Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Howard Slatkin's "Fifth Avenue Style"

Interior designer and founder of home-fragrance and lifestyle brand Slatkin and Co., Howard Slatkin shares his decor and entertaining secrets as he conducts an intimate tour of his heart-stopping exquisite Fifth Avenue apartment.

When I received this gift book, wrapped in the iconic Slatkin designed logo paper, with an envelope, note and voluptuous, perfectly tied ribbon it was such a thrill.
Then to be personally signed and dedicated....just a taste of what was to come.

Please enjoy our conversation and even more facts about this most fascinating man in The World of Interior Design.

Interior designer Howard Slatkin, co-founder of the iconic lifestyle brand Slatkin and Co. is renowned for combining a keen appreciation of beauty, luxury, and superb workmanship with practical know-how. Now, in this sumptuously illustrated book, he opens the doors of his legendary Fifth Avenue apartment and invites you to accompany him on an intimate tour, not just of the main rooms, but of the service areas, closets, dressing room, and all the other intimate areas rarely seen. Along the way he shares his practical—and often ingenious—methods for creating uniquely personal rooms, shows you how to make them comfortable and functional as well as beautiful, and reveals his secrets to entertaining with ease and flair.

Howard and his beloved Winnie

Howard, thank you so much for participating in this conversation for your feature on my site. I have poured over your book “Fifth Avenue Style” page by page, lingering over every word.

Thank you !

1)      Please tell us a bit about your family background and youth. When did you found yourself interested in Interior Design?

My family's business , for three generations, was textile manufacturing and banking. From the textile business I developed a love and understanding of fabrics, as well as the disciple of running a business.  
My late mother said I was always always interested in beauty----art, decoration, gardens---- from the time I was a young boy.  My parents gave me great exposure through travel abroad, their friends and of course books. They were not indulgent with "things" as they did not want my brother and me to be spoiled, but we could get books on any subject we wanted.

Photographer Tria Giovan’s exceptional photography reveals how Howard Slatkin’s apartment—and any home—can achieve a level of sophisticated calm through careful lighting and floor planning, clever arrangement of furniture, and decorative display of personal collections of family photographs and objects. Drawing upon twenty-five years as a leading designer of fabled residences around the world, Howard Slatkin shows how rooms should flow naturally, how to create an intimate feeling, how to find imaginative solutions for turning awkward spaces and limitations into assets, and how to make one’s d├ęcor deeply personal. 

In Howard Slatkin’s hands, a simple length of rope is transformed into a decorative molding, a claustrophobic passageway becomes home to a collection of blue and white porcelains, a kitchen evolves into a room fit for a St. Petersburg palace, and a living room turns into an exotic aviary of multihued birds. Using decorative finishes, tile, and salvaged architectural elements, Slatkin has created a memorable home that is the perfect backdrop for Fifth Avenue living.

2)     As a collector of exquisite antiques, what are some of your favorite finds? (if it is possible to narrow the list at all)

It depends upon my interests at the time.  I do cherish the botanical themed works of art by three artist friends: Clare Potter, Carmen Almon and Vladimir Kanesvky. They combine my love of gardens and the natural world with extraordinary workmanship and the genius of artists.

These works of art are indeed exquisite beyond belief!

3)     Where do you find inspiration; especially for your Bespoke Interior Design Projects?

Inspiration is found everywhere---- travel, visiting museums and galleries, and seeing beautiful homes.  Recently while walking my dog Winnie ( a Norfolk terrier) in the country, a ray of light on autumn leaves inspired an embroidery design for curtains for a villa in Switzerland.  So one never knows---- the key is keep one's eyes open.

4)     When you began the process of renovation in the Fifth Avenue home, did you ever imagine it would be as glorious a work of art that it became? Did very much change from your original visions for this home?

To be honest, before the documents of the sale of the apartment were signed I knew exactly how it would look when finished, the theme for each room and the floorplan.  And it came out exactly as I imagined it would.  But do not think me a clairvoyant, remember this is my vocation---- i had been creating beautiful residences for over a decade before I bought the apartment.

5)     Who are some designers you admire and mentors who have encouraged you along the way in your amazing career?

I was enormously lucky to be introduced to the late Henri Samuels and the late Lorenzo Mongiardino at the start of my career-----a miracle of sorts, as they were the designers whose work I most admired and was drawn to.  Both designers took me under their wing, and were so generous with their time and sharing of sources and how they created their magical interiors.  They taught me so much, perhaps most importantly to dream, and to follow one's own path and not be influenced by trends or what is in the magazines.

6)     Howard you have designed for royalty and the most elite of the world; how has this shaped you as a person? How have these experiences affected your own design aesthetic?

I have learned so much from my clients. When people know how to live beautifully in their homes, how to receive and entertain with grace and refinement and comfort, it is a gift they share.  And I do think that knowing how to live well and beautifully at home has informed my work more than anything else. That is why the residences I do, really work-----I have been exposed to how to live beautifully at home, how a well run house, and life, are done.

7)     I do not know of anyone who puts as much detail and refinement into everything as you do. Tell us about your quest for perfection?

I don't know about "perfection", which is a tricky and complex word fraught with so many meanings.  I like "perfect" rooms if defined as beautiful, comfortable, and reflective of the lifestyle of the owners.  And things done by expert craftsmen, of great quality. But not if the word insinuates sterility or an uncomfortable atmosphere-----those rooms are dead.

Yes, I do mean perfection from the standpoint of the attention to details, the expectation of the finest works and finishes, embroidery and fabrics, turned into works of art themselves. The home where owners are proud holders of a legacy. A home that is comfortable and even if it is  on a velvet chaise, one is not afraid to put up their feet to read and relax!

8)     Howard, Readers would like to know:
What are your favorite vacation getaways? Your homes away from NYC you have acquired and enjoy?

My own homes are my favorites, and I like visiting friends and staying at their homes---- in much the same way that I always would rather eat in a home than a restaurant.  The New Jersey countryside, Chilmark, East Hampton and London are my places, they give me pleasure and recharge me.   

India also gives endless inspiration, as does Germany, France and England.

Where do you love to shop; For Antiques, for Attire, for Art and Accessories?

Really everywhere, both high and low---- the flea market and the greatest dealers, as homes benefit from the whole range. And auctions, both here and abroad, are where I find many treasures.  And online there exists the whole world.

What candles do you love the most and Fragrances?

My favorites and the ones I use exclusively are Nest Fragrances, they are by far the best quality and with the most alluring scents.  And they really infuse a room with scent.  I love their Bamboo, Moroccan Amber, Passion, Blue Garden, Pear....i could go on and on.   It depends upon my mood, the time of year and the location.  I cannot live without scent at home.

Howard I look forward to scattering Nest Candles about the home for the holidays this year. I have given them as gifts to the receivers delight!

Do you collect particular artist’s works?

I have very catholic tastes---- from Florentine artists of the Renaissance to French Impressionists to Picasso and Matisse and Twombly.  But i suppose if I could only select one it would be Picasso, he is like ten genius artists in one, his work never ceases to give pleasure.

What does Howard do to relax? What are favorite pastimes?

Reading is an enormous part of my life, I have so much admiration for writers and their gift to us.  Ones I cherish and reread are Tolstoy, Trollope, Chekhov, Waugh.....I could go on and on.  I have always loved dogs and being with mine is my favorite way to spend time.  And I am very close to my family and cherished friends---- they are how I most like to spend my time.

Thank you again Howard, I cherish the opportunity to have you as a friend in The Interior Design World..

Mark your calendars! Howard's upcoming "Tastemaker Tag Sale" on One Kings Lane!

This event runs from November 2 at 8:00 a.m. Pacific until November 5 at 8:00 a.m. Pacific and is comprised of over 250 lots of design books and over 250 lots of furniture, linens, glassware, serving ware and various other objects. 
All of Howard's proceeds from the sale are going to be donated to charity. 

Thank you to all of my friends and readers who support The Arts!

Art by Karena

In appreciation of  Vendome Press
Images Courtesy of Vendome Press and  Tria Giovan
Review Copy Courtesy of Howard Slatkin
Howard generously gives credit to all of those he has worked with, including the extremely talented artisans who have worked on his homes and many other client's homes.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Arts by Karena Latest Feature

Thank you to all of my Family, Friends and Followers who support The Arts 
Be sure to sign up for email alerts to have the latest features! You can also click on my header to go to the latest posting.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"Heirloom Modern" and The Hovey Sisters

Heirloom Modern
Homes filled with Objects Bought, Bequeathed, Beloved and worth Handing Down

By Hollister Hovey 
Photographs by Porter Hovey

The Hovey Family moved  here to Kansas City in Mission Hills when the girls were five and ten years of age. Even then they began the journey of  rich heritage and history in their lives.

Now based in NYC they have been proclaimed as "The New Antiquarians" by the New York Times

From their Mother, Lana at a young age, "Remember girls, 'To thine own self be true' Shakespeare gave that advise, he was a very smart man."
One of their Mother's Hermes scarves from a trip to Paris with their father is framed above the mantel.

A prized Scarlet Ibis  gives their Taxidermy Collection a bright burst of vivid color.
Hollister and Porters grandfather often went game hunting with a dear friend, we have come to know as L.L. Bean!

Hollister and Porter's Aunt Almene Milliken, quite the New York Socialite and pictured on the cover of Time Magazine as
"New Elegance on the US Social Scene." Portrait by Maria de Kammerer.
Today she still resides in a gorgeous classic 6 on the upper East Side.

You can barely spot the Wicker Coffin above the dressmakers models; this collector friend of the Hovey sisters plans this antique as her final resting place.

With friends as varied as Alexa Romanoff, David Epstein of Internet Marketing fame, and Sean MacPherson the Hotel and Restaurateur, their is never a dull moment in the life and times of The Hovey Sisters.

Take this journey with a feeling of an appreciated  past, present, and future. A book for generations who appreciate the feel of keepsakes, aged leather  and riding boots in the entryway.

Hollister and Porter, world travelers, are ones never afraid to take a risk on an unknown quest!  The kind of personalities that are offered a position just upon a casual conversation at an affair!

Another friend's home with collections everywhere and right at hand!

The Romanoff Family Crest

In this book, the images will thrill you, the collections, memorabilia, and mementos.  More than that though, there is a grand story, so fascinating you will not want to put it down!

Thank you to all of my readers and followers who support the arts!

Thank you to Hollister and Porter as well as Patricia Shackelford who encouraged the writing of this book!
More thanks to my dear friend Linda Merrill of Surroundings.

Please purchase Heirloom Modern here!

Art by Karena

Publisher: Rizzoli New York

Thursday, October 17, 2013

2013 Designer and Artists Series Featuring:Applegate Tran Interiors

Introducing Applegate -Tran Interiors
Applegate Tran interview for Art by Karena
About Applegate Tran

"Interior design team Applegate Tran are headquartered in San Francisco and have clients throughout the USA and internationally as well. Their work is modern and comfortable and while they design entire houses they have a special focus in kitchens and bathrooms. Gio Tran, one half of the team is set to become the next president of the ASID California Chapter in 2014. Gio is also an accomplished and sought after fine artist. The team are part owners of the Poliform showroom in San Francisco and they have a new lighting line in collaboration with David Alexander Lighting which is represented at Sloan Miyasato."

Thank you Vernon and Gioi for participating in this fascinating conversation!

1)      Could you both comment on your backgrounds and how you became interested in Interior Design as a calling?

Vernon- My love for building things from a young age was a natural progression into designing homes. 

Gioi-  While pursuing my fine art I also started studied dance. I started out in classical ballet training and then expanded to modern, jazz and ballroom dance theatre. I danced professionally for a number of years with pre professional ballet companies and modern theatre dance companies touring the US. My love for the arts extended into Interior Design quite effortlessly.  

2)     When did you both decide to team up ( and it is a great team of varied strengths)

15 years ago when we met we knew instantly it would be a match personally and professionally.  We saw the different strengths and weaknesses between the 2 of us to balance out the team.  At the same time we were on the same page in our projection for our future for short term and long-term visions.  

3)     Where do you find inspiration and how would you describe your design aesthetic?

Gio :
We both have different approaches in our design and aesthetics.  Vernon came from an architectural background and I came from an artist background.  However our strengths or what we liked to do most is totally opposites of our background.  You think as an artist I would gravitate to the decorative aspects of design with emphasize on furniture, textiles and color but instead I love designing from architectural details and overall visions in term of space, layout and architectural details.  My partner Vernon came from an architectural background yet his passions are in layering of interesting patterns and color in his design.  
My approach is more simple and clean lines.  Vernon on the other hand is very interested and great at more Avant Garde approach and quite eclectic in his approach in mixing all different genre of designs. And he does it brilliantly.

4)     Who are some designers, artists or mentors who you admire and have been motivating?

Artists and designers that over time evolve and reinterpreted their voice are most interesting.  The one thing we found that is the most inspiring aspect influencing our work is traveling.   

5)     Tell us about important elements you must have in your projects?

Of course we are creative in our approaches in design but the one element that we always stays true is incorporating good taste to every aspects of our design.  Unfortunately good tastes or designs mean different things to different clients.  So one way to measure it to go back to basics sometime making sure that the scale and proportion works.  Regardless the genre or styles of a piece Another way to measure good taste is whether the pieces are timeless and can hold interest and importance over the years. 

6)     I know that Gioi is an artist and I love his work. Does it work its way into some of the homes you design? How important is art in your design completion?

Over the years I have incorporated my art in my design since I get to know the client's taste and the overall visions of the design.  I sometime incorporate a piece in my collections for the gallery but would do one that fits the space from sizes and color combinations.  Sometimes we just cannot find an artist or a piece that work for the client in term of styles, color, size or budget so on many occasions I would do a one of a kind piece for a client just to meet their tastes.

It is so imperative to have good or interesting art for the overall design since it adds that level of finishing details. 

7)     Part of your expertise is your Furniture Line. Absolutely remarkable. Please tell our readers how you went in this direction.

Over the years we were designing custom pieces for our clients and that led into a natural progression to extend it to a collection for the design community.  

8)  You also have a new lighting line that is very interesting; would you tell us about it?

Like the furniture line we started collaborating with our clients and our fabricator David Alexander Lighting on custom pieces and over the years thought why not offer it to the public.  Lighting is a lot more technical so it took a little longer to conceptualize and execute the collections.  We are currently represented in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Dallas but will extend to NY and Miami.

Also we noticed that there weren't any lighting collections that have simple yet elegant forms that incorporated LED technologies.   We kept the streamlines that play with metal and formed glass in an architectural ways.  

9)     Lastly please offer some words of advice to the beginning Interior Designer, Furniture Designer or Artist?

You need to have a clear vision that reflects you who you are as a designer and a business owner.  Be clear about your voice in the industry and keep that in mind even if you are working for someone else. Business and product development is what you dream.

You may reach  Applegate Tran Interiors 
Tel: 415-487-1241 
Fax: 415-934-1817 

Thank you to all of my readers and followers who support the arts!

Thank you to Gwen with GHT Communications !

To Teresa of Splendid Sass and Love Feast Table, I adore the velvet pumpkins

Art by Karena

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

"Timeless Style" by Suzanne Kasler

Starting with the cover of  Suzanne's Latest book " "Timeless Style"
you see that there is an extraordinary style that transcends decor.
In this scrumptious book,( because that IS how I feel page after page).  I want to have more.

Suzanne has featured eight homes, from her very own Recency style Georgian in Buckhead, to 
an amazing four cottage compound  in Africa. Her friends who asked her to complete the  project, also own the cabin on Mt. Kenya where  Prince Phillip proposed to Kate Middleton.

As you have seen so far, Suzanne's has a wonderful time with color palettes, some are big surprises.
She will spend hours at Mercerie Parisienne which is a shop devoted to beautiful ribbons.
They will cut yard after yard for her of all kinds; upon returning to Atlanta, (just as I would) spreads them out on her bed, playing  and coming up with all kinds of color combinations. Kasler  says she has worked out some of her most interesting palettes that way.

This ceiling is done in a subtle metallic shimmer of Ralph Lauren paint.You will see her icy blues, platinum's, pale to richly saturated lilac's. Many of her clients are collectors, as is Suzanne, so the rooms will reflect and honor the great works of art sculpture and glazed ceramics

In the vignette above, there is a pattern in the grouping of antique globes,
that actually mimics that of  art on the wall. It takes a keen eye to accomplish this. Natural elements and the rustic also play a part in her design works.

Notice the light soothing shades against the dark wide plank floors. The subtle lavender linen covers on the stools.
All enhances the large Painting by Steven Seinberg
Enlarging the image brings out all of the subtleties of color on the French painted credenza.

In this Family Room orange in the Hermes blanket and pillows with all natural linen just works. I love the break of color in the curtain panels.
It is a way to  color block and anchor a room when there is great ceiling height and many windows.

Prepare to be surprised!

Order Suzanne's "Timeless Style"  here.

Suzanne's award are numerous including being named to The Architectural Digest's AD100 list in 2012. She has also been featured in many major design magazines

Publisher by Rizzoli New York
Review book provided by Rizzoli New York
Written by Christine Pittel
Designed by Doug Turshen with David Huang
Author Photograph by Pamela Mougin

Thank you to all of my readers who support The Arts!

Art by Karena

Blog Archive