Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Oscar de la Renta - Fashions for Home

Sad news this week of the passing of iconic fashion designer Oscar de la Renta at 82. I was actually surprised he wasn't older. The word "icon" is so overused today as much as words like "hero" and  and "diva", to the point where they don't really mean much anymore. We have lots of celebrities and fashionistas, but not that many true fashion icons. When one reaches true icon status, it's hard to imagine they ever weren't here.

After all, there was this:

And so many others, right up to the end:

And of course, his interests included the home with pieces that were both of the moment and timeless.

Moroccan side table for Century Furniture

Side chairs for Century Furniture

Here's to you Mr. de la Renta. Thanks for the beauty. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Elegant and subtle Fall Decor

I'll admit it - with the exception of Christmas (and sometimes not much then) I'm not one to do a lot of holiday or seasonal decorating. I have a friend who must have bins and bins of seasonal decorating items and she loves to get her house ready for each seasonal change as early as possible. I admire the effort and energy it takes, but it's just not my thing. And the seasonal Fall/Halloween/Thanksgiving decorating is particularly not my thing. Too orange and brown I guess. It also seems that much of it is overdone with a lot of fakey fake fake items. Maybe it's because I don't have kids... I can see the appeal if one has little kids.

I do, however, appreciate a more subtle approach to the season.

This is a beautiful long centerpiece for a Thanksgiving table, isn't it? This is from the Lauren Conrad blog (who knew?). Very pretty and can be done with twigs and leaves still available in the yard.

This mantle from the At Home with the Barker's blog is very pretty. The mirror is fantastic and the subtle color palette is a refreshing change from all the bright oranges.

Karin Lidbeck Brent (for Better Homes & Gardens) creates a simple and easy outdoor display that is bold without being overdone. Some small branches and couple of pumpkins and voila.

This centerpiece is just gorgeous. Love the subtle colors.

A simple tablescape from Dear Lillie.

This center hall table (how amazing is the center hall itself) is filled with the "bounty of the season" without being over styled.

And so, I did do a tiny bit to acknowledge the season. I added gourds to my mantle. That's it. Actually, it's hard to tell in the photo, but the little painting in the center is perfectly "fall" with her berry swathed headdress.

And, on Saturday, I saw this beauty below in an antiques shop and had to bring her home. She's now swathed in my one Hermés scarf, which is handily orange.

How do you like to decorate for fall?

Oh, btw - I was just interviewed by Floor Coverings International's blog. You can read it here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Famous Palaces depicted at Neiman Marcus' "Home for the Holidays" showrooms

Three of my favorite Boston designers were tapped to create holiday spaces based on famous castles for Neiman Marcus' "Home for the Holidays" event which kicks off their holiday season. Feels a little early, but that's the way of things these days! The event is done in conjunction with the Over My Shoulder Foundation which supports mentoring in the community. The showrooms will be open through January and are free to view. See the press release below for more info.

Gerald Pomeroy of Gerald Pomeroy Interiors in his Balmoral Castle Room 

  Versailles Renaitre created by Paula Daher of Daher Interior Design

Eric Roseff of Eric Roseff Designs stands in his Winter Palace

Photos courtesy of Robert Four

“Home for the Holidays” was unveiled Wednesday evening, October 8 at Neiman Marcus Boston kicking off the Neiman Marcus Boston Holiday season. 
The three showrooms will be on view and open to the public, free of charge from through January 31, 2015 during regular business hours in the Gift Galleries department of the famed luxury retailer located in Copley Place.  The three custom-designed rooms are each inspired by a royal residence – the Balmoral Estate in Scotland, Versailles in France, and the Winter Palace in Russia.  Each master designer – Gerald Pomeroy, Eric Roseff and Paula Daher – will mentor a junior member of their team to create the showroom – fully engaging their young partners in their design process.
Every item featured in the rooms may be purchased. During the course of the showcase’s run, the designers will host special events to speak to the design process.  The showcase culminates in January 2015, National Mentor Month, when the Over My Shoulder Foundation and Cumar Marble & Granite Fabricators will feature a mentoring recognition event open to the public and held on-site at Neiman Marcus Boston.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Big Congrats to the New England Design Hall of Fame 2014 Inductees

Shown above: Christina Oliver, Susan Stacy, Dinyar Wadia, Rosemary Porto, Tref LaFleche, Douglas Dick

Huge congrats to the 2014 inductees to the New England Design Hall of Fame. This award was created to honor the work of professionals who have made a significant imprint on residential design in New England. Their body of work represents the pinnacle of design, and their impact often goes well beyond design projects. These people are mentors, advocates, and trailblazers in their respective fields.

Douglas Dick and Treffle LaFleche, principals, LDa Architecture Interiors, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Dinyar Wadia, Wadia Associates, New Canaan, Connecticut

Jim Gauthier and Susan Stacy, Gauthier-Stacy, Boston, Massachusetts

Christina Oliver, Oliver Interiors, Newton, Massachusetts


Rosemary Porto, Poggenpohl Boston, Massachusetts

The honorees will be celebrated at an awards ceremony at the State Room in Boston on Wednesday, November 5. Tickets can purchased on the New England Home website.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Moody Blues

I don't like blue rooms. I really don't. Except when I do. (Isn't that always the way?)

Axel Vervoordt

source unknown

Source unknown

Hackett Holland

possibly Kettner's restaurant in London

Source unknown

McAlpine Booth & Ferrier Interiors

McAlpine Booth & Ferrier Interiors

Except for the Kettner's restaurant image, what all these spaces have in common is a beautiful source of light. I think that the deep tones of the rooms really highlight the windows and spills of light that come in through the windows and doors. Without that balance, such deep dark spaces might tend to become a little depressing. But these - gorgeous!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Silver Screen Surroundings: Outlander, S1E8, Both Sides Now

"I've looked at love from both sides now..." as the song goes. This weeks 8th episode of Outlander marked the "mid-season finale" of Season 1, which won't return until April with eight more episodes covering Book 1 (also called Outlander) of the now eight book series. Starz has already announced their commitment to Season 2 (though I've heard they've only committed to twelve episodes). Season 2 will cover the second book in the series. There was a great hue and cry in the fandom when it was announced we'd be waiting until April 2015 for the remainder of Season 1. It does seem a long wait and it would have made more sense (to me at least) if they had simply said it was Season 1 and Season 2 versus a split season. But that's how hit cable programs roll these days. Mad Men did it and we're waiting nearly a year for the 2nd half of the final season.

Anyway, after last week's wedding episode, we see Jamie and Claire doing a lot of romantic "bonding" out in the heather and she learns to defend herself with a sgian-dubh, a small dagger usually concealed in a sock or boot. Good timing since she has ample cause to need it in this episode. In a departure from the original book, this episode features Frank Randall - Claire's 20 century husband - and the effects that her disappearance has had on him, his on-going search and belief, despite what those around him are saying, that she has not run off with another man.  The book was written in the first person, from Claire's point of view, which meant that while she conjectured that he must be frantic over her disappearance, we didn't actually "see" it happening. Readers were treated to how wonderful, nearly perfect, the Jamie character is, but our Frank experience was thin, at best. The reality is, however, that they had a marriage - separated by five years of war - and were working on re-kindling their romance; there was no reason to think that anything was particularly wrong between them. A flaw in Diana Gabaldon's first book (and it was the first book she ever wrote, written for practice having no though of it being published) was that the first person narrative left off an important aspect of Claire's moral dilemma of choosing between Frank and Jamie - the one where we needed to see that it was a choice with deep consequences. As it was, many readers simply decided that Frank was somehow bad and Jamie was all good - thus no pesky moral dilemma to deal with. It's a way more interesting story to be working in the "grey zone" than in such black and white terms.

Speaking of Grey, a funny that's been going around:

Reading fan comments has only highlighted this issue. So many have not liked the greater presence of the Frank character into the storyline  - they want it to be Jamie all the way and couldn't see how Claire could have any kind of conflict over this. (hello, wedding vows, anyone?)

The other bonus of the expanded Frank character is that we are treated with the exceptional acting skills of Tobias Menzies in the dual roles of  20th century Frank and 18th century John "Black Jack" Randall. Double roles can often come across as campy with exaggerated differences between the two, but Menzies has developed two distinct characters using only the subtlest of traits. He has also shown how the two characters have more similarities than just their looks, which is a slightly new twist on to the story. In my mind, he's the breakout among a very strong cast of actors.

So, this post will focus on a little of Frank's 20th century world. In the story, Frank and Claire were taking a second honeymoon just after the end of WW2 in the Scottish Highlands where they'd spent their first honeymoon. Part of the trip includes a visit to the Reverend Wakefield, a minister and part time historian, so Frank (also an historian) can learn more about his ancestor, Jack Randall. It all seems so fun and romantic until those blasted standing stones got in the way!

The Reverends house - the manse - in the book is described as large, but old, a little shabby, and overrun with papers and historical minutiea. The house in the show is a little grander and tidier than I think it's meant to be, but it sure is beautiful with its paneled walls and books galore. The last two shots above show Frank in what is presumably a guest room with a beautiful bed and gorgeous cabinets.

We're also treated to the introduction of a new character - little Roger Wakefield, née MacKenzie, who will feature prominently in future books.

So, in honor of Frank Randall (since we might not see much of him through the remainder of the series) I wanted to share some beautiful libraries, especially one's in bedrooms.

All images are linked here

If you've been watching, I'd love to hear your views of the show so far  and if you've read the books. I just started #7 "An Echo in the Bone". # 8, Written in My Own Heart's Blood" was released this summer, so I'll soon be caught up. I started with Book 1 this past spring and have been working my way through them. If you have read them, you will know that each are between 800-1000 pages.