BITS & PIECES

Blue & White FabricsJohn Robshaw fabrics at my absolute favorite showroom: John Rosselli

Oh, the Monday blues. If you’re celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a three day weekend maybe today isn’t quite as blue, but if you’re back to the grind I commiserate and offer up some fabric eye candy as consolation.

My weekend went by entirely too quickly as they always do, but was punctuated with a design presentation for some really lovely clients that I’m pretty thrilled about. More to come. (P.S I know I keep saying this and it’s annoying as hell, but cha-cha-cha changes are coming! Promise.)

In non-design related news Washingtonian recently released its list of 100 Best Restaurants and we spent some time last night culling it for new spots to try. One of our shared goals for 2015 was to be more intentional with our dining choices. Less mildly satisfying take-out and more date nights–12 to be specific.

In addition to spending a less ridiculous amount on dining out, I’m thinking the anticipation of one special night a month somewhere we’re dying to try will actually make us enjoy the meal more! I’ll let you know how the experiment goes, but in the interim I’d love to know: what’s the best restaurant–anywhere in the world–you’ve ever been to? We can all add to our lists.

Happy MLK Jr. Day!

A VISIT TO THE HILLWOOD ESTATE

It was a gloomy, rainy weekend here in DC which gave me the perfect opportunity to kick start one my intentions for the New Year and make a visit to the Hillwood Estate & Museum. The former home of Post cereal empire heiress, Marjorie Merriweather Post, the Hillwood Estate is one of DC’s hidden gems–figuratively and literally.

The Cartier exhibition (ending January 11) is what finally prompted me to check Hillwood off of my DC to-do list. The jewels, as to be expected, were dazzling–Marjorie had exceptional taste and commissioned jaw dropping sets of diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, turquoise and coral as one of Cartier’s most important and prolific American clients.

I’ll be pulling out my copy of Cartier in the 20th Century for more inspiration and company history–it’s obviously so much more than the ubiquitous love bracelet so often seen on the arms of fashion bloggers today.

Hillwood Estate | The Pursuit of Style

The estate itself–a Georgian mansion filled with 18th century French antiques and the largest collection of Russian imperial art outside of Russia–is pure opulence. Imagining the level of wealth required to fill a house with such treasures–not to mention maintain it (with the help of hundreds of staff, of course)–is almost unfathomable.

Some of the details that caught my eye included Marjorie’s insane collection of turquoise Sèvres porcelain (not pictured). Her kitchen was filled with hundreds of sets of exquisite china, and as evidenced by her immaculately set breakfast table (first photo) it’s no wonder she was revered as one of Washington’s finest hostesses.

Hillwood Estate | The Pursuit of Style

Custom lavender velvet sofas with pop-up trays for drinks and snacks served as seating in the pavilion which housed a projector screen for after dinner entertainment. Velvet upholstered walls envelop the room and have an added bonus of sound proofing. Wouldn’t those sofas still be amazing today? keeping them in the memory bank!

Hillwood Estate | The Pursuit of Style

No surface of the home was without ornamentation. The floors in two small anterooms flanking the first floor library were inlaid with brass sunbursts, doors were decorated with gilded carvings, and–my favorite detail–the brass ‘Do Not Disturb Resting’ signs on guest rooms.

Hillwood Estate | The Pursuit of Style

Hillwood Estate | The Pursuit of Style

Photos weren’t allowed in the Cartier exhibition, but the diamond set in the last photo showcased in Marjorie’s dressing room should give you an indication of how Marjorie rolled… dripping in diamonds.

Hillwood Estate | The Pursuit of Style

If you’re in the DC area, put a visit to the Hillwood Estate & Museum on your to-do list. It really is a fascinating glimpse into the life of extraordinary wealth.

I’m planning to visit again in the spring to see the gardens, but in the interim I’ll be picking up a copy of American Empress to learn more about Marjorie’s fabulous life.

BITS & PIECES

I’m signing off for the week–we’re headed up to the Cape this afternoon–but wanted to take a moment to wish you and yours the happiest of holidays!

Thank you for taking time out of your busy days to check in, share your thoughtful comments, emails of encouragement, and for generally joining in my obsession with all things aesthetic.

Cheers to many exciting things to come in 2015!

BITS & PIECES

The Pursuit of Style | Peonies

Scattered petals in my living room this morning…

Peonies in December might as well be a Christmas miracle. I’m still not sure how that worked out–I assume greenhouses in South America were involved–but I’m grateful for every last bunch.

These are on their last leg after a photoshoot last week (just wait until you see these before and afters!) but those fluffy blooms make me unreasonably happy even as they slowly fade away.

BITS & PIECES

The Pursuit of Style | Christmas

Annnd just like that we’re two weeks into December–can you even believe it? I can’t, but I’m determined to not let the holidays pass me by in a blur. We picked up our tree last week and got to work decorating it this weekend.

Our tree skirt–black watch plaid with hot pink pom pom trim–was my very first (and to-date only) foray into sewing. Let’s just say I have an even greater appreciation for my workrooms! The playful twist on tradition still makes me smile–although this tree skirt is pretty fantastic if you’re still on the hunt.

I’ve been adding to my collection of vintage Shiny-Brite ornaments over the years with help from my mom and nana and love re-discovering my favorites each time it’s time to unpack the holiday décor.

Are your halls decked yet? I always feel hopelessly behind on this front. You day after Thanksgiving folks impress me!