Sunday, July 31, 2011

IT IS HERE . . . . . .

Patina Style has arrived!  This wonderful book is all about the talents of Brooke and Steve Giannetti, the creators of a blog called Velvet and Linen,  published by GIBBS SMITH.  From the inside flap:

   "Brooke and Steve Giannetti embrace the life in things: a newal post worn smooth by
     touch, a leather trunk bearing scratches of global travel, velvet that is faded over time,    
     silver that is subtly tarnished or a flowerpot wearing a covering of moss.  This is
     the essence of Patina Style."

Brooke, Steve and their three children,  live in the Los Angeles area.  I traveled to meet her
last year to do an interview.  She couldn't have been more welcoming and hospitable.  We met initially at their shop in Santa Monica, called Giannetti Home.  It is a wonderful shop
that will leave you wanting more of their design philosophy. . . . . Meeting Steve, her husband and architect extraordinaire and then their children, was a treat and a memory I will cherish
always.   An interview conducted in their home was more than I would have even asked for, but graciously she said, "lets go to the house"  It was there that their design acumen was thoroughly understood. 

Their trip to Chicago in the Spring allowed me the opportunity to treat Brooke and hopefully make her stay a little nicer.    It was then that I learned of their book, PATINA STYLE.  It had not yet become available, but was do out soon.


now it is available!

This page is from a chapter called, Outside In

". . . . the linking of stone, teak, and iron pieces
inside the house"

. . . . this page from a chapter called, Trim and Molding,

"We found these porch columns with fading house numbers
at a flea market when we were building our house. . . . . "

This book will serve as a wonderful reference for one of the most
sought after styles today.  Well written, well photographed and just
plain beautifully done.

If you haven't already discovered Brooke's blog, you can find it by
going to this link:  You will
be able to order PATINA HOME from her wonderfully informative

Saturday, July 30, 2011


As a designer, my success has been to listen and allow my clients to express how they live, what makes them comfortable, what their passions are,  their values and  their memories (always in some form of a collection or two). 

Our homes are a reflection of who we are, where we have been, what we love and what we can't do without.  As I begin a new room for a client, it has occurred to me that I often become the curator in the new design process.  "I want a whole new look, but I want to keep my favorite things".   It is up to me to gently use their favorite things, collected objects, art and memorabilia.   Favorite, personal things can be a challenge, especially in a new setting.  But, I do believe that when you are able to balance the old with the new,  the end result will always be far more interesting anyway. 

Personally, here are a few of my FAVORITE THINGS.  I thought I would share with you what makes our house a home, what is special to us and how it has been used.  This is my story and it is my hope that you too will find some inspiration as you scroll. . . . .


This was purchased in France and has the original marble top.  It had been
used in a butcher shop before coming to the hotel market place where I found it.  It is
dated c. 1880 and was considered to be among the first of the iron pieces
made in France.

The iron detail is wonderful. . . note a hint of the Fleur de Les in
the design.  I used this one time for a breakfast table in a designer
showcase I participated in.  Today, I use it in our living room, in
a bay window.  It usually has a fresh bouquet of flowers and
very often in a confit pot.


I purchased this clock about 8 years ago and adore
the oldness that it adds to our living room.  This clock has
kept time for over a hundred years.  I love the shiny brass weights
and pendulum

This is called a wine hod.  It is from Burgundy. It was worn
on the backs of the workers who picked grapes in the
vineyard.  I use this in our master bath over our jacuzzi.

This hand carved  and hand painted French pigeon decoy was a gift from
a very dear friend on her return home from France. He
sits on the top of the molding of my husband's wet bar.
Always a reminder of a dear friends presence in our home.

This hanging rack is above my cooking area.   I brought this
back from a French trip.  It once hung in a French bistro and was
used for hanging coats and hats.

This is a French woman's boudoir table, I have
used it in our great room, far away from my bedroom. It
holds my catalogs.

I really do love the fact that I have never seen this table
anywhere else, nor will I ever!  It was a one of a kind purchase in
Belgium,  right off the floor of the owners antique warehouse office.  It
was his desk and I loved it.  It is now our breakfast table.

I appreciate how special this table is.  Note the table
bases have been carved from one piece of wood which is
almost a lost art today.

These scales were purchased from Marche Aux Puces, a flea
market with stall upon stall of the most wonderful fare
you could ever ask for.  The quanity of antique furniture and
objects for sale is staggering.



I have a wonderful collection of lambs and this little guy was always in a vignette
outside.  He now holds court in my dining room.  I was trying to take formality
out of my dining room and he certainly helped to do that.  He came from
Debra Phillips' shop called Scentimental Gardens, Geneva, Illinois.  You must check out
her blog site called  She is sponsoring a trip to
England. . . . Dorset to be exact.  I will be part of that trip.  She is creating a second
trip in September following the first and there IS room available for that trip.

I have quite a few dishes and I also love to display them. This
is my white and cream cabinet with a few dishes I use daily.
The cabinet door is glass, so the interior must look yummy!

Here is another French piece that I covet. . . . it is a glazed terra cotta
bowl, called a dough bowl.  Made the same way a confit pot is made.  The
green glaze is on the interior and I use it often for large buffets.  I have served salads and on occasions pasta from this dough bowl.

Our doors from Bruges (Belgium) face us every morning as we
come down for breakfast.  They are a constant reminder of
what makes our home so special. . . . and certainly among MY FAVORITE THINGS!

Details of those doors. . . . each key hole represents another
family who owned this French home.. . locks would be changed.

The top of the door with such great hand carvings

The hand carved pediment on the upper right hand side of the door.

The French tube container from Paris. . . . always filled
with flowers from my garden or in winter, the floral shop! 

More fresh flowers from my garden!

This one is a fooler. . . . a forever arrangement
No, these are not real!!!  (The only way I will
deal with faux is if they look real!)

Still more. . . and this arrangement done
in one of my confit pots. . . . I adore these pots that
originated from the Dordogne area of France.

Venturing to the outdoor rooms of our home, I adore these lions
that beckon to share the beyond. . .

. . . . The beyond


Gracie's garden . . . . see her center/back?  A wonderful color
collection of Impatiens.  The rain, shade and just the right amount
of sunlight is responsible for such lushness this year!

I hope you have enjoyed your tour of some of MY FAVORITE THINGS!

Have a wonderful weekend. . . . tonight we will be at Millennium Park listening
to the symphony under the stars, while sharing dinner and aperitifs with
dear friends!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Life is always full of change . . . . . When it comes to our homes, changes exist there too.  I have recently been attracted to leather chairs, leather stools, leather books (and who doesn't like those!?) and even leather lamp bases.  Leather never held anything other than a bad memory for me.  When I was a little girl, I remember an old leather ottoman that was  quite worn (hmmmm, how that has changed), ugly, dried in places and just not attractive or so my young heart felt and thought!! My dad always had his feet up on this ottoman and enjoyed its use as he would read the news paper.   When my friends would come over to play, I would grab a blanket and cover this old ottoman so no one could see it. . . . .I always felt that my friends would think we were poor and couldn't afford a new ottoman or hassock as they used to be called. . . . .and so goes my dislike for anything leather. . . AND here comes my love for all that is leather. . . . 


Today was another day of shopping for a client at the Chicago Merchandise Mart.  I was down there last Thursday and I had to return and take another look at a couple of chairs that I couldn't get off my mind.  This one is in the Pearson Henredon Showroom and it still had appeal, in fact, I would love to have it in my home. . . . . it is more of an accent chair and with the ottoman, quite comfortable.  The carmel leather just yummy. 
The name of this chair is THE CAMP CHAIR.


Details of the Camp Chair footstool. . . .

The bamboo like wood trim and nail head detail.

This chair was also appealing and very comfortable.

Same chair. . . .front view.

This leather chair was so comfortable, I didn't want to get out of it!

This was one of the other chair that brought me back to the showroom. . .

It is called the Gullison Chair.

It is not a lounge chair of sorts, but comfortable and perfect for a small
desk chair.

Side view of the Gullison Chair

This chair is made strickly of leather and
iron . . . .comfort level use: a great accent chair and
still quite comfortable.

Great detail on the front of the Gullison Chair

This is called the Madison Chair.  It again is in
the Pearson Henredon Showroom.

This tufted leather ottoman was found in the Sherrill Showroom.
It is only 28x28 and I loved this too.  There are other leather colors
to chose from if black leather is not appropriate.  While this is quite sophisti-
cated, the size makes it just as cute as it can be.

While this was not leather, it would serve well as
a small side table next to one of my leather chairs.

Leather/skins have been so popular, fabrics
have been printed to look like the real thing.
This bench is from the Pearson Henredon Showroom.

Last, but not least, I spotted this adorable little footstool
that I know I could have found a place for at home!  This is from
the Sherrill Showroom.

AS FOR THAT LITTLE OTTOMAN. . . . . you know, the one I use
to throw blankets over. . . .what I wouldn't give to have that in my own
home today!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Lake Shore Drive, Soldier Field Parking Lot, Burnam Harbor and Lake Michigan


OK, this is not the fourth floor, but the 9th!

This 9th floor view is breathtaking with Soldier Field in full view!

Our host took us to the 9th floor as we view the city and Buckingham
Fountain (center)

The wind was blowing, hairdo's casting cares to the wind. . . and
of course Proseco could be flying out of our glasses!

It was a Meditteranean food night and the appetizers were yummy!

A cheese selection for the Gods, fresh figs, olive oil toasts, olives
and tapenades.

Breathtaking views from the terrace. . . . a terrace that stretched the length
of the condo.

Soldier Field as seen through the grasses. . .

More of Soldier Field with the Field Museum in the distance.

Kitchen herbs on the terrace

More terrace plantings. .

And yes, this is also part of the terrace plantings. . . . colors are phenomenal!  Just for
the record, Liz, their daughter just graduated with a degree in Landscape Architecture from
Clemson University . . . .she may have had a hand in these plantings. . . do you think?

Morning awakens in an elegant and simply stated master

Anyone for Proseco with a blood orange splash?

Our gourmet club has been together for about 12 years.
The original purpose was to visit restaurants all over
the city and suburbs.  Our host and hostess had moved
from the burbs to the city and wish to change the rules.
Everyone was excited to visit the city and take in the views.
One of the dishes that was brought by one of our club members.
Couscous, peas. curry and a peanut sauce.

A fresh yummy salad with heirloom tomatoes, olives, feta cheese and Romaine.

Roasted, marinated fresh vegetables!

Skewered and marinated lamb with lime and basil

After a dessert of home made lemon verbena sorbet and miniature
lemon cheesecakes out came a tray of glasses surrounding a bottle of

A perfect summer evening in the city, overlooking the lake and soldier field.

Good times and good byes!


I promise you that a good time was had by

As for CITY LIFE.  . . . . . . I would love it!