Thursday, April 30, 2009

Outdoor Lounging

I know in admitting this I will incur the wrath of many of my fellow New Yorkers, but here goes: my apartment building has a lovely roof deck with teak chairs, chaises, and tables. As penance, anyone reading this is invited over anytime. Now that the weather has finally warmed up I've been spending more time up on the roof, and it's great eating dinner by the candlelight of a lantern. There is however one BIG problem. Approximately 15 minutes on a chair or chaise, and your tailbone starts to kill! Teak is great and all for outdoor furniture but comfy it most definitely is not. Solution: CUSHIONS!

Of course I immediately had visions of a chic box chaise cushion in one of  Trina Turk's new outdoor fabrics for Schumacher, with maybe a contrast welt thrown in for fun. Alas, a custom job just isn't in the cards right now, so I turned to some of my favorite outdoor sources and found you can put together some pretty chic and cheap combos, no upholsterer required. 

Moroccan Lounger
Chaise Cushion: $129, Ballard Designs; Pillow: $22.11 set of 2, Walmart; Lantern: $20,  Jamali Garden

Nautical Lounger
Chair Cushion: $210, Restoration Hardware; Pillow: $32, Pottery Barn; Lanterns: $15, $12, Jamali Garden

Tailored Modern Lounger

Chaise Cushion: $129, Ballard Designs; Pillow: $75, Charleston Garden; Lantern: $9.95, Crate & Barrel

Upper East Side Lounger

Chair Cushion: $199, Ballard Designs; Pillow: $12.99, Ballard Designs; Lantern: $59.95, CB2

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Granny Style

My grandmother was the most stylish woman I've ever met. Her style mantras included: you can never own too much costume jewelry, Friday hair appointments are always kept, and never let them see you without your "face" on. It seems fitting somehow that fashion is finally taking some cues from these older and wiser ladies who taught us what life and style are all about.

Fashion: Luella Bartley, S/S 09; Needlepoint Pillow: Jonathan Adler; Travel Case: J.Crew; Lamp: Barbara Cosgrove; Glasses: Kate Spade; Handkerchief: Neue Galerie; Dress: Madras by A.P.C. from Bird; Brooches: Bloomingdale's; Dinnerware: Royal Copenhagen from Moss ; Sandals: Dale's Shoes; Card Game: Noun

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Recipe: Ramps

There's always a bit of a buzz here in New York during ramp season. In case you're not familiar with them, ramps are wild spring leeks that are in season for about a month at the beginning of spring. For most of us, having ramps arrive at the local farmer's market signifies that spring has really sprung, and it seems every restaurant you go to has a special on the menu involving ramps. Ben introduced me to them when we first moved here to New York and we've used them in pastas, on pizzas, in risottos, frittatas, and of course, just on their own as a delicious vegetable side. This dish is one of my favorites because it's easy and involves very few ingredients, which really lets you enjoy these fleeting veggies to their fullest. 

Linguine with Ramps

1 1/2 tablespoon coarse salt 
1 pound dry linguine
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces fresh ramps, white root ends and green leafy tops separated
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup breadcrumbs, toasted
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving

*Cleaning your ramps: trim the tip of the root end and starting at the beginning of the green part, pull the outer layer down toward the bulb end, revealing the clean, white bulb. Rinse very well and store in the refrigerator wrapped in paper towel inside a ziploc bag.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt to the water. Add your linguine and cook according to the directions on the package or until al dente. Meanwhile, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat for about 3 minutes, and add 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Add the root ends of the ramps and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the leafy green tops, red pepper flakes, and 1/2 tablespoon of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until well wilted. Add to the pan your drained pasta and 1/4 cup or so of the pasta water, and toss until well coated. Off the heat, add the parmesan. Top each serving with a little more freshly grated parmesan and a sprinkling of the toasted breadcrumbs. 

Monday, April 27, 2009

Clic Bookstore & Gallery

One of my favorite new downtown discoveries is Clic Bookstore & Gallery, Christiane Celle's post-Calypso venture. In this tiny but well designed space is an amazing selection of photography and art books that you're welcome to peruse to your heart's content. Whether you're into the classics like Avedon, Penn, and Adams, or a lover of more obscure fare like Lyle Owerko and Wolfgang Ludes, Clic will undoubtedly have something you'll be unable to leave the store without. It's currently located at 189 Lafayette, but a larger location is due to open any day at 424 Broome Street.

That area is filled with incredible stores and when I'm in need of some inspiration, my usual route is as follows: up Broadway to Opening Ceremony and Ted Muehling on Howard, then on to Crosby and De Vera, BDDW, and Michele Varian, right on Grand and left on Lafayette to Clic, and finally, Aero on Broome. God I love living in New York!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Project: Faux Built-In Bookcase

The Inspiration:
My inspiration for this project came from a visit to the offices of the fabulous Bunny Williams for a preview of her BeeLine Home Collection. I have to say, that woman is way wise. The entire Domino team sat mesmerized by her words of wisdom for quite some time. Anyway, in one of the rooms she had attached beautiful gilded molding to an ordinary wall of built-in bookcases, which resulted in the gorgeousness above. I can't remember exactly where she'd found her molding, but suffice to say it wasn't exactly from Home Depot. It got me thinking about what a little molding might do for my simple BILLY bookcases from IKEA.

The Project:
This project turns four boring IKEA BILLY bookcases into one huge wall of storage that has all the panache of a built-in, minus the lofty price tag. 

-bookcases you want to join together (should be matching)
-column of pilaster molding - you'll need multiples depending on how many bookcases you're joining together
-crown molding - two pieces per pilaster column, cut to the same width as the pilaster
-wood glue
-paint that matches your bookcases
-paint supplies (i.e. brush and tray)

Putting It Together
1. Glue your crown molding pieces to the top and bottom of your pilaster column and allow to dry. 

2. Slap a couple coats of paint on the entire column and allow to dry. 

(Note: When you're at the lumber or hardware store buying your pilaster column and crown molding pieces, be sure to ask for MDF rather than something pricey like oak in order to keep the cost down. Also, make sure you measure the overall height of your bookcase and bring it with you. Your pilaster column plus the crown molding piece at the top and bottom will need to add up to the height of your bookcase. )

3. Using wood glue, adhere your pilaster column in between the bookcases you're joining together, making sure the flat edges on the back of the column meet with the flat front of the bookcases. Follow the directions of the wood glue regarding drying time. That's it! 

(Note: If you're using BILLY bookcases from IKEA, then this next step is just for you. The front edge of these beauties isn't actually wood, it's plastic so your wood glue won't work - trust me, I learned this one the hard way. In order to peel the front side off to get to the wood, find the seam at the top and wedge a flat head screwdriver in using a hammer. Once it begins to separate, just pull down and the whole thing comes off like a ribbon, exposing the wood beneath. )



The cost for this project really depends on how big of a bookcase you want. I bought two more BILLY Bookcases to go with the two I already had for $59.99 each, and my molding, wood glue, paint and supplies came in around $100. If you'd like more specifics, shoot me an email and I'd be happy to send you my full write-up of the project. 

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ruffle Mirror

I've been obsessed with the Niermann Weeks "Cape Linden" mirror for ages and ages. I love the Art Deco, Jean Michel Frankiness of the shape and the beautiful craftsmanship of the resin. The uber-high price tag however was totally out of my reach, and so the dream of hanging one of my very own in my tiny apartment was short lived. 

HELLLLOOO Atoll Mirror! Ballard Designs has their own version of the "Cape Linden" (okay fine, it's a total knockoff, but times they are a tough) that is every bit as generous in size and comes with a lovely $299 price tag. The dream lives!!

Top image from Domino, July/August 2006


My wonderful boyfriend Ben is currently in his second year of medical school at NYU and has been teaching a cooking class for his fellow med students. A few years back he went to the Institute of Culinary Education here in NYC and did a stint at Per Se, so, needless to say, he really knows his way around the kitchen. Seeing as how I have some extra time on my hands since Domino folded, I've been recipe testing for him and enjoying every second. I feel just like Julia Child each time I make a notation of something I think he should add to make the recipe easier to follow for novices like myself. The dishes he has put together are really fantastic and super simple. This first one I tried totally blew me away because it resulted in a bowl of cauliflower so delicious, I stood in our kitchen and devoured the entire thing. Seriously, when's the last time you ate an entire bowl of cauliflower! It would make a perfect side dish for a dinner party and I love the yellow color the cauliflower gets from the turmeric. Enjoy!!

Spiced Cauliflower with Breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups cauliflower, cut into small, 1-inch florets (about 3/4 head)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 cup coarse breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat for about 3 minutes, and then add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the cauliflower and shake the pan to evenly distribute into one layer. Cook, without stirring, until browned slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining olive oil, garlic, chili flakes, cumin, turmeric, breadcrumbs, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, many grinds of black pepper, and toss to coat. Continue to cook until cauliflower is tender but retains some bite, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add the sherry vinegar, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, toss together, and serve. 

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dossier Shop

Dossier Shop, 244 DeKalb Avenue (between Vanderbilt and Claremont Aves), Fort Greene, 718.783.0783

In general, I would say my five main interests include design, food, fashion, art, and literature, though not necessarily in that order. How convenient that Dossier should open a store in Fort Greene that hits on all of the above. In case you haven't picked up a copy yet, Dossier is the biannual fashion and arts journal whose contents are compiled under the assumption that people who care about fashion and art also care about literature, food, design, and music (I'm a bit of a music neophyte myself but I'm working on it). Open Tuesday to Sunday, 12-7, Dossier Shop carries clothing by APC, Bless, high-end vintage pieces, jewelry by the amazing Pamela Love, small-run art books put out by independent presses, handmade stationary, artist monographs, prints and lithographs, as well as cookbooks, literary journals, records, and I'm sure tons of gorgeous little knickknacks. They're even offering a 10% friends and family discount through April 24th. Oh, and don't forget to pick up the recently released new issue featuring the oh so chic Lou Doillon. 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Inspiration: Ambra Medda

Some women inspire you to greater heights with their own achievements, and Ambra Medda is definitely one of those women for me. She's the daughter of a London gallerist and grew up traveling all over the world with her mother, tracking down pieces and artists. When she was 23, she cofounded Design Miami to address the need for a design fair that touched on the relationship between contemporary art and limited-edition, historic design pieces. It is now the most important contemporary design fair in the world and travels between Miami and Switzerland with Art Basel every June and December. At 27, she currently serves as the director of Design Miami and Design Miami/Basel. Ambra is gorgeous, has great style, and oh, did I mention she's fluent in five languages. Check out this Sunday's T Magazine in your NY Times for a "Profile in Style" on Ambra and find out where she gets her inspiration. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Caged In

It seems everywhere I look, there they are - the YSL caged booties for Spring 09. Every fashion magazine has featured them multiple times and, as soon as the weather starts to warm up here in New York, I'm sure I'll be seeing them on the feet of chic women all over the city. It's common knowledge that fashion influences design, but these cagey cuties made me wonder if Stefano Pilati may have turned to some well known design classics for his inspiration.

Waste Basket by Josef Hoffman, $225, Neue Galerie (

Bertoia Side Chair, $460, Design Within Reach (

322 D.S.1 table by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, $5,200, Cassina (
Wine Coaster by Josef Hoffman, $100, Neue Galerie (

Michael Graves PF8 Press Filter Coffee Maker, $185, Alessi (

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lee Radziwill: Then & Now

I've been fascinated by Lee Radziwill ever since I bought my copy of Happy Times, her photo album and notebook of life in the 60's. Filled with images and memories of beautiful vacation homes, encounters with icons of the time like Truman Capote and Andy Warhol, parties at the White House with Jackie and JFK, and much more, it's an incredible peak into the fabulous and sometimes tragic lives of the Bouvier sisters. It also happens to include images of Lee's various homes during that time. When I picked up the April issue of ELLE Decor, I was immediately reminded of these when I saw their beautiful story on her current homes in Manhattan and Paris. I thought it called or a little then & now moment. 

Turville, Lee's seventeenth-century Queen Anne bakehouse outside of Oxfordshire, was decorated with floral silk panels and her Anglo-Indian botanical watercolors. 
(Image: Happy Times, Horst)

When her children were older, Lee moved from her apartment on Fifth to a smaller penthouse on Park Avenue. She brought with her the same watercolors that hung in her home at Turville.
(Image: Happy Times, Derry Moore)

Lee's current apartment in Paris is now the home of her beloved watercolors, which are revealed in the ELLE Decor article as having been a gift from the Duke of Beaufort. This just goes to show you that the things you love will always look at home in your space, wherever that may be. 
(Image: ELLE Decor, April 09, Eric Bowman)

In the mid-sixties, Lee moved from Turville to a place on Fifth Avenue to be near Jackie. Decorated by Renzo Mongiardino, the living room was done in a cherry-red velvet, red and black lacquer, and tons of gold gilding. 
(Image: Happy Times, Richard Champion)

The dining room walls were covered in a dark orange moiré with contrasting chairs and sideboard. 
(Image: Happy Times, Richard Champion)

The walls of Radziwill's current sitting room in New York are covered in a vintage Rubelli stripe, which was also used for the daybed and curtains. 
(Image: ELLE Decor, April 09, Eric Bowman)

Radziwill's current New York dining room was given a similar treatment, only using a Milanese silk. Again, the dark dining chairs really add contrast. 
(Image: ELLE Decor, April 09, Eric Bowman)

Lee Radziwill's most famous quarters, her Ottoman-inspired drawing room in London designed by Renzo Mongiardino, was created using divans and blocked Indian cotton. Amazing!!
(Image: Happy Times, Cecil Beaton)

It seems Radziwill can't do without these fabric blowout rooms, and has a few in both her Paris (above) and New York abodes. Here, she chose a Le Manach chinoiserie print for the library's upholstery, walls, and curtains. 
(Image: ELLE Decor, April 09, Eric Bowman)

For her New York library, she also chose a Le Manach fabric for the upholstery, walls, and curtains. I have to admit, Lee Radziwill has me a bit obsessed with upholstering walls at the moment (not that I needed any help). I have to go measure my bedroom and figure out yardage now. 
Bon weekend!!
(Image: ELLE Decor, April 09, Eric Bowman)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

One Kings Lane

I know in these tough economic times we're all trying to reign in our shopping habits, but this is just too good not to share. The new website One Kings Lane is for home decor what Gilt Groupe is for fashion. Finally!! A discount site for the home obsessed. One Kings Lane plays host to limited time only sales, organized by company - and when I say sale, I'm talking up to 70% off retail. As a member, you'll receive email alerts when sales are starting. Some of the companies include Chelsea Textiles, Rani Arabella, Dwell Studio, and Lunt Silversmiths, with more to come. I can't wait for lighting and furniture! Here are a few noteworthy steals. 
Chelsea Textiles, Leopard Pillow, $99 (reg. price: $300)

Lunt Silversmiths, Chinois Latticework Stainless Flatware Set, $29 (reg.price: $75)

Assouline, Compendium of Interior, $35 (reg.price: $69.95)