Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas to All

A very Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to each and every one of you. May Santa bring you what you wish for, whether it be a wing chair, a new refrigerator, or a camel back sofa. But more importantly, I wish everyone a happy, healthy, peaceful, and prosperous New Year.

I'll see you in 2012!

The image above was taken from the cover of House & Garden, December 1940.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas with Tiffany's

Just in case you haven't planned your holiday table yet, a few photos to get the creative juices flowing.

Baking Christmas Cakes

The Glorious Tree

The Gingerbread People's Lunch

Red, White and Red

Christmas at Mellerstain

New York- December 25

All photos from A Tiffany Christmas by John Loring.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Home for the Holidays

My friend Ned Marshall recently opened his New Orleans house to the public as part of the Preservation Resource Center holiday home tour. According to Ned, between four and five thousand tour tickets were sold! It sounds to me like it was one successful tour of homes.

Knowing that visitors would expect his house to be done up for the holidays, Ned was a bit more lavish with the Christmas decorations than he usually is. A beautiful Christmas tree was trimmed in both white and colored lights, while garlands were strung between the living room columns. Ned's dining table was graciously set for a holiday dinner, while a drinks tray stood at the ready with preparations for holiday libations.

Since most of us were not able to attend the tour, we can take a virtual tour thanks to some beautiful photographs. I hope they bring you some holiday inspiration.

All photos courtesy of Kerri McCaffety, photographer.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Get Cozy with Mario Buatta

I've had Mario Buatta on the brain lately, and I've been thinking about his apartment as it appeared in the 1970s. There is something very comforting to me about these photos. Maybe it's Buatta's choice of colors, the combination of fabrics and prints, the cozy seating arrangements, or the plenitude of collections. Perhaps it's a combination of all of the above. Whatever the secret formula was, these interiors make me want to crawl into the photos and curl up with a good book in that sunny yellow living room or that rich red bedroom. Can you imagine a better way to relax at the end of the day than to retire in that luxurious canopied bed?

Various shots of Buatta's living room with its glazed yellow walls.

The bedroom with its "Beaujolais" colored walls.

All images from The New York Times Book of Interior Design and Decoration by Norma Skurka.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Silver and Gold Decorations

Yes, I borrowed the title from the Burl Ives' song, but it seems appropriate for a post on metal and metallic colored trim. It's been catching my eye lately. The trim by Aiveen Daly reminds me of jewelry, while Samuel and Sons' studded trim is reminiscent of the leather bracelets that have been so popular lately. Like bold jewelry, metal trim makes a statement so you need to use it wisely. Oh, and try to avoid anything that is too terribly shiny.

The three trims above plus that in the top photo are all by Aiveen Daly. The collection, available in a range of finishes, will debut soon. Visit their website for more details.

Samuel and Sons Diamond Nailhead on Leather. I could see it used on a tailored chair or sofa and perhaps even on a console or side table.

I think that this metallic border by Samuel and Sons is so elegant.

This tieback by Remy Lemoine Passementerie is not a metal but rather mirrored glass. Still, it reminds me of a sterling silver piece by Elsa Peretti.

I like the military look of this Royal Air Force Sword Knot Lace from Hand & Lock.

I'm sure it would be a big-time no-no to use Hand & Lock's General's Gold Twist Shoulder Cords in your home, but you have to admit they're pretty handsome.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pratesi Cashmere Collection

One of the great little luxuries of life is a pair of cozy house slippers. During fall and winter, I wear nothing but slippers around the house. (Not bedroom slippers or scuffs but rather little slip-on shoes with soft soles.) I recently received an email from Pratesi announcing their new cashmere collection, and what caught my eye above all else? Very chic cashmere house slippers for both men and women. I'm a fan of J. Crew and L.L. Bean slippers, but Pratesi is winning me over with their use of cashmere. And if you're a man, all you need to complete the picture is a smoking hat like those I mentioned a few weeks ago.

There are other items in the collection including cashmere throws, ponchos, bags, and eye masks, all of which make for great holiday gifts. Who doesn't like an indulgent gift every now and then? Personally, I can't imagine anything better than lounging on the sofa under a Pratesi throw while reading a vintage design book.

For more information on the collection or to purchase, please call Pratesi at 1-800-332-6925.

The Aconcagua directly above are for men, while those at top are for women.

Sabrina home shoes for women.

Mens slippers.

Camel toned slippers for women.

Slippers with straps for women.

I'm crazy for these cashmere ponchos. Just the thing to wear when taking Alfie for a quick walk around the block.

Beautiful cashmere throws.

This quilted cashmere and silk blanket might be a nice alternative to the oft-photographed orange Hermes blanket.

The very stylish and practical Pratesi eye mask and matching bag.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Clare Booth Luce and her Summer House

It's not often that one attends a lecture that can be described as fizzy and fun, but that's just how I would characterize Steven Stolman's talk last week at ADAC. The recently appointed President of Scalamandre is an avid fan of old movies just like many of us. His presentation, "Iconic Interiors of the Silver Screen", spanned decades of cinema and included images from such films as Indiscreet, Auntie Mame, Valley of the Dolls, and The Women. If you ever get the opportunity to attend Steven's lecture, I urge you to do so. Not only will you see images of the chic interiors from these movies, but you will also get Steven's humorous commentary too.

When Steven mentioned The Women, it jogged my memory of a 1940 House & Garden article that profiled the Greenwich, Connecticut summer house of Henry and Clare Booth Luce. It was the latter who wrote the Broadway play The Women, later produced as a movie in 1939. If you've never seen the movie, do so soon. You just might reconsider running with a pack of women!

The Luces' Connecticut home, built around 1905, was described in the article as a being a "modified Georgian design." According to H&G, the entire house as well as much of the furniture was designed by Virginia Conner with the exception of the master bedroom. That room was given to Luce's friend Dorothy Draper.

The home's interiors look quite glamorous although there are some elements that seem a little gimmicky. (I'm referring to the dining room's serving table that was suspended from the ceiling with white metal ropes.) If you ask me, the interiors are a combination of the chic yet proper style of Mary Haines (the Norma Shearer character in The Women) and the flashy and brassy look of her man-stealing rival Crystal Allen (played by- who else?- Joan Crawford.)

Probably one of the most famous rooms of the house. The living room was mostly pale beige except for the curvy sofa that was covered in a blue green fabric. The article does not mention whether the mirrored screen was purchased from Syrie Maugham or simply inspired by that in her music room on Kings Road in London.

The other side of living room that looked out over the garden. The loveseats were upholstered in diagonally quilted seaweed green fabric.

The master bedroom that was decorated by Dorothy Draper. The walls, draperies, bedspread, and carpet were all in shades of ice blue. Draper's beloved cabbage rose chintz was also used.

The sitting area of the bedroom was delineated by folding screens. I'm fascinated by those unusual pelmets.

The dining room and the unusual serving table. The walls were soft pink while the ceiling and rubber floor were white. The pine chairs were covered in pink and cyclamen colored fabric. The colors were chosen from a Raoul Dufy painting.

In the hall, the walls were Chinese red and the sofas were covered in Prussian green satin. (Don't you wish that you could see the photo in color?)

The powder room wallpaper was gunmetal, pink, and coral, while the dressing table skirt was made of pink voile.

The library in which most of the room was sand-blasted oak. The ceiling was painted turquoise, and the rug was beige Astrakhan.

All photos from House & Garden, June 1940.