Monday, November 30, 2009

Michele Oka Doner

Tonight, I'm attending a champagne reception and book signing for the New York artist, Michele Oka Doner, at the Waterside Shops. I always enjoy shopping there, as they have Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Saks, Tiffany, Hermes', Ferragamo, and Ralph Lauren. On Thursday, I was scheduled to meet top lighting designer Robert Sonneman at the ASID Christmas party, but Bill and I will be on the east coast that night for a mini vacation, and also to visit Pocock Fine Art, in Fort Lauderdale. Pocock, on Las Olas Boulevard, carries an excellent selection of fine 19th century art and furnishings, and I look forward to shopping there when on the east coast. We decided to skip Palm Springs this year, so, Fort Lauderdale it is ! DF *****
Dean is wearing Costa Del Mar sunglasses, J. McLaughlin shirt, J. Crew poplin trousers, loafers by Gucci. Belt by Ralph Lauren. Hair by Ilenocos.

copyright Dean Farris 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

Stan Topol

A clear, sunny day after in Naples...

Another mentor of mine, from my days at Art Institute of Atlanta, whom I am so very thankful for, is Stan Topol. Stan was the chairman of the interior design department at AIA when I showed up, age 17, ready to take over the design world...he was sitting in his Billy Baldwin brown office, with framed photographs on the walls of Joseph Braswell and Billy B.
I had never met such a charismatic, exotic personality ! Stan exudes atmosphere, went to school in New Orleans, and hails from the Mississippi Delta. I learned so much from him, not just about how to design a very high-style interior, but how to live, write a charming letter, dress, table manners, knowledge of french language, food, and all the things that make life worth living. Today, Stan is considered to be one of the top designers in the U.S. and has been featured in "AD" and has designed extensively for Sir Elton John. He also has done major work here in Naples for one of the founding families, the Lutgerts. I would go so far as to say that not only has he mentored me, and many others, but that the day we met was the official beginning of my career as a decorator ! DF *****

copyright Dean Farris 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Felliniesque Thanksgiving

The Naples restaurant "St George and the Dragon" is an institution, and Mary, Susan and I enjoyed a nine course meal there today. I especially enjoyed my shrimp and scallop coquille (served in a large scallop shell) and my pre- dinner manhattan on the rocks. After dinner, we took Susan home, and I got a tour of her palatial residence on Crayton Road. The golf course view was spectacular ! Then, we went to Mary's sons house and checked out their festive goodies, with a very yummy looking turkey (23 pounds) fresh from the oven. Fresh rosemary had been installed under the skin prior to cooking. Now, I just want to recover from all the fabulous food and drink ! The clientele at St George and the Dragon is very interesting. Lots of very tall stately looking gents and very wonderfully eccentric ladies...with nice jewelry, big bouffants, and Pucci type clothes...the atmosphere is VERY DARK and there are those great green glass globes on all the lamps. It feels like the galley of an old ship from the early nineteenth century, and Mary, our server was a ringer for Ina Garten, the barefoot contessa. We enjoyed each and every bite ! DF *****

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hicksian Tablescape

David Hicks, iconic designer - used the word "tablescape" in his design books, and I was inspired to create one of my own. I used a rattan table, and a neoclassic roman bust - reminding me of Michael Taylor. Then I created a kind of "bonsai" tree from dried eucalyptus in a bronze neoclassic urn. The cloisonne' vase, and Tiffany paperweight were gifts. Then, in another very Hicksian mood, I added an uplight on the floor to bring out the details. When my new curtains are installed, this will all come together. Please excuse the blinds, they came with the apartment ! Functional, but not really my taste. I had a lot of fun creating this arrangement. DF*****

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Michael Taylor

I'm very much inspired by the work of iconic designers from the past. Just as Michael Taylor was by Frances Elkins. There is a fabulous continuity between the classic designs of yesterday and the present. When I was in the salon at McMillen in New York, I witnessed the timelessness of classic design. There is a definite structure, and Otto Zenke in North Carolina and Palm Beach was another of my inspirations. Michael Taylor worked hard, and built up a society clientele, as well as being credited with creating what is known today as the "California Look". The book "Michael Taylor Interior Design" by Stephen M. Salny, is a favorite resource. Mr. Taylor left behind a significant body of work, and a whole style of design. What an amazing icon of style ! DF *****

Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Dear readers and friends, I hope you all are able to enjoy a bountiful, healthy and happy holiday this week. Thank you for your continued support and friendship.
DF *****

Friday, November 20, 2009

Winter sunsets II

I enjoy experimenting with what my digital camera can and cannot do. Here, I tried to capture a bit of the sunset from my apartment, just before darkness falls. Tonight, the fountain was not illuminated for some reason, when it is I feel like I am in a park outside too is another dusky shot of my "salon" which I never tire of photographing, since I seem to be obsessed with the idea of rooms devoted to the lost art of conversation. Please check out my pal Miles Redd's new spread in "Elle Decor" the blue lacquered foyer is amazing and so chic I could die. It reminds me of a house Ruben de Saavedra had done back in the eighties. Funny, I have a client here who used Ruben for his house in Pittsburgh, as well as Michael Greer. Life just gets more and more interesting with each passing day ! DF ***** (copyright Dean Farris 2009)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Petite Salon Deux

courtesy Dean Farris Interior Design 2009

As a boy, I read so many copies of "House & Garden" and "House Beautiful" that I became sort of a camera, retaining thousands of images in my memory bank. When I discovered the venerable firm of Parish-Hadley through these magazines, I was totally hooked, and later, I worked with a former PH designer (Tice) and got to know Albert quite well. This image of my Living Room in Naples shows a heavy influence from my studying and constantly reading shelter magazines. You can practically see the words house beautiful as a banner across the top of this picture ! My choice of a white tufted banquette was influenced by a picture I had seen of the couture salon of Yves St Laurent in Paris, now a museum, and the green velvet on the Louis XIV chairs was inspired by another iconic image showing Hubert de Givenchy's salon in Paris...the chandelier was inspired by Coco Chanel's apartment in Paris... as you can see I have gone totally mad for a kind of 18th century revival style favored by french fashion designers. Ooh la la ! DF ***** (image copyright Dean Farris 2009)

sidenote: the apartment of interior designer Jacques Garcia on the Place des Voges in Paris is my idea of heaven ! See "Architectural Digest" archives...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Macquette for Living Room

Long ago, before personal computers, and before every student had one, and long before autocad, design schools such as Parsons would teach students to create something called a "macquette". This is a four sided elevation of a room, rendered in color. I really enjoyed my days at FIT, learning from the masters : Glenn Boyles, Albino Cimonetti, Stanley Barrows - all of whom had come from Parsons. Here is my recent macquette showing the new curtains I have ordered for my "petite salon" in Naples. You might wish to try this sometime as an exercise - it's very helpful to show clients as well. DF*****

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Winter sunsets

I came home last night and caught this romantic image of my "salon" glowing in the late afternoon sunset. My air conditioning was blasting cool air, and I couldn't resist taking some shots of the view towards the settee. Ellen is making some curtains for me, to be shown in an upcoming post, so I look forward to showing you that elevation as well. As you can see, I have already started my Christmas decorating, just don't have the tree yet. Will be in North Carolina with my family over the holidays ! Enjoy ! DF *****

Monday, November 16, 2009

Miles of Tiles

When remodeling, i.e; a kitchen, I'm often asked to select a tile or other material for the backsplash area above the counters. Here are some I had found at Sorhegui here in Naples, which are very attractive, and add some wonderful color. I am particularly fond of the SICIS glass mosaics from Italy, seen here in a wet bar I redesigned with Tony Felice. DF *****

Friday, November 13, 2009

Nouvelle Orleans II

San Francisco Plantation

Garden District

Hermann-Grima house

A Cangelosi Restoration on Conti, French Quarter

On Rue Royale
Here are some more of my shots from our New Orleans trip in 2008. Robert "Robbie" Cangelosi AIA took us to some of his favorite places, including some of his own restoration projects, as well as to some of the plantation homes in the outlying parishes.

I have always loved Louisiana, but was shocked to see how the oil and natural gas business has encroached on the countryside, creating severe contrasts between the old houses and the huge refineries. Post Katrina, the whole area has more of a sharp edge to it, with crime at a higher level, and a sense of danger in the air. Here are some of the images I wanted to share with you, which were not shown in the previous N.O. post. Enjoy ! DF *****

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fine Arts at Wilson Lighting

We had a fabulous evening at Wilson Lighting tonight, previewing new designs by Fine Art Lighting of Miami. Neal Dreznin and Brian Wilson hosted a chic cocktail soiree with catering by Chef's Hands and the food and wine were excellent. I saw so many of my dear and cherished colleages; Jinx McDonald, Cheryl Oldershaw, Kira Krumm, Laura Miller, Pam Crockett, Kelli Smith, Chris Busk, Rita Caskey, Molly Burish, Dirk Lorin Anderson, Susan Salimbene, JoAnne Wilseck, we felt like survivors on the Titanic, coming out through this unfortunate downturn in our economy. We also saw Clara Avila Alber, Mary Beth Gill, Jim Shafer, Linda Holt, and many other old friends. A fun time was had by all, and I found tons of decorative items that I was mad for. I can't wait to use some of the new things Wilsons has brought in for us. DF *****

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day 2009

I just want to say "thank you" to all of the brave soldiers who have given of themselves in the name of freedom and protecting what is still the greatest nation on earth. God bless you all, and may the force be with you. DF *****

Cherished Clients

Sharing my experiences with clients gives me great pleasure. I started my career over thirty years ago, and my first actual client was a friend of my parents, when I was about nineteen. As a fledgling teenaged designer, I had a lot to learn, but I was able to feel my way through the process with the help of a very kind and understanding client. Today, that couple is still working with me, and I have designed many homes for them over the years. Their lake house was featured in "Country Living" magazine. When I had my design shop in Winston-Salem, I met some wonderful people, (1986-1989) and another couple from that time, Bob Gant and Martin Layton are still active clients as well. They live in a splendid 19th century jewelbox house in Charleston, SC - south of broad - and I cherish it as a pet project. Also, during that period I did some work for Mrs. Hanes at her ancestral mountain top home at "The Gap" in Roaring Gap, NC. I'll never forget her kindness and generosity, and we used the same chintz in her bedroom that Enid Haupt had in hers. Mrs Hanes's mother, DeWitt, used Mark Hampton for her Winston-Salem residence, and a local designer for her New York apartment ! All of these wonderful clients have been so good to me over the years, and I am happy to still be working with them today. DF *****

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Maison Auclair Revisited II

Venetian Collection Obelisks

Here are some of the latest creations from the wonderful shop, Maison Auclair, in Naples. I think the obelisks are great, and are part of the new "Venetian Collection". The spindrift console looks fabtastic against this cerulean blue wall with black grosgrain trim. DF *****

Monday, November 9, 2009

Newgate Center

I was at the bank the other day, and caught this lovely outdoor scene. My bank is in the Newgate Tower here in Naples, and has this fantastic water garden directly in front of the entrance. The winter breezes were making the palm trees sway, and I greatly enjoy sharing this bit of man- made nature with you. In feng shui , water = money, so. I thought how appropos !

DF *****

Friday, November 6, 2009

Casa italia at IDC II

William relaxing on Ralph Lauren chaise !!!

Here is another good looking italian sectional sofa, from the International Design Center, by Casa italia. This sofa is very comfortable, au courant, and affordable too, since it has been placed in the new clearance showroom, suite 218. Love the sleek lines of this, reminding me of the glamour of the 1970's and Willy Rizzo, Vlad Kagan styles.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mr Buatta and Mrs Parish

Although I did have the privilege of working with Mario, and getting to know him, I never met Sister. I was taken to her office once, after hours, and this was when the PH offices were on East 56th Street, and terribly chic and glamourous. Sisters office was a square room, one of the most beautiful spaces I had ever seen, and the walls were glazed the exact color of a pink rose petal. Her floor was painted, and she had used a very soft pink and green chintz (possibly a cretonne). I was struck by the drama of her "desk", a Louis writing table (escritoire) - the only two things on it were her multi line phone and a copy of the "blue book" (New York Social Register). The room also contained a small marble mantel. I will always remember this room, it made a huge impression. I have had so many friends and acquaintances who have worked there; my old college room-mate Bob Shatzer, is the one who showed me Sisters office. Others include James Andrew, Tice Alexander, Greg Casati, Reggie Charrier, David Easton, Gary Hager, Mark Hampton, Brian McCarthy, Nicholas Pentecost, Nancy Porter, Harold Simmons, Terry Sullivan, Peter Van Hattum and Bunny Williams !!! DF ***** DON'T FORGET ! 11-11 is Albert's birthday...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Decorative Groupings

I wanted to share with you, dear reader, what I was up to yesterday at home. I created an eclectic grouping of pictures I already owned, which had been in storage for the past two years. I used a copy of a lithograph from a Palladian garden pavilion (gift from a friend), and two fun playbills from a favorite Key West revue, "Broadway 3 Ways" at LaTeDa in Key West. The cross was a gift from our friend Roberta Horton.

The tabletop holds Meissen style candlesticks (gift from a client) and blue and white porcelains, and a SONY television, a gift from my father. I have never purchased a television in my life ! The drawings are some I did quickly for Marshall-Schule when Elsa Klensch from "Style With Elsa Klensch" (CNN ) covered the Fifth Avenue apartment of Mary Gilbert, which they had designed. What a gorgeous jewel box of a place it is. Mary is related to the Rockefellers, and through her, I met Hurd Hatfield, who played Dorian Gray in the movie of the same name. I think Hurd went by the name of Hal, but memory is not serving me well this morning. DF *****

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fabulous Finds II

These interesting items were discovered this summer, while shopping for my Boca Grande client. I found these in Naples, and William and I enjoyed the search. One never knows what finds lay undiscovered in these little shops here in town. I'm especially fond of these 19th century style garden seats and table. They remind me of my deep south childhood in Albany, Georgia, in the heart of "plantation country" where famous families such as the Whitneys of New York keep quail hunting retreats. See for a taste of real Southern style !

Enjoy ! DF *****

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dean Farris at IDC

On Saturday (Halloween) I spoke on the topics of design and real estate as part of the "Saturday Seminars" series at the International Design Center. I was thrilled to be preceded by Jason Champion (HGTV) and fellow blogger/designer Candice Sebring-Kelber, and to hear that none other than Juan Montoya will be speaking in February. Juan designed the center, and I will definitely get some images for you, so you can see just what a spectacular place it really is. I was assisted by fabulous Deborah Hamilton, IDC Marketing Director, and was able to give my audience a PowerPoint presentation, my first ! Seventeen nice ladies and one smart gentleman attended, and I did remind them about the wonderful clearance center now available in suite 218. Check it all out - DF *****

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Naples Terrace Charm III

Twin guest

Here is the twin guest bedroom I refurbished last year in the charming cottage of my good friend and client. We used a fresh salmon and chocolate palette, and added two twin headboards along with a new chest and mirror. We were happy with the results, and this room is a nice balance to the adjacent king guest room and queen master bedroom. Notice the princess phone ! A wonderful nod to the owners love of historic objects. DF *****