Fire Places and Fine Moments

Another Holiday House has come and gone.  I barely made it before it closed but I knew it was a must see!  The Academy Mansion was once again home to this spectacular feast for the eyes, now in its seventh year.  Much has been written about this year's show house that benefits The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  No doubt if you read other blogs, I am sure you came across the coverage, so I'd like to just point out the things that resonate with me.  It's a little subjective, but ...

Designer Amy Lau collaborating with Baccarat (celebrating there 250th anniversary) transforms the great reception area into a Winter Wonderland or Galerie des Glaces.  Inspired by the hall of mirrors at Versailles this hall was transformed into a dining room for a sit down dinner with seating for 20 fit for a queen, and transfixes us with the elegance and grace of Baccarat crystal.  Baccarat's signature red crystal is the focal point in this oh so glamorous setting.  Crystals found in the archive were places around the room and hung from branches on the table for an added layer of sparkle!  I wrote an in depth post on Baccarat here.

I read about the art and scupture, which was amazing through out, so I looked towards the fireplaces.  Each decorator handled this sometimes inconspicuous space with thought and care.

Lillian August had the most architecturally interesting room in the house and made the most of it.  Celebration of the Holidays, or the den, dressed in winter white and pale blue was a quiet respite from the festivities.

The Jupiter console table by my friends at Areté Collection looked phenomenal.  I might need this in my life!

The selenite logs in the fireplace is a treatment I have used in clients homes before; unexpected and delightful!

I was pretty blown away by Gary McBournie's Carribbean Island Holiday room.  I was told he was not allowed to change the walls at all.  The owners liked a leather treatment that had been done in the past and wanted to maintain the integrity of it, so Gary was really forced to think outside the box.  Sheathing and tending the room was the only answer, with Gary's fabric no less, from Antillies.


Bold art and bars were seen in many of the rooms, to which I say, "Bravo!"

This fireplace gets an A for outstanding.  The shells are elevated to sculptural art and the custom fire screen by Liz O'Brien adds another layer of embellishment as it summons the sun.  Love it!

Michael Tavano always inspires me and his energetic bedrooms; La Fête Nationale or what a Paris pied- à- terre might be like is no exception.


The 2014 Balmain collection inspired Michael to create this AMAZING rope window treatment interspersed with beads.  That, along with 200 yards of fabric, the painted floor, and the incredible drop ceiling fixture was a real highlight!

The matte, Stiff Key blue, Farrow and Ball paint felt fresh and French.  It played well off the metal in the fireplace, including andirons by Michael Aram.  Michael explained to me that 500 layers of paint were applied to the canvas above the fireplace by Tae-Ho Kim, then a pattern is chiseled out.  You really must see it to believe it.

With the color blue still dancing in my head, I fell in love with the mischievous midnight sequin tulle backed on fabric enveloping the daybed and creating an intimate, rich area to relax by Louis Navarette.


Since I know Patrick Hamilton personally, I can say his room was as elegant as he is!  The subtle nuances of his deconstructed derby room made for a rich interpretation.  The color of the walls like a mint julep, the light fixture like a requisite decorative hat, the french chairs, and the silk of a jockey uniform all helped the story unfold slowly.


 I was taken with his treatment of the fireplace in his room with the sculptural Vestal screen from John Lyle.

Linherr Holligsworth set out to create a warm personal space on the upstairs landing with unique accouterments that also had a museum like quality to them.  Welcome to the Gala at the Musée.  What I was especially taken with were the custom bronze window treatments.  Bringing the ball gown like curtains down below the tops of the columns from these custom sculptural hooks was as brilliant as it was beautiful!


If you have never been to Holiday House be sure to check it out next year.  It's nice to have a show house to look forward to in the fall and it is quickly becoming not only a tradition, but the event of the season for designers and the design minded!

There wasn't a New Year's room so I will just leave you with my wishes for a joyous night and a       HAPPY NEW YEAR.

XO, Carrie

*ph: via 1st Dibs

Merry and Bright

via Harpers Bazaar

Another gray winter is setting in and I am not in the mood!  I defy you cold and snow!  I am fighting back ~ with color.  I want bright, I want bold, I want hot colors with a bad-ass attitude to get me thru the holidays and beyond.  COLOR creates energy and energy creates warmth.

Valentino highlights brights for the resort 2015 collection that is "over the rainbow."  From sneakers to bags to jewelry, it's a great way to inject a little ray of sunshine in to an otherwise neutral outfit.

via Valentino

Or if a neutral outfit is not what you had in mind, Valentino has you covered in robust color and pattern as well.  WOWZA.  Buckle up, other designers are following suit.  We'll see juicy fruit hues as the weather warms.

Too much?  OK, baby steps….Dolce and Gabbana's embellished leather goods impart a regal touch.

Or kick your keels up at a sweet holiday soiree in these D and G's ~

or sashay away on vacation in Christian Louboutin's  Cataclou wedge

I wouldn't mind Eddie Borgo's block bracelet which would mix and match with almost anything,

but would certainly not turn down Stephen Webster's stunner of a multi colored bauble

IF I was made to choose (gun to my head), I'll take the DVF for H. Stern sapphire statement maker… Yes, please.  Not all that bright, but it shines like a diamond.

Of course if a small token doesn't seem like enough to ring in the New Year, snuggle up in Alturzara's  fur finery (or Valentino's as above).  You'd be spotted easily in a snow storm.

Better still, envelope yourself in a light bright interior.  A jolt of color goes a long way in lifting a somber mood.

Miles Redd

Just imagining stepping into one of these rooms lifts my spirits.

Indra Marcinkevichen

Amanda Nisbet

Jamie Drake

If all of the above is out of reach, grab a bottle of polish and go crazy

OR ~ add an uplifting bouquet, it is like a shot of sunshine in a vase.

OR ~  a new pretty pout in a bright, seductive shade can cure what ails you (me).

I defy you to smile ~ My spirits are lifted already.  Goal accomplished, #writeitdownmakeithappen seems to have worked (for now anyway)!

Have a MERRY and BRIGHT holiday, dear readers  : )

Birds of a Feather Living Together

More is More in Hunt Slonem's world!  Best known as a Neo-Expressionist, Hunt's childhood spent in Hawaii and a year spent studying abroad in Nicaraqua had a profound effect on the direction this artist's career would take.  Hunt developed a passion for orchids and owned a menagerie of animals which became influential muses that informed his subject matter, but maybe none more than the rabbit; he having been born in The Year of the Rabbit.

With his aviary of 70 plus birds serving as his inspiration and living and working in his extraordinary New York Studio, (Hunt also has homes in Louisiana and Upstate New York) this man melds many worlds.

When I heard he was doing a fabric, wallpaper, and carpet collection for Groundworks thru Lee Jofa, I was intrigued.  How will all those birds, bunnies, and butterflies translate?  Apparently, beautifully!
Slomen, working with the team at Lee Jofa, experimented for two years to get the exacting color saturation, complexity, and depth of field required to have Hunt's menagerie translate as magnificently as it does.  It is not kitchy or childlike, as one might initially think.  It's quite sophisticated, and in the case of the Hutch Gold wallpaper (below) with its matte background, it is downright regal!

The Star of India fabric, in neutral linen with appliquéd velvet and embroidery, was inspired by a tortoise that was a former pet and a large sapphire jeweled tortoise that was said to have been carried around by a Maharani in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas for good luck.
Frittilery, in multi-colored layers of embroidery woven to mimic a cross hatch technique (which could  be interpreted as the cages these birds and animals might find themselves in), were collected and studied by Slonem as a youngster .

The collection translates beautifully from neutrals to energetic brights.
Monkey eyes and mouths are reduced to an interesting graphic design in the customizable carpet collection that was inspired by portraits of Frida Kahlo, where she often posed with monkeys.  They are also a symbol of protection.  The floor bunnies become more of an art installation.

There is a fluidity to his process.  Everything evolves, as opposed to "being designed."  He is a brilliant colorist with a strong need for a historical connection which led him to coin the term "collectorating."  He is an enthusiastic collector and decorator.  "He is energized by the act of creating settings with his collections which in turn fuel his work."  And I understand he hosts great parties in his studio.

"Bare walls scare me" says Slonem

Slonem's birds and butterflies symbolize the soul and spiritual liberation, as in a metamorphosis.  A fascination with these creatures as well as a menagerie of others captured Hunt's imagination and a spiritual life and visual life collided.  The repetitive imagery is like a mantra or meditative experience.  A stillness sets in.

Steven Gambrel

Jonathan Adler

For a little bit of happiness, check out Hunt's book, Where Art Meets Design showcasing his own homes and the magic that happens when art and design intersect colorfully.

The collection really reflects Hunt's joie de vivre attitude!  How do you want a room to make you feel?  Hunt thinks Happy!

Ph; CLI, Kravet/Lee Jofa, The Selby via NY magazine