In last evening's episode of Downton Abbey, former-chaffeur-turned-Irish-patriot Tom Branson arrives in the pouring rain under desperate and mysterious circumstances. In an after-dinner grilling by the Crowley family, Branson reveals he was involved in the terrorist torching of an ancestral great house in Ireland.
Branson: "They turned everyone out of the castle - Lord and Lady John Gahool, their sons and all the servants. And then they set fire to it."
Lady Edith: "Oh, what a tragedy."
The Dowager Countess: "Well, rather yes and no. That house was hideous. But, of course, that is no excuse."
Lord Grantham (with exasperation): "No, it is not."
Branson answers further questioning about his wife Lady Sybil's whereabouts and the reason behind his involvement in the attack.
Branson: "Those places are different for me. I don't look at them and see charm and gracious living. I see something horrible."
The Dowager Countess: "Well, with Gahool Castle, I rather agree."
Lord Grantham (with further exasperation): "Ma-ma, you are not helping."
Harper's Bazaar and Vogue editor and all-around outsized legend Diana Vreeland famously told her decorator, Billy Baldwin, “I want my apartment to look like a garden: a garden in hell!” Architectural Digestrevisits the iconic space featured in its September/October 1975 issue. By then, the interiors, done in 1957, were nearly 20 years old.
Can you believe it's been five years since actress Amanda Peet's Hollywood Hills home was featured in Domino (RIP)? This month Voguerevisits the romcom queen's Spanish-style house and we're treated to a peek at the changes, including the addition of another daughter, two-year-old Molly.
The arched entrance hall has been cleaned up, gone (or cropped out) is the gallery wall. The stair's banister has lost its curlicues and gained a sophisticated sisal runner and black paint on the treads. I love that the baby gate latch was not Photoshopped out.
The addition of a table and some Hans Wegner Wishbone chairs to the built-in corner seating has transformed the family room into a dining room. One of the vintage tavern chairs from the original dining alcove (see third photo down) can be seen between the two sets of French doors to the right. Vogue did not choose to include a photo of this area, so we're at a loss as to its current incarnation.
Older daughter Frankie's room was the stuff of legend. The "Funny Girl" poster above the daybed, below, set off a chorus of SWOON!s still echoing around the blogosphere today. It's difficult to tell if Miss Frankie was moved to a big girl bedroom or if the space just received a coat of unfortunate yellow. Either way The Poster stayed with her.
Vogue's all-too-brief article chose to split its focus evenly between the house's interiors and the property's grounds. Personally, I would have loved an update of the living room, seen below. It's Suzani-draped pink-striped English rolled-arm sofa is another blog and Pinterest superstar.
What strikes me is how much better I like the house as it was presented five years ago. The boho beautiful elements would still be very much in fashion. The 2007 version of the family room's banquette seating area defined lip-licking interior porn. Designer Nathan Turner polished the project then, but no decorating credit is given in the new article.
I'll wrap this post with a shot of Peet's uber-relaxing pool area. I have decided my life will not be complete until I can enjoy my own personal pergola-ed banquette seating area, complete with a tiny tee pee for The Pea, at the head of a cypress-lined swimming pool.
The bedroom of film producer/actress/art world progeny Stella Schnabel in her Chinatown, NYC duplex. The rug is Madeline Weinrib, the coffee table by Yves Klein, and the cast-bronze bed was designed by Schnabel's father Julian.
Dumplings, I think I was born 87 years old. I collect vintage caftans and would drink vodka tonics every afternoon if alcohol didn't make my heart flip flop. I've always been fascinated by women of a certain age, probably because my grandmother was so damn much fun to be around:
Nana dressed as a French prostitute for Halloween.
So when I saw a pair of casual shoes at Old Navy today, my mind immediately leapt to the elderly's footwear of choice - Grasshoppers. They bring to mind chain-smoking tennis-playing Grannies of a certain station who drive ancient Mercedes convertibles and have a thousand bitchy stories to tell you about their sisters-in-law. In short, ladies who make excellent company.
In a recent New York Times interview, "Mad Men"'s set designer Dan Bishop shared his thoughts on the new home he created for Mr. and Mrs. Don Draper. The nest for the newly married lovebirds is described as "a big, open-plan space, rich with texture (walnut veneers,
grasscloth wallpaper) and defined by a sunken living room whose white
carpet suggests an impractical streak that spells trouble for the
The living room features a dropped Saarinen-esque conversation area with an imposing black leather chair and footstool holding center stage. (No underlying subtext there.) In the article's accompanying photos, we see our first clear shot of the kitchen in all its cork-floored glory. This is a big one by New York City standards - Megan is going to domesticate Don exclamation point.
Bishop drew "inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright interiors, as well as the
white-glazed brick, postwar apartment buildings that line the Upper East
Side. He is especially pleased, he said, about the set’s custom-made
built-in furniture. 'In my world,' he said, 'that’s the stuff that gets
cut for money reasons.'"
Next Friday, there's going be a wedding in the UK. Maybe you've heard about it? The impending nuptials of a certain Will and Kate brought back memories of my own preteen excitement over being allowed to stay up into the wee hours to watch the wedding of Charles and Diana. Then I remembered reading somewhere that designer India Hicks was one of Di's bridesmaids. A little sleuthing confirmed it. Ms. Hicks, second from the left in the photo, was a tender 13 and charged with the solemn task of righting the Princess-to-be's train.
India Hicks' pedigree and life is the stuff of a BBC mini-series with scenes shot in elegantly decaying manor houses and across distant sweeping colonial outposts. Her great great grandmother was Queen Victoria and her grandfather, Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India. Her mother, Lady Pamela Hicks, is a former lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth. Her father was design god David Hicks. Ms. India herself is in succession to the throne of England (521st, but who's counting?).
Hicks leads a low-key life in comparison to her royal and noble cousins. She is mother to four young children and calls the Bahamas home, though hers is not a completely idle lifestyle.
Hicks co-owns an island boutique, creates scented bath products for Crabtree & Evelyn, has modeled for Ralph Lauren and most recently Tod's, and hosted the second season of Top Design (RIP). She has also co-authored several lifestyle books and a memoir with her mother about the last days of colonial India.
In May, she will launch a fine jewelry collection, Hicks on Hicks, with designs based on the work of her late father. The line will include rings, pendants, and earrings fashioned of silver, gold and diamonds.
Hicks recently shared a memory of how Princess Diana arrived for her royal wedding 30 years ago: "She turned up in a pair of jeans, and I have a lasting impression of Diana with a diamond tiara on her head, dressed in jeans below, while they fitted her tiara to see what it would look like." She added that Diana was watching television whilst getting ready: "She was very intrigued by it. For her, it was so new to see herself on television, can you imagine? Her whole life going before her eyes. And she kept pushing everybody out of the way. 'Move,' she'd say."
These 100-year-old color photographs of czarist Russians have been bouncing around the interwebs for awhile. At the beginning of the 20th century, photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii traveled throughout the empire in a train car provided by Tsar Nicholas II documenting the country's diverse peoples.
"Using a special technique that captured three black and white photographs in succession, the pictures could then be combined using red, green and blue filters to create realistic color. The result is vivid photographs that look startlingly modern."
Well, that's fascinating and all but look at those textiles. Da-yum!
I gotta tell ya, Dumplings, when I started this blogging thing almost three years ago, I never thought I would find the three best friends a girl could ever hope for. And, conveniently enough, they all live in one city - Atlanta.
Late last night, I returned from my (now) biannual pilgrimage to the Peach State. I took The Pea with me to meet up with Jenny from My Favorite and My Best, Nelya from Head Over Heels, Susie from Eye Spy. You may remember my first trip this past May. We had so much fun the first time around, I couldn't imagine waiting an entire year to see them all again.
We headed out Friday morning to some Buckhead specialty shops. Our first stop was Pieces. I was shocked at how tiny it was, that the look was three years past its expiration date, and how large the stick up the salestwink's ass was. I couldn't get out of there fast enough.
We then popped around the corner to a new eco interiors shop - Bee. I loved everything last damn thing in there. I would have photographed it all, but the owner is superweird about bloggers. Um, hello, free publicity.
I snagged these two shots of the shop's interior from Susie's blog. She was more ballsy than me, and you know I have a huge pair.
I bought the basket, above, at Bee. It's made of recycled something-or-other and only cost $60. YAY for reasonably-priced sustainable decor! We also each bought leather super power cuffs.
We had lunch at the new Flip Burger location and then stuffed our faces with Gigi's Cupcakes. Susie took us to her super secret cheapo vintage source where I found an Adler-esque vase/frog, above, for $15. I'm thinking a pink carnation afro.
The day wound down with dinner at Susie's cooked by her handsome husband, David. Their younger daughter took The Pea under her wing, enjoying some twinsie dress-up and cheerleading instruction. I'm pretty sure Pea wants to be adopted by the Quillins.
Their having two lovebug dogs doesn't hurt.
Saturday, we dropped the youngins off with Jenny's husband, SuperMike (he really is super), who took them to the zoo. Jenny was preparing a kickass dinner for us, so Nelya, Susie, and I headed to Scott Antiques Market for a few hours. Check out the yummy textile booth above!
We hadn't been there 10 mintues when Suzanne Kasler strolled by. That's her on the right in the black. I know Miss Suzanne from waaaaay back. She started her design career in Indianapolis. Her sister Nan, who is also an interior designer of great talent, was my store's #1 customer every year I was in business.
At Scott, we saw the most amazing goodies. I loved these unicorn and lion andirons and the drawing above them.
If you want a pendant light made of repurposed whatever, Scott is the place to go. I saw vintage globes...
... old turbines...
... and gathering baskets. Clever, but after the fifteenth example of cutesy lighting I was over it.
I tell you what, Dumplings, you could furnish an entire neighborhood of homes (no matter the style) with the inventory found at Scott. I was tempted by some crazygorgeous African art and a cork coffee table. The latter was only $450, but shipping would have killed the dealio. The seller was trying to convince me it was 1974 Ralph Lauren. Dude, RL had only just created his Lacoste tennis shirt knock-off at that point.
We grabbed a quick bite to eat at Parish in Inman Park. The restaurant is housed in the only structure left of the historical Terminal Building built in 1890. "The space features fully-restored crown moldings, antique Parisian sconces, red murano chandeliers, vaulted interior brick arches, a walnut and zinc bar, the original tin ceiling, refurbished windows, original exposed brick, a classic raw bar and a Vermont slate roof." Incredible interiors + yummy food = a very happy Raina.
It was back to Jenny's for a damn fine dinner of roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, salad, and brownie pudding. The girls were all over every inch of the house playing, dancing, singing, and generally having a ball. This is a rare moment of quiet in the evening.
P.S. Jenny found that $3400 Oly leather and iron daybed for $150 on Craigslist. You should hire her to find you some awesomesauce stuff. She's the Craigs Whisperer.
Sunday morning, we chowed down on a Mexican brunch and then zipped into H&M for a hot second. We gathered all of the kiddos for a group shot which, as you can tell by Jenny's face, was like herding cats. The three handsome boys are Nelya's. We're planning to all become blood relations by marrying off her little guys to one of each of our daughters. Susie's younger to Nelya's oldest, Fiona Honey to the middle future hunk, and Pea will stand under the huppah with Batman.
So I'm guessing y'all (see, I'm Southern now) are dying to know what Jenny's and Susie's homes are like. Well, I was too busy enjoying their hospitality to really snap vignette shots. Jenny's is neutral-hued paradise of eclecticism - very David Netto when he was married to Ione Skye. Susie's house is filled with the most sumptuous boho casual textiles and furnishings. She was Domino before Domino was Domino.
Nelya lives 30 minutes north of the city, so we'll have to save a visit to her place for another trip. We did have the pleasure of meeting her husband who knows a thing or two about how to treat a lady. He is all about the fine jewelry and sweet little surprises.
We're already planning our next get-together in the spring, and we're thinking road trip. Stay tuned...