28 November, 2009

"On Entertaining . . . "

Greetings all,

Well, I hope everyone has greatly enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday. And that the turkey was moist and delicious. And that the pumpkin pie was yummy. And that everyone gobbled up all of the stuffing. Because now, the serious entertaining season is upon us.

I usually host several parties here at the house over the holiday season . . . and thought I'd share some of my favourite ideas for the makings of a great party.

1. The plan. And this is where one almost always goes astray. The best idea is to keep it simple. One of the most important aspects of any successful party is a calm host - and overshooting your 'skill set' is a sure-fire path to disaster.

The one thing that I always think about - I truly want my guests to enjoy the experience of being in my home. I think one of the disadvantages of being an interior designer is that the bar is set kind of high when I'm entertaining . . . and although I love that challenge, I also keep my limitations in mind. Though I'm a good cook - I'm not a great one - so, I hire a caterer for most of my events. I'm fairly fastidious but, I always schedule the cleaning service for the day of (or the day before) a party. I also like to have a few 'staff' people on hand as well. Just someone to help answer the door. Or re-stock the bar. Or help with the food or the caterer. But - basically, an extra person or two will help free up my time to spend with my guests and to enjoy my own party.

2. The invitations. I love printed invitations. Stop. the end. I love the way they feel. The way they look. The ritual of hand-addressing envelopes.

3. The decorations. Now THIS is part of my 'skill-set.' I'm a big fan of the 'multiple.' If I'm going to use votive candles - I'm going to use 100's of them. If there's an arrangement of white roses on the table - I try to use several dozen roses. Several - like maybe 10 dozen. Last year, when I was *especially* crazy, I used almost a dozen Christmas trees in the house (this is used only as an example - it was lovely - but, it was tons of work!)

4. The menu. One of the annual events at the house is a large cocktail party for around 50 to 75 guests . . . and I love experimenting with the menu.

I often start by planning out a menu as if it were a more formal sit-down dinner - and then adapt everything so that can be passed as hors d' oeuvres . If the dinner was to start with a lobster bisque - I've used the same bisque, but passed on trays - in antique shot glasses - maybe with a little crustini balanced across the top. Maybe there's a miniature bread pudding. Or a tiny bit-sized shepherds pie. But, make sure you don't have too many items that require last-minute attention. A few things that need to be warmed . . . but the bulk of the menu should be room-temperature.

5. The prep. I'd much rather run around like a madman for the three days prior to a party - and spend the afternoon OF the party getting a manicure. I take an inventory of the bar a week in advance - fill in any voids - and get the whole thing set up at least three days in advance. I try to have all the decorations in place (other than the fresh flowers) at least a week before. And flower arrangements the morning before.

And there's nothing like a long, warm bath prior to your guest's arrival. I always keep in mind that I'll need to be at my most charming for several hours - and I need to be up to the task. Relaxed. Confident. Prepared.

6. The doorbell. I'm standing in my doorway. In my favourite shoes. With a big smile - and a fresh manicure. Greeting special friends. Putting coats in the hall closet. Great music streaming from the stereo. Appetizers in the oven.





ps. it's also great if one of your friends is a professional photographer. The images are from a small cocktail party at the house last year.

27 November, 2009

"Tis the Season . . . "

Good evening,

Greetings from the front lines of the Christmas 2009 installation here at the house. I'm curious how many of you out there are spending a goodly portion of your Thanksgiving holiday weekend getting your homes ready for the next holiday?

For me, it means a certain amount of planning . . . and time . . . and trips to the flower market. I love being here at the house and playing with ideas . . . making the house celebratory . . . and different from previous years . . .

Including early morning trips to the SF Flower Market.
Masses of bright, waxy magnolia branches. Kumquat branches, fresh rosemary and silver eucalyptus.

And my favourite roses, lilies, and hypernicum berries.

So, tonight was all about getting the canopy installed over the dining table (complete with fresh greenery and pheasant feathers (my perennial favourite!)) which involved moving the dining table into the other room. Lol - it's been a long day . . .

The plan is to make the dining room magical - and show off my recently acquired antique china.

But, here's the progress thus far. All the trees are up - and lit - in the dining room. And the fresh garlands are placed in the chandelier.

Getting ready to some serious slumber . . . with visions of wreaths and garlands in my dreams.


26 November, 2009

"Happy Thanksgiving . . . "

Good Morning,

I'm up early here for a quick trail run with friends before heading back into the kitchen for a bit more cooking before this afternoon's celebration.

I hope that everyone has friends and family in great abundance today. And that we are each truly grateful for all that we have this year.


23 November, 2009

"Party, party, and party . . . "

Me and the girls . . . .

Greetings All,

Thanks to one and all for the amazing event Friday evening to celebrate the launch of "Scot Meacham Wood Design." After a somewhat gruesome day of last-minute errands and a serious case of blustery weather - the skies cleared - and a beautiful star-lit night hovered overTherien & Co. as the crowd began to gather. Great friends. New friends. Beautiful antiques. Amazing furniture. Uproarious laughter. Some serious partying. And some seriously yummy food.

I need to send out a huge 'thank you' to Therien & Co. for hosting the event (as well as being one of my favourite resources!), Joe - the wonder-chef, Bret Bussey for the design of the new website, Georg Lester and his handy camera, and the wonderful folks who were able to come out and party!

Surveying the gathered crowd.

"My, these are beautiful." I think everyone enjoyed shopping
through Therien & Co. during the party.

Sally Swing and Richard Finch

Chipper Joseph and myself

Eric, Sandra from Wroolie, and the ever wonderful John from Therien & Co.

Diana from Wroolie and myself.

Lauren from McRae and Company

You people should know better than to say, "Speech, speech, speech!" around me.

I was so pleased to see my dear friend Claudia Juestel out in the crowd.

And the star of the evening - Joe, the most amazing caterer I know.

Thanks again to each of you - including you fine folks out there in 'blog-land.' It's been such a delight having y'all in my life and encouraging me in each of my new endeavors.


19 November, 2009

"My name is Scot Meacham Wood . . . "

" . . . and I've been a bad, bad blogger."

Greetings everyone,

Whew. Wait, I might need to say that one more time . . . whew. It has been a whirlwind few weeks here. There were days a few months ago when I'd have to struggle to come up with a topic to blog about. Days when I'd have to practically search for inspiration. Well - now the new problem is - the desperate search for time to write about the amazing few weeks that I've been having.

Let me try to give you a quick rundown:

1) San Francisco Fall Antique Show Opening Gala (Oct. 28th). I might have seen almost everyone I knew in the span of about 2 hours. And even had the great pleasure of meeting and chatting with the lovely Jennifer Boles from The Peak of Chic and the delightful Emily Eerdmans from her self-titled blog. Did I remember to take my camera? no. But, I promise I was there - and it was wonderful. And, no, I didn't buy anything. But, yes. I thought about it.

2) Another amazing Halloween in San Francisco. Ended up dressed as King Leonidas from the film "300." It was tasteful. well, kinda. and, no, there will be no pictures of Halloween here. lol.

3) Celebrated my own birthday in early November . . . followed by the one year anniversary of "The Adventures of Tartanscot." Did I do anything especially special (well, yes - spent my birthday with some of the most amazing people in my life!), but the blog milestone had to pass unrecognized.

4) Been working like a madman on two large projects with deadlines quickly approaching. This is where a great deal of the last few weeks have been spent. I've been so fortunate with the great clients I've been working with this year. People who truly enjoy that process of transforming their homes. And who do so with a smile and giddy enthusiasm.

5) Working on a little treat for you readers out there to celebrate the holidays. It should be part of a post just after Thanksgiving *fingers crossed* - I'm so excited to share.

6) Oh, and "Dining by Design" opened last night. I am working on pictures - hopefully I should have something by next week.

But, a large part of the last few months has also been focused on the re-branding of my design business. It's always such a struggle to name one's business - because, at the beginning, you don't quite know what it's going to grow to be. I had decided in 2002 that "Thane Studio" ('thane' being an old Scottish word for land holder - clever, huh?) would be the best way to go. In retrospect, I was wrong. lol. People have always thought that my name was Scot Thane. Or that my first name was "Thane." Or was asked the unending questions about the origin of the word. Or been confused in any number of ways by the fact the I hadn't named the business after myself. What can I say? Luckily, you live and hopefully, you learn.

So, as 2009 draws to a close, I've decided to shake things up a bit - to re-imagine my business as I begin a new year of design projects. To be more aggressive about putting a face (my face!) to a business which will now also share my name - Scot Meacham Wood Design - and launching a beautiful new website (please have a look!) to catalogue my work. And because it's been a long hard year - and any excuse for a party is perfectly 'okay' with me - there's going to be a hearty celebration Friday evening - here in the design district of San Francisco.

If you're in the area, please stop by and toast to a new adventure

Scot Meacham Wood Design
Launch Party
Friday, November 20th

hosted by:
411 Vermont Street
San Francisco, CA
from 6 - 8 pm
(click image to enlarge)

The good news is - I am so excited. The better news is - I feel truly confident. The best news is - I'm surrounded by some of the most amazing people who reside on this planet - and I can't begin to thank you for your help and support over the last year.

2010 - here we come,

14 November, 2009

"Love, Love, Love . . . "

Photography by Tim Street-Porter

Greetings all,

Just a little something lovely to keep one's spirits up over the weekend. This inviting home in the Los Angeles hills with a "European villa-style interior" is from the charming minds of design duo Martynus-Tripp. I love the warm, masculine colour story and the wonderful use of antiques in the space.

" 'There’s a funkiness I think is charming,' Haenisch says of the
breakfast area, which has mismatched barstools, a pair of
circa 1812 lithographs of melons by George Brookshaw and an
18thcentury Dutch tall case clock. Early-19th-century Aubusson, Mansour."

I hope everyone's is having a great weekend. I've been swamped with work this week (in a good way) - and there's some exciting news that I'll be sharing on Monday . . . stay tuned.


12 November, 2009

"So I Guess the Question Is . . . "

Photographed by Pieter Estersohn

" . . . is it possible to marry a room?"

Greetings all,

To say that Charlotte Moss is simply brilliant is kind of like that the sun is 'kinda warm.' I never seem to tire of her gracious, lovely spaces. I was flipping through the new Elle Decor yesterday - and I'm not overstating this . . . I actually began to slightly weep at the wondrous sight of this glorious room in Charlotte's home in Colorado. It almost felt like that very first flush of love. Giddy and excited. With some awe thrown in for good measure.

I'm always amazed at the almost visceral impact that a beautiful home can have on those who are fortunate enough to pass through its doors. It speaks volumes about the people who live there. How they see their lives. The things which are important to them.

"... our objects, bibelots, whatnots, and knickknacks-say
the most about who we are. They are as honest as a diary."
- Charlotte Moss

"The combined effect of this splendor is like an aristocratic
family’s historic chalet transported from the Alps to the
Rockies. It’s not the way things are usually done in Colorado,
but as Moss declares, 'One’s taste remains constant, whatever the location.' "

A little tartan. A little Chintz. An 18th century portrait. An antique Carpet.
The combination - priceless beauty.

I cannot begin to recommend the newest issue of Elle Decor strongly enough. It is packed with style and magic on almost ever page.

The crazy work week continues,

09 November, 2009

"Damn, damn, damn . . . "

Greetings all,

It's another sad day. We're losing Metropolitan Home. It seems to be official. Damn.

Sending out good thoughts to an amazing staff and mourning the loss of yet another amazing magazine.

Here's a link to the article here.

double damn,

07 November, 2009

"Love, Love, Love . . . "

photographer, Nathan Schroder

Good Morning,

How amazing is this gracious living from a home in Houston. The simple colour story is SO calming, and the furnishings are just perfect. And I love that wonderful chinoiserie chest giving the room just a tiny bit of extra weight and extra style.

Getting an early start on a crazy weekend here. I've got a photo shoot here at the house on Tuesday, so it's all hands on deck for the next few days.

Off to the flower market,

06 November, 2009

"A Weekend in the Mountains . . . "

Designer Chipper Joseph, from House Beautiful
photography, Maura McEvoy

Greetings all,

In the small world of tartan devotees, there are truly few who could rival my own obsession. My sweet friend Chipper Joseph though - could give me a run for the money.

I met Chipper years (seriously, lots of years) ago, when I was still working for Ralph Lauren, and she was working on her family home. Miles of yardage for the window treatments. These beautiful wool carpets. And a festival of plaids for the kid's rooms. We bonded almost immediately . . . lol.

So, how wonderful, whilst I'm flipping through the new House Beautiful to come across this charming home in Sun Valley - giggling at the great use of tartan - and then seeing "Designer, Chipper Joseph" in the by-line. It was just like seeing an old friend after years of being apart.

And 'Wow.' The space just feels so welcoming. I just love the absence of window treatments in the great room. So that the light pours across the open floor plan. The space, despite its grand size, feels so intimate. So casual. So friendly.

And the great room anchored by the generous dining table all set for a family meal.

Just simple comfortable spaces with charming, solid 'work horse' textiles.

And seriously! The perfect place to relax after a long day of skiing.

I hope everyone has great plans for the weekend,

04 November, 2009

"The Crafts of Art . . . "

Stephen Elrod, VP and Creative Director for Lee Jofa

"Tree of Life" textile -from Lee Jofa
source - Veranda 2007
I have always thought it is so important to keep up with all of the latest technology and the newest trends in interior design and business management - BUT, it's also incredibly important to have a thorough understanding of the age-old crafts that create the furnishings and the textiles that inhabit our homes. And today, it's the time honored craft of textiles that has me tightly in its spell . . .
The Lee Jofa Showroom in San Francisco

I recently had a chance to attend an amazing lecture on the "Art of Hand Blocked Fabrics" from Stephen Elrod, of Lee Jofa, and to hear the entire process described. Lee Jofa carries one of the most spectacular collections of hand blocked fabric I've ever seen - and I've always been fascinated by how they are created . . .
So, as the radiant Julie Andrews once said, 'let's start at the very beginning . . . .' and see how the amazing "tree of life" fabric is created.
to begin - the greige goods (the name for unprinted textiles) is placed on the printing table and affixed so that it will not move during the lengthy printing process.
Each individual print block is checked, cleaned, and prepared to have the ink applied.
And then, each colour, one by one, is applied to the textile. There are a staggering total of 316 individual blocks used to create the pattern.
The process is clearly a work of art in and of itself.
Each new block and colour layered to create the pattern.
After all of the 316 individual blocks are printed, the entire length of fabric (with a 99 inch repeat) is reviewed.
The original pattern was created by Henry Wearne, an English textile designer who specialized in creating fabrics for the American market.
After the ink has dried, it is rolled onto the bolt, the table is scrubbed clean of the ink which bleeds through during the printing process . . . and a new length of fabric is affixed to the table to be printed.
Just a sample of the numerous hand blocks needed for the process.
and the almost shocking variety in sizes for the various colours in the design. And, yes, those tiny, tiny, tiny wood blocks are part of the process as well.
So have a look around the house, or maybe next time you're out looking at textiles (or maybe the next time you see a Lee Jofa showroom) - have a close look at some of these amazing textiles.
Now I'm starring at my needlepoint rug too . . . I wonder how these are made,
ps. I've been searching around for a project featuring the Lee Jofa "Tree of Life" textile - if you have one, please send it to me. I would love to feature it.
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