Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Making an Entrance, Kirkeby Estate, Bel Air

I found this image (photo by Charles White) in the 1988 book "Interior Views" by Chris Casson Madden. A decorator showhouse, the grand foyer was done by Kalef Alaton and Craig Wright, as an homage to Michael Taylor. I'm sure that Mrs. Reagan would love this hall too. I very much like the overall classical mood, and the house was built in the 1930's. If I couldn't change out the floor, (not a color I love) I would find a beautiful old very colorful Savonnerie and have it installed here. Not shown to the left is a Louis XV gilt console "from the Rothschild collection". The Waterford chandelier is credited as being "ten feet in diameter" ! Wow! That's a lot of crystal for one foyer. However, in studying the image, I feel that the scale of this fixture is perfect for the space - and plan to show it to my long standing clients in South Carolina as an example of proper scale for a foyer chandelier. I know they'll love it, as it exudes the high style they love. It'll go very nicely with the vintage Rolls they keep parked outside...! Enjoy! Looking forward to seeing Mr. Romney and family in Tampa! DF *****

Monday, May 28, 2012

Tray Chic: Arranging Decorative Objects

We all have lots of things that we enjoy, but often have no idea of how to display them in a pleasing manner. Just as I was inspired to place a group of similar blue and white porcelains on a small Parsons table, I also was inspired to display a small collection of sea shells, (most of which were purchased as gifts for me) on this chic red lacquer serving tray. I think I got this tray at either Henri Bendel or the old Takashimaya - anyway, I do enjoy the look, and if I get tired of it, I can simply remove the whole thing, in situ, and enjoy the bareness. The current trend has been to get away from too many small, fussy things, and use fewer, larger scaled pieces, when accessorizing a room. However, the love of the personal in decoration often overrides any current trends, and that is certainly the case in my modest apartment. I do what I do for my own personal enjoyment, not because I'm trying to impress any visitors! Enjoy! DF *****

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Late May Inspirations

Memorial Day - a day to honor our veterans. Vets are inspiring. They deserve to be honored and respected. Here's to the VETS!

Beautiful late May weather, here in South Florida! Yes!

Enjoy these images I chose which inspire me, and I hope will inspire you too.

DF *****

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Elegant Palettes and Inspirations

Socialite Carolyne Roehm inspired me to add more blue and white bits to the small Parsons table I was given by famed New York society decorator Albert Hadley. Shown here. I also have been working on an elegant Naples villa for new clients and here is the color scheme I'll be presenting to them with William on Monday, yes, that's right, Memorial Day. Work! You better WORK! That's right!

I was so surprised that my dear Jessica Sanchez was not our new American Idol. I feel like she stole the show! There is no accounting for the taste of the American public I suppose. However, I think they all felt sorry for Phillip as he has had some health problems. Congrats Phillip! But seriously, Jessica was channeling Whitney! What's not to love?

Another inspiration today- my fave blogger designer in NYC posted about Caswell Massey soap! Why is this inspiring? Apparently the French believe that giving friends some lily of the valley in May is good luck. CM makes a lily of the valley soap! Who knew? Did you know that CM also is 250 years old, from Newport R.I. and carries Roger and Gallet? Fab! Enjoy! DF *****

Monday, May 21, 2012

Gifts from Albert!

I treasure the things I was given by Albert Hadley. They remind me of him, on a daily basis. One day, I was over at the cottage, on 11th Avenue South, and he was about to throw this small Parsons table in the trash. I didn't ask him for it, he asked me if I wanted it, and of course I said yes! I love that the table too had been published in Judith Gura's book "New York Interior Design Inventors of Tradition" - see picture above - from a 1985 incarnation of Albert's famous New York living room. I kept it in the original ochre gold lacquer for years, and just recently painted it myself in a black lacquer. The Spanish Louis XV style chair had been sitting in Albert's guest house here, and when I saw it I knew it had to be mine. Albert had it upholstered in a Jack Larsen linen-lame' and the flat tape trim is a hallmark of his attention to detail. A client of mine bought the chair for me in lieu of a design fee, and I've enjoyed it ever since. I also have a drawing of Albert's which Tice gave me, of the Getty dining room in New York. It's a blue print of the original, and unfortunately has faded quite a bit. Lastly, I have notes and cards and sketches Albert gave me during our friendship, which I treasure, just as I treasured his wonderful friendship and kindness. DF *****

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Room of the Week, Todd Alexander Romano

I met Todd Romano through my friend the late Parkin Saunders, in New York. Parkin was quite fond of Todd as he is such a talent, and a Texas native. (Parkin was from Arkansas) - anyway, Todd has showrooms in New York and L.A. and he did a dining room at the 2012 Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse. I went on TAR's site and found this gorgeous lacquered living room he did for a client in NYC. I love the way Todd has showcased Andy Warhol and other artists in his rooms, and his sense of color and use of sexy chairs (French) as well as his overall point of view. This long banquette he used is sensational, and we could certainly provide something similar through either KREISS or our design service, Interiors By Design West, here in Naples. Enjoy! DF *****(P.S. this lacquer wall treatment reminds me of the townhouse duplex Angelo Donghia lived in - which I was lucky to visit back in the day) .

Friday, May 18, 2012

Farewell to a Legend

Donna Summer was always one of my favorite 1970's artists, and she had a home here in Naples. Donna loved to shop, and was known to be seen in all of the elegant shops of Naples. Her place here was in the Tiburon' section, near the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort. Love to love you baby! RIP. DF *****

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lisa Marie Presley, Storm and Grace

WOW! Lisa Marie really nailed her song tonight, new on Storm and Grace, "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" she is the most sultry, sexy performer I've seen in a long time. Thanks LMP for a great experience tonight on FOX. Loved every second! Black is definitely your color!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Real Thing: Garrick C. Stephenson

Once again, I was most fortunate while residing in the great city of New York, as a younger man, to work briefly in the gallery and offices of the late, highly esteemed art and antiques dealer, Garry Stephenson. A Yalie who attended Parsons, and worked for a while for McMillen, he opened his townhouse shop in 1959, when I was a mere toddler. One of his daughters has a place here in Naples. He kept a place on Palm Beach. His wife Claire had been married to Prince Ivan Obolensky, an Astor descendant. So, yes, Mr. Stephenson was most definitely THE REAL THING. He wore Huntsman and Anderson and Sheppard, shot in Scotland, had another daughter in Paris, and was in the social register. I still remember with fondness installing some Evian in the new fridge at his new place on East 66th Street, which Parkin Saunders had been working on. I also got to eat the most divine "silver dollar" sandwiches for lunch from William Poll on Madison Avenue for my lunch almost every day! It was all fab. People like Gayfryd Steinberg would pop in and measure a table, for instance. A lot of his things were priced in the six figures, and were displayed in the Revlon Building gallery like pieces of art, which they were. His eye was most refined, and he never went in for the obvious sorts of objects. Mr. S was also involved with the Parrish art museum in Southampton and was a collector of paintings as well as being a very good golfer. Paintings - as in Vuillard, and Magritte. Another daughter lives in Brussels, where there is a Magritte Museum. Mr. S was always very kind to me, and nothing but a gentleman, all the way, first class baby! I just felt like sharing this with you, since I was very much influenced by his style, and his manner. Polished to perfection, quiet, and very kind. Beverly, thanks for the memories! DF *****

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Imagine: When Billy Met Babe

Imagine the excitement Billy Baldwin must have experienced, when, his telephone rang, and it was Mrs. Paley calling, asking him to meet her at the chic St. Regis Hotel...according to wikipedia, the Paleys kept this apartment in town, as their weekday retreat, then to Kiluna Farm in Manhasset, and Kiluna North for those de rigeur country living escapes. I've always loved this shot of the sitting room, from the book "The Finest Rooms by America's Great Decorators" - a book which Albert Hadley inspired his good friend Wilbur Pippin to collaborate on with Katherine Tweed- as well as this stunning portrait of Babe standing in the room, which I believe is by Horst. Babe Cushing Mortimer Paley was the most elegant woman of her time, and became an iconic style figure, Vogue editor, and a Capote "swan" - like C.Z. Guest, she too hailed from Boston. I love the caption under this photo in the book; The transformation of a banal hotel sitting room in New York into a personal and domestic room resulted in the Proustian, turn- of- the- century setting shown here- the walls are hung in brown and pink paisley calico. The Bessarabian rug is patterned with Blackamoor heads, and the extraordinary chandelier is Venetian. How exotic! How chic! How stylish! It all exudes the cafe' society belle epoque mystery that the Paleys seemed to aspire to. My late friend and mentor, Tice Alexander, was taken to this room, and he said he never really got over it, as it had been kept intact, as a kind of shrine to the impossibly fab Babe. I don't for a minute doubt it, and for all I know this charming room still exists- (Babe Paley died in 1978) I hope that you enjoy my post, I am certainly not the first or last to include BP in my list of inspiring and enchanting figures from the not so distant past. DF *****

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Trails, Dale Evans and Roy Rogers

Dale Evans and Roy Rogers were big stars, many years ago, and they had a museum of their lives in Branson, Mo. The museum was recently closed, due to lack of income, and the artifacts from the golden era of the cowboys and cowgirls were auctioned off, at very handsome prices. Here are some memorable images from an email that Bill sent to me from his friend Bob. Coincidentally, the Liberace Museum, in Las Vegas has also closed. It's a shame, as our young folks won't get to visit these amazing shrines.

While I wasn't riding a horse today, I did spend the day riding a banana yellow kayak, and thoroughly enjoyed myself, soaking up the sunshine, and enjoying the jumping fish, (shades of Porgy and Bess) the playful dolphins, and the incredible birds of all sizes and colors. I kayaked right under the boat entrance to the Lutgert palazzo, featured in this months VERANDA. I really did feel like I was in Venice, Italy, and enjoyed many "happy trails" today - Mother's Day 2012. Enjoy! DF *****

Friday, May 11, 2012

May, A Walk In The Garden, Il Giardini

I rose early and caught these beautiful sunrise shots, all along the boulevard and on the peaceful and quiet, reminding me of my morning walks in southern California. Enjoy these shots! DF *****


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Decorator Scrapbook XVIII

Random musings (visual) for your enjoyment! DF ***** photos by Dean Farris

Monday, May 7, 2012

Fragrance Shopping

Today, I popped into Saks and treated myself to some new fragrance, I was in traffic and had followed a navy blue "baby Phantom" into the Waterside Shops. First stop, Jo Malone, where drop dead gorgeous Dana helped me with a Mediterranean Jasmine scented candle and guest soap by AGRARIA. She also kindly gave me some samples of the Jo Malone, which I can use for my upcoming Mother's Day gift basket. Then, I found out that Saks is now carrying Acqua di Parma, so Barbara helped me procure some Fico di Amalfi cologne and a free atomizer (another gift for Ma-Ma...) I was lucky last night, after attending a delicious dinner party chez Dickie and Troy, to catch a rarely seen film on TCM called "Rocco and His Brothers" by Luchino Visconti! It inspired me to find something Milanese, since the 1961 film was shot there (Milano). I also made a pit stop in the fine jewelry department to say hello to my old neighbor Scott, and eyed a nice stainless Cartier watch I wouldn't mind owning...anyway, I managed to get out of the store without visiting the men's department, and only doing a little over $200 in damage to the wallet (Gucci)! I spent the rest of the afternoon swimming in the Gulf, which was the color of an Hermes' cologne bottle. Enjoy! DF *****

Friday, May 4, 2012

Morning Meditation, Naples

I took this snap this morning, when I just happened to be outside watching some boats go out to sea...the morning sun was coming up from the east, and it winked at me through the travellers palm just outside my door. Then I went for a walk on the beach and saw some incredible birds, and one big sailboat way out on the horizon, as a small white jet flew over my head...ahhh...NAPLES, home of nature, money, and it or leave it! DF *****

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Templeton, The Guest Estate

I got a kick out of seeing "Templeton" on "Selling New York" tonight. The Kleiers were showing it to their client, Prince Lorenzo Borghese...with realtor Sean Elliot. I met the late Mrs. Guest and her daughter Cornelia, during the heady 1980's, when I worked as a design assistant to the society decorator, the late George Clarkson. I remember seeing stationery of hers in the office, with about nine different telephone numbers for the tennis house, pool house, main house, stables, etc. I got to know them better when we summered in Southampton at the rented guest house of Mrs. Rodgers Denckla, on Great Plains Road. I can't think of a nicer person than Cornelia Guest, and I think she spends a lot of time in California. Here are some real estate shots from her family home, called Templeton, which sits on 15 and a half acres only 25 minutes from Manhattan. The price has been reduced several times...hopefully some buyer will appreciate it's Anglo American charm and preserve it rather than demolish it! C.Z. Guest used several decorators, including the famed Monsieur Stephane Boudin of JANSEN, my favorite extinct design firm, behind Parish-Hadley. Enjoy these glimpses into a world of high wasp high society not often seen... DF *****