Friday, November 30

Profile: Jan Showers

Dallas designer Jan Showers is gifted when it comes to creating glamorous interiors—pale silks, glass, books, mirrors and other elegant elements are all trademarks of this talented woman.

Sculptural table lamps, another signature mark, reveal her penchant for obelisks, Murano glass, crystal finials and horizontal shades. Once you have seen her lamps you will recognize them almost immediately.

Rebecca Sherman, executive editor of DHome Magazine, hit the nail on the head when she wrote, “A serene Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief might have been Showers’ perfect client.” Understated glamour, a combination of periods and the creation of inviting rooms are the foundation of Jan’s style. I have long been in love with her use of lamps, Venetian glass, and magnificent mirrors. Simply sensational.

What inspires your designs?
Travel, my family, books and art.

What are your favorite indulgences
Naps, a great glass of wine with good food, talking on the phone with friends (which I do not do often enough). My husband would tell you that jewelry, watches and certain handbags are right up there.

How would you describe your personal style
Timeless. I detest trendy and hate to look last year the following year. I like to buy nice things that will last.

Thinking about your own home what is your favorite room and why
This is a difficult one to select. I would have to say that I adore the library in our country’s so warm, intimate and has a great fireplace. I am surrounded by books and a big screen tv to watch my DVDs (it is built into the bookcase and surrounded by books). I have spent the happiest hours there with my family and husband Jim on family holidays.

Who would you most like to meet and how would you send the day
I hate to sound corny, but have already met husband. I would spend the day walking in Central Park or in Paris or just sitting by the fire at our house.

If I had to choose a famous person, past or present, I would chose Alfred Hitchcock or Katherine Hepburn. I think they were both terribly talented and had interesting philosophies on life and the arts. I would just spend the day talking and asking questions.

Western Interiors, October/November 2007, photography by Dominque Vorillon

What book is on your bedside table?
Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Lincoln really did outsmart them all!! I wanted to read about a true statesman (and a very intelligent one!).

Who are your style icons
Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Babe Paley and Cary Grant. Cary Grant, without a doubt, was the most amazing of all of these and had the most style!

What is the one thing in life you can't live without
Other than the most important people in my life, I would have to say it is a tie between books and movies....I just cannot chose.

Profile by Ronda Carman

Monday, November 26

Profile: Olivier Magny

Parisian Olivier Magny is part of a new generation in the world of wine. Frequently presented as ‘the Jamie Oliver of wine', Olivier possesses a strong conviction that the world of wine should be laid back, not stuffy and pretentious. Guided with that spirit and with a strong ambition to break the mold, he founded O Chateau in 2004.

In his career as a sommelier Olivier has worked at Le Cellier Saint-Paul in Paris and the four-star Le Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat in the South of France where he worked hand in hand with France's youngest Two-Star Michelin Chef, Edouard Loubet. In addition to running his business O Chateau, Olivier is a visiting sommelier at Hotel de Crillon in Paris (tough job).

I will be in Paris this summer and plan to attend one of Olivier courses. However, if you can't make it to Paris you can enjoy the next best thing Wine Rendezvous - enjoy!

How did you get your start in wine?
I was not supposed to work in wine originally. My mother is a doctor. My father is a doctor. After college, I decided I couldn't have a real job, a serious one anyway. I wanted a job that would make me happy, that would bring poetry, excitement and fun to my life. Wine represented all this to me.

So after studying business (or rugby should I say), I decided to focus my study on wine and to turn my passion into my profession!

What do you love most about your work?
This might sound awfully pretentious, but I’ll take that chance: I think we bring a tiny moment of happiness to people. Many of our clients come to us not knowing what to expect, fearing another dull and boring wine tasting. But quickly, they actually end up laughing, learning, meeting and interacting with great people from all over the world, and of course tasting great wines.

When people leave at the end of the tasting I can feel they are sincere when they thank us for what we do. This is priceless and makes me want to keep going in what I do.

What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
That my ultimate dream in life is to be a hip hop dancer?!

What is your fondest wine memory?
A glass of Port 1882 offered to me by an old man who had collected Port for his whole life. Moment of pure emotion.

Where is your favorite place to vacation?
Vacation is a word that has been almost out of my vocabulary since I started my company three years ago.

I’ve become a weekend person. When I go away, what I’m looking for is beautiful scenery, good wine, good food, and pleasant company. On top of being a food and wine junkie, I’m also very sun-dependent! My dream country is probably Argentina. I enjoy the beauty of the country and of the people as well as the simple richness of their food and wine.

What is your favorite luxury in life?

What are your favorite varietals?
It’s all very changing – depending on the season, the weather, the food I’m having.

But right now I have a double crush. Riesling for the whites, it's delicate, beautiful, floral, under rated. Syrah for the reds. Mostly the Syrah from the Northern Rhône - enchanting, fruity and sensual. Just can’t get enough of them!!

Profile by Ronda Carman

Saturday, November 24

New Mexico Snowfall

Just before departing New Mexico the snow began falling throughout the night. Luckily the roads were clear of snow this morning and the sun was shining. It's certainly beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, November 22

Happy Thanksgving

Last weekend I was shopping at Nordstrom and was most impressed by their store windows.

The snow is just starting to fall here in New Mexico. I have so many things to be thankful for this year, namely the incredible support of my husband and son who encourage me to keep blogging every day. Last month I resigned from my full-time job as a fundraiser in order to focus solely on blogging and writing a book version of All the Best.

I am extremely thankful for all the wonderful people that I have met via blogging and of course each of the many readers who visit my blog every day. Thank you and happy Thanksgiving.

All the best,

Wednesday, November 21

New Mexico Architecture

I adore the diverse architectural styles found throughout New Mexico. The state's distinctive architecture reflects the diversity of cultures that have left their imprint on the region.

Of course adobe style homes are hugely popular but very few new homes are built of adobe. Instead, most are constructed with wood frames and plasterboard, and then stuccoed over. Several local architects are currently employing innovative architecture to create a Pueblo-style feel. They incorporate straw bales, pumice-crete, rammed earth, old tires, even aluminum cans in the construction of homes. Most of these elements are used in the same way bricks are used, stacked and layered, and then covered over with plaster and made to look like adobe. Often it's difficult to distinguish homes built with these materials from those built with wood-frame construction.

We are spending Thanksgiving week in New Mexico with a lifelong family friend. Last night Janie, our gracious hostess, held a cocktail party in her beautiful home.

Tuesday, November 20

Absolutely Beautiful Dinning Room

If you have not checked out Absolutely Beautiful Things today then go and take a peek. Anna has posted photos of her dinning room and it is absolutely stunning!!

New Mexican Red Chile Turkey

I thought I would share with you a little flavor of the Southwest. I love this recipe from Sunset magazine. Enjoy!

1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves or 1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 tablespoon dried thyme
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced, plus 1 whole head (3 oz.)
1 turkey (14 to 18 lb.)
Kosher salt
10 dried New Mexico chiles (2 to 3 oz. total; see notes)
1 onion (10 oz.)
2 to 4 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth

1. Preheat oven to 325°. In a 1- to 2-quart pan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in half the oregano and thyme and the minced garlic. Remove from heat.
2. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat dry. Lightly sprinkle turkey cavities with salt and pepper and remaining oregano and thyme.

3. Rinse chiles and pat dry. Cut off stems and shake out seeds (cut chiles, if necessary, to remove seeds easily). Peel onion and cut into 1-inch wedges. Rinse garlic head and cut in half crosswise. Place half the chiles, onion, and whole garlic in turkey body cavity. Set a V-shaped rack in a 12- by 17-inch roasting pan. Place remaining chiles under center of rack. Set turkey, breast up, on rack. Brush turkey all over with butter mixture. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Lay remaining onion and garlic, cut side down, in pan. Pour 2 cups broth into pan.

4. Roast turkey until a meat thermometer inserted straight down through thickest part of breast to the bone registers 160°, 2 to 3 hours. Check pan occasionally; if most of the broth has evaporated, add 1 to 2 cups more broth so pan drippings don't burn. Tip turkey slightly to drain juices from body cavity into pan. Transfer to a platter. Let stand in a warm place, uncovered, for 15 to 30 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, pour pan juices into a 2- to 4-cup glass measure. Skim off and discard fat. Pour 2 cups of the pan juices (if you don't have enough, add more broth to make 2 cups) into a blender. Add onion and chiles from turkey cavity and pan. If desired, squeeze garlic from skins into blender, or discard garlic head. Holding blender lid down with a towel, whirl until mixture is coarsely puréed. Return sauce to roasting pan and stir over medium heat until hot. Add salt to taste and pour into a bowl.
Carve turkey and serve with chile sauce.

Makes about 14 to 18 servings, with leftovers
Notes: If you can't find New Mexico chiles in supermarkets or Latino grocery stores, substitute dried California chiles.

Dried corn wreath from Martha Stewart Living

Monday, November 19

Off to New Mexico

I am off to catch an 8:30 flight to New Mexico this morning and will post more later today...

Saturday, November 17

Shopping on Saturday

I just returned from lunch and shopping with Joni. It was so great to actually meet her in person. She's just as imagined - warm, friendly, fun and beautiful. We had a wonderful lunch at The Raven Grill. Opened nine years ago by Sara and Rob Cromie the interior is stylish, yet casual and the food is delicious. The decor includes chartreuse walls, rustic cement floors and Edgar Allen Poe-inspired art.

M. Naeve is located next door and it exceeded all expectations. The store is filled with pale wood furniture,antique urns, huge crystal and wood chandeliers and over sized accessories. The photos posted are my favorite finds of the day. It was a great Saturday afternoon.

Read Joni's recount of the afternoon.

Shopping on Saturday

I am off to have lunch and go shopping with Joni of Cote de Texas. One stop on our shopping excursion will be the romantic antique store M. Naeve, eponym for Margaret Naeve, and described by Joni as "a darling, twenty-something who actually looks more like a teenager." Once I get back this afternoon I will post photos and tell you all about our day. Can't wait!

Thursday, November 15

Cote de Texas

Happy early birthday to Joni of Cote de Texas. A few weeks ago I posted a birthday illustration for Anna of Absolutely Beautiful Things created by the wonderful Patricia van Essche. Joni left a note that her birthday was on the 20th of November and Patricia read the comment. A few days later Patricia emailed me to say that she had an idea and wanted to commemorate Joni's birthday in a special way. Here is the fantastic result of Patrica's amazing talent (she never ceases to surprise me). Happy early birthday Joni!

Quadrille Paradise Background

Marissa asked what fabric Chloe Warner used for the pillows on her sofa. It's Quadrille in Paradise Background (Pistachio on Tint - 301981F).

Tuesday, November 13

Profile: Tyler Dawson

Tyler Dawson - Redmond Aldrich Design

Tyler Dawson is the design partner of Chloe Warner, the other half of the "what if we made it gold" duo. Tyler received her degree in art history from Columbia University and studied interior design at the University of California Los Angeles. While attending UCLA Tyler interned at the design firms of kwid and Natasha Esch Design (lucky girl). However, the kwid only lasted for one week, as Tyler recieved her acceptance to Columbia. With only 3 weeks to sell a house and move to New York the internship was cut short (one of Tyler's greatest disappointments).

A frequent international traveler, who has studied art and architecture formally in both France and Italy, she describes her design style as both classic and contemporary. Tyler is finalizing several projects, but I promise to feature more of both Tyler and Chloe on All the Best in the very near future . I for one can't wait to see the work of Tyler Dawson!

What decorating trend you would like to see less of? What would you like to see more of?
At the moment I'm a bit tired of lacquered faux bamboo motifs and, although I hate to say it, 'Hicksian' patterns. I am currently into just about anything metallic (especially gold) and/or slightly gaudy.

Do you have a favorite fabric or pattern?
I really love Clarence House Castello Aragonese - a cut velvet, subtly-striated flame stitch pattern. It manages to be both classic and modern, and a little bit sexy. I think I've found an application for it in every project I've done.

What are your favorite indulgences?
The occasional afternoon nap; hearty, wine-filled dinners; watching Friday Night Lights; weekends in Palm Springs.

How would you describe your personal style?
Slim Keith meets Elvira Hancock

What do you collect?
My husband and I both seem to collect books... I'm not sure why we can't get rid of them after they've been read. In fact, they're causing an unreasonable amount of clutter in our house at the moment.

Who would you love to meet? How would you spend the day?
I recently read In Vogue: the Illustrated History of the World's Most Famous Fashion Magazine and think it would be so much fun to spend the day with Diana Vreeland. I'd probably just let her plan something eccentric and happily tag along.

What books are on your bedside table?
Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People and The History of Love by Nicole Krauss.

Who are your style icons?
There are so many and they are always changing! Right now, off the top of my head, I'd have to say Kelly Wearstler, Dorothy Draper, Elsie de Wolfe, Cate Blanchett, Kate Moss, Wes Anderson, Yves Saint Laurent, Halston, Helena Christensen, the women of New York, Paris and "Dynasty", my mother and sisters, and all of my very stylish girlfriends.

Profile by Ronda Carman

Monday, November 12

Profile: Chloe Warner

Chloe Warner and Tyler Dawson of Redmond Aldrich Design

I have a new design crush! When I first saw the work of Chloe Warner in this month's Domino Magazine I felt as if I had met a girl after my own heart. After speaking with Chloe I knew for certain that she was a kindred spirit!

Not only is Chloe a graduate of the architecture program at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design, she was exposed from a young age to rooms designed by Sister Parish and Albert Hadley (how cool and wonderful is that!).

Both her mother and grandmothers instilled in her a belief that interiors matter and the worst kind of taste is no taste at all. It seems as if their sage advice paid off. I expect we will be seeing a lot more of Chloe's work in the years to come.

Tomorrow I will introduce you to Chloe's design partner, the beautiful Tyler Dawson.

What decorating trend you would like to see less of? What would you like to see more of?
Less flocked wallpaper, more chintz.

Do you have a favorite fabric or pattern?
I adore most overscaled bird-on-linen prints. Lee Jofa and Schumacher both make lovely versions.

What it the one thing in life you can't live without?
Aside from Mr. Warner and Mies VanDerKitty, I am addicted to San Pellegrino.

How would you describe your personal style?
Post-preppy glam. My design partner and I spend all day
asking each other "what if we made it gold?"

Thinking about your own home what is your favorite room?
My bedroom is perfect; the palate is tight and bold (pink, gold, green, ivory), the patterns are balanced (floral, geometric, toile, neutral textures), and there are symmetric elements (bed, dressing tables, bedside table lamps) thrown off by non-symmetric elements (mismatched bedside tables). There is zero clutter, two pastels on the wall, flattering lighting and my favorite room scent tucked out of sight (Mimosa by Antica Farmacista).

What do you consider to be the real luxuries in life?
Having someone else pet-hair-roll your house, a hilarious husband, a healthy family, TiVo, a reservation at French Laundry. If I had all these things at once I would probably hang it up. It couldn't get better!

Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day?
The Wearstler. We would start off with a leisurely tour of her house, followed by her spending the entire day teaching me to be a baller. Then she would loan me an outfit and invite all my friends over for a dinner party.

Profile by Ronda Carman

Wednesday, November 7

Profile: Kelly Wearstler

It is a true privilege to share with you this profile of Kelly Wearstler. So much has been written about the amazingly beautiful and gifted designer Kelly Wearstler, founder of kwid and the author of Domicilium Decoratus and Modern Glamour, that it is difficult to find new words to describe this incredibly talented icon.

Highly praised for her trendsetting designs and widely celebrated as one of today’s most influential designers, Kelly Wearstler is one extraordinarily busy woman. Design aficionados will of course recognize Kelly as the creative eye and lifestyle muse for the boutique Viceroy resorts in Southern California, Miami, South Beach, Anguilla and Mexico’s Riviera Maya, as well as the imaginative talent behind the transformation of the BG restaurant and lounge at Manhattan’s Bergdorf Goodman.

Kelly, who has described her style “old-world Hollywood with a modern vibe”, has recently teamed again with Bergdorf Goodman to launch a line of exquisite home accessories bearing her name.

What I love about this profile (as well as the many others that I have done) is that Kelly comes across as a well grounded person while managing a huge and fascinating career.

How would you describe your personal style?
Sassy and unexpected.

What were you like as a child?
I was/am basically a shy girl from South Carolina. I am extroverted through my work, my passion. I am drawn to all color, I have no favorites, and, of course, unique and beautiful objects are always singing out to me.

Did you always have an interest in design?
Yes – I was always drawn to interior design. I grew up in a home that was constantly evolving, so I was always surrounded by beautiful and unusual objects, textures and colors. My mother is a closet interior designer. I grew up in an environment where everything was always in a state of flux - I’d come home from school and the dining room would be a totally new color.

Who are you style icons?
Doris Duke

What is your idea of the perfect party?
A casual pool party at my house with my family and close friends is my favorite way to spend a summer afternoon in LA.

What do you love most about your new boutique at Bergdorf Goodman?
It’s so hard to choose just one thing! I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to partner with Bergdorf Goodman a second time (the first was with the BG Restaurant designed 2 years ago) and offer consumers an array of decorative home accessories that were influenced by vintage pieces from my personal repertoire.

Who would you most like to meet?
Dorothy Draper

What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
I worked as a waitress for years!

What is the one thing in life you can’t live without?
My family.

What is your greatest accomplishment?
I’ve accomplished so much in my career so far, but one day, I’d love to be invited to design the White House. That would be the ultimate accomplishment.

Profile by Ronda Carman

Sunday, November 4

Profile: Ivanka Trump

Beautiful, sophisticated, trendsetting are all words that have been used to describe Ivanka Trump. Intelligent, multi-faceted and talented are equally fitting descriptions. Ivanka made a name for herself, briefly as a model and more recently as a businesswoman with her family’s company. But now she's launched a project all her own, a beautiful line of jewelery that bears her name.

The inspiration for her jewelery line is none other than her equally glamorous mother. The company’s tagline – “the time has come to rock tradition” – is quite appropriate. The collection is both modern and youthful, yet has a timeless appeal. I especially love the diamond tassel lariat. Ivanka’s pieces range in price from $750 to several million dollars. The line features engagement rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets.

Ivanka recently opened her first boutique in New York (62nd Street and Madison Avenue) with boutiques soon to open in Las Vegas and Japan.

Who are your style icons
My mother, Grace Kelly and the women of New York City.

What inspires your designs and creativity? Can you describe how the design process works for you, from the point of conceptualization to the finished piece?
My design team finds inspiration in everything from the buildings of New York to estate pieces that exude the Hollywood glamour my collection encapsulates. Most designs begin with an idea of what the young, modern woman would most like in a piece of jewelry and then we build from there. Other times, I find myself wanting a certain piece of jewelry I can’t find- so we create it!

What it the one thing in life you can’t live without?
Jewelry, of course! It’s the perfect accessory for any outfit and instantly makes me feel glamorous.

What do you consider to be the true luxuries in life?
Time and family and friends. My entire family is incredibly busy and hard-working, so when we have those few moments to spend with each other and those close to us, it’s truly a treasure and luxury that we all value.

Who would you most like to meet?
Tough question! There are so many inspirational and remarkable people in the world. I suppose if I had to choose, I would say Warren Buffet.

What books are on your bedside table?
The latest copy of the New York Observer
Great Fortune

What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
I love mozzarella sticks! They are my true great indulgence.

Profile by Ronda Carman

Saturday, November 3

Shopping on Saturday

Jewelry designer Amanda Jaron is fast becoming one of my favorites. Amanda is the same designer that created the amazing recycled cola bottle bracelet with diamonds and pearls recently featured.

Just in time for the holidays is a fun, bold ring that's the perfect present for any occasion. The ring features sterling silver, white topaz and onyx. Diamonds and gold are of course available upon request.

photo Michelle Tricca

The ring that I am truly in LOVE with is this hand carved mother of pearl flower with, white topaz set in sterling silver! Stunning!

All A. Jaron jewelry is available at or select Saks Fifth Ave.

Friday, November 2

Sara Ruffin Costello and Paul Costello

Photos: Bruce Buck for The New York Times

This morning I was doing online research for my sister whose son has a sleep disorder. Granted he has autism and it's not an uncommon occurrence for children who are autistic, but a terribly difficult problem nevertheless. I did find an interesting article in The New York Times and while it did not necessarily apply to my sister’s situation is was informative nonetheless. If you are a parent of a child who won’t sleep in their own bed it is worth a read.

On a completely different note, one of the families featured was acclaimed photographer Paul Costello and his wife Sara Ruffin Costello. Sara, style director of Domino magazine, and Paul’s home is one of my all time favorites. I never tire of their wonderful living room. In addition to the article were photos of the Costello’s bedrooms. All of the bedrooms are stylish and beautiful, even if Harrison rarely sleeps in his own bed. As the mother of a ten-year-old, I can honestly say, this too shall pass (and thank God for coffee).

Thursday, November 1

Aedes De Venustus

At the end of a quiet and curvy West Village street you will find an inviting haven for fragrance fans. Velvet drapes, floral arrangements and an oversized chandelier set the stage for Aedes de Venustas. An aromatic retreat whose devotees include Sarah Jessica Parker, Liv Tyler and Hugh Jackman. Aedes supplies high-end, hard-to-find perfumes, skin care, candles and home scents from around the world.

One smell that I like in the winter months is Pierre Frapin Cellar Ambiance Spray. The fragrance was created by Béatrice Cointreau who grew up in her family’s estate in Grande Champagne, the most prestigious area in Cognac. As a tribute to her grandfather, Pierre Frapin, Béatrice created a scent that recreates the intimate feel of her childhood home – wood and leather with hints of honey, vanilla and walnuts.

Fortunately you don’t have to live in New York to enjoy the wonderful offerings of Aedes. Most of their products are available online from their beautiful website. Unfortunately you do have to live in the United States…sigh…