Two young men from the Dominican Republic, the Cibao area, (opposite side of the island from the uber chic Punta Cana) Have a great little, elegant, superb bistro here in Naples - called Cibao Grille. Cibao means loosely translated "the place with many rocks" - according to the website. This may be one of the top two restaurants here in town, the only other I think of that compares, for quality, impeccable service, and FOOD !!! is perhaps Bleu Provence, which is downtown, off the beaten path, and I have posted about BP before. We now have about six or seven authentic french restaurants, which is very encouraging. Sr. Pedro of Cibao describes his menu as "continental with a carribean flair" - we enjoyed an Argentinian white wine, and FISH! Our guests had walleye and coconut grouper, and I had a fabulous crab stuffed prawn dish. The flan was the best I've ever had. If you make it down here, go to Cibao, but even in the off season you need a reservation! The room was almost full in late June! The owners know the de la Rentas, and have done charity events in the DR with them. Trust me, after living abroad for a year and then in NYC for twelve, I know a good place- and this is definitely a five star establishment. Enjoy! DF *****
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
We had great fun today, seeing Christopher Sieber and Todd Thurston (understudy to George Hamilton) in the Broadway Across America production of La Cage Aux Folles, the Jerry Herman-Harvey Fierstein musical- the first show ever to win THREE Tony awards for best production. I was really looking forward to seeing Mr. Hamilton up close and personal, however, his understudy filled in today, and did a very good job. La Cage on Broadway, with Kelsey Grammer, has closed, and I once saw the Grammers having dinner at Two Bunch Palms Spa, where I was staying at the time. Camille Grammer has since been known recently for her performance in The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. If you get a chance to see this revival of La Cage, do, it's still a great show! DF *****
Thursday, June 14, 2012
In 1929, architect Rosario Candela completed the "L" shaped cooperative apartment house, located at East 85th Street and Park Avenue, New York. While perusing my copy of the Michael Gross extravaganza "740 Park, The Story of the Worlds' Richest Apartment Building" I noticed that Mr. and Mrs. Neil Sedaka were mentioned as saying that they'd first attempted to buy into 740, but were rejected - by the board - along with Ms. Barbra Streisand. So, the Sedakas moved into a large duplex at 1021. Ms. Streisand was also rejected by the board at 1021. The Sedakas lived at 1021 for about fifteen years, before selling to Mr. and Mrs. Michael Weiner, who hired Tice Alexander, a decorator I worked with at the time, while also running my own office in North Carolina- and I remember that the Sedakas had worked with the late Robert Metzger, another designer I worked under. I helped Tice shop, design and install the apartment for the Weiners, and it turned out beautifully, very much in the Parish-Hadley mode. Sadly, the last time I was in 1021, it was to attend a memorial service for Tice. Albert and I rode down in the elevator (we both left early). Prince Michael of Greece made a beautiful speech.
Later, Tice and I designed the Weiners' country house in Connecticut, which was destroyed in a fire. Before he died, Tice asked me if I wanted to take on the project, (before the fire) but I decided to move back to Winston-Salem. So, Albert and Harry Heissman completely re-created what Tice had designed and installed, as the house was re-built exactly as it had been before the dreaded fire.
An interesting footnote, Mr. Weiner was associated with John Kluge, the owner of MetroMedia, and the large house he built near Charlottesville, which was designed by David Easton- was a project that Tice almost worked on. David Easton tried to hire Tice as the project manager for the Kluge estate, but Tice decided he would rather stay in New York, rather than move to Virginia, which is what the job would've required. Also, I do think that the money being offered was just not quite enough, perhaps another zero would have done the trick! DF
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Of course, if a house is of a certain age, as in 1924 to 1931 - one is almost guaranteed to get maximum charm, established landscaping, and a certain grace often missing in newer construction. If the words "Money Pit" come to mind, one can be forgiven, since it goes without saying, buying an old house is just asking for trouble. Perhaps it's comparable to marrying an impossibly gorgeous significant other? Romance and mystery come with the package, and these intangible elements are often more than worth the actual cost, whatever it ends up being. Imagine waking each and every morning, knowing that you were in your dream house, and then walking out through the boxwood edged rose garden to the garage, and hopping into your classic 1970 Mercedes Benz 280 SL...I chose two properties for this fantasy- 212 Jackson Boulevard (1924) at a current 2,912 square feet, and 4431 Tyne Boulevard (1931) at a more roomy (and pricey) 9,685 square feet. Both are listed through Fridrich and Clark Realty, Nashville. I was especially taken with the foyer of 4431, and it looks to my trained eye that a New York decorator was hired to do this house. Take a look and tell me what you think. Enjoy! DF *****
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Founded in the late 1600's, Charleston, South Carolina, is one of my favorite places in the world. I'm fortunate to have clients there, in the SOB area (South of Broad) and am looking forward to seeing the project published in an upcoming issue of a major international shelter magazine. I've always loved the charm of the battery and the south of Broad area, and wanted to share Tradd Street with you. Not only is Charleston known for it's culture (Spoleto) it's cuisine (low country) and it's history, it is also known for being a smart place to live. "Town and Country" featured the city in a very revealing piece years ago, and there is a definite core of old family names, quite aristocratic for this young country. Enjoy these shots I found on the web, featuring a few houses along charming Tradd Street, parts of which are considered to be part of the original walled city, from over three hundred years ago. Enjoy! DF *****
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
This charming house, at 270 Algoma Road, Palm Beach, is currently on the market. I found it most intriguing, as it was the home of Maurice Fatio, Mayor Ilyinksy, and Miles Collier over the years. To make it even more interesting, as far as provenance goes, it is listed by Liza and Peter Pulitzer. A real Palm Beach bit of social history, if ever there was one! Read the whole story, in the Shiny Sheet (Palm Beach Daily News) in the "Home and Loggia" section. Mayor Ilyinsky, a Russian Prince, was the mayor of Palm Beach for three consecutive runs. He was a direct descendant of the Romanovs. The decor' is credited to Maurice Fatio and Anne Lanfranchi, a decorator friend of the Fatios, who came to Palm Beach from Venice, Italy, and had a design shop on Worth Avenue for many years. Enjoy these charming room shots, courtesy of PBDN. DF *****
Sunday, June 3, 2012
I've been re-reading my copy of "Billy Baldwin" by Michael Gardine, and was interested to see how proud Mr. Baldwin was of his family home - on Goodwood Gardens, in Baltimore's Roland Park. It's interesting that he described the house as being "in the smartest part of Roland Park" - an early Olmstead project, developed between 1890 and the 1920s (similar to Tuxedo Park, NY - home of Dorothy Draper). While I have no image of the house the Baldwin family owned, at 204 Goodwood Gardens, I did find this current listing for 210 Goodwood Gardens...and found it interesting as a post for DFS. The Baldwin house was designed by top New York architect, Charles Platt. I think the atmosphere of elegance and privilege that Billy grew up in definitely predestined him for his career as a top New York decorator. One of the things that struck me about 210 is the pale taupe painted brick - as I've always noticed that some of the most elegant homes in the south are painted this understated and handsome putty color. Enjoy these images! DF ***** P.S. Stay tuned for my upcoming post on charming Tradd Street, Charleston, S.C.