end. While many visitors explore the main cobblestone streets in town, there are many places to see tucked away on side streets. In fact, a group of these shops got together to form a shopper’s guide to Nantucket’s hidden gems with a map and Instagram feed @offthebeatenpath that happens to include this week’s finds.

My favorite coffee spot on island is the friendly and delicious Handlebar Café. Conveniently located at 15 Washington Street, owners Courtney and Jason Bridges have created a space where you can not only get a great coffee (or latte, cappuccino etc) but sit and meet friends or catch up on emails – there’s great wifi.…

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The Garden of Peter Marino

The Garden of Peter Marino

As summer is in full swing, and Garden Conservancy Open Days and special events are offering glimpses into normally private domains, we can all enjoy an unprecedented peek at the very glamorous Southampton garden of Peter Marino. In a large and luxurious volume from Rizzoli, the renowned architect and designer shares an intimate entree into his extraordinary garden.

Over the course of nineteen years, Marino transformed what was a lackluster twelve acres into a private paradise. As he explains in his introduction, the series of outdoor rooms express “a sense of order blended with the chaos of nature.” Like the best architecture, the garden provides an architectonic structure within which nature can run its course.…

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Setting the Table with Alex Papachristidis

Setting the Table with Alex Papachristidis

Celebrated interior designer Alex Papachristidis has a passion for beauty. Known for his timeless elegance and inventive creativity, his love for and knowledge of the decorative arts extends to all aspects of his life including setting the table! A fervent collector and avid traveler, his tabletops exude a personal, colorful and exuberant style. Tag along with me and Susanna Salk as we visit Alex in his glamorous New York City apartment to learn his tips for entertaining, how the table tells a story and why purple is the new neutral!

Alex’s extensive collections aren’t just for show. He believes in using what you love and own rather than relegating the “good stuff” to the depths of the cabinet.…

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Nantucket Friday Favorite Finds II

Nantucket Friday Favorite Finds II

My second installment of Friday favorite finds from here on Nantucket includes a couple island staples in the food and entertainment categories. While many of us are mourning the closing of Sarah Powers’ Table No. 1 here on Nantucket, the silver lining is that the already excellent Cowboy’s Meat Market has now added a full cheese counter, curated by Sarah and overseen by owner Laura McCloskey.

Cowboy’s was already a terrific local market with a well stocked butcher counter featuring organic, grass fed, non-genetically modified meat, a full-service deli with prepared foods for take out and a very well rounded selection of wine and beer, with a particularly good choice of rosés.…

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The Trickle Down Effect

The Trickle Down Effect

Just as we’ve witnessed the popularity of straw bags in fashion, we’ve been seeing a heightened resurgence of straw, wicker and rattan in decor as well. In tandem with the mood for maximalism, this timeless addition is easy to layer – with either a tonal or pattern filled design. And while it has never been out of style, as soon as I saw this image from CB2, I knew the trickle down effect had reached a mainstream audience.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love CB2. They have many stylish and affordable offerings and clearly have their finger on the pulse of what’s happening in design.…

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Summer Staple: The Straw Bag

Summer Staple: The Straw Bag

In this weekend’s WSJ Off Duty, fashion contributor Hayley Phelan extolled the virtues of the straw bag with a comprehensive and entertaining look at this timeless accessory.

Mirrorpix via Getty Images via the WSJ

Citing favorite examples from film and fashion, such as the famous image of Jane Birkin, above, as well as select shopping options, the piece also includes a tongue-in-cheek interview with a straw tote as well as illustrative versions of imagined bags owned by the three little pigs. One image I have long loved that was not included is this of Grace Kelly from To Catch a Thief.…

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At Home with Susanna Salk and Muriel Brandolini

At Home with Susanna Salk and Muriel Brandolini

Few summer retreats are as well known as Long Island’s Hamptons. In communities where artists and writers, fishermen and farmers coexist with the more well known moguls and celebrities, houses range from modest cottages to timeless shingled houses to modernist mansions. In her new book, Out East, author Jennifer Ash Rudick, with photographs by Tria Giovan, has captured more than thirty of the area’s most distinctive houses and gardens. Susanna and I were thrilled to visit one of the book’s featured houses – designer Muriel Brandolini‘s creative waterside home. Join us for an insider peek at this very special house.…

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Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

As our national holiday falls on a Tuesday, most everyone will be enjoying a long weekend. And by the looks of it here on Nantucket, many have extended it into a longer break. So wherever you may be, wishing you a very Happy 4th of July! Hoping you all celebrate with friends and family in style and thoughtful moderation. Stop back next time for the latest episode of Susanna’s and my At Home With video series!

photo by Stacey Bewkes for Quintessence

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