DIY Lamp Makeover

Newly finished lamps in my guest room.

I don’t know about you, but I have a closet of things I should bring to Salvation Army but just can’t part with. I also have a habit of picking up people’s rejects (these 60’s wood veneer lamps for example) and other sad items at antique stores and estate sales that are screaming for a facelift. Here, I help you (and myself) tackle 2 of these afflictions at once and create one beautiful product out of two unwanted ones.

Using a skirt—from about 10 years ago—I reupholster a pair of lamps. Back story on the skirt I only wore once: it was a sweltering summer day in midtown (NYC) and I was working at Elle Decor magazine at the time. We were throwing a book signing party that night in conjunction with PR team LaForce + Stevens for Martha Baker’s coffee table book about beautiful pools, The Swimming Pool: Inspiration and Style from Around the World. I would have paid my small salary to be in a pool at the moment but instead found myself sweaty, running late, and hustling through god-awful Times Sq to get to this event. I detoured into the GAP and in under a minute reappeared refreshed and in this skirt (picture Clark Kent in the phone booth). Both Margaret Russell (EIC of Elle Decor at the time) and author Martha Baker complimented me on the skirt that night, so it only seems appropriate that I’ve—hoarded the skirt until now and—turned it into a pair of lamps.

I think the tight pattern lends itself well to this small-scale project and gives these lamps sort of a French mid-century meets Herend porcelain look. Read below for instructions on how I did it. Happy DIY’ing!

GAP skirt from 10 years ago.

 

I cut the skirt into clean fabric panels, removing zippers, pleats, etc.

I ironed the fabric to start with a fresh, flat material.

After measuring the height of the lamp base, I cut a panel large enough to wrap the base with a small overlap. I used the factory edge along the bottom of the lamp so I would have one less edge to finish later. With a glue gun, I ran a bead of hot glue along the length of the lamp and slowly fit the fabric to the lamp as i rotated it and glued as I went. I did not hem or fold the finished edge because I had a very clean cut and my final bead of glue was lean and tidy right up agains the edge of the cut.

I then trimmed the excess fabric along the top and left a slight overlap so that I would have extra to finish the top with.

With a small plastic card (you could use the corner of a credit card or a thick business card), I tucked the extra lip of fabric under the metal collar at the top of the lamp.

I then measured and cut strips for the two remaining wood veneer areas.

Again, I applied the perfectly cut fabric strips to the lamp and glued as I rotated

And then did the same with the last section.

Here’s what they looked like after all was said and done. The tight pattern on the fabric gives the two tired lamps a very sleek new look.

And at last, they find a home in our guest room, flanking the bed.

The painting above is by Ellen Reinkraut. Throw pillows are similar to these ones by Pottery Barn.

Cape Cod Mod

In the quiet town of Orleans, on the Cape of Massachusetts, lives a couple with their two English Setters, Dotty & Betsey (those are the dogs). Chris Ramel is retired but an avid sportsman and his wife, Mary MacLellan (marycmaclellan@gmail.com), is a practicing architect. They moved here a few years ago from Denver and though Mary has spent a good amount of her life visiting the Cape and her brothers all live there, they fall into the loving category of “wash-ashores” which, according to locals, includes anyone residing on the Cape that is not a native since birth.

Despite the name they have successfully renovated and restored a very classic Cape Cod style home…and added a tasteful addition (Mary’s design) to accommodate an extensive art collection, a spacious and modern kitchen with sitting area, a living room with lofted studio (Mary’s office), a master suite, a 2-car garage, and—last but not least—an outdoor shower that is to die for. Their blending of classic antiques with very modern accents—throughout the home—is a pleasant surprise. But, much like the warm hosts, the kitchen in particular really grabs you and draws you in.

The vast and sleek Bulthaup kitchen that Mary envisioned for the space is now a reality

The kitchen shares a spacious room with this sitting area so that the couple can entertain while they cook. Dining and side chairs by Cassina. The large abstract is by painter Edward Holland: www.edwardholland.com

One of the Ramels’ English Setters. This one is Betsey. Very shy with guests but incredibly loving and apparently an impressive hunting partner.
Chairs by Cassina

 

The large dining table is equipped to accommodate quite a crowd.

Mary has a beautiful collection of matte Wedgewood Black Basalt china.
The clay body, black basalt, was developed and introduced by Josiah Wedgwood in the late 1700’s was going to be the new big thing; “Black is Sterling and will last forever”

strong yet playful piece (subject: popcorn) by Barbara Breedon entitled “Wheelers of Course” which is a farm in Hudson, Ohio that Mary frequented as a child and remembers the popcorn fondly.

Tucked behind every sleek panel in the kitchen is a hidden alcove for very well-thought-out storage.

The sink has a great setup. With two large bays, a swiveling wall-mounted Bulthaup faucet and a cutting board that sits in the grooves of the sink edge, you can prep and clean just about anything with efficiency. Each panel behind the sink opens to reveal storage for cleaning supplies, spice racks, knife storage, a murphy-bed-style fold-out cutting board, and more.

 

After years of custom range tops—in homes Mary has designed—she found a 4-burner side-by-side range top. This one is by Foster for Bulthaup kitchens. This allows Chris & Mary to cook up gourmet meals without leaning over other simmering pots. According to them it really opens up the work space. AND you don’t have that small stretch of counter in the back that is impossible to clean. I love this solution!

Note the uniquely designed range hood. The strip along the bottom is a light and the seven long skinny panels above it swivel open individually when the vent is turned on.

Also by Bulthaup are the ingenious in-wall accessories, including this great little cookbook rest to the right of the range.

Appliances by Miele. Refrigerator (above) and Freezer (below) are cleanly hidden in the two right cabinets. There is ample space for the couple’s daily needs but they have a refrigerator in the basement for when they entertain large crowds or bring game birds home from a hunting trip.

a view from the sitting area into the wet bar

Three french-made Guinea hen sculptures adorn the buffet

The paintings that flank the doorway into the original part of the home are by Colorado artist Warren

The wet bar (a miniature full kitchen) equipped with sink, 2 small refrigerators and more storage—house the coffee-maker, microwave and toaster oven. The painting to the right of the window is by prominent Colorado artist, Molly Davis.

The wet bar (a miniature full kitchen) equipped with sink, 2 small refrigerators and more storage—house the coffee-maker, microwave and toaster oven.

Sink and counters by stone fabricator out of Bellows Falls, VT

the slick and hidden double-decker refrigerator in the wet bar

 

The front of the home. Still in progress as they landscape and build a stone wall to encapsulate what will be a robust herb and flower garden.

The entryway with sliding barn door

 

 

Rhinestone Retro Rehab

I rehabbed a few pairs of damaged vintage deco earrings today and made a cuff bracelet to match with a salvaged beaded appliqué from a beat-up vintage dress from Salvation Army.

Earrings: I removed both the clip-on backs and post backs from the 2 pairs of earrings, to start. With fine, but heavy weight fiber wire I strung the earrings together and fastened them to new, stainless steel (hypo-allergenic) earring hooks. Side story, my grandmother wore the long rhinestone-cluster ones—that look like lincoln center’s huge exterior chandeliers—to Nixon’s inaugural ball in the late 60’s. They are my absolute favorite but were both missing a bead at the top… and were clip-on.

 

Here’s what I did to make the bracelet:

 1. Using crazy glue I secured the beads around the edges and trimmed excess fabric and thread.
2. I traced the appliqué onto the back of a leather sample (I used turquoise for a pop of color) and cut the leather smaller by an eighth of an inch all the way around so that it would not show from the other side once bent into shape.
3. Using thick, heavy-duty woven art-hanging wire and a pair of wire cutters, I ran a spiral around the leather piece—with about a half-inch setback from the edges—and secured it in place with hot glue. (sorry, forgot to shoot his part!)
4. Once the wire was set in place on the leather, I ran a bead of hot glue around the outside edge of leather piece and several more lines along the center and then adhered it to the back of my beaded appliqué. I pressed firmly on both sides to secure them together.
5. Once glue had cooled and set completely, I bent the piece to form a cuff and fit it around my wrist an adjusted as necessary.

Swiss Miss

The living room with a narrow stairwell up to a small studio and DOLL ROOM!

Welcome to the home of Jorge & Katie Lengyel. You met them last Fall in my post about DIY Hypertufa Potting Containers (which would be a great project to do this weekend for your new plantings.) Jorge is an Argentinean gentleman and artist, Katie is Dutch with a passion for crafting, collecting, and anything Anglophile. Together they have built a petit chalet that is multi-cultural, very-colorful and eccentric beyond belief.

The home is situated on a shaded property that slopes towards sparkling Lake Mohawk in the beautiful and über-Swiss village of Sparta, NJ. Between Katie’s collections, Jorge’s ingenuity, and both of their vivid imaginations, they’ve built themselves a really unique and fantastical abode worthy only of fairytales and fables. I think you’ll agree that this feast for the eyes is like nothing you’ve ever seen in real life!

Wall of eclectic finds and projects including poster of Katie’s coveted Jim Morrison

Katie made this fabulous little ottoman. She used nozzles for legs as well. Such a fun piece.

Pie chest filled with china and adorned with kitsch galore

This is my favorite vignette in the house. Big porcelain basin in the kitchen with 2 faucets looks out onto their front porch and natural landscaping. The sill is covered in colorful toys, some as-is, some Katie’s hybrid sculptures.

 

To the left and right of the sink are these great and simple industrial racks that hold their drying dishes and everyday needs… and some kitsch of course

To the left and right of the sink are these great and simple industrial racks that hold their drying dishes and everyday needs… and some kitsch of course.

This kitchen cabinetry serves as both storage and a buffet for the dining room. Katie and Jorge cut thick felt trim for each shelf and attached it with decorative nail heads. This is one of the spots Katie displays her British wares

The silver is always polished and in use on the Anglo’d-out buffet in the dining room

A view from the den into the dining room and kitchen beyond. Two leather chairs in foreground face a cast iron potbelly stove and a TV. Very cozy spot on a cool night.

One of Katie & Jorge’s siamese cats, Hunter

Love this cage aux folles. Not something you see every day.

 

A quick peak into the bedroom. As you can see, this is where the blue & white china lives.

I even love her abundant perfume station (I too am a huge user of French perfumer Annick Goutal)… with a few nods to the motherland of course.

There is too much going on in Katie’s office (behind the living room stairs) to really show you in one photo, but here’s a little detail of the mix of things either waiting to be worked into one of her sculptures or just hanging around to keep her company while she works.

The powder room is incredible! The glossy, rich brown tiled walls reflect the gentle light that comes off the shell piece—that the couple made—for a really dramatic look.

The deluxe wet bar in their family room. Loads of lights spills in from the wall of doors that exit to the back porch.

A delicious little detail from above the wet bar

A detail of the ornately mosaic’d fireplace that Jorge made for Katie in their family room.

The breakfast table in their family room. As you can see, this room is all about the white and light collections

And antique china cupboard is flanked by two fabulous peeling columns.

A birdhouse collection hovers above the entertainment cupboard in the family room.

A detail of another collection in their almost-all-white family room.

 

This is Jorge about to do some gardening in the back yard. He built the home they live in. Detail of back porch in the background.

What I don’t even get to show you is the full master suite (i just give you a few details) with walk-in closet, 4-poster bead and steam shower; Jorge’s office upstairs; the creepy and magical doll room Katie has for her doll collection (too narrow to shoot); the full guest suite downstairs; the ornate herb storage wall-unit they have built leading to the basement off the kitchen; and the magnificent wrap-around back porch with abundant vintage planters (perhaps photographer friend Laura Moss will provide exterior for an upcoming post: she focused on the exterior of the home while I drooled over the interior.)

Re-soul a Slipper

Give new life to  garage sale find this weekend. Whether it be a new purchase from your Memorial Day weekend hunting or one of the pieces you’ve been hanging onto, just rip the bandaid off and do it. Here’s a quick slipper chair remodel I did in a few hours yesterday. All it entailed was a fresh coat of glossy spray paint, a piece of fabric and 2 samples of latex wall paint from my local hardware store. Directions below. Good luck and happy hunting this weekend!

Cut a piece of fabric large enough to wrap around and be stapled. Always give yourself a little extra.

I taped off o wide stripe down the center of the fabric. Measure from each side to make sure your pretty centered.

I brushed on white latex paint for a white edge

Then pink. If you want the lines to be perfect, let the white dry, then tape a new line for the pink. I wanted mine to be a little organic so i freehanded it

remove the tape and let it dry thoroughly

if you need to replace the foam, do so by tracing the seat onto the foam and then cut it out with scissors.

Once lined up precisely, glue your foam in place so that it doesn’t shift while you’re upholstering or in the future

I staple-gunned the fabric taught to the wooden seat, pulling the foam to a rounded edge along the sides of the cushion. Again, measure to make sure your stripe is centered and straight before you staple.

Et Voila! A new soul for your Slipper chair!


 

 

Mod Squad

I attended ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair) on Monday with the fabulous team from New York Spaces magazine. We scoured miles of isles in the vast Javitz Center (in NYC) looking for interesting, inspiring product and big-picture trends in the marketplace.
Here are a few notable designs that caught my attention at the show:

really wild extruded tiles that fit together like puzzle pieces. Roughly 7 inches deep if i remember correctly… Use them for walls, floors, exterior patios, outdoor shower floors that need good drainage… the possibilities are endless and these things are probably indestructible: strength in numbers. They are by eclectic and bohemian brand, Bespoke

Fun chair by Bend in collaboration with another artist. Great piece to get all you DIYers wheels turning…

Really beautiful hand-woven chandeliers by Naomi Paul. They are collapsable, so shipping and moving are not issues.

Was never a fan of Lladro, but they are doing some interesting things as of late. I really dig their “The Guest” collection, and in particular this one by artist, Rolito. Very funky.

 

Edgy (literally) large-scale chandeliers by Gabriel Scott. The metallic interiors glistened from within the matte-finished geometric shells. So fabulous and versatile. I can imagine in a number of scenarios, classic, modern and bohemian…

Perfect little ottomans by Gabriel Scott that screamed haberdashery and fine tailoring

Opulent shagreen-patterned wallpaper in a fish scale pattern by ShagreenArt Inc. So outrageous.

Flipped when I saw this snake china by the 2nd oldest (2nd to Meisen) china manufacturer in Europe, Augartem Wein. This pattern is by Gabrielle Rotherman and was inspired by her series of snake-themed fine art.

Fabulously simple white & silver giraffe wallpaper by Sissy + Marley. Would be great in a kid’s room (obviously) or a powder room or small space.

One of several large and outrageous lights by Fort Standard

There were so many incredible prints from Eskayel, I didn’t know what to shoot! They are just REALLY LIVABLE —yet funky—patterns. Very bohemian chic.

Incredible fixtures by Apparatus! Every single one was a stunner. The sconce on the lower right side—knocked my socks off and—is made with horse hair! They even have versions with black horse hair and enameled metal. I die…

Deluxe tropical wallpaper by Timorous Beasties. Dorothy Draper’s face would melt…

The Best Sink I have ever seen. From the Metrio System by Stone Forest. I want it all. I love how the hardware fits into the stone perfectly, the thick slab, the finish of the metal…it’s perfection… speechless. I want one.

Also flipped out when I saw these porcelain skull perfume atomizers by the 2nd oldest (2nd to Meisen) china manufacturer in Europe, Augartem Wein. This is the kind of perfume atomizer I’d have in my boudoir…

Delectable little bite-size thumb drives—by Beyond Object—that look like jewelry

 

 

 

 

Mansion in May Showhouse

Over the weekend I visited the Mansion In May designer showhouse. Attracting over 25,000 visitors annually (I swear there were that many there on Sunday alone) and charging $50/pp, this very well-organized event raises tens of thousands of dollars for the Morristown Medical Center and—according to the Co-Chair—is the highest grossing showhouse in the country.

This year’s mansion—the Blairsden Estate—is located in Peapack-Gladstone, New Jersey. Blairsden is an historic 62,000 square foot, 38-room (with 25 fireplaces and 19 bathrooms) Beaux-arts estate that was completed in 1903 as a country home for Clinton Ledyard Blair—an American investment banker, sportsman and commodore of the New York Yacht Club in his early 30’s—by prominent architectural firm Carrère and Hastings.

After the death of CLB in 1949 (at the age of 82,) Blairsden—with 50 acres of the original 550 acres—was sold for an estimated $65,000 to the Sisters of St. John the Baptist and renamed St. Joseph’s Villa.

According to Art & Architecture of New Jersey, the history of the Sisters’ stay had been considered mysterious with speculation about a series of murders [of orphans] at the mansion and questions about how the nuns ran the estate. [Much to my dismay,] these rumors have been put to rest through correspondence with a former member of the Sisters of St. John the Baptist. [She confirms that] St. Joseph’s Villa was run as a retreat house open to anyone who cared to visit. It was never operated as a hotel or orphanage. Supposedly the only shooting with even a distant connection to the Sisters of St. John the Baptist occurred at the James Pierpont Morgan mansion in Glen Cove, Long Island. J.P. Morgan himself was shot in the leg at this estate, but the wound was not fatal. Sisters who made their novitiate there remember speaking of the “JP Morgan murder” which was a myth, since the famous millionaire was not murdered.

In 2002, the Sisters sold the property to the Foundation for Classical Architecture which has since been carefully restoring the house and grounds. They, in turn, sold the estate in 2012 for $4.5 million to a private owner identified by local officials as T. Eric Galloway (a NY developer and President of the Lantern Organization.) 50+ interior designers and landscape designers have spent the past few months bringing their assigned spaces in Blairsden to their original glory and beyond. Here’s a taste of my favorite highlights of the showhouse. You can still see the home until May 31, 2014.

Skylight in James Yarosh’s sun-filled central, upstairs gallery

Sitting area in BHE Studio’s salon/tea room.

Great wallpaper in BHE Studio’s Tea Bar

sitting area in Houndstooth Interior Design’s kid’s room. It was fun and colorful, yet refined and elegant.

CW&I’s “deco in bloom” guest bedroom. I wanted to dive into this deluxe bed

My favorite piece by a popular Russian artist who’s name has escaped me. The subject in the painting is the Daughter of Peter the great. This was in Elizabeth Guest’s lovely room

 

For these and more photos scroll through my slideshow:

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Hampton Designer Showhouse


Mark your calendars decor deal-finders and haute-hunters! Only one more week to go until Traditional Home’s annual Hampton Designer Showhouse has their online auction! A handful of special items from each designer will be auctioned off… and (a portion of) the proceeds will benefit Southampton Hospital.

A few weekends ago, my husband Ryerson and I attended the Gala Preview Party for the debut of the 2013 Hampton Designer Showhouse. The party was lively, the cocktails were flowing, the crowd was very glamorous and the interior design was exceptional.

Though we did not get to meet him, we saw Thom Felicia (if you look closely at the picture above, you’ll see him checking in). Upon arrival, we decided to see the house before checking out the outdoor party—which turned out to be a good game plan—and we moved through each room and meet all the designers with ease and sans traffic.

After passing through Celerie Kemble‘s grand but restful master bedroom, I spotted idol and decor celeb (and Honorary Showhouse Chairman), Mario Buatta. I immediately turned red and noted the lack of AC in the house. I’ve met Mr. Buatta probably 3 or 4 times now, but have never managed to have a satisfying conversation over the sound of my chattering teeth. This time was no better… He had an absurdly robust plume of chest hair protruding from the top of his neckline—normally buttoned and bow-tied—that I fought hard not to make eye-contact with while I reintroduced myself. I explained that I had just written a magazine column on him and his new retrospective (Mario Buatta: Fifty Years of American Interior Decoration, published by Rizzoli) that is about to come out. He seemed amused watching as I struggled with his practical joke (see photos below, it was indeed faux chest hair that came out later in the party). We parted ways—me reeling from missed opportunities of composure and humor—and bee-lined it for the bar.

The back yard was abustle with a lively, quintessential Hamptons summer party crowd. After procuring a cocktail, we had the pleasure of bumping into another of my interior design idols, Vicente Wolf, and his friend (also a well-known interior designer) Matthew Yee. We were engaging in a nice little chat (everything my Buatta conversation was not) until—out of nowhere—Vicente & Matthew sprang away! Before I could worry about what I’d said, the lawn sprinkler soaked my lower half, and I too leapt backwards (before it got my white silk shirt) and watched in shock as women (and men) screamed and ran. Gowns got soaked, seersucker wilted, and white linen pants became see-through. It was hilarious. And a blessing in disguise? I think so: it was over 100°F and wildly humid out.

After that, it was time to go. Plenty of excitement for one decor party night.


ABOVE: Lillian August‘s cheerful and punchy dining room. I love the painting on the back wall by Julie Headland.
BELOW: Bakes and Company‘s kitchen with outrageous countertops and custom refrigerators and freezer drawers (shown bottom left). Hot!

Below (3 photos) of Patricia Fisher Design‘s sitting area and breakfast nook. The saffron and light grey with pops of bright green were a refreshing and inviting combo.


Below (2) photos taken from upstairs of the guests cruising through the entry foyer by Michael Herold Design, and the living room by Brian del Toro Inc.

Brady Design‘s beautiful and serene guest room/tv room. The hand-crafted mattress upholstered in baby alpaca was the inspiration for the room, as it could be used as a lounge during the winter OR covered with sheets during the guest-ing season.

Alan Court & Associates‘s (Alan shown below) created a stunning guest bath with stone and leather walls! I had to touch.

Barbara Page Home‘s playful guest room overlooking the backyard had dramatic photography from Robin Rice Gallery

Celerie Kemble‘s master bedroom with charcoal seagrass walls and pops of turquoise and blue hues.
The charming Mr. Mario Buatta, before and after my chest shrug run-in. I guess he got too hot! Here’s a link to the piece I wrote about his book that comes out in September

Below is my favorite room in the house, by Bradley Stephens, Stephens Design Group (photo courtesy of KDHamptons.com). These masculine quarters share a 2-sided fireplace with the master bedroom and the ceiling (though you can’t tell from the photo) covered in a fabulous, distressed-wood wallpaper. Bradley said it was a painstaking job, but added so much to the room that it was worth the effort. The room was eclectic and handsome and had a wonderful mix of art and artifacts, including an dissected lobster, similar to one I saw a few years back in the world-famous taxidermist, Deyrolle (one of my favorite places in Paris).

Michael Mariotti’s glamorous master bath with patterned seagrass walls, ornate tiling, and a beautiful leather bench with flocatti throw.

Sherrill Canet Interior’s Morroccan-inspired family room for Pearson (where all the furniture and textiles are from). Sherrill laid all the mirrors out on the ground in the middle of a market in Morrocco in order to visualize them in this comfortable and graphic room!

Ken Gemes’s casual outdoor dining area facing the backyard party

The lively outdoor party

One of the aforementioned fashion-foiling sprinklers (below left); and the guests running from the scene (below right). My sad, wet, bejeweled shoes (not shown)
Click here for Editor at Large’s video coverage of the event with Traditional Home’s stylish Tory Mellot (who I worked w/at Elle Decor) doing interviews.
To read about other fabulous Hamptons events (and laugh hysterically), check out my cousin Ted Kruckel’s most recent BizBash column, “This Year’s Hamptons Events: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous”

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Bring the Ikat to the Beach

I’m so honored to announce that the glamorous online retailer, One Kings Lane, is featuring my ikat pattern for their Artist Edition Beach Towel Series this week! I custom designed the classically-inspired ikat pattern for them, and I think it looks just randy in aqua! They look great folded, rolled, over a towel bar, peeking out of a beach bag, wrapped around your hips, wrapped around your kid, and so on!

Click here to purchase on One Kings Lane.
The sale ends tomorrow, Friday July 12, at 11am and will not be available after that.

Let me know what you think! xx Mere

Thoughts on the Viceroy Anguilla


Four years ago, my husband & I spent an idyllic honeymoon in Anguilla (at the Cap Juluca resort)—a deluxe slice of paradise in the British West Indies—so to say I’d been aching to get back since is the understatement of a lifetime. I had also yet to see the much-anticipated and very controversial Viceroy Anguilla; that happens to be decorated by one of my favorite designers, Kelly Wearstler. After recently meeting with the sweet, petit duo (Kelly Wearstler & mogul husband Brad Korzan)—while doing some creative consulting for them—I was even more compelled.

Getting to Anguilla is an adventure on it’s own. If you don’t have a PJ or a small fortune to fly to the island directly, you can (do what I’ve done twice now) and catch a reasonable direct flight to St. Martin. You land in the Dutch side of St. Martin, go through customs, take a half-hour cab to the French side of the same island, go through customs, take a 45-min boat ride to Anguilla, go through British customs, and then you’ve got a 15-minute drive. The streets are not well marked and everyone gives you directions by way of “large tree” or “old stone church”, but there are so few roads, it’s almost impossible to get lost.

The Viceroy is at the west end of the island in an area called Meads Bay. After about 15 minutes of dusty roads speckled with modest shelters, the sight of the grand Viceroy entrance is a startling one. In perfect mid-century-glam Wearstler-fashion, large slabs of marble, smooth waterfalls and pedestals-of-fire lure you into the enclave and deliver instant chills: of fear and excitement.


Upon arrival, you are swallowed into a dark, ornate lobby—robust with decorative bobbles—and then spat out into a vast, sun-drenched colonnade of empire palms flanked by two marble halls that direct you out to the water’s edge. Jutting out from the top of a craggy reef cliff, sits the head of the Viceroy. Waves crash up against the rocks from below and (if you’re a Bond girl) you can’t help but think ‘ooh, villain lair!’.

According to forthcoming Anguillans, this particular part of the main structure was so impulsively built that during storms large waves pound right into the main restaurant, Coba, and flood the space—damaging the exquisite decor and custom furniture—regularly. Adventurous diners have reportedly requested the up-close experience at the risk of being abandoned and soaked. This phenomenon comes as pure amusement to some locals whom dreaded the construction of the resort from the get-go: native Anguillans and visitors alike covet Anguilla for it’s serenity and small-town-security, so such a large compound threatened the volume of outsiders coming to the island.

A cucumber-infused-vodka bloody mary (in an alligator-skin seat at the Sunset Lounge bar) and the alluring infinity pool nearby will help you forget this dichotomy immediately. As it turns out, the private pool-side cabanas and spa are not to be missed either. And if you get a spa treatment, you are welcome to use to the private patio & pool that overlooks the ocean: it’s incredibly sexy! I’d also recommend dinner at Coba: the view is to die for, the food is excellent, and the sound of the crashing waves is energizing.

A member of the delightful and attentive staff gave us a tour of the lodging options at the resort. Each room and suite is meticulously decorated a la Wearstler, and with great attention to privacy. The Residences (villas & townhouse) are delicious, multi-suite, beach-front homes equipped with pools, to-die-for outdoor showers, gigantic bathrooms, and gorgeous professional kitchens.

Although we found that most of the seating in the resort is challenging to actually sit in (exhibit A, shown below), I was pleased to see the beachy-take on some of Wearstler’s signature pieces—like the seagrass-upholstery on her typically leather Souffle Chair. I was impressed that she was not only able to blend her rock ‘n roll signature with the natural surroundings, but also make them sing. With all the opulent lounging, dining, bathing and recreational options at The Viceroy Anguilla, the guests will never want for more (nor a flight home)… but maybe just one more cucumber-infused bloody mary…

MY ANGUILLA RECOMMENDATIONS:
Rental car: Bass Car Rental. They can meet you at your hotel or ferry. Beats catching super-pricey cabs everywhere. And it’s so fun to be able to freely explore the whole island.
Fishing: If you like hard-core deep-sea fishing, take a day-trip with local fisherman, “Nature Boy” Webster. His family (of Irish decent, though you’d never know from his sun-kissed skin) has been living on Anguilla for 300 years. He’s a fascinating guy to spend the day with.
Dining: Don’t miss Veya, Straw Hat, Blanchard’sBlanchard’s Beach Shack (is the best bang for buck on the island). Le Bon Pain Bakery makes the best cafe latte, baguettes, sandwiches and pastries on the island.
Don’t Miss: Bankie Banx Dune Preserve beach bungalow/bar. It’s the funkiest place you’ll ever see (treehouse meets shipwreck) and Bankie is one cool ass, sexy ol’ rasta. They regularly have live music, and make great drinks & bbq.
Sandy Island: an incredibly beautiful & tiny island about a half mile off the shore of Anguilla. Pack a book, some serious sunblock, snorkeling gear and your wallet and go for the afternoon. They have a hut with a nearly-full bar and a great seafood menu, but other than that, it’s just sand and water. You can catch a shuttle boat from the dock in Sandy Ground (ask the bar tender at Johnno’s: they will keep you rum-punched-up until the boat arrives to pick you up).

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