Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Remodel Progress !

I'm thrilled with these new cabinets, getting limestone tops

The new tub is in !

A vast improvement over what was...

I remember when I still thought that remodeling was not something I should be involved in. As if all I was to do was select furnishings, colors, draperies, etc. Now my mantra is backgrounds first, then the decoration... Like so many other designer/decorators, I have become obsessed with toilet fixtures, faucets, flooring materials, wall placement, kitchen appliances, and other seemingly unglamourous items... I suppose ones point of view changes as one evolves. I spend a lot of time thinking about cabinetry, storage solutions, closets, and flat screen television placement, while simultaneously dreaming of furniture placement, wall finishes, ceiling colors and treatments, and lighting and lighting fixtures ! All this, while envisioning myself as an artist whose canvas is the bare shell of a house or condominium - so, it's no wonder that a year or two later, I get a HUGE sense of relief and accomplishment from achieving for myself and the clients the satisfying and beautiful end result. Thousands of emails and phone calls later, the image begins to reveal itself, and all of the work and money seems worth it. Oh yes, dear reader, this is the reward ! May we all continue to be so fortunate as to have understanding and patient clients who understand and want the design process for themselves. "Carpe Diem " indeed ! DF *****

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Philip Johnson and Joe Rosen

photograph courtesy Richard Payne

William and I had a great time last night enjoying cocktails and conversation at the home of our friend, Joe Rosen. I was delighted to discover that during Joe's prolific career as a designer, that he was a consultant to the architect Philip Johnson for over twenty five years ! It was one of those wonderful, old fashioned cocktail hours that ended up being about five hours we chatted away with Joe and his other guests, one of whom works with the Greenbrier Hotel, and also formerly worked at the famed Everglades Club (Palm Beach) back in the sixties. I had a great time, and while I never had the good fortune to meet Mr. Johnson or his partner David Whitney, I felt almost as if I had through hearing Joe talk about his experiences. Read more about P.J. and his glass house here: DF *****

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mark Hampton and David Hicks

Stately Home Inspiration !

My DH inspired "tablescape"

Mark and Duane Hampton with DH influence

Mark Hampton for Anne Bass, Fifth Avenue

There seems to be a recurring theme here, in that I keep posting and thinking about designers I've known or know of who have children who invariably have gone in to the business as well. Ashley Hicks just came out with a great new book on his father, David, and Alexa Hampton carries on the tradition established by her late father, Mark. Mark Hampton worked for David Hicks and Parish Hadley before going out on his own, in chic and serious offices on Madison Avenue. I first met Mark when he came to FIT to give a lecture to the design students, and I also visited his office one day when he was out. I've always admired his style and taste, and loved seeing his house in Southampton with the little sign at the end of the pea gravel driveway reading simply "Hampton". (I was staying in the guest house of Mrs. Rodgers Denkla on Halsey Neck Lane as a guest of designer George Clarkson). James Andrew also worked for Albert Hadley, and he recently visited the Eleuthera home of the late, great David Hicks, known as "Savannah"... James has also been compared to DH on his designer blog "What Is James Wearing?" and has become friends with India Hicks, a siren of chic. I am reminded of my first trip to London, in 1977, where I saw the David Hicks shop, all done up in scarlet and a shocking ultra violet. It made a strong impression. Style, chic, taste, and exposure were all screaming out to me ! I will always remember that first trip with great fondness. I cherish my vintage DH design books, given to me by my parents many years ago. DF *****

Wendy Burden

Beautiful Wendy Burden

I was looking at the New York Times yesterday, something I usually do on a sunday morning, and fell in love with the home of Wendy Burden (a member of the Vanderbilt family)... and was reminded of my old friend Marcy, whose sister Mary Jo married into the Cecil family in Asheville...(they own Biltmore and are descendants of George Vanderbilt). Mary Jo met Mr. Cecil through Rose Cummings sister, Eileen Cecil, since Marcy had a great job at Rose Cumming working in the showroom with the late Ron Grimaldi. I still remember on one of my first trips to New York, seeing the old Rose Cumming shop on Park Avenue... very mysterious and quaint. I was lucky to see this, since it was soon to close forever. Rose Cumming was a mentor and friend to Tom Britt and Albert Hadley, as well as Mark Hampton, and later I met all of these talented gentlemen while pursuing my dream to be a top New York designer myself. Enjoy these borrowed images (courtesy New York Times) ! DF *****

Saturday, March 27, 2010

1stdibs Introspective - Style Compass - Barclay Butera

1stdibs Introspective - Style Compass - Barclay Butera
Barclay is a total inspiration, and he, like Tinsley and Lizzie has a mother who is also a talented interior designer... enjoy this shared post from 1stdibs... DF*****

Tinsley Mortimer

All I can say is, I'm crazy for Tinsley ! I started following her years ago, in various magazines, and now, with her own show on the CW, I get to have the pleasure of seeing her do her thing in New York ! Tinsley represents a kind of ideal woman I'm very familiar with, since we both were raised in the south...I wish her nothing but the best as she transitions from her old UES life to her new one. Here's a great head shot of Tinsley, looking very glam and beautiful, as always. DF *****

Friday, March 26, 2010


This is the top of my table right now...always subject to change...

Tom Britt's upper east side aubergine drawing room

The very first time I ever heard the word "tablescape" was from reading one of my David Hicks decorating books... Here is a small tablescape I spontaneously created, after living for a few days with a totally bare table (which can be very refreshing) ...the Hollywood Regency print on book is by Jonathan Adler, the small tray on it is by Hermes' and the two frogs are from Sri Lanka. The stack of magazines are "Naples Illustrated" (a favorite),(that's an advance copy on top) candle by Ralph Lauren Home, small silver fleur by Christofle, small dish was a gift also, and the small black and white book is a furniture catalogue from Marbella... I so enjoyed seeing Joe Ruggiero's post today on Thomas Britt...another designer I had worked for while living in NYC (see my earlier posts) For drama, Tom is hard to beat, and he has his hamptons home on the market for a mere 13 million dollars... here's a great shot of Tom's upstairs drawing room, which I borrowed from Mr. Ruggiero. Enjoy ! DF *****

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lemoine Remy - Passementerie

Monsieur Remy has created leather tiebacks... and many other styles !!!

A mirrored tieback by Remy...

A gorgeous gilt metal tieback...

Monsieur Lemoine Remy...

Here is the leather tieback in an actual installation in Paris...

Lemoine Remy in Paris does fabulous passementerie , including tiebacks, very haute couture...


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Elizabeth Dinkel

Elizabeth Dinkel

Posted using ShareThis
I really enjoyed seeing Lizzie Dinkel on Decorati today... Her mother is Leta (Leetsie) Austin Foster... a decorator of note in Palm Beach. Lizzie has classic taste, and I've always admired her style. Read more on DF *****

Neoclassic View

I very much like this idea of a bust on a pedestal... or using a small table, as I did here, to hold an existing piece of sculpture...also, I like the sort of MAISON JANSEN look of the table.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dining at Home

Fleck Residence

Michetti Residence

White Residence

I do think that having some friends or business associates in for cocktails and a hot meal is one of the nicer things you can do to show your gratitude and hospitality. I heard that out in Hollywood, they used to say, that you may know a lot of people, but you can't count them as friends until you've been invited to their home for a dinner... Here are a few of the dining rooms I've had the pleasure of designing over the years... DF*****

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Importance of Color

The cozy dining room area...

A classic salmon and soft green palette prevails...

I think of this room as a "salon"
One of the first things I noticed when I first relocated to Florida, was how people were living with a lack of color and personal effects in their homes. I attribute this to two things; one, they have active outdoor lifestyles, and two, they only use these homes on a seasonal basis. Here, I helped an important client establish a sense of a home in the sub tropics with a controlled palette of salmons and greens, mixed with heirlooms from her grandparents, who were early developers of Miami Beach. Enjoy ! DF *****
Read more about this house in the April issue of "Naples Illustrated" !

Flowers by Zeze

I always love the advent of Spring, and here I've decided to post about one of the premier floral designers of New York, Zeze. They do ultra chic floral arrangements, gardens, and also sell decorative objects and serve dinners in their First Avenue shop... here are some images I liked from the Zeze site. Enjoy ! DF*****

Art: The Young Man and the Sea

Art: The Young Man and the Sea
I've always enjoyed the work of John Singer Sargent, and wanted to share this link from the Robb Report with you, dear reader...
Enjoy ! DF*****

Friday, March 19, 2010

Perrier Jouet

Founded around 1793, in Paris...

"la fleur de champagne"

We had a great time last night feteing Monsieur Bourbon, master silversmith, at the Christofle boutique in Waterside shops... the champagne never stopped flowing, and the canapes by Doug Lester of Five Star Private Chefs were scrumptious... and, here's what was in the lush swag bag... ooh la la ! DF*****

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Passion for Purple

"Lilac" painted outdoor furniture ...

Photograph courtesy Britt Carpenter

Gorgeous amethyst bracelet, on Bounkit

That Tom James shirt again...

I discovered this "Party Girl" wallpaper on Julie Neill's blog "Bayou Contessa"

Jonathan Adler's lilac pencils, James Andrew in purple Gucci

Designer Ned Marshall's Garden District Foyer, New Orleans

This lovely Mottahedeh "Vista Alegre" plate was a gift

Under the fragrant orchid tree...

A close up view of the orchid tree blossom...

These are always blooming under my windows...

This porcelain garden seat was a gift from Naples Lamp Shop

A Clarence House linen; "Montpensier" from France

A really fun card from my good friend Mary...

Violet, Royal, Plum. Lilac, Lavender, Fuschia. These are just a few of the hundreds of names we have for the color purple. I was inspired to write today about purple, since for the last week I had been doing green... somehow, these two colors are related in my mind. I sometimes wear a purple check shirt with faux emerald cuff links... and purple-ish flowers often have green leaves. Mystical qualities are associated with this color, and the amethyst stone is a favorite of mine - I once was in Paris, and discovered a decorating shop on the right bank which displayed huge pieces of the crystal placed casually on the floor, mixed with potted orchids. I also am a big fan of orchids. Albert Hadley, my famous mentor and friend, once said "Lavender is the beige of the nineties" similar to Diana Vreeland famously saying that "Pink is the navy blue of India" ! My friend and fellow decorator James Andrew is fond of a certain Gucci jacket with purple and turquoise mixed together... James is a great colorist, and quite a fashionista. See for more on Mr. Andrew. This purple prose could go on and on, and I will write more later on this subject. Elizabeth Taylor has always been known as having "violet" eyes, but I doubt that she would ever be considered a "shrinking violet" ... enjoy these images - think green - and purple ! DF*****