Photo Courtesy of HGTV Ho


Decorator Alexa Hampton lays down the law on area rugs.


Rugs also exert influence on the rooms in which they are placed. They protect the floors, they muffle sound and they lend softness to the hardscape.


As a rule, I choose a square or a rectangle.  In rooms with attractive floors, I prefer area rugs that show some of the surface underneath—if it's a big room, this means leaving a foot (and sometimes up to 18 inches) of floor exposed around the perimeter. If the room's floors have their own border, I try to keep it visible. However, I am always leery of leaving too big of a space around my rugs. Often the result is that the rug appears to be a postage stamp floating on the floor instead of being tied in to the room itself. In smaller rooms, I reduce the floor exposure to 6 to 12 inches.


The biggest determining factor for sizing a rug is where the walkways in the room will be. You must either cover the walkways or not. You cannot bisect a walkway, because it will cause people to trip.


I also think it is important to have some of the furniture be half-on and half-off the rug, to tie all the room's elements together. Big pieces of furniture at a room's edge—like a sofa, club chair or console table—are perfect candidates for this approach. The obvious exception is in dining rooms. Here, the rug must extend well beyond the table and chairs so that when the chairs are pulled out, they're still on the rug.

Residential Greenhouses

March 12th, 2012


Residential Greenhouses are the new luxury items in home design.


Gardening year round is now a possibility with new beautiful greenhouses designed for the residential backyard.  They come in all shapes and sizes with plumbing, electricity, and heating.  Hartley Botanic, Ltd., a maker of Victorian-style greenhouses ($65,000 and up) have seen a 15 percent growth in US sales for the past three years.  This is attributed to the awareness about growing your own food and getting back to nature.

Several greenhouse owners have even gone as far as adding outdoor dining furniture in order to host parties while surrounded by beautiful plants and flowers.  “I just love reading the Sunday paper with my coffee while surrounded by my citrus plants,” proclaims one owner.  “It feels fabulous!”


Kerastase Hair Mask

March 12th, 2012


Troy Penn of the B2V Salon in West Hollywood, California recommends using Kerastase Masques for your hair.  With spring break right around the corner it's important to remember to protect your hair against sun damage.



Kerastase Masque UV Defense Active


• Intense Replenishing Protective Treatment for Sun-Exposed Hair.


• Deeply nourishes, moisturizes and strengthens hair, using specially formulated ingredients to help repair and restore hair fibers exposed to sun and other damaging properties.


• Adds enduring softness, shine, and overal healthfulness of texture and appearance of hair.


• Protects hair from the damaging effects of sun, ultraviolet rays and humidity allowing for easier detangling and styling maintenance.


• Restores vibrancy and renewal of hair fibers and luminosity color.


Working At Home In Style

March 12th, 2012


Photo credit: Michal Czerwonka for The Wall Street Journal


By CHERYL LU-LIEN TAN (Excerpts from The Wall Street Journal article)


Decorator Jeffrey Alan Marks believes in what he calls "the accidental home office." He adds, "I don't want you walking in and thinking, 'Oh, that's his home office.' It should be a pretty space."


Striking just the right tone in home office decor can be difficult. The space should be conducive to work but not intrusive in home life.


It's important, if possible, to have the office "away from anywhere you do any rest," says Mr. Marks, since working where you sleep could disrupt your sleep. "I just find that you don't want to mix the two." Having the office too close to where your family spends time or children play can be a problem as well, he says.


Mr. Marks believes a home-office desk should be stylish and practical but doesn't look like it belongs in a corporate office.  The kind of desk you choose—from a simple table to a multi-drawer desk—depends on how much storage space you need.


Mr. Marks skips the cold metal filing cabinets in many offices and commits as many of his files as possible to electronic storage, keeping the rest in well-organized drawer space. He keeps equipment to a minimum as well, buying a very small printer with a wireless connection to his computer. He tries to keep chargers for his phone and many other gadgets away from his home office space so they don't clutter it up.


Above all, the home office should be a pleasant environment. "Make it so you walk in and want to be there," he says. "And remember that if you work from home, you've got to respect your home and respect your environment, otherwise it's a recipe for you to go crazy."

Kevyn Aucoin Beauty

March 12th, 2012




By David Pearson (The Wall Street Journal)


French designer Philippe Starck hates cars.


They're noisy, dirty, anti-social, masochistic and they bring out the worst in people, he says.


He recognizes, though, that people sometimes need locomotion. To that end, he has created an electric vehicle, which is on display this week at the Geneva Auto Show and will retail for about $40,000.


The pared-down design of the V+ Volteis by Starck—it resembles a golf cart more than a car that could withstand urban use—seems to prioritize form over function.


"If you look at the electric vehicles on offer today, they're unbelievably bad. The designers are taking out the engine, putting an electric motor in its place and don't really think about what it should look like," says Mr. Starck.


The designer has tinkered with everything from water bottles and a two-euro coin to hotel interior design, but he is best known for the clever style he brings to functional products such as a transparent arm chair and a three-legged citrus juicer.


Electric vehicles currently on the market look like regular cars and that's partly because of marketing executives' wariness to introduce new concepts that might turn off car buyers.


"An electric vehicle doesn't go at 240 kilometers an hour [about 150 miles an hour], and doesn't have to look like a car that does, says Mr. Starck. "It's depressing that [car makers are] wasting an opportunity like that."


The V+ will be marketed through 15 stores in France and eventually through others in major cities in the world. Typical customers will be private individuals with vacation homes and hotels in island resorts that would offer the runabouts as a service to hotel guests.


The designer wanted to make a more environmentally friendly car.


"You can understand why people venerate the automobile, it's an extraordinary reflection of the intelligence of our civilization," says Mr. Starck. "Except that we don't do anything good with them. The damage caused by cars is tragic."


One day in 2010, Mr. Starck was fetching oysters from his local fishmonger at France's Cap Ferret peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean. He spied the shop owner's utilitarian electric vehicle that resembled a jeep, tried it out and fell in love with it.


He realized there was potential to use the runabout as a basis for a fun, well-designed vehicle for people to use in sun-soaked resorts. "It's zippy, it's clean, it makes no noise, and you have a little bell to warn people you're coming," he said.


The designer set about redesigning the car with Volteis, a tiny company in central France, using his trademark minimalist approach. The open-sided result on display this week at the one of the car industry's biggest events may look like an upmarket golf cart, but the designer has no problem with that.


The all-round vision means the car's occupants are visible to all. "You're out in the open where you can see and be seen," he says.


With no engine, no oil to change and few moving parts apart from the wheels, the car is virtually maintenance-free. Inspired by the bare-bones engineering of the iconic Citroen 2CV, Mr. Starck jettisoned anything that he considered superfluous.


Out went automatic window technology—and windows, for that matter—air conditioning, sophisticated electronics and fancy seats. In went: four "spaghetti" chairs made with PVC cord; a textile roof for protection from the rain and sun; a wide, wicker-type basket instead of a trunk for oysters and other baggage; a sleek steering wheel; a big windshield; seat belts; and not much else.


Instrumentation is basic, too. A flat-screen speedometer with a bottle-shaped gauge shows how much charge is left in the battery. "It's not a space rocket; it's more like a kid's soap box cart with four wheels," he says.


The car has a top speed of 40 miles an hour and a range of about 37 miles before the battery runs flat. It clearly isn't designed for transcontinental trips. It recovers 50% of its charge in two hours by plugging into any socket; a full charge takes six hours.


"You visit a friend's house and recharge while you're having dinner," Mr. Starck says.






Known for its decadent baubles, the Milanese jewelry house Pomellato is adding something new and improvisational to its couture Pom Pom collection this spring. “Each piece embodies the freedom of creativity and is created around stones whose rarity, magnitude and irregular shapes render them unique,” the C.E.O., Andrea Morante, says. These additions to Pom Pom — which was introduced in 2007 — include 12 rings, 11 bracelets and 3 earrings set “in a more daring way, one that breaks the rules of traditional fine jewelry,” Morante says. Take, for example, the chandelier earrings, whose asymmetrical aquamarines are suspended almost haphazardly between pink sapphires and white diamonds, or the cocktail ring made of a cushion-cut red tourmaline bursting from a bed of flat, rose-cut diamonds. Each piece is one of a kind and timing is everything — the collection arrives at Bergdorf Goodman on March 15.


The Pom Pom collection starts at $28,700 and will be available at Bergdorf Goodman.

Louis Ghost Armchair

March 12th, 2012


Phillippe Starck transformed the classic Louis XV chair in transparent, colored polycarbonate, giving new life to a well-known form.  Louis Ghost Chair is a daring example of a single-mold injection product for indoor and outdoor use.  It has a strong, charismatic presence and great aesthetic appeal.  Made by Kartell an Italian furniture maker.




Photo Courtesy of Reuters


A Swiss watchmaker unveiled today what is believed to be the world's most expensive timepiece.

Hublot's new watch, which has a price tag of $5million, dazzles with a staggering 140 carats of diamonds, all set in white gold. The precious stones cover the entire face as well as the band. Six of the 1,292 diamonds weigh more than three carats each.

The amount of craftsmanship involved is also impressive. The company, which is owned by French fashion giant LVMH, revealed that it took 17 people 14 months to design and make the watch.