Archive for the ‘Great Books’ Category


Local Talent & Local Events

October 3, 2012

It’s been way too long since I’ve posted anything. I must confess, I haven’t been quite myself this Summer as I was attacked by a bulldog in July and it threw me for quite a loop! I was squatting down to look at some paint cans at a client’s camp and their bulldog charged at me from across the porch and both hit and bit me in the face in one hard punch! By the time I got to the hospital, my blood pressure was 200/116. I’ve never had high blood pressure before in my life and the trauma was so shocking, I’m still battling it. Thankfully, my face is healing fairly well and that part of it could have been much worse. I’m still trying to figure out “the lesson” in all of this, but for the life of me, I have no earthly idea! Any thoughts or ideas are most welcome.

On a more pleasant note, my dear friend Beverly Walker, who’s well-known around the St. Francisville-Baton Rouge-New Orleans area for her brilliant and beautiful parties and flowers, has outdone herself once again, by creating one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever seen! I couldn’t resist sharing some of the photos.

The wedding was at the bride’s family home which was designed to look like Live Oak Plantation. 


I love the tablecloths Beverly used which are made from bleached burlap.


Beverly even used some of the same bleached burlap to make the grooms’ boutonnieres.


The Bride’s Bouquet

As you can see, Beverly is our local “Martha Stewart” and is available both locally and she also will travel to create magical parties just about anywhere. She can be reached via her email: (Rosebank is the name of the plantation where she and her family have lived in St. Francisville since 1989 when I first met her.)

On another note, Randy Harelson and New Orleans’ photographer Richard Sexton just came out with a gorgeous and most interesting book, New Roads and Old Rivers, on Pointe Coupee Parish which has already received glowing reviews by Southern Living Magazine. The town of New Roads in Pointe Coupee Parish is just across the beautiful new bridge from St. Francisville and I love making the short trip (now only 15 minutes!) because it has such a totally different landscape and architecture from our English-inspired parish.


Pointe Coupee is one of the oldest settlements in the Mississippi Valley, dating to the 1720s. French for “a place cut off,” the name refers to the area’s three oxbow lakes, separated from the Mississippi over centuries. A peninsula edged by the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers, Pointe Coupee remains a land rich in Creole heritage, distinct in geographical beauty, and abounding in historic homes and farms. 

If you are thinking about planning a visit to our area, now is the perfect time as fall weather has finally arrived! Winter is also an excellent time if you live in the cold northern climates as temps can easily get up into the seventies during our mild winters. And if you are looking for a unique and private place to stay, Shadetree Inn in St. Francisville has never looked better after sprucing things up for Willem Dafoe, who stayed in our Gardener’s Cottage while filming his new film with Matt Dillon and Tom Berrenger, “Whiskey Bay”. He liked it so much, he brought back his wife for a visit!


Shadetree Inn‘s Gardener’s Cottage features 13 stained glass windows and sweeping vistas overlooking the 4 acre hilltop in St. Francisville’s historic district. (Above photo is of the living room in the Gardener’s Cottage.)


Jon Vaccari’s “JV Cloud White” Gets Around!

April 19, 2012

In my May 19, 2010 blog post “Many Shades of White“, I posted photos of Jon Vaccari’s fabulous New Orleans showroom where everything is painted this dreamy white created especially for him. Almost two years later, this color has made its way from Los Angeles to Miami to New York and back again to New Orleans.

I used it as the main color in Rob and Veronica Wasserman‘s Spanish-style home in Los Angeles and jewelry designer Isabella Holguin’s Miami apartment and most recently, designer/antiques dealer Karina Gentinetta used it in Desegno Karina Gentinetta, her new showroom located on the 1stdibs floor in the New York Design Center at 200 Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. Karina has been getting quite a bit of press lately, starting with a fascinating article in the New York Times (“A New Cottage in New Orleans with Katrina Patina”, a must read for true inspiration!) and most recently, she was featured on in their “Saturday Shopping with Karina Gentinetta“.

Karina in her new showroom, Disegno Karina Gentinetta

Karina’s home is also featured in this month’s issue of Southern Living Magazine and is also featured in Kerri McCaffety‘s gorgeous new book, New Orleans New Elegance, which is coming out next month.


Cover Photo of Jon Vaccari’s Dining Room painted in our “JV Cloud” White!

I can’t wait to meet Karina in person at a booksigning party for Kerri and her new book which will be held in Jon’s St. Charles Avenue showroom. His living quarters, which are also featured in the book, are upstairs from the showroom where most everything is painted in our “JV Cloud White”. It promises to be a great party reconnecting with many old friends like Jon, Kerri, Dean Coe and Mimi Read (who is quoted in the book and has generously included me in several of her articles for House Beautiful).

Also, Karina is designing a new restaurant to open next month in New Orleans’ Warehouse District (1016 Annunciation) which promises to be divine! I say “divine” because not only is Karina designing it, but the team opening it includes the chef from Clancy’s and the general manager of  Tommy’s Cuisine. I can’t wait to go enjoy what promises to be fabulous food in a divine atmosphere where the walls and millwork will be painted “JV Cloud White”!  I see many more trips to New Orleans in my future!

Speaking of New Orleans and on a personal note, my daughter Alex attends Loyola University majoring in theatre, so I love any excuse to go visit. She plans to spend the summer here in St. Francisville working on four plays with the St. Francisville Transitory Theatre, where she’s been a member since she was 12. Mom that I am, I am trying to help them raise money for this new venture. If you’re so inclined (and especially if you’re a local), here’s the link:

Thanks so much and have a wonderful Spring day!


Recap of 2012 Color(s) of the Year

December 9, 2011

In my September 20, 2011 post “2012 Color of the Year and Color Trend Report” I was one of the first to report on the Color Marketing Group and Akzo Nobel’s international Colour Futures Team picks for the 2012 color of the year. CMG chose a deep purple (Boysenberry) and the Colour Futures Team selected a red with orange undertones (Tea Dance) which we made a full spectrum version of back in 2008 and renamed “Mykonos Red”.

Finally, Pantone has come out with their 2012 Color of the Year and it’s making quite the splash! “Tangerine Tango” is popping up everywear on the internet in accessories and clothing. It’s not surprising since orange is such a happy, social color that balances both the mental and physical. It’s a “take each day as it comes” kind of color. Our “Barry’s Babylon”, created for Bay area designer/architect Barry Johnson is the perfect example. As you can see in the photos below, because it’s “full spectrum”, it looks different in every setting:

Barry Johnson's office in his Redwood City showroom, The Brick Monkey

After living with a neutral palette for many years, Yoga Instructor Owen Kemp  liked it so much, she painted her living room with it:

Barry's Babylon in Owen's pre-Civil War cottage in St. Francisville

Artist Hunt Slonem, who is known for his love of colorful walls, used it in one of his parlors at Lakeside Plantation:

Barry's Babylon in the parlor at Lakeside Plantation

Hunt’s new book, The Worlds of Hunt Slonem, is getting rave reviews and was recently voted by Vogue Magazine as one of their top ten books for Christmas. It’s already been featured in numerous publications including Elle Decor  and The Wall Street Journal. This is one of those coffee table books you’ll never tire of. Although it retails for $90, Amazon has it for $56.70. If you happen to be in New York, the Marlborough Gallery at 40 West 57th Street is exhibiting his newest paintings, Louisiana landscapes “Acadian Dreams”, from December 14th through January 7th. The reception on the 14th is from 6-8 pm. For more information: Press Release from the Marlborough Gallery

"Bayou Teche", Albania Plantation, 2011, oil on canvas, 48 x 72 in.

If you would like samples of our Barry’s Babylon, email me at and I’ll be happy to send you a hand-painted sample!


Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans?

September 2, 2011

I lived in New Orleans from the late seventies through the mid-eighties and although country living is more my style these days; I love having New Orleans so nearby that I can easily drive down to attend a party or visit my daughter who just started her first year at Loyola.

Last Friday, I accompanied artist Hunt Slonem to a fabulous dinner party given by the author of my new favorite book, Stealing Magnolias (Tales from a New Orleans Courtyard). Debra Shriver’s book showcases this magical city like no other–and there have been plenty of books written about New Orleans!

Stealing Magnolias by Debra Shriver

Besides being a gorgeous coffee table book filled with beautiful photos of her French Quarter home; it also includes original works by more than twenty photographers and artists from her private art collection.

The preface of the book was written by blue dog artist George Rodrigue who was also at the party with his wife Wendy, who was telling us all about the George Rodrigue Foundation they formed in 2009 as a non-profit organization to provide financial assistance and expose children to education in the visual arts, hoping to inspire in others an early and on-going creative passion similar to his own. (George mentioned that he knew he wanted to be an artist at age 4.)

But back to the book! If you were ever curious about New Orleans and have never been to visit, this is the perfect book to get you into the mood. It also includes several of her favorite recipes, my favorite being the “Cheddar Biscuits with Gulf Shrimp and Creole Meuniere Sauce” from her favorite caterer Joel Dondis, who not only catered the dinner party, but was also a guest. (Joel’s mother lives right down the street from my mother in Lake Charles, Louisiana and he also owns Sucre, where we go for an afternoon treat every time we visit the city.)

I am dying to meet Debra’s decorator Hal Williamson, who created some of the most exquisite colors for her home–very organic-looking shades of pinks and purples. I heard from another guest that he was out-of-town, but has an antiques shop on Magazine. I will definitely pay a visit on my next trip!

The front parlor's tone-on-tone Creole pink and purple looks more organic and subtle in person.

Mimi Read wrote a great article about the Shriver home for House Beautiful which is now online: A Fabulous Feminine New Orleans Home

I can hardly wait for another excuse to go visit!


House Beautiful’s September Color Issue

August 4, 2011

I just received the September issue of House Beautiful today and this special color issue is gorgeous! Love the new cover logo and of course, the colors (shades of pink and chocolate) are divine!

Artist Hunt Slonem is quoted in the “Color for Artwork” article about our Berry Red color which he’s used both in one of his homes and in his NYC studio:

“I’m a big fan of red in general and this red in particular. It has that crusty historic look that I adore. And it sings. It’s not a silent color. If you hang a painting against a white wall, your eye goes to the edge. If you hang it on a colored wall, your eye goes straight to the center.”         – Hunt Slonem

“Berry Red” Sings!

I knew they had interviewed Hunt about Berry Red, but it wasn’t until I turned to the Editor’s page that I discovered the “Colors of the Deep South” mention! I especially liked seeing the little “Expect a Miracle” card with my sun logo peeking out from the green elastic band on his journal. I insert those cards randomly in my sets of samples in the hopes it inspires others to expect miracles.  


Our Magical Gems & Summer Brights

Best-selling Author John Berendt (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil) comes to St. Francisville! 

This Saturday, at Grandmother’s Buttons (corner of Royal and Prosperity) from 4:30 until 6:30, John will be signing copies of his new children’s book, My Baby Blue Jays. Here’s what the New York Times had to say about it:

“. . . the simple, homey storey is so appealing, and the prose so carefully and sweetly pitched to young readers, that even adults will be transported to a state of childlike wonder.”

Dolly Parton purchased 150,000 for her Imagination Library!

 If you can’t make it to the Book Party, you can order one on Amazon.