Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald before This Side of Paradise

This Side of Paradise

I looked forward to meeting Michael Berman during the Spring 2016 High Point Market when he was there to debut his Califolio collection for Theodore Alexander, and, not at all a surprise, the party was packed. As more and more people filed in, I noticed the serene setting he had created with more than 75 […]

Reception at Malmaison in 1802 François Flameng

Transitory Spaces

The beginning of one of Napoléon Bonaparte’s earliest letters to Joséphine de Beauharnais simply oozes sensuality: “Seven in the morning. I awaken full of you…the memory of yesterday’s intoxicating evening has left no rest to my senses…Sweet and incomparable Joséphine, I draw from your lips, from your heart, a flame which consumes me…A thousand kisses, […]

Pandora de Balthazar fine lace curtains

Rewriting the Myth of Pandora

I’ve always been fascinated by the myth of Pandora because the most widely accepted explanation of this parable—that feminine curiosity “is responsible for all the woes from which mankind suffers”—may not be accurate according to some scholars. The quote, from Frances E. Sabin’s book Classical Myths That Live Today, goes on to say, “Another version […]

Antonio Cotti paints "Dante in Verona"

Reading Dante in Milan

  “I’d like that sunny table near the windows under the beautiful mirror,” he says to the hostess at Le Vrai, pointing to the niche set with two café tables, perfect for reading Dante all afternoon. Only a few decades earlier, the waistcoat and watch fob dangling from its pocket would have been out of […]

Three children painted in the Elizabethan style.

Narratives That Illuminate Design

If you believe that design-centric coffee table books contain nothing more than visual surveys of portfolios, I am out to change your mind today by presenting my choices for narratives that illuminate design. What has prompted this quest? Two intelligently written books in Rizzoli’s holiday catalog—both of which were published earlier this year. Narratives That Illuminate Design […]

DXV Design Panel detail by Justin Shaulis

A Room with a View x 2

When I saw the expressive twin spaces Justin Shaulis created as one of American Standard’s 2015 DXV Design Panel participants, I knew I had to feature him for two reasons: the sensual storytelling he achieved within the spaces he designed and the novel he chose as his inspiration, A Room with a View by E.M. Forster, […]

The lobby area of The Chatwal

The Old Familiar Faces

…I have been laughing, I have been carousing, Drinking late, sitting late, with my bosom cronies, All, all are gone, the old familiar faces…   These three lines of verse illustrating Charles Lamb’s feelings of loss for the pals who brought intellectual stimulation into his life couldn’t be more meaningful to kick off this #DesignSalon […]

Settenani pendants by Karman Lighting illuminate a contrary Snow White.

Snow White Meets Settenani

“Oh, mirror, mirror on the wall, am I most beautiful of all?” Snow White’s mother, the envious Queen, would ask her looking glass each evening, soothed by the oracle’s assurances until the night it copped to the fact there was no way she could outshine her daughter’s loveliness. Into the woods went pretty Snow White, […]

Blonde bombshell Jean Harlow on Saxon Henry

Harlow at Bergdorfs!

I stood for a while admiring the chandelier in the window at Bergdorf Goodman. There was something about its icy lozenges of light telescoping out from a brass center spindle like planets around an axis that caught and held my eye even before I learned it was called the Harlow. Bergdorfs Welcomes Harlow The tony window-dressing […]

Ally Coulter at Holiday House 2014.

Ally Coulter and the Opulent Salon

Ally Coulter’s grand salon on the first floor of the Holiday House NYC took my breath away the minute I entered the room. It was as if I’d stepped into a Romanesque nod to modernism that intermingles a smooth mix of time-honored and modern elements—Otto Naumann art and Newel antiques hold court alongside Fendi Casa furniture […]