Braquenie Wallpaper preview at Pierre Frey Paris

The Maison Pierre Frey welcomed journalists in Paris this week to preview their new Spring 2012 wallpaper collection for label Braquenie. Prints are classic Pierre Frey — oh so French — do you like?

Images courtesy of Pierre Frey

Château Baccarat — The Debate

© Baccarat/Y. Duronsoy

© Baccarat/Y. Duronsoy

We had a wine journalist friend to stay for one night in the country this weekend and she was quite excited, among other things, about an event for Château Baccarat, the new line of wine-specialized glassware by Baccarat, that she had attended earlier in the week. She was super impressed by the nose that the glassware gave to the wine but we had a mini-debate about the design of this collection.

She hadn’t given much thought to the aesthetics of the line, but I find it very cold and chemical looking. Almost too scientific — when I look at the decanter in particular, I immediately start thinking of beakers and heating things over bunsen burners.

I would be interested to hear what others think of this collection. In terms of the special wine properties, Baccarat say 1) the wine base prevents alcohols from rising too much on the inner surface of the glass. It also preserves subtle aromas and allows wines to retain their smoothness. 2) The closed angle allows for the full expression of aromas. 3) the vertical chimney is comfortable for the mouth and consolidates the aromas.

I missed going to their press launch during Maison & Objet in January so I can’t tell you how this collection would differ from the Riedel range, which are also made with crystal, and which we actually selected for our wedding list.

Anyone have any thoughts?

© Baccarat

A Parisian Dream in Matchbook Magazine

My collaborator and friend, Elisa Camus, and I were pleased to take part in the newest issue of Katie Armour’s Matchbook Magazine with our shoot/interview of scarf designer and all-around fabulously chic Parisienne, Ashley Ashoff. Our shoot with Ashley took place earlier this year in her apartment near the Champs de Mars. We love Matchbook Magazine and we’re very happy to be included in the same issue that also featured a cover story with Andy and Kate Spade. Chic!

Some images from our story with Ashley:

To view the whole article, view the November issue here!

Interview with Vanessa Barneby from Barneby Gates

Vanessa Barneby of Barneby Gates © Tim Daukes

Our upcoming move has had me glued to all manner of design websites throughout the last few weeks and one of my favorite discoveries has been the English wallpaper design duo of Barneby Gates. Their gorgeous wallpapers are based on classical themes with a contemporary twist and have me dreaming of not only doing a few rooms in our new flat but also some future projects in the country. Vanessa Barneby was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions about their designs, inspirations and share her tips for the wallpaper-shy.

Who are you and how did Barneby Gates come about?

We are Vanessa Barneby – interiors stylist, journalist and ex-Living Editor at British Vogue, and Alice Gates – artist with roots in fashion illustration and textile design.  In 2009, we decided to pool our experience and set up Barneby Gates. We both adore wallpapers, but felt frustrated at not being able to find what we wanted for our own homes. I have a passion for print and colour, and my background as an interiors stylist and working for Vogue means I have a fair idea of what people want in their homes, how to play with colour and texture, and the direction of certain trends and so on, while Alice – as an artist – loves working on a flat surface, so wallpaper seemed the obvious route.

Where do you turn for inspiration?

We both live in the countryside now, so much of our inspiration comes from nature and our surroundings (Deer Damask, Boxing Hares, Wild Meadow, Horse Trellis) but there are certain things that we just happen to be a bit obsessed with – like Chairs and vintage photographs (This Other Eden) – that have become designs!  Art Galleries, museums, thrift stores, vintage magazines, and fashion are all constantly inspiring. I’ve always adored Chanel’s star print dresses for example, and it was this that led us to design our All Star wallpaper. We didn’t want the stars to look static though – as would be so easy on a flat wall – so we worked hard at giving them that movement, so they have that same soft fluidity of a silk dress.

Which other designers and creative people do you admire?

Inès de La Fressange – the epitome of Parisian chic. Celia Birtwell – for her eccentric but lovely designs that have stood the test of time. Tim Walker for his magical way with a camera. 

What are your favorite brands of the moment?

Rag & Bone – fabulously un-fussy designs which are both chic and practical. The ideal combination.

What has you obsessed at the moment?

Chairs – of all styles and eras. We have just launched a new wallpaper called Chairs, which features 14 iconic chairs – from Gothic Revival, Jacobean, Hepplewhite, to mid-century designs by Norman Cherner (my favorite) and Eames, to the modern classic Ghost Chair by Philippe Starck. So Alice and I have been ridiculously obsessed by chairs for quite some time now! 

What are your favorite home items?

My kitchen chairs are very old beaten up Tolix chairs that I found on the Goldborne Road years ago before they got ridiculously expensive, so I really treasure them. I recently moved from a flat in Notting Hill to a cottage in the country and the Tolix chairs work equally well in both – they are so versatile. 

© Vanessa Barneby

© Vanessa Barneby

© Vanessa Barneby

A Tim Walker print from a Vogue shoot that I was given by the girls when I left Vogue (can’t send picture because it’s in the Framers I’m afraid! – it’s the one of Lily Cole in India standing on a spiral staircase with long blue dress falling down over the banister and all the way down onto the floor – know the one?). The architectural mirror above the fireplace is made from an old Georgian window frame – I love it. (And it sits very well against our Boxing Hares wallpaper too!) The Union Jack cushion on the chair by the fire was designed by Lucinda Chambers for The Rug Company.

© Vanessa Barneby

In my bedroom the bedspread is a table cloth from India, and the cushions are made from pieces of antique Indian textile. The colours and textures compliment our Wild Meadow wallpaper so well – a soft pink based on the colour of natural setting plaster.

© Vanessa Barneby

What tips can you share for people embarking on their first wallpaper experience?

Don’t be afraid! I hate this ‘feature wall’ thing people do because they’re scared of over-doing the wallpaper. Rooms look best wallpapered in the traditional way – with every wall papered and – if you’re feeling really adventurous – the ceiling as well. It’s like walking into a jewellery box.

What’s next for Barneby Gates?

We’re exhibiting at Decorex next week (25th – 28th September) at The Royal Hospital, Chelsea. We’re also working on two new designs for Spring… and we’ve just been taken on by Stark in the US…

Thanks to Vanessa! Don’t wait to visit and shop Barneby Gates online at: www.barnebygates.com

The Art Fund

Vera Wang for Wedgwood Piggy Bank

How do you save to build an art collection? That’s one of the recurrent conversations the Hubby and I have had over the last few years. We both love art and we both agreed we wanted to put money aside in order to build our own collection. We even jokingly discussed getting our own piggy bank in order to penalize bad habits: he was supposed to put €20 in whenever he said, “shiiiiiiiiit” — a terrible habit he had picked up after watching 5 seasons of HBO’s The Wire back-to-back — and I was supposed to contribute whenever he discovered any discarded cups of tea around the house, a bad habit I have instead of immediately putting them into the dishwasher. So imagine my surprise when he came home this weekend with this adorable little piggy bank! A precious silverplate baby piggy bank from the Vera Wang Wedgwood collection. I guess we have no excuse to not start saving now!

Paris Dream Table: Le restaurant de Jean-François Piège au Thoumieux

I’ve been a fan of chef Jean-François Piège ever since passing an exceptional evening, almost five years ago, at his previous two-star Michelin establishment, Les Ambassadeurs at the Hôtel Crillon. It was one of those evenings where you left just blown away by the beauty of the place (a majestic Louis XV ballroom overlooking the lights of the place de la Concorde), the selection of wines, and above all, the delicious and meticulously prepared plats.

So my current dream table is at the Thoumieux, where Jean-Francois Piège landed in 2009 after being lured by Thierry Costes, eventually opening this second restaurant in 2010 on the 1st floor to entice diners (there are only twenty places) with a more gastronomique experience. I also love the retro décor, which would look perfect in any episode of Mad Men.

Hoping that the Hubby will surprise me with a visit soon! (*hint hint*) xox

Le Restaurant de Jean-François Piège, 79 Rue Saint Dominique, 75007, Paris.

Tel. 01-47-05-79-00. M° La Tour Maubourg.

Image via Alexander Lobrano’s Hungry for Paris

sugar paper stationery

sugar paper stationary
sugar paper stationary by mrschatelaine on Polyvore.com

sugar paper – thanks cards
sugar paper – thank you cards
sugar paper – sincerely cards
sugar paper – recipe cards
sugar paper – 100% recycled to do list cards
sugar paper – monogram coasters
sugar paper – bicycle noteset
sugar paper – “hey there baby” card

Leading up to our wedding this summer I have to admit that I developed a full-on obsession for stationery. The French have particular traditions and ideas when it comes to invitations and accompanying cards — and because I wasn’t quite up for shocking the establishment — I didn’t really get a chance to purge this infatuation!

In fact, my tastes run quite classic, so I totally fell in love this evening when I came across celebrity favorites: the sugar paper stationery company on Katie Armour‘s blog. sugar paper was founded by Chelsea Shukov and Jamie Grobecker, who call themselves, “connoisseurs of correspondence and self-proclaimed traditionalists.” I was completely seduced by their mix of delicate colors: blush pinks, bright raspberries, mixed with creamy whites. They even offer custom design services — so I know I need to get something made by them soon! … Stay tuned!

PS. Take a peek at Katie Armour’s custom order. So cute, non? xox

Custom note cards from sugar paper © Katie Armour: The Neo-Traditionalist

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