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 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}

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{A Chic Dining Room featuring Louis XVI Style Dining Chairs with Leopard Upholstery by Melissa Rufty via Domaine}

We’ve all heard the old adage about leopard being a neutral and it truly is. I happen to like it in small doses, whether I’m using it in a room or in my wardrobe. I find that it has a stronger impact that way. It works beautifully with most color palettes from dark and saturated to those with light, crisp neutrals. It also lends itself to every style whether masculine or feminine, traditional or modern. Leopard often makes an appearance on pillows, chairs, and even rugs or stair runners. It seems ocelot and cheetah often get confused with leopard and it is easy to see why, but no matter which spots you are seeing, chances are the results will be chic! I’m currently working on a new design project in which the overall look will be ultra tailored, polished, and chic with a mostly neutral color palette. I always opt to throw in a pattern or two for visual interest and texture and I’m thinking a little dose of leopard will do just the trick! Are you a fan of leopard? It seems people either love it or hate it. Do you embrace it in both your home and wardrobe?

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{A Beautiful Antique Chair in Leopard Upholstery | Image via Pinterest– Original Source Unknown}

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{A Leopard Pillow in the Original Iteration of my Friend, Mark Sikes‘ Los Angeles Living Room | Image via Lonny}

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{A Show-Stopping Leopard Ottoman by Vicente Wolf}

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{Leopard meets Prep on a Green Sofa | Design by Palmer Weiss}

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{An Ultra-Chic Vignette by Kirsten Kelli as featured in Veranda}

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{A Sunny Room with Pops of Leopard by Luxe Report}

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{How fabulous is this leopard settee by Melissa Rufty?}

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{A Leopard Stair Runner via Metropolitan Home}

 

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{Mark Sikes’ Beautiful Leopard is Dressed in Neutrals including a Pair of Leopard Lumbar Pillows}

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{Another Chic Leopard (or is it ocelot?) Ottoman by Allen Kirsch}

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{I mixed leopard pillows by Arianna Belle with polka dot bedding in my guest bedroom as featured in the current issue of Domino.}

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{Leopard Pillows add a Graphic Touch to a Neutral Living Room by Benjamin Vandiver}

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{A leopard rug reads as a neutral in this fabulous, maximalist bedroom by Miles Redd}

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{Another beautiful leopard chair, this time paired with an amazing Bernard Frize painting in a vignette by Alex Papachristidis}

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{A little leopard stool is the perfect match for an oversized photograph in this lovely living room. | Image via Pinterest– Original Source Unknown}

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{1. Safari Pillow | 2. Pair of French Walnut Stools with Square Leopard Seats | 3. Faux Branch Arm Chair with Leopard Upholstery | 4. Hand-Knotted Leopard Rug}

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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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