miércoles, 30 de junio de 2010

A Confession


Beatlemania, NYC, 1964.   Some things never change.

In 1964, I was crazy over one boy – well, he was a young man then.  I lived and breathed for Paul McCartney.   That year, on Aprils Fools Day, my mother woke me up for school, screaming excitedly - “The Beatles are coming to school today!  Get up,  get up!!!”  Sad to say, I truly believed her and jumped up, got dressed immediately, plotting out ways I could impress Paul enough to get him to marry my 10 year old self.   I still, to this day,  almost 45 years later, remember EXACTLY how I felt when she told me it was an Aprils Fools joke. 



Twihards, 2010


Fast forward years later, through all kinds of obsessions with singers, books, and movies and here I find myself a Twihard.   It’s truly embarrassing to admit this, but yes, I am a Twihard, a serious devotee of Stephenie Meyer’s books, the Twilight Saga.    I don’t know how I fell into this (well, I really do know) but when I fell, I fell hard.    It’s not like I don’t appreciate fine literature – my cats names were Quilty and Humbert, for God’s sakes!!  But, I am, at the age of 55, in the grips of a series of books written for teenaged girls. 


 z002  Rob Pattinson, aka Edward Cullen, smexy vampire and Kristen Stewart aka Bella Swan, his fragile little human girlfriend.  Will he turn her into a vampire so they can live happily ever after as teenagers for all of eternity?  Stay tuned for Breaking Dawn to find out, the 4th book in the Twilight Saga – and the 4th and 5th movie.


So, people, I confess here, publically, to you that tonight at midnight – my daughter and I, along with every other teenaged girl in Houston, will be at the movie theatre attending the Twilight-Eclipse premier.  Something tells me we’ll probably return tomorrow for a second viewing.  Well, I will – not sure if Elisabeth will want to go again so soon.



I’m not THIS bad off that I would tattoo a famous line from the book/movie on my arms.  Not yet at least.   The actual quote from the book is:  


"And so the lion fell in love with the lamb..." he murmured.
I looked away, hiding my eyes as I thrilled to the word.
What a stupid lamb," I sighed.
“What a sick, masochistic lion."

I guess this poor girl didn’t have enough room on her arms for the entire quote. 




Edward and Bella at their junior prom where she begs Edward to change her into a vampire.  He refuses, of course.  He’s too much of an old fashioned gentleman from the early 1900s to ever do anything inappropriate to Bella, like have sex with her for instance!  The Twilight Saga is definitely smut free.  Stephenie Meyer is a devout Mormon and her values on premarital sex are woven into the plot. 


Even more embarrassing about my obsession is that I almost escaped the phenomenon altogether.  Oh, if I only had.   I had heard about the Twilight Saga but never really paid any attention to it.   I wished I had continued to ignore it – it would save me all this humiliation.   Until last year, I didn’t even know who Robert Pattinson was, nor did I care – but boy, has THAT changed!   I laughed at all the endless TV promotions for Twilight and it’s sequel New Moon.  Laughed.   I’m not laughing now, I live for those commercials!   My fall into the abyss occurred  when the first movie, Twilight, came out on DVD.   Elisabeth of course was already involved.   She had a slumber party where she and her friends watched the Twilight DVD all night long.   I snickered at them.   It looked so boring!   The acting was so stilted!  Everyone looked so pasty!



Pasty???   Robert Pattinson aka Edward Cullen, the gentlemanly vampire.   His career is huge now thanks to Twilight – he has two major motion pictures coming out next year.  He is the the Marlon Brando, the James Dean of youngest generation.  He made the Forbes List.  And he is just 24 years old. 




Ok, I can’t resist another picture of this gorgeous man.   That hair!  It has a mind of its own.



Maybe just one more peek.  hehe.  Brooding Rob.   I’m Team Edward all the way.  Elisabeth is Team Taylor.  She even has a life size cutout of Taylor Lautner.  We argue about who is cuter – Edward or Taylor.   It’s all so ridiculous – I KNOW THIS!!!! 


THE END OF LIFE AS I KNEW IT:   I don’t know why I actually chose to sit down one night to watch the Twilight DVD, but that’s where this all started.   I’ve probably seen the movie about 30 or 40 times since.  Elisabeth has watched it probably over a 100 times.  Plus factor in New Moon, the second Twilight movie on DVD – we watch that one too, but it’s not as good as the first one.   Since we’ve seen Twilight so many times, we know the dialogue and can recite it, word for word.    It’s not a great movie to be sure, the acting is bad (except for Pattinson who steals every scene he is in), the script is worse, but it sucks you in all the same.   It’s no To Kill A Mockingbird or Gone With The Wind, but it’s a sweet story of first love, if your first love is a vampire, that is.   When you are hooked you actually wish there were vampires that you could fall in love with.  How sick is that?  But, what is so wrong with never dying, never getting older, never sleeping, having brute strength, incredible vision and hearing, and gorgeous good looks (all vampires are gorgeous to lure their victims in)?  Plus, the Cullens are GOOD vampires.  They only drink animal blood, not human blood.   I know, I know, this is all so STUPID!!!!!  But, what confession is easy? 




The famous school cafeteria scene in Twilight.  Here Edward sits with his “family” – the Cullens. He is the only one without a partner, so he is lonely and brooding.  The “fragile human” Bella has a special scent that attracts him like his own “personal brand of heroin.”  He can’t be with her or without it.  It’s all so tortured!!!!   In real life – Bella (Kristen) and Edward (Rob) are also romantically linked.


After watching the movie, I read the first book in about a day, then promised myself  - I was through with all this nonsense.    Except there’s that pesky thing called Kindle.   Kindle makes it too easy to buy a new book at 3:00 a.m.   In shame I tell you, that within just a few days, I had read all four books.   Twice.    But it doesn’t end there.  It’s just the beginning.    After  you have read all the books, there is this weird thing called FanFiction.    What is FanFic exactly?  Well, it’s where people write long stories (as long as books sometimes)  online.  These stories are their interpretation on the plot -  they may rewrite an original book with different endings, or  different beginnings or even different plots altogether.  Sometimes the FanFic story will just takes the characters names and it will have nothing to do with the original book.  FanFic is not just about Twilight – any book or movie can be rewritten.    For instance, fans of the book To Kill A Mockingbird have written over 350 FanFics, retelling that book in their own way.   There are 607 FanFics for Gone With The Wind.   For Twilight, there are over 150,000 FanFic stories.  Harry Potter has over 450,00o FanFic stories.    So far, I have probably read more than 100 Twilight FanFics in my spare time.   Some are actually fabulous books – change the characters names and they would have nothing to do with Twilight.   Many of the more popular FanFic stories are even better than Stephenie Meyer’s original books.  It must kill her to read the better FanFic.    Still, FanFic is a mysterious and strange world, but a highly addicting one.




While I am bad off, I’m not this bad off that I would camp out for days for a glimpse of the Twilight cast.  At least I don’t think I would, but it sure looks like fun!


So, this is my confession to you.  I’m not just about decorating and French antiques.    I’m a Twi-Mom.   And yes, there are a LOT of us out here.    I won’t admit this to you in person, nor will I talk about this addiction with anyone that knows me except my poor long suffering husband and daughter.   It’s my secret.   Until now.   I might need an intervention.    I’m sure there must be a 12 step program out there for people like me who are hopelessly lost in the world of Bella and Edward.   Knowing Twihards though, it would be a 3 step program that would sound something like this (taken from an important excerpt in the book):


About three things I am absolutely positive.

First, Twilight is just a book.

Second, there is a part of me that will always be addicted to this book.

And third, I am unconditionally and irrevocably in love with it!


hehe.  You need to read the book for this to make sense!


 image Cote de Texas on her cell phone at the premier of Eclipse.


If you are going to see Eclipse tonight or tomorrow or the next night – be sure to wave if you can recognize me.   I’ll be the one in disguise wearing all black.  


If you want to see what all the fuss is about – I suggest you read the Twilight Saga books first.  Then rent the movies Twilight and New Moon.  And then, and only then go see the movie Eclipse.     OR you could do what I did and see the Twilight movie first, then read the books, then see New Moon and Eclipse!  Either way.    If you are already a Twihard and have never heard of FanFic, email me – I’ll give you some great stories to start out with.

Amazon:  HERE

Twilight FanFiction:   HERE

domingo, 27 de junio de 2010

Decorating Your House: Skirted Roundtable

This week on The Skirted Roundtable HERE,  the three of us discuss decorating for the seasons and how to update your house for the 2010s.   I am currently writing a magazine article for Antique Shops and Designers HERE on this very topic, and the conversation flows from that story.  One segment is devoted to Megan talking about painting her brown hardwood floors white.  In case you have never seen Megan’s adorable beach bungalow- below are a few photographs to help you follow along with the conversation. 



In fact, if you have never been formally introduced to The Skirted Roundtable’s Megan Arquette of Beach Bungalow 8, here she is – Mrs. Smexy!   Is it fair for ANYONE to be this beautiful????  I LOVE this girl!!!




image Megan lives in this adorable rose covered, picket fenced bungalow in Manhattan Beach, California.  Her street is a walk street only – no cars allowed and her house is but a few doors down from the Pacific Ocean.




This is Megan’s “front yard” – the life guard stand is at the end of her street.  Aw….must be tough living!   



Megan’s bungalow is tiny – she readily admits - but, it’s a small price to pay for such beautiful and valuable real estate.    Megan is contemplating painting the walls in her living room a lighter color and painting the dark hardwoods either white, cream, or light aqua.    She is also getting new window treatments.   Her furniture is all slipped – the two arm chairs are in a light blue and white batik and the sofa is white.  




On The Skirted Roundtable, I mentioned that I love this turquoise chair!   In fact, I adore everything about Megan’s house and am green with envy she lives so close to the beach in such a charming house. What a dream life she has.



image BEFORE:  Years ago when Megan and her daughters first moved into the bungalow, she had a leather sofa courtesy of her former husband.   She quickly replaced it  (along with her husband!) with the white slip covered sofa and recovered her two chairs.  The dhurri rug was replaced with sisal. 


Megan actually hung the Kelly Wearstler Imperial Trellis wallpaper herself!  During the show, she says she is thinking about taking it down.  Should she?  I happen to love the wallpaper myself!   Notice the white light fixture. 




In this picture – she has a red light fixture.  I’m not sure which is her current fixture, but this red one is too cute!  I love her iconic Saarinen table with the classic West Elm chairs.    



image Megan’s “famous” bedroom.  This photograph is all over the blogosphere and is universally admired.   When Megan moved in, the walls were plain sheetrock and she had them covered in plank boards to create a beachy feel, a process she explains on the Skirted Roundtable. 



image Of course we have to talk about the carpenter who redid her bedroom – none other than this famous Calvin Klein model!!!!   Yep!   Only Megan would have a carpenter like him.  She dismisses him by saying he was a lot “older” when he worked on her bedroom.  




image OK, back to business.  So, should Megan repaint her hardwoods white – like in this picture?   I say YES, absolutely!!!!  What say you?


Be sure to listen to this week’s The Skirted Roundtable HERE – it’s a fun one!!  Don’t forget you can get The Skirted Roundtable on I-Tunes.

p.s.  Again, let me apologize for my voice!  I know I have the worst voice and it is really magnified by Linda and Megan’s melodious ones.  I don’t know what to do about this, but believe me, it annoys me more than you.

jueves, 24 de junio de 2010

Brother, Can You Spare A Cool $24,500,000?



It’s official.  The blog French Kissed recently announced that John Saladino’s gorgeous Montecito estate, Villa de Limma, is for sale. Why?  Why?   The fabulously talented interior designer spent years restoring the stone house – chronicled in the book Saladino Villa.   Built in the 1920s, the restoration took over four years and the budget was double its estimation.    Everything was decrepit and had to be restored.   The stone walls were crumbling which Saladino had to reinforce from the inside.   His crew spent years scrapping offensive paint from the stone and tile floors.   The entire restoration process was backbreaking, hugely expensive, and a true labor of love.  And yet, just a few years later, it’s up for sale.   Perhaps the allure was the challenge.  Once he accomplished it, the upkeep proved too much or the estate is too big for just Betty and John?  Who knows?   But seriously, anyone out there have $24,500,000 they wish to loan me?  

Below, are some of the photographs from the real estate brochure HERE, as well as others from the book and assorted places.  To view the story on French Kissed, go HERE.



imageIf you don’t have it – get it.  It’s a fascinating read, all about the renovation with wonderful photography.



image Aerial view.   The entrance is on the upper right.   The master bedroom overlooks the swimming pool on the left.



s17Entering the estate through these arches.




image The same arches with a view of the motor court and entrance gallery on the right.



s18The open air entrance gallery.   To the right is a courtyard.  To the left is the front door, kept with its exceptionally low door, making tall visitors have to lower their heads to enter. 



Looking at the entrance gallery from the courtyard.



The entry hall.  Saladino is known for hanging antique tapestries, fabrics, and rugs on the walls, then layering mirrors and art works atop them.  



image The entrance hall faces out to the side yard.  To the right past the fireplace is the living room.  To the left of the French doors is the dining room and then the kitchen. 




A  photograph of the stairway leading up to the guest bedrooms.  Notice the antiques on top of the chest.  Saladino surrounds himself with beauty.  Every item in his house is either an antique or specially chosen piece. 


 image The living room – so Saladino!   Every chair, every table, every lamp, every urn is gorgeous. 




Same view from the real estate brochure.  Notice the gorgeous rug.  The master bedroom is reached through the door to the right of the window. 



s9 The opposite view.   The back door way leads to the entry hall, then on to the dining room and kitchen.   Notice the tapestry hanging on the wall, with a mirror layered over it.  His beautiful Cy Twombly is on the wall to the right.   Just too gorgeous for words. 



Close up view of living room. 


image The hall which leads from the living room to the bedrooms downstairs.  Here Saladino’s Robert Courtright artwork hangs in front of a door which leads out to the courtyard, by the front door! 





The dining room is located to the left of the entry hall.   The kitchen is through a hidden door in the wood paneling, to the right of the fireplace.   Saladino loves skirted tables and slipcovers.  His collection of creamware is seen above the fireplace.   Notice his curtains.





A closeup of his chairs, available from his furniture line. 


imageAnd looking the other direction.  Up the steps is the entry hall, then the living room, which can be seen through the wood doors.   Gorgeous chandelier! 




Past the fireplace in the dining room is the kitchen.  The refrigerator to the very left is actually a door to another room.  The breakfast room is to the right of the refrigerator.   The large charger on the left is seen from the entry hall, past the dining room.   Saladino believes the eye should have a resting point at the end of a vista – here the charger provides that.


Another view of the kitchen, showing a small eating area.



Dining spot off kitchen – door leads to entry gallery.

imageThe breakfast room.   All the windows were replaced with these iron beauties that were custom made to fit the arches.  Notice how very thin the window is – you can see this where it meets the thick stone wall.




A night view looking into the breakfast room.



image Saladino’s companion Betty’s room.   He designed the bed to act as a sofa during the day. Those pillows! Those books!




And another view of Betty’s room which overlooks her own courtyard.



Saladino’s bedroom.   The bed floats in the space.  His desk is to the left. 




A closeup view of the hanging curtains layered with mirror on the back wall.  



Opposite Saladino’s bed is his desk placed in front of a Zuber wallpaper screen.




Saladino’s shower – contemporary against the old stone walls.





Saladino’s two story home office.  The desk is a beautiful table called into service.   His famous cylinder lamp sits atop it. 




This room is across the entrance courtyard away from the main house. 





Upstairs there are a row of guest rooms – each is unique and each has its own name.  This is the Primavera Bedroom.  I love the headboard detailing with its Edwardian pelmet. 


 imageThe famous powder room with its ancient bowl used as a sink.  Notice the mirror and the faucet. 



Saladino spent enormous energy and money on getting the landscaping to his satisfaction.   But, first, he had to create an elaborate drainage system to remove rainwater from the estate.







The courtyard to the right of the entrance gallery seen on the left. 



Saladino used lots of succulents for their texture and color. 



The swimming pool off the living room and master bedroom.



The ancient column becomes a focal point in the gardens.




One dining table in the gravel courtyard.




 s2 And another dining table in the olive tree allee.  Notice the balustrades. 






A Bing Map view of the property.  You can see the swimming pool and lone column to the left bottom.  The entrance court is on the right. 


Thank you to French Kissed.  To see more pictures of Villa de Limma on French Kissed, go HERE.  And to see the real estate brochure, go HERE.  The glorious photographs taken for the real estate brochure were done by Jim Bartsch HERE.