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!


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Elegance At Home | Aerin Lauder

We've all looked to Aerin Lauder for examples of exquiste taste through the years. Her style is very much of days-gone-by, which I for one admire and am drawn to. Elegance is the perfect word, and I feel like we all crave a little more elegance these days. So I've rounded up some of my favorite spaces in Aerin's homes, and seeing as Christmas is just over two weeks away I've included examples of how Aerin decorates and entertains for the holidays. One can only assume Grandma Estée would be proud.

I love Aerin's love for the anemone flower. Take note of how many times she uses them in these spaces, they photograph so well.

One of my favorite details in Aerin's Manhattan office; artwork so perfectly leaning along the floor - and among the pieces special notes written by her sons.

Framed floating postcards from her grandmother Estée hang above Aerin's nightstand:

Let's turn to Christmas decor. As you can see from several rooms pictured above, Aerin loves blue and white, and in fact claims it is part of her "decorating DNA." So it seems fitting that over the years we have seen Aerin do blue & white at Christmas:

So timeless! Aerin explains, "I love holiday parties—going to them, hosting them—it is such a fun time of year. I especially like how holiday gatherings span generations. From grandparents to little ones, everyone is together having a great time. With so many different ages at my own parties, I like to offer food that appeals to everyone whether they are 5 or 85.  I always serve pigs in blankets, smoked salmon on toast, cheese puffs, and crab cakes. Desserts like Christmas and gingerbread cookies, peppermint ice cream and brownies are impossible to resist. Vintage cocktail napkins in red and green embroidered with holly, Santas, or initials are stacked on tables. I always place treats like chocolate balls, peppermint sticks, ribbon candy, nuts and popcorn in gold nesting bowls around the apartment. I love how gold accents make everything feel more festive." 

Her use of gold accessories is perfection! And the gingerbread houses and bowls of candies she displays show that elegant decor can still be relatable and fun.

Love the little adornments like these branches and acorns atop the place settings:

One thing I love about the way Aerin has decorated throughout the years is that she is not afraid of a heavy dose of red. Many shy away from this 'traditional' Christmas color for fear of being too obvious. She makes it look so chic every time. 

"I decorate my apartment with lots of red everywhere during the holidays—peonies, dahlias, and berries. I’ll wrap garlands around the stairs and over the fireplace mantle. In the den, I play Christmas movies like Miracle on 34th Street or Rudolph on the TV.   When it is time to leave, I have small gifts like scented candles wrapped in gold paper and ribbon waiting at the door a custom my grandmother taught me many years ago," said Aerin. 

The decor at Aerin's Hampton-based shop:

And lastly, Aerin's tablescape and tree from this season, complete with a whimsical gingerbread house and reindeer crackers:

For Aerin, who also celebrates Hanukkah with her family, the focus of holiday entertaining is to create a setting that feels both inviting and luxurious. She told Elle Decor, "most of all, it's about tradition and the spirit of the season, " she says. "I love to create a sense that this is a special time of year." Well put, I'd say that is what we all strive for!

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