Henry VIII swathed in cloth

Henry VIII’s Cult of Cloth

A trip to Frankfurt to attend Heimtextil a week from today has inspired me to share one of my favorite anecdotes about Henry VIII and his court, as it describes how the Tudor King doted on textiles. I came across the depictions of his wanderlusting ways in Nicola Shulman’s book Graven with Diamonds: The Many […]

Château Pédesclaux in Bordeaux

Architecture with Heart in Bordeaux

In the preface to the book Grand Bordeaux Châteaux: Inside the Fine Wine Estates of France, Philippe Chaix describes discovering Bordeaux as a bewitching act: on foot, he reports, it means ambling through the city of stone and gazing into its mirror-like river. Setting off to explore the Mèdoc and Saint-Èmilion, he notes, the experience makes […]

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, […]

An abandoned home on the Great Plains. Image © Saxon Henry.

The Soul of Great Leaders

Whenever I see a photograph of a Native American, I can’t help but think of Crazy Horse, and I’ve seen a fair number of them in my lifetime given the years I spent in the mission field, traveling to and from the Sioux and Athapaskan reservations in South Dakota and Alaska. During one late autumn […]

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 place, […]

Three children painted in the Elizabethan style.

Narratives That Illuminate Design

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 […]

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, […]

Judith Paul, Mixed-Media Artist

Judith Paul’s Cover Story

Before I made a definitive decision to carve out as close to a writer’s existence as I could, I exhibited as a stained glassed artist in my hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee. I was a member of a gallery and active in AVA, the Association for Visual Arts. Just before I moved to New York City, […]

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 post. […]

Sophia Khan's Mystery of San Giorgio

Impressions of Venice

Several months ago, Sophia Khan engaged me on Twitter and I decided to visit her site to understand her point of view. I must say I was stunned by the whispery delicacy and magical powers of her paintings, a paradoxical mélange of attributes that is rare to find within the same oeuvre. I asked her […]