Sunday, October 30, 2011

One Kings Lane...tastemaker sale

My first time on One Kings Lane via Interior Connector.

The Founder of Interior Connector, Beth Newhaus, loves everything about home design. Everything. The searching, shopping, sleuthing, deal finding and the thrill of success that comes when you find exactly what you are looking for. In fact, it is the pursuit of that perfect piece that pulls the whole room together in one grand “aha!” moment that fired her passion for design in the first place. It is this passion that drove her to create InteriorConnector, a place where amateur designers (like Beth) who know what they like and what they want, and professional designers, can find the best the design world has to offer- in one simple, easy to navigate place.

I met Beth last year and immediately became part of her newly developed site. She is a ball of energy, resourceful, smart, is a real pleasure working with Beth, and for the first time ever, I have joined the group of taste makers on one kings Lane.

Please come and check it out! 
This is what we have sold so far...

A Bientot


Friday, October 28, 2011

The Best Thing that happened in High Point....

For the past couple of years I have been visiting Market Week in High Point. Earlier on in my years as a furniture buyer for my showroom, I would not consider High Point as it was such an uninspiring environment compared to Maisons et Objets in Paris, or the Milan shows. Lately, I have been really impressed by the quality of merchandising and presentation. However, being familiar and aware of the other side of High Point, bankruptcies, factories closing, houses being foreclosed, I will not buy from companies that manufacture overseas, meaning in particular China. You may have read some of my previous posts on the subject. Add a great dose of knock offs (found my newest lighting collection totally copied to the smallest detail for a fraction a my cost)...I am going to put my lawyer husband to work on this one... and you have High Point. However, I have found and spoken to wonderful people who believe in the integrity of their designs, quality, manufacture locally or in other US States, or work with artisans from other parts of the world. These companies are involved in partnership with the artisans. I actually placed orders for a new bamboo made line of furniture hand made in South America.

Julian Chichester Showroom

I did not find much newness but as we all know it is rather difficult to reinvent oneself every 6 months and the lean budgets do not allow for new productions.

The highlight of the show...displays, attention to details, Hickory Chair showroom and meeting my dear college friend at their party after not seeing her for 30 years!! I was chatting away when someone called out my name, I turned and here stood Rosemarie. The weird thing is that she had found me through my blog and flying to High Point from South America where she lives, she kept telling her husband about us as students at Babson College.... there I was.

Halo Showroom drenched in light

Saried Showroom ...very Axel Vervoordt inspired

But the best thing that happened in High Point is an almost instant bonding friendship with Liz of Dovecote blog. I had reached out to Liz during the Spring High Point market. We met, had dinner and I saw Liz again during a party at my New York Showroom. Liz lives in a dreamy, beautiful french style house in Salem, with courtyard and a secret garden.Liz and her two beautiful daughters (her third girl being in Paris) opened their home to Greg (Interieurs furniture designer) and I ... I felt transported to a  5 star Relais et Chateaux". I slept in the most beautiful dreamy bedroom. Liz is a fabulous guide in High Point. She knows the market inside out. We went to book signing, parties and spent the evenings talking about books, children, her beautiful  and warm living room.  This was the Highlight of High Point... my newly found friend whom, I feel, I have known for ever. I am convinced we were friends in a previous life.

Oly canopy bed
Tara Shaw

Just introduced a mirror collection, all handcrafed at Interieurs, and have been looking closely at mirrors. really liked these by Made Goods

Am not a Lily Pulitzer fan, but these beds are so perfect for young girls

Of course, a little touch of France.

A Bientot,


Saturday, October 22, 2011

A safari in Tanzania

My first time on a Safari. The word itself evokes romantic images out of a Karen Blixen novel.
Through a social network I belong to, ASW, I communicated with Joshua who runs a safari/travel outfit in Nairobi. He procured a Land Rover, retained the service and expertise of a great guide/driver  and booked the various lodges I had selected. He met my husband in Kilimanjaro and drove to the lodge where Judy and I had just checked in, following our trek down the kilimanjaro mountain.
I was to experience the nature and wildlife of Africa.

Tarangire Reserve

I was in awe of the raw, simple beauty of the landscapes. Our first drive took us to one of my favorite place, Tarangire National Park. From our cabin on a plateau, we looked down onto a vast ravine and flat plain, teeming with life, elephants taking a rest, giraffes walking back and forth, wilderbeast going back and forth in very large groups, Giraffe drinking in the river. I was pinching myself, Is is this real? I felt as was looking at this extraordinary life in a fishbowl.

A safari is actually spent in a Land rover type car, with an open roof, and driving...lot's of driving...on the park's dirt roads in search of elusive animals and birds. But animal life is all around you, one can observe the social inter actions of the various type of animal. I could stare for hours and never tire of watching, feeling the hot dry air, listening to the sounds and birds singing.

wilderbeat migrating

We then drove to Ngorongoro Crater.From our lodge, cosy and high on top the largest crater in the world, 2000ft deep and covering 100 square miles, one could observe the crater plateau teeming with life where 25000 large animals live. The drive down to the crater was not for the faint of heart... i saw my first Lion and Rhinoceros.

The highlight of this Safari was the days spent in the Serengeti. The immensity of this dry, arid land is breathtaking. In the evening, resting on a chaise, watching the sunset, the only sounds were the ones of the animals settling in for the night or huntting. An elephant slowly passed right by me, eating his evening meal of tree bark, I could almost touch its trunk. I felt pure joy, absolute peace in this magical, perfect yet brutal land.

It was sad saying goodbye to Serengeti, but on we went to Manyara Reserve where thousands of Flamingos tinted the landscape in a soft pink tone.

masai bringing their herd to their compound for the night
elephant turning down for the night

Off to Kilimanjaro airport to a complete new experience... Zanzibar rich in Omani culture, architecture, natural beaches.
A   Bientot


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Kilimanjaro: Mind over Body

A month is a long time... the sum of 30 days lived to the fullest.

From landing in the chaotic Kilimanjaro airport, my friend Judy and I started our trek on the stunningly beautiful Kilimanjaro mountain. I had no expectations, no agenda. Will I make it to the top? This was not even a question I asked myself, as I was striving for something else, something less tangible to take me away from a highly pressured, regulated life, a life that at times feels does not belong to me.

Why Kilimanjaro? I do love mountains and find an inner peace and a sense of belonging to something greater while in the mountains. Kilimanjaro is an extraordinary mountain where in the course of ascending to its summit, you experience every climate, from rain forests alive with birds, monkeys, flowers, scents, to heather landscapes, dry rocky ground, and finally glaciers and snow.

The experience of walking for hours on unfriendly terrain, trekking poles in hand or hugging the sheer face rocks while climbing a frighteningly huge cliff and the grueling last 11 hours that will take you, one step and one breath at the time to the top of this magical mountain.

The magic comes from within as the top itself is pretty grey and dreary. The magic is the experience, the incredible power of one's mind to push, control the body, refuse to despair, accepting what is handed to you at that moment... aches, fatigue, feeling sick and dizzy, the conflicting tears of both brutal pain and joy.

The magic of meeting the most generous and kind people who have nothing, not even the right shoes, no socks but will give you their unconditional support, help, smiles, will dance and sing with you.

This is pure magic! Alone with my thoughts at night, tucked in my sleeping bag, I felt an inner peace, a quiet I had never experienced. I thanked God for every day offered to me. I will never take any sunrise or sunset for granted, this is the incredible gift of life.

And yes, I did make it to the top...

Day 1: entering the forest via the Lemocho route. Lemocho is the longuest  and the most difficult routedue to challenging steeper terrain,but ideal for anyone confident on their ability to deal with steep long  5 to 8 hours hikes a day. It is considered scenically the most beautiful route due to the variations of the landscape and nature and also the most isolated route as hardly anyone approaches Kilimanjaro via this route. Judy and I felt the mountains was ours as, until the very lasts days, no other trekkers crossed our path. The ultimate way to take in this remarkable mountain.

Columbus monkey, noisy, curious, beautiful...

Day 2: Landscape changes dramatically from rainforest the giant heathers

Day 3: Up with the sunrise, on the magnificent Shira Plateau

Day 4: Our first partial view of the summit

Entering the magical land of the giant Lobelias

Day 5: The daunting Barranco wall face. Rock face climbing with no ropes!!

Famous words: Hug the rock. Great cure for anyone who, like me, may have terrible fear of heights

 Day 7: On summit day, hardly slept from stress, up before sunrise, could not eat, could not drink...but in awe of the beautiful sunrise above the clouds at 17,000 feet

Ready to go! average timing 11 hours, made it in 7 hours up, then 3 more hours on a grueling descent. was totally sick, dizzy from dehydration and altitude, felt my head was literally going to explode. 

Our guide had to help rescue one poor soul (about half my age..) that was just sitting on the path, unable to move. Needless to say, that gave me the last booster i needed, I was going to make it up and down on my own 2 legs...

Day 8: On our last descent day, we had a very emotional parting with our porters. saying goodbye was a teary  moment as we hugged and kissed everyone (keeping in mind no one had properly washed in 8 days...). Judy and I gave everything away, our clothes, rain gear, socks, shoes, gloves, medical supplies. We asked everyone for what they needed most and left with a very long list of shoe sizes, clothes sizes, backpacks needed. We left with a promise that we will make a tiny improvement in their life (other than the tips handed down during our goodbyes).

We ended our trek with a well deserved bottle of champagne, said goodbye to Joseph and Hussein, our guides and enjoyed the most blissful shower back at our lodge.
Could not wait for Luke to join me and embark on our Safari.

A bientot,

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