Sunday, November 27, 2011

Destination China

On December 18th, the Kingkey 100 skyscraper (built by Sir Terry Farrell in 2006) will debut the much-anticipated St. Regis Shenzhen. The hotel occupies the top 28 floors, providing its 297 guestrooms with views that stretch far beyond the financial district immediately below.

Shenzhen started out as a tiny fishing village, but it has become a major cultural center with its abundance of ancient temples, fortresses and tombs. In addition to the historic architecture, the city also boasts the Lake of the Immortals Botanical Gardens, three major national parks, beaches, golf courses, and Dafen Oil Painting Village, an enclave of some 5,000 artists.

For more infomation on the hotel's opening and special debut packages, click here.

Note: it's a flip flop-free zone. A strict code of smart casual will be maintained at the hotel, especially in its six restaurants. (I think I hear my mother applauding.)

The lobby

A guestroom

The pool

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Designed for the palate...and the nose

Master perfumer Roja Dove, left, and The Macallan's David Cox at the Beverly Hills Montage

Recently, wine and spirits expert R. Dean attended a special Macallan whisky event at £10 bar at the Montage in Beverly Hills on behalf of Entra. Organized in New York and Los Angeles, the private meetings introduced select media and mixologists to a very special new tool in the appreciation of whisky.

Working with legendary perfumer Roja Dove, The Macallan, one of Scotland's most celebrated distilleries, has created an unprecedented scent box to allow its brand ambassadors to open the world of whisky to a broader audience. The specially designed kits feature twelve glass perfume vials of rare essences, like Rose de Mai, which requires hundreds of thousands of flowers to produce even a small amount of oil. The first set of of six initiates a discussion of scent properties—sweetness and spice, youth and maturity, stillness and volatility—that opens participants to the concept of learning to smell with the brain. The second set of oils are Dove's own blends that exactingly replicate the noses of several Macallan whiskies. It's a bit like breaking down wine tastings into flavors of oak, chocolate, and butter, for example, but it's done on a profoundly more sensory, and sensual, level.

“Roja Dove is a master perfumer who is dedicated to the highest quality raw materials in the creation of exceptional aromas and fragrances.  At The Macallan we are committed to the same quality of raw materials in delivering our whiskies,” explains David Cox, director of fine and rare malt whiskies for The Macallan. “Roja was the clearly the best choice for The Macallan. He brings a new and exciting dimension to our storied whiskies in a unique and innovative way.”

Experiencing the scents independently, then blended, enables one to more readily discern the complex notes of the whiskies, and go beyond the immediate intensity of the alcohol’s nose.
The boxes were made by Scottish cabinet maker and furniture restorer Duke Christie, using oak from the Macallan estate.
After the event, Dove created personal scent profiles for each guest—something he can suss in mere seconds.
Visitors to £10, which hosted the event, will find one of the most extensive Macallan collections in the United States including reproductions of the fabled Macallan bottling of 1841 and the world's only remaining two ounces of a 64 year old expression. The bar is named after the Scottish ten pound note, which features an illustration of The Macallan's stills. Interior done by SquareRoot.

To ensure that tastings are handled with the utmost authenticity, ice for your
Macallan is made from Scottish spring water shipped directly to the bar.

For more information on the distillery's alchemistic partnership with Dove, watch the video:

All photography courtesy Jessica Kaminski and The Macallan

A book singing with Hutton Wilkinson

This Monday night, November 21st, from 6-8pm, Bonhams New York will host a private reception and book signing with Hutton Wilkinson, for his latest publication, Tony Duquette/Hutton Wilkinson Jewelry, just released by Abrams. For more information on the event, phone 917-206-1670.

It's a gorgeous new title but let's face it, a signed copy is always just more fun.

To check out the LA Time's recent piece the book, click here.

Noble Provenance

Confession time. Maile and I have a shared, encyclopedic, slightly-terrifying-to-others knowledge of things royal and noble, especially when it comes to the Windsors and to the British peerage in general. It's probably not surprising, then, that when we heard about Maitland-Smith's new collection we had to learn more. You see, not only is it their first designer-licensed collection, but the designer in question happens to Henrietta Spencer-Churchill—eldest daughter of the 11th Duke of Marlborough.


Spencer-Churchill grew up around one of the finest collections of art and design anywhere in the world—Blenheim Palace—so it's probably not totally surprising that she would become a designer herself. Over her three-decade career, she's renovated country house properties, created furnishing lines and authored several books. 

Now she's partnering with Maitland-Smith to launch a new collection of furniture and accessories—some 100 pieces—with a quintessentially English vibe.

Traditional and beautifully scaled, the pieces have restrained elegance that would fit a range of interiors. I might have to get my hands on one, so I can have my very own slice of nobility!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Let There Be Light!

Since the days are getting shorter, I'm feeling light-deprived—even here in Southern California where the sky is currently a brilliant blue—and I've been thinking about light and lighting a lot. Where to put, what to use, the whole enchilada. So I was really excited to see the new collection from Aldo Bernardi. Now I'm a sucker for the rustic, industrial vibe in general and their pieces really knock it out of the park. 

Linea Otello, an exterior fixture, has subtle details that temper its industrial edge.

Linea Attila: a family of pole lights in different sizes.

As with the rest of the designs, the new line dubbed Le Magie dell'Elefante, is made near Venice. The collection will light your way on those nights when night falls all too soon.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Special Offer for Entra Readers

Being a successful architect means more than just being able to create beautiful, functional buildings. It also means navigating the business side of things, too. Easier said than done when your talents rest more firmly in the creative realm. How to do it? Jennifer Kenndey explores this very question in her new book, Success by Design: Revealing Profiles of California Architects

In it, she talks with some of the top architects in the Golden State, including Art Gensler, Ray Kappe, Steven Ehrlich, and Stephen Kanner and discovers their strategies for being successful at both design and business.

As an added bonus, she's offering Entra readers a 10% discount on the digital or print versions. Just enter the code web10 when you check out!

Happy reading! 

One night only!


This Thursday, November 17th, from 6-8pm, Bennett Bean and Elizabeth Rand, the designers behind the Bennett Bean Studio, will debut their new line of rugs, as well as examples of their custom-designed pieces, at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. The installation explores the studio's work in three displays: New Material Options, Color Options, and Made-to-Order.

New Material Options presents the artists' new line, called the BB&E collection, which uses a new hand-tufting technique and adds New Zealand wool and viscose to the studio's existing offerings of Tibetan wool and silk.


Bennett Bean, who is perhaps most widely known for his ceramics, ventured into rug design after buying an antique Tibetan carpet in 1997. Studying the rug provided the inspiration to create his own, and he's been producing them ever since. In 2004, Elizabeth Rand, a multi-media artist who studied fiber at the Kansas City Art Institute, joined his studio, and together their unique artistic visions and personal experiences meld beautifully into subtle designs that are rendered by hand in Kathmandu, Nepal, and in two small villages outside New Delhi and Varanasi in India. (They've got GoodWeave stamp of approval, to boot.)



The museum's hosting of the collection's debut marks another milestone in their partnership with Bean. In 2009, the studio, along with Franci Sagar, Vice President of Retail and Brand Development at MAD, created a special collection of rugs, 9 for '09, for The Store at MAD.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

We've got the blues...

But it's a good thing! Thought we'd share a few sneek peeks from our beautiful upcoming holiday issue:

The dining room of a glittering Manhattan apartment designed by Penny Drue Baird

Mid-century cool in Austin, Texas

A new luxury suite in the heart of Amsterdam

Can you guess?
Keep an eye on your inbox, it's launching soon!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Big Sale!

OK. I'm sure that this won't come as a big surprise: I'm a big One Kings Lane fan. With a new house to put together, I'm often on the site, looking for pieces and even ideas. I'm also a big Rose Tarlow fan. So, it's a lucky day for me when the two team up for a Tastemaker Tag Sale. It will go live at 5:30 PDT. Here's a little preview to get you in the shopping mood!

A chic take on a the classic gondola form.

Mirror, mirror. 

Love this guy's early-18th-century Frenchiness!
There're even throws to keep you toasty!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Beachfront bliss in Miami

Soho Beach House, newly opened on legendary Collins Avenue

We’ve got Miami on the brain (that's a hint about our November/December issue), so we thought we’d bring you a special look at the city's Soho Beach House. It's the new tropical outpost from London-based private club and hotel firm, Soho House, and their third US property (the others are in West Hollywood and New York).
For this latest project, Soho House took on the monumental task of reestablishing a 15-story beachfront hotel built in 1941 (some of you might remember it as The Sovereign). They turned to the local architectural firm of Shulman + Associates for its renovation, and to their in-house designer, Vicky Charles, for its interiors. The project was completed in about a year, and just last month was a finalist at the Urban Land Institute’s 2011 Visionary Awards ceremony.
“All our clubs try to create a home-away-from-home for like-minded creative people,” says Charles, who describes the hotel’s look as “flip-flop glamour, with a South American feel.” There’s a definite historic-vibe throughout the public and private areas (leather club chairs and retro-style fans, for example) but it all melds harmoniously with the cool modernism of the architecture. When asked how one goes about fitting a brand’s distinct look (traditional with a twist of eco) into an iconic setting (the ultimate in Art Deco), the designer replies, “Without thinking too much about it!" And she's clearly hit the mark.
With its wood paneling, the Drawing Room, at the heart of the hotel, offers a cool respite from the bright Florida sunlight. Guests can order food and drinks, visit the Cuban coffee bar, or indulge in a selection of rare cigars.
Cecconi's, the hotel's casual but glittering restaurant and bar defines what interior designer Vicky Charles calls "flip-flop glamor."
"The ultimate goal is to make a space comfortable," she continues, "and somewhere you want to spend time in.” Charles, who is British but based in New York, started working for Soho House as a waitress in their London location 12 years ago. “I have grown with the company and understand the aesthetics and design philosophy of the brand,” she says, proving that there's no single route to becoming a leading designer, short of hard work and a keen eye.
About a third of the furnishings throughout the 50-room hotel are antiques, purchased by Charles in the last few months of the installation. (From eBay!) “It was a very organic process,” she explains, “with furniture layouts changing, and swap-outs as we installed—just as one might do in their own home.” Many of the new pieces were designed in-house and custom-made for the Miami property, and all were created with an emphasis on reclaimed materials.
A Beachside room in the main tower offers stunning ocean views.
Throughout the tower guest rooms, and particularly in their baths, designer Vicky Charles played on the geometric pattern of the buildings original brise soleil.
Dreaming of a sandy, not snowy, Christmas or New Years? Click here for more information on the hotel's holiday offerings and events. (Or just check out the special menu for inspiration! Panettone with warm zabaione totally trumps plain old pumpkin pie.)

Monday, October 31, 2011

In the spirit of Halloween

Cocktails, anyone? From Lorfords Antiques in Gloucestershire, England, a late-19th century baby crocodile, stuffed and mounted with a serving tray. €1,116.81 / $1,577.80
H: 68cm (26.8in) W: 48cm (18.9in)  
To honor this strangest of holidays, we bring you a spooktacular (sorry) selection of seriously creepy objects courtesy of Decorative Collective, one of the most fabulous and fun furnishings resources online.

A set of five late-19th century pharmacy jars, also from Lorfords. €336.18 / $474.95
H: 26cm (10.2in)   

From London’s Ebury Trading, an Italian silver-plated tin frame, mid-18th century. €569.80 / $805.00
H: 33cm (13.0in) W: 24cm (9.4in)  

An... unusual... painted-wood head, possibly North American, circa 1770-1800, from Britain’s Brownrigg.  
€626.78 / $885.50
Height:12.25inch (31.12cm) W:6 inch(15.24cm) D:8.5inch(21.59cm)

At first glance, I thought it was a Steiff... but no, it's a beloved English pooch, stuffed by his owners at some point during the last century. He's now called Bertie by the tender-hearted fellas at Brownrigg. €854.70 / $1,207.50
Height: 17inch (43.18cm) Depth: 8.5inch (21.59cm) Length: 18.75inch (47.63cm)

From Heremijntijd in Amsterdam, a mounted brass sconce, 18th-19th century. €375.00 / $529.79
H: 40cm (15.7in) W: 40cm (15.7in)


Late-19th century stuffed parrot, lovingly named Eric by the folks at Blighty, in his original glass case. €341.88 / $483.00
H: 43cm (16.9in) W: 28cm (11.0in) D: 21cm (8.3in)

And, we've saved the best (I suppose that depends on your outlook) for last:

Also from Heremijntijd is a 16th-century mummified cat that was found in the wall of a Dutch farmhouse, where it was placed to ward off evil spirits, witches, bad luck, or anything else that might have threatened the home.  The cat is still in remarkable condition, with intact claws and teeth. €875.00 / $1,236.18
W: 45cm (17.7in)  

Happy Halloween, everyone. Have a safe and fun night!

And love and protect your pets:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Monumentally Creepy in Manhattan

Halloween seems to be a much bigger deal than it used to be. Or, it could be that since I have two kids who take it very seriously, I'm just paying more attention. As the month has rolled on, we've spent a lot of time exploring our new neighborhood and checking out the latest decoration developments. (Personal favorite: the caterpillar made of pumpkins and carrots).

Serious Halloween decorations are not solely the province of suburban Los Angeles neighborhoods, however. If you happen to be in Manhattan, the OC Concept Store has a frightfully appropriate window up today.


Michael Benisty and Swarovski collaborated on this fellow, entitled Die to Live. He's eight feet tall, made of 1,100 pounds of stainless steel and features some 300,000 crystals. Check him out at the company's location at 655 Madison Avenue.

Now off to figure out my costume. Any suggestions?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sweet Home Chicago

I seem to have Chicago on the brain—possibly because I stayed up way past my bedtime the other night watching The Blues Brothers. In any case, when one of our incredibly chic friends in the Midwest tipped us off about Bedside Manor, an absolutely dreamy (pardon the pun) source for incredible items for the bedroom, the bath and the table in the Chicago area, I was intrigued. I wanted to find out more about the company, so enter Meg Carroll, who graciously filled me in on the business.

How did Bedside Manor get its start?
We've been in business since 1985. We were inspired by an American manufacturer of brass and iron beds (Brass Beds of Virginia) and all the beautiful ways to dress them. To begin we carried handmade Amish quilts along with German down comforters and French linens. As we grew and the market for European linens did too, we began to add more and more linens from Italy, Portugal, India, etc.

What do you carry?
We now offer over 50 different linen designers, including our own brand that is made exclusively for us in Italy. We attend trade shows here in the states including New York, Atlanta and Dallas. We have also traveled to France and Italy. We try to select merchandise that is of high quality, is beautiful and what we feel our customers are wanting. We have a very broad range and try to cover looks that
are traditional, contemporary as well as transitional. We watch for color trends in home fashion as well as emerging themes. We always want to try to find merchandise that is not carried by nearby merchants.

How would you describe your aesthetic?
Our aesthetic is not neccessarily slanted one particular way. We offer so many different looks! One thing we always try to convey is the feeling that we have a lot. Our stores have a minimum of six beds set up and are dressed to display and showcase our vast array of fine linens. So, therefore, the looks are constantly changing as new product comes in, or items sell from the displays. We always want to look fresh and exciting. Then to support what we are showing on the beds, we have swatches from all the different vendors that we represent. 

How has the Web affected your business?
We have had a Web presence for somewhere around 15 years and have been e-commerce for 10. We know that it is critical in today's market. It has had a very positive effect on our business as it is in many ways the first place we are introduced to a new client. If they see our ad, they will usually check us out online before coming in to shop. Another very important aspect is when someone is looking for a particular manufacturer—we need to let them know what we carry! And it is a terrific way for us to keep in touch with our clients and those who subscribe to our mailing list. We send out 1 to 2 emails a month announcing any special offers or events we are having in the stores. Its a very important tool for us.

Bedside Manor has four locations around the Chicago area. In a couple of weeks, November 15th, to be exact, designer John Robshaw will be meeting and greeting folks and speaking about his collections at Bedside Manor's Lincoln Park (2056 N. Halsted) store from 4:000 to 7:00 PM. It's a great chance to see the shop—and hear from one of today's leading designers.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Carry it with you

The Tassen Museum, or the Museum of Bags and Purses, may now formally reside in a 17th-century canal house built for the mayor of Amsterdam, but for a short while a few pieces from its collection were on view at the Meesterlijk/Woonbeurs fair.

What began as the private collection of the late antiques dealer Hendrikje Ivo, ultimately became a family-run museum, and what is now the largest public collection of its type. Building on Ivo's foundation, the museum continues to acquire bags of all ages and styles, and its now 4,000-strong collection spans five centuries.

In ten photos, here's a quick look at nearly 200 years of handbag design:

Velvet handbag decorated with cut steel
France, circa 1820
Beaded purse with silver clasp
H. Fliringa, Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, 1843

Mauchline ware handbag with transfer-printed images of Fontainebleau
Scotland, 1880s

Leather opera bag fitted with opera glasses, a notebook, a pencil, and a folding fan
England, circa 1906

Gold leather evening bag with silk embroidery and semi-precious stones
France, 1920s
Brocade clutch
Mayer, France, 1925

Plastic handbag with lace decoration
United States, 1950s

Handbag embroidered in petit point
Austria, circa 1950-70

Evening bag printed with Cartier's Tutti Frutti  jewelry designs from the 1920s
Cartier, France, 1980s

Bourgeois Teardrop handbag with shells, crystals and satin
Cora Jacobs, Philippines, 2008