Archive for November, 2010

“Why does everything have to be so perfect? Nothing in real life is, you know.”
Min Hogg

Thanks to An Aesthete’s Lament for the quote above, but I do believe Min Hogg’s new line of wallpapers and fabrics is absolutely perfect.

First, this photo caught my eye because I have been thinking about using antique porcelain in the bathroom. But the wallpaper held it and sent me looking for more!

Sea Antler Blue on White

This particular pattern comes in other colorways including the White on Pigeon Grey below and White on Pigeon Pink.  I am obsessed with any color with the word pigeon in it – as they are always perfect softly grayed colors.

Sea Antler White on Pigeon Grey

And I have to include this quintessentially English room – it comes alive with its sea feather patterned wallpaper.

Sea Feather Stripe, pink and grey

As many of you know, I am in the thick of a bathroom renovation in our beach house in New Jersey. It is a late 19th century Victorian cottage and the bathroom fittings are simple and white. I had been planning on using Farrow & Ball’s Pale Powder on the walls, but now I might be headed in a different direction….towards Min! Add my blue-green glass and the coral I found in Guam this weekend and I am done!

I could post them all, but there are too many colors and patterns.  They can also be printed on fabric and custom colored. But best of all, the prices are extremely reasonable!

For those of you who may not know who she is, Min Hogg was the founder and editor-in-chief of The World of Interiors for over 20 years. I look forward to reading that magazine like none of the other interiors publications as it often surprises but never bores me. It is exciting to see this new venture of hers!

My original obsession with coral and sea feather prints comes from early 19th century transferware. But this past year I have been turning to this photo from Ben Pentreath’s London shop again and again for inspiration in decorating my beach house. So I jumped over to check his website…

and this is the current post I found there!

Take a look at his website, or better yet, visit the shop on Rugby Street in London like I did last May!

Image credits: 1-11 via Min Hogg, 12-13 via Ben Pentreath

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Outside of o-hanami (cherry blossom viewing), the ginkgo trees turning gold is one of the most important botanical moments in Tokyo. Traffic comes to a screeching halt, out come the cameras and the crowds. In general, I am a cool colors person. I tend to decorate with cool colors, dress in cool colors and my eye rarely responds to warm tones. But this autumn I am irresistibly drawn to the gorgeous golden ginkgo trees and the carpet of leaves they have strewn around Tokyo.

So how to add a bit of that golden goodness to my life? I went through my tear sheets to find some ideas.

Michael Maher’s New Jersey home has long been in my favorites. I love the pieces in the room and the soft buttery wash of the walls and fabrics.

This elegant New York City apartment designed by Paula Caravelli layers warm tones against a cool background. I love the formal furniture with the large modern abstract.

Grant White gives us a bit of gold and traditional fanciness in this apartment at the Dakota in NYC.

Strong lines and strong color in this modern Pennsylvania country living room from Jeffrey Bilhuber.

Strong lines with softer color in this modern Connecticut living room from Michael Leva.

Painted a soft yellow, Carol Glasser’s charming entry hall makes me feel all warm and sunny.

Brazilian fashion designer Carlos Miele’s bedroom has an ethnic mix with a bit of everything thrown in – Portuguese bed, ikat pillow, hide rug, modern painting and mirrored wall – but it is the coverlet that has me riveted.

Or how about this tropical paradise, elsewhere in South America?

And the color doesn’t have to come from fabric or paint, as shown here by designer Jonathan Berger. How about a bit of beautiful golden Biedermeier? I have been missing the glow of wood from the current trends in interiors.

Perhaps my favorite – Stephen Shubel’s bedroom with its luscious curtains and gilded accessories.

For a simple non-permanent solution, a bouquet of bright yellow flowers will do. I would happily take the Gracie wallpaper too…

My current solution for my craving for gold? This antique bamboo basket filled with the mikans I picked last week out in the countryside. Mikans are like mandarin oranges or tangerines, but not exactly like either, and more delicious!

Happy Thanksgiving! I am off to Guam (which is basically the equivalent of saying off to Florida) for family fun in the sun. Cheers!

Image Credits: 1-2 & 14, me, 3. Elle Decor, July 2007, photo credit: William Abranowicz, 4. Elle Decor, March 2010, photo credit: Simon Upton, 5. Grant White, 6. House Beautiful, March 2009, photo credit: Julian Wass,  7. Elle Decor, October 2004, photo credit: Pieter Estersohn, 8. Carol Glasser via Cote de Texas,  9. Elle Decor, October 1010, photo credit: Simon Upton, 10. Elle Decor, October 2007, photo credt: Simon Upton, 11 House Beautiful, July 2009, photo credit: Francesco Lagnese, 12. Stephen Shubel, 13. Elle Decor, September 2007, photo credit: William Waldron

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I have had a half written post called “Can Imari’s Reputation Be Resuscitated” sitting around in my drafts folder for weeks and now it is time to bring it out, rewrite it, and change its title to the one above. I am not talking about the simpler blue and white underglaze only Imari (which has never gone “out” of style), but instead Ko-Imari (old Imari), the polychrome and gold in-your-face with color Imari. Sometimes accused of being “old-fashioned” and “traditional,” I think it is finally having a well deserved revival in modern settings.

Let’s be clear – People are still collecting Imari, beautiful pieces are in demand and it is often featured in classic interiors. Some designers have been using it all along. You can often catch a glimpse of a piece in a Michael Smith interior. I am referring to using Imari in a new way by pairing it with unexpected partners.

This is the more “expected” model of porcelain display – a bit hard to pull off  if you don’t have a grand country manor with generations of accumulation and original paneling.


First to catch my eye was the October 2010 House Beautiful apartment of Nancy Tilghman designed by Daniel Sachs. Amidst the ethnic mixed but modern living room of this Park Avenue apartment sits an Imari bowl on a side table, filled with citrus fruit. Underneath the same table stands a large Satsuma urn (which is basically the same thing for my intents and purposes here in this post).

Then there was the Eddie Ross Thanksgiving tablescape in the October/November issue of Lonny Magazine which featured Imari plates and serving pieces that I wrote about in my last post.  The color and design of the decor took its cues from the vibrant colors in the Imari, but what makes it unusual is the unexpected combinations Ross uses. While a crystal chandelier is an expected pairing, rustic wooden beams are not.

The beginning of November brought this Miles Redd designed bedroom featured in New York Magazine. I believe I spy a large Imari charger from John Rosselli above the closet door in the riotously colored bedroom designed for David Keiser.

This third week of November brought the Wendy Haworth Tastemaker Sale on One Kings Lane. She had a number of Imari dishes and bowls listed. All sold out immediately!

I’d love to hear from you with your ideas on how you have or would use your Imari. And don’t limit it to that….What other design ideas or decorative items have you “resuscitated”?

Image Credits: 1. The World of Interiors, February 2009, 2. House Beautiful, October 2010, photo credit: Ngoc Minh Ngo, 3. Lonny Magazine October/November 2010, 4. New York Magazine, November 7, 2010, photo credit: Thomas Loof/Art Department, 5. One Kings Lane

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