Monday, September 21, 2009

Nick and Wendy's Home

South Veranda

Dahlias for the tour.

Custom firescreen by Bo Jacobsen. Talent. Trust me.

The Living Room - Table by Mitch Sondreaal. Designed by moi.

Simple entry.

I just "completed" this home. Completed is in quotes because I am in total denial that I will ever be done with Nick and Wendy - they have become so important to me. Nick, Wendy, Emmett, and little Oliver. So, I will drag the decorating on for as long as possible. need draperies there. More pillows. More art. More of something, surely. I can't leave you.

But, for now...this is what they've got. And, I must say, it could not have been done without the talent and confidence of Mark Larson, the architect ( Then, there is the rest of the team. The contractor, metal worker, plasterer, tile setter, stone setter, landscape architect. I say confidence because you can't imagine how many "design types" can't share a project. Sharing the spirit of a project, creating it as a team, is what rocks my world. I am better for it. And, the homeowners get the best of all of us.

Here are a few images from Nick and Wendy's home. More to come.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

On my Mind - Food and Food.

Well, this isn't food. Ok. this is a detail of my living room where my friend, Jacqueline and I shared a meal.

Overall of said living room.

The apricots and almonds.

Prosciutto and figs before the olive oil and balsamic. I'm not sure there is anything more sensual to eat! We ate it with our hands.

Alice Waters Warmed Olives. OMG. Garlic, lemon zest, thyme, olive oil, and olives.

Well, I'm whooped. Just dog tired. Photo shoot for two days and one of them involved a full Tuscan-style food spread on a 30 foot table. Thank god for Anna, the queen of food presentation. We did this today in about 90 degree weather with sun beating on us while we shooed away the flies from the hunk of peccorino which cost a month's rent.

But, we discovered this: if you buy good food and put it in and on beautiful things, you can't go wrong. So we went to Broders - our local Italian deli - and just loaded up on Peccorino and Mountain Gorgonzola, Sopprasata and olives. Then, off to Rustica for our breads. You put them lovingly in a basket and on a piece of Carrara marble, add a little fresh thyme sprigs, a bowl of olives, some wine bottles, linen napins and plates from Italy and you are good to go. Even for a photo shoot. The sad news? I can't show you the photos. I don't own them. Renovation Style owns them. BUT, the point? Good quality and the basics like ivory linen napkins, decent wine glasses and some creamy or white plates, a few cheap baskets AND some fabulous flowers (try dahlias from Anna's mom's organic farm!) and your table, too, can look worthy of a magazine.

I'm just mortified I have no photos. Maybe I can show you some other foodie photos that will suffice for now. I had my friend, Jacqueline, for dinner last Sunday. I now say I have the "Field of Five" Great Cooks in my life. They are: Carrie, Holly, Anna, Barbara, and Jacqueline. How lucky am I to have close friends that love to cook and are superb at it! Well, Jacqueline came for dinner and this is what I served to start the meal. We ended with Grilled Polenta and Roasted Peppers.

Alice Water's Warm Olives - with thyme, lemon, garlic and olive oil. Divine. Also, prosciutto with figs, olive oil and balsamic. And A small bowl of almonds and apricots. Buon Apetito.

Oh, and a couple of shots of my living room where we had dinner.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Feeling so bourgeois.

I just watched "Valentino - The Last Emperor." Run, don't walk to rent it if you have any soft spot for the couture and the art of the seamstress, which is a dying art, as are many things of quality and craftsmanship. My rug dealer today, whose Persian family has been in business since 1899 in Minneapolis, told me how difficult it is to get new customers - younger people don't know, understand or care about quality. It is all IKEA to them. Sad. Sad. Sad.

So, here is a pair of shoes I just bought from a Parisian woman who has been living in Minneapolis but is moving back to France. She swears she paid over $400 in Paris. I paid $25 at her moving sale. I like my price better. And I love the quality! They look like old lady shoes. I will wear them with everything.

All this matter about beautiful material things makes me feel so bourgeois. And after all this talk of health care....

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Happiness is my books. Books and rugs. If I were a nomad, that is all I would need to carry with me. During these two days of quiet, I am especially grateful for my books. I will pluck an new one to begin reading tonight.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Well, I'm getting my quiet. I left Lee on Park Avenue today with a kiss and the certainty that we would really miss each other and then turned my life over to an insane cab driver who I told to slow the fuck down or I was going to throw up in his cab as he was driving 70 mph over the Tri-Borough Bridge to LaGuardia in a 40 mph zone. Besides that he almost killed me twice sideswiping cars who, if not for their timely honk, would have ended up embedded in the right side of my body.

But, enough of that.... We've had a great run this summer. We have been together for 5 - 6 weeks now and it has been a delicious interplay of quiet and chaos. I arrived in Minneapolis about an hour ago, walked into an entirely quiet apartment. When I left here 2 weeks ago today to "move" back to NYC for the school year, I could not see the floor of Isabelle's room. She was packing for a year in Spain and I wasn't completely confident the job would get done without her complete collapse. She's an amazing young woman - but I am not sure she knew what it would take to pack for a year - to make the hard decsions - this swimsuit or this one? Do I need the hooded sweater now? It is 95 in Madrid for another month. I jumped in whenever I could, but I was swamped with work and packing for NYC, too. (In the end, she overpacked and it cost her $140 to take her two suitcases on NWA to NYC. We lightened the load for Madrid and it cost her nothing extra.)

So, Lee and I left, wished her well and knew we would see her in NYC in a few days before she flew to Spain. As I have said before, being around Isabelle for me is like being in a hurricane. That is kind of her energy for me. She is very cool, very smart, very insightful and capable and funny. But she kind of demands your attention. It could just be my "mom" thing.

Then, of course, she was off and is fine and found an apartment in Madrid and her head is spinning with speaking only Spanish. We talk on the phone and skype and I have learned to "chat" online. It's just all amazing. She sounds like she is just around the corner. Her only challenge is that she has been a vegetarian since she was five and Spain does not understand that concept - they serve ham (jambon) at every meal. So she is surviving on fruit and bad bread for now. Once she moves into her apartment, she may have more choices, but for now, at the dorm - and in most restaurants, it is ham, ham, ham.

But, then there is still Lee - whom I adore, as I have said many times - and I make yet another center of my universe. I love to feed him and massage his feet and laugh with him and talk with him. So that is what I did for the last couple of days because, like a Beach Boys' song, our summer was coming to an end.

And now I am back in Minneapolis. I open the door to my apartment and there is silence. I can see the floor in Isabelle's room for the first time since last May before she came home from college. The mail is neatly stacked on a table by a friend who used the apartment this week. It is very clean because Dina has come. But it is quiet. There is no one with whom to cook risotto and caprese as I did with Izzy all summer. Lee isn't playing the Eagles or Mozart or Porgy and Bess. Isabelle isn't asking what we're doing for dinner. There is no one to talk to. There are no feet to rub. There is no one watching me in the morning in bed before I open my eyes.

But in Lee's sweetness, he sent me this from his phone and it's all I need to carry me through the next couple of weeks. The irony is that we need quiet to work and think and grow. The irony is that we also need love and friends and family. And often, most often, they don't come in the same package. We have to create the space for it. And, maybe more than create it, we have to trust the space and the renewal it provides and the ways in which that renewel fosters our relationships.