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When decorating for my clients or for myself, I always put a great deal of emphasis on bed and table linens – well chosen linens help to create a unified vision of luxury and elegance.

One of my favorite people in the world of couture linens is the impossibly chic Jane Scott Hodges, founder of Leontine Linens. Hodges has been studying and collecting the best of the best in the world of fine linens for the past two decades and has been one of the major forces in reviving the art of couture linens for everyday use.

You won’t find ME serving a cocktail without a lovely cloth napkin, and it goes without saying that my own sheets are properly ironed. It’s a touch of luxury that says I care! Now, if you are as crazy as I am about linens, bedding, and napkins, you simply must run out and purchase Linens: For Every Room and Occasion by Jane Scott Hodges. It’s a glorious Rizzoli volume filled with endless inspirpiration — it’ll show you how, for instance, to utilize couture lines in new and exciting ways, combining, say, D. Porthault with custom embroidered and appliquéd pieces from Leontine and things from John Robshaw (which incidentally is how I make my own bed!).

Photo from Linens

Photo from Linens

I love vintage appliquéd cocktail napkins and custom designed monograms as well. For my table setting, a hand blocked Indian cotton table cloth mixed with custom embroidered napkins, for instance, creates the most marvelous mix. You get the idea. My point is, it’s important to have a variety of pieces to create different looks and moods – whether mixing the humble with something more formal or having something absolutely elevated to create the most elegant table setting.

From Hodges' Linens

From Hodges’ Linens

You’ll find all of this in Hodges’ Linens – it’s rich with advice from Hodges as well as decorators and other style gurus, all copiously illustrated with the most gorgeous photos. Do pick your copy of Linens: For Every Room and Occasion on Amazon.

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I am beyond thrilled to share my friend Susanna Salk’s latest Rizzoli tome, Decorate Fearlessly: Using Whimsy, Confidence, and a Dash of Surprise to Create Deeply Personal Spaces.

Of course I’m quite honored to be featured with the likes of super chic fellow decorators like Alex Papachristidis, Miles Redd, Mary McDonald, Jacqueline Coumans, Tom Scheerer and Jamie Drake to name a few. Just as I personally celebrate a bold sense of sartorial splendor, I’m also inspired by those who fearlessly express themselves when it comes to decorating houses.

James Andrew's Living-Room - photo by Simon Upton

James Andrew’s Living-Room – photo by Simon Upton

Knowing the rules of decorating is an integral part of being confident enough to break them occasionally—as Diana Vreeland once said “.. a little bad taste is like a dash of paprika..” When I was in the employ of Parish Hadley, my friend Albert Hadley would quite often add an odd thing or two that would add that perfect element of whimsy. He really new how to bring a space to life. Salk’s Decorate Fearlessly, celebrates our very different perspectives and points of view, while providing the reader with endless bits of inspiration and practical tips on how to boldly imbue a room with personal flair. Pick your’s up on Amazon here: Decorate Fearlessly: Using Whimsy, Confidence, and a Dash of Surprise to Create Deeply Personal Spaces

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When I was working with Parish-Hadley Inc., my mentor and friend Albert Hadley would often talk about his early influences — in particular: William Pahlman, Van day Truex, Billy Baldwin and the very elegant George Stacey. Hadley held George Stacey in particularly high esteem. It’s clear that Stacey deeply informed Hadley’s early development, and indeed had a major influence on the aesthetic of many other decorators, including (but in no way limited to) Baldwin, and Michael Taylor.

Somerset House in Piaget Parish, Bermuda

Somerset House in Piaget Parish, Bermuda

Yet puzzlingly — especially when one considers his influence — Stacey has remained somewhat of an enigma for many years…that is, until now! Thanks to my exquisite friend Maureen Footer who immersed herself in ALL things George Stacey for four years, we now have the most tremendous Rizzoli tome George Stacey and the Creation of American Chic celebrating Stacey and his carreer. It’s a brilliant journey through Stacey’s meteoric rise to fabulousness — an ascension that prompted Billy Baldwin to dub him “The King of Decorators.” Stacey was THE go-to decorator for the smart set and social elite, bringing his brand of “American chic” to projects for major figures like Diana Vreeland, the Astors, Paleys, Harrimans, and Whitneys.

George Stacey and Babe Paley antiquing in Paris

George Stacey and Babe Paley antiquing in Paris

George Stacey's Chateau de Neuville

George Stacey’s Chateau de Neuville

Among many other aspects of Stacey’s life, Footer delves into the development of Stacey’s aesthetic — a viewpoint rooted in the classics, yet infused with an impossibly fresh spirit. Well versed in many periods and styles, Stacey created a truly groundbreaking design gestalt. I particularly like his “Modernist Monticello” for Frances and Ward Cheney: a brilliant blending of “glamour, historicism and swagger.” Stacey’s work is a reminder to the Trade that we can only evolve when we’re well informed; It’s imperative to have a working knowledge of period furniture; art history; and of course, the use of color!

This is a must-read for up and coming designers, as well as for those of us who have been around a while!

Buy your copy at Amazon here: George Stacey and the Creation of American Chic

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