Celebrating My Life of Living Well. Domestic and Otherwise.

Eat. Drink. Shop. Travel. Look. Learn.Experience.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

For the Pooch That Has Everything

I promised the girls a dog when we move.

Aren't these chic? Only the very best Italian Carrara for my canines!
Viewed at Luxury Culture. Available at Kevy K designs.

I could get into this "owning a dog" business.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Interactive Art for Kids


I am just thrilled at my new on line find and am extremely excited to share it with my fellow Domestic Goddesses out there who wish to enrich the art experience of their favorite children.

As I was searching through the Moma Store, a favorite place to browse for books, toys and other unique gifts, I found myself on the Family Programs page of the museum. A few minutes later I was amazed to land on an interactive segment for children, MoMa's Destination Art. This site is just awesome for children from 4-11 years old. Learn more about varying forms of Modern Art like the Wassily Chair by Marcel Breuer, Three Musicians by Pablo Picasso, or Blossom by Polly Apfelbaum, and many others.

Thrilled with my new find, I eagerly searched out similar content at The MET and sure enough there was plenty to be found. Start out at the Just for Fun page and wander through all the stimulating options for children of varying ages. There are even a few engaging activities for adults!

Let your youngest Art Critics sing-along with Cezanne's Apples,

or learn more about Edgar Degas and his Ballet related paintings and sculpture through The Dancer's and Degas . Join Marie and her friends from American Ballet and curators from the museum as you navigate closely through this information and activity loaded page. There are also three stories in the sub category "A Day with Degas" that bears repeated reading.

I tried to search other World Famous museums like The Louvre, The Tate Modern and Museo del Prado but have not been able to access anything similar just yet. The British Museum had a Young Explorers Page with some fascinating facts and games. I will most definitely have a follow-up post if I do find anything more.

Meanwhile, I did find a few very interesting games from The Getty Museum in L.A. Check out The Getty in conjunction with Whyville, an appealing site on its own or some other fun GettyGames.

One more site I came across on was SFS Kids , a website where children can familiarize themselves with the instruments of the orchestra, learn how to read notes, or create a tune in the "Music lab with the Composerizer". Sounds like fun huh?

I sure know what my girls will be doing over the Easter Break during their allotted computer time!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Kitchen , My Vision

As I have mentioned , we are in the process of building a new home and we have about eight weeks to go until we need to vacate our current premises- so this is crunch time !
Many friends have been asking me to post pictures of of our house at its current stage. I have hesitated because I felt that if they saw it, they would not see past the chaos and mayhem that is characteristic of a work in progress. Without a clear vision of what we are trying to create, it's very hard to see beyond the dust and dirt, the unpainted walls and unfinished carpentry. Any pictures posted of the house up until this point would have utterly disappointed and underwhelmed. However, I think we have reached the stage wherein if given enough explanation and detailed description, one could easily visualize what we are trying to achieve.

Of the rooms in the house, the kitchen has been my baby since the moment we broke ground so I think this should be a fun place to start our tour. This room will ultimately define how we live and its design will be reflective of the mood of our home. But before I show you the actual pictures of the house, let me share with you the images that have inspired us.

This photo above is a kitchen by one of my favourite interior designers Ilse Crawford .The grey cabinets, the polished white marble countertops and back splash, the gold hardware,(the wheel of what appears to be parmigiano reggiano!)= pure perfection in my book. It achieves that delicate balance of traditional and modern. It remains elegant and refined while still being cozy and inviting. Although our interpretation of this design is not literal, the ambience that we wish to recreate is exact. Old world glam with modern nuances.

My search for the "ultimate "kitchen began as most searches often do, on the internet. I googled, took notes, landed on one site after another. I googled again.I chanced upon a website of Christopher Peacock , who at the time was an exclusive and predominantly east coast based kitchen cabinetry firm. Since then , his fame has reached international proportions, a buyout and then a buy back not withstanding .

Like many who had discovered his work before me, I fell in love.

Willow Decor chronicles her quest to discover and decipher everything Christopher Peacock, here, here, here and even here. Lucky for me and anyone else out there who is desperate to recreate a similar kitchen,this comprehensive and well thought out primer was an essential tool that I referred to over and over again.

Why the obsession you may ask? Well to begin with, the level of his craftsmanship is sublime. In a time where we can find some of the finest prefabricated kitchens, Christopher Peacock's work reminds us to appreciate the art of things that are handmade and custom , crafted by talented artists . His look is what I call artisanal yet organically modern.

Another influence that helped us shape the overall design direction for our kitchen, was The Beaux Arts collection by Siematic, I really love how they incorporated stainless steel in the cabinetry. Usually we see this material only introduced in more traditional kitchens by way of heavy appliances. Utilizing the stainless steel in a matte finish for drawers as seen in the kitchen below was pivotal in turning an otherwise country looking kitchen into something with a more urban and contemporary feel.

We contemplated purchasing this kitchen in its entirety, however, my heart was really set on something characteristic of a truly bespoke kitchen. So the search continued.

Of course any pursuit for the ultimate kitchen would have to include some research on those of the woman who practically coined the phrase, domestic goddess, Martha Stewart.

Above is Martha's main kitchen at her former residence, Turkey Hill in Westport , Connecticut. I think I prefer it to her new one at Cantitoe in Katonah, New York. shown here. And I'm sure you all notice the resemblance to Ilse Crawford's picture of perfection at the beginning of this post. Does anything say "gourmet kitchen" more than a row of hanging copper pots?

Another image below, this time from the set at the Martha Show, I love the clean lines of the drawer and cabinet faces, very traditional yet updated and fresh. Again , the copper pots to authenticate the look!

After reviewing these photos and hundreds more I didn't include in this post, I started to define the detail for our kitchen. First, I knew that the cabinets and drawer faces must were to be hand made and hand painted, not prefabricated.

Next they had to have very clean lines with minimum ornamentation like the ones below, again from Christopher Peacock.

Hardware would also be updated classic pulls in brushed nickel. And wherever possible, I would want to have solid wood drawers on state of the art gliders with the soft close feature.

Then came the decision of color. For a very long time I thought my kitchen would be white. I adore white kitchens, and black kitchens for that matter. But in the end, I decided on neither of the two. I followed in the footsteps of Ilse and Martha.

Our cabinets will be painted in the subtle neutral shade , Worldly Gray by Sherwin Williams, similar but not exact to the cabinets above.

We also decided to introduce stainless steel into the mix by way of a row of drawers and the appliances to impact our traditionally designed kitchen. The photo below is just breathtaking, love it!

A farmhouse kitchen sink would be essential in the organically modern design we craved, as would an updated classic for the faucet

Oh and polished white italian marble was one of my uncompromising positions despite protests and advice against it. In fact, I wrapped my entire kitchen with it!

After all those decisions, I was still desperate to use black after reviewing numerous photos of some of the most glamourous kitchens . And through a stroke of genius by my brilliant decorator, we finally decided to incorporate the color into my butler's pantry. The result of the black cabinetry against the white marble countertop and back splash is something so sophisticated, classic yet edgy .

Afterall, I needed a black background somewhere , because like Kelly Wearstler, I always wear a gown to put away my limoges!

A few more photos.

It appears Gwyneth is a fan of black too. Below her kitchen in the Hamptons.

Another image from House Beautiful, my decor porn of choice these days.

Windsor Smith is a fan too!

So this is where we began.

Next up, where we are now!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

What I'm reading now

I love Sundays.
Bookstore. Lunch. Pasta for lunch at that! Another bookstore.
Literature and carbs, who could ask for more!

My only purchase being the next read for my book club but I easily could have picked up a few more titles. As I put down the four other novels that piqued my interest , I vowed that I will first finish the evergrowing stack of books by my bedside before I even entertain the thought of purchasing another ! Every single one of them a good read, mind you.

My backlog with my posts reveals the same story. One day I'll get my act together. Meanwhile here are the good reads I will finish cover to cover before Easter.

Yes, you read that right, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society . A mouthful of a title that to be honest, put me a bit off originally, but turned out to be an intelligent, touching story. The book is a series of letters written between different characters and is set in post WW II England. Just a fewpages more to go!

The authors of Nurture Shock have published some very interesting articles in New York Magazine in recent years. My friend touts this as "her best parenting read of 2009". I think this compendium of essays will be a fruitful and stimulating read.

This tell all novel by Michael Gross is most engrossing. 740 Park is the tale of one of the most affluent and sought after New York City addresses. Once the home of John D. Rockefeller and built by Jaqueline Kennedy Onasis' grandfather, James T. Lee, it has been residence to many of the past century's wealthy and famous personalities. including , Henry Kravis and Carolyne Roehm, Saul Steinberg, Ronald Lauder and Vera Wang. It reads like a soap opera. Extremely entertaining.

Michael Gross' follow up novel to 740 Park, Rogues Gallery is again an unauthorized tale of America's wealth and power and the personalities behind it all. This time Gross focuses on the social history behind The Metropolitan Museum of Art and is ripe with gossip about some of NYC's most moneyed families, the Morgans, the Vanderbilts and the Rockefellers. Throw in some tidbits of tittle-tattle on Brooke Astor and Annette de la Renta, and it makes for a juicy summer read. That being said, Rogues Gallery provides much insight into one of the country's beloved and cherished cultural institutions.

So that's what I'm reading now. What's on your bookshelf. Drop me a note, I would love to hear from you.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Art on My Mind

I've had art on the brain lately.

As evidenced by my recent post, Art Books for Children, an appreciation for the visual arts is something that I have tried to cultivate in my girls since they were toddlers. It is something that I enjoy and would love to be able to share this interest with them through the years.

During the month of February I received invitation after invitation to various art exhibits around the metropolis. It is very encouraging that the apparent pervasive interest in the local contemporary art scene continues to captivate and engage. Over the weekend, I had the chance to take the children for a thoroughly enjoyable stroll through Art in the Park at Salcedo Village. Distinct and impressive works of art to be had below Php 20,000 ( approximately USD$450), what a concept?!

But what I am most excited about right now is the much anticipated occasion when premier art collector Paulino Que once again opens to the public selections from of his vast art collection through a retrospective, Meaning to be Modern Philippine Paintings 1907-1959 . As a follow up to his much lauded, exhibit in 2009 , Figuring The Times PhilippinePaintings 1996-2009 , Mr. Que, through his discriminating eye and exceptionally intense awareness guides us through his own visual narrative of Philippine modern art through a selection of his collected works with a kaleidoscopic range of artists .

The opening of this exhibit (by invitation only) is on Friday, 5 March at Finale Art File and will be open for three weeks after that to the general public. Despite his splendid modesty, Mr. Que, who is private by inclination, eagerly shares the intellectual and emotional pleasure that propels him to collect, and we are very fortunate for that!

If you are a resident of Metro Manila or plan on visiting sometime soon, I urge you not to miss this unique opportunity!

And just another quick recommendation , for those of you who still cannot get enough of art related activities , try to find a way to watch this controversial documentary , The Art of the Steal.