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I’ve written before regarding how much I adore the collection Italian architect/furniture and interior designer Paola Navone has created exclusively for the American store Crate & Barrel.

Her new collection is out.  My siblings were kind enough to give me a gift certificate to Crate & Barrel and I had to get these glasses.

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Now they are sitting at my sister’s house.   One day they’ll make it to Rome.

I love the color of the rim and the lines of the glass.  Very simple and very stylish.

Today’s edition of Stylish Simplicity highlights the ERES bikini.

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Work it J.Lo 

Photo. Vogue June 2012

This French brand has some of the most beautiful bathing suits on the planet… classic and well made.

I never wore a bikini until I moved to Italy.  NEVER.  I grew up seeing magazine covers constantly saying, “Get A Beach Ready Body!” or tabloid headlines that screamed, “Worst Beach Bodies!”   In Los Angeles many of my colleagues gleefully ripped celebrities to shreds, calling them fat and what not.  Celebrities who were no larger than a size 4.

What’s the point of starving oneself for the season?  What happens once the summer is over, back to bad eating habits? I blame the Puritans for this madness.

The first time I went to the beach here I was stunned by the variety of shapes, sizes, and ages wearing bikinis and Speedos.  Italians were chilling, just doing their thing.  I stood out with my very sensible one-piece for a woman of a “certain age.”

How do my friends in Italy get ready for beach season?  They put on a bathing suit and go to the beach.

I’m not sure what made me decide to take the plunge and finally buy my first bikini.  In the fitting room, I told the saleslady there wasn’t enough coverage on top. She looked at me like I had two heads.   She said that’s the way a bikini was supposed to fit.  I was skeptical.

The day came when my Eres bikini and I went out in public.  The world didn’t stop spinning.   The Italians couldn’t care less.  The only reason I stood out is because I was one of the few people of color on the beach not selling a trinket.

Now my sensible one-pieces (which actually made me look heavier) are sitting at the back of my closet.  To me function is just as important as style.  A two-piece is more practical than a one-piece.

I wish I could go back and talk to my critical younger self. I’d tell her to get a grip, just go to the darn beach, and enjoy herself.

Today is Festa della Repubblica in Italy.  It’s similar to July 14th in France or the 4th of July in the United States of America.   It’s a three day weekend.  While most of my friends went out of town, I stayed behind in the city.

I’ve just returned from checking in on my Anguilla project.  Before I left, the weather in Rome was awful… constant rain and chilly.

Now, summer is here.  The days are getting longer and folks have busted out their white jeans.

I used to avoid white jeans because I thought my thighs were too “thick” for them.  I now know it’s all about the cut and what I’m wearing as a top.

I love this summer look.  It’s so stylish and simple.  Below are five favorites:

The one, the only, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.

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The lovely Garance Doré photographed by her man, Scott Schuman (aka The Satorialist).

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Zoe Saldana.  Really like the color of her blazer.

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Photo: trendmill.com

Geraldine Saglio from FRENCH VOGUE.  Those shoes!

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Photo: gastrochic.com

Molto chic.

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Photo: thebestfashionblog.com

For today’s Stylish Simplicity post, I had to write about these pitchers/vases.

I’ve been a fan of potter Frances Palmer for some time. One day my friend Marta, a very talented florist, told me that Frances was on Instagram.   How did I not know this important information? That was great a day.  Palmer’s feed is outstanding.

The hand pitchers below caught my eye.  Not only are they beautiful, they’re also very versatile.  I could see them in a variety of décors from a spare, contemporary NYC loft, to a Queen Anne mansion in New Orleans, or in a country house in Puglia.

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Photo: francespalmerpottery.com

These pitchers are the very definition of Stylish Simplicity.

A few weeks ago I went to Anguilla to check in on one of my projects.  The build is going very well.

When I think of the mood for a beach house, the first thing that comes to mind is relaxation.

I’ve been looking at books in my library and pulling images from the internet for inspiration.  The bathrooms don’t have to be from a Caribbean beach house but must have some elements that would work in that environment.

There are many decisions that have to be made. What kind of finishes? What color? If we use tile, what size?

While this is a house in Anguilla, the style will not be British Colonial.  It’s too formal for a beach house.  There will be touches (like a mahogany four-poster bed) of course but mixed with a contemporary spin on Caribbean design.

Below are few spaces that caught my eye:

This bathroom is from a home on the tiny Island of Mustique.  I love the natural feel of it.  We’re already using poured cement for the kitchen counter tops. To use it again in the bathrooms might be too much.

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Photo: Elle Decor

This large en-suite bathroom in a Sicilian villa has a stone sink.  Love the simplicity of the shower stall and the use of wooden stools.  This is a newish boutique hotel.  I must see Rocca delle Tra Contrade in person.  The photos are stunning.

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Photo: Rocca delle Tre Contrade

I’m not a fan of shower caddies.

Our clients for the Tuscany project were very clear that they wanted built-in spaces for shampoo, soap, etc.   If it’s early enough in the build/renovation, I recommend going in this direction.  Just make sure there’s a slight slope, so water doesn’t pool in the space.

A partial wall works for this project.  It never gets cold.

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Photo: Elements Of Style

Getting away from the neutrals for a minute, this bathroom from the La Banane hotel on St. Barths is very bright and colorful.

A fun design like this might be a great idea for one of the smaller bathrooms.  Or the powder room.  In a large space this color and pattern would be not be relaxing to me.

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Photo: Villa La Banane

Brass fixtures are having a moment.  I like them in this bathroom.  I look at all this tile and worry about cleaning the grout.

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Photo: Habitually Chic

I LOVE outdoor showers.  The ones at Cap Juluca in Anguilla are fantastic.

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Photo: Cap Juluca

A more traditional style at Oscar de la Renta’s former home in the Dominican Republic.

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A shower in Marrakesh.  Fantastic built-in bench.

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Photos: Mark D Sikes

I don’t know where this house is but I like the contrast of the stone-tiled floor with the black contemporary trim on the windows and with the lines of the tub.

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Photo: Pinterest

Last year I wrote about the vacation home in Tuscany I’m working on with architect Domenico Minchili.

Our clients had some photos taken and below are a few of them.

First, a before shot of the living room.

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After.

The room is so much lighter.  The new “old” floors make a huge difference as does the paint color.  I was consumed for days regarding which shade of Farrow & Ball white was the best white for the  walls.  We decided to use Skimming Stone.

The chairs were custom made by Tondini & Radicchi. So were all the draperies in the house.

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One of the bedrooms mid-renovation.

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After.

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A bathroom before.

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After.

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Wider shot of the living room.  The sofas, coffee table, and sconces are custom.

The studio.

This room receives little natural light.  Many people assume that a small dark room must be painted a very light color in order to make it look bigger.  Not true.  It seems counter-intuitive but going darker gives a small room more depth.

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One of my Italian friends called this décor, “Relaxed Chic.”   Another friend said it was “Casual Luxury.”  Both work for me.

Every bedroom, and its bathroom is unique, yet the entire home is cohesive.

The paint is from Farrow & Ball.

Most of the new furniture was custom made.  We also sourced pieces from Flamant, Barthel, and small shops in Rome and Tuscany.

Our fabric sources were, Dedar, Ralph Lauren Home, Kathryn M. Ireland, and Pierre Frey.

If you would like to know the specific colors or more information about the fabric or furniture, please feel free to ask me in the comments section.

This property is available for vacation rental.  It’s in the heart of the Chianti region surrounded by vineyards.  The views are stupendous.

For more information (and some exterior photos), please visit the luxury rental  Abercrombie & Kent website.

Photos by: Mario Flores

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.

 

 

This Thanksgiving I went to Sicily.  It was my first trip to the main island and I stayed at the incredible Monaci delle Terre Nere.

On my last day, I had this for lunch.

IMG_4779When you have a dish with so few ingredients, they better be of the freshest and highest quality ingredients.  There are no sauces or foam to mask bad food.

While this dish was simple, the flavors were not.  The pasta was cooked perfectly al dente and the tomatoes had that killer combo of acidity and sweetness that you cannot find in out of season tomatoes at a mega supermarket.

We eat with our eyes as well.  I really appreciated the presentation.  It’s Stylish Simplicity.

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?

KERRY WASHINGTONPhoto: ABC/Danny Feld

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.

AUMXJK3The Northface

What’s on your list?

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