When I started working on Designers at Home in September 2011 I had no idea how long it would take to write such a book, much less the exacting details of every decision. No question it’s a long and wonderfully laborious process; and what a process it was. There are so many things to consider: selecting the ideal graphic designer, choice of type font, size (did you know that a book is composed of 16-page signatures so the page count must be divisible by 16?) and then there is nailing the book’s title and cover image! We must have looked at 20+ options before Rizzoli made the final selection. Thank goodness I was guided by my amazing editor Sandy Gilbert and book designer extraordinaire Doug Turshen every step of the way.
It’s now just days away from the release of Designers at Home. In many ways it feels as if I am anticipating the birth of a child. And, for those with children, myself included, you understand the joy and expectancy that goes with the territory. Writing this book was truly a labor of love. It was a lot of work (and many long hours), but I enjoyed every moment. When I recently said to my father that it took 9 months to write (notice a theme), he commented “yes, but you have been preparing your whole life to write a book like this one.”
Perhaps the only thing better than a lively brainstorming session is seeing seeds planted and great ideas take shape. A few years ago at the Avalon hotel in L.A., my friends Christian Leone (former VP of communications at Armani) and Malcolm James Kutner (the supremely talented interior designer) and myself played a poolside version of the “what if” game. You know the one: “What if you could start your own business?” “What if you could do anything that you wanted in life?” At the time Christian had a few ideas for an online venture, but was still searching for the perfect pieces to the puzzle.
On my recent trip to the States I had the privilege of staying at the Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca. Owned by Robert de Niro, his son and two developers, the hotel is clearly a labor of love. Built from the ground up, the façade seamlessly blends in with the local façades. However, don’t be fooled; behind the front door is a very stylish, comfortable boutique hotel. The cozy interiors are crafted from (and filled with) handmade bricks, reclaimed wood, and antique furniture from around the world. Adding to the uniqueness of the hotel, each tile of the lobby is hand-molded. And, in a tribute to the hotelier’s artist father, Robert De Niro Senior’s paintings line the walls.
I adore homemade chicken noodle soup, especially with grilled chicken and lemon juice! It elevates this classic recipe in a way that is subtle, yet undeniable. However, if I make chicken noodle soup for you, it most likely means that you are either feeling under the weather or things are not going well in your world.
Last June Scottish Development International and Scottish Enterprise, along with Traditional Home, hosted Tobi Fairley, Anne Maxwell Foster, Philip Gorrivan, Patrick Lönn and Gideon Mendelson in my adopted country of Scotland. The goal of the trip was to increase awareness of Scottish textiles for interiors use. The fashion industry knows well the exceptional quality of Harris Tweeds, Scottish cashmere, wool, lace, and tartans fabrics. In fact, some of the best fashion houses in the world work with Scottish mills (The Hermès Group, Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren to name a few). Now it’s time for interiors.
Hello! After a three week whirlwind tour of the States with my friend and photographer Gerardo Jaconelli I am finally back in Scotland with so much to share (many more posts to come). The primary purpose of our trip was to speak at Design Camp in Atlanta (with several scouting trips on the side). Hosted by celebrity interior designers Kelli Ellis and Lori Dennis, Design Camp is an event not to be missed. The dynamic duo met while speaking at the Las Vegas World Market and developed the idea for fun and inspiring camps across the US. Camp offers not only design secrets, tips and tricks of the trade, but also gives attendees time to socialize with fabulous people and make new friends.
A few years ago I had the pleasure of joining Nikki Maxwell, founder of Picnics in Provence, for an amazing weeklong stay at Kathryn M. Ireland’s house overlooking the Tescou Valley in France. It was one of my most memorable holidays to date. This time around, Nikki has asked me to join her in Provence from June 1 to June 8. We will be staying in a spectacular 9th century priory complete with a vineyard and panoramic views of Mt Ventoux. This trip will be hosted by Nikki, myself, and a Michelin starred chef.
Named as one of Architectural Digest’s Top 100 Designers and Robb Report’s Top 40 Interior Designers worldwide, James Magni is famed for his “Global Modernism” aesthetic and award winning designs. The architect, interior designer, furniture designer and soon to be published author, is frequently lauded by the press for his sinuous simplicity and strong sophisticated architectural backgrounds.