Thursday, November 28, 2013


Photo courtesy of Fish's Eddy 
One of the many splendors of Thanksgiving is sitting down to a beautiful meal and giving thanks. Cooking becomes a sport on such holidays, so to avoid creating a disaster area in the kitchen, you can keep counters mess-free with a spoon rest.  Take a break from stirring the gravy and place said spoon on a fancy-looking ceramic dish with a funny saying on it. Rest in Grease says the tray, from Fish's Eddy with a realistic rendering of an over-sized silver spoon. It will make your wooden spoon or spatula look glamorous, but it might not solve a lumpy gravy situation. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


As my mom is fond of saying,  to quote Benjamin Franklin, "A place for everything, everything in its place." If only it was that easy in a New York City apartment, if only.  I have a thing for decorative boxes, one of the easiest ways to put this phrase into action. They have the ability to elevate a setting, and add a design moment when set atop a stack of books on the coffee table or on the shelf of an etagere. They also create storage for small objects, a reason to desire them even more. The antidote to clutter, they provide a place to tuck away necklaces and stray earrings, as well as business cards that need corralling.  Taking snazzy luxe materials and transforming them,  Addison Weeks, started by close friends, Southerners Lee Addison Lesle and Katherine Weeks Mulford,   creates decorative brass boxes encrusted with semi-precious stones. Brass is hot/hot/hot again. The gals also design terrific jewelry that my friend Holly Phillips of The English Room told me about. It is hard to choose just one of these boxes, since the slightly bohemian pieces look even more amazing together, sparking aplenty. My choice? The rectangular version with gobs of single stones covering the surface. It is a more is more statement, but on a coffee table, it will stand out from the sea of books.

Photo courtesy of Addison Weeks
A large brass box with dazzling Aqua Chalcedony pieces is lined in blue velvet.

The Bendall Box, covered in Ocean-blue labradorite.

A medium rectangular box with a rectangular Lapis on the lid

For stark contrast, a darker stone.

For earrings or desk necessities, a small square box with a blue turquoise on the top.

with a faceted Chalcedony...
or Moonstone...

A round box with teardrop shaped Turquoise.

Rose Quartz, Labradorite and Green Turquoise.

Monday, November 25, 2013


Photo courtesy of Oscar de la Renta
Flowers are usually the centerpiece of choice for the Thanksgiving table. Few things are as beautiful as bright dahlias in orange and yellow, but why not use fresh fruit and vegetables instead? Adding the right dose of color as well as texture, the inclusion of fruits provide the dual function of being edible and eco. Start with a bowl that has personality. I love Oscar de la Renta's new heart-etched footed glass bowl. Hand-blown in Portugal, the bubbled glass has an early American charm. Just the sensibility that is perfect for a Thanksgiving table. After it serves its purpose on the table, the bowl can elevate the everyday as a popcorn bowl on movie night.

Friday, November 22, 2013


Photo courtesy of Tozai
Behold, they're gold! To add shimmer and individuality to the dining or side table, try bringing in some leaves that will last. Made of brass, these highly detailed versions of the real thing from Tozai will never dry up, and they add just the right amount of gold gleam without going Hermitage- style Russian. Gardeners will be agog at how lifelike the Lotus, Gloxinia, Rhubarb, Sassafras, Butterfly Bush, Tobacco, Calla Lily, Papaya, Chrysanthemum, and Mimosa leaves look, and will appreciate the fact that they are not as steep an investment as the fancier sterling silver or gold dipped leaves found at Buccellati and William Yeoward.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


 Photo courtesy of Natuzzi
Just chill

 There is a big emphasis these days on health and wellness for rejuvenation. When I got to hear Arianna Huffington speak at The Design Leadership Summit, she discussed what she calls "The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money and Power.  Since experiences have started to become more valued than things and stuff, the process does really matter.   It's the thing I really struggle with, the work life balance. Her point, that companies and people are pushing themselves too hard and not sleeping enough or well enough really resonated with the designer-filled audience. As an alternative to burnout and a heart attack at 50, some forward thinking companies are taking wellness matters into their offices, installing nap rooms. So rather than working harder, people can be refreshed by 20 minutes of shut eye and work smarter. Is this something that is realistic for every workplace environment? Probably not, but it is a good place to start, since unplugging from our devices can both calm the mind and encourage creative think time. Since Human Capital can be the most important kind, why not stop/unplug and recharge your batteries from time to time? Being busy as busy can be, and stressed out from the barage of emails and information coming towards us, time to unplug is becoming crucial.
One of the sponsors of my High Point visit was Natuzzi, a brand best known for its leather sofas. They have the most cutting edge showroom at market-- it looks like a sleek, black-hulled ship pulling in to dock. Inside the ship, they debuted a new chair called Re-vive, a "performance recliner" that can best be described as, well, airline chic. The chair's movements are intuitive, and there is no need to push a lever or button for it to recline. It moves with your body, from neutral to upright, to better support nap time.  

 Photo courtesy of West Elm
In order to create a super cozy cocoon, they studied the movements of a lobster tail to articulate the movements the chair should make. To enhance chill out time, wrap up in an wool throw in a red, blue or grey plaid specially designed by heritage brand Fairbault Woolen Mills in Minnesota for West Elm

 Another thing that we all need more of is water. I know I don't drink enough, so Soma's ergo eco friendly carafe and filtration system is on my Christmas list. I first read about this in Fast Company, and everyone is talking about it. as the Kickstarter phenom. Form follows function here, beautifully.

 Photo courtesy of Egg Collective
To further the sleek design aesthetic, Egg Collective's small Samuel Side Table of waxed bronze has the  linear restraint of a Richard Serra sculpture.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


 Design has the power to transform. It also, as it turns out, has the power to help heal. The benefits of calming spaces and their ability to promote well being are becoming clear. To see this theory in action, just take a look at some of the well-designed spaces created by top talent-- 26 New York area interior designers at Long Island's Ronald McDonald House. Anthony Baratta jump-started the project as the creative director, and brought in wonderful partners like Kravet. Full of creative details, soothing and energizing color, the 18 redesigned bedrooms and public spaces provide a welcoming home-away-from-home for patients and their families  that come from near and far for medical treatment. I had the pleasure of seeing the spaces and got the chance to talk to the designers while hosting Editor at Large, and got to hear how meaningful it was for them to partake in this charity. This is not another showhouse, it is a permanent, fully functional living space that will be enjoyed and appreciated over and over again. With 300 Ronald McDonald Houses across the country, wouldn't it be amazing to see this done on a national scale? The projects will be featured in New York Cottages and Gardens, so be sure to read more about #projectdesign there.

 Editor at Large covered the gala evening, it had designers looking their best for the big reveal.

 Yes, I really was that excited, I got to talk to Ronald.

The public spaces, as done by Anthony Baratta, with tons of color and giant sized doll houses.

Pops of red and blue in the playroom created by Bunny Williams.

Amanda Nisbet brought some zing with shades of sunny yellow.

Nick Olsen, never one to shy away from color, created a primary color-filled kids room with stripes and color blocking.
As a sanctuary, the bedrooms are a place for rejuvenation and relaxation. Meg Braff did just that with pale blue, white and green.

Jennifer Metadash had fun with color, creating an escape with creative details like painted Moorish arches above the headboards and a flowery Chinoiserie wallpaper on the ceiling.

Eric Cohler created an exotic escape with recessed cut outs of Moorish arches backed in red and a striped ceiling.

Paint is an easy way to create something unique, and Jamie Drake expanded this irregularly shaped bedroom with a wall of wide stripes.

New moms can escape to the nursery room designed by Tilton Fenwick for quiet time in a cozy floral-covered chair.

Each room has a totally different look, and Jon Call created a handsome haven with masculine details and clean lines.

Angles everywhere led Drew McGukin to embrace them. Check out the slanted headboard.

Like an island getaway, Mabley Handler's pale aqua walls and white bedding are as soothing as the sky and sand.

For the fan of warm modern, DwellStudio brought some Mid-Century flair using grey and yellow.

A neutral palette grounds Pappas Miron's bedroom. Pops of aqua and orange add an element of fun.

Kate Singer added a bit of escapism with framed animal prints against lilac walls and yellow accents.

Matthew Patrick Smyth shared that his baseball memorabilia came from Ebay. It seems collected over time, and any Mets fan would be thrilled to chill in this dugout.

Using linear bands of color to create architecture around the room, Young Huh injected a sense of fun through pattern and color with modern and traditional pieces.

Coral and pale blue dominated Michael Tavano's color and pattern filled space. Giant glowing orbs, hung at random, resemble planets in the sky. 

Suzanne Costa created a luxe tree house setting with re purposed wood on the walls and faux fur throws.

Even the laundry rooms got the head to toe treatment- how chic is this space with pops of red by Danielle Colding?

How fun to watch fish swim across the walls while doing laundry?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Photo courtesy of Plat du Jour
Paper placemats are an easy way to add a decorative touch to the table. It's not the end of the world when they get food on them because you can throw them away, and just tear off another one from the pad they came on. Plat du Jour makes their pads with 50 sheets, so if extra guests show up or you have tons of kids at the children's table, you can create a consistent, festive air. The artistic, realistic turkey rendering in sepia is like having an engraved print as your placemat, providing the perfect high/low moment.

Monday, November 18, 2013


I have long admired the incredible depth of assortment California-based Carolina Con has on her luxurious, tabletop-laden home decor website, Gracious Style. When she said she wanted to become a Stylebeat sponsor, I knew it would be a great fit-- she has a steady eye and the ability to find items that are useful as well as beautiful. To introduce you to her great sense of style, here is a round-up of items for the table that will see you through the holidays, from Thanksgiving to Christmas, and all the parties in between. I chose an autumnal palette of greens and browns, with mixed metal accessories for good measure. May your table sparkle as brightly as the family and friends around it.

Photos courtesy of Gracious Style
Bring old-world influence to the table with Juliska's Firenze stoneware patterned china, where a marbleized pattern like those found on Florentine end-papers is designed large-scale in shades of pistachio green and brown.

Tiny canape plates serve multiple functions, from plating appetizers to small amuse bouche.  Juliska's  Firenze pattern can do the job, and also be used on the dinner table, as a saucer for a ramekin of cranberry sauce at each guest's placesetting.

The matte gold finish of Herdmar's Rocco flatware adds a subtle glamour to the table, dressing it up. The finish does not tarnish, so it can easily be used everyday.

Sferra's Filetto napkins in linen with contrasting borders and hemstitch detail in rich wintry hues.

This bird can keep you big bird company-- birds of a feather. Intricately detailed gold placecard holders from L'Objet have crystal eyes and comes in a set of 6.

Salt and pepper shakers are a must, so why not get some that are a conversation starter? Little pewter and wood acorn S and P shakers from Vagabond house are just too cute. For those of you that would rather not gather around a table with your wacky relatives (I am looking forward to it, I'm happy to report), here's a topic: how many variety's of Oak trees are there?

Thinking about Thanksgiving may have you pining for some Americana, so Vietri's splatter ware platter fits in perfectly.

Don't be afraid to mix metals on the table, it is almost impossible to have everything match, and the mix is much more interesting. A classic pitcher can earn its keep year round, and I especially like this lidded version from Vagabond House. Pewter accents make it more interesting than just glass or crystal, and the decorative handle makes something functional pretty.

I have never met a hurricane I didn't like. They keep the table from wax drips, cast a beautiful reflection, and the candlelight makes everyone look their best. In keeping with the classic silhouette Match's Convertible Hurricane with pewter base and ball feet can hold tapers or a wide candle.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Photo courtesy of Urban Outfitters
We are living in the age of fancy sneakers. Every brand is trying to one-up the competition with exclusive designs. Playing off the classic heritage of both brands, Converse's Jack Purcell recently launched these classic wool camp blanket- covered sneaks. Keep your tootsies warm and toasty with on the big city streets or backwoods trails. Call them your "winter sneakers". Available at Urban Outfitters.

Photo courtesy of Pendleton
An updated version of the classic Pendleton Four Points brightly striped camp blanket, made of fine Merino wool. The addition of fringe dresses it up. The design really holds up since being invented for Fur Trappers. 

Photo courtesy of Woolrich
Made of New Zealand wool and loomed in England, Hudson's Bay Four Points Blanket from Woolrich, who holds the official license. You should have it dry cleaned so it will endure year after year.