Monday, May 22, 2017

Kips Bay Decorator's Showhouse 2017 - 2nd Floor

Happy Monday to all!  Anyone else counting down the days til Memorial Day Weekend?  I am heading out east Friday and can't wait to be on the beach.  This summer I am part of a share house in East Hampton with 6 other girlfriends.  We'll be spending our weekends out there from Memorial Day through July 4th.  It's such a nice escape from the craziness of the city!  I bought this, this, and this in preparation for pool lounging.    Anyways- back to city life!  Today I am excited to share the 2nd floor of this year's Kips Bay Decorator Show House.   The Show House is located here in New York at 125 East 65th Street and is open through next Thursday, June 1.  Tickets to view the show house are $40, and the ticket proceeds benefit the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club.  If you haven't visited yet, go go go!

The two-story grand staircase and landing on the second floor is designed by Jonathan Savage.  The beautiful wallcovering looks like wallpaper, but it's actually hand-applied with plaster motifs!  When you view the wallpaper up close, you can see how intricate the designs are.  It's a show-stopper:

This small seating area at the top of the stairs leads to Kirsten Kelli's drawing room.  I love the corded lampshade by the sofa- it's such a divine detail!

The drawing room just to your left of Savage's seating nook is designed by the dynamic duo Kirsten Kelli.  Personally, this room was my absolute favorite in the entire house.  The space included bold, saturated colors throughout and the proportions were perfect.  Plus, the ART!  It was to die for.  Here's a view of the left side of the room:

A purple velvet sofa by De Angelis, LTD sits next to a coffee table that is an edition of Yves Klein's Table Bleu.  Gilded logs rest against the fireplace while a flirty Lichtenstein hangs above the mantle.  The wallpaper is a wood veneer pattern from Phillip Jeffries

The right side of the room opens to another inviting seating arrangement with bold artwork and fun patterns:

Corinne Bizzle's abstract blue painting hangs about the sofa, while the diamond piece is by Kurt Pio:

This corner of the room displays artwork from Ellsworth Kelly and Damien Hirst (and I have wanted that Mario Testino coffee table book forever):

Across the hall from Kirsten Kelli's drawing room is Ken Fulk's Madame's Magical Menagerie:

Ken Falk designed his room around a fictitious client, "Madame F."  The setting of the space is a magical dinner party inside Madame's Upper East Dining Room.  Outside, Madame's garden is secretly filled with wayward zoo animals (hence, her "Menagerie").  The animals are depicted within the de Gournay wallpaper that surrounds Ken's room.  Each table is set with extraordinary florals, the finest Hermes china, and custom embroidered napkins:

A peek in to Madame's closet with endless shelves of dishware and serveware:

Dying to see more of the house this instant?  Click here to see my tour of the 4th floor, and here to see my tour of the 3rd floor.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sam Loves: 22

Yesterday it hit the 90s in New York and today it looks like more of the same!  Nothing puts me in a better mood than sunshine and warm weather.  Why did I live Texas, again?  Oh yeah... because now I live 10 minutes from the steps of the Met.  #tradeoffs. For my 22nd edition of "Sam Loves", I'm sharing all kinds of happy, vibrant touches...

Sam Loves: 22 (Top to Bottom, Left to Right)

Ever since I discovered Mark Shaw's photographs at Liz O'Brien in New York, I've been set on purchasing one.  I love his "Fabiani Bag Dress Outside Harry's Bar" from 1957.

Get the Annie Costello Brown look for less with these Fringed Spoon Drop Earrings from Anthropologie (these are cute too!)

I really can't say enough good things about this product.  I'm smitten.

This Dawn Wolfe piece reminds me of a Damien Hirst. 

Loeffer Randall's latest shoe releases are killing. it. This strappy pair is the perfect heel height and these feel like the perfect 70s throwback.  And how great is this?!

How to Be a Party Girl - in case you've always wondered.

Love the carefree vibe of Blair's look in her Cartagena, Columbia outfit post - similar dress here, similar handbag here.  And who can braid my hair like that?!

Nordstrom has some casual dresses under $30 right now-  love this, this, and this. It'd leave room to splurge on a cute $98 beach bag.



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Free Books Up for Grabs

I've read so many good books over the past year and I don't want to keep them to myself!  It pains me to think of them sitting under my bed collecting dust.  I'd love to pass on the following books to whomever would like them.  I just ask that you Venmo me the USPS shipping cost and I'll get them out your way!  First come, first served.  Just email me at sam (dot) e (dot) penner (at) gmail (dot) com.  Cool?

1.) Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Book Description from Amazon:

Erik Larson—author of #1 bestseller In the Garden of Beasts—intertwines the true tale of the 1893 World's Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Erik Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.

2.) Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen 

Book Description from Amazon:

In this irresistible memoir, Anna Quindlen writes about a woman’s life, from childhood memories to manic motherhood to middle age, using the events of her life to illuminate ours. Considering—and celebrating—everything from marriage, girlfriends, our mothers, parenting, faith, loss, to all the stuff in our closets, and more, Quindlen says for us here what we may wish we could have said ourselves. As she did in her beloved New York Times columns, and in A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Quindlen uses her past, present, and future to explore what matters most to women at different ages. Quindlen talks about
Marriage: “A safety net of small white lies can be the bedrock of a successful marriage. You wouldn’t believe how cheaply I can do a kitchen renovation.”
Girlfriends: “Ask any woman how she makes it through the day, and she may mention her calendar, her to-do lists, her babysitter. But if you push her on how she really makes it through her day, she will mention her girlfriends. ”
Our bodies: “I’ve finally recognized my body for what it is: a personality-delivery system, designed expressly to carry my character from place to place, now and in the years to come.”
Parenting: “Being a parent is not transactional. We do not get what we give. It is the ultimate pay-it-forward endeavor: We are good parents not so they will be loving enough to stay with us but so they will be strong enough to leave us.”
Candid, funny, and moving, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake is filled with the sharp insights and revealing observations that have long confirmed Quindlen’s status as America’s laureate of real life.

3.)  Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow 

Book Description from Amazon:

In the first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades, Ron Chernow tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America. According to historian Joseph Ellis, Alexander Hamilton is “a robust full-length portrait, in my view the best ever written, of the most brilliant, charismatic and dangerous founder of them all.”

Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated or more grossly misunderstood than Alexander Hamilton. Chernow’s biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today’s America is the result of Hamilton’s countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. “To repudiate his legacy,” Chernow writes, “is, in many ways, to repudiate the modern world.” Chernow here recounts Hamilton’s turbulent life: an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, he came out of nowhere to take America by storm, rising to become George Washington’s aide-de-camp in the Continental Army, coauthoring The Federalist Papers, founding the Bank of New York, leading the Federalist Party, and becoming the first Treasury Secretary of the United States.Historians have long told the story of America’s birth as the triumph of Jefferson’s democratic ideals over the aristocratic intentions of Hamilton. Chernow presents an entirely different man, whose legendary ambitions were motivated not merely by self-interest but by passionate patriotism and a stubborn will to build the foundations of American prosperity and power. His is a Hamilton far more human than we’ve encountered before—from his shame about his birth to his fiery aspirations, from his intimate relationships with childhood friends to his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Monroe, and Burr, and from his highly public affair with Maria Reynolds to his loving marriage to his loyal wife Eliza. And never before has there been a more vivid account of Hamilton’s famous and mysterious death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July of 1804.

Chernow’s biography is not just a portrait of Hamilton, but the story of America’s birth seen through its most central figure. At a critical time to look back to our roots, Alexander Hamilton will remind readers of the purpose of our institutions and our heritage as Americans.

4.) You'll Grow out of It by Jessi Klein

Book Description from Amazon:

As both a tomboy and a late bloomer, comedian Jessi Klein grew up feeling more like an outsider than a participant in the rites of modern femininity.

In YOU'LL GROW OUT OF IT, Klein offers-through an incisive collection of real-life stories-a relentlessly funny yet poignant take on a variety of topics she has experienced along her strange journey to womanhood and beyond. These include her "transformation from Pippi Longstocking-esque tomboy to are-you-a-lesbian-or-what tom man," attempting to find watchable porn, and identifying the difference between being called "ma'am" and "miss" ("Miss sounds like you weigh ninety-nine pounds").

Raw, relatable, and consistently hilarious, YOU'LL GROW OUT OF IT is a one-of-a-kind book by a singular and irresistible comic voice.

5.)  Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

Book Description from Amazon:

In illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world.
Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she’s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant life—but it is also so much more. 

Lab Girl
 is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s remarkable stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom’s labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done “with both the heart and the hands”; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work.

Yet at the core of this book is the story of a relationship Jahren forged with a brilliant, wounded man named Bill, who becomes her lab partner and best friend. Their sometimes rogue adventures in science take them from the Midwest across the United States and back again, over the Atlantic to the ever-light skies of the North Pole and to tropical Hawaii, where she and her lab currently make their home. 

Jahren’s probing look at plants, her astonishing tenacity of spirit, and her acute insights on nature enliven every page of this extraordinary book. Lab Girl opens your eyes to the beautiful, sophisticated mechanisms within every leaf, blade of grass, and flower petal. Here is an eloquent demonstration of what can happen when you find the stamina, passion, and sense of sacrifice needed to make a life out of what you truly love, as you discover along the way the person you were meant to be.

6.) #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso  

Book Description from Amazon:

The first thing Sophia Amoruso sold online wasn't fashion - it was a stolen book. She spent her teens hitchhiking, committing petty theft, and dumpster diving. By age twenty-two, she had resigned herself to employment, but was still broke, directionless, and checking IDs in the lobby of an art school--a job she'd taken for the health insurance. It was in that lobby that Sophia decided to start selling vintage clothes on eBay. Flash forward eight years to today, and she's the Founder, CEO and Creative Director of Nasty Gal, a $100+ million online fashion retailer with over 350 employees. Sophia's never been a typical CEO, or a typical anything, and she's written #GIRLBOSS for girls like her: outsiders (and insiders) seeking a unique path to success, evenwhen that path is windy as all hell and lined with naysayers.

Lastly, here are the titles of a few others I'm not selling because they are TOO GOOD and I can't part with them- but I highly recommend you buy them for your own personal collection:

Email me (email at top of post) if you'd like one of these books!



Monday, May 15, 2017

Currently Coveting: Chartreuse

Spring has me feelin' some type of way, and I'm literally counting down the days to Hamptons beach weather here in New York.   I've been on a bright, poppy color kick and a few designer windows from this year's LCDQ Legends event have me feeling inspired by chartreuse.  One of the big events in the US design community, La Cienega Design Quarter's ("LCDQ") Legends event each spring is a 3-day celebration that brings together some of the country's most sought-after designers, bloggers, and tastemakers to discuss and celebrate the state of the industry and where design is headed.   One key component of the event is the LCDQ windows.  Galleries, showrooms, and decor shops that are part of the LCDQ community partner with a designer who transforms their store window for the event.  This year, my favorites were Betsy Burnham's window at Serena & Lily (you can see it below in my moodboard) and Nick Olsen's window at Harbinger:

Chartreuse got it's name after a French liquor called "green chartreuse" was introduced in 1764.  The liqueur resembles a mix of yellow and green:

It's such a mood-brightening color, and I love seeing it in interiors:

The headboard of Lindsay Coral Harper's Upper East Side bedroom is a lovely silk chartreuse:

Kelly Wearstler designed Bergdorf Goodman's restaurant with lush lime-y chartreuse leather chairs.  This spot is one of my favorites (I celebrated my big 2-8 here the year before last!)

These chartreuse lamps in Amanda Nisbet's living room were a family heirloom passed down from her parents- and their divine:

Here's my mood board of all my favorite fabulous chartreuse things- including a photo of the Betsy Burnham LCDQ window that I love so much:

Currently Coveting (Top to Bottom, Left to Right):

Looped Lucite Clip-On Earrings, $48

Provenza Schüler Perforated Leather Bucket Bag, $573

Melissa Chandelier by Stray Dog Designs, $950

Loving the floral dress + white sunnies Emili Sindlev is sporting here.

Cynthia Rowley Scalloped Bikini, $120

Have a great week!



Thursday, May 11, 2017


{Just Cavalli Runway}

Wisteria Disappearing Coffee Table (recently marked down!):

Guanaco Clear Panel Ballerina Flats:

"I think we need stories... and we need to tell the stories over and over and over not only to remind us, but also to be able to have that clarity of experience that changes us- so that we know who we are now because of who we have been at some other time." - Colum McCann

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Kips Bay Decorator's Showhouse 2017 - 3rd Floor

Happy Tuesday!  Did you guys have a good weekend?  Today I am thrilled to share another tour of the Kips Bay Decorator's Showhouse, located at 125 East 65th Street here in New York.  The showhouse is open to the public through June 1st, and proceeds from the ticket sales benefit the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club.  If you're in New York, you must see it.  The sheer size of the townhouse alone is worth the $40 ticket (it's 10,600 square feet and on the market for a cool 26.8 million).  But the extravagance and beauty each designer poured in to the rooms is what I find truly remarkable.  Last week I shared images from the top floor, and today we'll move down to the 3rd floor, featuring Susan Ferrier of McAlpine's moody master bedroom,  Scarpidis Design's black marble bathroom, and Robert Stilin's art-filled sitting room.   When you climb the stairs to the 3rd floor of the home, immediately on your left is a large open living space filled to the brim with artwork, collectibles, and punchy seating created by Robert Stilin:

{Image via the Well Appointed House}

Robert designed this room with a well-traveled, savvy client in mind.  While most designers covered their walls in either a decorative wallpaper or bold paint color, he left the walls in a white Venetian plaster so that the art could do the talking.  His PR agent told me that Robert wanted the space to feel relaxed and comfortable, so there are several casual seating arrangements throughout the wide room. Ironically, I sat down in Robert's room during the Kips Bay press night for one second- before quickly catching the glance of a docent that reminded me sitting down is strongly frowned upon within the showhouse.  Oops!

I loved this cheeky piece by Maynard Monroe:

A sunny view of the right side of the room, including a marble fireplace and a Georgian chandelier modified by Eve Kaplan:

Built-in shelving on the wall you enter the room from hold design books, interesting sculptures, and smaller works of art:

Situated directly across from Robert's living room is Susan Ferrier's master bedroom that she calls "Moonlight in the Forest."  Susan is an Atlanta-based partner of the design firm McAlpine and explained that her room honors the warmth of the earth and the secrets it holds.  McAlpine's website explains:  

"Archeological artifacts, and textures inspired by them, excite the eye while calming layers of drapery in deep green wool and silk velvet envelop the room. Sensual without being overly feminine, the room includes natural, dry textures such as fossil and wood, as well as luxurious surfaces like hide, lacquer, brass and polished stone."

Susan decorated the windows with a chic Holland & Sherry rich green wool and added an embroidered trim on the leading edge of each panel:

Nestled between the bedroom and sitting room is Scarpidis' dreamy black marble bathroom:

Principal of Scarpidis Design, Yorgos Scarpidis, was at the residence when I visited and spoke with a few of us about his bathroom.  He created the tub on the left with the spout in the middle, so that two people could enjoy the tub sitting at each end across from each other.  While it appears to just be a soaking tub, the space is also equipped with two shower rain heads above, which you can see in the image below.  Yorgos added in a retractable shower screen that comes down from the ceiling above and would enclose the space so that water couldn't escape in to the rest of the bathroom.  The black marble from the bath enclosure continues on the cantilevered sink counter.  Chic drawers built underneath the counter sit flush, while a fuzzy stool next to the bath provides a soft juxtaposition to the cool marble:

To read more about the Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse, go here.

To view my tour of the 4th floor, go here.



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