The Pallet Project

I pull up 4 mornings a week in front of this pile of shipping pallets that have taken up residence by my gym.  Such a shame that they sit there going to waste.  These utilitarian platforms can be turned in to a thing of beauty ~

Of course there are the obvious uses, but let's think beyond the basics

Elevate the look of the old pallet ~this rough, recycled look is right on trend.  The addition of the paint behind the shelving takes it to another level.

as does the addition of the upscale furniture surrounding this pallet project. The sofa base and cocktail table become chic, not shabby!

People pay thousands to create these rustic walls ~  This one will be a winner!

I really like the island /table.  Form + function = fashionable

Use it as a background for art or a mirror; clever  ~

Loving Living Small

This looks like it could be an expensive chandelier.  I probably would paint it a color in a high gloss finish for added drama

How many shipping pallets will it take to get my vacation home by the sea?

My son is moving into a new apartment, I feel a DIY project coming on!

Spotlight On: Cédric Charlier

Cédric Charlier is a "new to me" young designer from Belgium.  I get so excited when I discover a  talent whose work I love and is wearable!  Such is the case with Cédric.  As he worked for the likes of Lanvin and Celine, I am not surprised, as I see a strong influence ~ Cedric was also the artistic director for Cacharel.  When he was let go he was able to unleash his creativity and his own collection.  With monied backers behind him, his fall 2012 and spring 2013 collections have caught the attention of many a buyer and fashionista.

Cédric is on trend with his razor sharp lines and color blocking.  There are heavy doses of architectural pant suits and asymmetrical shift dresses.  I am happy to see patent  leather making a comeback.  His collection is full of inky blues, blacks, coppery metallics, and my favorite ~ the painterly brush stroke pieces.

Cedric says he loves the movement of the line in the clothes.  As you walk, your clothes take on another effect.  A bold stroke of creativity.

Never underestimate the ability of surprise.  Cedric was doing a lot of floral, feminine looks at Cacharel, so this was quite a departure.  Things always work out for a reason, don't they?

ph: Yannis Vlamos courtesy of

The 2012 Kitchen of the Year

Mick De Giulio is the "go to guy" for excellence in kitchen design.  I have written about Mick before here.   His designs take kitchens to another level, like jewel boxes of luxury and efficiency.

Each year House Beautiful anoints a prominent designer or chief the honor of designing a kitchen in Rockefeller Center.  Once unveiled to the public, there are tastings, special events, and mixology classes.  My only complaint is, "It's not open long enough!"

This is one sweet kitchen, right?

I love the unexpected touch of blue ~ coupled with the gleaming surfaces, stainless steel, mirrors, and wood, it's classic and timeless.  The walnut and metal cabinet makes pots and pans sculptural in the hands of Mick.

It really should be called kitchen and great room/space of the year.  At 1,000 sq. feet I think that's a better description.  A few modern rustic elements mixed in keep things from feeling too formal.

Another great design Mick ~

The Rainbow Rose

I'll be honest, normally this would not be something I would gravitate towards.  The rose is perfect just the way mother nature intended it.  But when I realized it was REAL and not artificial; the crazy kaleidoscope of colors captured my attention and I was hooked.

I guess it was the idea of something so perfect in it's natural state becoming contrived by altering it that  gave me reason to pause.  I don't like unnatural looking things ~ but, what the hell?  I loved the juxipositon.  It's a party in a vase!

It’s created by introducing colored water to the rose’s stem, but in a manner that the colors reach the petals at different places.  The inventor, Peter van de Werken, keeps the process a secret. 

You need to be careful when using these vivid beauties or you run the risk of your arrangements  looking kitschy.  They are so fun for a kid's party, fiesta, sweet sixteen, or carnival theme.  If it's in keeping with the overall look, you are good.  You can't force these to be anything other than fun.  That's why there also known as the happy rose.

Suddenly my backyard party became a riotous, raucous affair, and these babies were the topic of conversation.

I have to mention though, I do not like the idea of engineering different colored flowers to coincide with holidays or occasions, but that's just me.

If you saw it in the store would you love it or leave it?
Is it gaudy or gorgeous??

ph: 4,5,6


When in Washington, DC a couple weeks ago I was faced with the decision:  museum or mansion?
Hmm... I love both, but mansion with gardens will win out (almost) every time.  Hillwood, Marjorie Merriweather Post's home about 3 miles from Dupont Circle is a must see!

Heiress, businesswoman, diplomat, philanthropist, and collector, MMP at 27 became the sole heir of the Post Cereal Company fortune.  She moved into Hillwood in the mid 50's.  The 25 acre estate was to be a place where she could showcase her growing collections for friends, charities, and organizations.  The interior design firm French and Co. and McMillian Inc. remodeled and enlarged the home.

In the 30's MMP lived in Russia with her 3rd husband.  She became passionate about the Russian Imperial arts.  Her collecting began in Moscow, but lasted throughout her life.  It grew into one of the finest collections of Russian art as well as French decorative art in the world. 

The grand entrance is positively regal.  A czar would feel comfortable here!


This passion for the arts was formed in Manhattan in the early 1920's as she was moving in the powerful circles of prominent businesspeople and art collectors.  "Once the desire is there and the seeds of the thrill of the search are sown the collector is on his way," she said.  MMP had an innate style and deep appreciation for beauty.

Hillwood was designed to be used as a museum as well as a home.  There are so many magnificent things to look at, and MMP wanted to share everything well beyond her life.

There are several Faberge eggs and thousands of small precious objects in the Icon Room.

The Chalice for the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, 1791.  Empress Catherine the Great had it made for the newly constructed cathedral.  It is one of the most important icons in the Liturgical room.

There's also a room dedicated to Porcelain

The music room or home theatre, one of the first, was lined with lilac velvet walls, and throughout Hillwood the attention to detail did not go unnoticed.

the placement of furniture was taken very seriously

Some of Marjorie's favorite jewels are housed there as well.  I love that the emerald pieces were displayed in the bedroom while outside in the hall hangs this painting of her wearing it with her daughter, Dina Merrill.

This little silver and brass sign hangs on each guest room door. Open it to tell others, "Do not disturb ~ resting"

The outside garden design functions as an extension of the house.  Marjorie and her team created outdoor rooms, each having their own distinct character.  From every window there was something magnificent to see.

A greenhouse and cutting garden supply the home with flowers to this day

There's even a little pet cemetery.

Perry Wheeler, known for the White House rose garden, adapted Hillwood's rose garden for Marjorie.
This would become her final resting place beneath the obelisk, amongst all that she loved.

If you love fabulous homes, decorative arts, and lush gardens~put Hillwood on your "must see" list of things to do while in Washington.
Don't even get me started on the Japanese garden.  That's a whole other post.  There were outer buildings, each with their own distinct personality.  The exhibition by Isabelle de Borchgrave that I raved about here was in the Adorandack building and throughout.

ph: courtesy of Hillwood and CLI