Home Again, Home Again

I was in New York from Thursday until Saturday.  Short but sweet.  And cold.

I normally stay with my big-city friend but decided to go out on my own this time.  Be a grown-up.  I stayed in a hotel.  I stayed in a pod room, the thought of which concerned Mr. Blandings, but I assured him that there was a double bed and a private bath.
As we lay in bed the night before I left he said, “Be careful.”  “Of what?” I wondered.  What does he fear for me there that is any different than the mishaps and tragedies that pop up around here?  But I said, “I will,” instead so that he could sleep.
I caught up with several friends and stayed out too late and had so much fun.  The only real surprise was how often people asked me, “So why are you here?”  
As if one were to need a reason other than to celebrate a victory, catch up with a friend over pomme frites and devour a homemade meat loaf amid conversation that sparkled like my dinner partner’s jewels.
I needed nothing more.  Except, perhaps a memo sample or two.  We have wonderful designer showrooms here in Kansas City and I have access to almost every line a girl could need.
But not Quadrille.
I’ve tweaked my dining room.  I discovered, with the help of a friend, that I was trying to make it something that it was not.  It was reaching above its station; holding itself apart from the rest of the house.  But with a little therapy we both realized, the dining room and I, that it is not a grand salon, but a room with a table that hosts our friends but also our school projects and my crafting and it needed to, well, relax.
I had brought home Clarence House’s Flowering Quince and tucked her behind the ropes in my double hung windows.  She is nearly perfect, but her price tag is as magnificent as her design and with yardage and labor…it was not meant to be.
So I made my way on my first day in New York to the D & D building to see what Quadrille might have for the Dream House.  There are now several samples scattered across my dining table, which was reason enough to have gone.  But there is more, of course.  Who did I see as I marveled at Roy Hamilton’s vases in the Brunschwig & Fils showroom?  Chatting and wandering and delighting everyone working there?  Mario Buatta.  By himself.  No fuss, no drama, no assistants, just a fist full of memos.  I texted Megan giddy as a school girl.  
Why was I there?  For design junkies like me, there can be no better place.
All images via the Quadrille website, other than the bottom two, which are mine. 
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42 thoughts on “Home Again, Home Again

  1. Welcome home! The fabrics are perfect, decisions, decisions! I have also been to New York on my own and loved the freedom and surprises found!

  2. I so love reading your blog from Delhi, India. Many of my friends here are reading it as well. Your topics are always fun and the photos of interiors most inspiring.

    As for New York–one never needs a reason to go–it's New York!

  3. Ahhh Quadrille. Great choice. It's rep'd at the Mart in Chicago but no full on showroom. Add that to my list of must-hits the next time I'm in NYC. Hopefully sooner rather than later. Welcome back…

    Marija

  4. I could not agree with you more. New York is the capital for Desing Junkies of the world! Glad I found you blog. Maria

  5. LUCKY YOU!
    I totally agree! New York is a "fix" every good decorator and decorating addict needs at least once a year!

    Did you know that in your 3rd picture….the bird in the tree (in my opinion; having 2 of them) is a peahen?

    (a female peafowl)!

    They are perfectly gorgeous; very decorative…..and I will send you pictures of ours. They were rescued from the foothills of MOntecito…..and spent the night in the chicken coop until the chick was old enough to fly into the highest tree with her mother!

    Lovely post…….wonderful pictures.

    Penelope

  6. Oh!! ps Quadrille has been one of my very favorites since I started! YIKES!!! 40 years ago!

    When where the restaurant "The IVy" was my favorite showroom! On Robertson Blvd. Before the "Blue Whale" the "Pacific Design Center"!

  7. Of course it had to be Mario B.! Glad you had a great time in THE CITY (second only to Paris) and welcome back to school projects.

  8. I enjoyed this post. I must admit, when I read that you were in NYC, I wondered why you were there. But, places like NYC (for me it is London) are like no other places in the world. I think everyone needs a special big city in their lives, and I don't think there needs to be a reason to visit the city other than it calls to you.

    A fellow blog writer and/or reader can understand the thrill of seeing a designer in person! I remember seeing Suzanne Kasler in Houston's one night (a restaurant) and I was totally star struck (that was before I saw her on a regular basis for the design of my house).

    Your insights about the dining room are interesting, although I rather like it when there is a room that is always in her party dress.

    What is a pod room? When I went to Japan as a teenager, I stayed in a Tokyo hotel room that was tiny, tiny, only a bed really, and a miniscule bathroom. Is this a pod room?

  9. Sounds like a wonderful time, I wished I got there more often myself! My husband would make a similar remark…it's sweet really!
    Janell

  10. I love it when I get to laugh so early in the morning. I'm sitting here with coffee in hand, reading. I enjoyed the wonderment you shared about others who commented, "why are you here." I was thinking why not?! I need to follow your lead, just go…do it…..Have fun. Thanks for the Quadrille link.-susan

  11. Patricia,

    Have you seen the film, A Single Man? Check out the fabrics in Julianne Moore's house. Glad your trip was a success.

  12. Oh, I so agree;…it is the place of the mostess!!

    You never seem to get that smell or remove the energy that you drink in while in NYC. It is well, cliche….'The place to be"…..

    Have a wonderful week; Ms. B !

    Leslie

  13. Yay for you Mrs B!
    You could've gone up and talked to him- he's a doll.
    You should've emailed me, I could've taken you to lunch at the NY Junior League!

  14. Thanks for the welcome back; I missed being here, too.

    Patricia – the texts this time were only for missing items and confirmation of game times. Not nearly as fun as the oldest's trip.

    TTI – It is a tiny room. A bed and a bath basically, but also a tiny closet and a flat screen tv. All very streamlined and stylish. I was never in my room so it was just the thing.

    Courtney – I have to see it if for nothing else to find out if I think it is "terrific" or a "perfume commercial" as I have heard both.

    Jennifer – There are very few star sightings that would have thrilled me more.

  15. Welcome home to MORE COLD! Maybe soon you need to fly to Baltimore and go to Pigtown's house of fabric wonders…at wonderful prices I understand. I don't know if you sew or not, but after seaming the panels together, most of the work is handwork and much less complicated than your needlepoint. I'm just saying, you could do this. Fascinating concept of a room being "beyond its station." I'll have to think about that one.

  16. I went to a talk Mr. B. gave for the Jr. League when we lived in St. Louis years ago – he was a scream and just a really nice guy!

  17. This is funny, all last week I was gathering fabrics and photos for a client's bedroom. ALL from Quadrille.

    I just received a response from her this morning telling me she and her husband did not like the fabrics at all and felt that they were too 'funky, modern and geometric' This may be my 'red flag'.

  18. thank you for taking us along!

    love going off to a big city for a major design fix, without hubby!

    would you recommend the pod hotel? hear that is an inexpensive way to go, esp. new york.

    ps; love your fabric choices 🙂
    debra

  19. The answer is "why not?" I was there myself over the weekend, and it is always such a joy! Did not make it to the D&D, but that place is shangri las. Glad you had a Mario sighting!-he was on the board of the organization I used to work for in NYC, and it was always such a treat to see him! Can't wait to see pictures of the finished dining room!

  20. The question is a silly one, and everytime I hear something like that in my own life, it makes me kind of sad (I have a friend who always poses such questions).

    Anyway, I adore Quadrille and I have a lot of it in my house – we just did the DR in the chocolate Aga wallpaper.

    Love the Clarence house fabric, Calico Corners has an almost perfect doppelganger of that print for a super low price but not the same yummy feel and weight.
    Have a great week!

  21. Sigh….a trip to NYC would be so much fun….go as often as you want to, I say! And Mario to boot! It is Design Week in San Francisco this week, so I am hoping to see some stars myself.

    And Quadrille/China Seas is perhaps my favorite fabric resource! So many others are beginning to adapt to their look.

  22. Welcome back! We missed you.

    Speaking of Mario, though, I always ask why he doesn't have a book of his work, when people with half his abilities & only a few years in the industry already have massive, glossy tomes, but I guess this is why: when you hire Mario, it's Mario's work that you get–not that of some harried assistant or intern hidden away in the back room–and the more clients he has, the less time there is to write. But still…

    There's more to someone's "work" than the actual finished product & the pile of pretty pictures & magazine spreads, however attractive they may be, even though that's all other people may notice. There's also all the thinking & planning that went into it all; the sources of inspiration–which may be readily apparent to the casual observer or surprising & abstruse & hard to ferret out–and the mutations such inspiration might have undergone before it finally emerged as a finished design. These things, then–the 75% or whatever that lies below the water line in an iceberg–remain relatively hidden to the outsider who only sees the pretty, shiny surface of things. And a book that only addresses the stuff that's already plainly visible to passersby is only a partial book.

    They just closed the Barnes & Noble bookstore in the Merchandise Mart here in Chicago, and the last few days, with thousands of coffee-table books still left, there was a huge sale, so one day I walked over on my lunch hour. What I discoveed was the things that looked like books, were in fact, not books at all, merely random assemblages of brightly colored pictures, like a box full of pretty, shiny beads without even the thinnest & flimsiest of threads to tie them all together into some sort of coherent order. Slapped-together 'books' like that are waste of of perfectly good trees, taking up space on a shelf where a real book could go. So I'm serious about wanting a Mario Buatta book, but I want a real book, not some flimsy cut-&-paste job like that, no matter how pretty the pictures might be.

    When I was still working in the engineering department at the Phone Company & merely contemplating ditching Career Number One & going back to school for my interior design degree, I took a careeer counseling class at the local Junior college. I don't know why I bothered. Fear of making a terrible, expensive mistake I guess, but I needn't have worried, because, unlike the fresh-faced kids just out of high school, without the faintest clue about what to do next, I was already sure of what I wanted to do. Most of the classroom exercises & tests & interviews were a waste of time, but something the counselor said to the group stayed with me ever since: "If you don't choose a career for yourself, one will be chosen for you." Yikes! anything but that. That's how I ended up in engineering in the first place: blindly relying on Inertia to–somehow–take me where I needed to go. I was a pretty smart kid, but I was also really stupid. One of my favorite New Yorker cartoons shows two guys chatting in Hell, and one says to the other "My motto was always 'Go with the flow' but I had no idea the flow would end up here." I learned the hard way, too.

    Anyway, it's kind of like that with Mario's non-book, too, and here, if he'll forgive me, is my unsolicited advice to him: It's your life & it ought to be your book. If you don't have time to do it yourself, delegate it to someone who does, but don't let a stranger do an end run around you. If you wouldn't allow other people to pick out fringe for a cushion, you can hardly allow the responsibility of telling your own story to fall to whoever just happens to come along.

    We now return you to Mrs. Blandings' story…

  23. How much fun to do what you love and have the time alone to truly do what you wanted. If I'd seen Mario I would have melted into a puddle.

  24. Muddy Dog – All day I've been waiting to ask Mr. Blandings what he was doing talking to the Junior League in St. Louis. I just realized you meant Mr. Buatta. I worked with a designer who has heard him speak – she reported the same. In fact, he might have been carried in on pillows.

  25. ps I'm still in love with the heavy weight wool or silk neutral fabric you picked way back when and the greek key motif taping for your dining room!

  26. This is all gorgeous – I can't wait to see what you pick for your dining room. I went to the Quadrille website and I could look at the swatches all night – love them all! And did you see the Quadrille Couture? Beautiful tunics, caftans, jackets, etc. That reminds me – did you ever have the jacket made in Le Lac?

  27. I'm not sure if its the same fabric, or just looks very similiar, but I bought fabric from Calico Corners VERY similiar to Clarence House's Flowering Quince (the second fabric from the bottom)that you show, for less than $20 a yard. I always thought it was cherry blossoms. Hmm, now I know better.

  28. Sounds like too much fun. I'm renovating store, and way stuck in Maine until finished.

    That greeny/bluey bedroom from Quadrille? …oh boy, today's case of room envy. Thanks for posting it.

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