Guest Bath Makeover

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Here’s a good weekend project for you to tackle on this Saturday morning:
Breathe new life into that awful bathroom you have been aching to change.
Because I used a few items I already had, I only spent $150 to transform my guest bath in one weekend.

Here were my steps for the Guest Bath Transformation:
1. I removed wallpaper (Supplies: $30)
2. patched, primed, painted walls (I chose a cool grey so it would look nice with the existing green stone countertop. Paint: $50)
3. cabinetry: removed hardware, filled holes, and sanded the cabinets lightly all over
4. rubbed the cabinets with the wall color on a rag & let it dry
5. sanded the cabinets to the desired amount of distressed
6. drilled holes for new hardware and installed (New hardware: $40)
7. got bath mats to mask the flooring that I didn’t replace (New bath mats: $30)
8. hung a reclaimed wood mirror (that used to hang on the porch of my last house) over the existing mirror (you could do this with just a frame as well. Restoration Hardware Mirror: $$)
9. leaned an oversized photograph at the far end of the bath for drama (Garage sale from artist $20)
10. used a freestanding towel rack I already had for a little old world charm (Waterworks Towel Rack $$)

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Art Southampton 2014

Over the weekend, I went to Art Southampton, the premier international contemporary and modern art fair that took place at the peak of the season in the Hamptons. The show featured more than 75 international art galleries with a strong focus on works from the 20th & 21st  centuries. Contrary to some other large art fairs like this, there was an abundance of really impressive work. Here are some of my favorites from the show. Enjoy!

Jackson Fine Art: Vee Speers (left) an Christian Chaize (right)

Jackson Fine Art: Christian Chaize

amazing flameworked milk glass by Amber Cowan. Made from antique pieces of milk glass and new details an then fuzed together

amazing flameworked milk glass by Amber Cowan. Made from antique pieces of milk glass and new details an then fuzed together

triptych by Lluis Barba: The Cynthia Corbett Gallery

Smoke and graphite piece by Rachael Nee: Cube Gallery

a show-stopping (and huge) painting by Wolf Kahn shown by Birnam Wood Galleries

My favorite of the show. Large painting by Juliane Hundertmark, represented by the artist’s own gallery, Galerie Juliane Hundertmark

These were amazing! Sang-Sik Hong constructed these out of thousands of straws!! They were so beautiful in person. Photos not doing them justice. Gamo Gallery

These were amazing! Sang-Sik Hong constructed these out of thousands of straws!! They were so beautiful in person. Photos not doing them justice. Gamo Gallery

small erie painting by Alexey Terenin at the Mayer Fine Art booth

Absolutely love this set of 12 plates by Damien Hirst. Each one unique from his butterfly grid paintings series

Absolutely love this set of 12 plates by Damien Hirst. Each one unique from his butterfly grid paintings series

Another favorite from the show. This pastel on paper by Kelly Reemtsen (Debuck Gallery) was so fabulous! the artist’s rendering skills are undeniable and the colors and subject matter as so juicy and twisted. Love it!

A detail from a pastel on paper by Kelly Reemtsen (Debuck Gallery) Love how she renders hands. Beautiful form!

Painting by Elaine de Kooning

insanely imaginative feather-covered taxidermy by Enriquez Gomez Demolina at Pan America Art Projects’ booth. This one with full peacock tail and vibrant feather armor.

insanely imaginative feather-covered taxidermy by Enriquez Gomez Demolina at Pan America Art Projects’ booth. This one with feather body (think Falcor from Never Ending Story) and hints of periwinkle in the fur

insanely imaginative feather-covered taxidermy by Enriquez Gomez Demolina at Pan America Art Projects’ booth. These 3 divas were hairy and hilarious!!

insanely imaginative feather-covered taxidermy by Enriquez Gomez Demolina at Pan America Art Projects’ booth. Details from the 3 divas

Artists & Galleries mentioned above:

Vee Speers & Christian Chaize, Jackson Fine Art
Amber Cowan
Lluis Barba, Cynthia Corbett Gallery
Rachael Nee, Cube Gallery
Wolf Kahn, Birnam Wood Galleries
Juliane Hundertmark
Hong Sang-Sik, Gamo Gallery
Alexey Terenin, Mayer Fine Art
Damien Hirst, ARCHEUS/POST-MODERN
Kelly Reemtsen, De buck Gallery
Enriquez Gomez Demolina, Pan America Art Projects

Hamptons Designer Showhouse 2014

Saturday was Traditional Home’s annual Gala Preview Cocktail Party for the Hamptons Designer Showhouse, benefiting Southampton Hospital. As always, it was a vibrant and summery event with beautiful interiors and an attractive & interesting crowd. I was thrilled to meet Jamie Drake for the first time and gabbed with my favorite charmer Mario Buatta. Below are a mix of some of my favorite rooms and details.. and some I thought you might enjoy!

The Hamptons Designer Showhouse is open daily Monday to Sunday, July 20 through Monday, September 1. Hours: 11AM to 5PM. Admission is $35 and includes a Journal. For more info and directions click here.

A detail from the dining room by Mecox Design Services. One of two Slim Aarons photographs above consoles flank the door from the foyer.

A detail from the dining room by Mecox Design Services

Kitchen cabinets by Ciuffo Cabinetry

Living room by Lillian August

Details from the living room by Lillian August

A view in the study by Greg McKenzie Design. Note the embroidered wallpaper detail.

Delicious details from the study by Greg McKenzie Design

Detail from the study by Greg McKenzie Design

A playful powder room by Melanie Roy Design

A view in Henry Co Design’s colorful and fun upstairs lounge

Henry Co Design’s colorful and fun upstairs lounge

A detail from Henry Co Design’s colorful and fun upstairs lounge

Katie Leede and Company’s eclectic guest bedroom

A detail from Katie Leede and Company’s eclectic guest bedroom

A detail from Katie Leede and Company’s eclectic guest bath. I LOVE this artwork signed “LBall2012″

Details from Gil Walsh’s upstairs office

A detail from Gil Walsh’s upstairs office

Mabley Handler Interior Design’s striking bedroom

Details from Kate Singer Home’s guest bedroom

A view into the canopied bed in Phoebe Howard’s bedroom

Details of the canopied bed in Phoebe Howard’s bedroom

A details from Phoebe Howard’s bedroom. I really like this piece.

Punchy master bedroom by Tobi Fairley and Associates

More views in the master bedroom by Tobi Fairley and Associates (Tobi on left)

A detail from the master bedroom by Tobi Fairley and Associates

Four watercolors by Mark Humphrey adorn the upstairs hall

A view from the master bedroom balcony onto the back yard where the party was about to pick up (I shot this before most of the crowd showed up)

Wonderful little guesthouse with pergolas on either side (this is the back). Exterior spaces by designer Caleb Anderson Design

Links to the designers shown above:

Mecox Design Services
Ciuffo Cabinetry
Lillian August
Greg McKenzie
Melanie Roy
Henry and Co Design
Katie Leede
Gil Walsh
Mabley Handler Interior Design
Kate Singer
Phoebe Howard
Tobi Fairley
Caleb Anderson

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

 

 

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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Beneath the Surface

Talented photographer and dear friend, Laura Moss, has made her work available to the tasteful masses at last! Via FotoFoam, you can now purchase her large-scale prints and they will arrive mounted, framed to your liking, and ready to hang.

Her recent underwater photography is gorgeous and ultra-saturated (double-entendre): some polished and bright, others eery and beautiful. I spent a water-logged day with Laura last summer swimming around in floor-length gowns (a few shown below), which was certainly a unique and hilarious way to spend a hot afternoon.

Here’s a sampling of Laura’s underwater work: definitely a nice design solution for adding color to a room in one fell swoop. And I think you’ll find that FotoFoam’s framing options are incredibly chic and—according to their site—time-tested and made with the best materials.

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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Affordable Art Fair NYC: The Editor’s Cut

I had the privilege of checking out the Affordable Art Fair this morning before it was opened up to the public later in the day (thanks to HGTV & Antonio Ballatore‘s sneak preview lunch). Here were the absolute highlights (for me) and they might still be for sale if you hurry! (hover over each photo for the artists’ names)

DIY Decorative Wall Treatment

Less is More! This is a simple and easy concept for a wall treatment—perfect for rooms that already have enough going on.
I cut rough 8″ squares of reclaimed wood, whitewashed them with matte paint, laid them out on on the floor to make a template and then nailed them right through the center into the wall with 3″ nails. I left the nails protruding (by 1–2″) to give the overall look a little more texture—the shadows at different times of the day give it a little depth and movement.

Beauty of the Barnes


After years of efforts to resolve financial problems (or some say years of scandal—see the documentary The Art of the Steal), the famous Barnes Foundation will (as of May 19, 2012) relocate to a new site—on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in the heart of Phili—from it’s historic home in the suburb of Merion.

It was founded in 1922 by Albert C. Barnes, a chemist who collected art after making a fortune by co-developing an antimicrobial drug. Today, the foundation (curated by Barnes himself) possesses more than 2,500 objects—including 800 paintings—estimated to be worth about $25 billion.
Here are some of my favorites.