Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Textbook Tuesday | Savoir Vivre by Ladurée

Ladurée, the iconic Parisian patisserie, has done it again with the latest volume in a series of successful entertaining and lifestyle books. This stunningly illustrated gilt-edged book comes wrapped in tissue paper nestled in a gift box leaving you half expecting to discover delightful desserts inside! Savoir Vivre; The Art of Fine Living, from Vendome Press offers practical advice and inspiration on everything Parisian-chic: from how to prepare a meal the Ladurée way, to the art of hosting, to how to prepare your suitcase for jet set travelling. 

An image from my own travels to Paris

The author, Maud Hacker, is a historian and expert on Paris who also works for the Louis Vuitton Foundation. The illustrator, Sophie Bouxom is well-known for her work in Elle, Marie Claire, and the City to name just a few:

The book is divided into five sections, "In the Morning," "During the Day," "In the Evening," "At the Weekend," and "Travelling," with so many tips and tricks included under each section. Suggested event menus, proper table settings, cocktail recipes, addresses for the best beauty shoppes in Paris are just a small sample of the array of topics. I love that all the suggested menus, listed by event, just seem so utterly French. The number of courses alone! I often wished we appreciated food the way the French do here in North America. 

This sweet little read would make the perfect coffee table book as it's easy for guests to flip through and take in bite sized advice and topics. And what a great stocking stuffer or hostess gift for your upcoming Holiday parties! Ladurée has designed Savoir Vivre this to be the ultimate guide on how to live well, and I think it does just that.

The local Laduree shop on Robson street in Vancouver

*A thank you to Vendome Press for the copy to review - do check out their website for more of the finest publications on lifestyle, interior design, architecture, and French culture. A thank you to them for allowing all of us to access beauty and design through their publications!


Monday, December 19, 2016

5 Trends To Watch In 2017

Can you believe it? 2016 is coming to a close in a matter of days - and I've been on the lookout for all of the interior design trend reports that have been cropping up. I really enjoyed the list included in the January 2017 issue of House & Home magazine, as well as select tips included in this Houstonia article. Here's my take after a bit of reading, and a whole lot of inspiration through my favorite designers instagram accounts.

1. Dark & Earthy Paint Colors - I think we will see moody deep tones in more than just the 'den' or reading room. Perhaps we are seeking more comfort? Whatever the reason I'm loving the look. Pantone announced last week that Greenery is the go-to for 2017; I'd like to predict that the mossy and forest greens will beat out the bright springy tones.

Garrow Kedigian


2. Color combination - Speaking of greens, perhaps my favorite combination I've started to see more and more is blue & green. It's perfectly preppy and considering blue has been a mainstay for so long, I think this one will be an easy winner.

3. Mural wallpaper as art - I love this one! The watercolor wallpaper from Phillip Jeffries below is perfection, and many new lines of wallpapers are coming up with such pretty mural-style papers.

Phillip Jeffries

via Lonny

4. Natural stone in all it's colors - it's so exciting to see my favorite designers push the envelope and utilize such stunning natural materials that go well beyond our regular Calcutta's & Carrera's. Just look at the purples in that fish scale stone Meredith Heron is currently using!

Meredith Heron

via Becki Owens

5. Oversized parquet - what a perfect foundation for any room. There's nothing that says Parisian-chic any more that this:

What do you think, are you loving these trends as much as I am? Any others you predict? I'd love to hear!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Holiday Q&A | Jessica Claire Interiors

I've long thought of Toronto-based interior designer Jessica Waks as the queen of entertaining; she's an amazing cook, fantastic designer with and eye for neo-traditionalism, and she can style up an event like no other. So I thought it would be so fun to get her expert tips on how to navigate the holidays, and we are especially looking at how she prepares to decorate and host events for Hanukkah. The holiday begins on December 24th this year, and this beautiful 8-night celebration is laden with tradition and symbolism. Jessica so perfectly takes this special 'festival of lights,' and creates a wonderful opportunity for elegant entertaining and spending time with family.

Previously Style at Home's Design Editor, Jessica can now often be found appearing as a guest expert on the Marilyn Denis Show. I'm honored to share a little chat we had divulging all the details of her hosting and decorating tips (all images via Style at Home | photography by Donna Griffith unless otherwise noted):

 Photography by Stacey Branford

Nancy Marcus: What is your favorite color palette for Hanukkah décor?

Jessica Waks: The typical colourway you see is royal blue with silver and gold. I obviously gravitate towards the gold because I'm all about the warm metals, but I also like adding in some soft aqua and lighter blues which feels a touch more current and fresh.

NM: What are your must-have festive greens and flowers?

JW: It's all about layering in beautiful white flowers so I pick up whatever looks fresh and nice this time of year. Mums and orchid branches usually maintain well enough and add some lightness and pretty to the table.

NM: What are your favorite food and drinks to serve?

JW: You can't have a Hanukkah party without latkes! My fave version are grated and fried until crispy and topped with the classics: applesauce and sour cream. I love them savoury too, with lox (smoked salmon) and sour cream and chives. Sprinkle some caviar on top if you're feeling fancy!

NM: Oh my, I think the sour cream and chives would be right up my alley, you are making me hungry just thinking about it!

 Photography by Stacey Brandford

NM: Music playlist must-haves:

JW: Does Adam Sandler's Hanukkah song count? Just kidding we don't really have any recorded go-to's but the classic songs I grew up singing in Hebrew school like "Maoz Tzur," always bring on the warm and fuzzies.

Photography by Stacey Brandford

NM: What are some traditions you can't miss in your décor?

JW: A beautiful menorah is essential. It's great that there are more modern versions if you don't want something so heavy or ornate. I also love using gelt (foil-wrapped chocolate coins) as décor. Used as vase filler or sprinkled on table top it looks so festive and shiny.

NM: Go-to winter scent for the home:

JW: Anything that covers up the smell of fried oil from latkes! I bake beautiful dreidel and magen David cookies every season as gifts for clients so the smell of baking sugar cookie and gingerbread dough are my fave holiday scents.

NM: I must say that every year I drool over your cookie baking and icing art, they almost look too perfect to eat. I especially love the appearance of the star of David with a 'stained-glass' style filling.

Photography by Stacey Brandford

NM: And finally, what are your favorite tips or tricks to make entertaining easy?

JW: It sounds so basic but you really do need to prep as much as you can ahead! Everything always takes longer than you think it will so make your list and tackle as many tasks as you can in advance to avoid day-of stress.

Jessica is pictured baking her famous sugar cookies with her mom above, a perfect chance to spend time together as well!

A lovely idea of changing traditional Christmas crackers with the addition of blue paper and the Star of David, sitting pretty as a place setting atop the family's heirloom china.

To see more of Jessica's own design work hop over to her portfolio (her own home is divine), and you can see the full articles on Hanukkah home décor and entertaining via Style at Home here and here. A huge thank you to Jessica for being gracious with her time and sharing these fantastic tips & tricks on how to expertly host such a special event for family and friends! Don't forget to follow Jessica on instagram to see sneak peeks of all her cookie baking & dinner dishes - I promise you it will leave you inspired, and if you are like me, perhaps a wee bit hungry too :)

Friday, December 9, 2016

Friday's Favorites To Follow

Paloma Contreras of La Dolce Vita writes one of my favorite blogs to check in on daily. To be truthful, hers is one of the few that I still take in regularly! I love the elegant Southern influence I get from her posts on everything from high-end design, to fashion, and travel. Paloma's recent projects have had me drooling and I'm sure you've all been following along, but here are some of my favorites via her fantastically inspirational instagram feed:

Paloma's Dauphine Suite for Traditional Home's Southern Style Now Showhouse

Peeks at her new home in Houston

Nothing beats old school 'pinning'

Her recent powder room reveal

Phoebe Howard at High Point

The Polo Bar

A peek at a recent install in progress, just in love with the lacquered paint in Benjamin Moore's Water's Edge

Another install in progress, I just can't get enough of the olive green velvet, the large-scale artwork and the Christopher Spitzmiller lamps! Endless inspiration.

As many of you may know, I contribute a monthly series on LDV called Dissecting the Details, but truth be told I was already a huge fan of the blog long before I began as a contributor! I always fully enjoy putting those posts together, it gets me thinking about what it is that I love about my favorite designers as I dissect their designs. For me it's a chance to go a little deeper into what makes a room really tick. I thought I'd link to a few of my favorite installments of the series here in case you missed them, starting with this past weeks' post featuring Suzanne Kasler's living rooms:

A huge thank you to Paloma for allowing me to get creative and always have fun with my Dissecting the Details series! Have a wonderful weekend and stay warm, we've got a dump of snow coming our way in Vancouver today!


Monday, December 5, 2016

Holiday Q&A | Theodore Interior Design

The Edwardian home of designer Betty Theodoropoulos has been on my 'favorite homes' list for quite some time now, and it by far tops the list when it comes to holiday décor and style! Betty was ahead of all of us, in terms of this year's trend towards over-abundance of simple & fresh greenery as a Christmas décor staple. Her family home is a testament to marrying traditional style (circa-1910) with all the luxuries and functions of a contemporary home.

I've blogged about this gorgeous house in the past (paneling, herringbone floors, marble kitchen and baths ... need I say more?) so long-time readers will likely recognize it. However after seeing a new view into Betty's stunning curved-wall dinning room in the latest House & Home magazine I just had to re-share it with a handful of new images (oh, and please do yourself a favor and take the stunning video tour). So, I was delighted and honored when Betty agreed to divulge some of her entertaining & decorating tips and tricks with us in a little conversation - I'm sure you will agree after reading through that her savvy tastemaker skills and thoughtful hostess pointers are enough to inspire the party thrower in all of us! (All images via House & Home | Photography by Angus Fergusson unless otherwise noted).

Nancy Marcus: What are some holiday traditions you can't miss in your décor?

Betty Theodoropoulos: Keeping it natural by bringing the outdoors inside without using too many artificial baubles or trinkets. Also, keeping decorations simple without too much ornamentation. This is how my mother used to decorate the house for Christmas and it is part of my childhood memories.

 Photography by Mark Burstyn

NM: What are your favorite tips & tricks to make entertaining easy?

BT: When entertaining smaller groups (10 or under) I take pleasure in doing all the preparation and cooking and the best trick is always to plan ahead. Two days before I will decide on the menu and do the grocery shopping in advance. I prepare the floral arrangements and have the table set the day before. Therefore I can spend that day doing all the cooking. My husband and I will divide and conquer. As I am preparing food he takes care of setting up the bar and making sure we are fully stocked.

For large parties, and we will often entertain for groups of 30+, I hire caterers and wait staff so that I can enjoy the company of our guests.  

 Photography by Mark Burstyn

NM: What would you consider a splurge-worthy item?

BT: For entertaining our friends and loved ones - always good wine and good food!

 Photography by Mark Burstyn

NM: Best lighting for dinner parties?

BT: Definitely soft, dim and ambient lighting with the addition of candles.

NM: Yes! It's always so important to include dimmer switches in the dinning room. And what about your favorite China pattern?

BT: White on white. It is simple and classic and mixes well with anything.

NM: What is your favorite color palette for Christmas décor?

BT: I love white and green for Christmas décor. It is fresh and blends in beautifully with any design aesthetic and style of décor, whether you are contemporary or traditional.

NM: Favorite look for the Christmas tree?

BT: There is nothing more festive than the smell of a real tree during the holidays and going to select our tree has become our favourite family Christmas tradition. For the past few years I have been going with a natural theme for decorating. I begin by wrapping a magnolia garland around the tree and layering it with natural branches, berries, additional greenery and dried white flowers. My daughter gets a smaller Christmas tree in her bedroom that she gets to decorate on her own using all the wonderful holiday ornaments that she has collected over the years. This makes her feel very grown up and very proud of her accomplishment!

NM: Favorite drink to serve?

BT: My husband makes a terrific Old Fashioned and there is always plenty of red wine and Prosecco. My personal favorite is a Lychee Martini but it has to be garnished with real lychees!

NM: What is your go-to winter scent for the home?

BT: Because I bring in so much natural greenery for decorating the house there is always a scent of the outdoors that lingers inside our home. Also, anything baking in the oven! I love to cook and the holiday season is the perfect opportunity to practice my culinary skills.

NM: I love that you incorporate gingerbread cookies & a gingerbread house in your simple kitchen décor; they last longer than other desserts so they are always worth the time and effort!

NM: Best hostess gift to give or received:

BT: Anything from Hermès because who doesn't enjoy receiving an orange box? Hermès makes wonderful Vetiver scented drawer liners that I have been giving as hostess gifts for years. They also make the most wonderful selection of scented hand soaps that come beautifully packaged in a box of three.

NM: Music playlist must-haves:

BT: When we renovated our home 4 years ago, my husband took charge of the audio visual part of the project, making sure we had the latest up to date system. We love playing music throughout the house when we are just hanging out as a family or entertaining friends. For the holiday's it's always the classics: Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Sinatra ... and because we grew up in the 80's we can never get enough of Wham's 'Last Christmas' and Band Aid's 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' for some holiday nostalgia!

Additionally, you can never go wrong with Apple Music because they offer so many terrific Christmas playlists.

NM: Your go-to holiday party outfit?

BT: When entertaining at home I keep it casual and comfortable. I love jumpsuits because they are easy to wear yet sexy and elegant! Alternatively I will go with a pair of silk pajama style trousers and a cashmere sweater with kitten heals that I can run around in.

For going out during the holiday season, you can never go wrong with a LBD with some dramatic jewelry and a gorgeous pair of shoes.

NM: And lastly, what are your must have festive greens and flower?

BT: For festive greens around the house I will often use garlands of either magnolia or cedar mixed in with some boxwood and pine cones.

My favorite around the house are mini boxwood wreaths placed over windows or glass patio doors. For flowers my definite must have is white orchids planted in a large silver bowl with chunky branches and some pine cones for additional holiday ornamentation. Another favorite for the holiday season are white amaryllises - but only white.

NM: Stunning! I love that you use a wide silk ribbon to hang the boxwood wreaths over glass doors, and the large size of the pinecones you utilize makes a lovely statement. And I notice the placement of gifts not only under the tree but in vignettes around the home, another wonderful idea for us to take from.

I'm sure I speak for all of us when saying a huge & sincere thank you to Betty for taking the time to chat with me and share some fantastic tastemaker tips for flawless decorating, entertaining, and hosting. What an amazing home! Be sure to follow Betty's new instagram account and stay tuned as her new website will launch soon. And I for one will be hoping to head to Hermès for an orange box or two ... or more :)

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