26 January, 2012

The Duchess Decorates . . .

After all the wedding brouhaha of 2011, the Duchess is ready to begin 2012 with a few fresh starts around the house.  One step the Duchess has been meaning to take for a very looong time is that of hanging wallpaper in the downstairs powder room.  The powder room has predominantly white tiles with a deep burgundy tile trimming the white.  Rather than completely re-tile the bathroom, the Duchess is hanging this Ranelagh paper by Farrow & Ball to tie the room together, to paraphrase Lebowski.

Of course, Farrow & Ball has lots of extraordinary papers that will make your mouth water, if you're into that kind of thing.  (It's the Duchess's birthright, being as she's from the South, to adore wallpaper totally.)  Here are few favorites that the Duchess may pursue after winning the lottery.

The Ranelagh papers are stunning in person.  A very classic print appropriate for both modern and traditional interiors, in a wide variety of colorways:

The saturated blues of the St. Antoine pattern are gorgeous.

The Duchess likes this Crivelli Trellis in lavender for a teenage girl's room.

Renaissance Leaves would be ideal for glamourising a dining room, or a master bathroom. 

And the whimsical Bumblebee would be perfect for a nursery.

If you have your eye on a few choices but you're not certain which you prefer most, why not order a few free samples online?  That's the best way to settle on what you want.  

All images via Farrow & Ball.

22 January, 2012

The Duchess Dines . . .

The Duchess has to recommend Joe's in Venice on Abbot Kinney for a wonderful and special meal.  Joe's has that sought-after but rarely attained quality that separates it from other delicious restaurants in Los Angeles, and in Venice particularly--it isn't a hyperactive center of the trendy.  What a relief, as neither is the Duchess.  The food and ambiance at Joe's are consistently warm and reassuring, the music is a perfect amalgamation of newish alternative rock and old favorites, and they recently revamped their dinner menu to provide more lower priced, tapas-size options (more flavors + less $$$ = happiness).  The prix fixe is also reliably good, and the service is impeccable.  The Duchess likes.     

1023 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Venice, California 90291

17 January, 2012

The Duchess Admires . . .

Whilst flipping through Elle Decor, the Duchess came across this warm and layered room in a Bel Air home designed by Madeline Stuart.  (The vintage 1930's wallpaper is to die.)  But a fresh review of some of the other work in Ms. Stuart's portfolio also inspire the Duchess who is approaching her own interior redesign (shh, don't tell the Senator!) with an eye to a balance of rusty reds, deep blues and dog- and kid-durable browns.  It looks like a colorway Ms. Stuart appreciates too. 

Here are some more terrific uses of color in Stuart-designed residences. 

(simply.  gorgeous.) 

Find her here, in LA:

Madeline Stuart & Associates
Madeline Stuart Collection
717 North La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Telephone: 310.657.8200
Facsimile: 310.657.8203

and also at Thomas Lavin

images from http://madelinestuart.com

16 January, 2012

The Duchess Watches . . .

Globes, shmobes.  Last night's awards ceremony was pretty dull, and at least the Duchess got to fast forward through the slooooow parts.  (One benefit to not being an entertainment industry A-lister, unlike the Marchioness, is that the Duchess doesn't have to sit through these long awards shows.) 

Mostly disappointment arose because the Duchess was seriously rooting for the delightful movie Hugo, which got paid almost no respect (Scorsese did take home the Best Director award).  We'll get to Moneyball (also overlooked) later.    Another disappointment--the clothes!  Very few red carpet titillations. 

After some consideration the Duchess's top styling award goes to Nicole Kidman.  Her hair and body, as always, looked great, and the dress (by Atelier Versace) fit like a glove.  It was a nice use of glitz on a neutral base (an approach less well-executed on Salma Hayek's Gucci gown).  It looked modern and not super-stuffy like all the other massive gowns the actresses were wearing to sit there for a few hours and get drunk.  Kudos Nicole! 

The Duchess also liked considerably the ivory turtlenecked Givenchy worn by Jessica Chastain, because the Duchess loves her.  There may have been some fit and color problems here, but the Duchess doesn't really care.  

Normally the Duchess's favorite red carpet dresser is Emma Stone, but the Duchess was not loving this deep bordeaux Lanvin number, which many of the fashion police raved about.  Though the cut is totally divine this just seemed a bit severe for the young and fresh Ms. Stone.  A minty green with a gilded belt would have been a better colorway for her (just an opinion).  

And who can forget the memorable Jean Dujardin, who (deservedly) won Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical for his turn as silent film star George Valentin in the very sweet The Artist.  He proves that you're never fully dressed without a smile!  Who cares what they're wearing on Main Street or Savile Row?  It's what you wear from ear to ear, and not from head to toe that matters.  Black tie notwithstanding his face said it all. 

12 January, 2012

The Duchess Reads. . .

The Duchess reads lots of books and magazines, and while she restrains herself from going all the way pulp, she does have a serious penchant for the glamorous intrigues of the late Dominick Dunne.  Over the holidays a healthy bout of insomnia helped her finish the divine People Like Us, a gossipy story about the endless battle between old and new money, and about the pitfalls that accompany "too much money."  (Back home they call that having more money than sense.)  The Duchess wouldn't be revealing too much by letting her readers know that one of the main characters of People Like Us is a financier who dips his little fat fingers in the insider trading pie.  The Duchess, at least, found it intriguing that the players in People Like Us (published over two decades ago, in 1989) fall prey to the same temptations that plague us today (Bernie Madoff and Raj Rajaratnam are but two recent examples). 

The Duchess got her copy at the terrific Children Charities Resale Store on Barrington.  It's a first edition, signed by Nick Dunne, and as a bookmark it still had the invitation for a party in honor of the books' publication, held at the now-closed Chasen's

Mr. Dunne didn't just write glitzy novels, of course.  He also covered celebrity criminal trials and followed the comings and goings of the overprivileged in society.  To do that one naturally must live among them, which he did until his death in 2009.  He kept a pied-a-terre at 155 E. 49th Street in New York (just a stone's throw from Mama Mexico!), a one bedroom with a wraparound terrace.  Not too shabby. 

Apartment photos from Luxist.

10 January, 2012

The Duchess Celebrates . . .

It's with the greatest pleasure that today the Duchess raises her glass and toasts the 64th birthday of one of her favorite men of all time (no, not you)--Donald Fagen.  Rarely a day goes by that Mr. Fagen isn't played in the Duchess's car, or in the Duchess's house, and now even the Duchess's children beg to have "Barrytown" played one more time, and cheerily join in singing the lyrics to "Everything You Did."  Through good times and bad times, the music of Donald Fagen has kept the Duchess in good company, and for that, she salutes you.  Happy birthday, genius.

09 January, 2012

The Duchess Dines . . .

This weekend at Charlie's Pantry, the Duchess couldn't help noticing the offering of some beautifull prepared French macarons by Les Macarons Duverger.  Duverger macarons are the most Laduree-like the Duchess has tasted (of the "made in LA" variety), and even better these preciously packaged treats were given to guests as favors at il matrimonio di duchesse e senatore.  All Duverger macarons are handmade, gluten-free and made with only natural and organic ingredients.  They come in a wide variety of delish flavors (blueberry-lavender, anyone?).  What's more, their customer service is sans pareil.  Pay them a visit today (or tomorrow, or some other time soon) and give Bernard the Duchess's gratitude. 

Gift boxes are available

Or sweet little wedding favor packages

Bet you can't eat just one

Les Macarons Duverger are available at Farmers' Markets around the city and retail at:

Charlie's Pantry

12265 Ventura Blvd Studio City, CA 91604

Monsieur Marcel's Gourmet Market

6333 W 3rd Street, Los Angeles CA 90036

Essential Chocolate Desserts

10868 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

The Duchess Celebrates . . .

From one Duchess to another--happy birthday, Kate of Cambridge. 

(Tomorrow we celebrate the birthday of another totally fabulous person--"tune" in!)

05 January, 2012

The Duchess Dines . . .

So rare to find a delightful little dining spot that fills that particular Joan's on Third niche--terrific takeout/party food/catering spot/brunch goodies.  But Charlie's Pantry does.  The Duchess was very happily introduced to Charlie's Pantry at a friend's house earlier this week, where we dined on (delicious) leftovers from her son's birthday party the night before--peas with pearl onions, cous cous ("grain salad"), french beans, Yukon Gold potato salad, and Atlantic salmon vichy.  It was divine. 

Charlie's Pantry bills itself as a "family-owned, neighborhood cafe and gourmet foods marketplace."  It's located in Studio City in a strip mall just west of Chi Dynasty on Ventura, and it is a very welcome addition to the greater neighborhood.  The proprieters of Charlie's Pantry owned the venerable Dusty's in Silver Lake before selling that to open the pantry.  Open daily from 8 am to 5 pm, they offer breakfast and lunch as well as lots of takeaway delicacies. 

Visit Charlie's Pantry

Orders can be placed by phone, fax or email

phone: (818) 509 9085
fax: (818) 509 9140
email: charlie@charliespantry.com

(Photos courtesy Charlie's Pantry)


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