Sunday, October 30, 2011

Can we talk????

So I was having just an ordinary day here in my home in New Orleans when I get an email from a friend, who got an email from a friend, who got an email from a friend of Joan Rivers that they were both coming to New Orleans for just 24 hours for a wedding and had a couple of hours to spare and could I recommend a couple of good restaurants, museums, etc. I love it when people from other places come to visit our lovely city and so I'm always happy to oblige. So one thing led to another and what do you know????

No, seriously, that's Joan Rivers and me. Look closer.

She came down with the handsome and talented, Scott Currie, Elie Tahari's Global Communications VP. Joan wanted to see some New Orleans sights and visit some real New Orleans' homes. So I made a couple of phone calls....

I met them at Commander's Palace where they had a lovely Sunday brunch outside in the courtyard.

As I spotted the all too familiar red carpet hostess who has made a career out of telling it how it is, I didn't know what to expect -- Was she going to be an intolerable diva???? Would she be rude, self-absorbed and Mommy Dearish-like???? Was she going to ask me "who I was wearing" in a way that made me want to run and hide and get therapy for the rest of my life? I mean, we've heard all the stories, right?

Well, I tell you, she was one of the sweetest, most gracious, most approachable and most appreciative people I've ever met and the same, of course, goes to Scott. She obligingly posed with countless of tourists who immediately recognized her and then, like a child in a candy store, ran across the street after brunch to peer through the gates of Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, which is the cemetery directly across from Commander's Palace and most often used in films made in New Orleans. Side note: I never really understood tourists' fascination with New Orleans' cemeteries as I see them on a daily basis driving around, until I stop and realize that ours are the only ones above grounds due to the necessity of burying our dead above the water level of this city. In the photo above, Joan and I are standing infront of Lafayette Cemetery -- see the tombs behind us? Some are 250 years old! But I digress...

Moving on --

From there, I promised Joan that she could see the insides of some gorgeous New Orleans homes, rich in interior design and history. So one of the places I thought of immediately was New Orleans developer Sean Cummings' mansion on Esplanade Avenue. Sean has been a dear friend of mine for many years and when I called him to tell him I was bringing Joan over, he graciously opened his doors (and considering he had had a wild Halloween party the night before in his home, I felt doubly honored that he would do so).

Sean's house is absolutely magnificent. Take a look for yourselves:

The waterfall Swarovski crystal chandelier in the entrance hall was flown in from Austria and I'm always mesmerized to see its magnificence. I think Joan wanted to bring it home with her.

The music room, with an ancient fertility bed on the forefront (don't ask).

The Audrey Hepburn room. Sean is good friends with Sean Ferrer, Audrey's son with Will Ferrer.

A touch of modern antique (as I like to call it).

The bar room, one of the only rooms that Sean left untouched during his entire renovation of the house.

The chandelier in the master bath above was originally hanging in the entrance hall when Sean bought the place from Nicholas Cage. I think the waterfall chandelier makes a greater impact, don't you think? But Sean kept it and moved it to the corner of his bathroom.

Media room above and conference/office below (all in the same room).

End of tour.

Stunning, right? Joan and Scott were truly blown away.

From there, we were supposed to visit Julia Reed and John Pearce's gorgeous 1847 Greek Revival house on First Street in the Garden District. John was a former law partner of mine and mentor and he and Julia most graciously agreed to share their home with Joan. Unfortunately, a snow storm in NY delayed Joan and Scott's arrival in the Big Easy and so all our plans had to be cut short and we were not able to make that part of the visit. Maybe on your next trip, Joan?

So that was how I spent my Sunday afternoon today. I'm now home in my pajamas and fuzzy slippers blogging away on my laptop while Liam and Roma are sound asleep and ready for their big Halloween trick or treating tomorrow. I better get some sleep.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Are you Game?

Game or card tables of all shapes, styles, and periods are making a real comeback, especially those that are unique and can serve multi purposes. Perhaps it has to do with people wanting to connect on a personal level by enjoying a game of poker or chess or a family board game (and get away from the electronics for a change).

I, for one, am infatuated with the beautiful french and swedish ones and have enjoyed the brief company of a couple of really beautiful ones in my inventory.

Here are some that I find charming.

I adore this swedish painted card table and it reminds me of one that I had restored and refinished in my own collection and which has since found a lovely home in the Hamptons (see below).

But the modern ones appeal to me as well.

This gold card table adds a pop of color to the clean and white interior.

The simple lines of this neoclassical card table give a sense of understated elegance to this cozy corner.

This is perfect for having the girls over for champagne and cards.

Most recently, I found this spectacular 19th c. Louis XV game/card table that I've painstakingly had restored down to the bare wood, walnut in this case. This little card table is gorgeous with its curved legs and table top. Made of solid walnut, the table is beautiful on its own and can be a cozy place to gossip and have a glass or two of champagne with the girls or guys.

But flip the table top over and you have a beautiful poker or card game setting!

Want to play a game with dice???? No problem. Just lift and remove the top altogether and there you go. Love that mahogany top.

And for your cards or poker chips and all your cash, take a look at these little drawers on each of the sides. Ingenious! Do the French think of everything?????

Of course, you provide the cocktails.

This 19th c. Louis XV walnut game or card table will soon be uploaded onto my 1stdibs storefront.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ghoulish Walls

With two young children, it seems that Halloween is all we can talk about lately. And by the time Monday actually rolls around, Liam and Roma will need major root canals with all the pre-Halloween candy they've been eating this past week. Is there any end in sight to the sugar intake?????

So in the spirit of this dark and spooky holiday, I decided to showcase some dark and ghoulish interior decors which are actually gorgeous in all their darkness. Have you ever thought of painting your walls black? Yep, you heard me right. Black! Now you know me -- my style is all about white, white and more white, but take a look at these fabulous and elegant black interiors.

The much written about bedroom of J.Crew's creative director, Jenna Lyons.

Love the ghost table/writing desk!

The chartreuse tufted back chair adds such a spark of color to this bathroom. Love it!

And if you are still unmoved by the black walls and insist on staying white, well, you can still bring in that dark, elegant and dramatic color into your home. Take a look at this beauty below!

Talk about drama! (all photos courtesy of

Hope you have a safe and festive Halloween weekend.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

From Palermo to Recoleta - Places to Stay in Buenos Aires

It's amazing how many responses I received about my recent nostalgic trip to my birthplace of Buenos Aires, Argentina. It seems a lot of you have either been there and loved it or, if not, have placed B.A. on your bucket list. I loved reading your stories!!

If you do end up going there, one of the things I would highly recommend is to actually savor the city and stay for a while (at least a week). In doing so, I would also recommend renting an apartment which are so plentiful in Buenos Aires. There is nothing better than to live the way Argentines live even if for a little while. I found that some of my best trips were the ones where I stayed and cooked in a place, visited the markets, sat leisurely on a balcony while sipping coffee and reading the paper, etc.

There are lots of websites offering vacation rentals all over the world, but one of my favorites, particularly if you are traveling to Argentina is Buenos Aires Habitat.

Here are some of my favorite apartments. Of course, take note of the furnishings. How gorgeous are they! I picked two opposite extremes for you to see. One is a traditional, french style apartment, while the other is a modern one. Yes, us Argentines have quite a versatile range of tastes. Perhaps that is what has shaped my own taste in design and furnishings.

The first apartment is in the swanky neighborhood of Recoleta, named so after the famous cemetery located in this exclusive neighborhood. This is a two bedroom, 2 1/2 bath, 2 patio apartment.

This next apartment is in Palermo, the largest neighborhood in Buenos Aires which encompasses some old, french-style mansions. Still, this 3 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath penthouse loft is anything but old and french.

This is perhaps a more traditional Palermo house, also for rent through Buenos Aires Habitat.

So what are you waiting for????? Pack your bags and head to the southern hemisphere and stay at one of these gorgeous places to experience Buenos Aires the Argentine way.

Well, even if you don't get the chance to do so, at least I hope these photos with gorgeous decors inspired you in some way.