Doris Duke

Twelve years old and $80 million to burn. No, it’s not another episode of MTV’s “My Super Sweet Sixteen,” but rather the true headlines from 1925 concerning Doris Duke, heiress to the American Tobacco Company fortune. Armed with her father’s deathbed advice (“trust no one”) and an unfathomable sum of money (over $1 billion in today’s terms), Little Doris set off to discover the...
Beautiful Venice, Beautiful Book

Beautiful Venice, Beautiful Book

During the Renaissance, Venice was a center for creating many beautiful things including books. Libraries were filled with volumes covered in superb gilt-edged vellum. Of course during this time Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Palladio and others were creating a few masterpieces of their own. Fast forward to 1966 where devastating floods destroyed art, architecture and yes, some very special...
Save Room! – Designing a New Restaurant in the Country

Save Room! – Designing a New Restaurant in the Country

I am always surprised when I see a new restaurant open that made no effort to create an inviting space for the dining experience. Even the most casual and humble of places need a bit of ambience. Sure, FOOD is the prime focus of any restaurant, but it’s the entire experience that makes people want to come back for...
Marquetry – Masterpieces in Wood

Marquetry – Masterpieces in Wood

Fine furniture over the centuries has taken on every conceivable form of surface decoration. Painting, gilding, tooled leather, carving, parchment, mirror, shagreen ~ you name it. One form that seems to be linked with every age is marquetry. Marquetry is the application of veneers to the structure of a piece of...

Design Miami: Africa Takes the Spotlight

For the past few years, I’ve joined the art-and-design-loving hordes for the annual December pilgrimage to Miami Beach for Art Basel and Design Miami. With the promise of masterpieces from the worlds of contemporary art and design, the side-by-side fairs attract a global audience, who never tire of the smorgasbord of talent (nor the plethora of...

Donghia Unveils a Stunning New Showroom at the D&D Building

Photo: Matthew White Bravissimo! The folks at Donghia have done it again. Capitalizing on the old real estate maxim of “location, location, location,” the design powerhouse has decamped to a brand, spanking new, 18,000+ square foot, showroom at the heart of New York’s Design & Decoration (D&D) Building. Unprecedented in size and sheer glamour, Donghia’s new space consolidates two prior showrooms (Bergamo and Donghia) and welcomes Hinson to its stable of represented...
Anatomy of a Dining Room

Anatomy of a Dining Room

Photo: Matthew White Ever since shelter magazines were born, there’s been a frenzy to try to relate how to design a beautiful room. These “how to” tips often don’t translate to a different space so instead of sharing how to “create the look” we thought it might be interesting to dissect a room we designed, and explain why each decision was...

Party Central – Setting up a Bar at Home

Photo: Art Gray As autumn brings cooler weather, our attention turns to indoor entertaining. Key to that is a simple bar that provides everything one needs to create some cheer on a chilly evening. We are of the mind that wet-bars at home are often overproduced and unnecessary. All that is truly required is a nice large tray on a console or...

Banq on it!

When it comes to smart interiors, there’s always room for a trusty banquette. Essentially an upholstered bench with a back, this armless wonder takes on many forms, all designed to provide extra seating in frequently challenging spaces. More for perching than lounging, the banquette usually plays a featured role in cocktail settings, eat-in kitchens, and other nooks where its open sides permit easy access and...
Country Pursuits – The Hillsdale General Store

Country Pursuits – The Hillsdale General Store

It’s been about 15 years since I had my antiques shop in Pasadena, California, and somehow that shop bug has never left me. Since then, I’ve moved to New York and besides working in the city, I have settled into the wonderful town of Hillsdale, in Columbia County NY. The overwhelming desire to restore every old building I’ve ever met has finally caught up with me with the purchase of an old building at the center of our hamlet, thanks to the partnership of David...