Thursday, November 29, 2012

Got a List and Checking It Twice...



Dear Santa:  We know you're busy working on your lists up there at the North Pole but we are in full holiday frenzy here at Huff Harrington, too:  our lights are a-glow, gifts are being gussied up, glittery wreaths are sparkly and the carols (a la Frank Sinatra and Edith Piaf, of course) are blasting over the music system.   We're all having fun being little elves.

We think your idea of having a list and checking it twice is wonderful!  After all, doesn't that make it so easy for everyone involved?  And while we never forget that this season is really all about the giving (and not the getting) we've all been wishfully day-dreaming about what we'd put on those little lists.  In fact, we love the idea so much, we decided to quiz our cute Huffingtons. We had fun imagining their letters to you, beginning with this sweet plea:

"Dear Santa:  I think I've been a really good girl this year. I've worked my little tail off at Huff Harrington Home.  I've unpacked boxes, re-arranged merchandise, moved furniture, taken the garbage out, called clients, wrapped gifts, moved more furniture and tagged zillions of items.  Please, please, please might this be under the tree?"

(So, darling Santa...please remember these hard-working and dedicated cuties when you're packing your sleigh...)

Linda (always chic and stylish): "I would love to have this exquisite 19th century French mirror at the foot of the stairs in my foyer.  It would offer that "last little glimpse” before heading out the door for a soiree.  It would make me feel as though I were in Paris every time I straightened my dress or fixed my lipstick." (Dan, did you hear that?!)
 
 
Linda's got her eye on this stunning Louis XVI mirror. We're not sure how the big guy in the red suit is going to get it down the chimney, but Linda usually figures these things out.

 
Allison's been coveting this sumptuous, elegant winter white leather jewelry box for a while now. Let's hope it's under the tree...
Allison:"I've had my eye on this exquisite jewelry box from Rowallan (Oprah also featured this fabulous company on her Top Twenty list this year) It's very Grace Kelly, very Orient Express and so terribly elegant. I'd love to have it perched on my dressing table or nestled somewhere in my..."

Meg and Ann: "WAIT! HOLD THE PRESSES!  Allison, we're so sorry, but the gorgeous Rowallan jewelry case just sold to an uber-chic client from Dallas.  So sorry, would you mind wrapping it and shipping it next day air?"

Allison (who oozes grace, tact and humor on an hourly basis), Part Deux:  Okay. (sigh)  I  have to admit our cute PJ’s jump out at me every time I walk by them. The fun crisp cotton prints (especially the monkeys) just make me happy, and so I have decided I have to have them.  Apparently, they have the same effect on our customers (we placed a rush order today for the holidays) and my daughter (they are on her wish).  She better be good…
Allison adores these monkeys, seahorses and octopuses - and all things preppie chic. We're pretty sure Katie will love them too...
 Emily (our adorable and super creative marketing maven): "With its mirrored top, delicate design & gold leaf finish this table is the perfect little accessory for any room. Paired next to a great sofa, it will keep any dessert or cocktail close. Now that’s a furniture piece that has its priorities straight; fabulous and functional!"
 
We can picture this snazzy drinks table chez Emily. Did you get that, Santa?
 Sarah (our sweet and smart gallery manager at Huff Harrington Fine Art):  “I knew this little jewel had to be mine the minute I saw it sparkling on the shelf at HHH. Bonus points for whoever wants to buy it for me – you don’t even have to wrap it! It’s pretty as a present just as it is. I’d love to take this beauty with me for a night out on the town – it’s the perfect size for my phone and some lipstick (all girl needs, oui..?). Santa, I hope you’re listening!”
Sarah's ready for a night of holiday parties with this adorable and sassy clutch. Watch out, all you elves.
Colleen (or as we've been calling this brand-new bride: Mrs. Strickland):  "Pain d'Alep  - my go-to hostess gift or stocking stuffer this holiday season.  Not only because this soap smells so amazing, but it is truly a gift with a fascinating story. Pain d'Alep is THE original soap! This castille soap, made from olive and laurel oils, has been made in the exact same way that is was made it in Aleppo, Syria, thousands of years ago by the same family. There are several imposters now a days but this is the only true Pain d'Alep."
 
The marvelously and ever-so-Frenchy aromatic soap, Pain d'Alep.
 (Ann and Meg: "We giggling just a little because Colleen really didn't adore this soap when we first got it.  It smells delicously and potently French and we're thrilled she's loving it now.")
Colleen: "Wait! Can I have one more?"

(Ann and Meg: Oh, okay....since you're a glowing newlywed.)

Colleen:  "I just can't resist baubles for your furniture.  This on my must-have list and I plan on draping it over my favorite pieces.  We just got these in and they are all over every design magazine I've picked up lately.  Santa, can you hear me?!"
 
In Colleen's world, even the furniture gets jewelry.
Sam (our Renaissance Woman who does it all): "I'm too busy helping my holiday clients get ready for the season and I'm up to my eyeballs in fresh boxwood, glitter, tree ornaments and centerpieces. But I'd be thrilled if Santa could bring me one of those super-soft and pretty cashmere scarves I saw in there the other day.  Hint, hint..."
 
Sam's been known to harvest her own greens when she's decorating for the holidays so one of these nice cashmere scarves will keep her nice and warm while she's trimming and cutting.
Alva (our very dear retailing expert): "This Graf & Lantz  handbag/tote is the perfect “go with everything” bag to use every day.  I love that it has brown, grey and black colors, since those are my primary fashion colors."
 
Our European-styled felt bags are a perfect fit for our elegant and ladylike Alva.
Ann:   "When I put on the cashmere cape to model it for our recent ad (which originally was going to be called Holiday Hangover until we thought we'd better change it to Holiday Happies!), I felt like rolling up into a ball, on a comfy couch, with a glass of bubbly and a beautiful book, and imagined living comfortably coddled in cashmere for the rest of my life!  So that's when I started dropping hints like crazy .Santa, Baby!"
Here's a shot from our latest ad where Ann modeled the heavenly cashmere cape.  Ann's been obsessing ever since about wearing this on her next flight to Paris. Cozy, warm and pretty...what's there not to love? Bill, please wrap it up for her - we'll add the bow.
Ann, Part Deux: "OK, you know this is my birthday month, right?  So I get two picks, right?  Well here's the second one that has been haunting me now for months.  It's a painting at our gallery by Audrey Phillips called Light Vision which I can't get out of my head.  I don't have a place for it, and we have no room for more art, but I know that if someone else buys it and I let it get away, I'll never get over it.  That's the problem with original art.  Once it's gone, it's gone.  And the thing about abstract art is that it's often a slow attraction, but once it grabs you, it holds you tight.  I think I see where this is going ..."
 
Ann's dreaming about this subtle abstract by Audrey Phillips. Light Vision, 38 x 53, mixed media on panel. Yum!
Meg:  "I'm drooling over newly arrived slipcovered club chairs at HHH (in Belgian linen with a creamy white flange...so pretty) but my heartstrings are really being pulled by some newly arrived art at the gallery. Specifically, a series of paintings that just came in time for Christmas from one of our wonderfully talented French artists, Andree Thobaty. We met Andree a long time ago and I've always been struck by her abstracted Provencal landscapes. I'm thinking about a pair of these, in nice clean floating frames...hmmmmm.
Wait, do Ann and I even get Christmas day off?"
 
An armful of heavenly French abstracts from one of my favorite artists...I couldn't possibly want anything else (except maybe those Belgian linen club chairs...)
So, what's on your wishlist?  Let us know when you come in the store between now and December 24th and we'll make sure your favorite gift-giver checks it twice.  And we'll make sure it gets it onto the sleigh, all wrapped up in a pretty bow just for you.

Bon voyage, Santa.

Ho Ho Ho from the Huffingtons...

(p.s.: we're open Sundays now through December 23rd from 1-5.  That's a little more time for you to cross those names off your own list...)



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

All in the Family

HH in their Aprons
It all started back in August, on Sam’s birthday.  We Huffingtons love to celebrate each others' birthdays, and we’d all planned something fun and festive for our very much beloved Sam (who goes by quite a few nicknames, but we’ll save those for another time).    Emily, the quiet one with the twinkle in her eye, threw us all into a jealous frenzy when she presented Sammy with her unique gift:  A gorgeous, handmade apron with a fabulous long and sexy satin sash.  It was just the sassiest thing we’d ever seen and you can imagine, we all grabbed it from Sam, whined about not having one ourselves and spun around the room modeling it.
Linda modeling the new Rendez-vous apron
Of course it took us all of five seconds to ask Emily, “Where did you get that sassy apron?” and, when we discovered they were hand made by Emily’s mother (no surprise, since tasteful creativity runs deep in that family), we didn’t hesitate to pounce:  We want to sell them!!  How many can she make us?  How soon, how fast and how much?
Cutie and cutie
(Emily and her mother, Theresa)
We were delighted that Theresa, Emily’s lovely mother who had just created her new company “Rendez-vous Designs,” was willing and able to deliver for us, and so we immediately placed our first order … and the rest is history.

Well, maybe not quite yet.
Our sassy apron display
Our first aprons arrived in October, just in time for our fall ad, which we  decided to call, “Happily Hosting” so that we could feature them in the ad.  First, Emily had some fun taking pictures of us as we prepped for the photo shoot, so that her mother could see how much we were enjoying the aprons.  For some reason, these aprons just make us feel sassy.

Then we posed like crazy until the ad was shot.
Ann being fitted for the photo shoot.
Mme H, fittingly fitted by Sam
OK, I couldn't resist this. Where was John Singer Sargent when we needed him?
Mme X holds nothing over Mme H!
How do we look?  Oh let's just take a guess:  Sassy and sassier?
OK that angle's not going to work, but look at those cute aprons!

We displayed the aprons around the store, and yes, from time to time, even modeled them ourselves.  When we hosted our book signing for Danielle Rollins and her gorgeous new book "Soiree", we figured nothing could be more appropriate for the hostess with the mostess than a Rendez Vous apron (and we think she agreed!).
Danielle Rollins modeling her brand new apron
Our Rendez-vous aprons have been flying out the door, and sadly, we have only one more! But luckily Theresa has been busily sewing away, and we are getting a new shipment this week.  Unfortunately we won’t have them in time to wow our guests on Thanksgiving day, but maybe if we’re lucky, Santa will pull two aside for us at Christmas.  We’re just so happy that Emily’s mother is now part of our extended family and we hope that this little collaboration will be the beginning of many more in the future.

As we approach our favorite holiday and give thanks for family, food and all the things we have to be grateful for – we give thanks to you, our dear clients, for your support and friendship, especially with our new venture.  And we give thanks to our very special little family of Huffingtons, who are the backbone of our business, and who help us learn and laugh every day.  You deserve a day off on Thursday!  May your Thanksgivings  be filled with warmth, laughter and joy.
Most of our darling Huffingtons ... with Danielle Rollins
Ta ta ...

HH

PS: Did you know that Huff Harrington Home is now open Sundays, until Christmas?  We're here and happy to see you from 1 to 5 on Sundays.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Will Barnet (1911-2012)

Sadly, the art world lost one of the greats yesterday, when Will Barnet died in New York at the age of 101.
Will Barnet
I think Will Barnet may have been the first one to open my eyes to art, and so I share a huge feeling of gratitude toward this man, along with a sense of loss.

Will Barnet’s daughter, Ona,  was one of my best friends, whom I met at a summer job in Maine, the summer before college.  Neither one of us was very good at our respective jobs that summer and so we naturally bonded  in a “mysery loves company” kind of way.   I’d never met the daughter of an artist before and I remember that when I first visited Ona’s house on New York’s upper west side, I was blown away by the amount of art on her walls, and the fact that she and her mother, Elena, both exotic looking beauties, were the subject of so many paintings.  It wasn’t just art that populated their walls; the Barnet’s house and lives were foreign and fascinating to me and I loved being a part of it.
Paintings like this one, "The Blue Robe" (courtesy Alexandre Gallery) of Ona and her mother, filled the walls at the Barnet's house.
Will Barnet loved a good audience and Ona and I were easily captivated, giggling as he entertained us with stories that often mixed brilliance with charming absent mindedness. I remember one time, when we spent a wonderful week in Paris staying in a friend’s gorgeous apartment on the Place du Palais Bourbon (there were original Picasso plates hanging on the walls, oh my, and a fabulous bakery around the corner), Will Barnet got up early one morning and later complained about a stomach ache. We were a little concerned and I thought I was going to be called into translation mode with a local hospital until he admitted to us, sheepishly, that he had eaten eight croissants for breakfast that morning, and wondered if maybe they were a little too rich.

That was typical of this fascinating man, who on the one hand held his own with all the N.Y. glitterati, but never lost the wide eyed fascination with the world and innocence of a young boy from Beverly Massachusetts. He was tall, opinionated and delightful and he clearly enjoyed the attention and admiration of his audience, whether students at the Art Students League or other prominent artists or just his daughter’s best friend.

Ona and I sealed our friendship over the years, first in neighboring colleges in Pennsylvania, where we each took courses on each other’s campuses so we could at least see each other once a week, and then at a resort in Maine, where we were both a little better suited for our respective summer jobs of waitress and chambermaid. When I discovered art history in college, I was thrilled to tell Will Barnet that he had opened my eyes to art. And I couldn’t wait to get to the 20th century, so that I could better understand the influence of the worlds that shaped him and his art. I hadn’t heard of them at the time, but I wasn’t surprised to later learn that Will Barnet had taught, among others, Cy Twombly, Mark Rothko, Alex Katz and Donald Judd. When friends and classmates touted the great influence of Marcel Duchamp or the abstract expressionists of the 20th century, I quietly defended the timeless beauty of Will Barnet, the stoic classicist in a midst of avant-guard mania.

I loved understanding where Will Barnet came from in his art, from his print block days of social commentary to his stripped down stylized color-blocked images, mostly of Ona and her mother. The influence of print making was clear, but his style changed and evolved over time. And I remember that when I studied the Japanese influence on the Impressionists, I could better understand where Will Barnet got some of his stylistic pull.

All of us who have a developed a deep love of art can probably pinpoint at least one person in our lives who opened our eyes to the complex beauty of art. I know that for Meg it was her mother, a beautiful artist in her own right, who dragged a young miss Meggie, sometimes kicking and screaming, to all the great art museums around Europe (and for which she is now eternally grateful!). For me, it was a few people, including my Art Historian aunt, Elizabeth Holt, and the wonderful professor in college who was kind enough to give me my first A on a paper (and for which I thanked him by majoring in his subject). But probably most of all, it was my friendship with a real artist, Will Barnet, who helped me develop a more discerning, compassionate and critical eye that eventually led to my work with, and representation of, other artists.

With gratitude, I extend my sympathy to dear Ona, Elena and their family. Will Barnet was a great man and a masterful and influential artist. May his work live on forever!
Blue Bicycle
Ta ta,

AH

PS  Will Barnet is represented exclusively by the Alexandre Gallery in New York, and most of these images are courtesy of the gallery’s website.
One of the many paintings of Ona by Will Barnet
Will Barnet receiving the 2011 National Arts and Humanities Medal from President Obama.
One of his most recognizable and famous paintings, from 1970 "Woman Reading"
An abstract from 2009, "Flight" at the Alexandre Gallery
One of my favorites of Ona reading, with Minou

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Our Soiree with Danielle Rollins

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to our book signing for Danielle Rollins! It was a soiree to remember, and luckily we took lots of photos to share.

 

We were ready to go with oodles of books for Danielle to sign....


An army of Huffingtons were on hand to assist with all of Danielle's eager admirers.

 

Tasty nibbles were ready to be served...


Danielle's signing tools were at the ready (don't you just love that color Sharpie?! We're all dying to have one now.)

 

A sneak peek inside Danielle's gorgeous book.

 

Always the gracious hostess, Danielle inscribed the most beautiful and thoughtful notes in the books.

 


(Wouldn't we all just love to be able to write like that?  Hmmm... maybe we should try it sometime ...)


Despite some rainy weather, we still had a the loveliest crowd.


Mesdames Meg and Danielle

 
What do you get the Hostess with Mostess...? We found something in the store that we thought would be perfect for the perennial entertainer.


 A Rendez-Vous apron that oozes style and transitions from the kitchen to the party with ease!


We'd say our soiree was a smashing success!


And of course the best part about a party is recapping all the fun that was had...

 

We're all dying to throw our own fabulous soiree now that we're armed with Danielle's helpful tips and knowledge. Thank you, darling Danielle, for inspiring us all to entertain with grace, humor and elegance.

PS:  We still have a few signed copies of the book in the store if you weren't able to make it to the party. (We think it would be the perfect hostess or Christmas gift for any hostess with the mostess ...  we all know lots of those!)