Saturday, March 31, 2012

Transitions: Albert Hadley

Albert Hadley, the late iconic New York designer, was a man I was very fortunate to know. There are so many invaluable lessons he taught me. What a fantastic designer he was. Having taught at Parsons and worked with Van Day Truex and Billy Baldwin, plus our eminence grise' Stanley Barrows (who died here in Naples), Albert had a vast knowledge of decorative arts history, which was somehow never pedantic. His client list with Sister Parish read like a blue book of high society, and yet, (they) were never mentioned in casual conversation. Just one example of his gentlemanly ways. One of my favorite Hadley-isms was " You must believe it in your heart, your head, and your gut" referring to being a designer or decorator, and your belief in your own point of view, and getting it across to your client, which is the core of what our business is about. My times spent with Albert in his Old Naples cottage were some of my most exhilarating and happy, as we talked for endless hours about iconic people, places, and things. We certainly were not facing a flat screen and ignoring each other! My late friend and mentor, Tice Alexander, was very much trained by Albert Hadley to be a professional (Parish-Hadley) and I had the pleasure of working with Tice for several wonderful and exciting years in New York. I'll always remember the way Albert would smoke those non-filtered Camels, and sip away at his Bombay gin. He loved the fantasy life, and yet was able to live in a very real world, of hard work, steely determination, and brilliant success. I know that dear AH is somewhere in the Park Avenue of heaven, rearranging some chairs, and loving every moment! Farewell Albert, it was great to know you. DF *****

Thursday, March 29, 2012

See Naples and Die!

While Naples, Florida may not be every one's cup of tea, it certainly has grown on me. After living here year round all these years, I can finally see it for what it really is, and I like it very much. As a year round resident, I get to see the "real" Naples and the fantasy world it morphs into in the Winter. The Europeans love it here in the off season (Summer) and so do I. This season, I saw more conspicuous signs of wealth than ever before. It has become very much like Monaco. My friend, local designer Shari DuPont calls it a "mini Palm Beach" and I have to agree with her, since I now reside on a peninsula, almost entirely surrounded by deep water, and accessible by only two bridges by car. My friends Tim and Jerry had us to a party of theirs at the fabulous Port Royal beach club, where the mayor performed their lovely commitment ceremony, which was followed by a beautiful dinner party. The club was designed by Palm Beach architect John Volk in the 1950's and Brooke Huttig and Mimi McMakin did the interiors. Naples is simply chock full of talented decorators, and we all compete against New York and Palm Beach designers on a daily basis. In order to fully appreciate the charms of our small town on the gulf, one needs to get out of the car, and onto either foot, moped, trolley, or boat. Mother nature is truly in her glory here. Enjoy these casual shots I took this evening just on a quick bike ride around my neighborhood. DF*****

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Coco at the Ritz

Imagine staying in this elegant CHANEL suite at the Paris Ritz ! Certainly, we all should be able to do this at least once in our lifetimes. I love the baroque scale, the palette, and the overall sense of elegant simplicity. What say you? Do you love it as much as I do? Let me know! Your comments are welcome! And please do see my earlier post on Madame Coco, (April 2011) entitled "Room of the Week: Paris". Enjoy! DF ******P.S. Check out the new Peak of Chic Entertains, it's GREAT!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Grey Oaks Estate Section

This one has seven bedrooms

I always enjoy paying a visit to my wonderful clients in Grey Oaks, who live across from Mrs. Sproul, the founder of the luxury development and country club. Mrs. Sproul is a Collier, and in Naples that packs a lot of punch. (Naples is in Collier County, the largest in the state). My clients are a dream, and I've worked on six of their homes, two in Indiana, and four in Naples. Grey Oaks is the type of place where, your neighbor may tire of her view, so she sells and moves to Provence, Paradise Valley, or Napa, as some of my other G.O. clients have done.

House Beautiful featured a Grey Oaks house a few years ago. It's an interesting mix of accomplished people, and it has THREE golf courses! The late Mrs. Lutgert was living in the estuary section, and she belonged to another illustrious Naples family by way of marriage. I have some new clients in estuary, who keep places in New York, London, and Saint tropez...just for example. Here are two shots to give you a glimpse- I have to make some curtains for this palladian style window in the music room, as the old ones were water damaged. Enjoy the day, wherever you are! DF *****

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Dean's List March 2012

White Jeans

miniature white orchids

good manners

Clarins skin care line

quiche with leeks at PARIS, Naples

pistachio macaroons at PARIS, Naples

water views


catching up with old friends

W.E. by Madonna

That Woman, by Anne Sebba

The Golden Door Spa at Waldorf Astoria, Naples

Sunday, March 25, 2012

W.E. by Madonna: Dynamite!

W.E. - the new film by MADONNA, is worth viewing, if you feel like getting inspired, going to Paris, London, New York, Shanghai, and Cap d'antibes...and just escapist FUN. I won't be so boorish as to give it away, but see it and see for yourself. One hint, my fave scene was at the end, when the duchess does the twist, that's all I'm gonna say, DIE ! Loved it. So cool! Don't forget the new book, THAT WOMAN, by Anne Sebba. Even Patsy and Edina are reading it, and they don't read! (on kindle). Enjoy! DF *****

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Duke Inspired: Black Patent Topsiders

Today, I wandered aimlessly (it was one of those unbelievably gorgeous Spring in Florida days) into the Sperry Topsider Shop, and Whoa! I found these BLACK PATENT ones! I had been thinking a lot lately about patent loafers, ever since I saw Juan Carlos a friend on the east coast sporting a pair of taupe patent Ferragamos with a matching taupe body-hugging polo shirt...I HAD TO HAVE THEM ! The Ferragamos are discontinued, so I was still looking around, considering some others, I once threw out a pair of black patent faux lizard Belgians, and I also once owned a pair of black patent police officer type shoes which I purchased at the old Fiorucci's in Manhattan, long gone now. So I just had to have these, and I think the old Duke of W would have worn them either on a boat or perhaps out in the country on a damp morning... I do really like the crisp white soles against the black, and plan to wear these with white jeans. The adorable salesman told me these were a limited edition of only 700... here they are in all their un-broken-in glory. They would be great with red socks too. ENJOY! DF *****

Zinc Collection by Romo

We recently ordered and installed two Albany sofas and two Soho chairs, for a client here in Naples. We selected a soft tweed from ROMO for the chairs, and a sleek chenille also from ROMO for the sofas. They turned out beautifully, and the chairs were custom finished in an ebony stain. The look is up to date, smart, and the cool grey palette is refreshing. I am reminded of Jean Michel Frank, since the client has a somewhat minimalist point of view. The walls are done in a pale grey paint, and the floors are a cararra look Italian porcelain tile with a matte finish. Stay tuned for more progress shots from this interesting project. DF *****

Friday, March 23, 2012

That Woman: Duchess of Windsor

What am I reading right now? "THAT WOMAN" by Anne Sebba. What a great book! Anne Sebba writes in a clear, concise manner, and I'm enjoying this book very much...while I haven't yet viewed Madonna's "W.E.", the new film out on the Windsors, I look forward to it. Years ago, I purchased a bound set of Sotheby's auction catalogues from the Windsor sale, which contain a vast inventory of their furnishings, jewels, and art. Enjoy these images I borrowed from NYSD. DF ******

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fragrance: Polo Black

Ahhh...the light, clean, slightly floral scent called POLO BLACK, is what I have been wearing lately...and speaking of fragrance and all things beautiful, did you know that Mr. Nacho Figueras is the official representative for Ralph Lauren fragrances? He looks like he would smell good, so more kudos to the RL team for selecting such a totally handsome model/athlete (he is a world class polo player from Argentina). On another personal fragrance note, I recently ordered some of the classic Acqua di Parma scented talc for our blazing upcoming Spring/Summer heat, and found out that it's on BACKORDER ! That can only mean one thing; it's very popular! I used to use the most divine scented talc from KIEHL'S, but alas, it has now been DISCONTINUED ! It seems that I have a knack for selecting things that are no longer available. Perhaps it is due to my pervasive nostalgia, for the fabulous 1970's, 80's, and 90's...anyway, check out these amazing images of handsome Nacho, a great way to start your day! Enjoy! DF *****

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Breakfast at Tiffany's

I remember seeing Patricia Neal, the actress who played the decorator in the film "Breakfast at Tiffany's" - when I was working in the antiques and decorating shop of Ned Marshall and the late Harry Schule. Ms. Neal died in 2010, so I was lucky to have met her when I did, back in the roaring 1980's...she was not in the best of health, so I did my best to be unobtrusive and to not impose myself on her. In another weird coincidence, when I worked with the late designer Parkin Saunders, his office manager was dating the son of the actor George Peppard, who played the kept man in the iconic film, based on the Truman Capote novel. I love this dramatic shot of PN looking super elegant, from Breakfast at Tiffany's. ENJOY! DF *****

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Behind The Gates: Beautiful Bay Colony, Naples

Lobby seating area at The Carlysle

Approach to the Carlysle

This house has nine red Ferraris in the garage

For about the last sixteen years, I've been working for various design clients in the super luxury enclaves called Bay Colony, here in Naples, Florida. There are two Bay Colony developments in Naples, just as we have two Ritz-Carlton resorts. One is on the beach, and one is on a Greg Norman golf course, called Tiburon. I happened to be in the beach one yesterday, and took some shots to share with you dear readers. Bay Colony on the beach has a mix of estate homes, villas, and luxury high rise condos...there are no properties available for under a million. There is also a very elite section right on the beach, of large homes called The Strand, which I have also worked in, for the Fabela family. These lots originally sold for $20,000.00 a SQUARE FOOT. Homes range from 14 to 32 million there. Yesterday, I was near The Strand, as I was in the Carlysle, which is the last tower to the south, with killer views down the coastline. Enjoy these shots. Judge Judy has a place in Bay Colony and it really has to be seen to be believed. The BC Beach Club is a fun place for lunch, should one be so lucky to get invited. ENJOY! DF *****

Monday, March 19, 2012

Design Within Reach

Marais Chair by Talix, through DWR

This amazing company, DWR, was recently featured in an editorial piece in the April 2012 House Beautiful. I was interested to see the house, as it belongs to John and Bonnie Edelman, and I had done quite a bit of work for Mary Edelman, John's sister, here in Naples. (See previous posts 2010). John and Mary's parents founded EDELMAN LEATHER, a major international resource for high end leather to the trade. Check out the house! Enjoy! DF *****

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Regence' Revival

I found this house, which was published in Florida Design, while searching for examples of French Regency style houses...this one is in Boca Raton, Florida. This house was done to a fare thee well, decorating, landscaping, the whole nine yards! I also like this bergere and ottoman in the same style. I think we all are starved for glamour, and this style gives it to us in spades. Enjoy! DF ***** P.S. I enjoyed seeing John and Bonnie's house in this month's House Beautiful. John is the brother of my client Mary Edelman Wilson...and the chairman of Design Within Reach.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Suitable For an Irish Manor House

I found these two pieces on my favorite online antiques source today, first dibs, and thought they had the right vibe for a project in the wild green lushness of IRELAND... This George III chair features Gobelins tapestry, and the table is Italian rococo...such beautiful pieces, worthy of investing in the neighborhood of $330,000.00. ENJOY! DF *****

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Room of the Week: Miles Redd

I met fellow southerner, MILES REDD, through the famous Bunny Williams, when I went up to her office for a job interview. While no job was proffered, I did enjoy observing the atmosphere of the BW office, (before she moved over to the decorating district) and of course, meeting the smiling and charming Miles (he was working there). Los Angeles tastemaker, Mark Sikes recently posted this Simon Upton photo of a room by fabulous Miles Redd (courtesy Elle Decor) and I was smitten with how chic it was and as always the sensational Redd sense of color. Are you beginning to see that I really do know every decorator in New York, both now and then ? Well, I really do! I just have a sixth sense when it comes to this topic, and it all goes back to Parish-Hadley. One of my college roommates from the mid seventies worked for PH and one of my college instructors from the same time period worked there as well. This culminated with my working with Tice Alexander for several years, who was a decorator for the famed firm, before it closed. Miles Redd is also tied into all of this since, he also is associated with Oscar de la Renta, who is married to Annette Reed. whose mother was a big PH, it's really a very small world dear readers. Enjoy these amazing images from Elle Decor. DF *****

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Inspiration, Greek Revival

I've always loved Greek Revival buildings, ever since I was just a small boy and would be driven by The Pink House, in Georgia. How could one not like this beautiful building? When I was in high school, I designed a house like this for my home economics class (I was one of maybe two boys in the class) - and the teacher liked what I did so much with the interior design that she posted it in a vitrine in the hall for all to see...all 2,000 students, as I attended the largest public high school in the state...I remember I used pale yellow walls, light blue cotton damask and lots of Chippendale style furniture. It was a study in understated, southern elegance. If I only had the scheme now, what fun to re-visit my design from 35 years ago! Enjoy! DF *****

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

That Drawing Room I Met Kevin In...

The late, great KEVIN MCNAMARA, who, like Albert Hadley, worked for both McMillen and with Sister Parish, was one of the most brilliant of the decorators I was fortunate to know when I lived in the city. I met Kevin at the Kips Bay Showhouse, when he was lighting Rigaud candles in his room, a stunning black lacquered affair, with the highest possible point of view, as far as classical taste in design goes. Louise Cronan worked for Kevin, and Christopher Norman was his partner. Many people in the New York design world of the 1980's admired Mr. McNamara's taste and style, and his office and apartment were located in chic black painted rowhouses at the river end of east 72nd Street in Manhattan. Kevin was a major talent, and later he retired to Rancho Mirage, California. More on Kevin later! DF ******

Monday, March 12, 2012

More John Woolf, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara

I couldn't resist showing some more images from John Woolf, the creator of the southern California style known as Hollywood regency... Donna Livingston has one, Sue Mengers had one, Robert Evans, Elsie de Wolfe, Barbara Hutton...and after his death, his heirs purchased and moved into this Mizner house, called Park Lane, in Montecito. Many bloggers posted about Woolf after the 2009 Vanity Fair article came out, which created a tantalizing account of his life and that of his partner, Robert Koch Woolf. Enjoy! DF *****

Sunday, March 11, 2012

French Empire Revival Style

Arc de Triomphe

all original sketches copyright Dean Farris, 2012

So, I've been researching and reading up on my favorite style for residential architecture lately, since I keep seeing certain empty parcels of property that just beg to have me design a house to sit on them...and I came across the late architect John Elgin Woolf, who worked in Los Angeles in the 1940's through the 1970's. Mr. Woolf is credited with creating a pastiche style, known as "Hollywood Regency" - which predated post modernism and was itself a reaction to the desire for romantic architecture among people who longed to show that they had "made it" in Hollywood. Woolf's 1942 Pendleton commission, is perhaps his most well known, although there are still many examples of his work to be seen. Recently, the museum of UCSB mounted a show of his work along with that of his late partner, Robert Koch Woolf, who was also his adopted son. In 2009, Vanity Fair published an interesting piece - about the private lives and the unusual lifestyle created by Mr. Woolf and his protege's. Here, I show some personal sketches I made, showing my version of a modified French Empire revival raised house - I would use quarry key stone for the foundation level and quoins, and poured stucco for the walls, with a standing seam metal mock mansard roof. The square footage of my sweet little Naples pavilion could vary from a mere 2,000 to about 3,500, and of course there would just have to be a swimming pool out back, since this is south Florida after all.

I found it interesting that after Mr. Woolf passed away (died) his heirs moved into an old Addison Mizner house in Montecito. I had no idea that Mizner had worked in California.
Although my house is not yet built, I've already selected some 19th century french furniture for it from my favorite local source, Cedric Dupont, in West Palm Beach. To be seen in a later post!

You could also see some Woolf creations in back copies of the old Architectural Digest from the 1970's, should you be so inclined. I do hope that my friend John Tackett will see this post and leave a message. I would be interested to hear his opinion of it. DF *****

Friday, March 9, 2012

Shopping for Rugs: Naples

Dean's shirt by J. McLaughlin

I have one favorite source here in Naples, called DESIGNERS RUG CENTER. While they may not have Stark, PFM, or Doris Blau, they do have some decent things to work with for most any client. Here I am shopping away this morning, where I found a Pakistan "black" rug I loved for myself, a Turkish one of a kind piece for a client, and another one I liked for the cottage look favored by Sister Parish in Maine. ENJOY! DF *****PS: Mark Nelson in New York also has some great rug and carpet designs.