Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Top Form

Tuileries at Versailles

Les Fleurs

Notice the scale! Where's Waldo?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Astor Place

[The Lovely Mrs. Astor]

[Famed Albert Hadley Library]

[Close Up in the Library]

[Astor's Bedroom]

[Street Front]

The property to which I am referring is the famed estate of late New York City philanthropist and former House & Garden editor, Brook Astor. The Astor home, located at 778 Park Avenue (at 73rd and Park) is beyond valuable. Not because of its ideal Park Avenue location, but for the legend of the beloved Astor that it helps to preserve. Following Astor's death in August of 2007, the sale of this specific property in her vast estate involved a great deal of speculation and concern. There was embittered fear and duress surrounding the revered library and formal sitting rooms. Speculation swirled that the apartment, following its resale, would be entirely dismantled.

While the listing did find a new owner, there is still uncertainty as to whether key aspects of the famed 14 room apartment would be safeguarded.

[14 Room Floor Plan]

Astor, a philanthropist, author, editor and New York City icon shared the Park Avenue apartment with her third husband, Vincent Astor. The property, which went on the market at $46 Million (100% up front in cash no less) showcases a living room with breathtaking views (a modest 28' by 19'), a library with red lacquer shelves (21' by 17', which is said to be one of New York's most photographed rooms), full pantry (larger than most NYC studio apartments: 15' by 8'11"), formal dining room (19' by 10'), five wood-burning fireplaces, a vault, a private landing, 30-foot-long gallery (wet bar and elevator included, naturally), 20 closets, a dressing room in addition to the walk-in-closet off a guest bedroom, servant's hall (3 maids' rooms) and six terraces. Listed on Corcoran real estate's web page, it has quickly become no secret that the duplex's monthly maintenance is more than $17,000 dollars.

But coming up with the $46 Million? My dear that's the easy part - now try impressing the gents who sit on board of the building's co-op.

[Formal Sitting Room]

[Formal Dining Room]

[Private Study]

[View off the Terrace]

[Second View off the Terrace]

Saturday, October 11, 2008


[Barneys Window Mania]

[Warhol Inspired 2006 Windows]

[NY MAGAZINE: Fabiola Baracasa interviews Simon Doonan - Barneys Holiday Windows]

Simon Doonan's quarterly creations for the windows of Barneys in New York City are nothing short of spectacular. Whether they are inspired by the art, the artist or the magic of fashion, Doonan's flare for decorative chaos always seems whimsically purposeful.

[Menagerie of Warhol Inspired Windows]

Doonan, "the window man," regards pomp as a limiting quality and always veers towards the odd and the eccentric while piecing together each visual vignette. His most helpful character trait throughout all of this creative mania? In various interviews, Doonan laughs at the truth that his family has long been "inspired" by mental instability and illness. The genius behind the windows claims Doonan? Well, like the rest of us, it's all thanks to a colorful family.

[Warhol '80's]

[Liza '80's]

[Cabinet of Curiosities]

[Warhol '60's]

Lady in Red

Diana Vreeland, the Vogue editor who redefined post-war fashion for the style-savvy woman is remembered fondly for both her eye for design as well as her firey personality.

Vreeland was obsessed with the search for the perfect red & when having her apartment redecorated, told Billy Baldwin, “I want this room to be a garden — but a garden in hell.” Out of this arose the iconic Vreeland sitting room, "Garden in Hell."

[Vreeland in her Sitting Room]

[Sitting Room: Second Perspective]

Vogue Magazine editor Bettina Ballard believed the room to be "one of the most attractive atmospheres that I know," equating it to "an over-crowded Turkish seraglio on a rather elegant boat." Vreeland's artful clutter and various wall hangings were camoflouged by the wild reds and ornate flowers throughout the room. Ballard remembers "books, bibelots, calculated clutter, personal pictures [among them, sketches by Augustus John, Bébé Bérard, & Cecil Beaton of herself], & “treasures, many Scotch snuffboxes in horn & silver, are massed on tables, walls, & shelves looking as if one could never get around to seeing them all. A long-stemmed anemone stands in a long-stemmed vase. There are oriental divans against the wall covered with inviting cushions, & she dines at a table pushed against a divan with bright cushions propped behind her back. She presides on a big Indian print-covered sofa like a sultan’s favourite, before & after dinner, with everyone gathered on small chairs at her feet. She lives in an atmosphere of informal luxury confined in crowded quarters, in an aura of intimacy & mystery.”

Vreeland was a woman of eccentricities and intelligence. Her ascent to fame as the editor of Harpar's Bazzar and later Vogue Magazine, has proved a lasting influence on the world of style and design. Vreeland will certainly be remembered as the Twentieth century's greatest arbiter of style.

Undoubtedly, the images of her home's interior confirm that:

“You gotta have style. It helps you get up in the morning. It’s a way of life. Without it you’re nobody. I’m not talking about a lot of clothes.”
— Diana Vreeland

Gweneth's Hampton Home

Gweneth Paltrow is the quintessence of complete Hollywood glamour. Undoubtedly, it is her exclusivity and poise that allows her to navigate a life consumed by fame and celebrity with such beguiling ease. Not only does she prove to the world that the feat of keeping her head above the press' malicious water can be a graceful and possible task, but she amazes and awes regardless of scenario or company. This perhaps, is a product of a level head upon her shoulders and a purposeful decision to remove herself from the limelight when not shooting a film. Gweneth's reluctance to live among the flashbulbs makes her presence all the more in demand.

Surprisingly however, Mrs. Chris Martin opened her home in the Hamptons to House & Garden Magazine (their final issue before the late great magazine folded). Proving to be no exception to her long standing pristine reputation, the home that H&G reveals, possesses the same inherent grace and good taste of the woman who lives there.

Take a peek.

[Sitting Room]

[Color conscience]

[Redefining a classic: Snaking Hallways and Chandeliers]

[Apple's Room]

[Master Bedroom]

[Gweneth's Yoga Studio]

[Lady in Red]