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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Plein and simple? Not quite…

International design hottie, Philipp Plein, had a gorgeous showroom at MAISON et OBJET this year—no surprise as the man is the guru for sleek-rock-n’-roll-bachelor. Hovering above a glamorous bedroom scape, was the most magnificent chandelier I have ever seen and I had one of those “damn, I wish I’d thought of that!” moments, followed by a “why hasn’t that been done before—it’s perfection” moments. Peppered into a seemingly classic, though giant, all-white Murano glass chandelier are little Murano skulls (see below). AMAZING!

At the time I didn’t realize I was speaking with Plein himself nor was I (yet) aware of his affinity for the skull (as a shape and graphic), but—I know now—from his sheer use of the skull throughout his brand that he practically owns the rights to it—the way Missoni owns flame stitch—or at least he hopes to soon.

After walking away from the elegant man-space, I was like why don’t I know anything about this Philipp Plein? Turns out his current celebrity muse is Lindsay Lohan, which is exactly why I don’t know anything about him. Regardless, the fine German fellow is only 32 years old and has a huge fashion and decor empire based out of Amriswil, Switzerland. He’s got glossy, white shops in several major cities around the world (including Saint Tropez, Moscow, and one coming soon to New York and Hong Kong), where he carries some of his eleven different lifestyle categories: fashion for men, women & children, luggage, accessories; a home collection with indoor & outdoor furniture, decor accessories, dog accessories, lightning, and even a riding saddle.

For a quick run-through of how cool this man is: at his very recent store opening in Duesseldorf, Germany (store photos above, note the giant Swarovski crystal skull), he was hanging out with the likes of Adrien Brody, there are rumors of him owning the 60-year-old and famous Munich night club, P1 (located inside the Haus der Kunst museum), and one of his newest stores (in Versilia, Italy) he designed in collaboration with very cool Milan-based architectural and design studio, AquiliAlberg.

All in all, the man is pretty fabulous—I’m jealous—but I’m still most impressed with the oversize white Murano skull chandelier I saw first hand in Paris.

I’d kill for a set of Morrels…

At Maison et Objet in Paris—the mind-bogglingly huge, biannual world decor show— this year I was enamored with the work of Frédérique Morrel, the co-partnership of married couple Frédérique Morrel & Aaron Levin (shown below in full regalia).

Based out of Paris—where Frédérique was born (Aaron, originally of Topeka, Kansas)—they create these elaborate, whimsical pieces made of any combination of foam, fur, tapestry and horn. They “like [to use] materials that tell stories of simple, ideal happiness, and that have been caressed by many hands” and are inspired by “Adam & Eve, The Graden of Eden, Temptation, Original Sin, The Fall of Man, Paradise Lost, Deluge, Apocalypse, Noah’s Ark, Redemption, Re-birth, Vanities, and Veneration.” My kind of people!

Bergdorf Goodman featured several of their pieces in their holiday windows this year (shown far below in my previous post about NYC holiday window décor) with MIU-MIU and Oscar de la Renta.

The creative duo, Frédérique Morrel, has solo shows coming up this year in the Galerie Art to Design in Bologna and at the Galerie Libertine in Brussels.

Shagreen & Ivory: stuff dreams are made of

This Chiffonnier by Andre Groult is still one of my favorite pieces in The Museé Des Arts Décoratifs (also my favorite museum) in Paris. The ultra-feminine piece is an Art Deco twist on the bombe style (referring to it’s bulging design) that Groult designed for his “Chambre de Madame” (shown below) at the 1925 World’s Fair in Paris. The chiffonier is veneered in the most stunning, cream-colored shagreen, applied in a radiating pattern over a beechwood & mahogany structure, and completed with ivory fittings. It lives in a non-prominent corner of the museum, and if you’re not looking for it, you could actually miss it!

Many creatives have found inspiration in Groult’s work, but none more literally than that of designer Marc Newson. In 1987 he designed this “Pod of Drawers”—with fiberglass-reinforced polyester resin core and blind-riveted sheet aluminum—that is such an affirmation of appreciation for Groult’s 1925 piece.

Space-age Sips

On Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris, one of the most fashionable streets in the world, the somewhat-modest-looking (from the outside anyway) Mandarin Oriental has a gorgeous bar (Bar 8) worth popping into for a cocktail. You’ll walk in along a corridor of suspended lights that look like rain (well, dream-rain, from the future). Centered in the room is a large marble bar, with a sculpted brass ceiling that bows to meet it. Glass-top tables dotted with tiny lights are filled with ambiguous bourgeoisie and the wooden walls are inlaid with Lalique crystals that glisten in the dim lighting. You swear there is a record deal happening but feet away in the enchanting, tree-filled courtyard… but wait…huge headphones are an accessory these days, aren’t they…

When you think you can be awed no more, you’ll sip from your husband’s specialty cocktail (that the bartender made love to while you watched and  properly torched the sugar and absinthe before dusting the top with gold leaf tear drops) and wish you hadn’t saved the $2 by ordering a $38 glass of prosecco. (To offset the cost of this extravagance, we recommend absconding with the olive skewers and cocktail napkins—which, by the way—my husband is now using as a pocket square. Seriously…)

Thankfully (for our wallets), Sur Mesure, Thierry Marx‘s (you may recognize him from Top Chef) incredibly gorgeous restaurant on the premises was closed that night, but it’s also definitely worth a peek, if they’ll let you. It’s a minimalist, modern cocoon of a space and I can only imagine the mind-blowing flavors, sounds and smells that fill it on a busy night.

Corsican delights… in Paris

My husband and I had one of the best meals of our lives, by chance. Our odds were probably good, as we were walking through the Jardin du Palias Royale in Paris when we happened upon the dimly-lit, gorgeous and cozy restaurant with low, vaulted, brick ceilings. Casa Luna is the name. A fine mix of Corsican and French cuisine. Seriously interesting use of tomato, cucumber and eggplant in the dishes to create startlingly complex and unexpected flavors.

We started with a grilled squid tower layered with creamy, roasted eggplant, tomato and heaven. Husband had duck that was to die for and I had lamb (a cut i’ve never seen…like a steak) with figs and a base of tomato (treated in a way that was so simple yet so different). When we thought we could be stunned no more, the hazlenut pudding with hazlenut gelato, hazlenut cream, and roasted & candied hazlenuts put us into a coma. We were pleasantly awoken by the classic Corsican aperitif, Mirto—known for its strong herbal flavor—which is made from the myrtle plant through the maceration of the berries berries and leaves.