Monday, November 30, 2009


Want to learn how to get published? In today's shrinking magazine landscape, get tips and creative advice on what websites and magazines are looking for. Kicking off the new series, How to Catch an Editor’s Eye: Monthly Designer Portfolio Review, the inaugural event is December 1st at the D and D Building, 979 3rd Avenue--so plan on coming to the city!

Tomorrow, join me, along with fellow contributing editors
Carolyn Sollis
Sophie Donelson
and special guest Natalie Warady, Style & Market Director, Style & Market Director,
Country Living, for a one-on-one review of your interior design projects.

Editor at Large is a great new site started by Julia Noran, with a mission of "Connecting Shelter & Lifestyle Publications with Design Content." As an online design community, Ed at Large is the Mediabistro for the interior design set. Events, news, a job board and editorial and product submissions make it a hub for all things interiors.

Editors will select one project to receive a FREE submission to, $500 value!!

Bring printed photographs of your work, and any other material you’d like to share with us. Reviews will take place on a first-come, first-served basis and will be held at Creation Baumann on the 15th Floor


Friday, November 27, 2009


I have used them, and I love them. Sending cards from Paperless Post is the best. James and Alexa Hirschfeld, an all around talented and smart brother and sister duo, started an online card sending company that is economically chic. Whether it is an invitation, announcement or holiday card that looks custom printed, this service gets your message across in a matter of seconds. Why wait a month for letterpress custom order cards when you can use this zippy mode? You buy "stamps", choose from custom tempates to create your vision and make an email address list. Then the receiver gets an email, clicks on an envelope with their name on it, and boom, message received!

Rolls Royce Christmas
There is no need to freak out about pre-ordering your holiday cards this year!

Jingle Bell



Bauble Border in Red

Season's Greetings

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Florence Fabricant, a food writer for The New York Times, along with The Society, the volunteer organization of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer put together a follow up book to Rizzoli's successful Park Avenue Potluck book of recipes. Entertaining at Home with New York's Savviest Hostesses comes from The Society, which is comprised of The Associates and the board at the hospital. They invite us into their homes with this book, revealing tried and true recipes and entertaining tips. This tireless group of terrific women volunteer their time, ideas and resources to fund raise for this amazing charitable organization that fights cancer every day. Their efforts, "promote the well-being and comfort of patients, support cancer research, and provide public education on the prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer." Become a volunteer at the hospital-- they need your help more than you know.

Entertaining at home treats friends and family to your personal touch--how you put it all together. From the way you set your table to the flowers you arrange, each detail is important. The group gathered recipes for annual holidays, and provide a personal take on where each one came from and what it means to them. The recipes are not too complicated and are time tested crowd-pleasers. I went through the book and chose recipes submitted by friends and think they would make a great addition to the table any time of year.

Drinks by a cozy fire in the library is a great way to begin an evening.

The view of the water on Long Island can easily distract from a gorgeous table, but it is enhanced with purple and white flowers.

A Lilly of the Valley china pattern makes breakfast in bed elegant.

Herend's Queen Victoria china is a big hit with these gals for its pretty floral multicolored pattern and gilt edge.

Another Herend pattern, Chinese Bouquet in green, works well on an Easter table.


When you need a go to pasta dish. Barbara Harbach's pasta recipe sounds delicious:

Penne alla Vodka with Scallops

My dear friend in Beverly Hills, Connie Wald, a quintessential hostess of the Hollywood glamour years, always did the cooking when she entertained. Every time my husband and I came to California to visit our daughter, we stayed with her and she gave a dinner party. And in the land where salad was the standard first course, she always served pasta. This penne alla vodka was everyone’s favorite and it is one of many recipes I took home from her house.

Makes 4 to 6 main-course servings, 8 as a first course

12 sea scallops
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
2 leeks, cleaned, trimmed, and finely chopped
2 shallots, minced
2 tablespoons dry vermouth
1 cup vodka
½ teaspoon crushed red chile flakes, or to taste
1 cup fresh or canned tomato puree
½ cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 pound penne
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley leaves

Trim the small ridge of tendon from the side of each scallop. Pat dry the scallops with paper towels. Place a large sauté pan over high heat, add the oil, and sear the scallops a few minutes, turning them once, until they are lightly browned. Remove the scallops to a dish. Lower the heat and add the butter. When it has melted, add the leeks and shallots and cook until the vegetables start to soften. Add the vermouth and continue cooking until the vegetables are very tender but not browned.

Pour in the vodka, add the chile flakes, and simmer until slightly reduced. Add the tomato puree and crème fraîche and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is well blended and pink. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add more chile flakes if desired. Set aside until just before serving. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the penne. Quarter the scallops and add them to the warm sauce in the sauté pan. Add the penne to the boiling water and cook for about 8 minutes, until al dente. Drain well. Fold the penne into the sauce and gently reheat the contents of the pan, stirring, until the ingredients are well combined. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Divide among individual plates, top with the parsley, and serve.

Salads need to be interesting yet easy enough to prepare. Ashley Potter's salad could become a staple:

Everything Chopped Salad

I serve a salad with just about every dinner menu. This one includes a number of colorful vegetables. Because they are hard to skewer with a fork, I decided to chop everything into little bits so that you can easily slide the salad onto your fork. The blue cheese helps blend all of the ingredients together.

Makes 6 servings

2 small endives, cored and chopped
8 romaine lettuce leaves, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 cups chopped tomatoes
2 carrots, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, cored and chopped
4 scallions, chopped
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey mustard
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ pound blue cheese, crumbled

Combine the endives, lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, carrots, bell pepper, and scallions on a large cutting board and chop them all together briefly with a large chef’s knife. Transfer the ingredients to a salad bowl. Whisk the vinegar and mustard together in a medium bowl. Whisk in the oil. Pour over the salad and mix well to coat all the ingredients. Fold in the cheese and serve.

Cockail party hors d'ouvre needs to be savory and salty at the same time. This recipe fits the bill:

Water Chestnut–Bacon Skewers

Growing up, my six sisters and I were all taught to be hostesses, and so there were always lots of cooks in the kitchen. The first time we served these hors d’oeuvres was for an engagement party for one of my sisters many years ago. In those days, there was very little catering. We prepared everything for all of our parties. We all still make them in our own houses today.

Makes about 30

2 (8-ounce) cans water chestnuts (about 30 pieces), drained
⅓ cup soy sauce
2/3 cup light brown sugar
8 strips thick bacon, each cut into 4 pieces

Rinse the water chestnuts, place them in a bowl, add the soy sauce, and set aside to marinate for a few hours, turning them from time to time. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Drain the water chestnuts. Place the brown sugar in a bowl, dip each water chestnut in sugar to coat, wrap it in bacon, and skewer it with a toothpick. The bacon will not go all the way around the water chestnut but just enough to be secured. Arrange the pieces on the baking sheet. About 30 minutes before
serving, place them in the oven and bake until the bacon starts to crisp. Remove from the oven, arrange on a platter, and serve.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Sister Parish Design: On Decorating just came out from St. Martin’s Press. It was written and created by Sister Parish's granddaughter Susan Bartlett Crater and Libby Cameron, Parish's last protégé. Both of them bring a unique perspective and stylish take on interiors. For 15 years, Cameron worked for Sister Parish at Parish-Hadley Associates. Crater, an accomplished decoupage artist, and her mother, Apple Bartlett, also wrote Sister the Life of Legendary Decorator Mrs. Henry Parish II. With design running in the family, Bartlett started Sister Parish Design in 2001, and created a wildly successful line of fabrics and wallpapers based on the extensive Parish-Hadley archival designs. The line reflects Parish's loved pattern and color with a sense of whimsy. The book incorporates a charming array of watercolor interiors done by Mita Corsini Bland. They are so beautiful and bring each interior to life--- it is tempting to want to frame every last one.

I recently spoke with Susan about the project.

Why this book, why now?

I inherited a lot of water color interiors as I believe it was the fashion then to have interiors painted the way people had portraits of their children painted so there were a lot of them in our family. I love the way they look, but more importantly, they tell the story of a house or room a lot more than a photograph does- at least for me. I think they bring you in and make you think a little more. There is a bit more fantasy at work as well. You can use your imagination as to what went on in the room. Finally, Sally Richardson,head of St. Martins Press, promoted the idea as there are so many books of photographs on the market and she thought this one could be a little bit different. People have also said they have been reading the text of our book more because of the watercolors. They tend to just flip through the pictures in books with all photographs and ignore the text.

Libby and I both love books on design so we just naturally wanted to do one. You can see a list of our favorites and those of the contributors in the recommended reading list at the end of our book. We took the first apartment idea from Dorothy Drapers chapter in Decorating is Fun on the Brides apartment. We also referred back to books we have loved. Of course we both love Mark Hamptons books of watercolors so you can see the obvious references there.

What can the reader take away from the room paintings?

Hopefully inspiration, education and the desire to use your imagination and have fun making the rooms in your house comfortable, inviting and functional. Everyone who contributed to the book has a great passion for design and we hope it translated into the painting and text!


The black walls in Daniel Romualdez’s library provide a wonderful background for the colors in the bright rug and the books.

Sister Parish’s porch in Maine has a wonderful collection of wicker furniture, iron tables, and plant stands. The arched latticework adds an architectural element to the porch and frames the view.

A magnificent collection of reproduction bird prints dominates a game room designed by Tom Scheerer.

A creamware collection is beautifully set off in a cabinet in Todd Romano’s living room.

The bookcases in Brooke Astor’s library are framed in brass and the walls are lacquered in a deep, dark red, creating a wonderful framework for her late husband’s book collection.

Libby Cameron’s living room has a variety of patterns and textures. The pyramid-shaped bookcases flank a pair of French doors. Sister Parish Design’s “Serendipity” fabric is used for the curtains, and yellow “Campbell” covers an Ellis chair.

Miles Redd uses color and textiles to create a warm and inviting living room.

Albert Hadley’s bedroom represents his spare use of objects and his vivid use of color.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Known for her lifelike porcelain fruit and vegetable pieces (I am partial to her neatly tied asparagus bunch), Katherine Houston's work is usually found in upscale main street shops and stores like Scully and Scully. As I perused the internet the other day, I noticed she is doing a line for HSN, called KH Ceramics for HSN. Really? Well, it looks pretty great for the price. Why not get the look for less?

Yellow Lemon

L'original Single Lemon with leaves

Charlotte's Melon in a beautiful citrusy shade

L'original Charlotte's Melon

Sweet Pea Girl

L'original Oh So Pretty Peapod

Not bad.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Since 1985, the artisans at Two World Arts have been creating custom furniture, lighting and decorative accessories for design industry luminaries. Doing to the trade reproduction and restoration, their pieces add a special handmade touch to a room, and they can make almost anything. I went on a fun field trip to their New York workroom this summer, where custom carved wall panels, a gilt headboard and tables were being made for big installations. It is worth seeing their work in person--make an appointment with Jean Chau to visit their showroom at 122 West 18th Street and order something special.

If you need a fretwork piece that adds color, this etagere with bell finials is a great choice.

Dress up a dresser with a beautiful scenic to match a print in the room.

If the budget does not allow for expensive antique deft pieces, this blue and white lidded jar makes for a great stand in.

A Leather bench with a double demi lune base has an au courant limed finish.

A Chinese Chippendale Side Chair is becoming an old standby these days, an interior must!

The reproduction Elkins Loop Chair is hard to find, and creeping in to take the place of the Chinese Chip as a chic side chair of the moment.

Lanterns of all shapes and sizes can be made and decoratively painted.

Wrapped linen! Lacquered! I love this clean, Parsons nightstand with a single drawer and magazine shelf.

When you need to go above and beyond for a client, get a Chinese Wedding Bed custom made.

Photos Courtesy of Two World Arts
A classic Chinoiserie Secretary is a great living room standby, with room for books, objects and geegaws.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Photos by Anna Wolf
New York based interior designer Sara Gilbane is setting the tone for a new generation of interior designers. Having just been named one of the Next Wave Designer's to watch on House Beautiful's list of 20 designers from around the country, she has been on my radar for awhile, so I am so excited to share her work. Gilbane learned the trade, developed her young trad style, and forged ahead, securing great projects and a loyal following along the way. After learning the ropes with Celerie Kemble, she struck out on her own. She loves bold yet traditional patterns and matching upholstered headboard fabric and window treatments. Her rooms come together with great antiques and fresh colors. Sara and I chatted recently about her design and what she is loving now.

Gilbane's West Village apartment, originally shot for Domino, is filled with things she loves--ikat fabric pillows and pretty prints pull her blue living room together.

Photos by Zach Desart
Brunschwig and Fils exotic red floral print jazzes up a headboard and matching bed hangings, making the room come to life. Framed French antique prints add a sense of history.

Touches of red and smaller printed fabrics complete this colorful and fresh scheme.

A well loved campaign chair sits at an antique blue Gustavian dresser with a pull down shelf that serves as a mini desk. A perfect place for jotting a thank you note.

A Florida bedroom incorporates pale grey lattice wallpaper with a glamorous purple tufted bench and jade ceramic garden seats.

An entry hall features an outstanding antique bulls eye mirror and custom Holland and Sherry fabric with pale blue border on the walls.

An interesting Antique rug mixes well with the trad bullion trim on the sofa and skirted table in this study. Since dogs add so much love and personality to a home, I had to show the client's darling Westie, who knows a good sofa when she sees it. David Easton always says dogs should be allowed on the furniture, I could not agree more.

A charming kitchen banquette with Country Swedish chairs include blue painted trim and blue and white fabrics of varying scale that is perfect for its country setting.

This formal dining room in a Florida home includes soft green lacquer walls and a full wall of antique mirror that opens up the space. Both were painted by Christopher Rollinson, the New York based decorative painter extraordinaire and friend, Christopher Rollinson. He has a great paint line called Rollinson Hues that will customize and create any paint color. A stunningly large antique silver chandelier sits above the table that seats 10. Gilbane has a great eye for antiques and color, creating a beautiful space for her clients to entertain in.

Gilbane at home, organizing books in her built in bookcase.

Her scheme boards include a mix of ethnic prints, florals, and lattice-detailed furniture.


Who did you work for/study to learn the trade?
Celerie Kemble- Kemble Interiors- invaluable experience. She taught me everything I know.

What is your signature look? How would you define it?

Traditional with a modern twist. I like spaces to be warm, sophisticated and livable. The space should reflect my client not me! Many people think modern is hard clean lines or that is is cold. Modern is taking pieces from all periods and rearranging them, reupholstering them, refinishing them in a modern way. I love to use unique and sassy wallpapers in unexpected places for a bit of fun.

When did you know this was your calling in life?

At a young age, I was very happy rearranging my bedroom my siblings bedrooms, in college I took on my friends bedrooms. Growing up with my father in real estate and development I was constantly on job sights and I realized the importance of design on a large scale. You big picture vision is very helpful in pulling together an entire home.

What other designer and or architect do you most admire and why ?

Peter Dunham, Ruthie Sommers, Miles Redd, Jeffrey Bilhuber, Kelly Wearstler, Carrier and Co. Their use of color, scale, and the ability to give you something unexpected is very inspiring to me.
Architect: Gil Schafer. I adore his work. He knows that the details are what makes the end product amazing.

What is your favorite go to fabric house/collection or singular fabric?

John Rosselli NYC for fabrics- they have SO MANY amazing designers in their showroom.
Robert Kime, John Robshaw, Kathryn Ireland, Sister Parish, Elizabeth Eakins, Michael Devine, Peter Dunham...there are too many to name just one.

What material do you love?

I love thick high quality linen. Plain or with a wild pattern. The linen gives the pattern ( floral, graphic) depth and is always nice and soft. I am also a huge fan of grass cloth. It lends instant warmth to a room when a simple ivory grass cloth is used or high drama when using a saturated jewel tone grass cloth. Texture keeps the eye interested. With these textures I like to throw in a whole myriad of materials - wood, metal, shell, sisal, bone, antiques mirror. You always need a mix to make a space feel like home.

What is your favorite antique you own and reproduction collection you constantly use as a resource?

My favorite antique I own is a pair of white alabaster lamps with black shades that flank a sofa in my living room. Gorgeous and so heavy you would not believe! I LOVE Chelsea Textiles furniture collection. Fabulous Gustavian reproductions without the naughty bill. Oscar De La Renta's collection for century is another fave.

What is your favorite project and why?

It is tough to pick a favorite.....any project where my client gets excited about the end product is a huge reward for me. I get so excited about the new drapes or wallpaper and when I client walks in and loves it as much as I do it is a great feeling. Interior design is about giving the client a polished, pulled together version of their dream space, not forcing my vision down their throats. It is wonderful to be able to collaborate with someone, get inside their head, and give them a bedroom, living room, or dining room that they have been dreaming about. Layering is another very important aspect of design. My website,,
includes some of my favorite projects where I was able to layer till my hearts content.

What trade or retail store inspires you most?

Lee Jofa and John Rosselli are my two favorite trade sources because they upholster their furniture line and dress their walls in all of their amazing fabrics. Mecox Gardens is a great store- it has locations all over the country and carries a huge selection of vendors so you have the ability to look for several clients at once! Sentimento Antiques is drool worthy. Their antique furnishings and accessories are stunning and make all the difference in my clients homes. Treillage is their antiques store on Lexington and their furniture store on 75th Street has wonderful unique pieces ( modern and antique) and of course 1st dibs. This website is amazing. I can shop for one of a kind items for clients looking through antiques stores all over the world while sitting on my sofa!

What is your favorite new and old interior book?

Favorite new book- Jeffrey Bilhuber Defining Luxury- the colors, the fabrics, the details. I love it.
Though not too old Bunny Williams An Affair with a House. This is rural bliss. So chic and lots of beautiful photos of the grounds of her home.

What country house in America do you most love?

Oscar de La Rentas in Kent is pretty spectacular..... I also love the old homes in Newport, RI.

If you were not doing this what would you do?

Hmmmm, I would probably be an art teacher for kids or a DJ- art and music are two huge influences. Both fields involve creativity, passion, and fun.

What city or town do you visit to inspire you?

Traveling anywhere is inspiring! Though I live in New York City it is still top of the list. Paris, the Greek islands, Hawaii, London....I could go on forever. I think it is very important to get a fresh perspective. It jolts my creative side into high gear and I can't wait to start my next project. In between clients I like to hop on a plane and visit somewhere new and exciting. It is great to be out of your element/ comfort zone.

What are your favorite shops?

John Derian’s shop on the Lower East Side
Bergdorf Goodman
Sharyn Blond linens
Oscar De La Renta
Blair Voltz Clarke for art -
John Robshaw