Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Design Crush-Hotel N'vY Geneva

It's the kids spring break and with my two older kids studying in London and Scotland respectively, we decided to cross the pond this year and hit the slopes in Courchevel France. We would all be meeting up in Geneva first, my eleven year old and I spending the night before at the Hotel N'vY, (like envy) a chic boutique hotel a little off the beaten path in downtown Geneva but definitely worth a visit.

We arrived at night to a bustling modern lobby filled with cosy, mod seating areas, fantastic art on display and house music playing softly in the background. There was a shocked smile of approval from my daughter who seemed surprised I found such a hip place to stay. Ok, I was a little shocked I found such a cool place to stay too. We took the elevator up to our room, spacious and modern, furnished with Frette linens and robes, Etro bath products and an amazing sound system--really the perfect home away from home.

Famished after our flight went down to the lounge area and ordered delicious $35 hamburgers and a $22 vodka for mom. Geneva is so expensive! The hotel resident DJ played great house music and we stayed in the lounge for a while unwinding from our trip and admiring some of the impressive art at the hotel. N'vY is known for their spectacular collection which permeates every area of the hotel, from celebrated graffiti artist Meres One to Thierry Guetta, aka "Mr. Brainwash", a French urban artist now living in the US. 

Back up to our room and ensconced in our terry robes my daughter remarked that she could get used to N' too!

Friday, February 28, 2014


Celebrated Interior Designer Howard Slatkin certainly knows how to host a dinner party. From the moment you enter his elegant foyer, a stunning jewel box with references to Peter the Great's summer palace in Peterhof, you are taken with his striking sense of style. A row of Slatkin's legendary scented candles are artfully arraigned on a rare French console and tight bouquets of lily of the valley blooms reflect the light off an antique Venetian mirror. The room is a feast for the senses and a prelude to the rest of his exquisite, sprawling Fifth Avenue abode. 

The sign of a great entertainer, Howard's low key, genteel demeanor instantly puts guests at ease, offering champagne in antique etched crystal flutes along with every one's favorite cocktail nibble, pigs in a blanket, nesting on an antique English silver tray.  
 I've had the pleasure of dining with Howard at his home on several occasions and those nights remain memorable both for the host's impeccable attention to detail and the sheer fun of the evening. Howard embraces the beauty of his environment and celebrates his home, sharing the joy that it brings to him with his guests.
Slatkin's new book, Fifth Avenue Style, (Vendome Press, 2013) is an homage to his fabulous Fifth Ave. abode. The book takes readers on an intimate tour of his sanctuary and chronicles the nearly three year renovation of the space creating most certainly one of the most luxurious, refined homes in Manhattan today. Lush photography highlights the exquisite details of each space as Howard walks us through the rooms, carefully detailing each exquisite design element, from choice of fabric and trims to the careful positioning of electrical outlets. The prose is informative and approachable, peppered with delightful anecdote's and a wealth of design information.

Having experienced Howard's legendary hospitality firsthand, I was thrilled to see special attention given to his impressive French Empire inspired dining room, a gorgeous confection of flora and fruit themed carved walls and a remarkable hand painted ceiling. It is both lavish and intimate; a space made for celebrations. Several pages of vignettes are devoted to his impressive collection of antique china, crystal and table linens; as Slatkin muses, "We all eat, so why not make it a feast for the eyes as well as the palate?"

Dining room inspiration included Raphael's Loggia at the Vatican and a French Empire Savonnerie carpet.
Chinese export Imari-style plates are set for the first course.
18th century plates in a spring time pattern celebrate the season.
A living room niche is home to a custom silk velvet banquette and flock of porcelain aviary.
A serene and elegant gallery welcomes guests.
The guest suite channels a dreamy secret garden with a fanciful French Empire steel and gilt bronze canopy of Indian printed scarves and walls covered in 18th century Chinese wallpaper. 
Fifth Avenue Style is fabulous for so many reasons; it's a coveted view inside a majestic Manhattan home, but it's really Howard's ability to create an intimate living space with rooms meant to celebrate and share with others that make Fifth Avenue Style so stellar.

Monday, February 10, 2014


LOVE, Robert Indiana, 1967.

While I'd never turn my nose at a box of Valentine chocolates, there are so many stylish gifts that celebrate the day of love, why stop at salted caramels? Get creative--toast the holiday with a delicious glass of rose champagne and present your loved one (or maybe yourself!) with one of my favorite gifts for the Valentine's Day-

Sweet Tart--whimsical Peron Hearts peep toe pump give a stylish nod to the holiday and beyond.

Sugar, Sugar-Inspired by those yummy Necco wafer candies, the ultra thin Waif Coaster set is made of French enamel coated copper and comes in a delicious palette of sweet pinks and dark colas.

Circle of Love-a darling needle made macarame lace heart bracelet from Cruciani, the renowned heritage Italian lace making house, the perfect gift for your little sweet thing.

Shaken, not stirred-The James Bond Archives, the ultimate book on all things Bond for your dashing guy; enough said.

Red Hot- spice up your LBD or white tee and jeans with these whimsical double rose earrings from Oscar de la Renta.

Friday, January 31, 2014


Andrew Wyeth, The Prussian, 1973  at Jonathan Boos

Featuring the "Best of the Best" from antiquities through the 1960's, The Winter Antiques Show is a must see for both collectors and admirers.  I was invited to view the show during its last pre-opening hours earlier this week at the Armory while final touches were being made to the stylish booths of the 73 exhibitors.  Gorgeous vignettes featuring Americana, English, European and Asian decorative and fine arts are on display punctuated by several new dealers with a trend towards Modernism.

Maison Gerard is a personal favorite of mine. The dealer specializes in fine French Art Deco furniture, lighting and objects d'art. The pieces featured at the Armory are gorgeous representations of the period with inlaid marquetry, sinuous lines and rich exotic woods.  

Gerda Wegener Art Deco Window, France, circa 1925 Maison Gerard, New York NY

A rare screen by  Art Deco master Jean Dunand, considered to be the greatest lacquer artist of the period was a highlight of Maison Gerard, so whimsical and tres chic!
Barbara Israel's booth was simply breathtaking.  An exquisite collection of statues and garden antiques are staged against a lush waterfall backdrop.

Bold and beautiful Harry Bertoia's Devon Dunes,(1958)  bronze and copper sculpture was part of a varied, impressive exhibit at Lost City Arts, New York, NY
A stunning  Queen Anne Jappaned Secretaire Cabinet, circa 1710, Hyde Park Antiques
Tiffany and Co. Diamond Stars and Moons necklace, by Jean Schlumberger
Exquisite pieces from Tiffany, Graff, Chanel and Bulgari are on display in celebration of the 60th Diamond Jubilee of the show.

The Winter Antiques Show benefits East Side House Settlement and runs through February 2, 2014 at the Armory.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


This Chinese New Year celebrates The Year of the Horse, and what better way to honor this magnificent athlete than through a collection of horse prints by noted photographer Bob Tabor.
Arrestingly beautiful, Tabor's work is graphic, intense and filled with raw emotion.
 “The mass of a horse’s body becomes a sculpture when it’s bathed in natural light" said Tabor.
 Tabor's horse photographs reflect a unique intimacy and showcase the horses spirit and gentle power. 

I love the prints large scale and bold graphics which brings an emotional intensity and singular beauty to a room.  
Tabor's work can be found in private collections and galleries across the US as well as at Mecox Gardens.

photos courtesy of Bob Tabor.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Somethings Gotta Give

Amanda Peet and the ubiquitous Zabar's bag heading to the Hamptons.

It's with more than a touch irony that my last published post written (gasp!) two months ago was titled Hide and Seek. While not intentional, the title certainly foreshadowed my hiatus from blogsphere, my blogging friends and writing in general. I'm sorry I've been gone for so long but hope today's post, Somethings Gotta Give, answers the all important question--"Where have you been girl?"

I wish I had a big, sexy story to tell; it would be great to be able to tell you that I spent the last two months in St. Petersberg designing a spectacular dacha for an oligarch but it was really just life getting a little too crazy all at once--a flurry of work with two fabulous clients with Christmas deadlines and kids home for the holidays left me with little time, drive or imagination for writing. So I decided to give myself a free pass, the first in four years of writing Hampton Hostess, promising myself that I would return in the new year re- energized and ready to go. And so I'm officially back, linking my first post of 2014 with one of my first posts ever, (I Got Something From Somethings Gotta Give) a piece about Jack and Diane and the fabulous dhurrie rug I scored from the movie set of Somethings Gotta Give... It's great to be back!

Who wouldn't want a chair formerly occupied by two Oscar winning actors?

A big thanks to Cote de Texas for featuring photos of my bedroom in her post on the chic beachy striped rug yesterday.  There is a fun story behind the rug that involves a fantastic charity event, the DDD (decorators, dealers and designers) that benefits the Southampton Fresh Air Home, a local charity.  Held in June, the event features rooms of furniture and antiques donated by some of the most fabulous homes in the Hamptons.  Designers and clients buy the expensive tickets for the event and line up at 5:00, waiting for the doors to oven at 5:30. When the doors open, a stampede of blue blazers and sundresses make their way at a heart racing pace through the rooms, buying nearly everything in their tracks. 
Architectural Digest
In 2008, one of the rooms was entirely furnished with stunning furniture and decorative objects from the set of Something's Gotta Give, and as you might imagine, that room was a first destination for the design savvy crowd. By the time I got there, the English Country sofas, upholstered in delicate eggshell blue linen and the large mahagony coffee table were long gone.  Lucky for me, no one seemed to look down and see the beachy blue striped cotton rug-bingo!  I was also very fortunate to find a beautiful set of 12 delicate framed cameos in beautiful gold frames--a designer had decided not to buy them at the last moment and I was there to snatch them up. Tucked in a corner sat an unclaimed  pretty Oly Studio Hannah chair and ottoman upholstered in raffia and cotton duck, also from the movie set.
There have been years when I've bought at auctions, caught in the heady buying frenzy, only to have a severe case of buyers remorse when I got the items home.  But that did not happen with my fabulous finds from Something's Gotta Give--they were just perfect.

Bold stripes dominate the cotton dhurrie rug and compliment the beachy blue and beige color scheme.  

 The set of 12 cameo prints were broken into sets of 8 and 4, covering 2 walls in the sitting room. The tiny cameos make a big impression when grouped and hung in a grid pattern. The two black lacquered side tables are from Old Town Crossing in Southampton and the white duck love seat is from English Country Antiques.

 Small and delicate, the cameos come to life in smart gold frames and beveled white matting.

Here's another favorite photo which shows how a grouping of small inexpensive photos can look spectacular when massed together on one wall.

Larger than life cameos hung closely together, make a big impression in this living room.