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Designers

I’m always curious about abandoned houses.  I wonder who lived there and what happened to the house.

Renovating an old house, especially one that hasn’t been lived in for a while, is not an easy task.  Last week, two stories about two very different renovations were in the spotlight.

First up, the New York Times  wrote about the controversy surrounding the William Mason House in Thompson, CT.

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Photo: New York Times

Famous interior designer Mario Buatta bought it twenty-two years ago.  The Mason house is a gorgeous example of Gothic Revival architecture and was built in 1845.

At first, people in the small town were excited that a designer like Mr. Buatta bought the home. They believed the home was in good architectural hands.  However, no work has been done in years.  The house has become a horrible eyesore and is falling apart.

Everyone knows historic renovations are tricky and things take time.  However, Buatta’s dismissive attitude has alienated the town.  He has worked on massive mansions four times the size of the Mason house which has thirteen rooms.

The house is located right on the village green.  I understand why the residents are not happy with the snobby and arrogant “Prince of chintz.”

Now for a more uplifting tale:

David Lebovitz linked to Messynessychic’s post about Australians Karina and Craig Waters on his Facebook page.  In 2013 the couple purchased the Chateau de Gudanes, an abandoned 18th century mansion in the Midi-Pyrénées.  The chateau had been on the market for over four years.

While many people dream of taking on a project like this, the reality is that the renovation and upkeep for a place with ninety-four rooms is enormously expensive.

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Those stairs!!  The height of the ceilings!!

Click over to Messynessychic to see additional photos and learn more about the renovation.  I cannot wait to see their progress.

How funky are these chairs?

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I am a big fan of Kelly Wearstlers commercial work, yet the Viceroy in Anguilla took me by surprise.

A few years ago I met clients for a drink at the bar.  At first, when I walked in, the décor seemed so “uncaribbean” to me.

Then I walked around.  It IS very Caribbean.  Wearstler’s use of natural materials, her color palette, and the subtle nod to more tradition Caribbean design makes the Viceroy one my favorite hotel spaces.

This hotel is huge and could easily feel very corporate (thinking of a certain hotel on the Dutch side of St. Maarten that ruined one of the best beaches on the island).

Instead it’s unique and jaw dropping gorgeous.

Not a bad place to meet for drinks, especially with a locals’ discount.

I have more meetings this weekend about my Caribbean project.

Feeling very inspired

Buon weekend!

 

 

Before my first trip to Italy, nine years ago, I had to cut my vacation short.  The production company I worked for decided to shut down, permanently, two weeks before Christmas.  Happy Holidays everyone!

I was going to scrap the entire trip but my family was very worried about my mental state and insisted I go.

I decided to travel to only one city for just one week.  I narrowed down my choices to Rome or Florence.  One of my good friends in L.A. is a hardcore Italophile.  She proclaimed that I was a Rome person and should save Florence for another trip.

I’ve been to Florence twice. The art is stupendous and the city is beautiful.  Yet each time I felt anxious and couldn’t wait to return to Rome.  It’s not as if Rome is a laid back place.  However, Florence is a much smaller city and cannot handle the hordes of tourists and study aboard students.

Well, I need to get over it because I must see the new Portrait Firenze.  The architect/interior designer is Michele Bonan.  I’ve written about how much I LOVE his work, especially, the newish J.K. Place in Rome.

The hotel is owned by the Ferragamo family (the Lungarno Collection) and is located in the heart of the Historic Center. It has only thirty-six rooms and killer views of the Ponte Vecchio. It’s scheduled to open this spring.

I could think of worse places to have an aperitivo.

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This bathroom! The double shower heads, the warm marble, the tub, everything.

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Sigh. No words.

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Yes, please.

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Photos: Lungarno Collection

I love decorating with mirrors.  That said, I’m a little over the sunburst ones.   They are everywhere.

I was looking for a mirror for a client, when I saw this beauty from one of my favorite furniture designers, Julian Chichester.

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This London-based designer has so many pieces I would love to have in my home.   I don’t own a palazzo but I think this mirror would work in a variety of décors.

The eglomis frame is stunning and not ornate.  This is truly stylish simplicity.

 

 

We are smack in the middle of the Hollywood awards season.  For fans of film, and/or fashion, these are glorious times.

Every season, a few people really stand out.  Some, unfortunately, stand out for all the wrong reasons and then there are stars like Michelle Dockery and Lupita Nyong’o.

These two actresses have been killing it on the red carpet.

I wasn’t surprised to find out that they share a stylist, Micaela Erlanger.  This has been a break out season for her as well.

I love that both woman wear clothes that fit their personalities.  Sometimes on the red carpet it looks like the clothes are wearing the star.

While it’s true most of the clothes are borrowed, there’s still no excuse for ill fitting garments.  One thing I’ve noticed with both Michelle and Lupita is the fit of their clothes.  Perfection.

How beautiful is this Oscar de la Renta dress?  On someone else it could’ve seemed too old fashioned but Michelle’s make-up and accessories keep it fresh.

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  Photo: OscarPRGirl

The detailing at the neckline and the color of this Gucci dress is stunning.  It’s a great color for Lupita’s complexion.

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Photo: E! online

I’m very curious to see what they will wear for the Oscars.

I recently saw Blue Jasmine.  Cate Blanchett is so outstanding, you forget the plot holes in the movie.

I haven’t seen all the other Best Actress nominees’ performances yet but if Cate wins the Oscar I wouldn’t be surprised.

The wardrobe was amazing as well.  I read that the costume designer, Suzy Benzinger, had a budget of only $35,000.  Most of the clothes were borrowed and every time Cate dropped the Birkin (which belonged to Benzinger and cost more than the entire budget) on the ground, people on set gasped.

Beautiful Chanel jacket.  Poor Jasmine.  She was bananas.

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Photo: Collider.com

How stunning is this red Carolina Herrera dress?  Love, love, love, it!

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Photo: indiewire.com

Stylish simplicity in a linen dress by Façonnable.

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Photo: NY Daily News

I have a completely different build from Ms. Blanchett.  I’m not sure how any of these clothes would look on my short self, but I can dream about the accessories.

Buon weekend!

Happy New Year!

Last year my word was, “si.”

I took some risks (professionally and personally).  I learned a lot and I’d like to keep this momentum going.  The Italian word for “to grow” is perfect.

Other words I considered:

Chevron – I don’t care what anyone says.  This print is a classic and will never be out of style.

Suite Nine - Palazzo Margherita. Designed by Jacques Grange.

Suite Nine – Palazzo Margherita. Designed by Jacques Grange.

 

Idris Elba – Okay, that’s two words.

 

Jon Hamm – Two more words.  The interview starts at 3:41

 

Do you have a word for 2014?

 

 

This week, LONNY wrote about the new J.K. Place Hotel.   Believe the hype.   It’s gorgeous.

Months ago, one of my vendors told me I had to see the chartreuse DEDAR fabric architect/interior designer Michele Bonan used in the cafe. I finally had a chance to see it when my friend Erica and I went to meet a colleague of hers and his wife who were staying at the hotel.

I told Erica we must add J.K. to our list.  We are very hard on places when it comes to cocktails. It’s not enough to have an excellent bartender, the décor must be on point.

Erica’s colleague showed us their room.  I almost cried when I saw the bathroom.   This one is a little larger.  Look at that shower.  The floors.  The marble.  Sigh.

This bathroom. No words.

This bathroom. No words.

Bonan is one of my favorite designers and what he did with the space is stunning.   The building used to be the architecture school for La Sapienza (the largest university in Rome).

My kind of bar.

My kind of bar.

Inspired by Tom Ford’s film, A SINGLE MAN, the atmosphere is what folks back in the States call “grown and sexy.”

It’s a very unique space in Rome and I think the bar/lobby will appeal to people who are, well, grown and sexy.  I don’t see Flip-Flop Girlshanging out here.  Grazie dio!

I could spend hours in the library.

The library.

The library.

For more pictures of J.K. Place Roma, you can click on their gallery HERE.

Photos: J.K. Place Roma

I cannot wait to pick up a copy of the November issue of ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST (USA).

One of the stand out articles is about the restoration of a castle in Umbria.  The architect was Domenico Minchilli and the interiors were decorated by Martyn Lawrence Bullard.  The two were brought together by the client, Evgeny Lebedev.

I wrote about Domenico and the project we’re working on in Tuscany HERE.

Domenico showed me a few before pictures of the castle.  As I looked at the photos I thought,”the word ruins doesn’t convey what I’m seeing. Perhaps a pile of rocks would be a better description.”

I was floored by the transformation. It is truly inspiring.

The November issue is on newsstands (Stateside) now.

Buon weekend!

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I know there is a huge difference between want and need.  Many times I catch myself making statements such as, “that skirt needs to be in my closet.”

Hello, no it doesn’t.  I would like it to be there. That is a want.

I have written before about my lack of clothes for cold weather.  Now that I no longer spend the majority of my working hours in my house writing scripts, I really need to step up my fall/winter wardrobe.  I cannot meet with clients or vendors looking bananas.

Thank god I live in a city that is not as casual as Los Angeles.  If I wear a dress or a skirt to a meeting in Rome, nobody asks me why am I so dressed up.  Sometimes, wait for it, I even wear thigh-high stockings!

There are many things I would like to purchase this year but have narrowed down the list to five.

Long leather gloves. 

I’m thinking black or chocolate brown.  Why does Olivia Pope look so sad here?

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Ankle boots with heels that can handle cobblestone streets.

I have a pair of ankle boots with a narrow heel.  They have been destroyed.  RIP.

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A LBD.

Love the cut of this dress from J. Crew.

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A camel hair coat. 

i do need a new winter cloth coat but I think I can get another season out of my current one. This will go in the want column.  Max Mara’s coats are classic.

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Last but not least, I do need a short winter sports jacket.  I look like the Michelin Tire Man in puffy jackets.  I like the lines of this one.

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What’s on your list?

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