Thursday, June 12, 2008

Stephanie From The O.C. Makes It To Become The 9th Contestant On HGTV Design Star

She won the online vote
to become the 9th contestant
on the third season of
HGTV Design Star

It's cheesy and riveting. It had the tears of a queen, and lots of squeals and groans. The first challenge of the group having to build there own shelter can't be for real. There they were with their luggage in the rain with the WTF look on their faces. I'll be watching on Sunday, and afterwards the premiere of Rate My Space.
Here's a letter from HGTV that I got, and pass onto to you:

Hello Valorie,

I hope your Monday is going well. I’m curious if you had a chance to see the season three premiere of Design Star on HGTV last evening. I am eager to hear your thoughts on the final contestant revealed as well as the design samples the finalists presented.

I also wanted to send a quick reminder about the sweepstakes that started this past Friday, June 6th where viewers can enter for a chance to win a $5,000 shopping spree to Sears or a $5,000 gift card from Lumber Liquidators.

And be sure to check out your Design Star IQ to learn some fun facts about the show and contestants such as whose childhood dream it was to marry David Bowie….

I hope you’ll tune in Sunday at 9pm to see which designer wins the first challenge and to find out who gets eliminated. As always, do feel free to contact me at any time with questions or comments.

Margot Inzetta
360i on behalf of HGTV

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

In The Pink

From Italian Vogue

Everything is fine!
Bringing him home today.
Life is amazing.
To quote a great Southern belle: I've always depended on the kindness of strangers...
The people we met at the hospital from the surgeon to the nurses, to the other folks waiting around for news of their loved ones, to the cafeteria and gift shop workers, to the volunteers manning the help desk - well you take it all for granted as just being there, until you feel like you're going to break into a million little pieces, and then they are all there to keep you in one piece.
And this Yankee gal also depends on the kindness of friends who have become our family, and on the love of our families by birth right.
Thank you all for being there, for the comments, the e-mails, the phone calls, for taking Cholo out for a walk while we were at the hospital, for the flowers being sent, for reminding us that we matter.
Life is so enjoyable.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Barry Wine, An Original Decorator

I love the mannequins and the rug and the Barcelona chairs
Can you be kooky and have good taste?

I can't sleep, so I am reading The Sunday New York Times on line. I came across this article, which made me smile. Lately I have been wondering about all the original decorators out there, like are they a dying breed? Nowadays with so much HGTV (and other TV design, decor, DYI, flipped out houses), more decor magazines coming and going, design and decor blogs, it seems like most people want to aspire to making their personal spaces look like someone else's. To sell a house, we have to neuter it. To be magazine worthy, we have to ape what the magazines sell us.
I come from a place and time where such conformity was mocked, and certainly not appreciated as talent. I myself have been mocked for my decorating point of view, which I always prided as being unique. A stint on Rate My Space knocked me silly, and had me rushing to conform for approval. Luckily I came to my senses, and got back in touch with who I am, and thus, I have left the vintage medical hand colored illustrations of life size skeletons (front and back view) hanging in the guest room, along with a collection of crosses. I also kept my Gris Gris altar, something many New Orleans homes wouldn't be without.
So here we have Barry Wine's home as featured in The Sunday New York Times, and it feels so good to see somebody from my tribe getting some ink.

The headboard is fashioned from antique frames
glued together and hung from the ceiling
I love the collection of saint paintings -
I have a collection of women saint paintings

In the guest bathroom downstairs,
the limited-edition Nana polyester shower curtain
by the painter Lisa Yuskavage cost $1,500
"a very extravagant shower curtain," Mr. Wine said.
He bought it during Art Basel Miami Beach in 2006.

From The Sunday New York Times:

ON a recent afternoon, Barry Wine ladled out thick, homemade clam chowder to friends gathered around his marble kitchen island. Then he poured the leftovers into a steel canister and inserted the canister into his Pacojet, a $4,000 machine that will make ice cream out of nearly anything. If clam chowder ice cream turns out to be delicious, Mr. Wine, who was the owner and chef of the Quilted Giraffe in the 1970s and ’80s, will have scored another culinary triumph.
The same adventurous spirit that informs Mr. Wine’s cooking — Marian Burros in The New York Times called it “what other chefs aspired to” — pervades his freewheeling approach to interior design. In the living room, a mannequin is suspended from chains attached to the ceiling. Rorschach ink blots are displayed as art. On the second floor, an extra dining table that belonged to Mr. Wine’s father and stepmother in Detroit is set with plastic replicas of the foods he ate as a child. (The tub of fake cream cheese is utterly convincing.) A dozen or so Manolo Blahnik boxes, which Mr. Wine found outside the shoe store on West 54th Street in Manhattan, form a shrine-like sculpture.
The whimsical, anything-goes approach would seem more at home in a Williamsburg loft than on a bucolic estate in upstate New York with views of the Shawangunk Mountains. But Mr. Wine, 65, has always had the sensibility of a downtown artist and the ambitions of a country squire.
He has managed to satisfy both in one lifetime. He and his wife, Susan, opened the first Quilted Giraffe in New Paltz in 1975, after he gave up a career as a Wall Street lawyer. They moved the restaurant to Manhattan in 1979. Though Mr. Wine had never taken a cooking class — the closest he came, he said, was working at a McDonald’s in Milwaukee while he was in high school — he was lionized for his creations.
In 1973, the couple had purchased 80 acres in New Paltz, which included a stone house built by Dutch Huguenots in 1797. They used it as their main home until they moved to Manhattan, when it became a weekend residence. In 1992, when their restaurant closed, they took up full-time residence again.

See more photos and read more HERE

And yes I dined at The Quilted Giraffe many times, and it had a fabulous decor as well as fabulous food.


Valorie and Alberto
in their dance parlor at home
Sunday, June 8, 2008

A car winds its way through the dark streets of a sleepy residential neighborhood, tucked in for the night at the respectable hour of 10 o'clock. Like in postcards, the skyscrapers and bright lights of the city are visible at a distance, taunting the bedroom community of clock-watchers. On nearby hills, the fog rolls in. Here it's clear and the stars are competing with the skyline for center stage.
After circling around several times, he teases the car into a tight parking spot on the steep incline. She can hardly get out of the car because of the pitch of the hill causes the car door to close on her. He runs around to her side of the car and helps her out. Arm in arm, they trudge up the hill. A half-block away, they hear the faint sounds of an unusual instrument they know is a bandoneon. They quicken their pace. The music has them. Invisible tendrils of wispy arms encircle them and push them upward into the embrace of this delicious sound. They look up at the open windows and see the dancers in the dim light, a media luz. They reach the top of the hill now, and the entire city shines in front of them. They are on top of their world. One last look, and in they go, up the dark and winding stairway. Quick hellos, kisses, and hugs; they hurry to change shoes. Their eyes meet and lock onto each other's. He walks to her. She blends into his arms. They breathe deeply, and whoosh, they are on the dance floor, where they will remain for hours and hours, transported, transformed, renewed. They have lived another day to dance the tango.

We're waiting. Surgery today at 2 PM.
Our heartfelt thanks for all your prayers and good wishes.

Above excerpt is from our book Gotta Tango (by Alberto Paz and Valorie Hart)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Wedding-Annie Wright and Adam Anik

Annie Wright married Adam Anik at the house
her father Russel Wright built
in Garrison, New York called Dragon Rock He also designed pottery
Pitchers of his design were used
for the flower arrangements

The yellow stripe tent was chosen
to compliment the bride's favorite
flower, the California poppy

Stacks of Russel Wright plates
for the buffet service

I am stressed out. The hubs has to go for surgery on Tuesday to unclog his carotid artery. One is already shot, but one can be saved.
So I thought I'd post some pretty pictures of a happy time. I did not want to lead off the weekend with the funeral of dear Yves, so I thought I'd post a wedding.
The designer for the wedding was Valorie Hart Designs.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Have We Ever Left Each Other Before? The Funeral of Yves Saint Laurent

France held funeral services on Thursday for Yves Saint Laurent,
who was regarded by some as the finest fashion-designer
of the last half of the 20th century

Thousands of Parisians came to say goodbye

Culture Minister Christine Albanel, President Sarkozy,
his wife and former model Carla Bruni, Pierre Berge,
and Saint Laurent's mother (in white scarf) Lucienne Mathieu-Saint-Laurent
with the coffin in front of the church

Pierre Bergé salutes Mr. Saint Laurent's coffin

Pierre Berge and Yves Saint Laurnet remained business associates and friends long after their romance ended. They decided to create a civil union together in the days before Mr. Saint Laurent died, Mr. Bergé said. The French union, known as a “civil pact of solidarity,” carries mutual rights and responsibilities, similar to that of a marriage.
“It’s going to be necessary to part now,” Mr. Bergé said, addressing his friend in the coffin. “I don’t know how to do it because I never would have left you. Have we ever left each other before? Even if I know that we will no longer share a surge of emotion before a painting or a work of art, all that I know.”
Mr. Bergé’s voice broke. “But I also know that I will never forget what I owe you, and that one day I will join you under the Moroccan palms.”

John Galiano

Catherine Deneuve

(that is not Karl Lagerfeld with him)

Catherine Deneuve

Karl Lagerfeld did not attend
but sent white roses and orchids

"A token of our time together..."

HGTV Design Star.Guts.Glory.Glam. Sun.June 8

Ah, the guilty pleasures of Summer TV. Design Star is back for the third season. Tears; girls against boys; region against region; queens against queens (and that's just among the smarty pants judges); sardonic host - all add up to the predictable formula that hooks us week after week. Season one got us pin-up boy David Bromstead. Rumor is that his show Color Splash has splashed it's last season. Second season winner Kim Myles, likes to "pop" everything, and she is a hot mess, and deserves to have her show cancelled. So who will it be this year? I kind of like the guy from Lafayette, Louisiana.

Interior designers pose as rock stars! LOL

Countdown to Design Star

Tune in to the premiere
Sunday, June 8th 9/8c


Trish Beaudet
Shelby Township, MI


Jennifer Bertrand - Olathe, KS

Matt Locke -Los Angeles, CA


Jerome Scottie Miller -Charlotte, NC

Jerome Scottie

Michael Stribling -College Station, TX

Michael S

Host and Judges


Clive Pearse, host


Martha McCully, judge


Cynthia Rowley, judge


Vern Yip, judge

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sex And The City - More Interiors

Set designer Jeremy Conway and
set decorator Lydia Marks
kept a neutral palette for
Charlotte's Park Avenue apartment

Carrie in front of her new closet
with her new glam mirrored vanity

Miranda's Brooklyn home was designed
for comfort and practicality -
and with her hair color in mind

I am so happy to see the set design of Jeremy Conway, and the set decoration by Lydia Marks getting some attention in the current issue of Traditional Home. Over the years I have been interested in compiling a book on decor in the movies. Often things set designers and decorators use become the very things we off screen mortals use and love.
I worked in The Museum of Modern Art Film and Media Department for a time, doing a stint with Mary Corliss in the Film Stills Archive. I was equally entranced by the photos of the sets, as I was by the actors.
I have been trying to find images of the set design and decoration from the genre of bedroom farces from the 1960's, and alas there is very little out there.
So it is gratifying to see that the interior design world sees the importance of archiving set designer Jeremy Conway's work. Sex And The City, whether you love it or hate it, is an iconic film and television series of its time. Twenty years from now, someone will come across it as a time capsule. Much in the way we currently look at mid 20th century and Hollywood Regency furnishings and design, today's decor and interior design iconography will be of interest to the next generation. A gold mine of decor and design images of are found in the movies, past and present.
Sets often play a co-starring role in the movies. Certainly Carrie's new chic blue and brown apartment shows her coming of age. She cares enough about where she lives, as much as about what she puts on her back and feet. The closet has matching padded hangers, and the clothes are organized. In the TV series, Carrie's closet was a lovely jumble. Her new mirror vanity also gives her a special place to put on her make-up, rather than hunched over the small old sink in her tiny TV series bathroom. It's the same Carrie and the same apartment, but reinvented for the next new phase in her life as a 40+ year old woman. She's taking better care of herself. Linda Marks says: "Since Carrie is so involved in fashion, I thought it would be very believable that she would have new fabrics around her, so the curtains, upholstery, and bed linens are all new for the film."
Charlotte has a happy marriage, and a child. She still has her dog Elizabeth Taylor. The apartment is as calm and pulled together as ever, much in the same way Charlotte's life is pulled together.
Miranda, living in Brooklyn, has a real house of a busy working couple with a small child. Magda her cleaning lady from her single days, is now her son Brady's nanny. Steve's Alzheimer stricken mother has been put in a nursing home. The Brooklyn house has hip furnishings along mid century lines.
The only home missing is Samantha's. She's moved to the Los Angeles area, and is living in a gorgeous beach house. I haven't found any images yet.
The interiors were created on the sound stage of Silvercup Studios in Long Island City.
You can see more photos of the set HERE and HERE

Welcome Beach Bungalow8

It's a great blog that's been around for awhile, but still remains fresh, fun, well written, enthusiastic, and current. Megan is the bloginista, and she describes herself as "interior designer, illustrator, blog writer, living by the beach..."
Give her a read HERE

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

She's Got The Look

Tonight a new TV show airs on TVLand, a model competition for women 35-63.
What do you think?
Lately I've been musing about the bloginista behind the screen.
Like does it matter what age she is, or how she looks if she reports on matters of decor, interior design, fashion? Would it matter to you if the glam blog you love to read is written by a hag in rags? Or if she/he were overweight and had no style? Or if she/he were older than you thought they were?

Over Size Chandelier Shades - Yes Or No?

I've been seeing this around, a big drum shade plopped over a chandelier. Kind of the antitheses of all the little small shades we usually use. I can't decide if I like it or not, or if it's a trend that will become a classic and here to stay. What do you think?

I like this
Mirror ceiling medallion $1400.
Neiman Marcus HERE
But I can't afford it

A kit - the cord $28. -the shade $375.
Comes in several colors
You can transform your chandelier
From Neiman Marcus HERE

Or you can forget about the big shade
and just get this wall light
Stretched canvas over a fluorescent light
$450. from HERE

The drum shade is the chandelier
$450. from lekkerhome HERE

Silver and glass $630.
From Neiman Marcus HERE

But if you like it - $800. at Needless Mark Up

$3700. at Neiman Marcus HERE

Decor and Interior Design Influences: English Style

This is the first coffee table decor book
I bought back in 1991 - dog eared and beloved

These are my book shelves now

This was my NYC city apartment
decorated in "English Style"

This is a LR from the book English Style
Do you see why I thought I needed alot of stuff?

Mixed chintz, leopard print, a couple of stuffed crows,
Chinese export ware, butterfly specimens,
art work hung to the ceiling...

A room by Mario Buatta, my hero
and mentor on all things English in America
I could not afford any of this, so I made-do

Low NYC brownstone tin ceilings seemed
very English cottage in the city to me

Another LR from English Style
I used many of the elements in this photo... the bookcase, the mixed chintz, flowers, botanical prints,
unmatched lamps, plates & ceramics, piles of books -
I even had a pair of Staffordshire dogs

From the book English Style

What makes us decorate the way we do? Why do we buy the and collect the things that we fill our rooms with? Are the first things we love always a part of us, and do we continue to use those early elements as our style evolves?
Travel formed my point of view for my adult decorating. As a young person, my influences were my grandmother, my mother, and the movies. The first furniture I bought was Hollywood deco.
I did the post art school tour to Europe, and continued going back over the years.
The romance countries: England, France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal were the formation of my decorating point of view .
Everything in Europe was so layered, so dense with objects.
Decorating magazines were not on my horizon so to speak. I picked one up now and then, but I was not the mag junkie I am now. Coffee table books caught my attention as my salaries increased and I could afford to buy them.
Then I started my design business, and would buy decor and art and photography books as a source of reference and inspiration.
I think space often dictates decor. When the landlord opened the door to the ground floor brownstone apartment he was showing for rent, something came immediately to my mind: English cottage.
The apartment had it's own entrance from the street with a sweet little iron fenced garden in front of the only window (there were three more and another door in the back of the apartment). The ceilings were low (this would have originally been the kitchen floor when the house was used by the one family is was built for); there were marble fireplaces, arched doorways, wood floors, and a garden out back that was as large as the apartment itself (a modest one bedroom floor through) covered with overgrown ivy and rambling pink roses.
I took it on the spot, even though the rent was high.
I knew I wanted to make it look like an English cottage, something I had seen in my travels. But how? Whenever faced with a problem, I would turn to books. You can learn everything from a book. So first to the library, and then to the bookstores. I found the book English Style, and loved it. It is filled with rooms of real people, and photographed without mannerisms. I poured over it for hours, days, weeks, years.
And so I began. Wallpaper was the first thing. Three patterns from Waverly: A green stripe for the LR, a green bamboo diagonal lattice for the DR, and green ivy for the BR.
I am showing you photos from that NYC apartment. I only have a few. Back then we didn't take pictures of our decor, we took pictures of friends and family who just happen to be in our decorated rooms. So please forgive the distraction of people in the photos. Also I have very few photos to show you, as the movers lost an entire box filled with all my family photos, and a wardrobe filled with my designer label clothes, when I moved from NYC to California. I found a handful of photos stashed between the pages of my books.
More tales of English Style to come later...