Friday, September 30, 2011

The Understated Elegance of a Louis Philippe Mirror

An antique gilded Louis Philippe Mirror is like a navy blazer -- a classic piece that goes with just about anything.

It is simple, elegant and timeless...

In my own home, this Louis Philippe antique mirror hangs elegantly in my kitchen (photograph courtesy of New York Times and Sarah Essex Bradley).

Below, a Louis Philippe mirror fits seamlessly in a masculine decor (House & Gardens UK).

A closer look...

Louis Philippe Mirrors can come with or without a beautiful cartouche (the carved detailing on the top of the mirror) which gives it a more majestic presence.

It can be long and thin...

Or the classic rectangular shape which so beautifully adorns the back wall of my showroom at the 1stdibs floor of the New York Design Center.

Monday, September 26, 2011

My Fetish with Chairs Continues

My fetish with chairs continue. Here is a sneak peak of some of my newly restored pieces being added to 1stdibs this week.

Pair 19th c. Gilded Louis XVI Chairs with Venetian fabric

c. 1870
This pair of original giltwood salon or parlor chairs are absolutely breathtaking. The water or mercury gilded frames are in amazing condition and almost look like they have been "dipped in gold." Solid and sturdy, these chairs received a makeover with fortuny style fabric. The venetian style cotton fabric used to reupholster these chairs was hand printed and hand dyed using traditional Venetian printing methods. The pattern is a faithful reproduction of a 16th c. french document pattern. It was hand colored in a beautiful pale shade of orange with bronze metallic flowered details. A true work of art.

Rare 19th c. Louis Philippe Chest of Drawers or Commode

c. 1840
A very unique and rare period piece -- a Louis Philippe chest of drawers in beautiful French oak. Unlike most Louis Philippe chests, this one has softly curved, slightly serpentine shaped drawers with turned beaded details on all four corners. Although reminiscent of Swedish pieces of this time, the simple, softly rounded lines with very little ornamentation is classic Louis Philippe style. Original working key. Stunning patina.

Pair 19th c. Louis XVI French Walnut Fauteuils with Down Cushion

c. 1880
Absolutely stunning and timeless, this classic pair of period Louis XVI armchairs have been painstakingly restored down to the 8 way hand tied springs. Reupholstered in white organic cotton fabric sateen which has a beautiful sheen. Gorgeous and intact hand-carved details throughout. The beauty of the walnut frames was restored through french polishing.

And last but not least, is this pair (although I only took a photo of one) of stunning Second Empire (Napoleon III) Walnut Chairs with cast ormolu (c. 1780). These chairs are from the Second Empire (i.e. Napoleon III). Upholstered in a sumptuous ivory silk taffeta, these chairs are simply divine.

As with all of my collection, all of these pieces have been fully restored and are ready to be used in practical, daily life. And these have all been kid tested. :)

Have a wonderful week.

Friday, September 23, 2011

George Clooney Gets Married!

Again, I apologize for interjecting my own personal stories in what is supposed to be a professional venue (so my sisters tell me). But from the looks of my stats, it seems like all of you actually enjoy my personal stories much more anyway. So one more won't hurt, right?

I was at the gym this morning (yes, I'm addicted to that place) and saw this hysterical commercial on The Today Show. I just had to run home (literally) and share it with all of you who may not have seen it yet (although I think it's going viral so it may be yesterday's news by now).

Now, be honest, is this every girls' dream come true or what????? Come on, admit it! And check out the antiques in the hotel room while you're at it so that I can pretend I did some work today.

Was that a little dreamy or what???? I think I've watched this clip 20 times now.

And speaking of dreams, this one was one of mine and it actually came true click here. Maybe not as glamorous as waking up being married to George Clooney.....

Hope you have a fabulous and dreamy weekend, wherever this post finds you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Timeless Nature of Neoclassical Style

There is something so elegant and timeless about neoclassical furniture, especially chairs (since I do have a fetish in this department as you may recall). The Empire style, developed during the second phase of neoclassicism, is probably one of my all time favorite neoclassical styles as it is clean, tailored and can mix with just about any other style.

Take a look at this antique Empire chair in the corner of this bedroom featured in the newest issue of Veranda Magazine.

Look familiar?????

Lovely, aren't they? Elegant, aren't they? Forever young....

For more information on these timeless and elegant 19th c. Empire chairs, please visit my 1stdibs storefront. I adore orange hues (or "marmalade" as Jane Dagmi so eloquently describes my taste in color palettes in her new article for Color Chats! "Decorating with Gray Soothes the Soul No Matter the Style").

But even if orange is not your cup of tea, there is a variety of fabric choices that would look fabulous on these chairs. Just let your imagination and passion take over...

Monday, September 19, 2011

The New and Improved (???) Me

We interrupt this otherwise informative and professional design blog to bring you some up to date personal information. I try as much as possible not to mix my professional and personal affairs, but WHAT THE HELL!!!!! Sometimes, you just have to!

So here it is..... After many years of resisting the temptation, I've become one of THEM.

Okay, maybe not one of HER.

Perhaps more on the lines of her...

But with a soccer ball.....

Do you know where I'm going with all this?????

Yes, at 43 years of age with my little boy and little girl on the brink of complete alienation by their peers for not being one of THEM, I have finally joined the ranks of the much avoided, much acclaimed, and much neurotic league of SOCCER MOMS R US!!!!

And here are those responsible for this transformation.

My little Roma

And my sweet Liam

So to those out there who may be considering the path of no return, be warned..... Yes, as Frances Russell from Frances Russell Interiors in Australia can attest to, when you call me to talk french antiques, you may be getting me while I'm on the field. Just tune out the background noise.

Now, all I need is one of these and I'll be set. :)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Beauty is in the Eye of The Beholder

People must sometimes think I'm crazy when they see some of the things I find and buy. I know my husband does. He looks at me as I walk in with my treasures and shakes his head in disbelief and says, "Another dog?????" or "Another injured bird????" or, like this morning, "Another french antique chair?"

Yes, I collect them all -- dogs, birds, antique chairs. The dogs and birds and even lizards are probably self explanatory. The antique chairs, however, are a fetish -- a bad one. When I see a beautiful chair, whether french, italian, swedish or art deco, big or small, sleek or chippy, I just can't help myself. I HAVE TO HAVE IT!!!! And you'll see me jump over little old ladies who get in my way and run towards that lonely, decrepit little piece of seatable art just like my life depended on it. To me, they are like a piece of Tiffany jewelry or a Manolo Blahnik pump or that little black dress a la Audrey Hepburn that you can't have enough of even though you probably have 10 just like it hanging in your closet with the tags still on. Sound familiar at all?

I bet Carrie Bradshaw would have totally understood my pain.....

So imagine my absolute delight, surprise, and pure joy when I saw this little number practically waving at me from across the ocean, in an old apartment in the Latin Quarter of Paris which was being emptied out as part of an estate sale.

Introducing my newest treasure... A Louis XV chair with all her beautiful imperfections, gesso chipping and all, hints of her original gilding... c. 1860. Isn't she lovely? A little faded, a little jaded, but oh so desirable.

Soon to be featured in my 1stdibs storefront because, after all, she's one of "The most beautiful things on earth."

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

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 The World Remembers

Once scorched and almost lifeless, the survivor tree at the site of ground zero blooms again.

May we learn to live in peace and harmony and focus on the beauty of this life.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Valentino - The Great Italian Couturier

In addition to having "the most beautiful things on earth," 1stdibs (Michael Bruno's vintage and antique empire) is a wonderful source for fashion information. Its online publication, Introspective Magazine, has really amazing articles relating to the latest fashion, interior design, and shopping trends. This week, it featured FIT's tribute to the legendary Valentino Garavini, this year's honoree at the annual fundraising luncheon of the museum's Couture Council.

And who does not adore Valentino!!!!! I have grown up collecting pictures of Valentino's design and dreaming what it would be like to don one of his dreamy creations.

"I always wanted to make women beautiful," says the great Italian couturier Valentino Garavani, otherwise known to the world as simply "Valentino." And this he has done for over 60 years, designing creations which graced such icons as Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor and Jacqueline Kennedy.

Here are some of my favorite Valentino creations.

To Valentino, for 60 plus years of celebrating feminine beauty.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend, wherever this post finds you.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Making of an Angel

Some of you may recall a post I did not too long about a lovely woman who had contacted me all the way from her home in Rome, Italy, shortly after my story ran in the New York Times. She was deeply touched by it but especially moved by the painting I did on painter's dropcloth which was featured as part of the story. My painting evoked in her memories of her late father who was a very talented artist and painted similar paintings on the same medium. She told me that upon reading my story and seeing the painting, something moved in her so much so that she felt the need to reach out and connect with me.

Since that day, Nathalie von Rittersberg and I have become fast friends despite the distance and, as she describes, was inspired to paint her own paintings. Her paintings have been amazingly therapeutic for her as a way to express her emotions, love for nature, and experiences she's had throughout her amazingly rich life. Aside from being a self taught artist, Nathalie is an accomplished professional who has worked in various roles focused on fundraising, special events and public/media relations for high level officials and royal families, including the Consulate of the Principality of Monaco in New York (Attaché Public Affairs), the Quebec Government House in New York and Canada (Attaché, Special Project), and the United Nations in New York. Currently, Nathalie works at the United Nations in Rome to improve food security in developing and Third World countries (the UN's Special Programme for Food Security). In short, Nathalie works day in and day out to help end world hunger.

A pretty amazing woman and absolutely beautiful inside and out, don't you think?

Yesterday, Nathalie called me to tell me that since the day she contacted me, life has been absolutely filled with wonderful and amazing things. Her paintings have unleashed a happiness that she describes as overwhelming. They have not only brought her tremendous joy and peace, but they have most recently captured the attention of the media and others. Of special honor, she was asked to do an exhibit of her work at the United Nations building in Rome. At the same time, she is being interviewed for an article that will appear in the UN's monthly Gazette. Congratulations, Nathalie!

I would like to share with you some of Nathalie's work. Of special note, Nathalie did a painting (below) which she dedicates to the victims, families, friends, and survivors of 9/11.

Making of an Angel

She has entitled this one "Making of an Angel". As Nathalie describes, "It represents a business man going straight to Heaven, and becoming an angel in the process of going up. He is surrounded by angels who are guiding him in the process. One is holding his left hand as in to say 'don't worry, you are not alone', and under his right wing shines the golden light of God."

Here are some others that I adore:

Title: Seven

Title: Stars

Title: Horses

Title: Butterflies

Title: Man Alone

Title: Eternal Love

Nathalie, I am so very proud of you!!! I am so honored that my story was able to give you the confidence to explore and discover a side of you which I am sure you knew existed but perhaps were a little frighten to pursue. I am here to tell you that YOU are not alone. There are tons of women like me and you who are amazing and talented and are ready to support you.

To see Nathalie's work or to contact her directly, please go to her facebook page at

Wishing you a wonderful day wherever this posts finds you.