Wednesday, October 29

Decorati Designer Feature: Melanie Coddington

Be sure to read my latest Decorati interview with talented San Francisco-based interior designer Melanie Coddington. Melanie’s hallmarks are serene palettes, strong silhouettes and playful dashes of pattern. The result - rooms that radiate understated elegance and style.

Monday, October 27

Congratulations to The Rug Company

Congratulations to one of my favourite companies. The Rug Company has won the 2008 Luxury Briefing Award for Excellence.

Luxury Briefing, the leading business publication for the luxury industry, was launched in 1996 by James Ogilvy. The magazine presents the coveted Award for Excellence each year in recognition of key individuals and companies who have distinguished themselves within the luxury market.

Husband and wife team Christopher and Suzanne Sharp, founders of The Rug Company, have earned a reputation as trailblazers in their industry. James Ogilvy enthuses, ‘Luxury is about craft, the artisan, something unique, a strong design element, something with a story and something environmentally responsible. The Rug Company fills every box with a big tick.”

The Rug Company works with leading designers including Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith, Marni, Diane von Furstenberg, Tom Dixon and Allegra Hicks.

Sunday, October 26

Soup on Sunday: Porcini Mushroom & Barley

Poem by Carl Sandburg

1 package of dried porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, minced
1/4 cup parsley
3 carrot, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound fresh porcini mushrooms, quartered
1 tablespoon flour
2 quarts vegetable stock
1 cup whole barley
2 teaspoons salt

Soak the mushrooms in hot water (enough to cover) for 30 minutes. Remove mushrooms from water. Strain water through a filter to remove grit. Reserve the water and coarsely chop the dried mushrooms.

Melt the butter in a stockpot and sauté the onion, carrot, garlic, and fresh mushrooms until soft, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat and add the flour, stirring for about 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the broth and mushroom water.

Turn the heat to high and add the barley. Stir well and add salt to taste. Lower heat and simmer, covered, for about an hour or until the barley is tender and the soup is thickened, stirring often. Add chopped parsley, mix thoroughly, and adjust seasonings.

Serves 4 - 6

Saturday, October 25

Shopping on Saturday

I love bold, beautiful jewelry and its power to transform clothing. Blame it on my mom and my friend Megan. My mom has always loved big showy pieces, and I fondly remember trying on her jewelry as a child. When I was really young I would play in her jewelry boxes and cut out pictures of rings and necklaces from magazines, and then tape them to my fingers and neck.

After moving to Pennsylvania in 2000 I met my dear friend Megan at cocktail party. She was, and is, one of those people who stands out in a room—tall, thin, short dark hair and stunning jewelry! The first time we meet she was wearing a gorgeous choker with stones and pearls the size of golf balls. I don't remember the clothes, but I remember that necklace!

After we became friends, I commented that I wish I could pull off such large pieces. Without missing a beat Megan took off her necklace, put it around my neck and turned me towards the mirror, "You can pull it off!" She was right and now I can't imagine life without statement jewelry.

Etta Necklace by Dannijo

Green Onyx Necklace by Bounkit for Vivre

Havisham Geometric Necklace by Alexis Bittar

If you are in Houston, be sure to stop by Elaine Turner's new shop. It's a beautiful store, filled with her gorgeous handbags, shoes and wonderful accessories. You will also find jewelry by Elizabeth Cole, Sarah Briggs and Gerard Yosca. If you can't make it to the store you can always shop online.

Friday, October 24

The Glasshouse Hotel - Edinburgh

My husband and I just returned home from The Glasshouse Hotel in Edinburgh. This is our second visit and one of our very favorite places to stay. Voted as 'one of the top 50 coolest places to stay in the world' by Condé Nast Traveler, the hotel also won the Scottish Style Awards' Most Stylish Hotel.

The Glasshouse has just 65 bedrooms. When you are walking around the hotel it seems so much larger than 65 rooms. The hotel does not have a public bar or restaurant. They do however serve breakfast and have an honesty bar that is very well stocked. The hotel is not open to non-residents to ensure privacy and an intimate setting.

The hotel is ingeniously designed, melding modern and medieval architecture in a most creative way. Guests enter the hotel through the grey stone facade of the 150 year old Lady of Glenorchy Church, then step into the modern glass lobby.

The hotel boasts the only rooftop garden in Edinburgh offering unparalleled views of World Heritage Site Calton Hill and its collection of 19th century buildings and follies, including the Old Observatory and Greek Parthenon. The perfect place for a wee dram or an aperitif.

Philippe Starck chairs

The rooms on the top floor are designed in a semi-circle. Each with huge floor to ceiling windows and direct access to the rooftop garden and your own small patio. It's the perfect hideaway from the bustle of the city below.

Wednesday, October 22


I should be asleep right now, but instead I am wide awake! Jet lag is terrible. My two favorite definitions of jet lag are (1) When you arrive and your luggage is in better shape than you are; and (2) Nature's way of making you look like your passport photo. Right now both definitions describe me pretty well.

I am thrilled to be back home in Scotland and I am looking forward to joining my husband in Edinburgh today. We are staying at one of our favorite hotels and having dinner at Khushis, Edinburgh's first Indian restaurant. No trip to Edinburgh is complete with out a side trip to Harvey Nichols, lucky for me it's a stone's throw from the hotel.

If only there were some way to magically transport myself back and forth between two continents, life would be so much easier. It just so happens that I am missing three great parties in NY and LA. Darn! Had I known about these events when I booked my ticket back in August I would have stayed on for a few more days.

Yesterday was breakfast with Charlotte Moss to introduce her latest China pattern with Pickard (Espalier); tonight Nathan Turner is hosting a party in honor of Carolyne Roehm's new book A Passion for Blue & White at his store in LA; and next week Becca Cason Thrash is hosting a launch party at The Carlyle for PaperCity's new book Domestic Art. Becca Cason Thrash! I have always wanted to clink a cocktail with Becca, although the stress of what to wear would probably do me in for a year.

Nathan has promised to send me photos and I will post them for all to see. Oh how I would love to meet Carolyne! I can't wait to add this book to my GROWING library. If I get photos from the other events I will post them as well.

Postscript: Please forgive any typos. Also, someone recently posted a comment about going to Edinburgh and I accidentally rejected the comment instead of posting it. I am so sorry. Please post again.

Friday, October 17

I Heart NYC

The 'Influence of the Design Blogger' panel went really well! It was exciting to see so many people from the design world coming together for the sole purpose of learning more about this exciting medium and powerful communication tool. We, the blogging community, really are at the forefront of something big and very special.

Bloggers Shane Reilly of Shane’s Studio and Decorati Access, Michael Devine of The Devine Life, me, Marisa Marcantonio of Stylebeat, and Grace Bonney of design*sponge

The beautiful Jerry Pair showroom. A very special thank you to Susan Frame, showroom manager, and the entire Jerry Pair team for your gracious hospitality and the lovely cocktail party.

Michael Devine of The Devine Life; Marisa Marcantonio of Stylebeat; me; Grace Bonney of design*sponge; Shane Reilly Founder of Decorati; Dan Cahoon President of Jerry Pair and Associates

Barbara Brown, Vice President of Jerry Pair and Associates and Thomas Burak

Michael Devine with his beautiful fabric line. John Rosselli & Associates will now be the exclusive showroom for Michael Devine fabrics in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Michael’s fabrics will soon be available from Decorati.

Shane Reilly, me, Michael Devine and Michelle Adams

It was so nice to finally meet the talented Michelle Adams, founder and designer of Rubie Green fabrics. Unfortunately our meeting was much too brief, but I hope to profile Michelle and her beautiful fabrics very soon.

One final note, if you are a designer and would like to start a blog of your own, Decorati can help. You can sign-up to blog with Decorati. Click here to find out more about their new blogging initiative. You can now leave your thoughts and comments on the Decorati Access site.

Thursday, October 16

Cocktail Party at Jerry Pair

me, Shane Reilly founder of Decorati and designer Michael Devine

me and designer Thomas Burak

Tonight I attended at lovely cocktail party at the Jerry Pair showroom at the D&D Building. It was really wonderful to meet (face-to-face) many of the people that I have only known via email for the past year. It was especially great to meet Shane Reilly, the founder of Decorati. We have been speaking by phone and emailing for months. I am thrilled to be associated with her forward thinking company. From what I was hearing tonight, so many people are excited about the 'Influence of the Design Blogger' panel tomorrow, with a few editors attending. I had better get some sleep so that I am well prepared. Goodnight.

Tuesday, October 14

On the Agenda

This is going to be a wild and wonderful week, to say the least! Tonight I will be at Neiman Marcus for a book launch party. This summer I mentioned that PaperCity Magazine teamed with Assouline to produce the jaw dropping new book Domestic Art. Well, it is finally available and I can't wait to own this book.

Then it is off to NYC for the annual Decoration & Design Building Market Event. On October 16th I will be at Jerry Pair to discuss the Influence of the Design Blogger. The event is sponsored by Decorati. You can visit the D&D website for more details. I will return to Texas late Thursday, then it is off to Dallas/Fort Worth and home to Scotland on Monday!

Yesterday I had the most lovely and fun evening with fabulous handbag and shoe designer Elaine Turner and her marketing director Heather McLeskey. I will have a complete profile on Elaine next week. In the meantime you must visit Elaine’s website. Her handbags are to die for, you will love them!! I am now the proud owner of the gorgeous handbag at the front of the above photo.

Sunday, October 12

Soup on Sunday: Pumpkin Curry Soup

I have been making this soup for years. It is so simple, wonderfully fragrant and super yummy. Add a salad and fresh baked bread for a perfect Sunday supper.

2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
5 cups vegetable stock
30 oz pure pumpkin
8 oz of cream cheese (soft)

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until soft. Stir in curry powder, salt and pepper; cook for 1 minute.

Add broth and pumpkin; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes. Whisk in the cream cheese. Transfer mixture to food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Serve warm with fresh cracked pepper. Garnish with sage or toasted pumpkin seeds.
Serves 4 - 6

Monday, October 6

Off to Texas and NYC

I am leaving bright and early in the morning to fly to Texas. I will also be in NYC for a few days to participate in the D&D Building Market Event. I will be attending several great events in Houston and I will update you as soon as possible. I am now off to finish packing my carry on and then it is off to bed. I have to be up at 3:00am...sigh!!

As far as my carry on goes, I must have a great book, my iPod, hand sanitizer and Burt's Bees Medicated Lip Balm with Clove Oil - I am addicted to this stuff!! I know that I have asked this of people that I have profiled, but I will ask you too, what are your MUST have items for travel?

Sunday, October 5

Soup on Sunday: Bourride

Bourride is a kind of bouillabaisse from the French Mediterranean. Fish such as monkfish, grey mullet and huss are ideal for this dish, as they hold together well during cooking. Many bourride recipes call for clams, which are difficult to find in Scotland, but I can get mussels in abundance. I think chunks of lobster would be great for a holiday soup or special occasion.

Here is my version of Bourride:
6 small red potatoes
2 large leeks (white parts only) finely sliced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Small package of sundried tomatoes, reconstituted, thinly sliced
1 large fennel bulb, halved lengthwise, cored, and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon of basil paste
1/2 cup vermouth ( I use Noilly Prat)
3 cups vegetable stock
3 monkfish fillets, cut into 2-inch chunks
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

Soak leeks in a bowl of cold water and vinegar for 20 minuets. Agitate water to loosen any sand. Lift leeks from water, rinse thoroughly and pat dry.

Heat 1 ½ tablespoons oil in skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté leeks, fennel, shallots and garlic, stirring until softened 4 to 6 minutes. Add vermouth, stock, potatoes, basil paste and sundried tomatoes. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat to a medium low and simmer for several hours and potatoes are soft. Add more broth if needed.

Rinse monkfish, pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat remaining oil in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot, but not smoking, then sear monkfish lightly on all sides until golden, about 2 minutes (fish will not be cooked through). Transfer fish to a plate using tongs. Once fish cools, cut into 2-inch chunks and add to soup. Let fish cook through (10 – 15 minutes) and stir in chopped parsley. Serve bourride in large bowls. Toasted baguettes rounds with aïoli and green olive tapenade is a great accompaniment.

Thursday, October 2

John Rosselli+Michael Devine+Decorati

John Rosselli & Associates will now be the exclusive showroom for Michael Devine fabrics in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Michael’s fabrics are still obtainable from Michael Devine Home and will soon be available from Decorati.

John Rosselli, a man of impeccable taste and style, opened his first antique shop in New York fifty years ago. The shop immediately became a destination for discerning interior designers and architects. In 1990 John opened a showroom in New York’s D&D Building. The showroom has become renowned for its savvy collection of furniture, lighting, upholstery, fabric, and wallcoverings. House & Garden magazine twice named John Rosselli & Associates one of the Top Ten showrooms in the U.S.

October 15-16 is the annual D&D Building Market Event in New York. In addition to Michael’s fabrics, John Rosselli & Associates will be adding Camilla David and Carolina Irving textiles. During the D&D Building Market Event there will be an opportunity to meet the designers at John Rosselli. You can visit the Decoration & Design Building website for more details.

I am thrilled to be apart of the D&D Building Market Event this year. On October 16th I will join Michael Devine, Grace Bonney and Marisa Marcantonio at Jerry Pair to discuss the Influence of the Design Blogger. The event is sponsored by Decorati. As I mentioned earlier, Michael’s fabrics will soon be available on their website.

Be sure to check out Decorati Access for my most recent interview with Madeline Gelis. Their online magazine just keeps on getting better!

Wednesday, October 1

Think Pink

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In my 38 years I have know several cancer survivors and I have lost two very special women to this horrific disease - my grandmother and my mother-in-law.

Each year the number of designers raising funds to battle breast cancer and support research continues to grows. There are many great companies that design wonderful products for the purpose of giving a percentage of proceeds to cancer charities. There are too many to name in one post, so I decided to feature just one special product.

I chose the Jo Malone Red Roses Cologne. My mother-in-law, a woman of great style and grace, loved roses. She was an avid gardener and had several beautiful varieties in her backyard. As a young child I can also remember being surrounded by the scent of the roses in my grandmother's garden. The fragrance and beauty of her garden remains a special and vivid memory.

Jo Malone herself is a breast cancer survivor and created the beautiful Red Roses Cologne. The fragrance is composed of seven types of rose oils, crushed violet, lemon and spearmint. For every Red Roses Cologne sold throughout October a donation will be made to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation's research programme.