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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Table Settings. . .7/19/11

The other night a reader turned friend/friend turned reader mentioned (over the best white wine mojitos you've ever tasted by the way) that she really enjoyed my blog last December about setting your holiday table. Her complaint was that I needed to put this year's out earlier so she could set her table the same way or at least gather her own ideas. I hear you Maggie Mitchell (there's your shout out love) and I WILL do as you have asked!!

The hard part in accomplishing this task here friends is three fold. First, I am often inspired (though not always) by the occasion. When a party is on the horizon or an event or dinner guests, I suddenly see and envision what I want my table to look like. It can often range from simple and country to chic and heavily center-pieced. Secondly, all my holiday decor is up in the attic. . .blerg :( I can however ask my husband (nicely) to pull down a few boxes for me and hopefully I can play around with things and conjure up some ideas for myself and for you!! And the third and arguably THE most important reason this might be a difficult task is that we are OUT of season (but not for long of course) and if I have an idea outside of what is already in my possession I wouldn't be able to run out and get it to design a new table setting for you. These are the roadblocks we are up against. . .hmmmm. . .what to do?? Let's offer this: I will provide four tabletops for you and we shall show them each in variations. Let's tackle 1) Thanksgiving and 2) Christmas (because they are both ahead on the calendar) and let's take 3) an outdoor dining experience (perhaps just for a dinner party or girls night) and let's try 4) a bridal/baby shower brunch/luncheon. In this way we've hit a handful of events and they can be modified as needed. I'll leave birthdays for another time because I'm a birthday FANATIC so this will give me a great opportunity for another blog at another time.

So, Maggs, since you were the one to request this subject and if you are reading this, leave a comment here below on which celebration you would like us to tackle first: Thanksgiving, Christmas, dinner party or bridal/baby luncheon.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A British Ireland. . .7/13/11

Kathyrn M. Ireland, the British import designer on Million Dollar Decorators (Tuesdays on Bravo at 9pm), likes to say she isn't a "home designer," she's a "life designer". I have to say I agree with her because her carefree and bold designs go hand in hand with her love of good wine, good food and enjoying life "no matter what dahling". Watching her design homes and interact with her friends and clients on this show is to literally witness a woman whose passion for life is as bright, exotic and wild as her design projects!! She calls things as they are - doesn't pull any punches and is as self-depricating in her humor as she is arrogant. . .but in her totally charming way. A little bohemian, a little country, a little quirky, and a lot colorful, the textile and furniture designer is an absolute firecracker!! She is my absolute favorite decorator on the show and though I've followed her designs for years (and am thrilled she's one of the fab five on the show) I feel like a kid in a candy store to be able to see her personality. . .which is such a treat because I think sometimes we can envision people we've never met in ways totally different from who they actually are in real life. I already assumed someone who claimed bold color and flavor the way she does had to be somewhat unorthodox but to see her on the show is gratifying proof. I LOVE K.M.I. . .and while we are admitting to being in love, I should confess I'm also more than infatuated with the stunningly beautiful pairing of Jeffrey Alan Marks and his hunky boyfriend Ross Cassidy. Seriously?? They are as beautiful as two men can be. . .but of all the "couple" interactions, I think I laugh and enjoy Ms. Ireland's interactions and "dahling" infused chats with fellow Brit designer, Martyn Lawrence Bullard. Please watch this show!! Promise you'll love it as much as I do :)
The fabulous Ms. Ireland.
Some of her incredible textiles. . .which you can buy online by the yard!!
Her use of color is so bold and in your face. I loooove that about her.
I particularly like how in some cases she uses color but keeps other things muted. . .like the white wall in this case.
Not all her work is "loud" but what it never is? Boring.
This room for example is so easily transitional, which is a great characteristic of hers. You can swap pieces and fabrics out at will, by season or if you find a new one you like more. . .
This is the den in the Ojai, California ranch she owned, which she sold to actress Reese Witherspoon. Witherspoon liked everything in it so much she paid for the entire decor. . .plates, tableware, bedding and silverware included. If I could afford to do it that way, I would've too. I'm certain every last detail in this home is "so Kathyrn".
A softer side of Ireland's look. Softer. . .but no less fabulous. Even when keeping the same palette she stays away from being too "matchy matchy".
I'm happy with anything that incorporates white slipcovers and hot pink/fuchsia.
I'd never be so daring as to place some of the colors she uses in my home but when she does it, it works.
This is BEYOND amazing!! I would dine out here every single day - rain or shine - if I had this outdoor cave/loggia and view I might add.
A corner nook for a colorful banquette.
Look at those chairs!! Only she could pull this off!!
A simple kitchen takes on an entirely different feel - Moroccan almost, when she adds these blue/green tiles to the back splash.
Nice red touch. Eclectic chairs and desk. Perfection.
This bathroom is too cute.
And if my daughter were in high school right now. . .THIS would be my dream room for her!! FAN-FRIGGIN-TABULOUS!!! Kathyrn Ireland if you were here I'd kiss your face for this magnificent room! And look at those incredible bed posts!!
A bedroom from her Ojai ranch. Guess Reese and her new hubby rest their heads there now.
I love the dark wood bunk beds and the fun quirky designs. Not too girly at all for a boys room!!
The living room in Kathyrn's current home in Los Angeles.
Another Moroccan-inspired outdoor dining area. Some colorful pillows, a lantern, and bright plates can make this look yours too!
A poolside haven.
This is another one of her rare "muted" rooms. She's not a one-trick pony folks. . .this lady has her talent down pat.
This is such and elegant, cheerful and yet comfortable dining room.
I love this image of the hallway because it's simple but most people wouldn't hang drapes over and over along a narrow hallway like this. . .just goes to remind us, this designer is not "most people".
UGH!! Serenity now!! I love these sinks and the tufted ottoman in the bathroom.
This cottage feels so calm and relaxing. It's such a juxtaposition from her usual bright interiors.
Airy, bohemian, bright, feminine, masculine, chic, modern, retro, uncomplicated. . .it is all things at once. That's why I love it.
I can absolutely picture this in a New York apartment. . .maybe in the West Village. . .
. . .and this I can envision in a light-filled Malibu beach house.
A view of the Ojai ranch den from above. That fireplace is insane and the art, fabrics and textures are superbly combined.
Could I come stay in this room?? Or is this where Jacqueline sleeps?? ;)

Monday, July 11, 2011

An American Institution. . .7/11/11

Only Ralph Lauren could cinch a sequined couture gown with a weathered leather belt and a silver and turquoise buckle, trade five inch heels for cowboys boots and make it look insanely chic. He is: The Man.
He's the foremost of America's designers and with more than 300 stores worldwide and forty four years of experience in the business, Ralph Lauren is arguably more than a household name - he's an institution. In fact, so formidable a designer is the Polo man that Oprah herself chose him and his Telluride, Colorado ranch as one of the locations for one of her last interviews in the recently completed 25th season of her namesake talk show.

O said she'd always driven by the 17,000 acre ranch and wondered what it looked like beyond those rustic gates. She (and her viewers thankfully) finally found out when she spent the day (and night) at Double RL Ranch (the double RL stands for his initials and wife of 47 years, Ricky Lauren's) with Ralph and his family. Here's a peek into the fabulous ranch!!
Ralph and Ricky Lauren at Double RL Ranch
The main entrance into the 17,000 acre ranch voted as one of the 10 most expensive ranch's in the world by Forbes magazine in 2005.
A view of the sprawling and breathtaking grounds.
I mean, seriously?! Ralph himself on his fabulous jeep. This man emanates style and cool.
One of the many family/living rooms throughout the ranch's houses.
A den. It's so incredibly and perfectly styled!!
A bedroom. Who but Ralph Lauren would hang concho belts as decor??
I think this is RL's version of a mudroom. . .
A hearth for a hearty breakfast.
There are several "guest" houses on the property and it's doubtful they are all used at once but I love that RL doesn't hold back on decorating any of the spaces. . .they are each artfully styled and in sync with the rest of the Navajo inspired ranch.
Another breakfast spot? Maybe in a guest cabin?
A second view of the incredible den. I can just imagine the whole Lauren family sitting there. . .maybe Dylan brought sacks of candy from her stores? Maybe everyone is perfectly dressed in Polo garb for an evening of s'mores and games or cocktails and hors d' oeuvres??
When O took viewers across the ranch's grounds, she showed us these incredible and large tee pees that Ralph has around the ranch. They look rather small but they are actually guest rooms. . .
Look inside these tee pees!!!
They are amazing and deceptively spacious!! I love how RL incorporates the American flag into everything despite the fact that he is from an immigrant family.
This barn and it's dining area are spectacular! I can hardly envision anything more prefect than this at a ranch. I think Ralph Lauren is where he is today because everything he does is truly inspired. He's never had a "bad season", he's a family man whose priorities are seemingly in the right place and whatever his method is. . .it has never failed him yet.
An outdoor haven for some afternoon iced tea. . .
. . .or a summer dip in this serene lake.
Even camping in an RV looks cool when Mr. Lauren does it. . .