Monday, November 30

Holiday Book List: India Hicks

If you are shopping online today, then be certain to look at a few of the titles suggested by India Hicks, especially David Hicks a Life of Design. I have devoured my copy!

India writes:
Of course I want to include my brother Ashley’s new book on our father, David Hicks A Life of Design published by Rizzoli. It is the perfect Christmas book: luxurious, glossy, inspiring and emotionally written.

A few books that I’d like to receive include:

Noble Macmillan large leather portrait scrapbooks. I have kept a collection of these scrapbooks since I was a teenager, just as my father also did.

Redeeming Features: A Memoir by Nicky Haslam

Hue by Kelly Wearstler

The Believers
by Zoe Heller

TinTin: The Complete Series

Friday, November 27

Holiday Book List: Martyn Lawrence-Bullard

For the last few years I have featured a "My Favorite Things" series during the holiday season. In the past I have asked designers and tastemakers to share their favorite gifts or holiday memories. This year I thought I would ask for favorite books to either give or receive this holiday.

First in the series is the fabulous Los Angeles based interior designer Martyn Lawrence-Bullard. Renowned for his eclectic, sophisticated and comfortable style, Martin is a favorite among discerning clientele. A few include: Christina Aguillera, Mr. and Mrs. Vidal Sassoon, Rebecca Romaijn, Felicity Huffman and Tamara Mellon.

I do hope that you will enjoy this series. And, if the idea of braving the 'Black Friday' crowds is just too much today, then go online and have a look at these wonderful titles.

The Life and Legend of the Marchesa Casati
A fabulous biography of the scandalous and extravagant life of the legendary 20th century Marchesa whose name inspired the new fashion label and the many who emulated her style.

The Private World of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge
A delicious look into the private homes and collections of these extraordinary men.

Rooms to Inspire in the Country: The Infinite Possibilities of American House Design
A refreshing look at country inspired interiors from the worlds leading designers ranging from traditional to uber modern.

Villa by John Saladino

This beautiful book is an absolute must have in any Interior designers library. Not only is the book beautifully laid out, but the overall presentation, complete with renderings and spectacular photography, is truly inspirational.

Style and Substance the Best of Elle Decor
My favorite new book of the season. A fabulous follow up on Margaret Russell’s last book So Chic. This book highlights 20 years of Elle decor style and amazing work from a glittering range of designers and world renowned tastemakers.

Lillian Bassman Women
An intimate look at the photography of this now 92-year-old iconic fashion photographer and her amazingly romantic views of women and fashion mostly shot for Vogue in the 50's and 60’s.

Tom Dixon Interior Worlds
A really fun and unusual book that explores the mind of this fascinating designer and what inspires him and his design aesthetic.

More is More
by Hutton Wilkinson
The latest Tony Duquette book that I think even outshines the first. I love the intimate photos of Tony and his wife Beagle at parties and dressed to the nines, so much fun. And of course more unseen dramatic rooms and interiors from the now legendary Hollywood decorator.

Thursday, November 26

Happy Thanksgiving

It's always a bit strange living in the UK on Thanksgiving day. As everyone goes about their work and life, we quietly set the table, cook our traditional meal and celebrate in our usual festive manner.

I love Thanksgiving and the intent of the holiday! I have so much to be thankful for, and I am happy for a day to be reminded. Family, friends and health rank right at the top of my list. As do the friendships, connections and experiences that have come from blogging. The emails, comments, shared stories and phone calls enrich my life everyday. I want to thank everyone who continues to read my blog. Your support and encouragement makes it all worth while. Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo Martha Stewart Living Magazine (10+ years old and still looks amazing).

Wednesday, November 25

Last Day of the Contest

Victory Design

The All the Best & Editor at Large contest ends at 11:59 pm ET today. Thank you to everyone who has submitted projects. I truly have no idea how the judges will narrow it down to three (3). In my book they are all winners. It's been great fun to see so many inspiring rooms and learn about new designers (new to me at least). Again the best of luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24

SFERRA is on Twitter

You can now follow SFERRA on Twitter! If you are on Twitter visit their page and share the news - it's both beautiful and informative!

ps - All the Best is on Twitter too!

Monday, November 23

Contest Ends Wednesday

Annetta Igou Interiors

The Editor at Large and All the Best Contest ends at 11:59pm ET this Wednesday, November 25, 2009. This is your opportunity to submit your BEST interior design project to The Editor at Large (allthebestcontest@gmailcom). Winning projects will be showcased in The Editor at Large Projects Database and emailed to publications of your choosing.

A few points of clarification. The photos submitted must be from one project. Please send at least one photo of each room from the one project you wish to submit.

There have been a few emails about the normal Editor at Large submission fee. Typically, if a project is selected by the Editor at Large for inclusion in their database there is a submission fee. For the purpose of this contest there will be no fees charged to the three (3) winning submissions.

A few entries for you to enjoy!

Sunday, November 22

Soup on Sunday: Butternut Squash with Parmesan & Sage

Many thanks to the lovely Alexandra Wernink for a most thoughtful gift. Out of the blue I received an unexpected package from Amazon. Thrilled, I opened the box to find a copy of Park Avenue Potluck Celebrations, by The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Florence Fabricant. Such a beautiful and thoughtful gift. This recipe from Kathy Thomas is divine.

1 butternut squash, peeled, cut in half, seeded, and cubed
2 leeks, white part only, cleaned and chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1⁄2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups well-seasoned chicken stock
2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 cup heavy cream, optional
Sage leaves for garnish
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling, optional

Place the squash, leeks, carrots, and onion in a saucepan. Add the butter and salt, cover, and cook over low heat until the vegetables start to soften, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the chicken stock, bring to a simmer, and cook, covered, until the vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a tablespoon, drop about 24 small mounds of the cheese onto a nonstick baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake until the cheese melts and forms lacy crisps. Remove from the oven and cool. Set aside.

When the vegetables are soft, cool briefly, then puree them, along with
the stock, in a blender or food processor in two batches. Return the puree to the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Season with salt to taste. Add the heavy cream, if using, and heat through. Serve in bowls or mugs, each garnished with Parmesan crisps and a sage leaf. If you like, drizzle the surface of the soup with olive oil.

Serves 6 - 8

Excerpted from Park Avenue Potluck Celebrations, by The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Florence Fabricant (Rizzoli New York, 2009, $35.00).

Thursday, November 19

Mary McDonald

Just in case you haven't heard, Mary McDonald has a beautiful new website. See for yourself. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 18

Another Peek...8 More Days

You have Until November 25, 2009 to submit your BEST interior design project to The Editor at Large Contest. Can't wait to see more! Get all the details here. Good luck.

Mary Margaret Vasquez Interiors

Chameleon Interiors

Sunday, November 15

Soup on Sunday: Wild Mushroom and Sherry

My husband's 4oth birthday is the day before Thanksgiving this year. And, seeing as how Thanksgiving isn't celebrated in the UK, and I am going to combine birthday dinner with Thanksgiving. I have been looking for a good sherry mushroom soup to serve as a first course and this seems to fit the bill. If you know of any other good recipes please do share.

2 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into medium dice (to yield about 1-1/2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. fresh wild mushrooms* wiped clean, trimmed, and thinly sliced
2 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup half-and-half
3 Tbs. dry sherry
1 Tbs. soy sauce

Melt the butter and olive oil in a 5-qt. or larger stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it's beginning to brown (resist the urge to stir too often), about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, 2 Tbs. of the thyme, and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper; cook until the mushrooms become limp, 2 to 4 minutes.

Add the broth, scraping up any browned bits in the pot with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until the mushrooms are tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Transfer about half of the soup to a stand blender and process until smooth. Return the mixture to the pot and stir in the half-and-half, sherry, and soy sauce. Add more salt and pepper to taste, if needed, and reheat. Garnish each serving with a small pinch of the remaining 1 tsp. thyme.

Serves 6

*you could use a combination of dried mushrooms that have been reconstituted

Friday, November 13

13 More Days + A Sneak Peek

This is your chance to have your work published. Until November 25, 2009, you have an opportunity to submit your BEST interior design project to The Editor at Large Contest (allthebestcontest@gmailcom). The Editor at Large offers designers an opportunity to get projects in front of an audience of editors who are searching for high-quality design content. A few incude: Architectural Digest Italy, Living Etc., Rizzoli International, Style at Home (Canada), Vogue Living (Australia), Traditional Home, Veranda,

Winning projects will be showcased in The Editor at Large Projects Database and emailed to publications of your choosing. See all details here. Good luck to all of you, there is so much talent out there! Here are a few of the beautiful projects that have been submitted so far:

J.D. Ireland Interior Architecture & Design

Shetter Palevsky Interiors

Sarah B Spongberg Interior Design

Tuesday, November 10

Meet Kathryn Ireland

The concept of nesting isn’t a new one, but it’s an idea that seems to have greater resonance these days. Creating a comfortable home, surrounded by the things we love, cushions the demands and challenges of daily life and insulates us from the outside world.

Kathryn M. Ireland, one of the world’s most influential interior and fabric designers, embodies a relaxed and casual European-influenced elegance. Her look has been described as inviting and family-friendly, with large doses of color and easy living glamor. Join her as she discusses her design philosophy and color sense and shares her aesthetic inspirations and unique sources from around the world. Having meet Kathryn last month, I can assure you this is an opportunity not to be missed!

November 11th
11am to 12 noon
Grizzel & Mann
351 Peachtree Hills Avenue
Suite 120
Atlanta, Georgia

November 12th
12 to 2pm
John Rosselli & Associates
Design Center of the Americas
1855 Griffin Road
Suite A-128
Dania, Florida

Monday, November 9

And Yet Another...Metropolitan Home

I just returned home to this sad new:
New York, N.Y., Nov. 9, 2009 - Alain Lemarchand, President & CEO, Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. (HFM U.S.) today announced that the company will discontinue publication of Metropolitan Home magazine with the December 2009 issue as the last edition.

“Metropolitan Home has been the premier publication for modern design. Over the past 26 years, Donna Warner has led the editorial team with a vision focused on the highest standards, which has produced this respected modern luxury publication. On behalf of the company, I want to thank Donna and her team for serving with such dedication,” said Lemarchand. I for one will very much miss Met Home.

Old Freinds and More...

First a huge thank you to everyone for all of the emails and well wishes over the weekend, I am truly touched. I am feeling much better — thank you. I spent most of the weekend curled up with a cup of tea and a stack of books. For me, books are like old friends; they are always there to comfort and delight when you need it the most.

I was once again charmed by Jeffrey Bilhuber’s book Defining Luxury. I love that he views luxury as essential to every life well lived, a way of appreciating and sharing our joy in existence—so true!

Whenever I am in New York I stay at 70 Park Avenue, designed by Jeffrey Bilhuber. It feels very much like my own little Park Avenue pied à terre. Not only are the rooms well appointed, but also the guests are served complimentary wine in the living room each night. And even better, it’s an affordable stay by New York standards.

70 Park Avenue designed by Jeffrey Bilhuber

Enjoy a few photos from Defining Luxury. And, don’t forget about the Editor at Large Contest and Your Chance to Have Your Work Published! Until November 25, 2009, you have an opportunity to submit your BEST interior design project to The Editor at Large (allthebestcontest@gmailcom). Winning projects will be showcased in The Editor at Large Projects Database and emailed to publications of your choosing. Click here for all the details!

Book photos by Trel Brock

Saturday, November 7

Back Soon

Sorry for the silence. I have been under the weather. Look for a new post on Monday.

Wednesday, November 4

Chelsea Market: SFERRA Sale

If you live in the NYC area, here is a great opportunity to pick up SFERRA at 60 - 80% off retail. Items include comforters & pillows, blankets, sheets, duvets, Matelassé, throws, decorative pillows, table linens, towels, and bathrobes.

Wed, Nov 4 - Sun, Nov 8, 2009
10:30am - 7:00pm
Inside Chelsea Market
75 Ninth Avenue
(between 15 - 16th St)

Tuesday, November 3

Sisters: Elizabeth Dinkel

I have so enjoyed introducing you to the very talented Forster sisters over the past few days. Last, but by no means least, is the incredibly talented Elizabeth Dinkel. Recognized by House Beautiful, Elle Décor, Veranda and California Homes & Interiors as one of America’s leading interior designers, Elizabeth has a spirited take on interiors that is uniquely her own. While many have described her signature style as fresh and timeless, it’s her creative use of color and the unexpected mix of modern and antique that has propelled her to the top of her field.

After earning her undergraduate degree in International Relations at Georgetown University, she worked in TV news production in New York City. Later she began an apprenticeship with Leta Austin Foster & Associates of Palm Beach and New York, her mother’s renowned interior design firm. At the same time, she embarked on more formal studies of both interior design and architecture at the New York School of Interior Design and Parson’s School of Design. She quickly rose through the ranks at Leta Austin Foster and extended the firm’s reach by managing their New York projects as well as opening offices in both San Francisco and Los Angeles.

After 18 years of passionate devotion to the world of interior design, Elizabeth established her eponymous firm in West Hollywood, California in 2004 with a goal of creating interiors that are timeless, rich in style and inspire conversation. Elizabeth’s projects take her from coast to coast with clients from New York to San Francisco, Texas, Colorado, Washington, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.

Which talent would you most like to possess?
To be multilingual, to play the cello and to always, always be fully present.

What do you consider your greatest achievement
My children, Nicholas & Isabel, who never cease to inspire and shape my world.

What is your most prized possession?
My pit bull, Hope, and my two cats, Mouse & Smudge.

Who are your style icons?
Hubert de Givenchy, Madame Castaing & Babe Paley

Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
If he were alive, Philip Johnson. I'm a huge fan of his work.

What books are currently on your bedside table?
All books by Alexandra Fuller, Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell & The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

What is your favorite luxury in life?

Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day?
In my dreams I'd spend a leisurely day with Barack Obama discussing global climate change and his need to eradicate world hunger, followed by a sneak peak of the newly refurbished White House

How would you describe personal style?
Restrained & tailored but always with a punch of the unexpected.

What inspires your creativity and designs?
My life experiences, mostly in the form of travel & exposure to art, architecture and the natural world are what infuse & inform me. My interaction with others is what inspires me spiritually and emotionally.

With which iconic interior decorator or architect do you most identify?
Decorator-wise, I adore the work of Frances Elkins. Architecturally, I 'm a big follower of Pierre Chareau, Julia Morgan & Wallace Neff among others.

Profile by Ronda Carman
Photos by Karyn Millet

Sunday, November 1

Soup on Sunday: Pumpkin & Shrimp Bisque

I made pumpkin puree for the very first time this week. Once you taste fresh puree, the stuff in the can pales in comparison. Not only is it super yummy, it’s very easy to make. For a fleeting moment it had me wondering why I did not make homemade baby food for our son. Of course it is easy to ask such questions 12 years later. Had I considered making it then it would have sent me straight to the nuthouse.

Make sure to add the heavy cream to this soup at the very end, after the pot is removed from the heat. This will ensure the creamiest results.

5 pounds pumpkin, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon butter
6 cups fish stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 bay leaves
2 pounds raw shrimp, peeled
2/3 cup heavy cream or crème fraîche

Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss pumpkin and thyme in oil and spread mixture onto large baking pan. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 20 to 30 minutes until tender, stirring once or twice. Remove from oven and transfer to a large bowl. Cool and puree.

Sautee onions in butter until soft. Add stock, wine, bay leaves and simmer for 10 minutes. Add pumpkin puree. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth, then transfer back to the stockpot and check seasoning. Bring back to a low simmer and add shrimp. Cook until shrimp turn pink.

Remove from heat and immediately whisk in cream. Ladle into warm soup bowls and serve.

Serves 8 – 10