Monday, June 30, 2008

Soane Ranger

We received some tear sheets in the office the other day from a English company called Soane that I immediately thought must be somehow associated with Sir John Soane but turns out is not, though it might be possible they were inspired by him. Soane was actually founded by Lulu Lytle and Christopher Hodsoll in response to the demand for architecturally inspired bespoke furniture and lighting. "Our aim is to combine the superb design and workmanship of the most exciting antique pieces, with the highest quality British craftsmanship and the flexibility of furniture made to your specific requirements."

Soane produces copies of exceptional 18th, 19th & 20th century originals, and their collection of furniture, lighting, door handles, glass and silverware also includes many new designs all made with the same meticulous attention to quality in Britain. I was especially delighted by the interiors on their website. Hope you enjoy them too. Cheers!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

We're Not in Kansas Anymore

If I ever decide to move away from the hustle and bustle of New York, I'm moving to Kansas City! The city and it's residents are so gracious and warm that of course I had a wonderful weekend from the very first moment. I wish I traveled to the midwest more often because Midwest Airlines is hands down the best domestic airline. USAirways could learn a few things from them!

There was one small glitch. The hotel had no record of my reservation when I arrived and were also sold out for Friday night so David Jimenez, who I had plans with me that night, was a lifesaver and welcomed me into his beautiful home. I have to tell you that this was actually a good thing since he is the most wonderful host and his home is better than most 5-star hotels!

I can say with all sincerity that David is one of the nicest people I have ever met and also one of the most talented. His eye for design and detail is unmatched! I loved peeking into all the rooms and was blown away time and time again.

Above is the bedroom in which I slept like a baby! I was definitely taking notes for my design work!

The reason for my trip to Kansas City was to attend the Kansas City Home Design magazine Design Excellence Awards for which I was a judge. It was a tough task and there were a lot of entrants but one stood out among all the rest and that was the work of John Rufenacht Associates, above. I had no idea who that was at the time but I was very impressed by what I saw and learned. It was clear that this was someone with great design style.

John Rufenacht below, is a legendary designer in Kansas City and he was honored with the Edward Tanner Lifetime Achievement Award for Interior Design. The award is named after the noted architect, Edward Tanner, who designed most of the buildings of Country Club Plaza many of which have a Spanish style. My driver said that the legend is that it was because his mistress was from Seville and she was homesick and wanted to return to Spain so in order to prevent her from leaving, he designed the buildings to look like Seville.
John Rufenacht is not only a talented interior designer but is also the founder of Dining by Design. I think a lot of New Yorkers would be surprised to know that this wonderful event was begun in Kansas City more than fifteen years ago and has become the "signature event for DIFFA chapters nationwide." I very much enjoyed meeting Mr. Rufenacht and his partner, Richard Lara, who were both so lovely and gracious and I look forward to seeing what he does next!

After seeing the art that David Jimenez borrowed from Christopher Filley Antiques for his Dining by Design table this year, I knew it was the first place I wanted to visit. And thanks to my driver who had time before his next pick-up, it was! I almost cried when I got there though and it was closed so it was serendipitous timing that Christopher's partner, Rich, drove up at the same moment! I was very disappointed not to meet Christopher as well but he was recovering from a recent illness.

The shop alone is reason enough to plan a trip to KC! It is chock full of amazing art and artifacts and objects. They carry a large selection of African and Asian pieces but it was the art that Rich was patient enough to show me. I picked out a lot of amazing works for the Bachelor Pad including some beautifully framed etchings and the Gloucester Harbor painting above by Lester Gillette that will be perfect in the bedroom. I could have spent all day poking around this amazing shop and if you ever find yourself in KC, run don't walk to Christopher Filley!

Next door, is Suzanne Cooper Antiques. Suzanne is a character and is wonderfully knowledgeable. She and her husband also live in England so many of her pieces are English like the amazing framed architectural plates above. If I hadn't already spent a boatload of money at Christopher's, I might have bought those too, although she doesn't ship so I would have no idea how I would have gotten them home!

I did buy some lovely silver spoons that I couldn't pass out. The funny thing is that there was another New Yorker in the shop who was there with her mother-in-law who lives in KC. Small world.

This cute little garden was across the street and I couldn't resist taking a photos. I was very disappointed that the art shop on the corner without a name wasn't open. They had a lot of beautiful works in the window.

Saturday night, I was treated to a dinner party at the amazingly beautiful home of Zim Loy, the editor of the wonderful interior design magazine, Kansas City Spaces. I first came into contact with Zim when I posted a photo of David Jimenez's bathroom on my blog. She put me into contact with David and the rest is history. The co-hostess of the evening was another friend of David's who I got to know through my blog, Merrily Jackson. Merrily writes an entertaining and etiquette column in Spaces and after reading all her back stories, I definitely think someone should give this woman a book deal! I think I'm going to see what I can do to help make that happen! Emily Post has nothing on Merrily! I wish I had taken more photos of Zim's warm and welcoming home, shown above and below! It really was to die for! And the next time I have to choose paint colors, I'm calling her first!

The rest of the guests were no slouches either! It was a talented mix of creative people including Patricia Shackelford, who is an interior designer and blogger otherwise known as Mrs. Blandings. It was so fun to finally meet her in person and Maison21 is so jealous! (Ha!) Dan Nilson, owner of Bishop McCann, a global meeting and incentive travel/events company based in Kansas City, was sweet enough to pick up the non-driving New Yorker and ferry her to the party! (Thanks Dan!). Doug Wells, an interior designer who's firm, Kyle Wells Design, designed a Buenes Aires pied-a-terre that is featured in the June/July 2008 issue of Spaces. I also enjoyed chatting with Leslie Goldhahn, who used to live in NYC, and her boyfriend, Darren Mark. Leslie is in school at the moment studying interior design and I can already tell she'll make a great one! More people showed up for dessert, more on that later, who's names escape me at the moment but I hope will all keep in touch and look me up the next time they are in NYC!

Again, I cannot tell you how fabulous Kansas City and it's residents are! I enjoyed my trip immensely and thanks again to Kansas City Home Design magazine for making it all happen!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Kansas City Here I Come!

I'm off to Kansas City this weekend to attend the Kansas City Home Design magazine Design Excellence Awards Ceremony. The magazine asked me to be a judge and I can say that it was hard work! There were a lot of great candidates so I can't wait to see who wins. You can also check out my latest story about all the great shops on Lexington Avenue in the July/August issue of KCHD and online here. Bon Weekend!

Photo by koreana on Flickr

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New York Minute

It's a gloriously beautiful day in New York today...bright and sunny but not humid. A perfect day to take a walk at lunch which is what I did. I also stopped to pick up something to eat from my favorite place with the cashier who looks like Santa Claus and acts like it too. He always gives me free treats and always telling jokes. So I was walking back back to work in a good mood thinking about how great New York can be when all of the sudden I and all the other people waiting to cross the street were almost taken out by a speeding cab who was running the red light. That brought me back to reality very quickly!

The moral of this story is to always stay on your toes in New York because the minute you relax or become complacent, this city will try to flatten you like a pancake faster than a New York minute!

Photo by Moi

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Masculine Weekend Retreat

Whenever I think of a beach house, I automatically think of the traditional blue and white decor but then I came across the photos of the house on Long Island owned by designer Kevin Carrigan and architect Tim Furzer in the June 2007 issue of Elle Decor. The home has a great mix of mid century and Danish pieces, as well some more traditional touches. The living room above features a Serge Mouille floor lamp, Burmese teak folding screen, and a Hans J. Wegner chair.

Another view of the living room showcases, antique Belgian wing chairs, a Charles sectional by B&B Italia, a French Venetian-glass mirror, vintage lacquered side table that displays a pair of kudu horns, rosewood-and-glass cocktail tables that are mid century Danish, and pillows and throw by Calvin Klein Home.

I love the drawing by Ed Ruscha and a pair of Fred Sandback lithographs that flank a Burmese cabinet that displays vases by Calvin Klein Home and candlesticks by Ted Muehling.

"In the study, a 1920s English desk and a vintage Kevi chair by Fritz Hansen; the custom-made shelving is painted with high-gloss Chemise by Farrow & Ball, and an antique carrier-pigeon skeleton is displayed in a Victorian case."

A MirĂ³ lithograph looks perfect hanging in the kitchen.

Hans J. Wegner Wishbone chairs surround a Madame Lillie table by e15 in the dining area. (You didn't hear it from me but White on White makes a "version" of the Wishbone chair for $180.) The Chandelier is 1950s Murano-glass and the vintage Belgian display case holds collections of framed butterflies and Ted Muehling porcelain. The Verso bowl and vase on the table are by Calvin Klein Home and the video stills in the living room beyond are by Kenseth Armstead.

The Karl bed is by e15 and the safari chair in a guest room is from the 1920's. I saw a similar chair at Calypso Home this past weekend.

A pair of Byron chairs by e15, a 1950s floor lamp, and a vintage cabinet displaying an assortment of Nymphenburg porcelain share space in the master bedroom.

The custom-made oak bed is dressed with linens and a throw by Calvin Klein Home, the driftwood bench is Balinese, and the leather-upholstered Louis XV–style chair belonged to Geoffrey Beene. The artwork includes a Kiki Smith ink drawing and a Picasso lithograph. It's wonderful how so many styles can work so well together.

In the guest bath, the 1920's tub and sink were salvaged and Vendome sconces by Thomas O’Brien for Visual Comfort flank a Burmese teak mirror. And of course outside is another pool that I would love to jump into today. I think I need to schedule a vacation soon!

Photographs by Roger Davies

Monday, June 23, 2008

Decorating is Exhausting!

Habitually Chic is pooped! I spent all weekend shopping for the Bachelor Pad and all of tonight at the apartment checking projects off my list. Things are progressing slowly but surely. I am about to order most of the lamps so hopefully the other pieces of furniture will arrive soon so I have something to put them and all the accessories I purchased over the weekend on! I found a lot of amazing pieces at Calypso Home, which is also having a 40% off sale on some of their furniture. I think I might order a few chairs from them.

For now, I stash all my fabulous purchases in the coat closet to keep them out of harms way. Makes me feel like a wife who hides her bags from Bergdorfs from her husband. Right now, I'm going to go put on a face mask and get ready for an early bedtime because decorating really is exhausting! I promise to post something more interesting tomorrow so definitely check back! Nite nite!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

More than 15 Pieces of FLAIR!

I always say that my test of good interior design is if I would want to move in right away but now I can apply that same test to my new favorite store, Flair! It is beyond chic! If I wasn't on a budget for the Bachelor, I would have bought up everything in the store, which is a mix of vintage and new pieces, as well as custom, that meld seamlessly together. It's exactly the aesthetic that I love.

The owners are two former Coach fashion executives, Jon Maroto and George Nunno, who couldn't have been nicer when I stopped in today. Flair actually originated as a group of home furnishings store in Florence and the two men convinced the owners that a Flair shop would be perfect for New York and I'm soooo glad that they did!

I really loved the photographs by Christopher Draghi, an artist living in New York, of statues and horses. Make sure you check out the book of images since not all of them are displayed in the store!

"Against a signature backdrop of black and white, FLAIR presents a unique proposition in home furnishings, decoration and gifts. Rigorously selected European and American vintage furnishings and accessories are seamlessly mixed with our own exclusive designs to create a highly individual style that transcends eras and origins."

While I was there they mentioned that a new container has arrived in New York and new merchandise should be arriving soon!

They should also have an e-commerce site up and running in about a month. I will keep you posted. If you are in New York, you must make time to stop by but just make sure it's not on a Monday, it's the only day they are closed!

Flair Home Collection
88 Grand Street
New York, NY 10013

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Tao of Steve

I love Steve McQueen. He is the epitome of cool. A man's man who loved to drive fast cars and have a good time. I even dated a few boys just because they reminded me of him. So when I was at the Taschen warehouse sale yesterday, I just had to pick up a book of photographs of him taken by his friend William Claxton for just $9.99. Because they were friends, Claxton had close access and his photos have a sense of intimacy that today's paparazzi photos will never have. Claxton was also married to model Peggy Moffitt who did a few photo shoots with the actor. Hope you enjoy the photos as much as I did!