Wednesday, May 30, 2012

5Ws of… Winterthur

What: Winterthur (pronounced “winter-tour”) is the premier museum of American decorative arts, with an unparalleled collection of nearly 90,000 objects made or used in America between about 1640 and 1860.  The collection is displayed in a magnificent 175-room house as well as in permanent and changing exhibition galleries.

Who: In the early 20th century, H. F. du Pont and his father, Henry Algernon du Pont, designed Winterthur in the spirit of 18th- and 19th-century European country houses. The younger du Pont added to the home many times thereafter, increasing its number of rooms by nearly sixfold. After he established the main building as a public museum in 1951, he moved to a smaller building on the estate.

Where: Winterthur is set amidst a 1,000-acre preserve of rolling meadows and woodlands including a 60-acre naturalistic garden, in Winterthur, Delaware. 

When: On Tuesday, June 5, Learn more about Winterthur and other iconic houses at “Addicted to Old Houses: Iconic Rooms and Influential Interiors,” presented at Sotheby’s by Tom Savage, Director, Museum Affairs, Winterthur Museum.  For more information, please visit

Why: "I sincerely hope that the Museum will be a continuing source of inspiration and education for all time, and that the gardens and grounds will of themselves be a country place museum where visitors may enjoy as I have, not only the flowers, trees and shrubs, but also the sunlit meadows, shady wood paths, and the peace and great calm of a country place which has been loved and taken care of for three generations." – Henry Francis Du Pont

Images courtesy Winterthur.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

5Ws of... Kips Bay

What: The 40th Annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House is the ne plus ultra of all show houses, a show-stopping tour-de-force of design trends, art history and timeless craftsmanship created by a team of the industry’s best designers in less than five weeks.

Who:  This year’s show house features 31 designers and standout rooms by Jamie Drake, Todd Alexander Romano and Raji Radhakrishnan. 

Where: Two duplex apartments at the Aldyn Residences, 60 Riverside Drive between 62nd and 63rd Streets were combined to create one large residence for the show house.  This is only the second time in its history that Kips Bay takes place in a newly constructed high-rise rather than in a townhouse or single family residence, and one of the very few times it has not been held on the Upper East Side. 

When: The show house was created from empty space in less than five weeks, and there are just three weeks left until it closes on June 14.  For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit

Why: “I love decorators. I love the idea of their odd, now struggling profession, with its famous lineages (Parish-Hadley, McMillen Inc., Colefax and Fowler) reminiscent of circus dynasties (think Flying Wallendas). I admire their skills, their professional lore, their gifts as psychologists and mind-readers called on to enter strangers’ houses and help those strangers feel somehow more at home. It must take moxie to convince others you have better taste than they do, since taste, after all, is little more than habit and can be acquired.” – Guy Trebay
Images: 1: New York Times; 2, 5: Habitually Chic; 3, 4: So Haute.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

5Ws of… Auntie Mame

What: Auntie Mame,” a 1958 comedy starring Rosalind Russell, follows the madcap adventures of a free-spirited New Yorker who lives on the Upper East Side.  

Who: Set designer George James Hopkins received an Academy Award nomination for Best Art Direction – Set Decoration for the over-the-top apartment set d├ęcor, which changes in practically every scene.

Where: Auntie Mame’s address is 3 Beekman Place.  Beekman Place proper runs from north to south fro two blocks and is situated between the eastern end of 51 and 49 Streets.  Beekman Place also refers to the residential neighborhood that surrounds the street itself.  It is named after the Beekman family, an influential family in the development of the city. 

When: Want to do a bit of redecorating yourself? Come celebrate the launch of 3BEEKMAN, Edward Ferrell + Lewis Mittman’s new furniture collection inspired by both the period in which the movie was set (1928) and the main character’s fearless approach to decorating.  Toast fabulous style – classic and current! – at a showroom cocktail party on May 16 in New York.  For more information, call the Lewis Mittman showroom at 212 888 5580. 

Why: “Life’s a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!” – Auntie Mame

Images: 1,2,3,5,6: "Auntie Mame" via; 4: "Honey Bed" by Edward Ferrell + Lewis Mittman

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

5Ws of... All the Trimmings

What: Decorative trim, or pasementerie as it is known in French, includes a range of fabrics that enhance other fabrics.  Familiar trims include bullion, thick, twisted fringe; gimp, open braiding on upholstery; and ruche, strips of fabric used as upholstery or curtain trim.

When: In the 16th century, the Guild of Passementiers was created in France.  They were known’s as “passementiers’ and an apprenticeship of seven years was required to become a master in one of the subdivisions of the guild.

Where:  Good sources for trimmings range from Houles, for traditional, French-inspired pasementerie; to Kravet, for a range of designs from basics to fashion-forward (pictured above); to etsy for hand-crafted, couture-inspired pieces.  

Who:  Designer Lori Weitzner created a collection of trim for Samuel and Sons that incorporates jade, rose quartz, hammered metal and more organic elements into chic, sophisticated fringes, tiebacks and tassels.

Why: “A beautiful trim can take a room out of the mundane into a different echelon.” – Designer Joanna Wood, via Suite101

Images (from top): 1: House Beautiful; 2: Elle Decor; 3: Kravet; 4: Interior Design; 5: Town & Country Travel.