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
Sharks are certainly newsworthy these days. Shark Week is in full swing on Discovery, JAWS just celebrated the 40th anniversary of its release, and on a less inviting note, Carcharhinus have made the Outer Banks their summer vacation destination. Yikes!
Surprising as it may seem, I am loving every minute of it. Despite my lifelong fear of sharks, I am obsessed with the movie Jaws. I admit this seems a bit odd for a land lover, professional aesthete and enthusiast of all things cute and fuzzy. First, I love a good thriller. Second, the cast is perfection. Third, the cinematography (Spielberg, of course) is inventive yet convincing. And fourth, the dialog makes it one of the most quotable films of all time. Yes, I could go on and on. As a creative person, I believe a piece of art is worth celebrating, regardless of the medium or subject. So without further ado, here’s to the most fascinating and freakin’ scariest fish in the sea.
Rihanna, Bruce (aka Jaws) and Harper’s Bazaar magazine. Has their ever been a better magazine cover?!
Quint, Brody and Hooper (Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss respectively). Arguably the best ensemble on film.
clockwise from top left: (1) electron microphoto of sharkskin, (2) Peter Benchley’s book cover, (3) a shark tattoo, (4) Givenchy’s shark tooth bracelet and (5) Miles Teller in a sharkskin suit.
clockwise from top left: (1) shark belly button ring, (2) Givenchy Antigona sharksin-effect bag, (3) marble Squalo Sharkfin doorstops by James Irvine and (4) a 5th century Etruscan amulet with shark’s tooth.
clockwise from top left: (1) Sharkie Heels from TaylorSays – so crazy I almost want a pair, (2) Sharkskin paint by Benjamin Moore, (3) the incredibly sexy Chevy Mako Shark II and (4) the perfect cupcakes for a Jaws-themed party.
clockwise from top left: (1) Ruhlmann amboyna wood desk with sharkskin inlay, (2) Sharkfin pie – yes please, (3) SunSwimPlay grey Sharkie hat for baby and (4) sharkfin cookie molds/cutters.
Links to these and other shark-themed items as well as JAWS film stills and movie quotes can be found on the Shark! Pinterest board.
I mentioned in my last post that I like a little “rock-n-roll with my ladylike”. That statement describes more than just my fashion sense – it’s a personal credo, a balancing act and the foundation for how I design. Contrasting modern with traditional, sexy with conventional and subtle with provocative allows me to enjoy all the world has to offer. More importantly, it’s the incongruity and tension that makes a room or collection [and even a relationship] sing.
Huntley & Co. interiors.
Mixing pieces that seem incompatible gives an ensemble just the right edge.
(L) Dries Van Noten, (M) unknown (R) Christopher Kane
It’s not easy to find a car when one’s style is epitomized by dichotomy. But this weekend, I actually spotted my dream ride.
I had never seen the Volvo 1800ES; it’s from the early 70s. Part roadster, part wagon. Stylized yet practical. Sexy and a little weird. I AM IN LOVE!
Dynamic duos – Opposites attract and are, truthfully, more interesting.
(L) “Portland, Oregon” blends Jack White’s tinny, rockabilly melody with Loretta Lynn’s old-school country style.
(M) Even more intriguing than Jesse and Walt’s differences on Breaking Bad are their internal dichotomies – troubled yet innocent heroine addict and conservative yet calculating high school teacher.
(R) Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller – the love story of a fragile seductress and brilliant playwright.
Food may be the most tangible way to enjoy nature’s complex and complementary offerings.
(L) Apricot stuffed pork shoulder with soy/honey glaze. (M) Figs and blue cheese wrapped in prosciutto. (R) Cannelini bean, salmon and caviar canapes.
Another one of nature’s delicious offerings – MEN!
Polished/scruffy, strong/approachable, sexy/odd, clever/intelligent. Mmmmm, one of each please.
* You can find these photos and links on my Pinterest page *
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!
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 had a busy week. Meetings, travel, design events, etc. A jam-packed schedule isn’t necessarily enjoyable mid-stream, but I always love the results. I meet new people, see interesting things, get inspired, and in general, shake things up a bit. Between DC and New York, I stumbled upon some fabulous finds this past week. Whether it was design or fashion, food or art, it seemed that new and exciting things were available and in abundance. Of course there is never enough time to take it all in. It’s a good thing I am able to document it all with my trusty iphone and enjoy the fruits of my labor long after my work and the week is done.
– SOURCING RUGS & TEXTILES –
I love beautiful textiles and rugs. Especially when they are assembled together in a stunning collection. Subtle, graphic, textural or glamorous – it doesn’t really matter to me. Gorgeous is gorgeous regardless of content or genre.
– WINDOW SHOPPING –
Fall is always a delicious time for fashion. Even if you can’t purchase everything you see behind the glass, you can certainly draw inspiration from the displays and create new, eclectic ensembles within your existing wardrobe. I personally am all over this season’s bold colors, layers, baggie pants and fur jackets.
– SCOUTING FOR VINTAGE FURNISHINGS –
You can troll all day on the internet, but there is nothing like seeing the real thing. I can’t get enough of unique yet elegant, statement-making furniture. Unfortunately, I need another chair like I need a hole in the head. It was hard to resist these stellar vintage finds.
– DROPPING BY AN ARTIST’S STUDIO –
I’m a big fan of Julie Wolfe’s work. So to see her paintings and jewelry in-residence was quite a treat. Plus Julie is such a cool chic – interesting, laidback and irreverent. The evening was hosted by George Hemphill and marked by contemporary artwork, incredible jewelry, wine and a “deconstructed food installation”. Loved it.
– BELLYING UP TO THE BAR –
It wasn’t my last stop this weekend, but it was definitely one of the more photogenic. Ted’s Bulletin is a throwback to yesteryear with the style and ambiance to match. If dining, I would stick to the burgers and shakes. If you’re there for a cocktail, order a Jessie Clark. Besides the delicious concoction of chamomile-infused scotch, orange marmalade and chocolate bitters, the drink is served with a perfectly round ice cube produced in seconds by The Macallan ice ball machine. An entertaining and purposeful gadget whether you’re a scotch aficionado or not.
As mentioned in my last post, I added an extra day to my northern California vacation so I could spend some time in San Francisco before heading back east. I hadn’t been to the bay area in years and had honestly forgotten what all the fuss was about. But I figured why not make a pit stop in an old stomping ground and segue a bit more gently back into life in DC. I was more than taken with the heavenly weather (68 degrees in August) and the lively urban atmosphere – crowded cafes, locals out walking their dogs and great shopping – in Pacific Heights where we spent the day. And although the word “hip” could be used to describe the area’s watering holes, shops and fashions, it didn’t smack of trends like some cities. San Francisco is like the popular kid in high school: confident and cool without even trying. And a vibe like that may as well be crack to someone like me. I couldn’t get enough. Shopping I did – and successful I was.
Thanks San Fran for sharing your mojo with me!
CIELO A store full of gorgeous, high-end European brands.
I picked up an Ann Demeulemeester blazer with chic, refined detailing …
… a scrumptious orchid-colored puffy jacket with cropped sleeves and sweet yet almost "goth" kitten-princess necklace.
NEST The perfect name for a boutique with a homespun yet vagabond flair.
New and vintage toys (check out the gorilla!), artwork, jewelry, furnishings and accessories.
I purchased this silkscreened tiger tote, printed cotton robe and wood handle purse … and love them all.
HEIDI SAYS SHOE SALON The sole-ful sister store of the Heidi Says fashion trifecta.
I found these flattering and totally versatile nude, patent leather wedges from Vera Wang Lavender.
ELIZABETH CHARLES A uniquely curated collection of fashions and accessories.
This boutique was uh-MA-zing! I fell in love with everything.
JONATHAN ADLER Ebullient, over-the-top fun from this eponymous shop’s designer.
CROSSROADS Vintage and consignment clothing, shoes, etc.
My [sporty, crunchy, anti-fashion] friend Lori nearly died of heart failure when I walked out of the dressing room in this get-up. Yes I bought a pair of gold lamé, parachute pants and a cropped grey hoodie. I think they’re fabulous, comfortable and totally hot.
JURLIQUE Skincare, bath and body products.
My masseuse in Sonoma recommended that I pick up a bottle of essential eucalyptus oil and add it to my morning shower to help relieve my nagging cough.
OTD Out-The-Door Vietnamese restaurant.
We recharged at Out-The-Door with noodles, dumplings and wine. Yummm!
SWIG Last stop … cocktails of course!
With a sexy vibe, live music and bar stocked to the hilt - this club was the perfect finish to a perfect day!
I just spent five days in Northern California with six girlfriends from home. We’re known
as “the nine” (I’ve mentioned them before) and were obviously short two on this trip. We
get together every summer, but this year we decided to do something extra special. To
round up that many women with husbands and careers and kids is no small task, so the
fact that we accomplish it at all is a big deal. An even bigger deal is how long we have
sustained our friendships. They date back to high school, grammar school and even pre-
school for two of us. Our longevity and stamina definitely warrant a celebration and where
better to do that than wine country USA – Sonoma and Napa. It was the perfect venue.
Gorgeous vistas, delicious food and the chance to talk, laugh and share with friends I rarely
see, but couldn’t live without. Cheers to my crazy, spirited, hilarious gaggle of girlfriends!
Night one decompressing on our deck with cocktails.
Our house was situated at the top of a mountain with views of the whole valley.
We were picked up bright and early on day two for a day of wine tasting.
That’s our driver in front leading us up a path to our first winery, Quixote.
Quixote is not your run-of-the-mill winery. The unusual architecture, incredible art
collection and one-of-a-kind wine barrels with their candy-colored hoops added to the
magical, Willy Wonka-esque atmosphere. And then of course, there was the wine.
At the second winery, Honig, I found my Napa vibe …very chiiillll.
For our third stop, we enjoyed a hillside lunch with the owners of the Frias
Family Vineyard. It was a lovely, low-key transition between wineries.
The final winery of the day was Flora Springs in St. Helena. Thank goodness for our laid-back
and tolerant guide, Travis. We were pretty pickled by that point, so you can only imagine what a
handful we were. He took it all in stride and treated us to perhaps our favorite tour of the day.
We spent day 3 in Sonoma at the spa and finished with dinner at Della Santina’s.
Our group split up on our last day in wine country. Four of us chose to go riding on the Kunde Estate.
The breathtaking views and our fantastic guide Dominic created a near perfect afternoon.
One last night of delicious wine and food at the award-winning Bistro Jeanty in Yountville – the
tomato soup in puff pastry was a big hit with the girls – and then it was back home for most of the
group. My friend Lori (far left) and I spent an extra day in San Francisco … but that’s another post.
Read about San Francisco in my next post, Scenes from a Vacation – Part II.
Is there any other color on your mind this time of year besides green?
Trees are budding, the grass is coming back and we’ve just celebrated St. Patrick’s Day.
It feels like we’ve turned a corner and everyone is in higher spirits, so let’s rejoice in the one
hue that delivers a boost of happiness just when we need it most. Kelly, chartreuse, lime or
sage – whatever the shade – you are sure to find glorious greens all around you this spring.
– nature / exteriors –
“Green” buildings Ann Demeulemeester in Seoul and the Caixa Forum in Madrid.
Spanish copper wall image c/o My Life My Vibe.
Porch by Boxwood Home & Interiors.
Iguana photo c/o Trek Nature.
– interiors –
Interiors by Sills Huniford, Geoffrey Bradfield, Steven Gambrel and Jeffrey Bilhuber.
– art –
Art by David Drebin, Salvador Dali, John Singer Sargent,
Thomas Wilmer Dewing, Modern House Art,
Robert Motherwell and Brad Bannister.
– textiles & finishes –
Samples from the Huntley & Co. library.
– fashion & beauty –
Shoes by Lanvin.
Clutch and cuff available through Vivre.
Gucci and Costume National runway photos.
– tricia ; ) –