The Art of the Home Bar (or, Low Grade Hoarding of the Spirited Kind)

01/07/2015 § Leave a comment

Quite Continental: The Art of the Home Bar

While I have yet to use the oven in the apartment I’ve lived in for over two years, one area of my kitchen that gets a fair amount of attention is my home bar.  What started out as a few bottles of my favorite spirits — no obscure liqueurs, no tools, no doo-dads — has gradually evolved into one of my favorite places in my apartment.  Its remarkable growth can be explained partially by the fact that I currently work in the spirits industry, but it’s also true that few things bring me more pleasure than collecting.

For spirits, my first look is Astor Wines.  They’re humongous.  But it’s definitely worth exploring your neighborhood to find a local shop you like.  They’ll be able to order you pretty much anything — as long as you ask them nicely.

For tools and glassware, check out Cocktail Kingdom.

For how to bring it all together, refer to the Death & Company Book.  Written by the folks behind one of New York’s preeminent cocktail bars, this tome is no joke.  Be prepared for indulgent discussions about the bar itself and the folks who work and drink there, and on how to make over 500 cocktails.  Mind you, “indulgent” in the best possible sort of way.

And if history is more your thing, David Wondrich just re-released his classic IMBIBE!, which traces the beginnings of the great American invention: the cocktail as we know it today.

Where to keep it all?  If you’re like me and have no space (hello teensy Soho apartment life), make due with the best surface available.  In my case, as shown above on Instagram, the bar is perched atop my midcentury modern dresser…which is technically in the kitchen.  I told you my apartment was small!  If you’ve got a little room to work with, I love bar carts like this one, this one and ESPECIALLY this one.

Lastly, I’m personally a big fan of straws and vintage swizzle sticks.  Add something personal or original to the mix to truly make it your bar.

Did I miss anything??

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Charming Spaces || Coastal Vibes

10/08/2014 § 3 Comments

Charming Spaces || Costal Vibes Charming Spaces || Costal Vibes Charming Spaces || Costal Vibes Charming Spaces || Costal Vibes Charming Spaces || Costal Vibes

Lovely bit of inspiration by way of Robert McKinley’s apartment in Chelsea, as captured by Nicole Franzen for T Magazine/NY Times.  Unfamiliar with McKinley?  He’s the interior designer and creative director behind places such as the Surf Lodge and Ruschmeyer’s in Montauk and the downtown outposts of Sant Ambroeus.  I’m feeling inspired by the relaxed, well-worn and faintly beachy style of his space, especially the palm frond curtains and that amazing rocking chair.

So if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be stepping out shortly to track down one of those hurricane plants  Please hold my calls.

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Tchau Winter!

01/04/2014 § Leave a comment

Matthew Williams for Elle Decor UK 1

So it’s officially April and I’m feeling optimistic.  Like warm weather and sunshine are just around the corner waiting for me.  With the worst winter in a record 40 years, New York has felt like a purgatory since…forever.  So to treat my slight case of seasonal depression I’ve prescribed myself a regular visit with these photographs by Matthew Williams for Elle Decoration UK of a gorgeous beach home in Brazil.  White walls, polished floors, weathered wood, all offset by the lushness of green fronds and lazy vines.

Matthew Williams for Elle Decor UK 5 Matthew Williams for Elle Decor UK 6 Matthew Williams for Elle Decor UK 8 Matthew Williams for Elle Decor UK 9 Matthew Williams for Elle Decor UK 10 Matthew Williams for Elle Decor UK 12 Matthew Williams for Elle Decor UK 13 Matthew Williams for Elle Decor UK 14 Matthew Williams for Elle Decor UK 15 Matthew Williams for Elle Decor UK 16 Matthew Williams for Elle Decor UK 17 Matthew Williams for Elle Decor UK 18 Matthew Williams for Elle Decor UK 20 Matthew Williams for Elle Decor UK 21 Matthew Williams for Elle Decor UK 22 Matthew Williams for Elle Decor UK 2 Matthew Williams for Elle Decor UK 3 Matthew Williams for Elle Decor UK 4

I want, I want, I want.  The only question left: who’s coming with me?

The Grand Tour || The House Where Satchmo Played

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.

Real Property Lust || Eccentric King George

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.

Real Property Lust: Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch…

26/10/2011 § Leave a comment

There were plenty of things to love about this Spanish-style California ranch home belonging to supermodel Tatjana Patitz: the endless light, the double high living room ceiling (Patitz actually knocked out a floor to make way for it), dark wood and white walls, gleaming concrete floors, the horse stables that are on the two acres of land that surround the house, the ocean views, the jumble of mismatched furnishings…

What sealed the deal was the bedroom.

This is a place to disappear for hours.  For days.
In. Love.

All images via House to Home.

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