Thursday, April 30, 2020


Duke and Duchess of Windsor, (and pugs) Horst

How great to spend time at home with ones dogs- this Horst image is a great example of the adage, "one picture is worth a thousand words..." DF

Wednesday, April 29, 2020


Seat cushions (reversible)

Amazingly, today I was able to go into two brick-and-mortar stores -one
was Home Depot for paint and the other was "big lots" for outdoor chair seat cushions.  I selected the new paint for the floor of Mary's lanai and then I also found these seat cushions for her existing dining chairs very inexpensively -thrilled !  A quick refresh...DF

Tuesday, April 28, 2020


Celerie Kemble, VERANDA May/June 2020

It was fun to see that a Naples house got the cover of the new Veranda magazine -it's an understated Barbados style house not far from where I live -painted a lovely shade of pink.  Kudos to Celerie! DF

Monday, April 27, 2020

TAXI!: Jed Johnson

Jed Johnson

Part of my 15 minutes of fame was riding in a taxi in Manhattan with the late designer, Jed Johnson  as my friends Arthur Dunnam and Scott Lalley were working for him- and I was working in adjacent offices for the late Raul Morillas, of Robert A. M. Stern Architects.  Serendipity brought beautiful and glamorous Jed and I together as we shared a cab uptown...sadly, he was killed in the TWA flight 800 crash off of Long Island in 1996- the same year I left NYC for Florida.. perusing the Victor Bockris bio of Andy Warhol recently, I realized that poor Jed was also with Andy when the artist was shot several times by the deranged Valerie Solanas.  What a horror that must have been.  May Jed and Andy rest in eternal peace.  DF

Sunday, April 26, 2020

COZY: Living

DFID (c) 2019

One of my first inspirations very early on was a small house in North Carolina that I was taken to by a good friend.  Gail Dewar was living with her sister, Joan - who was a very talented decorator.  Joan had tons of style- she even made her own clothes- For example she would buy a plain taupe
colored linen, make a simple shift from it and then accessorize it with a ton of gold jewelry -she also wore quite a bit of make up and blown out hair (streaked with a bit of silver) in a word she was sophisticated and stylish!!!

Joan's house, which sat up on a hill,  backed up to a large estate which was owned by the Gray family and was called Graylyn.  What struck me about Joan and her house was that she obviously loved it and took great care of it -her sense of housekeeping was extraordinary.  It smelled like a combination of lemon oil and furniture polish.  Imagine the chic of a camelback sofa upholstered in a  textured yellow fabric backed up to a bay window across from the fireplace with flat taupe walls and a layer of beautiful antique leather bound books with natural light flooding in -she also had a vintage quite small chandelier above a smallish round table- so charming- in her tiny entry hall were applied mouldings filled in with strips of silvery chinoiserie wallpaper - very Otto Zenke- and her kitchen and den were in a glossy oxblood paint ! (Unusual for the mid 1970's). I suppose I've never gotten over the charm and beauty of Joan's house and my wonderful friendship with Gail her sister -what a lovely couple of women they were.  DF

Saturday, April 25, 2020


Dean with 1962 Rolls

Billy took this shot of me a few years ago, and I liked it so I used it for my Christmas card -it was just for fun.  DF

Friday, April 24, 2020


Dean Farris Interior Design (c) 2020 

Spring time as we all know is a great time to clean out ones accumulation from the winter -including excess books, decorative accessories, dust bunnies, rugs, too many pillows etc.  The late great California decorator Michael Taylor was quoted as saying if you want to freshen up a room, the fastest way to do it is to take something out. In other words, edit.  Accordingly I took quite a few tchotchkes out including a couple of small rugs and I do like this more cleaned up look much better. Enjoy the weekend as we segue into re-opening...DF

Thursday, April 23, 2020


Naples, Fla.

The charm of the Breezes is intoxicating. And in
Italy they call it sirocco- in California they call it Santa Ana winds -whatever you call it, we love it- something about the palm fronds blowing in the breeze is heavenly...DF

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

LOGGIA: Palm Beach

Louise W. Cronan for Kips Bay Palm Beach

Ever since January of last year I've been admiring this beautiful loggia that Louise Cronan ,my old friend from way back created for the 2019 Palm Beach kips Bay decorator show house.  I especially admire her use of seashells for the Billy Baldwin studio console opposite the seating group.  Louise selected a custom Tillets fabric for her upholstery - which added even more allure and decorative value to her room setting.  Kudos to Louise and her team !  DF

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

ROOM: Garconniere

DFID designers own residence

This image of my living room reminds me of when I was very young I would go to professors homes in Atlanta (I was a student at the art institute of Atlanta) as a guest and I got to soak up the atmosphere -it was wonderful.

Through my roommate Robert Shatzer, I was invited to the apartment of Professor Carey Sutlive -a very talented photographer who did all the pictures for one of the Neel Reed architecture books.  Imagine being 17 years old and invited to an apartment that looked like something a New York decorator had done (quite dark) and being offered a scotch in a waterford Highball- of course I loved it.

Bob and I also spent a lot of time at the apartment of Stan Topol and his partner Michael, which was great fun -it was done in a very low-key Billy Baldwin style and we had many dinners there -it was just so much fun to be hanging out with our professors if you can imagine.

Later, through my friend and classmate Nicolas Cardone, I was taken to the chic midtown apartment of professor Roger Remaley, who at the time was working with T. Gordon Little - one of the top society decorators of Atlanta.

Not only was Roger one of the best looking men you could possibly imagine -he was always in a suit (usually double breasted) - very well cut -and he drove a beautiful jaguar sedan -his apartment had nothing in it except for a tester bed sitting in the middle of the living room -which struck me as being extremely smart à la Pauline de Rothschild -!  And now that I think about it, this bed also reminded me back then of George Peppard as the kept man in "breakfast at Tiffany's" -not only did Roger look like George but he spent a lot of time in that bed if you've ever seen the film version of the Truman Capote novel.  Many years later I worked with a society decorating firm in New York and the office manager was dating the son of George Peppard -!!  DF

Monday, April 20, 2020

CONSUELO: Gilded Life

Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan, Palm Beach, Fla.

I just finished reading again my copy of Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart, one of the best biographies on the market.  From the gilt drenched late 1800's all the way thru December 1964, Madame Balsan transitioned from an arranged loveless marriage to the Duke of Marlborough - scion of famous Blenheim Palace- into the wife of a French colonel, with whom she finally shared love and caring... above - she's shown in her salon in Palm Beach, after downsizing from a large estate on Hypoluxo Island (Manalapan).

Ms. Stuart, in her afterword, quoted style icon Diana Vreeland thus, regarding Consuelo's inclusion in her 1975 Met show, "American Women of Style" :  "the energy of Imagination, deliberation, and invention, which fall into a natural rhythm totally one's own, maintained by innate discipline and a keen sense of pleasure. All who have it share one thing -originality. This is not a dress show".  Wow! DF

Sunday, April 19, 2020

YVES: At Home

YSL at Chateau Gabriel (near Deauville on Normandy coast)

Eternally inspiring - the homes of fashion designers such as the fabulous YSL - are studies in maximalism - read more about the image above here ...DF

YSL at Rue de Babylone apartment (Paris)

Saturday, April 18, 2020

HOME: Small Dinner Party

Dining in "the library" DFID


Friday, April 17, 2020


Above,  the front porch of the stunning mountain home of Hal Ainsworth and Winton Noah.  They have had this property on the market for sometime now and I'm not sure if it finally sold or not.
See my earlier posts on this magical place...and if you should find yourself this summer (once we get through these phases of transition to the "new normal") in Cashiers, stop in at Summer Place antiques, a charming shop I discovered a few years ago...DF

Thursday, April 16, 2020

VALENTINO: Via Appia Antica


One of the most beautiful, ancient roads in all of Europe is the Appian Way which leads out of Roma (almost) all the way to Naples. Construction began in 312 BC !  Way back in 1974, the brilliant fashion designer, VALENTINO, kept a chic villa along the ancient route...

Here, we can see the elegant salone of Valentino Garavani.  I've had this image in my files for over a year now as a source of inspiration as like many others I've always admired the style of not only Valentino but also his architect designer Renzo Mongiardino .

To get a sense of the beauty of this ancient place, the famous Appian Way, read more here per favore

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

KEY WEST: David Wolkowsky

Key West House of the late David Wolkowsky 

Once upon a time, Billy and I were down in Key West and as usual we would rent a little golf cart and ride around old town and into Newtown as well.  Of course being the visual person that I am I took quite a few pictures and one of them was of this house that I thought was interesting.

Surprise! I later found out that this was the former residence of  DAVID WOLKOWSKY !  Known locally as "Mr. Key West" you can read about his fabulous life  in this NY Times obit...

David Wolkowsky (August 25, 1919 – September 23, 2018)[1] was an American developer from Key West, Florida.

Turns out, many years ago Billy had met David through his friend Tilly Ramos many years ago on the island and David is the one who founded the pier house.  Quite the raconteur, Mr. Wolkowsky was known for his great style, flamboyance and personality and he had a sister up in Miami as well.  He was also a very good friend of the writer Tennessee Williams, one of my personal favorites.  Here, He's looking dashing in his classic Mercedes convertible.  Style!  DF

David Wolkowsky via New York Times

Tuesday, April 14, 2020


Dean Farris Interior Design

I designed this dining room for my parents about 30 years ago and they still have it.  It made the move from the big house to the Villa which they downsized to -and it looks great in the open floor plan which they now have.

The large table which has a round glass top has an octagonal Rattan base by McGuire and the top is a custom glass piece which we ordered from Carolina glass.  I ordered the chairs from Ainsworth Noah in Atlanta and had them upholstered in a beautiful Osborne and Little print which my mother was especially fond of -she's a big brown and beige person -but she likes a touch of color, so we painted the ceiling a pale blush which looked really nice with the chandelier which was sourced from King's chandelier in North Carolina.  I remember that she was very specific about the shade of blush that was applied to the ceiling.

The walls in the original dining room were strie' glazed in a fabulous bone color above and below the chair rail and that room had two windows which had champagne beige raw silk balloon shades on them. Very chic!  (The raw silk was lined and also embroidered with pale cream polka dots!)

The corner cupboard is a reproduction and is filled with pieces of my grandmothers beautiful China which is white with a pink and pale green floral border.  We also used her heirloom silver and glassware for major dinners such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.  My mother was and still is a fantastic southern cook, Although she rarely cooks now and I told her jokingly that she should rope off her kitchen and put "permanently closed" on it ha ha !  DF

Monday, April 13, 2020

FOLLY: Rustic Fantasy

Reynolda House and Gardens, Winston-Salem, NC

I spent a lot of quality time when I was younger at the beautiful Reynolda estate  in the Piedmont area of North Carolina.  The shade of the old trees along with the fragrance of the old boxwoods was intoxicating.

Several years ago I was revisiting this enchanted place and discovered this charming, rustic gazebo which I found so beautiful in it's simplicity yet functionality.  Look closely and you'll notice that it's been furnished with some good looking outdoor furniture suitable for small gatherings or ladies luncheon's -very nice!

Back in the day as a student at Reynolds high school I had a good friend, Donnie Adams, who was actually a docent at Reynolda house and this gave us a fabulous entrée to the entire place.  We used to spend a lot of time down in the basement which was an art deco fantasy complete with wet bar, indoor pool and bowling alley -it was quite charming and very much of the period. And Donnie would go behind the bar and fix me a drink and put two straws in it in beautiful pastel colors -he was such a sweet young man.  We both ended up attending the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan after high school -although I believe he did a stint in the service as well.  Sadly, Donnie was one of the first friends of mine who died from AIDS.  Very young and very talented.

Many years later I am residing year-round in the resort town of Naples, Florida where I discovered these charming reproduction outdoor chairs which I think would look great in that gazebo up at Reynolda in lovely old Winston-Salem.  Be safe! XO DF

Saturday, April 11, 2020

NICE: Rivière Redux

Nice, France

One of my favorite trips was going to the French Riviera with old friends which I've written about here before but I thought it'd be fun to explore it again with some more detail.  What was special about this trip was that I flew from Miami to Paris and Paris to Nice all by myself and I didn't even have any euros or Francs to pay the cab driver with so of course he kind of gave me sort of a dirty look when I asked him to stop at the ATM between the airport and the apartment LOL... However even though I flew commercial it seemed pretty much effortless to go from Florida to the Riviera and I enjoyed the autonomy as we had our own apartment on the Croisette overlooking the bay as opposed to a hotel.  (See above image)

I have fond memories of swimming in the bay and having beautiful lunches in the beach clubs as well as going to a wonderful tea room in the afternoons with Robert, my friend who was paying for most of the trip -he was also a very good client of mine back in the 1980s and 90s a perfect gent!  I do think that the reason I was so fortunate to have such a client and friend was that I had my own decorating shop in Winston-Salem and because of that I had very deep and personal client relationships which lasted for many years and which were on a very high level of taste and coordination as well as a sense of never rushing or feeling pressure of any kind. (Pre-Internet )!

Yes we were tourists, however we had our own car and we had an apartment not a hotel and it was fun to explore the area- the same part of France where many artists including Henri Matisse lived and worked.  I also discovered the town of Menton, where there is a museum of the work of Jean Cocteau, one of my very favorite artists from the past.  (We made a day trip to Monte on a wonderful , slow train from Nice!). Menton is near the French Italian border-

At some point, due to the fact that it was one of the hottest summers on record, we decided to abandon the apartment and moved into a very nice hotel which had the most divine air conditioning with the coolest of cool white sheets -I slept like a baby as you can imagine with my suntanned skin brushing against those cool white linens, and the hum of the air conditioner Lulling me into a very deep deep utterly relaxing sleep. Ahhhhhh.....! Tres' bien !

When it was time for me to depart as my hosts were staying behind they drove me to the train station and I waved goodbye and took off solo again for Venice.  (My first trip) - Like many before me I fell completely madly wildly in love with la Serenissima and when I departed the train I treated myself to a private motoscafo to the hotel Danieli.  I truly felt like Diana Ross in the film "mahogany" like a very glamorous fashion designer living la dolce Vita in Europe.  I was escorted to my room after going down many halls then up in the elevator then going down some more long hallways and then into a beautiful beautiful cool very venetian room with a fabulous marble bathroom which I very much enjoyed- I had it all to myself -that was total luxury.  Not unlike when my parents sent me on the grand tour after my chaperone (another Robert) left me there all alone with a gold American Express card, six pieces of matched tweed Hartmann luggage and a Burberry trenchcoat LOL ,age 20.!!!  Can you say fun?  It was!

Funny when I got back to Miami and was driving to Naples I had the reverse monetary problem as I only had euros and no American money but a very kind lady behind me at the tollbooth paid my toll and then when I returned Naples it was summertime and not a soul was here -the town was completely abandoned as it used to be very very seasonal .  Memories!  DF

Friday, April 10, 2020

IMAGE: Mona Bismarck

Mona Von Bismarck


Mona von Bismarck, also known as Mona Bismarck, was an American socialite, fashion icon and philanthropist. Her five husbands included Harrison Williams, among the richest men in America, and Count Albrecht Eduard "Eddie" von Bismarck-Schönhausen, a grandson of German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck.  She was known for her extravagance and generosity - and hailed from Kentucky originally.  DF

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

VIEW: Babe Paley

1980's re-creation of Babe's sitting room by Albert Hadley

I love perusing through my interior design books and today I was looking at "New York interior design 1935 to 1985" by Judith Gura, and found this photograph of Babe Paley's former Saint Regis hotel sitting room which Billy Baldwin had created for her originally.  I always loved looking at photographs of the original room with the Belle Epoque style the shirrred fabric walls - the mix of French furniture with slip covered upholstery.  Many years ago when I worked with Tice Alexander Parish Hadley after he left Parish Hadley he and I worked together and he told me that he had been to the Paley's fifth Avenue apartment where babes Billy Baldwin sitting room had been reinstalled and refreshed by Albert Hadley.  So funny, as I just now discovered this picture of the room which I love!


Barbara "Babe" Cushing Mortimer Paley was an American socialite and style icon, whose second husband was the founder of CBS, William S. Paley. She was known by the popular nickname "Babe" for most of her life. She was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1958.

Babe Paley at St. Regis, NYC

FLOWER: Auricula

Primula Auricula (primrose)

Commonly referred to as 'auriculas' by collectors, the plant has a rich history full of drama and quirky tales, but most impressive is that the auricula was one of the first 'florist plants', the term 'florist' even came from those who carried these rare plants in England hundreds of years ago !  DF

Primrose varieties via web

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

FLOWER: Dianthus

Sweet William

I've always loved the primrose as it was a motif used by John Fowler and Mario Buatta on the beautiful silk hand-painted George Oakes pillows and also in certain chintzes from Colefax and Fowler and Cowtan Tout... While I'm still not exactly certain what the difference between a Primrose and a sweet William is, I do know that the sweet William is a member of the dianthus family and I find it totally charming-!  here are two examples of this very pretty biennial.  DF

Monday, April 6, 2020

MAINE MAN: Frank Grdich

Frank Grdich Coastal Home

Many years ago when Billy worked at Maison Auclair antiques here in Naples we met a wonderful man, Frank Grdich, who wintered in Naples and lived in Boston where he kept a shop on Charles Street.  Frank's shop is now located on Western in Kennebunk-
So, of course I greatly enjoyed discovering this  Coastal Home article on his circa 1800 home, which he and his partner completely remodeled.  Love the Swedish - New England mood of the living room, shown above and below - enjoy!  DF

Saturday, April 4, 2020

ANTWERP: Gert Voorjans

Gert Voorjans for Jim Thompson

With lots of time on my hands I've been watching quintessence videos which are truly inspiring Susanna and Stacey do a fabulous job of presenting Designers in their own homes.  I was able to discover this fabulous designer in Belgium and I thought it would be fun to share him with you here, thanks to Quintessence!

Formerly with famous Axel Vervoordt, Gert has his own atelier, and has also created a stunning line of decorative textiles for JIM THOMPSON... I especially liked this downplayed check on this baroque gilt slipper chair which Gert had in his own home as shown on the quintessence video-!  DF

Gert Voorjans for Jim Thompson

Thursday, April 2, 2020

MIRROR: Line Vautrin, Paris

Mirror by Line Vautrin, Sotheby's

So you might be wondering why I've been showing this mirror for the past 10 years at least -it's because it's a copy of one by the very well regarded French artisan Line Vautrin... The one shown above sold last year, it's auction estimate was 35 - 45,000 euro!  (My copy from Wisteria was substantially less) ...

Line Vautrin
circa 1960
talosel and mirrored glass
Signed Line Vautrin and with the ROI stamp on the reverse
Diameter : 63 cm ; 24 3/4 in.


Galerie Thomas Fritsch - Artrium, Paris

In the image below, (my own living room) I've also referenced French decorator, Madeleine Castaing ( see definitive book on Madame C by Emily Evans Eerdmans) - and the Christopher Flach documentary about her life on YouTube -  in the use of the leopard velvet pillows.  (Also a very Regency motif) - the use of Billy Baldwin slipper chairs in RobertAllen toile, with copies of Hansen swing arm lamps, anotherBaldwin signature.  Small kidney pillow in classic Stroheim cut velvet squares, a fave of his as well, notice too the sheepskin rugs and silk sash
Hanger a la English master decorator, John Fowler - and the painted empire Tabouret used as a table which Tom Britt loves - a nod to Henri Samuel... 

BEAUTY: Jean Tailer

Mrs. T. Suffern Tailer

The late great Jean Tailer inspires me with her beauty and fabulous life a la Auntie Mame.
Here, she is shown wearing the 24 carat Harry Winston diamond from her fourth husband, Tommy Tailer- Legend has it that she never took it off for the rest of her life-  Married for the fifth time to Charles Schmidt, she devoted her life to charity in Palm Beach Southampton New York City and Newport.  May she rest in peace, love, and light.  A true grande dame, and always a great beauty.  DF

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

APRIL: Morning Light

DFID (c) 2020

Today is the first day of April and with all of God's grace and love we shall survive this worldwide pandemic as we are the greatest country on earth and we can help others in the world as well- Follow the guidelines and be safe!  DF