Friday, March 28, 2014

Garrow's New York Glamour

Room by Garrow Kedigian

We love this Garrow Kedigian apartment- on Park Avenue in New York.  The luxe, euro inspired lacquered walls, tufted banquette, and Louis XV mantel are all elements that resonate for us.  See more of New York designer Garrow Kedigian and his chic flat in New York Social Enjoy!  DF ***** 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Designer Scrapbook, March 2014

My original Albert Hadley sketch (a gift)

I once was spending some time with my friend, the late, iconic, designer, Albert Hadley, and had the utter audacity to bring along a box of samples and things that I had been collecting for some future personal residence (of mine)...I even brought a floor plan of a place I had been thinking of moving in to !

Albert (shown above) was kind enough to look at what I brought- and liked most of it- although he did say that he felt there were better models of the faux french chair I had selected.  He was so wonderful to make this quick sketch for me- which I've kept all these years.  I adore this Wilbur Pippin photograph of AH.  

The iconic, society decorator, Billy Baldwin, above, was a friend of Albert's- and helped him along in his career as well.  I almost got to meet Mr. Baldwin, when I was on my way to London for my grand tour- however he had already left Manhattan for his beloved Nantucket.  Instead, I was whisked away to a very chic party in the Sutton Place apartment of the designer Joseph Braswell. 

Here's the famous former Rory Cameron La Fiorentina drawing room, after Billy Baldwin and Charles Sevigny re-decorated it for the advertising guru, Mary Wells Lawrence.  It's one of my all time favorites, although I've never seen it in person, and it's been dismantled.  Read The Devoted Classicist, by John Tackett, for more on this.  I DID once see Ms. Lawrence when I was walking towards Fifth Avenue, in New York.  A classic Mercedes was pulling out of the garage and she was driving it!  Her blond hair was in a meticulous coif, and she was wearing a cashmere twin set with pearl necklace, and diamond earrings.  She was absolutely stunning.

Carolina Irving, who was a friend of my Parish-Hadley mentor (Tice Alexander) has a line of fabrics, and I really like this one- Andaluz Viola - a linen hand print.  Reminds me of Fortuny and Groves Brothers...She and I got to know each other through Tice, and I've always admired her chic and style.  Carolina just signed on to be the creative director for Oscar de la Renta Home.  Check out her site here

Sister Parish was Albert's business partner and muse.  I always think of her as sitting on a white damask sofa- sipping a stiff cocktail.  They say she was wicked, and loved to have a good time.  I was shown two of her offices, and still haven't gotten over them.  They were very pretty, immaculate, very organized, and very smart.  You know you're not in Kansas anymore when the only thing they have by their desk (writing table) is a multi line phone and the latest copy of the New York Social Register.  (aka the blue book) -on a small "telephone table"- It was her phone book, you see.  Pink was her color.  The same shade as the old fashioned roses she must have had in Maine.  I'm sure that is correct.  Yes, Mrs. Parish.

Oh, and while we're on the subject of pink, and Sister, here's a collage I made of my own "dear Billy" in his madras shirt.  I recall I took this picture on the day he agreed to work with me - and it was a very happy day indeed.  I pay him with jelly beans.  He only works if and when he feels like it.  I'm so fortunate to have him in my life.  Thanks William!  Cheers!  Enjoy!  DF *****

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Classic Coraux

Brunschwig and Fils

I've always loved and admired the classic "coraux" pattern - and recently have been trying out some of the wallpaper from Thibaut , which is from 2003...
and you might say, oh that's so ten years ago, but not me!

This one, above, has a white background with tan coral branches... I was thinking of it for my kitchen.

And this one, above, is in the reverse- white on beige- which one do you like better? I like both although am leaning towards this one...

And I still like this coral sateen I put on a pair of chairs several years ago- I've forgotten whose fabric this is- anyone?

You can also check out Cowtan and Tout, and Brunschwig and Fils for these patterns, in wallpaper and fabric...

Perhaps it all goes back to my love of nature, and certain romantic places like the Oliver Messel estate on Barbados- with its coral stone walls.  

Our talented friend, Judith Auclair makes these fabulous coral encrusted brackets- I think this is exactly what my living room needs!  If you love coral as much as I do, pay a visit to Palm Beach- or MP Interiors here  it's all over Worth Avenue- Enjoy!  DF *****

Friday, March 21, 2014

My Gilt-y Pleasure

Circa 1810 French mirror, Antiques Center of Naples

I love looking into, and at, my old gilt mirror- it has such romance and adds so much charm and character to my smallish living room.

If you've been following me, you no doubt know by now that I very much like patina, and gilt, and things from the past- I suppose I could have my old mirror re-gilded, but it might come off looking too "repro" and I LIKE the crusty old look of it as it is, don't you?  I think it suits the cottage-y proportions of my small condo.

Now, THIS is a gilt-y pleasure!  I LOVE Versailles!  When I was there, touring- I almost fainted, since I had such a minimal lunch....and I was feeling as if I was in one of my spiritual homes...such beauty!

French commode, with gilt bronze mounts

Sean Johnson at the Biennale des Antiquaires

Here I am with my "Versailles" mirror,
as interpreted by Line Vautrin...

Green paint with gilt, Palace of Versailles

I love the mirror over mantel in Mrs. Altschul's flat, by Mario Buatta
(formerly a Sister Parish apartment)

Tom Britt's New York townhouse apartment

All of these images represent something near and dear to my design sensibility- did you know- and I've been known to make a joke at my own expense- that my nickname in design school (in Atlanta) was "Putti Baroque" ? Well, it's true !  :)  Ha!  Cheers!  Enjoy!  DF ***** Check out the GILT site !  XX

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Designing Life, Spring 2014

Designer Laura Parsons, Pure Design of Naples
I was delighted to see friend, Laura Parsons today, on the first day of Spring....Laura is one of the top designers here in town, and her design showroom and offices are located in the elegant Naples Bay Resort...

Here's a partial view of the marina fronting Laura's showroom space.  My associate Dana Waldman and I were having an after work cocktail and just happened to see Laura as she was on her way to the yacht club for an early evening cruise.

Dana, (above) and I shared some "bang bang" shrimp and I had a delicious Chardonnay - at the Bonefish Grill, right next to Pure Design, (Laura's business).  I know, it's a tough life, but somebody has to live it! Stay tuned for more exciting Naples updates coming soon!  See the Pure Design showroom here.  Cheers!  DF *****   

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Everything Old Is New Again

Dean Farris Interior Design
Just like my friend Jennifer Boles's new book, "In With The Old" my thoughts turn to the way fashion goes in old Parsons table, a gift from Albert Hadley, sits on top of Mario Buatta's new book- which is totally fabulous- I keep going back to it- especially since Patricia Altschul's Charleston house has appeared on BRAVO tv- (her son Whitney is the producer of the show called Southern Charm) and two of her homes in New York are featured in the Mario book.  The chair to the right in this shot belonged to Naples designer Holland Salley, who came to town in 1953, with his wife and two sons, to start his business.  He eventually bought the old Smith Furniture Company, and changed the name to Holland Salley, Inc.  When I first arrived here, in the mid nineties, Mr. Salley still had his Port Royal home, which he called "Salley's Alley".  Coincidentally, my friend and fellow designer, Kelli Smith, has now moved her design office into Holland's first location, on Fifth Avenue South.  The small tortoise bamboo table next to the chair, reminds me of another icon and inspiration, the late Angelo Donghia.  Angelo loved using the small bamboo chairs as accents in his east 70's townhouse...I do see all of this coming back into the whirl, since as we all know, what goes around, comes around.  Perhaps chintz will make a big comeback too- our friend, Pat Scharf, from Duralee, seems to think so, and Duralee recently acquired Bailey and Griffin, and have re-colored some of the old classics.  Enjoy!
DF *****  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Tale of Three Chintzes

From Parish Hadley, Sixty Years of American Design

I've always loved, and promoted, the fabric known as chintz- and was inspired by looking at the book "Sister, The Life of Legendary American Interior Decorator Mrs. Henry Parish II " by Apple Parish Bartlett and Susan Bartlett Crater.  You see, dear readers, I have lots of stories to tell- just like "Sister" - and this one is about some of the chintzes I've used that are quite wonderful, and the best of their kind really.  I also love that chintz has almost been forgotten- making it all the more interesting, to me.  The fabulous rose trellis pattern above, was used for Enid Haupt's bedroom in New York, by Mrs. Parish.  My client's mother, DeWitt Chatham Hanes, was a good friend of Sister's, and we used the same chintz in (her) bedroom at her ancestral cottage, in Roaring Gap.  We re-made the curtains in it- they were smocked at the top and hung straight down, but they did draw.  I remember the house having marvelous painted floors everywhere.  The end result was nothing short of heaven.  There was a soft turquoise in the chintz that seemed to remind one of the painted shutters on the outside of the house.  And the pink roses in the chintz were also to be seen in the garden below the windows!

Room Setting by Mario Buatta

The room setting shown above, from the new Mario Buatta book is drenched in chintzes, and I was most fortunate to get to help Mario and his then assistant, Michael Zabriskie, put it all together- in the model rooms at the Manhattan Bloomingdales.  It was such fun, and MB used a floral chintz for the curtains on the mock windows.  Imagine how pleased I was when I saw that MB had included this model room in his book! It was funny too, because he and Michael were wearing matching outfits- blazers, khakis, belt, shoes, socks, ties, everything !  Of course, nothing was too much for New York in the 1980's.  I used to see Ivana Trump on the escalator.  I worked there at Bloomies for one year, and then I went to work in the office of the society decorator, George Clarkson.  High contrast, to say the least!

Pat Breen

My other (third) chintz story is about the time I was in Houston, Texas, with my friend and fellow designer, Tice Alexander.  I do have a picture or two somewhere of the work we did at Pat Breen's River Oaks house- Tice had selected an amazing Cowtan and Tout chintz, possibly a Colefax and Fowler, and we ordered hundreds of yards for the drawing room windows and chairs.  I was horrified to realize (too late) that we had ordered the wrong colorway!  You see, it wasn't very obvious- there was only one minor color that had been changed!  The LEAVES in the pattern were supposed to have been a very chic shade of taupe.  This was to match the taupe silk velvet on a pair of DeAngelis sofas...our leaves were a very English shade of pea green.  I told Tice that she would never notice- and probably like it even better, since it was more cheerful- and it was.  But it was my fault that the wrong color had been ordered, and sent to DeAngelis to be made into the magnificent curtains.  But honestly dear readers, can any color ever really be wrong?  Maybe a shade, or a hue, but a color is something that can never be wrong, it just is what it is. What do you think?  I would be interested to know!  Cheers!  DF *****

Friday, March 14, 2014

A French Bulldog Invasion!

In the last year or so, I've been noticing these unbelievably cute little dogs, almost everywhere here in town. Just today, Monsieur Bogie came in to our showroom, and I was thrilled that he came over to me and allowed me the pleasure of his company.  ( a white coated male he was)

You may know, or perhaps not, that Martha Stewart has two - Francesca and Sharkey, and they even have their very own blog, called "The Daily Wag" !  Absolutely adorable!

Look at this one!  She is just so cute, and waiting for a new home.  From Wikipedia, I learned that this breed has been favored by socialites, the rich, and even beautiful and fabulous Miz Reese Witherspoon. And of course,  they are everywhere to be seen here in Naples- even in certain restaurants which have indoor-outdoor dining rooms...

I seem to keep seeing the cream ones- they seem to be very popular- and I did notice that they are commanding prices upwards of $5,000.00 depending on the breeder....but they are known for being very sweet, affectionate, and for not barking much.  In other words, wonderful companions!

This little boy is just too cute for words- a more exaggerated version of the breed would be hard to find.  It's considered very desirable to have them looking as muscular as possible.  This puppy hasn't quite matured yet.  Still a baby!  Love those ears!

Above, Mr. Sharkey, who belongs to fabulous Martha Stewart.  He is being kept warm in his little sweater, what a cutie.  Check out his adventures with Francesca on the site, The Daily Wag.  Enjoy!  Cheers!  DF *****

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My Spring 2014 Obsessions

My favorite thing to stock the fridge with

Celerie Kemble for Henredon

Decorator Celerie Kemble has been pushing my design buttons for years...lately she's been on my her, and love her work !!!

Celerie liked this room by Los Angeles celebrity designer Waldo Fernandez- and so do I...she used this image in one of her books...since I didn't even know she had a book, I'll have to look that up! :) 

Renee Norris, of Norris Home Furnishings, where I'm currently working, is very involved with charity- she and Mr. Norris are again donating time and resources to the American Heart Association.  Last year, the Naples ball raised $500 K
and the goal this year, with her help, is $625 K. We're having a patron party in our showroom on Thursday, and the ball is April 5th FYI.

Passion Flower

I remember fondly, playing with these beautiful "passion flowers" on my grandmothers farm in Georgia...

I'm also obsessed with these iconic velvet slippers...
Which pair do you like?  Cheers!  DF *****

Monday, March 10, 2014

March Decorator Musings...

Jenny Garrigues for Red Cross Designer Show House 2014
We still love Scalamandre' - and any designer who helps to raise funds for worthy causes...this room setting by Jennifer Garrigues and associates shows a very "un-decorated" look.

This house is in Grey Oaks Country Club, Naples, where I seem to always have lots of work to do- one of the owners on this street moved to the south of France, and left her Rolls Royce behind.  The guest house (above) is not shown - which is off to the right.  Another lady in G.O.C.C. had a daughter, Heather, who once dated Prince Albert of Monaco.

I'm also consulting on a club house in Kensington Country Club, and thought how funny that my old Gucci loafers got caught in this shot.  The gentleman I'm working with there once represented Brioni, Pal Zileri, and Zegna (all super high-end mens clothing lines from Italy) in the U.S.

And finally, I couldn't resist posting about this fabulous vintage Chevy I came across yesterday.  I thought the color was spectacular, glistening away in the south Florida sunshine!  Enjoy! DF *****