Thursday, July 23

Profile: Nadine Blake

Sometimes I feel like the luckiest person alive. Since launching All the Best I have had the privilege of meeting some really amazing and wonderful people. Many I have 'known' through books, magazines or emails. However, on occasion, you meet a 'stranger' with whom you feel an instant attraction.

Such is the case with Nadine Blake. After arriving in New Orleans we made our way to the French Quarter for an afternoon of shopping, touring, cafe' au lait and beignets. One of our first stops, as highly recommended by Quinn and Michael, was the delightful shop owned by Nadine Blake. All of the accolades were true, her shop is a treasure trove and we clicked instantly.

Prior to moving to New Orleans, Nadine and her husband Simon lived in New York (a friend and neighbor of Amanda Nisbet - small world). After taking a few interior design classes in New York, Nadine's work caught the eye of Alexa Hampton. After an interview with Mark Hampton LLC, Nadine joined the firm. "Working with Alexa was wonderful, I immediately felt as if I were home. We are still friends to this day," says Nadine.

It's easy to see why they are still friends. Nadine is not only a genial host, she is a great storyteller with an infectious smile. I especially loved hearing her reminisce about the pink 'office' phone that once belonged to her grandmother.

On Sunday Nadine and her husband Simon invited me, Chris, Quinn and Michael for Pimms on the balcony of their beautiful French Quarter home, before heading off to Galatoire's for dinner. During cocktails the conversation turned to the amazing apartment belonging to Thomas Jayne. I lamented the fact that I was to email Thomas when I traveled to New Orleans for a tour of his apartment, but sadly I forgot. During my last conversation with Thomas he mentioned that a friend held his key. As it turned out, Nadine is that friend!!

After a quick phone call to Thomas, arrangements were made to stop by the apartment after dinner. The apartment was purchased two months before Hurricane Katrina. Thankfully, being eight feet above sea level there was no flooding. The wall paper in the dining room is beyond fabulous! And we were lucky to have Nadine as a tour guide.

I hope you enjoy the photos of Nadine's home and her answers as much as I enjoyed writing this post.

What inspires your creativity and designs?
Art; travel; fashion; movies; nature ... I could go on and on.

Which talent would you most like to possess
It would be awfully fun to deliver witty ripostes `a la Winston (Churchill), Dorothy (Parker), and Oscar (Wilde) but I'd settle for better short-term memory.

What is your most prized possession?
I'm extremely fickle. Today it's a Polaroid SX-70 camera and a few remaining boxes of film.

Who is your hero of fiction
When I was young I was obsessed with the glamorous, girl sleuth Nancy Drew. Presently, I'm in admiration of the level-headed Mma Ramotswe of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. And no doubt I'll find the dithering Miss Marple positively charming in my later years.

What is the one thing in life you cannot live without?
To paraphrase John Lennon, all I need is love.

Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project
It's a toss-up between Desmond Guinness and Daphne Guinness.

What books are currently on your bedside table?
The Bolter by Frances Osborne; The Rainbow Comes and Goes by Diana Cooper; Sacred Monsters, Sacred Masters by John Richardson.

What is your favorite luxury in life
Subscriptions to foreign magazines and the time to pore over them.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I have managed to surround myself with a coterie of very good people (both friends and family). They inspire me, challenge me, cheer me up and calm me down - they're cheaper than therapy.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Brits and grits.

Past or present who has most influenced your direction in life
My husband, Simon. Every day I aspire toward his creativity and his kindness.

Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day?
Elvis Costello, at home, with pots of tea followed by bottles of red wine.

Nadine Blake
1036 Royal St
New Orleans, LA 70116-2704
(504) 529-4913

*So many have asked about the pet pillows, just give Nadine a call for more details, she is a doll!

Profile by Ronda Carman/Photos by Christopher Carman


Kimberly said...

WOW! I am new to your blog and I am in love with it. We are frequent visitors to NOLA and all parts of La. I am not familiar with a lot of the names mentioned in this post, but I love the apartment, and look forward to more wonderous glimpses of NOLA...Where can I get one of those "bulldog pillows"?? We have two English bulldogs, Etouffee and Boudin...their dad Gumbo lives in Simsboro! Kisses, kim

Kalee said...

Lovely post and your dress is fantastic!

Anonymous said...

I second that, great post and your dress if fabulous!

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Ronda ~ Lovely! It sounds like you have had a great time. How funny that Nadine was the friend with the key ~ small world and funny how sometimes these things occur!

pve design said...

You look fab in that color, is it a red orange? I want to plan a trip to New Orleans. Always something exciting in store here.

Tina said...

At least once a week I say, "It's a small world!" Here goes, "It's a small world!" (apartment key) Another charming day and delightful post from you. Nadine's responses were very entertaining, I've learned a lot since you've been in NOLA, and yes, your dress, you look fab!

Unknown said...

What a fabulous little piece of inspiration from the Big Easy-- a city that I love and the home of my friend Amanda Talley! Thanks to you and thanks to Amanda for posting a link to this blog.

Down Pillow said...

Thank you for this delightful and quirky post. Very nice break from my day.

La Maison Fou said...

What a wonderful time, & YOU LOOK LIKE YOU ARE HAVING SO MUCH FUN!
Great lttle run, and the shopping is too much to get done! Lovely, and PVE is right that is your color!
Have a good weekend,

down pillow said...

I must have one of those bulldog pillows for a friend of mine! Where are they??

ALL THE BEST said...

Thank you for all of the kind comments!!!

You can get the dog pillows from Nadine. Just give her a call at (504) 529-4913. She is an absolute doll!

Rebecca Corvese said...

Wow! You are a lucky girl! It says a lot too that people find you so easy to talk to. For someone you don't know to invite you over for drinks and out to dinner after a warm conversation is amazing. And how fortuitous that she had the key to Jayne's apartment?!! How wonderful. I'm jealous! :) I want to start traveling with you! :)

Karena said...

Ronda, Nadine sounds like the neatest lady! I love the pet pillows. Also the dress you are wearing is wonderful. May I ask where you found it? I would love some loose cool dresses for the rest of this hot, humid KC weather!

Anonymous said...

I do love the strange connectedness of the web. I found your blog via a search on Polaroid. And I have to say that I am with Nadine as listing a Polaroid SX70 and a little film amongst my most treasured possessions.

But what a gorgeous blog here as well - really inspirational. I see you are in Scotland somewhere - so a *wave hello* from relatively near by.

Ann said...

This is such an interesting post to read and I love the photos... I quite agree with Nadine, Elvis Costello would be a great person to have tea with and a little chit-chat...but honestly, I wouldn't have come up with Elvis Costello right away.

samia said...

another great interview.. so charming and so easy going.. i am seriously envious of ur blog.. it is awesome.. the people you meet are true inspirations.. and the way you feature them make them all the more fun to knw.. great job.. cant get enough of it.. n i agree completely its the creative ppl that add to life..

cotedetexas said...

First things first - you look ravishingly beautiful! All of you on that porch - Nadine in white linen, the best!!!!!! The house - beautiful!

I love that wallpaper.

I am so jealous - I would love to be on the porch toasting away == and Galatoires, my favorite ever. Lucky lucky girl!!!!!

ALL THE BEST said...

Awwww thank you Joni! It was such a fun evening!! And everyone was so nice, true Southern charm. Galatoires = DELICIOUS! We went on Sunday evening (when the locals go) much fun!

ALL THE BEST said...

Karena sorry for the delay!! It's Diane von Furstenberg.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Look how wonderful everyone looks! Casually elegant. HOORAH!

What a city, eh?

ALL THE BEST said...

It a fabulous city!

john park said...

Just read your words and remembered the energetic and generous attitude of Nadine and Simon on the day I bought some floor pillows from her shop. Her style and her relaxed manner lend a wonderful tone to the already exceptional experience one enjoys among her wares. I hope visitors to the Quarter will pop in and enjoy! By the way, Nadine's mother is quite a joy herself and a charming conversationalist!! jsp