Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Pink Elephant, Boca Grande

Exciting news! DFS is celebrating its third year of existence - tomorrow -! It's my blog, and I built it!  Labor Day weekend is just in time to tie in with this celebration, as well as a Saturday wedding on Marco Island...( a dear designer friend from Rumson, NJ)
Didn't you just LOVE seeing Beau Davidson tonight, on C-SPAN ?!?!?! What a great talent!  
Perhaps this weekend we'll take a trip up to the charming island of Gasparilla, aka Boca Grande.  I love the hotel, and its outpost, called "The Pink" (The Pink Elephant) casual dining restaurant, perfect for lunch.  Order the grouper sandwich and a bloody mary - or just some nice, cold iced tea.  Our wonderful client on BG loves to take us there, and she bought Carleton Varney's apartment in New York.  She also knows Dorrance "DoDo" Hamilton, the Campbell's Soup heiress- who owns many properties on the island.  
I have also had the pleasure of working with JoAnn Barwick, another celebrated BG winter resident, who was the fabulous editor of "House Beautiful" from 1978-1991.  She was then followed by Mr. Louis Gropp, and today, Mr. Newell Turner is the editor. 
I so look forward to our upcoming Winter Season, here in sunny Naples, it's time to rev up the old wardrobe, pull up our socks, and pick up those Gucci loafers!  (from the repair shop)  ENJOY! DF ***** 

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Rose Cumming Revival, Iconic Fabric Designs

Rose Cumming, The Finest Rooms, By America's Great Decorators

Judith Liegeios, JLD Designs, Naples and New York

Louis Bromante, An Aesthete's Lament on AD

Tom Britt (after he re-covered) NYSD

Family Room by Dean Farris, DFID

Summer Porch by Dean Farris, DFID

I feel as if I must have known Miss Rose in a previous life. The first time I ever paid a visit to New York, (1975) I just happened to wander onto lower Park Avenue, and discovered her mysterious and eccentric shop. It was closed, but I was able to stand outside and peer into it. I was mesmerized by it. There was a dusty chandelier, that looked a bit in need of repair, and there were bolts of fabric stuck everywhere! It was a romantic, fabulous place.

Years later I had a similar experience, when while visiting Los Angeles, I just stumbled across the last studio of Tony Duquette- also closed. I again stood at the gate, and peered in, marveling at the magical environment that had been created in the hills of Hollywood.

I recall meeting the elderly sister of Miss Rose Cumming, her name was Eileen Cecil, and she would sit in the showroom, where Ron and Marcy were working, and she was so elegant, and so very stately. She wore a huge black straw hat, with a dull black suit, and her eyes were a bit clouded with cataracts. She screamed Old New York! She never said a word. Perhaps a bit of dementia? Anyway, I first discovered the iconic Rose Cumming fabric, called Banana Leaves, back in 1975 or 6, when I was in Atlanta, and was shopping with my mother in the Ainsworth-Noah showroom. We used it in our family room, in the taupe colorway, for some large pillows, and Dottie still has them. I think it was Marcy who told me that the fabric was created by Miss Rose herself, when she was in Palm Beach, and spontaneously took a palm leaf, dipped it in some paint, and pressed it onto some plain cotton duck fabric! Genius!

Here I show some images from my portfolio, and also from other designer friends, such as Judith Liegeios, Tom Britt, and Louis Bromante. Mr. Bromante used the metallic gold colorway- which I also had used in my small flat in NYC for some nice pillows. Tom Britt had the gold all over everything in his bleached drawing room, when I worked for him one Summer, here he freshened up the room with a Brunschwig texture. But I love the way he referenced the old banana leaves fabric, and his love of Thailand with these large palm arrangements. Judith made some curtains for a guest room here in Naples. I also had the black and camel wallpaper version in my design studio bath in North Carolina. It was so striking.

Enjoy this post, and check out the new book coming out on Miss Rose and her amazing talents, as featured on the favored blogs listed below, in my designer blog section...ENJOY! DF *****

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Super Man, Stephen Jaron

I was more than delighted to see my friend Stephen Jaron, published in the September issue of "Naples Illustrated". Outstanding local businessmen were selected via a vote-in contest sponsored by the hottest lifestyle magazine in the Naples area. Stephen is the owner of two construction companies, the father of twins, and the husband of my good friend Amanda Jaron, the jewelry designer I've posted about here before. A dynamic duo, the couple makes their home here in Naples, and I've very much enjoyed getting to know both of them ever since Amanda asked me to meet her at Starbucks for coffee and conversation, years ago. The last time I saw them together we were all at a private party down at the Port Royal Club thrown by Jon Scott Mueller and Judith Liegeios for old friends. I also enjoyed the issue as it was created by the new editor, Dorothea Hunter Sonne, and look forward to upcoming issues. DF *****

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Great Book by Rosecrans Baldwin

Summer is always a nice time to find a good book, and indulge in the pleasure of actually taking the time to read the damn thing. I still prefer actual bound books, not the Kindel, or the I like the cozy idea of having tons of books around me, stacked, shelved, and carefully, strategically placed- like the works of art that they are.

I recently discovered, via the actual brick and mortar Barnes & Noble, here in Naples- (our branch of Borders has already closed, and been replaced by a Trader Joes Market)- this highly entertaining and engaging work, by Rosecrans Baldwin, called "Paris I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down".

Like a Peter Mayle "Year In Provence" in reverse, Mr. Baldwin gives a hilarious account of living in Paris, while holding down a full time job and writing a novel, and sharing a flat in the Marais with his wife. I totally enjoyed it, and thought I'd share it with you. Now I can read his other (first) book, "You Lost Me There"- which is always fun to do.

Another thing I wanted to mention, regarding reading, is a blog called "Reggie Darling, The View From Darlington House" - if you haven't seen this one, check it out, it's a hoot, and I'm already addicted to it's quirky and highly informative charms. Pompey is so adorable. See my link below. DF *****

Friday, August 24, 2012

Book Alert: Stay Tuned...!

Dear readers, Stay tuned! I have a new book to share with you, non-fiction, and not boring! Wait for it!  DF *****

Monday, August 20, 2012

Kreiss Collection, California Dreamin'

Just as I've always followed the work of the late Michael Taylor, so I've always loved the Kreiss Collection, based out of San Diego, California for many years, Kreiss has recently moved their offices to Wilshire Boulevard in beautiful Beverly Hills, Calif.
Luckily for moi, Kreiss has opened up here in Naples, Fla. in a unique and timely partnership with the Naples design firm, Interiors By Design West, Inc. For the past year, I've been associated very fortuitously, with this dynamic duo!
One of our hottest items in the new showroom here is called the Panama Sectional Sofa... this sofa is a chaise model, and is so luxurious, so comfortable, so GORGEOUS, that we've ordered about 25 of them since May of last year! Here is a great shot of it, which has run in "Architectural Digest" and which we used as a basis for our showroom setting featuring the Panama collection. Come in and experience the luxury- bench made, made in the U.S. and finely crafted with Canadian goose down in the cushions. It's custom as all of the pieces are, and available in endless sizes, fabrics, leathers, and configurations. Naples: (239) 249-6800
On a more sober note, I was sorry to hear about dear Phyllis Diller today, she passed away, and I had posted about my love for her back in February on this designer blog. There was no lady ever quite like her, and she will be sorely missed. R.I.P. dear PD.

Yours truly, Dean Farris

Friday, August 17, 2012

Zebra on Grasscloth, Scalamandre'

I love these new wallcoverings from designer resource, Scalamandre' - and wanted to share them with you and my many clients across the country. If you recall the old Gino's restaurant on Lexington Avenue, from many years ago, you may recognize these iconic and charming prancing zebras. Enjoy! DF *****

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Film: The Queen of Versailles

The strangest thing happened this week, I had been planning to see "Farewell My Queen" , and ended up seeing this crazy documentary called "The Queen of Versailles". I have to say, as weird as it was, I enjoyed it, and recognized the type of people that were portrayed- self made billionaires - and all that is implied and expected. "Business Week" did a great write-up on the film, by Lauren Greenfield, which won for best director at the Sundance Film Festival. ENJOY! DF *****

Sunday, August 5, 2012

W. Christian Busk, ASLA

My talented colleague and friend, Chris Busk, does amazing gardens, pools, and landscapes, here in Naples, Florida. I've been working with him for years on projects I've referred him to, and he does the best work in the western part of the south Florida coast. Here are some of my favorite images from his amazing site, there are way too many to include all of the ones I like, but these give you a glimpse into his world.

He also has preserved about 15 historic homes, and prevented them from being demolished. My dream would be to live in one of his restored houses- surrounded by pools and gardens of his design. Enjoy these beautiful images courtesy of W. Christian Busk, ASLA landscape architect. DF *****

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Nancy, Bunny, and John, Decorating World

Bunny Williams, aka Mrs. John Rosselli, sent this lovely picture of lamps she is coming out with- and I was again reminded of Nancy Lancaster, who was first Mrs. Field, then Mrs. Tree, and finally Mrs. Lancaster.

Nancy Lancaster's mother was a Langhorne, and I went to school with another nice girl from Virginia, Cary Langhorne Bond. Bunny, whose real name is Bruce Blackwell, is also from Charlottesville, and it almost seems as if one can draw a line comparing Mrs. Rosselli to Mrs. Lancaster, as they both have had important men named John in their lives, John Rosselli, the fabulous antiques dealer, and John Fowler, the important late English decorator and tastemaker, friend of Sister and Mario, and business partner of famous Sybil Colefax.

I found a table from Rosselli to place one of Bunny's new lamps on- it has "dolphin" legs. Love the bleached look, something dear Albert was very fond of. I also very much like these stunning decorative mirrors from Rosselli Antiques.

I very much admire the way Bunny Williams has built up her brand, through books, lectures, hard work, and product design. We should all be so brilliant and so successful! I have met her, years ago, when I was still living in Manhattan, and went to her office for a possible job, which unfortunately did not materialize for me. I very much enjoy following her BeeLine introductions, and wish her and John all the best as they continue their great work. Enjoy! DF *****

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

London To New York, Classic Style

The Olympics, in London, also have me thinking about favorite British rooms, and who wouldn't love the famous "buttah yellow" room created by the American decorator, Nancy Lancaster, who was associated with John Fowler.

Mario Buatta, in New York, was very much influenced by John Fowler, and has made his entire iconic career by re-creating the look, in a fresh and exciting manner. As for me, I've had the great pleasure of knowing Mario since the early 1980's, and have always been a huge fan of his.

My Fowler connection dates back to my association with The American Museum in Britain, in the late 1970's, where I was introduced to and got to know Peter Hood, an important English decorator, who worked with Mr. Fowler towards the end of his brilliant career. I feel strongly that the classic look of English decorating is "forever" and not subject to any current trends of fashion. Powerful people often can be found in these beautiful and aristocratic rooms, and the rooms at Blair House, in Washington, are still as valid today as they were 20 years ago. ENJOY! DF *****