Check Mate!

One of my favorite fabric houses these days is Chelsea Editions or Chelsea Textiles, depending upon which side of the pond you are located. Chelsea specializes in hand embroidered fabrics made in India. Besides selling fabric, they also sell reproduction furniture based on Swedish antiques. Though Chelsea is famous for their embroidered fabrics, it's their check fabrics that speak to me. Chelsea sells checks in every colorway, but, apparently, they must not be very proud of them because the checks are absent from their web site! Despite their second class status, I've become check crazy. I recently came to this conclusion looking around my house and going over projects I've worked on lately. I just can't get enough of checks. Here's what I mean. This is my sitting room with it's checked daybed and checked french chair:

And here's my unfinished bedroom with it's Chelsea checked headboard and drapes:

And here's a client's Swedish sofa that I covered in a Chelsea check:

And here's a pink Chelsea check:

Oh, look, here's a taupe check:

And here's another Chelsea check on the bench and a Chelsea embroidered duvet.

I'm not the only designer who loves checks. Mario Buatta has a thing for them too. Here he uses a check on the settee:

And here in a Houston home, Buatta uses a red check for the draperies:

Buatta must like big scaled checks, he uses a yellow one for these draperies:

Mariette Himes Gomez uses checks in the traditional way, on the back of a French fauteuil:

Someone who loves checks more than me, New York designer Jeffrey Bilhuber surprised people with his excessive use of checks in his new apartment:

Bilhuber's dining room:

Houston's Michael Siller also covered an entire room in his house with checks. Do you think he inspired Bilhuber?

Dallas designer Cathy Kincaid uses checks to line the bed's canopy.

Michael Smith is known for using this blue and white check in his designs. It shows up again and again:

Kathryn Ireland uses checks alot, also. Here she uses a dark blue check to contrast with the all white French styled bedroom:

In this vintage photograph, socialite Gloria Vanderbilt sits under one of the collages that she was famous for making. The check in the collage matches the fabric on the couch. The two matching Venetian mirrors are drop dead gorgeous! Playing next to her are her two sons. One is the famous CNN reporter: Anderson Cooper. Are you aware of what happened to the other son?

In France, checks are frequently used as a secondary fabric to toile:

John Stefinidis, interior designer extraordinaire, likes to use checks:

New Orleans' Gerrie Bremermann uses checks often. Here one shows up on the duvet:

Houston Designer Ginger Barber uses a check as the only pattern in an otherwise neutral room:

Despite the luxurious fabrics used in this room, a simple check shows up on the pillows:

Interior Designer Diane Burns uses silk checks in her French styled bedroom:

A checked fabric livens up a bedside bench:

Victoria Hagan puts the check on the floor with an Elizabeth Eakin rug:

Here, Ikea gets in on the check act with it's slipcovered sofa:

And finally, here on Chelsea Edition furniture, is, of course, a Chelsea Edition check!

Southern Accents


There's nothing more exciting to me than going to the store and seeing a new issue of a magazine I love. And I do love Southern Accents. The new issue is not to be missed. It's the 30th Anniversary issue with loads of old photos and commentary by people such as Bunny Williams, Julia Reed, Jackye Lanham and others. There's even a book review of Bunny's not yet published new one, along with a review of Axel's not yet released book. Page after page is wonderful, eye candy every one. The featured homes don't disappoint either. First is one designed by Beverly Jacomoni, a Houston favorite. This house was featured in the very under-appreciated book by Mary Emmerling, Romantic Country (a personal favorite). Also featured is Suzanne Rheinstein's home outfitted with all new fabrics from her just released Lee Jofa fabric line. Her interview is interesting and thoughtful. A third showcased home is a Dallas mansion designed by Cathy Kincaid. I know a lot of people consider Southern Accents a "regional" magazine, and it is, to the degree in that Southern designers are featured, but these southern designs should not be missed by those in other parts of the country. If you don't read the magazine, this issue may be just the one to change your mind.

Pictures from Mary Emmerling's book, Romantic Country, that show the house featured in Southern Accents. These photos aren't included in the magazine, so I add them for your viewing pleasure. This is the outside of the gorgeous New Mexico home with interiors by Beverly Jacomini. It's a single story home, originally built for an artist. I love the landscaping with the purple perennials.

Here is a shot of the living room showing the slipcovered antique settee, window seats, French furniture and antique tapestry.

A picture of the master bedroom. In the magazine, the Bennison bedspread has been replaced. I suppose it's to present a newer version of the decor, but I much prefer this spread to the new one. I love the Fortuny drapes that divide the bedroom from the sitting room. The headboard is to die for!

Here's a peek at Suzanne Rheinstein's breakfast room. The chair is slipcovered in her toile that is the highlight of her new Lee Jofa collection. In the magazine, Suzanne describes exactly how this toile came to be in her line. It's interesting, because she admits she didn't exactly design it! I love this toile and I'm on the hunt for a client willing to use it. Takers, anyone?

Shutters Hotel on the Beach


If you plan to visit Los Angeles and want to spend the night enveloped in esteemed interior designer Michael Smith luxury, Shutters Hotel on the Beach will fit the bill. Recently, Mr. Smith spearheaded a total redesign of the charming Cape Cod styled hotel, and it shows: Smith's touches are everywhere, from the checked and striped fabrics, to the luxurious bathroom fixtures to the beachfront restaurant - it's Michael, all the way. Shutters is located in Santa Monica and as it says, it's smack on the beach. The hotel takes its name from the multitude of shutters that cover the rooms' windows. If you go, be sure to visit the hotel's store. Among available items you can buy is the bedspread, made from a beautiful John Robshaw fabric! Enjoy!

Does it get anymore Michael Smith than this? A checked chair in every room. Notice the fashionable Oriental garden seat and wood floors.

The rooms feature two flat screen tvs, one in the bedroom, the other in the bathroom. I could be very happy in this bedroom.

Smith is famous for four poster beds and he doesn't disappoint here. Cute guy is available from room service.

Close up of Tibetan rug. It's available for sale in the hotel store.

The striped fabric headboard appears to me to be Rogers and Goffigon Cyclades.

Close up of the John Robshaw fabric bedspread available for sale in the hotel store.

Gorgeous Smith bathroom with spa tub. Notice the window from the tub to the bedroom.

Smith redesigned the hotel spa with rain shower fixtures.

Beach front restaurant with typical Smith stripes, wicker, and wood.

Smith uses casual white denim slipcovers on the wicker dining room chairs.

The redesigned lobby.

Charlotte Moss' Winter House


Charlotte Moss' Aspen home which is the subject of her latest book, Winter House, recently sold for $8,500.000. Interestingly, the house was purchased by a Dallas couple, Carl and Peggy Sewell whose own beautiful home has been featured more than once in Southern Accents. The real estate listing for Winter House states the asking price was at a major price reduction and the house was being sold unfurnished. It is a six bedroom house with a large basement that appears to be a self contained "house within a house" as it has its own kitchen, living room, and bedrooms far away from the main level.

There is a great virtual tour that you can take, here. Not only that, but you can save the virtual tour to a zip file which converts the tour to still photographs, which then can be studied in great detail if you so desire. Much of the virtual tour shows views of bedrooms and the basement that were not shown in Winter House. If you are a fan of Charlotte's and the book Winter House, I would advise you to take a look at the virtual tour as soon as possible, because I can't imagine the site will contain this listing much longer since the house has sold.

Here, you can find an interview Charlotte did about happier times spent in Winter House. It does appear, though, that there will be future happy times for Charlotte. The Aspen Times, while reporting the sale of Winter House by Charlotte Moss and her husband, Barry Friedberg, also reports that a few weeks prior to the sale, a Barry Friedberg of New York, bought a Red Mountain ranch for a tidy $16,250,000. Below, are a few stills taken from the real estate listing for Winter House: