Saturday, August 8, 2009


I can't believe our trip to Paris is in a few short weeks! There are so many places I'm dying to visit but one of them is definitely Hediard, the gourmet grocer and restaurant near the Ritz. Little gossipy tidbit - Princess Di had her last meal just around the corner at the ritz and passed here on her infamous way home to london. Obviously not why I want to visit though, the pictures provide the reason! Anyone hungry?
Pictures courtesy of a friend via her 2007 trip.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Monet at Giverny

Monet created over 250 paintings of the Water lilies or Nympheas at his gardens in Giverny (in Northern France). These paintings always remind me of calm summers, just in time for my yearly pilgrimage to the beach next week!

The gardens of the house he first rented then owned have been open to the public since 1980. I would love to visit while in Paris but I think time is not on our side -next time!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

R.I.P. Charles Gwathmey

Charles Gwathmey died today at the young age of 71, leaving the architectural community bereft of one of the pure modernists left. As a young architect in school, Gwathmey Siegel was one of the firms we studied and saw referenced constantly. He practiced a severe Corbusian modernism that while it has many detractors, still is an important style being used today.
Soho Mews, a recent project in NYC
Learn more about Mr. Gwathmey at the NYtimes.
Image at top of Gwathmey in front of the home he designed for his parents in East Hampton in 1967 which made his career. He owned the house after their passing and recently had been busy renovating and upgrading the finishes.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

National City Christian Church

I am lucky enough to live across from one of my favorite buildings in the city -the National City Christian Church. Designed by prominent architect John Russell Pope in Neoclassical style, the central block which contains the sanctuary was completed in 1930.
night view from my roof deck
Because of the great depression, construction of the side wings which house a shelter and sunday school rooms was not complete till the 1950s. The church has led an important roll in the city through the years. In 1973 the state funeral of Lyndon Johnson was held here. Also, for years the church has had an impact on the musical life of the city both through daily concerts at noon and a weekly radio broadcast of its famous organ.
At night it's an impressive site, all of that white stone lit up, standing proudly on Thomas Circle. I'm always proud to see tourists snapping pictures! The shelter is entered from the side through a quiet, gated courtyard.
Beside the gate is this unusual baptistery. It has a ring of a neoclassical shell which matches the church around a brick core with stained glass. I wonder what the story behind that is!Even from a distance it is hard not to notice! In fact, it's one of the things that drew me to this neighborhood in the first place.

Contemporary DC

In the September Issue of Metropolitan Home magazine, the house of the month is located in my favorite DC neighborhood, Kalorama. The house is from the turn of the last century, 1912, and the couple wanted a more updated interior and turned to architect Gokhan Avcioglu and local designer Lori Graham to turn this into a more liveable, contemporary space.I love the architectural sofa that Lori designed, Camus, which I assume is named after her dog! Make sure to check out this issue when it hits newsstands August 11 for some other great articles, including an article about a new, inventive restaurant in Seattle from chef Matt Dillon!
Photograph of living room by Erik Johnson for Metropolitan Home, September 2009.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A white elephant

This past weekend I took a fast trip up to Baltimore and was able to stop by the Bookthing, the 'free' bookstore that Meg at Pigtown is always raving about! One of the many treasures I picked up was an October 1985 copy of House Beautiful magazine which a startling up-to-date project featured. I always love these vintage magazines! Mostly I like to look at how things have become 'dated' (to see what types of mistakes to avoid in the future) but once in awhile a project comes along that is truly timeless.The project was a 'white elephant' which had been turned into a duplex in New Orleans. The interiors were done by Ann Holden and Ann Dupuy, of antique store fame, while the remodel was masterminded by the architect Barry Fox. I love the high gl0ss finishes in the dining room above.Even though this project was completed 25 years ago, I could see this being totally liveable today, don't you? I normally like carpeting to soften a room, but in a hot climate I can imagine it's much cooler without. I love the dining and living rooms and the bedroom looks like a cozy beach retreat! Also, another thing I loved was that Martha Stewart made the cover! A star even in 1985....