8/31/09

In Vicente Wolfe's Own Words ...

If you'd love to hear the voice of master interior designer Vicente Wolfe, and his frank and open discussion of design "behind the curtain," don't dally. Head on over right now and give a listen at The Skirted Roundtable, the brilliant invention of three fabulous bloggers – Joni Webb, Megan Arquette and Linda Merrill. I guarantee you'll learn something wonderful.

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8/29/09

Be Unconventional

Dorothy Draper said, "we can all free ourselves and live our lives fully, zestfully and joyfully!

Image from Fiorete.
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8/24/09

Addictions


Just when I thought I was getting control of my ideeli and Hautelook addictions,
up pops One Kings Lane. I think I'm in trouble!

If you have visited ideeli and Hautelook, you know that they have great online sales events, featuring mostly high-end, designer clothes and accessories, at greatly discounted prices (around 50-75% off). The sales are for a limited time, which of course, ups the anxiety quotient.

Now, there is One Kings Lane – the home decor equivalent.
Upcoming sales include Lux Candles, Jamie Young Lighting and Missoni.

Please don't hate me.

If you need an invitation to join any of these sites, I'd be happy to oblige.
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8/22/09

You Could Be Here ...

If you're in the mood for an exotic vacation, and the timing just isn't right for any of your friends, why let that stand in your way?

There's still time to catch a cruise through the Greek Islands, with stops in Athens and Istanbul – and including three nights in Santorini, Oct. 7-18.

Approx. $3600 covers most everything – including airfare, 4-star hotels (here and here), an outside (shared) cabin on the M.S Cristal (Louis Cruises), transfers, tours and meals.
You'll be traveling with a great group of artists, architects and designers.

E-mail me for more details.
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8/18/09

The Winner Is ...

Congratulations to Elaine, the winner of the Topsy Turvy/Clayton Gray Home giveaway! Elaine will soon be receiving the necklace of her choosing. Thank you, Wendy, for offering such a great gift, and thanks to everyone who entered the drawing.
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8/13/09

Clayton Gray Home – Interview & Giveaway

Wendy Garraty, founder of Clayton Gray Home.

It's nice to see the faces and hear the stories behind the bloggers we so often read, isn't it? If you're familiar with the online shop and blog, Clayton Gray Home, you probably already know that Wendy Garraty has great taste. You might not know that she is also kind and gracious, to boot.

I caught up with Wendy recently at Marketplace Interiors, near downtown Tampa, and we sat down for a chat.

Busier than ever, Wendy has just opened a retail store location in this unique, newly renovated warehouse building, which offers shoppers a diverse selection of furnishings and accessories from 17 different design professionals.

Tell us about your background - how and why you started your business, Clayton Gray Home.
Retail has always been part of my life (I once worked for Anthropologie.) Initially, I started doing residential design work, but gradually moved to commercial projects when I found that to be more exciting and quick paced.

I have always loved the "search" for just the right product. For Clayton Gray Home, I've pulled together a mix of goods that seems to appeal to a large segment of shoppers. And I thank those shoppers for allowing me to do what I love.

What is your personal decorating style, and what/who would you consider to be your influences?
My style is definitely eclectic and quirky. I prefer carefree living at home, with the ability to move pieces from room to room. My color palette is such that I can move a lamp or chair or rug from one room to another and the piece still fits. I have 2 children, a dog and cats, so it's very important to me that they are all able to be in any part of our home – there aren't any rooms that are "off-limits." That being said, I have put a great deal of effort into teaching my children how to behave inside our home. Now if I could just get the dog on board ...

I am influenced by Billy Baldwin, Dorothy Draper, Mark Hampton, David Hicks and Florence Broadhurst. I could look at their work over and over again, and find something new and inspiring each time.

Do you have a favorite color?
Gray, of course. It's my "go-to" neutral that I pair with every other color for a completely different look each time.


10 things you can't live without ...
1 Benjamin Moore color wheel – I keep one in my office and one in my car
2 Choosing Happiness, by Alexandra Stoddard – I re-read this often to help me stay focused.
3 Sharpie Ultra Fine Point Pens
4 My iPhone
5 Boxwoods
6 Volcano Capri Blue Candles
7 Dr. Bronner Lavender Soap – It is organic, and was recommended to me by Amber at Spa Jardin.
8 Tory Burch shoes – Since we live in Florida, I'm a big fan of her flip-flops and have several pairs. They are affordable, you can throw them on with jeans and they dress up an outfit just a bit more than a regular flip-flop.
9 "Cherish" lipstick & "Spice" liner, both from MAC
10 My vintage men's Rolex watch – My husband gave it to me when we were first married. It's very plain and simple for a Rolex, which suits my style, and I prefer the bigger face because it's easier to see the numbers.

Photos of Wendy Garraty by Topsy Turvy, from the iPhone.

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How to enter the giveaway ...
As a special treat for Topsy Turvy readers, Wendy is offering a great give-away:
This charming necklace, valued at $65, in your choice of three colors.

Handmade and unique, these darling pendant necklaces from "Art by Amy" are fun and funky. Each sparkling cut-out heart is a "one of a kind" creation, framed in sterling silver and protected by a cut glass front and solid glass back.
When your mood changes, flip over the 16" sterling silver chain and pendant ... the reverse side displays charming vintage "found" papers.


To enter, you must do 2 things by midnight, Sat., Aug. 15:

1. Leave a comment on this post indicating which color necklace you prefer - orange, gold or purple. (And please be sure to leave an email address.)
2. Then go to Clayton Gray Home, and sign up for the mailing list (which will include discounts for future products, new arrivals etc.) The sign up box is at the bottom right of the home page.

It's that easy! One winner will be chosen by drawing,
and announced on Mon., Aug. 17.
Bonne chance!
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8/11/09

A Gift For You

Coming up later this week, I'll have a special interview with blogger and Clayton Gray Home shopowner, Wendy Garraty. Wendy will be offering a special giveaway for one lucky Topsy Turvy reader, so please check back soon ...

Meantime, take a look at the beautiful photography of Marion Brenner.
The above photo is from her Still Life collection, but her Botanicals are equally great.

And those wonderful, quirky white vases ...
they're from my favorite ceramic artist, Francis Palmer.
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Two more photos by Marion Brenner, pottery by Francis Palmer,
from House & Garden, July 04.

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8/10/09

Chartreuse Is More Than Just A Color

One more reason to love chartreuse is the name. It's such a beautiful word, don't you think?

I seem to be naturally drawn to anything French – the language – spoken and written, the style, the culture, the landscape, and even the people. I think I must have lived there in a previous life, and I dream of going back.

For the time being (and until I find that perfect chartreuse fabric), I'm going to experiment with some cocktails using the liqueur of the same name. How pretty will these drinks look!

You probably know that the liqueur is made by the Chartreuse monks in the north of France, from an ancient recipe. It was originally referred to as an "elixir of long life," (I think I need a lot of that) and is made of 130 different herbs and botanicals. The color is natural, although the original formula is called Green Chartreuse, and a newer formula, milder and sweeter, is the Yellow Chartreuse.

The elixir reportedly has an anise flavor, so this drink recipe sounds like it might be tasty. If not, the bottle can just sit there and look beautiful. I'll report back on my drink success – and if anyone else tries it, let me know what you think.

Cloister
1 1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/2 oz grapefruit juice
1/4 oz lemon juice
1/4 oz simple syrup

Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Recipe from Gonzo Gastronomy.

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A dozen chartreuse roses look very haute couture, don't you think?


Who imagined that a bike path could be beautiful and functional?
Who else but NYC's DOT. I love it. Photo via mindcafe.org.




For a little fun, watch this video of the Henry Street bike lane in Brooklyn. Video via streetfilms.org
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8/8/09

Chartreuse

I can't stop looking at this room (from the latest issue of Veranda), for several reasons. First is that fabulous chartreuse pillow. Click on any image for a larger view.

You could say that the color chartreuse was an important part of my early life, as I grew up in a house in the late 50s-early 60s, taking meals every day in a dining room with three chartreuse walls. My mother loved anything chartreuse, and it still is my own favorite color, after white.
The room above also combines many design ideas that I am so drawn to: a neutral background and white slipcovers (how great is that tight white slipcovered settee with the little flared skirt!), a mix of modern and old, wonderful authentic European architecture, splashes of luscious color, high art (as opposed to thrift store art), and a bit of glamour combined with an ease and comfort that invites a person into the space ... to wander, explore and feel right at home.

On the other side of the room, a more formal and very long Biedermeier sofa is taken down a notch with white linen-blend upholstery and scattered throw pillows. (The owners lucked out on the sofa when they found it in an antiques shop: it had already been purchased by Versace for his Lake Como villa, but was later returned when it didn't fit through the doors.) The casual stacks of books piled beneath the side table also bring down the tone of the room – to make it feel more relaxed.

Another element of the room that resonates for me is the lack of pattern. I can be just as swept away as anyone by a beautiful print, but, over time, I find I get bored and want to change them out. The pillows I have at home that have kept their appeal for me longer than any: a solid brown antiqued velvet (actually the back side of a patterned pillow that I grew tired of) and a solid linen that looks like burlap, but is more refined and softer to the touch. The rooms I see that most often make me catch my breath are those with very little pattern, and a mostly neutral color scheme. Brighter splashes of color that are sparingly introduced into this setting take on much more drama and impact.

Why don't I have any chartreuse in my house? I must change that, but I don't think I've ever come across a fabric that has the depth and richness of that chartreuse pillow. Perhaps I need to take a look at Dedar's fabric swatches – after all, the owners of this villa located in a small town near Como, Italy are Nicola and Elda Fabrizio, the founders of the fabric line.
All pillows are made up of Dedar fabrics and trims.
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Caterina Fabrizio speaks about the origins and inspiration for Dedar fabrics (courtesy of Live In Full Color.)




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Interior photographs by Massimo Listri for Veranda.
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