Design Vegas Style

DSC00200Right now, I am In Las Vegas, surrounded by gambling, shows, clubs, shopping and world famous restaurants .So what does this Designer do? I spent the day hotel hopping. I wanted to take pictures of the architecture and details of the many themed hotels that Vegas is so famous for.

DSC00163If you are able to block out the thousands of people that surround you at any given time of the day, you can really appreciate all that there is to visually enjoy. The best part is there is no charge. The only necessity is a very comfortable pair of shoes. My adventure in design began with my room. Not very interesting, sparse, modern, boring.

DSC00144I needed a gilding fix. I wanted to see hand carving. Where was the crystal lighting? I got in a cab to go find it. It didn’t take long at all. To set the mood I walked out the front door and saw this-  Eiffel Tower = France = great design = gilding, carving and crystal.

DSC00160Fountains…DSC00168DSC00156Parterre gardens..

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Ironwork…

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and garden ornaments.

DSC00213I truly was overwhelmed. I have been to Vegas quite a few times but this time was different. Now that I write a blog, I am constantly trying to think of new and creative things to do. Here I was in a town of reproductions from all over the world. New York City, Egypt, Italy, France, A Medieval Castle – a visual buffet for the eyes! Epcot times ten!! I even found a beautiful Italian mountainside waterfall.

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If you have never been to Vegas, most of the attractions are side by side on one main road that is several miles long. It is the desert, so it is very flat except for “the strip” where most of the hotels are. Each hotel has a theme and they all want your business, so the fancier the better. From the outside, the buildings are built to represent the theme. Even the employees wear costumes that coordinate. My favorites are the Venetian, Bellagio, Caesars, and Paris. The exteriors are fun, but let’s step inside..

DSC00170custom marble mosaic floors…

DSC00206all hand cut and placed one piece at a time

DSC00203The ceilings have got to be the most jaw dropping part of the entire experience. There are very pretty garden themes

DSC00207I would love this in a sunroom or breakfast nook.

DSC00208This hallway has all glass that is etched with a pattern that diffuses the sunlight.

DSC00184Hand painted panels in a lobby would be stunning in a formal dining room or foyer.DSC00193The closest to being in Europe is the works on the ceilings in Caesar’s Palace. The most magnificent artwork surrounded by gold leaf moldings.

DSC00202Hand painted dome skylights

DSC00190And the hall that connects the lobby to the casino. THE most moving presentation of craftsmanship at it finest…

DSC00191I can’t imagine how much time went into producing something so intricate. There are more domes with frescoes that house some of the most beautiful Venetian glass chandeliers I have ever seen. Some have to be at least twenty feet wide.

DSC00210DSC00198DSC00192This sconce is against a mirrored wall the makes it look twice as big. A beautiful effect in person. A lot of the sparkle is lost in the photo.

DSC00196A very simple bronze wall sconce is tastefully surrounded by moldings.

DSC00171Completely different from all the formal crystal and Murano Glass is this very simple hand wrought iron sconce that is gas fired with a flame instead of a bulb. They are so charming and old world when seen in person.

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The doors are another adventure. Because of all the restaurants and boutiques, each one has to really stand out to get the attention of clientele. It is certainly not just about the product but also the ambiance and statement made by each individual owner’s location. The bronze etched Art Deco doors that lead into Barney’s reminded me of retro New York City. I almost expected the Bell man to be standing outside with his hat and white gloves.

DSC00205Le Cirque also has the Art Deco feel with their Bronze doors and etched glass.

DSC00178Although it is very simple, this bronze lobby door is tastefully done in a sophisticated French style.

DSC00185This door handle was close to three feet long. The detail, combined with the carved stone orb really stood out at the entrance to the restaurant.

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I was really attracted to and impressed with this piece. Completely different than what I am usually drawn to, this is an entire wall made from metal “scales” that are placed to resemble a fish in front of the restaurant Yellowtail. Probably all that gold….

DSC00179And speaking of gold, I couldn’t resist the moldings all done in gold leaf

DSC00194DSC00211If I allowed myself to showcase everything I felt was worth seeing this would probably be a five part entry. However, I tried to focus on the most captivating items I could find. Just for fun, as I was passing through one of the shopping galleries, I had to take a photo of a vintage Louis Vuitton trunk that was on display in the window.

DSC00182DSC00183In the Fendi store is a replica of the Trevi Fountain in Italy. What a surprise to turn around and see it there just like the real thing!

DSC00147After about eight hours of walking I had to buy a box of Bandaids, and a pair of fleece lined flat shoes so I could walk outside to get a cab. I was spent! I could not take one more step nor did I want to. I headed outside but had to take this photo which brought me back to the reality of where I was.

DSC00201I couldn’t wait to get back to my design challenged room with the huge soaking tub. All of a sudden I realized why someone had the courtesy to put one in the bathroom. A nice long soak and room service. My day was complete!DSC00140

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Party Like an Equestrian

149392912611184638_4gB3vwZj_cWhen I started my blog, I knew I wanted it to be mostly about Interior Design. However, my passion for riding had to be incorporated. In the “about” section of the introduction I wrote “somehow I will make the connection”. I have to say, it has been easier than I thought.

For the past twenty years that I have been riding, the annual Christmas party was mostly held at the barn. Whether it was in the indoor arena or in the aisles with the horses joining us, I learned to associate the textures and aromas ( I’m being kind) with having a good time.169448004701379009_FPAsI7w6_cThe best thing was it did not matter how elaborate the decorations were or how much money was spent on food.

127578601914973114_sFCwslqv_cIt really was all about being together and having a good time.

241857442458964739_I6Zm0fxC_cA barn party can be a really fun and different way to celebrate an event.

99431104243121828_hS0Nkgd8_cThe most popular seems to be weddings.

146648531585741305_qwgfe5ZQ_cThere never really has to be a good reason for a party, but to use a barn setting adds a special touch that you will never find in a catering hall.

71072500339491304_Y5zKNxRS_cA simple string of lights, freshly picked flowers, and bright colors will overshadow the folding chairs, unmatched tables and even paper plates!

280700989244873726_GakuTINd_cIf you are lucky enough to have the resources, some crystal chandeliers ALWAYS add a great touch!

43065740156906125_S8HrtH5j_cHow simple but elegant! Bales of hay covered with cloth.

55661745365040800_RVmPNEp1_cHow about a romantic dinner for two? If you don’t own that many mirrors, just hang all of your blue ribbons.

4855512067749377_E6g75a7k_cAnd if you are lucky enough to own this much Mackenzie Childs, there is no way that you ever go wrong with a setting like this.

44262008808605004_8u2Z0L3z_cI would save this spot for my morning coffee being there is only one chair. What a great way to start the day!  But just remember….

IMAG0355-1Always remember to wear your wellies!

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Boyd’s Interiors

Yesterday, being Tuesday meant the barn was open and I could put on the breeches and boots and go have a nice day inside riding my horse. Unfortunately, because of the severe cold, I was not able to do so. But my friend Ericka had called me the day before to tell me about an antique store in Ridgewood, New Jersey she had been to. Two words had me; French and Antiques. No brainer. The 19 degree weather couldn’t stop me from going. I made the 20 minute drive to Boyd’s Antiques (201-389-3900). This is what greeted me when I opened the door-

DSC00121Mary Holmgren, the owner of the store warmly greeted me and invited me to look around. As you can see, there was plenty to look at. I personally LOVE this kind of store overflowing with treasures. I quietly plan my route in my head and try to soak up every corner and every detail. I usually end up making at least three laps in case I missed anything the first two times.

DSC00122The very first thing I was drawn to was this over-the-top French “Causeuse” or round settee.

DSC00124These pieces are usually found in the lobbies of some of the finest hotels, but are very often put in entry ways or large living rooms. They are usable from all sides and are very party friendly and encourage conversation from wherever one chooses to sit. I love the mix of fabrics and textures. It is a fact that Mamie Eisenhower had one in her living room but Dwight wasn’t too fond of the piece. They are not particularly for the conservative at heart , but I love them.

Mary’s chandelier and sconce collection is very impressive. Bronze, crystal, and wrought iron hang everywhere.Notice the selection of sconces that hang high up on the wall. Bronze everywhere!DSC00123 The mix of crystal and semi precious stones on this chandelier is SO beautifully done. Bronze, pink, clear and smoky crystal with a pewter frame makes me wish I had enough rooms to hang them all.

DSC00129The most unusual pieces are reverse painted glass dome chandeliers. The colors are so vibrant. These in particular are perfect for hanging over dining table or in entry halls because when you look up at them, you are treated to a beautiful burst of color and a hand painted work of art.

DSC00125DSC00138Mary also let me in on a little secret….behind a door was her warehouse with MORE antiques!DSC00134I felt like I was back in the countryside of France where places like this are everywhere and filled to the brim with amazing things. The very first thing I saw was this large hand carved Black Forest clock with porcelain and brass plaques for the numbers.

DSC00132Of course, I thought  LOG CABIN, but she quickly told me it was sold. So, the money I just mentally saved would just have to be spent on something else….

These entry gates are from the estate of Harry Kaplan, the famed NYC antiques dealer. The tassels are what sold me. I also thought the glided arrows were enough to keep anyone from trying to climb over them.

DSC00135Just as I navigated my way through the front of the store, I did the same in the back. So many more pieces waiting to be displayed and purchased by someone who appreciates the workmanship that went into them. This Trumeau mirror took my breath away. Gold leaf, intricate carving, hand painted porcelain all together in one of the most magnificent museum quality pieces I have ever seen.

DSC00136After I selected what I wanted to purchase, I decided to take one more lap to get photos of simple things that caught my eye, such as the Murano glass candle holders with grape clusters.

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This terra cotta angel statue with majolica style painting

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An old pine table is set in the front with an inviting assortment of serving pieces.

DSC00130These lanterns would be great for a covered patio or outdoor room.

DSC00137I purchased this sweet painting which will hang in my office. It has a hole in it but it doesn’t bother me at all. That is what makes antiques so special. There is always a hidden story somewhere that makes each piece so appealing.

DSC00139Thank you, Mary, for your hospitality and turning what was a cold day into a warm and inviting visit!

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An Amaryllis is Born

As “Cabin Fever” has started to affect quite a few of us in the northeast, my friend Carol has found a way to entertain us via her Facebook page. A while back, she took a photo of an amaryllis that was starting to grow in her dining room.

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You may be thinking “no big deal”, but when I saw it, I had a flashback to the time when I also planted an amaryllis bulb. It came with instructions! I have always loved them and wanted to grow one but never realized how involved it was. The bulb faced a certain way, had to be so far down into a specific kind of potting soil, certain percentages of fertilizing mixture, water etc. I put it all together, left it and waited.

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Apparently, amaryllis have their very own brain because they only bloom right around Christmas time. So, besides the over abundance of poinsettias, that is why I love the amaryllis. A big beautiful red flower presented on a long, tall stem.

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So every couple of days Carol would post a photo of her very own amaryllis trying to make it’s way out of it’s bud. I was living vicariously through her over a simple flower. I remembered how much attention I gave to my bulb. How excited I was when it actually started to grow…. to see the beginning of the buds was my reward for all the hard work.

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At this point, Carol’s flower had pretty much created it’s own fan club. Like myself, we awaited the daily photo to finally see this new arrival.

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The day had come!

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This is an amaryllis?? How can that be? Mine was red! This one is GORGEOUS!! It’s white with pink stripes! I was so excited for her! I was almost embarrassed at how seriously I was taking this whole process. The best part was the surprise color. I never knew that there was such a thing as white amaryllis. Now I want a house full of them!

543848_10200487557378070_1807907780_nAnd there are more buds to look forward to!

430157_10200494243745225_707767344_nCabin Fever has turned into Spring Fever. Thank you, Carol!

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House Update

Interior doors have arrived……probably about two months later than expected but still not early enough to install. I am now the proud renter of a 10 x 25 storage unit to keep all things delayed. And this girl doesn’t do anything half way- it even is “climate controlled”!!!!  Hopefully, when my garage doors come in, (which were ordered in September 2012) they can go right to the house. Needless to say, I have made some changes with those who were in charge. The best man for a job is a WOMAN!

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The Art of the Auction

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One of the advantages of the end of the Holiday season? AUCTIONS!!! Most of the ones I attend close down, but several start their year with a sale on New Year’s Day.

Learning the art of the auction is a science in itself, and I mean this in a funny way. The more auctions you attend, the more you learn. Some places will only start bidding at a certain amount. Others will patiently let a $1000 item get down to a $10 opening bid and before you know it, the item sold for $2000 anyway. Others aren’t very honest and will put people in the audience to ” pretend bid” so they get a higher price. If you see that happening, make a mental note never to go back. Some sell their items in numerical order so you can plan a rough time to bid. Others will just take things from wherever the staff brings them out. Technology has even introduced the internet bids, phone bidding and bids left by email. My best advice is to go see everything in person and bid in person.

So on January 1st. 2013 at 12:00 p.m. I took the hour drive north to preview what would be my first day of owning more stuff for the hew house. As I walked into the gallery, right in front of me was this gilded, carved wood and crystal chandelier.

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There was no way somebody else was going home with it. I was searching for this exact type of chandelier for my bedroom The Auction Angels had answered my prayers. It fit perfectly in the back of my car.

Then there was this mirror…020

A French Trumeau. Hand carved wood, hand painted mural, perfect condition and about five feet tall. The detail is so well done. The sheep made it extra special.

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This mirror also went home with me for the mere price of $200. AND it fit into the back of the car.

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Sometimes, when attending an auction, there may be a small random item that catches my eye. It may be the colors, or the attention to detail or the fact that someone, somewhere, sat for hours creating such a beautiful piece of art. That was the case one day when I purchased a framed piece of needlepoint. The thing that made it stand out was all the beads incorporated into the threads. No one bid on it so I think I got it for about $20. Months later I saw another one and decided to buy it to keep the other one company. This is how a collection starts. So now that I own two, every time I see one, I feel like I have to buy it and bring it home to make friends with the others.

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This one was sitting on the back of a shelf at the preview. Once again, when it came up for bid, no one in the audience but me wanted it, so…..SOLD!  Of course no problem at all fitting into the car.

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These andirons are hand crafted and are aged to perfection. They are over two feet tall and have the look I wanted for the fireplace in my husband’s office.

Sold and put in the car.

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Next was an office chair for myself that didn’t look like it came from a catalog. What made it so appealing was the original aged white paint and hand carving. It also is much narrower than a big bulky leather chair.

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The upholstery is in excellent condition, but I plan on replacing the paisley with something more vibrant. Once I get my hands on this chair the arms and legs will have gilding on the detail but I will keep the white finish. This chair needed a second trip because there was no more room in the car. It was worth it for $275.

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The following piece was not bought at auction, but at a shop owned by a lovely man I have dealt with for years. He goes to France and brings home containers full of stuff and has a great eye for detail. I have purchased some very beautiful things from him. For my office, I wanted a small settee to have a place for someone to sit and he had this perfect piece. White finish, nice carved detail and ready to get my hands on for some gilding and gold striping.

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Tulip prints and the color blue are two things not allowed in my house, so this piece will be getting a fabric redo to go with the office chair. Although it is not a valuable piece, it completely fit for what I wanted.

And, as you may have guessed, it also fit in the car.

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So I have to say that from an Auction point of view, the New Year has started out very well. Thank goodness for these projects because at the rate the house is going, I have plenty to keep me busy. It really is hard to believe that someday all of these pieces will be in their own specially designated places and I will have completed my project. OH how I long for that day!

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The Master Bedroom

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As I began my obsessive search for the absolutely perfect must have bedroom ensemble, I came upon the company Lili Alessandra. As soon as I have the ultimate “this is it” moment I would like to think that I am the only one on the planet who discovered a product and can call it my own. This is how I feel about this talented woman . Her designs are timeless, her fabrics are beyond luxurious and the workmanship is comparable to none. Velvet so soft, detail so intricate and color so soothing. I had to have it! So guess what? In true fashion as with everything I do, the item has already been discovered by countless others and then I am left to spend hours on the internet hunting down companies that still have pieces in stock. I think I used three different websites to find all the pieces I wanted, but I got them!!! This is the collection I wanted. It is a very muted shade called “Champagne” .

217887_10151040118795967_1914317932_n My headboard is an antique gilded piece with an upholstered insert. I found a silk velvet with a beige dot to recover it in. Coincidentally, the bed already has a yellow and white polka dot fabric which I thought was fun and not too stuffy looking.

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This fabric works beautifully with the tones of the bedding.I will also use this fabric for the bed skirt.

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I also bought a chaise lounge from Ebay that originally was so ugly I was embarrassed to post a “before” photo but the gilding and long length are what caught my eye. I had it redone in an off white chenille as I plan to use this piece every morning to have my coffee and play on the laptop.010

The throw pillows from the collection are a mix of two tones of velvet with a beautiful damask motif with detail that is so meticulously done.

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Detail of velvet and appliqued sham

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Corner detail of velvet duvet cover with velvet ribbon design

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 These pillows will probably go on the chaise, although I really don’t want them to get dirty; especially with my mega sized cup of coffee.

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The whole ensemble

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Lili’s collections have now branched out into more vibrant colors, but they still retain the classic motifs, intricate details and workmanship shown in the previous collections.

I love neutrals. To me they represent calm and balance with a serene feeling. I have gone through every phase imaginable and now I am in the mood to come home to all of the above. Just notice the wonderful mix of texture which makes up for the lack of intense color. Texture is a very important design element. The shine of the smooth velvet, the weave of crisp linens, and the dimension and depth of the embroidery are all about texture. Following are photographs from Lili’s  website that I have chosen to highlight.

This collection is done in linen with more feminine detail such as ruffles and lace.

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The accessories are just as plush as shown in this velvet bed skirt. The quilted diamond pattern throw is also part of my ensemble.

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luxury at it’s best!

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