17/08/2012 § Leave a Comment
There’s something I love about organization on display, be it a closet, a curio, a bar cart, a gallery wall, whatever — a thoughtful and artistic arrangement of a collection of items will always draw my eye. I don’t mean to say that one should be a pack-rat, but there is definitely something about spaces where everything is all put away that just seems…sterile. Vanilla. Impersonal. Granted, to pull off some of the scenes in these pictures, you’d need a rather deep assortment of stuff and whatnot….and quite a bit of space to display it all, but why couldn’t you start small? A few books here, a small grouping of nick-knacks there, and you’re definitely on your way.
For organizational inspiration, a few images from my House & Home board on Pinterest, and a few furniture ideas (yes, I know, pricey indeed — I’ll personally be using them for guidance while I scour eBay and Craigslist for cheaper options). One of my very favorite spaces is the Manhattan apartment of Michael Haney and Brooke Cundiff, which was shot by Todd Selby last year — definitely check it out. Aside from getting to take a peek into their envy-inducing home, there are several interesting vignettes and arrangements that are bound to spark an idea or three.
French directoire style ebonized curio cabinet by Jansen (1940s)
Hollywood Regency gilt bamboo etagere (1950s)
Glass sided vitrine (1920s)
Lastly, if you noticed the adverse possession joke I snuck
into the title of this post, I’d like to salute you, fellow law nerd…
10/08/2012 § 1 Comment
Loved this glimpse into the home of Caroline Issa, the executive fashion director of Tank Magazine, photographed by Natalie Joos. I’m a big fan of Issa’s style, which tends to combine unexpected elements with excellent tailoring, so when I happened to cross paths with her at the Rag & Bone F/W 2012 show, I came thisclose to making a bit of a fool of myself by proclaiming my admiration. Thankfully, I managed to keep my cool.
I will admit that I expected Issa’s home to be much more colorful, but perhaps there is something kind of perfect about the whiteness of the space — a “less is more” approach that leaves plenty of room for Issa to push the boundaries with her personal style.
Be sure to visit Tales of Endearment for the full tour.
16/07/2012 § 1 Comment
Quite taken by this West Hollywood home by California interior designer Schuyler Samperton. The eclectic mix of the old with the new, the feminine and the masculine, the west with the east, strikes a stately balance that seems arty, intelligent and worldly. Some of my favorite bits include the inlaid box above, and the zebra skin rug and bamboo bookshelf below — lovely touches, indeed. And that library!
29/04/2012 § 3 Comments
Most homes of a certain age in Los Angeles usually come with old Hollywood stories of former residents. This Spanish beauty in Westwood, owned by good friends of mine, is no different. Home to Spencer Tracy and his wife for a time, and host to an intimate concert by Louis Armstrong, this estate has a charmingly eccentric layout, complete with original tile work, exposed beams, hardwood floors, interesting built-ins and one of the only SoCal basements I am personally aware of.
A relatively recent purchase, the owners are still hard at work with renovations but I twisted some arms and was allowed to take a few photos of their progress thus far. I can’t wait to see the finished product.
02/04/2012 § 1 Comment
“Harriet’s projects stitch together restoration and classic modern design; the 20’s hang out with the Edwardians, everyone is invited, just as long as you are well turned out. Her confidence and her playful nature with design allows rooms to be fun without the ridiculous, smart without dullness and most importantly a place you would want to be.” [via]
When the past is engaged in an active dialogue with the present, you already know my interest is piqued. Here, the mid-19th century late Georgian home of designer Harriet Anstruther in London successfully honors its architectural origins without a slavish adherence to Georgian decor, creating a statement home that feels fresh, yet nostalgic — and is completely personal. What I love about this space is its successful and seamless blending of so many different sources of inspiration without the sacrifice of comfort or personality. Neither a stuffy museum nor a stark exercise in modernism, its soaring white walls immediately call to mind a gallery space, a context helped along by the family’s art collection. Some of my favorite touches include the Penguin watercolor, the crystal chandeliers, the black stripes of the upholstery, the magenta skylight in the shower and — above all — the fire bucket sink and the Fornasetti wallpaper in the bathroom. Hello, lover.
Whereas our last discussion on interiors encouraged me to mix up my sources (IKEA vs. antique finds), I really like how this home illustrates a successful mingling of very different aesthetics. It’s got me inspired…and eying the Harper sofa by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. Thoughts?
All images via T Magazine.
23/03/2012 § 3 Comments
While it remains one of my absolute favorite pastimes to meander through the rich imagery of high-end design magazines and websites (for which my House & Home board on Pinterest has become an essential accompaniment), I personally am not yet a member of that rarefied club that can actually purchase such luxury items. Please note the “yet”! That said, I still think there is plenty of inspiration to be had by looking at gorgeous places (like the East Village apartment of Ralph Lauren Executive VP Alfredo Parades that I found over on Habitually Chic today — swoon!) for lower-budget households like my own. But what is absolute tops, is finding a home that is decorated not only in an aesthetic that I appreciate, but also with furnishings within the reach of my own pocketbook.
Whilst my head did explode upon my initial view of this lovely home, featured on Skona Hem, with its empire touches and rustic feel, it exploded a second time after I translated the text and discovered that this home had been furnished with a combination of antique treasures and new purchases from Ikea. Ikea, people! Does this not give you hope that with a little eBay stalking, flea market wandering and a trip to your local Ikea, you too could have such an amazing nest?
Big items from Ikea include the canopied bed and the couch. Really love the restrained palette here, which calls to my mind sepia photographs, and the open storage of the china, in varying shades of off-white. The space is a hodge podge, but one with continuity.
In fact, I’m rather ashamed to admit that I thought Ikea didn’t really have anything to offer me, other than picture frames and Swedish meatballs. Obviously, I need to take the water taxi to Red Hook and put my creative hat on. I also must mention another source I’ve recently come across that is oriented toward affordable decor: Copy Cat Chic. Best part? When founder Reichel chooses a high-end home item (rug, chair, lamp, etc.) and then finds a virtually identical, more affordable item.
What about you?
Got any secret decor sources you’d be willing to share with me?
21/02/2012 § 1 Comment
The Palazzo Margherita, located in the town of Bernalda, Italy was built in 1892 by the Margherita family. Purchased in 2004 by Francis Ford Coppola, the palazzo has been transformed into a tiny (only nine guestrooms) luxury hotel with the kind of interiors that give me heart palpitations. No staid adherence to one single style here, rather it is the combination of the expertise of Parisian designer Jacques Grance and the input of members of the Coppola clan. This gorgeous hotel has a cosmopolitan and sophisticated feel, with a healthy dose of Belle Époque.
The owner of other small hotels in Belize, Guatemala, Argentina and New Orleans, this property was a labor of love for Coppola, as his grandfather, Agostino Coppola, was born in the town of Bernalda. Bernalda, a small hilltop town near the Ionian Sea in the Bazilicata region of Southern Italy, is not a major tourist attraction, which I think makes this dramatically luxurious hotel even more alluring. Can you not imagine long lazy days wandering the countryside and exploring the town, lounging in the sun by the pool, soaking in those glorious tubs?
I definitely can.
The Palazzo was also featured in the March 2012 World of Interiors.
Corso Umberto 64
75012 Bernalda (MT)
Quite Continental Desired Destinations
All images via Palazzo Margherita and the WSJ.
02/02/2012 § 8 Comments
The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life
Image via House to Home.
Day 2: Class Up Your Bedroom
In my opinion, the most important room in the house is the bedroom. It is where you sleep, where you recuperate, where you reclinate, where you conjugate irregular verbs, but far too often, bedrooms suffer a bit of neglect, especially in those years when we emerge from university or the home of our parents. Generally, what little attention (and budget funds) we have for decor tends to be concentrated in the common spaces — the parts of our home we usually share when entertaining guests — leaving our bedrooms woefully mismatched or shockingly haphazard.
My tip for you today is to cast a slightly more critical eye where you lay your head and find ways to take pride in your boudoir — I actually touched upon this last year, when I strongly advocated you wear pajamas. Today, I want you to extend that feeling of “extra” to the room itself, and class it up. When you take time to create a sanctuary, you will be more rested and you will feel refreshed when you emerge from it. And gents, a well-done bedroom will definitely assure you the higher probability of repeat guests (only slightly augmenting your dazzling personality and mind-bending technique, of course), for no one enjoys sleeping in what could pass for a shanty town.
Were I one for feng shui, here I would discuss colors and placement of furniture and whatnot, but alas, I am not. I simply recommend you create a comfortable, calming space with minimal distractions. This doesn’t automatically mean running out and buying new things so much as it can actually mean clearing out. Here I will strongly advocate you remove the television, as having one in the bedroom actually tends to cause more insomnia than relaxation.
But of course, the most important — and frequently the most expensive — element of a bedroom is the bed. Do buy the best mattress you can afford, whereas the bed frame is less important — just please, please, please don’t let your boxspring or mattress sit on the floor. When it comes to bedding, yes, thread count does matter, but as long as you have a bedding ensemble that pleases the eye, you’re fine. Matchy-matchy is not required, but do make it look like you put some thought into it. Above all, the most important thing to remember, no matter where your sheets came from and even if you are sleeping on a futon, is that simply making your bed every morning goes for miles. I can’t describe how fabulous it is feels after a long day to walk into your bedroom with an immaculately made bed. It’s like living in a hotel…even though you did it yourself. Pure class.
A few helpful hints:
- My mother swears by having her sheets ironed — says it makes even low thread counts feel luxe.
- Choose a clock that won’t stare you in the face at night.
- Turn down the wattage of your lighting, or install a dimmer switch. You’re relaxing, not being interrogated.
- Make it smell nice: burn candles or try these scented wax pendants from Diptyque.
- Keep a beautiful bedside carafe nearby, for late night refreshment.
- For bedroom inspiration, I like to look at House to Home, Elle Decor, Apartment Therapy and Design*Sponge.
- For bargains on sheets and bedding, be sure to check out One Kings Lane and Gilt*Home. If you live in New York, give Century 21 a try (just be sure to have your elbows out).
What do you do to make your bedroom a more relaxing environment?
The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life
31/01/2012 § Leave a Comment
The 16th-century Italian palazzo of Antonello Radi, in the Umbrian city of Foligno. I adore the way he has decorated his home, the old with the new, completely color drenched and magnificently luxurious. The bathroom is my absolute favorite room. I could soak in that tub forever.
Decorating mastery aside, one must really give Antonello’s bio a brief look:
Antonello was fortunate to be born into a wealthy and prominent family in Foligno, a commercial center surrounded by vineyards, olive groves, and rolling hills. Radi, a bachelor, studied jurisprudence, found he didn’t like the life of a lawyer, and now works in the family business, finance, when he isn’t traveling.
Didn’t like the life of a lawyer, so he works in finance…when he isn’t traveling. Must be very nice indeed.
Images via Elle Decor.
08/01/2012 § Leave a Comment
I attribute the fact that I feel an irresistible pull toward Spanish Colonial Revival style homes to my childhood in California and to a beautiful hacienda a very special former Mister of mine owned. There is just something about the dark wooden floors, gleaming white walls, hidden spots of beautiful tile work, wide open windows, wrought iron and streaming light that sings to me.
This home in Los Feliz, California, was gorgeous even before Commune Design (the design firm also behind several commercial projects such as the hotel design for the Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs) got their hands on it, but the finished product is quite amazing. The multitude of styles, colors and textures on display is the type of inclusive approach to decor that I find most interesting.