Thank you ELLE DECOR

Thank you ELLE DECOR

A big thank you to ELLE DECOR for including me in their year end round up. Over 30 of us were asked to share our favorite spaces from a year of chic rooms in the magazine. Always a tough decision, I chose a space that resonated with me as a room I could easily live in.

Julia Reed’s sunroom in her 19th-century Greek Revival home in New Orleans is a respite of relaxation. An understated personal space, the other side of the room is a wall of bookcases and art that could keep me busy for days.

Stop by and see what rooms others have selected – many are favorites as well, including Matthew Patrick Smyth’s sophisticated study in his ELLE DECOR Designer Visions apartment (which I wrote about earlier here), Alex Papachristidis’ vibrant Manhattan apartment and Sabine de Gunzburg’s casually chic Paris living room.…

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At the Movies

At the Movies

I had another holiday move I intended to review today, but due to a tight schedule, just didn’t have a chance to do it justice – I’ll bring it to you as soon as I can. But I hate to leave you movie fans empty handed, especially at this time of year, so I will remind you of one of my very favorites I mentioned a couple of years ago. To new readers, enjoy – and to older subscribers, it just might be time for a rerun, especially while finishing up your wrapping!

A wonderful film that should be on everyone’s list of holiday classics, The Bishop’s Wife is a perfect movie to watch to get in the spirit.…

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American Decoration by Thomas Jayne

American Decoration by Thomas Jayne

Just like Thomas Jayne’s thoughtful designs, his American Decoration is a book for those, like me and I daresay many of you readers, who like a little substance with their style. Jayne’s sophisticated yet livable interiors are based on years of personal experience, coming from a family with a wide ranging legacy of houses, his extensive academic training and his professional experience, having started his career under the tutelage of Albert Hadley.

In describing his process, Jayne cites the distinctive and eclectic American style of Parish Hadley and his graduate fellowship at Winterthur with Henry Francis du Pont, as primary influences.…

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Mighty Maharajas | Forts and Palaces of India

Mighty Maharajas | Forts and Palaces of India

It’s no secret that India has an incredible design legacy. But in Mighty Maharajas | Forts & Palaces of India, we are introduced to many of the forts and royal palaces that illustrate not only the architectural history but social and political aspects as well.

India’s history is a long and complicated one, and generations of these fortifications, built to guard against enemies, are scattered throughout the subcontinent. Many, like India’s largest fort, Chittorgarh, were built into the hillside. Not only beautiful, the fort included clever engineering feats that enabled it to last for centuries. With 84 bodies of water (22 of which still exist), the fort featured a sophisticated water system interconnecting the reservoirs so that there was always an ample supply.…

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The Scottish Country House

The Scottish Country House

The Scottish Country House counts as one of my favorite volumes this season. While I am dreadfully behind in my book reviews this year, I wanted to be sure to squeeze this wonderful title in before the holidays. More than merely a book on glorious interiors, this appeals to any who also love Scotland, art, architecture, history, and the people whose stories unite them.

This book is indeed a story, of ten extraordinary houses and castles, all but one still occupied by the families who built them. These homes are not only representative of Scottish history and its corresponding decorative styles, but of the people who inhabit them, expressing personalities from the traditional to eccentric.…

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Lake Como Charm | Villa del Balbianello

Lake Como Charm | Villa del Balbianello

Lake Como is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful spots I know, having visited on several occasions, including my honeymoon. Despite its popularity, and oglers trying to catch a glimpse of George Clooney at his villa, it still remains a place of exquisite natural beauty dotted with amazing architectural specimens. So when friend, photographer John Simoudis, mentioned that he had just returned from Italy and had some nice shots of a villa on the lake, I couldn’t wait to see. As it turned out, it wasn’t just any villa, but Villa del Balbianello, one of the most beautiful on the lake.…

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NIBA Rugs Where Custom is Key

NIBA Rugs Where Custom is Key

Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of being introduced by friend Patrick Hamilton to NIBA rugs who were visiting New York from Miami where they are based. Founded in 2005 by owner Beth Arrowood, they are a wonderful to-the-trade resource offering an enormous selection of beautiful designs and high level of customization possibilities. With thousands of choices, NIBA rugs prides themselves on their personalized customer service to walk clients through the entire process from sorting through the vast options of composition, design and price points to same day quotes and on-time delivery. Looking through the samples was like being in a candy store of visual temptation.…

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Graphic Design and Architecture | a 20th Century History

Graphic Design and Architecture | a 20th Century History

How often do you think about the connection between graphic design and architecture? My guess is not that frequently. And yet the two have been inexorably linked since the beginning of the built environment. Think of the Egyptian pyramids covered in hieroglyphics or the inscriptions in the stone of the Parthenon.

A fascinating new book, Graphic Design + Architecture: A 20th Century History, by award winning multidisciplinary designer Richard Poulin examines the relationship between the two, investigating at how typography, image and symbolism coexist with and enhance the structures in the world around us. Looking at the the last hundred years, he shares a wealth of examples, connecting the dots between concepts, technological developments, designers and more.…

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Splendor on Park Avenue

Splendor on Park Avenue

Designer Eric Hilton must have felt like he won the trifecta with this client  – a wonderful Park Avenue location, original Renzo Mongiardino interiors and an impressive collection of A-list artwork. The theme of Veranda‘s January/February issue is the Best of the Best and this apartment certainly qualifies.

Dealing with works from such masters as Degas, Bonnard, Modigliani and Maillol, Hilton needed to create settings that were formal enough to properly showcase the artwork yet relaxed enough in which to live and entertain comfortably. As the designer explained, “Even though they own museum-quality pieces, they don’t want to live in period spaces.”

Replacing a dark tobacco damask on the living room walls, above, with a pale aqua linen from Holland & Sherry, Hilton created an elegant yet understated background that serves as a gracious foil for the artwork and furniture.…

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Fortuny y Madrazo | An Artistic Legacy

Fortuny y Madrazo | An Artistic Legacy

It wasn’t until I saw the exhibit Fortuny y Madrazo: An Artistic Legacy at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute that I realized what an incredibly rich family history was behind this legendary talent. While we think of Fortuny as a name primarily associated with Venice, it is actually the strength of his familial Spanish heritage that fueled his passions. Conceived by and curated with Oscar de la Renta, chairman of the Institute’s Board of Directors, with the cooperation of Fortuny,  the exhibit not only looks at the influences that shaped Fortuny’s career but is an art history lesson in and of itself.…

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