Interior Design Master Class

I do not think I have read a coffee table design book (if you can call it that) from cover to cover like I devoured Interior Design Master Class.  It is as educational as it is inspirational and a "must have" in the library of arm chair decorators to established professionals.  Over two years in the making and fresh off its second printing by Rizzoli, editor Carl Dellatore (whom I had the pleasure of traveling with to Menla Mountain retreat, see here) has collected one hundred essays from one hundred designers, together with awe inspiring photos from each of their projects to create a tome the likes of which I have never seen.  The essays, articulately and beautifully written, are broken down into six categories such as Theory, Style, Structure and Composition.  Within each of the design disciplines are the essays a particular designer chose to explore:  craft, alchemy, jazz, Paris, film, sex.  It is a little peak "behind the curtain" of how great designers think and what inspires them.

Kara Mann, ph: Nick Johnson

As each designer explored their process, I found several themes running through the essays.  All great  rooms tell a story.  The stories come from inspiration found just about anywhere.  The importance of travel was touched on by many, as well as life experiences, history and nature.

Amy Lau, ph: Born Wallander

Negative space is as important as the objects themselves.  Designers are aware of every nuance in an artfully layered room.  Great design moves us ~ like poetry, music, anything that touches our soul.

Terry Hunziker, ph: Aaron Leitz

Rooms often are a rich mosaic of what has come before.  Whether you adhere to the rules or know them well enough to break them, a deep understanding of the past leads us into the future.

Steven Sills, ph: Francois Halard

This visual language requires designers to be part intuitive, part educator, part archeologist, part translator.  In the end this gives a client the gift of an authentic space unique to them, helping inform their identity.

White and Webb, ph: Antoine Bootz

Any of us can achieve this to a certain degree.  You must be open to life's adventures and have the passion, curiosity and courage to explore the possibilities.  Function is never out of fashion.  Always ask, "How am I best expressed in each room and how do I need it to function?"

Jeffery Bilhuber, ph: William Waldron for AD

"Many of us are oblivious to our surroundings.  We spend our days multi-tasking or we're so absorbed by a virtual world that we overlook what's directly in front of us.  Consciously recognizing how we are affected and influenced by everything we have around us enhances our lives."
 ~ Vincente Wolf

Robert Couturier, ph: Tim Street Porter

If a well designed home defines the homeowner, it then begs the question of the visitor, "If this is you, who am I?"  I love that!

Juan Montoya, ph: Eric Piasecki

Balance is essencial in all facets of our life.  Design or life by design, challenges us to find that balance and maintain it, shifting and making adjustments along the way.  There is stability in a well balanced room (life).   It helps us create order from chaos and calm from confusion.

Miles Redd, ph: Thomas Loof for AD

The meaning of home is changing in this fast paced, mass produced, globalized world with the expectation of instant gratification, but the meaning behind home, the importance of sanctuary, authenticity, refuge, remains the same.

Thank you Carl for bringing this magnificent book to life.  Look for Carl's next book, Garden Design Master Class.


Reflections of a Trend

Ercole Home

I jumped on a train just after getting back from Florida and quickly took myself the the Architectural Digest Show the other day.  I was milling through the first aisle of beautifully handmade crafts and a  trend jumped out at me.  I soon saw it (and myself) everywhere.  Reflective surfaces, either literally mirrored or having a mirror like finish are the perfect foils for almost anything.

Mirrors are obvious, but it was the jewelry for the home theme I was attracted to ~ otherwise known as ~ shiny surface syndrome.  "I am Carrie Leskowitz and I suffer from shiny surface syndrome."  Except for seeing yourself on the surface, I don't think you can tire of this material.

Sukrachand volume mirror

Zavar Designs

Less of a commitment, but no less a statement are mercury glass, metallics and the like.  Accessories bring "a dash of drama" without the big ticket commitment.

Further Design

Eduardo Terranova represented by Chase Edwards gallery

Prism planter by The  Principals

Kitchen and bath design produce some of the biggest and best innovations in the industry.  They are notorious for needing makeovers because technology changes and looks become dated fairly quickly these days.  I saw the biggest impact in these areas.  It's not for everyone, but boy if it is....

have I got a wall oven for you ~ Smeg's, flawless silver glass oven to be exact.  Their motto is, "Where architecture meets art."  There is much talk of brushed stainless being out and matte finishes being in. This look is so way out~ it's in.  The picture does not do it justice.  It happens to look spectacular in a modern, seamless kitchen.

This artistic exhaust / light called Puddy is a prototype.  Best range hoods told me it should be on the market in about 6 months.  The exhaust has several settings and LED lighting colors can change on demand.

This tile by Porcelanosa is not for the wall flower.

Create one of a kind designs or a statement making mosaic!  There is an enormous selection of tile options on the market.


Glam up the game room.  At the push of a button this mirror becomes a TV.  While not new, the technology  is cutting edge.  The Samsung LED mirrored TV is elegant and streamlined.

Reflected TV

A cocktail perhaps, while watching your favorite show?  Dean Jackson creates the Rolls Royce of cabinets.  The "Aeropod" is where Art Deco meets Space Age.  These cabinets are made from highly shined automotive parts in conjunction with other fine materials.  It is customizable on the inside, and  whether it be a watch winding unit, bar, humidor, safe, etc, it has a distinctly unique look.

All of these products, by the mere fact of their mirror finish, has a futuristic quality.  That tells me the future is starring us in the face.  See what I did there   :  )

All Roads Lead to the Morikami

My son and I have a joke that wherever we are in Florida we would see a sign for the Morikami Museum.  We would say, "all roads lead to the Morikami."  Needless to say, it was high time we got ourselves there.

With a winter storm at the Northeast's doorstep,  I leave you with these pictures to help warm your spirit and remind you ~ Spring is just around the bend.

Roji-en: Garden of the Drops of Dew, was inspired by famous gardens of Japan.  There are six distinct gardens set on 16 acres, designed around a lake to accentuate the gallery and museum.  Click here if you want a better understanding of each garden type and what it represents.

The path around the lake takes you on a romantic journey.  The obvious beauty and naturalistic woodland setting sets it apart from more formal Japanese gardens but the zen-like feeling remains.

Flat gardens or dry landscaping speak to the balance within: of shrubs and rocks.  The act of raking the sand is meditative.  It is a tool to help calm the mind.  Different patterns have different meanings.

So much inspiration!

A lizard was perfectly perched on the pagoda.  The koi and turtles seem happy as well.

Touring the garden is a personal journey of observation and introspection.  It is a sensory experience as well, with something to see around every corner.

As the laughing Buddha signifies, may happiness and joy wash over you and may peace be in your heart.


In the Pink

ph:Benjamin Vnuk for W,Valentino

I am declaring pink the power color of the season.  Despite what Pantone says, that greenery is the color of the year, it looks like pink has taken!   Pink, in all its iterations rules the runway and rooms wrapped in it are springing into my inbox from magazine and shelter sites.  I mentioned beautiful blush was shown during market and since then I have seen everything from the palest petal to fiery fuchsia.  I am embracing each and every one of these colors.

Shockingly bright like a signature Schiaparelli revs us up.   It's bold and brash.  Perfect for a risk taker.  It is aggressive and energetic.  It encourages action and expresses confidence.  It's as feminine as it is empowering!

Jamie Drake
It can be as sweet as it can be subversive.  It is feminine, but it can be defiant too.  I love its duality!


Thomas Britt
We are seeing it paired with equally bright red, orange, purple or chartreuse.  With black and white pink is the great equalizer.  It's very va va va voom.

It's the color of love, hope and awareness. 

                                     It's a perfect punctuation mark.  It's pride, it's action.

Kelly Wearstler

Sasha Bilkoff

Pastel pink signifies renewal and rebirth.   Often paired along side mint green, robins egg blue, and lavender, shown each spring.

Pale pink represents the color of sentimentality.   It's intuitive, insightful and a sign of hope and good health.

Barely there blush strikes a note of sexy nonchalance.

It's the color of nurturing and appreciation.  It has a calming effect on our nervous system.

Sarah Sherman Samuel

                                  Note to self:add a touch of pink!  Plus, everyone looks good in the glow of it!