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Monday, November 9, 2015

Book review: ' Decorating with Carpets: A Fine Foundation'

When current fashion turns away from your industry, what should you, as a business owner, do? Start a dialogue. And that is exactly what Ashley Stark Jenner and Chad Stark, the third generation of the venerable Stark carpet house, aim to do with Decorating with Carpets: A Fine Foundation.

Entry hall by Alexis Hampton.

The last time anyone got excited about wall-to-wall, the first Clinton was President. For Millennials and Gen X-ers, carpet is a product whose time has passed. But for the those for whom luxury is everyday, custom-made floor coverings are still de rigueur. Stark Carpet is and has often been the go-to manufacturer of choice for top-shelf interior designers, including Dorothy Draper, Albert Hadley, Mark Hampton, Mario Buatta, Howard Slatkin, Bunny Williams, and Steven Gambrel.

Living room by Steven Gambrel.

Decorating with Carpets strength lies in its ability to convince you, in the words of the inimitable Jeffrey Lebowski, "that rug really tied the room together." These carpets are the literal and figurative foundation of the spaces they occupy, providing cohesiveness as well as comfort.

Dining room by Trisha Reger.

Structured more as an idea book, Decorating with Carpets gives little information about the history of floor coverings other than randomly-inserted brief descriptions of broad categories - Oriental, Animal, Ikat, Floral. Perhaps to give the reader an impression that carpet is of the now, only recent projects are featured. Historical photographs of important interiors of the past would have been helpful in discussing carpet's evolution.

Library by Garrow Kedigian.

This book is a showcase for the highest of the high end, with Pinterest favorite "Antelope Ax" prominently featured. There is not a DIY-ish chevron or blogger Beni to be found. For Stark, carpets are such stuff as dreams (and aspirational interiors) are made on.

Bedroom by Peter Rogers.

Photos provided by The Vendome Press.

My thanks to Meghan Phillips of The Vendome Press for the review copy!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Book review: 'Palm Beach Chic'

The first thing I do with an art book is get it naked - whip off its dust jacket and see what (if any) surprise awaits. Like Tom Sheerer's sublime embossed cane binding, Palm Beach Chic does not disappoint with the lush floral mosaic from a poolside shower. We're in Florida - land of sea, sun, and outdoor living. But this is not just anywhere in the Sunshine State. This is Palm Beach, winter playground of the (quietly) rich and famous. 

The morning room of La Follia, the 43,000-square-foot 
Italian Renaissance fever dream of Broadway producer Terry Allan Kramer.

If you're expecting Chinoiserie and trelliswork, you won't be disappointed. But author Jennifer Ash Rudick takes us on a tour of all manner of delicious domiciles, from "modest" apartments to a 600+ acre ranch to Addison Mizner-designed robber baron tributes.

 Oceanside/poolside at fashion designer Lisa Perry's postmodern pad.

[Palm Beach is] the land of dreams come true, a world of imaginatively designed and quality-built nesting places. High tray ceilings, proper entrance halls, excellent proportions, a sense of propriety, but not a trace of competitive consumption. Palm Beachers live graciously but with individual interpretations of the concept.

 The vintage bar of Liza Calhoun, daughter Palm Beach icon Lilly Pullitzer.

Ash Rudick's mother was the publisher of the Palm Beach Daily News or "The Shiny Sheet," so-named because of a special printing technique that keeps ink from transferring to the posh hands of its readers. As a nearly-native and with her parents' social connections, Ash Rudick became the unofficial architectural tour guide for out-of-town friends and guests. In 1992, she wrote her first book about the magnificent homes hidden by hedges, Tropical Style: Private Palm Beach

 The former home of Peter Pulitzer.

These homes attested to the fact that Palm Beachers were observant, sophisticated world travelers who entertained crown heads and even those who had given up their crowns.

 The office in interior designer Meg Braff's apartment.

In her newest book, released today, Ash Rudick revisits a few of the houses but focuses on new builds, new owners, and extensive remodels. It's an evolution, not a revolution. The flash is still centered 70 miles south in Miami.

The terrace of Gumdrop House, owned by Harry and Laura Slatkin.

No two homes bear the faintest resemblance to the other, except for an exuberant celebration of tropical living. Individual expression seems to be a priority for Palm Beach residents.

"Bamboo Hill," Swedish interior designer Lars Bolander's house.

These homes and their magnificent gardens aren't slavish copies of interior design magazines and decorators' dictates but testaments to what can be achieved when inspired by the natural beauty of a unique locale and when imagination is one's only limitation.

A Peter Marino-designed boho fantasy 
inspired by Yves St. Laurent's Marrakesh getaway.

Palm Beach Chic is the perfect escapist read - a lush getaway filled with dream-like dwellings and fantasy settings.

Poolside at the historic Villa Atermis, 
owned by the same family for over 50 years.

All photos by Jessica Klewicki Glynn.

My thanks to Meghan Phillips of The Vendome Press for the review copy!

Monday, October 5, 2015

My inner Basic bitch really wants this

 Anthropologie Glowing Grove chandelier, $698-$1298.

And the pink sofa.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunday siesta

Via Pinterest.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Thought of the day

Via Pinterest.

Chaka Khan, NYC, 1975.