Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Haus Interiors has a bold zig zag painted floor. It is the first thing visitors see, and it makes them smile.

Nina V. Freudenberger started Haus Interiors on a sweet Nolita block, taking her design philosophy and making it a reality. The area lacked a warm and modern design store, and her shop with decorating studio fills the void. Woods, black white and gray make the color palette of Haus Interiors modern and now. Her love of graphic punch shows in her projects-- from a zig to a zag, Nina knows the impact of a geometric moment. Starting a new venture during an economic rough patch can mean great rewards, especially in an area that needed some home style, I mean Haus style. I went down to visit Nina at 250 Elizabeth Street, and she shared her dream of having a boutique with design services, making that happen, and her big plans.

She shared:
"I went to Rhode Island School of Design and graduated with a Bachelors of Architecture in 2003. Straight from school I was offered a position at an interior design firm (Kondylis Design) for 4 years, after which I decided to open my own firm. For the last 3 years we have worked on various projects ranging from high-end private residential homes, model apartments and office spaces – I love doing them all!

Opening a boutique has always been a dream of mine and with looking for new office space last spring, I realized I could finally make it a reality. I couldn’t think of a better space to work in other then being surrounded by objects I love and believe in. Nolita is such a wonderful neighborhood, I am constantly being inspired by the sophistication and style of the people who come in to shop. With these interactions I am also learning what people really are looking for, typical questions and trends in the world of interior design. These moments help me grow as a business owner and most of all, as a designer.

The store has been such an incredible experience, I am really looking forward to opening a second (and a third) very soon! Although we new on the scene - we have a great following all across the country and have a few location possibilities in mind."
Stay tuned!

Glass shelves display a neatly arranged array of framed prints and objects

Whimsical dog print pillows sit next to wooden boxes with star cut outs

Zig zag throws mirror the floor patterns and keep the gray, black and white color palette flowing.

Monday, March 29, 2010


The Mount in all it's glory

It is always helpful to revisit great showhouses past. In 2002, Edith Wharton's legendary summer home The Mount, in Lenox, Massachusetts had a designer showhouse. For the Mount’s Centennial Celebration, they presented semi-permanent installations. In the (then) newly restored rooms of The Mount’s main and ground floors, each space was interpreted by a modern designer. Designer's selected for the exhibition were Geoffrey Bradfield, Libby Cameron, Thomas Jayne, Charlotte Moss, Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill, Michael Trapp and Bunny Williams. Several of the spaces still have the installations in tact. The Mount is installing a new designer exhibition which will feature French interior designers, including AndrĂ©e Putman. I hope they get the support they need to maintain and keep the Mount as the historic site that inspires visitors in all seasons.

The painted archways and marble inlay floors add beautiful color and pattern to the sweeping grand hall. Spaces like inspire in many ways, from the painted arch details to bright marble use.

The Gallery, designed by Geoffrey Bradfield. Curvy-backed settees line the walls, leading your eye to the bronze statues at the end of the hall.

Charlotte Moss designed the Drawing Room with several seating areas for easy conversation groups.

The Forecourt, designed by Michael Trapp with loads of seashells for a grotto effect. He has a wonderful shop, Michael Trapp Antiques in West Cornwall, Connecticut,that is housed in his Greek Revival home, and features great architectural finds.

Bunny Williams designed The Dining Room. She began her professional career in New York at Stair and Company, the prestigious English antique dealers. She later joined Parish-Hadley Associates and in 1988 founded Bunny Williams Incorporated. Her two New York city shops, Treillage for tabletop, furniture and accessories and Treillage Garden are fantastically edited shopping experiences.

The Den, done by Thomas Jayne. He holds a a master’s degree from the Winterthur Museum Program, and is a serious antique connoisseur. His knowledge has attracted clients to his work, and he has a rug line with Stark,Thomas Jayne for Newport Mansions with EJ Victor furniture, and accessories with Chelsea House. His work incorporates antiques and wonderful historical elements.

Photos by David Dashiell
The room from another angle, showing the workhorse desk and rather large Mahogany framed vertical file cabinet with shagreen panels where the estate paperwork would have been filed.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Photo Courtesy of Hutton Wilkinson
Hutton Wilkinson, protege and collaborator of Tony Duquette's for over 30 years, rounds out an exuberant collection of fabrics,wallpaper, lighting and furniture with the newest addition, rugs. Duquette is known for creating elaborate Broadway costumes, stage settings and over the top decorative items for New York and Hollywood cognoscenti. His furnishings were often re - purposed from found materials that were elevated by using unique finishing techniques with bold and exuberant results. He lived to 85, and his designs were so in demand that catalogs from a Christie's auction in the 80's sold out immediately. Hutton has made sure the Duquette legacy lives on, by collaborating with companies that best executed the vision-- Baker Furniture, Remains Lighting, Jim Thompson Fabrics and now, Roubini for rugs. The rugs capture the greatest hits of Duquette, bringing glamour and drama to the floor.

A personal favorite, Malachite, in an all- over pattern

Leopard in Spinach has an op art quality to it

Fireworks looks both old and new, with an art deco feel

Duquette loved Coral, and the rug is constant pattern of a flowing coral field

Tibetan Sun is a close match to the fabric pattern, and the dominant colors can take a room in many directions

Golden Sunburst with it's rays and overlapping beams is like a modern work of art

Ermine, a Duquette symbol of glamour and the high life, becomes an abstracted pattern when used evenly across the ground

Beauty and The Beast brings Broadway to life, with a charming grisaille stage set

Thursday, March 25, 2010


She started out as a decorative painter. After studying fine art in Paris, Lulu DK got a decorative painting job in New York City, and the rest, as they say, is history. Her apartment showcased her talents, and after it ran in Elle Decor, her phone started ringing. I still have those tear sheets, because they offer an inspiring mix of global elements, with mementos of travels in far off lands. The arched Moorish doorway she created helped kick off an obsession for the exotic. Creative instincts led her to starting her own graphic printed fabric line. Companies started to take notice of her keen design eye, and soon, deals with Elite Leather furniture and bedding with Matouk followed. Her artistic side came through in her watercolors and sketches, which became the foundation for an elaborate scrapbook tome, Lulu, a creative collage of her travels. After years as a New Yorker, Lulu recently relocated to sunny California with her twins in tow. I decided to check in with her about her new life on the left coast. Since her move, she has ramped up her website, added a new blog called Trail of Inspiration, where she talks about her creative process. She seems to be loving the LA way of life. As an artist, the light in LA and lifestyle change would surely affect her creative sensibilities. I wondered what life was like for her now, and caught up with her by email the other day.

Brand new from her 2010 Matouk Collection, the charming Lulu's Garden Charlotte floral with an all over pattern of hydrangea blooms on green stems comes in blue, coral and yellow.

Also from Lulu's Garden collection is Mirabella, a mixed flowers pattern in a great yellow and coral combination. After success came her initial collection, a super cute baby bedding line followed.

Giant Scallop Shell embroidered linen pillows add a dash of seashore to a sofa

Charlotte hand towels with tonal embroidery of a single fresh hydrangea bloom add pop to a powder room.

The Charlotte Pillows will go over well with the guys since they can re-imagine the hydrangea and stem as a teed- up golf ball!

Lilly Pillows in coordinating colors

Lulu can create custom designed fabric, just ask!

The new Palm Springs Wallpaper design. Her fabrics and papers are now available through Donghia showrooms.

Her fabrics coordinate well with each other. They start out as watercolors and sketches and then get transformed into print screens.

The new Bloomsbury print

So what is Lulu loving in LA?

Being a true NY-er I wasn't so sure about LA living immediately, but now I must admit, I have taken to it like a bee to honey. I really love all the plant/ floral life here, honestly, sometimes I feel like I am in Africa- there is such a wide variety of nature here. So I really love that about LA. I also love my house and studio...They are perfect.

Favorite coffee: I don't drink coffee, but the best juice place is News Room Cafe on Robertson...all the shakes and juice concoctions one could ask for.

Hiking Park: Tree People on Mulholland drive...amazing variety of plants and tree. loved taking the babies when they were in baby-Bjorn's.

Antique store: Lee Stanton Antiques at 769 N. La Cienega Boulevard. Hollywood at Home at 724 N. La Cienega Blvd. ...and Nathan Turner in Almont Yard is always fun for a gander.

Favorite thrift/ hi end fashion store: Decades has amazing hi-end clothing and vintage-- the best.

Fresh Flower arrangements for dinner parties and to say thank you: I love Moe's flowers on 8101 Melrose Ave...it isn't cheap but so nice to walk around and see the beautiful sprouting flowers and arrangements everywhere. It has an organic feel and in season their entire building is covered in vines...really beautiful. Also Rolling Greens just opened at 7505 Beverly Blvd., it is fabulous.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


With just six weeks till the doors open, Kips Bay has been rescheduled. The Showhouse raises around $1 million each year for the club, and also showcases a multi million dollar residence that is on the market. It is the ultimate open house. Well, it seems real estate sales in the upper echelons are looking up. Last week, the townhouse on 26 West 76th Street sold for $19.5 million, and the buyer wants to close right away. So on March 19, The Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club Inc. announced that its 38th Annual Decorator Show House, which had been scheduled to open on Friday, April 30, has been postponed and will be rescheduled when a new venue is located. We will have to eagerly await the announcement of a new date and a new home!

Here is the press release:

Daniel Quintero, executive director of Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, said, “We are very grateful to all of the designers, architects, sponsors and many others who already have put a lot of work into this year’s event. The design community is hugely important to Kips Bay and we value everyone’s continued support. We hope to have an alternative fundraiser this spring, and we are looking at a possible date this fall for the 2010 Show House.” Designer Celerie Kemble added, “The Show House must go on, and it will. The funds raised are vitally important to the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club’s important work for children, and we in the design community are ready to rally and scramble in any way we can to help our friends at Kips.”

For the annual show house, which raises approximately $1 million annually for the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, two dozen top interior designers decorate every room, closet and hallway before the house opens to the public. Proceeds from the event benefit the Boys & Girls Club's essential after-school and enrichment programs for more than 13,000 young people at 10 locations in the Bronx. The event is the foremost showcase of interior design talent and trends in America, and receives as many as 20,000 visitors during its four-week run. It has raised more than $16 million since its inception in 1973.

A revised schedule, likely for early fall 2010, will be announced shortly.


Vivid color, bold accessories and a dash of global glamour make the LA- based designer Martyn Lawrence- Bullard's interiors distinctly unique. This same verve comes across in his sophisticated, intensely colored fabric line. The latest additions have that "just back from Turkey, Italy and Greek Islands" feel and integrate well in many settings. The Kaba Kaba can cozy up a library and Majorelle's zig zag can transform a larger space into a graphic, scene- stealing moment. If you visit Hollywood at Home, check out the darling room dedicated to his textiles. It is amazing. They are available through Peter Dunham's Hollywood at Home in LA and Holly Hunt in NYC. Be on the lookout for Martyn's casbah - creating talent when he designs the entry tent for the LA Antique Show in May.

Marrakech in the original colorway (a favorite)

Marrakech in Playa

Marrakech in Grisail

Marrakech in Oasis

Kaba Kaba in Red

Kaba Kaba in yellow

Kaba Kaba in Blue

Majorelle in Original Colorway

Majorelle in Baltic

Majorelle in Azure

Monday, March 15, 2010


Taking a week off to go sailing in the BVI's. You will find me at the Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke with some sort of rum punch concoction in my hand!

Friday, March 12, 2010


The Brighton Way M Cafe

I have been showing a lot of California designer this week-- there is just so much great design going on out there! If you are headed out to LA, and know all the usual great haunts for yummy food and coffee, I have another great spot for you. You may be hitting the PDC for Westweek events, zipping over to Abbot Kinney to check out some new galleries, or looking for modern accessories at Turpan in The Brentwood Country Mart, but you have to make a pit stop at some point! M Cafe de Chaya has the most amazing contemporary macrobiotic cuisine. Not to be confused with eating sheets of burlap, this food is fresh, delicious and you want to go back for your next meal. The owners started off 24 years ago with Chaya Brasserie near shopping mecca, Robertson Boulevard. M Cafe is a light alternative, with a clean bistro feel, and they are all over town now, at 9433 Brighton Way in Bev Hills, 7119 Melrose Avenue, and in hip Culver City. The M Chopped Salad of mixed greens, avocado, cucumber, chickpeas, herb-baked tofu, scallions, pickled radishes, carrots, beets, tamari-roasted almonds and crumbled tempeh bacon with tofu-peppercorn ranch dressing is not to be missed. Not that it will ever replace the amazing Urth Cafe or lattes at Cafe Luxxe in Santa Monica, but it is always good to have a new joint in the repertoire.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


LA- based interior and fabric designer Katie Leede is one busy gal. With her compamy Digs By Katie, she designs interiors. With Katie Leede and Company, she develops fabrics. Her debut Ra Collection was inspired by ancient Egyptian motifs and the natural world. The palette is earthy and rich; the patterns a mix of block printed soft geometrics and beautiful plants and birds. What fun inspiration, it takes me back to my Art History days! The fabrics are available through Holland and Sherry in New York and Chicago, Holly Hunt in LA, and through her website. As a true Texan, her design aesthetic is bold. Her use of color and embroidered fabrics with a diverse mix of antiques and art create memorable settings. Her projects look lived in, and evoke the feeling that their is a history of accumulating great finds. She was recently named one of Traditional Home's Young Traditional designers. I spoke with her recently, and look forward to meeting her when she next visits to New York. Her latest trip found her running around town, visiting her fabrics at Holland and Sherry, and designing a table for the NY Botanical Gardens Orchid Dinner.

Where did you learn the trade?

I have no formal training. My parents had several wonderful homes (Texas, Colorado, NYC, and Maine) and collected contemporary art, so I was exposed to good design and to beautiful physical environments from an early age. I just fell into the business because friends liked what I did with my own apartments and house. I learned by doing. And making lots of expensive mistakes! I have had angels along the way like veteran Lizzie Dinkel help me by giving me access to tremendous sources like the best curtain maker ever/ greatest finisher/ uphosterers/ ,etc, which are the most important thing to have in this business.

When did you know this was your calling in life?

I have always had my finger in the air, wondering “what’s the next thing?” After my acting “career” went basically nowhere because I had no talent for my talent, I decided to start walking through doors that WERE opening for me. Doing design work just comes naturally to me. I even like the social bit—interfacing with demanding clients, etc. It’s all part of the daily challenge that keeps me interested and gives me an opportunity to grow in unexpected ways as a creative person and as a business woman and as a human being. Thinking back, I did play endlessly in my dollhouse, rearranging furniture /painting the walls/ putting up different curtains.And, yes, I have massive numbers of drawings from when I was a child as my mother always made sure art supplies were abundant and readily available.

What other designer and or architect do you most admire (living or not) and wish to meet or collaborate with?

Gosh! Where would I begin? I am the biggest thief ever when it comes to appropriating their ideas , too! For starters, I’m a huge fan of the work of Axel Vervoordt- his exceptional taste in antiques and materials and his flair for using color to create moody, dramatic spaces is extraordinary. Jacques Granges ‘ wit and exceptional juxtaposition of cool fabrics and unusual stuff is an ongoing source of delight and inspiration.I also really admire the work Alberto Pinto has done in Morocco. I bet all of them would be fun to share supper with.

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

Hmm.That’s a tough one. Peter Dunham in LA and John Rosselli in NYC carry lots of wonderful, bohemian lines such as Peter Dunham, Carolina Irving and Martyn Lawrence Ballard .I am obsessed with the sheers and linens from C&C Milano.Manuel Canovas’ Rouge de Chien cotton velvet is a favorite. Rose Tarlow has some real classics and Holly Hunt Great Plains and Christian Liagre’s line for Holly Hunt are great for the basics. Of course, my absolute number one favorite fabric line is my own at the moment! I just love it! And my one woven in the collection called Thatch, which is based on an early 19th century homespun, is terrific for everything: upholstery, curtains, you name it.

What materials do you frequently use?

Linen, linen velvet and hemp.

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

The big, baroque Portuguese bed in my master bedroom. It’s made from two oversized twin beds pushed together. It’s fabulous. I do mostly custom reproductions using my own carpenters and finishers but I do order things from Gregorius Pineo and I always am watching what Rose Tarlow is up to. Both those lines have a keen sense of line and finish. They don’t look faux the way most lines do.

What trade or retail store inspires you most?

There are so many! To name a few: Amy Perlin and Wyeth in NYC and I like to hit all the stores on the 600 block of Almont in LA:Richard Shapiro/Inner Gardens/Waldo/Peter Dunham/Nathan Turner/Harbinger/and Lief..I always find lots of good things there.

What is your favorite new and old interior book?

My favorite new-ish design books at the moment are the Beta-Plus series of Belgium Interiors. My most prized old book is “Les Decorateurs des annees 40” by Bruno Foucart and Jean-Louis Gaillemin. My head spins when I contemplate the kind of break out creativity of that time period.

Is there a project or iconic room by another interior design living or not that you love?

I could have gotten very cozy and comfortable and played a mean game of cards in Nancy Lancaster’s yellow room in London.

If you were not doing this what would you do?

If I could carry a tune, I would be a singer. But I can’t so..painting would be a good way to learn to really see and enjoy everything more in depth.

What city do you visit to inspire you?

I like going to new and exotic places like Istanbul or Ubud whenever possible but nothing beats New York City when it comes to packing multiple punches. You’ve got Central Park, the museums, dance and theater and restaurants and fascinating people, great shops and I am lucky to have wonderful friends who continually push me into being brave and adventurous.


Isis Bluebird in Plum

Isis in Carob

Isis in Persimmon

Hathor full length

Hathor in Grasses

Hathor in Cinnabar

Thebes full length

Thebes in Agate

Thebes in Currant

Osiris in full length

Osiris in Medjool

Osiris in Pepper

Papyrus in Clay

Papyrus in Amulet

Lux in Algae

Lux in Lichen

Lux in Riverbed

Lux in Red Sea

Sos in Clove

Sos in Lazuli

Sos in Saffron

Menna in Pharros Pond

Menna in Rush of Rose

Menna in Shells Belly

Amun Border in Charcoal

Amun Stripe in Charcoal

Amun Border in Juniper

Amun Stripe in Juniper

Amun Border in Root

Amun Stripe in Root

Cairo Stripe in Delta

Cairo Stripe in Palm

Cairo Stripe in Rames Red