Wednesday, September 26, 2012

We XOXO (Rescue) Dogs

I was very excited to attend the red carpet premier of the newest Designing Spaces' "Pet Spaces of Hope". The episode, featuring improvements at Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Wellington, FL, airs on Lifetime Thursday morning at 7:30 and features valuable information for dog owners, potential dog owners, and part-time canine caregivers like me. 

Dylan & Sammi: That is Sammi's 3rd chocolate-covered strawberry.
I brought my kids along. Whenever possible, I like to expose them to a world beyond their friends, school, and what they think they know. I had been invited last minute and hadn't a clue where we were headed. But I heard there would be dogs (and we XOXO dogs) and I heard there would be cocktails and hors d'oeuvres (my favorite!). I put in the address and followed my GPS.
The great lawn via iPhone Panorama
We turned right into a wildlife preserve, and I was immediately intrigued. I was in a part of Jupiter, FL that I had never seen, never heard of. We followed the directions down rural roads, past some beautiful homes, and then thru the big iron gates of  the Russell Ranch, a tremendous Alpine-style party house on a hunting preserve.

The valet took my car and we stood at the entrance to the party. Our eyes scaled the large estate, and then panned for dogs. We arrived just as the "Paw-parazzi" (I did not make that up) were shooting canines and VIPs from BDRR. My girls were smitten by the pups. I too loved seeing these lovable and adoptable canines held by beautiful women in fancy dresses. But of course, I was dieing to see the house. Giddyup!

setting out on my venture
We entered the front hall.
 I ventured through a small part of the 24,000 sq ft. home decked to the nines in "upscale hunting lodge" decor. The house had stone floors, wood ceilings, suede and leather upholstery, ornate iron work, feathered centerpieces, and lots of taxidermy. Room after room was decorated in rich, warm earth tones differentiated in tribal-inspired fabrics, plush patterned rugs, and heavy window draperies.
Here are some of the design details.

a personalized floor mosaic
trophies look down on  the great room.
Hats for all.
Fringe binge bar stools
Quintessential steer symbol pillow with optional bling bag.
Ornate iron work features an outdoorsy theme.
Animal aesthetic: Bear sconce above tiger.
 Beyond the adventurous Western decor, it was just a fabulous place to host a luxe party with dogs.

Newly adopted Luke with his owner
Words of gratitude and acknowledgment.

...and everyone ended up in the kitchen!

Designing Spaces and its partners have been working with Big Dog Rescue Ranch over the past year on a makeover that provided a more comprehensive and better organized facility. Improvements to the rescue include an operating room (compliments of Butler Schein Animal Health and Leading Edge), more efficient storage rooms, and a year's worth of pet food donated from By Nature.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Yesterday was my first visit to the Soho Beach House. I was invited by Schumacher for a breakfast and fabric viewing. I wore my new pants, of course.

I put the address in my GPS, blinked, and missed it, as the 100-room hotel is set back a wee bit from the curve of Collins Avenue @ 43rd Street, and somewhat enshrouded with palms. But finally I found it, and oh, what a treasure. I XOXO it.

Schumacher had taken a large suite on the 8th floor. In addition to having fabrics laid out on tables, they had added a lotta pillows to the existing upholstery. I am happy to report that besides the amazing fabrics and swank setting (which smelled so good on the spa floor), my Ikat-inspired pants fit right in. I was told that the pattern is several hundred years old and has appeared on an Uzbekistan priest's robe.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


The arrival of an actual magazine in my mailbox trumps a new on-line issue. Paging through paper feels more intimate and user-friendly than clicking. Paging through in bed in the middle of the afternoon is the ultimate luxury. Yesterday, it was under these luxurious conditions, compounded by soothing storm clouds, and a quiet kid-less household, that I got cozy with the October issue of House Beautiful.

According to me, here are the issue's 10 most memorable moments (where I responded internally with a "XOXO",  "WANT", or "WTF"):

1. Page 30
WANT the Ethan Allen Quincy Bed in a color( caption reads "now in more than 15 bold colors and finishes" but the EA website does not reflect this exciting color spectrum)

2. Page 3
WTF/XOXO that Mario Buatta carries around a toy cockroach named Harold  in his pocket. Buatta says, "I get a kick out of dropping him onto the table at a restaurant."

3. Page 56
WTF -- that little pot of Sisley Global Anti Age is really $475!?! (I simply can't afford to not age!)

 Image from
 4. Page p.66 -
WANT Genevieve Gorder's green and white funky kilim-ish flat-woven wool rug for Capel.

5. Page 68
XOXO using the House Beautiful iPhone app and did it a lot in this issue including taking the video tour of Kathryn Ireland's house. Kathryn's very good on camera and I am impressed that she makes breakfast for her boys. I also love her comment, "I love not sharing a bedroom -- it's the secret of all successful marriages."

Hooker Furniture ad, left (as seen in House Beautiful); Page from Resto catalogue, right.

6. The ad after p.80
WTF - more fascination with colorless castle style a la Resto.

7. Page 97, #3
XOXO that rug-turned-curtain!!!

8. Page109
XOXO that simple vibrant delicious green in a rather stark space!!!!

9. Page110
WANT to travel with One King's Lane's Susan Feldman. Loved seeing all the different designers shopping all over the world.

 Image from
10. Page 118 -
XOXO the vintage Bahamas-themed art and the way Amanda Linthrop displays it.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Kill the Spill: I XOXO The DrinKlip

Image swiped from Design Milk FaceBook page
This image swiped from DrinKlip FaceBook page
I just spied the DrinKlip on Design Milk's FaceBook page and had to bring it over here immediately. The DrinKlip --oh how I XOXO you -- not just what you can do for me, but by providing a dedicated extension of space for all, people and pets alike. Fits on strollers, tables, wheelchairs, school desks. It's a big ass clamp with a cup on the end. Not just for drinks, it can hold something small that you feel needs its special little place like those Ikea screw thingies when you're putting something together.

What a great addition this will be to my desk, since I am forever paranoid about spilling drinks on my laptop. The DrinKlip will erase my concern (not totally erase it because conceivably I could see a giant spider which would cause me to flail my arms up in all directions, thereby potentially rocketing the beverage from the cup.)

I could also use it bedside, as I also have paranoia about knocking over my water glass during a bad dream or in the morning when I reach for my iPhone to turn off the alarm. I'm in the habit of keeping my phone on another plateau for safekeeping, but the DrinKlip will also afford me more space.(Gee...I have major paranoia surrounding technology and liquids, don't I? That's because it happened once. Coffee down my printer and keyboard. Not fun at all.)

Dear DrinKlip geniuses, I hope I have conveyed my extreme elation over your simple lifestyle invention. Do you think it would be possible to tweak the design so that the DrinKlip is wearable? I am sure you've been to a cocktail party, just like me, and wished for another hand to manage hors d'oeuvres plate, camera, drink, etc. I realize that a soft, pliable, active medium is not the ideal platform, but you seem really smart, so........please notify me if this ever comes out. Thank you.