On a recent trip to LA I saw the Agnes Martin's tranquil tonal abstract works of art at the LACMA. Much like Rothko's color field paintings, Martin's neutral muted palette calms the mind and spirit transforming thought into simple sound bites- lines, colors, geometry, abstraction, simplicity and order. All of which juxtaposes Robert Mapplethorpe's exhibition on the floor below. Thought provoking, historically groundbreaking and controversial, currently relevant. Was he a man ahead of the times, pressing issues that our country was unable to accept? Which in the face of recent current affairs begs the question- How are we as a people progressing? Where in this country are we still struggling with acceptance, with fear, with self worth. We are human, we are beautiful, in all are colors, in all shapes, in all our forms, that is our greatness.
My new favorite lunch consist of sauteed bitter greens with cannellini beans and lemon hemp seed dressing. Sauteing bitter greens helps take the bite out of them and makes them easier to digest. I add beans for a touch of protein, sauerkraut for an active digestive enzyme, Anita's dairy free coconut yogurt for a dollop of probiotic, and plenty of lemon hemp seed dressing for a creamy deliciousness that balances the astringent taste of the greens.
Hemp Seed Dressing
1/2 C Hemp Seeds
1/2 C Parsley Leaves
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1 Small Clove of Garlic roughly chopped
1 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 T Apple Cider Vinegar
Prepare the dressing combining hemp seeds, parsley leaves, sea salt, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar in a small food processor.
Blend until smooth & creamy. (If you want it thin it out add more apple cider vinegar or water) Serve immediately or keep refrigerated in an airtight jar. Will keep for 5 days.
Sauteed Bitter Greens with Cannellini Beans
2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 C Mustard Green Leaves roughly chopped (discard lower stem)
1 1/2 C Celery Stalk & Leaves roughly chopped (use stems from the center of celery bunch)
1/2 Head of a Medium Radicchio roughly chopped
1/4 C Parsley Leaves roughly chopped
1/2 C Cannellini Beans (or garbanzo beans)
1/2 C Sauerkraut (my favorite is Jacob's Raw Organic Kraut)
1/4 C Pecans roughly chopped, optional (or substitute any nut of choice)
Anita's Plain Coconut Yogurt optional
Heat a large skillet with olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped mustard greens, celery, radicchio and parsley leaves. Cook until slightly wilted as it will continue to cook down. Do not over cook.
Lower the heat adding cannellini beans, sauerkraut, and pecans. Toss to combine.
Plate the greens and serve with the Hemp Seed Dressing. This salad stands alone as a satisfying lunch, but can also be served with a grain such as quinoa or red rice. I also have made this for dinner adding 2 fried eggs or some roasted cod. I like to serve it with a little extra Jacob's Raw Organic Kraut and a dollop of Anita's Plain Coconut Yogurt. I love a fresh pressed juice daily with my lunch. Here I paired it with a carrot, celery, lemon, ginger and apple juice.
And there you have it!
I'm currently obsessed with one of Rachel Atwood's newest prints, Bloom. Its a fresh take on a floral, with just the right amount of abstraction to keep it modern. While it also comes in an inky navy and blushy taupe, I'm loving on this multi colorway!
I love these items. The tall hanging rack on the right offers an easy and elegant solution in a guest bedroom that lacks ample closet space or a temporary coat rack for dinner parties. The smaller rack on the left would serve any bedroom well for hanging a coverlet, duvet, or cashmere throw. It could also be the most stylish version of a drying rack for those items you only want to hang dry.
These flowers sat between powerful men as they signed agreements designed to influence the fate of the world.
Before it closes on March 26th, check out Taryn Simon's work at Gagosian in Chelsea. Through a multi-disciplinary approach, inspired by images from meetings with global leaders, Simon recreated the floral arrangement most would overlook as a means to represent its larger historical significance while simultaneously juxtaposing its obvious feminine nature. She intently curates each element in this exhibition beyond the floral arrangements, to the various colorfield backdrops and custom designed mahogany frames that were inspired by the UN's mid-century furniture. My favorite pieces in the exhibition are the 12 flower-press sculptures placed in the middle of the large gallery atop concrete stands housed in tall acrylic boxes. Again Simon shows her ability to fully immerse herself in the details. She worked with a botanist and imported over 4000 species from the world's largest flower auction in the Netherlands. After photographing the arrangements she had each flower dried, hand sewn and identified on archival herbarium paper. If you appreciate details steeped in historical context- GO !!
Gap does a few things really well, one of them being their affordable lingerie. I am obsessed with their Breathe underwear which is super soft, comfy, sophisticatedly simple- perfect for everyday. Not only do they feel great on, but they launder well too. With an in-store (vs online) offer of 4 for $28 it's hard to not to buy them. On par with simplicity and comfort, I am also a huge fan of Gap's bras. If you don't require an underwire, the selection below are super comfy and shape enhancing!
In the last few months I have been ordering lots of carpets and noticed my clients asking a number of questions. So I thought I would share some tidbits on how to shop and size for rugs.
Before you start, consider the following:
1. What room is the carpet going in?
2. What will be the traffic in that room? Stair (heavily used), entry rug (wet & dirty shoes), dining room (chairs and food), home office (rolly chair), playroom (soft to the touch for kids to play on, but low enough pile they can run a toy truck on), bedroom (sensitive feet).
3. What will the room be used for? Think dining room chairs and narrow chair leg pulling on a looped carpet, or U shaped leg not sitting flat on a high and low cut pile.
4. If you wear shoes in your house consider medium toned rugs, that are tweeded or multi-colored to hide dirt.
5. Do you have children? Are they messy or clean, do they eat food outside of the kitchen?
6. Do you have a pet? Think cats clawing or dogs scratching for a lost bone.
7. Are there any allergies to wool, latex, etc?
8. How much do you want to spend? Ask the salesperson what you can get for how much you want to spend. Don’t waste your time looking at a custom hand- tufted carpet when you can only afford a machine made rug.
If you can assess all of these factors before looking at rugs, you will come armed with the knowledge of what you need and what will be best for you.
Now let’s dive into what looks best where:
1. Wall to wall: These look best in bedrooms, playrooms and cozy home offices. I always include the closets as well. If you have wood floors, they look best with a wood/stone saddle at the doors, otherwise the installers will bind the edge of the carpet from unraveling. Always have rugs die into baseboards vs floating a baseboard. If you have a high pile carpet (like a shag) make sure you have the doors cut down before the rug installation, and factor in 40oz lining which is 1/2”high. Factor in the direction and width of machine made carpets. Most machine made carpets are 13’2", however some are 14’ or 15’ widths. You want to avoid seaming carpet when and if possible which can often mean railroading the carpet. Never seam a carpet in the middle of the room if that is the area you will most walk on. Try moving to back of the room under the bed running the length of the room. Be mindful to ask which carpets will seam well and which carpets will not.
2. Area Rugs: These look best in living rooms, dining rooms, entries, family rooms, etc (basically all first floor entertaining rooms). This is where you need to be most mindful of furniture placement, door openings and traffic flow. If you are custom sizing a rug vs. store bought pre-sized carpet then you want to aim for 8-18” margins pending on the size of your room. Try to have the carpet extend at least three quarters of the door opening or cased opening, otherwise you will forever be tripping on the corner edge of the rug. You may need to use double sided rug tape to secure it down. Throughout a home, I like to have a various mix of weaves from handwoven to hand knotted, playing with different piles, patterns and more. Make sure they all look well together as you transition from room to room. Be mindful of the following: material and traffic use. For instance, in a dining room, try to make sure the rug is wide enough so that when a chair pulls out it is fully on the carpet. In a living room or family room, the larger the rug, the larger and more cozy the room will feel. Aim to have all of the furniture sit on the rug vs half off of the rug if possible. If you have solid based furniture it will not sit well half on a carpet. If the fireplace hearthstone protrudes in the room, you may want to shape the rug around the hearth for optimal seating. Be mindful of exterior & interior doors swings with the pile height and finally pay attention not to cover any HVAC floor grills which are usually on the perimeter of a room.
3. Hall runners: Pending on the width of your hallway, create equal margins on the sides and ends of 3-5” and be mindful of thick carpets and tripping on them. A thin carpet pad underneath is most necessary to keep from slipping!
4. Stair runners: These look best installed using the waterfall method, assuming there is no shoe molding. A tight looped low pile carpet will wear better than a thick long cut pile. Keep consistent equal margins when possible at roughly 3-5” pending on the width of your stair (that is from wall to inner stair edge of balustrade). You may need to notch around the newel posts to give it some breathing room. If your stair curves then an all over non-directional pattern would be well suited vs a stripe. If you are considering a linear carpet with a stripe on a stair, be aware what will happen to the pattern when the stair turns at the landing.
Materials & other factors:
1. Wool: A natural material that can be easily spot cleaned by hand, durable and affordable. Wool is available in most countries which is why it is being used both in hand-woven and machine made rugs.
2. Nu- Silk & Nylon: Nu-Silk is a synthetic nylon that mimics soft and shiny quality of silk. It looks well in wall to wall bedroom application. Not advisable on stair. Requires professional cleaning by water extraction. Many machine-made nylon woven carpets are not soft to the touch and are used in commercial grade projects.
3. Silk: A natural fiber made from silk worms with fine threads and soft to the touch. Silk is one of the more expensive natural materials that requires professional cleaning for best results. It feels amazing on bare feet. Sensitive to water. Has a gorgeous shimmer and will read lighter on one side vs the other because of the direction of the weave as it catches the sun.
4. Tensil & Viscose: Viscose is a synthetic product that mimics silk but cannot be cleaned easily. Tensil is the 2nd generation treated viscose that can be professionally cleaned.
5. Cotton/ Linen: Both natural fibers that attract dirt and can show water stains. Some cotton carpets are made with wool or aloe to add softness and durability. The natural strie of hemp can also help in hiding everyday ware. When woven in a hand-cut pile, these materials are stiffer than when looped.
6. Sisal: A natural fiber that should not be used in wet areas with high humidity causing the fibers to expand. Sisal is rough to the touch. The addition of jute lends softens it. Color and weave should be considered when using sisal.
7. Price Point is affected by two things: how the carpet is made and what the carpet is made of. Carpets vary from machine made, to hand-tufted, to hand- knotted, to hand woven and more. And in each of those categories the material content (jute, sisal, wool, nylon, viscose, poly, silk, etc) of the carpet drives the price. Machine made carpets generally are the least expensive. Then you go into semi-custom hand-tufted carpets. A few mills are making a machine made versions of hand-tufted carpets, but you are limited in colors and patterns. Hand-tufted carpets usually take 4 weeks to make a sample and 4-5 months to produce. Hand-tufted carpets have a tight weave and often a combination of knot and cut pile, which wears well on stairs. Hand-knotted carpet on the other hand take 6 weeks to make a sample and 6 months to produce. So be mindful when selecting carpets you love and their lead-times. When custom designing or coloring a rug it can often take a few tries before you get it right.
8. Pile height: Thicker and shinier carpets show more foot prints. Avoid thick cut piles on stair for many reasons. Thinner piles, while sometimes less cozy often wear better in high traffic areas for cleaning & durability reason.
9. Removal: If you are replacing an existing carpet, confirm with your installer that they will remove and dispose of the old carpet.
After a few months hiatus, Cream Colored Pony is back! I was recently shopping in the flower district, home to some great designers and designer showrooms like Remains, Apparatus, Alt Living and Avenue Road. If you haven't yet gone to Avenue Road- do!! They have some beautiful pieces, many of which can be customized in various sizes, shapes, finishes and more. Below are a few items that I fell in love with- The MYX console with a lacquered steel base and marble & wood top, can be custom colored- run with that imagination! The shaped oak desk with integrated leather blotter I imagine floating in a small home office. I have been searching for a round dining table and finally found it! The Stone Table with the Carrara marble base and butcher block oak top fits the bill. I will custom the top with long grain oak planks or veneered in a pinwheel. The polished copper Park Place stools are stunning!! Although heavy- they are insanely gorgeous and would weather best on wood floors with no rug. The long rectangular Lino Carrara dining table paired with the Park Place chairs would be a knock out. Clearly I can't seem to tire of their many Carrara pieces that all embody simple modern lines, elegance and functionality. It is so refreshing to go to a showroom and see so many beautiful things you can envision for a home. Happy shopping!
I recently traveled with my mom on an art pilgrimage through parts of Texas. We started in the southwestern town of Marfa, home of Donald Judd's Chinati Foundation which boasts some amazing works by Dan Flavin, Carl Andre and Roni Horn, to name a few. The majority of the works are experiential contextualized in military barracks with views of the western plains encouraging one to walk through or around the piece(s). The Chinati Foundation hosts their annual weekend in October, when the town's small population of two thousand people doubles and every art gallery is buzzing. My favorite being Zipora Fried at Marfa Contemporary whose work can also be seen at On Stellar Rays in New York City.
Noteworthy things to do in Marfa:
- Stay at the Thunderbird Hotel or rent a home on vrbo
- Marfa is in the process of building a large hotel, Hotel Saint George, boasting an olympic size pool
- Dine at Cochineal. Their mezcal Manhattan was smooth to the taste, as was their pureed beet soup and seared salmon.
- Lunch at Le Capri. For a quick bite try Food Shark. I recommend their fatoush salad or pita. Unfortunately it was a cold and rainy day, so we dined in their converted school bus! Their second venue offers late night gourmet grilled cheese on Friday and Saturday nights
- Morning coffee or a fresh pressed juice at Tumbleweed Laundry.
- Tour Donald Judd's private home/compound. Check out the library.
After Marfa we made our way to the bright lights and big city of Dallas, certainly a contrast to the single blinking traffic light small town of Marfa. My top picks were the Nasher Sculpture Center designed by the acclaimed Renzo Piano. The building, collection and grounds are all noteworthy.
I fell in love with Giuseppe Penone work currently on exhibit. In one piece, he connects both visually and metaphorically man's finger prints to the rings on a tree trunk, "the skin on our body delineates our physical identity; it is the point of separation between us and the outside world. When we touch things around us... we leave an infinite number of finger prints and marks from our skin on everything around us... our skin will carry the image of the universe." Much like fingerprints, a tree's trunk are a means of identifying the life of a tree- it's age, growth and environmental factors.
I was also very intrigued by Piero Golia's re-installation of Chalet Hollywood with it's blue Venetian plaster walls, raw wood beams, metallic printed pillows, and Pierre Huyghe's acquarium, whose work I had seen early this summer on the MET's rooftop. Nestled in the corner, dressed in white, surrounded by little spiritual knick knacks was Maneesh Madahar (an LA transplant hired just for this Dallas exhibition) with a sign "I AM HEAR FOR YOU I WILL LISTEN TO YOU"- of course I felt obliged to participate!!
Other things to do in Dallas:
- Northpark Mall which exhibits some of the Nasher family's personal collection.
- See the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge designed by Santiago Calatrava, while not as moving as Punta de la Muyer in Buenos Aires, is a nice vista nonetheless.
- Shop at Forty Five Ten- a mini Barney's with noteworthy designers. They are expanding to larger downtown location that will quadruple their current size.
- Dine at FT-33 serving seasonal farm to table, tasty, lively and fun presentation. Great to sit at chef's counter and watch the kitchen plate dishes.
Museum of Modern Art designed by Tadao Ando, is spectacular as is the collection of art. Their current exhibition of Kehinde Wiley's work correlates well to the John Singer Sargent exhibition at the MET.
Amon Carter is just up the block from the Kimbell. That Day, the current exhibition of photographs and written narratives by Laura Wilson was profoundly moving, She's a modern day Dorothea Lange and mother of Luke and Owen Wilson!!
This amazing design savvy interior light can illuminate a hallway or be used to ward off the blues. I was in a trance after seeing James Turrell's work at the LACMA, I can only imagine myself meditating to a wall!!
When it comes to painting, I am always searching for the perfect white from wall, to ceiling, to trim color. Whites can vary from light to dark with casts of grey, blue, green, yellow and pink. So if you have cool icy tones in your fabric scheme, you may want to go with a white that has more blue or grey. Conversely if you are using fabrics with warmer tones, then the paint could have more yellow tones.
I thought I would share some of my favorite whites and tips on painting
- The light in each room can vary greatly based on ceiling height, number and size of windows, exposure, what floor you are on, what's blocking your windows (other building, trees, window treatments, etc), decorative and recessed lighting (down lights, surfaces mounted light fixtures, sconces, table lamps, torcheres, etc.) All of these elements create shadows and will play into the overall luminosity of a room, thus effecting the color of the room
- For the best results, preselect colors and then confirm on site before making sample boards
- It can be difficult to gauge the actual color from small color chips- darker colors often appear darker in person and some bright whites can appear darker or lighter in person which is why whites are so complex
- Select 2-4 options and have your painter make large sample on 24" x 24" or larger board
- Hold the boards up in different parts of the room, as the light will vary on each wall. You may want to do this during the day or at night, pending on when this room is being used. Always try to select and approve paint colors on a sunny day
- Make sure to bring approved fabrics, especially any curtain fabrics, so you can make sure the color goes well with your schemes
- Make sure to have a roll of blue or green painters tape on hand to help tack up fabrics and samples
- Never hesitate to bring a trusted friend or colleague to help, especially someone who is great at seeing the nuances of color
Other things to consider...
- What sheen do you want on your walls? The higher the sheen the more imperfections you will see. If your walls are not skim coated avoid using a high gloss paint! If you live in a prewar building with old plaster walls with layers of built-up paint, have walls that bow or visible cracks, a flat paint will hide these imperfections better
- Flat latex paint is easier to touch up specific areas than an eggshell finish which may require repainting the entire wall. So be mindful of the following: how much the room get used and in what manner, narrow hallways that may get banged up, how often you move artwork, children's finger prints and so forth.
- Oil based paint applies more evenly and holds up better than water/latex base paint on wood. Wood, even when primed, will absorb the water in latex paint, drying faster and requiring more coats of paint, also resulting in more visible brushstrokes and a less smooth surface. If you are using a water based paint, be mindful that the trim is well sanded and smooth, with minimal imperfections.
- You can never go wrong with an oil based satin impervo
- If you want to go more eco-friendly or your building has strict non-toxic regulations, you may want to use a higher gloss paint like a semi-gloss or high gloss. A semi-gloss latex paint will read more like a oil based satin impervo
- If you do go with an oil based paint, the fumes are toxic so be sure no one is living or sleeping at the home, and allow a week or more for the space to air out keeping the windows slightly ajar
- Oil based paint also yellows over time (within 6 months to a year) so be mindful of that when selecting the color
- Often the ceiling will appear darker than the walls, so if you decide to paint the ceiling the same color as the walls, it usually will appear darker.
- If you paint the ceiling with a sheen make sure it is skim-coated!
- If your room is naturally dark and you want to lighten it up, go for a bright white on the ceiling. It will make a world of difference
Here are some of my favorite whites with notations on the subtly of each color:
Benjamin Moore Super White- Brilliant crisp white, great for clean bright ceilings
Benjamin Moore Snowfall White- Bright, slightly warm white
Benjamin Moore Simply White- A hair more yellow then Snowfall but still bright & clean
Benjamin Moore Cloud White- Slightly taupe & warm green undertones
Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace- Cool white with blue undertones
Benjamin Moore White Dove- Slightly taupe & cool grey undertones
Benjamin Moore Moonlight White- Slightly taupe and warm yellow undertones
Farrow & Ball All White- Crisp, just warm white
Farrow & Ball Wimborne White- Creamier than All White, with more yellow undertones
Donald Kaufman DKC-51- Bright warm white with yellow undertones
Donald Kaufman DKC-67- Cool white with slightly green undertones
Donald Kaufman DKC-70- Creamy warm white with yellow undertones
Donald Kaufman DKC-78- Cool white with grey undertones
I returned from Italy last Monday. To my surprise I was still charmed with Rome- the narrow cobblestone streets, plaster walls, the many piazzas, the Roman ruins, the varied architecture and bohemian order. I adored returning to the Pantheon and its perfectly constructed rotunda; biking through the Borghese Gardens; exploring the MAXXI museum, and walking for hours and then more. And of course the food- Roman artichokes; sea bass crudo with fresh peaches and toasted pine nuts; hazelnut & pistachio gelato!
After a few days in Rome I spent a week in southern Tuscany visiting dear friends who had rented a home in Capalbio- a small rural town northwest of Rome, not far from the beach. The house itself was stunning and I am officially obsessed with Venetian plaster instead of marble tile in my shower!! We ventured to the nearby Grosseto and then onto Siena to have a late lunch on the Piazza del Campo. Siena had just celebrated their Palio horse race two days before- so the fan shaped piazza was still packed with dirt covering the brick and cobble stone surface beneath. After a few Aperol spritz's we loaded our brains with some Sienese history and nuances of their black and white striped marble cathedral.
I filled my days sleeping late, morning cappuccinos overlooking the countryside, attempting to make fig jam from the fresh figs trees on the property, late lunches with a variety of cured meats, salads & wine, daily swims in an infinity pool overlooking the sea and sundowners under pink and purple skies. The best of all- spending time with my adorable, energetic and inquisitive godson all the while being surrounded by my loving friends and their adoring families.
Aside from being on vacation, I can't help but ease into the pace of life there, as if I had always been there. It's the pace of life, the colors, the sunshine, the food, the charm, the warm days and nights and all its beauty that resonate with me. What I once mistook as a feeling of a past life is more about having found a place where my own natural rhythm is perfectly in sync with this country's natural rhythm. As I am tuning more and more into the energetic flow of homes and the items we fill them with, I am becoming more aware of the larger macro energy of cities & countries and how everything has it's own unique beat.
Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of venturing to Paris for a few days. In spite of the heatwave and temperatures well into the high 90's, I still enjoyed my time there!
Palais de Tokyo
At the Palais de Tokyo I explored Celeste Boursier-Mougenot's Acquaalta which is running until mid September. Patrons row individual flat bottom boats over 3' of water into darkness while melancholic music plays in the background, evoking Venetian floods. While I would have preferred more upbeat classical music, it still had a very strong affect on me and was roused at the mere execution.
I stumbled upon this restaurant at the back side of the Palais de Tokyo. It is hands down one of the most beautifully designed spaces. The color palette, mix of materials and scale succinctly spoke to one another. I adored the vertical plaster relief walls, simple vertical sconces and brass clad vestibules. Joseph Dirand designed the space- genius and gets five stars in my book!
At the recommendation of my friend Alex Winokur, a fashion executive, I went to see the Lanvin Exhibition and it was well worth it! I was mesmerized at Jeanne Lanvin's use of color, materials and lines. Each dress and coat was impeccably designed, one more beautiful than the next. Sadly no photographs are allowed but trust me, if you have the time, go!
My Parisian friend informed me that restaurants are legally only allowed to lower the temperature by 10 degrees from the exterior temperature. I felt like I was sitting in a sauna, but fully clothed. This led me to blow out the candle at our table, much to the chagrin of our waiter! Litmus test: if one can appreciate a meal while sitting in their own sweat, this restaurant must be doing something right.
If I had to insist on one thing for traveling it would be a 4-wheel suitcase. Still in awe that it took designers and consumers so long to figure out four wheels were better than two! I always carry a scarf to keep me warm when they jack-up the AC and find it comes in handy to wrap around my head when I am snoozing- a disguise so no one can see me drooling!
I was up on Block Island a few weeks ago with my dear friend Sarah Bacon, my expert go-to on sustainability, who introduced me to this amazing solar cellphone charger. I'm voting it one of the best new gadgets, just in time for the summer sun!
I love being inspired by beautiful things. The more I am surrounded by beauty in all forms, the more beautified my spirit becomes. I know that sounds sentimental but it feels bona fide. Jewelry, when done right, holds that power. The pieces that inspire and uplift me, that make me feel great, or the ones that I appreciate for their craftsmanship and color combinations standout as the winners. If I had to pick two for myself from the selection below, it would be Nak Armstrong's, the former partner of Anthony Nak, gemstone hoops. They are stunning, perfectly shape the face and are surprisingly light weight. My second choice are Ana Khouri's Patricia pearl earrings- a cross between Chanel pearls and Indian inspired cuff earrings, while also harking back to the 80's when multiple piercings were in fashion.