Monday, December 20

My Favorite Things: Shawn Henderson

This past year I meet interior and furniture designer Shawn Henderson via the wonderful world of Twitter. As it turns out, we have several mutual friends and early this month they arranged a dinner for us to finally meet in person. Shawn's understanding of scale, combined with a casual air of sophistication, forms the core of his work and designs. If you are in NYC you can find Shawn’s furniture collection at ALT for LIVING.

I will have a full profile on Shawn in early 2011. He really is All the Best!

Favorite gift to give this year?
Hermes scented drawer liners

Favorite way to celebrate the holidays?
Relaxing by the fire with family & friends at our house in upstate New York

Favorite current book?
The distant hours by Kate Morton

Favorite holiday song
Little drummer boy (sung by anyone!)

Favorite party clothes?
My standard uniform as of late: dark denim jeans, cashmere sweater and tweed jacket

Favorite cookie?
Impossible to choose, but I love peanut butter with Hershey kiss on top (right out of the oven)

Favorite place to shop?
Hudson, New York

Favorite movie to watch again and again?
At this time of year Love Actually. Pride and Prejudice year round.

Favorite holiday memory?
Going to my grandmother's house on Christmas morning with my entire extended family.

Favorite charity
The Point Foundation

IN BED WITH Malcolm James Kutner

This week you can visit the SFERRA website to learn more about Malcolm James Kutner. Learn what SFERRA linens he fantasizes having made into pajamas and his get his thoughts on setting the perfect bed.

Saturday, December 18

Ike Kligerman Barkley Houses

'John Ike, Thomas Kligerman, and Joel Barkley speak architectural languages of the past with a sure command of grammar and syntax and a rich vocabulary of form and detail. As designers they build upon what went before to extend the trajectory of architecture.'
—Robert A. M. Stern

If you are looking for any last minute gift ideas than look no further than Ike Kligerman Barkley Houses. One of the most diverse and beautiful tomes currently on the bookshelf, you will want a copy for yourself as well.

The firm incorporates elements from the great eras and the great practitioners of architecture, and the twenty-one houses and apartments featured in the book represent the remarkable breadth of the practice. In addition to creating stunning environments, Joel, Thomas and John are all top-notch men. A must for the library!

Friday, December 17

IN BED WITH Amanda Nisbet

This week you can visit the SFERRA website to learn more about Amanda Nisbet, her preferred SFERRA linens and her thoughts on everything from bedroom 'must haves' to seasonal essentials.

Thursday, December 16

A Brian Patrick Flynn Christmas

Few are more clever or creative than my friend Brian Patrick Flynn—aka Décor Demon. As I have mentioned before, Brian has a high-energy style and wicked sense of humor that is second to none—qualities that always come across in his writings and photos.

So, when Brian sent me an email account of his holiday decorating, I could not resist sharing our conversation. Hopefully it will serve as inspiration should you need any at this stage in the holiday game!

Brian Wrote:
"Although I'm a quasi-professional decorator, my own home is often neglected when it comes to seasonal decor. The idea of conceptualizing something with a shelf life of 30 days seems like more work than it's worth; however, I'll get in the yuletide spirit when designing holiday looks for others---if cold, hard, Christmas cash is involved. Otherwise, prying me off the sofa from Real Housewives marathons to stick a glittery star made of Styrofoam on a plastic tree ain't gonna happen.

Or at least that's what I thought. This year, a few days after Thanksgiving, I woke up early with the urge to produce and star in my own Christmas challenge---the audience being my dogs and my significant other. Could I conceptualize, then execute an outside-the-box holiday aesthetic void of green, red, silver and yellow-gold in just a few hours, shopping only for discount sale items at mega-retailers such as Target? Um, maybe? Four hours and 12 boxes of violet accessories later, I was out the door and back again.

By 5:30pm, everything was in place. For under $225, I'd put together a violet, brown, bronze and white wonderland made up of budget-friendly items ranging from a $39 white Christmas tree to $.99 ornaments. Sure, I pulled it off but the Ebenezer Scrooge in me can't help focusing on the fact that it all has to be taken down, packed up and put away in just a few weeks. Bah Humbug."

Despite Brian's Bah Humbug approach (I lean more toward the Clark Griswold school of Christmas)...I still think he is the bee's knees.

For more photos visit's Design Happens and for the perfect ‘brown’ accompaniment, Brian suggests a Southern Living recipe for Hot Chocolate With Almond Liqueur.

Wednesday, December 15

Tartanscot Holiday Decorating Contest

Time is running out for the Tartanscot Holiday Decorating Contest. Send your photos now. There are three categories that you can enter :

1)  Christmas Tree
2)  Dining Room
3)  Fireplace Mantel

How to do it:

1)  Decorate your home. 
2)  Take digital photos.
3)  Email your images (along with your name and address) to "" 

Good Luck!


Tuesday, December 14

My Favorite Things: Newell Turner

I have been intrigued by Newell Turner since following his personal account, documented online for House Beautiful, of building a 1,200-square-foot house in New York's Catskills Mountains from scratch. In his writings Newell always comes across as astute, yet well grounded. It only makes sense that he would land the position as the new House Beautiful Editor-in-Chief.

After having lunch with Newell last week it’s easy to see why he is so well liked and respected in the industry. He is knowledgeable, honest and charming.

Newell has been quoted as saying, “interior designers are worth every penny. In the long run, they can save you lots of money by helping to prevent mistakes. Designers are masters at conceiving spaces and arranging furniture in rooms. It sounds like a simple thing to do, but it’s not.” While many share a similar belief when it comes to the interior design industry, few could say it so clearly and succinctly.

And despite 25 years of experience in the design business, Newell is the first to tell you that he's no pro when it comes to decorating. "I'm not a designer, I'm an editor," he says, “I have to test and experiment and make mistakes just like everyone else.” Great advice to live by.

Favorite gift to give this year?
Found T-shirts printed with odd or unexpected messages and images.

Favorite way to celebrate the holidays?
With family in Mississippi.

Favorite current book?
I just read Dead End Gene Pool by Wendy Burden.

Favorite holiday song?
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas sung by Judy Garland.

Favorite party clothes?
A knit navy blazer. It works with just about everything and parties up or down.

Favorite cookie?
Peanut butter

Favorite place to shop?
Small neighborhood stores that have a strong sense of place and owners’ with an original eye.

Favorite movie to watch again and again?
The Cockettes

Favorite holiday memory?
Any Christmas Eve after mass.

Favorite charity?
The Smile Train

Profile by Ronda Carman

Tuesday, December 7

IN BED WITH Campion Platt

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

Monday, December 6

My Favorite Things: Malcolm James Kutner

Sakowitz; Houston, Texas 1976

This is the third 'My Favorite Things' series, and it's one that I look forward to posting all season long. Not only is it one of my very favorite song titles (I LOVE the John Coltrane version), but also, I love knowing what others cherish and hold dear, especially at this time of the year. This year I thought it seemed appropriate to start with one of my very favorite people.

Favorite gift to give this year?
I am currently smitten by anything from De Vera on Crosby Street right here in NYC.

Favorite way to celebrate the holidays?
All of the amazing Christmas parties in New York; a private Christian celebration; carols and eggnog around the fire with family on Christmas Eve. And then Belize for New Year’s.

Favorite current book
Same at Christmas as any time of year: Rainer Maria Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet.

Favorite holiday song?
Carol Of The Bells by The Bird And The Bee.

Favorite party clothes?
Blackwatch trousers and a black velvet jacket.

Favorite cookie?
It has to be snickerdoodles. A dozen, all in a row.

Favorite place to shop?
Fortuny in the D&D Building in NYC. The journals and the umbrellas are my signature gifts this year.

Favorite movie to watch again and again
It’s a toss up between The Holiday and A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Favorite holiday memory?
Spending time at The River House in Sweeny (Texas not NYC) as a kid.

Favorite charity?
The Child Mind Institute

Profile by Ronda Carman

Friday, December 3

David Patrick Columbia

Yesterday I had the pleasure of having lunch at Michael’s with New York luminary David Patrick Columbia, founder of New York Social Diary. Hardly a person passed by our table without stopping to shake his hand or say hello. His chronicling of New York and society began in 1993 as a monthly society column in Quest magazine. Then in 2000 David decided to become independent and take his project online. Each day, with the help of his business partner, Jeffrey Hirsch, David documents society with his unique personal reflection.

NYSD was a huge source of inspiration to me when I started All the Best four years ago. After a long lunch, book shopping at Archivia and much talk about the online world, I realize that it was very much like meeting a long lost friend. What a thrill to read his account of our lunch this morning. Thanks David.

Photo: New York Times

Wednesday, December 1

IN BED WITH Darryl Carter

For the past few months I have been working on a very exciting project with SFERRA called IN BED WITH...

Each week you can visit the SFERRA website to learn more about your favorite designers and their preferred SFERRA linens. They will be sharing their thoughts on everything from bedroom 'must haves' to how to set the perfect bed.

In the coming weeks and months you will hear from Barry Dixon, Hutton Wilkinson, Amanda Nisbet, Campion Platt, Malcolm James Kutner, Tammy Connor, Brad Ford, Jan Showers, Eric Cohler, Amy Lau and Robert Passal...stay tuned!