I was in LA recently. It’s the perfect getaway and has everything my heart desires — a warm climate, a cool vibe, a lush and luxurious urban landscape and all the shopping a girl could want. It’s not called the “city of angels” for nothin’ people. For designers, the LA scene offers gorgeous settings, lovely laidback staff and some of the best furnishings in the US. Key streets are Highland, Beverly Blvd, La Cienega, Melrose Ave and Melrose Place. Head to Blackman Cruz, JF Chen, The Window, Harbinger, Hollyhock, Nicky Kehoe, Kelly Wearstler, Galerie Half, Garde, Lief … to name just a few. The east coast is unseasonably cold and Legends of La Cienega is on the horizon, so book your ticket for tinseltown today!
And, of course, a little R&R is in store after pounding the pavement all day. One night I met up with a pair of stylish LA friends at Estrella on Sunset to cocktail, nosh and chat about east coast vs. west coast life, business and girlpower. The night ended with an impromptu manager-guided tour through the speakeasy-esque lounges and private screening room. Fabulous.
Another night was spent at Wally’s in Beverly Hills reminiscing with a beloved sorority sister. A chic, casual yet elegant vibe with a stellar wine list, amazing menu and, of course, the occasional short-skirted, silicone-injected woman in the corner snapping selfies. Only in LA.
There are so many gorgeous hotels in LA. But for this trip, I wanted to stay in the heart of West Hollywood. The London was a fantastic choice. Nestled at the corner of Sunset and San Vicente; it’s the perfect urbanite location with beautiful décor and superb service and amenities to boot.
London West Hollywood
OTHER LUXE & LUCID FAVES TO ADD TO YOUR LIST
HOTELS: Hollywood Roosevelt, Chamberlain, Huntley Hotel, Palihouse, Hotel Bel Air
DINING: Lucques, Fig & Olive, Joan’s on Third, Son of a Gun, Norah (a must!)
COFFEE: Alfred and Urrth in WH, Nespresso in BH
HIKES: Runyon Canyon Loop, Topanga State Park
GALLERIES: Honor Fraser, Blum & Poe
CULTURAL: Huntington Botanical Gardens, Getty Center & Gardens, The Getty Villa
I spent the day at the Architectural Digest Design Show in New York on Friday. It’s always good to see what’s new, talk with vendors and “kick the tires” so to speak. Seeing the finish/scale/construction of products in person is integral to quality control and intelligent design. And, of course, it’s fun. I’ve shared ten best picks — whether it be a specific piece or an entire collection — and why each was worth a closer look.
#1 Van Cronenburg
I am passionate about hardware and this company is stellar. Substance and exquisite detail in every piece.
#2 A Space Wall Sconce
All of the products from A Space – lighting, furniture, vases – are beautiful, but the Falling Star lamp was a show-stopper. It will undoubtedly make a lot of “it lists”.
In a perfect world, Archetypal’s work would be on the floors of every home in America. A designer can dream.
#4 Jennifer Schinzing
Jennifer’s love for the natural world inspired her to learn taxidermy. She preserves small animals (many of them road kill casualties) and transforms them into art installations. The thoughtfulness and beauty of each “memorial” was remarkable. Take note world, SHE IS ONE TO WATCH.
This cabinet was perfection. The veneers, the joints, the mechanics, the proportions were all flawless. Filipe Rodrigues’ work is masterful.
#6 Brizio Faucet
The Brizio Solna faucet. It’s black, it’s functional, it’s sexy … and it’s plumbing. Gotta’ love it.
#7 Jefferson Hayman Photography
I never jumped on the gallery-style art installation bandwagon in design. Perhaps because often times it’s just a bunch of crap thrown up on the wall (yes, I just wrote that). But Jefferson Hayman’s installation at the AD Design Show was simply lovely. The collection was intimate, multi-faceted and beautifully framed. Purchasing the entire installation crossed my mind … and I think that of the gentleman in the photo (yes, I was eaves-dropping).
#8 Coral & Tusk
I’m a sucker for animal motifs, so naturally I was drawn to Coral & Tusk’s display. But what’s lovely about these goods is that the patterns are cute without being saccharine. The imagery is grounded by the quality and authenticity of the textiles. Moreover, Stephanie Housley was delightful; her enthusiasm and love for her work was evident.
#9 Joya’s F vs. S Candles
These candles may seem simple, but something about them caught my eye. They whispered [vs. shouted] sexy and luxurious — my personal sweet spot without a doubt. I inquired about an order at the show and pretty much want to purchase the whole collection of fragrances upon seeing the website.
#10 C&B at Dining by Design
Believe it or not, I am including Crate & Barrell in this list. Their dining room for DIFFA included a brilliant wall “art” installation. How many plates were broken to create this I don’t know. But what fun and how tongue-in-cheek. Kudos C&B.
*All photos are my own save the two that are hyperlinked. Thank you for sharing your beautiful images with our readers.
Romance for me is all about atmosphere. It’s not necessarily defined by luxury and indulgence (although that works too). It’s more about a warmth that is at once alluring and thoughtful. And it can be found anywhere … Listening to a sexy mix on Pandora; alone on a cold night next to a roaring fire; at a breathtaking art exhibit; overlooking a misty river; in a tiny shop tucked away in a gritty part of London; or, of course, cozied up with your loved one in a hotel suite for the weekend. The misconception about romance is that it’s exclusive to those with a black Amex or a wedding band. It may smack a bit of “personal growth”, but romance is everywhere. We just have to recognize it when it’s in front of us.
Happy Valentine’s Day from Luxe & Lucid, XO
* All photos c/o T. Huntley save row 3, image 3. Thank you Paola Kudacki & husband James Penfold for being the sexiest, most inspiring couple on the planet.
I was hungry for some inspiration this past week and decided to break from my routine, play hooky and hit a local museum. I walked through the National Gallery’s East Wing on Wednesday – one of the many world class museums that just happen to be in my ‘hood – and soaked up the amazing collection of modern sculpture they have on display. Giacometti, Calder, Bertoia … delicious.
An enormous mobile by Calder hovers above the light filled central space.
Artist Richard Long assembled rough cut blocks of slate to form an elegant circle on the main floor. A guard stands watch for those visitors tempted to disturb the work.
Diana and a Hound realized in bronze by Paul Manship in 1925.
A view of Ursula von Rydingsvard’s work Five Cones from afar … and up close.
A massive, seemingly lightweight sculpture perched on a ledge.
The Invisible Object (Hands Holding the Void) by Giacometti. Brilliant, always.
Basalt sculpture by Isamu Noguchi.
Bertoia – the famous furniture designer started as a sculptor.
An installation creates drama through the repetition of hundreds of photograph-like plaster pieces.
Moisture as sculpture. Incredible.
Three Motives Against Wall, Number 1
Henry Moore, 1958
Capricorn by Max Ernst
A massive, somewhat monstrous interpretation of family and sexual politics by the German artist.
Another Giacometti takes stride on the mezzanine.
The perfect departure from the east wing — via moving walkway surrounded by a complex, pulsating light sculpture.
Multiverse, by American Artist Leo Villareal
* Please note, the East Wing is currently under renovation and sections of the museum are closed to the public.
Breaking Bread, Breaking News, Breaking Ground, Breaking Bad.
Breakthrough, Breakup, Breakdown, Breakaway.
Tough Break, Flat Broke, Broken Hearted, Goin’ for Broke.
I thought I would have a little fun exploring all the ways we use the word “break” and its derivatives in our daily speak. This because I took a bit of a spill and broke my arm two weeks ago. I was mountain biking in Virginia and had a pretty nasty wreck – flying over the handlebars of a bike was never on my bucket list. However, what I clearly lacked in skills, I made up for in fortitude. I’m proud to say I finished the ride and made it all the way down the mountain, break and all. I’ve hung up my helmet for now (and possibly forever) to refocus my attention on safer and surer things. However, in honor of my epic tumble, I’ve decided to find the beauty in broken.
Sea Breeze light sculpture, Deborah Thomas 2013 | still from The Sixth Sense
a geode split open reveals the magic inside | broken boulders in New Zealand
abandoned villa by Eva van Oosten | modern faceted mirror | glamorous rubble by Esther Watson
Pompeiian wall crumbling in 2014 | a Greek wedding tradition
“When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by
filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered
damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful.” Billie Mobayed
Hmmm, January. This can be a challenging month. The holiday sparkle has worn off, a little too much winter lies ahead and we’re all a whiter shade of pale. I agree it’s tough to feel motivated when it’s cold and dreary outside and happiness is Haagen-Dazs and a Snuggie on Friday night. However, I’m a January baby and a Capricorn which means I believe from problems come opportunities and there is still reason to celebrate a month as gloomy as this. January can actually offer inspiration. Not in an obvious way, but beneath the surface and outside the box. As with so many things worthwhile, in January you have to dig a little deeper and work a little harder to get to the good stuff.
January’s birthstone is like no other. The deep crimson is at once sophisticated and sultry. It has undeniable glamour, yet totally lacks pretention.
Garnet jewelry is always dramatic.
Modern earrings by Caprichosa, antique Victorian brooch, Islamic ring,
This look from Gucci is all about the lips. I have been saving this photo since fall with the intentions of replicating it for a glamorous night.
My current garnet pedicure.
A stunning garnet velvet I used alongside pastel fabrics in a Virginia living room.
And speaking of fabric …
The gorgeous drape of Zac Posen on Naomi Watts at the Golden Globes. She is always red carpet perfection.
January is the month of Janus, the Roman god of gates and doorways. As a designer and architecture buff, I photograph a lot of gates and doorways … actually more than I realized once I began combing through my files.
– all photos from my life and travels except central image –
row 1: Munich, Los Angeles, Hempel Hotel
row 2: Georgetown, Melbourne residence (via est Magazine), Italy
row 3: Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Dubuque church, Dumbarton Oaks
Although January 19 ended Capricorn’s (i.e. the goat’s) reign, it’s never too late to have fun with die ziege.
We found these darling little guys in Montreux.
If there’s one thing most of us like to do in January, it’s eat. And Lord knows, I love me my cheese … thank you goats! Clearly a girl who takes photos of cheese and cheese shops (as seen here) has a thing for chevre.
Goatskin (often referred to as vellum or parchment) is a preferred material of designers and furniture makers both contemporary and past. I gravitate to it myself and have selected several furniture pieces for projects over the years. Like wood or marble, its beauty is innate and born from nature; it can’t be faked.
Furnishings for DC, Switzerland and London Huntley & Co. projects respectively.
WHITES, GREYS & PALES
The colors of winter may seem a bit solemn, but they translate beautifully.
White, grey and pale works in a stark, ethereal European bedroom or in a bar/restaurant on Mallorca.
Moonstone and black onyx rings by Mathilde Danglade.
The concept of black and white in art stretches beyond the medium of photography.
A painting by Picasso, a photo study of a golf swing and a neon installation by Glenn Ligon.
Perhaps the only thing that could entice me to spend an afternoon in subzero temperatures – beautiful, beguiling and utterly happy sled dogs.
Happy January. Hopefully your new year is off to a good start!
January 11 marked the seven year anniversary of Huntley & Co. Interior Design. Amazing how time flies! In honor of my biz’s birthday, I’m sharing seven sets of seven favorites. I typically champion quality over quantity, but it’s nice to be surrounded by inspiration – from design to television to words of wisdom – in abundance these days. Here’s to seven years of success, a fantastic 2013 and a life filled with beauty, humor and a healthy dose of fun.
7 YEARS OF HUNTLEY & CO.
I am OBSESSED with the work of the artists below. Need me a millionaire (or maybe billionaire) boyfriend.
7 ARCHITECTURAL WONDERS
A spectacular collection of architecture is featured in February’s issue of AD.
Four of the structures are included below along with three photos from my own travels.
Perot Museum_Dallas – Harpa Concert Hall_Reykjavik
The Shard_London – Gardens by the Bay_Singapore
New York Public Library_NYC – Rolex Learning Center_Lausanne, Switzerland – steps of Siena
Life, Keith Richards
A surprisingly poignant memoir from the ultimate rock star.
Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
The best plot twist since The Sixth Sense.
Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides
A story spanning 3 generations of Greek-Americans and featuring a young, hermaphroditic protagonist named Calliope.
An epic, unorthodox Pulitzer Prize winner.
Religion for Atheists, Alain de Botton
For the open-minded, curious individual who seeks to understand all sides of an argument.
The Black Spider, Jeremias Gotthelf
A 19th century novella about a small German town infested with spiders after one of the villagers makes a pact with the devil.
A good old-fashioned religious allegory written to inspire fear.
The World of Muriel Brandolini
I had to include one design book.Brandolini’s work is completely original and worth a study.
Blood, Bones & Butter, Gabrielle Hamilton
This was just recommended to me. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into it, so to speak.
I’m not one of those people who claims she never watches TV.
With provocative storylines, million dollar sets and brilliant characters, you’re missing out if you’re not tuning in.
Delicious and addictive whether you’re an aesthete or not.
The tenth season is as mouth-watering as ever and has been featuring some serious girl power.
Like any dashing, egocentric, womanizing man worth his salt, Don Draper still has us hooked.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Characters so wrong, you can’t help but champion their insanity.
For those of us who felt robbed when Deadwood ended.
A smart, well-crafted show about zombies. Who would have thunk it?
A serial killer show starring Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy. I’m sold. Premieres January 21.
7 PEARLS OF WISDOM
“You were born an original. Don’t die a copy.”
“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say and not giving a damn.”
– Gore Vidal
“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.”
– Estee Lauder
“The best love is the one that makes you a better person without changing you into someone other than yourself.”
“It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.”
– Ann Landers
“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”
– Bill Cosby
“Don’t try to explain yourself to stupid people. You’re not the Jackass Whisperer.”
7 YEARS OF NINA
My other baby is seven too!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I’m participating in a showhouse (yes, another one!) later this month, in New York. This particular event, the “Holiday House” benefits the Breast Cancer Foundation founded by Evelyn Lauder and is held at the Academy Mansion – an incredible upper east side property that left me speechless upon my first visit. Auspicious location? Check. Worthy charity? Check. Client? Hmm, not so much. As with all showhouses, that particular detail is missing. And with no real client, that means I have to invent one so that I have a jumping off point for my design and a concept to fall back on when I’m flooded with options. Keeping in mind the grandeur of the spaces and the impetus for the event, it seemed a strong-willed, yet feminine muse fit the persona of my would-be client. And who fits that description better than the legend herself, Marie Antoinette; the original “hostess with the mostest” with the backdrop to match. Our room will become a lounge space complete with sofas, dining area and bar, so our modern-day M.A. can wine and dine her patrons and groupies in style. We begin the installation next week, so here’s a sneak peek at some of the inspiration behind the upcoming transformation.
HOLIDAY HOUSE 2012
October 25 – November 18
2 East 63rd Street, NYC
Like LL Cool J, I didn’t go anywhere. I’ve just been busy. I’ve mentioned before that publishing L+L takes a lot of time and that I’m just not the type to half a– it. So I’ve been on a hiatus from le blog and dedicating my time to all-things Huntley & Co. (as it should be). But that doesn’t mean I’ve been chained to my desk these past few months. Here’s a look back at some of my adventures since December.
December_Art Basel & Design Miami
Ridiculous art and mind boggling design amidst throngs of fabulous people from everywhere.
Skiing, shopping and New Year’s Eve at Wahso tucked into our own private booth.
A penthouse project on the Thames, the Dean Street Townhouse hotel and a late night of theater and live music with a client.
February_DC Design House
I’m designing the Master Bedroom Sitting Room at the 2012 DC Design House in Spring Valley. The space is a gem and the design is going to be so chic. Come visit – it opens to the public April 14!
More fun things to follow. Look for another update sooner than later.
P.S. Thanks for your emails. It’s nice to know L+L has been missed!
I made a long overdue trip to the nail salon this weekend for a mani/pedi. And while scanning the assortment of possible nail colors from which to choose, I stumbled upon a stunning shade of peacock blue. It’s one of my favorite colors in general – rich, complex, almost regal – so the thought of it on my fingertips was titillating. Sure enough, I love it. Not only do I think the shade of blue is absolutely stunning, but in a strange way, I think it complements my skin tone. It’s funny then that some of the conservative loved ones in my life don’t share my enthusiasm. Don’t they see what I see? What’s not to like? Some people think pretty is synonymous with conventional. But I think some of the prettiest things are those that are actually unconventional. I’m not talking about anything bizarre or distasteful. I mean looking beyond labels and stereotypes and thinking about what makes something beautiful … the confidence with which a man carries himself, the complex ideas behind an abstract painting, the texture of an unusual plant. Of course, what’s stunning will always catch our eye, but sometimes beauty and substance wear an unexpected guise.
My peacock blue manicure.
A study for “Woman Pulling Up Her Stocking” and “Salon in the Rue Des Moulins”.
Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec found inspiration in bars and brothels. Unseemly venues perhaps, but the artist found warmth and vivid color in these unlikely spectacles.
Felicity Brown’s 2010 collection was inspired by Toulouse-Lautrec’s work.
Tilda Swinton is a chameleon on and off-screen. She can look ethereal, severe or aristocratic.
Some people don’t like modern art or furniture. It’s hard to understand with gorgeous, sculptural shapes likes these.
Who needs gold or diamonds? Dahlia Kloss’ necklace is a showstopper without precious metals or stones.
Although two of the world’s deadliest snakes, the Rosy Boa and Malayan Coral Snake are also two of the most beautiful.
John Hawkes, Mick Jagger & Adrian Brody.
The talent and swagger of these men makes their unconventional looks incredibly sexy.