Sunday, May 31, 2020

LOUIS XV: Chinois


I've always liked using Chinoiserie Objet in my decorating projects- in this assemblage I used a few pieces of porcelain to great effect, and may install a climbing vine paper soon!  DF

Saturday, May 30, 2020

MONOGRAMS: C'est Chic!

DFID (c) 2020

  Loving the idea of "summerizing" my living room with this euro sham (from the bedroom) designed by Suzanne Kasler for Ballard designs.  It was great fun to see Suzanne's living room at this years Kips Bay Palm Beach Decorator Showhouse - and here in Naples we have Monogram Goods for all kinds of fun items with or without chic monograms- follow @monogramgoods on Instagram... DF

Friday, May 29, 2020


House Beautiful

A Naples, Florida, living room was decorated by Carrier & Company with shots of yellow, featured in the October, 2013, issue of House Beautiful. Photo by Eric Piasecki.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020


DFID (c) 2020

Here, a layered look was the goal.  Fortunately, this room has an eastern exposure, allowing for glorious morning sun... See my earlier posts on layering and creating a comforting mood of permanence in a space - DF

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

BOOKS: Escapist Pleasure

via web

  Books! Wonderful books -how could we live without them ? I have so many associations regarding books -a few which I'd like to share with you.

  My first impression of visiting the Manhattan townhouse apartment of Tom Britt was towering Chinoiserie style bookcases which had been lacquered in an ivory color -they were stacked with hundreds of books which had been wrapped in off white glossy vellum paper.  The spine of each book was labeled with small gilt edged titles hand written in calligraphy.  Imagine all of this combined with huge well organized stacks of vogue magazine as well as architectural digest. Of course Tom had been featured in  AD many times during his career.

 Another one which stands out in my memory is summering in Southampton with my mentor Mr. George Clarkson.  He had a handsome son-in-law who would do nothing all day but lay on the bed and read a book between meals -I thought this was fabulous and I hadn't really seen anybody do that before -instead of drinking cocktails or trying to play cards or tennis he simply read ! I admired him for that.

  Many of the best booksellers have closed - but Amazon seems to be the way to go these days.  My good friend the late Tice Alexander, had a very nice collection of books on art and fashion and design as well as gardens and the room that I slept in was flanked by huge bookcases which we had custom designed and custom made containing this collection.  It was a great pleasure to have these available - and that was in the pre-Internet era... It seems that now perhaps devices are replacing actual bound books- but for diehard bibliophiles the desire will always remain!  DF

Monday, May 25, 2020

TOMMY: All American

Dee Ocleppo and Tommy Hilfiger via Haute Living

I chose Tommy Hilfiger as my inspiration for Memorial Day -he's a great American.  His name has become practically synonymous with the American flag - and his all American lifestyle and success story always inspire me..!  Check out this haute living story on Dee and Tommy...DF

Sunday, May 24, 2020


Dean Farris Interior Design (c) 2020

  Between the impending rain and the pandemic situation it seems like a good idea to just stay home.  Like most designers and decorators I'm always promoting this idea anyway- it's life enhancing as one of my mentors Albert Hadley would've said.  One of the elements I enjoy about this image which I took with my phone is the quality of light.

  The late great decorator Billy Baldwin was always saying that it's the personal in decoration that makes a room warm and inviting and I think this image conveys that idea.  While I haven't used any chintz in this room I do think it still has a mood of Colefax and Fowler in London- perhaps a Gentlemans club or personal library.

  It's important to use your rooms as much as possible because a somewhat lived-in look is what makes your room the most beautiful and I especially love having fresh flowers and plants. (See my Friday post showing a phalenopsis orchid).  Although I love fresh flowers I'm not above having certain types of artificial flowers if they amuse me.  Above, you can see where I did purchase some silk flowers from Sweetgrass Designs  here in Naples for the pair of tole Cachepot flanking the mirror.  Facing out towards the sliding glass doors I placed a pair of topiary trees (faux) exactly like the ones fashion designer Carolina Herrera has on her office terrace in Manhattan.  These trees have been with me for the last three or four moves and still look great!  Enjoy the weekend as we gradually re-open and get back to living our lives...DF

Saturday, May 23, 2020

BLUES: Brunschwig et Fils

Saraya print, Indigo (cotton) Brunschwig et Fils

  Beautiful blues from Brunschwig !  Here, a couple of new introductions that were sent to me - as blue is the most popular color, what better subject for a post?  The gorgeous Saraya -shown above -would make beautiful curtains and perhaps for covering a pair of Billy Baldwin slipper chairs as well.  The registration on this print is spectacular- like the old Boussac of France.
Below, Montguyon in blue/sky is gorgeous -printed on linen- and I'd specify this one for a stunning baroque shaped headboard in a master or guest bedroom.  Beautiful!  DF

Montguyon print in blue/sky (linen) Brunschwig et Fils

Friday, May 22, 2020

COLOR: Unexpected!

Dean Farris Interior Design (c) 2020
Designers own residence, Naples, Fla.

  Color- it changes everything.  Take, for example, this shot of my living room in Naples where I used a vintage Parsons table adjacent to a Louis XV style open arm chair.  The lilac lacquer table looks sensational with the Prussian blue silk pillow in Scalamandre' -

  As for that mercury glass acorn- it was a very thoughtful gift from a dear friend, and I love it as it reminds me of a Christopher Spitzmiller gourd.  Do visit his site for beautiful lamps and objects, and enjoy the poetic images from decorators such as Bunny Williams and Alex Papachristidis !  DF

Hand thrown naturalistic gourd in gold luster, Christopher Spitzmiller 


Thursday, May 21, 2020

EMILIO: Classical Decor

Emilio Terry

 Connoisseurs of the decorative arts are very partial to the architect decorator Emilio Terry, (b. 1890 - d. 1969) who was of  Cuban Irish heritage-  one of his most well known clients was the aesthete socialite Carlos de Beistegui- also known as Charles- read more about Emilio and his charmed circle in this Christie's article here. DF

Emilio Terry

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

DESIGN: Chuck Chewning

Charles Chewning Interiors, Savannah, GA

I started rereading "midnight in the garden of good and evil" by John Berendt last night and early on in the book, the Armstrong House is mentioned.  After Jim Williams bought and sold a small island off of Georgia he made a killing and was able to purchase the stately landmark Italianate mansion (Armstrong House) directly across from the exclusive Oglethorpe club in Savannah.  A quick Google search of Armstrong house lead me to the designer Chuck Chewning whom I've been following for some time now ever since he took over Rubelli and redecorated the Gritti Palace Hotel in Venice Italy.  With a truly impressive curriculum vitae, Chuck must be one of the most talented and prolific Designers working today.  He is based in Savannah, after years of living in Atlanta, New York, London, and Milan.  Coincidentally he is now working on the Armstrong house- now known as the Armstrong Kessler mansion - for a private client who plans to convert the house back into a residence.  House shown in below image...Enjoy!  DF

Armstrong Kessler Mansion, Savannah, GA

Tuesday, May 19, 2020


Millie Farwell's library at Mallow, Oyster Bay, NY

When a decorator loves a room that someone did by themselves you know it's a great room.  Take, for example this one by Mrs. Walter Farwell- who was a friend of Ruby Ross Wood- the mentor of Billy Baldwin.  Referring back to yesterday's post here again we see the use of Chinoiserie lacquer.

After showing this room to Billy, Ruby asked him what he thought of it and he said he thought 50 years from that time which was the 30's that it would still be current and I have to agree with him. And there's a striking simplicity and elegant restraint to the decor which I think he responded to very strongly. By the way this house is still standing and is now being used as a school.

In the below image we see Billy in his own lacquer box in a modern building in the east 60s in Manhattan prior to his retirement to Nantucket.  Billy Baldwin Studio, Inc. bought the rights to the BB collection from Luten Clary Stern - and continue to provide superior products to the trade- (see my earlier posts on Kips Bay Palm Beach where Louise Cronan used a Billy Baldwin Studio console in her loggia).

Billy lives on through the legacy of style
and taste he left behind!  DF

Monday, May 18, 2020

BOISERIE : a la Jansen

Henri Samuel for Jerry Perenchio , Bel Air, CA

One of the most stunning and elegant ways to incorporate lacquer panels into a room is by having them installed within the panels of boiserie  or paneling such as the library shown above.  When the Perenchios bought the old Kirkeby estate, they spent many years working with the Paris decorator Henri Samuel, known as "Henry"... The house is now under new ownership and is known as Chartwell. Henry started out as an assistant to the famous Stephane' Boudin- who became well known as the one chosen to assist Jackie Kennedy with some (but not
 all) of the White House re-decoration.

Many years prior to Monsieur Samuel working in Los Angeles on Chartwell, the Greek shipping magnate, Stavros Niarchos, commissioned Samuel's mentor, Boudin (as well as Emilio Terry) to update and decorate the old Hotel de Chanaleilles in Paris- and interestingly (see below) we will see the use of the lacquer panels set into boiserie.  My friend John Tackett has written more about this house from the ancien regime - very elegantly.

When my mentor, Tice Alexander, worked for Parish-Hadley in New York, he assisted on the Getty apartments- one of which had a powder room with lacquer panels.  Later, when Ann Getty became a decorator she used the boiserie/lacquer concept in her California country house and also her Pacific Heights town house.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

CANNES: Cancelled

Kendall in Giambattista Valli CFF 2019

Last year, Kendall Jenner slayed at the Cannes Film Festival... Unfortunately, due to the dreaded virus, the 2020 festival has been cancelled ...meanwhile, sister Kim Kardashian West is selling face masks on her skims site...enjoy these images from 2019- DF

Saturday, May 16, 2020


DFID (c) 2020

Something about this night shot intrigued me, with its grainy glamour and flashy dark and light contrast.  A moment in time, this image conveys the mystery of the evening, night time in the subtropics... raindrops on the roof, and the night birds making their night music.  DF

Friday, May 15, 2020

SISTER: Printed

Sister Parish Design

Back in the roaring 1980's, I closed my decorating shop in North Carolina and moved back to Manhattan to work with Tice Alexander, Inc. Tice was my friend from Fashion Institute days who later assisted Albert Hadley at Parish Hadley.

Yesterday, my friend Andrea, creator of "the glam pad" posted about Eliza Crater Harris - the great granddaughter of Sister Parish - who now heads up Sister Parish Design.  These images show fabrics from the SPD archives, and they were just too charming to pass up as a topic for Dean Farris Style!  DF

Sister Parish Design

Thursday, May 14, 2020


DFID (c) 2020

Always experimenting in my "design lab" here I decided to use hold backs for a somewhat "tented" look - and after the curtains were dressed in this manner, I thought, oh very Style Castaing - and then of the Mario Buatta decorated dining room of the late Aileen Mehle - for more on this topic check out the Mitch Owens AD article here ...

Architectural Digest

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

CHIC: Lake Park Diner

Lake Park Diner, Naples, Fla.

Brought to us by Smith Organics, the creators of The Bevy in Old Naples, the Lake Park diner popped up last year to great acclaim... It's certainly a favorite of mine- what with it's trendy look and alfresco dining plus Brett and Diego always take such good care of me.  Above, one of my favorite menu items- delicious and super immune boosting healthy too!  Mangia!  DF

Quarantine Cuisine: Brussels Pomegranate Salad from Lake Park Diner

Choosing to shelter in place a bit longer? Try this superfood-packed salad for a healthy and flavorful lunch. (Via Gulf Shore Life online)

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

BUILT: Florida Tropical Modern

Florida Design

Someone created the tag "Florida tropical modern" for these new homes that are going up throughout the United States -many of them in older established neighborhoods.  For example the stunning getaway of Alex Rodriguez and his family in Coral Gables, Florida.  With interiors by Miami designer, Briggs Edward Solomon, @briggsedwardsolomoninc on Instagram - this style is very much in evidence here in Naples- including all of the coastal communities and many inland... They're designed for less maintenance and to be virtually hurricane resistant, always a good idea in the sub-tropical climate of South Florida.  DF

Monday, May 11, 2020


Britt residence, Watermill, NY

Dear friends Tom and Julie Britt finally sold "the barn" - their wonderful house which Tom built when he was only 25 years old... Billy and I spent time there a few years ago - but unfortunately didn't have enough time to visit other old friends in the area - including Arthur Dunnam, Tripp March, and Richard Keith Langham... (Below) my overlay technique of the old Swanson house in Naples, which Tom Britt decorated for the couple many years ago.  DF

Sunday, May 10, 2020

MEMORY: A Surprise Visit!

Naples, Florida

Well once again, happy Mother's Day!  This morning, thinking about my beautiful mother, I was reminded of a couple of years ago when she and my dad and my brother came down and surprised me for my 60th birthday -I had no idea they were coming.  SURPRISE !

The beautiful and lavish spread was laid out (above) and I truly felt honored by my handsome hosts, Mark and Robert, with the drinks provided by Kevin.  Dear Billy provided the birthday cake... It was a chilly night, and I also had the delicious surprise of old friends from PB driving over... and I received a ridiculous number of gifts, including a Mercedes from my parents!  Good ol' Mom and Dad- definitely the best parents (and friends) ever!  Fond memories!  DF

Saturday, May 9, 2020

GARDEN: Rachel Lilly

a Virginia garden by Rachel Lilly, via The Glam Pad

The Glam Pad is one of my favorite interior design and lifestyle blogs, and recently Andrea posted about this beautiful garden in Charlottesville, Virginia.  The uber talented  Rachel Lilly created the landscaping for a historic property for a young family.  Beautiful!  DF

Friday, May 8, 2020

COLOR: Matthew Carter

Matthew Carter Interiors

One of my favorite very talented young designers in the south is Matthew Carter.  Here in the image above, you can see his masterful sense of color in his own dining room.  The luminous quality of light in this image inspires me and I find it very uplifting.  Please visit Matthew Carter Interiors for more information and inspiration - DF

Thursday, May 7, 2020

BOOK: Bryan Huffman

New book available for pre-order on Amazon...

Excited about my friend, Bryan Huffman's collaboration on this new book, check out his instagram @bryanhuffmaninteriors too... DF

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Wednesday, May 6, 2020

JARDIN: Manoir du Jonchet

via AD

After Bunny Mellon suffered the retirement of her designer, Cristobal Balenciaga, Mr. B very kindly referred her to Hubert de Givenchy... Here, from AD, is the garden at "Le Jonchet" - isn't it incredibly beautiful?  Jonchet was the country house of Monsieur Givenchy and his partner, the designer Philippe Venet.  Soothing greens for the trials and tribulations of this uncertain time...non? DF

OUT: To Dinner!

Naples Bay Resort and Marina

Good news!  As part of the phase 1 reopening in Florida, Billy and I were able to actually go out and have an al fresco dinner in a restaurant last night.  After six weeks of making do it was such a pleasure, and Shannon, our server at Bonefish Grill took good care of us.  After a stroll around the marina we then went to Kilwin's for our favorite Georgia Peach ice glad they were open too!  If you visit Naples, do check out Naples Bay Resort and Marina you won't be disappointed.  DF

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

JARDIN: Perry Wheeler

White House Rose Garden, Bunny Mellon and Perry Wheeler

Back in the glamorous 1960s America's president was John F Kennedy.  Referencing the Bunny Mellon bio by Meryl Gordon we learned that the Kennedys were very good friends with Paul and Bunny Mellon.  When President Kennedy asked Mrs. M to do him the favor of creating a new garden off the west wing she agreed -however she had some reservations regarding her ability to take on such a massive project.  Ironic, as she learned about gardens from watching the Olmstead brothers install her fathers garden in Princeton, New Jersey...

As a stylish and rich woman Mrs. M cultivated not only gardens but also a coterie of well educated and talented gay men- including the very social Perry Wheeler a man about town landscape architect with whom she had already collaborated.

President Kennedy loved the new garden and often used it for state functions as well as his own personal enjoyment, including the challenge of managing the Cuban Missile Crisis and the subsequent threat of a nuclear war.  He was able to enjoy the garden prior to the assassination which is a small consolation for a tragic ending.

Perry Wheeler came from Cordele, Georgia, a small town south of Atlanta near where my mother was raised.  A graduate of the 1938 Harvard landscape architecture program, he later returned to Atlanta and subsequently was part of the gentrification of Georgetown in Washington, DC.  DF

Monday, May 4, 2020

MODISH: Mrs. Maugham

Dean Farris Interior Design (c) 2020

Here, in my own living room I've created a very Syrie Maugham inspired look.   Syrie Maugham was one of the most Influential decorators from the earlier part of the 20th century along with Elsie de Wolfe, whom she considered competition.  Known as an early promoter of the use of white and shades of off-white in decor, Syrie became Mrs. Maugham after her marriage to the famous writer, Somerset the way Acanthus Press has a book about her if you're interested.

Below, Look at these stunning Syrie Maugham tufted stools which scream chic and style from Christie's... The smart combination of black and bone white reminds me of the time Billy and I were in Palm Desert and popped into the shop of Phyllis Washington on El Paseo.  While there, I spotted the most charming pair of open arm chairs painted in bone white and upholstered in a black stamped alligator leather with nail head trim.  While I now own a similar pair of chairs I still dream of owning the chairs I saw at Phyllis's shop -there was something about them that just haunted me and that combination of black with white gets me every time.  DF

Sunday, May 3, 2020

STAR: Jean Schlumberger

Bird on Rock brooch, Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany and Co.

Bunny Mellon was a major collector of works by renowned Jean Schlumberger - she amassed 160 of his creations!  Here, his iconic "bird on rock" brooch - incorporating the fabulous Tiffany Yellow Diamond a stunning over 120 carat stone.  This piece is still being made by Tiffany, albeit without the Tiffany Yellow Diamond... Schlumberger jewelry and Objet d' vertu are associated with Tiffany and Company, where Jean was promoted to Vice President.

Not surprising, Bunny and Jean developed a close friendship, and it was through Jean that she met the famous couturier, Cristobal Balenciaga, who did all of her clothes prior to her friendship with Count Hubert de Givenchy.  Meryl Gordon covers this subject beautifully in her 2017 bio of Bunny Mellon.

Jean Schlumberger was also famous for using colored enamel and below you can see iconic rings of his - he also made bracelets in this style, which Jackie Kennedy favored.  You can find Schlumberger cuff links for as little as $1,600 online, but more often prices are higher.  You can also find Schlumberger inspired jewelry at Carlson's Fine Jewelry here in Naples.  DF

Saturday, May 2, 2020

FUN: RuPaul

RuPaul Andre' Charles

RuPaul says "we're all born naked, the rest is drag..." His award winning show, RuPaul's Drag Race, running for about ten years now, is one of my favorites- so entertaining and educational!  Read more about fabulous RuPaul and his adventures in living his best life...DF

Friday, May 1, 2020

MAY: Madison Cox

Via Madison Cox Associates

It's May! One of my favorite months of the year. More of the glitterati I spent time with in Manhattan back in the 80s including smart gentlemen such as Madison Cox the very talented and amiable garden  designer - who married Pierre Berge' - it was through my association with the Parish Hadley decorator, Tice Alexander, that I came to know Madison and his chic set...

Years later, after Tice had died from AIDS, I worked under the late H. Parkin Saunders, on the Fifth Avenue duplex penthouse of Ted Forstmann, where we employed Madison to create stunning Versailles boxes with topiary all along the wrap around terrace- !  So chic! (And so not inexpensive)  -but worth every penny!  DF