Saturday, September 27, 2008

British GQ

No one does style like the British and this photo essay from British GQ proves it. Not only is the photography beautiful, so are the clothes and the locations! Enjoy this saturday fun post :-)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Demille Estate

Back in April I read about the Cecil B. Demille estate up for sale on The Real Estalker- only $26.25 million asking price for 2.1 acres along with the buildings. A little out of my price range but it's always free to look! I think this is the most beautiful house. Above is the entryway. I love all the plasterwork!I'm sure this isn't the original kitchen as the home was built in 1914 but it really is my dream kitchen. I love the white cabinetry with glass doors and white marble countertop and backsplash. Notice the vintage stove in the alcove. The wood floors connect it to the rest of the house and make the space more homey, breaking up the expanse of white. What a great place to eat breakfast in the morning! I love this library: Space for all my books and magazines! This house also has lots of large expansive windows looking out onto the wooded lot.
The living room -more bookcases and huge open windows! You may recognize the name but not know who Demille was. He was a famous academy-award winning director in Hollywood in the first half of the 20th century.
Born in 1881, Demille started with silent films (obviously) in 1914. By the 1920s he was THE director to turn to in Hollywood! One of the few directors to be famous in his own right, he was practicaly canonized forever in the public's eye in 'Sunset Boulevard' when Gloria Swanson says "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up!". Demille played himself in this movie and in a few other films. He passed away in 1959.
I LOVE this master bathroom (assuming there is a shower around the corner that we can't see). I like the idea of putting an oriental rug in a bathroom and treating it as a real room. The double sink with lamps in front of the windows is charming!
The master bedroom - a fireplace and huge balcony -what more could you want? Is that a towel hanging on the wall? I'm not sure what that is about
What a cute little getaway this poolhouse is! The rear of the home from the pool.
All this and a guest house too! I'd be happy just living here! While the house is beautiful this dining room is semi-tragic. While I like the wood paneling, the carpet is too dreary, the chandelier too small and the furniture looks cheap and underscaled. And that fabric on the chairs - yikes!I also found some vintage photos of the estate from back in Demille's time.

The magic of Hollywood.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

dinner with a friend

I had dinner last night for my good friend LODA to catch up and thought I would share it with you and what went into the evening. Here she is before the first course.
The day before I first planned the menu. The primary concern was that we were meeting straight from work so everything had to be ready to go and easy to make. Caprese salad to start because it's easy and delicious! I served this on these beautiful hand painted Limoge (by CFH) plates. I made pork loin and new pototoes in a red wine and stewed tomato sauce in my crock pot. Just threw it in in the morning and let it go! This was served on the underplate you see here: a white minton plate with a pale blue sidelight, gilt edging and a beautiful silver and gold raised monogram (for who knows who and who cares!) . For dessert I made the pear dessert I blogged about a few months ago on my white rosenthal sanssouci china. I served a little cordial of the port to go along with dessert and mint tea: always a great way to top off a meal!
Before bed I ironed the table cloth and set the table. I placed the salad plate here just for the photograph and to see how it would look - at dinner the napkin was on the plate before the first course. I used these very large european sized irish linen napkins with my monogram; a thoughtful Christmas gift last year! Thankfully the silver didn't need to be polished!
Here is dessert after our fun dinner of gossip and drinking!
Always a polite guest, she brought these beautiful sunflowers as a host(ess) gift! Thanks Laura!!
They're so pretty -the last taste of summer! Then the clean up and things get put away. The table flowers were just some simple pale pink carnations in a silver trumpet vase that hopefully will grace my table for the next week!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

a NOT so modern stair

Yesterday's post got me thinking about stairs. Like I've mentioned before they are my favorite part of any building. My favorite stair I've seen is the main staircase of the Palazzo Reale (the spanish palace) in Naples. It is referred to as the 'Scalone d'Onore' or ceremonial stairway. You can see why I'm sure! Beautiful space, lots of natural light, beautiful carving and imposing!Designed by Domenico Fontana (by the bequest of Viceroy Fernandez Ruiz de Castro), contruction began in 1600 but didn't finish till 1843 (by Gaetano Genovese)!!
door to the main entrance courtyard
This ceiling reminds me of wedgewood
Is anything not carved?
The stairs must be 15' wide at least!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Modern Stair

What do you think of modern, airy staircases? Part of me likes them, another part feels they don't LOOK sturdy (when in actuality I know they are perfectly safe). This top one we're using at work now as an inspiration for a staircase in my main project which is very modern. I have my misgivings, but I'm sure it will turn out to be beautiful. What do you think?
I like this one much better, it looks grounded somehow with the stringers on the sides of the treads. That, plus this house is CRAZY beautiful ( a fountain under the stair -nice). Check out Edi's Files to see the rest of it HERE.
Top staircase by KRD architects, the 2nd stair & railing pictures are from a project by Jeffrey Bilhuber. Pics courtesy of Edi's Files

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Duchess

Has anyone seen it yet? Is it any good? I have such high hopes, but haven't had a chance to go see it yet! I would love to hear what you think here!

Kennedy Center

I went to the Kennedy Center last week to see La Traviata and thought I'd take you along for a tour of the Kenny Center. Formally called the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, this building is pretty much hated here in DC for being ugly. Maybe I'm a contrary person (I'll admit it) but I sort of like it. Notice...I said 'sort of'. I'll explain why after a brief history lesson.It sits on the Potomac River just off the National Mall, beside the famous Watergate complex seen here above.The terrace off the rear faces the river and juts out over a busy highway. When you're up there enjoying the view you don't even notice a roadway at all!Designed by Edward D. Stone, it was completed in 1971 as the memorial to JFK. This is one of the few memorials that is nearly self sufficient through ticket sales and donations and does not rely completely on the govt for maintenance. Interestingly, it is funded as a part of the Smithsonian Institution. The center also has many outreach programs and is home to the national opera, orchestra and many visiting musicians and actors.It's an easy walk from Georgetown, and you walk up these steps seen above that were just completed onto a large side terrace. Concerts are held here in the summertime and it's a beautiful place to watch the sunset over the Potomac and Georgetown, seen below.I wasn't sure if photographs were permitted, but I snuck 2 just for you! There are two main hallways seen here below that lead into the huge lobby. It is hard to give you an idea of the scale of this building: it is IMMENSE. These hallways are so tall (63 ft.) and have a very elegant classical feel to them and thats what I love most about this building. It's not just a 'kleenex box on the river' as some call it! The Kennedy Center is a modern version of a classical building: All white marble, many columns and monumental scale.The main lobby stretches 600 feet long along the river with the large terrace I showed earlier cantilevered over a highway off of it. The terrace is always packed at intermission with patrons taking in the view, getting fresh air and admiring the many fountains. I love these modern 'snowflake' chandeliers throughout the building!
In the center of the lobby you see this enormous bust of JFK.Despite it's inception in 1933, the center didn't get any interest until the Kennedy's took an interest and got major funding for the project. When JFK was assasinated in 1963, the center was named after him. The total cost was $70 million dollars despite many donations and gifts, such as the 3,700 tons of carrara marble used on the exterior which was donated by Italy.
The building measures 100 ft. high, 630 ft. long and 300 ft. wide! The minimalistic detailing brings it down in size I think when viewed from afar and make it less monster-like - that is until you approach it!