Friday, July 30, 2010


Photos courtesy of Mrs. Strong

Stationery aficionados rejoice! Mrs. John L. Strong has been purchased, and it is back in business after much speculation. Would it be revived, would it just be a memory of great stationery design past? The soigne and chic paper company that makes bespoke writing papers and stationery, limited edition seasonal Ready to Write™ collections, and desktop accessories such as calendars, event and wine journals, book marks and gift tags, is back in action. Purchased by Jacqueline Kotts, she became the proprietor of Mrs. Strong in the Fall of 2009. "I have long had a love affair with the Mrs. John L. Strong brand and am tremendously passionate about the beautiful products we create and the superior service we provide to our customers. It is my intention to run Mrs. Strong in a manner true to its 80 year-old traditions as the premier provider of quality stationery to the discerning client, " she says.
Founded in 1929, the paper company has long been a staple in stylish New Yorker's writing cache, and I was thrilled when I was walking up Madison and saw their window display was revived. They still create the same designs as they have for years, and their amazing dies, unique color inks and custom capabilities are once again available. Visit 699 Madison Avenue's flagship red - walled showroom to re-order your favorite papers.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Don't despair like Talitha Getty (shown here on a Moroccan rooftop), entertaining can be easy! There are few things as fun as theme parties, where guests dress in costume and get festive. Get into the mood to be in Morocco with a souk - themed fantasy. Here are some ideas to go along with the tagine cooking and pomegranate themed cocktails!

Photo courtesy of Raj Tents
For a summer party, a tent from Raj Tents transports the setting to faraway lands. Be in a Moroccan Pavilion on your own lawn.

Photo courtesy of Sheherazade
This beautiful embroidered ottoman will be a nice perch for your guests, from Sheherazade.

Photo courtesy of Sheherazade
For another seating option check out their Mosharabia Divan-- love the wood detailing.

Photo courtesy of Two's Company
The Salome Round Ottoman from Two's Company is a fun patchwork option.

Photo courtesy of Barney's
I found these killer glasses at Barney's in orange.

Photo courtesy of Gien
The Ronde d’Orient china pattern from Gien is a charming floral for a summer table.

Ikat bowls from Sheherazade with rosewater and rose petals added to floating votives make add an evening glow.

Photo courtesy of Madeline Weinrib
Add some zing with Orange Chevron Blockprint Napkins from Madeline Weinrib.

Photo courtesy of Cultural Intrigue
Light it up with paper covered votive holders from Cultural Intrigue.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Tricia Foley, the brilliant stylist, former creative director of Wedgwood, author and designer, has a seasonal gig she puts on a few times a year, called The New General Store. Friends and design industry visionaries gathered recently in the Watermill field of Peri Wolfman and Charlie Gold for a summer gathering of seasonal foods, design and beautiful home and tabletop products. The store went live for three days, and visitors were treated to foods prepared by Roy Hardin and gorgeous gifts with vintage patina galore. Products from Peri Wolfman of Wolfman-Gold & Good Co., The Old Orchard, Roy Hardin's steel firepits and firewood holders were displayed in a perfectly styled photo-shoot-ready scene. Finds included items you can use all year long. Like something out of another time, they created a true summer fair atmosphere.

Photos courtesy of Tricia Foley
The tented area welcomed shoppers to a farmstand meets great country store, with a chalkboard sign that read The New General Store in beautiful script

An old pick up truck owned by the talented photog Keith Scott Morton sits next to a modern angular tent that shades the flowers

Rough hewn and perfectly aged wooden chargers and plates sit stacked ready for takers

Strawberry rhubarb, peach, rosa rugosa, lemon verbena jams, and lavender honey, vases, and home accessories, baskets and crates are arranged in beautiful moments with pretty hang tags

Roy Hardin's amazing handmade steel firepits and firewood holders

Celebrating local grown and produced vittles, rosemary olive oil, extra virgin olive oil, lemon vinegar, sweet fennel vinegar, and sage vinegar for sale

Jasper Conran for Wedgwood White bone china mugs hang on a vintage bottle drying rack

Beautifully packaged soy candles in sweetgrass, linden, and lemon verbena make great summer gifts

If you want to track down some of these goodies now that the pop up is over, I will let you know how you can soon...

Monday, July 26, 2010


Serena & Lily is giving away one of their absolute fave home items every day for seven days! It is a giveaway marathon, can you hang in there for that long?! All you have to do is “Like” Serena & Lily on Facebook and look for their daily question. Write your answer on the wall and you’re entered to win! Click here to get in the running!

Check out what is in the offing:

The Parker X Bench

Classic Whites Bedding with green accents


Photos courtesy of Katherine Rally Textiles
The Dupps family surrounded by their designs

After I posted Batik Beauties covering batik fabrics and accessories, I was inundated with emails and Facebook messages telling me I had to know about Rally and Kathy Dupps. Thanks to Nicky Rising in LA, I now know about a beautiful line of batik fabrics called Katherine Rally Textiles designed by an amazing family that lives in Bali. The story of their collection is what dreams are made of-- everyone will wish they lived this gorgeous existence! Their textile company was inspired by their love of travel, textiles they had seen on their journey, and design. Rally, an architect, is from Nashville, and Kathy, an interior designer from Arizona, met in 2002. The great adventurers decided to backpack through Southeast Asia, to see how it went and what might come of it. After a marriage proposal, "they both thought 6 weeks in India sounded way more interesting than a diamond ring", says their website, so they hit the road. The fabric bug began with a sketch and a sarong, and the rest, as they say, is history. They relocated to the island of Bali, Indonesia, known for their batik artistry, with their two small children when the economy went south, and dug in their heels, creating batiks in modern patterns and great colors. When they are not globetrotting and creating textiles, they make their home in Aspen, Colorado. The fabrics are available through Walker Zabriskie Furniture in Palm Beach, the shop Lotus Bleu in San Francisco, to the trade in LA through Nicky Rising Limited, Travis and Company in Atlanta to the trade and more places listed on their website.

I recently caught up with Rally, who gave me the scoop:

Perhaps you can share your story from inspiration to reality.

Bali is a real melting pot and crossroads of culture and this mixed with amazing natural beauty means anyone with an iota of creativity will find inspiration here. Thomas Edison was right: inspiration is 99% perspiration (that goes double for hot humid Bali). One time I was on a long walk in the rice field and an elderly Balinese lady was making her rounds with incense and offerings for her shrines and I noticed she was wearing the most amazing batik sarong. I tried to capture it in my imagination as best I could and then began drawing furiously when I got home.

What made you decided to produce your own collection?

A collection must have a point of view. When you close your eyes and think of Katherine Rally Textiles, what comes to mind? I ask myself this question every time I begin designing something new. I want people to think of Katherine Rally Textiles as bold, beautiful batiks in memorable patterns using an innovative mix of modernism and tradition. Adding to our collection means offering our clients more of what they have come to love from us, but taken to a new level. It is an endless, delightful journey.

Do you sell retail and to the trade?
Actually, we sell to both. Our pillows and tableware are available through retailers and our fabric is sold through showrooms. All of our retailers and showrooms are shown on the "where to buy" section of our website, Katherine Rally.

A stack of colorful patterned pillows

Napkins styled on a bamboo ladder

The textiles:

Garden Gate in pink coral

Dallah in Kelly Green

Pondicherry in pink coral

Sassa in pink coral

Eliza in classic blue

Fleur in empire red

Rebecca in powder blue

Monaco in bougainvellea

Ballian in classic blue

Joie de Vivre in empire red

Afrique in chocolate

Friday, July 23, 2010


So you know how much I adore dogs. The other night I was watching Sundance Channel's great show, Man Shops Globe with Anthropologie's editor- at- large and buyer Keith Johnson. His journey with Anthro began in 1994 when his partner Glen Senk, now CEO of parent company Urban Outfitters Inc., became president. He spends much of his time on a plane, scouring every artist's studio and design lead, searching for the perfect decorative products for all 123 of Anthropologie's stores. In the episode I caught, he was collecting dog objects and paintings throughout Scotland for an auction to support a Main Line Pennsylvania dog shelter, near where he lives. He went to visit an artist, as he does in every episode, and I hang on every word and want to retrace his pilgrimage! He came upon one artist's studio that I was especially taken with, that of Domenica More Gordon. Her expressive miniature felted wool dog's are incredible. From what I know all the dogs she has created through The Workshop Edinburgh have sold out. If you are feeling handy, you can take a stab at creating your own with her Grey Dog and White Dog kits, which can be ordered on the school's site.

Photo from Man Shops Globe
Domenica More Gordon with one of her creations in the palm of her hand

How can you refuse this face?

Photos from the Workshop Edinburgh
This old guy has such poise

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Lars uptown is open for business! After helping turn around Gansevoort St. in 2002 with his vast shop, Lars Bolander has made the pilgrimage closer to the D and D Building, along design row. No stranger to running a shop, in 1995, he opened his eponymous Palm Beach location, bringing the island his take on Swedish style. Their new loft- like space at 232 East 59th Street on the 3rd Floor is beautifully done. Vignettes capture the essence of global design, and the signature chair wall is in place, showcasing hand carved Massant Chairs, which they carry exclusively.

Giant stone urns on columns flank a cane daybed and greet visitors

Beautiful gray painted small mirrors hang in a cluster above a classic settee. Fantastic lamps resembling fiddle head ferns add a playful element

Graphic pillows are on pieces throughout the showroom, making great accessories an arm's length away

An extra long settee would work in a hallway or large staircase landing. Lars has a large art collection which he likes to rotate between the shops and his homes. The pieces in the gallery are wonderful and the prices range. He also likes to bring in Swedish artists as the pieces are not always what people expect, lots of abstract pieces with vibrant colors and bold brush strokes.

An artfully arranged grouping of wooden mushrooms sprout out of the floor

A stunning carved antique mirror hangs near a fantastical decorative umbrella in an elephant stand

The umbrella sets a vacation mindset when you are shopping

A wooden etagere holds accessories galore! Everywhere you turn, accessories and exotic elements are beautifully merchandised.

A metal table is painted with soft stripes and is summer perfect

Wonderful blown glass balls clustered like grapes hang throughout the shop, making an artistic statement, and petrified wood tables are a great way to add a natural element

I caught up with Lars recently, during our endless heat wave when I visited him in the beautiful new location.

What do you keep in mind when you go shopping for you Palm Beach and Uptown New York City locations?

Things are changing; people desire simpler pieces that can be used in more varied rooms. I always buys what I like and never moves with trends. The biggest factor in what I choose for the shops is where I have just been on vacation. I recently returned from Morocco so we expect a shipment from there; last moth it was Greece so a container is on its way from there, etc. I have decorating clients all over there world so you never know what style of furniture might be coming at any given time.

What are some roadblocks you have experienced with importing?

One thing that is happening is that Swedish antiques are becoming more difficult to get and bring into the United States. Their popularity has stripped the country and the government is making more and more difficult to take them out of Sweden. However, there are excellent reproductions coming onto the market which helps people due to their price range and options of colors and sizes.

How has the retail experience changed from when you first opened?

There is a big shift towards selling through the Internet; many “shops” don’t even have store fronts and just sell through the Internet. We are selling much more through having a website and emailing clients tear sheets, however, there are definitely pieces that clients want to see in person so we will always have a retail shop. We make a real effort in our shops to give the customer an experience of being in someone’s home. They can see the pieces arranged in a way that can help them understand how to use them in their own space. It’s always wonderful to see people come in and say “I never thought of using something like that piece in that way.”

What is your idea bliss?

I enjoy relaxing with friends, a drink in hand in my pool house done in bright Indian inspired colors and swimming in my pool. I would swim all day if I could.

What are some of your favorite things and what do you like to surround yourself with?

My favorite things are food, wine, art and a big screen TV to watch old movies on. My extraordinary wife, Nadege Kalachnikoff, had a catering company and owned a few restaurants in Washington D.C. and then in New York, so she keeps me well fed.

What advice do you have on entertaining at home? What are your party essentials?

I do all entertaining in my large kitchen as it houses the dining table. If the weather permits, then dining is done outside. I love to grill, so I will use any excuse to light up the coals. I am the king of the cheese soufflé, too.

I only use one type of flower at any given event and that would depend on the season that the party thrown. Different events warrant different “essentials” as I enjoy mixing things up quite a bit. Latin music is always playing; however, themes can range from Moroccan Nights to a Swedish cocktail party. Events at the Bolander house are always quite informal though, I like everyone to be relaxed and comfortable at my house.

How do you like illuminate evening parties?

I like to put a lot of candles in lanterns and place them around the pool. I enjoy lanterns and candle holders that give off dramatic shadows.

When it comes to seating and serving areas, is it buffet or sit down?

All seating is done informally in the kitchen which holds the only dinning table in the house. Serving is done sitting down but usually with a lot of commotion as everyone in the family likes to cook and has to add their two cents.