May 7, 2016

Be Jeweled!

byzantine turkish jewelry



byzantine turkish jewelry at maison k

This is the lovely Nuruosmaniye Mosque in Istanbul. It fairly glows, it’s white marble walls punctuated with paned windows, allowing sunlight into the sanctuary. Nuruosmaniye means “the light of Osman”, named so after the sultan who completed the building in 1755. This 18th century mosque is considered a masterpiece of Baroque Ottoman architecture. The “mother” and architectural inspiration for many mosques like this, is Hagia Sophia, built in the 6th century as a Christian Greek Orthodox Basilica. Byzantium/Constantinople/Istanbul has a long and fascinating history being at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, a nexus of commercial, cultural, artistic, diplomatic and religious systems.

April 12, 2016

Summer Styles…

summer styles in woven arts from rawnda and ghana



summer styles in baskets

I’m crazy for basketry, it’s a practical artistic tradition I love; all the more so with the jaunty tassels and tufts shown above! Considering African arts, I can’t help but think of the incredible inspiration the sculptural arts, in particular were, for many European artists early in the 20th century.  Matisse, Picasso, Gauguin, on and on, found awesome expression and freshness in the arts of non-western cultures. They filled their studios with art from around the world. Shown here, at the Pompidou Center, is a display of objet from Andre Breton’s studio, which included oceanic art. Outside the Pompidou, is Atelier Brancusi, given to the State of France with the condition the studio be re-created as found the day the artist died.  Look at his magnificent work and you’ll see the influence of African art as well.

November 17, 2015

Baroque Pearls From Italy

baroque pearls from italy at maison k



Shell Ceiling FlorenceCordoned off from the burgeoning crowds of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, is the octagonal Tribuna; a “treasure house” designed by Bernardo Buontalenti in1584 at the bequest of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Francesco1de’Medici. Considered the first museum of Europe, it was created to house the precious jewels, paintings, furniturnishings and ancient sculptures of the Medici.  The four elements are represented in the design by an intricately inlaid marble floor, symbolizing Earth, the walls upholstered in red velvet for Fire, the “rose of the wind” (compass) on the top of the lantern for Air and last but not least the huge nacre dome, pictured, created with 6000 mother of pearl shells – symbolizing Water. This “Room of Wonders” enchanted and inspired the great thinkers, leaders and artists of the Renaissance and now delights the throngs of us today.

November 3, 2015

Snuggle Up

snuggle up with warm throws from maison k____________________________________


Alpine windowLocated in the Engadine Valley, Pontresina is a charming mountain resort town in south eastern Switzerland,10 minutes from it’s better known neighbor St. Moritz. Many of the old village homes dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, are decorated with an incised decoration called “sgraffito” (the Italian term to scratch, and where the term graffiti comes from). Motifs include vines, (pictured left), geometric forms,  floral designs and animals, the most
predominant being the “capricorn” (the latin term for Ibex) or Alpine Ibex. These fascinating homes share the streets with elegant Belle Epoque hotels in a sunny, sheltered surround of grand mountains. Pontresina is en route of the Bernina Express, a glorious train ride that goes up and over the highest railway pass in Europe with sweeping views of mountains and valleys all the way into northern Italy, a most enchanting trip.

July 14, 2015

Light and White Summer

Light and white summer at Maison K



Homer paintingThe image left, is a detail from Edward Hopper’s Le Bistro or The Wine Shop painted in Paris.  I love his enigmatic paintings and recently saw several great works at the <NEW> Renzo Piano designed Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. After breakfast at the Donut Plant on 23rd, (situated next to the iconic Chelsea Hotel), we walked west to The High Line and enjoyed an elevated/ urban/arcadian stroll on a former freight line.  The views include classic westside cityscapes as well as a distant view of the Statue of Liberty. The southern terminus of this amazing park is at the Whitney, which is a work of art in itself.  The history of founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, an artist herself, is remarkable, her vision in creating this American Museum, an everlasting gift.  I’m enjoying reading Whitney Women and the Museum They Made.


April 23, 2015

Light And White Summer Dresses

linen and cotton summer dresses at maison k



summer dresses have arrivedI recently watched Mr. Turner – a fascinating film about the last 25 years of J.M.W. Turner’s life.  This cinematic portrayal paints the man as a brilliant artist with an incredibly unique perspective and expression of nature. He’s a complex amalgamation of opposites; he is loving and brutish, sensitive and rough, adventurous and a home body, traditional and anarchic. The Turner exhibition at The Getty Center is not to be missed. It had been years since I was last at the Getty and was duly reminded of the incredible gift it is; the art collections, the buildings, the site, the gardens! Make sure to make a luncheon reservation in the dinning room – a great treat with views to the sea. A wonderful reminder that summer is here and so are our light and airy, cotton and linen summer dresses.

February 20, 2015

Treasures of Byzantium in Montecito

treasures of byzantium in montecito______________________________________


byzantine jewelry at maison kLike a sorbet serves as a palate cleanser between courses at a long feast, a trip to the serene and exquisite Chora Church in Istanbul was just what my senses needed after the heady and mind boggling assortment and sounds of a buying trip in Istanbul. Considered one of the most beautiful examples of Byzantine architecture in the world, it’s a true gem. Istanbul’s phenomenal geographic position between East and West, and the myriad of influences over the centuries from different cultures and traditions, makes for a spectacular amalgamation and experience today. This Christian Church founded in the 5th century became a mosque in the 15th century. It’s now being painstankingly restored to reveal the soul stirring images created in fresco and mosaic eons ago.

December 13, 2014

How To Decorate and Entertain …

How to decorate and entertain________________________


how to decorate and entertainWe have a great treasure in our midst – that of Casa del Herrero. It is one of only four National Historic Landmarks in Santa Barbara. Designed by George Washington Smith, and completed in 1925, it is a stunning example of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. Owner George Fox Steedman traveled abroad to purchase incredible architectural elements for the interior and exterior of the house. He went neck to neck with William Randolph Hearst who was shopping for Hearst Castle at the time. What a competition between two great visionaries. Take the time to enjoy a docent tour of this architectural gem.

January 25, 2014

2014 Resolution #1: Refresh your Environment

Perhaps because I’m the daughter of an architect, I have always loved the art and discipline of architecture, across the multitudes of landscapes, cultures, times and expressions it inhabits.  Pictured above is a portal in a traditional Moroccan Riad, the exquisite Riad Camilia in Marrakech. I am a fervent fan of Le Corbusier with his Ronchamp Chapel high on my “must see” list.  I am head over heels for Angor Wat and Philip Johnsons Glass House for entirely different reasons.  Soon the world will know a lot more about another famous architect and her exquisite work with the world premier documentary of Lutah Maria Riggs showing soon at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.  Learn more about Lutah at