Iron Nation Church in South Dakota

Uncommon Characters in South Dakota

Just before traveling to the Sioux reservations of South Dakota for the first time, I read an article in The New York Times’ T Magazine titled “Richard Ford’s Uncommon Characters.” It was written by photographer/film director Bruce Weber, who quoted Ford as saying “A lot of people could be novelists if they were willing to […]

Chambre Bleu painting

A Backward Glance on rue de Varenne

The narrow sidewalks push their black iron batons up out of the ground to protect the buildings hemming them; the rain turns the cobblestones to muted mirrors of damp light—I’m visiting her again on the anniversary of her 155th birthday, and it dawns on me that I’ve never seen the statuesque green door with its […]

Edith Wharton's home in France

What Libraries Might Teach Us

I’m on my way back to Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University tomorrow and it occurred to me that it would be a good time to share with you what I’ve learned so far from delving into the papers of some heavyweight writers at some of the country’s finest libraries. I’ve reserved […]

Edgar Allan Poe daguerreotype

The Legacy of Edgar Allan Poe

I’ve seen and heard some of my all-time favorite exhibitions and lectures at The Morgan Library and Museum, the programming they produce so exemplary I always check their site first when I know I’ll be in New York City. And no matter how many times I walk through Pierpont Morgan’s library, I’m struck by the […]

Peace Bringing Back Abundance

Vigée Le Brun’s Passion for Painting

  A Passion for Painting   Billowing ruched fabric, pointy toes of dainty shoes visible from beneath flounced skirts hemmed in gold fringes and ornate trims. A bejeweled crown on a pillow festooned with gold fleurs-de-lis; and a red velvet tablecloth flowing downward, its gold trim cascading onto a floral rug. Sumptuousness at every turn. Painting […]

The gardens at the Château Vaux-le-Vicomte

Heaven Shall Be Here

  In the film A Little Chaos, Alan Rickman, who plays an unlikely Louis XIV, declares, “Heaven shall be here.” He’s speaking of a ballroom he has commissioned for the gardens at Versailles, which will be realized by one of the most visionary landscape architects during the 17th-century, André le Nôtre (played by Matthias Schoenaerts), […]

The Basilica of St. Francis, as seen from below

It Is Time to Experience More

Experience more. It sounds like a simple directive but how many of us really take the time to savor what is happening right in front of us? I consider it a blessing that, as a writer, I live my life steeped in curiosity and engaging the world with heightened perception, and I feel fortunate to […]

Bernardaud produces the Marie-Antoinette pattern of porcelain

Dining with History

A month from Sunday, I’ll be winging my way to Paris to attend Maison & Objet, and I’m thrilled to say I’ve been invited to Limoges to visit the Bernardaud factory while I’m in France. This invitation from the porcelain manufacturer means so much to me because I will be able to see, in person, […]

Jean Leon Gerome's painting Louis XIV and Moliere

We’ll Never Be Royals

Nest Nest Nest features the Alliage pattern.As I write this, I can feel the design energy draining from the Americas as the movers-and-shakers in our industry trek across the Atlantic to Paris for Maison & Objet. During the last iteration of the French fair, I followed the savvy coverage by Tamara Matthews Stephenson, and was […]