Friday, December 18, 2009

The Whitney

This week I went down to the Whitney to celebrate my Mom's birthday.  This is such a special restaurant in Detroit.  The ambiance is unbeatable and the food is nothing short of amazing.  Not to mention, they have a $35 prefixed menu right now that is delicious. Four courses with an array of options.  We tried almost everything on the menu and no one was dissapointed.  I think I even heard my Dad say the steak was "one of the best he's ever had".  Thats a true testament coming from a group of red meat lovers.

The Whitney is an architectural masterpiece.  Built by lumbar barron, David Whitney, the home was completed in 1894.  Then deemed "the most elaborate and substantial residence in this part of the country", the home displays quintessential Romanesque style. In 1894 this home cost $400,000 dollars to build and I cannot even begin to imagine what this type of construction would cost today.   Actually, in the current times we would not even be able to begin to recreate such an architectural success.  With Tiffany stained glass windows, original electrification by Thomas Edison and a rich collection of tapestries and unparalled details the home is filled with unmatched craftsmanship.

Below are a few pictures  I snapped during our visit.  I tried to  capture the  some of the details and ambiance, but I don't know that I really gave the home justice!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Nothing says Christmas like....

It's Sunday, White Christmas is on TV and I don't have any place to be besides my couch.  This is my all time favorite Christmas movie.  ALL TIME.  I have always loved old movies,  so much so that I was probably the only eight year old who's mother drove to every Blockbuster in the Metro Detroit area to pick up each video in the Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney partnership. Anywhoo, that is a different story for a different time.  Back to the topic at hand,  White Christmas is the best holiday movie.  I love it so much that as that over zealous eight year old I actually wrote Rosemary Clooney fan mail.  I think I did get a letter back from her... I would have probably written the entire cast had any of the others still been living.  Now, excuse me, I am going to sit on my couch and sing along with Bing and the gang for the next couple hours.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Last night a group of us went down to a party at the Detroit Institute of Arts for the Avedon Exhibit.  The evening was spent touring the galleries and listening to live music in Kresge Court. This is an exhibit that everyone must visit before it leaves town on January 17th.  I have to say, I am more drawn to Richard Avedon's early work.  I love how he put the models in everday backdrops or in enviroments of the unexpected.  His later works still have a very emotional element, but seemed to be more studio based.  The earlier work gives the viewer a lovely window into a time period that is so elegantly intriguing.  Although some of the photographs are more than 50 years old they look like they could have been taken yesterday.  I guess that goes to show that timless beauty and style is indeed everlasting. 

Kresge Court
as photographed by Jourdan Merritt.

Detroit Institute of Arts
Jourdan Merritt

Jourdan Merritt

I think the crowd in attendance was pretty good looking too!
(Thanks Jourdan for documenting!)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's Snowing!!!!!

Today Metro Detroit woke up to our first morning of a solid dusting of snow.  The high winds that slammed the Midwest were less than favorable, but the snow that was escorted in is getting me in the holiday spirit. While I sit at my desk and watch the snow blustering across the sidewalk I am thinking about Charlotte Moss's spread in this month's Elle Decor.  This Aspen retreat seems like the perfect place to snuggle up and spend a winter afternoon. This home has so many things I love.  From the blue and white pottery, to the animal prints, tartans, rich oil paintings (both portraits and landscapes) and amazing light fixtures, this ski retreat really does epitomize the elegance of a snowy hideaway.

Photo Credit: Pieter Estersohn for Elle Decor December 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

God Jul!

Getting out my Christmas decorations this weekend, (aka raiding my Mom's basement storage closet) reiterated the fact that the tradition in Christmas is what makes this time of year so comforting and merry.  For years our customary d├ęcor has consisted of Swedish "Tomtes".  My Grandma Ingrid always had a grouping in her home.  My mom started me on my own collection this year, but basically everything else jolly had to be swiped from her castoffs.  I always love the different ways families celebrate the holidays.  From a Chinese gift exchange to midnight mass, all families have their unique twist to what makes the holidays distinctivley their own.  What do you all do to celebrate the season?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cheap Chic

Ann sent me this really fun New York Times article this morning.  Being a newly engaged couple I find Scott and I have the same feelings stated by the Wootens in the article.  Scavenging our families basements while trying to gain an independant style can be a conflicting method.  While we are so grateful for the hand me downs we have recieved, there is also the desire to create fresh approach using the timeless furnishings. Wanting to invest in pieces for the long run while not spending tons of money can also solicit a fair amount of problems.

Using $4,500 I would say that this couple has created a refined and youthful look.  Not leaning too far in the direction (and worry) of looking like a parent's place, but also veering away from the college panache, this apartment is bright, cheery and sophisticated.  I think every young couple wants their abode to feel just that... young and stylish.  The majority of adults from my generation are still trying to find a style to define the space in which they are going to play out their life.

Images Via Dona Alberico for the New York Times

I find that the appropriate title for this style can be a "collected interior".  I mean, that's kind of what we are all doing.  We are collecting items that will give our homes an established feeling that is custom tailored to our interests and flair. For those who know me, they know that I have always been a collector.  I like items that have a story.  I like to look at a piece and be reminded of a memory, or a place, or the person I was with. This may be easier said than done, but don't get caught up in the rules.  If you love something it can work.  The interiors with the most spunk have an element of the unexpected.  The things in my home that I get the most compliments may not have a high monetary value, but are items that piqued my interest in some form or another.  Some of my favorite belongings have come from flea markets, garage sales or auction houses.  These are the things that give my house character.  

I did enjoy seeing how a small investment made such a change in the atmosphere of this apartment. While the couple had some good bones to work with, they also were able to insert their own personal finesse with some resonably priced items.

Check out this cool interactive tool.