I flew to Houston to spend a day at the de Menil collections and the Charles James decorated Philip Johnson House built by Dominique and John de Menil in 1948. Spending time in the textile lab with curators and conservators working on a red velvet evening gown designed by James was another highlight of the day. For the complete story hold on for the June issue of House Beautiful.
The Menil Collection...
The Magritte exhibition was being installed and I got a quiet sneak peek before the opening. The exhibition is now open until June 2014.
A Sampling of What's In Store...
The Menil Collection
1533 Sul Ross Street
Houston, TX 77006
After the plane ride from hell, I finally found myself in Los Angeles, arriving at the hotel after 1:30a.m.! But no complaints, as a soft fluffy bed awaited me at the Hotel BelAir. Who complains about a late plane when the path to your pink stucco pool side room is lined with pink bougainvillea, camellias and a carpet of cyclamens and ferns? All I could think was "thank you, thank you," as New York was getting hammered with another snowstorm.
The next morning, off to Pasadena to the Gamble House for an LDC executive Committee meeting and cocktail event. The Gamble House was designed in 1908 by architects Greene & Greene. It was commissioned by David and Mary Gamble of Cincinnati, OH as a retirement residence. The architects worked closely with the Gambles in the design of the house, incorporating specific design elements to complement art pieces belonging to the family. The house remained in the Gamble family until 1966, when it was deeded to the city of Pasadena in a joint agreement with the University of Southern California School of Architecture, and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977. A productive meeting ending with a dinner back at the BelAir – outside, naturally.
The Gamble House
4 Westmoreland Place
Pasedena, CA 91103
The following day, I visited HD Buttercup to see Designers House, a group of newly and beautifully decorated room settings, a mini decorator showhouse. Rooms were designed by Thom Filicia, Celerie Kemble, Jeffrey Alan Marks, Suzanne Kasler, Mr. & Mrs. Howard and Aerin Lauder. Each room setting can best be described as "the worlds of. . . " as almost everything in each room is something designed by the inspired designer.
3225 Helms Ave.
Los Angeles, CA
Off to dinner at Red Medicine on Wiltshire where I had a quiet meal catching up with a friend. I ordered a dessert that filled my head with fragrance. You can imagine a confection made from the essence of a birch tree, distillation in the form of a granita covered in a foam of almond praline, red currant, orange blossom and jasmine served in a fish bowl. STUNNING - aromatic, light as air like nothing I have ever had before. The culinary genius behind it all is Jordan Kahn, chef & partner, started his cooking career at the wise old age of 17 as the youngest chef ever to work with Thomas Keller at the French Laundry.
Thursday morning, I set off for a tour of the Virginia Robinson Gardens in Beverly Hills with superintendent Timothy Lindsay and several volunteers. Again so much to see you will have to wait for this tour as it needs a post of its very own. Stay tuned. . .
After a jam-packed and productive visit to L.A., I headed off to San Francisco.
Owner of Bell'occhio, Claudia Schwartz always has things guaranteed to delight: stationery, candies from Europe, vintage trims, paper-covered boxes and countless other surprises. Tule and burlap bags that can be monogrammed by her calligrapher are items always on my list. These pouches are a favorite wrapping idea for gifts with a wide satin ribbon. And let’s not forget Claudia, herself always turned out in a long skirt, and her signature headbands, looking like a vision from a vintage postcard, but more colorful and with a dimpled smile.
10 Brady Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Tipped off by friends, I stopped in a fun store called Stuff. An antique collective of vintage, brica brac and who knows what. Loved their organization, packaging and friendly staff. I picked up a glass and silver plate and tic-tac-toe board.
150 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
San Francisco is a great foodie town. After a long week of travel and appointments, my favorite places to eat are...“Joints in the Hood” In other words, places locals eat in their own neighborhood. So, who do I call for some ideas, Monelle Totah co-owner of the exemplary world of Hudson Grace on Sacramento, another favorite stop. On this visit we sampled the food of OTD (Out the Door). Delicious. Sometimes I find just reading the menu is like a novelette, you start reading then have to jump to desserts to see how its going to end.
Dining at OTD...
2232 Bush St.
San Francisco, CA 94115
Henri Matisse at the Legion of Honor...
While the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is under scaffolding for renovations, most institutions in San Francisco are benefitting from art on loan to them from the permanent collection at SFMOMA. At the Legion of Honor 23 works, drawings, paintings and bronzes, by Matisse are on display in one of the lower level galleries. In a small alcove gallery where works on paper are often exhibited, another collection of Matisse’s work was also on display. This small group demonstrated his work done for books and their illustrations. From frontispieces and title pages, the simplicity of the sleek graphics created by Matisse over 25 years included 14 complete books - all begun at the tender and experienced age of 60.
Matisse from SFMOMA
Until September 7, 2014
Legion of Honor
100 34th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94121