Thursday, October 24, 2013

Celebrating Fifth Avenue Style with Howard Slatkin at Bergdorf Goodman

The book party for Howard Slatkin (center) was hosted by Deborah Needleman, the editor in chief of T: The New York Times Style Magazine (left), and Deeda Blair (right).  
Howard Slatkin, the low profile interior designer with high flying clients like the Rothschilds and the incredibly chic New York philanthropist and fashion icon Deeda Blair, is publishing this month with The Vendome Press a luxurious book which celebrates his amazing apartment on upper Fifth Avenue. And I'll tell you, it's an eyeful.

Howard spent three years decorating the apartment, and details from furniture to fixtures to finishes were exquisitely crafted specially for him. The resulting amalgam of ornate riches is captured in the new book Fifth Avenue Style which was celebrated at a party at Bergdorf Goodman. I had not met Howard before but when I approached him at his party, he looked at me and said, "I know who you are – I read your blog all the time." That was nice! He told me that what inspires his interior design the most is traveling. "Russia, Germany, France, and England inspire me," he said.
Yours truly with Howard – 

While Howard talked with friends and signed books, I spoke with Deeda Blair, whose elegantly quiet pale grey apartment was published in T Magazine. "Howard and I collaborate," she told me. "My home is very simple. Howard brings order and he has very imaginative ideas."

Deborah Needleman was chic in a black sweater from Topshop and a sparkly skirt by Jason Wu. "Have you been to Howard's apartment?" she said to me. "He is such a maximalist. It's layer upon layer yet it's sublime. By a less skilled eye it would drive me crazy but he is a master, and it's so beautiful and serene. Every square inch you could stare at for an hour."

The book offers a thorough tour through the apartment with luscious photographs by Tria Giovan.
Here is the floor plan of the residence –

When visitors get off the elevator they are greeted in the vestibule which flickers with candlelight reflecting in mirrors.

The book includes "Before" photos and inspiration collage boards. This spread illustrates the dining room, which is pictured on the book's cover.

I love the screening room which looks like a Turkish fantasy. A projector and screen come out of the ceiling.

Screening room inspirations –

A guest room offers a beautiful place to rest –

The book is a complete immersion in Old World style and a happy celebration of Howard's romantic artistry. It's a lovely trip. And it's inspiring too. Light some candles. Be imaginative. Create something that is in your mind, and is yours and yours alone. 

See Deeda Blair's pale grey apartment, published in T Magazine. 
See more of Howard's lavish apartment, published in T Magazine.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

John Derian's New Furniture Store

With the designer in his new shop (click on photos to enlarge)
Last week I had the good luck to catch up with my friend John Derian in his newly opened furniture store on East 2nd Street. I have visited with John before here on the blog, and am a big fan of the designer's work. As I have said, I love how he is inspired by design of the past but makes it cool and clean and modern for the present.

His new furniture store is wedged on East 2nd Street between his original John Derian store and his Dry Goods store which offers textiles, bed linens, clothing and accessories. John's furniture collection has been produced since 2009 by Cisco Brothers and is handmade in California. John told me that the collection is inspired by chairs and sofas that he has found in France, Belgium and Spain which date from the late 1700's to late 1800's. Upholstered in nuetral-colored linen or velvet, they become like pieces of comfortable sculpture that are elegant and quiet.

The store is signature John Derian, with pale wood floors, white brick walls, and metal light fixtures overhead which are made out of Parisian industrial barrels. Art lines the walls over the furniture.

Most of the tones are pale but there are pops of color like these two red chairs under a large Hugo Guinness print -

The store also offers John's collection of handmade glazed terracotta pieces for Astier de Villate. One-of-a-kind antiques are mixed in with the furniture. An antique table at the front door is arranged with inky-dark paper hollyhocks made by artist Livia Cetti.

The store is a peaceful and tranquil place that feels removed from the cacophony of city life. The furniture shapes and colors soothe while the art work delights the eye. It's a nice way to live.
At work in the shop -

I poked next door into the Dry Goods store where textiles and accessories artfully sat on antique shelves.

Sheer John Robshaw curtains were hung at the back window.

In the original store at 6 East 2nd Street, a profusion of colorful paper flowers and Halloween jack-o-lanterns dipped over a John Derian love seat upholstered in steel linen and accented with striped pillows.

A trip to the world of John Derian is always a pleasure and an inspiration.

View the furniture catalogue here. 
See John's apartment, published in The New York Times T Magazine.

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Wonderful Wedding Weekend at the Mohonk Mountain House

The Mohonk Mountain House in the fall (click on photos to enlarge. The above photo is from the hotel web site, the rest are mine with the exception of the bride and groom)
Last weekend TD and I attended the wedding of our friends Megan Wolff and Bob Harvey at the Mohonk Mountain House located about two hours north of New York City near the Catskill Mountains. I had heard about the resort before but had never been there. It was built in 1869 by Albert Smiley and still today the property is run by the Smiley family. At its center is the hotel lodge, a seven-story, turreted Victorian castle. Most of the hotel rooms have wood-burning fireplaces and small balconies. Lake Mohonk and the surrounding 40,000 acres offer all kinds of recreation including boating, hiking, golf, tennis, horse back riding, and ice skating. We were excited to see it and celebrate our friends' wedding.

From Grand Central Station we took the train up to Poughkeepsie. The train ride from New York to Albany hugs the shore of the Hudson River, and the land around remains largely undeveloped.

It has to be one of the prettiest train rides in America. And a nice way to decompress.

From the train station in Poughkeepsie we took a cab to the Mohonk Mountain House. When you get to the beginning of the property you drive through a entrance gate house and then along a long, winding, curving, one-way road to the hotel. It must have taken forever in a horse-drawn carriage before the invention of cars.
We checked into our charming room which was perched over the Mohonk Lake below.

We had a little time before the wedding so we quickly investigated. I loved the Victorian interior of the hotel with its original wood work, antique furnishings, long carpeted muffled halls, and big windows that look out to the surrounding land.
The wood interior staircase of the Mohonk House -

It reminded me of other places we have been including the Inn at Cooperstown, the Lake George Club where my cousin Lindsay got married, and of course 611, our family Victorian homestead that my grandmother grew up in. This upstate New York Victorian style is in my blood.
The facade was lined with small balconies -

A big beautiful garden was planted in a spectrum of bright colors.
Yellow –

Pink –

Red –

Adjacent to the garden was an evergreen maze – very Harry Potter. 

Beyond the flower garden Megan and Bob were married in an outdoor ceremony officiated by our friend the Reverend Donna Schaper from Judson Memorial Church. There was lovely music, readings, shared vows, and a chirping bird in a nearby tree.
Very best wishes to the bride and groom for all good things that are to come!

After the ceremony we walked back to the Mountain House for cocktails on the porch and a lively dinner reception. It was a very fun night.

The next day unfortunately was rainy and foggy (welcome to upstate New York). But it gave us the opportunity to sample the delicious buffet meals and investigate further the antique-decorated interiors.

A framed picture showed the John D. Rockefeller family visiting the hotel.

The Marketing Department – nice place to work.

We had a relaxing swim in the big, warm pool where soothing music played overhead.

Soon it was time to leave our nineteenth century retreat and return to the world. It was a magical visit to a romantic era, far removed from television and the computer. Kudos to the Smiley family for keeping everything so beautifully preserved and restored in its original state. Thank you Megan and Bob for inviting us to this special place!