Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Huffington in House Beautiful

Yesterday morning as I was jogging on the treadmill trying to shed those uninvited Christmas pounds, I listened to one of my favorite podcasts, The Skirted Roundtable, in a discussion between three designers who all have fabulous blogs and insights into the world of design. In this segment, they interviewed Stephen Drucker, the Editor in Chief of House Beautiful magazine. I hadn’t realized that HB has been around for over 100 years, but I had noticed that in the last few years, it seems to be getting better and better. While other magazines are shedding pages or suffering even worse demises, HB seems to be getting stronger, thicker, with great big pictures, wonderfully varied design features, fabulous “how to’s” and a focus that is both aspirational and approachable.

I always look forward to getting my issue of HB in the mail, but unfortunately my subscription didn’t follow our recent move, and I have missed the last two issues. This became evident when the three ladies went on and on about how fabulous the recent Dec/Jan issue was and particularly praised the cover and story of Jill Brinson’s house in Atlanta. Hmmm, I thought, I don’t remember seeing this. So I sent out a quick S-O-S to a few friends, and was delighted when one responded immediately and brought that issue in to the gallery.

Sure enough, it was a great cover with the pale mauve House Beautiful logo underscored by a gorgeous, chunky rustic beam across the center. But what really caught my eye and jumped right off the page was the painting of a horse by Georges Nasri, smack in the middle of the cover! You have to understand that our paintings are a little bit like our children, and we are enormously proud and excited when we see pictures of little Huffingtons in magazines. Admittedly, not everyone would have noticed this painting at all. But to me, it was glaringly obvious and terribly exciting, kind of like having your child's artwork picked for the cover of the school poetry magazine (never happened to me).

See the Nasri horse hiding to the right of the couch?

I admit that we work hard to get our artist's work published, which is one of the reasons we’re delighted to contribute to show houses and work with designers. But this was the freebie that we’d never dreamed of -- the cover of House Beautiful magazine! We immediately poured over every detail of the article and were thrilled to read about this talented designer and her creative and quirky house in Atlanta. And we were enormously proud that a painting by our very own Monsieur Nasri graced the walls of her amazing sitting room – and upon further inspection, the living room as well!

Spot the Nasri over the mantle?

Monsieur Nasri’s work has universal appeal, but he is especially appreciated among the designer community. His work was also recently featured in Charlotte Moss’s room at the 2008 Kips Bay Show House. So it was no surprise to see him pop up in a beautifully decorated house by a talented Atlanta based designer. Bravo to Georges, and hats off to Jill for her exquisite taste.

By the way, since we became aware of the article, we've now seen lots of coverage of Jill Brinson's gorgeous house, most recently in yesterday's Cote de Texas blog. What a funny coincidence! But the attention on Jill's house is no surprise: It is deservedly delicious. If you haven't feasted your eyes on it yet, this is a treat for you to savor!


Ta ta,


Jill Brinson's Rustic and Luxurious Design

Understated elegance in the foyer

A place to compose your thoughts in the library

Bright and airy kitchen

Wall of windows in the kitchen

Tranquil dining room

Functional simplicity in the master bathroom

Master bedroom

Interior designer Jill Brinson, owner of Jill Sharp Style and also Creative Director of Ballard Designs, mixes rough, salvaged beams with Moroccan tapestries and industrial steel shelves in her renovated cottage home in Atlanta.

Visit Cote de Texas and House Beautiful for additional information.

By Lisa Cregan

Photo Credit: Simon Upton

Monday, January 18, 2010

Humble Beginnings

Welcome to our blog, aptly named The Artful Lifestyle. We join legions of blogs out there and hope our simple and short musings will strike a chord with you. We’ll comment on art (of course), lifestyle, food, design, travel and all the other little things in life that strike our fancy.

Sometimes you’ll hear from Ann, sometimes you’ll hear from Meg and sometimes you’ll be hanging on Sam Jones’ every word as well as pearls of lifely wisdom from Linda Mohan and Sarah Sullivan. And because there's always room for more, we hope to have guest contributors from time to time, so that maybe you'll join the family, as well.

What better way to start off a new year than with a new blog - and, as we struggle with a little "writer’s blog," we hear once you get going you can’t stop!

Ta Ta …

Meg and Ann

High Time: Viva la Veuve

(or, as Dom Perignon said, “I’m Drinking the Stars!”)

Vive le Veuve by Amy Dixon

It’s no secret around here at the gallery that all us of Huffingtons are addicted to the delicious bubbles of Veuve Cliquot. We are all so addicted to it that Linda gave us biographies of la Veuve Cliquot (quite a shrewd little bird she was) for Christmas one year.

Madame Veuve herself

Think about the whole magical process of pouring a glass of Veuve. First, the bottle, which is simple but soundly constructed from heavy dark green glass. It’s heavy and sometimes requires two hands to maneuver. The label, in that gorgeous orangey-yellow with its timeless typeface, seems so French and is completely elegant, sort of like a drinkable Hermes box. (Have the French trademarked that color? Just asking.) The cork is wrapped tightly in matte gold foil and the wire surrounding it usually requires a little picking and prying. It’s just like opening a present.

(And have you seen the charming little jackets that come with the bottles now? So stylish with top stitching and leather accents. Impossibly chic.)

What all the best dressed bottles are wearing

We all learned a long time ago (probably from some frustrated French boyfriend/waiter/host family, whatever) how to properly open a bottle of champagne. This involves the removal of the said wire and gold wrapping to reveal the nice and tight cork. We like to grab a kitchen towel and very gently rotate the cork until it quietly pops out with a whisper of fizz.

And then, your troubles begin to magically disappear as the clear and frothy liquid spills into a flute (Reidels rank among the favorite, but so do Madame’s “test tube” glasses that we Huffingtons recently got her as a housewarming gift).

Flute #1 by Amy Dixon

At this point, you’ve got delicate glasswear in your hands filled with this aromatic and lively concoction of fermented grapes, yeast and carbon dioxide. Brut, or super dry, is the best -- and the taste sensation in the mouth is cool, bubbly, dry with lingering aftertastes of all things wonderful and delish. And don’t even get us started on rose champagne, which is pink, festive and fun as well as all the other superlatives.

Sadly, we find that one glass is never enough, which can lead to problems. And, food to accompany this elixir? Anything and everything!

Sante…Ta ta..


BTW, apparently, the whole concept of champagne resulted from a mixup in the fermentation process (thanks, Dom Perignon) but we all agree, what a wonderful mistake.