Monday, August 25, 2014

Paradise Found

I often dream about the ideal garden and what my own might look like someday. It would be filled with a profusion of delicate flowers and textures, pales colors and subtle fragrance. A place to escape the pressures of life and the fast paced rhythms of living in a big city. It would be anchored with pathways and  allées of lush and verdant boxwood framing perennials and the occasional garden ornament. The calming and cooling effect of water would be another essential element. A paradise found that provides inspiration and a sense of romance. 

In the current issue of the New York Times Style magazine I was delighted to read the article on designer, Federico Forquet, whose own self created paradise that represents the dream garden I have had in my own mind all of these years. 

Forquet began his own career with dreams of one day becoming a couturier and worked for the master, Balenciaga, before striking out on his own in the late fifties. After a stellar career in fashion designing for clients such as Marella Agnelli, Diana Vreeland, C.Z. Guest and Babe Paley, to name a few, Forquet closed his atelier and turned his attention to garden design. 

The influence of the great garden designer, Russell Page, who was a good friend, is evident. Like Page, Forquet has relied on structure, color, subtlety and appropriateness to achieve a garden of timeless beauty. He has used the same sensibilities inside his home, which are the perfect extension of the gardens outside. Forquet designed many of the furniture pieces throughout the house and even had custom fabrics made. Like the gardens the interiors reflect quiet and subtle luxury where no one thing jumps out at you and says look at me. They are rooms where you discover things over time and where light is celebrated. I see a connecting thread between the tastes of Forquet, Bunny Mellon, and Pierre Berge. Its almost as if they all collaborated on the house and gardens but the results are clearly Federico Forquet's. Forty years in the making!











Photographs by Ricardo Labougle for the New York Times Style Magazine. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Many Masks of DC

On most weekends, when I am here in DC, I always try to go for a bike ride around the city if the weather is pleasant. DC is the perfect place for riding and it is really the best way to see the city. The streets are relatively flat and the city has created a huge network of bike lanes that make getting around pretty easy.

Its amazing what you are able to discover when you are either walking or biking. You miss so much when you're in the car and all of the architecture and extraordinary monuments here just seem to whiz by.

Today, during my ride I headed down to Federal Triangle, which probably has the highest concentration of Classical Revival buildings in DC. One of my favorite buildings is the Andrew Mellon Auditorium on Constitution Avenue. Designed by San Francisco architect, Arthur Brown, Jr, the massive complex was originally named the Departmental Auditorium, and was dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935.

The centerpiece of the building consists of a tripartite design with a triumphant temple in the center with colossal, doric columns that rise over 62 feet. The entire building is richly decorated with sculptures, a rusticated base and voussoirs above the lower door and window openings. Above every other lower opening are a series of carved keystones that are decorated with highly detailed carved masks, which are one of my favorite architectural devices in classical architecture.

As I walked along the thousand foot long facade facing Constitution I took photos of a small handful of the carved masks and noted that each one is unique. At first glance many of them look the same. But upon closer inspection the variations of each mask became very apparent. I could have easily spent all afternoon photographing all of the amazing details. Sadly, they don't build them like they used to!



















Monday, August 4, 2014

All American Style

I have been on a little bit of a hiatus from writing my blog posts this summer to focus my energies on a series of watercolors that I am preparing for an upcoming show in October. (More on that later).

I couldn't think of a better place then our home in Rockport, Maine to work on my paintings, where it is peaceful and quiet and the air here is filled with a creative spirit.

It doesn't get much more American then New England and while I have been here I have also been reflecting on just what it is that defines American style in my mind. Comfortable and unpretentious rooms that exude casual elegance and where happy and lasting memories are made. Sisal rugs, painted floors and finishes, printed cottons and linens, hand crafted furniture and accessories, decoupage and of course, wicker furniture.

Parish Hadley, Gil Schafer, Jeffrey Bilhuber, Markham Roberts and Richard Keith Langham, to name a few, are just a handful of designers and architects whose timeless interiors reflect the best in American style.
















Sunday, July 13, 2014

Dreaming of Provence

Were roasting here in DC with the humidity and full intensity of the sun, which makes me long for a drier heat that doesn't feel like you've stuck your head in an oven! I was going through my photo library and rediscovered the photos that I took during our trip to Provence a couple of years ago. I could feel the warmth of the bright skies, smell the assortment of lovely scents and taste the rustic simplicity and intense flavor of the food. The colors in Provence are like no other. Colors seems to be brighter and I also love the color combinations seen on the exteriors of the buildings. As you can see, I am a bit obsessed with doorways!





















Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tropical Style


With the imminent humidity quickly approaching here in DC, I started thinking how much I would prefer suffering through the heat while walking along aqua tinted beaches or sipping fancy cocktails in a swanky Caribbean bar while watching a glorious sunset. I was also inspired by these fabulous new abaca rugs from Mary McDonald for Patterson, Flynn and Martin, which come in a variety of ultra chic patterns and colors. Of course one cannot think of tropical style without thinking of Tom Sheerer's and Miles Redd's super stylish and vibrant interiors in Lyford Cay and Palm Beach as well as Oscar de la Renta and Bunny Williams, whose spectacular homes in Punta Cana define classic and elegant tropical style. All of these abaca rugs would feel right at home in any of my favorite beach inspired rooms.