Monday, March 31

Profile: Frank Roop

Frank Roop is fast becoming one of my favorite designers. I adore his style, sensibility and subtly appropriate use of color. Glamorous, balanced and refined are all appropriate words to describe the interiors designed by this brilliant designer and yet they fall short as an accurate depiction. What I am most drawn to is the worldly mix of furniture and furnishings in his interiors, all of which are either antique or Frank’s own exclusive design.

Inspired by all periods and styles of interiors Frank began his firm in 1998 after a career in fine men’s specialty store retailing. Since launching his firm many of his projects have been featured in Elle Décor, House Beautiful, Metropolitan Home, Veranda, Traditional Home and Gourmet.

In 2003 Frank was named by House Beautiful as one of the top 25 young designers in America and in 2004 he was included in their list of the top 120 designers in the United States. You can see more of Frank’s work in the April 2008 issue of House Beautiful.

How would you describe your personal style?
My aesthetic eye is always changing so that is sort of tough question to answer specifically. Overall I would have to say I love luxury that isn’t pretentious. For instance I like linen upholstery with silk velvet pillows. I also try to put together colors that aren’t ‘matchy’, but look good together. Things that look too studied are boring to me.

What is the one thing in life you can’t live without?
My wife, she is and always has been there for me (although she probably shouldn’t be described as a thing). I definitely wouldn’t have gone into interiors if it weren’t for her encouragement.

What books are currently on your bedside table?
I just finished a book on vacation called The Collectors by David Baldacci that was pretty entertaining. Sadly I have to admit I’m not as big a reader as I should be. I’m generally working late into the night on designs for my clients.

What inspires your designs and creativity?
Of course traveling I always find inspiring. I love Paris and the mix of old and new. I’m inspired by classics and things that are cutting edge. I enjoy finding out what the younger generation thinks is interesting.

My designs are greatly inspired by clothing. So when I’m traveling I pay attention to different fashions. I try to design rooms that my clients look and feel sophisticated in… clients inspire me. I try very hard to keep and open mind. Learning about something new inspires me.

Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day?
Eric Clapton. He could give me guitar lessons…that would be pretty cool.

What is your favourite luxury in life?
A nice fire in fireplace, a really good glass of wine, great music.

What is your most prized possession?
The little hair I have left!!!!!

Who are your style icons?
Interior designers past and present—Frederic Mechiche, Christian Liaigre, Madeleine Castaing, John Saladino.

Fashion designers—Dries Van Noten or anyone who is creating something new, different or just beautiful.

My old boss Murray Pearlstein owner of Louis (the hippest old guy I ever knew).

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Getting a good night’s sleep.

Profile by Ronda Carman

Sunday, March 30

Carla Bruni Sarkozy

France's new First Lady made a demure first impression when she arrived in the UK for a state visit. Many papers have called her wardrobe a cross between Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Princess Diana.

A picture of elegance.The Dior handbag was a permanent fixture.

Carla Bruni Sarkozy has been all the rage here in the UK over the past few days. The new First Lady of France has garnered much press and attention. Of course her wardrobe choices have given the papers and magazines much to photograph and discuss. The sheer volume of press coverage over a two-day period must be similar to that given to Jackie Kennedy on her first visit to France as First Lady.

I for one adored everything she wore, not only was her choice of clothes very chic, but diplomatically correct. The famous French fashion house of Christian Dior and its London-raised and educated couturier and designer, John Galliano CBE, were the mastermind behind the senses. A move fully-supported her husband’s initiatives on the political front for a new Anglo-French alliance.

Getty Images

Thursday, March 27

Musing: My Current Obsessions

My current obsessions are, but not limited to, art walls, wallpaper and benches. I have at least 15 wallpaper samples coming to me in the post! Oh it will be fun and torturous to narrow it down to a winner. What are your current obsessions?

Jonathan Adler

Tom Scheerer

Michael de Santis Silver Leaf Metal Upholstered Benches (
American 1960s) from Eric Appel
Re-Issue "X" Leg Bench in Chocolate Zebra
 (American Contemporary) from Paris Underground
Ebonized X-frame Bench
 1930) from Bermingham and Co
T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings X-Base Bench
 (USA 1950) from 20th Century Interiors

Wednesday, March 26

Profile: Sara Story

One of the designers that I instantly fell for last year was Sara Story. Sara was one of the domino 10 to watch for 2007. I felt an immediate connection to her beautiful, calming and sophisticated interiors which reflect her extensive travels and global upbringing.

Sara was born in Japan and has lived in Texas, California and New York. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of San Diego, and received a degree in Interior Architecture at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco.

Sara moved to New York City in 2001, where she worked with prominent designers. Keen to infuse her own vision into the world of interiors, she created Sara Story Design, a firm specializing in contemporary, eclectic and timeless interiors. Sara's designs are as beautiful as the designer herself.

How would you describe your personal style?
I aim for timeless interiors with elegance and edge…a space that is inviting yet sophisticated and fun.

What is the one thing in life you can’t live without?
My two little boys, Duke and Edward

What books are currently on your bedside table?
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, and stacks of magazines…ranging from Vogue, ELLE Décor and Vanity Fair

What inspires your designs and creativity?
Travel and fashion inspire my interiors.

Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day
I would love to meet Madonna. I would want to go to yoga class in the morning, then hit the recording studio, listen to her new tunes and have some cocktails together listening to all of her stories!

What is your favorite luxury in life
First class travel.

What is your most prized possession?
My yellow canary diamond ring my husband just gave me.

Who are your style icons?
Tom Ford, Miuccia Prada, and Madonna

What is your idea of earthly happiness
St.Barts with my family and friends.

Profile by Ronda Carman

Tuesday, March 25

Profile: Daniel Pafford

Daniel Pafford, his assistant Monica Emch and Alfi

I have been anxiously awaiting the April issue of Domino. Of course I was surprised and delighted when it arrived in Scotland earlier than expected. I loved so many of the ten up-and-coming decorators featured last April that I just had to know who would be the new ones to watch in 2008. I for one was not disappointed and I am thrilled to profile several of these great designers on All the Best over the next few weeks.

First up is Daniel Pafford, a former Political Science major and classic movies buff. Inspired by the urban landscape, Daniel moved from Southern Virginia to Manhattan to build a new career. Intrigued by the styles and interiors of such movies as The Women, Dial M for Murder, All About Eve, The Trouble with Harry and North by Northwest, Daniel began his on-the-job-training on the in-store design team at Calypso Home.

It’s was the photos of Daniel's rooms and his love of movies, especially 1940s, 50s and 60s classics, that struck a cord with me. After corresponding, talking over the past few days and seeing more of his work, I am certain he will strike a cord with many others too.

How would you describe your personal style?
Sophisticated and slightly old fashioned, with a little bit of an edge. My interiors are always a little bit of 40’s glamor mixed with 60’s modern and today’s latest fabrics. I enjoy adding controlled bursts of color here and there. In reference to fashion I enjoy a sear suckers suit, but then might wear it with shell toe Adidas.

What is the one thing in life you can’t live without?
My planner and blackberry! If I did not have these two things my days would be a haze of confusion and miscommunication.

What books are currently on your bedside table?
Best American Essays of 2007; The Reason for God; Domino magazine!

What inspires your designs and creativity?
Interiors of classic movies definitely inspire my creativity. I love not only the balance and harmony of the rooms, but the lifestyle. It’s is a most satisfying inspiration for my work. Secondly, it would be random shopping. I could go into 10 different home stores, pick one thing from each store and design a whole room.

Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day?
I would love to meet Hillary Clinton. She seems so driven and that just intrigues and inspires me. I would love to have lunch and talk about life and politics. There is something just out of this world about her.

What is your favorite luxury in life?
Being able to sleep until I awake naturally every day. Being in control of my own schedule lets me not book anything before 11:00 a.m. and sometimes noon.

What is your most prized possession?
My pillow collection! I have quite a few and would not trade them for anything. I also have an Hermes watch that I am quite fond of!

Who are your style icons?
Carry Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, William Haines, David Hicks, and Kelly Wearstler.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
My idea of earthly happiness is being in complete control of ones own time. Only when we achieve this can we really be free. It is a daily aspiration for me. Also to be surrounded by beautiful and balanced rooms.

Profile by Ronda Carman

Monday, March 24

Mix Master

I have looked at Anthony Todd's work so many times, but for some reason it struck me last night just how brilliant he really is when it comes to mixing styles and periods. His rooms have just the right touch of formality, but are still fun and never fussy. Achieving the right balance means never allowing a room to be come overly mastered, an area where Todd excels.

When done right blending modern pieces with traditional pieces can bring out the best qualities of each, the photos above are perfect examples. Todd perfectly plays with shape and scale mixing Asian, French, English, early-American and custom-made furnishing. Even if you've looked at his work many times before it's worth treating yourself again to a visual delight!

Friday, March 21


I love hats! I have very fond memories of my mom taking me and my three sisters shopping for new Eater dresses and of course 'bonnets' each and every year. Even now as an adult it's just not Easter until I have my hat. I found these amazing Ascot photos on Flickr. Anyone else donning a hat this weekend?

Thursday, March 20


More than once I have confessed my obsession with 1stdibs and now I have another site to keep me occupied. Decorati is a leading resource for high-end interior products with hundreds of manufacturer catalogs from top showrooms. While surfing Decorati this morning I came across some lovely finds from Ironies.

As the name indicates, iron was one of the first materials that intrigued founders Kate McIntyre and Brad Huntzinger in the mid 1980’s. But the name also implies the unexpected way Kate and Brad used the material: cold, hard iron wrought to look whimsical and organic. Unable to find the environments and furnishings they wanted, Kate and Brad set about creating them. Their business has evolved into a full furniture line known for its unique designs.

Wednesday, March 19

Mark Shaw

Mark Shaw Editioned Photo Salon of Balenciaga - 1950 (©, Inc. 2008 - All Rights Reserved)

Mark Shaw Editioned Photo Model in Mesh Hat-Paris 1960 (©, Inc. 2008 - All Rights Reserved)

Original Limited Edition Mark Shaw Fashion Photo-Paris 1960 (©, Inc. 2008 - All Rights Reserved)

Original Limited Edition Mark Shaw fashion photograph. This is from a never published series taken by Shaw for LIFE magazine. Pictured here is a model in the 17th century house where Manon Lescaut once lived, then owned by Suzanne Luling, directrice of Dior in Paris, 1960.

Mark Shaw is best known for his photographs of Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy, which he shot originally for LIFE magazine and later as the Kennedys' "unofficial" family photographer. He developed a strong friendship with JFK and Jackie and regularly visited the White House during their time there. After JFK's death, a selection of Mark Shaw’s photographs was published as a best selling book, The John F. Kennedy's: A Family Album. The book was re-published in 2000 by Rizzoli with new additions, including never before seen color images.

Mark Shaw began working for LIFE in 1952. In his 16 years with the magazine, he shot 27 covers, more than 100 stories which included the magazine's European fashion collections. As a leading fashion photographer, he also worked for Harper's Bazaar, Mademoiselle and a host of other publications. He was one of the first photographers to use color when shooting the runways and "backstage" at the couture shows. Mark Shaw worked as a top print advertising photographer until his untimely death in 1969 at the age of 47. After his death, most of his work was hastily put into storage. All but a small number of photographs remained unseen for almost 30 years. In 1999, his only child, David Shaw, and David's wife, Juliet Cuming, moved the collection to Vermont, where they now maintain the archive of Mark's extensive body of work.

In 2004, some of these photographs were featured in an exhibit at the Andrew Wilder Gallery at Svenska Mobler in Chicago. The show sold out in less than two weeks. Andrew Wilder, an old friend of David Shaw and Juliet Cuming’s, was the first gallery owner to recognize the enormous potential of Mark Shaw’s fashion images. The Andrew Wilder Gallery at Svenska Mobler is now exclusively offering a growing selection of Mark Shaw's unique giclee fashion prints.

Tuesday, March 18

Profile: Robert Passal

In my opinion whimsy, drama, sophistication, refinement and coziness are all hallmarks of a great room. For me Robert Passal ticks all the right boxes. I am currently obsessed with his brilliant creativeness, especially the Gramercy Park residence he designed.

After receiving a degree from the State University of New York in Albany, Robert enrolled in the School of Interior Design at The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and immediately realized that design was in his blood.

In May 2005, Robert Passal was selected as a featured designer in the nations most prestigious show house Kips Bay Decorator Show House. The New York Times, New York Newsday and The Financial Times all highlighted his work. The 2005 October Edition of House and Garden magazine features Robert’s work with the New York Yankees Jorge Posada in his Upper East Side residence in New York.

If I could fly anyone to Scotland to help me with my home I would employ Robert in a heartbeat. Maybe one day…

What designers past or present do you most admire?
Alberto Pinto, Oscar de laRenta, Tony Duquette, Vicente Wolf, Parrish Hadley. All are designers who are true to themselves and their sense of style.

What is the one thing you can't live without
My Journal. I learned to journal from Julia Cameron. I am a true advocate of her work and The Artist's Way. Journaling has enriched my days helping me to organize myself, my thought process and designs.

Who are your favorite artists
Basquiat, Diego Giacometti, Michael Lucero, Reinaldo Sanguino and Rudd van Empel.

What is your most prized possession?
My Pride

What is your greatest accomplishment to date?
Learning to be grateful. In this era of excess it is truly important to be thankful every day.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Being eternally confident in my abilities to help those around me, and expecting nothing in return. Paying it forward...

What do you enjoy most about your work?
Installations and watching my visions and concepts come to fruition.

What books are on your bedside table?
You On A Diet because I'm always on a diet. New Classicists by William T. Baker and an eternal stack of shelter magazines.

Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day?
I would have loved to have been able to spend an evening with Andy Warhol at Studio 54. What more could you ask for?

What inspires your ideas and designs?
Walking. Wherever I may be, walking allots me the opportunity to explore and discover. I love walking the streets of New York. I've lived here my entire life yet I
still discover treasures every step of the way.

Profile by Ronda Carman

Sunday, March 16


Photo Douglas Friedman, Bazaar March 2008

I have yet been able to get my hands on the March issue of Bazaar (US edition) over here in the UK. I am dying to know the name of the Scalamandré fabric shown on the chairs in Tinsley Mortimer's apartment.

Saturday, March 15

Shopping on Saturday

Cerulean is the brainchild of Vanderbilt University alum Maggie Lacey. Maggie worked for Hollywould shoes in New York as marketing director, production coordinator and assistant designer, culminating in the successful creation and launch of the Hollywould Palm Beach boutique.

Her new online boutique offers not only great products but also in-depth designer bios. You simply must check out Cerulean. Think Vivre, but more affordable.
The most luxurious bracelets at amazing prices. Stack these bangles together or wear them alone. Great with mixed colors, or choose one or two for a simpler look. These beauties are at the top of my list. I love them all! $49.00 each

Dupioni fabric clutch with exotic bead trim and gold frame closure. A spectacular clutch for day or night. $158.00

Bring a bit of the Caribbean into your home. Delicate shells in beautiful shades of green and brown. Approximately 3 - 4" wide. $17.00 each