October 28, 2014

Across the Pond

It’s been about 2.5 years since I’ve been back to the UK… real life intervening and all of that. But I decided to bite the bullet, miss a couple of events here and take off for the last week in November and the first week in December in England and Wales. There’s nothing prettier than London dressed for Christmas.

ChristmasOffersFunnily, the last two times I’ve been over, in March and November, it’s snowed.

Right now, I am thinking that I will be in London for the first five days, especially since I’ve had a kind invitation of spending Thanksgiving with some English friends who’ve just moved back from NYC. One day will be spent in Oxford with my cousin, with whom I am close. I am hoping to catch the Horst P. Horst exhibit at the Victoria & Albert with fellow blogger, Coulda Shoulda Woulda. image

No visit to London is complete without spending some time with former blogger, The House of Beauty & Culture, who had one of the most amazing blogs around. He was one of the early ones and whenever I think of the times I’ve spent with him, I just smile!

Heading down to Wales, I will spend time with Andy and his two sons, whom I lived with and am still close to. The boys have grown like weeds and I miss all of them loads. Also in Wales is blog friend Yonks, who I spent time with on my last visit. image

She and her American husband are great fun, and I am hoping that she knows of some auctions that are going on when I am there… or even just a carboot sale, like the weekly one in Splott!

I am also hoping to catch up with my former colleagues at my old school in the Castle!

One thing I am going to try this trip is Air BnB. My sister, who just got back from Belgium and the Netherlands, has had great luck with it, and even rented a houseboat on this last trip to Amsterdam.

Any thoughts where to go and who to see?

October 26, 2014

From the Collections of Mrs. Paul Mellon

The collections of Mrs. Paul Mellon, aka Bunny, are being auctioned by Sotheby’s in November, but the catalogues are on-line now for your perusal. And what fun perusing they make! imageThis is a woman who only had the finest of everything – art, houses, gardens, jewelry and more. And that’s certainly reflected in this auction. image

I’ve picked out a few of my favourite pieces to share with you, but you should really take the time to browse through the catalogues yourself – there are three of them. One’s for Masterworks and fine art, one is for Jewels & Objects of Vertu and one is Interiors, with more than 1,200 lots. imageAll are amazing. There’s not a clunker in the lot.

English brass tea caddy with six compartments.image

Meissen Sea Life chess setimage

Five volume set of 18th century garden plansimage

Green-painted desk from Syrie Maughamimage

Group of three 19th century tureens in cabbage-ware. There are dozens of pieces of fruit- and vegetable-ware.image

Chinese export porcelain “Tobacco Leaf” patternimage

Massive collection of table linensimage

Pair of French Louis XV chairs. Love the contemporary pillow!image

19th Century American sheet-iron finials. image

Decorative painted backdrop for a party at Oak Spring Farm. There are several dozen of these panels, each painted for parties with different themes.image

From the catalogue: Mrs. Mellon’s personal jewels and objects of vertu reflect her close relationships with the designers she loved: pieces from Verdura, Schlumberger and Givenchy appear in the collection, as well period jewels from Cartier.

Charm bracelet with cocktail and bar itemsimage

La Bomba brooch by Verduraimage

Gold, gem-set, rock crystal and sodalite rhino by Verduraimage

A group of gold keychainsimage

Three gold tassel keychains, marked Hermèsimage

Gardening themed charm braceletimage

Whimsical jewelryimage

White gold and gem-set bunnyimage

I am wondering if the pieces in this auction will go way above their estimates like the pieces in Brooke Astor’s auction did. Some of the estimates for the lots in the interiors auction are quite reasonable. Time will tell!

October 23, 2014

Bag Lady

Yes, I am going to be a wee bit politically incorrect in this post, so don’t read any more if that might bother you.

I love handbags, and mourned the loss of my gorgeous bag after I was mugged earlier this year – I was more upset about losing the bag (but retaining all of its contents) than I was about getting mugged.

When I got back to Baltimore, I immediately called my friend Andrea and asked her if I could get a handbag from her collection. Of course, she kindly obliged me, and I picked up this bag, but in orange.IMG_9460[3]

As the months rolled into summer, I carried one of Bosom Buddy’s summer straw bags, and then recently changed back to the orange bag. Then Andrea told me that their warehouse where they’ve been for the past few years has gotten too small, and so they’ve rented another space. Rather than move everything, they’re having a sale!image

I’ve been helping Andrea evenings this week and will help out during the sale. I sent her this to convey my wishes…handbags

Yes, I know. Completely classless. But funny.

I picked up a few things that ought to tide me over the winter and my upcoming travels. In a few weeks, I have a very, very elegant black tie dinner, and I found the perfect evening bag to take with me. IMG_4982

I also picked up the earrings and bracelet on the left. Here’s the detail of the bag.IMG_4983

I am wearing a black cashmere sweater with a mink collar, so the old gold in the bag should be perfect. The skirt I am having made is a copy of a Balenciaga from the early 1960’s in a brown/black moiré silk taffeta. image

Back to the bags! Bosom Buddy Bags is having a sale this weekend in Baltimore only. On Friday afternoon and Saturday morning only. Cash and carry only. And in person only. I know… only, only, only!IMG_4978IMG_4977IMG_4979image

There are so many fun things that you’ll be able to finish your Christmas shopping in one fell swoop! Here are the details. BBB Sale 2 (2)

I hope to see you there!

October 21, 2014

The Decorators Club Lecture Series

Several of my New York friends are involved in the Decorators Club and each year, they host a series of lectures on the decorative arts. In fact, I saw Mitchell Owen speak on Ruby Ross Wood last year and it was excellent. Click here. I recently got the notice of their Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 lectures and they’re great!image

The upcoming series celebrates four 20th century creative talents who illustrated that design knows no bounds in “All the World’s a Stage…” in IV ActsDC Lectures FOR PRINT

Schedule of Lectures:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014    Joseph Urban: Architect of Dreams

Joseph Urban (1872-1933) was one of the most creative and prolific architects and designers of the early twentieth century.  He received his first architectural commission at age 19 when he was selected to design the new wing of the Abdin Palace in Cairo and designed buildings around the world from Esterhazy Castle in Hungary to Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach. imageHis work includes nearly two decades of spectacular Ziegfeld Follies productions, opulent sets for fifty-three Metropolitan Opera productions, Hollywood film design, hotel, nightclub, department store design, and book illustration.

John Loring is Design Director Emeritus of Tiffany & Co. after serving as its design director for thirty years. He is the author of twenty-two books on art and design including Joseph Urban (Harry N. Abrams, 2010).

Wednesday, November 12, 2014   Oliver Messel: In the Theater of Design

Oliver Messel (1904–1978) was one of England’s foremost designers of the twentieth century whose work spanned the worlds of stage design, film, and architecture. Born into a creative family of wealthy bankers, his career began in 1925 designing for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. imageRomanticism and eccentricity were hallmarks of Messel’s style. His sets were famed for their exquisite delicacy, impossible detail, subtlety of color, and inventive use of materials. From the 1930s to the postwar period, Messel explored the fields of interior design and architecture, eventually designing numerous houses built on the islands of Mustique and Barbados for the jet set of the 1960s and ‘70s, among them Antony Armstrong-Jones (Earl of Snowdon) and Princess Margaret.

Thomas Messel is the nephew of Oliver Messel and an acclaimed furniture designer. Messel edited Oliver Messel: In the Theatre of Design (Rizzoli, 2011), winner of the 2012 Spear’s Book Award.

Wednesday April 8, 2015   Christian Bérard, Artist, Set Designer and Fashion Illustrator

Christian “Bébé” Bérard (1902-1949) was an artist and designer at Paris’ epicenter of stage, fashion, and café society in the 1930s and 40s.  He invented sets and costumes for plays, movies and ballets for the Ballets Russes, Jean Cocteau (notably La Belle at La Bête),image Jean Genet, and others. His fashion illustrations were featured in the pages of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar and inspired the couture collections of designers including Christian Dior, Elsa Schiaparelli and Nina Ricci. Bérard experimented with textile design and interior decoration (collaborating with Jean-Michel Frank and a devotee of Madeleine Castaing).

Jared Goss is an independent scholar and former associate curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum Of Art.  He is the author of French Art Deco (Metropolitan Museum of Art/Yale University Press, 2014).

Wednesday, April 29, 2015   Tony Duquette: More is More

Tony Duquette (1914–1999) was an American artist and design legend known for his over-the-top style in interiors, jewelry, costumes, and set design. His clients included Elizabeth Arden, the Duchess of Windsor, and Herb Albert.  imageThe multi-talented Duquette designed sets for MGM musicals with Arthur Freed and Vincente Minnelli, and designed Tony Award–winning costumes for the original Broadway production of “Camelot” and was the first American to exhibit a one-man show at the Louvre in Paris.  Wilkinson will discuss Tony Duquette’s personal design philosophy and the artistic credo that inspired him to create his fanciful artwork, sculptures, jewelry, gardens and interiors.

Hutton Wilkinson is the owner, creative director and president of Tony Duquette Inc. where he continues the jewelry, interior design, and home furnishings business begun by Tony Duquette. He is the co-author of Tony Duquette (Abrams, 2007) and the author of More Is More: Tony Duquette (Abrams, 2009) and Tony Duquette Jewelry (Abrams, 2011).


To Order Tickets: www.thedecoratorsclub.com

The Decorators Club Education Fund, Inc. was established in 1960 to support interior design education. The fund sponsors an annual portfolio competition for students in six colleges in the New York metropolitan area that offer BFA programs in Interior Design. Awards in the form of monetary grants are made possible by proceeds from these lectures and the generous support of corporate sponsors, members, friends, and colleagues.

October 19, 2014

I’ll Take This: Regency Terrace in Brighton

As I was surfing through the real estate listings in the Guardian, this gorgeous Regency terrace house in Brighton, England caught my eye. When I clicked on the link, I was gob-smacked! What a stunning house in a near perfect location!

The house was built around 1820, probably as a spec property. It is has 180* views of the sea and encompasses more than 10,000 square feet on five levels. Members of London society came to Brighton for “the season” and this house was probably rented out to some of them. Over the next almost 200 years, it was home to members of the nobility, and even the Vanderbilt family. It was also used as a convalescent home after WWI.

Let’s take a look inside…

The house has been owned by the current family for 18 years and they completed a massive and sympathetic renovation. The house retains many of its original details, including the black and white marble floor and the architectural ornamentation in the reception hall.

The dining room is on the other side of the reception hall and features original plaster work on the ceiling and elaborately carved pelmets over the bow windows and a grand fireplace.
The south-west facing kitchen/breakfast room with 14 foot ceilings and intricate cornicing is the perfect place to watch the setting sun.
The stone cantilevered staircase with ornate cast iron balustrade creates an elegant center piece as it rises up through the floors with a magnificent central roof lantern which floods the staircase with natural light. The staircase also features original Lincrusta plaster work up to the
dado rail. On the first floor landing, ornate alabaster pillars support carved capitals and are surrounded with more ornate plaster ceilings.
On the other side of the landing is a double height library which can also be accessed from the second floor mezzanine level.
On the fourth floor, a large west facing sitting room gives access to the roof terrace with 180 degree far reaching views from Brighton Marina across to Worthing.

This amazing property can be yours for just £3,250,000, which is a bit more than $5 million. For more details, including the floorplans, please click here.