Saturday, December 13, 2008


This is probably the most busy weekend for holiday parties. I hope you are all enjoying your weekend and having a great time! Keep in mind what is important this holiday season :-)

image from NYTimes via PigtownDesigns

Friday, December 12, 2008

Glam Glam Glam

There has been a lot of talk lately about fashion designer Randolph Duke's house sale. Designer to the stars and also to midwestern housewives thanks to the home shopping network, he has obviously done well for himself. It's a modernist dream floating over LA but with an unexpected interior thats a mix of styles but with one continuous thing going for it -GLAMOUR
To hold up to that view though, the interiors would have to be totally over the top, don't you agree? It feels like an updated 70s playboy dreamhouse to me in a good way. The existing houses didn't take advantage of the view so they were torn down to make way for this mansion.
This dining room is so totally GORGEOUS. I love this parsonesque table paired with various antique chairs -in a mix of fabrics even! That bench seems pretty churchy though, right? At least a gothic, high-victorian style that reminds me of church.
Who wants to watch tv with that view?? Why do they always put on the weather channel for real estate pictures? These are the big questions I have. I love the white upholstery -but whats up with the stone crosses on the right? Yet another church reference?
I think this view of the living room is a really great image to get an understanding of the living room. I'm a fan of the big mirrors which open up that wall and reflect the view and the light - I love the open daybeds, great for parties and accomodating different seating arrangements. Just to state the obvious though, this is NOT a child friendly house! check out that open stair -and the lack of railing down the cliff on the terrace (which would block the view)
Here is the very supernaturally preserved Randolph Duke. Apparently HSN treats a designer well! Can you believe he's 50?? I hope I look 1/2 that good at that age (or is this photoshop? thoughts?). I mean seriously -is this not totally perfect? But what are those little rock sculptures? Cannons from the civil war? I could do without those
Another view of the living room. I'd hate to think how we're supposed to clean that white rug. And why is there ANOTHER cross on the coffee table? All of this can be yours for only $8.25 MILLION clams - let me know if you buy it, I want to come stay for the weekend!
Read more about the property online at

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas with ArchitectDesign

I have a confession. You may think I like a holiday season full of tasteful decorations steeped in history. Well, I don't - I like tacky and fun!! I don't have beautiful fancy decorations and don't spend oodles of time playing with ribbons, fresh cut greens and perfect themes. Well...maybe someday -but at this stage of my life (young, tiny apartment, living alone), I tend to stick to warm Christmas memories from childhood. I love anything 'vintagey' christmas. So before I get the anonymous comments about how tacky this is, I'll just own up to it! This is how I remember the holidays being as a kid and how I choose to celebrate now!
I like to spread the cheer around my apartment. It all starts in my entry way. I have some tacky glittery nutcrackers I won as raffles at a holiday party, a porcelain christmas card holder of santa from my grandma and the (FAKE) holly surrounding a candle that always sat on my grandparent's sideboard; So many good meals were spent there.
On my table I have my other grandma's Christmas tree. She lived in an apartment since and only had this little white ceramic tree that lights up. I remember she loved this and would keep all her gifts underneath it throughout the holidays. Also a vintage santa mug and candlestick holder (see the porcelain santa climbing up the candlestick?). Why don't they make cute decorations like this anymore!Under my tree (seen at the top of the post) are my favorite christmas characters of all - Snoopy and the gang! Yes......deep breath....I collect hallmark ornaments. I can't help it, I just love them -they're SO cute! I also have a mixture of ornaments that have been gifted to me and that were from my family. The tree skirt is a feather boa that I got from Phyllis Diller. Yes, you read that correctly, it's my 'Hollywood' tree! And thats fake too... don't want you think that I'm classing things up with a real feather boa. I have red lights grandparents had red lights (notice a theme?). I think they have a nice vintage feel and are a little different than the generic white ones (which really are beautiful, nothing against them!).
Behind my stovetop I have these cute little holiday coasters with another of my favorite characters on them - Ziggy!
This bubble snoopy ornament is just another bit of fun.
Yes, even in the bathroom - I have this ornament that looks like a soap bubble holding a frog in santa cap. Up, Up and away!! I hope you all enjoyed my 'fun' version of Christmas! I think that holiday decorations are only up for a short time so you can afford to have some fun with them and not take it so seriously! As D.V. would say 'WHY NOT'!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

ArchitectDesign in Elle Decor!

Many thanks to those of you who have emailed me about my quote in the Jan./Feb. 2009 issue of Elle Decor magazine and to Elle Decor for asking for my humble opinion :-) I'm especially honored to be included in the list with some of my FAVORITE bloggers! The paraphrased quote regarding my opinion on the most over-rated trend is:

Architectdesign's Stefan Hurray takes aim at taxidermy. "Not only does this glorify the killing of animals, it frightens children!" he insists. "And anyway, who wants something dead in the house?".

I'm sure there are many of you who disagree with me, but thats what makes design so much fun: different points of view! Thanks again, Elle Decor!!

PS. isn't that fox SO cute!

Georgetown holiday decorations

If like me, you prefer to shop in stores and not online, the place you might do this in DC is in Georgetown. I'm lucky enough to work here and can shop during my lunch breaks and after work, but for those of you who aren't locals, I thought I'd share some of my favorite holiday decorations!It all started when Mrs. Blandings posted about her nutcrackers she was making for her front door. It reminded me of these HUGE 12' tall nutcrackers outside of Clydes! There were smaller versions outside of the restaurant Old Glory - probably 5 1/2' tall.While not decorated for the holidays, the new Janus et Cie store looked pretty festive to me with the new free-standing gold-leafed topiary over the doorway. It really pops against the grey painted brick. Every lightpost along M street is decorated with an enormous wreath and silver ribbon like this one.ULTRAviolet flowers florists had beautiful topiaries outside their storefront.PVE's own J McLaughlin has the most glamorous and prettiest holiday decorations. The front door is surrounded by a swag of Magnolia leaves.The side windows have branches spray painted white with multi-colored ornaments hanging on them -so pretty!One of the front windows had this very glam and sparkly christmas topiary in a silver urn.Even our office got into the spirit! We have a pretty Christmas tree in our lobby and everyone made an ornament to go on it (unfortunately most people took their ornaments down already!) I made this pretty dove - notice the paperclip garland! A coworker of mine made this pretty snowflake to go on top of the tree. I hope this gets you into the holiday spirit!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Holiday gifts

Haven't started holiday shopping yet? Scared to face the crowds? How about shopping ONLINE! Do it soon so you can get it shipped in time, however, as a reminder, no last minute shopping should be done online! I've come up with a few suggestions ranging from a little to a lot ($).
Scented candles are always a terrific gift. I recommend 'Cleopatra' by Tocca or Pied a terre by Ralph Lauren. Both are in such pretty boxes you don't even need to wrap them!
As a splurge -who wouldn't love this Italian giltwood Chinese Chippendale Mirror from Coleen and company? It's a steal at only $1800
For the would be decorator, Mlinaric on Decorating is a really fabulous book for the beautiful photography alone!
Or for the girl who loves pink, how about this antique English clock with this beautiful pink and yellow painted pattern also from Coleen & co? Also a splurge though at $2400! I love that black and gilt face!
A bit more affordable but just as glamorous is this fornasetti tray, perfect for the hostess who enjoys a game of cards - found on EBAY.For the foreign film buff, I would recommend Not on the Lipswith Audrey Tautou - a super fun musical comedy.This malachite box from Coleen & Co. is really fabulous -anything malachite is just a perfect gift this season. At $475 this is a luxury item, but you can find less expensive versions. This would be great on a coffee table or nightstand to hold little odds & ends.
This fornasetti lamp would make anyone smile! Still a steal on EBAY!
For your wanna-be-socialite friends I would recommend the book 'High Society' by Nick Foulkes. Love this cover too!
For the modernist, how about a vintage set of Rosenthal Pottery that is signed BJORN WIINBLAD, the famous designer!
This antique wedgewood jasperware vase in my favorite cobalt color would make my heart flutter, also from ebay.
The new Comme Si de Rien N'Etait' album by French first lady Carla Bruni would be great for any music lover!
For your wild 'arty' friends, this photography book 'NYC go-go' is really fun and a little naughty!
This version of Mozart's Don Giovanni is the best opera on DVD I have ever seen. Perfect for the movie lover, music lover, opera lover or lover of classical architecture as it is filmed on location in a number of Palladian Villas, including the Villa Rotunda. It stars my favorite singer, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.

For the record, I would be thrilled with any of the above gifts and imagine your loved ones would be as well! Now get shopping!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Deanna Durbin

I was recently talking to a friend about Deanna Durbin -the singing movie star from the 30s and 40s. We found out that we both have loved her since childhood! I came across a picture of her taken in the early 80s and was surprised to see she was totally recognizeable from herself as a teenager -check this out.Born in 1921, she started out with a studio contract in 1935 along with Judy Garland (the other teen singing actress!). After creating many movies though as the singing teenager, she wanted more sophisticated, grown-up roles which studios and audiences were reluctant to see her in. She retired then in 1949, married and moved to France where she continues to live in retirement.
This video below shows her at age 14 (with that voice!) in her first movie 'Three smart girls". Definitely check out any of her movies, they're delightful!