The Style Files: Charlotte Moss

Charlotte Moss needs no introduction. She is among the leading design talents in the world. The design doyenne opened her eponymous firm in 1985 and in the decades since, has designed residences all over the world. Like so many of the greats in the design industry, this is actually a second career for Charlotte, who launched her career working on Wall Street. Luckily for us, she has been sharing her gift for beautiful spaces and inspired living for many years now. In addition to having projects published in every major magazine, Charlotte has published ten books, including her most recent, the inspiring Charlotte Moss Entertains which was just published by Rizzoli last month. Charlotte also has licensed collections with Century Furniture, Stark Carpet, Fabricut, and Pickard; as well as capsule collection with IBU Movement and a jewelry collection with PE Guerin. She is also quite the decorated decorator having earned numerous awards including The New York School of Interior Design’s Centennial Medal, The Royal Oak Foundation’s Timeless Design Award, and inclusion on the ELLE DECOR A-List.

I have admired Charlotte’s work for many, many years and was lucky enough to meet her for the first time last month. Since then, I’ve gotten to know her a bit and have to say she is one of the coolest people I’ve met. She is obviously tremendously talented and accomplished, but she is refreshingly down-to-earth, intelligent, as well as incredibly charming. Did you know that if she were to have any other career in the world, she would be a race car driver and that her dream car is the same as mine– a Porsche 356 Speedster? She is an enigma in the best possible way. I hope you’ll be as inspired by today’s interview as I am. Enjoy!

Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Charlotte Moss: In dress, classic at the heart, lots of vintage and boheme accents. In design, elegant, eclectic, and feminine comfort.

PC: How has living in New York influenced your style?

CM: New York is visual stimulation, full on energy, the learning curve is 24/7. Because everything at your fingertips, it’s influence seeps in daily.

PC: What does your home say about you?

CM: It says I am curious, a collector, a reader, and a fool for comfort.

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

CM: Time off, reading, gardening ,being the flaneur, exploring wherever I am, Doing NOTHING is when the ideas come.

{A Beautiful Moment Captured on a Recent Trip to Milan via Charlotte’s Instagram, @charmossny}

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

CM: The free spirits…Leslie Blanche, Lauren Hutton, Gloria Vanderbilt

PC: What trait do you most admire in a person?

CM: Generosity, honesty and a sense of humor is essential

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

CM: Pleasure never makes me guilty!

PC: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

CM: HOME, because it was always the center of our world as children. I saw my mother and my grandmother fuss, strive to make them better, prettier. I got that gene.

PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

CM: Long lunches and candlelit dinners on a terrace somewhere overlooking a beautiful landscape or the Mediterranean, where everyone is dressed for dinner and savoring the moment. In Easthampton, by the pool, when the sun is starting to drop..cocktail in hand.

PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

CM: First, I will enjoy the fact that book ten, Charlotte Moss Entertains, was published last month is in its second printing. But next, this fall, will be a new furniture collection for Century, a second collection for IBU Movement, and some jewelry based on the PE Guerin archive.

Go-To Outfit: pants, boots, a vintage top or jacket; always pack a white shirt wherever I am headed

Style Mantra: Be Yourself….and good grooming comes first,always

Scent: Portrait of a Lady, & Un Fleur de Passie both by Dominque Rupion for Frederic Malle

Piece of Jewelry: a pair of cuffs

Color I Never Tire Of: camel and vicuna

Flower: garden roses..for their variety, voluptuousness and fragrance

Era of Design: the 60’s Italy..the original La Dolce Vita

Dream Project: the house in my head

Fabric: anything made by human hands

Hostess Gift: wherever i travel I bring back gifts, this year I shipped dozens of baskets from Tanzania

Drink: a great Pinot Noir like Kosta Browne ‘Gap’s Crown’ or Sea Smoke TEN

Weekend Destination: Easthampton, home sweet home…

Hotel: Ballyfin in Ireland, Villa Feltrinelli in Lake Garda Italy, Hotel Caruso in Ravello, Italy, Villa d’Este in Lake Como

City: the next one I plan to explore

Artist: John Singer Sargeant, Jean-Etienne Liotard, Matisse

Actor: Colin Firth

Risk Worth Taking: try me, I’m game!

Greatest Extravagance: traveling the way i want

Go-To Color Palette: The colors of bearded irises, ambers, violets, browns have been haunting me

Rule to Break: any of them

I can never have too many ….. flowers in the house

The Style Files: Jean Liu

Jean Liu is a Dallas-based interior designer who spent the better part of a decade working in her family’s outdoor furniture business before translating her love of design into a full-scale design business, Jean Liu Design in 2007. Jean strives to design thoughtful homes, rather than houses for her clients and aims to “transform spaces into places”. Her work runs the gamut from modern to traditional which is no small feat. As a result, Jean was recognized as a “Next Wave” interior designer by House Beautiful a few months ago. In addition to running a thriving design business, Jean, along with her family, also launched Stori Modern, a tightly-edited collection of chic outdoor furniture at an accessible price point. Jean is certainly one to watch. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know her in today’s installment of The Style Files.

Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Jean Liu: Varied but edited; modern but warm; sometimes verging on formal, but always with a sense of humor…

PC: How has living in Dallas influenced your aesthetic?

JL: Most people in Dallas have yards, some larger than others. That coupled with the mild weather makes outdoor living a priority, so when working with clients, we are constantly thinking about the transition from indoor to outdoor spaces and maximizing the time spent outside.

PC: What does your home say about you?

JL: It says “don’t judge a book by the cover”—it’s Italianate in architecture but that’s it; it says we’re young art collectors who still love an antique here and there; it says the house is a work in progress; it says I’m a frustrated gardener who refuses to accept some plants just will not grow in Texas.

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

JL: Movies, fashion, and art

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

JL: Ashe + Leandro, Arent Pyke, Christian Liaigre, Andrea Cochran (landscape architect), Tom Ford, Isabel Marant

PC: What trait do you most admire in a person?

JL: Character, sense of humor, and compassion.

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

JL: Binge watching “Shameless” after our daughter goes to bed.

PC: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

JL: Katherine Graham of The Washington Post

PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

JL: Anytime I can go somewhere without my phone and computer

{Jean’s Favorite Summer Getaway in East Hampton via her Instagram, @jeanliudesign}

PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

JL: We’ll be finishing up several new construction projects—all of them modern in style; we are also working on a new apartment concept catered to millienials, and look out for some fun new collections and collaborations from our outdoor furniture line, Stori Modern.

{Chic Outdoor Chairs from Jean’s Company Stori Modern via @storimodern on Instagram}

Go-To Outfit: For work, straight legged black pants by Cos with a collared J. Crew top, and Gucci Ghost leather slippers; For going out: Dolce Gabbana silk pajama set and matching heels. So comfortable, chic and a bit irreverent.

Style Mantra: Keep it stupid simple

Scent: Premier Figuier by L’Artisan Parfumeur

Piece of Jewelry: Vintage Rolex watch from the year I was born. I love the weight of it on my wrist. I don’t use it to tell time anymore but it serves as a reminder to make the most of each day.

Color I Never Tire Of: Black and White

Flower: Lenten Rose

Indispensable Design Element: Really good art

Era for Design: Mid Century

Dream Project: A Bed and Breakfast

Fabric/Textile: Silk velvet of any kind or color

Hostess Gift: A box of Kate Weiser chocolates

Meal: My grandmother’s dumplings—she only made them once a year to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Drink: AM: The Gem’s Green Glow with Cayenne; PM: A Moscow Mule

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: Having dinner with my family

3 Things I Love About My City: The airport; the Nasher Sculpture Museum; the “can do” attitude

Weekend Destination: New York City

Hotel: Fendi Private Suites, Rome

City: New York…every chance I get…

Museum: Cooper Hewitt

Artist: too many to just name one but Jonas Wood, Gillian Carnegie, Thomas Struth

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”

Actor/Actress: Meryl Streep—she just keeps getting better…

Prized Possession: My small drawing by John Currin

Risk Worth Taking: Jaywalking while I’m out for a run

Greatest Extravagance: Taking Blade to the Hamptons

Go-To Color Palette: Black and white

Rule to Break: In everyday life, starting a sentence with a conjunction. In design, there are no rules. That’s what it means to be a creative.

Movie Set Design: The Intern

I can never have too many…pieces of Old Paris Porcelain



The Style Files: Jane Pendry

I was first introduced to Jane Pendry, the designer of the impossibly chic Dovima Paris collection around this time last year by our mutual friend, Ann Mashburn, a woman of equal aplomb. Jane is charming, elegant, intelligent, and incredibly stylish. She has channeled these characteristics into a beautiful clothing collection inspired by her life in Paris and her career in fashion working for the likes of Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Alexander McQueen, and Ralph Lauren. Her appreciation for classic, enduring style and impeccable craftsmanship having spent years working in French couture houses are found in the beautiful tailoring of the Dovima Paris collection. Everything is made to exacting standards, just north of Paris. Jane understands that style is completely personal and as such, part of her business model includes “by-invitation-only” trunk shows throughout the U.S., Paris, and London in order to be closer to the customer, though Dovima is also sold by a handful of chic boutiques the world over, as well as on I’ll never forget how attentive she was at a trunk show at Ann Mashburn, here in Houston, convincing me to go for a beautiful emerald silk blouse rather than playing it safe and going with the ivory version as I had planned. As Ann said to me– “When Jane speaks, you listen. She’ll never steer you wrong.” Jane is currently on the road showing her Spring/Summer 2018 collection and has just introduced a beautiful collaboration with deGournay. Enjoy!

Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Jane Pendry: Simple, sensual, colorful, bling-averse with a love of refined detail and a touch of the unexpected.

PC: How has living in Paris influenced your aesthetic?

JP: Understanding that chic is wearing something that really flatters you rather than wearing something that looks good on someone else.

PC: What does your home say about you?

JP: That I am curious, have eclectic taste, love color, and that I have a family.

{Jane is often on the road, showing her beautiful collection at trunk shows in the U.S. and Europe, but Paris is home. Be sure to follow her on Instagram to follow along on her fabulous travels.}

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

JP: Mainly my girlfriends, but there are always those images of Lee Radziwilll, Slim Keith, Millicent Rodgers et al.

{The Divine Amanda Ross @arossgirl in A Chic Dovima Dress}

PC: What trait do you most admire in a person?

JP: Generosity of spirit, straightforwardness and kindness.

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

JP: There is no such thing…pleasure is a joy.

PC: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

JP: The designers that I have been so lucky to work for– Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and Ralph Lauren.

PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

JP: On summer vacation with family and dear friends in the Mediterranean. Laughter; long conversations; a really good book; a swim before breakfast; unfussy, delicious food; messing about on boats; shades of blue and bright white; long lunches; having a nap; dancing on the beach. 

{Jane and Her Boys on Holiday}

PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

JP: Dovima Paris is launching limited-edition hand-painted opera coats this season that are a combined effort with de Gournay. They really are gorgeous, but that’s mainly down to the incredible people who do the hand-painting at De Gournay- its utterly mind-blowing to watch and the result is so refined and extraordinary. They have the most amazing savoir-faire. We totally re-vamped the designs in luscious colors, cherry -picked elements from the wall panels and made them fit round the body. The result is the Deco Monkey and Portman Chinoiserie Fiorella coats, in lovely, heavy duchess satin, that can either be worn over an evening gown or belted as an ultra-luxurious take on pajama dressing.  The idea was spurred on by my favorite store, Capitol in Charlotte N.C., asking me to create something for their 20th birthday this spring.

Ultimate Luxury: to keep your clothes and to enjoy wearing them for many years 

Style Mantra: Get fully dressed and then take something off

Scent: L’Ombre dans L’Eau by Dyptique – I have worn it since I was 18 and it’s my signature

Piece of Jewelry: anything by Marie-Hélène de Taillac

Color I Never Tire Of: beautiful mixes of colors so as that one shade highlights and transforms another

Flower: Peonies

Indispensable Design Element: a touch of the unexpected

Era for Design: I love mixing different eras

Dream Project: a Beach Collection and something for the home rather than clothing

Hostess Gift: a copy of a book I have really enjoyed reading

Meal: Japanese food

Drink: Tequila and Soda with a twist…someone told me it’s called a Skinny Bitch

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: talking with my husband as we make dinner

3 Things I Love About My City: Only 3? I love everything about Paris

Weekend Destination: Naples…so much to see, the food is delicious and the sun shines most of the year

Hotel: I prefer to stay with friends if I can

City: New Orleans

Museum: The Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth – the building by Louis Khan is transformative and the museum is full of such treasure

Artist: John Singer Sargent (but I have lots of other favorites too)

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers

Actor/Actress: Cate Blanchett

Risk Worth Taking: Embrace the unknown

Greatest Extravagance: Curiosity

Go-To Color Palette: color, color and then a little more color

Rule to Break: If you follow all the rules you miss all the fun.

Movie Set Design: The Leopard – In the Mood for Love – My Uncle – anything by Wes Anderson

I can never have too many… Books

{Photography Courtesy of Jane Pendry}


The Style Files: Jeffry Weisman

{Photography by Meg Messina}

Jeffry Weisman is a very talented interior and product designer. He earned a degree in design as well as a MBA at Stanford. His design career began by designing corporate interiors at large firms, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Gentler. After several years, Jeffry established his own practice to develop and license product designs with great Charles Pfister. As his business grew, Jeffry expanded his focus to include residential fit, which was a seamless addition. Today, Jeffry is one half of Fisher Wiesman, the company he founded along with his partner in business and life, Andrew Fisher in 2000. Today, the firm designs residential interiors, along with collections of lighting, furniture, and accessories under the Fisher Weisman label, as well as licensed collections for Boyd Lighting, Michael Taylor Designs, and The Wicker Works. Jeffry and Andrew primarily live in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, but also spend a lot of time in San Francisco. Enjoy!

Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Jeffry Weisman: What you first see in our work are the luxurious materials, rich palettes, finely gauged scale, and a sense of comfort – even in our formal rooms. As you look deeper you notice how layered the interiors are, the careful editing, the custom pieces that fit so well, and the bits of whimsy and fantasy that Andrew inevitably creates.

PC: How has living in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico influenced your design aesthetic?

JW: Having been trained to design every detail of a project in our heads before the first hammer is lifted, it has been a revelation to work in Mexico where the design process begins only in the broadest strokes prior to the start of construction. Design is an iterative process there, more akin to painting. You are encouraged to imagine as a building is built, adding new ideas and even trying some out in bricks and mortar. And anything we can imagine can be made by very talented hands – which really encourages the imagination.

PC: What does your home say about you?

JW: The multi-faceted quality of the interiors speaks to the breadth of places we’ve traveled and the colors, textures, and materials we love; the surprising aspects of the house and garden design speak to our quirky approach to classical design; and the mood that all of it creates speaks to our love of creating a space that constantly evolves, of living there, and of entertaining constantly.

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

JW: Travel, Museums, our Imaginations

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

JW: Albert Hadley and Charles Pfister for their exquisitely disciplined interiors; Renzo Mongiardino and Tony Duquette for their exquisitely imaginative work

PC: What trait do you most admire in a person?

JW: Authenticity, which speaks to being real and interesting.

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

JW: Espresso

PC: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

JW: Working with Charles Pfister, who had exquisitely refined taste and mastered the art of living well.

PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

JW: Making the time to take care of yourself and enjoy life; developing deep friendships and nurturing them; traveling widely and comfortably; eating outrageously delicious food; and sleeping well.

PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

JW: We are expanding the Fisher Weisman Collection with a range of amazing new chandeliers and are expanding our offerings of one-of-a-kind fantasy pieces by Andrew Fisher this summer.

Go-To Outfit: Rag and Bone jeans with an Isaia shirt, a Cucinelli blazer and Gravati loafers. What else do you need?

Style Mantra: How would Cary Grant have looked in that?

Scent: Insensé Ultramarine by Givenchy, an obscure scent I’ve worn since le Grand Hubert gave me a bottle in the early 80’s

Piece of Jewelry: my hammered 24 karat wedding band from Menichini Gioiellieri in Rome

Color I Never Tire Of: Blue, especially paired with white

Flower: Garden roses

Indispensable Design Element: the AE table by Cedric Hartman

Era for Design: France in the 1930s and 40s, when extraordinary designers and craftspeople brilliantly explored new design idioms with the finest materials

Dream Project: designing the sets for a remake of (the original) Auntie Mame

Fabric/Textile: almost anything from Gretchen Bellinger but specifically her deluxe silk velvet, pasha linen velvet, and wool sheer

Hostess Gift: Bitter Orange bath salts from Agraria

Meal: Kumamoto oysters, Caesar salad, roast chicken for two and Gateau Victoire with Andrew Fisher at Zuni Café in San Francisco

Drink: a Hendricks martini, very dry, up with two lemon twists

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: a long walk to a lovely meal

3 Things I Love About My City: For San Francisco: the views, the architecture, and the food. For San Miguel: the scale and palette of the 16th century colonial architecture, the weather, and the rhythm of life there

Weekend Destination: Mexico City

Hotel: Las Alcobas

City: Mexico City

Museum: Musée Rodin, Paris

Artist: Andrew Fisher, who I’ve reluctantly watched shift his focus from interiors to his studio over the past five years and who is now creating extraordinary work

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: It’s Raining Men, by The Weather Girls. LOUD.

Actor/Actress: Katharine Hepburn

Prized Possession: my health

Greatest Extravagance: using acres of Fortuny in a room (rather than just a pillow)

Go-To Color Palette: Dark floors

Rule to Break: Always line and interline drapery

Movie Set Design: The original Auntie Mame with Rosalind Russell

I can never have too many…rides on friends’ jets

For more on Jeffry Weisman, visit Fisher and Weisman and follow along on Instagram @fisherweismancollection.

{Photography Courtesy of Fisher Weisman | AD Photography by Simon Watson}

The Style Files: Sophie Donelson

Sophie Donelson has been editor in chief of House Beautiful since 2014. In the time since, she has built a loyal following who love the energy and point of view she has brought to the beloved shelter magazine. Prior to her post at House Beautiful, Sophie held senior editorial positions at Elle Decor and at Martha Stewart’s Blueprint. She has also written about design and living for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Departures. Each month, I eagerly anticipate the latest issue of House Beautiful and always enjoy the candor of Sophie’s editor’s letters.

Just last fall, Sophie published her first book for House Beautiful, Style Secrets: What Every Room Needs, a handy manual which breaks down the different elements that make a room inspiring, beautiful, and successful. The beautifully-illustrated tome is filled with hundreds of photographs from projects by many talented designers. It just so happens that Sophie and I share the same publisher and editor at Abrams, which is super exciting. If you’ve ever met Sophie, then you know just how smart and charming she is. I hope that you’ll enjoy getting to know more about her!

Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Sophie Donelson: Evolving! Varied at best, scattershot at worst. Multi-ethnic, peripatetic, patterned, layered, messy.

PC: How would you say living in New York has influenced your aesthetic?

SD: I have to heed Marie Kondo’s advice more than I’d like. In lieu of collecting chairs, sculpture & objet, I limit myself to 2-D art, textiles, and china. And shoes.

{A Verdant Room by Ashley Whittaker, featured in Sophie’s book, House Beautiful Style Secrets}

PC: What does your home say about you?

SD: That I’m more interested in creative pursuits than perfection. That I’m a parent. That I’m not afraid of color. That I’m too busy to obsess over it… though there’s nothing I’d rather do!

{A Colorful Interior by Katie Ridder as Photographed for House Beautiful and as Featured in Style Secrets}

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

SD: As a magazine editor and author, I’m a trafficker of inspiration. My role is to keep my heart and mind open to new ideas and to be on high alert when originality is nearby. But as a homeowner, I try to filter out the noise of other people’s ideas and concentrate on developing my own voice.

{The April Issue of House Beautiful}

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

SD: I admire plenty of people’s style but I can’t say I iconize anyone.

{A Pretty Dining Room by Meg Braff as Photographed for House Beautiful and as Featured in Style Secrets}

PC: What trait do you most admire in a person?

SD: Vulnerability, sincerity, compassion.

{A Chic Bedroom by Benjamin Dhong as Photographed for House Beautiful and as Featured in Style Secrets}

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

SD: My Delta status

{A Vibrant Sitting Room by Mark D. Sikes as Photographed for House Beautiful and as Featured in Style Secrets}

PC: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

SD: My readers – and I’m not trying to be sweet! It’s never lost on me the massive privilege it is to have millions of people enjoy the work we create at House Beautiful. Readers have a choice and when they choose YOU, you better make it worth their while!

{A Chinoiserie-Clad Bedroom by Miles Redd as Photographed for House Beautiful and as Featured in Style Secrets}

PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

SD: Finding and sharing joy wherever you are. An Aperol Spritz or three. The times we take our kids somewhere posh and they don’t embarrass us–even better if there are Spritzes.

{A Classic Kitchen by Benjamin Dhong as Photographed for House Beautiful and as Featured in Style Secrets}

PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

SD: Monthly House Beautiful issues, yearly design books and an Instagram a week–on a good week!

{A Bold, Color-Driven Living Room by Nick Olsen as Photographed for House Beautiful and as Featured in Style Secrets}

Go-To Outfit: Workweek: A multicolored Marni dress, tall boots or heels, lipstick. Weekends, Amo jeans and an oversize stripey oxford. Ponytail, moisturizer

Scent: Something meant for men

Piece of Jewelry: My 1940s bow-tie diamond ring.

Color I Never Tire Of: Rust, aubergine, chartreuse—all the “redhead colors”

Flower: Moss

Indispensable Design Element: Big art

Era for Design: The Twenties.

Dream Project: A garage or workshop of my own. The scent of WD-40 is a turn-on.

Fabric/Textile: All. Of. Them.

Hostess Gift: Breakfast for the next day – Coffee, scones & good butter.

Meal: Nori wraps with steamed root veggies and avocado. We’re pretty healthy.

Drink: Almost only ever silver tequila or champagne. Negronis if I really need help.

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: See above.

3 Things I Love About My City: Diversity. Anonymity. The subway.

Weekend Destination: Maine

Hotel: The LA guest room of my food editor Lulu Powers.

City: LA

Museum: House museums, all of them.

Artist: Van Eyck, Hans Holbein (Elder), Albrecht Dürer – the haunting Northern Renaissance painters

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: Ramble On, Led Zeppelin. Circle Down, Ayer.

Prized Possession: Four small paintings by my godfather

Risk Worth Taking: Having kids.

Greatest Extravagance: Childcare.

Go-To Color Palette: Redhead colors.

Rule to Break: Don’t invest in nice decor when you have little kids. I call BS! These are the years we’re all stuck in the house, when better to enjoy it?

I can never have too many… Instagram followers – it’s @SophieDow in case you were wondering 😉