Nov 30, 2012

A StoryBook Christmas - My Paddington Bear Tree

As promised, here is the big reveal of my Paddington Bear Christmas tree as part of the Bartow Pell Mansion Holiday celebrations!

Following up from yesterday's post on the inspiration and before pictures of the room where Santa Claus will be greeting the children and taking pictures

Welcome inside, the Bartow Pell Mansion.. the holiday spirit is alive inside this beautiful home along the Sound and so beautifully decorated in every room.

I wanted to honor the English heritage of this story, and stayed true to the red, gold and green plaid theme - especially as this will be Santa's backdrop after all!

and found these very special ornaments, from the English phone booth, tea pot and soldier in Spode ceramics, and my favorite, the English taxi cab!

a few special handmade bows in coordinating ribbon and a dash of love...

I spent a lot of time on wrapping my gifts, using multiple ribbons and tea staining boxes for the extra vintage feel..

I found some great vintage maps of London, and the Queen and Prince Phillip grace another of my gifts, mixed in with child friendly holiday crackers which are always a special part of our Christmas morning celebrations at my in laws.

Paddington is the center piece of the decorations - of course, and I have a feeling he loves the attention!

I would like to share a special thank you to all on the Board of Bartow Pell Mansion for inviting me to participate in this fantastic occasion, and especially, Lynn Byrne for being so very supportive and making it all happen for us.

The trees will be showing throughout the month of December until Jan 6th, so please find the time to visit this gorgeous house and support this jewel in the Bronx.

Tomorrow - I'll share a few pictures from the trees around the house from fellow bloggers and designers.

Nov 28, 2012

A Storybook Christmas Story - Bartow Pell Mansion

As many of you may remember, in May of this year, several of us bloggers banned together to help a local historical home win a fantastic grant to help restore their gardens...
Bartow Pell Mansion in the Bronx,  is one of the few remaining hidden jewels in this area and they are getting ready to spread the holiday cheer as they do every year.

What's different this year?

Lynn Byrne and the team from Bartow Pell have invited me, Tamara of Nest by Tamara Blog, Bryant Keller, among others, to decorate gorgeous 8 foot Christmas trees with a Storybook theme based on favorite children’s stories.

Fresh off the heals of my trip to London for BlogTour, how could I not choose a childhood favorite: "Paddington and the Christmas Surprise Storybook by Michael Bond" as the story to illustrate my Holiday decorations? It is the story of a lovable bear found in Paddginton Station in the heart of London and taken in by the Brown family, and all the mischief that he gets into with the children Jonathan and Judy. Simply could not resist! 

Paddington Bear knows just what he wants for Christmas and is anxious to make sure Santa Claus knows too. A trip to Santa’s grotto at the department store is his perfect chance to make his wishes known – but not everything goes quite according to plan!

Once, my room was chosen, I had the added surprise of learning that Santa himself will be visiting all the children in my room and making sure they get their special gift on his shopping list, while they take a picture.

So of course, the instant theme was an English inspired, plaid / tartan themed color to fit in beautifully with the classical design of the room.

Curious? Here are a few of my inspiration pictures from Pinterest that kick started the design.

Come back tomorrow, to see the big reveal and final results of the Paddington Bear Christmas tree.

Want to know more? There are events scheduled throughout the month of December with the Gala on December 1st to open the event as well as raise funds for this wonderful organization and all that it does to help the community.


  1. Holiday Luncheon - Friday, November 30, 11:30 a.m.–2 p.mBooksigning and demo by paper artist Pamela Dalton, New York Times award-winning children’s book illustrator. Call 718.885.1461 for details
  2. Annual Holiday Family Day - Saturday, December 1, 10 a.m.–1 p.mHoliday spirit abounds during this fun-filled day. Children will delight in a shadow puppet show, A Year with the Bartow Family, by French artist Caroline Borderies.
Professional photographs with Santa (additional fee) DECEMBER 1, holiday shopping, caroling, and more. Puppet shows at 10:15 and 12:15; puppet making with Caroline at 11:15. Other holiday crafts and photos with Santa on-going. Space is limited, registration required. Cost $20 children one year and up; member children $15 (adults and children under one year free)
  1. Holiday Evening Celebration - Saturday, December 1, 7–10 p.mSupport the museum while enjoying cocktails and holiday fare, caroling, and more! 
  2. First Friday! with the Metropolitones - Friday, December 7, 5:30–8:30 p.mExperience the magic of the mansion decked out for the holidays and delight in the festive, fun sound of the a cappella Metropolitones. Do a little holiday shopping and enjoy refreshments. The free Bronx Seaside Trolley makes a continuous loop from the #6 Pelham Bay Park subway station to BPMM to City Island. Registration requested. Cost $10 adults; $8 seniors & students; members free 
  3. Bronx Arts Ensemble Holiday Concert - Saturday, December 15, 1 and 3 p.mThe Bronx Arts Ensemble and Singers present a wonderful holiday concert with music for St. Nicholas. Concert is free, but space is limited and tickets are required. Call Bronx Arts Ensemble at 718.601.7399 for tickets. The museum will not be open for tours on Saturday.
  4. Holiday Candlelight Tours and Victorian Carolers Saturday, December 15, 6–8 p.m. Experience the mansion by candlelight with costumed docents highlighting 19th-century holiday traditions. Victorian carolers add to the festive atmosphere while you enjoy light holiday fare and wassail in the Orangerie. Christmas trees throughout the house evoke beloved characters in children’s books. Reservations required. Cost $12 adults, $8 seniors& students 
  5. Bronx Arts Ensemble Holiday Concert Sunday, December 16, 1 and 3 p.m. The Bronx Arts Ensemble and Singers present a wonderful holiday concert with music for St. Nicholas. Concert is free, but space is limited and tickets are required. Call Bronx Arts Ensemble at 718.601.7399 for tickets. The museum will not be open for tours on Sunday.


  1. Merry Christmas, Curious George Storybook by H.A. Rey; Tree design by Bartow-Pell docents Linda Sacewicz and Christine Williams
  2. Eloise at Christmastime Storybook by Kay Thompson, tree decorator; City Island artist Anoosh Donahue
  3. Paddington and the Christmas Surprise Storybook by Michael Bond; Tree design by interior designer Jennifer Mehditash
  4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas Storybook by Dr. Seuss; Tree design by New York artist Mary Rumser
  5. The Velveteen Rabbit Storybook by Margery Williams; Tree design by interior designer Tamara Matthews Stephenson
  6. Babar and Father Christmas Storybook by Jean de Brunhoff; Tree design by City Island artists Mary Colby and Marguerite Chadwick-Juner
  7. Christmas Eve Blizzard Storybook by Andrea Vlakhis; Tree design by artist and Wave Hill Family Art project manager Ilse Murdock
  8. Raggedy Andy Stories Storybook by Johnny Gruelle; Tree design by interior designer Bryant Keller

For more: visit Bartow Pell or call: 718.885.1461 for details

Nov 14, 2012

BlogTour London: Dec-a-Porter in Print, in the U.K.

Journal of Society of British Interior Design

There is nothing better than receiving a lovely package in the mail..

and even nicer when it is an international design magazine, right?

Well, now add to that your name in print in that magazine - and you can just imagine how excited I was when I opened the Autumn Journal of the Society of British Interior Design!

A wonderful 8 page coverage of BlogTour London by Modenus, and a few of us having been selected to share our thoughts on this experience.

But first, the coverage of begins with a wonderful article on BlogTour & how far reaching this international event has come. Spearheaded by the team of with Veronika Miller at it's helm, from the inaugural tour to London one year ago, a stop in New York earlier this year and our trip to London this September, you better believe it is only the beginning with many dates and cities already booked for BlogTour2013. 

"BlogTour is not a press tour with the focus on just a brand or two."

"...the brands that so generously made BlogTour London possible, saw "increases in their social media following, site traffic, overall visibility of their brands and ..
they told us that we had done exactly what they'd been missing .. we created the online buzz!"
- Veronika Miller (Modenus)

Want to know what that means? How about over 40 MILLION impressions that reached an audience of 1 MILLION plus just during the tour, and counting! Blog posts, tweets, facebook posts, pinterest pins, and more during the event and way beyond for months of content being shared and thoughtfully curated for design interested readers.

Talk about reaching your TARGETED audience!

It was an honor to be part of BlogTour, to have become friends with all of the fellow London blogistas, and to have the team of Modenus in my life.

as the Founder & President, Vanessa Brady writes..:
" Design has come of age across many genres. It is the added value that changes how we interact in public and personal space. This is the science of design. Interior environments can influence emotions and the conduct of inhabitants in places.. "

I could not agree more. The ever changing landscape of the world of design, most importantly it's growing appreciation and respect is what this blog aims to help contribute to. That conversation.

So here is my article for the SIBD Journal:  "Emotional Engagement"
all about the emotional connection that we feel as we experience a new product for the first time. 

and my fellow bloggers that share their experience as well are James Bedell: Lighting Designer

and Lynn Byrne, of Decor Arts Now.

I hope you enjoy the reporting from one of the BlogTour London events, and in case you missed them.. visit the Page I have dedicated to these posts.

Nov 8, 2012

Designer Visions: Matthew Patrick Smyth for Elle Decor

Matthew Patrick Smyth @
Elle Decor/Designer Visions

For the final installment of the Designer Visions coverage I end with Matthew Patrick Smyth for Elle Decor, who joined this initiative this year for the first time in it's 6 year history.

As an internationally acclaimed interior designer since 1987, Smtyh has been recognized most recently as a 2011 Stars of Design Award, and remains on Elle Decor's Top 25 among many other accolades, and so it was no surprise to have been asked to design the apartment and 250 West St, in the heart of Tribeca that perhaps posed the most difficult of architectural challenges...

Basically, large columns in the center of the formal Living / Kitchen area which really are very common in New York and so it is great to have this example for so many home owners to see how great design can turn these challenges into inspired design solutions.


This young couple both have busy lifestyles and use this New York apartment as the halfway meeting point between his work in Hollywood while his partner travels to Europe and the Far East for his finance business.

The modern day “grand tour” shares their passion for the orient and asia, with neutral natural tone textiles and the few select pieces that are so instrumental in creating a comfortable and elegant living space.

From this view, the handcrafted green large-format Grey Crackle Soleil Wall Tiles by Ann Sacks lend the room a modern look flanking the living space and in contrast with the Sandpipe cabinets by Poggenpohl.

The custom sofa and sectional by Michael Tavano/MT Custom are chic elegant with a clean skirted detail in Schumacher fabrics and trims, and with the most exquisite button detail by Tender Buttons!

A dash of masculine Brun Cheetah Velvet, by Schumacher, adds a contemporary twist on the pair of Neoclassical Klismos chairs through R T Facts, which has a great selection of product on

The oversized sepia print of an Indian bride taken through a shop window, was broken into 9 individual frames and becomes the most mesmerizing image presiding over the living space.

The woven sisal area rug by Patterson Flynn & Martin and the rich mix of pillows in silks and velvets, add pops of color in rich deep tones that are simply stunning against the deep gray Benjamin Moore tone, Notre Dame.

The French Indonesian 20 century pierced mirror in a white washed finish, the Belgian tufted ottoman with paw feet and nailhead trim and willow hand carved sideboard, were  all personal touches that Smyth brought into the space and add a very unique special touch.

For an informal dining à deux the living area and kitchen are perfect,

but for a real gathering and dining experience, then the special Jewel Box that Smyth brought to life, is where you want to have your dinner parties!
He recreated what would be to most, the least inviting space in the apartment - an interior room with no natural light - by completely enveloping it Byzantinum Collection's Mica Nasrid Palace & Serallo Mosaic wallcovering by Schumacher and shielding it with sheer draperies for that final touch!
The dining room in Byzantinum Collection's Mica Nasrid Palace & Serallo Mosaic wallcovering by Schumacher!
The Ebonized Mahogany columns from Calcutta Palace c mid 19c from Smyth's personal collection anchor the room on the opposing side with a softer touch of glimmer and sheen coming from the Champagne leaf capiz shell chandelier by Corbett Lighting and Taylor table lamps by Hudson Valley Lighting.

The Home Office, showcases the amazing wall covering is by designer Raoul Dufy's Feuillage Wallpaper which debuted this Fall by Hermès, and I am crazy about it!

The custom partners desk, is one of the many vintage finds by Smyth, but in this case he took apart a barrel and split it down the middle. With a new custom lacquered grasscloth top, this desk is a unique statement piece with function!

The Custom floor-to-ceiling bookcase in Kid Gloves Paint by Benjamin Moore, with floating shelves featuring Herringbone Wallpaper by Hermès as a backdrop to so many of the books and small treasures that no doubt this well traveled, well read, and uber chic couple would have...

Lastly, in the Master Suite, a 19th-century door frame through R T Facts comes to life as a headboard , after having been fitted with a dark mirror with a Venetian painting mounted atop, and is the most incredible feature with the custom bedding and quilt from the Taj Collection by Anichini. 

In warm bronze tones, the Matthew Patrick Smyth for Patterson, Flynn & Martin area rug from The New Classics collection, frame the space and add pattern and movement underfoot.

Mr Porter filled closets, with architectural details used as a dressing console against a dark mirrored glass wall, are some of the small details that transform this Master Suite into the haven it is.

Ceiling color and trim in Barley There by Benjamin Moore Paint. Wall Color in Greenwich Gate by Benjamin Moore Paint. Silver Leaf Finish Strider Bedside Tables and Mouette Lounge Chair, both by Ironies. Wallpaper by The Alpha Workshops.

Hope you have enjoyed the Designer Visions preview coverage.. 

In case you missed the first two posts:

and stay tuned for ..

This September six teams of filmmakers got the opportunity of a lifetime as the team at Hearst Home Group and they were provided 'behind the scenes' access to all three Designer Visions apartments as the set for their films had only one weekend to write, shoot, edit, and score a short film. The teams now are competing for $5000 in prizes and the prizes will be announced very soon!

Nov 7, 2012

Designer Visions: Antony Todd for Veranda

Continuing my visit from yesterday, through the apartments of this year's 'Designer Visions' showcase by the Hearst Home Group, takes place this year in Tribeca's newest condominium by the Elad Group at 250 West Street. A brand-new 111-unit Manhattan building, which I was so lucky to get to visit before the opening - and today's look is at Antony Todd family apartment for Veranda Magazine.

Antony Todd @ Designer Visions

Australian born Antony Todd's career course has spanned the globe and with many 'hats', including interior design, event and floral arrangements, with a Retail store in Istanbul and a home base in New York, since 1992.

Todd's young and urban take on this family open living space makes use of statement pieces of furniture in crisp clean white while juxtaposing them against strong reds and charcoal gray tones. 

Classical and eclectic touches, live hand in hand, and help convey the family story of less 'decorated' space, but instead, one that is very comfortable and lived in.

I really love the use of symmetry in this room ..  with the long armless sofa by Lee Industries in white, with two large dramatic white textured paintings and flanked by white on white side tables and marble lamps that frame the space and feature wall views from the dining area on the opposite side.

The Pattaya Summer Merida Meridian jute area rug with silver binding is the textural ground for a fine zebra hide which add pattern and focus for the conversational area in the living space.

A large Thomas Fourgeirol painting, adds drama and highlights the reds and pinks which are carefully placed in the decorative accessories and fabric choices throughout, such as the slipper chairs in Dedar's Maestoso silk. These are especially successful against the deep "Night Shade" gray by Benjamin Moore walls, which almost erase the window frames from the surrounding walls, drawing your attention through the windows and out into the cityscape beyond. 

A giant bronze 'wishbone' sculpture in the corner, a bronze telescope reaching out to the New York city highline, are flanked by the Todd's very own vintage white dining table. 


Great textured accent pieces from the many travels to Africa and Asia welcome you into the home and divide the private and more formal areas of the space, with quill entry hall mirror and an African mask as wall art.

Leaving the main living and dining areas, and heading into the Home Theater of this apartment, the tones take on a more masculine tone and feel, with deeper greens and textured metals, ...

Thomas Fourgeirol - Stone Soup painting above the Ironies sofa

...and a less than traditional media type console anchoring the wall mounted television screen and doubling as an accent table and extra seating for those moments where the friends join in for movie night!

Ironies Wing Chair in Dedar's Rataplan // Ironies - Gregor Side Table - Style no. 418

The second bedroom is the home of the family's son that returns from boarding school during the holidays, in rich Blue Danube by Benjamin Moore, with modern art and bold pattern fabrics

such as the "Artwork" fabric by Dedar upholstered lee Industries bed in grays and yellows add movement and keep this space young and lively without being childish.

The hand dipped "Horizon" drapery Dedar fabric, lounging bike, Ironies stools and collection of black and white photographs by Monica Rich Kosann are a peek into the private world of this family.

For those moments in need of a restful retreat, the couple can come back into the Master Suite in soft soothing tones and natural fibers allowing 

California Closets filled with Badgley Mishka designs for her

Tomorrow I share the last apartment of the Designer Visions showcase, so make sure to stop by again then!

*all the images are my own. feel free to share them, but please don't forget to credit this blog. thank you
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