One of our favorite Huntley & Co. projects this year was for a young couple who hired us to design and renovate their newly purchased townhouse in the West End neighborhood of Washington. Much to our delight, the duo brought a combination of sophistication and excitement to the endeavor. Translating that into a concept and then into a finished product was a multi-step process — and worth every minute.
* * *
| THE CONCEPT |
Our clients inspired a decidedly cosmopolitan aesthetic. Accordingly, we imagined an eclectic mix of vintage and antique furnishings, unexpected stone and tile, and layers of complex colors and tones. As shown below, the mood board we created conveyed our idea of an elevated yet spirited home – a true classic that’s never boring.
Selected photos clockwise from top left: Cartier Tank watch via Goop; Timothy Corrigan vignette; a crisp Madrid living room by Isabel Lopez-Quesada; a bedroom from Architectural Digest; a corner of Sandra Nunnerley’s home featuring “Diamond” artwork by Kenneth Noland; an austere and elegant marble bathroom.
| HOW WE GOT THERE |
The start of a project is full of excitement and potential. Before diving into design, we take time to fully understand both the space and the client. On the technical side, we site measure the building and generate CAD drawings for study and revision. On the conceptual side, we issue a questionnaire and cull images related to our clients’ answers. The questions range from pedestrian to abstract and are intended to give us practical information as well as insight into their lifestyle and aesthetic.
// Question & Answer
A two page questionnaire sheds light on what’s important.
The client questionnaire is a key part of our initial survey and analysis.
// Pulling Together a Visual Story
We pull images that reference our clients’ feedback … and they share photos as well.
TRAVEL // From a honeymoon spot to favorites in Paris and NYC, these hotels topped our client’s list. L to R: Royal Mansour Marrakesh; George V in Paris; The NoMad Hotel in NYC.
FILM // Playful, witty and adventurous. L to R: Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; Amélie; The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
MUSIC // Eclectic and soulful music that bridges time and genres including the Hamilton soundtrack and Carla Bruni’s album, Quelqu’un m’a dit.
FASHION // Classic, all-American cool c/o Vince, J. Crew and Celine.
INTERIORS // Rich and sleek. Warm and bright. Tailored and organic. L to R: Interior by Joseph Dirand includes works by Anish Kapoor, Pierre Jeanneret and Paavo Tynell; Patricia Urquiola collection for Georg Jensen; a sculptural Alvar Aalto chair; master suite cabinetry seen on Pinterest.
* * *
We love the conceptual stage of a project. Engaging in a thorough deep dive to excavate both the practical and the magical is the difference between a good project and a great one. Stay tuned for our next post where we transition into design development and project management — when we make the concept a reality.
xo, Huntley & Co.
Sharks are certainly newsworthy these days. Shark Week is in full swing on Discovery, JAWS just celebrated the 40th anniversary of its release, and on a less inviting note, Carcharhinus have made the Outer Banks their summer vacation destination. Yikes!
Surprising as it may seem, I am loving every minute of it. Despite my lifelong fear of sharks, I am obsessed with the movie Jaws. I admit this seems a bit odd for a land lover, professional aesthete and enthusiast of all things cute and fuzzy. First, I love a good thriller. Second, the cast is perfection. Third, the cinematography (Spielberg, of course) is inventive yet convincing. And fourth, the dialog makes it one of the most quotable films of all time. Yes, I could go on and on. As a creative person, I believe a piece of art is worth celebrating, regardless of the medium or subject. So without further ado, here’s to the most fascinating and freakin’ scariest fish in the sea.
Rihanna, Bruce (aka Jaws) and Harper’s Bazaar magazine. Has their ever been a better magazine cover?!
Quint, Brody and Hooper (Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss respectively). Arguably the best ensemble on film.
clockwise from top left: (1) electron microphoto of sharkskin, (2) Peter Benchley’s book cover, (3) a shark tattoo, (4) Givenchy’s shark tooth bracelet and (5) Miles Teller in a sharkskin suit.
clockwise from top left: (1) shark belly button ring, (2) Givenchy Antigona sharksin-effect bag, (3) marble Squalo Sharkfin doorstops by James Irvine and (4) a 5th century Etruscan amulet with shark’s tooth.
clockwise from top left: (1) Sharkie Heels from TaylorSays – so crazy I almost want a pair, (2) Sharkskin paint by Benjamin Moore, (3) the incredibly sexy Chevy Mako Shark II and (4) the perfect cupcakes for a Jaws-themed party.
clockwise from top left: (1) Ruhlmann amboyna wood desk with sharkskin inlay, (2) Sharkfin pie – yes please, (3) SunSwimPlay grey Sharkie hat for baby and (4) sharkfin cookie molds/cutters.
Links to these and other shark-themed items as well as JAWS film stills and movie quotes can be found on the Shark! Pinterest board.
Breaking Bread, Breaking News, Breaking Ground, Breaking Bad.
Breakthrough, Breakup, Breakdown, Breakaway.
Tough Break, Flat Broke, Broken Hearted, Goin’ for Broke.
I thought I would have a little fun exploring all the ways we use the word “break” and its derivatives in our daily speak. This because I took a bit of a spill and broke my arm two weeks ago. I was mountain biking in Virginia and had a pretty nasty wreck – flying over the handlebars of a bike was never on my bucket list. However, what I clearly lacked in skills, I made up for in fortitude. I’m proud to say I finished the ride and made it all the way down the mountain, break and all. I’ve hung up my helmet for now (and possibly forever) to refocus my attention on safer and surer things. However, in honor of my epic tumble, I’ve decided to find the beauty in broken.
Sea Breeze light sculpture, Deborah Thomas 2013 | still from The Sixth Sense
a geode split open reveals the magic inside | broken boulders in New Zealand
abandoned villa by Eva van Oosten | modern faceted mirror | glamorous rubble by Esther Watson
Pompeiian wall crumbling in 2014 | a Greek wedding tradition
“When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by
filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered
damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful.” Billie Mobayed
I’m participating in a showhouse (yes, another one!) later this month, in New York. This particular event, the “Holiday House” benefits the Breast Cancer Foundation founded by Evelyn Lauder and is held at the Academy Mansion – an incredible upper east side property that left me speechless upon my first visit. Auspicious location? Check. Worthy charity? Check. Client? Hmm, not so much. As with all showhouses, that particular detail is missing. And with no real client, that means I have to invent one so that I have a jumping off point for my design and a concept to fall back on when I’m flooded with options. Keeping in mind the grandeur of the spaces and the impetus for the event, it seemed a strong-willed, yet feminine muse fit the persona of my would-be client. And who fits that description better than the legend herself, Marie Antoinette; the original “hostess with the mostest” with the backdrop to match. Our room will become a lounge space complete with sofas, dining area and bar, so our modern-day M.A. can wine and dine her patrons and groupies in style. We begin the installation next week, so here’s a sneak peek at some of the inspiration behind the upcoming transformation.
HOLIDAY HOUSE 2012
October 25 – November 18
2 East 63rd Street, NYC
I made a long overdue trip to the nail salon this weekend for a mani/pedi. And while scanning the assortment of possible nail colors from which to choose, I stumbled upon a stunning shade of peacock blue. It’s one of my favorite colors in general – rich, complex, almost regal – so the thought of it on my fingertips was titillating. Sure enough, I love it. Not only do I think the shade of blue is absolutely stunning, but in a strange way, I think it complements my skin tone. It’s funny then that some of the conservative loved ones in my life don’t share my enthusiasm. Don’t they see what I see? What’s not to like? Some people think pretty is synonymous with conventional. But I think some of the prettiest things are those that are actually unconventional. I’m not talking about anything bizarre or distasteful. I mean looking beyond labels and stereotypes and thinking about what makes something beautiful … the confidence with which a man carries himself, the complex ideas behind an abstract painting, the texture of an unusual plant. Of course, what’s stunning will always catch our eye, but sometimes beauty and substance wear an unexpected guise.
My peacock blue manicure.
A study for “Woman Pulling Up Her Stocking” and “Salon in the Rue Des Moulins”.
Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec found inspiration in bars and brothels. Unseemly venues perhaps, but the artist found warmth and vivid color in these unlikely spectacles.
Felicity Brown’s 2010 collection was inspired by Toulouse-Lautrec’s work.
Tilda Swinton is a chameleon on and off-screen. She can look ethereal, severe or aristocratic.
Some people don’t like modern art or furniture. It’s hard to understand with gorgeous, sculptural shapes likes these.
Who needs gold or diamonds? Dahlia Kloss’ necklace is a showstopper without precious metals or stones.
Although two of the world’s deadliest snakes, the Rosy Boa and Malayan Coral Snake are also two of the most beautiful.
John Hawkes, Mick Jagger & Adrian Brody.
The talent and swagger of these men makes their unconventional looks incredibly sexy.
I am fortunate – especially this time of year – to have the two words above feature prominently in
my life. But it wasn’t always the case. I know how lackluster single life can be regardless of how
much one relishes his or her freedom. Love and happiness do, no doubt, go hand in hand. But that
doesn’t mean you can’t imbue your reality with some of the magic of romance sans sig-other. It comes
down to simple things like finding beauty and stirring the senses. As a designer, I do this for a living,
so I found alternate avenues to joy when I was on my own. Below are some options for all the
fabulous “independents” out there. Neither a significant amount of funds nor effort are required.
Love when it comes to you, but live well in the meantime.
– SEE –
Whistler’s Peacock Room at the Freer Gallery of Art.
“I am Love” featuring Tilda Swinton and the backdrop of Milan and the Villa Necchi Campiglio.
photo courtesy of Mikado Film/Magnolia Pictures
– HEAR –
Jazz at the Kennedy Center. Toots Thielemans & Kenny Werner play April 2.
photo courtesy of Eddy Westveer
Before she was the first lady of France and after she was a supermodel, Carla Bruni
released an album called Quelqu’un M’a Dit on which she sings and plays guitar.
The music is sweet but throaty – whispery and detached romanticism.
– TASTE –
No prep required, but the perfect indulgent meal.
Charcuterie, truffle cheese, a baguette, fruit and a bar of Swiss chocolate.
– TOUCH –
A massage may be the only acceptable substitute for you-know-what. I’m headed to
the Lorien Spa in Old Town Alexandra with one of my best girlfriends in a few weeks.
Or bundle yourself in one of may favorite textiles – alpaca.
I received the dreamiest wrap from Villa de Alpacas for Christmas.
– SMELL –
Luxe Custom Perfume Creation is the perfect “I’m treating myself” type of indulgence.
– PS … AND LAUGH! –
Whether or not you are a parent or a dog-lover, I guarantee this video will bring
you an infinite amount of joy when you watch it. Happy Valentine’s Day!
While at Battery Kemble Park this past weekend with Nina, I was reminded why some people love
winter. The sky was clear, the sun was shining and the snow was glistening in the treetops and underfoot.
It really was magical. I later wrote to a friend that it was a perfect day – “warm and sparkly”. Not exactly a
scientific description, but spot-on nonetheless. Although I don’t think I’ve ever used those exact words to describe
a project, I certainly could have. I’ve embraced that concept a few times over the past few years. One renovation
in particular comes to mind. Huntley & Co. redesigned a Pennsylvania Avenue apartment for a client in 2009. The
goal was to create an urban oasis for a chic and independent woman in her early 30s with a love of family, fashion
and fun. We created a feminine yet spirited home pour cette femme who was (and is) warm and sparkly herself.
The space was completely transformed, our client was thrilled and the apartment is still the dreamiest on the block.
The perfect place, in fact, to kick back after a long winter’s day spent at the dog park. Hmmm …
Does someone want a house guest?
Pennsylvania Avenue “Jewel Box” Apartment
Huntley & Co. 2009
Further evidence of my love for all things "warm and sparkly". A gorgeous chunk of
Pyrite I found at a flea market and “All Hail McQueen” polish by Butter London.
I could buy table settings all day long. Especially in glimmering metals like these.
I found these gorgeous wares on scouting trips to Pennsylvania and L.A. respectively.
A little sparkle up top does everyone some good. A fox at Oliver Dunn in Georgetown
wears a diminutive crown while watching the foot traffic outside. And Coco Rocha looks
every bit the queen in one of my all-time favorite Grace Coddington-styled Vogue shoots.
The perfect combination of design elements to create the warm modern look I love – the perpetually dazzling Met
Chandelier as seen at Moss in NYC and a simple firebox with brass surround by Chakib Richani for Elie Saab.
Simple and architectural meets complex and detailed with the common denominators of light, reflectivity and glamour.
Two women who never fail to sparkle on the red carpet. Kate Beckinsale and Jennifer Lopez always have a beautiful,
polished, “glow from within” look about them. It’s in their fashion choices, makeup application, jewelry and glossy hair.
Katie Lee Joel’s mirrored dressing table and accoutrements complement nicely a
Huntley & Co. foyer with luminous silk drapery panel and imported mosaic floor.
What better way to warm up mid-winter than with bubbly cocktails in a chic yet cozy setting.
During the winter months, mon amour and I like to imbibe and nuzzle at Agaiin, Le Chat Noir and
Café Bonaparte. To see the most glamorous cocktail hour ever recorded on film, check out the
Paris Je T’aime spread on vogue.com or watch The September Issue on video.
Be safe, stay warm and sparkle this winter season!
Tricia & Nina
* All professional Huntley & Co. photos by Kevin Allen Photography *
In classic Tricia-style, I injured myself this week and was unable to walk for 36
hours. Seriously, I can't make this stuff up. And while joking with a beloved former
employee about my all too common antics, I proposed incorporating a cane into my look.
"A stick could be part of my 'schtick'." While in jest, the idea actually had some appeal.
I would love to be eccentric and iconic with a look that is utterly unmistakable. I've never
thought of myself that way. Or maybe I've just never had the guts. As a child, I was
considerably quiet and timid (I know some of you find that hard to believe). I didn't really
find my voice until my thirties. Well now that I'm heading toward the big 4-0 and my life
seems to become more frenetic by the day, maybe it's time to embrace a little eccentricity.
It may be just what the doctor ordered. That and aforementioned stick.
– Option 1 –
Would you recognize the famous former Vogue and New York Times
Magazine style editor, Carrie Donovan, without her enormous round
glasses? An easy transformation and fairly noncommittal.
– Option 2 –
I probably don’t have the cajones of the late Isabella Blow, but I do give the girl her props.
I shy away from wearing a fedora. This dynamo was rockin’ entire gardens atop her head!
– Option 3 –
The young Priscilla Presley was undeniably beautiful. However, what made
her an icon – thanks to none other than Elvis himself – was that makeup. She
probably went through a dozen kohl liners a year, but she had the eyes and the
complexion to pull it off. She looked like an exotic Barbie doll and America loved it.
– Option 4 –
Edie Beale’s unusual fashion choices were the consequence of privilege, predicament
and necessity. Born and bred in New York society, little Edie Beale’s early life was storybook.
But a divorce and a delusional, headstrong mother changed her fate and her fashions. With a closet
full of Dior, Givenchy and Hermes, but no heat or running water, her odd ensembles were ingeniously
practical and chic. Not convinced? See John Galliano’s Grey Gardens inspired collection below.
– Option 5 –
There’s only one word to describe Rhianna. Fierce. The girl can and does rock every
hairstyle under the sun. The fun of it is that she usually opts for a look that is as edgy
and fearless as the artist herself. Spiky? Sure. Mohawk? Why not. Purple and white
streaks? Of course! Honestly, I will never, ever wear a mohawk. But I have been
considering dying a few strands of my hair pink. And since October is Breast Cancer
Awareness Month, I have the perfect excuse. Besides, I think that shy, little girl
is finally ready to get a little funky, have a little fun and get her groove on. Yeyah!
Last week – the Oscars. This week – Vanity Fair. Every week deserves a dose
of Mr. Firth. Handsome and elegant with disarming British wit, this talented and
considerate actor is the picture of perfection. As a designer, aesthete and woman
I can’t get enough. After all, a girl cannot live on interiors and fashion alone.
Ladies beware, you too may be crushing on Colin before this post is through.
SOME OF MY FAVORITE FIRTH FILMWORK:
Pride and Prejudice
The English Patient
Shakespeare in Love
Bridget Jones's Diary
Girl with a Pearl Earring
Then She Found Me
A Single Man
I'm not a guy, I'm not a jock and I haven't lived in Minnesota for twenty years.
But I do have three brothers and a father who are die-hard Vikings fans. So despite
the fact that I'm a fashion-loving, bauble-wearing, design-obsessed girlie-girl, I was
truly crushed by Sunday's loss. In honor of my home team and those who love them,
Luxe & Lucid is featuring all things purple this week. Who knew football could be so inspiring?
The power of purple brought to life by artist Mark Rothko.
Emma Watson in Teen Vogue – darling. And check out her ride!
Saipua, a florist in Brooklyn, has the lushest, most incredible arrangements I have ever seen.
I’ve been on a bit of a fragrance kick lately. YSL’s Parisienne has notes of blackberry, rose and sandalwood.
Kelly Wearstler’s new book HUE (I have a signed copy!) and photos of her home office.
I loved Gucci’s 2009 spring/summer ad campaign.
Only girls this gorgeous could rock intense violet eye shadow.
I became fascinated by the work of Josef Albers as a fine arts major in college.
The German artist was a color theorist whose “Homage to the Square”
series illustrated the relationship and interaction of adjacent colors.
Incredible! A pair of amethyst cufflinks from Kimberly Klosterman.
Two rooms by Solis Betancourt – my mentors and professional heroes – both featured in Southern Accents.
This aubergine clutch from Anya Hindmarch is insanely chic.
Louboutin’s signature red heel gives this ladylike lilac pump a little va va voom.
Aerin Lauder’s dining room in Elle Decor showcases the sexy sophistication of purple.
Speaking of glamorous, successful, New York women.
Plum Sykes wearing, well, plum … and violet, raspberry, etc.
A vignette of lilacs, reds and creams in the Virginia living room of a Huntley & Co. client.
And an ottoman upholstered in an orchid-hued moiré in another client’s Pennsylvania Avenue pad.
One of Reese Witherspoon’s best red carpet moments.
Her deep purple ombré Nina Ricci gown was a stunner.
And because I'm always looking for an excuse to Google Colin Firth …
Only a man as handsome as this Oscar-contender could rock a lavender ascot and look dashing.
– Professional Huntley & Co. photos by Kevin Allen Photography –