Design Books Round Up

Design Books Round Up

Although I started this fall with the best intentions, I somehow never managed to finish writing about the overwhelming number of design books this season. For anyone needing to fill out some last minute gifts, I suggest you hightail it to your local bookstore where you will surely find something for anyone on your list. For decorating aficionados, here are some final suggestions of books I can recommend. If you are an armchair shopper celebrating Christmas, I believe ordering express by midnight online will ensure delivery by Tuesday.

Designer Timothy Corrigan’s love affair with and subsequent five year, multi million dollar restoration of a dilapidated chateau in the French countryside, is delightfully documented in An Invitation to Château du Grand-Lucé.

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JAR at the Met

JAR at the Met

Not only is the JAR exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum the first US retrospective of jewelry designer Joel A. Rosenthal’s work, but the first at the museum devoted to any living  jeweler, or in Rosenthal’s case, artist, whose medium happens to be gems. Including over 400 one-of-a-kind masterpieces, the exhibit is an expression of his rare talent and unbridled creativity. Several weeks ago I attended the press preview for the exhibit and was overwhelmed by the exceptional detailing and unexpected combinations of materials that yield such unique and exquisite work. Take for example the Camellia Bracelet below, executed in enamel and embellished with rubies, silver and gold, which now resides in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris

or another camellia study, this time a brooch in aluminum, diamonds, gold, enamel.…

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Bejeweled

Bejeweled

Try as I might, there just weren’t enough hours in the day to get together my post on the JAR exhibit at the Met. So in the meantime, I offer you this delicious little morsel to whet your appetite. Stop by later to see more from this incredible exhibit.

photos by Quintessence

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Interwoven Globe and JAR at the Met

Interwoven Globe and JAR at the Met

As many of you head into the city for a holiday visit, I would encourage you to make a stop at the Metropolitan Museum to see two exceptional exhibits. Last month I was part of a small group of editors, writers and designers, assembled by Patrick Frey, to privately tour Interwoven Globe with curator Melinda Watt. What a revelation. Not only is the show a visual feast but a fascinating interdisciplinary lesson in the cross cultural exchange of art and ideas across continents from the Age of Discovery to the 19th century.

Never before have textiles been the focus of an international history of design and yet they are instrumental in making crucial connections between commerce and the development of the first truly global style.…

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Art at the 2013 Holiday House Finale

Art at the 2013 Holiday House Finale

As the snow was falling yesterday, I was reminded of designer Darrin Varden‘s chic Winter Solstice lounge at the 2013 Holiday House. A perfect spot to entertain during the long winter nights, the room also embraced the holiday’s celebration of rebirth and renewal.

Centered on a spectacular art installation of photographer Angelo Musco‘s surreal landscape, the space featured dark peacock colors, custom designed furniture and sumptuous textures. A great showing for the designer’s first showhouse under his own label, the space is both sleek and sensuous. I loved both the visual drama of the art and how it clearly played into the circle of life theme of the occasion.…

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Art at Holiday House NYC Continued

Art at Holiday House NYC Continued

Proving that small spaces can have big impact, Patrick Hamilton imbued his tiny Holiday House NYC room with mansion-sized luxe appeal. Inspired by St. Patrick’s Day (remembering each room celebrates a holiday or special occasion), he envisioned a vignette representing the upstairs sitting room of a Dublin row house. In the scenario, a young man, whose family has owned the house for generations, has recently inherited it and is beginning to bring his more modern personality into the picture. Swathing the room in a lush green envelope, Patrick permeated the space with a sense of  heritage and luxurious sexy appeal.

To visually narrate the young man’s influence on his new home, Patrick turned to lighting but perhaps more importantly, art.…

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Goodbye to a Great | Peter O’Toole

Goodbye to a Great | Peter O’Toole

I couldn’t let the passing of Peter O’Toole go by without at least a quick nod to the late great actor. Best known, of course, for his portrayal of T.E. Lawrence in David Lean’s grand epic, Lawrence of Arabia, O’Toole was a man of flamboyant talent in both acting and life.

Columbia Pictures/Photofest

One of my favorite quotes is the famous line from Noel Coward,  “If you’d been prettier, it would have been ‘Florence of Arabia.'” With his striking blue eyes and tall lanky stature, he added a handsome roguish charisma to each of his characters.

From his legendary portrayals of Henry II, opposite Richard Burton in Becket, above, and then again in Lion in Winter to Katharine Hepburn’s Oscar winning performance as Eleanor of Aquitaine, below,

AP Photo, Avco Embassy Pictures

to the sentimental favorite Mr.…

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Holiday House Art Continued

Holiday House Art Continued

Inspiration can sprout from surprising places. The spark for Susanna Salk‘s Holiday House room was triggered by stylist Caroline Sieber’s instagram feed. Shown lying on a baroque pink velveteen couch in front of a de Gournay fantasy, Sieber is documented reading about her recent wedding in Vogue.

“It inspired me to create a room in the same spirit: for a worldly young woman just coming home after a journey filled with excitement and laughter. She craves a haven that cocoons but also encourages her to seek out the next adventure.” Susanna’s vignette is perhaps just that – a vibrant version of the original,

the cozy yet confident next stage.…

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It’s a Wrap Video with Susanna Salk and John Derian

It’s a Wrap Video with Susanna Salk and John Derian

John Derian is one part Charles Dickens, one part Saint-Germain-des-Prés and one part East Village, but 100% authentic. His distinctive and idiosyncratic vision of the world is addictive and it is difficult to leave any of his shops without something in hand. Recently, Susanna Salk and I paid a visit to John in his studio to see his new line of gift wrap for One Kings Lane and discuss how presentation is an integral part of any gift.

Since 1989 John has been producing his handmade decoupage plates and platters to the delight of his legion of fans around the world.…

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Celebrating Art at Holiday House

Celebrating Art at Holiday House

Holiday House is a cause easy to embrace. Founder Iris Dankner’s showhouse, now in its sixth year, celebrates the best of interior design while benefitting the fight against breast cancer, with this year’s proceeds going to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Each year, designers choose a holiday or special occasion to celebrate with great creativity and ingenuity. What stood out this year to me was the notable level of impressive and interesting art at Holiday House. From emerging artists to established masters, it was eminently clear how much art contributes to the aesthetics and personal meaning of living spaces.

photo above by Bill Jacobson

In the elegantly eclectic entry and foyer, inspired by the film Blue Angel, Studio Tim Campbell chose works from Julie Heffernan and Bill Jacobson for their romantic and fantastical visions.…

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