Blogs I follow

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Frick Collection

I love New York!  There are so many stunning museums to tour but it is forever burned in my memory, my first trip to see The Frick Collection.  It is truly such a beautiful place.

I remember thinking, what would it be like to live in such an extraordinary place?   The art work is displayed in breathtaking rooms adorned with mahogany walls.  It feels so lush and rich and makes the works of art much more personal and romantic.  The museum is the former home of Henry Clay Frick, one of America’s most successful industrialists. Built in 1913-14, the house is set back from Fifth Avenue and it is quite unique for a mansion to house French eighteenth century furniture, Italian Renaissance bronzes, and Chinese porcelains in concert with such an incredible art collection.  You will see masterpieces by Vermeer, Velázquez, Goya, Van Dyck, Rembrandt, and El Greco.  I remember being amazed at the size of the four panels by Fragonard and being deeply moved by the Gainsborough’s.  Mr. Frick always had an eye for beauty and the collection he amassed speaks to his talent as a world class collector.

The building has been expanded to make room for additional aspects of the collection; however, it did not impact the beauty of this regal structure in any way.  I am forever changed by having seen this deeply rich mansion with such large and impressive works. The staff continues to delight us with an ever changing annual exhibit so I hope that you can fit it in on your next visit.  It is a superb experience and it will take your breath away.

Courtesy: The Frick Collection

Courtesy: The Frick Collection

Courtesy: The Frick Collection

Courtesy: The Frick Collection

Courtesy: The Frick Collection

Courtesy: The Frick Collection

Henry Clay Frick's old rec room & bowling alley - Courtesy: The Frick Collection


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sometimes its nice to be, well...nice

Andrea Stanford - One Kings Lane
There are some things that you just can’t get off your mind.  Habitually Chic’s talented blogger, Heather Clawson wrote about Andrea Stanford of One Kings Lane and described her as not only tremendously talented but generous and kind.  The blog caught my attention because Andrea is the V.P. of Merchandising, Designer and Vintage Sales for One Kings Lane and my showroom and website, the595project, is a vendor for the Vintage and Market Finds section on the website.  It got me thinking about people I’ve worked with during my design career that have been without fail, gracious, generous and kind. Two people come to mind.

Steve Marcum of Pratesi
Steve Marcum opened the Pratesi Linens store in Houston Texas in December of 1994.  He came to Houston for Pratesi by way of Louisville Kentucky where he sold the line in a small boutique.  If you enjoy perfection in bedding, then Pratesi is a must.  Luxury at its finest in my opinion, this family owned business from Italy produces some of the most beautiful linens, bath products and bedding in the world.

I started working with Steve about 1995.  I called the Houston store to place an order for a project I had in Arizona.  I was struck by his calm and engaging demeanor and I soon came to enjoy the most perfect customer service ever!  As the years have gone by, we’ve become friends and his southern charm and witty stories have kept me smiling for years.  He has sent me cookbooks, given me gifts and cards, donated lovely items for auctions, mailed me monthly Paper City issues, ( Houston’s wonderful social and fashion publication) and sent me boxes and boxes of merchandise to use for presentations.  I look forward to laughing with him when we talk and our visits are always too short but so very satisfying.  Service like what Steve brings is a dying art.  He has style and charm without being over the top.  He is one of my most favorite people in the world and I am honored to know him.

I’m sure many designers out there know the feeling of intimidation one experiences when you visit a design center for the first time.  After my career got in to full swing I had to face the daunting exercise of going to the Blue Whale in Los Angeles.  This mammoth structure houses the best showrooms in the country that present fabrics, furniture and the like for all aspects of interior design.  There is a protocol and procedure as to how you do business in the stunning showrooms.  Kind of scary when you really are new in the biz!

Mark Boone of Mimi London
Mark Boone, owner of the Mimi London Showroom in Los Angeles, helped me through this ordeal early on!  He is polished and polite beyond words and he has always demonstrated top notch service to me.  Talented and respected in the industry, he not only has an impressive client list for his own design projects; he represents some gorgeous furniture and fabric lines in his showroom to the trade.
Mark Boones Mimi London Showroom in Los Angeles

He spends time each week at his manufacturing facility (I think its Thursday’s!) working on sketches for new pieces for production.  He has a really cool casual design aesthetic, yet polished and hip.  His work has been featured in Architectural Digest too often to mention as well as other respected design magazines. Recently one of his stylish tables was selected for the new set design of The Ellen DeGeneres Show!   All of you out there must visit his website and showroom.  You will love every second of it!  Mark has become a friend and he has supported me by way of donations for fund raising for breast cancer too. He is so generous with his time and very down to earth.  He is quite a gem!

I love that Habitually Chic prompted me to think about people in my line of work that are just, well, basically nice!  Not just once but always……year after year.  Thank you Steve and Mark!