Scorched Bridges

Want to know what else makes me happy other than the fact that today is Friday? As I was about to step into the shower this morning, Max informed me that I was going to have an even better Saturday. What constitutes a good Saturday? For me, it would be not having to track a shipment every day for a month for a package I’m never going to receive. That is a good Saturday. But I will be totally and completely happy with a facial, shopping for fall, and dining out with friends. And since he suggested the shopping part, I definitely think that means that he’s buying, don’t you?

I also want to put special emphasis on the dinner “out” part because this means no clean-up at home. Last weekend’s dinner party required no fewer than five loads of dishes that had to be cleaned and put away. This task would have been more pleasant had the dinner party taken place on a day the maid actually works. I now know why my mother was so fond of disposable dishes. (But I love all of my dinner guests dearly!) 

What else is happening? Well, it seems like every other Dallas showroom owner and fashion mogul is out of town and has either gotten married or had a birthday or both. I send best wishes to all of them. Okay, let’s be honest, most of them. It has been a long time coming for us folks, being able to get married and all. Too bad it still isn’t legal in the state that we call home.

Speaking of all these wedding and birthdays, I received an e-mail from my ex the other night. There have been several exes, but this one still stands out asthe ex. At first, I was afraid to open it because, well, it was a freaking e-mail from an ex and Pandora was just not into opening that box at that moment. I had just finished dinner and was still enjoying my margarita buzz. But then I read the subject line—“I am so proud of you”—so I decided it couldn’t be all that scary.

Turns out, he had just returned from a birthday party on the east coast where some Dallas folks were also in attendance—some of whom I know. He said he had told them all that I said “hello.” That was nice, especially since I had just seen and “liked” a picture one of them had Intagrammed from that particular party. He wanted to tell me what the response was to my “hello.”

I was breathless with anticipation before reading the next line.

He said what surprised him (and completely shocked me) was the collective response back. He said it was one of genuine fondness, even from the snarky ones. Since I was formerly Miss Bitter 1992, I have a hard time believing it, but I love hearing it just the same.

I started to think back to how I was connected to all those people. We can call it six degrees of Jimbo. One had given my first job in the design industry, which was in the sample department (equivalent to starting in the mailroom) almost 20 years ago. I would like to think I was hired because of my work ethic and a recommendation from a Houston designer, but honestly, I think he hired me because I had blonde surfer hair. Whatever works, right? I had a long and often tumultuous relationship with another party guest. One had rented an apartment to me at a great rate when I needed a place to live. One used to take me to the most glamorous parties as his “plus one” back in the day. Another person there and I used to travel together on summer adventures. Another one remains one of my top (and sweetest) clients to this day. Of course there was one—okay, two—that I do not get along with, and I am not sure why. But we keep it civil because we do have so many friends in common.

So here I was dreading opening up an e-mail from an ex, and after reading it, I ended up having an “aha” moment. For many years I thought I had clawed and chewed my way up the proverbial ladder all on my own, but really I had help in one form or another from all these seemingly random people who were all now celebrating life and love miles and miles away. Granted, they were all celebrating without me. But I am totally okay with that.

Fall in love with Osborne & Little's Cavatino wallcovering

Fall for Osborne & Little’s Cavatino wallcovering

I leave you with this parting shot courtesy of Osborne & Little. I think it is a great transition into fall. This room makes me feel good (just like that random e-mail), and I know for certain those fabrics feel even better. And just as the lines continuously intersect on the lovely Cavatino wall covering, so to do the people in your life—during the course of your entire life. So while it sometimes might be necessary to scorch a bridge or two along the way, make sure you leave it standing so you can cross it again at some point in the future.

Happy Friday.

Fall for Friday

From the overflow of September issues in my mailbox, I can tell fall is almost here. So forget that it will be 100 degrees today, tomorrow, and for the foreseeable future because it’s time to start thinking about all those heavy layers and warm fabrics like wools, cashmeres, and suedes. Are you sweating yet?

I’m not sure which look to go for this fall. Should it be ’60s mod, ’80s mod (not sure I want to revisit that era, although it was a lot of fun), or Dior-clad, hedge-fund mod? I am currently rocking the tri-compartmental osteoarthritis knee-mod look. I can’t begin to tell you how sexy the look is.

After flipping through a few issues that are almost as heavy as Big Ray, it looks like I also need to change up the hair. Just when I was getting used to high and tight on the sides, it’s time to grow it back out. At least that is one thing hair is good at: growing. I wish it would grow more in some places and less in others.

 

Did you read about the lady who eschewed shampoo for years and now says her hair maintains itself. Seriously? Maintains itself? Have you seen my hair when I wake up in the morning? Probably not. Let me describe it for you: It looks like Miley snuck in during the night and did a world tour on my head. But all this woman uses is some diluted baking soda and some apple cider vinegar to wash her hair when needed. I don’t know about you, but for some reason apple cider vinegar just reminds me of those awful smelling perms my mom would get back in the day. Of course, she had to drag me along with her to the Cut and Curl, me being the youngest child and all. And yes, they had electricity and moving vehicles back then. And how were all those trips with her to the “beauty parlor”? It’s called Steel Magnolias.

Since we all will be changing up our wardrobes soon, we will also need to do some changing up at home. I mean, you don’t want your new fall wardrobe to clash with your interiors, do you? I think not. You are the queen or king of your domain, and as such it should also look amazing. But don’t worry, changing up for the season doesn’t mean you have to break the bank, although on my end of the design spectrum, we do prefer if you do a little tapping of that wallet.

Start with some new pillows. Pick pillows in autumnal tones that will also match the flowers and other decorations for the season. Then start switching out some of your accessories. Get some new boxes, bowls, and even some new coffee table books. Whatever you like, just be sure to pull in the colors of the season and from those pillows. I also like to switch out lamps and/ or lamps shades. It is a nice way to bring in even more color, and people will think you have redone the entire room. And don’t forget about a throw or two. A throw is great way to add additional color and texture. And if you want to really switch things up, you could think about doing some slipcovers for sofas, lounge chairs, or even dining chairs. But please make sure they are fitted and not all slumpy in what used to be called “shabby chic.” There is nothing chic about an ill-fitting slipcover. Would you wear a designer dress that wasn’t tailored?

Sneak peek of AW 2014 collections from Designers Guild

Now here is a sneak peek, because by using the words “sneak peek,” I think I can technically get around those press embargoes until the actual launch on September 2. This image is from one of our all-time favorites, Designers Guild. I know I post a lot of their images. Want to know why? Because they do awesome photography. They also create beautiful products.

In our sneak peek, we see the beautiful new Indupala Silks collection. Gorgeous. You can fall in love with it now (see how I slipped “fall” back in?), but like I said, don’t ask for samples until September 2. Okay? Also, don’t tell London you saw this.

Happy Friday!

Olive you too

It’s the first of August. How did that happen? It seems like it was just April. Now it is August, and I have yet to step near or in a pool. I find this almost as strange as The Leftovers. I guess my absence from the pool will make the surgeon general and my mother happy. A couple of weeks ago when we were getting some spa treatments, the lady said to me, “Your skin is so pale. Not like most people here who want color—you know, kind of orange. In my country, pale skin is a status symbol, and people even bleach their skin to make it pale.”

I guess she didn’t know that at my age, you never want to be called “pale” because you’re afraid someone is going to check for a pulse. I prefer the term “fair.” It’s good to know that Styrofoam-white is a hot color somewhere.

 

Since it isn’t 100 degrees outside, I think that calls for a dance party. We should start it as soon as possible. I mean, does anyone really want to work today? I’ll have to sit this dance party out since my knee is still problematic. I now have to get out the car like I am approaching 100 with a severe calcium deficiency. You really never know how much you depend on something until it isn’t working properly. Of course, Max is very concerned—but I think not so much about my knee. He’s worried about what it looks like for him to be seen with someone limping along like the last season of Glee. Nothing screams “young and fresh” like a boot and a cane. But there is one advantage to being married to someone older. (Did I just type that?) You will always be younger. But if you’re married to LiLo, you will always look younger, no matter what.

Now on to design news: Just when you thought you had mastered Radiant Orchid, it is time to start thinking about color trends for 2015. That’s right. It is time to start pinning your new favorite colors. After some exhaustive research (aka: lunch spent at my desk eating a chicken sandwich that was drier that Ruth Bader Ginsburg while searching Google), I have come up with what you are going to be seeing in 2015. Olive, more of a grayish olive—like it has been sitting in your martini for a while—could be the new grey. Considering how much grey is out there now, that may be doubtful. But olive works well with other colors and also looks great with a shot of color. I love to toss in something turquoise with olive. Or even orange or both.

Shades of olive with a shot of tropical glamour from Christian Lacroix for Designers Guild

I remember when I first moved to Dallas and the color of the moment was sage or as I referred to it “dead frog green.” Everything and everybody wanted sage.

Also popular for 2015 will be what some call “Greek blue.” Pretty much any of the richer, deeper tones of blue will be popular, but they kind of always are. Add sheen to the finish, and you are right on track. Colors from the ’60s are also going to be a thing. That is good to know as we used 1960s colors as the basis for Style Bastard two years ago. And 60 would be about the number of subscribers I have after two years. You think having “Bastard” in the name has anything to do with it?

Anyway, along with olive, blue, and orange, expect colors to get slightly muddy. I’ve read that colors from the Renaissance will be popular. I always think of Giotto or Vecchio for color when I think of Renaissance but that is Italian Renaissance, and I think they are thinking more Vermeer.

So that’s what is going on this Friday. Enjoy this cooler weekend. I think we are going to spend a day in Fort Worth and check out some museums (more color inspiration!) and try a new restaurant or two. That will be stomach inspiration. Happy Friday!

It’s getting hot in here

The other night, while watching Master Chef, my eyes got all misty when Gordon Ramsey said, “Your donuts are perfection.” I am not sure what this says about my current mental state. Maybe it was just past my bedtime. I may have also been hungry. I did go in search of something sweet, but there was nothing to be found—even the hidden stash of chocolate was gone. So I did what any normal person would do. I ate some sweet chili potato chips—the entire large bag. Even worse, I ate them in the dark. My thinking: If no one actually sees you eat the chips, no one can prove you ate them. Of course, that strange orange/red color residue on my fingers and lips might have given it away. The next morning, when I was getting dressed, I discovered the pants I wanted to wear had shrunk. But the strange thing is that they had only gotten smaller in the waist. I am sure the two incidents have absolutely nothing to do with one another.

In pop culture news, rumor has it that Justin Bieber has signed on to be the new face, although I am not so sure “face” is the correct term here,  for Calvin Klein pull-ups–I mean, underwear. I am sure Max will be anxiously awaiting the release of that ad.

In design news, word on the street in Los Angeles is some major brands are leaving La Cienega and moving back into the PDC. This is definitely bucking a trend that started after the great recession when lines where moving to the street to try and capture a larger audience, and dare I say, without threat of life or limb-sell retail. I guess designer focused and driven sales are still the way of the world, for now.

And in Dallas news, it’s hot, so stop complaining. It doesn’t help. Know what does? Frozen margaritas or an Aperol Spritz. That or Millionaire-ing it to a cooler climate. I am pretty much here for the rest of summer. That is what happens when your partner’s busy season happens to be during the peak of heat. I did not fully understand this prior to committing to the relationship. But like they say, “If you can’t stand the heat, turn up the freaking AC.” The one thing I can’t get use to is getting in and out of that hot car. When the inside of your car reads 106 degrees, it’s really hard not to sweat continuously. But I try to think of this more like pore cleansing (which could be considered a spa treatment) instead of just sweating through my Trussardi. It’s all about attitude and how you choose to view the situation.

 

Dani leather in use on one really big boat. Image courtesy of Dani Leather

So with that, I am off to learn more about leather. I know, most of you think leather is leather. What more is there to learn about leather? Well, did you know that there are many different grades of leather? Leather for automobiles has different specifications and requirements than the leather used for aircraft or marine purposes. And the leather used for your handbags and shoes is different than the leather on your favorite chairs. There are also like a million different finishes, colors, and textures you can choose from. Is it pure aniline or is it a pull-up? Can I emboss it? Is it waxed or tipped? It is all starting to sound more and more like the menu at the hair salon, so I better go learn some more. But this I do know, our new leather line, Dani, is the tannery so you are going directly to the source that produces beautiful leather for some of the most exclusive luxury brands in the world. And working directly with the tannery means they know what they are doing. It also means lower prices for you, my dear designers. Here is an image of some of their marine-grade leather in use on someone’s fancy yacht. Is it just me or can you also totally see yourself on that banquette just about now?

So with that I am off. I hope you have a fantastic Friday.

Do I know you?

When I woke up this morning, I almost thought I was in another city. What a relief to have a cool breeze in mid-July! And speaking of a cool breeze,I was at dinner last night to catch up with my “cousin”—in town from San Francisco along with other assorted friends and family—and I felt like I was under the actual Polar Vortex because that AC must have been set on the Ice Age setting. Maybe they set it so low to keep the margaritas from melting? It didn’t work on mine. But whatever the reason, you have to eat fast before the cheese gets hard. There’s nothing worse than cold Tex-Mex.

It was fun catching up—even though I was freezing, and I had a hard time hearing. Is it me, or did that sentence just totally sound like something my grandma would say? I think more restaurants should think about acoustics when they are designing the spaces. A table of eight should be able to hear one another. To achieve this, you need soft surfaces to help absorb sound, but I guess when you add tequila to a situation, it’s just going to automatically get louder no matter the surface.

 

As long as we are talking about food, what about that dust up with John Tesar and food critic Leslie Brenner? I don’t know either personally, although I did meet Tesar at Spoon, and I have eaten at Knife. In fact, I think it was the first week it was open. We took our chances at the bar, and it was fun. We even met the people who were seated next to us. They were asking us what some of the menu options meant. They weren’t what my aunt used to call, “city people.” But I was happy to help explain where I could.

Anyway, I thought my meal was good. But if I say I did not enjoy my dessert, will I be banned from the restaurant? If one can be banned for not liking the dessert portion of a meal, then I will be banned from most restaurants worldwide. And that is not a good thing because we eat out a lot.

On the topic of meeting and knowing people, I am confused on the etiquette of how to greet people you have met (or think you have met) as opposed to greeting people you know and don’t know. My brain tells me you should just be pleasant in any of these situations and greet people the same. Let’s take the people who sat next to us at Knife. Did I want to be interrupted mid-bite to explain to someone I didn’t know what I was eating? Probably not, but I wasn’t going to be rude. They were nice people and just enjoying a night out in the big city. I didn’t want to pull a Lea Michelle and act all Streisand on them just because I was interrupted.

Anyway, I experienced a meet-and-greet conundrum at a recent cocktail party. I was talking to someone I know, and then a person who I had been introduced to came walking up with a big smile and open arms. I thought it rather strange to be greeted so enthusiastically by someone I had only met briefly several years ago, but this is Texas and people are friendly. I thought I better go in equally as enthusiastic.

But guess what? That greeting was for the person I was talking to—not me. Awkward!

But instead of rolling with it and being polite, the greeter’s smile quickly became a frown. Even worse, I sensed some definite disdain as they said, “Do I know you?” I began to feel like the new kid in junior high looking for a place to sit in the cafeteria. I replied, “Well, yes we have met before, plus we have been around at many of the same events.” And to put this in perspective for you, there were maybe 20 people at this cocktail party, so obviously we all know a lot of the same folks.

But instead of saying,” I am sorry I don’t remember your name. It is nice to meet you,” the person chose to spin around and walk off. I was just glad we had additional plans and I didn’t have to spend any more time there.

So what twisting road is Jimbo taking us down instead of talking about decorating? Well I guess what I am trying to say is best left to the words of the late Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

So next time you are in an awkward or unfamiliar social situation and you are not sure whether or not to rely on that manners book from 1862, here is a helpful hint: just try being nice. It won’t hurt. (Not for long anyway.) And remember, one day someone could and probably will be asking if they know you for whatever reason, and wouldn’t it be nice if the reply was, “I don’t know him very well, but I did meet him once at a party, and he was really nice.”

Happy Friday!

I hope you are having fun. Now, who are you?

It’s time to get real up in here and give you the lowdown on what has been going on since we last spoke. First, we had my birthday. Yay! Another year older and wiser, but hopefully, I’m still just as fun. I think the fun part might be doubtful but certainly hopeful. I kept it low key with dinner at Kitchen LTO with just Max since we had just finished hosting the annual 4th of July party. More on that in a minute.

I’m going to give my birthday dinner a solid “OK” because it didn’t exactly live up to all the hype. I suggested maybe they should go smoke some of the good stuff and then check the flavor of the risotto. Now dinner last night at another restaurant, Cane Rosso, was an “A-OK” experience, and not because of the food. It was good, but the guy who prepares the pizzas was something else. Max was there, so he can agree. Pretty stunning. So I am going to call this week’s post, “I may have left my heart in San Francisco, but my eyes are definitely on Italy.”

 

New bar stools from Dallas based manufacturer – R. Jones

In design news, I was pleased to announce that the new collection of barstools from R. Jones has arrived. The new collection was designed by Charlie Kane, who makes sure the barstools are equally as attractive from the front as they are in the back, which is how most of us view them anyway. The collection consists of seven designs, which are priced the same for either counter or bar height. I like when things are easy. We also installed some beyond beautiful wall covering from Arena Design. Seeing his designs in a large installation—we are talking 100 yards of hand-printed and colored shagreen goodness—you can really see the artistry behind Rusty’s work. I paired the cool greenness of the wall covering with some new George Smith pieces upholstered in a deep emerald green velvet and some deep purple chairs in a linen by Casamance. It turned out even better than expected, if I do say so myself.

In pop culture news, Jenny McCarthy says she wants her face to move when she is 60. Fascinating news, people, and it’s obviously a slow news week for celebrities behaving badly. Who am I kidding? They are always behaving badly. But 60 is probably a good age for her to think about since that should be about the time all the fillers and Botox she has now will wear off. I’m not being hateful, I promise. I think people should take care of their skin. In fact, I am going in for a silk peel and some refreshers from Dr. Ho this weekend because I did see my face move, and it was in a downward direction. This is not acceptable to me.

Now on to the recap of the annual and now infamous 4th of July party. What we thought was going to be a party of just a few, based on all the last minute cancellations for lake, beach, and trips overseas that caused Max to shake his foot at around 100 rpm, turned out to be a party of many. It was a “whose who” event, as in I was asking, “Who is that? And whose husband do you belong to?” I was just glad everyone was having fun, because that is what the party is about. It’s a chance to see friends you haven’t seen in a while, enjoy some great food (thanks Terry Lynn Crenshaw and crew), and have a drink or two. Oh yeah, and enjoyment of the fireworks is encouraged, but I have yet to get to see them.

There was no real drama, except for the girl passed out in the second-floor bathroom. I mistakenly thought she was the wife of another guest because all I could see from the third-floor landing was the back of a head in the doorway. I called for backup, which also included the husband. It was only after we turned her over that we discovered this was not his wife. Oops! I am going to file that one away with the time I asked a client, “When are you due? It must be a girl because you are carrying her so high.”  She was not pregnant, not amused, and I have never seen her again. Honest mistakes.

So that about wraps up want has been going on in Jimbo land. Don’t forget tonight is Ricardo Paniagua’s retrospective at the Latino Cultural Center. It is a great way to beat the heat and soak up some local culture from a locally based artist. We have several large pieces from Ricardo and love them. Plus, if you go, he will stop messaging me on Facebook. Again, I’m kidding. (I think.) Happy Friday!

Are you superstitious because it’s Friday the 13th?

Are you superstitious because it’s Friday the 13th? I would refer to myself as more cautious than superstitious, a trait I wish I had discovered prior to my first marriage. But just to be safe, I definitely will not be crossing any black cats or stepping on any sidewalk cracks today.

Interiors by Mally Skok

My day started early—like 3:35 a.m. early—which would be about the time that Max decided to begin snoring like he was working on the soundtrack forFast and Loud. I grabbed some earplugs, but I still couldn’t get back to sleep, so I decided to go to the guest room. I turned the AC down and the ceiling fan on and crawled into that bed only to discover that we have the loudest AC and ceiling fan ever. The AC sounded like it was shooting out static electricity while rattling the register to some beat with no rhythm (kind of like that awful World Cup song) combined with the “tick tick” of the ceiling fan. I began to feel like I was on the set of Apocalypse Now. Continue reading

Welcome back summer

“Welcome back, summer,” he said as though greeting an ex.

At least my roof deck is, for the most part, complete. It still needs to be re-stained, but at least I can walk on it. More importantly, I can nap on it. When it was done, I was so excited that I did a tap dance routine I learned when I was 6. It was originally choreographed to “In Your Easter Bonnet,” but it also adapts quite well to “Best Friend” by Foster the People. I am happy to teach this routine at any time, but instruction comes with a warning: Don’t ever do it in front of someone you think you may want to make out with at any point in time. You can’t un-see some things.

On the interior design front, we have received word from several designers in Houston that they are so busy they can’t even think of taking on new clients until the end of 2015—or even mid-2016! This has prompted some of those in need of interior design services to cough up substantial retainers just to be on a waiting list. That sounds like a nice problem to have.

In Dallas design news, we’re seeing lots of clients working on second and third homes. Refined rustic may be a good description for what’s happening. There are beautiful, more natural finishes in feel and texture combined with clean lines and a few touches of traditional to soften things up. And comfort is key for all of these clients. It is no longer enough for a piece to look beautiful. If it isn’t comfortable, forget it.

I have just shipped a couple of pieces for a client who has six homes. Yes, I typed six. No, I wouldn’t dream of divulging the client’s name. When you are at that level, privacy is super important. And so is return business. To think I have a hard time just getting Max to select a single wallpaper for a half bath in one house. Fortunately, this client makes decisions much faster. With that many homes, you have to. This particular client will tell me what they want exactly once. After that, they don’t want to hear another thing until it’s ready. If something comes up in the process, and it always does, I use my best judgment. Trust, in this case, is key. And after working together for 15 years, I should know what they like.

Speaking of liking things, I spoke with Rusty Arena of Arena Design the other day. Rusty sure is a nice person—not to mention, amazingly talented. Here is an image of Rusty and his trusty companion, Rufus, at the factory. Did you know that when I was born, my sister wanted to name me Rufus? It’s better than Peaches Ann, the name she liked for a girl. Anyway, the 100 yards of hand-screened shagreen wallpaper I ordered for both showrooms should be arriving next week. I can’t wait to see it installed, as it should be stunning. And I did it in a color—not beige or grey. Shocking! Rusty also has a bunch of new designs coming out, so look for some inspiration coming your way soon.

Fabric and wallcovering by Rusty Arena

I have to keep it short and sweet, as I have a rare lunch away from my desk to catch up with my BFF at Mint. We live in the same city but haven’t seen one another in months.That’s what crazy schedules will do for you. Until next time, happy Friday!