Room with a View

The art of the bath has been resurrected at casa Leskowitz.  As I am exploring mindfulness and meditation, I am finding new ways to relax and restore inner peace.  Designing and training to be a life coach is no simple tasks!  A bath is such a lovely way to unwind and just "be."   With the kids gone and a somewhat slower pace to life right now I am really enjoying "me time."

But, the mind wanders (or is it just me) ~ as I gaze at the ceramic tile that seems outdated a faucet that feels uninspiring and a room with no view to speak of, I yearn….  For this….


any of these, I'm not picky

From city to country, lakeside to beachside to mountainside , from sea to shining sea ~ Who wouldn't be enamored with taking a fabulous bath, drawn in a fabulous tub located in a fabulous bathroom with a fabulous view??

You heard of arm chair traveling, I will be tub traveling.  So, let it snow, let the winds blow ~ I will be in soaking in a warm bath calling upon my rich imagination to conjure up far off places. Technically, I don't think I am quieting my mind, but I do feel less stressed about it.



Juan Pablo Molyneux

I received a couple of questions regarding the definition of gauffrage from my last post.  I anticipated that!

(go-frazh) a noun, is a traditionally French technique of embossing a plain woven fabric or material with a hot pressure cylinder.  The heat from the process literally melts the pattern into the fabric ensuring a  permanent design.

The gauffrage process reflected a desire for luxury as much in the past as it does today.  The cylinder patterns range from commonly seen damask and florals to geometrics.  It works best on fabrics such as silks, velvets, mohairs, also leather, and looks at home in a traditional or modern interior.

The art is believed to be invented by the Japanese in the 14th or 15th century.  It was known as "karazuri."  It was what we think of today more as embossing.

The French and Italians experimented on fabric and raised it to an art form.

Edelman Leather


Westey Hall

Ralph Lauren


Taking it one step further, this fabric was gauffraged, then hand painted. Isn't it gorgeous!

Circa Interiors

We often think of it as a look seen more often in traditional interiors, (think that heavy damask) but it works well in any setting, on almost any frame or application that calls for this type of weight.

Art Deco


So next time you recognize this pattern, mention it by name and impress those around you!  

A Lofty Apartment

I came across this apartment designed by Oliver Furth and fell in love!  This 1,300 square foot LA apartment that is used as a pied-à-terre by the owners really packs a punch!  Maybe it's the color scheme, maybe it's the selection of beautifully curated furniture, maybe it's the flex space Oliver created, what ever it is, it is loft luxe living at its finest!

Oliver considers his designs modern, but he doesn't consider himself a modernist.  With a background in art history, he marries decorative arts and interior design with aplomb!  The hand painted silk wallpaper sets the tone, but also sets forth the tension that is created within the apartment.

Oliver began by opening the whole apartment up; taking it down to the studs and building it back up better.  When the ceiling came down 2 feet of height was gained.  The exposed duct work and the concrete shell became features that were highlighted.  When the walls came down, ingenious "doors" separated the space as needed.  Walnut pocket doors could close off the kitchen.  A resin wall with siding doors allowed the bedroom to be closed off but still allow light in.  A Utah based company developed the technology to create and hang the resin panels because they can be made longer and need less support than glass; of course they had to be hoisted up the side of the building and brought in thru the sliding terrace doors.  Where there's a will, there's a way!  Everything was carefully considered.  Bespoke door and cabinetry hardware were created.  A monogram logo was designed incorporating the apartment number, then used on everything from sheets and towels to stationary.  That's taking it to another level!

The owner's rug was the jumping off point for the color scheme that  transformed the apartment into a jewel box of cool, muted jewel tones.  The art is rotated from the client's collection.  The bamboo floors were stained an unexpected peacock blue while the luxe fabrics and exquisite materials provide a richness throughout.

Period pieces such as the 1940's French sideboard rests below 1960's Italian sconces while a pair of Paul Evan's chairs from the 70's in custom colored silk co exist with custom furniture like the shagreen waterfall cocktail table and sofa to tell a story of the refined, layered, luxuriousness of the materials juxtaposed against the rawness of the view above.

The dining room table expands to seat 12 when necessary.  Book matched walnut cabinetry conceals appliances and such in the kitchen.  Spanish green striated marble and a mother of pearl backsplash  embue the kitchen with the same warmth and elegance.

The apartment's richness and gorgeous variety of materials extend to the bedroom as well.  A custom upholstered bed in linen velvet quietly exudes grace and comfort.  Clever storage niches were created with custom cabinetry, made more decorative on one side with the addition of a hand painted and  gauffraged leather screen.

I could move right in.  There is nothing I would change.  I aspire to own a pied-à-terre of my own one day.  Add it to the list of places I could be happy in!

photos: Laurie Jolliet via WSJ, Tim Street Porter and John Ellis via Interiors magazine

Beauty Is Power

Helena Rubinstein Foundation via FIT

Helena Rubinstein, the diminutive powerhouse of a women that came from humble means in Krakow, Poland by sheer will and force, transformed herself into "a paragon of good taste and high style."  Helena wanted to encourage other women to define themselves as self expressive, self improved individuals, so they may find empowerment.

Helena, not a classic beauty in any sense of the word, had a vision and the instinctual business acumen to understand that at a time when suffragettes were marching down 5th Avenue, women were burning their corsets and becoming more independent and interested in self improvement,  that the allure of beauty and working at being more attractive was within every woman's reach.  It's not what you are born with that counts, it is what you do with it.  She declares,
                                    "There are no ugly women, only lazy ones."  :-)

via Jewish Museum

Over her lifetime she acquired many beautiful paintings, including commissioned self portraits by renowned artists.  Her collection was vast and varied.  She favored unknown works by well known artists.  I told you she was a savvy business woman.  She was as attracted to modern masters as she was to African and oceanic art and sculpture.

via jewish Museum

HR in Japan by Warhol, 1957

Picasso's 12 Heads or Madame XIX came about when Madam Rubinstein asked Picasso several times to paint her portrait.  Not one to take no for an answer, she showed up at his house one day unannounced and convinced him to do 2 sittings in 1955 (Aug and Nov.)  You can see the distain as the portraits or studies evolve.  Some remain unfinished (faceless) on purpose.  Either way, I thought they were quite stunning!

In her collection, this surrealist painting by Lenor Fini had a huge influence on Helena.  It embodied the cultural shift that was taking place at the time; woman replaces man as voyeur.

Beginning with Valaze, a cream she created, Madame Rubinstein, as she then became known, (her 2nd husband was a royal prince) opened salons in Paris and London.  She was a visionary and a pioneer when it came to understanding branding and public relations.  Everything she did, her homes, her salons, her style, and products all unified the message she wanted to project.  "Beauty is Power" became her motto, and she used it in everything from advertisements to product labels.

She employed the best architects and designers of the time to ensure the continuity of the lifestyle brand that became Helena Rubenstein.  Her apartments in New York, Paris, and London were used as settings for her photo shoots.  Her art collections were shown in her salons; everything was intertwined.  She wrote, "I attempted to devise memorable color schemes, select comfortable furnishings, and I chose beautiful paintings from my own collection."

The New York Apartment ~ She tried to buy an apartment but they would not allow Jews, so Madame bought the whole building and made a home for herself in the triplex penthouse.  Gotta love that!

via Helena Rubenstein Foundation, FIT

Madame Rubinstein was extravagant in all areas of her life.  No expense was spared!  The walls of her New York sitting room were tufted of satin.  She coined the term "quarrel jewelry."  Whenever she had a fight with her husband, she bought herself a piece of jewelry.  I am not suggesting you adopt that (yes I am, no I'm not, yes I am!)

In her NY apartment, 1938, Vogue

self portrait, Marie Laurencin 1934
She kept them filed alphabetically:  A for amethyst, D for Diamond, E for Emerald, etc...

The Paris Apartment  ~

Her bedroom walls were covered in quilted champagne silk.  She believed in the notion of one's home(s) expressing one's personality.  However diverse her furniture and art, she juxtaposed disparate periods and managed to create a dynamic collection that expressed her alone.  She didn't care!

via Conte Nast Archive

3 ph. via For Pilar
Later, it takes a more modern turn ~ a Dali stands guard over lucite chairs she had commissioned in the 1930's.

The Paris Salon ~

In London ~ at 91, she championed a young David Hicks

In a 1945 advertisement she invites women to choose their color palette as if decorating an interior with sample fabric swatches.

via T Magazine

Beauty, like art is subjective.  Who do we want to project out in the world?  How do we want to be seen?  Whether we paint our faces, our homes, or wear clothes that express our unique style, Helena Rubinstein blazed a trail, giving women permission to look and feel elegant.  Almost 100 years later, we are still trying to embrace our own uniqueness, whatever that looks like.