Saturday, June 28, 2008


This cozy library by Paul Fortune that I found today on Desire to Inspire makes me very happy indeed! While not a room I'd have in my own home, I want to spend a rainy weekend here curled up on this couch with a good book - perhaps with some Sarah Vaughan in the background! Love the vintage windows too!

Friday, June 27, 2008


For the next week I'll be guest blogging for Patricia at PVE DESIGN. For those of you who don't know her, her blog is full of her delightful illustrations. She has an interest in interior design and comes from a background in fashion. I'm posting a series of her illustrations on the art of travel this week while she is in Paris (doing the real thing!). Check her out!

Chatham Village

I've been on a Pittsburgh kick lately - I know the city so well and just have so many things I love about it! One place I have always loved is Chatam Village. Designed as 'model' housing for blue collar workers and funded by the Buhl foundation, this development is currently a haven for white collar workers who appreciate its urban planning. Designed in 1932 in the 'Garden-city movement' as a city within a neighborhood (mt. washington, where my dad grew up!), the developement was laid from the inside out.
In this mode, people come first, cars second. The front doors face a common green space with strict rules to keep its park-like setting intact while the backs of the homes face the road / alley. Each house has a 1 car garage (and little box for the milkman to leave milk and yogurt!). The concept of the garden city movement basically was that everything was within a certain radius and could be reached with minimal contact to cars by walking through the park to school, work or the store. This neighborhood is very close to public transportation to downtown Pittsburgh (a few blocks from the 'inclines' or funicular as they're known). Cars were safely delegated to alleys.All the red brick and slate roofed townhouses must conform to a strict set of rules to keep the peaceful uniformity. Kelly green trim (this was from the 30's after all) and white blinds are a must. Because the houses are kept efficiently small, a large old mansion on the grounds is used as a community house and you can host large parties there. Back when I was still living in Pittsburgh my company had their holiday party there which I will never forget!This neighborhood exudes a quiet, peaceful air and I would LOVE to live here (even though pets are not allowed!). Read more about the neighborhood on Wikipedia. or on the American Planning Associations website.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


By now you know I'm somewhat of a collector -always have been. There are 2 camps -those who believe that collections are windows to the soul (like Charlotte Moss for example) or those who abhor clutter and posessions and are staunch minimalists for their own mental stability. Why do some people crave possessions while others eschew them?

a shelf full of collections from Tracy Garet, books, vases, dishes
john barman's collection of books
silver and books, perhaps?
artwork and artifacts
I'm always drawn to interiors which have more of the collected look -to me they're like extentions of the owner's persona and more interesting than a bland room. In life, everyone tends to be either very self-reflecting or outwardly reflecting; Perhaps the minimalists collect thoughts or feelings and leave the tangible posessions to us collectionists? One set appreciates internal beauty while the other appreciates the wonders of the world, but can these 2 camps ever mix? I don't know, but till I figure out why I'm a collector, I'll just keep enjoying!
Ralph Lauren collects WASP acoutrement

Someone after my own heart, a collection of china

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Viva Las Vegas!!

Recently, I've been in a Vegas state of mine. Currently, friends of mine are in Vegas celebrating a momentous birthday and having a blast I'm sure. I love my friends but declined to go. Expensive to get there, stay there and it's so tacky with very few redeeming qualities that I can remember.

'the venetian'

I visited in 2003 and took these pictures: on the surface, it looks like it would be a great place! Can't travel the globe? Go to Vegas and check out the far east.......... or the Grand Canal, Venice!

How about take in the dessert views from atop a spinning restaurant straight out of the movies (we made the mistake and stayed in this hotel, oy)

Want to get married?
or take a quick romantic jaunt to parisor to Versailles!
or settle into a coastal village
hmmm -maybe Vegas isn't so bad after all.......

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Rain on me

This song 'Rain on me' from Cyndi Lauper's new album is really beautiful and I wanted to share it with all of you. Enjoy!

Monday, June 23, 2008


So here's a post close to my heart and upbringing and a sort of weird coincidence. When I was a little boy we lived in a suburb of Pittsburgh that had a wonderful library called B.F. Jones memorial library. Housed in a beautiful Beaux Arts building from the heyday of the small mill towns in the teens or 20s surrounding Pittsburgh built by the industrial robber barons, the rooms are large and airy. The windows are beautifully large bronze windows and the ceilings are coffered and intricate and also in bronze; the walls are covered in beautiful marbles which keep it cool year round without air-conditioning. The main spaces inside the door are seperated by large ornate bronze screens or fences copied from one in a European cathedral (so the story goes). The original childen's library was off of these large grand spaces and was a small cozy wood paneled room with a big fireplace and stained glass windows - one of the granddaughters of the original BJ Jones had a children's hour and would read books here (cute little old lady). I would always imagine this is my house, which rooms would serve which purposes (and had it figured out pretty well!)Years later I would meet her in college when I was an usher for our theater department and she had season tickets. This heiress's life mission was this library and children's education in a small town outside of Pittsburgh. The entire basement of this large magnificent building was devoted to childen's books - it was entirely marble clad as well and had a fountain (to a small boy you can imagine how cool that was). This was my favorite place to visit as a child and was among the first stirrings in me from a tender age to love beauty of spaces and in particular this type of Beaux Arts architecture which is still so important to me.So years later while also in college, I had a favorite house that was seemingly abandoned for years. I would drive BLOCKS out of my way to pass it and make sure no one had vandalized it or hadn't torn it down and one day -slowly - someone started to restore it.

I was simultaneously excited but disappointed that it wasn't me. Unfortuantely I don't have pictures of it in its current glory -but I have these shots of it under construction. It was a lovely chateauesque townhouse on a double lot with lots of windows and just beautifully done. Not too big, not too small - with a walled courtyard between the carriage house and the house in the rear.
Guess who's house this was....just guess.........
B.F. Jones 1st house before he built the huge mansion next to it (that you can see in red stone behind it) which is now part of the Local community college campus.

Small world, isn't it; everything is connected! Thank you B.F. Jones!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Fall

I saw an extremely beautiful movie today; 'The Fall'. It sort of follows in the line of Pan's Labyrinth where it is a grown-up fairy tale but on a more extremely exotic level. The funny thing was it included some of my favorite comedic actors from TV (which was a bit confusing really; the piemaker from 'pushing up daisies' as the main character!). The movie is breathtakingly beautiful and receives 5 stars for that - captures the exoticness of India, the sahara, china, europe and our imaginations but also the seediness of Los Angeles in the 20s!
I don't want to spoil the plot (which is auxilary to the scenery and costumes anyway) but you can read more about it at their official website HERE. All pictures courtesy of the official website.