Friday, July 27, 2012

Weekend Obsession: Reese Witherspoon in Elle Decor just posted a sneak peek at Reese Witherspoon’s Ojai home, which is featured in their September issue.  These are some of the most beautiful images from a truly gorgeous photo shoot.  

Sunday, July 22, 2012

5Ws of… Emery Roth and Sons

Who: Emery Roth was an American architect who designed many definitive Manhattan hotels and apartment buildings of the 1920s and 1930s, incorporating Beaux-Arts and Art Deco details.  

What: From glamorous apartment buildings along Central Park West to iconic office towers along Park Avenue, many of New York’s best known architectural icons can be traced to the firm of Emery Roth (later Emery Roth & Sons).

Where: The firm’s work includes the Pan Am Building (1963), the World Trade Center (1966 – 1973) and the Citycorp Center (1977), as well as several Beaux Arts and Art Deco style apartments along Central Park West and Park Avenue.   

When: In the 1950s and 1960s, Emery Roth & Sons was the most influential architectural firm in New York.  The firm’s work on several office buildings featured curtain wall facades, which would become an ubiquitous feature of the city, substantially changed the appearance of Midtown and Lower Manhattan.  From the 1960s through the 1980s the firm expanded and diversified, but ceased operation in 1996 due to financial difficulties.  

Why:  Roth was, said his biographer Steven Ruttenbaum, "a master who could combine eclectic architectural elements into romantic compositions of dignity and grace."

Images via 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Weekend Obsession: Seeing Spots

Yayoi Kusami has been called “The Princess of Polka Dots.”  Her exhibit at the Whitney – cosponsored by Louis Vuitton – has Manhattan seeing spots.

Images, top to bottom: New York Times News Syndicate; Design Boom; Lonny Magazine. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

5Ws of… The Petite Trianon

What: The Petit Trianon at Versailles was intended as a gift from Louis XV to Madame de Pompadour, but gained its greatest notoriety as the retreat of Louis XVI’s teenage queen, Marie Antoinette.   

Who: Ange-Jacque Gabriel created the compact and elegant palace in the Greek tradition and included elements such as a flat roof, Corinthian columns and sun-bleached limestone. 

Where: The Hameau, a charming (and infamous) faux-rustic village was built on the grounds by Marie Antoinette.  Inside the house a complex system of mirrors and pulleys shielded the windows to hide revelry from the court outside.  

When: The Petit Trianon took six years to create, from 1762 – 1768.  Madame de Pompadour did not live to see it completed; she died just two years into construction. 

Why: “Nowhere else did the playfulness of spirit which prevailed among the French high nobility just before the troubulous days of the Revolution find so unalloyed an expression.  For all time the Little Trianon will remain the most refined, the most fragile and yet the most indestructible shrine of this essentially artificial blossoming.  The zenith and the nadir of the Rococo, maturing to a climax in the last hour before its death, is, even in our own day, best symbolized by the little clock placed in the centre of the chimney-piece in Marie Antoinette’s boudoir… At the Little Trianon Marie Antoinette felt really at home.” – Stefan Zweig writing on Marie Antoinette 

Images from top via,,,, A View On Cities,

Friday, July 6, 2012

Weekend Obsession: Pattern Play: Stars and Stripes

Stars and stripes of all shades make as bold a graphic statement today as when Betsy Ross first combined them more than two centuries ago.  Happy Holiday Weekend!

Images via; Schumacher; House of Earnest.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

5Ws of... The White House

What: The White House – the building that most symbolizes America – has had several names throughout its history, including “The President’s Palace,” “The President’s House” and “The Executive Mansion.”  President Theodore Roosevelt officially gave the White House its current name in 1901.

Who: President George Washington signed an Act of Congress specifying the location and size of the nation’s capitol; Washington and Pierre L’Enfent, the city planner, chose the site for “The President’s House” (now 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue); and the design was created by Irish-born architect James Hoban.

Where:  The official address of the White House is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  However, there have been several “other” White Houses, from the well-known “Weekend White House” (Camp David, in Maryland) to the lesser known “Woodley,” a Federal-style hilltop house in Woodley Park, Washington, DC.

When:  The design for the White House was selected in 1790 and construction began when the cornerstone was laid in October, 1792.  Eight years later, in 1800, the first residents of the White House, President John Adams and his wife, Abigail, moved in.

Why: Charles Collingwood : “Now why is this room called the Blue Room?” First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy: ”Because it’s blue.” – From “A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy,” CBS-TV, February 14, 1962. (Note: Three out of four television viewers tuned in for insights such as this when the program was broadcast, and Mrs. Kennedy received an Honorary Emmy ™ for her work.) 

 Images from top: The White House; Library of Congress;;; The Washington Post;