July 16, 2016

Baroque Pearls For Your Inner Goddess

baroque pearls from maison k 2016

mediteranean baroque pearlsI’ve been fascinated with Greek and Roman art and antiquity my entire life – I’m quite sure a very early visit to Ludington Court at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art started it all.  I have fond childhood memories of the museum where my mother was a docent for many years. Years later, I even met my husband there!  As a lapsed Art History student, I am still enchanted by museums of all sorts; that said the MET remains the ne plus ultra – especially with the addition of the MET Breuer. This makes for the perfect trio between the MET on 5th and The Cloisters. Pictured here is a bronze sculpture in the largest of the Greek and Roman galleries, standing on a finely tessellated floor surrounded by grand columns – very much evoking an ancient villa – quite a transformation from what was once a restaurant!

June 26, 2016

Bring The Inside Out!

silk ikat pillows at maison k




I love the earthy and elegant muted tans, blush and nudes of the textiles above – a palette echoed in many of the dresses featured in “Manus x Machina” (Hand and Machine), the Costume Institute’s Spring 2016 exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Like many, I (mistakenly) believed that Haute Couture was the epitome of high fashion because it was all executed by hand for a specific client. This exhibit showcases the fact that both highly sophisticated machine work as well as hand work goes into the creation of these otherworldly dresses. Pictured here is a fitted, yet frothy dress of lace and tulle from the House of Givenchy, Autumn/Winter 2011/12. There are a bevy of festive, fascinating ensembles from many different eras organized by technique: Plissè (Pleating), Dentellerie (Lacework), Plumasserie (Featherwork) – etcetera – the online overview  is an interesting glimpse of the show from the comfort of your home!

April 2, 2016

Baroque Pearls – Jewels of The Sea

jewels of the sea baroque pearls



jewels of the sea baroque pearls at maison k

There is something beguiling about an empty stairwell; an invitation, an air of intrigue – what’s beyond that corner, who is up in those rooms above? Glancing at these stairs I can’t help but imagine a 17th century contessa, draped in silk, lace and baroque pearls climbing the stairs to the “primo piano” to hear a new form of music, opera; this was the era it was created. This image was taken at the beyond-exquisite Palazzo Lomellino in Genoa – with very limited access I only saw the atrium, courtyard, and nyphaeum, so next time would plan an entire trip around their open day – the first Saturday of each month. Meanwhile their beautiful website and virtual tours must suffice – a glimpse into another time and space.

March 4, 2016

Che Bella! Italian Linens

Italian Linens____________________________________



I have fallen in love with Florence. This is surprising as till recently I’ve always felt Rome the ne plus ultra of Italy, yet I’m smitten!  I was last there on business eons ago but recently a friend (a former colleague and buyer herself) said, “Kim have you been to Florence lately?  There are still many small workshops with people making things in their ateliers, there is so much for you there.”  As promised, an endless range of wonderful product abounds, such as the pillows above and suede fringe wraps we’ve sold out of again, awaiting a new shipment. Wherever you glance there is beauty; the buildings, the food, the gentility, the elegance of an European life – that grace is lost in so much of the world but it lives on here and may it always reign! Pictured here is the exquisite 14th century Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, built by the Dominicans. They also began making an antiseptic rose water to combat the plague and in 1612 founded the “Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella”, one of the oldest pharmacies in the world, still home to exquisite fragrances, bath and body care products.

March 2, 2016

Haute Home

haute home



HAUTE HOME LOOK FROM MAISON KLong on my must see list in Paris has been the Picasso Musée.  Closed for a 2 year renovation in 2009, it ended up taking 5, finally reopening in 2014. After all my business was complete (all the new spring accessories from Paris are in store now!) we headed to the Hôtel Salé, the grand 17th century home of the musée.  It was a cool grey day, and as we approached the narrow entrance, the portal opened into a majestic courtyard. The exquisite baroque design, particularly the grand stairwell, is the perfect contrast to all the work inside, showcasing Picasso’s multi genre artistic range; ceramics, found objects, paintings and sculpture are all beautifully presented with meaningful english translations. There is a lovely garden and cafe as well, so one can make a great day of the visit soaking up a glorious range of art, history and architecture.

January 11, 2016

New Shipment Astier de Villatte

SB Mag AdV




There was promise of rain, but instead the skies parted as we ambled down the granite path, past the 1919 Reginald Johnson villa of Lotusland. (Johnson was Architect of the main SB Post office and Bellosguardo as well.)  Surrounded by magnificent stands of “dragon trees“, euphorbia, cactus, palms,
ginkgo, on and on, a tour here is a grand adventure in a peripatetic garden of Eden.  The property was founded in 1882 as the commercial nursery of Ralph Kinton Stevens. Santa Barbara’s rare Mediterranean climate proved an idyllic atmosphere where rare and exotic plants flourish.  Fast forward to 1940. Madame Ganna Walska, a much admired personality and opera singer, leaves her native Europe, on the last ship out before the war, and purchases the property in 1941. Over the decades, she worked with numerous renown architects and landscape designers to evolve the property. In fact, she herself evolved from grand opera diva and socialite into a passionate visionary and creative landscape designer in her own right, leaving us with a magnificent, creative, horticulturally significant gift for all time.

December 21, 2015

Entertaining Ideas

entertaining ideas for the holidays




The Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles is a phenomenally preserved “motion picture palace”, built in 1927 by four of the most famous stars at the time, founders of United Artists. Where once silent films played, it’s now a very active live performance venue with a myriad of attractions. After a recent visit there with my father, we headed up to the roof top lounge/bar – a warm oasis way up in the sky, with sweeping city views. There is so much going on downtown, consider going by train!  Between the charm of Olivera Street, the newness of The Broad Museum, the Walt Disney Concert HallGrand Central Market, Clifton’s, and the plethora of other interesting spots, we have our own bright lights, big city alive and well in So Cal!

December 3, 2015

Timeless Gifts: Diamonds and Cashmere

Luxurious Gifts________________________________


timeless christmas momentsI’ve long wanted to be at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the lighting of their Baroque Neapolitan Christmas Tree . The grand tree, festooned with flying angles and gorgeous creche figurines, is backed by an 18th century Spanish wrought iron choir screen, and located in the Medieval Sculpture Gallery.  Throughout the gallery, numerous renderings of Mary and Christ are displayed and no matter the material; wood, stone, ivory and pictured here, terra cotta – they are all precious renderings of a mother and child, and the very reason we celebrate Christmas. That said, their timeless appeal is universal regardless of belief as everyone recognizes the devotion and sacredness of motherhood.  The relief here, Virgin and Child, was created around 1475 by Andrea della Robbia, nephew of Luca who mastered the technique of a ceramic glaze that made such art and decoration suitable for both interior and exterior decoration.  The mood of this piece is serene and knowing. I always love to see the rendering of angels, their wings can be simple and pure like these perhaps white gull wings, some other favorite angels with fabulous wings are at Sainte Chapelle – there, with peacock and parrot wings.

August 27, 2015

Finds From New York Gift Show

finds from new york gift show



MuseumThe textiles and rugs above are a feast for the senses (luxurious finds from New York Gift Show) – their soft luxurious textures palpable to our eye and hand. In contrast, the sleek and voluminous lines of the artful metal and glass fabrication of the Foundation Louis Vuitton in Paris (left) is a whole other feast.  It is massive yet elegant and light and seen from a birds-eye view, looks like a windswept crystal galleon sailing through the emerald green forest “sea” of the Bois de Boulogne. We went to this much anticipated new museum last May, where there was an exhibit of Frank Gehry’s, many design concepts, models and imaginings of what could be – before arriving at the final expression we enjoy today. It was fascinating to see that great things don’t just happen in one swoop, but evolve over time; there’s a serious gestation period we usually aren’t privy to. This building is a stunning addition to 21st Century architecture and design.

August 7, 2015

¡Viva La Fiesta!

Fiesta SB



EMBROIDERED MEXICAN TOPSAfter our road trip up the coast, we returned to SB via 101. One of our favorite rest spots is San Juan Bautista, two hours south of Sausalito.  We love to lunch in the garden at Jardines de San Juan where one dines surrounded by colorful umbrellas and brilliant flowers. The local mission was founded in 1797 on the Feast day of St. John the Baptist; hence the towns name.  It was the 15th of 21 missions on the Camino Real (King’s Highway). It is a cornerstone of the community on a spacious plaza that includes several grand period buildings.  The town was a thriving place of commerce and trade until the train was routed through Hollister instead of SJB.  People moved elsewhere, yet the buildings remained as they were for decades and are incredibly preserved because of this slumber.  Now a good portion of the town is included in the San Juan Bautista State Historic Park and people now lovingly restore the adobe and wood structures of the downtown.