Sunday, July 29, 2012

Andre' Agassi - Kreiss Collection

About four of five years ago, Tennis stars, Steffi Graf and Andre' Agassi partnered with Kreiss Collection to create some stunning pieces for the renowned furniture company. I felt that with the Olympics now going on in London, it would be fun to mention this partnership, since I am now associated with Kreiss as well. DF*****

Friday, July 27, 2012

Room of the Week, Avila at Grey Oaks

I did this living-dining room about 11 or 12 years ago, for a very nice couple from Potomac, Maryland. One of the smaller villas in the exclusive Naples community of Grey Oaks Country Club, it was a starting point for them, and they were rewarded with fantastic appreciation on their investment. I ended up working on about six of these Shafran built villas, and very much enjoyed it. The Shafrans came to Naples from Newport Beach, CA. I remember one of the first ones built, done as a model by Mrs. Shafran and her talented design team. The actor Tom Cruise's mother almost bought it! Then, as a funny aside, when I bought my first Mercedes, the salesman had just sold a Maybach to Tom Cruise himself! It seems that the Beverly Hills dealership had used up their quota, and so he ordered his car through the Naples dealer.

This client has been a long standing patron of mine, and she's always fun to work with and has a great sense of style. If you follow my blog, then you may know that her larger villa, which I also decorated, has been extensively featured. Over the years we've added on to the new one, and it gets better with the passing of time. The high ceilings and heavy mill work with better quality fenestration details give these villas a sense of a much larger home, and of course, feature all of the latest high tech features. I hope that you enjoy this post, my photography leaves something to be desired. DF *****

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Can't Live Without: Costa Del Mar Sunglasses

Costa del Mar makes over fifty styles of shades for "extreme outdoor" environments. I have been enjoying wearing a pair of Vela readers by CDM for the last few years, and they really have held up, swimming, biking, driving, they always help me see better, cut out the glare, and make living in coastal south Florida like some kind of surreal dream. This afternoon, I was out in the gulf, and had a transcendental experience, as the sun was low in the sky, and so, without the shades on, I would have basically been blinded. Another thing I like is the wide side design, reminiscent of Aristotle Onassis, and they help to block too much peripheral vision, without making you unable to see if you need to. They can also be ordered as prescription, and I now want to acquire a pair of blue lens models, so I can channel Anne Slater! (famous NYC socialite). Check out these models I like from the CDM site. DF *****

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sources For The Decorating Cognoscenti

Sources? For the cognoscenti? Yes, there are many, and two that come to mind, besides the most fabulous antiquarians in the world, are Scalamandre' and F.P. Victoria.

Here, I show you a vintage 1960's interpretation of a Louis XVI style bed, by FPV. Then, some lovely Empire style influenced curtain hardware, new from Scalamandre'.

Know this: buying what your decorator selects for you ALWAYS pays off in the long run, years after you've had it installed in your home or office. Quality is its own best advertisement, and there's no substitute for the "aura" one can achieve by way of living with things of inherent value and craftsmanship. You may pay more up front, but the returns on your investment will amaze and surprise you! Sure, you can go on Pottery and find a sort of slipper chair, but it will not last, and will not exude quality and luxury.

DeAngelis of New York on the other hand...that is another cognoscenti trade only workroom that does the most wonderful and well made pieces, which are such that they become family heirlooms, just like your grannys lovely old silver and china. Buy quality, you won't be sorry! DF *****

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

To Rome With Love, Thanks Woody!

I very much enjoyed the new Woody Allen film, To Rome With Love. A frothy and light comedy, perfect for the Summer heat, and full of beautiful photography, great acting, sensational opera, and classic WA humor. There was a very good, concise, and well written review in the New Yorker recently, and if you can, see this film, it's just delightful and very sweet. ENJOY! DF *****

Monday, July 23, 2012

What Makes A House Personal? Part Deux

I didn't quite get my point across yesterday about the personal aspects of residential buildings. I believe that if you feel a connection to an object or a place, then it's bound to become personal. For myself, I love things like how a window treatment looks from outside, pea gravel for gardens and driveways, creeping fig on certain garden walls and even the house itself.

Here are two properties, one in Charleston, SC and one here in Naples, FL - that begin to demonstrate what I'm talking about. I can certainly see how the owner of this European inspired house is cultivating a certain "decadence" - and there is a fine line between romantic beauty and just plain run down and messy! My Charleston house, a long time pet project of ours, is from 1830 and has yellow paint with green shutters. The paint for the shutters was purchased in France and shipped over. The owners (my clients) love American antiques, and have filled the house with them. I did this sketch about 12 years ago, and it conveys the quaint charm of the house. ENJOY! DF *****

Sunday, July 22, 2012

What Makes A House Personal?

The Hamstra house was featured in "Florida Design"

Bronze Aligator door knocker, Old Naples

Shades of Louisiana, Old Naples

Beautiful Old Naples street leading to the beach

"Florida Deco" entrance gates

I've always loved houses, for as long as I can remember. We lived in a small very sweet house in Georgia, in an older, established neighborhood, and I have fond memories of spending my childhood there, near Peachtree Terrace, in Albany.

I often dream of houses at night, houses that don't actually exist, but are conjured in my vivid imagination, while sleeping. This morning, as usual, I took my bike ride in a downtown, southerly direction, and quickly took these random shots, of homes and streets that are on my "route". It was overcast, and a Summer storm was brewing - so these shots are not as crisp as I prefer. According to the social register (consult dilatory domiciles) - there are more SR families with second or third homes in Naples than in Palm Beach, and these pictures I took really don't capture the secret charm that Naples proper exudes. I only mention this by way of making a point that there is a certain "Naples taste level" - and a very high one it is.

Not only do we have old family names, we also have titled aristocrats, and a realtor I know here has a daughter who dated Prince Albert of Monaco. Also, the governor of Florida (Rick Scott- R -) has a home here as well. My decorative painter is currently working, along with three other painting contractors, on a house near the Gov's that sold for forty million dollars. Enjoy these house shots, and have a great week! DF *****

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

New Furnishings I'm Loving, Kreiss, Schumacher, Old Biscayne

New from F.P. Victoria, New York

New from F. Schumacher

New from Old Biscayne Designs

Kreiss Collection, San Diego

New from Kreiss, Kreiss Naples

I'm always, as a professional interior designer, looking for the latest and greatest in superb, high quality home furnishings, for my clients. Whether an office, a commercial installation, or a residential job - there is always a constant demand for high quality, high style pieces. Here are some companies I go to for the very best in superior design and value. Enjoy! DF *****

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Classic Prep Style: Kiel James Patrick

I recently discovered the fabulous designer, KIEL JAMES PATRICK, while perusing the blog, The Adventures of TartanScott - I really like his product, everything from bracelets, ties, belts to earrings.

Check out his excellent web site and enjoy the beautiful craftsmanship and color stories. Tommy Hilfiger has already discovered KJP, and it doesn't hurt that he is a former model, and did attend a prep school too.

I'll be placing my order soon, for at least a few bracelets. DF *****

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Finding Your Bliss, Inspiration and Passion

My former living room in Naples....

Sometimes, I do wonder why I'm still posting on this blog. It's been about three years now. I've met some wonderful new friends via this outlet, and it is a form of creative expression. Some are even making a living doing it. Perhaps if the economy makes a dramatic improvement, I'll again be too busy to do this, or can hire someone else to do it. Finding your bliss is often a theme of many design blogs, and I feel like it's a worthy subject. Figure out what makes you feel enlightened and then go after it! Whatever it is, DO IT! There are so many things I find intriguing, and interesting. Sometimes I have difficulty focusing on what I really like. Work is a central theme for me, and I chose my career path many years ago, when I was about 17. The other night I was out to dinner with a client, who is also a friend, and we ran into another friend of mine- I introduced them to each other, and then experienced a spontaneous burst of BLISS as I was able to tell Mark that Nancy's house had been featured in "Naples Illustrated" - by way of mentioning that Kathy Becker, the editor, had recently resigned. Then I told Nancy that Mark had recently appeared in "Veranda". These magazines are signifiers- for having reached a certain plateau. I had just been telling Nancy how competitive the field of interior design had become, and it was such a pleasure to be with her, and then to see Mark. Thanks to Nancy, who is very involved in local charities, I've gained entree' to some of the most beautiful homes in Naples, for various charity related parties. I do think it's been good for me to live here, in a smaller city, as the extreme hot house atmosphere of the fashion capitals is a little too much. (for me) So, whatever your dream, your desire, or your passion is, keep it alive, and just maybe one day it can become your reality! DF *****

Monday, July 9, 2012

Designer Profile: Tice Alexander

Tice Alexander, photo: Fernando Bengoechea

My dear late friend and Parish Hadley mentor, Tice Alexander, was a wonderful and charming man, from Kansas City, who made his home and life in New York. While I've posted about Tice before, I failed to show my readers a picture of him, showing what a handsome and stylish devil he was. This portrait is by the late Fernando Bengoechea - another  fabulous talent, lost to the tsunami. To explain how important Tice was in my life, I should tell you that we were roughly the same age, and we attended classes together at the renowned Fashion Institute, under the aegis of our chairman, the late Stanley Barrows - and Tice went on to work with Albert Hadley at the famed decorating and design firm, Parish Hadley Associates. If Tice was still living I would still be in New York, working with him, just as our old friend Kelly Graham works with John Barman.
Tice was such a beacon for me, and when I lost him, I too was lost. He never tried to re-invent the wheel, he simply chose the best for his clients, and that was always his hallmark- the finest quality and workmanship, with a classical point of view, very timeless and chic. We did the President of Princeton's house, we did a large apartment on upper Park Avenue, and we did a beautiful house in Houston, Texas in the River Oaks section. There were other Park Avenue jobs, less major, as well, and when Tice and I first met, he was living in a large half-floor on Park in the nineties, with socialite Fred Bricker. Imagine my excitement and pleasure at being invited to dine there, and coming into the marble lobby, and then the black lacquer elevator foyer with a coromandel screen - lit with the lowest possible wattage, and the heavy scent of YSL opium hanging in the air! That apartment seemed so HUGE, as all the floors had been bleached and pickled almost white- with french frames "dancing" everywhere you looked. The library was done in classic upholstered pieces, covered in a trashed out Clarence House print. It all made such an impression on me. The master bedroom had been made from THREE rooms- and the king bed looked like a postage stamp in it. Then Tom Britt would drop in and talk about how exhausted he was, which was totally understandable, since he works like a banshee and loves every minute of it. I'm crazy for Tom, and did work for him one Summer many years ago, an experience I'll always treasure.
Stanley Barrows, the former Parsons School chairman - taught Tom and me, and SB told Tice that I reminded him of Tom when he was at Parsons! Tom and Angelo Donghia shared an apartment while attending Parsons. I just love all of this decorating trivia. It's become an integral part of who I am. Tice, you were a great guy, thanks for the ride, it was fabulous! DF *****

Friday, July 6, 2012

Victor Skrebneski, Chicago Style

The last thing I expected, the other night while enjoying cocktails in the new home of some new friends (from Chicago) was to see an absolutely stunning portrait of our hostess, by the iconic photographer, Victor Skrebneski. I had followed his work for many years, through Estee' Lauder ads, and his association with top decorator Bruce Gregga. Mr Skrebneski's townhouse in Chicago has always been one of my favorite editorial spreads, a magical, ultra chic combination of clean, modernist space mixed with exquisite french furniture, floating on bare stone floors like sculpture. To encounter his work at close range, while being with the subject at the same time, is,to say the least, a sublime and wonderful experience. Also hung on the walls were about a hundred Picassos, Klimts, Dines, and Miro's. I must say, I don't care for the work of Miro' - it makes me think of trophy art too much. Anyway, here are a few fabulous Skrebneski images, he really is a genius. Enjoy! DF *****

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fourth of July Naples - At Home

Happy Fourth of July!!! I took these shots today, just for fun, and hope that you enjoy them...DF*****

Monday, July 2, 2012

More Naples, Old and New

Here are a few more - one is a new guest house behind a new "cottage" - these cottages are in high demand, and offer all of the modern updates, but with the quaint charm of the old ones.

ENJOY!  DF *****

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Naples, Old and New

These are a few of my favorite houses in Naples. Some are older and some are newer...Naples was founded in the late 1800's and has evolved into a charming and fashionable winter resort, the Palm Beach of the west coast. Check out these charmers I snapped while riding my bike this morning. DF *****