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Spring Cleaning

With our seemingly never-ending winter and three dogs, I am itching to throw open the windows to let in some fresh air. Until that can happen, I rely on all natural, great smelling cleaning products. Method makes some of the best, especially their  Squirt + Mop (the only natural version I’ve found) and dryer sheets. I like Mrs. Meyer’s laundry soap in lemon verbena, but I’m not a fan of all of their scents. For riding clothes, I use half unscented Tide and half Mrs. Meyer’s. Dishwasher soap has been my bugaboo. My dishes weren’t getting clean with the one’s I tried. Now I use Palmolive Eco, it’s phosphate free and works like a charm.

I’m always looking for natural products that do the job, let me know if you have any to recommend.

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what's new

THE ROW

Emma ruffled leather slides

CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC

Peak-lapel tie-waist coat

KHAITE

Alissa mid-rise slim-leg boyfriend jeans

DIOR

I-Dior leather point-toe bootie

AURELIE BIEDERMANN

Tangerine gold-plated necklace

SOLUDOS

Flor embroidered espadrille

ALTUZARRA

Campbell ribbed-knit cardigan

THE GREAT

The Army Nerd cropped stretch-twill skinny pants

ALTUZARRA

D'Orsay canvas espadrilles

ERDEM

Cordelia floral-print silk crepe de chine midi dress

BALENCIAGA

Button earrings

DIOR

J'Adior leather slingback flat

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Interior Designer & Blogger

Mark D. Sikes

Mark Sikes

Mark D. Sikes photographed by Agnes Baddoo for KiC.

A few years ago, a number of my interiors-obsessed friends started mentioning Mark D. Sikes’ eponymous blog, and were raving about his posts. When I visited his site, I knew instantly why it was generating so much buzz– MDS is the perfect mix of “chic people, glamorous places, and stylish things”.  An L.A.-based interior designer with impeccable taste, Mark had created a must-follow blog.

And follow I did.  As it turned out, Mark was following me. After commenting on each others’ posts, an email exchange, and my begging him to join me at an event with Deeda Blair, we became fast friends.

Besides my favorite MDS posts on vintage imagery, iconic women, and envy-worthy interiors, I love that Mark uses his blog as a platform to promote other designers, illustrators, and creative folks. This sharing is the hallmark of his generous spirit. Henry James’ famous words “[t]hree things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind” pretty much sum up my dear friend.

Mark and his partner Michael kindly let us photograph them (and beloved Frenchie, Lily) at their drop-dead, and newly renovated, Hollywood Hills home.

The best part of profiling a tastemaker is getting them to divulge their must-haves and inspirations. Mark shares his list below.

mark-sikes-2b

MDS inspiration board: top interior Carolina Irving’s old NYC apartment, bottom Oscar de la Renta’s home in Punta Cana.

Continue…

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Rooms

An Eclectic Mix

This American couple’s Belgian apartment, in the March issue of Elle Decor, caught my eye. Or rather, pulled my heart strings. I grew up in homes with a similar aesthetic– Eames, Knoll, Mies van der Rohe, and George Nakashima furniture mixed with antiques and Oriental rugs. When my oldest daughter was a toddler, I gave away my Barcelona chairs fearing the sharp edges. Today, a Mies chair would shake up my living room nicely.

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Rooms

Like A Magpie

When I spy with my little eye something gilded, I’m like a magpie and want to make it mine. This gilded grapevine, in the dining room of 1rstdibs founder Michael Bruno’s Tuxedo Park home featured in the WSJ. magazine, is divine. The Eero Saarinen chairs are pretty good too, as are the animal dioramas.

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Garden

Dreaming Of Spring

The snow has melted and thankfully we are having a brief respite from the deep freeze. Seed catalogues are stacked next to the fall issues of fashion magazines that honestly, need to be tossed. When I saw this image in Vogue from a story on my neighbor Emilia Fanjul Pfeifler’s weekend home in Locust Valley, my first thought was, time to consider the garden.

It’s certainly too early to put anything in the ground, but it’s never too early to plan and dream about what to plant come spring.

Rooms

It’s in the details

© W magazine

White, black, grey, and navy may be my sartorial preferences, but in my home, I love color. However, it’s the details that I appreciate the most. Piping and scalloped edges make me very happy.

Home

Change of Scenery

Courtesy of September Elle Decor

I don’t need a vacation. And this is a good thing since my younger daughter refuses to leave her horse for even a day so we can go away. Honestly, I spend so much time at horse shows here and upstate, being home is actually nice.

What I do need is to shake-up my work space. Working from the kitchen table is getting old, fast. So, I am reclaiming our formal dining table that seats 12 (and is currently folded up and being used as a side table) and putting it in the den. It will provide a large surface area to put out all the magazines, news papers, and other bits and bobs that are inspiration for future posts. My scanner can be out and ready too.

In the process I will need to do a major, and long overdue, clean out. And that’s not a bad thing either.

I gave away all my Mies van der Rohe chairs from my office at Harper’s Bazaar, kind of wish I had them now…

Garden

Garden Envy

David L. Culp’s cottage and garden © The New York Times

A small, fun fact about yours truly, I don’t have house envy. I have never coveted a friend’s or neighbor’s home and have been fortunate to have rented or owned the perfect apartment or cottage that suited our needs at the time.

But I do have serious garden envy. Our garden is lovingly maintained by my husband (I tend the potted plants), and we grow mostly vegetables and wildflowers. Roses were not a huge success and the ones that remain drowned in the early June rains. David L. Culp, whose garden was featured recently in The New York Times, said that his heirloom roses did not do well in the wet spring either. Despite that, he has over 3,000. varieties of plants at his home in Downington, PA. Along with a 1790s farmhouse, this is worthy of envy.

I keep toying with putting out a bench like the one below.

Interior Designer

Leta Austin Foster

An early KiC follower and dear friend, interior designer Leta Austin Foster is one of my work ethic idols. Although she founded her eponymous design firm over 35 years ago, Leta is currently busier than ever. With interior design jobs all over the globe, an adorable Palm Beach shop, and a line of custom linens, Leta is constantly on the go. And the best bit? She’s a blogger! Leta’s site Decorating with Sheets is a fun read.

Lucky for me, Leta is up here hosting a linens trunk show tomorrow and Saturday. Beautifully embroidered linens are the ultimate hostess gift, and the fastest way to spruce up a summer rental is gorgeous hand towels and bedding.

96 Forest Avenue, Locust Valley, NY
Friday, June 21st and Saturday, June 22nd, 11 am to 5 pm both days
showcasing beautiful printed and embroidered European linens for the home.
516.671.1620

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Garden

Green with Ivy

The May issue of Lonny hit my inbox last week and these are my favorite images. The new Lonny team has kept the best of the founders’ ideas and edited the length of the home stories, a huge improvement.

I know that ivy is invasive and destructive, but I still love it. It makes a house look cozy and one with nature.

'Dior Is Expected to Name Maria Grazia Chiuri as Artistic Director'
Photographer Sandra Semburg
Holiday N° 379