Monday, July 28, 2014

A Classic: C.Z. Guest: American Style Icon by Susanna Salk

In her book C.Z. Guest, American Style Icon, Susanna Salk delivers an intimate portrayal of one of America's most legendary style tastemakers. I find this is a perfect book to pick up for summertime reading. CZ was a woman who loved the outdoors and her favorite pastimes of riding, gardening, and  playing tennis. Entertaining seemed to come naturally to her and she was always the supreme hostess. Guest was a woman with the gift to make everyone comfortable around her,  in part because she was completely at ease with herself. She always exuded confidence and self assurance, and though a Boston socialite, she loved wearing her gardening togs just as much as a couture ballgown. 

At Templeton, Old Westbury, New York, C.Z. rode nearly very day of her life, a dream she had from early childhood.

C.Z was a syndicated garden columnist for 351 newspapers, author of 3 books on the subject and even created C.Z.'s Bug Spray. Ahead of her time in marketing, more than 1200 pairs of her Goatskin Gardening Gloves sold on QVC!

On their wedding night, C.Z. with her new husband Winston at the home of Earnest and Mary Hemingway in Havana. Hemingway was best man. C.Z and Winston had two children together, Cornelia and Alexander.

C. Z at age 36 styled in Mainbocher , one of her favorite fashion designers. Jewels by Tiffany

Salvador Dali's infamous portrait of C.Z with a framed note from the artist hang over a fireplace at Templeton.

Cosmetics Entrepreneur Estee Lauder and Guest attending a wedding at St. Vincent Ferrer Church in New York City, 1989. 

C.Z.'s Charles II gold vermeil dressing table collection, including many family photographs and of course fresh flowers from her garden!

In the grand salon at Templeton, there are two large portrait paintings by John Singer Sargent, this is of Amy Phipps Guest, Winston's Guest's mother. Guest often gave formal dinner parties for many friends, including Yves Saint Laurent, Rudolf Nureyev, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (her children's godparents), Nancy Reagan, Truman Capote and other social stalwarts.

C.Z.'s daughter Cornelia in her Manhattan office with a portrait of her Father, Winston Guest. (a three time world Champion Polo Player) Cornelia and her brother have since sold the family home in the Spring of 2014.

Guest died in November of 2003 at the age of 83 after valiantly fighting cancer for some time.

Including hundreds of photographs and contributions from many of Guest's nearest and dearest friends, you will love having this book as part of your library! Susanna has painted us a very personal portrait of  this iconic woman.

C. Z Guest, American Style Icon is published by Rizzoli New York and may be purchased at Amazon

Visit Susanna's website at 

Thank you to Susanna for the signed copy of her book and to Rizzoli New York for the images included.

Thank you to my friends and followers who support The Arts!

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The Arts by Karena

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Monday, July 21, 2014

My Art is Featured at Cindy Hattersley's Rough Luxe!

Today I am honored to have my art featured at Interior Designer, Cindy Hattersley's blog, Rough Luxe! Please go take a look and read our interview!

Thank you so much  Cindy! I will be interested to hear your comments!!

Thank you to my friends and followers who support The Arts!

Please do  leave a comment, they make my day!

The Arts by Karena

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Benvenuto in Italia

Please join a special group of bloggers as they show you their favorite places in Europe! Starting with Anita of Castles Crowns and Cottages!

Today I am reminiscing about a very special trip taken to Rome and Florence a few years back and will let these beautiful images speak for themselves!!

The Trevi Fountain Detail

The Cathedral at Orvieto

The ceiling of The Sistine Chapel by Michaelangelo

In the Borghese Gardens

Lanvin Couture 

Victor Emmanuel II Detail

Il Pagliaccio Restaurant 

A Swiss Guard at St. Peters Cathedral

Galligani Pasticceria The Best!

The Colosseum at Night

From the lovely Anita, lets spread the Magic always!

I truly believe that one could spend months in every fine city of Europe and never see enough. However here is just a snippet of some of my favorite things about Rome, its history and romance, and the surrounding region!

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The Arts by Karena

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Raji RM & Associates

Please welcome Raji Radhakrishnan, the very talented founding and principal interior designer at Raji RM & Associates.  Please enjoy our conversation as you learn more about this incredibly artistic designer.

1)      Raji welcome to The Arts by Karena. I have been interested in your design work for quite some time. Thank you so much for participating in this feature. I understand you had a very interesting childhood. Would you tell us a bit about your youth and how it started shaping your future?

Hi Karena! the pleasure is all mine and thank you. I indeed had a childhood filled with wonderful memories. I started learning and performing classical dance from the age of seven and by the time I was eleven years old, I did my first performance tour around Europe, Canada and America for several months at a stretch. I did this tour for a second time when I was 13 and they were both exhilarating trips and perhaps one of the most profound experiences in my life that has also had a huge impact in my design life. Between the performances I especially loved touring castles, palaces, gardens and museums and the memory of these places and my love for these great cities continues till date. In a way, I think my design aesthetics have been shaped both by my training in dance as well as the exposure from these early travels. I think it's also why I can relate to many different cultures, people and design styles. I'll tell you this, even back then, when a reporter asked which one of the cities I visited I liked the most I did say Paris!

2009 Charity Works Green House

2) One of the things that attracted me immediately to your designed rooms is your use of fabulous works of art. How integral is fine art to the design process for you and your clients?

Art is always very important. Sometimes clients have their own collection of art works and sometimes I help clients start a collection. Regardless, for me art is a very integral part of designing a room. It doesn't have to be expensive or even large pieces of art. It could be paintings or sculptures or even found objects that are artfully displayed and used. In the hands and eyes of a designer, even the smallest works can have a terrific impact in a room if you know how to strategically use them. 

Most importantly, I never treat art like an accessory or a decorative element  in a room. I treat them as a launch pad for creatively expressing the inhabitant's personality in a space. That means, an art work that the client may not even have can inspire something totally unique and different in a room's design. This happens when I make a connection with that piece, the clients and the space. In other words, the rippling effects of art in design goes well beyond the confines of a room. It's the feeling it inspires and the ideas that are spun off from it that matters the most. 
Master Bedroom featuring a mural of The Louvre

3)     Who are some of your favorite artists and sculptors?

Dear lord, that's a tough question. I like so many of them and their works are so different yet somehow there is a commonality in the integrity of their works. Richard Serra, Anish Kapoor, Roy Lichtenstein, Eduardo Chillida, Yves Klein, Gerhard Richter, Al Held, Gunther Uecker, the sculptor Alexander Noll, the French poitiers, Robert and Jean Cloutier, Pol Chambost, et al.
2012 Kips Bay Showhouse
4)     Your use of large scale murals is also a mark of a Raji designed room. Tell us how that came about and are readers able to purchase these grand murals through you?

Murals are an important part of many of my projects although not always. But, the strong interest in my murals from the public and especially other designers and architects prompted me to launch a line of murals and they are now available through my firm online at . We are very excited since many designers have already ordered several of my murals.

I started creating and using these murals in my own projects and show houses since 2006 one at a time. It was and still is a very organic process and selecting the right mural at the right scale for a space is always key. I actually wrote a blog post recently that tells the story about how the murals started for me and here is the link to it - 
Living Room featuring The Leopold II Mural

5)     How would you describe your design aesthetic?

People tell me that my design aesthetic is very different. I think that's a good thing. And it's different because I don't confirm to any particular design style as it changes with each project - the client's, their tastes and preferences, the architectural style of their home, etc. 

On the other hand, my personal design aesthetic, that is what you see in my own home or in show houses is definitely one of a worldly perspective. If you look deeply, my rooms tend to be very complex and rich with a multitude of references - both historic and contemporary. It's never just plain pretty. I suppose it's also a reflection of a deeper, more meaningful and an open attitude towards life and design and everything that affects it. 
Raji also uses smaller, intriguing works of art to make a space unique

6)     Are you working on any special projects at this time that you can reveal?

We have a few lovely projects underway in DC and in New York. One of them is a very special project I've been working on for a few years now in Bethesda, MD. The clients are building this home for their entire family especially their grand children to enjoy during their visits and a lot of thought is going into every decision we make. It's very heartening to see how this family interacts and the love and respect they have for each other. My hope is to create a home they will all love for generations to come.

A New York City Design Project

7)     Who are your mentors or designers (past or present) whose works you deeply admire? 

I adore Sir John Soane's work. His work definitely inspires the classicist in me. I also love Le Corbusier but not just because of his pioneering work in modern architecture but because his work prevailed though many other mediums including furniture and tapestry design, paintings, sculptures, etc., making him a very well-rounded and hands-on designer and architect. He was the consummate artist of his generation who literally wasn't afraid to take a paint brush to canvas. That's important to me and is also how I like to work.
Dramatic Dining Room with a mix of styles and periods
8)     What are some of your favorite pastimes and passions when you are not working?

Of late, I've become a movie buff! It started as a way to wind down from a long day's work but my husband has a serious interest in movies and would often discuss the background of film making and the director's work and it's kind of rubbed off on me. So now I don't just watch movies but often catch the cinematic details that went into the production which is all fascinating to me.

We both do love to read, although we don't get to as much as my father-in-law did or my father still does.  So, with what ever little time that's left between work and family, curling up with a great book or magazine is always a joy.
An Enchanting Entry
9)     Raji what would you say to the beginning designer or artist, words of wisdom from your own experiences?

It's easy to get carried away with today's social media, press, etc. While all of this is very relevant and important, please take the the time to really hone your craft. First and foremost you have to get knee deep in the art of design. Learn and develop your design sensibility and your eye for great design. Study from the source directly whenever possible. In the first few years of my own design career, I didn't give much thought to the media and was too busy focusing and developing my craft. When I was confident enough and to help kick start my business, I designed my own home sent it to a few magazines and luckily it was published. Thereafter, press attention and mentions were only incidental. I still focus on my work and continue to learn and hone my craft while also keeping an eye on all things business. Ultimately though, it's your work that counts. That's what it all boils down to and that's your legacy.

Thank you again Raji for such an enlightening interview! 
Readers you can reach Raji at her site Raji RM Interior Designer and also enjoy her blog tasse de the'  and the many interesting postings.

Always thank you to my friends and followers who support The Arts!

Please do  leave a comment, they make my day!

The Arts by Karena

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Harrison Howard's Chinoiserie Art for Caspari

One of my favorite artists of all time, Harrison Howard, now has one of his Chinoiserie themed paintings featured on a new line of paper goods from Caspari. "Garden Folly" is a perfect choice for the plates, napkins, place cards and more which are offered in this new summer selection.The perfectly executed, yet oh so whimsical details will take your breath away.

Harrison is renowned for his intricate works of art which include The Flower Lady,  Shells,  and the Chinoiseries Series. His murals and wall panels are well known in Southern California (he lives in the Point Loma area of San Diego) as well as throughout the world as his client list is stellar.

Please enjoy some of his works of art featured here and then visit his website, to peruse and learn more about this exptemely talented artist. Even one of his paintings or lithographs will be stunning in any room of your home, although in pairs they make a very dramatic statement.

The Architect

Rendezvous at Night

According to Harrison, on his paintings, " They are the product of numerous other influences as well, including many of the things surrounding me in everyday life, and extending to a passion for many areas of the decorative arts, such as the fanciful Chinoiserie designs of the 18th century Frenchman, Jean Pillement. In particular, I would acknowledge the countless other artists through the ages, too numerous too mention here, whose work has electrified my imagination. My pictures are aimed at the fundamental pleasure that almost all of us take in imaginative and quirky ideas."

Yellow Tree Snails and Red Coral

The Seahorse

Assortment of boxed Note Cards

The Blue and White Pavillion

Harrison's  new Garden Folly line can be purchased directly from Caspari online or found at your better gift shops which carry Caspari paper goods. His works of art and contact information for Harrison Howard are located at his site and also at Tiger Flower Studio  

Thank you to my Friends and Followers who support The Arts

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The Arts by Karena

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