Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Don't Be Tardy" Tuesday

...and that's exactly what I am.  Tardy!! 

That was a big no-no in my house, growing up.   I am almost always on time/schedule ....but I am going to be tardy with my posts this week.  Younger Daughter is sick again....she has been unwell for almost a month now, on and off.  Mostly on.  So....I will be away tending to her and dealing with some volunteer commitments this week.

I will write more next week!  Promise!!  Thanks for your patience!!


Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday Musings: Glove Etiquette

Hat tip to Heather!  Thank you!!
Photo courtesy sweet-trash.com

Read the article here. (Don't forget to go to page two in the article to find out the rules of gloves!!)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Find: Change Of Plans

I find that I need a day off....to head out and enjoy the sunshine....so I will be back later next week....probably Tuesday....with a post on Elsie DeWolfe.  See you soon!!  Cheers, Liz

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Time Sensitive Tuesday

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program of design legends to bring you this very important news! One of my favorite artists is having an online sale tomorrow.  You don't want to miss it!  (If you have read Mireille Guiliano's French Women Don't Get Fat, you know his work already.) Here is the information from the artist himself.

R. Nichols Original Art Sale
Wednesday, April 24th 1:00 pm EDT

Cat in Tub Original ArtThe R. Nichols Original Art Sale begins in just 24 hours!

I've been busy creating - and our gallery is chock full of goodies . 

All artwork is original paper collage, measures 4 5/8 X 6 1/4 and is signed by R. Nichols.

The pieces range from $50 - $245.

At 1pm EST on Wednesday, April 24th (tomorrow) the artwork will become available on our website.  You will want to refresh your browser at 1pm.

It's been nearly 2 years since our last art sale - so these opportunities do not come around often.  Historically,  the pieces  have sold very quickly.  You'll want to be poised at your computer when the sale begins.

I hope you take a few minutes to tour our little gallery.

R. Nichols

Monday, April 22, 2013

More On Monday: Lessons From Madame Chic

I owe you all a little more today...I was so late posting!  So....here is a wonderful video from one of my favorite writers/bloggers, Jennifer L. Scott.  Have you read her book, Lessons From Madame Chic?  If the answer to that is "no," I want you to get it and read it!  Maintenant!!!  C'est tres magnifique!!!!

Jennifer does amazing things with seasonal "core wardrobes." (Again....read the book!!)

Monday Musings: McGuire

Today's is the first post of five that will cover interior design legends and personal choices and growth.  (The growth usually come from the less than optimal choices, that have to be redone!)

As we start the week, I want to start with some of my favorite pieces, my McGuire rattan.  If you are not familiar with McGuire, please visit their website by clicking here.  It is truly a legendary company.

Miss Betty bought her McGuire sofas, chair, ottoman and table when I was a little girl.....and she loved them until the day she died!  I was blessed to have inherited them and they are still lovely.  When I get the chance, I will share some other "vintage" McGuire pieces with you.....They are amazing.  But for now, here's a walk down memory lane with the sofa!

Circa 1964...I am the girls with the Band-Aid on her leg!

Circa 1985...My father on the left, with his best friend.

In one of Miss Betty's condos, circa 2001

In my lower level living room, just before recovering, 2013.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday Find: On The Run

Good morning!  I find that today I am "on the run" because of a family member who has been under the weather. So, this post will be a little shorter than I originally planned, but I will pick back up on it on Monday.

Let's talk about Billy Baldwin and his love of simplicity.....and how that is reflected in his use of sisal, rattan and wicker!  Those are all favorites of mine as well.  First, because I grew up with a mother who loved them and second, because I grew up in South Florida.  At the time, Delray and Palm Beach were all about sisal, rattan and wicker....and, at the time, simplicity.  Elegance reigned supreme.  Today the use of sisal, rattan and wicker continues....but simplicity seems to be going the way of the dinosaur. But I remain hopeful that this is not a permanent situation!

Sisal rug in my family's sun room, Delray Beach, Florida, circa mid-1990's
(More on the McGuire rattan featured in this photo on Monday...It has quite a history!)

A sisal rug in my "sitting room" - April 2013
(which most people would call the "living room" of the house.)

When I first worked for Tiffany & Co. in the early 1980's, all our branches had been decorated by Billy Baldwin.  Our Atlanta store was very much like being in a beautiful living room.  Below is a photo from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, giving the details of one of our etiquette events (based on the book Tiffany's Table Manners for Teenagers).  That's "yours truly"....30 years ago.....in the center, pouring. I wish you could have seen the wallpaper and the matching fabric on the sofa.  It was simply exquisite!  The parsons table is typical of Billy Baldwin, as are the wicker side chairs.

I'll get to my house book on Monday, tell you about Miss Betty and her "McGuire," and we'll talk about more legends of decorating AND get into our gardens.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thursday Thoughts: More On Billy Baldwin

Growing up, I heard Miss Betty talk about Billy Baldwin so much that I thought he must be some friend or relative that I just hadn't met yet. Not so....He was just Miss Betty's idea of the perfect decorator. And so my education began! Out of the hundreds of "coffee table" books on decoration which I inherited from Miss Betty, I must say that this is my favorite.

Out of print now, it is still available if you look for it.

Amazon has book sellers offering it through their stores here.

You can also find copies through the American Book Exchange (which is actually international) by clicking here.

(When I checked today, www.abebooks.com had the best prices!)

There are many pictures from this book that are repeated in the new book on Billy Baldwin, which I featured yesterday and which is highlighted on the sidebar to the right.  It, too, is a beautiful book, although I think the author delves far too deeply into Mr. Baldwin's personal life and is actually somewhat catty in some of his comments.  I ordered the book wanting to know more about Mr. Baldwin's work in design, not about the details of whom he was living with and when.  That is not "classic"....but it is the way of the world today (sadly).  So, enough about that....Let's look at Billy Baldwin Decorates!

These pictures were taken with my iPhone, since I didn't want to damage the book's spine with my scanner.

All photos from "Billy Baldwin Decorates" 

The last picture really says "Miss Betty" to me....not for the art on the wall, or the bright colors....but for the sisal rug.  Miss Betty loved her sisal rugs, and she passed that love on to me. Tomorrow I will share examples of Mr. Baldwin's influence in my life and talk about making a house "wish book."

Have a great Thursday!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tuesday Turn

Ok....for the rest of the week, we're going to turn our eyes to the past and talk about legends.  But, before we start, I want to ask you all a question.

A "preppy classic" has been reimagined for today.....and I am not sure it is going to suit my "classic preppy" sensibilities.

The novel is iconic.  The 1974 attempt at making it into a movie garnered this review by the late Roger Ebert:

The Great Gatsby is a superficially beautiful hunk of a movie with nothing much in common with the spirit of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel. I wonder what Fitzgerald, whose prose was so graceful, so elegantly controlled, would have made of it: of the willingness to spend so much time and energy on exterior effect while never penetrating to the souls of the characters. It would take about the same time to read Fitzgerald's novel as to view this movie -- and that's what I'd recommend. (Rest of the review is here.)

I'm really not sure about this latest attempt from what I have seen in the previews.  What do you think?

There were actually two other film versions of Gatsby before the 1974 film.  The one I would really love to see has been lost...but the trailer still exists.  How interesting it would have been to see the interpretation that Fitzgerald's contemporaries gave it....

What do you think? I'll be sure to see it when it comes out and write a review here on the blog!!


Monday, April 15, 2013

More On Monday: Entertaining Excellence

I was planning to write about some legends of design who are no longer with us, but before I turn my thoughts to the past (and share some of my decorating wins and losses with you!), there is one more lifestyle expert you must know about...if you don't already!

If you have this month's Veranda magazine, you are already familiar with her house.  Perhaps you've been in one of the cities on the tour for her new book, Soiree (see Amazon side bar)!  If not, please allow me to introduce you to the dynamic Danielle Rollins!  And there's no better way to get to know someone than through her own words:

All photos courtesy
I love the “lights, camera, action” of a party! I enjoy every second of entertaining from the initial spark of inspiration, to the preparation logistics, to the final zip of my dress, the greeting of friends, and the sound of tinkling glasses blending with the hum of the music. Through the atmospheres I create, celebrations allow me not only to express myself but also express my love for family and friends. Entertaining enables suspension from the real world and escape from the near-constant digital onslaught; it gives loved ones a chance to truly connect in the moment and create lasting memories.
Soirée Entertaining with Style evolved during a low point in my life. My middle child suffered a life-threatening accident and spent over a year recovering in the hospital and at home. Entertaining at home was easier than going out, and I began to actually enjoy making all the decisions that involve creating a special celebration.
As a child, I adored spending hours reading cookbooks as if they were novels. I poured over these books not only for their recipes but also for the drama that a well-executed and creative meal can create. I have never taken a course on flower arranging; I am not trained as a decorator; I have had minimal cooking lessons. While I am not formally trained in any area of entertaining, I am a great observer. I have learned through watching, trial and error, and educational mistakes!
Nothing else relaxes me quite like making order out of disorder. I don’t believe in a right or wrong way to entertain—or in any rigid, hard-and-fast rules. Instead, I believe that if you focus on the essence of entertaining (what is important and what is not important), you can figure out a way to pull off a scintillating and memorable soirée with aplomb! With a little effort and imagination, simple ingredients used abundantly, and a sense of humor and humility, I believe that entertaining can have a truly transformative effect.
Join me in stepping back and looking at the world through the eyes of Monet instead of Renoir! Let the details blend together to create an overall picture that is maybe not always perfect…but perfectly fine! Life is short: take risks and try something different, make mistakes and learn from them, enjoy the process as much as the results, and make everyday a soirée!

If you are going to the LA Children's Hospital event tomorrow, you'll be meeting Danielle in person....and then she's off to Washington, DC to speak at The Sulgrave Club.  She's a busy lady....especially considering how young she is!  You'll enjoy spending time on her website, reading about her family and the elegant (and yet often quite simple) entertaining she does at home.  Danielle is definitely a "classic" in the making!! Click on the video for Danielle's recent event in Pittsburgh!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Find: UK Style

When we moved to Richmond and bought a house on Monument Avenue, we had a real design challenge.  Although the kitchen had been redone, and was a thing of beauty (thanks to the previous owners), the countertops were a color choice I wouldn't have made.  But, they were a brand new, expensive choice....and I just couldn't change them right then.  So, I decided the kitchen, which opened into a beautiful breakfast room just needed a new wallpaper, to make it "right."

I looked and looked, trying to find the perfect paper, and when I came across a book of a designer then unknown to me, found just what I needed. England's Nina Campbell was the answer to my problem!

If you don't know her work, spend some time on her website....or try to find one of her beautiful coffee table books.  Besides being a brilliantly talented interior designer, her online store also sells exquisite accessories and fun vintage finds.  I think you'll like what you see!

It's been so much fun, writing about my favorite living legends this week... Spend some time with them via their websites and their Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter sites, too.  You'll be glad you did!

Next week, we'll look at some legends who left their mark on this world in beautiful design....and we'll talk about how both the past and the present influence how we decorate our houses and live our lives.  Like dear Lilly Pulitzer, whom we lost at the beginning of the week....legends have a way of being influential long after they are gone....

All photos courtesy ninacampbell.com or the Nina Campbell Facebook page

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thursday Thoughts: Make It Fun!!

Some articles just write themselves....because there is so much great material on hand.  This is one of those articles!

Photo courtesy francesschultz.com

Photo courtesy francesschultz.com
Today I want to introduce you to someone you will absolutely love, because she's so much fun..... Ms. Frances Schultz.  You may know Frances already, since she is the former editor-at-large for Veranda magazine.  Or perhaps you know her from her entertaining and informative work on cable television's Southern Living Presents....or from her books or blog. 

Maybe you followed along as she redid Bee Cottage, her house in East Hampton, which was featured in House Beautiful magazine. 
(To see the inspirational "before and after" series of pictures from that project, click here.)

Photo courtesy NewYorkSocialDiary.com

Well, no matter what you know about Frances...there's even more to learn...so let's go!!

First....click here to read a more detailed version of her bio. She's from North Carolina, but has lived and worked in Richmond, Atlanta, and New York. 

She and her husband (they're newlyweds!!) also spend quite a bit of time in California.

Next, you must see Frances in action, in clips from her television series.  Just click on the video! (She makes everything look like so much fun....and her enthusiasm is infectious!  What she says about giving a dinner party and not feeling like you have to be Martha Stewart was meant for me!)

Photo courtesy francesschultz.com

Now, go over to the side bar and click on her book, A House in the South," to visit Amazon and read more about it!

(I just ordered it, to add to my ever-growing library.  Simply can't wait to get it!!)

And, finally... Take some time today to visit her website and read more about the books she has written.  (Personally, I want to hear more about her work with Ryan Gainey.  I met Ryan back in the early 80's, through our mutual friend, Buck Newman, and was honored to have visited his amazing house in Decatur...not too far from where I went to college.  To be frank, Buck was out with some of this theatrical friends, including yours truly, and he insisted we drop in on Ryan unannounced.  Ryan was very kind and welcomed all of us warmly!)

When you're visiting Frances' website, take the time to read through previous posts on her homepage, which serves as her blog about her life....You'll be glad you did!  Follow her on Facebook and Twitter too. You'll be hearing more about her on The Classic Preppy in the future!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wonderful Wednesday: Ideas Galore!

When I was younger and decorating our first house in Richmond, Miss Betty introduced me to the divine Bunny Williams (figuratively, not literally, that is).  My education started early... I was hearing about Billy Baldwin, Sister Parish, Eleanor Brown, etc. from when I was a little girl!  My mother believed in learning from the best.

Ms. Williams' books are incredibly inspiring and, like the work of the other contemporary designers and lifestyle experts I am highlighting this week, very encouraging as well.  I know what I like...but sometimes I am just not sure how to get there....or even "if" I can get there!  I need encouragement.  No...let's get real.....I need HELP!

Here is Ms. Williams' bio from her website....I couldn't write it any better, so will quote it verbatim:

Bunny opened her own interior design company, Bunny Williams Incorporated, in 1988 after twenty-two years with the venerable decorating firm, Parish-Hadley Associates. Schooled in the classics, restraint and appropriateness are hallmarks of Bunny’s style. Objects, patterns, textures and colors, beautifully balanced, have an appealing undisciplined look — the direct result of great focus and meticulous planning. Bunny Williams’ passion for design extends beyond interiors into the garden. Bunny co-owns Treillage Ltd., a garden furniture and ornament shop in New York, with antiques dealer John Rosselli.

While beautiful rooms are Bunny’s first consideration, client service and attention to detail are of the utmost importance.

Attention to detail

That is such an important thing in this flashy, trendy "buy it one day-dispose of it the next" world we live in....because detail is often overlooked or, more accurately, completely disregarded. 

Look at most of the houses you see on shows like The Real Housewives franchise. You know what I mean!  Besides little to no detail, there is no sense that anything has any real depth, history or meaning to it.

You may recall my post from this past fall that I was fortunate enough to spend an afternoon in Charlottesville with Charlotte Moss, learning about her process of pulling ideas together and making notebooks or scrapbooks full of what you love. Books full of delicious detail! *

Bunny Williams is another devotee of pulling together ideas in this way and she has written equally inspiring books on the process. To go to her website's book page, click here.  When that page opens, click on the particular book(s) you're interested in.  Although her books are available on other sites (see the Classic Preppy Bookstore for links through Amazon.com), going to her website's book page allows you to order books signed by Ms. Williams. (If you're like I am, that's a must-have!)

Yesterday, I reminded you of my book obsession....so I thought you might enjoy a few of the hundreds of beautiful photos from her website, which are highlights of her exquisite work.  She seems very comfortable with books in a room.  I like that in a designer!

All photos courtesy of bunnywilliams.com

* Stay tuned for next Monday's post, when I will share own my house idea book with you!! 

In the meantime, you'll definitely want to check back in tomorrow.  I am going to introduce you to a designer/lifestyle guru who takes encouragement to a whole new level....and we are going to have so much fun!!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Terrific Tuesday: A Vibrant Life

Photo courtesy annieselke.com
Today I'd like you to meet the absolutely amazing Annie Selke!  You probably are familiar with Annie already, through her marvelous companies, Pine Cone Hill and Dash and Albert Rugs.  I had the pleasure of meeting Annie this fall, when I heard her speak at a benefit here in Richmond.  She was so inspirational...and entertaining!

Her book, Fresh American Spaces, featured in the right column as a Classic Preppy Suggestion, is a must have.  I promise....it will make your day brighter and give you all kinds of wonderful ideas to suit your decorating style!

This is a great video of highlights from the actual presentation I attended!

Annie's book covers many different styles and answers a variety of questions about collections, groupings, placement of pictures, etc.  I have found it to be so helpful in curating what I already have, and making good decisions about what to add.

Photo courtesy Annie Selke Co.
You all know my love of books.....It's like I have "literary kudzu" taking over my house!  Check out the amazing bedroom below, featured in Fresh American Spaces...It was made for me!!

One of my favorite sections of the book is a trick for hanging pictures....and doing it not only creatively, but doing it "right" the first time!!  If you look behind most of my pictures, there are about five nail holes, where there should be only one.  Annie has changed my life...and saved my walls.

Have a vibrant, colorful day!  Go visit Annie's websites!!!  Cheers... Liz

Monday, April 8, 2013

Monday Musings: Living A Beautiful Life

If you are just signing back in today, please read Sunday's post on the passing of the great and glorious Lilly McKim Pulitzer Rousseau. I will write more about Lilly at the end of the week, but in the meantime will dedicate this week's posts about amazing women to her.  Lilly's legacy will live on in glorious color....

Today I wanted to share a few thoughts about another extraordinary woman, whose books have been in my library since I was a young woman myself. Her name is Alexandra Stoddard.
Alexandra Stoddard


All pictures courtesy alexandrastoddard.com

You might have some of her books yourself....or you might have heard her speak....or be familiar with her work with McMillen, Inc., where she was the protégée of Eleanor McMillen Brown. (More on Mrs. Brown next week...)  No matter how you are introduced to Ms. Stoddard, you'll be a fan forever!

Why don't you join me in having a "beautiful life" day today?  I am going to get out my sweet Crane's engraved notes (with my signature starfish), uncap one of my favorite pens and sit at the desk in my sitting room with a cup of tea, writing to at least one person.  With what seems like absolute madness in the world all around us at times, won't it be nice to pay attention to some of the smaller things that have made life so enjoyable for generations of women (and men!) before us? 

In closing, here is Ms. Stoddard, in her own words....talking about living life....and paying attention to the details and process of life....not just the available technology!She's really on to something...and if you want to know more, her books are available (signed by the author) on her website.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Remembering Lilly

My heart is so heavy today.....we have lost a legend, and it is truly the end of an era in Palm Beach.

Click here to read some past posts on Lilly Pulitzer...

If you only have time to read one, be sure to check out my memories of  Growing Up Lillified (with Miss Betty)

Photo courtesy of palmbeachdailynews.com
Visit The Shiny Sheet (Palm Beach Daily News) this week to read more about their hometown girl...

See the Lilly Pulitzer slide show here. (Palm Beach Daily News Shiny Shots)

Oh, Lilly....Heaven is sure to be a more colorful place with you there!  Thank you for all the joy you brought to this earth!!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Get Ready!

This coming week will feature posts on other amazing women who are interior designers, lifestyle experts...you name it.  They know how to live a well-ordered, yet fun filled life.... one that overflows with elegance, hospitality and glamour!

I won't tell you who just yet (although the picture above is a clue about one of them).....but check back each day this coming week, Monday-Friday for more!!

Happy Weekend, everyone!

UPDATE: This pictures is from Annie Selke's Fresh American Spaces.  Read more about Annie in Tuesday's post!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday Finishes

Needlepoint is quite an investment.....the canvas, fibers and "finishing" (especially the finishing!).  Here are some needlepoint pieces I love, and the different finishes I (or those who have given to me) have chosen:

So, let's put on our needlepoint shoes (I didn't create these, but got them for a great deal!).....

And let's start in the upstairs guest room.... The footstool and pillow with the green background were done by my great aunt,  Helen Ragsdale:

I bought this pillow back in the 1980's for about $25.  Even back then you couldn't buy the materials for that amount! (A lot of inexpensive needlepoint comes from China, where I believe the workers are not paid very much for the incredible work they produce.  Therefore, even with retail markup, it's a "steal.")

Leaving the guest room, we'll cross the hall and proceed down a smaller hallway which opens into the master bedroom suite.

This little pillow/sign hangs on my bathroom door....And the framed piece hangs just behind the door to the room.

Hanging on the wall of the little hallway that leads from the main hall into the master bedroom is this amazing needlepoint tryptic, done by my husband's great aunt, Kate Hartman.  It is about six feet tall and it is a thing of beauty.  It is framed as a three paneled screen, and used to be in a corner of my in-laws' living room.  My husband inherited it, but let me choose where to put it in "the gracious home" (as my dear friend and decorator calls my house).  He didn't really have a choice.  I knew exactly where it needed to live.  This little hallway is perfect, because it is viewable from the main hallway (as long as the master bedroom is neat and I can leave the door open) and since it is an interior hall, it has no window.  Since its lights are on a dimmer switch, I can control how much light the piece gets, which is important in textile conservation!

Close up views.... Notice the petit point worked in to the larger design....

On a sofa in the sitting area of the master bedroom is a large Ehrman Tapestry water lily pillow which I did in 1998.  Sometimes I work my initials into a piece, and sometimes the year.... This pillow was fun to stitch, because it was on 10 point canvas.  Fewer stitches per inch means fast work (and it's easier to see what you are doing, too)!

Back to my current project!   When it's "finished" I'll share a photo....  Cheers, Liz