Saturday, September 27, 2014

Designing Style: The Art of Living Well

"It's difficult to describe style.  It's not what you are wearing, but how you wear it.  It's a personal thing and is reflected in the way you arrange your house, your taste in books and art - the personal stamp you give to everything you touch."  - Carolina Herrera

Kindness is a designed life, a lasting memory, and a precious gift.  If someone asked me to define style it would be kindness; it is the art of living well.  As a new blogger, this is what I have received from so many people: family, friends, fellow bloggers and people of whom I have written posts.  It's thrilling to have someone leave a comment, favorite a tweet, take the time to re-tweet a post, or list your blog on theirs! 

This afternoon I received a beautiful hand-designed necklace from a talented lady, Marsha of the blog Splenderosa.  I am just thrilled to have won her gorgeous necklaces from her give-away on her blog. More than that, I would like to express my heartfelt thank you for her continued support, encouragement, and kindness to me.  Marsha was the first blogger out of the gate to leave a lovely comment on one of my very first posts, and has from time to time sent me encouraging and thoughtful emails.  Marsha, style is the personal stamp you give to everything you touch.  

Isn't it lovely! Thank You!

 The Holidays are coming and Splenderosa is the perfect place to shop!  Here are just a few of her beautiful designs:  

All the best, Rié

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Now Serving Ralph's Coffee NY: Ralph Lauren Makes Coffee Look Chic

Instagram Ralph Lauren picture from the POLO flagship store opening

Living on the West Coast, as I do, I am always longing "to be a part of it, New York! New York!".
I followed New York Fashion Week by Instagram and Twitter which included Ralph Lauren's  new Spring 2015 line, stunning.  It was also through Ralph Lauren's Instagram that I heard about Ralph's Coffee.

Instagram Ralph Lauren -POLO Ralph Lauren Flagship Store

Ralph Lauren's new coffee shop, Ralph's Coffee is on the 2nd floor of the Polo Ralph Lauren flagship store at Fifth Avenue and 55th Street.  The new coffee shop offers Ralph Lauren's private coffee blends from USDA organic coffees, teas, fresh juices, pastries, sandwiches and desserts, making shopping a lifestyle experience as only Ralph Lauren could.

Instagram Ralph Lauren

I love the iconic green vintage Ralph Lauren Coffee truck!  Perfect!

Instagram Ralph Lauren

Every attention to detail has been considered: the classic hexagon floor tiles, branding, open shelves on brick and wood walls, one continuous u-shape banquette, chalkboard, and "bookstore" with a long farm table for meetings or small parties.  Even the associate is wearing a bistro apron, tie, and collared shirt.  Perfectly Ralph Lauren.

Instagram Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren Coffee

Habitually Chic

Ralph Lauren included a full library of inspiration, and isn't that exactly what we expect from a designer who has been inspiring us for decades, leaving me to jot in my diary -DINE Ralph's Coffee.

Ralph's Coffee
Polo Ralph Lauren
711 Fifth Avenue at 55th Street
Monday - Saturday 10:00am - 8:00pm
Sunday 11:00am - 8:00pm

All the best, Rié

Friday, September 19, 2014

Bobby McAlpine Light and Old World Refinement: A South African Cape Dutch Home

Dutch paintings are my favorite style of art, so when I saw the shapely gables of this South African Cape Dutch style home rising along a tree-lined lake front, that Architect Bobby McAlpine, of McAlpine Tankersley Architecture and interior designer Ray Booth of McAlpine Booth & Ferrier Interiors created for a couple in Baton Rouge, Louisiana I was smitten.

Bobby McAlpine describes this home that took five years to plan, build, and furnish as, "painfully simple."  The entrance area is a lofty, sparsely furnished and light-filled space which speaks like a narrative of an old master's painting, and is paved with well-worn black and white marble tiles from Paris Ceramics.

An oak partition with a beautiful fanlight, and panned, folding french doors separates the space from the adjacent gallery.

Setting the tone of the home as soon as you walk in is a 17th century portrait and a circa-1740 painted Baroque table by Dienst + Dotter Antikvieter, New York anchoring the entrance area, making the room look like something right out of a Johannes Vermeer painting.  Sigh ...

This room is almost fifty feet long with two fireplaces, and an ample bay window, which accommodates three distinct seating areas.  Antique-style glass in the large expansive windows, some with over 40 panes, are more English in style and frame the views.  The slightly wavy glass helps to give an old world authentic feel, while the hand-troweled plaster walls, reclaimed white oak beams and the antique North Indian rugs bring this "simple" residence sophistication of scale and finishes.  Just Beautiful!

Every room is filled with light from glorious windows and french doors, and this European kitchen, filled with soulful antiques and exquisite art, is no exception.  A 17th-centruy portrait overlooks the kitchen table, which is surrounded by French chairs.  I personally prefer a kitchen design such as this, it can accommodate a long dinning table for informal dinner parties, providing a casual elegance to every meal.  The beautiful range is La Cornue, and the pottery is Cucina Fresca by Vietri.  Do you see the quince coloured Le Creuset French oven on the stove top?  If you don't own one, run out and buy one today or order it online at Williams & Sonoma or Sur La Table  (They have the New Burgundy colour).  These great enameled iron French pots can be used stove top to oven, which makes preparing a meal simple with less pots to clean.

On the loggia, en plein air dinning at it's best.

The home office includes a bespoke George Smith banquette and an antique Sultanabad rug from Beauvais.

Custom-made box beds in the guest room are another historic touch; McAlpine said they are "a very Dutch thing, like what Vermeer might have slept in."  Did you notice the windows, framing still more of the beautiful views, tucked inside?  The check curtains are Chelsea Editions; the glamorously tufted chair and ottoman, by Bunny Williams Home (love Bunny Williams) are upholstered in a soft citron linen by Schumacher.

Vintage terracotta tiles resemble the Indonesian tiles often found on South African floors.

Rusty browns, creams, and indigo blue convey a warm elegance in the master suite which features a bespoke bed upholstered in a Castel fabric, and a silk velvet settee by George Smith.  The ceiling fan is a practical choice if you live in a warm area as I do.

A Hugo Kocke painting hangs in the master bath.  Large sheets of white and gray marble soften your attention when accented by the magnificent patina of the finishes on the bathroom fixtures by Lefroy Brooks and surrounding facade of the glamorous bath tub.  A beautiful lifestyle space to dream about and to dream in.

The celebrated architect Bobby McAlpine "has designed at least 500 houses
during the course of his 30-plus year career" ( Julia Reed AD).  Remarkable.  I have been privileged to share with you this beautiful South African Cape Dutch, my absolute favorite to date.
Congratulations Mr. Bobby Mc Alpine at Mc Alpine Tankersley Architecture, and interior designer Ray Booth at McAlpine Booth & Ferrier Interiors, for a gorgeous design.

All the best,

Monday, September 15, 2014

Wine Country Dinner at Home: Ferrari Carano's Chicken Cacciatore

Main Courses | Serves 4-6

Fresh herbs and mushrooms make this easy chicken dish from Rhonda's Kitchen at Ferrari Carano in Healdsburg, CA a family favorite.  Italian for hunter, cacciatore is an American-Italian term referring to food prepared "hunter-style".  Serve with creamy polenta and grated parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

All the best, Rié

Friday, September 12, 2014

Weekend Chic: A Re-Designed Life - Amanda Brooks

This beautiful lady, ridding side saddle no less, could be right out of an Austen movie or Downton Abbey.

Amanda Brooks

Would you risk it all and re-design your life and that of your families in one GIANT leap?  You're Amanda Brooks, socialite, fashion director of Barneys New York, you own an industrial-sized loft on the Lower East Side, have two lovely and happy children, and have a successful artist husband, Christopher.  Both of you are having great success in your careers and spending time in the city as well as at a beach house in Long Island, but you're living "four separate lives in the company of one another..."  What do you do?  You re-design your life.  Leave your position at Barneys and leave Manhattan for a farm in Oxfordshire, England.  "It was because of Ree Drummond's blog, The Pioneer Woman," said Amanda who's own very successful blog, I Love Your, is now penned by the fire in her sitting room, offering us a cherished and beautiful look into life in the countryside of England.  "For starters, I love it here.  For more reasons than I can explain... I have never been more clear about who I am and what is important to me.  There is enough peace and quiet here to listen to myself - my mind and my body... the tension is gone from my shoulders and the adrenaline that lived inside my belly for twenty years in NY has settled down... My husband is happy as I am,... And my kids are thriving.  Thriving." Amanda's re-designed life is inspiring, and personally, I couldn't be happier for her and her family.  Her new life leaves me inspired to do some re-designing of my life as well.   Enjoy!

"There, all is order and beauty, richness, quiet, and pleasure "

"We have a gazillion pears. I have just gotten my hands on a recipe for the best pear compote that my friend Laura Bailey gave me made from her pears.  Once I test it (tonight), I'll share it with you." -Life on the farm: Another September

"The best after school play date on Earth."

"I've learned that in England, Autumn announces itself with fog.  I woke up this morning, and the new season was here."

"You will never change your life until you change something you do daily." 

The Brook's home in Oxfordshire England.

Gingy in her favorite chair.

Sitting Room

"Seeing this picture of Coco's room makes me so nostalgic.  She grew out of these beds a while ago, and now she has just a twin bed that's twice the size.  It's still lovely, but those beds were so precious." - Amanda

"My bedroom. I have been tempted to change the 80's Laura Ashley wallpaper, but now I'm so glad I didn't."

Zach's treehouse, which is now an art studio.

"The hunting season ended recently.  I went out three times this year, which is once more than I did last year.  The truth is that I am just barely good enough to keep up with the field.  Having only regularly ridden horses as an adult, I really don't have the confidence to gallop full speed across 6 fields in one go, jump massive hedges and gates, and navigate my horse amongst the dozen of others surrounding me.  Plus, I like to stay close to Christopher and Coco, but I also don't like to feel that I'm holding them back, as they prefer to jump everything and keep a faster pace.... People have complicated feelings about the hunt and the people that enjoy it, but to me it represents a community-wide ritual with a history and authenticity that I have rarely seen in my life."  From - Life on the Farm: Hunting Highlights I Love your Style - Amanda Brooks

"It was a Wedgwood day, with white clouds delicately modelled in relief against a sky of pale pure blue.  The best of England, thought Mrs. Miniver." - Jan Stuther, Mrs. Miniver

The glorious early morning light.

Amanda (left) on the white horse.  These beautiful photos seem like they are from a different century.

An early morning start during the Cubbing season. (Cubbing: Early hunting before the formal season begins to benefit the young entry.)

Setting off for the meet. (The assembling of the hunt for a days sport.  The actual place is called the meet.)

The huntsmen greeting the field at the meet.  (The huntsmen, a staff member who trains the hounds, hunts the hounds, and controls them in the field.)

"I love the eccentric characters, the adorable and enthusiastic hounds, the beautifully groomed horses, the impeccable manners with which you are greeted, and of course, the clothes.  The clothes are beyond chic.  You rarely see anyone wearing anything new.  Most of the boots, breeches, jackets, stock pins, and hunting caps are old and worn, likely passed down through generations, but still entirely elegant.  The riders themselves also have stunning posture when sitting on a horse, looking far more glamorous than they do standing on the ground. "  Amanda Brooks, from her blog I Love Your Style

A time to rest.

Sometimes when you're young there are a lot of distractions and you get left behind.

All the best, Rié

* Amanda's first book, I Love Your Style, is still available and you can order it here on Portobello Design.  Her second book comes out Spring 2015! 

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