2015 Maison de Luxe at Greystone Mansion

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{Mark D. Sikes’ Garden Halls at the Maison de Luxe}

Last week, while in Los Angeles for business, I attended the opening night gala for Luxe Magazine‘s 2015 Maison de Luxe Show House at the legendary Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. I was thrilled to be invited to attend because I was there for the last Maison de Luxe back in 2011 and so many of my friends participated this year. Add to that, the fact that my birthday was the day before and my husband was also in town for business and the result was a beautiful, glamorous, and memorable evening. In fact, it felt like a special gift to be able to see so many sweet friends from around the country during my birthday. It was so fun to be able to celebrate with them over the course of last week. Show houses can be tricky since the various designers usually have their own separate visions and the overall look of the home is rarely cohesive. The good thing about that is that there is generally something for everyone. Pamela Jaccarino, Editor in Chief of Luxe always does a fantastic job with this show house, selecting established and burgeoning talent to create rooms that inspire and honor the sense of history and place that is so unique to Greystone. While the rooms were all so different, it was interesting to see the shared desire to honor the Doheny family and their home executed by so many talented designers.

I am besotted with Greystone. It is a stunning, architecturally significant home of historic importance. We rarely see homes like this in the U.S. anymore and we certainly do not have anything like this in Houston, unless you count Bayou Bend. While I am fascinated with the beauty of Greystone, I also find its history intriguing and frightening. Since several friends designed rooms, I heard multiple accounts of the ghosts that roam the halls of Greystone. There was a murder in the house shortly after it was built in the late 1920s and there are rumors of suicides that have also taken place on the property. Whether you believe in any of that or not, there is something ominous, yet enchanting about the massive estate, perched atop Beverly Hills. The mystery, architecture, and history all add to the allure of this home. I was so excited to see what this year’s roster of designers came up with. The house was quite crowded on opening night, so I wasn’t able to get any good shots of the rooms designed by Nina Campbell, Beth Webb, or Brian Paquette, so with those exceptions, I’ll leave you with a round-up of my favorite spaces at this year’s Maison de Luxe at Greystone.

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{I was so happy to see the wonderful , glamorous “Garden Halls” designed by my darling, Mark Sikes.}

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{Mark D. Sikes}

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{Mark and Lauren Liess are two of my closest friends, so I was thrilled not only to spend time with them last week, but to see my friends’ talent on full display at Greystone. Lauren and I are pictured here in the beautiful stair tower sitting room she designed.}

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{Lauren Liess}

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{One of the highlights of the evening was finally meeting Andrew Brown in person! Andrew is so talented and has style that really speaks to me. He could not have been lovelier. I am obsessed with the masculine sensibility of the Salon de Repos he designed.}

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{Andrew Brown featuring a Mural by William McLure}

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{How amazing is the painted Greek key border on the sisal in Andrew’s room?}

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{Another personal favorite is the ultra-chic Sauvage Lounge on the second floor designed by my friend, Benjamin Vandiver. Benjamin drew his inspiration from Billy Baldwin and created the color palette as a modern interpretation of the Beverly Hills Hotel– genius, non? The walls and settees are upholstered in Zak + Fox’s soon-to-be-released, Matisse-inspired Sauvage fabric.}

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{Benjamin Vandiver}

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{Chloe Redmond Warner had the task of decorating “The Murder Room” as it is affectionately called now. I love the gorgeous deGournay murals and ikat pillows.}

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{Chloe Redmond Warner of Redmond Aldrich}

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{Oliver Furth designed a striking composition for the reception hall on the first floor. Notice the incredible art installation on the ceiling.}

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{Another favorite space was the combination of the beautiful grand hallway, study, and sitting room on the second floor by my friend, Amy Meier. Amy selected a beautiful Paul Montgomery wallpaper whose palm-filled scene reminded her of Los Angeles. The sculptures pictured above are by Lori Cozen-Geller}

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{Amy Meier}

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{Kristen Buckingham designed Mrs. Doheny’s study on the second floor which featured an assortment of chic furnishings from her line, KB Bespoke. The space also introduced us to Kristen’s beautiful, new fabric collection, KB Textiles.}

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{Kristen Buckingham}

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{Kristen Buckingham}

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 {The terrace Kristen designed shows the expansive views of Los Angeles from Greystone}

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{I returned to Greystone on Saturday for a panel discussion with the legendary Nina Campbell and friends, Mark Sikes, Beth Webb, and Timothy Corrigan. I arrived with Mark who gave us a little tour of the grounds. I had only ever been to Greystone at night, so it was delightful to see the breathtaking grounds in their full glory and to revisit a few of the rooms in the daytime.}

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{The Glorious Gardens of Greystone}

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{Gorgeous Greystone}

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{Greystone is a Truly Enchanting Place}

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{Photography by Paloma Contreras for La Dolce Vita}

Fabulous Room Friday 08.14.15

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As I mentioned the other day, I am feeling very inspired by the September issue of Architectural Digest. I loved several of the projects, including the Manhattan apartment of fashion designer, Derek Lam which was designed by Neal Beckstedt. The entire home is super chic, but the library really struck a chord with me. It features so many of the design elements I have been drawn to recently. The style of the built-in shelving and the pale finish of the wood evokes a sense of warm minimalism, though the majority of the furniture silhouettes in the space are traditional in nature. I love the juxtaposition of the classic Roger Thomas sofa in butter yellow velvet, Gustavian chair, and André Arbus cocktail table against the Chuck Close photograph, graphic black and white art, and the clean lines of the Christian Liagre club chair. The mix feels warm, personal, timeless, and completely chic. Have a wonderful weekend!

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{Photography by William Waldron for Architectural Digest}

Edie Parker Founder Brett Heyman’s Country Home

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The September issue of Architectural Digest is fantastic. Each project is so different from the last, yet they are all absolutely beautiful and inspiring. If you haven’t seen the feature on Oscar de la Renta’s Artistic Director, Peter Copping’s stunning country house in France, you absolutely must get your hands on an issue. While Copping’s house is sublime, I thought you might enjoy a preview of Edie Parker designer, Brett Heyman’s chic country house in Connecticut, which I really love. Heyman turned to designer, Mark Cunningham to create a serene, comfortable weekend home that is as different from her New York apartment with its bright, lacquered walls and Andy Warhol prints as possible. Through a soothing color palette, a great mix of modern and traditional silhouettes, and striking abstract art, I’d say Cunningham certainly delivered.

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Brett Heyman Vignette

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For the full tour and product sources, be sure to read the September issue of Architectural Digest.

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{Photography by William Waldron for Architectural Digest}

Vicente Wolf’s Exclusive Design Seminar

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It is my personal belief that we should never stop learning or challenging ourselves. My formal background lies in teaching, so of course, I am a huge advocate of being a lifetime student. The minute we think we have it all figured out, is the very minute it could all fall apart. You may wonder why, if I am such a huge proponent of education, did I not go back to design school when I switched careers? Simply put– I was over 30 and had thankfully enjoyed a trajectory which had allowed me to explore the interior design industry in various facets and had access to incredible mentors. There are things that one learns in the classroom and then there are the things that one learns by entrenching oneself in their vocation. I am self-taught, but I am always seeking out professional development opportunities. I am fortunate to have friendships and relationships with people who have inspired me for years and when they speak, I listen very intently. I read between the lines, pick up on nuances, and dissect the details. My insatiable desire to learn and better myself has undoubtedly helped to propel me along my path.

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Last year, I had the opportunity to hear design master, Vicente Wolf speak at a conference and I was blown away by his candor and honesty. He was an open book and shared so much with the audience. He inspired us with the story of his personal trajectory and pulled us in closely as he shared the very real details of how he operates his incredibly successful business on a day to day basis. Vicente certainly doesn’t need any sort of introduction, but he is arguably one of the most important designers in our industry today. For over thirty years, his New York design firm has completed inspiring projects for top-tier clientele. His work has been published in every important design publication, including Architectural Digest which has repeatedly named him to its AD100 list.

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I am excited to share that Vicente is hosting an exclusive design seminar next month in New York on July 22 and 23. The Vicente Wolf Design Seminar will allow designers to experience the step-by-step processes and techniques to run a successful design business. This is a comprehensive course, giving you an inside look at the creative and business-side of interior design. This two day event will include guest speakers that will provide straight talk and information to help designers exceed their potential and achieve results. I will be in attendance and am thrilled to have been invited to participate in a panel discussion about social media, blogging, and interior design. The two-day seminar is sure to cover a wealth of information, including the following topics:

How to present
Contracts, billing and procedures
Charging upfront
Fees
How to price a job (hour vs. flat fee)
How to get your work published in a magazine
How to be realistic about your work
How to publish a book on your designs and what it can bring to your firm
Website importance (to blog or not to blog)
Round table of problems we all face
When do we say no to a job
How to find out what clients want
Figuring out your style
Can we be designers to all people
Where to get inspiration
Trusting in your gut
Custom or readymade (pros & cons)
How to be good to your creativity
How to create floor plans
Balance of color & furniture
To CAD or not to CAD

Designers of all experience levels will learn how to effectively market and sell their services in today’s economy. The fee is $2,500 which includes: guest speakers, breakfast, lunch, activities and a cocktail party. For more details, visit the Vicente Wolf on Facebook. The seminar is filling up quickly, so be sure to purchase your ticket soon!

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{Image Source: One Kings Lane}

Fabulous Room Friday 05.15.15

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{The Beautiful Dining Room Designed by Mark D. Sikes for the Kips Bay Show House}

I was really hoping to make it to New York this week for the opening of the 43rd Annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House, but unfortunately, between client meetings, deadlines, and family obligations, I just wasn’t able to swing it. I am especially disappointed because it looks like there were so many beautiful rooms this year and I truly wanted to be there for my dear friend, Mark D. Sikes as he unveiled his stunning dining room design at this year’s show house. I know how tirelessly he has worked to make his vision come to life over the past couple of months, so it would have been so nice to be there for him and see it in person, but he knows I have been cheering him on from afar.

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Inspired by iconic Italian designer, Renzo Mongiardino and arbiter of style, Marella Agnelli, Mark’s room brings together Park Avenue style with a classic California effortlessness, and an air of Italian aristocracy. If you know Mark, then you’re not surprised to see the blue and white accents, but the palette is truly a rhapsody in red. Mark selected a beautiful red, white, and blue Bennison fabric and red and white gingham by Schumacher for the upholstered walls. The room is flanked by a pair of beautiful custom banquettes and is punctuated by striking art. A stunning antique crystal chandelier and Mark’s debut collection of wicker furniture with Soane take center stage. The room is such a lovely homage to Renzo and Marella and is a testament to my friend’s immense talent. Bravo, Mark! You did red your way and truly made it beautiful!

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If you are in New York before June 11th, be sure to visit the 43rd Annual Kips Bay Decorators Show House at the Arthur Sachs Mansion.

58 East 66th Street (Between Madison and Park Avenues)

New York, New York

For more images of the Show House, take a full tour on the New York Times.

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{Images Courtesy of Mark D. Sikes}