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September, 2015:

FROM FRANCES SCHULTZ THE BEE COTTAGE STORY

Watercolor by the author.

Watercolor by the author.

There are always people who we see at the best parties and social events, yet how well do we really know them? Take for instance my exquisite friend Frances Shultz – we’ve known each other for several years and have run into each other in all sorts of places — Lyford to Los Angeles and everywhere in-between. I knew she has great Southern charm, elegance, and wit, but reading her marvelous memoir, The Bee Cottage Story: How I Made a Muddle of Things and Decorated My Way Back to Happiness, gave me a whole new level of appreciation for this wildly talented, resourceful, and intelligent woman!

photo: Tria Giovan

Garden Room – photo by Tria Giovan

The Bee Cottage Story shares Schultz’s journey from utter despair and confusion to a place of love, acceptance, confidence, and joy — we see this journey paralleled by the transformation of her home; a metaphor for the process of healing and self-discovery. It’s a revealing book filled with goodies; from spiritual insights to the nuts and bolts of decorating. Actually it touches on a whole lot that I find near and dear! Needless to say, we absolutely love it!

The author

Frances Schultz – photo by Trevor Tondro

Schultz certainly has had her share of ups and downs, yet the process of turning Bee Cottage into a home was a tremendous gift that got her through some of her darkest days. Shultz’s tells us that the cottage’s name alludes to the many “be(e)s” that accompany any good transformation — that is, one should “… be creative, be outdoors, be cocooned, be social, be alone, and best of all be me, just be.”

It should also be mentioned that Schultz’s book is filled with the most glorious photos capturing early images of her homes, her family, friends, and much morel It really is a joy to explore her many facets —— her gorgeous process, her highly considered interiors, her thoughts on living comfortably, and the many notes on subject like guest rooms and collecting!

Pergola

The Pergola – photo by Trevor Tondro

“Maybe it is not so much perfect bliss we seek,” Schultz tells us, “but rather self-awareness.The Buddhist principle of detachment from self-imposed suffering is in its essence the ability to recognize our own neurotic patterns and step aside from them. We aren’t necessarily “cured” of them; we just aren’t caught up in them.The openness and effort to learn sustains our momentum to grow and change. It gives us confidence to admit that things, thoughts, people or places that worked for us at one time in life may not work in another. Letting go creates the space in our closet/day/life for the new/better to come in – or maybe there is just space, and that’s great, too. There is no magic pill for a muddle free existence, but there may be a way to keep one muddle from spilling into another.”

Certainly one of the best books I have read in a long time — do pick it up!

Photo by Tria Giovan

Photo by Tria Giovan

Frances Schultz recently invited me to stop by Bee Cottage, and from the second I stepped onto the property I felt the healing energy of the place. The glorious gardens and the incredible interiors are, in a word, spectacular.

James Andrew at Bee Cottage.

James Andrew at Bee Cottage.

I’m pictured here, seated on one of a pair of the most beautiful benches at Bee Cottage, soaking up the glorious energy and beauty of Bee Cottage and recalling Schultz marvelous memoir. Sporting a Hawke & Co. gray down vest, Tom Ford era Gucci khaki cotton safari shirt, Michael Bastian white denim pants, Kiel James Patrick white woven cotton belt, Polo Ralph Lauren pale blue top siders, vintage Rolex and my fragrance is Jo Malone 154 Cologne.

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DRESS CODE PLEASE

James Andrew at the Met

James Andrew at the Met

Last night we were beyond thrilled to attend the opening night gala at the Metropolitan Opera House – the most sublime way to commence the Autumn season.

Scott McBee and I enjoyed a magnificent performance of Verdi’s Otello — the marvelous union of music and tragedy drawn from Shakespeare’s powerful cautionary tale of the distructive powers of jealousy. As expected, the performance and stage sets were spectacular – simply a not-to-be missed night at the opera!

Opening night at the Met

The Metropolitan Opera House

Thankfully most people did indeed dress up to celebrate this very special evening, however there were a few of the shorts and jeans type – pretty outrageous I think. I do wish the Met would require some level of decorum amongst its guests – at least for an opening night gala! When one considers how much effort goes into these productions, the least we can do is dress in a way that honors and celebrates this mutually shared aesthetic experience. Of course, my rant extends beyond the opera to the theatre, ballet, and fine restaurants as well. Enough said on this for now.

Opening night at the MET

Opening night at the Met

To celebrate this magical evening, I’m dressed (top) in a Tom Ford era black silk moire dinner jacket, Tom Ford wool tuxedo pants, dusty mauve cotton voile tuxedo shirt, silk pocket square in purple and lavender silk and patent leather opera pumps, Charvet mauve silk bow tie, Seaman Schepps black pearl cuff links, and my fragrance is Creed Millesime Imperial.

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THE GIFT WITHIN THE PROBLEM

James Andrew

James Andrew


So often in life we are presented with problems – our initial reaction is to judge the situation as “bad.” We get caught up in the drama of it all and often end up in a downward spiral, adding fuel to that descent as we go. In the thick of it, it is rather challenging to take a moment to see that opportunities can come disguised as problems.

When I was in the employ of Ralph Lauren I was offered a situation working for both Ralph Lauren and Bloomingdales — the mission was to create more authentic Ralph Lauren Boutiques within the Bloomingdales stores. Well, it didn’t turn out well, and it was a torturous year for me. The position was soon eliminated and I was left without a job. The only position available was to work as a salesperson at the Ralph Lauren store on Madison Avenue. My ego was telling me that this was a real step down. To add to things, I had not done retail sales in years. Well, it turned out that the job was an absolute goldmine for interior design clients. New projects were constantly coming my way. One day I’d just totally burned out on the retail world, and I told myself that if I got one more client, I’d give notice. That very afternoon, I found a new client and thus began James Andrew Interior Design Inc., and a new chapter in my life.

Life is never perfect, there will always be issues. It really comes down to how we deal with them. The best advice I know is to focus on solutions and not “problems.” Take time to find the gift within — even if it is seems too difficult during the worst of things, trust that the opportunity will reveal itself soon enough!

James Andrew ensemble. detail

James Andrew ensemble. detail

To get a much needed dose of the countryside while remaining in NYC, I headed to the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden. In 1826, the bustle of the city didn’t extend beyond 14th Street, and the Mount Vernon was considered a fashionable country resort! I am sporting a Gucci chartreuse suede safari jacket, Ralph Lauren Denim and Supply, chartreuse linen cardigan, Turnbull and Asser purple gingham cotton shirt, Polo Ralph Lauren khaki pants, Gucci python belt with silver double horse head buckle, Tom Ford pale olive woven suede espadrilles, vintage Rolex, Tom Ford Bronzing Gel for a bit of a sun kissed glow and my fragrance is Creed Bois de Cedrat.

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