In this issue of Elle Décor there is a house I did in Malibu and the feature includes a full page photo of the master bedroom’s bed. As simplistic as this bed looks, it was one of the biggest engineering headaches I’ve had in a long time. I wanted the headboard, which is traditional, to float in a contemporary frame. But the complete width of the headboard was exactly the same width as the mattress, so we had to figure out how to have the headboard float within the frame and allow enough space between the mattress and frame to be practical and have all this look the way I envisioned it.
Master Bedroom featured in the May 2009 issue of Elle Decor
So if you look at the picture, you’ll know that what seems so simple took many meetings with four entities – the frame maker, the metal person, someone responsible for the guilded part of the headboard as well as the upholsterer. Who says simple is easy?
Preston Bailey is having his – dare I say it – 60th birthday party this weekend and his invitation is really funny. He did a take-off on the Benjamin Button theme of getting younger as he gets older – and it looks great.
People are flying in from Europe and California for this event. You can imagine what a party-giver gives when he gives his own party.
It’s this coming Sunday, so I’ll let you know.
The strange thing about being a blogger is that I don’t know about you and where you come from or where you live, yet we communicate so often. I always love hearing back from you.
I was in Montauk over the weekend working on my garden and it is amazing to see how things come out of the ground (and how fast they can do that!). Clipping, trimming, fertilizing, planting, pruning, digging and spraying against pesky deer – which is really quite the experience as the odor that the repellant has can repel death away (even in humans!). Being a clumsy individual I spray as much on myself as I do on the plants, but it’s all worth it when you see that the little bastards has not touched my Lilies or Hastas as they come out of the ground.
I’m trying to plant my garden in a very undulating way (there are no straight lines) to match the topography of the rolling hills. It has a sense of tropics (achieved with lush-leaved Hastas) and I have large quantities of Hydrangeas which, again, bring a rounded shape to the garden. Except for my cutting garden, everything is white-blooming flowers – from the tiny Lily of the Valley to humungous Hydrangeas. It gives great continuity from the inside of the house, which is all white, to the garden.
As designers, how do you bring your creativity to the outdoors? Do you find that it expresses itself in the furniture you put outside or the plantings you do? If you have a small terrace, how do you express your home outdoors? Why don’t you share it with us as many people out there may need help with getting this ready for summer?
Do we express how we are affected by the economy through the colors that we use? Do we make decisions in what colors appeal to us based on the our state of minds? Do colors make our lives gloomier or perkier? I’ve been thinking about this while we’re designing some jobs at the moment, trying to find a thread in the colors that are appealing to me right now. I think, for myself, beside the usual colors that I work on – the blues, grays and other impressionist tones of Degas or Monet who worked on all these tones during that period – I find that the other colors that I’m being drawn to have much earthier tonalities. The color of rich soil and other hues that bring me closer to the earth really appeal to me at the moment. I am not sure if that has to do with trying to ground oneself at time of volatility… What do you think? As designers, do you feel that your clients are asking for more subdued tones or are they looking to be uplifted through vibrant colors? Let me know – I’m really interested in this topic.
With everything bad, there’s a little bit of good that has to come with it.
I think that’s something good that’s come out of the current economic situation we’re in. I’m finding that people are a little kinder to each other. As we are all hurting at whatever social stratus you’re at, people are more aware of other people’s pain. One becomes more empathetic with other people, one becomes less materialistic (if only by necessity) and more concerned with and aware of the really important things in life. It’s not about the extra sweater or additional luxuries, but about things that truly matter in one’s life.
For me, there was a stronger meaning to the holidays, the sense of family getting together and just being there for each other, of saying thank you, of letting a lady walk into the elevator first…things that cost nothing, but mean a lot.
So, if it’s not a good day for you, just think how much worse it could be and think of how you can be kind to somebody else. Maybe that will help you feel better about how your day is going. Though it doesn’t fully look it in New York today, Spring is here and the nasty grey winter is part of the past. This means a new beginning and a rebirth – make it your own.
This past Friday I was in Dallas for the day to meet with Wisteria, the home furnishings catalogue whose point of view is so similar to mine. Since the catalogue first came out, I’ve always felt a great connection with their style and what they offer. In fact, many of the things I’ve seen in the catalogue are things that I’ve seen in my travels and bought for my shop, VW Home. To me it has the most stylish collection of goods in the marketplace. I’ve used it in many of my jobs and most people cannot tell the difference between their merchandise and high-ticket items.
So by coincidence, I was at the Orchid Dinner, sitting next to Lisa Newsom (Editor-in-Chief of Veranda Magazine) and it turned out that her son owns Wisteria, which prompted me to say that I’d like to design a collection for them of items inspired by pieces that I had found around the world. Hence my trip to Dallas.
Going through their inventory with the owners, there were so many items that I had admired or used in different jobs, it was truly a very pleasant experience. And to top the day, Laura Bush came in to shop while I was there! So we’ve started the negotiations to design for them. I will let you know what transpires, but I am very excited!
I went to see The Philanthropist last week Thursday with my friend Jason Sheftell from the Daily News.
Though it had a wonderful set and the costumes were interesting (it takes place in the ‘70s), the play had very little purpose. Matthew Broderick plays the same wimpy guy we’ve seen him play before in The Producers and in play after play. It made me think that he must really be a strange individual to be able to play that bland part so well.
I did enjoy the set – it was truly striking – but would I recommend you go see it? No. Have you seen it? Let me know what you thought.
In contrast to that play is a new exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery on 21st Street between 10th & 11th Avenues in Manhattan. Mosqueteros is a retrospective exhibition on Picasso’s late years (1962 – 1972) and the show is extraordinary. A lot of it was inspired by tertulia – an Iberian tradition of gregarious social gatherings with literary or artistic overtones, it was a truly extraordinary show. With about 50 or 60 pieces on display, I believe this to be the strongest retrospective of this particular period in Picasso’s career. If you’re in the New York area before June 6th, be sure to add this to your list of things to see.
Christina working her magic on one of the guests (Photo: Andrea Blanch)
Last night I had a girls’ (or what I like to call my harem) party at my house. Twelve lady friends of mine came over to have their faces revitalized, reglowed and reaffirmed by the fabulous make-up artist and entrepreneur Christina Reyna, who is promoting a line of Swiss skincare called Arbonne. It’s all natural and non-chemical and the girls loved it.
They all had steam-sessions and washings…I don’t know…I was reading a book while this was going on and keeping their champagne glasses filled (as it was the second time in a week where there were multi-glasses of champagne around, I only had diet coke myself) but it was fun having all my friends gathered at the apartment, being pampered. These are amazing products – the ladies truly glowed when they left the apartment at the end of the evening – and it wasn’t just the champagne, either!
If you want to try it, be sure to call Christina. Part of her program is that she gets gatherings of 6 – 8 people together in the New York region where she demonstrates her products. Take it from me, it is an incredible experience.
Call Christina at 917.806.4212 and tell her that I sent you – she’ll definitely organize a pamper-session for you and your friends.
Last night was Publicolor’s Annual Stir, Splatter and Roll benefit and my office participated – what a great cause! It really helps bring a sense of creativity to people who may never have that opportunity except when a foundation like Publicolor comes into their lives. The fundraiser brought a great group of people, among them fashion icons Michael Kors and Nicole Miller, together to design table tops, which designers and guests painted during the event. These table tops were then sold during a silent auction after dinner.
Guests were handed white coveralls and invited to paint with us
Alison Uljee from my office created our table’s design from a carpet I had designed earlier this year. A group from the office went there to paint it while drinks flowed and some pretty group hors d’oeuvres were passed around. If you’re in New York next year this time you really should go – besides being a good cause it’s a fun party for young and old.
Alison and I at the final product - a bright, bold and fun tabletop
Dear Mr Wolf,
First, my compliments on your talented work which I recently saw featured in House Beautiful Feb 2009. The use of sheer roman shades created such a serene spa-like feeling wherever you used it. The photos were wonderful. When I inquired about having similar shades made, the local workroom and designer wondered if the sheers were actually a functioning roman shade. If so, we wondered how were the operating mechanisms so superbly hidden(rings, draw cords) and whether the shade would open and close smoothly or at all. The workroom wondered if the sheers would have a fabric memory and fold in and out of the shade without constantly requiring adjustments.
I’ve enclosed a photo of the wall of windows in my ‘great room.’ I would like to diffuse the eastern exposure and protect my furniture from the sun. The windows have a UV film but still there is glare and I wonder if sheer roman shades (below the transom) would be recommended. Cream colored silk, stationary panels are planned but I cannot bring myself to order a privacy sheer (or duette, silhouette or any other predictable item) until I can ask you or your workroom these questions.
Thank you for being such an inspiration. Happy travels so the creativity keeps flowing.
Beth Hamel Kennedy
Dear Beth –
My first suggestion is do not use a silk sheer – as within months it will have been eaten alive by the sun. I always use (from VW Home) my linen gauze which has a much longer life. They are operable and I do them as school house (bottom up) or as regular roman shades. The mechanism is hidden on the top by the fabric and I have see-through plastic rings stitched on the back which pulls the shade up when you draw on the string.
P.S. They do give the space a very soft dream-like quality.
This is the information for the showroom – why not give them a call for a quote on the fabric.
VW Home – Ph: 212.244.5008 (Speak with the Showroom Manager, Trudi)