Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Last Day!

Chair, William R. Eubanks, Palm Beach

I enjoyed this year very much, and was fortunate to have some wonderful clients to work for and with. I look forward to 2011 with great interest, and all that the new year brings. I wish you all a very happy, healthy, and financially rewarding year. Take each day as it comes, and make the most of it. ENJOY! DF*****

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dean in Ralph Lauren Circa 1993

Well here I am in 1993, having just completed a large house in South Carolina for some of my oldest and dearest clients. We did the kitchen in a palette of cool blue and white, and I chose to dress myself in a Ralph Lauren silk shirt with a blue and white porcelain motif. I paired this with white linen shorts, and a pair of laceless white Keds...notice my 1930's styled hair, probably due to having such an elegant fashion model client, and always driving the Rolls over to the paint store to pick up more supplies! What a character I must have been. Here too, is a nighttime shot of my mothers Christmas tree, she did an unbelievable job of it this year, it was IMPOSSIBLE to tell that it was artificial! It really looked real, other than the fragrance, which was missing. I suppose I'll never forget the time I was walking up First Avenue in NYC, and down the same side came Ralph and Ricky Lauren. I was dressed in head to toe Ralph, very shabby preppy, and the look Ralph gave me was one that made me feel as if I had been devoured, cannibalized, eaten alive... it was one of those unforgettable New York moments that you get when you actually live there. ENJOY! DF*****

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Frances Elkins, My Favorite Gift This Year

My absolute favorite gift this year, besides getting to be with my adorable family, was receiving a fresh off the press copy of FRANCES ELKINS INTERIOR DESIGN, by Stephen M. Salny, with a foreword by Albert Hadley. This book is so beautiful, even as an object in its own right. Also, we had a white Christmas! the first since 1969... it was so beautiful. And I did eat everything in sight. We celebrated my birthday at an old favorite, Vincenzos, with yummy southern Italian cuisine. Richard is such a warm and gracious host. Looking forward to ringing in the new year. Be safe, and be well. DF*****

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Charm of Vignettes and Tablescapes

Photography and design by Dean Farris

I really enjoy creating these miniature tableaux of objects gathered together by my own eye, and how one can so easily manipulate the compositions... this is certainly an endless source of pleasure and a way to train ones eye as to what "works" and what doesn't. Enjoy these personal landscapes I meditated on this morning over coffee and hot buttered grits. DF*****

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Transcendence: Sean Johnson

Transcendence: Sean Johnson

My amazing friend, the super talented Sean Johnson, just sent this to me. I am beyond impressed, of course I've always known that he possesses a superior sense of style.

Sister Parish

I'm sure Mrs. P would have loved this from Todd Romano

A constant source of inspiration is the legacy left by Mrs. Henry Parish,II. "Sister" was quite the grande dame and her taste and style have influenced generations of decorators. When I asked Albert Hadley about her, he never really said a word. Albert is a gentleman. Here she is looking busy, and showing how work is the ultimate form of glamour. I wish I could have known her, however my late friend Tice Alexander, who worked in her office for years, said when I asked him about her and what she was really like "She would not have liked you"! Who knows what he meant by this ominous statement. All I know is that when my old college friend Bob Shatzer, who worked in the PH drafting department, showed me her pink glazed office with the painted floor and the chintz I was forever imprinted with her fabulous style! DF***** See more about Sister Parish on the site

Monday, December 20, 2010

Enid Haupt and Florence Broadhurst

Photo by Dean Farris (top)
Haupt Conservatory at N.Y. Botanical Garden

Sister Parish did the most beautiful job of decorating the New York apartment of philanthropist Enid Haupt. I so admire the use of sparse furnishings mixed with beautiful orchids in their greenhouse clay pots. Her curtains are of unlined taffeta, DIVINE! In my own room I was inspired by Sister and Mrs. Haupt to place a simple potted orchid on my table. AND, dear friend Mary has given me a beautiful Christmas present of a book about the Australian wallpaper designer, Florence Broadhurst, which I am, as usual, DEVOURING! I, in turn, gave Mary a book by Armistead Maupin called "MaryAnn in Autumn" which is his latest from the tales of the city series, and is so good you feel dirty after reading it! As Michael Taylor always said, "elegance is simplicity" (I paraphrase) and so you don't really have to have an aubusson rug on your polished wood floors, you can have, like Mrs. Haupt, no rug, and let the beauty of the glowing wood reflect light and create sheen in your room. I think this is all very well with a Douglas Fir christmas tree, the little italian white lights reflecting into the polished floor. Food for thought. Pauline de Rothschild in her Albany set had some animal hide rugs with a lot of wood showing, and it was the height of chic. Think subtraction to add style. Forget about your rules, go with your intuition and enjoy the feeling of abstraction and elegance. DF*****

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Leta Austin Foster boutique - Christmas gifts!

Leta Austin Foster boutique, located at 64 Via Mizner North, in Palm Beach, has the most perfect and original items for the holiday gift list. If you can't make it in to the shop, just off Worth Avenue, then visit her online shopping site at where you'll discover childrens clothing, fine linens, custom embroidery service, Votivo candles, Fauchon chocolates and delicacies, and many other wonderful, unique gifts and all hand picked by Leta herself, a top interior decorator with offices in New York and Palm beach. Vanessa or Betty will be happy to assist you by calling them at (561) 655-7367. There is also an amazing designer blog called Decorating With Sheets, and I have the link listed here on my blog. Anything from Leta's shop would be a special gift indeed!

Friday, December 17, 2010

More Elephants Foot Treasures!

Dear Billy poses next to an 18thc armoire

Now, what could be better for a nice Christmas gift than something beautiful from The Elephants Foot, West palm beach? Here, I selected some of my fave things that I would like to get from a generous and jolly old Santa this year, or any year! Of course, things are just that, THINGS, and I do so treasure my friends and family and good health more than just material things, although I do have a deep weakness for all that is beautiful, old, patinated, and elegant. Functionality is nice too, but not at the top of my list of priorities! I'd rather stay up all night staring at a gorgeous new acquisition than just about anything! Even if it's just some old chair or some out of print book I never thought I'd own. These things make for an enriched life, and a life of passion, deep satisfaction, and joy beyond description. When I was a boy, my mother hired a decorator to do up our house, and I loved the cork walls and black doors in my room so much, that I stayed up all night just looking at them and thinking how amazing they were! His name was Jonathan Arbuthnot, and he drove a canary yellow Buick convertible - I was forever trying to tell him what I thought he should do, and was very precocious. The last time I saw him he was living in Arlington, outside Washington, D.C. I must look him up and see what he's been up to. Enjoy these shots from the EF, here in sunny south Florida. DF *****

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day and Night in the Salon

That cold winter light warming up the salon

The Flamingo sitting room in Fort Lauderdale

I always leave a lamp burning in the evening

I sometimes feel that I'm channeling the sun king, as I love all things french, and I love to see the sun streaming into my "salon". I even wrote a novel about the sun, entitled "Diamonds In The Sun"! I wanted to share this day and night shot of my room with you, and hope that it will brighten up your day. No tree this year, as I have not the time. The spirit of Christmas is burning however, and we make what small contributions we can to the local charities for the homeless and the underprivileged. 2011 promises to be a great year, and a fresh start. Enjoy the holidays! DF*****

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

In Christas Garden

Garden view behind Lars Bolander

A Christas original

Here I am with the elusive Christa!

Just got to have these

Always need a big clam shell

Reminds me of my Georgia childhood

It was great to see the talented and very charming Christa Wilm, owner of Christas South Seashells, while we were visiting the antiques row on Dixie highway. (her new blog)

What fun to see her garden behind the shop, and just to soak up her amazing energy and style!

Here, Billy took a snap of me and Christa behind the shop, and as you can see, she has a little potager there as well. I spied a charming treehouse, and she told us that her son loves to play up there. It's all in a days work for a busy Naples decorator! Enjoy! DF***** PS Christa sells madly chic shell tree ornaments, dipped in gorgeous teal colored jewelry and some pieces of furniture that I love.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Amazing Elephants Foot Antiques

Pair overdoors I adore

A wonderful coq pour la cuisine

Good looking copy

Fantastic 18th century figures

Classic girandole

Founded in 1963 by Marvin Ray and Ronald French, The Elephant's Foot, located at 3800 S. Dixie highway in West Palm Beach is a treasure trove of carefully vetted furniture, objects, and works of art. Bill and I always enjoy going there, and Terry has been so helpful with our purchases. Here are some real goodies I found yesterday which I shot to share with you (and select clients) ENJOY! DF ***** PS: the shop has a summer location in Highlands, North Carolina.

Tel: 561-832-0170 ask for Terry

Monday, December 13, 2010

Meeting Lars Bolander

Lars Bolander and I on Dixie highway!

Inside the Lars Bolander Gallery, love this!

Seen at Lars Bolander, West palm beach

Billy and I had tons of fun today exploring Dixie Highway in West Palm. We also met William Eubanks today and saw his beautiful new space on Worth Avenue (Palm Beach). As well as meeting Christa, owner of Christas South Seashells. Here I am with Lars outside his shop, and here are some shots I took while there. I get such a kick from visiting, even just for the day. I always want to buy almost everything I see! Lars is having a big 50% off sale, check it out! We also dropped in at Leta Austin Foster in Via Mizner, and I left a note for Leta, since she was a bit under the (cool) weather today. Her shop is so totally charming, right across from Renatos restaurant. Our only disappointment was the Worth Avenue Polo Ralph Lauren - it was very drab and tired looking! I was so surprised. Perhaps since people actually PLAY polo in WPB, the shop just needs to feel "old". Poor Bill was almost run over by a Rolls Royce! Thanks goodness he was saved (by me) and it was fun to see all the dogs lounging all over the place. I died over the tables at Mary Mahoney! They are so gorgeous. Enjoy these pics! DF*****

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Martha Stewart Moment

I mounted the image on leftover Brunschwig Zarafa Beige

I hand colored the image prior to color copying

I had wanted to make some personal cards for cherished long time clients and a few good friends last year, and simply ran out of precious time. This year, I'm managing to create almost two dozen of these hand made Martha inspired originals, which also have a little Albert Hadley flair, since I used some glitter in an interesting almost holographic way. The glitter is very fine, and is called glitter foam. It washes over the image of my room like a snow globe...! So charming and personal. Here are some shots I took of the works in progress. I chose to use Cranes heavy stock envelopes, lined in a semi-matte black, with red ink for the names and addresses. My friend Mark Nelson in New York ordered his stamps with his intials, MND, which I am crazy for. Next year I'll have to do that too. Thanks for the tip Mark! Enjoy the holidays! DF *****

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

New York, City of Dreams

Ever since my parents took me and my brother to NYC, I've had a love affair with it. We were riding around Manhattan in a black limousine, and disco music was playing on the radio- remember "I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it"! Later I visited with a friend from school and stayed in his brothers Beekman Place studio, and we went to the theater, and I was invited to helicopter out to this estate on Long Island. Then, as you know, I moved to New York in 1980 to pursue my further education with the former Parsons faculty at the Fashion Institute. I saw and met so many famous people that I could never list them all here! I danced with them at 54, I lunched and dined with them, and I had a ball! Imagine dancing with Tony Curtis while tons of glitter fell on you! Imagine having Bea Arthur tell you that you are a jewel! Imagine being in the apartment of Neil and Leba Sedaka, and the private quarters of Mayor Ed Koch, and Sister Parish's private office! Here, in these exquisite images by Evan Joseph, you can get an idea of just how truly glamorous New York really is. Oh, did I mention that for a while, Andy Warhol and Imelda Marcos were my next door neighbors! How you gonna keep him down on the farm after he's seen the bright lights of the big city? That, my dears, is the question. New York, New York, it's a hell of a town. I love to visit in October, and just soak up that feeling of autumn in the air. Thanks to all who made my journey so magnificent, including Christie Brinkley, Anne Bass, Connie Chung, Harrison Ford, Iman, Jed Johnson, Bobby Short, Joan Rivers, Barbara Streisand, Wayne Newton, Mia Farrow, Rod Stewart, Hurd Hatfield, Ivana Trump and so many others I was privileged to meet and to spend time with. I LOVE NEW YORK! DF *****

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hamptons Cottages and Gardens

The Whittles Florida home is in this months PBCG

All pictures courtesy Hamptons Cottages and Gardens

My thirst for high quality lifestyle publications seems to have no limit. One of the best of the breed is called "Hamptons Cottages and Gardens". (There is also Connecticut C & G and Palm Beach C & G) - Here's a glimpse of the Georgica Pond home of Chris Whittle and Priscilla Ratazzi, as featured in Hamptons C & G... you can see why I like this magazine so much! Its like you suddenly fell into a world of taste, money and style, and of course you never want to leave! I was first introduced to the hamptons by designers Ned Marshall and the late Harry Schule (see Architectural Digest in the 80's) and later the late designer George Clarkson, who let me and Parkin Saunders drive his dark green Rolls Royce all over Southampton. Ned and Harry introduced to me the chic socialite Lindsay Smith, who had a cottage in Water Mill, and I also am friends with the noted designer Tom Britt, who recently listed his hamptons house for 13 million in the real estate section of AD. What is so amazing is that it all seems so EFFORTLESS! Arthur Dunnam, another designer friend has a lovely place in Easthampton village which I was taken to by my late designer friend Raul Morillas...(see Architectural Digest) - Arthur works in the firm that Jed Johnson created with his partner Alan Wanzenberg. Jed was a protege' of Andy Warhol. The hamptons are all about being social, good food and wine, and playing tennis and going to endless wonderful cocktail parties. It's a Summer place, and many artists have made it their home over the years, as the light and landscape is quite lovely. Enjoy this glimpse of the good life! DF*****