30 April, 2009

"Bigger . . . "

" . . . and better things."

Good evening,

It's been another one of those surfin'-the-internet-sipping-English-tea kinda evenings here at the house . . . and YAY,  I just ran across some images (originally from Domino Magazine) of my old friend Michael Bastian's witty apartment in Manhattan.  Michael and I worked together billions of years ago when I was still at Polo in San Francisco and Michael was in New York with RL Home Collection.

I remember loving Michael's quirky style 10 years ago!  and I've always loved his NY apartment.  There is just such a great mix of flea market finds and 'more serious' furniture and artwork carefully mixed together.  I was so crushed when the Domino website closed, because there used to be the most adorable video of Michael leading a tour through his charming place.  

Michael's moved on since those old days and now is a big player in the fashion world with his own men's clothing line.  I always knew he was destined for great things.

I hope everyone has great plans for the weekend.  I have one last concert on Saturday with my chamber choir . . . and then I can hang up my vocal chords for a few months . . . whew . . . lol.

29 April, 2009

"I'm gonna need a show of hands here . . . "

" . . . and possibly your credit card numbers."

Good morning,

This post will prove why I should not be permitted to surf the internet in the evenings.  So last night, I'm here at my flat, minding my own business, watching a bit of HGTV for mindless entertainment, and happened across an advertisement for HomeAway.com.  It's an online service for vacation rentals around the world.  Well, you know what comes next - 

So, here's a wonderful little flat in South Kensington, London.  Here are the salient facts: 2 Bedrooms.  2 Bathrooms.  Sleeps four.  And we could stay here for 2 weeks for 4 grand.  Do the math - that would only be $1,000 for each of the four people.  Who's in ?

We could enjoy an early evening by the fire, before we head out to the theatre.  

and we could each take turns making breakfast . . . I do make a damn fine scone.  I know the neighborhood fairly well . . . there's a great little market right around the corner for pantry supplies.   And, the rental includes housecleaning service as well.

One of the two charming bedrooms . . . with a balcony  overlooking the private park.

We could always enjoy our afternoon tea out on the patio.  Reading Shakespeare.  Singing Gilbert and Sullivan.  Comparing notes on the best antique stores.  

Or we could just enjoy an afternoon in the private park across the street.

Please submit your applications directly to me . . . lol.  

28 April, 2009

"O, Sweet and Joyous Blogspot . . . "

" . . . how I have missed thee."

Good morning all,

Sorry I've been a bit 'radio silent' for the last week or so . . . the good news is that business has been really great, and the opera production was a blast.  The draw-back was I seemed to have almost no time to blog . . . either reading or writing . . . lol.

But, I'm feeling all bright and shiny this morning (just home from a great workout), working from home today,  and thought I'd share some of these amazing bright, perky interiors that I found digging around in my image files.

I traditionally don't use very much yellow in my design work, but these beautiful rooms are making me rethink that position.  Seriously, how beautiful is this elegant room?

And I always love the addition of a graphic zebra skin, just to keep things interesting.  And the dark woods and chocolate velvet just adds to the drama.

I just read somewhere (please don't ask me to try to find it at this point . . . sorry) that yellow is on track to be the next big colour in design for Spring 2010.  Maybe we should all get ready to live in a much more bright, shiny world . . . yay.

I should be getting some proper images from the opera production and I'll post them as soon as they are available.

I'll take Susan's advice (from the first comment) and ask - what interesting talent or hobby do you love.

I'll go first - I sing opera and fence.

25 April, 2009

"Is there a butler in the house?"

Good afternoon all,

I'm curious, who out there uses a cleaning service for your home regularly?  Who can't even image having someone in your home to clean for you?

Personally, I have someone (the delightful George!) come in every other week to deal with the basic cleaning of my flat.  no laundry.  no bedding.  no dishes.  Just kitchen and bath cleaning plus vacuuming and dusting (dust being the principle enemy of my home.) 

It is slightly disruptive having someone in the house . . . and inevitably, I end up kinda straightening up the house before he gets here.  No quite "cleaning up for the cleaning service," but sorta . . . lol.  Because of my crazy schedule these last few weeks, I ended up not having him in last time, and damn, the house has totally gotten out of control.  

So today (and possibly part of tomorrow) is all about reclaiming the lovely home that I treasure.  Laundry, dishes, fresh bedding, clean towels, and a clean, organized desk.

Maybe George should bring reinforcements on Wednesday ?

22 April, 2009

"Come in, come in . . . "

Good morning,

You've just walked up to a friend's home for the first time.  You might be there for a dinner party.  Or maybe just for a quick coffee.  You knock, and wait patiently, you can hear footsteps . . . and then the door opens . . . 

"First impressions,"  "best foot forward," and all those other chestnuts.  I love seeing how people design their entryways.  It's the best place to set the tone for the entire home, and not just its style, but also, and more importantly, the sense of hospitality.  

I especially love the simplicity and balance of Adele McGann's entry . . . and I LOVE the bright English wallpaper.
Sometimes, you might be overwhelmed by the size . . . but, you still can feel the warmth and hospitality.
I love the intimate architecture of this home . . . and the welcoming 'open' vista that greets you just inside the front door.

Or maybe we could go a bit grander, like this beautiful entryway from Ralph Lauren's home in Bedford.
and I still love this picture (from one of my own projects in East Hampton).  I wanted to keep everything elegant, but also simple and relaxing as a summer home should be.

20 April, 2009

"Power Play-ful . . ."

Greetings and Salutations,

The new issue of Elle Decor is absolutely bursting with inspiration . . . but, something about the charming residence of Ali Wentworth and George Stephanopoulos in Washington D.C.  has me entranced.  

Brilliant designer Elizabeth Martin (close friend of the lovely Wentworth) was clearly at the top of her game whilst assisting the couple with their new digs.

Another image of the dark (and you know I like my rooms dark . . . lol) and masculine family room - nicknamed "The Godiva Room."  Loving all the bright sunshine too !

Firstly, a clearly started caveat - I'm not a regular Oprah show viewer.  Not that I have anything against the clearly talented Winfrey, it's just that my schedule doesn't permit me to be home in the afternoons . . . and I'm not willing to commit precious TIVO viewing time . . . lol.
But, I caught Ali on the show on Friday talking about her home being featured in the magazine.  
One of my favourite comments was her story about the wonderful floor covering in the living room.  Apparently, the budget was beginning to run low so Wentworth simply coloured the existing sisal white, then designed the lavender 'starfish-like' patterns to help disguise the existing stains.  Brilliant!

"When it came to the dining room, I didn’t relish the thought of Republicans and Democrats (our entertaining is strictly bipartisan) slurping up linguine and clams while they stared at paintings of fox hunts amid an explosion of flowered chintz, which is pretty much the Georgetown standard." Ali Wentworth

"The office’s table and chairs are flea-market finds, the mirror is from the Brimfield Antiques Fair, and the wall color is Winter Solstice by Benjamin Moore."
And, o.m.g - I want that armchair chair.  seriously.

Clean, simple, and stylish.  The master bedroom.

Also, whilst you are working your way through blogspot . . . zip over and wish a most happy birthday to Ronda (All the Best Blog) and Eddie Ross.  

18 April, 2009

"It's the weekend . . . finally . . . "


Just a quick envy-filled post this weekend featuring another great weekend getaway - David Linley's delightful French retreat in Provence.  

I've always been such a fan of Linley's work, and have a few treasures that I purchased at his shop in London.  I can still remember, 10 or 15 years ago, seeing images of his small, almost magical, flat in London. (Does anyone know if these are available anywhere . . . I can't remember which magazine they were in . . . ugh!)

"He  and his wife have furnished the houses very personally, with pieces that come tagged with a memory, the name of a friend or of a place they have visited—“things we’ve collected and even made,” says Linley."

“I didn’t want it to feel ‘done,’ but rustic; it wasn’t to be a complete and finished design,”

I love this restful master bedroom . . . and the charming, casual photos of Linley and his mother Princess Margaret.  Classic English design.

"Also in the room is a Linley model of Villa Cornaro,
 a Palladian villa in Italy’s Veneto region, that serves as a fanciful jewelry box."

"As to why he chose this landlocked property rather than more obvious choices in France with expanses of blue sea, like the Côte d’Azur or Biarritz, he looks across the landscape at fields and forests that fall away into other fields and forests, all tumbling into the distant panorama. Waving his hand at hills sculpted by the late-afternoon sun in light and shade, he says, “This is my sea.” "

if the world were in its proper order - this would be my weekend . . . lol.  But, unfortunately, I'm off to the office to catch up on the pile of paperwork that doesn't seen to end.

Have a great weekend everyone!

17 April, 2009

"Wise Words . . . "

"Have nothing in your homes that you do not know to be useful and believe to be beautiful."
William Morris

I hope that everyone has a great weekend planned, 

15 April, 2009

"Mi, mi, mi, mi, mi . . . "

Good morning,

I'm getting a really slow start here this morning and it's all Verdi's fault. As I've mentioned before, I've been singing with the men's chorus of the San Francisco Lyric Opera for about 5 years. It has always been a fun company to work for - but, I usually only do about 2 shows a year. It's a huge time commitment and usually requires about 90 - 150 pages of Italian (or French) text to memorize. Part of this spring's repertoire features G. Verdi's Rigoletto and I'm *totally* on board for this one - and just to make it better, it's got a great twist. Instead of placing it in it's traditional Italian venue, we're setting it in Chicago during prohibition. It's going to be quite fantastic. There nothing like a good 1930's mafia war set to Verdi's fantastic score.

But my mind wanders, mainly from lack of sleep (a late tech rehearsal last night), a bad night's sleep (from a twisted ankle acquired during the fight scene at the aforementioned tech rehearsal last night), and from the busy day I have before gathering at the theatre for tonight's dress rehearsal. The good news: I have a great costume (a navy pinstripe DB mobster suit) and - it fits. seriously, it's actually even kinda comfortable . . . lol.

Are there any other opera fans out there? What's your favourite opera and why?

And if you're in the Bay Area . . . Come out and see us this weekend. We open on Friday night.

back to studying my score! (and designing decorative pillows and window treatments!)

13 April, 2009

"Pale, Parisian Monday . . . "

Good morning,

Monday seems to be looming over me a bit this morning.  I've got another busy day with design meetings, furniture deliveries, some web-site work, and a long opera rehearsal this evening.  whew.  I'm amazed at how quickly my calendar tends to fill up.  lol.

So, this morning calls for the big guns.  A flip through the new Veranda is going to be a necessity over breakfast.  And look at what I found -  this incredible Betty Burgess designed home just down the road (well, kinda) from me in Pebble Beach, Ca.

Seriously, look at the amazing floors.  Who wouldn't want to spend a long evening enjoying an amazing meal and delightful company in this charming room ?  The design was inspired by the owners many connections with Paris.

Regarding the pale colour palette :  "Grey goes with everything." Burgess says, "and it's calm.  We wanted the whole house to feel peaceful, to have texture.  Grey captures the natural colors of the coast along Pebble beach.  It also showcases the home's remarkable antiques and artwork, without competing."

"The home's master bath offers a real surprise - what the architect Richard Barrett calls 'minimalist modern' style - inspired by the Hotel Le Bristol in Paris.  'It's my favorite room,' says the owner.  'With all that marble and white linen, it's like being in a cloud.  The light is so beautiful' "

Or we could just go and sit outside.

and just to make Monday a bit better . . . how excited am I about THIS.

10 April, 2009

"Happy Easter . . . "

" . . . from tartanscot and from the tartan bunny."

Happy Easter Y'all !

08 April, 2009

"Ooooooo look . . . "

" . . . something shiny."  lol.

I, in fact, can be somewhat easily distracted.  But, thankfully, I am also somewhat easily entertained - lol - and one of my secret joys is . . .  cleaning and polishing silver.  Don't tell anyone.  It only makes me seem strange.

from the tartanscot table

I've been collecting silver for years - starting on a mad, silver-frenzied Saturday morning at the Portobello Antique market in London during my holiday vacation. Over the span of about 2 1/2 hours and four blocks, I was able to find service for fourteen from ten different vendors in 4 or 5 differing patterns.  Including some great serving pieces with my monogram.  Yay.  I've also been lucky enough to continue adding to my collection over the last few years and delight each time I find some new odd treasure.

I also use it everyday.  for everything.  My friends always ask if it bothers me to have to polish it all the time, but truly, by using it everyday and washing it promptly, it doesn't need polishing all that often.

According to sterling.com - "Sliver should be cleaned immediately after use, especially after contact with food that may cause corrosion or contain acids such as eggs, tomatoes, mayonnaise, or salt.  Many people are concerned about their silver tarnishing, but if you use it everyday, it will actually tarnish less."

silver for grand dining.

and silver for cold pizza, breakfast cereal, and 
home-made grilled salmon with fresh vegetables.

oh, and I love ironing sheet.  please, don't tell anyone.

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