Friday, December 28, 2012

Decorator Scrapbook, Happy 2013!

This year absolutely flew by.  Looking forward to beginning a new year!  I feel like the real meaning of Christmas is pretty basic; family and friends.  That's it!  I received a copy of the new book "Ann Getty Interior Style" by Diane Dorrans Saeks (Rizzoli) and am really enjoying it.  Did you know that when Ann Getty travels, she takes the "Jetty" - her private 747...I just love that bit of trivia.  Her sense of design is truly scholarly, certainly exotic, and bedizened- (an interesting little known word, that means excessively ornate and highly decorated).  I find it, and her, truly inspiring.

Dining Room by Ann Getty Associates, San Francisco
Thanks to Ms. Saeks, we get to take a grand tour through the Ali babas cave of treasures collected by Ann Getty, a lady who admits to being terrified of Sister Parish, who helped her back in the 1970's- and that she "uses every inch" of her house.

Sitting Room, Dean Farris Interior Design, Naples

Here, I used some faux topiaries to great effect, and used items I already owned to create a semblance of the elegance that decorators long for.  We are so often like the shoemakers children, with no shoes of our own!  I'm sure that Ann Getty would love this chamber from the time of Marie Antoinette, as well as this beautiful garden room from the New York apartment of decorator Susan Gutfreund. (below)

Marie Antoinette's boudoir, Versailles

Garden Room, Susan Gutfreund, New York

 And here, (below) I used some existing furnishings in a Naples condo, and a Charleston townhouse- in the mood of luxury and elegance that we all long for, enriching our daily lives with that certain "je ne c'est quois" (please pardon my broken franglais!)

Living Room, Dean Farris Interior Design, Naples

Parlour, Dean Farris Interior Design, Charleston

Don't you agree that we all need some beauty, peace, and tranquility in our hectic lives?
I wish for you, dear readers, a new year of Peace, Love, and Spiritual and Worldly Beauty!

Here I am in Paris, Right Bank, 2007


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Room of the Week, Mary McDonald

I like this room very much, by the California designer, Mary McDonald, and so, I thought I'd give her a gift, since she's one of my favorite stars of the new reality show, called Million Dollar Decorators- I feel as if I know Mary, and I love her look, and her personality too. 

From Mary McDonald Interiors, The Allure of Style, courtesy of Rizzoli
  I never knew that Mary went to Parsons, and had a career as a milliner! I'd love to see her in a hat, with a big brim, and a long satin ribbon...I'm sure she could pull that look off with aplomb!  There was a profile of Mary on first dibs, and it sparked my interest in this talented and very charming lady decorator.  Perhaps when I'm in L.A. I'll seek her out!  Stay tuned for more on darling Mary McDonald.  DF *****

Friday, December 14, 2012

Rigaud Candles - Tres' Chic!

If you have someone truly special on your gift list this year, such as a decorator, or a person with a very high taste level, you may want to consider Rigaud.  Did you know that Jacqueline Kennedy used to burn the Rigaud candles in the White House? 

No doubt, Mrs. Kennedy preferred the original scent, first created in the late 1950's, by Mario Rigaud, called "Cypres'"  Maison Rigaud calls it "aromatic" - and interestingly to the design blog world, and others, in 1957, Mr. Rigaud created a perfume called "Eve Reve" which the famous tastemaker, Louise de Vilmorin called "the fragrance of paradise"... 

Jean-Baptiste Rigaud first arrived in Paris, in 1852.  In 1899, his widow, the Veuve Rigaud, took over the company he founded, followed by their son, Henri, in 1906.  In 1910 the house of Rigaud opened at the fashionable address of Rue de la Paix.  Later, around 1950, the first candle was developed, by Henri's son, Mario, and his wife Vivienne...  the products come to you in the most chic, beautiful, and classic packaging, which is a box printed in a black and white zebra motif, each candle then wrapped in a red tissue paper, and the glass container is wrapped with a small red satin bow, similar to the ones Tiffany uses at Christmas time.  I always think of the decorator showhouse, Kips Bay, in New York - all the decorators in the 1980's were burning the Rigaud candles like mad! 

I just this evening purchased two of the travel size, (30 hours of burn) from Gattle's here in Naples, a linen shop that is celebrating 100 years of business in Florida.  My friend there, Mary, had them ready for me when I arrived, and when I left, the faux snow was falling in big fluffy flakes everywhere!  (an annual holiday treat, it "snows" on Third Street South, thanks to machines which make a kind of snow, very charming!)  While the snow may not be "vrai" the candles certainly are, and they are the epitome of what I call an authentic classic.  Buy now at a shop near you!  DF *****   

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Gaston y Daniela Lisboa Collection

I've always been drawn to the textiles created by Gaston y Daniela, for Brunschwig and Fils, now owned by Cary Kravet.  Here's the new "Lisboa"  collection - love the azulejos tiles in the background. 

Lisboa, by Brunschwig et Fils

We had used "Guatemala Cotton" by Gaston y Daniela, a few years ago at the Mini residence, here in Naples.  Here's a shot of the bed, we also used it for the draperies in that room...

Dean Farris Interior Design

I still love using printed materials, even though they are not as fashionable as they once were- (the 80's) and the charm and colour they bring to a space.  We used these cranberry and sage tones, as the client wanted to retain the look and feel of their former home in Aurora, Illinois.  Merry Christmas, and happy holidays!  DF*****

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Progress at the Showroom!

We finally received our new Azul sofas, and our new Hollywood bed for the showroom! Come in and see the exciting new collections.  9118 Strada Place, Suite 8130 Mercato, Naples, Florida Tel (239) 249-6800  Exclusive Beverly Hills lifestyle furnishings and complete interior design and remodeling services. (Interiors by Design West, Inc.) 

Hollywood Bed, at Kreiss Naples
We still have some refining to do, and need to have our Christmas tree delivered- but we all had a blast watching the new things get installed today.

Medici Bed, Aria desk, Gatsby chair
Here's our classic Medici Bed, with Legacy Linens (through Interiors by Design West) we used a Phillip Jeffries damask pattern on a textured weave behind the bed.  Alexis Barrett, one of our lead designers, has been instrumental in creating the look of the showroom.

Azul sofas and tables, Kreiss Collection, Naples

Here's a sneak peek of our new Azul  sofa grouping, stay tuned for more finished images of the Azul, coming soon to a screen near you!  DF ***** 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Decorator Inspirations

It's the holiday season, once again!  I know you've missed me, I've been so terribly busy with all of my clients, getting ready for the high season here in sunny Naples...I think what inspires me the most is defined by one word: authenticity.  I've been in so many mind blowingly beautiful homes lately, by architects such as Jeff Harrell, and builders such as BCB- and yesterday William (Billy) and I were in the Art Canada house, on Third Street South, that I helped to furnish, along with Brenda Canada.  Celine Godof was showing it, as it's listed for sale, and I was delighted to see that all 35 pieces of the Althorp collection I had placed in the house were still there, "in situ".  So many pieces of "Althorp Living History Collection"went to that house, that I received a letter of thanks from none other than Earl Spencer, the brother of the late Princess Diana...!  For a virtual tour, courtesy of Celine and Premier-Sotheby's go to 

Gloria Laura Vanderbilt
 And of course, I'm always fantasizing about, and inspired by, the eternally beautiful, elegant Gloria!  Here's a current picture of her- can you guess her age?  You'll never guess- not 39, not 49, not's 88 years young!  How elegant and fabulous, totally awesome is she? I can't think of anyone more inspiring, and more beautiful.  Lucky Anderson Cooper, he gets to call her "Mummy" ! How divine would that be?  I can only imagine- of course, my own mother, Dottie, is pretty special too... (see earlier posts).  As one of my late decorating mentors, Robert Metzger, once said, we all want a woman with a past, and a man with a future!

Sitting Room, Dean Farris Interior Design
Finally, I have to admit, I inspire myself!  I love my apartment, here in Napoli, and I just keep adding things- gifts, loaners, stuff I've dragged around for years, it never ceases to amaze me what Billy Baldwin was always talking about, the personal in decoration.  And like dear BB, I find the older I get, the less I need, and the more I know how to make less look and feel like more!  DF ***** 

Gloria Vanderbilt, 1970 Francesco Scavullo

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Patience and Progress, Naples

Having worked on this residence for over six months now, we're finally getting to install some of the new furniture, and the backgrounds have nearly been completed, as well as the new draperies, and lighting.  I must say, Chachie and Tomas outdid themselves on these new satin pillows we ordered!

Albany sofa by Kreiss, pillow satin by Kravet

That beautiful new carpet, shown above, is through Interiors by Design West, and the colours are silvers, greys, browns, and taupes- which we carried through in the scheme.  Our decorative painter, Leland Brinkman, is shown below, applying a wet coat of plaster and then dragging it with a broom- creating a deep texture.  After the plaster dries, he'll then glaze over it with a special mixture containing shiny glass beads!  It gives a wonderful look when completed.

We also commissioned Leland to add new custom glazed finishes to the Foyer ceiling, and the Dining Room niches and ceiling-shown below- in soft tones of pearl, champagne, and silvery grey. Shown below.

While we're re-designing the entire house, I chose to focus on these rooms today, and below you can see where we have to wait for our new tables- we ordered a pair to sit side by side, from a company called Global Views, which will reinforce the two pairs of chairs that flank the sofa-
Looking forward to showing the completed project!  Enjoy!  DF *****

Pair chairs by Swaim, design by Design West, Inc.
Designers, Glenn Midnet and Dean Farris

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bruno Lafourcade - Provence

I was most charmed and intrigued by this room, in a restored building, in the south of France.  Bruno Lafourcade restored the building and converted it into a livable home away from home for Atlanta residents, Ginny and Craig Magher. 
Based in Saint-Remy de Provence, Mr. Lafourcade and his son, Alexandre' have created an exciting niche business, and only accept about 15 commissions per year.  Jean Rafferty wrote a great piece on them in the NYT in 2006...
Joni Webb, of Cote de Texas, recently focused on the talent of Ginny Magher, who is a decorator in Atlanta.  This room shows what I love- the synthesis between classic architecture and finer interior design and decoration.  ENJOY!  DF ******

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Room of the Week: LeGare Street

The word is out- Charleston is HOT! Of course, we in the South have always known this, and are most proud of this elegant old grande dame...Apparently, Ms. Carolyne Roehm, the famous NY socialite-designer has now bought a place in Charleston.  The area known as SOB, or South of Broad, incorporating the famous Battery has become an ultra chic place to have a pied a terre, and you can even buy one from a descendant of one of the oldest families in town, Mr. Daniel Ravenel... known as The Sword Gate House, 32 Legare was built in the early 19th century for a Huguenot colonist. 

32 LeGare Street, Charleston
 I was checking out Charleston real estate listings, since my clients have their place there on the market (people flying in from all over the world to view it in person)  and found this elegant and stunning room located in a significant property located in their neighborhood at 32 LeGare Street...asking $23,000,000.00 -!  I still remember not too long ago, shopping with my client in the Gucci shop on King Street, and there was this absolutely gorgeous woman shopping there with her teen aged son...and she was dripping in Hermes' and was sporting a diamond ring that must have been a good twenty carats...

Beautiful Carolyne Roehm, NYT
 Which reminds me of a very charming story I read on the NYSD, attributed to Peter Evans;
"Christina Onassis once told me that she wore diamonds at breakfast, because (they look so pretty in the morning sun, you have no idea how erotic men find dew on the rocks) she smiled mischievously!  I just love that !  Very imaginative.  Interesting note- CR's New York drawing room has brown velvet walls, and so does this Charleston salon, and gauffraged to boot! 

Book by Carolyne Roehm
O.k., so I know I drop a LOT of names in this little old blog, but you know what, it's my blog, and if you don't like it you don't have to read it! LOL!  Here's a great book CR came out with, I highly suggest it as a fabulous decoration for one's own low table...ENJOY!  DF ***** 
PS: we were very saddened to hear of all the loss of human life under the fury of the storm called Sandy...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Decorative Richness, Rose Cumming

I finally received my fabulous copy of the new Jeffrey Simpson book called "Rose Cumming Design Inspiration" - (Rizzoli) !  What a delicious treat.  This is a great history and Roger Comeau of Dessin Fournir, has saved the company- Christopher Petkanas also did a fabulous piece on Rose in the NYT...
The drawing room

Colour Story

Another beautiful room by Rose Cumming
I felt a personal connection to the new book, since I knew Ron Grimaldi, and met Mrs Cecil, the sister of Miss Rose.  Too, Albert used to talk to me about knowing Rose, and of course, I was also exposed to her by another fab mentor, Tom Britt...and when I was a young man of about 17 or so, I very serendipitously discovered her ancient and mysterious shop, on Park Avenue, near 53rd Street- (since demolished). And- my friend Marcy, has a sister, Mary Jo, who married into the Cecil family- related to the Vanderbilts by marriage- as in BILTMORE...
Biltmore Estate, property of the Cecil family

I recall Ronald or someone telling me that Gloria Vanderbilt, (whom he helped to decorate her Sutton Place apartment) once paid about $16,000.00 for one pillow, and I adore shocking my clients and customers off the street with this little tidbit of decorating trivia!  I also was most interested to learn that my idol, Michael Taylor, placed a large order for "Carisbrook" and that is what launched the revival of Rose's fabrics after her death in the sixties, fostered by Ron Grimaldi and Eileen Cecil.

Tom Britt's drawing room

Carisbrook, by Rose Cumming, through Dessin Fournir
  The beautiful and exotic birds in Tom's upstairs salon, once hung in Miss Rose's "Ugly Room" a space she created to show how anything from nature was valid, and to express her unique point of view- there is a colour plate of this room in the famous book "The Finest Rooms" and I would urge you to reference the book, and the image I am describing, to get the full impact of how special the work Miss Rose did really was.  Enjoy the day, wherever you are! DF *****

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Nate Turner In Naples!

Margaret Russell and Nathan Turner
Good News! Designer Nathan Turner, of Million Dollar Decorator fame is headed our way! He'll be here at the design center on Thursday, November 8th at 11:00 am.  And, speaking of the Miromar Design Center, my friend Mark Fanta - of Webster and Company- is hosting a trip to Paris next year, for designers only! Check it out, and enjoy the day!  DF *****

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Kelly Sweeps Floors, And So Do I...!

We've been in a heavy mode of Carolinas influenced design lately, having just come off of the High Point Market, returning as well from South Carolina for a client in Greenville, and our long time clients in Charleston have listed their South of Broad house on the real estate market.  And, fellow designer and South Carolina native, Kelly Wearstler, lately of Los Angeles, has been on our minds too!
Continuing in the vein, our Charleston clients are using Brunk Auctions, of Asheville, NC to dispose of their collection- which they have spent their lives amassing.  Andrew Brunk recently left his post (after five years) at Christie's New York as head of American Decorative Arts, to return to Asheville and work in his family owned auction business.  Designer Kelly Wearstler, shown here sweeping up for her One Kings Lane sale this past Summer, is a great natural talent, and her mother also owned a business dealing in antique furnishings.  Sometimes, if you want something done, it's better to just go ahead and do it oneself!  Any good decorator knows this, and I've seen the best of them get down and dirty, and I am no different.
                                          Andrew Brunk, Brunk Auctions, Asheville

Here's the Charleston drawing room in its latest incarnation.

Here it is as we first designed it, and we had submitted it to Architectural Digest, but decided to not publish it, and it was also submitted to The World of Interiors... That's Lord Byron over the mantel, the house dates from 1830, and is on Saint Michael's Alley, behind the famous church which had its steeple blown askew by hurricane Hugo.  The man who straightened it back upright was our contractor on this extensive remodeling and restoration project, which took over two years.

While shopping in Monaco, at the biennale des antiquaires there, we saw this beautiful paint colour on some shutters, and were able to order the same paint from a French source for our shutters...

Here again, is beautiful and uber talented Kelly Wearstler, a native of Myrtle Beach, SC! Kelly recently launched her own clothing line, and has built a very strong brand for herself, comparable to Tory Burch.  I'm thrilled that Naples is getting its own Tory Burch boutique.  Don't you just love this shot of KW?  Kelly, aka Mrs. Brad Korzen, also has four design books published, one of which I show below, she is a tour de force of talent, as well as the mother of two sons!  Can you say "Steel Magnolia" ?  Enjoy!  DF *****

Monday, October 15, 2012

Beautiful Boca Grande

One of the "secret" places in Florida- very hard to reach by car, and unknown to all but the most discerning of Florida travellers, Gasparilla Island- also known as Boca Grande- is the most charming and "old Florida" of towns in an island setting.  We took some friends there for the day on Sunday, had a fabulous lunch at the casual restaurant called The Pink Elephant -"The Pink"- and Dickie and I had black grouper "sliders" with a Sonoma Cutrer chardonnay...then we all mosied over to the hotel, known as the Gasparilla Inn, a very interesting old building from 1911- 
Nothing is more pleasant or enjoyable than sitting on one of the rockers on the front loggia of the hotel.  First owned by Barron Collier, then Bayard Sharp, and now the William Farish family, the hotel has been freshened up and is ready for the upcoming social season.  Boca Grande is also known as the tarpon fishing capital of the world.  The decor is like a screaming old money Palm Beach-Greenbrier look- all butter yellow walls, pistachio green carpets, and pinks and blues on seating pieces.  The lounge called BZ's (after Bayard Sharp) was my favorite, done in a very updated tropical look, with murals, seagrass, rattan, and a stunning pecky cypress ceiling, with killer views of the golf course and the back bay.
Here, (above) is the old train depot, from when old Boston society would come down in the early part of the 20th century and stay a can still see the tracks behind this building.

The boys insisted I get a shot of this adorable pink fuel pump- only on Boca Grande would you see this, the islanders are often seen cruising the village in their golf carts, complete with the golden retriever riding on the back.

This chair, from Hickory Chair, reminds me of the wall colour at The Gasparilla Inn...notice the small parsons table, a gift to me from the late Albert Hadley.  Rose Cumming banana leaf print in taupe on vintage chairs, small bouillotte lamp I got in the village in NYC.  Garden seat from Naples Lamp Shop, Naples.  The standing lamp behind the chair was a gift.  If you ever come and see me in Naples, maybe we can visit the island, a most charming place to visit...

Billy and I consulted on this house on Gasparilla Island, along with Carleton Varney, the New York designer, and two ladies who are the Brooke and Mimi of Boca Grande...many of the older properties on the island were designed by noted architect F. Burrall Hoffman, who is also credited with Viscaya, in Miami.  Hope you enjoyed this glimpse of an enchanted place, DF ***** 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Neo-Georgian Dream House

I'm most excited to share with you some progress shots of the new house we are helping to design and build in the lovely "up country" of South Carolina...for dear clients I have worked with for over thirty-five years, who are also dear friends after so many years of collaboration.  Bill and I just returned from the job site- and we had a very nice time while working on site with the builders, architects, and other contractors...
This clubhouse building is one of our inspirations for the new house, which comprises over 11,000 square feet of living space. 

The sunroom on the rear side of the house will be similar to this


I took this shot by pointing my camera straight up the elevator shaft

We liked this cabinet by Fairmont for one of the eight bathrooms

Stay tuned for more coming soon to a screen near you! DF *****
P.S.   Check out the Bespoke Bloke blog... it's fantastic!