The Gold Standard of Luxury in Napa Valley: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{Auberge du Soleil’s Chic “La Plage”}

A couple of weeks ago, Fabian and I spent our tenth wedding anniversary in one of our favorite places in the world, Napa Valley. If you’ve read La Dolce Vita for some time now, chances are, you know all about my love for Napa. As we were beginning to plan our trip a couple of months ago, I was contacted by the Auberge du Soleil, Napa Valley’s first luxury hotel and resort, who is also celebrating an anniversary this year– their 30th year as the premier, most awarded hotel property in Napa. In honor of their 30th anniversary, the hotel’s maisons– or suites– have been completely redesigned by lauded San Francisco interior designer, Suzanne Tucker, who had a hand in designing the hotel in its first iteration in the 1980s when she worked for the iconic Michael Taylor. Suzanne has taken a fresh approach this time around, embracing the special light in the Napa Valley with warm, clean palettes and floor to ceiling steel windows to frame each maison’s special view of the Valley.

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{Perched in the hills above the Silverado Trail in Rutherford, Auberge du Soleil offers unparalleled, sweeping views of the Napa Valley.}

You can probably imagine how thrilled I was when Auberge du Soleil invited us to stay in one of their newly-unveiled maisons. The timing worked out perfectly with our anniversary. We usually make it a point to have lunch on the terrace at Auberge du Soleil when we are in Napa, so we were very excited to stay there and really experience the magic of the Auberge du Soleil that I had heard about for years from some very well traveled people.

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I am the first to admit that I am extremely blessed to have a unique career that allows me to do what I love and to travel to the extent that I do. As a result– and in part because I am a hotel snob– I’ve had the good fortune of staying in quite a few beautiful, well-regarded hotels. However, I was completely blown away by the level of service at Auberge du Soleil. Weeks before our stay, Yahell Peralta, the lead concierge, was in frequent contact with me. After getting a good understanding of our favorite wine varietals, favorite places, restaurants, and activities, she crafted a completely customized itinerary for our stay and made all of the reservations for us. This service is available to all Auberge du Soleil guests and certainly comes with perks. Because of its standing as the premier luxury property in Napa, guests are given access to wineries that don’t typically open to the public and are able to get reservations at highly sought after restaurants. Having everything taken care of for us was a huge relief and allowed us to focus solely on enjoying our trip.

From the moment we checked in, every staff member greeted us by name each time they saw us. Auberge du Soleil’s location, beautiful grounds, and stunning views are all part of its charm, but the staff is paramount in creating an experience unlike any other. The staff is incredibly thoughtful and accommodating without ever being imposing. Many luxury hotels can run the gamut from extremely formal and stuffy to having a very downtown, “too cool for school” aloofness. It is extremely difficult to replicate what Auberge du Soleil has achieved, which is what makes it so rare and special. Auberge du Soleil is a singular, beautiful property with sumptuous, comfortable accommodations and a top-notch staff, yet it maintains an effortless ease. The overall vibe is relaxed, welcoming, and distinctly Californian.  As a guest, you feel completely at home.

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{Each distinctive maison is luxuriously appointed and maximizes Napa Valley’s unique and singular light.}

We stayed in one of the Maisons that was recently redesigned by Suzanne Tucker. Our Maison, Mougins 3, was very spacious with a huge living room, a separate powder bathroom, master suite, and a large terrace with beautiful views of the valley. I was so inspired while staying here. Suzanne Tucker is one of the greatest interior designers working today and her level of expertise and passion for her work was evident in every detail. Our Maison was beautifully appointed and was so comfortable. The space planning made perfect sense and we had everything we could possibly want or need. No detail was spared and the quality of the furnishings was top notch.

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{A View of our Living Room Looking Towards the Fireplace and TV}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{Looking Toward’s the Entrance of the Maison}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{We were greeted with a beautiful charcuterie plate, a sweet little “Happy Anniversary” bundt cake, fresh fruit, and a bottle of wine. Each room at Auberge du Soleil also comes with a fully stocked, complimentary mini bar.}
LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{The Maisons at Auberge du Soleil feature warm palettes and beautiful fabrics by Suzanne Tucker.}

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{The entire Maison featured chic, light wood finishes like cerused and limed oak. I am obsessed with the decor of our beautiful powder bath. It is perfectly neutral, but features so many incredible textures including the wood paneled walls.}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{Our bed and bedding were extremely comfortable. You can’t tell in this photo of the chic bed, but the bedroom also has a soaring, beamed ceiling like the living room. It created such a nice, airy effect.}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{The master bathroom was simply divine. We each had our own vanity.}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{The master bathroom also features a sculptural Waterworks tub and a stylish vanity complete with a Frances Elkins Loop Chair.}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{My favorite thing about the bathroom was the shower with a skylight which makes it feel as if you are showering outdoors. The water pressure was also fantastic. One of my pet peeves about hotels is bad lighting. So often, the lighting in bathrooms, even at luxury hotels, is so dim and poorly placed that it makes getting ready in the morning a chore. Naturally, Auberge du Soleil gets the lighting right, too. It is beautiful and perfectly placed. As a couple of lighting aficionados, Fabian and I really appreciated this!}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{Our Fabulous Terrace}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{The View from one Side of our Terrace}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{This is the View from Our Front Door in the Perfect, Early evening Light}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{Our Wonderful Home Away from Home in Napa: Mougins 3 at Auberge du Soleil}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{The grounds at Auberge du Soleil are beautiful and are meticulously maintained. La Plage, the pool area, is particularly beautiful.}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{Striped Lounges and Terracotta Pots are Ultra-Chic}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{So beautiful!}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

Effortless luxury is the foundation of the DNA at Auberge du Soleil. We honestly did not want to leave at the end of our stay and I worry that no other hotel will ever compare! It is truly heaven on earth. Our tenth wedding anniversary was so special, thanks to the Auberge. The staff made us feel like royalty and there were so many wonderful touches from the fleet of Mercedes Benz E350 convertibles available to guests, perfect wine pairings at the phenomenal Michelin-starred restaurant (more on that soon), and our relaxing treatments at their fabulous spa with the most amazing views. Auberge du Soleil is certainly a splurge, but it is among the finest, highest ranked hotel properties in the world and is absolutely worth it. If you have a special celebration coming up or want to treat yourself to an effortlessly luxurious experience in Napa Valley, the Auberge du Soleil is an absolute must.

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In honor of another anniversary– La Dolce Vita’s 8th since I started the blog in 2007, Auberge du Soleil is offering a very special treat to LDV readers! 

Enjoy a $250 resort credit to enjoy during your stay at Auberge du Soleil in August or September of this year. The credit is applicable towards dining, spa treatments, merchandise at the boutique, or anything at this incredible property. 

Offer is valid for stays of two nights or more, Sundays through Thursdays in August and September 2015. Holiday weekend excluded. Valid for NEW reservations only. To book, guests should call (800) 348-5406 and use booking code PALOMA when making their reservation. 

Be sure to come back tomorrow, when I will share all of my top recommendations for wineries and restaurants on this trip!

 

Paloma-Signature

{All Photography by Paloma Contreras for La Dolce Vita}

Jet Set: Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley

Auberge du Soleil Day

Next week, Fabian and I will be celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary. It is hard to believe that ten years have already flown by! I couldn’t be more grateful for the most amazing husband, friend, and partner. He truly makes my life complete.

If you’ve read La Dolce Vita for a while now, then chances are, you know that Napa Valley is our happy place. We decided that it would be wonderful to celebrate our special milestone anniversary there. It just so happens that Auberge du Soleil, Napa Valley’s first luxury hotel and resort is also celebrating an anniversary this year– their 30th year as the premier, most awarded hotel property in Napa.

auberge maison

In honor of their 30th anniversary, the hotel’s maisons– or suites– have been completely redesigned by lauded San Francisco interior designer, Suzanne Tucker, who had a hand in designing the hotel in its first iteration in the 1980s when she worked for the iconic Michael Taylor. Suzanne has taken a fresh approach this time around, embracing the special light in the Napa Valley with warm, clean palettes and floor to ceiling steel windows to frame each maison’s special view of the Valley. Each distinctive maison is luxuriously appointed and maximizes Napa Valley’s unique and singular light.

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“We’ve re-envisioned the lifestyle at Auberge du Soleil and infused it with a lightness of spirit that is very fresh, young and very sexy,” said George Goeggel, Managing Partner, Auberge du Soleil. “With private terraces, custom-designed beds and more than a little glamour, our new rooms are a seductive retreat within a retreat.”

auberge garden room

Suzanne Tucker says, “my updated design retains the spirit of the Auberge’s hillside allure, the private, romantic ambience and brings the interiors forward with a more contemporary approach. We are after timeless qualities here, and this thoughtful approach has felt very natural and organic, just as the Auberge and its surroundings are.”

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 {The Courtyard at the Auberge du Soleil’s Extraordinary Spa}

You can probably imagine how thrilled I was when Auberge du Soleil invited us to stay in one of their newly-unveiled maisons. The timing worked out perfectly with our upcoming anniversary. We usually make it a point to have lunch on the terrace at Auberge du Soleil when we are in Napa, so we are very excited to stay there and experience everything this legendary property has to offer. 

auberge restaurant terrace{The Terrace at the Auberge du Soleil’s Michelin-Starred Restaurant Offers Sweeping Views of Napa Valley}

Perched on the hillside above the Silverado Trail in Rutherford, the Auberge du Soleil offers unparalleled views of the Napa Valley. I always recommend that friends traveling to Napa have lunch on the terrace to enjoy the delicious food Chef Robert Curry creates, reflecting the natural diversity and rich ingredients of Napa Valley and of course, to take in the spectacular views.

auberge hillside

We haven’t even arrived yet, and I already know that our stay will be nothing short of fabulous. Auberge du Soleil prides itself on its personal service, taking into account the preferences and desires of its guests prior to and during their stay. Their incredible concierge has unparalleled knowledge of and access to the best that Napa Valley has to offer. I am usually in charge of the planning for all of our trips (I am a type A control freak), so it has been an incredibly nice luxury to have the Auberge du Soleil take the reigns and craft a personalized itinerary for us. They made suggestions and reservations for us based on our favorite wine varietals, regions of the Valley, and restaurants. The concierge at Auberge du Soleil also has access to a lot of private wineries that are not usually open to the public, so we will be checking out some wonderful wineries that are new to us on this trip.

auberge day pool

It is such a nice luxury to know that all we have to do is show up and enjoy, especially after the difficult past few weeks we’ve had at home with our sweet Tate. He will be at his neurosurgeon’s for medical boarding while we are away, so he will have the most capable care. Hopefully, we will be able to recharge from what has been an incredibly taxing time and enjoy our anniversary and the beautiful experience that awaits us. We will be heading to Napa next Tuesday and I will be sure to share images from our trip on Instagram while we’re there. I will also share a recap here on LDV when we return, so stay tuned!

Paloma Signature

Napa Valley Modern

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{The chic living loom features v-groove paneling which lends architectural interest while staying true to the idea of a modern St. Helena farmhouse.}

It’s no secret that I love everything about the Napa Valley. I dream of someday owning a house there for weekend getaways and holidays. It’s funny how as you get older, instead of seeking out as many new places as you did in your younger years, it is more appealing to revisit the places you have grown to love. That is exactly what Napa is for us. We love the landscape, the warm people who are so passionate about their various crafts; the food, and of course, the wine. While we love visiting new places, we are never quite as relaxed as when we are in Napa. In about a month, we will be heading back to the Napa Valley to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary at the very place that defines luxury in Napa Valley– Auberge du Soleil. I am counting down the days until our trip and consequently, have had Napa on mind quite a bit lately.

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Since I have been daydreaming about Napa, I was thrilled to come across this chic house in charming St. Helena. Featured in Luxe Magazine and designed by Chicago-based Kara Mann, the home is a part-time residence for the homeowner. What started out as a traditional farmhouse style residence received an overhaul by Kara and architect Andrew Mann, who worked together to create an iteration of the home that feels crisper and more contemporary to suit the client’s taste. The client also wanted to make use of the vast outdoor space to allow for more indoor/outdoor entertaining. Scott Lewis Landscape Architecture replaced the front lawn with native grasses and suggested adding a pavilion which takes advantage of the neighboring vineyard creating beautiful vistas. The result is a property whose footprint is perfectly tailored to suit the needs and aesthetic preferences of the homeowners. If you also visit Napa frequently, then you know how special the light is there as it changes throughout the day. The landscape is also vibrant and colorful, changing from season to season, which is why I absolutely love that Kara opted for a perfectly neutral interior, creating the ideal canvas for what lies just beyond the home’s doors.

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{The living room is flanked by a pair of Ochre sofas and selenite-topped cocktail tables by Blackman Cruz in Los Angeles.}

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{The striking dining room features several statement pieces that work beautifully together including wood wing chairs from Lucca Antiques in Los Angeles, a chandelier from Liza Sherman in New York, and a vintage marble table by Angelo Mangiarotti.}

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{The airy kitchen was designed with entertaining in mind.}

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{A Bank of French Doors in the Master Bedroom Opens onto a Terrace}

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{Designer, Kara Mann opted for modern fixtures and fittings in the master bathroom.}

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 {The Entrance to the Guesthouse}

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{The guesthouse was designed to be comfortable, inviting, and low maintenance, hence the slipcovered sofas and lucite bunching tables.}

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{Drought Resistant Grasses and Mediterranean Plants Dot the Landscape while the Neighboring Vineyard Contributes to the Beautiful Views}

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{Olive Trees and Lavender add a Quintessential Touch of Napa to the Pool Area}

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{The Pavillion from Afar}

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{The Pavillion features both Sitting and Dining Areas, Making it Ideal for Outdoor Entertaining.}

Paloma Signature

{Images by Matthew Millman for Luxe}

The Style Files: Mark D. Sikes

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Today’s installment of “The Style Files” is very special as I am profiling my close friend and design mentor, Mark D. Sikes. Mark and I became fast friends a few years ago around the time that his home in the Hollywood Hills was first published and his blog was just beginning in late 2011. Since then, Mark has amassed a loyal following, created an identifiable look and brand, and has completed a slew of stunning design projects. Just last week, Mark’s newly redesigned home was published in the July/August issue of Veranda and I think you’ll find it to be a breathtaking evolution of its original iteration.

Mark spent two decades in a successful career in visual merchandising during which he honed his inimitable eye for style, scale, and attention to detail. Upon moving to Los Angeles in 2011 and subsequently having the home he and his partner Michael Griffin share published in the pages of House Beautiful, Mark’s focus turned exclusively to running his eponymous interior design firm and lifestyle blog. Mark’s work– whether in a room or on the pages of his blog, radiates beauty, authenticity, and genuine character– all of the same things that those of us who know him love most about him. Mark is endlessly inspiring. He is an eternal optimist with boundless energy and creativity who possesses the most generous and gracious spirit. All of that and he probably downs more Starbucks Iced Green Tea in one day than anyone else on the planet! I feel fortunate to have Mark in my life and could not be happier for his success. I know this is just the beginning!

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Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Mark D. Sikes: Classic, Timeless, All-American, Consistent….I’d like to think effortless…

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{Mark’s stunning, newly redesigned home is featured on the cover and in the pages of the July/August 2014 issue of Veranda}

PC: Has living in Los Angeles influenced the way you decorate?

MDS: Of course it has. the weather is pretty wonderful here most of the year, indoor-outdoor living at it’s best. Because of this everything is more relaxed and easy, un-complicated, however, my design signatures, the things that I love like rattan, chinoiserie, blue and white, natural fiber rugs, and linen upholstery work anywhere and everywhere…

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{Mark’s Bedroom is now swathed in pale blue Gracie wallpaper. | Image via Veranda}

PC: What does your home say about you?

MDS: That I’m a classicist and a collector, that I love to mix old with new, traditional with modern, the outside with the inside, and of course, that I love blue and white.

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{Mark’s Chic Dining Room features Antique Mirrored Walls, Saddle Leather Dining Chairs, a Leopard Rug, and Antique Chandelier | Image via Veranda}

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

MDS: I look to the past….. I love Books and magazines (a friend of mind just sent me about 25 old House & Garden’s from the 80’s- I was in heaven), and to be honest, the internet…. It’s unbelievable what we have at our finger tips.

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{Mark’s French Bulldog, Lily hangs out in the Tented Library | Image via Veranda}

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

MDS: Weekly manicure and pedicures

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{The guest bedroom received a major overhaul playing host to Pierre Frey’s chic, red Tree of Life fabric. | Image via Veranda}

PC: What is your definition of chic?

MDS: Confidence, knowing who you are, feeling comfortable in your own skin, being thoughtful and kind….having restraint…

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{Mark and his French Bulldog, Lily read the new issue of Veranda | Image via Mark’s Instagram}

PC: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?

MDS: I don’t know that this is advice I’ve received, but I do say, “it’s all in the details,” a lot and I do believe that your own personal will is powerful, we can truly live our dreams.

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{Mark’s Breathtaking Garden via his Instagram}

PC: Who has been your greatest professional influence?

MDS: I’d have to say that Bunny Williams has not only been a mentor to me, she has been a dear friend. Her support, encouragement, thoughtfulness, and kindness has been remarkable. I love it when she reminds to put my phone down, look up, take it all in! Also, my grandfather has probably been the biggest influence on my life. He owned a barber shop for 50 years. He worked hard, loved deeply and was a gentleman.

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{Mark was recently invited to stay at La Colina, the home of Bunny Williams and John Rosselli in the Dominican Republic. The house and its owner have been tremendously inspiring to Mark. | Image via Mark’s Instagram}

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

MDS: Being happy- Living life to it’s fullest!

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{Mark and his Partner, Michael on Vacation in Lyford Cay | Image via Mark’s Instagram}

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

MDS: I’m involved in so many wonderful design projects… homes in Beverly Hills, The Pacific Palisades, Santa Barbara, Presidio Heights, Marin County, Woodside, NYC, and the Bahamas… even working on a few movie sets. My first book is in the works, planning to open a store, maybe two, soon. I’m looking forward to designing my own furniture, fabrics, and lighting…also, working on designing some apparel in the very near future…and of course, the Mark D. Sikes blog is constantly growing and evolving, the blog has been the most rewarding and fulfilling thing I’ve ever done, it’s been the greatest gift to me, a gift that keeps giving.

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{A Moodboard from one of Mark’s Recent Projects}

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Go-To Outfit: A blue oxford, white jeans, a 15 year old army green military jacket, Belgian loafers, ray-bans

Style Mantra: Have a uniform…. quality vs. quantity…less is more… a smile is the best accessory– I guess I have a few mantras!

Scent: Santa Maria Novella Potpourri Cologne

Piece of Jewelry: A thin gold Cartier band that I’ve worn on my finger since 11-10-2004

Color I Never Tire of: Blue…I’m sure that is not a surprise.

Flower: Gardenias, Vibirnum (I love massive arrangements of vibirnum), and all shades of pink Peonies.

Meal: Turkey burger with sweet potato fries (crispy) from Mel’s Diner

Drink: Iced Green Tea

Way to Unwind After a Long Day at Work: Doing a blog post

3 Things I Love About my City: The weather, the palm trees, and the boundless creative energy

Indispensable Design Element: A 17th century blue and white Chinese Bowl

Era for Design: I think today, because we can mix the past with the present.

Dream Project: I’d love to work with architect Gil Schafer, his sense of scale and proportion is extraordinary, not to mention his attention to detail, his work moves me….and of course the White House- I dream big!

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Fabric/Textile: I love any blue and white stripe…

Design Book: One Man’s Folly  by Furlow Gatewood… that barn painted blue and green is everything.

Hostess Gift: A Myrtle Topiary

Weekend Destination: Montecito

Hotel: Casa Tua in Miami, Hotel Lungarno in Florence, Sunset Tower in West Hollywood

City: Paris

Museum: The Greek and Roman Galleries at The Met

Artist: Cy Twombly

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: “Happy” by Pharrell Williams

Actor: Cate Blanchett

Prized Possession: Lily (a.k.a. HRH Lily), our beloved French bulldog

Greatest Extravagance: An Abundance of Books and Magazines

3 Things I am Currently Obsessed With: The store RTH, Instagram, and the 2014 World Cup– Go USA!

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