Friday, February 24, 2012

New Releases on 1stdibs

Finding, designing and restoring gorgeous pieces is my passion.  I've been busy adding unique pieces to my showroom in New York on the 1stdibs floor in the New York Design Center (at 200 Lexington Avenue in Murray Hill).  If you have not stopped by, put that on your list the next time you are in Manhattan.  The 1stdibs floor has a collection of gorgeous and unique pieces all in one large floor.  It is so much fun looking at all that stuff!  An exclusive elevator takes you there and it is open to both the public and the trade alike (and even on Saturdays!).  

Here is a sneak peak at some of my new pieces there.  Of course, you don't have to go to NY to see them . As you know, 1stdibs is available worldwide and from the comfort of your home.  As they say, "The Most Beautiful Things on Earth."  Don't you just wish you would have come up with that slogan????  

Individually sculpted clear and white hand blown murano glass petals or feathers make up this elegant chandelier. Each hand made glass piece is partly covered by an opaque white color over transparent glass. The opacity of the color, allows the finesse, delicacy of the glass . The scattered light is soft and indirect. The white color is very pure when it is lit.

Impressive pair of Empire or Neoclassical armchairs with carved dolphins at the forefront of the arms and acanthus leaves on back rest. Newly upholstered in an elegant imported hand printed Italian silk (Fortuny style)in hues of gold over a pale green sage. Hand painted gustavian grey frame with gorgeous aged patina.

Timeless and elegant vintage pair of gold/amber colored hand blown murano glass and brass sconces by Italian artists, Barovier & Toso. Superb classic Murano wall lighting with a modern twist.

This Brazilian hair on hide rug is naturally white (not dyed) and hence, one of the rarest available. Beautiful on its own or layered with another rug. 

20th c. French Maison Bagues vintage brass coffee or cocktail table with original smoky grey mirror top, fluted legs, finial on X stretcher. An elegant and timeless piece to go with any style decor, whether modern, mid century or traditional.

c. 1940s
French Maison Bagues style vintage brass side tables with original black granite shelves, fluted legs, acorn finials. An elegant and timeless piece to go with any style decor, whether modern, mid century or traditional.

Absolutely beautiful and so very delicate, this pair of murano glass lamps would be a distinctive work of art in any decor. The base materials were made with quartz pebbles from the Ticino and Adige river beds in Italy. White on white, these lamps have an almost jeweled look to them.

To look at any of these pieces or others in my collection, please visit

Have a fantastic weekend wherever this post finds you.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Great Design Hotel - Mamilla Hotel, Israel

Kids have the entire week off for Mardi Gras and I'm dashing around taking kids to soccer practices, dogs to get check ups, grocery shopping, antique shopping, meeting shippers to pick up sold treasures and take them to glamorous places, making sure new inventory makes its way safely to my showroom at the 1stdibs floor in Manhattan (New York Design Center), styling my showroom via remote access (you'd  be amazed how you can style a showroom via Skype!!) -- and loving every bit of my crazy life.

In one of those rare 15 minutes of "free time" while dashing to and fro, I logged on to Elle Decor just to get a deep breath of inspiration and sanity.  And I ran across this gorgeous image that I just needed to share with you.

I absolutely adore the juxtaposition of old and new, smooth and rough, traditional and modern.  Such drama, don't you think??  Fits right into my life!

Moshe Safdie and Piero Lissoni joined forces for this cutting-edge hotel (the Mamilla Hotel) overlooking Jerusalem’s Old City. A dramatic staircase and Lissoni’s sleek furnishings provide a stark contrast to the limestone structure.  So very lovely and inspiring.  Deep breath....

To see more of this gorgeous hotel, click here or check out the other design hotels featured this month in Elle Decor.  I think you too will find it inspiring.

Now off with my six year old daughter Roma to go roller bladding around City Park!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mardi Gras in New Orleans: A Celebration of Life

My father loved to read.  He had a hunger for learning and loved to read books, mostly books about history, science, and poetry.  From early on in my childhood, I recall that my father would go to bed and take with him one of his heavy volumes from his encyclopedia Britannica.  He would start with the first page and go through the entire volume in a matter of days.  When he finished the last of the 30 plus volumes, he would start all over again lest he forgot some fact.  Reading and learning were his favorite pastimes, next to his passion for sailing.  My father could be dropped from a plane in the middle of a desert with nothing around him.  But as long as he had some bread and cheese (how he loved cheeses!) and a history book or encyclopedia with him, he would be just fine.

So it was his most tragic destiny that he lost his eyesight to macular degeneration in the last 5 years of his life.  As a blind man, his most beloved passion was taken away from him.  But he continued on, getting history books on tape from the National Library of Congress which has a program for the blind and he would sit there at home and listen to the recordings.  When he was interested in a book or subject matter that wasn't available, we would get the book for him and my siblings and I would take turns during the week to visit him at home during our lunch hours and read to him from the books.

Still, there were hours of sheer silence for him.  As my mother had no choice but to work (and still works) long hours running a small family-owned Montessori preschool, he would be alone in his darkness for 8 to 10 hours a day (except for the couple of hours one of us, especially my youngest sister, would visit daily).

One day I asked him what it was like, how he managed.  He told me that it was undoubtedly one of the hardest things he had to endure.  He told me that he would have rather lost a limb than his eyesight as it took away from him so many joys in his life -- reading, seeing his granchildren (whom he touched but never got to see) and seeing us.  But he also said that in being blind, he learned to be alone in his thoughts.  He travelled in his mind to all the places, both physically and emotionally, that he had been.  Losing his sight forced him to rely not only on his mind but, most significantly, on the sounds around him.  Now, more than ever, the sounds around him dictated his daily life.  The sounds of the birds outside became his music, the rustling of the leaves became a dance, and the sound of his favorite concerto or tango became even more acutely beautiful as he heard every single note being played.  And thus, in his own darkness, he could see and feel the beauty of the world around him.

Sometimes, I close my eyes just to feel the intensity of what he felt during those last few years.

In 2009, Mardi Gras just happened to fall on February 24, 2009 -- my father's birthday.  Sadly, he was oblivious to this as he lay dying in a hospital room, surrounded by all of us.  He had fought many near death battles throughout his life and had conquered them all.  But this time it was different.  This time, even he admitted to my sister, "I don't think I'm going to get out of this one this time."

The doctors had exhausted the possibilites and now, as his organs were shutting down one by one, there was nothing we could do but face and wait for the inevitable.  He had been in the hospital for 2 long weeks and by the time his birthday (Mardi Gras) came along, he was basically unconscious, although the doctors told us he could hear us.  Despite the obvious somber mood in his room, the nurses would come in, Mardi Gras beads hanging around their necks and exclaim, "Happy Birthday, Mr. Mario!"  I wanted to slap them so much was my anger and grief at that time.  Still, I didn't want my father, in his last hours of life to feel our grief and sadness.  Knowing him, he felt worse that we were upset about him dying than from the act of dying itself.

So at some point, while the rest of my siblings and mother were out of the room for a brief moment, I went up to him and held his hand.  I bent down and said in the most cheerful voice I could muster, "Can you hear the crowd and music outside, Papá?  Can you hear it?"  There was no answer although I knew he could hear me.  So I continued, "The entire city is outside celebrating your life, Papá.  Listen to them celebrating!"

Perhaps I imagined it.  Perhaps I willed it.  But at that moment, I know I saw a slight smile cross his face.

My father died that same night.  He was 89 years young.

So for every Mardi Gras after his death, I tend to get sad and nostalgic and inevitably start dwelling on the loss I still feel.  But then I stop myself, listen to the music and crowds outside and remember those words, "The entire city is celebrating your life, Papá."  And then Mardi Gras becomes a celebration again.

Drew Brees, King of Bacchus

Happy Mardi Gras to everyone, from New Orleans, with love.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New York Fashion Week 2012

I know, I know, I should be writing about interior design or showing you some gorgeous inspirational photos of antiques, or telling you about new inventory I'm restoring...  But with all the events that are going on right now, how can I not write about them or spread the news?  I mean, we have the Oscars, NY Fashion Week, the Westminster Dog Show (speaking of, did you see Martha Stewart's Chow, Genghis Kahn?).  Here they are the day before the Show having tea at the Plaza Hotel where they stayed.

I wonder what he's having?

Did I mention Mardi Gras is also going on just outside my door??????  How can anyone concentrate around here????

So interior design stuff will just have to wait for another day.   Today, I wanted to share with you the best dresses on the Fashion Week runway for all of you who, like me, did not make the travel team to NY.  I saw some of them as I was on the elliptical machine this morning at 8 a.m. watching The Today Show.  And I so loooooooooooooooove beautiful dresses and gowns!  So grab your cup of coffee, kick your stilettos off and watch the show.

A gorgeous green gown is presented at the Tadashi Shoji Fall 2012

Models present creations by Tadashi Shoji

The Japanese designer was inspired by the glamour of 1930s Shanghai for the Tadashi Shoji Fall/Winter 2012 collection 

Zac Posen (Wow!)

A beautiful, blush-colored gown from the Zac Posen

Cushnie et Ochs, a recent favorite of first lady Michelle Obama

Monique Lhuillier

Monique Lhuillier feathery gown

Carolina Herrera

Carolina Herrera


Breathtaking Oscar de la Renta (predictably gorgeous!)

Oscar de la Renta

Jason Wu
The popular designer, loved by first lady Michelle Obama and Target shoppers, presented sultry, dark styles

Zang Toi (way to make an entrance!)

The ever popular and elegant Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham 2012 Collection

Nobody does preppy quite like Tory Burch

Denis Basso

Editor-in-Chief of Vogue, Anna Wintour, did not miss a beat.  

And neither did you!

Hope you enjoyed the show.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Oscars 2012: Great Perfomances

To mark this year’s Hollywood awards season, Sebastian Kim photographed the actors behind some of this past year’s most impressive portrayals for TIME’s Great Performances gallery. Joel Stein was also on hand to interview those capable capturers of character about the topic at hand: great performances.

Here, those 12 men and women—well, 11 men and women plus one remarkably human dog—discuss the portrayals that have moved them, the thought process behind acting and, of course, their own performances.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

To read more, visit Time Lightbox.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Heart to Heart Advice

How I dreaded Valentine's Day when I was in high school!  With my goal of graduating Valedictorian from an all girls' Catholic high school in New Orleans (so that I could perhaps get a scholarship to Tulane University which was my only ticket to college), I was quite the nerd -- studying most of the time with little time to do anything else.  So when Valentine's Day rolled around, all of the popular girls in high school would be called to the office at some point during the day, to collect their floral or balloon bouquet that their high school "sweetheart" from a neighboring all boys' high school would have deliver.  And I looked at them with envy and sadness to know that I had no such sweetheart and that Valentine's was just another day in the life.

But on a high note, I did become Valedictorian and I did get that full paid scholarship to Tulane.

Still, when Valentine's Day comes around (even though my husband spoils me rotten now), I always remember that dreaded sense of feeling totally unloved (even if it wasn't really true -- my mother reminded me that she loved me best of all -- but at 15, that doesn't really count, does it?)  So to all you fabulous girls out there (whether in high school or elsewhere) who may not necessarily get that huge bouquet of flowers today, don't sweat it!!!!!  You are LOVED.  You are WONDERFUL and you are incredibly SPECIAL.

Your time will come....

Just love who you are (whether you get the flowers or not) and everything else will fall into place.

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day wherever this post finds you.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Be Your Own Decorator - Susanna Salk

I first met Susanna Salk when she emailed me about a piece she was working on for 1stdibs.  She was writing a piece entitled "1stdibs Loves New Orleans" and was featuring some of 1stdibs' favorite New Orleans' dealers.  When she asked to interview me for the article as one of those favorite dealers to be featured, I felt like the soon to be crowned Miss America at the moment they announce "and the runner up is....."   Here I was, fresh on Magazine Street with my recent career change from lawyer to antiques dealer still giving me moments to pause and hyperventilate, when none other than THE Susanna Salk, accomplished design author and television personality who has also spent time working at publications like Elle Decor and House and Garden and appears regularly on the Today Show to discuss style and design, wanted to interview ME for an article on 1stdibs!  Needless to say, I ran out and bought a lottery ticket that same afternoon.

And so Susanna wrote the article ...

Almost two years have gone by since that article ran, and my style has evolved quite a bit from the  early days of my shop on Magazine Street (I have since closed the shop on Magazine Street and opened a showroom on the 1stdibs floor at the New York Design Center a/k/a 1stdibs@NYDC).  See for yourself the transformation:

Yes, I know, I can't stay away from white (except for in my wardrobe which, ironically, is mostly black), but now my New Orleans' antiques are infused with a touch of New York modernism.  

But I digress .... as always.

Back to Susanna.

I finally got a chance to meet Susanna in person at the grand opening of 1stdibs@NYDC last February (2011).  This tall, slender, gorgeous blonde came up to me and introduced herself, commenting on how beautiful she thought my gallery looked.  Again, I was humbled.  And from that day forward, Susanna was someone I looked up to from a professional and personal basis and someone whose opinion I have come to value.

The talented and gorgeous, Susanna Salk

I love this photo of Susanna and her son

Susanna has an immense knowledge of design and vast experience in the industry.  Most of you may already be familiar with some of her design books which continue to get better and better as they go (not that the first one was anything but amazing).  A Privileged Life: Celebrating Wasp Style started us wanting more from this style maven.

We were equally as excited when Susanna released her second book Weekend Retreats.

Then, came Room for Children, with a foreword by Kelly Wearstler.  

Room for Children is both visually exciting and inspiring, showcasing the work of Kelly Wearstler, Charlotte Moss, Alessandra Branca, Amanda Nisbet, and Jamie Drake, among many others.  Take a look at some of the images in this book:

I love this image.  Reminds me so much of a little French Louis XV giltwood chair (below) that I reupholstered in Les Indiennes fabric and flew off to San Francisco the moment I listed it on my 1stdibs storefront.

Well, now Susanna has done it again with her new book, Be Your Own Decorator, to be released next month.

Selecting favorite rooms from more than fifty renowned designers such as Kelly Wearstler, Bunny Williams, Albert Hadley, Nate Berkus, and Mary McDonald—and shot by the world’s top shelter photographers—Susanna offers insightful advice on how to apply basic design principles to interiors.

Organized into chapters on balance, color, mixing, accessorizing, arrangements, rule breaking, and whimsy, Susanna walks through the process of great design, illustrating how the featured designers made the decisions they did to make these rooms…

And here is a sneak peek into this gorgeous book that will surely be Susanna's best one yet!  Just click on the photo.

Susanna will be doing a book signing on April 10, 2012 on the 1stdibs floor at the New York Design Center (1stdibs@NYDC) located on the 10th floor, 200 Lexington Avenue, NYC.  I have already made my JetBlue reservations to say hello to my amazingly talented friend who has been so kind to me through all my "growing pains" (and while I'm there, fluff up my showroom a bit!).  

I hope to see you all there -- Champagne and pens in hand!

To pre-order a copy of Be Your Own Decorator (coming out March 27, 2012), click here.

And don't forget to check often for my new inventory at

Friday, February 10, 2012

Elegance and Decadence

Don't you just hate it when you find out about something that you really would have loved to have seen but are about 3 years too late?  I just learned of a gorgeous art/design/textile exhibition in Venice that took place at the Palazzo Fortuny (Textile god Mariano Fortuny's home and workshop) that I would have loved to have seen in person.  Living in New Orleans where elegance and decadence (not to mention Masquerade Balls and Carnival) are events de rigueur, I have always had an affinity for Venice.  So when I saw these gorgeous images of the Roberto Cappucci exhibition at the Palazzo Fortuny, I pinned them all over my studio for inspiration.

For those of you who, like me, missed the event that ran in 2009, here is a private cyber tour of the exhibition.  Like all good tour guides, I am compelled to tell you the significance of this exhibit and give you a little bit of a background into the two great artists behind this event.

Mariano Fortuny was painter, stage designer, inventor of lights and costumes, a true “shaman” of the printed fabric; Roberto is also an artist – architect, creator of convoluted shapes for his exhibition designs, his creations are weaved as clothes but thought as sculptures. Two cultivated and sophisticated artists able to navigate the world of fashion leaving the permanent signature of genius. The Foundation “Musei Civici di Venezia” paid tribute a couple of years ago to Roberto Capucci with an extraordinary exhibition organized at Palazzo Fortuny, Mariano’s house and workshop. Thirty dresses/sculptures realized between 1978 and 2009, are able to describe this specific period of the Master’s development. From the famous Column dress, breaking point of his relationship with traditional tailoring, to the Fan dress a symbol for untamed creativity; we can also admire his creation from the Eighties, with decorations of all shapes and surfaces: flat, tubular, flower-shaped, squared or resembling capitals…- one of the most remarkable is Fuoco (Fire) with an explosion of volume and waves stretching aloft.

Without any further ado, let's start with the gowns....

This gown takes my breath with the drama of the colors and ruffles.

A side view.

The famous red fan wedding dress.

Side view

Imagine the stares you would get walking into a ball with this dress.

The perfect Purple, Gold and Green Mardi Gras gown.

 The masked face on the waist would be topic of conversation at a cocktail party.

These two ladies seem very much made for each other.

The barrister in me loves this black gown with the dramatic green interior sleeves.  The masked face on the waist is simply surreal.

This gown is absolutely stunning, almost angelic.  The perfect way to end the tour.

Roberto Capucci at Palazzo Fortuny

Hope you enjoyed this mini-trip to Venice.  And, as always, I hope you have a wonderful weekend, wherever this post finds you.