Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Another day, another princess....

Okay, so it is all around me everywhere I turn, every blog I read, every magazine I pick up, every channel I switch to ...... So I thought I might as well bite the bullet and address the elephant in the room. Who is getting up at 3 a.m. (4 a.m. for those living in the East Coast and 1 a.m. for you West Coasters) this Friday to watch the "you-know-what"?

Seriously, has time just flown by???? I mean, wasn't it just yesterday when we woke up to watch this?

I can remember it so vividly. I was 13 and I had never heard of Lady Diana Spencer but my entire world and perspective on life would change when my mother got me up at that ungodly hour and told me that a young girl was about to become a princess. I remember being glued to the TV and hearing her nervously stumble as she said, "I, Diana Frances, take thee, Charles, Philip, Arthur, George Mountbatten of Windsor..." Yes, I memorized that line!

And then who could have forgotten the famous kiss on the balcony????

From that moment on, all I could think of was of becoming a princess just like Diana. I became fixated with knowing everything about her, her family, her doings. I admit I followed her from that day forward until death did us part. I remember my sister Glenda calling me late one evening (when I was already now a young associate recently graduated from Law School) and waking me from my deep slumber to tell me that Princess Diana had been in an accident. I remember asking, "how bad is it?" And she replied, "it's pretty bad. She may not make it." "Of course she will, silly!" I remember telling her. "People like that just don't die." Whoever heard of the leading actor in your favorite movie dying halfway through the movie???????

But she did.

Now, in just a few days, this little one....

This little one whom I watched from birth as his mother was still a young, beautiful princess..... this little one, who is not so little any more and almost 10 years older than his mother was when she walked down the aisle, is about to be married himself. I can't say that I have followed much of his life after his mother died and I can't say that I know or love Kate Middleton as much as I did Diana, but all of the sudden, as the world prepares for yet another Royal wedding, I think to myself...... Wow, where has all the time gone?????????

Is it just me or do you suddenly feel so very old with the thought of the upcoming Royal Wedding????? The question is, will I wake up my little girl too at 3 a.m. and have her see another young woman become a princess too????

What will you do?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

New Orleans in the Spring

New Orleans in the Spring is absolutely mesmerizing and packed with energy. Just last week, we celebrated French Quarter Fest and in two weeks, we'll be throwing the biggest party of all with Jazz Fest 2011. Nowhere else can you have two full weekends of amazing cajun food...

The crawfish bread is to die for!!!


Love, love, love Harry Connick, Jr....

Dave Matthews band...

And lots, lots more.

Spring is also a beautiful time of year in New Orleans where the city just breathes life and soul....

Where the views from the rooftops are nostalgic and beautiful...

(AJ took this just the other day from the rooftop of the Pelican Club restaurant in the French Quarter)

And people are in the mood for romance ...And do crazy things (except we don't see them as crazy!)

And weddings are celebrated on the streets against the backdrop of century old French buildings....

Where else can you have all of this richness of culture right here in your own backyard? I am lucky to call New Orleans my home. It is my inspiration for everything I design and do.

So pack your bags and come visit us...

I promise you it will be an unforgettable time....

Monday, April 11, 2011

New York Times

I know, I've been MIA for a few days...... Truth is, I've been really busy trying to work on my inventory and create, restore, and design new pieces. I've been painting, plastering, layering, peeling, choosing fabric, .... you name it, I'm doing. I'm also replying to everyone who has been so wonderful in emailing me regarding the recent article in the New York Times featuring me, my home and my journey throughout rebuilding post-Katrina. It's been so touching to read your supportive emails. Frankly, when the article appeared last Thursday, I felt very vulnerable (not to mention mortified that my bra strap was showing in the main photo!!!!!) as to how it would be received. I made a decision to share some really personal events in my life during that difficult time, including my husband's illness. I didn't want the hard truth of my husband's deterioration after Hurricane Katrina to be hidden as I wanted to send the message that "life happens" and everyone, everyone has a second (or third, if you are really lucky) chance at life. My husband now is an amazing and kind partner and I would not trade our struggle for anything as it has made us stronger and more embracing of life and people's circumstances. As to my home, well, it is always a little scary to let the world in your home as it may not be what they expected. I always tell people, "my shop and inventory are way prettier and more decadent than anything I have at home!" It's so true. At least for now when most of my focus is on my new career venture. But my home is who I am and how I got here. What started as a way to rebuild with very limited resources became my new passion and career. I adore beautiful furniture and adore being surrounded by pieces that have stories to tell. In fact, after the article appeared, a reader emailed me and told me that the huge thread bare persian rug that I have in my family room belonged to his grandmother! As a child he played marbles on it and ultimately had it in his home on Magazine Street until he moved away in 1995. He left it for dead until he saw it on the New York Times last week. How amazing is that??? I will treasure it always (both the email and the rug).

For now, I'm bringing back to life some beautiful things that I hope to share with you on 1stdibs soon. In the meantime, I saw this gorgeous photo on pinterest and it has got me thinking...... How can I translate this mood, this scene, this beautiful gown and parasol..... into a parlor chair?????? Hmmmmmm.... Any ideas?

Stay tuned.... I'm working on it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Paradise in the Pyrenees - Southern France

Imagine yourself living here ...

For Aurélien Deleuze and his wife Pascale and two children, they don't have to imagine it, they live it ... every day.

When I saw this article and the photographs of their lovely home in the picturesque town of Pau, in Southern France, I was immediately drawn to it and I wanted to share them with you. For the Deleuzes, it was love at first sight too. Aurélien and Pascale painstakingly restored and now live in this stunning castle located outside the small village of Bugnein in France. Built around 1700 by an abbot who was knighted by Louis XIV, it has survived the centuries almost intact. Unique period pieces and original French furniture takes us back in time as we go from room to room.

Aurelien Deleuze, Pascale, and their teenage sons, Augustin and Victor.

On the mantle, a collection of candlestics (which on their own would not be as stunning but when grouped in a collection become a showpiece) is grouped with a pair of zinc urns and a heavily ornate mirror. The simplicity of the remaining furnishings work to showcase the mirror and give it centerstage.

I cannot get enough of fragmented pieces. People think I'm crazy when I pick up things that obviously had a rough life, but on their own, they become works of art.

The roughness of the cabinet in the background contrasts beautifully with the polished crystals of the chandelier. So stunning!

Clever use of music sheets, don't you think?

I just love the original burlap on these seats. I would leave them just as they are!

Italian altar candles add an element of sophistication to this otherwise country setting.

Aurelien Deleuze.

Love the gilded corona. Very difficult to find but I know just where to get one!

These images just make me sigh. It is the stark simplicity of this home, pale colors and varied use of textures that create a comfortable, beautiful interior.

Hope you enjoyed the tour. If you would like assistance in finding similar items to any of the ones pictured in this article, email me at kgentinetta@gmail.com

Images from here.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Fresh Color, Old Fabric

This Louis XVI armchair (France, c. 1880) turned out so beautiful that I may just have to keep it for myself.

Originally, it was a brown piece. I felt the gorgeous beaded and acanthus carvings needed a lift, so I did a swedish finish on it. Although I regularly update upholstery, I decided that the original chartreuse/gold silk damask was absolutely perfect as is. What do you think?

Hope you are having a fabulous weekend wherever this post finds you.

For more of my collection, visit my 1stdibs store here.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Old vs. New, Rough vs. Smooth

Do you love mixing styles and textures? I cannot seem to get enough of it at times! I love the way this living room perfectly balances old and new, modern and antique, rough edges with smooth edges, glamour with practicality. The contrast in this space is perfectly balanced in an artistic beauty.