Friday, October 30, 2009

Apprentice With The Stars

Todays post is a trip down memory lane. What a wild and bumpy ride I had while living in New York in the 1980's through the mid nineties ! While earning a BFA from FIT in interior design, under the former Parsons faculty, I worked for the small residential firm of Marshall-Schule Associates (see Architectural Digest). I also worked briefly for Tom Britt, which was a real eye opener, (love Tom). Upon graduation, my first full time position was assisting Barbara Deichman with model rooms at Bloomingdale's on Third Avenue, where one of my assignments was to help Mario Buatta install his model room - I have never had more fun, or worked so hard and fast ! Mario is still a friend, and I speak with him often by phone. One year later, I accepted a design assistant position with George Clarkson, Inc. (see Architectural Digest) where I was exposed to english antiques, Park Avenue, and clients like C.Z. Guest and Robert Fomon (E.F. Hutton). I summered in Southampton, and lived on East 66th between Fifth and Madison. I brought in Parkin Saunders (with Georges' permission) to help me out while Helen the secretary took a vacation. Later, I would work for Parkin as a shopper ! After this stint with the late Mr. Clarkson, I freelanced for a while, and even had an "agent" finding clients for me. I was hired by my pal Raul Morillas to work with him at Macy's store design, and also at Robert A.M. Stern Architects. I took a three year detour, moved back to North Carolina, and opened my own shop - Dean Farris Interior Design. One day I saw my old friend from FIT, Tice Alexander, listed in the House Beautiful "Top 100 designers" so I called to congratulate him, and ended up closing my shop, moving back to New York, and working with him ! (Tice had worked at Parish-Hadley, and I was thrilled to drop everything to gain this experience). After Tice died (New York Times Aug 27, 1993) at the tender age of 35, I was thrown off course, and worked for a time at Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman. Later, I had the luck to be hired by the late Robert Metzger (see Architectural Digest). I also worked with Carl D'Aquino, Maurice Bernstein, and Garrick Stephenson (see Architectural Digest). My final design job in New York was as a shopper for Parkin Saunders... the one I had helped at the beginning of my career to get a foothold in the business. As they say, "what goes around, comes around". DF *****

Monday, October 26, 2009

Corporate Office Deluxe

This is my office project I designed for Regal Electric/Safe-Tech, in South Fort Myers, Florida. I had totally raw space to work with, and enjoyed the design process working with the associates of my client, whom I also designed a personal residence for in Bonita Springs. I greatly enjoyed the collaboration, and look forward to our next project. DF *****

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Maison Auclair Revisited

Here again I wanted to share my wonderful decorating source for unique and creative objects for the home. Stay tuned for an upcoming post featuring the new obelisks from the Venetian Collection - to be featured in "Gulfshore Life". I recently spent a whole day in this shop rearranging the furnishings and art objects. William and I have a great time there, sharing lunch when he works in the shop on Saturdays from 12 to 5. One of the customers he often sees is Donna Summer, our favorite disco goddess ! He has also sold to Deborah Gore Dean, among other top decorators. 465 Fifth Avenue South (239) 263-4121 Naples, Florida DF *****

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Darien in Naples II

I was enjoying looking at these shots from the install at the condo in Naples I had finished last summer. It was such a pleasure to work with these wonderful young clients, and they gave me huge creative freedom to make something very nice for them when they visit Florida. We completely remodeled the unit, including all new kitchen and bathrooms, new flooring, all new painting throughout, and mostly all new furnishings. I greatly enjoyed the many trips I made to the condo, and William was a big help, and found some great things from our source Maison Auclair Here, in the girls room, we went green, and incorporated some existing vintage furniture that came with the unit. These random shots tell a story of an adventure in decorating and design, and the contractor, Robert Lenahan, helped to speed things along. As soon as this year long project was completed, William and I took off for New Orleans, for our continuing design education. It was a nice treat after such a long and arduous year. DF

Monday, October 19, 2009

Beachfront remodel

Here are some images of the condo I remodeled with Antony Felice at the Horizon House in Naples, a vintage 1970's tower, the first to be built by Raymond Lutgert. We had a lot of fun here, and the client understood the design process, and was referred to me by Albert's office. I designed the built-ins, kitchen, bathrooms, and all other spaces along with input from the client, and the contractor. We managed to retain the vintage cabana on the beach feeling while updating all systems, fittings and finishes. Living Room sofa silk by Ralph Lauren. Chairs by Jacques Garcia for Baker. Credenza by Hickory Chair. Dining Room wallpaper by Chuck Fisher for Brunschwig & Fils. Chairs by Milling Road. Shell mirror client's own. DF *****

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tiffany & Company

For over thirty years, I have recommended Tiffany & Company for the finest in silver, fine china, and glass ware of the highest caliber. When I was living in New York, I had the privilege of assisting with the design of a "Tiffany Table Setting" with the designer George Clarkson. I adore the bamboo sterling flatware pattern by Van Day Truex, and revere Tiffany for their elegant refusal to use anything less than sterling sliver for the designs they are renowned for. The mark of Tiffany represents the finest available product on the market today. DF ***** 5th Avenue and 57th Street, New York, NY 10022 (212) 755-8000

Friday, October 16, 2009

Palm Beach Shops II

Here are a few more things I saw in West Palm Beach that I found attractive. The bleached Louis XV style table is a particular favorite, since when I was spending time with Albert (Hadley) he had a lot of bleached wood furniture in the cottage, which Mark Sciarillo had done for him. These chairs are very interesting as well, I thought to share these images with you. DF *****

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Open and Tut Case: San Franciscos de Young Museum reveals the boy king

Open and Tut Case: San Franciscos de Young Museum reveals the boy king

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Palm Beach Shops

Elephants Foot

N.P. Trent

I had a nice surprise yesterday when I got an email from top interior designer Grant K. Gibson of San Francisco, who also has a designblog - Grant has gotten some huge publicity due to his blog, and is on his way to Palm Beach for a design project. I thought I'd let him in on some of my (once) secret sources on South Dixie highway and surrounds. I also suggested the Design Center of the Americas as well as the design district in Miami. I look forward to meeting Grant, and especially enjoyed his post featuring a trip to Paris, where he was able to gain access to the famous "above the shop" apartment kept by Coco Chanel ! Truly iconic ! DF *****

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

House Beautiful 1935

Here is another issue of "House Beautiful" from 1935. I was looking at the ad for the Camel cigarettes, and noticed that the company who makes them, R. J. Reynolds, was listed in very fine print, of Winston-Salem, N.C., my home town. In the 1980's Kohlberg Kravis executed the largest LBO in history, acquiring RJR/Nabisco for 25 billion dollars ! Needless to say, after that there were some very happy campers in Winston-Salem. (The cigarettes were named AFTER the towns, not the other way around). I grew up in deep middle class comfort, and living in the Piedmont, with its lush trees and rolling hills, often fantasized that I was really in Los Angeles. Compare this 1935 cover with the 2009 "Naples Illustrated" cover... am proud to say I have an ad of my own in this very issue, for Dean Farris Interior Design. As my friend James Andrew would say, "The better it gets, the better it gets !" DF *****

Monday, October 12, 2009

Cayman Islands

Frenchie, my 2007 Porsche Cayman coupe, got jealous when she found out that I had posted about her without showing you her pictures. Here she is, in all of her Speed Yellow clear coated glory ! Of course she has her very own garage. I gave up the pleasure of a 2006 Mercedes-Benz CLK 350 (black with ivory leathers) for this little baby, and don't regret it for a minute. Frenchie has a 5 speed manual transmission with a flat six mid-engine. I love her ! The exhaust note is sublime, although I do covet a 12 cylinder Bentley Continental convertible in beluga...

My dealer here in Naples is having a launch party for the new 2010 Panamera (4 door sedan) on November 4th, which I look forward to attending. Driving a Porsche in Naples on a beautiful sunny day is about as good as it gets ! I even got William to drive the Cayenne today, and he actually said he liked it...Surprise ! DF ***** (daily driver)

Naples Luxury Imports

My 2007 Porsche Cayman ("Frenchie") had to go in for her first 20,000 mile service today. (See earlier Porsche posts) - and I was given the VIP royal treatment as usual by Andrew and Harley, Philippe and John . She needed a new pair of rear tires ($800) and scheduled service ($725), but should be good to go for a while now.

Porsche of Naples is one of only two "premier" dealers in the state, and they really do go the extra mile with customer satisfaction, service, and overall friendliness. Still waiting for the Panameras to show up ! My loaner today was a sweet Cayenne SUV in metallic navy blue with a terra cotta leather interior. (see picture here). While dropping off Frenchie I took some Aston-Martin shots... Naples Luxury Imports also carries Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Range Rover, Jaguar, and Maserati, as well as Bugatti. It's always a very pleasant experience to be there, and I enjoy sharing it with you. Happy Columbus Day ! DF*****

postscript: Michael Taylor drove a 1979 black Porsche 928 and a 1976 sable RR Corniche two-door hardtop.

Columbus Day

Happy Columbus Day !

Enjoy this nice holiday, we all deserve it. By the way, should you want to become a follower of my blog, DeanFarrisStyle, simply click on the follow button >>>>>>>>
and it will direct you to set up a quick and easy google account. Then you can post comments and subscribe to my feed. Very simple, and tons of fun ! Also, today is my blogger hero James Andrew's birthday - Wish him a happy b'day on Facebook or his fabulous top 20 blog which is called What Is James Wearing ? Enjoy ! DF *****

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Jason Champion HGTV

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of meeting HGTV designstar contestant Jason Champion. Jason was here at the International Design Center presenting a seminar entitled "Design Inspirations, Color Trends And Backstage Secrets". Not only does Jason have his own line of outdoor furniture he also has been recognized by The New York Times, Washington Post, Elle Decor and House Beautiful. The reception following was held at InBloom Floral Design in the IDC.

It was a thrill to have a "photo op" with him, and I look forward to getting to know him better, since he lives in nearby Sarasota, Florida. Also, a side note of interest is that he has a sister who is the womens basketball coach at the University of New Orleans. Check out his exciting and elegant site for more information on this talented, young, up and coming star ! DF *****

Friday, October 9, 2009

Surface Beauty

Surface Beauty

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Maison Auclair Smalls

I simply couldn't resist showing you some of the smaller items at my (once) secret source, Maison Auclair, in Naples. Judith Auclair is a genius at creating things for the home, which are at once chic, unusual, fantasy, and practical all at the same time ! I especially like these very Duquette inspired candlesticks, and the marvelous exuberant photograph frame. Considering her quality, the prices are quite reasonable, and each piece is one of a kind. Some are even signed by the artist. These lovely creations can also be found at the shop/studio of Laura Parsons, one of the top designers in Naples, and also a good friend of mine. Her design firm is called PureDesign of Naples, and is located in the elegant new Naples Bay Resort - located on the eastern end of Fifth Avenue South. Her windows face south into Naples Bay and Port Royal. Also, don't miss todays post from my friend James Andrew, about the house of Scalamandre', you are in for a fabulous treat ! These shell creations would be splendid in the room he designed. Have a great weekend, and enjoy the October weather ! DF

Thursday, October 8, 2009

IDC Seminars

Yesterday (October 7th) William and I attended a seminar for interior designers, conducted by Steve Nobel. It was very informative, and afterwards, Kravet Lee/Jofa hosted a buffet luncheon. We enjoyed the blanc de blanc sparkling wine, and a hot meal, while chatting with colleagues and perusing all the latest goodies... see and

On Saturday, October 31 I will be conducting a seminar for the general public under the title of "Real investment, Designed to sell" at the IDC see and look forward to meeting some new friends and potential clients.

The IDC or International Design Center, is an amazing place, only a few years old, designed by Juan Montoya, and developed by Margaret Miller and the Miromar Development Corporation. Stop in and enjoy touring the showrooms with your designer or architect. If you don't yet have a designer, the IDC is prepared, and has a wonderful designer referral program, and designer on call. The value represented by this service is huge for any savvy consumer and homeowner. One of the things I learned from Mr.Nobel and panelist Janet Bilotti, was that no designer deserves to be treated disrespectfully by a client. Life is way too short, and we are professionals in a global multi billion dollar business. DF

Vintage views

On one of our last pleasure trips to Fort Lauderdale, "the Venice of America" I took these shots while out walking in the Terramar neighborhood. An area of high contrasts, you might see a sleek mega yacht while simultaneously looking at an abandoned 1930's apartment house ! And, speaking of yachts, check out maritime artist Scott McBee his work will blow you away!

Here are some random images I enjoyed capturing. Enjoy ! DF

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Steinitz Gallery Opens Parisian Arts Center

Steinitz Gallery Opens Parisian Arts Center

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Maison Auclair

For many years, a shop in Naples has been a great source for finishing rooms that I've designed for various clients. Maison Auclair has always had a wonderful mix of antiques, custom lamps, accessories, and shell creations.

We used a lot of things from this shop for the trophy room in Indiana, as well as the condo in Naples for the young couple from Darien, CT. All of our jobs have benefited hugely from having this resource.

Here, on a recent visit to the unique shop, located at 465 Fifth Avenue South, I found a gorgeous Knole sofa, by Edward Ferrell, a very charming Napoleon III settee, and an interesting demilune table in coquillage, (the art of shelling decorative items). In the window of the shop is a magnificent shelled mirror, hung above a chippendale style table in a chipped white finish, making a total statement to the shopper about what lies in store for them upon entering. Judith Auclair is currently working on an amazing pair of obelisks with shell applique' which are over six feet tall ! Her work will also be featured in an upcoming issue of "Coastal Living", and is currently featured in "Naples Illustrated". Do visit this romantic boutique soon. DF

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

House Beautiful 1932

My good friend and client, Mary, gave me these wonderful vintage copies of "House Beautiful" from 1932 ! They are so interesting, and many feature amazing homes in California and New York by famous architects such as H. Roy Kelley (Holmby Hills) and Roland E. Coate (San Marino). I find these old magazines endlessly fascinating, and wanted to share them.

The cigarette advertisements are particularly alluring. These editors promoted the idea of owning a house, and decorating was limited to a somewhat narrow scope, all inspired by Europe, Colonial America, or bauhaus style. Here is the cover (left) from the February 1932 issue "Spring Building Number" 35 cents ! WOW ! DF

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fine French Furniture II

Here is the Wrightsman Living Room in Palm Beach, mentioned in the earlier FFF post. I read that the house has since been torn down. This room is one of my favorite creations from the past, and was designed by Denning and Fourcade.

There is a house in Naples on the beach that was also decorated by Bob Denning, which was featured in "Architectural Digest".

I've always been intrigued by their work, and enjoy the very French massing of objects, colors, furnishings, artworks, and patterns. I remember going to the Vertical Club in NY and seeing Mr. Denning there in his workout attire, exercising along with yours truly, Mary McFadden, Mr. Trump, Brooke Shields, Fabio, and Dr. Ruth ! What a trip ! DF

Friday, October 2, 2009

Luxuriously Upgraded: Kahala Hotel and Resort

Luxuriously Upgraded: Kahala Hotel and Resort

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Portrait Miniatures

I found these wonderful "portrait miniatures" at the quaint shop of Lord Colin Strong, in Naples. They are so beautiful - and he has quite a large collection. My client and friend in Charleston, Martin, collects these as well, and was in London last year to attend an auction featuring some of the best on the market. I remember when Martin and I were in Monte Carlo for the bienalle des antiquaires, a memorable trip, with lunch at the famed hotel next to the casino.

Lord Colin is also a Porsche driver, and I enjoyed chatting with him. He goes back to the U.K. in the summer. Here's Bradley the Lhasa aphso attempting to drive my '07 Cayman...cute ! I was over at a clients house, and he jumped in the car and wanted to drive it ! Some other Porsche drivers of interest : James Dean, Ellen DeGeneres, The editor in "Devil Wears Prada", Miranda Priestly, and my favorite California designer, Michael Taylor, who also had a Rolls Royce. I truly love my car, and drive it almost daily. DF

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Handsome Harrys

Yesterday, We met up with our good friend and fellow Porsche Club member, Susann Miller. Susann has done books on Porsche ephemera, and is an accomplished racer, artist, and real estate mogul. And a ton of fun ! See - We lunched at Handsome Harrys in Old Naples, - which is directly in front of her new magnificent house, and very much enjoyed our time together over lovely salads and a very good Pinot Grigio from the house of Swanson, see - before getting a private tour of the new casa. We also discussed marketing for my business, - and chatted with William about his work at Maison Auclair see - and are all looking forward to joining Taryn Cafiero next month at the film festival, !! (at Philharmonic Center for the Arts)

Today, I was shopping for clients at the fabulous International Design Center, see more about it at !!! It will be fun to see Jason (from HGTV design star) there next week giving a seminar. He is a ringer for Will Ferrell, the wonderful comedian and actor.