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 recently spent some downtime in LA. And when I travel, I shop. That’s just how I roll. Shopping at home feels like a chore to me and I almost never do it (save my visits to Hu’s in Georgetown). And it’s just so damn easy in LA. You get in your car, you park RIGHT IN FRONT of the store, you peruse and chat with the nicest of people. Then you walk out with a half dozen bags that you drop into your trunk. So lovely … and um, possibly a bit too easy?
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.
Behind the scenes, spearheading a design firm is not all glamour and bon-bons. The photos below illustrate how often I shift gears and how drastic those shifts are. In a single day I may be generating spreadsheets, drawing in Autocad, conferencing with colleagues, hauling furnishings to a job site and attending an industry event in the evening. 9-5 and consistent this job is not. But it’s always interesting and always challenging. I exercise both my left brain and right brain on a daily basis (not to mention my biceps, quads and glutes!). Problem-solving, schlepping, creating, collaborating … it’s all in a day’s work and a gift to those who love to hustle!
I am fortunate enough to have enjoyed a decade of transformation and collaboration among the best and the brightest in the nation’s capital. Wow and wow. I will be celebrating this milestone with photos and features looking back on the past ten years. There is a wealth of beauty, joy, work and laughter to share.
Halloween always inspires me. I relish the drama and suspense of the holiday, not to mention the excuse to go a little goth and watch scary movies. It’s always good to embrace one’s darker side, especially if you lean a little type A. So with all my clean and tailored design tendencies comes a need for what I call “dark and inky”. If you’ve worked with me or for me, you’ve heard me use this term. I am always on the quest for the perfect murky green, garnet or ebonized-blue (and of course black). Whether it’s a lacquered leather chair, a kick-ass pair of aubergine boots or a smokey eye for evening – it just doesn’t get any sexier than dark and inky.
Links and sources for these images and others can be found on the Luxe & Lucid Pinterest board. Happy Halloween!
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.
Shopping for Christmas (Hanukkah, etc.) can be a blast when you find just the right gift for your special someone. I’m sharing some of my “finds” for those of you who are still on the hunt. Happy holidays!
* S c r o l l t o t h e b o t t o m f o r L u x e & L u c i d g i f t s t h a t g i v e b a c k *
| FOR THE AESTHETE |
Male or female, the key to buying a gift for this type is finding a functional object that is executed beautifully.
(L) Shagreen matchstriker (C) custom knife from Rockin’ One Knives (R) UrbanEars headphones
| FOR YOUR MAN |
Aquascutum checked weekender bag.
| FOR THE FEMALE FREQUENT FLYER |
Add something special to the carry-on of the woman who often finds herself on planes and in airports.
(L) Tocca perfume travel trio (R) silk earring cases
(B) Handmade and customized leather luggage tag
| FOR THE COOL CROWD |
(L) Big Lick spoon rest (C) Barbara Kruger sunglasses (R) Breaking Bad tee
| FOR THE PERSON WHO HAS EVERYTHING |
‘Not Another Bill’
A gift subscription service customized to your or your giftees preferences.
Download interesting and original fonts onto your partner’s/parent’s/colleague’s computer.
| GIVE A GIFT THAT SAVES LIVES |
Donate to a local shelter or national animal rescue organization in the name of a loved one.
(L) Washington Humane Society (C) PETA (R) ASPCA
** Leave a COMMENT ONLINE and Luxe & Lucid will make a DONATION in your name to one of the organizations listed here. **
I enjoyed some exceptional work days last week. I was in Charleston visiting The Urban Electric Company. Urban Electric is a lighting company with a distinctive vision, brilliant products and a stellar team. I have been using their light fixtures in my designs for nearly a decade. In recent years, I started to design custom fixtures for them to produce. In an exciting development last year, UECo chose to select one of those designs for their permanent collection. The “Huntley” was born as a sconce for a client’s Bethesda home and can now can be found in residential and commercial projects in the US and abroad. As part of their BEHIND THE SCENES video series, Urban Electric invited me to Charleston to discuss the Huntley, my other custom fixtures and the method behind my design process. UECo filmed while I toured their production facility, met with craftsmen and talked with the team about what inspires me. I’ve shared our behind-the-scene shots of Urban Electric’s headquarters and the day’s activities in the photo album below.
A sign that embodies Urban Electric’s stylistic heritage and the spirit of their manufacturing environment.
Touring the metalworking areas with the Urban Electric team.
Learning more about each process. Fascinating.
Lantern multiples prior to welding. A craftsman at work.
Detailed finish work on the second floor. Discussing the components of a custom piece.
Individual parts of The Huntley await assembly. A finished Huntley sconce on the shelves.
Pendants and lanterns from the UECo collection hang throughout. Speaking with visionary owner Dave Dawson during the tour.
Filming the interview.
Huntley sconce installations including a Huntley & Co. foyer and a London department store.
(photos at left and right c/o The Urban Electric Co.)
Many thanks to my Urban Electric hosts for their gracious southern hospitality.
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
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.
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.