leaving for paree in 10 days. it seems like a dream and i’m so tired i’m sleepwalking! no rest for the weary till i tie up the annoying loose ends that bind me! my friend carol k’s been helping make that happen. i see how important a brilliant team is, so thank you girl! now just putting final touches on the itinerary. i appreciate but can’t go to monuments in paris. what gets me are places that were homes, apartments, salons, or Hôtels (aka mansions). i did mention i was a voyeur…
one palace i love is Hôtel Carnavalet, a little palace in the Marais and former home of Madame de Sévigné who was famous for hosting parties in her Salon. she wrote hundreds of letters to her daughter during the reign of Louis XIV. they’re like a diary of life in 1600′s paris and tell about her life’s struggles.
Soubise is another beautiful mansion in the same neighborhood. lots of the marie antoinette film was shot there. i love the turquoise ceilings.
i’m dreaming about staying longer, forgetting ny for awhile and drifting along the french countryside in october. in my fantasy i’d rent a car and jet down to provence and explore more. a blogging friend invited me and i’d love to take her up on a cup o tea down south. But my REsPoNsIbIliTieS!!
i fell in love with the countryside as a kid travelling with my family. after graduation i went back with Volunteers for Peace for something to do between college and the real world. i just came across the ran into the link yesterday from another cool site:
maybe i want to re-live the good times i had? it really was THE best time, restoring ancient chapels and living with such fun people. you choose your country and interests. france has 45 camps going on right now that you can live/work and and have a blast for like 2 weeks, $250. i’m gonna check out what’s happening now. (it was 20 years ago)!
i just found this one:
Project: The municipality of Montendre has already played host to several
international work camps. The restoration of the town’s castle, using traditional,
old-fashioned techniques is something many of the local people keep close to heart,
but currently, their castle is in need of a hand from the younger generation! The main
objective of this year’s work camp will be to repair and refill the joints of a section of the
wall, in order to keep it in good condition. The local community, now well accustomed to
the work camp dynamic, are present on a regular basis to meet and exchange with the
volunteers. ACCOMODATION: tents. LOCATION: 75 km from the sea and to the north of
wait tents? maybe when i was in college…now i want to sleep in the castle!
bonjour everyone, it’s been a long time! it’s officially autumn. i love this season, when october rolls around when we pull out that extra blanket and get the house cozy, even here in miami. it was hard to leave the nest but over the weekend i was invited to a party at one of my favorite places in the world, san diego. my dear friend Lori Chandler runs a collective known as ‘Vignettes’ on Newport Avenue in the heart of the town. she’s celebrating the 18th year and when she asked me to come and do a book signing i knew it would be an affair to remember.
first of all, lori thinks of everything. besides being a dreamer, enchantress, an intoxicating and playful soul, she’s chic and savvy and runs a business working with the best friends and co-workers imaginable. what they all did under that roof for this soiree was unfathomable! it made me want to move right in! whenever i visit i’m completely inspired by everyone’s collective joie de vivre, creativity and boundless energy! not to mention they made me feel like a rock star. i’ll take you for a tour of what went on last saturday…
it was night when i arrived at the airport. lori said she’d send a friend to pick me up. but she didn’t tell me it was the owner of one of the spaces at vignettes, designer extraordinaire (and a true modern day salon hostess), barbara gray. she pulled up in a convertible and handed me a scrunchie. “you’re staying with me!” was all she needed to say and whisked me into the beautiful abyss that was my life for the next 48 hours. it was dark when we got home and i heard waves crashing below. her hubby joked it was just a sound machine. i got to my room and found the chocolates they’d made with my book cover on them next to the bed. i knew i was in for some special treats but this was just the beginning!
in the light of day, i was floored by the magnificence of everything from barbara herself to her cooking, her home, and the glory that just is life in san diego! she whipped up a gourmet breakfast and got us together for the big day. she almost couldn’t tear me away but off we went.
i was greeted at the door by the one and only lori with and pomp, circumstance, welcome signs and lots of love.
when i stepped through the door i was changed forever. she had envisioned a party that would rival a gatsby shindig and personally i think she topped him!
every inch was a feast for the eyes and filled to the brim, dripping with sparkles, champagne, cake and savoir faire!
i’ll let you see what i mean…
in every cabinet rhinestones dazzled in the light
keepsakes, mementos and charms spilled out like champagne bubbles
every vignette was a celebration!
it was a masterpiece from a mastermind who got everyone into the spirit. it’s amazing what a little inspiration can do and how a book can spark the imagination…
the merchants who have spaces in the store all tend to have a french influence and there was magic in every direction. the collections were incredible!
they beefed up their shops for the event they really went all out! you’d have to go to france to find a better selection of goodies!
the enthusiasm permeated the entire store. and everyone expressed a real artistic flair, creating dressing rooms, gardens, beachy themes and elegant arrangements. debbie hung a bed upside down!
her closet displays were like candy…
i wish i knew who everyone’s space belonged to!
Mme. Barbara has two spaces, i think they reflect a couple of her different loves. this one was her beachy, provencal side filled with white porcelain, books and seashells. hence, cottage white!
on the flip side she set up an entire booth of black and white where she had furniture, accessories, and all the trimmings!
(photo: Syd Takeshta)
she made pillows and upholstered chairs and ottomans, styled every inch even made the piping with tiny french words along the edge!
i think i was just shocked by the amount of work that went in to each and every touch and the attention down to the smallest detail.
(click for larger images)
across the way was another terrific booth set up as julia child’s kitchen. this one is run by Robin Slominski of ‘Bistro Chic”. on one side she had the kitchen with cookbooks and made beautiful cookies.
and the other half was set as a charming little french apartment, complete with collections and displays.
once we got through all the booths, we went to the back where two special event areas were arranged.
the first was a tented french patisserie complete with pink oven, blender and flowers. it was adorable and was conceived and executed by stylist, monique hemminger. more of the unending attention detail! inside was the inimitable Kristy Lynn from ‘Sweet Insanity Bake shop’. she not only donned a marie antoinette inspired ship in her hair (that she handmade)! but was also serving her delicious macaroons.
(photo: Syd Takeshta)
no one could seem to get enough of her outrageous colors and flavors. check out what else she is doing: sweetinsanitybakeshop.co
Syd Takesha of london light photography kept it together by shooting the event and making sure we all had what we needed! she’s an artist and photographer and sweetheart. i wish my photos looked like hers!
finally, we got to a very special area that had been created for the signing. i couldn’t have felt more special.
(photo: Syd Takeshta)
it was like a vignette come to life.
(photo: Syd Takeshta)
it was created by a woman who wears many hats, she’s known as madame palooza, paris cowgirl and to me, Stunning Sylvia. (her hubby’s pretty great too)! she’s got a lot going on, including prop rentals and a great warehouse space. check out just some of what she does here: facebook.com/MadamPalooza
(photo: Syd Takeshta)
(photo: Syd Takeshta)
they staged the entire room and even had an old brigitte bardot film playing behind the tv screen on a laptop!
(photo: Syd Takeshta)
it was incredible to meet so many beautiful people that day who share a passion for life, paris, beauty and good energy. i can’t describe the love i had for everyone who traveled near and far to meet me and i treasured every minute!
thank you lori and barbara for a weekend i will never forget. Vignettes, happy anniversary! thank you too to all the people behind the scenes who made the magic happen. from husbands to vendors, cookie makers, clean up crews and stylists, they were all there, buzzing around keeping pillows plumped and pouring champagne, i wish i knew who everyone was but you know who you are!
truth is it went by in the blink of an eye. it was all i could do to leave and can’t wait to get back. the girls inspired to take the month of february and head out to california for a little road tripping and a lot of good old fashioned fun.
as i said earlier, lori has the most incredible spirit. she somehow came across this book and gave it to me just as i was leaving. it makes me think of her gatsby soul and reminds me we can make any place special our own villa, chateau, cottage or paris apartment. all we need are four walls and a dream!
having your friends around to enjoy it with you is the icing on the cake, no matter where you are!
good morning guys and happy friday, i hope your day is already off to a good start. the time has come to start packing up so much of what i’ve taken for granted all these months. funny how you think you have all the time in the world to read books, shoot photos and live a life of leisure at least a little. oh to live the life of a bon vivant!
going through all the things for the sale tomorrow i’m in the middle of all the books that haven’t been read and the shots that haven’t been taken. in the dim morning light i’m doing my best to capture any little bit i can of the goodies around the house. modes and manners is one is a set of books (in english)! about the ways of the women of the past centuries. the books detail everything from the reverence they had for daily life from their stoves to their beds, the appreciation that was shown for the smallest convenience how ordinary washing or cleaning became a sacred (not necessarily religious) daily ritual.
this morning i opened a random page that discussed the various ways scarves were used. they said it was not just for warmth but was also meant to shape and drape the body. still so french! i wish i had the time to read it all!
another of my favorites that will be going is this little sketchbook i found in paris. it’s filled with an artist’s pencil sketches and watercolors of life on the streets in the 20s. his attention to detail with the flowing fabric and poses makes me wonder if all the romanticizing we do about the past really may have been reality.
even the simplest sketch of a woman waiting for a bus or train captured the era.
he was also drawing jewelry, maybe he was a designer or just a student of life…
i could go on an on about every little thing but it’s already getting late. before it comes off the wall i had to shoot my personal obsession which is the home of the original salon hostess, madame rambouillet. she was the first to rebel against social convention and create the salon bleu where moliere and other poets and artists would gather around her bed to paint, put on plays and discuss literature.
for the first time women had a place they could go to become more than property and they began re-inventing society in their image, creating one that rebeled against the filth and barbaric ways of the streets and provided a refuge where they could be be oh so proper and speak with grace and flair.
unfortunately they eventually became ridiculed by moliere and he wrote his famous ‘Precieuses Ridicules’ which is still a popular play today depicting the women as silly and trivial, saying that they took it too far and became a bit of a joke.
in any case it’s all flashing before me and i want to take it all in but it’s time i guess to send it all out into the world. i’m going to keep shooting between boxing and bagging and will share some more as i do. hope you have a great day and wonderful weekend. the party starts at 8am on OKL, hope you can come by!
bonsoir toute le monde! reporting from paris in my final hours. it’s already midnight and there’s some toe tapping going on since we have an uber early plane to catch. now i’m wishing we booked a night flight. it would mean another full day which you always seem to need here!
i love staying in apartments because they really make you feel like you’re a part of the neighborhood and you fall into little rituals right away. no matter which way you walk out of this apartment it’s a completely different experience. i wanted to cover a lot of ground but even just a block circumference is full of goodies. if i don’t record them now i never will!
our favorite place was just around the corner, affectionately known as ‘comptoir’. we would rendezvous there at the end of the day to grab a snack at the counter that was the epitome of gourmet. and they make nutella crepes too.
the hood could not be more picturesque, and the shops are not just tourist places, they’re real longtime establishments who set the tone for this petit pocket of perfection.
it’s one of those places where everything calls to you…
i can’t resist the lure of the bookstores and there are SO many!
not to mention tea salons
and chocolate shops
sorry i don’t have the addresses but all bursts out from the odeon metro station.
next time i’ll go out another block further. i’d love to see a map of paris like that…from the center and radiating out.
i’m more furniture than food but even i was called by the feast of a show that’s laid out before us each day.
and les fleurs, don’t get me going!
we had dinner at atlas our first night and had the BEST mussels in creme
across the street was our best french breakfast (we tried a bunch), at cafe paris. (11 rue de Buci)
the shopping of course was outrageous with everything from innovative home furnishings like the fireplace above
and the vintage treasures tucked in among the hi end boutiques.
but as it always does, the night must come and the days wind down. it’s officially time to sign off. i hope you enjoyed your little tour. maybe it will be my new thing, the one block radius overview! for now it’s off to bed. see you on the home front. have a bon nuit!
one of the best things about the holidays is visiting friends, even if it’s virtual! this is a collection of the most recent friends who came by and i just wanted to pass along some of their gorgeous blogs and inspiration. hope you get a chance to sit back and enjoy them as much as i do. there’s a lot to love in their blogs so i’ll wait till tomorrow to post some more. till then, have a great nuit!
happy friday! i’m about to turn into a pumpkin after a day of running around. i’m going thru pics from my trip but instead of the maison show, wanted to head back to my favorite place on earth, the flea markets. between the gems scattered everywhere and the people who make it happen, it’s endlessly inspiring. during the trip i interviewed my favorite vendors to profile them for a series i’m doing for belle maison. (first one is set to run next month i think).
so there’s no real rhyme or reason to this post. it’s just random stuff that passed by. the market is probably starting to open right about now in paris come to think of it. it’s midnight here and missing it is such a sad thought, i’d love to be there right now!
oh well, let’s pretend we’ve got a coffee and croissant and just stroll through~
salon furniture: my weakness
digging through boxes is my passion!
of all the things i’ll pick up next time, fabric is priority. it’s easy to carry, mostly one of a kind and abundant.
i always leave with a ton of books. not as practical to carry as fabric but there’s nothing like leather bound binding.
why? cause it’s silly!
are you into doors and windows? i am completely.
these are a few shots from my friends who sell at clignancourt and will be in the articles. they talk about where they shop, what they collect, the family business and plans for the future.
i wanted to do the series cause it’s so easy to take the fleas for granted and run through them.
i admire and adore the people who show up to make it happen every single week come rain or shine.
whether you buy or not doesn’t even matter. it’s like disney; a place that’s just perfect, it’s own small world and i’m grateful for it.
well if you’re there this weekend enjoy, we’re there in spirit! bon weekend!
bonjour everyone, how’s votre vie? lots of us are bracing for a big storm so i hope it’s just an excuse for a fun night in and there’s not too much drama!
it feels like forever since i’ve been here. i got caught up in a project i wasn’t expcting, but then, as they say, (wo)men plan, god laughs! i’ve been spending the past few days with renee finberg, a blogger bud turned friend in the flesh. you may know her from her blog, ‘renee finberg tells all’. she’s florida girl and has just taken the plunge, opening a showroom called ‘the trade’.
it’s going to be sort of a moderne salon where there’s lots of creative, custom design with clients, mostly as implied (or boldly stated), to the trade! she’s asked me to be a part of it and i’m of course thrilled.
except that i’m leaving for a month just as it’s ready to be filled. now the plan is to go to the maison objet and work with vendors and companies who will supply pieces that aren’t in the states yet.
the great news is our similar aesthetics and she is such a blast to hang out with. work is play!
i started bringing up some things…can you believe the places these chairs have been?! paris, ny, new orleans, miam and now boca.
it’s been a jolly good time playing with the fabrics, meeting with companies like holland and sherry and having access to all this gorgeous fabric at our fingertips. so of course this is the start of well, who knows what. but we know it will be fun, whatever it is. i’ll keep you posted on the progress. the big white chair from ‘that corner’ of my apartment is going in tomorrow.
the fabrics she has laying around are killing me! cut velvets, gold on linen, vintage patterns reworked. i could eat them! more soon on this nouvelle projet.
ah, now…as for the giveaway: the winner of the book is… drumroll…maybe it’s anticlimactic but it was actually number 1!
seemed weird but that’s random for you! number 1 is one of my first blog friends, amy of missamyscerra.blogspot.com. we met years ago when we were brand new to blogging and to tell the truth it’s been way too long since i’ve been to her fabulous blog. stopping by just now to choose a photo proved i’ve been missing a lot! check her out, there are great recipies, life lessons and photos. hey girl!
ok then, tout le monde, à demain!
allo everybody! how is your summer going? it seems to be whizzing past and i’m still playing catch up with a lot of business stuff. even as i write this it’s fleeting cause i have a phone meeting in 15 minutes and have to prepare PDQ. i just wanted to say hello and give a quick update.
thanks to liz for putting together the new table/desk so she has a real workstation and even if it’s temporary, makes life more civilized. it’s been hard to commit to furniture but the one thing we seem to be doing is getting pieces that serve two functions like the table/desk, sofa/guestbeds, cocktail table/bench.
even with all the stuff we’ve amassed it still looks bare and a little pathetic but it’s home sweet home. chairs are next!
it’s been up and down around here from one day to the next in terms of what we’re accomplishing, and for the first time i almost gave up yesterday. but today’s a new day and it seems a bit brighter.
i don’t know if you remember liz’s house in surfside but she had some amazing pieces. she’s downsizing and has a couple of my personal faves on ebay. her auctions are ending tomorrow so in case you’re interested please take look at her stuff. actually i’d love to have some myself including the tufted stool and the mirrored chest behind it.
not to mention her collection of white hatboxes and suitcases!
finally, oh crud, the phone is ringing, 3 minutes early! this is a storefront that’s available here in miami. i’m seriously considering taking it with a couple of girlfriends and creating a salon/atelier. more on that tomorrow i guess, sweet dreams for now!
bonjour mes amis, ça va c’est soir?
i hope you’re safe and sound in your own world, enjoying some time to yourself as you read this. i’m thinking about everyone who’s been displaced in japan and so grateful for the status quo and life as we know it.
i’ve mentioned before that i don’t think about posting till it’s time to write but today someone asked me to write about (of all things)! kitchens.
now, we all have a kitchen but over the years my focus has been pretty much everywhere but. the salon, the boudoir, salle de bain, dressing room, suites, guest rooms, even offices…anything but the boring kitchen. but as i was going through pics i’ve been saving, i realized that the kitchen is a place i’ve been secretly loving for years and forgot all about in decorating.
my parents put an island and giant hotel pot rack in their kitchen in the 70s and it still looks fresh. today islands are de rigeur and i love this one in reclaimed wood. my grandmother’s kitchen table was the place to be for good tea and talk growing up. i remember she had plaques on her wall with great sayings like ‘explain not, friends don’t expect it and enemies won’t believe it’ and ‘god couldn’t be everywhere so he created mothers’. it had red counter tops and always something brewing. and i loved to hang out and listen to everyone’s dramatic stories.
if i could have a dream kitchen, i guess it would have a lot of rustic touches like farm cabinets and a harvest table.
and i’d bust out the good hand towels
and start collecting white jars
it doesn’t take much to change a small counter top. i always wonder why they always rip out full kitchens on the home deco shows when it’s the one room that’s easy to tweak with paint and butcher block.
oh and great appliances probably do help. guess like any other room it’s all in the details.
but this didn’t take much
of course there’s a part of me that loves clean, fresh and modern so i’m totally torn
country mouse or city mouse
a little bit of marble
as long as there’s a table for two and a friend to share it with. maybe i’ll cook tomorrow.
well, i’m off. have a great night, this kitchen is closed!
hi guys, happy saturday! i spent the past hour surfing and now and am late getting ready to go out. but it was almost worth giving up prep time for the eye candy on this delicious web. well, almost! i have to run but these pics were calling to come out and play (credits on my boards at pinterest).
i’m having a love affair with both pink and blue at the moment, kind of feeling like they balance each other out and are the perfect complements.
here’s wishing you a wonderful, playful, restful, joyful and love filled weekend filled with pretty pinks and baby blues.
there seems to be some magic in the air as our country gears up to celebrate an entire day devoted to LoVe.
you gotta love that. let’s enjoy it! have a great night!