Monday, January 31

Friday, January 28

IN BED WITH Jeffery Alan Marks

This week you can visit the SFERRA website to learn more about Jeffery Allan Marks. Find out which SFERRA linens he awards the 'Best Dressed' status and why.

Monday, January 24

Hipstamatic Paris

I am in love with the Hipstamatic app for iPhone. Modeled after the ill-fated 1982 Hipstamatic camera, the app creates nostalgic, vintage looking photos. The photos have become so popular that a Hipstamatics exhibition is now on display at The Orange Dot Gallery in London until the end of January.

My husband captured some fun photos while we were in Paris visiting friends and attending Déco Off 2011 and Maison&Ojet over the weekend.

Wednesday, January 19


This week you can visit the SFERRA website to learn more about Brad Ford. Learn which SFERRA linens he looks forward to sleeping on each night, why he prefers sateen and his truthful answer to the question of ironing linens.

Tuesday, January 18

Design Bloggers Conference in LA

Join interior design bloggers, new media innovators and interior design industry leaders for the inaugural Design Bloggers Conference in LA, February 28 - March 2, 2011. Learn how to expand your personal brand, build your blog and how to better engage your readers using multiple platforms.

This premier two-day conference for new media and the interior design industry offers a unique opportunity to learn about and discuss the intersection of interior design with the world of new media including blogging, social media, and more.

I will be speaking along with Jan Showers, Suzanne Rheinstein, Barclay Butera, Tobi Fairley, Grace Bonney, Tracy Porter, Cassandra LaValle, Paloma Contreras, Stacy Kunstel, Anne Sage and Clinton Smith - I can't wait.

If you're interested in attending, head over to the Design Bloggers Conference site for more information and Register Here.

I hope to see you in sunny LA! Click here to see a list of participants! WOW!

Monday, January 17

The French Love Michael Devine Fabrics

A much deserved congratulations to my friend, fabric designer, Michael Devine. The French edition of Elle Decoration has named Michael’s fabrics as one of their favorites in their Best of the International issue.

The hand printed linen fabrics are now available in France. If you are in Paris this week for Maison&Objet and/or Paris Deco Off, you can see Michael’s fabrics at Holland & Sherry 17 rue de l'Echaude paris 6. I will be stopping by the showroom!

IN BED WITH Kendall Wilkinson

This week you can visit the SFERRA website to learn more about Kendall Wilkinson, her preferred SFERRA linens and her thoughts on everything from bedroom 'must haves' to setting the perfect bed.

Thursday, January 13

First Huffington Post Blog: Out with the Old?

It was quite a rush to see my first Huffington Post blog post, Out With the Old?, go live yesterday. Writing for the Huffington Post has long been a dream of mine, and I am thrilled to now be a part of that community. A very special thank you to my friend Shawn Henderson for believing in my writing and making the introduction.

In the past few years there have been numerous depressing examples of demolition of historic buildings that continue to remind me that buildings and monuments are not only historically important to a region and culture, but they serve as visible symbols linking us to our past.

Most recently, book The Ruins of Detroit by French photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre has haunted my thoughts. You can read my take on preservation and adaptive reuse of buildings here.

Photo by Marchand and Meffre: The ballroom of the 15-floor art-deco Lee Plaza Hotel in Detroit, Michigan. The apartment building and hotel was built in 1929 and has been derelict since the early 1990s.

Tuesday, January 11

Profile: Nicky Haslam

It is difficult to pigeonhole Nicky Haslam; both the man and the designer. And, having now met him, my guess is that he likes it that way.

Nicky's legacy, talent and influence as one of Britain’s ultimate interior designers is undeniable. Not to mention, in his spare time he is an actor, artist, cabaret singer, book reviewer, art editor, memoirist, literary editor and he features on both Vanity Fair and GQ’s best-dressed lists!

Possessing a conspicuous flair and an inherent aesthetic, Nicky has been casting a spell on the design cognoscenti since 1972, when he first started practicing as an interior designer. In the late 1980’s he founded his London-based architectural and design firm, NH Design.

Nicky, along with his Creative Director Colette van den Thillart, has designed projects all over the world including London, New York, Morocco, New Orleans, Denmark, Montreal, Barbados, St Jean Cap Ferrat, Monaco and Moscow, Klosters, Grasse, Mallorca, Los Angeles and Paris.

When last in New Orleans, thanks to our friends Michael and Quinn, I had the good fortune to see one of Nicky’s projects, owned by Soniat House proprietors Frances and Rodney Smith. In all honesty, the living room was one of the most magical rooms that I have ever witnessed.

Not only is Nicky a talented designer, he is a talented artist. While at school at Eton he excelled in art. Today, the Victoria and Albert Museum as well as The Royal Institute of British Architects hold some of his interior watercolour renderings based on client projects.

Nicky Haslam divides his time between his London apartment and the Hunting Lodge in Hampshire that once belonged to John Fowler, a partner of Colefax and Fowler.

How would you describe your personal style?
Scintillating, Unlaborious, Unlaboured

What is your most prized possession?
A fan letter from Nancy Lancaster

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Keeping one's figure

What is the one thing in life you cannot live without?
White peaches

What is your favorite luxury in life?
Being able to sleep easily and listening to Lee Wiley

Past or present, who has most influenced your direction in life?
Simon Fleet, Diana Vreeland, Diana Cooper and Colette van den Thillart, my Creative Director at NH Design

What inspires your creativity and designs?
Travel and lying in bed thinking

Who are your style icons
Madame du Barry, Emilio Terry and Jean-Charles Delafosse

Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
Cy Twombly and John Richardson, the art historian who wrote all the Picasso books.

What books are currently on your bedside table
Wait for Me! by Deborah Devonshire
Honky Tonk Parade by John Lahr
What to Look for in Winter by Candia McWilliam
My own autobiography Redeeming Features

Profile by Ronda Carman

Sunday, January 9

Soup on Sunday: Aromatic Herb Stock

2 stalk lemon grass, bruised*
7 cups of vegetable stock
1/2 cup sliced cilantro leaves
2 whole jalapenos, bruised*
1/2 tsp grated lime zest
1 piece fresh ginger (2.5cm), peeled and sliced
1 lime juice to taste
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 1/2 tbsp salt
1 pepper to taste
3 oz snow peas
1 scallion
2 tbsp cilantro leaves

Cut lemon grass in 2-inch pieces; bruise lightly. Combine with stock, cilantro, jalapenos, lime zest and ginger in saucepan. Simmer and covered for 15 minutes (halfway through, taste and remove hot pepper, if desired, or leave in longer for more heat).

Strain and add lime juice, fish sauce, salt and pepper. Cut snow peas in thin diagonal strips and thinly slice the scallion. Bring broth to a boil: stir in snow peas and boil until just tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in scallion and cilantro. Serve at once.

4 servings

* Lemongrass and jalapenos can be bruised with a mortar and pestle

Friday, January 7

British West Indies Style by Michael Connors

Once again author Michael Connors has offered a warm, and much welcome, visual reprieve from record cold temperatures, snow and freezing rains. In 2009 I did a post on Michael’s book Caribbean Houses (Rizzoli) and I have been looking forward to another book by the West Indian decorative arts scholar.

This time Michael turned his attention to the British West Indies. British West Indies Style is another stunning and significant account of the Caribbean, this time the interiors and architecture of English colonial homes and historic town houses.

From the British Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Nevis, St. Kitts, Antigua and Barbados, to the lesser-known islands of Bequia, Dominca and Mustique, the book features close to fifty private homes. Many of the houses showcased in the revealing tome are hidden to visitors, making British West Indies Style much more than a 'picture book,' it’s a mini-history of the islands.

One of the finest private collections of colonial West Indies furniture in the Caribbean islands. The majority of the pieces are from Barbados and Trinidad.

One of the most prized pieces of furniture in Barbados is the familiar cellaret. Designed on a curule base or X frame, the V-shape lower drawer opens to reveal a fitted interior that holds six wine bottles.

An aerial view of St. Nicholas Abbey sugar plantation in Barbados.

The Sunbury Plantation office, where plantation business was once conducted, is filled with island-crafted mahogany furniture.

Tuesday, January 4

IN BED WITH Tammy Connor

This week you can visit the SFERRA website to learn more about Tammy Connor, her preferred SFERRA linens and her thoughts on everything from bedroom 'must haves' to the perfect breakfast in bed.

Monday, January 3

Interior Design Chat: Collaborating with Brands

Ronique Gibson and Ronda Carman at Sub-Zero/Wolf from AGP on Vimeo.

This past September, along with fellow blogger Ronique Gibson and several interior/kitchen designers, I had the privilege of being invited to spending three days at Sub-Zero and Wolf in Madison, Wisconsin. I've long been a fan of these two iconic brands, but prior to my visit I did not fully appreciate (nor understand) the extreme care, craftsmanship and level of detail that goes into the manufacturing process and, thus, the finished product.

Not only did I leave with a greater appreciation of the products, I left weighing a pound or two more than when I arrived. Each day started off at the beautiful Bakke Center, a state-of-the-art training facility where you can smell, savor, touch and eat glorious food prepared using Wolf products.

Wolf and Sub-Zero have taken a proactive approach when it comes to social media best practices and the engagement of their target audience. During our visit, Ronique Gibson and I were asked to participate in a video produced by Andy Garcia Productions for Sub Zero/Wolf on the topic of social media.

Following on the now finished video, Interior Design Chat (#IntDesignerChat) will host a Twitter chat on the topic of "Collaborating with Brands In 2011" on Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at 6pm EST. #IntDesignerChat is weekly chat for Interior Designers, Interior Architects, Decorators, and anyone who is in the Home Decor and Furniture Industry. To learn more about 'how to chat' click here. See you on Twitter!

Sunday, January 2

Happy 2011

Happy New Year! Please let me apologize for the recent delay in posting. A few factors, including seasonal illnesses and a much need break, played a nontrivial role in my absence. Despite my nonappearance, I do sincerely thank you for your continued support. 2011 looks to be an even more exciting year than 2010, and for that I am most grateful (albeit a little tired).

It was four years ago today that I penned my very first blog post—All the Best Champagne. 875-blog posts later I am still humbled and honored by all who read All the Best. Beyond that, I am so appreciative for the attention received, the doors opened and the friends who have come into my life.

In all honestly, I could never have envisioned the path that my life would take as I typed that first post in January 2007. The one constant that remains is the delight I receive from writing each day and connecting with a community of like-minded individuals.

I know that I have been very fortunate. Thanks to All the Best, countless doors have, and continue to, open, including a new post writing for the Huffington Post, contributing to New York Social Diary and my coveted role as Brand Ambassador for SFERRA.

In just a few weeks I will be launching a new and improved version of All the Best. After four years I am so excited for you all to see the new look. I will endeavor to post three days a week, plus include my Soup on Sunday. While demands run high, All the Best is still a great joy and priority in my life.

I am a firm believer in giving credit where credit is due, and the New Year seems the perfect time for such acknowledgment. There are many people, including my husband and son, in my life who deserve much credit for keeping me balanced, grounded, inspired, motivated, encouraged and happy (and you all know who you are). Thank you.

Happy New Year! I hope 2011 brings you all the very best.

Photo: Harper's Bazaar US December 2008
Model: Angela Lindvall
Photographer: Richard Burbridge
Stylist: Brian Molloy