Saturday, April 19, 2008


Not to make this a regular thing, but I wanted to share with you some beautiful flowers I got on my way home last night. Lilacs will always be my favorite flower. To me they conjur up memories of my childhood and vivid springtime. When I think of spring, I always think first of the smell of lilac blossoms and also the fresh smell of their leaves. Here is the bunch I picked up yesterday at a local florist. I keep thrusting my face into them!
nighttime and daylight
5 or 6 years ago, while living in Pittsburgh, I used to take walks through the most enchanting graveyard you have ever seen in Lawrenceville ( there are many BEAUTIFUL old cemeteries in the city of Pittsburgh ). One spring I collected as many lilacs as I could from one of the numerous bushes the size of a HOUSE. Here are a few pictures of this MASSIVE amount I collected then. I wish I could replicate THIS bouquet!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Architectural Sketches

Spanish Fountain (1912)

John Singer Sargent is mainly known for his portraiture, but he also produced some beautiful architectural sketches and drawings as well. I suppose he had an eye for beauty wherever he could find it, similar to many of his contemporaries! University in Genoa (1908)
Venice La Dogana (1906-1911)
Escutcheon of Charles V of Spain (1912)
The Three Graces (1921) - bas-relief

You can enjoy the entire catalog of his work online at the John Singer Sargent Virtual Library!
Enjoy your weekend, everyone!!

Brooke Astor's Apartment

The late Brooke Astor's famous (notorious as of late ) NYC apartment has been put on the market with a huge asking price of $46 million. Decorated by Sister Parrish with later updates by her partner Albert Hadley ( such as the famous library), this showcased the lived-in english country look Sister was known for. Here are a few pictures I was able to find of her apartment and of the library in particular.her beautiful bedroom
turquoise and pink dining room by Sister

the famous lacquered library by Albert Hadley

lower level sitting room - i love that leather kneeling bench!

It really looks like a cozy country home, other than the fabulous views over NY from those numerous terraces! The apartment is palatial at the top 2 stories of a snooty coop on Park Avenue -it combined Mr. Astor's apartment with Brooke's mother's apartment below following her death. Must be nice............

Thursday, April 17, 2008

why do I live here?

Dc is such an over-priced city (I know, it's not NYC or boston, but of course it's still in the upper brackets of prices in real estate!). While browsing real estate on random Craigslist cities, I came across this ADORABLE house in St. Paul. While admittedly the kitchen needs a little redo ( remove some upper cabinets, paint the others white and you're set! ) the rest is just beautiful :-) And the price: well - you could get a 1 bedroom condo in DC for that - WITHOUT parking. I love the stained glass above the entry door, the entry in general and that fireplace in the living room with the bay window! Enjoy!See the original ad online HERE:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

China of the week

The china of this week belonged to my great-grandmother who was from Scotland. This fine teacup was a 'cabinet' piece made by Royal Worcester-meant for display with very intricate handpainting on it of some really bizarro looking flowers. This really is a nice piece, but not my taste so I currently have it on ebay -you can see the listing HERE. Yes, a little cross-promotion, sorry!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Pope

So, the pope is here in DC and the city is ABUZZ. I wasn't raised Catholic and have a hard time understanding the importance of the pope, other than being an international figure representing Catholicism. I admit, I do enjoy the pageantry of the catholic church! I find it odd that the United States (and DC in particular) can be so nonchalant about so many things and hold so very few things sacred ( marilyn sex tape, anyone?) and be so ANTI-organized religion and yet, when the pope comes to town everyone acts like it's the 2nd coming of Christ (sorry for the run on sentence there ) Calm down people........
I think because we have so few 'static' things in our country with presidential elections every 4 years, a new hollywood 'it' girl every week and a new scandal splashed across the newspapers daily; we yearn for this constancy in life. There will always be a pope, just as there will always be a queen in England ( dc went crazy when Queen elizabeth visited last year, too) . In this relatively young nation we celebrate the new but seem to yearn for things that are constant and never-changing. I think this echoes why we keep returning to traditional styles of architecture and interior design as well. With so much new going on around us and a constantly changing fashion, we need something steadfast to ground us.
So when the funny little popemobil passes me, I'll take a minute to watch the pope, but don't expect to see me bowing or doing the sign of the cross!


Back to design, lately I've had staircases on the mind ( not just Marilyn ). I've been working on an EXTREMELY complicated modern stair at work lately, so I went through my clipping files and chose some really amazing staircases. What other element in the home has such drama and beauty associated with it? Enjoy!!

this last one is probably my favorite 'modern' stair -i love the simplicity of the treads and risers and the elegance of the handrail!


I interupt this design blog ( well, mainly design anyways) to bring you breaking news. Is NOTHING sacred? Why is our society so obsessed with sex scandals. Whats the big deal? We all have sex - who cares. It's nothing shocking, it's nothing bad. In europe they handle it with aplomb. However, in america we have to drag any public personage through the mud when we find proof that they *gasp*- engaged in sexual activities. Lately we've heard a lot about elected officials, before that it was hollywood -and now.............IT'S HOLLYWOOD SCREEN GODDESSES.
Let it go people......let it go.........Leave Marilyn alone -she died 50 years ago -do we really need to hear about her giving oral sex - let alone see it. This it the new HEIGHT of LOW.
So many people, especially myself, look back onto the golden age of hollywood as a more beautiful time -and now with the release of this marilyn sex tape, all my illusions are shattered. Why does everything have to be made out to be so sordid, tacky and LOW. I am really taking this to heart -our society is just plain AWFUL. Maybe Carlos was right ( see post below ). She's dead - leave her alone!!
So all I have to do is reiterate probably the only intelligent thing that GWB ever said ( or signed ) to the people who are dragging this out of history and into the light.......

Monday, April 14, 2008

What do I think of this: Carlos Aparicio

Did you see last weeks New York Social Diary house entry HERE? It features Carlos Aparicio's New York apartment. He is an architect and collector of some VERY fine and VERY beautiful furniture by Jean Michel Frank and other masters of design. Looking through the pictures, every single piece is just amazing.
However, his home looks to be more of a museum and not very cozy; sort of cluttered and leggy. I've selected 2 of the 'better' photos to show here. He is a collector, I understand that - plus he has other homes and this acts more of a collection showroom and a hotel room for him in NY.
The tone of the article however........VERY disappointing. A negative and elitist man, he didn't have a positive thing to say about anyone or anything other than Latin America. While I agree with much of what he says, especially politically, this is someone I would NOT like have dinner with. How can someone with such obvious great taste be such a DRAG and Debbie Downer. He has a great eye though...I'll give him that. I'm interested in what all of you think though - was he overly negative or am I just being too sensitive? Also, for someone who talks about how UGLY new york is, maybe he should have a better photo to show what he really looks like.Comment, please!

New summer drink

Recently while having after-work drinks with LODA, I tried a new twist to my usual G&T: a splash of chambord. YUMMY - it's my new summer drink and pretty in pink ( sorry, couldn't resist the rhyme!)