31 January, 2010

"Meanwhile, Back in London . . . "

Nikki Atkinson Ltd, London
Photographer Mel Yates

Good afternoon,

I'm spending a goodly part of a quiet Sunday afternoon working here at the office - catching up on paperwork and such after being away most of last week. But, man does not live by papers and invoices alone. So during a 'mental break' from the designer math, I'm flipping back through the February issue of House and Garden UK - and loving the lovely apartment of hotelier Henry Tonga in the stylish Chelsea district of London.

Perfectly balanced custom Bookcases in the living room - and - one of a set of Louis XIII-styled arm chairs

As always, the simple, clear colour story always appeals to my sense of calm. And the easy mix of antiques, classic details, and the clean modern lines of the furnishings.

(lantern alert. lol)

"I am probably a 'designer's dream,' because I know how they work.
Professionals need to be given some leeway."
- Henry Togna

-and the simple pleasures of a bespoke linen press for shirtings and neckwear.
(and, yes, that IS my heart you can hear pounding with envy!)

Okay, back to work,

29 January, 2010

"And . . . right down the rabbit hole . . . "


There are always those very specific places that remind you of very specific people. And walking through the Ralph Lauren store (at Madison and 72nd) last week during my trip to New York always brings back memories of the amazingly talented Ward Denton.

Ward was the creative director for Ralph Lauren/Madison Avenue when I was working in creative services in California - and I can still remember waiting to see those first images of a new window change, or home collection installation that always bore the mark of Ward's detailed genius. And if that wasn't enough - he collected tartanware boxes as well.

The home of Ward Denton and Christopher Gardner

And I was SO delighted when the home that he shared with Christopher Gardner was featured in Elle Decor in early 2002. His great style and panache clearly translated easily into his warm, comfy home.

such great playfulness.

Such great style.
(I love the paint colour(!) and the miles of Bennison Stripe textile)

So, of course, tonight I've been searching far and wide - throughout what seems to be a large portion of the internet - looking for images of Ward's work. And with very little success. But, thankfully, here's another obvious favourite. Possibly one of my favourite projects I've seen anyone do : The Glen Feshie Lodge in Scotland, designed of Denton/Gardner.

Someday, when I grow up - I want this dining room.

I'm still trying to catch-up after a long week away from the office . . . I have a sneaking feeling that the next few day are going to be more 'work' than 'weekend.'


28 January, 2010

"A Burns Night Out . . . "

"The Highlands"
150 W. 10th Street New York, New York

The Selkirk Grace

"Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit."


Whew. It was a jammed-packed tour through large portions on New York last weekend. But now, I'm back home and getting settled into my regular life. Fortunately, my six days in New York yielded more than I could ever include in one post . . . so for today, we'll start with a classic.

Inevitably, January 25th catches me off guard. What, you might ask, is so important about January 25th? Well, it is the day to remember and celebrate the Scottish poet Robert Burns with the traditional Burns Night Supper. Thank heavens for Ronda Carman (All the Best), who sent me a Burns Night greeting from Scotland - and I had to work fast to come up with the proper place to celebrate. And what could be better than the "Highlands" gastropub in the west village.

Great Scotch. Great food. Miles of tartan. Tons of poetry. And a few great friends.
Great Scottish accents. And even some haggis.

And by day - you can see the excellent interiors. Beautiful wool tartan upholstery.

Whimsical upholstery in the dining room walls with the most delicious leather banquettes.
I found this great write-up in the Village Voice from a few weeks ago - and it lived up to all the great press and accolades.

Still humming "old land syne,"

images from the Highlands website and the Phil Kline

21 January, 2010

"In. Why. See."


I'll be off the grid . . . and on the other side of the continent for the weekend. Some work (and some play and some shopping and some theatre and some dinners with friends) make tartanscot a happy guy - so I'm spending a long weekend in New York.

If you follow me on twitter - I promise to be much better about posting updates and pictures.

waiting for my car service,

20 January, 2010

"An Ode to English Design . . . "

Photography by Virginia Macdonald

Greetings all,

As one might imagine, any article titled "English Eccentricity" is bound to catch my attention - lol. And this charming home of Sean Ward and Stephen Fillmore highlighted by Style at Home magazine clearly pinged my design radar. Just a little home from the 1870s, in the Cabbagetown neighbourhood of Toronto, filled with beautiful antiques, flooded with light, and bursting with comfortable style.

The Dining Room
click any image for a larger, more detailed view.

"The modern art paired with traditional furniture and in particular
the carpet creates an energy, whether we're dining or just passing through."
- Sean Ward

I'm almost always a sucker for a collection of well-used antique china - gathered from
local antique stores as well as family heirlooms.

Skylights. French Doors. The down-filled loveseat for extra seating. The charming Italian toile chandelier. And the flexibility of the gate-legged table. Perfection. And I love the trim detail on the wall treatment. (Maybe upholstered with the same textile from the loveseat?) And the fresh, bright green colour.

Aaaahhhhh . . .

"I injected some oomph with orange saris," says Sean. "then
we spruced up the junk shop chandelier with
spray paint and new shades."

"The result is a look with an English sensibility – that slightly
eccentric style of mixing periods of furniture
and art, and patterns and texture."
- Sean Ward

If only I could fit a upholstered chair in my bathroom at
my home. How happy would THAT make me?

Sean Ward and Stephen Fillmore in the entryway. with the dogs.


18 January, 2010

"Love, Love, Love . . . "

Greetings and Salutations,

Oh. My. God. I'm am SO loving the amazing home of South African designer John Jacob Zwiegelaar. Don't make the mistake of thinking that living in a simple colour story is easy. You need to be SO particular about scale and balance and proportion.

But, clearly it CAN be amazing in the right hands. This may be one of the most glamorous bathrooms I've sen on either side of the equator. The freestanding tub. The neo-classical artwork. Oh, and there's a fireplace too. damn.

Meanwhile, back in the guest bath . . . more absolute perfection.

And a equally glamorous living space. Bright. Beautiful. And yards and yards of white linen on the window coverings. You can't quite tell from this vantage point, but the room opens up onto a lovely garden on the left side.

Details from the living room. Love the use of mirrors to expand the space.

And the kitchen. I might actually be speechless. and that NEVER happens.

Love. Love. Love. (and might even love a little bit more.)


There's also a video tour of the space - here - click the link under the portfolio images.

16 January, 2010

"The Vacation Dilemma . . . "

from Elle Decor.

Greetings all,

So here's the good news/bad news situation. "Good News." I'm headed to New York next week for a little bit of business/a little bit of pleasure/a little bit of theatre/and seeing a whole load of friends. "Bad News." I'm going to have to work through the holiday weekend to get everything at the office ready - so that I can be gone for a week.

So in an attempt to keep my mind (and possibly your minds as well) charged up and ready to make the world a more beautiful place - I offer the following images as inspiration. (Just some favourites gathered from the image file!)

from Elle Decor

Just such great drama. Love the modern interpretation of the neoclassical details and the colour palette just couldn't be more lovely.

I love that Rose Tarlow table. And that wondrous vaulted ceiling is hurting the room either. lol.

Windsor's work is always inspiring. There is just always a keen eye for detail, and a marvelous use of textiles and pattern. What a perfect place to enjoy a meal.

"I'm so fortunate. Imagine... a career that beckons me to blend
architecture and style with the romance of history...."
- Windsor Smith

The spread on Darryl Carter home in Elle Decor a few months ago was just breathtaking. The wonderful details in the furnishings. The stark, simple colour usage. Just perfect.

Need to get a few things accomplished here at the house - then heading into the office to get the last details on two projects ready for meetings on Monday and Tuesday of next week. But the question remains, do I enjoy our last day a sunshine today, and work tomorrow? Or do I do the 'grown-up' thing and head into the office today. hmmmmmmm.

Then - it's off to the big apple,

11 January, 2010

"Naked . . . "


The Christmas trees are all gone.

There is morning light pouring through my bedroom window, now
that the three foot magnolia wreath has been taken down.

There are no garlands on the bookcases in the library.

The house lets out a quiet sigh.


Having shed all of it's holiday finery, it's almost like the house is naked.

And it's wonderfully invigorating.

and a new year begins,

09 January, 2010

"In the Bleak Midwinter . . . "

"In the bleak midwinter,
Frosty wind made moan . . . "

"Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone . . . "

"Snow had fallen snow on snow, . . . "

"Snow on snow . . . "

"In the bleak midwinter . . . "

"Long, long ago."

Hope everyone is snuggled and warm this weekend,

"In the Bleak Midwinter"
Christina G. Rossetti, 1830-1894

05 January, 2010

"Wait. What Smells . . . "


I can't smell. Maybe we've covered this here - maybe not - can't quite recall. It's a condition that runs on my mother's side of the family. Mom can't smell. I believe my great-aunt Mary couldn't smell either. People always ask how it has affects my ability to taste - and since I've never been able to smell - I don't have any point of reference. But, it's never really bothered me. And as handicaps go - it's not too much to complain about. I DO love when my mom hands me something as ask, "What does this smell like?" "Wait, you can't smell either." "Sorry."

But my ongoing challenge has always been buying cologne and scented candles. I usually shop with my great friend Kelly - who has an immense vocabulary - and can describe smells in an amazing way - that I'm able to understand. And I thought he had a rare gift - until my other friend Mark began telling me about the "CB I Hate Perfume" boutique in Brooklyn.

(Click for a complete description of the collection)

The best part are the descriptions. Seriously. "Gathering Apples" - Macintosh apples with a hint of old weathered wood. "To See a Flower" - delicate spring flowers, green shots, wet dirt, and a bit of moss. And my favourite "In the Library" - the scent of English novels, Russian and Moroccan leather, worn cloth, and a hint of wood polish." Yay.

Click here for the complete website. If nothing else, it's GREAT reading.


02 January, 2010

"Meanwhile, Back on Gallifrey . . . "

The Planet, Gallifrey


Well, I can only image that the Venn diagram depicting the overlapping segments of the population having a passion for classic interior design and a deep affection for British science-fiction is fairly small. In fact, my fear is that it might contain only Meg and myself. But, as this blog boasts - these are 'things which delight me' - and watching David Tennant's final episode of "Doctor Who" on BBC America this evening delighted me almost beyond description.

(and if you ARE a fan, and haven't watch the final episode, this missive contains no spoilers. just gushing praise.)

I've always been a huge fan of science fiction television - it's kinda hard to explain why. But, Doctor Who is an all-time favourite. There's something about exploring the human condition from a slightly 'off kilter' angle - like seeing humanity through the eyes of the 900 year old time lord - from the planet Gallifrey - called 'the Doctor' - traveling across time and space - with a trusty 'side-kick' - in a ship shaped like a 1963 London police call box -seriously, what could be more simple?

The Doctor 'regenerates' periodically - and thus can be portrayed by an ongoing collection of actors (10 different actors since 1963) - but tonight marks Tennant's final performance in the role. He has brought a sly, Shakespearean style to the program through the last three seasons and has helped to shape it into the sublime entertainment it has become.

Tennant with Billie Piper (Rose Tyler) - from Season 2

And Freema Agyaman (Martha Jones) from Season 3

and the sublime Catherine Tate (Donna Noble) from Season 4
(If you only know her from the hilarious Catherine Tate Show, she is actually an
actress of wondrous depth and honesty)

Though it's clearly difficult to describe, I can only recommend (if you have loads of time to spend) that you experiment with some of the more recent episodes with Tennant or Christopher Eccleston. And as further proof, one of the best examples of the series is contained in the clip below. Elton Pope, a guest character in an episode of season 2, reflects on the purpose of living . . .and they are fine words to live by - at any time - and on any planet . . .

live long and prosper,
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