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

My friend, Susanna Salk’s sumptuous new Rizzoli book, C.Z. Guest: American Style Icon, is a beautiful and enlightening glimpse into Guest and her world, paying homage to her enduring style and multi-faceted life. Salk reveals Guest for the true maverick she was — trend-setter, horsewoman, fashion designer, businesswoman, actress, author, and columnist (her gardening column for the New York Post helped to promote a whole gardening-as-lifestyle industry!). And let’s not forget Guest as the renowned socialite—but not the vapid sort that one thinks of when one hears the word. No, she was very much more interested in character than social climbing. Guest tells us, “My ambition was to be a successful enough actress to get myself thrown out of the Social Register: I had no talent at all but I enjoyed every minute of my experience.” It’s exactly this rare combination of brazen irreverence, candor, and jois de vivre that makes Guest so fascinating. And it is, after all, Salk to be thanked for so adeptly and lovingly weaving words like these into a truly comprehensive treatment of her subject.

from C.Z. Guest: American Style Icon

from C.Z. Guest: American Style Icon

I’ve had the great fortune to have lunched with C.Z. Guest at Templeton on quite a few occasions—lunch was always an uncomplicated affair, perhaps a cheese souffle and salad on Dodie Thayer plates. Of course there was always a great deal of wine, and Guest, true to expectations, would captivate us with her tales of superstars, royalty, and mobsters alike—and it seemed like there was not as wide a divide between these various social strata as one might imagine! My time at Templeton remains among my most cherished memories, and I’m happy to say Salk’s book captures Guest and her surrounds perfectly.

from C.Z. Guest: American Style Icon

from C.Z. Guest: American Style Icon

For those of you looking to know more about Guest, Salk’s book has many never before published photos of C. Z. Guest, as well as musings by a great host of style icons and tastemakers. It’s an intimate look into Guest’s remarkable life, and a must-have for your library. We’re sure it will provide inspiration for you in any of your grand endeavors! Pick up a copy here: C.Z. Guest: American Style Icon

Designers at Home, Personal Reflections on Stylish Living by Ronda Rice Carman

Designers at Home, Personal Reflections on Stylish Living by Ronda Rice Carman

I’m thrilled and honored to be included in this handsome Rizzoli book, Designers at Home: Personal Reflections on Stylish Living by Ronda Rice Carman!

Carman, as you know, is the author and creator of the ever-popular lifestyle blog, All the Best. She also happens to be near and dear to our hearts on a personal level. When WIJW was in its infancy, I reached out to her to help us share the WIJW word—she promptly responded with this gracious note: “I do not know you, but I love you and can’t wait to meet you.” Soon thereafter we met up with her during a trip she made to New York City—needless to say, we became fast friends!

James Andrew Designers at Home, Personal Reflections on Stylish Living by Ronda Rice Carman

James Andrew interior – Designers at Home, Personal Reflections on Stylish Living by Ronda Rice Carman

Carman was inspired by aspects of the French literary salons, envisioning a “…hand bound modern day version…” of the great tradition, to “…[serve] as a source of information, inspiration, and occasion to exchange ideas. We’re pleased to say these aspirations have been fully and beautifully realized in this richly illustrated work.

Designers at Home: Personal Reflections on Stylish Living brings together a marvelous collection of 50 top taste makers, and you’ll adore the musings of some of my favorites, including Nicky Haslam, Charlotte Moss, Rob Passal, Alex Papachristidis, Bunny Williams and Hutton Wilkinson to name a few. As an invaluable resource, you’ll find Ideas on entertaining, decorating, flowers and fragrances and all of the essentials for living well at home. It’s a requisite course in fabulousness that simply must be in your library. Do pick up your copy today and tell us how you like it!

Purchase below on Amazon:


Designers at Home: Personal Reflections on Stylish Living


Audubon’s Aviary: The Original Watercolors for The Birds of America

Audubon Rizzoli


The sky was serene, the air perfumed, and thousands of melodious notes, from birds unknown to me, urged me to arise and go in pursuit of those beautiful and happy creatures. Then I would find myself furnished with large and powerful wings, and, cleaving the air like an eagle, I would fly off and by a few joyous bounds overtake the objects of my desire … (N)ow, good reader, the task is accomplished. In health and in sickness, in adversity and prosperity, in summer and winter, amidst the cheers of friends and the scowls of foes, I have depicted The Birds of America, and studied their habits as they roamed at large in their peculiar haunts.

– John James Audubon

We see John James Audubon now as a great artist/naturalist, however during his time, many scoffed at his efforts, considering him neither an artist nor a scientist. Thankfully he disregarded all naysayers and let his great passion drive him to ultimately create one of the most iconic and sought after illustrated series of all time, The Birds of North America.

Roberta J. M. Olson’s very substantial 448 page Rizzoli tome, Audubon’s Aviary: The Original Watercolors for The Birds of America, focuses on the wonderful watercolors that Audubon created, (which were to become the basis of the engraved plates of the legendary 1827-38 Havell edition of The Birds of America), and shares Audubon’s fascinating personal history, innovations and techniques.

Audubon’s fresh and vibrant images have an almost cinematic quality to them, and, in fact, I’ve used later editions of these prints to bring that very same freshness and color to many of my own decorating projects.

Marsh Island Club House Interior by James Andrew

Marsh Island Club House Interior by James Andrew

On the subject of decoration (and particularly the intersection of Audubon and decoration), I was quite amused to read an anecdote from the Bagotbook’s Blog entitled, Temple Newsam, John James Audubon & Lady Hertford (Vandal)

One room features American Birds in a Chinese Garden. This celebrates what can only be described as an act of cultural vandalism. In September 1827 John James Audubon visited Lady (Frances) Hertford and persuaded her to become a subscriber to his The Birds of America; in due course she received the first volume. What would you do with a book like that? If you were sitting in your Blue Drawing Room, decorated with the hand-painted Chinese wallpaper that the Prince of Wales had given you in 1806, what would you do with this double-elephant book containing 100 life-size, hand-coloured aquatints based on sketches drawn from nature during Audubon’s journeys into the North American wilds, if you were one of the only 175 subscribers in Britain to have a copy of this fine book? Lady Hertford knew exactly what she wanted done with it. She (or more probably a servant at her command) cut out 28 of the birds from 10 plates and pasted them onto the wallpaper. Luckily, Lady Hertford died before any more volumes were published.

– Bagotbook’s Blog

It might interest you to know, (if you don’t already), that an original bound set of Audubon’s The Birds of America sold for $8.8 million dollars in 2000, which was a world record price for a book. I can imagine the heirs of Lady Hertford might still be shaking their heads at her seemingly irreverent repurposing, though I’m thinking that many of Lady Hertford’s guests would have known nothing of Audubon’s genius, had they not been invited to her drawing room to see this inadvertent PR move!

Lady Hertford's handiwork

Lady Hertford’s handiwork.

In any case, I encourage all of you to buy a copy of Audubon’s Aviary: The Original Watercolors for The Birds of America. While there are quite a few books out there covering the subject, this is by far one of the most beautiful and engaging. An absolute delight!