Thursday, August 27, 2009

In The City - Part 2

This is a dream of a city apartment. Though small is square footage, it is large in visual vampiness. Tons of details delight the eyes, and make the apartment seem as expansive as the vision of the couple who lovingly decorated it.

At first glance this could be an apartment in Paris in the manner of Jacques Grange. It has all the hallmarks of a luxe jewel box of a pied a terre.

It is jam packed with French and English furniture, an interesting collection of art and objet, with a soupcon of color and texture used just so.

It's all in the details. The apartment is located on the upper east side of Manhattan in New York. It has been occupied for nearly ten years by the couple, who have added things from their travels around the world, but especially with things found in Paris.

They added some architectural flourishes too, including columns, marble floors mixed in with hardwoods and fitted carpets, and just the right amount of mirrors to open up the space.

The effect is both homey and luxurious, a magical alchemy indeed.

Nothing was acquired because of pedigree, but purchased from the heart. This couple buys what it loves regardless. It can be high or low, old or new.

Focal points unite the mix. A beautiful rock crystal chandelier from Paris sets the tone in the living room.

The marble fireplace comes from Paris, as does the incredible mirror over the mantle.

The Chinese red accent wall echoes the antique Chinoiserie chest with the blue and white porcelain displayed on top.

The built in storage on either side of the fireplace houses many things, including a couple of sets of china and silver.

The details are what makes the place sing. Vignettes liberally feature Chinoiserie biblelots.

Draperies and pillows are layered and nuanced.

An old door from China was turned into a one-of-a-kind coffee table.

There is a small dining room you can get a peek of from the living room.

The beautiful antique table is from Paris.

The small window on the air shaft even gets silk drapes and a matching Roman shade. The sconces hung on top of mirror panels is space saving, and feels so much like Paris.

The dining room is used everyday.

In fact the couple entertains in the apartment a great deal. They have had forty for cocktails at holiday time. They put a huge Christmas tree up between the white columns. It must look spectacular!

The Chinoiserie console table acts as a serving table. The couple collects fine drawings, not only because they love them, but also because the scale is right for the apartment.

The kitchen is tiny of course. But that didn't deter them from decorating it with panache. The dark brown panelled walls reflect light, along with mirror and stainless steel.

I love the way the this photograph is hung on the mirror wall in the kitchen.

The master bedroom is due for an overhaul, so says the couple.

I love the black and white Chinoiserie toile mixed with the classic French checks mixed with the fitted leopard print carpet.

I think they want to modernize a bit, perhaps doing a more mid century inspired room.

There are two small bathrooms in the apartment. Of course they are grand in style. Both are mirror and marble covered, and have the best fixtures. They look like bathrooms in a fine hotel in Paris. The guest bathroom has an amusing wallpaper creating a book lined space.

So many vignettes draw you in. The top of the antique English dresser in the guest room is filled with charming photographs.

Striped wallpaper in the guest room makes you feel like you are on the inside of a pretty hat box!

Alberto and I had the great pleasure of visiting with our friends who live in this wonderful apartment, and staying here for part of our recent trip to New York. I hope you enjoy this private tour, a glimpse into New York style and grace.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dress Me!

We leave for Buenos Aires tomorrow to compete in the World Tango Championships. 400 couples are entered from 25 countries. There are two categories: Stage Tango and Salon Tango. We are proud to represent the USA as 2009 Salon Tango Champions. Over 12,000 tickets have sold out the event!
I'm packing, trying to decide what to wear for the competition. It's winter in Buenos Aires now, so I am trying to get my head wrapped around winter clothes to pack too.

We do not wear costumes when we dance Argentine Tango. We just dress like we're on a date night of sorts. Salon dancing means social dancing, so there are no sexy Dancing With The Stars kind of glitzy dresses cut up to there. There are no jumps of lifts in Salon Tango. It's rather calm and elegant. Judges look for a real connection between the couple, musicality, and following rules that stress moving around the floor in a line of dance, and keeping the feet on the floor (though you can lift your shoe just up to the knee). Certain stage figures are strictly prohibited. Why Salon Tango is so important is that it is the root of everything tango. Stage Tango comes from it. Salon Tango is what drives all dancers, and its beauty is treasured, fostered, and preserved.

#1 - The Milonguera Black and White Dress

Here are four looks I am considering.
#1 is the dress I wore in New York for the win! It represents the woman who dances socially and regularly in the dance halls of Buenos Aires. Those dance halls are called milongas, and the dancers are called milongueros (men), or milongueras (woman). I chose this dress because it is vaguely retro, a nod to the Golden Age of The Tango in the 1940's - 1950's. It was a great contrast to all the sexy dresses the other women wore, and it stood out visually, and I was very comfortable wearing it. The judges got the homage I was paying to the archetypal milonguera (who inspires my dancing). I also feel it's a good luck dress since I already won in it. The white blouse is a classic milonguera look, and the bustier is very now - it laces up the back, so the back interest is nice when dancing backwards. The blue sandal style dance shoes are sexy.

#2 - Sexy black Vivienne Tam dress

Look #2, is a very sexy Vivienne Tam dress. The sheer over dress hugs my body and has a great fishtail detail on the back. I would wear the red satin Chinese print shoes with it. My reservation is that it is another black dress in a sea of black dresses. Black is the favorite color for tango dancers.

#3 - Red with black lace Professional Tango ShowDress

Look #3, is a "professional" dress I had made to wear when we do tango shows. It fits beautifully, and the red color is spectacular, and the little bit of sparkle plays well under lights. The red suede shoes with black lace insets are a perfect match. My reservation is that I don't want to represent myself as a Stage Dancer when I am competing in Salon Tango.

#4 Retro Black and Red Dress

Look #4 - This is a last minute contender. I bought this retro style red and black dress with a peplum dress online, and it's at the tailor. I'll pick it up after work. It's very 1940's and looks great on me. I had it shortened to show my legs. I would wear red shoes.

I'll take all four with me. Alberto wears a jacket, dress trousers, shirt and tie. He looks very handsome. We don't match our outfits as they do in ballroom competitions, though our colors often coordinate.

So dress me! Tell me what your vibe is! We have two to three chances to dance. If we make it through the fist round, we move to the semi finals. If we get through that, we dance in the finals for a win! In New York I wore the same dress (The Milonguera) over two nights of competition (I have two of the same dress). Everyone said my dress really showed well and stood out.

We don't compete until the beginning of next week, so you have plenty of time to please help me!

Mil gracias!
(A million thanks...)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


What decorating regrets do you have? We all have made errors in judgments, or had a lapse of common sense. My friend Claire wrote a poem about it.

ode to The Brown Chairs

Brown chairs, brown chairs
where did you come from?
You mock me as I pass.

Brown chairs with the slick fabric,
Where are you going?
Do you need a sip of water?
You look parched.

Brown chairs where do you call home?
Crows fly above you
ants below.
You are the boulder in my soul.

Brown chairs of dirt,
the kidneys of the room,
keep searching for your
hellish domain.

----said (with bongos) by Claire

Bilhuber brown

Kenneth Brown

Oh my!

Oy vei!

Catalog brown

Country Living brown

Monday, August 17, 2009

Are You Comfortable Using Nude Art Work?

Shop vignette at perch.
Do you like to use the image of a nude in your interior design?
Click on image for more detail

I did a post for the blog I write at perch. Take a look and tell us what you think HERE

Anna Spiro Interior Design
She inspired the perch. vignette

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Getting Ready

Getting ready to leave for Buenos Aires on Thursday night, arriving there Friday morning. We are going to compete in the 7th Tango Dance World Championships. We have had a fund raiser to get us there, and I cannot believe the generosity of our friends and students. Go HERE to read more.

It's winter in Buenos Aires so I am getting my winter clothes together.
Carey, a faithful reader sent me to a web site to look at cute shoes, but instead I found this cute pair of boots! Thanks Carey! And they were marked down from $398. to $59. on sale!

They are so hip looking, and they are very comfy. They will just be perfect for walking around in Buenos Airies! The boots are leather, and they came packed in an elegant box with a large protective shoe bag for storing the boots. Go HERE to Tracy Porter to see if they have any left in your size.

Carey also sent me a birthday present, a lovely piece of art from blog favorite Fifi Flowers HERE.
Fifi sent it along, wrapped in pretty paper Domino gave as a giveaway. This paper is very precious indeed! The fun eye lash ribbon was festooned with little charms to do with New York City. Both Fifi and Carey know I'm a New Yorker, and I was touched by the thoughtfulness and attention to detail.

So much to do this week, but stay tuned for a couple of pre departure posts that I think you will enjoy!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tablescape Thursday: Photo Shoot Sketches

Had a photo shoot the other day. More about that later. Right now the publisher wants to keep it under wraps. After the photo shoot was over I styled my desk for my lunch.

Tablescape Thursday at my desk
A girl's gotta eat!
Click on images for larger picture with more details

The same turquoise tray I use for dining (which came from Wal Mart)
Alberto also made me a little table using one of these trays
Painting behind my desk by Jack Mayberry

Tablescape Lunch For One At My Desk
Placemat and napkin from Dwell Studio

I took these photos the day after the shoot. Kind of photo sketches of what happened.

A view into my office from the dance parlor

Photographers take photo sketches to check the composition and lighting.

You can see how hard it is to photograph a red room in natural and low light
Small painting done by Amanda Talley HERE

The chaise didn't end up in any of the shots

The living room photo sketch
Painting upper right by Jack Mayberry

Living room photo sketch
Chair and pillows from perch.

Bedroom photo sketch
Thomas Paul pillows from perch.
Bird pillow and stripe sheet from Dwell Studio
Bedspread by Horchow HERE

Guest bedroom photo sketch
Bedspread and green pillow from Dwell Studio

I recently got a fun and fabulous new light fixture for the closet PVE made famous HERE.

Photo sketch of my closet
I added the damask print grommet top panel, new chandelier flower ball
Pink chair is on loan from Jacky Mayberry from perch.

I also added a few things I have discarded over the last couple of years due to the input I have gotten from bloggers.

Fabulous printed True Grace candles from perch.

For the photo shoot, the skeleton charts came out of exile, and were hung in the kitchen dining area. I always place a carnival mask on the front view, a sort of nod to enjoying life no matter what!

Booga booga! The skeletons are back!
Love them or hate them, they sure fill up a wall!

I added the terrific True Grace candles we sell at perch., in the most beautiful colors. The sconce is tricky, and I had to hot glue the candles to keep them secure.

Kitchen dining area photo sketch
Suzani table covering, trays used as placemats

I also took the collection of fifty or so crosses out from a box stored in a cupboard under the stairs. I have collected these crosses for over 40 years, and not out of any uber religious feeling on my part. I always loved the beauty of them as I would see them in homes and churches all over Europe, and here in the USA in New Mexico. When we arrived in New Orleans, the crosses found their true home. But an adverse reaction to them on Rate My Space, made me rethink them and doubt myself. I brought them back for this book, because I truly think they imbibe the spirit of New Orleans and me. They look so perfect going up this stairway located in the kitchen.

The dreaded crosses ha ha
I love them ! Read more HERE

The crew loved all of it. They took some beautiful pictures of the kitchen. They loved the wallpaper on the kitchen cabinets HERE. But most of all they are loving New Orleans! I am so happy that New Orleans is included in the book!

When the book comes out, we will do a book signing in New Orleans at perch.

Photo sketch of the kitchen
They loved my wallpaper kitchen cabinets shown HERE and HERE

Make sure to visit Between Naps On The Porch HERE for some more great Tablescape Thursday offerings.