Thursday, March 29, 2012

House Beautiful's April 2012 "Making it in L.A.

House Beautiful did an in-depth round-up titled "Making it in L.A. " by David A. Keeps, describing Los Angeles's  thriving home furnishings industry. Hutton Wilkinson's adorable intern, Berry, toured us through the La Cienega Design Quarter. Who knew that California ranks #1 in the U.S. for the number of cabinetmakers, bench carpenters and furniture finishers? As a North Carolina furniture manufacturing, High Point black belt, this article was an amazing eye-opener. Here is our take away, but you must get this issue and keep it on file.

After a delightful lunch at the Ivy, we strolled the three block district of vine covered shops. Touring design districts to see how top talent combine fabrics, textures, colors, lighting and accessories is a sure path to your own interior inspiration. Even if the feast of deliciousness is over your head financially, there is much absorb and apply to your own projects.

OHWOW:  "OHWOW was established in 2008 by Al Moran and Aaron Bondaroff to encourage artistic innovation and provide a platform for progressive art of all media, featuring both emerging and established artists’ work." The piece below by Terry Richardson recreates the red carpet experience.

As you walk past this super sized interactive photograph, the cameras start noisily flashing and clicking as the paparazzi call out and the crowd roars. Quite the ego boost to say the least. We took a few gracious turns in front of it, then we popped our glamorous selves over to Hollyhock.

Suzanne Rheinstein's, Hollyhock, carries la creme de la creme in accessories, antiques, as well as her eponymous upholstery and fabric lines. We shop all the time, but these accessories and vignettes are breathtaking.

This container garden of Vladimere Kanefsky porcelain flowers would be a stunning perennial accent to any room. Suzanne's insistence on quality hand made goods is what makes all the difference in her well curated store and client's homes. Shop for accessories that are artisanal and pleasing to your eye, and it will all go together in the end. I will mix high and low, as I am trying to gather a collection. If a piece has a chip I just turn it, so that it will be invisible. Slowly, I will find good pieces over the years and nudge the illusions out of the room.  Crossing the street we spent a good amount of time digesting the vintage furniture, art and lighting at Paul Marra design.

Paul Marra is a lively raconteur and shared his connoisseur's eye. Here is a classic blackamoor, the quintessential Hollywood Regency accessory. Originally from New Orleans, it held a torch in the raised hand. He pulled out Albert Hadley's "The Story of America's Preeminent Interior Designer" and illustrated how the maestro used them in one of his famous installations.

Do not dismiss expensive shops as out of the realm. Training your eye prepares you for great finds at consignment shops, estate sales, salvage yards and even flea markets. Carry your camera and keep files. I am filing this tole chandelier and smart sconce that are in Marra's lighting line.

This handsome stitched red leather sconce has made it into my staple file. 

Original Fornasetti floor lamps circa 1950, in painted malachite have a price tag of $10,500.00 so, keep your eyes open. Treasures like these can turn up anywhere. The La Cienega district is beautiful, and full of gorgeous little alley ways. At the end of February, the jasmine and wisteria are blooming and their spring flowers are abundant. It is the perfect respite from dreary winter!

In our next post we are heading over to Harbinger to take a lesson from designers Joe Lucas, Parrish Chilcoat and Bunny Williams

Visit Dovecote Decor's online shop to see more beautiful selections

Friday, March 23, 2012

L.A. "A List" The Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino

I want to say in Meyrl Streep's lilting, halting voice as Karen Blixen: " I had a farm in Africa." It is a voice haunted by the past and fraught with emotion. So: "I was a garden guide at the Huntington." Not quite Meryl, but it was a happy and magical place in my life. I did my training, heavily at the end of my first pregnancy, so much so, that I had to carry a little portable stool to rest. I loved my course, staggering through the estate and learning the magical Latin and common names of plants, like Monstera Deliciosa.  I patted my enormous bump with satisfaction. I was anticipating my Monstera Deliciosa. Henry Huntington's estate is singular with its mansion, scholarly library, art galleries and garden collections. I always began my tours with the succulent collection, which is the largest in the world.

Succulents bloom in the rainy season of Mediterranean climates, so this is when the garden is at its apex. Humming birds hover around madly in this exotic and peaceful escape.

Barrel head cacti, with their accordion shapes, expand and contract in accordance with the rain. Like us, they are pudgy when they're full and puny when they aren't. Cactus flowers are tiny and brilliantly colored.

Basking in the afternoon light, crowned with their annual flowers, the cacti literally glow. I have done nothing to this picture. There are also Aloe and Agave with their wild inflorescence.

There is a bit of Dr. Seuss to the place. 

Moving through the gardens, you must remember that the property is a connoisseur's collection, much like the paintings, silver, furniture, library etc...  Actually, back in the day, transporting Camellias, Cycads, Succulents, Species Roses, Palms--and on and on, was a highly delicate business. These plants were transported by ship from every continent.

There is a Conifer collection that includes mighty trees, that were thought to be extinct 30 years ago.

We did get to see a bit of California spring in the English Gardens. 

 Pacific Giant Delphiniums
Fragrant English stock greets us 
The famous Japanese garden was closed but I will share a few photos from the  web.

The estate is developed on the remaining 130 acres left from the original 600. It is both a research institution and an educational center. Spend an entire day and eat a healthy lunch in the charming tea room.

Oh, and before I leave, here is the hot seller of the week!
This little hottie is in the February issue of House Beautiful
 Market is coming so send us your wish lists, or schedule a visit!
More Later!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"A" List L.A. A Day Trip to Santa Barbara

On day one, we popped up to Santa Barbara to visit our cousins, who graciously drive us around Santa Barbara, Summerland and Montecito, over and over and over. It is 90 minutes North of L.A. and a worthwhile day excursion, to say the least. Tip #1: Garmin's work poorly in Los Angeles, I do not know why. 

The light was hitting a mustard field on this equestrian property in Hope Ranch, in a way that screamed God was trying to say: "HELLO." Thank you God, for Santa Barbara! It is truly more beautiful than the French Riviera.  Hope Ranch, is also fertile ground for spying original California ranch houses which, as you know,  have been entirely corrupted all over this country. 

Original California ranch houses, usually one room wide, have great flow between rooms (read no dark halls). Extended roof lines which will often run the length of the house, act as exterior halls and create transitional space between the interior and property.  This is a lovely, mid-century interpretation. 

Mr. and Mrs. C, gave us an insider's tour of their home turf, and we stopped in at the Music Academy of the West. You can snag some serious swag at their gift store, where Santa Barbara patrons leave their beautiful possessions, after organizational fits, downsizing, or you know....

 The charming succulent garden outside the shop.

See what I mean? Here is the Lucre: "shameful gain." The Patrons are generous and the prices are more than fair. I can be shameful when it comes to bargains. I have been known to run out of the Sloan Kettering thrift store in New York, with 17th century prints in hand, fearful that they will change their minds over my fabulous finds.

Here is where to go.

Just so you know, there are designer clothes in the next cottage. 

Fabulous gardens surround the 10 acre estate, once called Miraflores. For more architectural history click HERE. May I add, the fragrance of Santa Barbara is an intoxicating combination of Eucalyptus, flowers and citrus--with a touch of the sea.  

I never, ever get tired of the beautiful entrance gates.

One good reason to get arrested, would be the Addison Mizner, Santa Barbara City Hall. On a safer level, I certainly would not shirk my civic duty to sit a jury. It is quite the mighty fortress, and turns a sharp corner to embrace a stunning public park. Shifting to the left, from the previous perspective, we see the rest of the massive structure. Heavens, Santa Barbara must have anticipated a great deal of issues, or...Addison padded the space. 

What has happened to the world?  I cannot resist a political question. Why was everything beautiful then, and new civic buildings in America look like retina burning, Soviet bloc structures?  It is hard to comprehend that poor Addison Mizner died broke after the Florida land boom/ bust. Since we are now in town proper, Mrs. C. brought us to Raoul, the hot design fabric and design shop.

Sallie and Tim McQillan have a remarkable textile company that counter-intuitively produces woodblock print fabrics in Santa Barbara, the most expensive real estate in the world. It all began in a Quonset hut on the Santa Barbara beach in 1981 and thrives in the world of globalization. Fasten your seat belts. 

Get inspired! If you can't handle the $1,350.00 price tag, paint your chairs and buy a few yards of Eve Robin's Egg 802B67. 

Or, find your way to Henry Rose. 

 Chunari fuschia below

Or, find yourself sitting in these vintage, truly original, beaded lawn/porch style chairs. I've never seen anything like them and they are hard to describe. The chairs are actually covered with a fabric of tiny beads. 

As we move through our visit, here are some spectacular views from a friend's house in Santa Barbara. 

Below is the definition of a 365 view. If you swivel in Santa Barbara, you alternate dramatically between mountain verticality and ocean horizons. 

We always eat at Jeannine's in Montecito. Fresh baked croissants and breads compete for your attention with delectable egg dishes and the freshest fruit and juices. Try a chicken mango quesadilla! 

High Point Furniture market is coming in a month, 
so if you are a blogger making your way to our 
neck of the woods, please let me know and we 
will plan a fun dinner. 
To see some our market favorites 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

More Tony Duquette and out and about in L.A.

While we were visiting Hutton and Ruth Wilkinson's fabulous Casa Contessa we were treated to a peek at Tony Duquette's iconic and inimitable Dawnridge.
A 1960's portrait of Tony Duquette by Marion M Pike. Many notables sat for her including Coco Channel, Norton Simon, Zubin Mehta, Rosalind Russell, and Ronald Reagan.
The main reception room is magnificent theater. Abalone panels made by Duquette with spray paint and glue, signature sunburst lighting, corals, golds, and whimsical Duquettery conjures a lost temple hidden in a jungle.  Until you look up at the ceiling!
This Venetian murano glass masterpiece cascades a perennial bouquet of lilies and light over the drawing room. Ventian style inspired Duquette, as Venice epitomizes the confluence of grand European and opulent Eastern design.  Carnivale masks and fancy dress were the Duquette signature entertainment. Elizabeth Duquette, adored wife of Tony nick-named Beegle, painted the entry doors to the house, setting the stage. 
Industrial salvage columns anchor the torchieres flanking the doors,buffed and sprayed in gold.  Theater set people were the original smoke and mirrors preceeding the current DIY movement. Hutton Wilkinson, Tony's creative partner, and current president and creative director of Tony Duquette, laughingly calls them his ironic columns. 
Lavish passementerie trim detailing around the door moldings in the entrance halls are the non plus ultra. Talk about industrious bees, the house was their life, their workshop, and mad design laboratory.
Loretta Young wears her Tony Duquette mask at the bal de tête in Los Angeles. Here Tony and
Loretta accept first prize for her mask. Friends, we so did miss cafe society.
 The famed "meuble" that Tony Duquette created for Elsie de Wolfe, who later became Lady Mendl, was returned to the Duquettes through her estate. This was the secretary that launched a thousand interior design jobs, as Elsie de Wolfe, grande dame that she was, promoted him internationally. 
Detail of the inset
Brilliant Hutton Wilkinson has turned it into a knock out fabric for Jim Thompson's Duquette line.
Stacy Kunstel of Stacy Style and Annie Selkie of Pine Cone Hill and author of Fresh American Spaces, dressed for the occasion. It was also great  to finally meet fellow blogger Stacey Bewkes of Quintessence, who has also published her take on the wonderful hospitality bestowed by the Wilkinsons. 

Thank you Hutton and Ruth for all your amazing hospitality to the bloggerati during the Design Bloggers Conference! And.. if you haven't seen Hutton's dazzling designs for Coach, you must be blind. Its hot, hot, hot and all over media town. 

Visit Dovecote Decor's online store 
to see our ever growing line of 
furniture, accessories
and lighting.